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Her Forest, Her Birds, Her Horse by Rhiannon Boyd As she was running, the white handmade dress constricted her legs and kept her from running her fastest. She knew the open courtyard would soon end. As she heard the castle guards’ armor clank and clunk behind her, she had to improvise quickly. She didn’t care about the value of the dress and didn’t think twice about tearing it. She thought of yesterday morning, how her future aunt-in-law and Head Mistress criticized her during the final fitting. She absolutely resented the dress, while others would have given their houses for it. Doing her best to keep her pace, she took off her shoes. Before she knew it, the cliff and vast lake were at her feet. She threw her shoes over the edge. She threw the torn piece of her dress over the rocky ledge, too. As a young girl, she spent many days playing in the courtyard with Charlie. They discovered a hidden path among the rocks of the cliff. It was overgrown now, for it had been years since she ventured this far. She hung on desperately to the vines that concealed her at the edge of the cliff. She watched the guards peer over. She hoped they would assume she jumped to her death. She knew it was the only way to escape marrying King Charles, her once beloved childhood companion. Too smart to make any sudden moves, she waited after the sounds of clanking and clunking ended, fearing a guard lingered behind. While she waited, the silence brought back love-filled memories of her three children and her dear husband. She knew the Head Mistress had something to do with his mysterious murder and now she was convinced her children’s disappearance wasn’t a coincidence either. Once grown, King Charles publicly expressed his love for her, even though she thought of him as a brother. The numbness in her fingers brought her back to reality; she couldn’t spare any time mourning. Now barefooted, she followed the unfamiliar path into the dense forest. As the sun set, a bird’s song seemed to lead her to a lush bed of soft, mossy bushes. It was perfect to lie on. She was exhausted. As she rested, the bird’s song changed to a slower rhythm that lulled her to sleep. When she awoke, she heard the bird again. Now the song was upbeat and there was a harmonizing duet. She was so delighted she almost forgot about her desperate circumstances. The birds flew together, drawing her deeper into the congested green forest. She and Charlie made the edge of the forest their favorite place to play; it always seemed magical. It was peaceful and she found peace there. As they grew older, she spent more time in the forest by herself while Charlie prepared to take the throne. She did her best to get along with him, include him, be patient with him, and make him feel loved, but Charlie was a troubled child. He was a favorite of his aunt, the Queen’s sister who became Head Mistress when the King and Queen passed. As she soaked in the peace of the forest, she recalled how as a girl she had been a favorite of the King and Queen. In fact, they adopted her from the orphanage. Even though she had no direct bloodline to the throne, Charlie envied her. Later that envy turned to anger and seemed to drive him mad. Ironically, she became the most sought-out, eligible maiden in the kingdom, even without the possibility of becoming Queen. With her contagious smile, optimistic nature, and beauty, it was easy to see why. But her eyes fixed on the one who would become her husband early on. He was four years older than her. He came to the orphanage frequently to sell his family’s produce. She got lost in his light brown eyes that glistened like gold. As they grew older, he also became fond of her. The Queen also visited the orphanage, where she volunteered as a teacher. That’s how the king and queen came to know the girl and, when she was only seven years old, adopted her. Now she followed the birds, knowing the thick forest was familiar to them. She didn’t think about food or water until hunger and thirst began to weaken her. She felt very weak and needed rest. At that

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Feather Chronicles 2016  

Feather Chronicles is produced by College of Menominee Nation students and includes contributed work from students (current, former, and fut...