Freawine sat looking at the mounds of straw all around him in the tiny room. Panic rose to his throat like a choking hand. What to do? Only two options came to mind—he could continue to curse his braggart father as he had done for the last quarter of an hour or so, or he could begin to think what his new life might be like without his head.
Rather short, he imagined.
Freawine found it a challenge to think clearly when his life was about to come to an abrupt end. The cold gray stones around him stood impassively silent, like the guards who lounged outside the door. No one was going to rescue him. Still, he found it pleasant to picture a handsome knight charging up the road to the castle, his valiant steed’s hooves clattering across the cobblestones of the courtyard, then rushing up the stairs to this little room at the top of the tower and sweeping Freawine away to safety. Followed by a very hot and sweaty session of delightful indulgence, of course.
He twisted one of his long locks and sighed again. If he were a real girl this would never have happened. His life had been nothing but secrets and lies—now the price had come due.
If only his father had not made that stupid boast in the tavern yard! If only the prince had not been passing by with his entourage of noble ladies and gentlemen, falcons on their wrists and laughter on their lips. If only the prince had not taken it into his head to make a grand offer--and an ominous threat.
If wishes were horses, his mother would have said, then we would all ride with the nobles to the fair.
At the moment, Freawine preferred to imagine that wishes might be doves that could carry him far from this tower room and his troubles.