The other children laugh at him, at the way he twirls and moves, at his smile and fleet-footedness. "You look like a girl," they mock, and laugh harder when he cries.

He's older now—forgotten how to cry (he hopes, dreams)—and he looks idly at the squire uniform they've given him. That speed, that flight, he'll bring with him to training, to weapons. The sword lies on his bed, glinting, and he swallows. His hands are soft—un-callused—and he will have to be strong if he continues on this path.

His hands shake; the streamers in them are muddy and torn. With a frustrated growl, his eldest brother tears them from his hands again. "You are a noble, boy," he says, emphasis on the last word, "It's time you acted like it."

Carefully, he puts the headband into his long hair, and pulls it from his face. He glances again at the sword, and gives a brittle smile. Oh, he knows how to use it—has had it beaten into him. But he yearns for the feel of silk against his fingertips.

"A Dancer?" his mother laughed. "Boy, bring your head from the clouds. Go play."

But he'll show them. They'll see.