About Preserving Eternity:
Mayu is a champion in the sport of women's sword fighting and a once in a generation talent. She is also a keen advocate of women's rights, who wants to cross over to the mountain and change society through politics. Then a rebellion happens and she has to decide how best to pursue her aims: by diplomacy or by the sword.
As the Fumetsu are eternally fertile relations between men and women are banned on the mountain, but compulsory in the city. Mayu's dilemma is complicated by the love of her life and fellow swordswoman Yaeko already living on the mountain, and the rebellion could separate them for ever.
doesn’t convince him I’ll challenge him to step inside and let our swords make the decision for us.
“Greetings, Mayu. I shouldn’t be surprised to find you at a fighting hall.
Especially this one. Remind me why it’s your favourite.”
“You know that not only is this where they serve the best tea in Chieshi, but also where Yaeko and I moved from friendship to relationship.”
“Just checking I’d remembered the location correctly. Why bring me here?
We’re divorced and once peace is restored you’ll be restored to Yaeko.”
“I brought you here to discuss that restoration to Yaeko. I want to be among those who storm the Inner Gate.”
“No. This is not a walking party. This is a major battle and we can’t place untrained civilians in danger.”
“Others can do the storming and I’ll do the walking once they’ve won.”
“Storming the gate is only the start of the danger. You aren’t a warrior and you’ll get in the way.”
“I’m the best swordswoman in Chieshi and have the respect of many warriors. You should pity whoever gets in the way of my blade.”
“You’re a sportswoman and you worry about drawing blood on a fellow-competitor. Flash your blade in battle and you might remove someone’s head from their shoulders. You’ll feel a lot more guilty about that. Assuming you live to tell the tale, which given your lack of battle experience or training is highly unlikely.”
“My sport grew out of the tradition of Fumetsu women being trained in sword fighting.”
“Yes, to protect your dignity and your children if your home is attacked. Trying to conquer a mountain against superior numbers is very different.”
“What would you know? You’re an archer. For other warriors the battlefield is a sequence of one on one battles, which makes it little different from
a woman using a sword against a male intruder in her home.”
“It’s different because you’re going up against one man after another. As a woman you’ll tire against the men’s superior strength and once tired you’ll be killed.”
“Nonsense. You’re going into war with the Kirigesh, who have women warriors alongside the men. They don’t tire and ask a man to do the fighting for them.”
“I’m not arguing any more. You’re not going into battle.”
“You’re not my husband. You don’t get to decide what I do.”
“You’re a woman, you’re not allowed to enter battle. That’s why you’re asking for my help, but I refuse to give it.”
“To prove I can fight, I’ll fight you.”
“In the hall? That’s sport and you only ask because you know I’m not much of a swordsman. The battlefield will be full of excellent swordsmen, including emissaries.”
“So if you admit I’d win, save yourself the embarrassment of defeat by a woman and accept my victory. Then tell Junji I’ll go in with one of the Kirigesh women’s units.”
“You can’t fight.”
“Prove it. Pit your weak warrior sword craft against my strong sporting sword craft.”
“Swords are too dangerous to settle a dispute between Hotaru’s parents.”
“Training woods then.”
“Okay training woods and each of us have a second to observe justice.”
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About Mercia McMahon:
Mercia's fiction work is sometimes darkly serious, sometimes quirky, sometimes serious and quirky and always deeply political. She ignores all rules especially the rule that she always ignores rules. One rule she definitely ignores is that an author should not hop from genre to genre. Her work includes both literary fiction and speculative fiction (alternative history, fantasy, and science fiction).
In her non-fiction work Mercia writes in the areas of history, philosophy, religion, gender studies, and creative writing. Again, the political angle is never far from the surface.