Welcome back for part 3. In the last two parts, Arabella has had her heart broken by the man she loves and has decided the only thing that can help her is a visit to a sorcerer in the woods. Coming up today is what Arabella wishes for and the consequences that follow.***
At first she thought the small room was on fire but a moment after her eyes adjusted to the brightness of the light, she realized the room was only filled with hundreds of candles scattered across the floor and table which were oddly covered in rose petals.
Stepping inside, she noticed there wasn’t much in the room. Only a straw bed, a wooden table, and two chairs. In one of the chairs sat a young man unlike anything she had expected of a sorcerer. His clothes were ragged and his dark, shoulder-length hair greasy, but his face could have been described as handsome and kind. He wasn’t beastly looking in any way. Only sad. Judging by his blank stare, she knew she had surprised him with her visit.
“Are you the sorcerer?” she asked timidly. “I believe you can help me with a problem.”
Hearing the word “problem,” the sad man in the chair transformed into the character of the evil sorcerer everyone believed he should be. His previously kind eyes suddenly sparkled with mischief, and a wicked grin spread across his face that now looked yellowish-green in the candlelight.
“I am the last living man possessing magic in the land thanks to the King’s outlawing magic,” he replied standing tall and dramatically bowing. “What sort of problem could ever bring a woman to these forbidden parts of the woods?” he asked sauntering towards her. “I haven’t had anyone foolish—or rather desperate enough to visit me in many years,” he smiled, studying her as he circled around her. “What horrible fate could have befallen you to send you my way? I hope you know what you are getting yourself into by coming here…”
Arabella shifted uncomfortably under his hard gaze and tried to focus instead on something else—on the rose petals outnumbering the candles in the room. “A broken heart,” she answered with fresh tears stinging her eyes. “That is why I am here.”
“My dear, I cannot give you a love potion if that is what you are seeking. I can do many things, but unfortunately causing a person to love another is not one of them,” he told her. “Everyone knows the limits of magic stops at forcing the will of a person.”
“No,” she replied shaking her head. “Though that is what I would wish for, I do know it to be impossible. But I was hoping you might have another way to help. You see, the man I love is now to be married to another,” she explained crossing the room and dropping her velvet bag on the table. “I’d be willing to pay anything for your assistance.”
The sorcerer’s eyes widened as he peered into the bag. “I have no need for money.”
“Then what would you require of me?”
“A promise. To never return here again.”
“Fine. I won’t have a need to. Never again,” she promised.
He didn’t look convinced. “What is it you wish?” he asked anyways.
“I wish to keep the man I love from marrying anyone.”
He nodded slowly. “Are you certain this is your wish? I have done as hundreds have requested throughout my lifetime, and yet few are ever satisfied with the results. Magic tends to have a mind of its own. Is this truly what you want?”
She nodded, never breaking his gaze. “It is.”
“Very well. It will be done as you asked,” he said tossing her bag of coins toward her and returning to his lonely place in his chair at the table. Then it was as though he no longer saw her in the room. She watched him as he proceeded to mindlessly finger a couple rose petals in his hand while staring blankly at the wall. Arabella followed his gaze to several drawings of a woman. The same woman from different angles.
“Who is she?” she asked, clearly disturbing his thoughts.
“You can leave now,” he replied ignoring her question. “I think you will find that the wedding has been canceled. Just as you asked.”
“Of course,” she nodded. “Thank you for your help,” she muttered turning to leave.
Following her path still indented in the snow from her journey to the cabin, Arabella began to wonder how her wish had been answered. Perhaps the sorcerer had turned Anna into a toad or some other nasty creature, she thought smiling. Maybe I should have asked for that instead. That would have surely been enough to make Rowan come running back to me. Never tiring of imagining every horror to befall Anna, Arabella arrived at Rowan’s house within the hour.
Pounding on Rowan’s door excitedly, Arabella braced herself for him to run out and declare his love for her. She pounded again. But no declaration came.
“Rowan, are you here?” she called out slowly pushing the door open. Still no Rowan.
She stepped into the room to see his sister sobbing on her knees and clutching a rose. Kate looked up at her questioningly with horror.
“Kate? Kate, what’s wrong?” Arabella asked entering the house, her voice rising in fear. She had a feeling she didn’t want to know the answer.
“It’s Rowan,” Kate sobbed. “He just—he—I was talking to him and—” she stared wide-eyed at the rose in her hands. “I don’t understand it, but—he transformed. To this.”
Realization of what had happened chilled Arabella’s head and body with horror. Nothing had happened to Anna. It was Rowan who had suffered. Just as she had asked, the sorcerer had ensured that Rowan would never be able to marry. She felt so stupid. Arabella screamed in anguish, hot tears streaming down her face. Blindly, she snatched up the rose from Kate’s hands and ran back into the forest to confront the devil in the cabin.
To Be Continued…
The end isn’t here quite yet. Come back next week for Arabella’s confrontation with the sorcerer.