NanoWriMo 2013: 05

“Ye can’t change my mind,” said Eloise, stuffing what clothes, food and water she could into a small rucksack. “I know what I’m doin’, and it’s the right thign to do!”

“Yer causing a ruckus is what yer doin, sweetie!” said Mother, her tears mixing with the dirt and soot on her face. “Think about the rest of us!”

“I’m DOIN’ IT for the Rest of Us!” Eloise snarled back. “Ye think we can keep goin’ on like this, barely livin’ while someone else profits off Father’s labor?! YOUR labor?!”

“I notice ye don’t metion MINE in there,” said Eloise’s snotty younger brother, Forrest. “Just because I work in the Royal Stables doesn’t mean…”

“Quit makin’ this about YOU, Forrest!” said Eloise. “It doesn’t matter WHERE you work. I know YER bein’ exploited too. Just like everyone else under this… this…”

Eloise struggled to find the words, in such a way that wouldn’t offend.

“But what about Prince Cedrik! You KNOW you’ve caught his eye, an’ marryin’ into the Family…”

“Well,” said Eloise, “If he loves me, as he claims he does, then he would accept my reasons.”

Forrest rolled his eyes, dismissively. For which he got a slap up the back of his head.

“OW! What was THAT for!” said Forrest, to his Father, a burly, bearded man.

“I don’t agree with it neither,” said Father. “I don’t like the idea of our Eloise bein’ out there, unprotected, knowin’ there’s Halbs and Orks an’ all that kind of riff-raff hangin’ around, waitin’ for some fair girlie just to get in her keks!”

Eloise winced mentally at that, not showing it on her face.

“But,” continued Father, “Boy! When was the last time YOU showed a belief in somethin’, anythin’?! Just always doin’ what you’re told, never questionin’ anythin’. That’s what bein’ a man is all about, see! She believes in somethin’! She thinks she’s doin’ right!

“That’s good enough for me,” Father ended, somberly. Eloise smiled, slightly.

“It’s true,” she said. “Farewell, my family. I hope to return soon, with a better way in hand.”

She turned, and marched herself out of the door of the family hut, into the town. There, the crowds were already gathered. There, were The People. Men, women, children. Man, Halb, Ork, even a few Eltish that she could see. Many came as they were. Still others, dressed in mask and makeshift costume, in the visage of a man who tried, decades before, to destroy the palace. She was sure the legends about the man, from any side of the telling, were shrouded in myth, tales and propaganda. But it didn’t matter. She was glad for him.

Indeed, she took a mask offered her. She put it on, more for safety, than any sort of empowerment. The People were empowerment enough. She knew, in her hearts, that even if this failed, they succeeded.

The occupation of the castle had begun.

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