• “We must put together an army to protect ourselves.” Says our leader, “All able bodied persons are urged to enlist.”
    I stand at the back of the crowd, hanging on every last word that our tribe leader has to say. I can’t believe this is actually happening. A few days ago, everyone in Stiekris got along in peace and harmony. Now my world is falling apart.
    “Hey, Gega!” I hear a familiar voice behind me. It’s AJ, my best friend. “Whatcha doing? C’mon, let’s go skip rocks across the lake.”
    “I’m gonna do it.” I say.
    “What? Gonna do what?” AJ asks.
    “I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna enlist in the new army.”
    She looks at me as if I’m crazy. I don’t blame her. I was talking crazy. It is a known fact that only adult men are allowed in any army in our tribe, now.
    “Don’t look at me like that. I know it’s unlikely that they’ll accept me, but maybe under the circumstances, they’ll make an exception for a spirited young girl like me.”
    I had a strong feeling about this. After all, the scenario was pretty bleak. All of Stiekris’s creatures, the humans, the zombies, the vampires, and us, the elves, had just been thrown into a free-for-all war of race. It all happened so fast. No one is even sure who threw the first punch. But never the less, we all had to protect ourselves.
    We had to be careful of who to trust, for it is very easy to switch sides. Each race has its own way of turning one race into another. The humans had a special potion that could turn any creature into a human. They sell them on the corner of every street, and they are not expensive in the least All the vampires have to do is bite a person to turn them into a vampire. However, the vampires are not as cruel as legend suggest, even in the heat of war. They will only bite a person with that person’s full permission. The zombies are not as noble though. Although they are friendly creatures, if they feel lonely at all, they will capture a person and kill them. Then they will use their advanced technology to bring them back as a zombie. That rarely happens now, seeing as there are many zombies around. We Elves have our own way of switching a person’s race into an elf. We have a bunch of special gem pendants that people can wear around their neck. If a person wears it around their neck and doesn’t take it off for twenty-four hours, they turn into an elf. Our ancestors thought it was due to magic, but further scientific inspection of the gems pointed to the DNA mutation properties of the gems. So, it is easy to see how quickly a person can change sides.
    Whoa, got off track. Where was I? Oh, right.
    “Are you sure about this?” says AJ.
    “Girl, you worry too much. What have I got to lose?”
    We decide to wait until the afternoon to enlist, so we retire to my house. We make our way through the woods to a wide open landscape with a few cows, sheep, and chickens scattered everywhere. I figure mother has let them out to roam.
    “Mom?” I call into the house, “I brought AJ over.”
    “Wonderful, sweet heart. Come on in.” I hear mother yell from upstairs.
    We enter the house. It is just a small cottage, just big enough for our family, though we sometimes make room for those times that AJ comes over for the night. I and my family own a small farm. It doesn’t make very much money, but my father loves farming and would give it up for all the money in the world. Neither would mother or me. However, as much as I love agriculture, I feel I am meant to be a warrior, which, let’s face it, is not an easy path to take, especially for a woman in an elf tribe.
    “Wanna stay for dinner AJ?” I ask her.
    “Is it alright with your folks?” asks AJ.
    “Mom? Can AJ stay for dinner?”
    Mom comes down stairs. Her hand-made broom is in her hand and she is covered in dust. She has been sweeping the upstairs again. She only does that when she needs to be distracted because sweeping upstairs to try to get it clean is completely pointless in our house. If you sweep it, ten minutes later, it will be dusty again. “Of course you can stay for dinner, AJ.”
    “Something wrong, Mom?” I ask her.
    “Why do you say that?” she asks me back.
    “Because you were sweeping upstairs again. You always do that when you’re nervous.”
    Mom sits down in one of the kitchen chairs, “I’m just a little shaken up about the war is all. I have quite a few human friends, you know. Not to mention that your father will have to enlist.”
    “He’s not the only one. Gega’s gonna try to enlist, too!” AJ blurts out.
    “AJ!” I exclaim.
    “What? It’s not like you could keep that a secret.”
    Mom stands up a hugs me. “I’m proud of you, sweet heart. I have always known that you had a fighting spirit. But just be careful. You need to choose your words wisely if you want to convince them to enlist you.”
    “Thanks Mom.” Mom has always been supportive of what I believed in.
    Suddenly, Dad comes through the door.
    “Hello Chani, my loving wife.” He says. He’s always a little poetic.
    “Hello yourself, my darling husband.” They kiss each other. “So, Dragoon sweetie, have you enlisted yet?”
    “Indeed I have.” He says as he sits down on the couch, “But worry not, my love. For when I am apart from thee, my mind will think not a word that is not about you, Chani.”
    Mom giggles, “You have such a way with words. Sometimes I think Shakespeare was an elf.”
    Dad gets out of his poetic state, “Thanks honey.” He says to Mom. Then, he gives his attention to me, “Hiya, Gega. How are ya, kiddo?”
    “Hi dad!” I say back, “I have some news.”
    “Really? Good news or bad”
    I think for a moment, “It depends how you look at it. But I say it’s good news.”
    “Well, lay it on me.”
    I take a deep breath and brace for his reaction. After all, the ideal daughter of an honorable elf is a home maker, so, although he is a supportive father, I have no idea how he will respond to my decision. “I have decided that I want to join the Elven Army.”
    It was silent for a moment, and then I hear, “That’s great kiddo. I always knew you had a wild side!”
    I breathe a quiet sigh of relief, “So you think its okay?”
    “Sure I do. Who cares about that stupid law? In my opinion. They should have kept things the way they used to be, where everyone could fight. That’s why things always got done right. Everyone was able to help. No one was ever turned away because you were a girl or a boy.” He stands up on the kitchen table, “Were all elves through and through. An elf’s strength has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with heart, spirit, determination, pride!” he draws his sword and points it toward the ceiling, “Turn away a willing elf for their fear and weakness, and they will honor your decision. Turn them away for the mere fact that they are women, and they shall turn against you.”
    “Dragoon, dear, get off the table. We put food there, you know.” Says Mom.
    I laugh. Mom and Dad were always the most peculiar couple in our tribe, but it was never boring.
    But as theatrical as Dad’s speech was, he was right. Women used to be allowed to join the army. However, about 15 years ago, the elven leaders made a new law that stated that women were no longer allowed to join any military occupation. The women already in the military were still allowed to stay in the military, but no other women were allowed to join. A lot of potential young women found this law unfair, but could do nothing about it. But I intend to change all that.
    Afternoon came quickly, but not quickly enough for me. I am really excited about my attempt to join the army. However, I am a bit nervous. I am not afraid though, for I know that what I am doing is right.