ladies under the mountain »» the secret warriors of azanulbizarthe king asked only for those who were grown, fit to fight and trained. but they could not stay behind and watch their kin and friends die. they were too young, many even without full beards. they were weak, untrained for battle, unprepared for the horror of war. but still, when the warriors marched upon their ancient homeland, they were among them, hidden beneath stolen helms, making secret pacts to remain steadfast, even when their shields shattered and their axes were torn from their hands.sigyn, who meant once to bring beautiful things of glass and white gold, disguised herself in her father’s armor as he slept under a poppy-milk fog, and stole his swords to save his life. he would not last through another battle and she could not bury the only family she had left.
hlothyn painted her face to mimic the beard she would never grow, prayed that her mother’s god remembered her, and defended her sister with her last breath.
freyja and brynja swore to each other that when it was all over, no one would ever look at them as if they were a disgrace again. in mahal’s halls, their father would be proud, and their mother would raise her head again. they would never be the daughters of a coward again. they would be heroes, and the stain of their father’s dishonor would be wiped away.
princess dís took the injustice of being left behind quietly, with all the dignity her mother had ever prayed she would command, and then she gathered up her cousin dain and her dearest friend, and fell in line where her father and grandfather could not see her.
if their people were to fail, they would be beside them.