“I am the weight of a feather, yet you cannot hold me for 10 minutes.”

I made a mockery of thought. The action was partially dictated by my persona for the evening, a man known for his boasting and brashness, but I could see it in myself more than others could. I was enjoying this too much. The little bit of cruelty appealed to my Fairest nature, the extended waiting drove home the point that none were as clever as I, none were as smart, and winning the competition would demonstrate that none were as brave, either.

Brian laughed deep inside of me, that deep-chested laugh that makes me cringe waiting for the inevitable gun shot. I thought to the box sitting in my closet with his “bones” in it, a fortune in jewels and gold mixed with palm fronds and sea shells, and knew once again that he still lived in me, that whatever I thought of “souls,” there was that part of me, and it wanted nothing more than what others may have, regardless of what it was.

“My breath,” I said with confidence, and saw it fade into the mist. I had won. Nobody was better than I. Now I could be the only one who completed two of the Queen’s Challenges. Nobody was braver than I, either. They couldn’t be. I…Brian wouldn’t allow it.

For once I could frown. My mouth very suddenly learned to make those motions again. Yet, still I was not allowed to, had to put on a front for the sake of the clever, boastful, and gregarious Jack the Giant Killer to stay in character. The Wyrd’s cruelty is subtle and profound, and I wish I could say that I entirely rejected it. What a miserable evening.