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Behind the staircase leading to the upper levels of the tree was a second, narrower set of spiralling stairs leading downwards beneath the earth. Having described the way, Marmalade gave Penelope a gentle push towards the passage, promising tea and rest after her bath. The stairs were faintly lit by glowing, moon-coloured stones pressed into the clay walls. The stairs soon gave way to a smooth, sloping path of moss and stone curving gently downwards, with several smaller passageways forking away into the deep. Arriving…Continue Reading “Ch 9 – Hope & Sea Stars”
Marmalade’s tree was warm and filled with the soft, golden light of glowstones. Penelope kicked off her borrowed boots, setting them by a haphazard stack of others in the entryway. Emptying the pockets of her borrowed coat, carefully stowing the fate token in the pocket of her skirt, Penelope hung her coat and scarf on a hook by the door. Marmot shrugged off his own pack, setting it on the floor with an alarming rattle of its contents. Opposite the cosy entryway was a set…Continue Reading “Ch 8 – Marmalade’s Tree – Pt 3”
Marmalade set a brisk pace that both Marmot and Penelope struggled to match as they followed the small witch along a snaking path of teal quartz through the mauve underbrush of the Faewood. The sky was dark as velvet and filled with the cold glitter of rising constellations. The teal crystals crunched underfoot. Faintly luminous, the quartz allowed the three to tread the path without stumbling. The surrounding forest was further lit by the dim, lunar glow of small mushrooms and star-shaped flowers clinging to…Continue Reading “Ch 8 – Marmalade’s Tree – Pt 2”
“You,” Marmalade hissed at Penelope. “Explain.” “I have no idea what happened! I didn’t wish for that!” Penelope protested, hoisting herself to sit upright. “What did you wish for? Exactly?” “I… I saw a vision of my future. I saw my family reach out to embrace me… and then I was dancing with a prince… I think. I only wished for a way to ensure that future for myself. I just… I only wanted the love of my family back. Grimwood’s Dark Moon ball is…Continue Reading “Ch 8 – Marmalade’s Tree – Pt 1”
Iridescent and serpentine, the dragon coiled upwards into the sky, fanning out its streaming veil of tails as it rose. Penelope felt strangely weightless. Whether from fear, or the aura of power which surrounded the dragon, Penelope couldn’t say. As the dragon rose higher into the sky, Penelope’s senses returned. She heard the churning of the waves as the waters of the Tears thrashed about the boat. She heard Marmot’s squeals of fear as he clung to Marmalade’s leg. She heard Marmalade shouting for Marmot…Continue Reading “Ch 7 – Crossing The Tears – Pt 2”
Penelope passed the time staring out the cabin windows as Marmalade’s boat coasted down the river, occasionally passing other merchant boats along the way. Marmalade had given Penelope a thick wool coat, fleece gloves, a knitted scarf, and a pair of mushroom leather walking boots, as there was some distance to cover on foot to reach Marmalade’s home in the woods. The shoes were narrower than was strictly comfortable, but otherwise fit reasonably well. Penelope felt more calm now she was properly dressed again. Before…Continue Reading “Ch 7 – Crossing The Tears – Pt 1”
Penelope woke to the comforting sound of hot liquid being poured into stonework. She was enveloped by a cosy warmth, and imagined for a moment that she had drifted off by her hearth fire, and one of the Sisters was pouring tea. This notion was dispelled by the loud slurping and gulping that followed. Penelope sat up with a jolt. Marmot was wrapped in a thick woollen blanket clutching a steaming mug of cocoa, his snout ringed with chocolate. Marmalade smiled, holding out a second…Continue Reading “Ch 6 – The Lights of Darkwood”
“No!” Penelope shouted, chasing after the bushy-tailed creature as it scurried across the road, weaving through the traffic, and then fled down a narrow lane. “Wait, Penelope!” Steph called as he chased after her. Penelope ignored Steph as she darted between horses and carriages, sprinting towards the lane. “C’mon! I can run faster than this!” Penelope growled as her legs grew more leaden the faster she tried to run. She clenched her fists into tight balls as she ran, making sure not to drop the…Continue Reading “Ch 5 – Princess of Pennies – Pt 2”
Penelope made her way back to the garden fountain with just a little time left to spare before she was to meet the Sisters. Strolling through the garden to pass the time, Penelope turned her fate token around in her fingers, squinting at the intricate copper design embedded in the glassy obsidian. Her attention absorbed in the token, she caught her foot on a loose stone and almost dropped the coin in the snow. Shaken, Penelope withdrew her purse and placed the token in with…Continue Reading “Ch 5 – Princess Of Pennies – Pt 1”
The shop was dimly lit. Penelope peered into the darkness until her eyes adjusted. The first thing she noticed was a garden in the centre of the room, ringed by a stone pathway. The garden was filled with white daisies, glowing ever so faintly, like moonlight, and rippling as if caught in a breeze, though the air in the shop was quite still. A small wishing well made of mossy stone sat in the centre of the garden. Other shop patrons were walking barefoot along…Continue Reading “Ch 4 – The Enchantress of Daisy Lane – Pt 2”
Aware that her time was growing short, Penelope cut directly across the concourse, skipping between carriages and striding through the garden on her way towards the laneway that Abel had pointed at.
Penelope followed Abel Whistleweather around the shop counter and towards a small door obscured by a heavy velvet curtain. Behind the door was a tight spiral of stairs, which led up to a small landing and another door of old, dark wood. This door creaked as Abel gestured Penelope across the threshold into a large, brightly lit workshop. There was an enormous glass sphere which filled most of a platform in the back corner of the room. Supported by a broad base of wood, the…Continue Reading “Ch 3 – Whistleweather’s Emporium – Pt 2”
The next shop caught Penelope’s eye when she saw an array of crystal spheres suspended in the shop window, each a different size and depicting a different scene with enchanting realism. One showed an animated underwater scene filled with vibrant coral and fish swimming in shallow currents. Another showed a dark cavern, the quartz walls of which were illuminated in eerie detail by the ghostly glow of blue mushrooms. Intrigued most of all by an achingly familiar scene of silver and crystal trees, Penelope leaned…Continue Reading “Ch 3 – Whistleweather’s Emporium – Pt 1”
Penelope and the Sisters made their way through the snowy footpaths back to the upper village concourse, across the busy road, and through the central garden to the fortune fountain. Though it was winter, the garden boasted a wide variety of plants from different regions and seasons. Contributions from each of the realms of Edenwood Valley were carefully cultivated and alchemically nurtured throughout all seasons, making for a lush and eclectic garden of vibrant flowers, crystalline trees, and luminescent ferns. Penelope sat herself on the…Continue Reading “Ch 2 – Grimwood Village – Pt 3”
Penelope followed the Sisters out onto the street with a sense of renewed purpose. A light snow was falling, which quickly dusted Penelope’s hair before she pulled up her hood. She held out her hand to catch several of the crystalline flakes, watching them melt into her glove with glee. The three women followed the cobbled footpath up the sloping street until they arrived at the upper village concourse, a large circular area of levelled stone shaded by leafy, silver-barked trees. Tall, narrow buildings ringed…Continue Reading “Ch 2 – Grimwood Village – Pt 2”
With a month until the Dark Moon, and much work to finish in the cottage before all three women could embark on the journey to Grimwood Village, it was several days before they were ready to leave. Starwood Palace had reclaimed their carriage and fast mares many years ago. The Sisters had been left to barter at Clear Lake market for a small mare and cart so they could continue trading homemade wares. Cynthia, their apricot mare with a cream-coloured mane and spots on her…Continue Reading “Ch 2 – Grimwood Village – Pt 1”
Though she had gone to bed late the night before, and her sleep was restless, Penelope awoke to the blue light of dawn. The twinkle of small crystal stars, a legacy of childhood comfort, glittered from the sloped wooden ceiling where they had been strung many years prior. Penelope rose, donned her robe and slippers, and padded to the window overlooking the front garden. Weathered stepping stones lead to a small white gate, beyond which lay a winding pebble path which disappeared into the green…Continue Reading “Ch 1 – The Invitation – Pt 2”
Penelope held the pale gold garment to the light of the window for a final inspection of the stitching as chimes rang through the cottage. Mrs. Mary Walburton, ever perfectly on time. Penelope remained focused on the hemline as Sister Heely’s footsteps clipped across the polished stone of the kitchen, down the narrow hall, and came to a stop at the front door. Examining each sleeve in turn, Penelope listened as the door was opened and Mary ushered across the threshold, back down the hall,…Continue Reading “Ch 1 – The Invitation – Pt 1”
A young Princess Penelope is homesick and heartbroken at her continued isolation in the Faewood, away from her parents and the glittering lights of Starwood Palace. Her true home. As her letters to her parents continue to go unanswered, Penelope takes desperate and drastic measures to find her own way home.