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Cast Shadows - Part I, Chp. 1I had lived thirty-four years on the Belton estate, and I was still young. My people live long and grow up quickly, so we are ideal for a life of labor. By my fifteenth year, my neck was already worn by the collar. By twenty, I was a valuable part of the farm where I labored for the wealthy old man Giorn Belton. I had a mate, a roe younger than myself, though Master Belton had been more reluctant to grant us the privilege than was his custom. My father is dead in all my youngest memories, but I did not lose my mother until I was nearly an adult. My labor was hard, but I was fit and well cared for. Altogether, I felt I did not have such a bad lot, and so I worked and let myself be content, even after the death of my mother. Without her, the stories were silenced, and dreams of escape and triumph were left to smolder somewhere I did not look. I grew older under the leather and chain.
The Belton farm was large and wooded, and we did not live badly. Master Belton owned more than fifty pael
SolaceShe never slept well in the dark,
not without the children of the sun and moon
to guide her weary lids home.
Guided by the aftermath, she was always two steps behind.
What did the world look like to the girl who had been through it all?
Braved the heaviest of storms,
yet skipping over cracks in the pavement.
They said her eyes were the wisps of clouds before the storm.
To him they were reflections of pages overlooked.
She said it was like she lived the life of someone she had never met.
Laid out to dry, yesterdays news.
He knew her as the girl who was built to never collapse.
He wished he was too.
He loved her more than words could say, and yet her pain was such,
that at times, he feared she wouldn’t make it.
But on nights like these, even when it threatened to consume her,
he became convinced that somehow she would.
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