Diedre picked up the bowl of meal that her husband had prepared and stepped out into the yard. She eyed the hens, wondering how she was supposed to feed them. Should she simply set the bowl on the ground? She chewed her lip as she tried to think like a chicken. “Yes…I would much prefer a dish so I would not eat dirt by mistake.” With that decided, she promptly set it down. The hens descended on her like a swarm of bees, wings flapping frantically as they attacked the bowl. She cried out in a panic as they proceeded to dump the contents all over the ground.
“You crazy birds! Look what you have done. Fine…eat dirt! See if I care.” Diedre spun toward the coop to gather the eggs. With that chore done, she returned to the hut cradling the fragile eggs in her skirt. She had almost reached the door when a hen darted between her feet causing her to let loose of her gown. She screeched in outrage as the eggs tumbled to the earth, exploding on contact. Well, so much for the eggs. She giggled.
She retrieved a bucket and filled it from the well. It was full when she started her trek to the door and she was dry. By the time she returned to her home, she was soaked and there was only a fourth of the water left.
“Oh bother!” She stomped her tiny foot in frustration. This was going to take all day! After two more attempts, she decided that she had enough water.
Diedre tapped her nail against her teeth as she tried to remember the rest of Lokai’s list. She brightened. Bread! I am supposed to bake bread. It cannot be too difficult. Women make it all the time.
She peered into several containers until she located the flour. She scooped out six handfuls into a bowl and placed it on the table. She stirred the mixture as she added water until it reached a lumpy texture. Dumping it on the table, she worked out the lumps with her fingers then placed it on the shelf above the hearth to bake.
Satisfied, she searched out a kettle and half-filled it with oats and water to prepare their porridge. Placing it on a metal bar, she swung it over the flames in the hearth. She began humming to herself as she cleaned the flour from her hands and table. Cooking is not so difficult after all. Will not Lokai be pleased?
Her next task was to empty the tub. It took more than an hour and three broken nails to accomplish that chore.
Lokai found her in the garden when he returned. Beside her was a large pile of weeds and vegetables all jumbled together. What in the world was she doing? He held his tongue as he watched from a distance. He soon realized that she did not know which was which. He decided to intervene before she plucked the garden clean.
“I see that you have been busy, Sprite.”
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“Who’s there?” His bleary eyes darted about the chamber as a chill raced up his spine. After a few moments of silence, he shrugged and, retrieving the cup, swayed back to his seat.
Kyla will regret this day…that be a certainty! I will thrash her within an inch of her life for disobeying me…after I have tasted her freshness, of course. Taking a large pull from his cup, Clyde spewed it about the room choking and coughing as Iona’s filmy body appeared before his eyes. Sheer terror shot through him at the sight of her!
“Y-ye can nae be here! Ye are dead!”
“Ye would ken that better than anyone…since it was ye who did the killing! I did nae mind that as much as ye telling Kyla that I had left her and ye without so much as a goodbye!” Iona’s blue eyes glowed almost white in her anger.
Ramsey’s eyes bulged as his intoxicated mind attempted to sort out what floated before him. With a snicker, he grinned at her.
“I thought it quite ingenious, me self,” he slurred. “What care ye? Ye are nae real…just a drunken vision!”
Iona’s blood, if she had any, boiled in fury! What an insufferable lout! Then, remembering why she was there, she smiled widely.
“If I be a vision then why would I ken Kyla’s whereabouts?”
Clyde sobered immediately, sitting ramrod straight in his chair, eyeing her warily. Tis nae truly Iona before me. She would do naught ta let me near the lass! Mayhap tis a demon. He snorted as he decided that was the most logical conclusion. What did he care as long as he got Kyla back?
“Ye truly ken where she be?”
“And ye will tell me?”
“Mayhap I will, then again…mayhap I will nae.”
“Do nae toy with me wraith!”
“Toy with ye? Is that what ye think I do?”
“What else can it be when ye can see how tormented I be at the loss of me daughter?”
“Good! It gladdens me heart ta see ye suffer so.”
Clyde was aghast! What manner of she-demon was this?
“Ye relish me suffering?”
“Aye. For your plans for her were pure evil! Was a wife nae good enough ta satisfy ye? Why torture your daughter?”
“Bah! Why should I argue with ye when ye are nae more than a vision? Go! Ye waste me time.”
“Ah, then ye have nae wish ta ken where she be?”
Bloodshot eyes darted her direction once more but he remained mute.
Sighing, Iona began to fade into the dark.
“Wait! If ye truly ken…then tell me. I would have her back.”
Laughing hysterically, she came back into view. She narrowed her translucent eyes in a glare once she controlled her mirth.
“Kyla be out of your reach forever ye disgusting piece of swine dung!” An evil grin crossed her lips as she delivered her words. “She was wed this very morn,” the spirit’s face almost touched his as she continued, “…and bedded this very night!”
“Nay!” he bellowed, leaping from his seat. “Ye lie!”
Iona held a hand to her throat, remembering it was he who murdered her! With a look of innocence she batted her lashes at him.
“I witnessed it me self, m’laird! Aye. I have nae been from this world so long that I do nae recognize coupling when I see it. Twas a tender moment betwixt the two. I do believe there be a touch of love developing.” The last part was laying it on a little thick but he deserved it. She truly did not know if they had consummated their vows or not. It would be inappropriate for her to watch. But what Clyde did not know…well, what harm was there? A shudder ran through her as he reached for her throat, passing harmlessly through the misty veil.
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Diedre had been banished from the Fae Realm and stripped of her magic by her father, King of the Fae, on her wedding day. Those were the first two curses.
The Captain of the Royal Guard was now her husband and jailer. That was the third curse…and worse than the first two.
This must be an omen of more cursing to come, he thought. Lokai must teach his bride to stop interfering in mortals lives as he protects the royal family from his own father. A man they all thought was dead. It had to be an omen of the dire times to come.
Will he succeed this time, or is it impossible to destroy this evil?
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