You will be a woman. You will be a warrior.

Aisha readies herself for the ceremony.  The gold specks in her green eyes spark in the torch light.  Ritual bathing in the warmed mineral waters perfumed with hibiscus, bergamot and dragons-breath.  Soft, sweet, scented as a woman must be. Her sensual soaping leads to erotic thoughts of warrior partners’ prowess, sweat and strong shoulders, musk and divine luxuria. Must remain pure in thought, pure in deed. Til ceremony. Til passage. Rises steaming; rising phoenix. She dries off on lavendered linens, and begins her physical trans-morphing.

You will be a woman. You will be a warrior.

Gathered the sacred nuts containing the blackening kernel. She chanted, cracking the iron-hard shells representing a warrior’s strength. Boiled the inner kernel to a black sludge to which the wise women added the special potions to create the night face paint.

Black for the night. Black for the pain. For the abyss. Eyes closed, all is dark, in shadow. Open eyes – stars and moon to light the warrior’s way.

You will be a woman. You will be a warrior.

Stain her lips red with juice of berries and fruit – sweet and sour. Blood red. Woman’s blood; warrior’s blood. Blood of life; blood of death. Below is the lightness of the day. To nurture in the light; to raise the children; to raise the spear and sword to protect them.

You will be a woman. You will be a warrior.

She pulls on a plan shift, amethyst, the colour of her clan. Then her armour – leather straps woven with fine argon wire; woven to fit only her. No other women, no other warrior can put it upon their bodies. Tonight she will receive the rest of her warrior’s gear, what else she needs to be a woman. A sword, forged for her hand and arm, etched with runes to protect and strengthen. Her shield of rowan wood, carved with the totems of her clan. A woman’s circlet for her raven’s hair, and a woman’s name. Aisha was the name of a child come of age.

You will be a woman. You will be a warrior.

Ready, she parts the tent flaps. She leaves as the girl-child, Aisha, to return as a woman, as a warrior, as  . . .

Composed for mlmm writing prompt December 11: Let me refrain & photo challenge #143

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