In my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, the female protagonist, Mayra, is a vegetarian. So is another of the male witch-warriors in her little group of adventurers.
In “Dragon Rings” Mayra, the Fortress chef serves her a delicious stew—I’ll let her describe it:
Mayra sank into her bed, pleasantly full of savory stew. She had enjoyed the thick creation, made from various vegetables and grain that a resourceful cook had used to create a thin dough. He had then shaped the dough into wide noodles—Mayra had smiled at the funny word. The kitchen retainer explained how he had cut the dough into long, threadlike pieces—the noodles—boiled them with the stew, and allowed them to soak up the spicy flavors. It was delicious. She would have to track down the means to prepare such food for herself. With thickly-buttered fresh bread and crisp, sweet fruit, her solitary meal had been a feast.from “Dragon Rings
While the gang is traveling, her food choices are taken in stride. She simply ensures she has something nutritional to eat while the others are chowing down on a side of some sort of ungulate. Also, that she doesn’t have to watch.
In “Dragon’s Revenge,” Mayra and the other vegetarian eat fish for the first time. Again, from her perspective:
Mayra leaned back against Wolfe, savoring the warmth of the fire as it grew, fed with small pieces of wood, and enjoying feeling full. The fish—well, they were fish. Unintelligent, neither magnificent nor spirited, not the typical food of one who had always been a strict herbivore—but Wolfe had at last gotten her to try the cold, scaly things, convincing her that their nutritive value was essential to her well-being. Two of the witches had cooked the repulsive things within leaves that had made them tender and sweet, and almost palatable.from “Dragon’s Revenge”
At last, we know Mayra’s reason for not eating meat—she sees animals as intelligent, spirited beings not deserving to be eaten. She does have trouble explaining that to dragons, but these great beasts are altruistic. Gaulte, their leader, has bonded with Mayra, and they will not be eating in front of the humans. That might say a lot about dragon table manners.
It would have been simpler never to have made Mayra a vegetarian, but it was such an essential part of her personality. In a world of warriors, being unwilling to eat meat is a shortcoming that might even be perceived as a weakness, which must be defended. But I don’t ever have either of these two having to defend their choice, at least not within their circle of friends. It’s a testament as to how they feel about each other, and ultimately, how the dragons feel about the witches.