I looked at the young man lying beside me, his black hair falling down around his neck, his tan skin standing out against the bright white sheets of the bed. I let my hand travel over his face gently, with a feather-light touch. He didn't stir, his breathing still and even. I smiled softly at the man I loved. I wouldn't have anyone else with me. I wanted him to be mine forever; I wanted to be his forever. But then I would be breaking my vow. The vow I made that night…

Isatonthebeach,myheadinmyhands,tearsrunningdownthesideofmyface.Whiteandredpaintmixedandturnedpink,stainingmyemeraldgreenrobes.Iwastwelve,anditwasfouryearsintomytrainingasaKyoshiWarrior.Butlearninghowtostrengthenmybodydidn'textendtomyheart.Myheartwasstillbreakable.

I looked up at the wooden pillar in the middle of the village. Avatar Kyoshi looked back down at me, her war paint dull and shadowed in the moonlight. "Kyoshi," I mumbled to myself through my tears. "What would she do? What would she do if a boy broke her heart?"

She wouldn't have gotten involved with him in the first place. Iansweredmyself.Thewordsrungthroughmyhead,andIknewtheyweretrue.ButIwasn'tKyoshi.Iwasatwelveyearoldgirl,cryingoverherfirstloveandherfirsthurt.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and looked back into the eyes of the Avatar. It had happened once before. I could stop it from ever happening again. I picked myself up, brushing the sand off of my precious silk robes. They were ruined, but that was beside the point.

I went to the statue, kneeling in front of it. And so I vowed. "Kyoshi. I am a warrior sworn into your service. I am bound to protect this village, but I cannot do so if I cannot protect myself. And so I vow to never marry a man as a long as I shall live. I am a warrior, a soldier. If I am to marry, I will marry the night, the trees, the wolf. May you hear my words, and bind me to them." I stood to my feet, feeling stronger than ever before. I turned and left. The deed was done.

I smiled sadly, thinking about my younger, rash self. If it had been up to me now, looking at the man beside me, I would have taken the words back. But, the deed had been done. I would marry no man. I looked back at the one beside me. Would he care that we never marry? Would he mind? I knew he was traditional, but maybe he wouldn't care.

I lay my hand back on his face, stroking his skin with my eyes. It shouldn't matter. He already knew I loved him.