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Kate G. Jameson

Fairy Tales and Fantasy

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Beauty and the Beast

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

I finally finished my review of Beauty and the Beast! You can find the original tale here.

Until next time, word nerds!

Nova’s Test: Epilogue

For the full story, click here.


 

I open my book wearily. Although it’s been two years since I earned my title of sorceress, Aurora and I still keep in touch. I’m happy to see there’s a new message from her.

Nova, I have a favor to ask of you. I know you have only just finished your assignment, but you are the closest person to a couple who needs help. I meant to go, but the situation here is more complicated than I thought and I can’t get away. 

I need you to attend a baptism. One of the child’s parents has managed to offend a local witch, who is planning to curse the poor child.

I groan. I’ve had very little time to myself since my first assignment, but I can’t refuse Aurora. I owe her this and more for training me.

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Epilogue”

Nova’s Test: Part 19

For the full story so far, click here.


 

“What have I ruined?” I’m rather irritated now. After all I’ve done for the that ungrateful little brat, he has the audacity to accuse me of ruining his life. I have never done a thing to harm him!

Aside from the curse, I suppose. But in the long run, that will make him happier.

“Heinrik, please calm down,” I say, trying to do the same.

“Calm down? How can I calm down? You destroy me, my life, and you have the gall to live under my roof?”

I pinch the bridge of my nose, taking deep breaths. “You insufferable boy. Now I remember why I cursed you. You have no consideration for others. Maybe I should let you send Ingrid away.”

Heinrik struggles against the invisible bonds. “Don’t even think of it witch!” he roars. “I won’t let you take her from me.”

“Are you even listening to yourself? You’re the one who wanted to send her away. I’m the only reason she’s still here! Do you think I want you to stay cursed together?”

He stills. “You don’t?”

“Of course not, I’m not heartless. I want this debacle over as much as you.”

“Oh. I didn’t realize.”

“No, you didn’t. You didn’t think about anyone other than yourself.”

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Part 19”

Nova’s Test: Part 18

For the full story so far, click here.


 

Aurora, I’ve just realized I have no idea how the curse will be broken. I think Heinrik is beginning to really care for Ingrid, but I’m not sure what will trigger the end of the curse, I write frantically in my notebook.

What is the exact wording of the curse?

I have to think hard to remember exactly what I said. I was upset and didn’t follow the general guidelines fore spelling out a curse and how to break it.

As best as I can remember, I said “By day you will be a beast, whose face reflects the ugliness of your soul and whose soul reflects the fairness of your appearance. By night you will have your human form. Until you know love, real love, you will remain this way.”

Know is an abstract word, so it’s hard to say. My best guess would be that Heinrik has to admit that he loves someone other than himself. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, but that would probably be the easiest kind for him to admit. From the sound of it, he has developed feelings of some sort for Ingrid. Encourage him to figure out exactly what those feelings are. I believe your test is nearly over.

My test is nearly over. I may soon be a sorceress. The thought gives me pause. I’ve rather gotten used to this life. After I pass my test, I’ll spend most of my time traveling to the different places where I’m needed. I’ll have a home, but I won’t be there often. And despite my many complaints, I’ve come to consider this place home.

Spells and curses, these two children have somehow wormed their way into my heart.

I kick at the table next to my bed. How did I get myself into such a mess?

I leave them alone for the night. I no longer fear for Ingrid’s safety, at least not at Heinrik’s hands, so I see no need to watch over them. Their conversations should be their own.

Ingrid is happy when I arrive in her room the next morning. She chatters on about something Heinrik told her about. After a while, her face grows serious.

“Have you seen Bear this morning?”

“I’ve locked him out in the gardens. You don’t have to see him if you don’t want to.”

“Thank you. He really scared me yesterday. I don’t know what happened to him.”

“I don’t know either, child.”

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Part 18”

Nova’s Test: Part 17

For the full story so far, click here.


 

The days speed by, now that we can look forward to Ingrid’s return. Before I know it, the rest of the week has passed and Ingrid walks through the front doors. I hug her, startling both of us with my enthusiasm. The beast must have smelled or heard her and he comes barreling into the front hall. I’m afraid he will crush her, but he skids to a stop before running into her. Ingrid laughs and throws her arms around him. The two head off to entertain themselves for the day. I set about my daily chores. Out of sheer boredom, I’ve begun to do some of the work without magic. I’m actually beginning to enjoy it.

Dragon’s teeth, I hope this curse is broken soon.

The sun sets and, for the first time, Ingrid is waiting for Heinrik in the dark, empty hall. He smiles at her warmly. He’s a handsome man, but the smile brings a warmth to his face that makes him seem more welcoming.

“Welcome back, Ingrid. I hope you enjoyed your visit home.”

“I did. Thank you, Your Highness.”

An awkward silence settles over the room.

“Did you need something?” Heinrik asks.

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Part 17”

Nova’s Test: Part 16

For the full story so far, click here.


 

Despite the vast size of the lodge, not to mention the fact that in the time we’ve lived here, there have never been more than five people in it at once, Ingrid’s absence seems to leave it feeling even emptier. After three days of nearly tangible sadness, I decide to act. It’s simply unbearable. I must do something to cheer up Heinrik.

I never thought I’d say that.

Unfortunately, I can’t get through to the beast so I have to face the man. I enchant a mirror to show people who are far away, but only for a short time. As the sun sets, I track down the prince.

“Begging your pardon, Sire, but there’s something I think you should see. I was cleaning one of the smaller rooms when I found a strange mirror,” I explain as I lead him to the room. “At first it seemed normal but then I was thinking about how much I miss Ingrid. Next thing I know, I’m looking at her in the mirror! It must be some sort of magical artifact.”

“I don’t know why you’re dragging me down here,” he grumbles, but his eyes are bright with interest. It’s the most animated I’ve seen him since Ingrid’s departure.

“I thought you might be interested in seeing how your family is doing,” I lie. Well, not completely. He might want to check in with his family. But I’m hoping he wants to see the girl. But I know if I say that he’ll only protest.

Men are so stubborn sometimes.

I leave him to the mirror and quickly cast an invisibility spell on myself and sneak back inside.

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Part 16”

Nova’s Test: Part 15

For the full story so far, click here.


 

Ingrid is quieter today, obviously thinking about what to say to Heinrik. She even avoids Bear, who seems lost without her company, wandering aimlessly. The whole castle simply seems sad. Ingrid hasn’t left yet, but it feels like she’s already gone. It’s almost a relief when the sun sets and I walk her to the hall to speak to Heinrik.

“I don’t know what I want to do yet,” Ingrid tells Heinrik when he asks what she’s decided. “But if you would allow me to, I would like to go home for a week. At the end of the week, I’ll make my choice to stay home or return here.”

“Why?” he whispers. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was trying not to panic.

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Part 15”

Nova’s Test: Part 14

For the full story so far, click here.


I scribble a quick note to Aurora, telling her I need her advice as soon as possible. I don’t expect an immediate reply, but apparently my cryptic message catches her attention.

Have they fallen in love?

I struggle to put together words.

No, they have not. Heinrik has offered the chance to go home if she wants. She will ask to visit home before making her decision, but I think it likely she will come back here. She has grown accustomed a life of luxury. And despite her complaints, she and Bear have formed a close friendship. I believe Heinrik is even beginning to grow on her. But that’s not why I need your advice.

What is the problem, then?

For the first time, I feel guilty. Not just about the way he kidnapped Ingrid. I think I may have made a mistake cursing the prince like this.

There’s no response. I fidget nervously. It may be that I’m about to fail my final test. The thought that I might never become a sorceress is crippling. Aurora writes back, but the lines blur together and I can’t read it, even if I want to. My breathing grows faster and more shallow. I don’t know what to do anymore. I just don’t know what to do. The words repeat in my head, over and over, and I realize I’m saying them aloud.

“I don’t know what to do. What have I done? How can I fix this? What am I supposed to do?”

A gentle hand begins rubbing my back. I stiffen. Ingrid can’t see me like this. It would bring up too many questions. Besides, when I lose control of my emotions, it makes it harder to keep using magic. My disguise has completely disappeared.

“Oh Nova. You poor child.”

It’s Aurora. She must have gotten worried when I didn’t respond to her message.

I look up at her through bleary eyes, at an utter loss.

“I never told you about my own sorceress test. I think it’s time I told you that story.”

“But I thought you weren’t allowed. The tests are sacred. Apprentices can’t know what sort of thing to expect.”

Aurora nodded. “That is…partially true. Most sorceresses don’t discuss the tests with their apprentices for that reason. But I had other reasons for avoiding the subject. Pride, or embarrassment, perhaps. In this case, however, I think the help it might offer you is worth the unpleasant feelings.”

I sit up and listen with rapt attention.

“My final test was to identify a person in need and help. I found a young girl, a nobleman’s daughter, but her parents had both died. She lived with her abusive stepmother. This girl, Ella was her name, was resigned to her life. She was such a kind and gentle creature, I couldn’t help but want to aid her. I was so confident, more than I had reason to be. I’m afraid I went too far.”

“What do you mean?”

“I arranged to send her to a ball, a masquerade. I…influenced the prince, so that he only had eyes for her. The magic was so strong, I could only keep it up until midnight. I managed to warn her and she got away before the magic wore off. I had just enough power left to cause her to lose a shoe. The prince found it.”

I look at my mentor with new eyes. Every person on the continent knows the story of the servant girl who became queen with the help of a kind fairy godmother. It’s the type of sorceress I’ve always aspired to be. And Aurora did it as an apprentice.

“I made a terrible mistake, Nova.”

“What do you mean? I know how the story ends. Everyone knows how it ends. It’s a legend!”

“Well, it is now. You don’t know how much of the story is left out.”

“Left out?”

Aurora sighs. “I overestimated the intelligence of all the people involved. I should have left something other than a shoe! The prince was so infatuated with the girl he met at the ball, he insisted he would marry whichever girl fit the slipper left behind. Of course, the shoe fit nearly a hundred women, from young maidens to widowed grandmothers. He had no way of knowing which girl was the one he fell in ‘love’ with. There were riots in the streets and the monarchy almost collapsed.”

I can’t even blink, I’m so entranced. “What did you do?”

“I was lost. But then my mentor told me the story of her final test. You probably know it. The mermaid who wanted to be human? She caused a lot of trouble with that ruse. But she told me something that helped me figure out what to do. I’ve never forgotten her words, and whenever I perform magic of any kind, I keep them in mind.”

“What did she say?”

“Magic cannot change the nature of the world. It can only enhance what is already there.”

The words sounded like a spell, there was so much power in them.

“I suggested to the prince, in disguise, that he hold another ball for all the women the shoe fit. Perhaps he would recognize his love if he saw her in the same situation. I gave Ella a new dress, but I didn’t cast any of the spells to catch the prince’s eye. I left it entirely up to her. Fortunately, her experience at the first ball gave her all the confidence she needed to approach the prince. He recognized her, they got married, and the rest is history. So you see,” she says, gently stroking my hair, “magic isn’t the way to have them fall in love. Get to know them, but more importantly, help them get to know each other. They may even learn something about themselves in the process. You might learn something too.”

Aurora’s voice fades as she disappears and I fall into a deep sleep. I wake the next morning, refreshed. The events of the night before seem blurry, as if I had dreamed them. I shake off the haziness and check on Ingrid.

Nova’s Test: Part 13

For the full story so far, click here


I doubt that anything the prince does will surprise me, but who am to question my mentor? Perhaps when I am a full sorceress, I will understand how to give cryptic messages and confuse apprentices.

I follow Aurora’s advice that night and follow him after the girl again says she doesn’t love him. I let him wander aimlessly, following invisibly and silently, as he prowls through the dark hallways. He’s angry, kicking furniture and slamming doors. I don’t know what it is Aurora thinks I’ll see, but she seems to believe that His Royal Highness, the Prince of Tantrums is experiencing some emotion other than anger. I don’t believe it.

The prince stalks the corridors for hours on end. Finally, as dawn approaches, there is a change. He stops walking and crumples to the floor. I slowly approach, trying to see what he’s doing. His shoulders have begun shaking and he pounds the ground weakly with his fist.

By the great magic, he’s crying.

Continue reading “Nova’s Test: Part 13”

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