Ewould had spent his life in an uneasy compromise between his true self and the pressures of his parents and society. No matter what body he’d been born with, he was male. That changed the day he buried his husband. Come what may, Ewould decided to seize his destiny and set for to transform himself into the person he should always have been.
Transformations is a powerful fantasy story of truth, identity and forcing the world to accept you as you truly are.
By Meyari McFarland
Ewould sighed as he reached the top of the ridge, thighs burning from the climb. His lungs burned too, unused to the cold, clear air after too long cramped in town, hunched over a kitchen stove. The lack of a corset didn’t help. His breasts, damned fat bags, weighed heavy on his ribs despite all the weight he’d lost since the priests arrived to change their lives.
It was quiet, so blessedly quiet, up here. Ewould could hear birds peeping in the low shrubs along the trail. Wind ruffled strands of grey-streaked hair that had pulled free of the thick brown braid down his back. Should have cut that off before he left but it took so damned long to saw through a braid that he hadn’t bothered. Better to leave when he had the chance, before the priests could force him into another marriage he hadn’t wanted and to a man he couldn’t stand.
So much had changed since he was small.
It had been years since he’d gone this way. More than two decades. Hell, nearly three now. The last time had been when his brother was driven out of the town for using forbidden magic, face bleeding and back torn to shreds by Father’s whip.
No one spoke his brother’s name after that, not even Ewould.
He’d been too afraid. Ewould licked his lips, tasting the remnants of paint that the priests had insisted he wear to the funeral. They didn’t care that Ewould was mourning, didn’t care that Ewould had loved Maas with his whole soul. They sure as hell didn’t care that Maas had loved Ewould despite everything that was wrong with his soft, rounded body, not because of it.
The valley lurked below like a blight on grain. It really was that distinct. Ewould studied the forests that had crept close in the last twenty years. When he was young they’d gone and cut the trees to plant apples, harvested the forest and hunted rabbit and deer. They’d made it lighter, more open, more welcoming. Now it crept closer every year, thick and dark with prickly spruce and looming pine. The apple orchards had long since been smothered under their weight.
Strange how much it had changed since the new priests had come from the south. Their fields had heavy stone walls topped by mage lights purchased from a traveling mage who was driven out of town as soon as he’d cast the spells. Day or night, the light supposedly kept the town ‘safe from evil’. Too bad they’d invited the evil into their hearts and homes. No light, however magical, would chase it away now.
The spelled walls marked the boundary between the supposedly safe town and the ‘wild’ folks. As if the neighboring villages were a danger to them. Ewould shook his head, snorted as he pushed the braid back over his shoulder. So much stupidity, so many lives lost, because the priests decided that they would change everyone to match their image of what people should be.
Inside the fields a huge wall, made of logs thrust into the earth and lashed together with rawhide, circled the town proper. That was new, still incomplete. Ewould had known he needed to run when he realized that there would be just one gate, guarded all the time. They would keep him there, force him to obey, just as, years ago, Father’s new wife had forced Ewould to live as a woman when he was really a man.
When he’d first married Maas they’d had a house at the edge of the fields, right about where the mage lights faded out now. It was gone, gone like Maas’s smile, like his sons’ laughter, his freedom. All of their joy.
Ewould sniffed, snuffled really. He’d cried so much at Maas’s funeral that his nose felt as though it was stuffed with soggy wool. And then he’d waited until night fell, until everyone fell asleep. Schuyler and Teunis, his beautiful twin sons, born of his body despite how wrong that was, had slept quietly in their beds. Schuyler’s arms had been wrapped around Liesje whose face was still blotchy from her tears. Andries had been wrapped around Teunis so tightly that Ewould couldn’t see their faces one last time.
It was all right. They were all fighters, even delicate little Liesje. This was a battle for the younger generation. Ewould had fought, had tried, had failed, had given up. Now it was time to think of himself and take what he’d wanted all those years ago when he’d convinced his brother to spell the tits off his chest for a day.
After thirty-seven years, Ewould had had enough of following everyone else’s rules. Even if it exiled him from all human contact Ewould would be right in himself at last.
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