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 – Pt 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”

Tea entailed a generous spread of seeded breads and soft cheese, fruit crackers and tangy preserves. Marmalade poured herself a measure of whiskey before taking a seat by the fire. Penelope declined the offer of one for herself, and Marmalade set the crystal decanter of amber liquid on the table.  Marmot sat in front of the fire encircled by crumbs, his tail tucked neatly about his feet. He pushed a ready-made cup of tea towards Penelope as she sat in a stuffed velvet chair. “Thank…Continue Reading “Ch 10 – Marmalade’s Love Potion – Pt 1”

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”