The tradition was I follow my father’s words without question.
Once, just once, I gave him a disapproving glare and was left with a bruised cheek. My fingers tightened their grip on the hairs of the old Shire’s mane. The draft horse was clumsy yet strong as he galloped down the road. His hooves beat against the cobblestones in resonance with my heart.
‘Never again.’ I lipped, hot tears still snaking down my cheeks. ‘No more.’
I wore my purple badge with pride. Each passing moment put more distance away from a prison my family called tradition. Chills rippled across my skin, my mind recalling the green-toothed grin of a man much older than my father. On the table was a fine leather bag full of coin. I knew what was happening as I was asked to curtsy and speak my name.
“What a lovely daughter.” Chuckled the man in fine clothing. “A fine bride, indeed.”
“She knows her place.” Father’s hand ripped across my face and I held my tongue. Tradition. “Silent and strong. A deviant look in her eyes, though.”
“Impressive.” The man sounded like a snake, hissing, “Most excellent.”