The Baron’s Daughter

IMG_0338Mother left us that windy night midst winter’s darkest hour. I never forgave her, casting that thin white body from the keep’s tower, allowing it break like brittle clay on the rocks below — a gift to the Sea God. She gave up, did mother. Deserted me. Left me with them. Father, fallen to drink and murderous brooding. My brothers three, to fighting, wenching and dealing such  harm as only they could to the small folk in the village.

People envy me, this I know. They watch me with silent stares.Talk about the Baron’s Daughter behind her back. What do they know? Fools! ‘Lissane Barola, Baron’s only legitimate girl, she of the dark locks and pale patrician features. She of that cold distant gaze. Proud and aloof.’ That’s what they say. ‘So unlike her mother! Leanna Barola was kind and warm and loved, just as the sea surrounding our castle is cherished by all in late summer. But Lissane comes from colder stock.’ What do they know…

I found a lover. At first it was a whim, a game, a fancy to ease my mercurial moods. Erun Cade – they call him a fool. Certainly he’s a dreamer, but he has depth and a sight more to him than folk around here ken.He writes me poetry – says it’s crap but I enjoy it. We meet in the village after dark. We are careful. Erun’s naive – I’ve told him what Father and the brothers will do should word reach them. He says he doesnt care, but I’ve seen Paolo work the hot knife on his victims. Rosco and Aldo are just as bad, and Father…

We plan to flee. Erun has a skiff buried in reeds outside the village. We’ll leave tomorrow, maybe the next day… We’ll make for Torvosa, the rulers are honourable there and will deal kindly with Erun and myself. Who am I kidding?. This is Gol, a continent threatened by fire and water, a country without a king, where six brutal barons plot civil war whilst wielding crafty smiles. Father is the worst of them. He has plans for me. Wedding plans. Rosco has plans for me too, darker schemes that make my flesh crawl. I must away!

But it’s too late for Lissane and Erun, dreamer and fool.Father is on to me, Bel my maid whispers in my ear. I care not — life is a dream inside a dream. A hawks flight passing candles at night.I gaze out from my window at sea and empty sky beyond. Mother took the easy way out. Lissane will endure. As I stare I see Him far out on distant water. The Sea God — His heavy gaze traps me and holds me hooked. An age passes between us. Then He shoulder’s His net and turns away. But our time will come. He is patient. And now I hear footsteps and and heavy voices at the door. Guards — they’ve come to escort me to the feast.

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