In my dreams I am always a boy with hands as soft as fruit. I dream I am a Prince with a mother and a father who embarrass him with their hugs and kisses. The dreams are like a memory, they come in shards and pieces.The boy learns to hold a bow, the boy runs through a  strange village, the boy is held by his mother, her fire red hair surrounding him. He is weak, milk fat and pampered. As a child, I learned to hate him and the sick-sweet nature of these dreams.

Though recently, it has become unfair to call this Prince a boy any longer, for as I have grown, so has he shadowed me. I do not know his face, but I can see his hands as he grips his sword, and they are large and tanned now, little white scars on his arms, bruises on his knuckles. Like me, he has been fighting, I recognize those scars. This pleases me. I no longer wish for another life in my dreams, now, I dream of a warrior.

But tonight, I did not dream of this man. Instead I dreamed I was trapped in a Castle of wet grey stone, white feathers growing from my breast and neck. I pluck them out, above my heart, and the stumps of the feathers are bloody, bits of flesh hanging off them, the warm red blood running down my stomach and over my thighs. I throw the feathers into a stone basin, the water turning pink, and looking down, over that pool, I see, for a moment, my own face.

When I wake up, my thighs are caked with blood. I am a woman.

                                                                              PART THREE