Every day, the same…Papa and I got up early this morning and broke fast with Mama’s brown bread and the last of the butter before getting to the Snownook stables just as the sun was rising. Though he used to have good and bad days, the good now seems to be a thing of the past, and he grumbles the whole way there about having had to reorganize the shovels and tack after I put them I away yesterday. August trails close behind Emma, and I discreetly nod towards Papa and roll my eyes at him. I know most would think I’d lost my mind, but I swear I see an knowing twinkle in my pup’s eyes. Most days I feel he’s the only one who understands me.
Once at the stables, the other hands trickle in, and I tune into their gossip about Feliston’s witch, Bethlazar, and rumors about her cursing Slim after he trampled all over her garden. I also hear whispers of Lord Theodore’s latest adventures to the Paps, and get lost in daydreaming about exploring beyond our homestead. The morning’s chores fly by while visions of faraway lands, swashbuckling pirates, and heroic knights swim in my head, until Papa’s shouting brings me back to Castle Snownook. He tosses a bale of feed across a stall and yells about his useless staff, sending the other hands scattering. August nips at my ankle and tugs my boot towards the door, knowing if we don’t follow suit, a shovel could be coming towards us as well. We quietly sneak out towards the paddocks and find a quiet, hidden spot for lunch.
After sharing an apple and some salt cod with August under a tree, I close my eyes and warg into him for a moment of escape. I bound through the woods and into town, inhaling the sweet scent of the forest floor, being drawn towards a rich savory smell. My paws pat quietly towards Pavel’s soup shop, a sight I recognize from many trips before. A roast sits cooling in his window, and my ears perk up to make sure the cook isn’t nearby. I place my front paws on the wall and quickly snatch the meat, turning quickly on my tail to race back into the woods. It isn’t long before I hear Pavel’s angry shouts from far behind me, and I swell with satisfaction. When I arrive back at my still human body, I rejoin it and watch August happily tear into his prize.
We finally drag ourselves back to the stables, and Papa’s mood has clearly not improved.“You lazy good for nothing,” he spits at me, “where have you been?!” I clench my fists and try to ignore him, but he follows me to where I’m working and continues to ramble incoherently about how all I do is add work to his days, and how he should’ve never let me join him. I know arguing will do no good, but I can’t help myself-we scream and yell at each other until I hop back onto Emma and take the long way home, slamming the door of the cabin behind me and ignoring Mama’s concerned line of questioning.
Good for nothing?! Lazy?! I’ll show him…someday I’ll leave these rotten parts and he can go back to doing his work with those silly boys who can’t tell a rounsey from a destrier. Then he’ll see how useless I was! I just know that adventure is out there waiting for me, and that someone will appreciate what August and I can offer.