Tanya tiptoes into the village, stopping outside of Morlock’s house, wondering if the man is still awake. She looks at the other silent and dark houses around her on the street, seeing that everyone else is asleep. She gently wraps her knuckles against the door, not really expecting it to open but to her surprise, he opens it. He smiles at her when he sees her and ushers her inside after tying her horse to a post outside of his house.
He sees her flinch and lets her go, walking in front of her and raising her eyebrows, “Tanya? I am glad to see that you are in one piece. What happened?”
She mutters the words to release him from the spell she casts to cover her injuries and watches as he grows pale, seeing her face covered by some white fabric. She removes it to show him that her left cheek is burned. “I nearly lost my life to the dragons but I got you your damn dragon egg.” She takes off the bag from her back and hands it to him. “I am not sure what kind of dragon it will be but I was drawn to a blue egg.” She does her best to sit down so that she can rest a bit before making her way home. “I do want to thank you for casting that spell so that everyone thought I was still here. I know you didn’t have to do that but I am grateful for your help.” She smiles and sighs, leaning back in the chair, ignoring the discomfort. “I have one last task. Give me the items now so I can…” she stops talking, tears springing up into her eyes as she thinks about what she has to do, unable to contain her sadness any longer.
Morlock relishes in her tears as he waits for her to finish the sentence, wanting her to say that she will kill Mark in the next day or two. But if she does kill him, then Morlock will have to lift the curse and she won’t want him then but the death of the man who stole her from him does make his heart sing. He takes the bag and opens it, peering down at the egg that sits inside, excited that he has a new pet. He takes the egg out, the egg returning to its normal size once it is free of the bag, and he takes it to a corner on the room where he has made a make-shift nest out of blankets for it. He sets it in the middle and then leaves to get the knife she must use to kill Mark with and a box in order to put something of Mark’s insides. He walks to where Tanya still sits in his chair and packs the items up inside of the magic bag, handing it to her once again. Tanya takes the bag and peers inside, seeing the knife and a box. She looks up at him curiously, knowing about the knife but not about the box.
“After he is dead, you will have to cut out or off something that is his and place it in the box before you return the knife and box to me. Don’t mind the blood getting on the insides of the bag, I can wash it all out. Now rest and gather your strength. You still have a little over a week left before your time is up and the curse claims your life.” He smiles and leans down, kissing her on top of the head before he helps her stand, ushering her out into the late night. “Take care of the horse and go home. I expect Mark’s death and whatever you want to place in the box in three days tops. Do not wait any longer than that.”
Tanya wipes the tears away as she clutches the bag and nods, muttering, “Okay.” She turns away from the house as Morlock closes the door and unties her horse, leading him away down the road towards the stables where everyone keeps their horses together. She puts her horse away, giving him clean hay and water before she takes off her other bag from the saddle, placing it on the ground next to Morlock’s satchel. She tiredly takes off the saddle and grabs her things, leaving the horse to rest. She sneaks to the back of her house where her window is just a crack opened so that she can sneak back in once she had returned.
Soon she is sleeping peacefully in her bed, having just hidden her bags inside of her closet and forgetting to wash up. Her exhaustion had won over her wanting to freshen up before going to bed and before seeing her parents in the morning. She will just have to get to the washroom before she sees them so that they can’t tell that she has been out traveling. Her dreams swirl around her as mist and uncompressible, leaving her confused and scared but unable to wake up from her slumber until she hears the roosters of the village crying out for the early rises to get ready for work. She sits up in bed, looking around, not remembering where she is or what has happened the past few days until she gets up and looks in the small mirror in her room. Seeing the burned raw cheek and side of her left eye, she raises her hand to her face, knowing that after what she has to do once she has completed her last task; she will have to disappear.
She grabs clean clothes and heads to the washroom, hoping that her father hasn’t risen yet and she can get in there first. To her delight, he is still in bed, having that morning off. She goes into the washroom and washes away the dirt and grime from her trip, making sure to be extra careful of her back, face, and the other injuries on her arms since they are still healing. After she is dressed and has placed her long hair in braids, she sits down at her desk, pulling out parchment and quill so that she can write a letter to Lilly about everything that has happened and about how she must leave her village once she has completed the last task. Once finished, she sends it away with a carrier boy and walks out to the meadow to find the flower that the fairy has told her to place on her windowsill when she is ready for their help. She plucks the sweet-smelling daffodil and carries it back home, slipping back through her window and hiding the delicate flower in her desk. She looks back into the mirror at her soon to be scarred face and covers it back up with some special cloth before muttering the words Lilly gave her. Even though she can’t see the difference, she knows that others won’t be able to see her injuries.
Satisfied as much as she can be in her current situation, she heads out of her room to face her mom who is finally awake and in the kitchen cooking up breakfast. She smiles and kisses her mother on the cheek, sitting down at the table while her mom cooks some eggs over a fire stove. “Morning mother. I hope you slept well.”
Her mother accepts the kiss and smiles at her, “Yes I did, thank you. I can’t wait to see all that you are going to do with the material you brought home. Stacy and Lennie told me yesterday that you three will be getting together today to work on the clothes.”
Tanya nods, playing along, “Yes, we are, and I can’t wait to get started. My mind is full of ideas and I want to get those clothes made before…” She stops herself before she tells her mother about the last task.
“Before what dear?” her mother asks, turning to look at Tanya curiously.
“Oh, before I forget all of my ideas. I have done that before and I am still sad that my pink dress didn’t come out the real way I wanted it to,” Tanya says quickly, making a sad face to throw her mother off from the truth.
Her mother chuckles as her father enters the small kitchen and kisses Tanya on the top of the head before stating, “Don’t worry dear, I know you have to have lists of what you want somewhere in that mess of a room.”
“My room is not that much of a mess, father,” she pouts then stands, walking back into her room to see that it is a bit messier than usual.
She grabs her bag full of dirty clothes from the trip and heads out to wash them before breakfast, wanting to get them on the line before the sun is above her house. The time outside gives her time to think about the last task and how she can trick Morlock into believing that she has killed Mark. She will also have to find something from an animal that she can hopefully pass as belonging to her Mark. She has two days to write letters to her family and friends, get packed, find something to use as a fake body part from Mark, and then on the third day, trick Morlock into freeing her from her curse as well as her family and then…She hates the idea that has popped in her head but it is the only one that she knows will keep her safe from the man who has turned her life upside down.
She returns to the kitchen and sits with her parents, drinking milk and eating the eggs and buttered bread that her mother has made for them. She chats with her parents throughout breakfast until there is a knocking on the front door. She hurries up and cleans the dishes while her father opens the door to see two eager girls with bags full of materials and other items needed to make new clothes. They say a quick hi and are inside in a split second almost running her father over to get to Tanya. Tanya laughs and lets her friends drag her to her bedroom where they can work in peace. Tanya has already cleaned up her room before she washed her clothes and now pulls out the box full of her clothing materials, accessory materials, and sewing items.
The girls get everything out and begin with sketching what they want to do with their items before they even think about picking up their needle and thread. They chatter, Tanya able to weasel out information without her friends figure out that the person they saw wasn’t her and catches up with what has happened since she had been gone. Soon, they are all sewing, cutting, and comparing it to their drawings the further they got along. Before lunch, each girl has a new dress is done and ready to have accessories like a belt or a bit of hand-made jewelry added to it. They show her mother and she praises them for their speed, eye for accuracy, and how well the dresses have been sewn together, she herself having been the one who showed the girls how to make clothes back when they were only 6 years old. Once the girls scarf down some lunch, they head back into the bedroom to continue working on their next outfits. Tanya decides to work on her mother’s new dresses so that she can have those done before she has to leave. The girls make plans to have a light dinner in the meadow and go for a walk to the waterfall before they return to their homes for the night. They also made plans to get together the next day in order to work more and finish their new clothes, even though it meant that Tanya will have to work at night to get packed, write the letters, and get ready to disappear on the third day.
She does her best not to cry in front of her friends but it is hard since she knows that she will have to leave them behind and never return. What she has to do will make her a criminal and a murderer in their eyes or maybe not since Morlock had driven her to do what she must to escape him. She will explain everything in the letters but she doesn’t know if they will forgive her for what she has done and for leaving. The day slowly comes to an end and she has finished two dresses and the accessories that will go with both. She gently touches the light green dress that she has made for her mother and then eyes the new black dress that she has made more attractive than the last one, planning to make a new cloak to go with it. She also plans to make her father’s new shirts and trousers along with three more dresses before she leaves even though she may not get any sleep. The girls make dinner and leave for their trip to the meadow, Tanya knowing that this will be the last time she sees her meadow and her waterfall.
She enjoys her time even though it seems to end too quickly and as they say their goodnights after a nice time at the waterfall, Tanya still feels a pit of despair in her stomach and an ache in her heart. She stays up late, writing all of the letters that need to be written, taking her time to put in as much information as she can so that they know that she had no choice in doing what she must do, especially with the last task. Once the letters are written and sealed, she sees that it is still early in the night so she gets to work on her cloak, cutting, sewing, and putting together the warm fabric she has picked out just for the cloak.
Tanya falls asleep on the floor next to her finished cloak and half-finished pair of trousers, unable to keep her eyes open any longer. Sleep came without nightmares or dreams thankfully and she slept peacefully, even though she would wake up in some pain from having fallen asleep on the floor. Rubbing the back of her neck, she sits up, her hair coming out of her braids as she stares around her room once again confused until she sees the clothes and scraps all over her desk, bed, trunk, dresser, and floor. She stands up, stretching then sits right back down and gets back to work. She finishes the trousers for her father before she hears her mother moving around in the kitchen, getting ready to start breakfast and another day. She keeps working on another pair of trousers until her mother calls her to the kitchen to eat. She eats as quickly as she can, cleans the dishes quickly, and races back to her room so that she can keep working until the girls get to her house. She first gets dressed and re-braids her hair then sits down and cuts sew and compares them to her sketches. She hears a knock in the other room and soon the girls are back in her room, the three hard at work getting clothes for their parents and themselves finished.
The day ends quicker than the last but Tanya has finished all of the clothes before she has to go to bed, placing the finished clothes for her parents in their small living room so that they can see them when they wake up. She pins their letters to one of the clothes, her parents already in bed asleep, and she walks to their bedroom window, staring in at them. She had said good night and that she loves them before they went to bed but now she wishes that she can crawl into bed with them like she had done when she was a young girl and sleep with them. But she knows that she can’t so she returns to her bedroom and pulls out her big bags, placing them onto her bed. She moves to her desk and opens it, pulling the flower from the top drawer and carries it to her window where she pushes the window open. She places the flower on the windowsill and then moves back to her bed, packing everything that she can, planning on taking one of their two horses with her. Once she is done, she turns to return to the window, staring out into the night wondering if the fairies have gotten her message.
In a split second, two fairies stand on her windowsill beside the flower, staring up at her. The one she was supposed to help what seem like ages ago, stands in front of her with a look on her face, knowing that there is something wrong. “Are you ready to disappear?”
Tanya shakes her head, “Not yet. I still have one last task to accomplish, get the curses taken off of myself and my family, and then I can. But I need your help with my last task. I need something that belongs to Mark that proves that I have killed him.”
The fairies look at each other for a moment then look up at her again, the other fairy speaking this time, “We can help you with that. Do you have a weapon that needs to be used?”
Tanya retrieves the bag, digging out the knife, and placing it on the windowsill before the fairies. She then pulls out the box and places that next to the knife, “It has to be put in here.” She puts the bag down on the floor, feeling as if her knees will give out on her at any moment but she wills herself to stand.
“We will take care of this. Get some sleep and when you wake up, the box will have an item inside that will convince Morlock and the blade will have blood,” her fairy friend says as the two enchants the blade so that it is small enough for one of them to carry.
The two zip away, leaving behind the box and a grateful Tanya. Tanya puts her bags by her door with the clothes she will wear to travel in the next day and slips into bed. She wonders what the fairies will do in order to help her but she hopes that whatever it is, she hopes that it does, in fact, persuade Morlock that she has killed Mark and will lift the curses off of her and her family and friends. She falls into a deep sleep without any dreams thanks to a spell that the fairies have placed on her without her knowledge. They could see that these tasks were aging her and they could see through Lilly’s spell, seeing the injuries that she has sustained in order to get these tasks done so she wouldn’t have to marry the obsessed man. Outside, the fairies move quickly and quietly in order to help save their new human friend.