A young prince with a serious brow and mischievous eyes sneaks past the palace guards to play in the unfenced gardens. His dark curls catch in the pollen-rich breeze blowing from the Darkwood.  Clutched in his jam-coated fist is a string of his mother’s pearls. He likes how cool the round beads feel against his skin, and the awe in others’ eyes as they shimmer against the olive hollow of his queen’s throat. The boy prince darts past the broken stones at the end of…Continue Reading “Honeybelles for a Girl Prince”

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”

Marmalade stirred the last of the frayfern into her simmering cauldron, turning to her recipe with satisfaction. Just an hour more to brew and a day to decant— Splash. Crash. A familiar squeaking told Marmalade this couldn’t be anything good. Almost afraid to turn around, Marmalade spun to find Marmot upside down in the hearth soot, and her almost perfect potion turning a rather alarming shade of red. “Marmot!” Marmalade cried, unhooking the cauldron and upending its ruined contents into the sink. “For the last…Continue Reading “Clockwork Companion”

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”

Marmot hastened to smooth the woven grass table mat into place. Lady would be home any moment now with her basket of berries and apples and all the things Marmot hated to eat. Since Marmalade had taught him to bake, he had only set their burrow on fire twice. Yet Lady had not been impressed when their den had filled with smoke, and had chittered angrily at him as they waited on the hill for the fumes to clear. She had been even less impressed…Continue Reading “Marmot In Love”

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”

Deep within the forest stood a hollow red tree. It wasn’t the tallest, nor the prettiest, but it was the perfect home for wood witch Marmalade. Airy chimes rang amongst the boughs as an autumn draught fanned the flames of her stove. Sugar pies were stacked atop muffins atop towers of shortcakes. The wafted scent of baking bread enticed all manner of creatures to Marmalade’s tree for sweet treats and a place to rest their paws. Each morning, Marmot would scurry up to Marmalade’s kitchen…Continue Reading “Marmot & Marmalade”

“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”

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”