Freedom Comes With A Price

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The snowy owl beat her wings until she reached the stone walls of the keep which she called her home for so long. She knew it was also her prison. She was meant to be an experiment to see if her people were kept within stone for a long enough time if they would lose their “special ability.” The people of the north hated their reputation of the ones who were different. It made the people of the south think of them as barbarians and not as equals to trade and make alliances with.

Her silk slippers gently tapped the ground as she walked to the front door to open them only enough to slip her slender now human form inside.

“Where were you?” said a booming voice in which she closed her eyes and slumped her shoulders in response.

“Walking through the woods, Lord Benson.” Eyes raising to meet the dark brown eyes that glared at her. Immediately both their postures became erect and proud, preparing for the argument about to happen.

“I heard that was not all you did, and now I see you have done more than just walk through a fucking woods.”

“Do you not dare to use that kind of language with me Donald! I am still higher ranking than you no matter what you try to make me believe.”

“Your parents stripped you of your titles when you were sent to me.”

“Is that why I was sent to a Lord’s keep to stay instead of a silo?”

“The villagers want you gone and I can refuse them no longer. Your bag has been packed and you must leave before mid-day.”

“Do not be so sad Donald. I would have never let you touch me anyways to become your wife. Die alone and I shall come back and claim your forsaken land when no one else will claim it. Watch from the clouds and see.”

“You dare to curse me in my own house?” The lord’s face grew as red as a tomato as his voice escalated.

“Never a curse. I am sick of everyone thinking I am some freak! Just because I can do things that you cannot does not mean that I am any less human. I shall leave right away. Where are my bags? Are you allowing me to take a horse or should I just walk myself to the edge of the earth?

“Apparently you think my skill is greater than it is. It is very difficult for a bird to carry such a large bag during flight.”

“Do not smart mouth at me girl! I am still the lord of this keep and you will respect me.”

“Like all the times you tried forcing yourself upon me? I think this is just a way, an excuse, to be rid of your embarrassment, the one thing you can never have.”

“You stupid girl!” He approached her quickly, nearly a toes breath away from her. His chest puffed out and his face looked a boil. “You have no right to speak to me thus. You are an ignorant child. I could have given you so much, wealth, children, safety. You were not just sent to me as an experiment freak. I could have offered you all could have wanted.”

“What I want is to have some god damn freedom. As you said my titles are stripped so it is not if I need to follow those stipulations. I do not want to just have a son for some prince. I want to leave these damn walls and have some freedom. I want to actually experience life and learn from the wild. What is so wrong with that?”

“What is so wrong is you are still someone of noble blood and you have a duty to your family.” his posture still staying erect he backed away from her and sat down in one of the massive chairs lining the entrance hall. Before today she never realized the attempts the lord had made to actually make his keep less cold feeling and make it more of a grand museum of art. The walls were softened by the bolts of colorful fabric. The main hall was lined with blue tapestry in flowing waves every ten meters or so apart from each other. In between each wave of fabric was a piece of art, dancing women, masquerades with a massive chair like the one he was sitting in now below each one. Above his head was a beautiful women with the mask of an owl and wings lining her back.

How blind she was to realize that throughout his faults he was actually quite lienant of her “condition.” The artwork, she did not realize were all women in animal costumes. The beautiful detailed paintings were lit up with candle light. She wondered if he did that on purpose.

“My family abandoned me and declared me not of their blood. I have no family.” Her voice turned weak, barely more than a whisper.

“Well that does not matter anymore. You have to go now.” Donald’s hands motioned in a tired fashion and a servant came forward and handed her a bag of her belongings. “I have given you a thirty gold pieces. That should be enough for a time before you either smarten up and get married or find some way to support yourself.”

“Thank you for your generosity. Am I allowed to go to the kitchen first and pack some food.” Her will was destroyed. She fought all these years for her freedom why fight it now when given to her? “At least the bread I bought yesterday in the market and some dried meat and cheese?”

Lord Benson waved his hand and nodded. “Give her enough food to last her a month. Pack her saddle bags also with a weapon and horse feed. Her horse has gotten spoiled.” A servant nodded and went into the kitchen along the left wall. HE looked towards Iuyania and replied “Go to the kitchen and get some hot breakfast before you leave.”

“Thank you Lord Benson.” and without another word she parted from the great hall following the servant to the kitchen.

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