Sunday, 6 January 2013

Remora the Remorseless: Chapter Four

In which Steppy and Remora continue the adventures begun in Chapters One, Two, and Three...

Directly after the Gathering in the Great Town Hall, Remora’s behaviour towards Steppy became increasingly strange.

- When they met to share a lunchtime repast, Remora now nibbled only at breadcrumbs. Which would not have been worthy of comment, except for the fact that she constantly pressed many tempting and highly calorific morsels upon Steppy.

- Remora began to tell Steppy that many other servants in the Castle did not like Steppy - that there were servants she needed to stay away from, who wanted to cause her harm.

- But most unsettling of all, Remora started to dress exactly like Steppy.

At first Steppy thought she must be imagining it ! She and Remora had always clad themselves in totally dissimilar garments, so it was surely coincidence that they were now enrobed identically. But day after day it continued. Steppy wore a full skirted floral emerald robe, and Remora purchased the same. Steppy wore a violet bonnet and shawl, and Remora wore the same. Steppy acquired a black and white cloak, and two days later, Remora appeared in the same.

One day Steppy deliberately tied her hair back into a tight knot - something she had never done before - just to see what would happen. When Remora appeared in the Castle the following day with her hair similarly knotted, Steppy’s head swam dizzyingly, and she felt as though she was stumbling through a mist.

Remora was still constantly by Steppy’s side so their parallel garb began to look quite peculiar, and one day Steppy heard some of the other servants talking about it. So Steppy diplomatically tried to raise the matter with Remora, but her friend said she had no idea what Steppy was talking about. Which made it somewhat impossible to discuss the matter with her any further....

Steppy then discussed the matter with the Female Sages - wise women whom Steppy had befriended over the years and who were to be found at the end of speaking tubes, or in forest clearings where coffees could be imbibed.

Steppy asked the Female Sages one by one if they could shed light upon what was happening to her friend Remora. Was she perhaps under a new enchantment? And if so, how could it be broken??

The Wise Female Sages went away and conferred; then sent their answer back to Steppy. Her friend Remora was, perhaps, insecure.

Steppy decided to remain totally loyal to Remora, and so began to practice a more subtle magic to counteract the mirroring spell. She bought her friend Remora special parchments such as “Colour Me Beautiful”; and gave her the collected works of those famed Witches of Garmentation Trinny and Susannah. She complimented Remora often upon her appearance, and bought her potions and unguents by the score. Steppy did everything she could to encourage Remora to be herself.

But Remora did not want to be herself.
For this was the secret wish that Remora had never shared with her friend:

Remora wanted to be Steppy.

And, dear Reader, she would stop at nothing to achieve this end….

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