The castle seemed to brood even in the harshest light of noon. Something about the web that had been linked to ruling from the building, the web that found a center and anchor in the Beast, also made the building itself uninviting.
It was ill luck for those that worked there. More than a week employment and the psychic stamp of the place was on them. Few courts would accept a person that felt like that, like the Castle felt, full of traps and violence. Beast had not known this, or else he would have banished all the servants and workers before the taint had spread to them.
Better to be completely alone than to bear the guilt of their plight as well as his own.
It was those thoughts that had him in the garden long before his accustomed hour. Roses slumbered everywhere, waiting for the first breath of spring to waken them. The beds were carefully tended, but touched by no hand save for the Beast's hand-- paw. Most of the work he did with craft anyway, but sometimes it was better to use a tool or his claws to wear the frustration out of his spirit.
Such a day was this. One of the maids had shrunk away from him that morning. Then he had been seen at his breakfast of raw rabbit by one of the cook's assistants and the girl had screamed in shock. Then the Beast had come face to face with his old portrait that someone had hung in the entry hall and fled outside.
Mumbling and growling, the Beast clawed at the frozen earth. "Must protect. Must serve. Must keep the land. Must eat. Nothing simple. Always a price."
Smeared with earth and the debris of the flower beds, he leaped to his feet and howled at the sky, "I've paid enough, damn you!"
The rough cry echoed off the castle and over the land, sending crows flying and coughing their hoarse warnings to the winter-locked territory.