The Contract

    "I didn't make a contract with Milady. She got me from one of the other Gentry. I, I don't get to leave." James had brought it up many time before but Sophia had always been able to turn him from the subject. Now with the end of his contract so near, there was no turning him from the subject. His reaction surprised her. Sure he was angry, but he was also defiant, as though he could so something about it.
    And by god he did.
    That night before he told his story to Milady, James purchased Sophia from Milady at the cost of his own freedom. He had been so excited about his release that Sophia could barley believe that he had been willing to double his time with the Gentry just to take her with him. The story ended and like every night Milady was asleep as soon as it was over and Sophia knew that it would not be long before James joined Her.
    "How could you do that? You were so close to going home, and now you've agreed to let Her keep you here even longer." She wished she could see James but the darkness would only give her the vaguest gimps of his eyes. He just simply replied that it was the only thing he could do and was asleep as if nothing had happened.
    Sophia kept her hand firmly in James'. They had never stopped holding hands since she was brought here, but now, more then ever, his grip was the most important thing in their dark world. She had always belonged to one of Gentry or another. They passed her around like a lighter and she would brighten up their singers, dancers, poets, or what have you. Sophia had tried but didn't think she had done a good job of hiding her terror from James.
    She didn't sleep that night and could barley force herself to rest for many of the nights after. The days, if you could call any part of the never ending darkness "day" were much the same as before with her swapping stories with James which always seem to do that trick come evening.
    Sophia awoke some thousands of stories later with Milady staring down into her. "You are not resting. You can not inspire him if you are exhausted. You are mistaken if you think that just because of my contact with him that you do not have to do your job now. You are but one muse, if you are replaced, his agreement will go to that muse. You will be sold back." Her tone lacked any threatening quality. She simply said it all as if it was simple, boring fact and it terrified Sophia all the more.
    "No, no Milady, that is not it at all," Sophia was trying her best not to shout less she anger Milady or wake James early. "I'm scared. I've never left Arcadia. When we leave, how will I be able to stay with James? When he realizes that I'm, I'm just a kid, he won't want me around. I won't be any good to him."
    "You sound like you need my help, what do you offer me?"
    "I don't have anything to offer you. Its not like I have any skills that I'm not already using for you and we don't have a contract to extend."
    "You are not thinking hard enough. You always have something to offer if you think hard enough," and she simply stared at Sophia.
    "All I have is me. I have no special talents. People like to talk to me and they just do better. Its always been that way. I mean I can't offer to stay longer other wise the agreement you made with James doesn't work."
    "You could always return to me."
    "Come back here?"
    "You don't think he is worth it?"
    "No, of course it is, I mean, of course he is."
    "You will return to me when you no longer go with James.
Your contract is set,"  and with that she simply left.
    After that, Sophia no longer had any issues with sleeping. Over the next few thousand stories she could feel her self change. She could tell she was getting taller bit at a time and she could also feel other parts of her growing too. James never seemed to notice when he didn't have to stretch to hold her hand anymore or that the hand itself must have gotten bigger. Sophia counted it as a part of whatever Milady was doing and let it be.
    The day finally came. It was the only time that Milady woke them. She led them threw the darkness and eventually motioned
to Her right and stated "You are both free to go." James shared non of Sophia's apprehension and pulled her out of the darkness and into a forest. They where quickly found and welcomed into a nearby freehold. After some wondering James and her settled in Alexandria, LA.
    It was perfect for them. James was taken under the wing of the small freehold leader who let him make and run his movies in the theater. Sophia learned what she could from the constant flow of changelings that passed threw. With James being a slave to stereo-types and Sophia looking like a Native American Indian, she chose to learn how to fight with a tomahawk and found a kindly stone elemental to help her use it right. She wasn't about to let anything happen to James, for either of their sake.