the tasks grew harder.
with each turn the odious toad devised new challenges, new ways to make me break my silence.
but i stood firm.
nodding and smiling.
pleasing and thanking.
the very picture of obeisance as she asked me to plunge my hand into the stinking mire of eldua to fetch her the golden sceptre, as she bad me deny the ochre queen of the hinterlands her nightly shot of noctilucent in order to steal her shining wreath, as she commanded me to empty the infinitish well of childrens’ tears, drop by aching drop, os that she might fill it with her liquid platonium coin.
never once, through word or deed, did i display my displeasure.
and each night, after ascending the creaking stairway to my miserable cot which seemed so radiant in the light of its respiteful lonesomeness, i silently screamed