Shrike and Dani

Red, part 1
"Oh, look, it's Red the Basket-Stabber!"
"Hey Red!"
"How's the mother? Huh?"

Dorothy Williams sighed as the teasing of the other schoolchildren rang in her ears yet again - every morning when she arrived at the village school, the points and jibes and laughter started, and even in class the occasional snickers could be heard, aimed at her and her younger sister.

Being the daughters of a weaver-woman wasn't easy.

After all, everyone knew what 'weavers' did.

The fact her father had made an 'honest woman' of her didn't stop the comments and snide remarks - after all, everyone knew you couldn't reform a 'weaver', and the fact Mr. Williams had been a mere footsoldier in the guards just added to the shaken heads, smirks, and teases. The fact that her family were the only ones in the village with red hair, another 'gift' of Ms. Williams', provided that much more fuel to the fire.

Her sister was a kind-hearted soul; in her youth, Danielle knew little of the reasons behind the torment, but she merely smiled and shook it off, like lava off the back of a Stygian Fireduck.

Dorothy wasn't as sanguine. But, for her sister's sake, she kept the pain and anger of the words of her classmates bottled up inside.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, she thought bitterly as she settled into her seat behind her desk in the classroom. Whoever said that clearly never had to deal with words.