Put out and lonely, Razmouhi wandered
the halls of her mother’s house. Day after
day, in the courtyard, training, still awkward
in her body. Her name meant, “girl fighter.”
“Mother teaches me the way of the sword;
but I want to be down at the lake shore,
lost in the dunes.” Batu Khan’s Golden Horde
had laid waste to her town the year before.
It was why she was taught how to parry,
thrust; so that she would not have to witness
Hayk’s soldiers trampled in Tartar dust.
“Enough dreaming, my daughter.” Razmouhi
blinked, sighed. “What girl,” her mother, all grimness,
asked, “is worth spit who can’t parry and thrust?”
* * *
The ancient name of Armenia was Hayastan and they called themselves the Hayer, after one of Noah’s sons, Hayk, who is suppose to have founded their kingdom after his father’s ark settled upon the tip of Mt. Ararat.
Batu Khan was a in the 13th century Mongolian warlord who led his horsemen in an army historians have dubbed The Golden Horde, which lay siege to kingdoms and cities along the Black Sea and up through the Caucasus mountains.