Blade Maidens: The Hunt – 21

It’s suffocating.

I’ve tried to work with Mother. Tried to accommodate. I’ve sat through the fitting sessions. Countless high teas. Smiled for every single suitor she brought before me. I hoped it would be enough. But it NEVER is.

I went to meet Kaywen in our usual spot. No one used the larder in the middle of the night. Not for years. Our training sessions helped make the rest of it tolerable. I could have a few hours to myself, to what I WANT a few nights a week and I thought that would be enough. Enough to get by.

Mother was there.

Told me that I was lucky she found out. Put an end to it before word got out. That it would have been embarrassing for me.

EMBARRASSING. As if she has ANY idea.

Kaywen wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Just stared at the ground. I don’t even want to think about what Mother said to her. That woman has been there for me as much as anyone in the castle. Never questioning. She took me at my word and now it’s cost her. If she’s punished…goddess, I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t know how much longer I can handle this. I’ve tried. So hard. But it never stops. I thought when I told them I would feel better. Happier. But all I’ve done is exchanged one prison cell for another.

I’m going to go riding tomorrow. I don’t care what Mother thinks. She can yell till she’s lost her voice. I need to get out of this castle. These walls. I need to just be me. If only for an afternoon.”

– Rowan’s Journal, entry dated 13 Rimehold, 876