kylaia

I plucked at my sash until it came apart. Someone pulled it away, then Iyaka took the dress. I do not know why Mama was so upset. I raced in no more than this at every festival.

Someone struck a gong to signal it was time. I walked out to the center of the arena, ignoring the comments of the crowd. If they were properly bred, like the people in our village, they would no more laugh at a maiden dressed to show her body’s skills than they would laugh at a woman giving birth.
—  Kylaia al Jmaa, Student of Ostriches by Tamora Pierce