_mg_8001The sky is awash with birds in flight, no colours can be made out against the harsh sunlight but the shapes and patterns are magnificent. I stretch my hand up, it feels as if I should be able to touch them, I know I cannot possibly hope to reach them. They are no more touchable than the clouds which look ripe for plucking out of that lush blue.

Alone with only the birds overhead for company I am left prey to my own thoughts, and thoughts can be savage beasts. Much as I try I cannot avoid those ponderous beasts that plague me, no matter how I daydream and speculate the same matter keeps pressing forth and hounding me. The problem with the predator in one’s mind is that it is unavoidable; no matter what you try it cannot be escaped.

Five days now, five days that I have spent lying in this field, five evenings that found me trudging home. It has been torturous; no matter how little time I spend there it always feeds the beast, creating tumultuous nerves and stress within me. And yet I have not yet found a solution, never mind how long I spend in the field wracking my brain for a way out, I can barely breath some days as I am overcome with fear of the unknown.


There is no more time for deliberation, I am out of time to try and avoid this matter. All those days spent in the field and I have nothing to show for it, no solutions and no escape. So it has come to this, I can feel the nerves twisting in my gut like a knife.

I wish I could blame someone, but there is only myself to blame. If only this day could be like any other, if I just close my eyes I can almost see the sky filled up with birds and pretend that I’m back in the field with only my own thoughts. Tears prick my eyes as I step forward, here goes nothing.


One’s rank cannot be changed, not by inheritance or marriage or any number of things. It is permanent, your assignment is forever. That doesn’t mean you can’t do whatever you like to improve your life, but it means you’ll always be marked and looked at a certain way.

The rank system is more like a skill assessment, a career advisement that is brandished into you for eternity.

No matter if you pay heed to the results of your examinations or not, but either way it will be marked into you. The brand is scorched into one’s skin and sinks so deep it marks the bone- even in death you shall be marked by your rank. It is this that I wish to escape, but it is impossible- the only way out is to leave the land and to leave is an option I cannot take.

Solemnly I must accept my fate.

The blessed iron burns unforgiving into my bare skin. I cannot contain my moans of agony as my flesh contorts and sears under the brand, as I feel it becoming etched into my bone.



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