Damn this curse.

It had had its use, early on. Get everything done, chase what she wants with a singleminded determination that was quite unlike her– well, unlike the League citizen she tried to be, when everyone else was watching with their expectations apparent on their faces. But underneath that false persona, well, she wanted to be happy, wanted to deserve to be happy, and she chased that goal…

But now, having caught her prize, set in motion all the plans to make it so, she felt… Words words words. Words suck. There are no words. How can I explain it and who can I explain it to?

The season had withered her; the curse had exhausted her, burned away all her emotions in an inferno, flash fired, and left her with indecision, left her feeling a husk of herself. A parody of myself, of the bark on my skin and in my blood. Silly little Tori, lost to the madness, just another briar dying off in autumn.

Briefly it flared, the emotions and rage hidden under the skin, and she threw herself into her bedding, screaming into the mattress, her fingers ripping the silk sheets that stifled, confined her in this world where she didn’t belong, didn’t– and then the exhaustion set in, all energy spent like a toddler awake too long then asleep the next moment.

Are these thoughts and feelings mine? She couldn’t tell anymore, whether they were due to the curse, to lineage, to the manipulation a of those around her. Her fingers stroked her patches of bark where they deepened to brown from their new-growth green colouration. Who can I talk to about this? Who would understand?

She couldn’t talk to Frederick. This was still new to him, still temporary for him. She felt the same with Tess, though she tried to frame her mind to ask. But all the briars she could think of… Its all new growth.

She missed Robbie, missed the Thorns, Iulian, anyone who was a more august presence. She wanted old bark, old friends, trusted friends who weren’t hiding behind masks or afraid of themselves.

Ros. Ros! She’s like them. Evergreen, all winter. She doesn’t lose her leaves in the fall.

She climbed from the bed, made her way to her writing desk and grabbed a mostly-uncrumpled, unspoiled piece of paper.

Ros. King’s Stoke.
I need some evergreen advice.