Title: A Call to Arms

Author: S J Smith

Rating: Teen

Summary: She realized she had to do something.

Disclaimer: All hail Joss!

Notes: This story was inspired by Perpetual's fic, "The Third Defenestration of Prague".

Eliska didn't like church. It was another place where she didn't fit in. Father didn't have extra money for fineries, he said. He made she was dressed, and relatively clean, and didn't stink of offal or blood. The rest, he said, was on her. So she hid in the darkest pews, wearing a rough dress and hiding her work-chapped hands in the folds of her skirt, her head bowed to keep people from noticing her potato nose and spotted face.

Worse, the church couldn't explain these strange, new feelings. Could it be the Devil who had suddenly given her this extra strength, to be able to pick up half of a hog by herself and toss it across the butchering floor? Had God bestowed His own ears on her, that she could hear whispers all the way across the church? Mother would've said she was gifted, but Eliska wasn't sure. She didn't want to stand out, wanted to hide in the back of the butcher shop, where no one would see her.

The twisting in her stomach nearly sent her to her knees. Eliska gasped, clutching at her belly, thinking that it wasn't time for her menses, that it shouldn't hurt so much. Heart thundering in her ears, she staggered out of her pew, ignoring the whispers that followed her as she staggered, half-bent over, toward the doorway that led into the night. Something caught her attention, another strange prickle, sending her down a narrow, dark corridor to a sconce on the wall. Her hand trembled as she reached up, grabbing a short, dark sword from a tiny armory. Shivering, Eliska hiked up her skirt, running out of the church.

Something bad rose with the moon, and Eliska knew it was up to her to find it, first.

- end -