|The Princess in the Tower
Author: Moontyger PM
Some introspection on Princess Leanne's life. Mild spoilers for both Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Words: 654 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Published: 12-15-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3946783
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Once upon a time, there was a princess, who (sometimes) lived in a tower. You probably think you've heard this story before. But this one is a bit different. This princess, you see, had wings, and if she sometimes felt imprisoned, it wasn't by the tower itself. The tower was merely a building and she could fly out of it whenever she wanted.
No, her prison was of a more subtle nature. For Princess Leanne of the Heron laguz, it would be more accurate to say that the current state of the world was her jailer.
In a more immediate sense, of course, it was those who cared for her who did not let her leave, and certainly not alone. Neither Tibarn nor Naesala would hear of it, much less Nealuchi or her brothers. If she craved solitude, it must be found indoors, where she could be safe.
The problem was that they were right. Whenever Leanne left the safety of tower or castle, she was in danger, likely to be taken captive and kept in a far more brutal prison, where she might never see the sky or fly in any semblance of freedom again. Those who insisted she needed an escort and better not to leave at all truly did have only her welfare in mind and she felt ungrateful when she resented it. It was not their fault that so many beorc regarded a heron princess as a valuable trophy; they were merely being realistic.
But, deep in her heart, there were times when she resented it all the same. Princess Leanne (and how bitter that title was! Princess of nothing, for the Heron tribe was gone, only the royal family remaining. A title that reflected what had been lost, not what was) sometimes thought it would have been better had she remained asleep all her days. Yes, she was grateful for those of her family that remained, for her friends. But she watched the others, all but the herons, come and go, alone or not, and her heart burned with envy.
Because she was a Heron, there was more to her bondage than even this. Leanne felt the emotions of those around her, suffered their fear and grief as the war with Begnion dragged on, their loss and rage when the Hawks were slaughtered. It pulled at her, compelled her to try to help, but what could she do? Little, in the end, beyond suffering alongside them. She moved through each day in constant pain, weighed down by the emotions of others along with her own. In times such as these, the burden was so heavy that she wondered how she could bear it. No wonder the Herons of old sought solitude in their forest!
As the world was gradually consumed by war, a new one replacing the old whenever one ended, Princess Leanne thought it was not insignificant that this time of warfare and tragedy was preceded by the destruction of the Heron tribe, keepers of peace and guardians of order. Yes, a few remained, but unless something changed, they would be dead within one generation, and they alone might be too few to stop the world's headlong slide into chaos.
She suspected the world was ending. Leanne said nothing; better to let those who did not know enjoy their ignorance while they could. Yet while she could keep silent, she could no longer stand to be passive, merely an ornament, a helpless witness to the conflagration as the world burned. Princess Leanne knew her actions probably only hastened the end, but she no longer believed in happily ever after.
So she joined her brother Reyson in his abandonment of the old ways, ways that had left them easy prey. Princess Leanne spoke, words in a language she still barely knew, words that might change the world, if not necessarily for the better. "I... will fight."