Hazel: Making New Homes Out Of Old Castles

It was the peak of a great war, the first, really, of the century. Tears lingered on the streets of the busy city like rain. Hospitals were drowning with the fallen men and women, citizens riddled with the wave of panic and hysteria.

Lady Hazel watched from her high bedroom tower. She was safe there; untouched by the reality of the lost souls around her, and invincible to the cold claws of death. Her red lips drew near to the golden mug of coffee brought to her. In the distance, fathers were defeated, and children were left stranded. Mothers fell to their knees in agony. Lady Hazel snuggled deeper into her bed of fur and sighed with contentment.

One of her housekeepers hovered outside her door. Her hulking guard summoned him into her chambers. His holey socked feet approached the Lady cautiously. He was a loyal elderly man, his worn-in clothes draped over his bony frame. The man entwined his weathered fingers nervously.

He had served under her keep for many years, without ever a complaint or request, until then. Lady Hazel peered down at him, irritated that he had interrupted her reverie. “I would like to go home,” the man said. He regretted the words almost instantly. Lady Hazel frowned in disgust. “Why would you want to do that?” she asked, “You have a good life here. I feed you well and keep you safe from the war. I do not want you to come back hurt.” The man squirmed. He felt her eyes boring through his skin and into his soul. He longed for his wife’s hearty cooking and the warmth of his own bed, waking up in the mornings as the man of his house and the freedom to sleep in through the icy winter nights. The man said it again, more confidently this time, the daydream of his life awaiting him pushing him further, “I want to go home.”

Lady Hazel smirked. “This is your home,” she hissed.

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