Later that evening, Penelope had been relieved to near-tears to see the bags she had left behind on the Grimwood docks, which Steph had returned to the Sisters. Penelope had squealed in delight and given Steph a bone-crunching hug, which he’d endured with grace and flushed cheeks until Sister Heely had coughed and muttered something about propriety. “Like you’re one to talk about propriety,” Sister Rosin had accused with a smug smirk. “Remember that one time when—” “Anyone for more tea?” Sister Heely had asked,…Continue Reading “Ch 11 – Repercussions – Part 3”

After Marmalade and Steph had stepped out into the garden and vanished beyond the treeline in quest of feverthistle—Steph dressed in borrowed coat and winter gloves—Penelope and the sisters settled by the fire with hot mugs of cocoa. Having opted to stay behind where there was the promise of treats, Marmot was curled up by Penelope’s feet crunching on walnuts. There was a terse silence where no-one knew quite what to say, the quiet punctuated by the occasional spark and crackle from the hearth. “So,”…Continue Reading “Ch 11 – Repercussions – Part 2”

Penelope opened her eyes to the chill light of mid-afternoon. She sat up, struggling against the weight of several layered blankets, to find herself on the lounge in the sitting room. She groaned as the movement caused a sharp ache behind her eyes, a pain she’d not felt since Sister Rosin had once allowed Penelope to indulge as much mead as she had wanted. Once had been more than enough for that particular lesson. Penelope stumbled down the hall into the bathing room. Swallowing down…Continue Reading “Ch 11 – Repercussions – Part 1”

The tragic tale of Princess Penelope’s favourite tree. Lightning struck the rocky ridge as the sky flared white, the vicious colour of burning stars. Before the great owl could swallow down the next bolt, it struck her nest. Two of her three eggs she could save. The third turned to stone in the blazing heat of jagged fire. The storm passed by dawn. With feathers of ink and starlight, the owl swept over snow-dusted trees. Downwards her flight melted, down into the wretched, sacred valley…Continue Reading “The Feathered Willow”

The snow felt dry and soft, like sugar dust, beneath her feet as Penelope ran through the wildflowers. The gleaming crescent of the waxing moon hung high in the sky, offering scant light as Penelope danced across the open fields of Marmalade’s sequestered glade and into the thickets of the Faewood. Penelope squealed with glee as she found vines and brambles parting easily before her, revealing paths free of snow amongst the glimmering underbrush. Moonflies clung to the undersides of gold and mauve ferns, illuminating…Continue Reading “Ch 10 – Marmalade’s Love Potion – Part 3”

“It smells so pretty in here, like apricots and roses…” Penelope murmured as Marmalade steered her into a large bedroom. Marmalade guided Penelope by the hand around the curved rail guarding the stairwell and into the circular space beyond. The room seemed to spill over with books, plants, and fragrant, blooming flowers. Penelope spent several long moments spinning in slow, unsteady circles, taking in every detail with growing awe. A wooden staircase continued upwards to the left, following the curve of the tree to further…Continue Reading “Ch 10 – Marmalade’s Love Potion – Pt 2”