Thursday, 3 January 2013

Remora the Remorseless: Chapter Three

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

That winter, Remora returned to the Castle with a brand new face, but so cunning, subtle and deep was the spell which had been wrought upon her, that all those who gazed upon Remora appeared unaware that anything in her appearance had altered ! Which amazed Steppy, as it seemed to her that her friend now partially resembled a gerbil (the tummy fat the magician injected in her cheeks and jowls had perhaps been a procedure too far …?) But Steppy remained utterly loyal to Remora, and kept her secret safe just as she had promised.

But as the days passed, and the snow thickened and the icicles lengthened about Anonymous Castle, Steppy began to sense that the Changing Magic had transformed more than Remora’s outer appearance. Her one-time friend was becoming distant and strange.

Steppy wondered if Remora was still settling back to normality after the deep magic which had been wrought upon her, so she vowed to be as patient and understanding as she could, in the hope that the coming summer would bring a restoration of their former friendship.

Then in the very heart of winter, on the darkest evening following the shortest day, there was a gathering at the Castle. And Steppy and Remora, as trusted public servants, were assigned the role of greeting guests at the door. Kings, Queens, and their Councillors arrived one by one in their finery, to eat, drink and hobnob far into the night.

All was going well until a former servant arrived at the gate. Her gaze passing over Remora as if she was invisible, the former servant seized Steppy’s hands and gazed into her face.

“Why Steppy!” she said. “You look so fair tonight !!! Indeed, you don’t look a day older than when I last saw you.” And as she spoke, Steppy caught sight of Remora’s expression, and a chill seized her heart; colder even than the winter wind which howled past them all and into the heart of the Great Town Hall.

Of course, Steppy cannot know for certain what took place later that night in Remora’s dwellinghouse. But given what subsequently came to pass, it does not seem too fantastical or fanciful to believe that upon returning home Remora shut herself into her sleeping chamber, took down her magic looking glass, and demanded to know why her ten bags of gold had not made her special wish come true.

The special wish she had never explicitly uttered to Steppy.

And Steppy further believes that as Remora left her dwellinghouse the following morning, a frozen shard of ice fell from the lintel and pierced Remora's heart, a shard so sharp and so cold that she did not feel the pain of it. And at that moment, her transformation into Remora the Remorseless was complete.

Fairytales have a sinister aspect, Dear Reader.
And I'm afraid this one is going to be no exception...

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