This question was inspired by How to survive for a day if everyone is trying to kill you.

We're in a country that is basically 16th century Scotland.

Born a girl, from a noble family, I became a knight [i.e. noble military leader](which is very unusual, asked a lot of effort, but is not exceptional). Now in my late twenties, I live in the family castle with my mother and father.

But I feel trapped in my responsibilities. I became a knight because I liked to ride horses and camp, and break bully's noses. I'm not so fond of politics, and I'm not so fond of war.

In a fit of... wilderness call, I left home, on foot, with only a small backpack from a previous journey (I don't remember what's in it). I simply walked through the guarded front door, in the middle of the night.

I walked on the royal road until the morning and I am now at a crossroad. Now that I come back to my senses, I feel like I should start to think of a plan. I don't want to come back home but people will start searching for me. I have a few friends in the castle and the town around it. I have a few powerful friends oversea (Think of Iceland), but, after a few years of skirmishes, I am well known and not very liked by the folks from the neighboring country (Think of England).

I have a few skills that may prove useful :

  • I am very good with the outdoors. Making fire, setting traps, gathering food from the wild.
  • I have already tracked down criminals so I have quite a good idea of how I would be tracked.
  • I am a very good, strong melee fighter trained with all the weapons of my time (firearms and artillery included).
  • I know how to ride a horse.
  • I can sail a small ship alone.
  • I'm a bit of a controversial hero in my country.

A few things that could bother me :

  • I am quite renowned around the country, but except for the nobles, few people actually saw my face.
  • I don't want to cut my hair.
  • I don't want to hide in a cave. I want the great outdoors and I want to find people I can trust.
  • I'm a bit of a controversial hero in my country.

Also : the backpack is kind of a "wild card" here but it's definitely not big enough to have a tent, and there's no food/water/money in it.

The question then : How can I escape being caught and thrown back to my responsibilities as long as possible ? What places should I avoid ? What should I look for ? Where should I look for allies, now and later ?

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    $\begingroup$ Hey Zaa, while your question is well written, it is probably off-topic for Worldbuilding as you appear to be asking about what a particular person should do, where good questions on WB are about constructing the world your character would live in. $\endgroup$ – Green Oct 17 '18 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I should rewrite the question then. I was inspired by @Camille question about "How to survive if everyone is trying to kill you" and I want to know if there's simple answers like "With this constraints, no way you could escape". In which case it is my universe I'd probably have to rectify a bit. I'm also interested in possible means of tracking such a character. $\endgroup$ – Zaa Oct 17 '18 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry but I have to second @Green in this case, the final answer to this question depends on a number of story elements, that are themselves dependent on personal character choices and cultural mores that are determined by the story you wish to tell. $\endgroup$ – Ash Oct 17 '18 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ While the occasional women (Joan of arc) became military leaders. Women soldiers were almost unheard of, they did exist (shield maidens, but as we don't have any mentions if female knights they didn't exist among knights). $\endgroup$ – Garret Gang Oct 17 '18 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ You became knight-errant. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Oct 17 '18 at 14:55

You will need to find another type of woman who travels alone and does things most people associate with men. Be that woman. Because if you are a noble who acts like a knight, and you're the only female knight around, people will figure out who you are. So who else? A healer? a performer? Some other profession that might not have been done by solo women in our history but could be in your world...judge, farrier, bookkeeper, rigger (for boats), clergy...something usually done by a traveler in towns too small to have a permanent one.

If you can find another woman or 3 to travel with, this opens up your options and gives you more safety. Sure, you can fight, but no one does well traveling completely alone and it looks suspicious to others that you don't feel scared being a woman traveling alone.

If you can find a man to travel with, you suddenly have a ton of options. Now you're his wife (even if it's fake) and are part of whatever profession he has. If it's a profession you already know (or can learn), that's great, you can do a lot of the work. If it's one you don't know, not a problem, you're "just" the wife. What does he get out of it? A bodyguard! And companionship. Assistance with his profession. And just plain old sharing of the duties of traveling.

Whatever you do, don't choose a profession that is one that nobles have or one they'd use from a traveler. For example, you can assume a large estate would have their own blacksmith and skip them. If you're a farrier, there will be lots of small towns that need your services for those regular maintenance things they can't do themselves. Don't take the risk of being recognized.

Hopefully you own or can buy the tools you need for your trade. You'll probably need some different way to get short-term cash (or tools). Maybe a stop at a friend's house first.

Note that you can switch off professions and traveling companions regularly. Maybe you find a traveling acrobat troupe and take care of their horses for 2 months until they get home for their winter break. They introduce you to the traveling apothecary who needs someone to protect his goods and you pretend to be his wife for 6 months. And so on.

Sounds like an interesting novel and your writing seems strong. Good luck with it!

  • $\begingroup$ This question will stay on hold as modifying it now would invalidate most of the answers. I upvoted several answers but this one's my favourite due to the fact that it takes into account most of my (admittedly imperfect) question and opens to many interesting worldbuilding possibilities. Thanks for that, and for the compliment. $\endgroup$ – Zaa Oct 18 '18 at 13:22

It is easier for you than for your brother. Go back to plan A.

You chose to become a lady knight. Now you want to escape your knight responsibilities of making war. Fortunately for you, you have your original path to fall back on - that of traditional princess. Go home, turn in your armor and weapons and let your family know that you spoke with an angel on the road, who told you to do these things and go back to being a princess like your sisters. Your sisters are not expected to make war. You will not be either. You can keep your horse.

Your family will be surprised and delighted. It is medieval days so a divine visit on the road has plenty of precedent.

If you want to sidestep all royal obligations (both of knight and of princess) then your option is a convent and a life devoted to Christ and service. This also has plenty of precedent for royal ladies and might be less surprising to your family - if they already think you are uninterested in marrying / having a family they will not be surprised when you choose a female life path that does not involve such things.

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    $\begingroup$ I guess this falls short on the "wilderness call" part. $\endgroup$ – Liquid - Reinstate Monica Oct 17 '18 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Liquid - no, wilderness is perfect. The road to Damascus is where one has one's epiphany. $\endgroup$ – Willk Oct 17 '18 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk Sorry, but though your answer is correct according to the title, I also stated that I didn't want to come back home. I recognize I should have emphasized a little better that this question was more about disappearing, as a notable in a medieval society, than just shifting career. $\endgroup$ – Zaa Oct 18 '18 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Zaa - then the convent is your answer. Just keep going until you get there. $\endgroup$ – Willk Oct 18 '18 at 16:13

Its Medieval Times, there are no photographs, nothing to identify you other than your mannerisms and people that know you. so just avoid both.

Think of Worldbuilding.SE as the same as a sort of medieval country, now there are some well known knights (users with over 10k rep), the great Sir RonJohn, Sir Separatrix, Sir WillK, Sir Ash and Sir Szczerzokly as well as many others, these are well known names, each having many fantastic victories (answers) to their names. but we the common people don't know what they really look like, so would we recognise them if their names changed (created new accounts)?

Probably not, they are the same people, they would however continue to provide the same sort of advice and answers to the common folk (newer contributers) with the same sort of language used and they could easily earn their way back into greatness overtime, or they could stay back comment occasionally and just be a common person alongside all the others

So... that analogy aside

Female fighters were uncommon in a militaristic sense, but women did appear in gangs of bandits. and fought to protect their homes so a woman carrying a weapon is not unheard of, it might turn a few heads when you entered a village but not much more than that. especially if you remove armour. place it in your bag and sell it when you get to a town, just don't sell all of it. just a piece here and a piece there. this should give you enough cash to live on for a while. armour was expensive back in the 16th century.

Also worth noting that often wild animals were still the property of the local lords, so hunting game would be poaching. and if you get caught saying "its fine its my families land" is likely to get your families attention.

After that walk to where ever you want and if you have friends overseas, then buy your way onto a ship and go overseas.

  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, it looks like our maiden has neither a sword nor armor (only a small backpack). $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 17 '18 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander, that is all that was stated, but its safe to assume a knight wouldn't just walk out of her castle naked, and a knight not carrying a sword and a small amount of armour is more worthy of note then doing so, so its not that big a stretch of reasoning past a female knight $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Oct 18 '18 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ I admit my question may not be clear enough. Sorry about that, it was my first one. You're answer is really interesting, I especially note the part about poaching, which will help me to build a more consistent world and add some dilemma possibilities in my story telling. $\endgroup$ – Zaa Oct 18 '18 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Zaa, no need to apologise, I'm glad the poaching bit is helpful, its something that was often overlooked, i can't say for certain that all countries were like this but i'm pretty sure most of England was. $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Oct 18 '18 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Blade Wraith in medieval times, knights (or, more precisely, nobles who were also knights) do not walked around armed and armored. A knife was a regular accessory, but anything above that was uncommon for a noble without a mount. Our lady knight may have a habit of strapping on a longsword, but any armor would be out of question for a foot traveler. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 18 '18 at 16:35

Since marriage and children has already been mentioned, we come to option b for the medieval independent woman.

Become a nun

This is one of the few directly socially acceptable getout clauses for society of the time. If you don't want to do your duty as a knight, and you don't want to do your duty as a woman (marriage and children), then signing up for holy orders is considered entirely valid and doesn't bring any shame on the family.

You can take your time on the open road by taking appropriate pilgrimages as and when you like, without having to spend your entire life out under the stars.

So in the words of Hamlet to Ophelia:

Get thee to a nunnery


I feel like I may not be understanding the spirit of the question but...

Go find a man. Get married, get pregnant, crank out kids. No one is going to expect you to fight while you are with child or a few months after. Three kids down and your days of knighthood will be long forgotten.

Now i have a feeling you want to stay outdoorsy. Having a family may make this a bit difficult, but as a noble you will pretty much only have to be out of communion 3 months per child. The maids will take care of everything including breastfeeding.

At the end of the day people will say your husband tamed you. You will have to live with that.


Most of the answers seem to focus on the gender issue – if you don't want to be a female knight, do what females typically did then.

What about social level issue?

Cease to be a knight

I mean, yes, get out from the mail, hide your sword in a backpack, and possibly, get rid of your battle horse. Disguise it (hard and error-prone), discard it (teh feels!), or properly hide it at a safe house / with trusted person.

Now, you are a somewhat gentry-level female on a road. If people try to attack or do something bad to you, you'd hopefully still have your sword. Your pocket money is probably enough for few months (if not years) for the life of a lower folk.

Wander to a nearby tavern. Get hired for passing dishes around or tending horses. Learn, gather experience, adapt. Move on. Possibly: change disguises. Do you notice, how the world opens up in front of you? You can be anything you want to be. (Cues out to Freddy Mercury.)


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