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Conviction is always more demanding than ignorance.  It requires focus and self-discipline.  At times it means being bigger than you alone can be.  The latter is a specialty of social creatures like us.

My family failed to pay the tax.  My home was ripped away from me and my hands chained.  Invisible chains hidden beneath my skin.  I was sworn to secrecy, and my tongue was sealed.

Secrets are a slow killer.  When I couldn’t defeat them by example, nor by force of will, I steeled myself to wait out the storm..

I had no means to earn my freedom.  I walked the path of snakes every day, and I fooled myself into believing that there would come a dawn unlike any other.

But I was already beaten, and a new warden would always take the place of the last.

My burden was heavy.  Heavier than they were able to hold.  I served many masters, but none of them would overturn the damage that was done to me.

My chains hid my strength from the masters.  My oath hid my faults from the inspectors.  My damaged spirit failed to appeal to the guards.

I was trapped in a desperate cycle for so long I believed myself unaffected.  That is…

…Until there was a milestone I was deemed unfit for.  I was retired from the field and put into reserve.  I remained caged for three years without a master.  Eventually the wardens gave up on me, and my spirit dropped away from prying eyes.

I urged the guards to pocket the money for my chains, and bought myself a week to prove my loyalty.

It was not as dramatic a change as they expected, and by all means the extra funds were put to better use.

In the words of my wardens “You are a particularly expensive child.”

I managed to sneak a few things into my cage over the years.  I could hold out indefinitely at this point, however it was wholly unnecessary.  My strength began to grow the very same day.  By the second night, the bars were loosened enough for me to squeeze through.

I wouldn’t fight for my freedom.  I would simply disappear and recover at my own discretion.

I knew the trappings of these facilities all too well now.  They wouldn’t be able to hold me back long enough to retake control of my life.  I was weak, but I knew how guards were trained and the codes they followed.

They had no reason to hold someone like me, and I could disarm the trappings that contested that.

I don’t need to be stronger than someone else to defeat them.  I can be as scrappy as I need to be without raising a finger against them.  I am one with my own environment, and all that it contains is a reflection of the beholder.

Between myself and the part they see of me, is all that defines the reality.

On the third day, the cage was empty.  ‘The one who waits for the end of time’ had moved on from this life.