She watched the glow of the sun, easing above the window box of herbs as she stared out into the fields. She felt the warmth of the sun through the glass, but beneath that warmth, slow and flat like a razor, was violence. Heat, fear, rage pressing down and spreading out close to the ground.

"Something at the creek," she thought to herself, but the fight was far away and she had breakfast to finish cooking. Soon enough, the house would have a violence of its own, softer, more subtle and manageable. Children racing for lost socks. Teenagers practicing sword play. Lessons in firestarting and shielding for the older ones.

Each morning she made them all breakfast and each morning as she slowly woke, she wondered, mostly to herself but increasingly out loud, how this all had come to be this way, this house, this school, this family. She wondered how it could have all changed so much, from her high place in the realm overlooking the future of the kingdom, to now, a high place on this hillside, away from everything else, overlooking some goats and a creek.

"The creek," she thought. Something familiar about the violence, the fury. She woke up completely then and began to consider her counters and defenses for that type of fury. She flipped around a knife she had been using to slice the fruit, placing the butt of the handle against the inside of her thumb. But the creek was just as far away as it was five minutes ago and whatever had seemed familiar in the fury was fading away, back to where it had come from.

The boards above began to creak. The girls were coming downstairs. They always were the first to wake. She set the knife aside, bent down to the oven and pulled out the tray of muffins.

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