Brisa wears lamellar armor (photo and painting of lamellar). She rides a war horse named Khari, an intelligent and beautiful grey mare of the much-coveted [Arabian-cultural-equivalent] breed, of the bloodline owned by the most mysterious clan of those poorly-understood people. It amuses Brisa sometimes to think that Khari is far better bred than Brisa herself.
Brisa was originally raised a mountain girl, of the horse-breeding mountain lord's holdings. She's the foster daughter of one of the families that care for the lord's pregnant mares out to pasture. As such she got to roam the pastures, checking on the various herds in various stages of gestation or lactation, although she wouldn't recognize those words.
As a consequence she had a perpetually wind-blown look to her braided but oft-tangled long hair and a pragmatic and sturdy disposition from hiking around the mountain pastures and having to help the occasional mare or foal in trouble. This also gave her a keen eye for observation of the local fauna as well, and as a consequence she could not just calm a worried mare with her hands and quiet voice, but also knew how to tread lightly indeed. That way she didn't miss the local marvels -- like the yearly family of fox kits tumbling and playing at their den, or the wonder of being close to a feeding wild falcon mantling over her fresh kill.
Brisa also had a kitten-curious nature, and the eyes of a dreamer. She completely understood and accepted the natural (and sometimes messy) exigencies of outdoor life -- breeding, birth, death, hunting, feeding -- but she also had an active imagination. She could see that the nightly fog was clammy, rainy, and cold; that rainbows occurred when she looked at the light when there was a certain amount of rain in the air... but she could also imagine the dancing fey horses of Faerie in the slow-rolling silver clouds' nightly descent into the valleys below, or imagine the airy, colorful, silken ribbons entwined in the manes of the fickle unicorns as they cavorted in sun-sheened rain clouds. As a consequence of her dreaming she often struggled with a vague and restless feeling... as if she should be doing something, perhaps even something important... but didn't yet know what that something might be.
Brisa dreamed most often of horses and riding, of course -- and that one special horse that would know her, with whom she'd be a team. In order to satisfy that painful, inchoate desire she eventually took terrible chances. At times when her need to ride, to be one with the horse in a marvelous amalgam of beautiful, sleek muscle, her own adoration-fogged brain, silken mane and bannered tail -- late at night, when none were there to see, she'd sometimes do the forbidden, and go out to the new mares' pasture. There, before they were so swollen with foal that harm might come to them, she'd swarm up the side of some willing mare, then spend the night, sitting bareback on the mare's broad, furred back, inhaling her warm horsy scent and dreaming of heroic gallops... or lay back with her hair flung out like a tapestry across the grazing mare's rump, and dream of dancing a-horseback through the brilliant stars, until she was dizzy with longing.
Brisa's infrequent nightly excursions were, of course, her most carefully guarded secret, as she knew quite well the punishment likely to fall on her (and possibly even her family) were she ever caught riding the fine and cherished breeding mares of her family's lord. She justified her riding in her mind, in a fashion, by taking brush, curry comb, and pick with her, and assiduously grooming and caring for both the mare that let her ride, and any other mares she could check before she had to slink quietly back to bed, before the dawn. Indeed, a combination wire-snips-and-hoof-pick was her most prized possession during that time.
It was in situations like this that Brisa learned to ride, in a manner, although any equestrian-trained observer would have shuddered at her 'form.' She never dared nudge the mares on with her heels, since her training was such that the horses' needs and desires were paramount to her -- in her mind she served them, not the other way around. Instead, if the mare that accepted her clumsy attempts to mount chose to trot or canter about obligingly for her small rider, she learned to cling like a little burr, hunched over withers and with the mane whipping her face, giddy with delight.
As a young, new apprentice to her unusual knight/ mentor/ priestess/ teacher, Brisa was a tall, lean mountain girl, like whipcord. Her sun-bleached, white blonde hair was always pulled back in an untidy braid, with wind-blown wisps constantly escaping. She had the blue eyes and well-tanned light skin common to folk from the high mountains, and was as long-legged and awkward/graceful as a colt. Her hands were strong and slender, and she wore a rough, well-worn, but clean tunic belted over braccas tucked into sturdy boots.
The character sketch of Brisa on her front page is of her at this age.
Brisa copyright © 2000 B. A. "Collie" Collier