Freedom

Cordelia remembered a time when she'd been free. When power coursed through her veins like electricity. She also remembered how that power had been hampered, stoppered, bound.

First had been her hair, braided tightly and coiled on her head, like a crown they said. Like a weight, she thought.

Then the clothing, as a child she wore light clothing that let her run and jump and play, but as she got older more articles of clothing kept being added, to cover her up, to give her the right shape, the right bearing. Like a princess, they said. Like a prisoner, she thought.

And the shoes, tight, unyielding, soles separating her from the earth, hobbling her with blisters and aches. So delicate, like a ballerina, they said. Have you ever seen a ballerina's feet? she thought.

Then the ring. Gold, with a diamond torn from the earth in a spray of chldrens' blood and shipped overseas to weigh her hand until she felt it might drag on the floor. He loves you, you'll be like a Queen, they said. Like a cow, she thought. Branded as property of some man.

Less than a month before the wedding, She came. No one saw Her, save Cordelia. Hair unbound, clothes light, not hampering her ability to stride, to jump and to climb. She appeared at the edge of the woods, and beckoned. Cordelia, in her night clothes, looked at the mountain of clothes she had to wear for one simple outifit, the shoes, the ring, the pins that held her hair in a crown that made her head ache with the weight of it.

Cordelia looked back out the window. She waited for Cordelia, gesturing again.

Cordelia picked up her shears and cut off her braids. She pulled the ring from her hand and left it on the bed with her braids, before clambering out the window in her nightgown and running as fast as she could to Her.

"Come, before they wake. I've got breeches for you, and a horse." She gripped Cordielia's hand, and they vanished into the woods.

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