We made it from our hair, flame and snow in a tight, strong braid as thick as a man’s wrist. You never knew there were two of us, did you? Two sisters, as different as fire and snow, in a suite of bare stone rooms above the clouds. We ate what the ravens brought us and used the bones to scratch and stab at one another. The tower rang with our screams. It seemed we would go mad.
But, magic is a cage that squeezes. Its prisoners grow into new forms to accommodate it. My sister and I grew hard, like the stone that surrounded us. As we were meant to do, we learned to use the power in the air above the pines and in the gravid bones of the tower. At first, air and earth were all we had, but we soon wrung lightning from them, and then we had fire. We understood, from the trembling of the timbers above us and the sighing of the great iron door, that we were forging a key.
Freedom might have been goal enough to focus our efforts, but the years of tutelage were long, and we came of age. Desire was a devil in our blood. We chose to weave a mighty spell with the elements we had mastered – the first time we had worked together.
“Catch us a raven, Isabella,” my sister said.
I was the more proficient with the quick magic of air. I wanted what Guinevere wanted, and yet I argued.
“A raven is a poor choice. They are liars and thieves. I will charm a hawk instead.”
Guin was impatient. “The hawks almost never come near. It will take too long. A raven will have to do.”
That is how we got Tom. Let it be a lesson to you on the virtue of patience. I caught him in a snare of my hair, and we wept and bled over him for three days and three nights before we were able to work the change. Bird to man. I would never call the blackguard a prince, but he was dashing and bold. And angry! Confinement did not suit him – it took a few days more to seduce him.
To be continued…