So, I’ve decided to turn one of my faerie tale rewrites into a serial on my blog. It’s a retelling of one of my favorite stories. I hope you enjoy it. A new piece will appear every Friday.
The power bled from her as if from an open wound. Her fear acted as a blade, digging into her, making her weak as the very core of her being was sacrificed to stop the curse. She stumbled as her feet found every rock in the path. The chill grew behind her. She couldn’t risk a glance over her shoulder without the chance of falling.
She searched the village in front of her, stealing energy from all living things. Plants withered and livestock died. Children woke in the night screaming as terrible nightmares filled their minds. Men woke and reached for weapons. Women shrieked and flung themselves out of bed, some to flee and some to protect their children.
She reached the end of the path and looked over her shoulder. Ice slowly made its way down the path she’d just run. Rocks cracked beneath the cold. She could feel the tiny points of life vanishing as plants and animals were killed as it followed it’s inexorable path. She stopped and reached out once again. She seized on every life she found. Taking only a fraction of the power released by them, she sent her magic to stop the curse. The gods smiled on her this time for the ice stopped at the edge of the village.
She could feel her own spell from the castle making its way down now too. A different curse would soon be upon the villagers. This one she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want to. There were some things that she couldn’t forgive.
It was dawn when she returned to her home. There, she saw her five children sitting near the fire. Her oldest son Baldric was sitting closest to the heat with all four of his younger siblings surrounding him. The two youngest, Ceinwen and Ronen, were sitting in his lap. Isabella and Grainne were sitting on stools. All five of them were watching the door.
“Baldric, why are they up?” Adina asked as she came through the door.
“Ceinwen couldn’t sleep. She kept having nightmares about you and father. That kept Ronen up. When I let them out, Isabella and Grainne came to join us,” Baldric said.
Adina sighed. “Children, things did not go well. Your father – your father will not be coming home.” Isabella and Grainne started weeping. Ronen buried his face in Baldric’s shoulder. Ceinwen ran to her mother. She began to cry. Adina held her close, stroking her dark hair. “I’m so sorry, my loves. But we have to go. We have to leave the valley.”
“Why?” Grainne asked, still weeping. “Why do we have to leave?”
“Father did something, didn’t he?” Baldric asked. Adina nodded.
Adina dropped to her knees and opened her arms. Ceinwen threw herself against Adina’s chest. Baldric released Ronen and he joined Ceinwen. Isabella and Grainne came and put their arms around Adina’s shoulders. Baldric came and put his arms around his sisters. Adina held them all there for a moment.
“I have to go to the city,” Adina said. “Baldric, I’m leaving you in charge. No one is to go outside while I’m gone. We have food in plenty. I should only be gone a few days.”
“Mama, don’t go. The bad man will get us,” Ceinwen said.
“He can’t hurt you now, kitten,” Adina said. “No one can.”
“Mother?” Baldric looked confused.
“No questions,” Adina said. “Baldric, if anyone sets foot out of this house you will be in serious trouble. If you all survive.”
“We’ll stay inside, mother,” Baldric said. The older girls nodded while Ronen and Ceinwen whimpered. Adina extracted herself from their grips before pulling on her cloak and leaving through a door mostly overgrown with roses.
Adina transported herself to the city. She walked around until she found a gold merchant. She walked in. “Good day, mistress,” he said. “How can I be of service to you?”
“You are Master Dieter Felweather, correct?” Adina asked.
“Yes I am,” Master Felweather said. “How can I be of service?”
“I have a fortune held in an account here that I wish to make some arrangements for,” Adina said. He pulled out his books. “The name on the account is Adina Winfield.”
He scanned his way down the list until he found her name. “A sizable fortune indeed, Mistress Winfield,” Master Felweather said.
“I know,” Adina said. “My children and I are leaving for some time. I don’t know if or when we’ll be back. Is there a way to put this account in such a place as if it takes some time to get back it will still be held?”
“How long are we talking here, Mistress Winfield?” Master Felweather asked.
“I’m talking two or three generations,” Adina said. “That may be how long it will take for my family to return to these lands.” She held up her hand. “It’s nothing that serious. But you know how children are. The memory of a place must be forgotten before it’s new to them again.”
Master Felweather laughed. “I know that all too well,” he said. “Two of mine have left the city with no promise to return. I can set up something to be held in perpetuity for say four hundred years. That’s as long as the law allows an inheritance to be held.” They filled out the paperwork. Adina sealed them with her signet, but she added a little twist of magic.
“Make certain your descendants bring these papers and that ring with them,” Master Felweather said. “Or else your efforts will be wasted.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Adina said. She took the papers and thanked him. She walked back out of the city and transported herself home.