Irongate – Chapter One

With our thoughts we change the world.

For eons the universe did not know itself. All existence was but a swirling maelstrom of energy and matter devoid of thought or purpose. Then, on a rock on the edge of one galaxy a great confluence occurred. The chaotic forces of nature came together to give rise to a new order – life. For the first time the universe was aware. But these new beings were limited, capable only of seeing the world as is and was – a daily struggle just to survive. Until along came one that could master fire and see through the flames to beyond and the worlds that could be. Now there was thought, the ability to know, understand, and harness all the power of nature to make any dream a reality.

Tenley Tych thought about mixing milkshake with orange juice. Both drinks were great individually so surely – by the logic of a child’s magical thinking – combining them would be twice as good, yes?

The answer was no.

With that experiment spat out and deemed a failure, the eleven-year-old thought ahead to the rest of day. Mother had gone into town, which probably meant she would find a bar and not be back until late, amplifying her fury if the chores Tenley had been left with weren’t all done. But if Tenley got them done quickly she’d have a few hours to relax without fear of anything.

Against one wall in her room herds of plastic hadrosaurs watered themselves by a painted river, surrounded by cardboard trees while a short distance away triceratops faced off against the greatest hunter ever on land – or would have been doing if the tyrant king hadn’t already passed out.

Tenley’s head with it’s bob of black hair and near black eyes loomed over the paper landscape. “Don’t slouch, Timothy!” She scowled, but the plastic reptile made no effort to heed her command. She bit her lip, knowing well that snapping and getting angry never achieved anything – he was going to need real help to get back on his feet. Turning her processing power to the problem, she spied the solution in a jar of colored pencils. There was a reason tables had four legs instead of two – Timmy needed an extra leg. So, after a little hammering, the T-Rex stood proud in his domain once more. The pencil sticking out of his butt spoiled the authenticity of the scene a little, but few of her toys were completely accurate anyway.

“It’s okay,” Tenley beamed, “your acknowledging my genius is thanks enough for me. Now, I’ve jobs to do before mother gets back – don’t you all go eating each other while I’m gone.”

Food had to be put in the oven to warm before Tenley donned her blue duffel coat and ventured outdoors, singing as she worked around the dilapidated old home with wild grass swaying all around.

‘Boys and girls come out to play,’ there was some general maintenance; watering, weeding, picking up bolts from around the target dummies. ‘The moon doth shine as bright as day,’ a tree round back had a tire swinging from a rope on it – until Tenley had cut it with a naginata – so that needed repair. ‘Come with a whoop, come with a call,’ the penultimate task was leaving food out – an offering to the spirits, mother said. Tenley didn’t know about spirits, but birds, squirrels, and other fauna often waited for her to leave a plate out. She supposed it kept their noses out of the kitchen. ‘Come with good will or not at all.’

Tenley stood and stretched. Between her and the road was a bumpy path, and beyond the road an ocean of trees, waves rising and falling into the horizon. Next to the path, among the tall grass, a number of posts had been hammered at varying heights into the ground. Tenley filled her lungs, and then, she flew, vaulting and soaring from post to post, nature providing a small audience to her acrobatics in the form of a magpie chattering from a tree. Tenley came to perch on the last post, standing on her tiptoes to bow and say, “Good morning, Mister Magpie.” She was not superstitious but not in so much a hurry that it cost her anything to play safe.

All that was just to get to the mailbox. Tenley never expected to find anything other than junk and bills, and today proved no different in that regard. Seemed no-one other than her mother knew she existed, and mother didn’t make friends easily either.
There was something different – as Tenley rummaged through the mailbox a car pulled up on the other side of the mucky. A gray-suited jostled inside for a moment before stepping out and waving to her.

“Excuse me!” His was the only car on this road that day, but he nevertheless looked left and right before crossing to her. “Hello there, little girl.”

He must have worked in an office in town or in a city – he definitely looked out of place here, Tenley thought. “Hello,” she said, “average sized man.”

After might have been a cough or chuckle, he asked, “Are your parents home?”

“Mother’s out,” Tenley said, turning from the empty mailbox, “father might be in, but I don’t know where his home is.”

“I see,” the man was obviously disappointed having presumably driven a long way, “You’re not afraid, being out here by yourself?”

Tenley shrugged – the truth was, if anything she was safer when she was home alone. “Are you?” She asked.

“Well, no, I-”

“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you so long as you don’t try anything weird.”

The man didn’t fully comprehend the danger should he, in fact, turn out to be ‘weird’. He was just momentarily taken aback by the notion of a tween girl on her own with no other help for miles around, but Tenley felt no ill-will from him so far. “Well then, I thank you miss. Still, must be lonely here. Wouldn’t you like to move closer to town? Hang out with other kids?”

In truth, yes, but as she knew mother wasn’t going to allow it anyway what she said was, “How many ‘other kids’ have you spoken to? Trust me – most of them are idiots.”

“You’ve just got to make the right friends,” he told her, then reached into his pocket. Tenley’s coat concealed several sharp objects she could have out in a flash, but all he pulled out of his was a card. “I represent a group looking to acquire land in this area. When your mother gets home give this to her. Tell her we’re prepared to make a very generous offer. But remember – it is vital that she call us right away. So long, girl.”

With that they ended their brief acquaintance, Tenley not yet knowing how significant it was. The card he’d given her bore a logo that looked like either a sun, or the rays could have been a clock face. She guessed the former since below it was the company name and slogan; Meridiem – We are the sun. It was not the first time they had heard from this group, and it never improved mother’s mood when they did. It was tempting to Tenley to throw the card away, but if she did and mother found out a stranger had been here it would probably be worse.

As she trudged back up to the house, the wind picked up. It was sudden. Strange. Like an invisible force running around her, and she was sure she heard it whispering – although not in words she could understand. With a start she turned as the plate she’d left earlier clattered to the ground, emptied.

Was something there, playing games with her? It would regret it if it was. But how should she begin to investigate? There was little time to ponder as the oven started bleeping. Probably it had just been the wind.

With her chores complete Tenley returned to her room. Most of the house’s interior was spartan – this was the only rooms with any color. The dinosaurs all remained uneaten, galaxies and other prehistoric life were postered on the walls, and Tenley collapsed onto a fuzzy pink blanket. Her friend, Isea Little, sat up on the end table, always keeping the other toys and boxes in order.

Isea was a doll with a red dress and hair. One of her eyes had fallen out a long time ago, so Tenley had made her a patch so now she was a ex-pirate captain Tenley had defeated and convinced to work for her.

“You eyeballing me?” Tenley quipped. Every so often, Isea did need reminding who was in charge. She didn’t answer, in fact wouldn’t even look at her until Tenley lifted the doll up over her chest.

“Sorry,” Tenley sighed, holding the doll up so they were face to face, “guess that was kind of insensitive.” Isea just glared at her.

Tenley humphed, “I said I was sorry. Look, you’re just grouchy because you’ve been stuck inside doing nothing all day. So, let’s do something.” The task she had in mind was a leather bound book with the title printed in gold leaf; That Witch Which.

Many fairy tales begin with a child. Broken, orphaned, rejected, then found by a seemingly magic being that will grant them any wish. But this particular one was different. The titular witch led a happy life, with a mother who encouraged her to follow her own dreams whatever they may be. So one day she left home to tame a dragon, then flew around the world having all kinds of adventures. Which was more incredible to Tenley? The dragon, or mothers that encouraged their children and allowed them to be what they wanted?

Regardless, the story turned to heaven where a dispute among the gods over a game of table soccer ends up causing fractures to appear in reality, which the plucky heroine races to patch as best she can. Amid the chaos a villain rises, hoping to seize the power of the gods for himself. It be a truth universally acknowledged that a girl in possession of a magic wand and dragon, and evil wizards, must fight.

Although for Tenley the story grew a little frustrating at this point. Everyone was afraid and kept their distance from the villain, but that only played into his hands – up close he’d have no time to cast his spells, so just run up and kick him where it hurt. She was about to make a note in her pink notebook that now contained numerous strategies to best various heroes and villains, then froze upon hearing the front door slam.

It felt like the whole house shook – and indeed Timothy had fallen yet again. It took Tenley a moment to unstick herself then rush downstairs to greet her mother. At the bottom of the stairs she recoiled slightly as the stench of alcohol hit her nostrils.

Like Tenley, Phaedra had black hair, but tied back rather than a bob. Phaedra’s eyes were more gray, although in the dim lit hall were obscured by shadow. She had just hung her coat when she turned and slurred at Tenley, “Oh, look. You’re still alive. What joy.”

Her tone was disingenuous, but Tenley was more concerned about the bottle she held, gasping, “you stink.”

“What was that?” Phaedra swigged.

Knowing she had to tread especially carefully now, Tenley stood to attention. “Nothing, mother.”

With a frown Phaedra asked, “I assume there’s food in the oven?”

“Yes, mother.”

“Wonderful!” Phaedra declared like it were a miracle.

Tenley muttered beneath her breath, “it doesn’t just appear there by magic you know.”

This time Phaedra did hear, scoffing, “You expect gratitude?”

Tenley was wringing her fingers behind her back while scratching one calf with her other foot, but answering or remaining silent made little difference now. “Just some acknowledgment would be nice.”

Phaedra snorted, “have you any idea what I’ve given up because of you?”

“No, mother,” Tenley answered truthfully. Mother never talked much about her past, keeping few mementos of her life before Tenley, it being fair to say she was not a sentimental person.

“And you’ve the cheek to whine about a few chores,” Phaedra lowered her head, but if she gripped the bottle she held much tighter the glass might have shattered.

Tenley didn’t know how or if she should argue with such statements. It was true after all – without this woman she wouldn’t exist. She just wished she knew what she had to do to please her, since nothing ever seemed to do. “I’m sorry,” was all she could say.

“Yes you are,” Phaedra sighed. She then spied the mail left in the hall, atop it the card from Meridiem. “What’s this?”

“A man stopped by,” Tenley explained. “He said to call.”

Phaedra immediately tossed the card into the waste, then after another swig said, “They’re trying to make us leave, so they can build a golf course or something. That’s what these people with more money than sense like to do – hit tiny balls with sticks,” another swig, then she looked sideways at Tenley. “What do you think, little one? What should I do with their tiny balls?”

Mother wasn’t sentimental, but she was stubborn. Yet Tenley remembered what the man had said about moving closer to where there were other kids, people – maybe a change of environment could change them both for the better. “It might not be so bad,” she ventured, “starting over some place new.”

“Oh?” It was clear from the look she gave that Phaedra did not agree. “Are you not satisfied with your life, child? With everything I’ve provided for you?”

“No!” Tenley gasped, knowing she’d made a mistake but unclear how to correct it. “I-I just-”

“Enough!” Phaedra snapped, then glaring all the while she slowly wiped some of the liqueur away from her lips. “I’ve been letting you grow too soft. Come!”

With a resigned sigh Tenley followed. Hidden under their home was a well locked room stocked with mats, punching bags, and weapons of all kinds. At the far end stood a statue of a Grecian woman holding a shield and trident, and on her base a strange poem was inscribed, almost like an oath:

I am the howling wind,
I am lightning’s wrath,
The fury of thunder,
And nature’s vengeance.
I am the storm.

Tenley wasn’t sure what it meant, although mother would talk about it every time they sparred. On this occasion she was tossed a wooden staff, and even though the eleven-year-old girl clearly stood no chance against the taller, crueler, and more bitter woman, she just told herself that meant there was nothing to lose and assumed a stance. She was the first to launch an attack.

“One day a storm will come,” Phaedra said as she easily batted away the strike, “and there’s only one way you’ll survive it – you must be the storm.”

Tenley spun about for another strike, but once again Phaedra was waiting for it. “Channel all of your frustration, pain, anger,” Phaedra said as she effortlessly deflected one blow after another. “Learn to direct it, and then,” the last deflection left an opening through which Phaedra thrust her boot, “strike!” Her heel struck Tenley’s chest with a sickening thud, expelling all the air from the girl’s lungs. Tenley fell on her back, pain in every breath she gasped for.

The result of the match was exactly as anyone would have predicted, yet Phaedra insisted that Tenley “Get up!”

Tenley willed herself to obey, but simply couldn’t. Courage, determination – these things weren’t enough to overcome the difference in power between them. They were both surprised when Phaedra, despite no hits landing on her, wobbled, barely stopping herself falling over as her face contorted and she grasped her temple.

“Another migraine,” Phaedra rasped through gritted teeth. “You… you just clean up here,” she ordered, staggering to the stairs. At the door she paused and looked back with a rare glint of sympathy. “You will understand this all one day. I just – I need to lie down a while.”

Tenley had no idea what was wrong with her, but mother always said she was fine and was too stubborn to be convinced otherwise. After taking a few moments to recover herself, then doing as she was bidden, Tenley then found her mother fast asleep in an armchair in the living room. Of course, another bottle in her hand. Maybe it helped with the pain, but what caused it? Stress? Her? Tenley didn’t know – she just did what she could, putting away the bottle and covering Phaedra with a blanket, hoping that maybe, one day, it will be enough.

“Goodnight,” Tenley whispered. In her room, there was a wooden hidden under her bed. Tenley didn’t know where it came from – she’d told herself a story once that it had been left to her by her father, but voices in the back of her head cast doubt on that. In truth it didn’t matter, as opening the lid, turning the key, then watching the blue fairy dance around to the chimes was what allowed her eyelids to grow heavy and then finally to sleep.

Perhaps she dreamed that one day her mother would be more like the one in the storybook, but this was never to be.

It could have been just minutes, or hours, but she was woken by the blaring of a horn, opening her eyes to find a bright white light piercing through her window. Inching to the sill, Tenley peered outside seeing a small truck parked on the path, it’s headlights casting long, spindly shadows of the group stood in front of it. Although their faces were hidden Tenley believed the shapes to be six men, a woman, and a dog.

Still shaking off the fog of sleep, Tenley hadn’t had time to be concerned about this when she saw mother had been woken too. Phaedra staggered out the front, having grabbed yet another bottle, snarling at the intruders, “what the hell did you wake me up for?”

Out of the shadows stood a man in black with short blond hair and beard. “Mister Stag doesn’t like being ignored,” he said.

“Oh,” Phaedra frowned like she was disappointed, “is that all this rackets in aid of?”

“You’ve been made a very generous-”

“No cold calls. Get lost,” Phaedra stunned the group with her utter disregard and disdain as she headed back to the door.

But the blond man soon recovered from the insult, trying to grab her arm as he growled, “don’t you dare turn your back on-”

Big mistake – mother did not appreciate anyone laying their hands on her. In a flash she tossed the bottle round in her hand so she was holding it by the neck, then spun and smashed it across the blond man’s face. Glass and liquid in his eyes he staggered away from her, not seeing the kick heading to his jaw that sent him back to his comrades.
He came to rest just in front of the truck, spluttering at the others to “get her!”

Maybe they’d come here expecting to find a frail woman who wouldn’t put up a fight, but now those expectations were dashed the gang were slow to respond, one, then two, tentatively breaking off to try and engage her. Even drunk, Phaedra was more than agile to see them off like that. One of them started throwing punches like a boxer, but Phaedra easily avoided and spun around him to strike the back of his head. A few then got the idea that one at a time wasn’t the best strategy, but even working together none of them could quite pin her down.

The dog was hopping and barking furiously, but remained held firmly on it’s leash by its master, a man with slick black hair and a pointy mustache – Tenley thought he looked like someone straight out of one those old western movies.

Next to mustache, a mean wearing a beanie asked, “you gonna do something?”

With what must have been a perpetual smirk, Mustache drawled, “Gotta know more about her first,” he drawled.

Beanie squinted, bemused. “Huh?”

“Think she’ll like flowers? Or what about a serenade? Oh, I’m told I’ve a voice to make even angels weep!”

“We didn’t come here to find a date.”

“Love is all around us, friend. You just gotta feel it.”

Although his words weren’t aggressive, something about that man gave Tenley a creeping feeling she couldn’t explain. But she would soon regret that she hadn’t been watching the blond man. Her eyes caught a glint of what he’d pulled from his coat. She tried to call, but the sound caught in her throat. Then it was too late.

Phaedra had pinned the woman with the gang, raining fists down on her, when the blond man rushed her from behind to plunge his dagger into her heart. Phaedra’s eyes widened in shock as the man, holding her by the neck, whispered into her ear, “told you not to turn your back.”

With her last groan Phaedra slumped forward, turning onto her back as her eyes locked onto Tenley frozen in the window pane above. It seemed she tried to mouth something which Tenley didn’t hear. It may have been ‘sorry’, but then she was still.

From then, the only image Tenley had in her mind’s eye was that of her mother’s last breath – the eyes of a woman who had once seemed so powerful suddenly becoming like those of a doll. Tenley was aware of voices, of some of the gang starting to panic.

“Shit!” One of them gasped, “What the hell have you done, Pope?! What have you done?!” But he was ignored – the woman in the gang had followed Phaedra’s gaze to spy Tenley watching them. Tenley heard running, doors opening, footsteps pounding on the stairs, but still all that replayed in Tenley’s mind was that last moment when she could have called out, but didn’t. Too scared? Too weak? How?

In her haze Tenley offered no resistance when she was brought down to the hall where the whole gang looked down on her like she was a mouse, and now they were discussing the most humane way to dispose of it.

One of them, a young Black man, was more visibly shaken than the rest. “This is bullshit, man,” he shook his head, eyes squeezed tightly shut as he couldn’t bring himself to look at the girl. “I can’t do it – we can’t-”

But the blond man they called Pope pushed him against the wall, snarling “what are you going to do? Adopt her? Turn yourself in? I won’t let that happen. You really want your brother growing up in foster care? Get a damn grip,” his eyes turned dispassionately to Tenley, “We’ve got to deal with this.”

The panicked man, obviously outnumbered, resigned himself to doing no more than repeatedly muttering “shit” and “should never have gone anywhere with you.”

Still, no-one else stepped forward with a plan either, until Beanie said, “I’ll do it,” he’d been concealing a gun. “I’ll take her into the woods so no-one else needs to see, then I’ll meet you back in town.”

Relieved, Pope nodded, “At least one of you has a spine. The rest of you grab stuff – best bet is to make it look like a simple burglary that went wrong. Then we get out of here.”

Their plan was set into motion, Tenley still offering no resistance as she was marched outside. She saw her mother again, still not comprehending how a person could just be gone, leaving behind only meat and bones.

She felt cold grass and dirt squelching between her toes, was aware of being shoved several times by Beanie. They were heading into the forest – how far, Tenley had no idea. Time and distance were abstract to her, until she tripped and heard her mother’s voice tell her to ‘Get up!’

Then suddenly she had a much sharper focus, her hand grasping a jagged stone as Beanie lent down to tell her to move. He hadn’t bothered to bind her in any way, not thinking a little girl could pose much of a threat. But Tenley now recalled that she hadn’t been raised a mouse. She swung up, sharp stone stinging and knocking the gun away from Beanie who, now on his knees and stunned, had his nose squashed by the girl’s heel.

Still, Tenley’s advantage was short lived. Although he was hurt, her kick didn’t have enough weight behind it to move him in any way, whereas his fist although clumsily aimed did knock her back.

“You damn animal!” He snarled, face tight and twisted with rage as he rose. “You know I was just going to kill you, but now…”

Tenley didn’t wait to hear what his plans were now. She knew that simply fighting him would be a losing battle, so took off to hide herself in the forest. Maybe she could whittle him down bit by bit until there was nothing left – the only problem was that he still had the gun, firing a couple shots blindly as she disappeared into the foliage.

“Where are you?!” Beanie stomped and roared. “Think you can hide from me?”

Tenley knew she could, but was considering simply retreating for now. But where would she go? She knew no-one, her father was only a story. Could she trust the police to ensure the people who stole her dream of a better life really got what they deserved?
Then the wind changed. Just like before it was like there was a presence all around accompanied by strange whispering like the sound of running water. Only this time Tenley knew for sure it wasn’t her imagination as Beanie heard it too.

“Who’s there?!” He growled. “Trying to mess with me? I’ll…” he froze. It was as if the whole forest were coming alive, bright tiny eyes piercing through the darkness as if awoken from a long slumber. And they were angry – angry at him for all his shooting and hollering.

From her hiding place Tenley saw a form, a shimmer, moving fast at Beanie then with a blow forcing the wind from his lungs. He doubled over – gun flying from his hand – no time to groan before his invisible assailant struck again, lifting then smashing him into the earth. Now he groaned, trying to claw and crawl away from whatever this thing was, only to be lifted by the leg and swung, spine crunching on the unyielding bark of a tree.

For a moment Beanie lay still, barely able to open his eyes to choke, “c-can’t move.” Tenley wondered if he was trying to plead to her, but in any case someone else answered; “That’s because your back is broken.”

It was a woman stepping out of the forest shadows like through a portal. Tall, red dress, skin that glowed green with patterns flowing across it like shifting sands. In one hand she held a huge flower over her shoulder like an umbrella, and with the other she knelt down to gently turn Beanie’s chin up. “Don’t worry,” she cooed softly, “we’re going to take care of you.” She turned to address two other young women who had followed her from some other place. “My children – you must be kind.”

The other women looked on the surface more ordinary – pretty, young, penchant for wearing short green dresses with leather and carrying swords. One had red hair tied back, the other’s was curly and blonde. The later gently took Beanie’s head, smiling warmly as the woman in red glided away, then with a gargle and squelch she pushed her thumbs through Beanie’s eyes.

The woman in red paid no more heed to them, as she busy twirling and humming to herself, the hue of her skin changing from green to orange as she danced around. “Hmm-hmmm, hm-hmmmm, hm-hmmmm, hm-hmmmm, hmmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmmm, hmm, hm-hmmmmm, hm-hmmmmm,” eventually she came to sit on a rock, raising an eye brow as she only now noticed something pointing at her. “Hmmm?” She looked sideways at Tenley who now held Beanie’s gun. “That won’t help you, child,” she said unperturbed. The red-haired woman sneered, reaching for her sword, but was stopped by the luminescent woman simply waving a hand. “Easy, Lilian,” she said, “I do believe this poor girl must have hit her head.”

Lilian instantly calmed, sheathing her blade. “Why is that, your majesty?”

“She’s not terrified,” her majesty looked back to Tenley from her makeshift throne. “So, fearless girl, what brings you into my neck of the woods?”

Tenley had spent a great deal of her life knowing that no-one would ever come to help her and so couldn’t believe that’s what these people were here for. But this woman, creature – whatever she was – she was hard to look at, and even harder to gauge what her intentions were. “Who – what are you?” She asked.

“Hard to explain even to myself. I shall tell one of my epithets – Titania.”

Tenley arched an eyebrow doubtfully. “The fairy Queen?”

“Oh, well done,” Titania clapped, “you are surprisingly well read, aren’t you? No need to introduce yourself, Tenley Tych – I have eyes and ears all around this forest. I’ve seen you, tending your and your mother’s home,” She paused, head tilting contemplatively. “Yet you are here and she is not. What could have happened, I wonder? You have so much pain, anger,” Titania’s skin flashed red as in less than the blink of an eye she seized the gun’s barrel, squashing it like it were a cardboard tube, hissing, “This can’t help you. But I might.”

Tenley looked forlornly at the flattened gun – an effective demonstration that no weapon she could muster right now could defend her from them. So now she was resigned and curious to ask, “how?”

“I can make you stronger, faster, tougher, and more,” Titania explained as her skin hypnotically pulsed. “Strong enough to hunt any quarry you desire. And those are but small samples of the gifts I can bestow.”

Tenley was finding it hard to stay awake, but she had to – she had to take care of mother one last time, and then the people who had stolen any chance for her to prove herself one day. “And what do you want?”

“My – so mistrusting,” Titania tutted. “I suppose it’s understandable. You will become one of my children, like Lilian and Ella here,” red-haired Lilian stood obediently at attention, while the blonde, Ella, scowled somewhat disdainfully. “When I have need of you, you will obey. There’ll be a few other rules as they come to me, but mostly you’ll be free to do whatever you want.”

“And if I say no?”

“Ah. Well, you see – we greatly value our privacy out here.”

“So,” Tenley surmised, “you’ll blind me, like him?” She nodded vaguely to Beanie.

The Queen smirked, “You really are a very clever girl. But, what is it you really want, Tenley Tych?”

“I want-” The pulsing seemed to have intensified, harder and harder for Tenley to keep her eyes open. But, one thought was clear; “I want to punish my mother’s killers.”

Titania’s smile broadened as she raised her hands to announce, “done!” Once again the forest came alive, roots and vines slithering then rising from the dirt to snap and wrap around Tenley’s limbs. She tried to struggle, but it was utterly futile.

“Apologies for the restraints, but it can be a rather painful process. Or so I’ve heard at least,” Titania lifted the flower to her nose as the roots did their work, crawling under Tenley’s skin. “Hunter’s blood shall course through your veins, remaking you in my image… as I was once made in theirs. Should your mind and body survive intact, you will no longer be fully human. Not quite me either, but something in-between – A Changeling. Then, fearless girl, we shall both have vengeance.”

Many fairy tales begin with a child. Broken, orphaned, rejected, then found by a seemingly magic being that will grant them any wish. Many fairy tales, and this one is no exception. Dreams are made into reality, but there is a price, terms, conditions. And dreams can become twisted into nightmares.

This is a fairy tale, but not everything is as it seems.

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