The wind swept over his hair as sweat trickled down his back, the fierce creature comfortable between his legs. Nothing touched him during the hunt. Not his thoughts, not the future, not the hundreds of nobles who swore allegiance to his invisible crown. The past was gone as well, trampled underneath the hooves of his horse as they made their way east towards the rising sun. Two-dozen years of running turned the pain in his thighs to muscles that contorted to every jump over broken branches and scattered rocks. Nothing stood in the way of his kill.
When he was a boy Henry believed he was born in the wrong body, he never grew accustomed to running on his own two feet. He closed his eyes but never slept. He carried on his back a weight, growing heavier every day. He was always leaving, going, hurrying. One instant in silence, and the next in spurs. Surely God meant for him to be a horse with four strong legs, and some mistake was made in the ethereal realm that had him be born Henry Richmond of the long, thin limbs, forever tired in forever exile. He was not an exile here. Not tired either. Not a man. Not a king with the hopes of those who’d make him king. He was the horse and the ground underneath, the light touching the leaves that shook when his prey took careful steps to hide. Henry could hunt forever; there was a purpose after all, a road to take with a prize at the end, and he could run. Oh, could he run. The rest was a little harder, but he did it all the same. Did it as Jasper taught him. Slow down. Listen. Trust your breath. Trust the wind. Draw, notch, hold. Trust your instincts. Loose. Know you’ll sleep with a full belly for when you wake and must run again.