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The Simplest Things

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Ludmilla's brothers always teased her about her name.

“Lud—rhymes with mud. And crud. And cud.” Later on, they sneaked her into their judo classes, proud of her strength. When she won the all-Barrayar women's judo champion, she glowed with pride even as they stretched out the hated name. “First place---Ludddddmilllaaa Drousshhhnaakoviii!”

Then she became the Princess' bodyguard. When she finally met Princess Kareen, the Princess said, “I'm pleased to meet you, Miss Droushnakovi.” Lud curtseyed and said with sudden inspiration, “I am honored, your Highness. Please call me Drou.” The baby cooed “Dwoo,” and she'd never been happier.