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Fiction Friday! This week we were tasked with: You or your character find a forgotten letter or card from someone important in your life–whether good or bad.  What does it say?  How does it affect you or your character?  What is done with it? Keep your posts to 600 words. I struggled a little with this one, no lie. For those folks new to Queen Snow’s Story, and wishing to catch up, the tab above has all the previous parts.

Queen Snow had avoided moving into her Mother’s chambers, the Queen’s chambers. First crippled by the course of curses, then with sudden violent grief. But it was time to step into and through her mother legacy. Though she and Syten will rule together, they will spend several months of the year apart, due in part to the necessity of the Phenoia’s annual return to the Dark Forests.

“What is his name?” Queen Snow had asked Syten the night before. The corners of Syten’s mouth twitched and the Phenoia’s ears lowered. “What?” She asked confused.

“Her,” said Syten, with laughter beginning to flush his checks and lighten his eyes. The closer he got to giggles the more annoyed the Phenoia became and she had expressed her displeasure by sending up small clouds of ice particles with the swishing of her spiked tail.

“Her. She’s a her!”  This delighted Queen Snow, “Can I ask her directly?”

Giggling Syten said, “You can. She won’t answer you, but will understand.”

Perhaps more formally than was necessary, Queen Snow turned to the Phenoia bowed slightly at the waist and asked, “May I know your name?” She swore she saw the large creature roll her eyes and Syten was beginning to laugh so hard he was holding his sides.

“What is so amusing?” Queen Snow demanded, “I’m just being polite!”

“Alice. Her name is Alice,” said Syten with tears rolling from his eyes and then steaming away.

“What kind of name is that?” Queen Snow asked.

“Exactly!” Syten howled. Alice rolled her shoulders, blew displeased air from her slitted nostrils and tossed glares at Syten with every step as she stalked out of the room.

“I’m sorry Alice! I am!” Syten said, not very convincingly as he continued to giggle. “They choose their own names and Alice had heard it in a story and thought it sounded exotic.” Syten was howling and Queen Snow couldn’t help but giggle with him. Alice had not been pleased.

Warming herself with the memory she steps into the frigid air of the Queens chamber and towards the filigreed mirror her mother had used daily. Taking her place on the seat, she notices the small painting her mother had commissioned when she was no longer a child but not yet a woman, hung so at eye level. Queen Snow gently removes the painting from wall and runs her fingers along the frame remembering how her mother sat with her, spinning tales, distracting her into sitting still.

Her fingers encounter something on the back. After further investigation she is convinced of a hidden object. Queen Snow raises the frame above her head bringing the corner down sharply on the dressing table cracking it. A small package wrapped in a purple night flower petal falls revealing a square of cream paper with tiny writing, and a piece of ancient birch bark. Queen Snow’s eyes widen. It is forbidden to remove the bark from The Glade, even for a Queen.

 My Daughter, I have proved that I would have taken my own life before harming you. The person who gave you the means to kill me will ask price that if you pay, means an end to us all. Take this piece of bark to a Wiccan Wise, but not to the Mother. Your enemies are close and unfathomably powerful. Step gentle. Keep your own council.

On the bottom right corner of the note was a tiny drawing of a green flame inside a red one.

Queen Snow’s breath catches. How does one keep a secret when their very thoughts can be heard?