Doesn't feel the same any more. Not since him anyway. That man in the shadows.

a bird trapped in a cage

Is that what I am really? Slowly I look up at the mirror and for the first real time I see myself. I'm still the same person I always was. I just understand what that means now. I'm a nobleman, too weak to be of any real use to my country and so instead I'm made into the image of perfection. Trained to walk, talk and think in the way which is best for my country.

such a fragile little bird

Pale skin, almost like I've never been out. Not a blemish. Green eyes, which can see everything which goes on around me, without seeing it. Slaves being beaten. Children crying. I see it, but I don't care about it. Not my place to. Long black hair, almost like a woman's, only goes to show to the court I'm a doll.

just how much pressure would it take to break you?

What's the point in breaking what's already broken? They think I can't hear as they talk about what do to with me. The prince and the others. they joke that the prince should take me as a companion, I look more like a woman then some of the ladies of the court. Father would allow it aswell. Shame to the family maybe, but what else is there for a man who can't fight? I don't fear it.

poor little bird

I turn to the door and walk out into corridor. My guards jump up surprised at my action. True enough, its unusual for me to leave my room cage without warning, or some form of event to go to.

"Master, your father as forbidden us to let you wander around today"

I wince. I know why. They may hide it from the population and from most of the key members of the court but I know. There is a storm coming, brewing out around the other countries. The king is ill, and our Prince is the heir. His brothers will try for the throne, heartless bastards the lot of them.

Despite my own... relationship with the prince, I know he is a good man. He's strong and intelligent. Everything a prince should be. If his brothers got the throne, the country would fall apart.

"I will not be confined to my room any longer" I say calmly, "tell my father I'm going to the library, they have a new shipments of books". Ignoring the pained looks on there faces, I turn and walk in the direction of the stables. They will not stop me, they dare not. Whatever I have said about how I see myself and others see me, may have mislead you. I may not be fit for battle or the arena but I'm no weakling. Thy have made that mistake once, only to find themselves in the infirm two days later. Even birds can bite.

the wind blows, leaves from the trees rustling. Its autumn at the moment, the warmth of summer is waning, and the coolest of winter is creeping in fast. I shiver as I remember that man's final words before he disappeared.

I'll make you mine little bird

You can try.