Her reverie was disturbed as Kiara tossed and turned in her sleep. The girl was fighting the drugs and she wondered how much longer she could avoid the trouble that she could sense was coming.
Had she been able to see Kiara’s dreams she would have been very concerned.
The girl settled and she returned to her memories.
A very different character had appeared after about a month. The creature looked quite human, although still rather small. She wondered how he had harvested the corpses to create the quite believable facade, but decided against asking. She had been dozing in her chair and the sound of coins spilling on the floor had woken her up. They gleamed and glistened in the lamplight. Her wardrobe was opened and he gestured to it. “ I love your elegant new costumes!” he said, but how is my new house getting on?” “ I had to find a way to disguise my youthfulness she said, and I needed the clothes to..” He cut her off,- “No matter, buy what you wish! Have you found a place?”
“ I have !”, she said,” but it needs work”. “You have more gold!. Sort it! “. I need papers”, he said,” Make me a doctor. Bribe who you must. There is more gold,- if you need it. He paused and looked at her. “Come here!” When she reached him, he grabbed her face and put something into her mouth. This time she did not resist. It slid down her throat and she resisted the urge to gag. “Fix my house and make me a doctor”. He left again in a blur of movement.
For matron, the next few months had been a blur. Moving to the country and setting up the strange clinic had been exciting and exhausting. Doctor Boglin, as he now titled himself, brought strange machinery into the clinic. She had seen nothing like them ever before. Huge coils of copper and glass globes that lit up. It was as if she had entered a different world.
Then the strange children started to appear. Some looked normal, some looked like idiots and some looked quite grotesque. They all had one thing in common. None of them could speak. Some made noises, some babbled, but none of them could communicate in any normal fashion. The doctor cured them all. It was then matrons job to recruit and oversee an ever-changing rota of temporary tutors whose job it was to teach them to read and write. The doctor would then spend hours with them, asking questions and making them write down everything they remembered from their early childhood. Some were very difficult, but matron found the old cell in an unfinished part of the building and life got much easier. She had even paid some urchins to collect rats for her and they lived happily in the room. All males, of course and she replaced them as necessary.
The only real upset had been in the early weeks, when the doctor returned from a walk in the woods in an agitated state. He demanded that she go to the local blacksmith immediately and insist he made him a bucket of nails straight away. He had loaded a pile of the copper metal that he used into the little carriage they used and sent her off to wait for the nails. It took only a few gold coins to keep the smith working all night. She had dozed in the carriage. It was just as well, as he had led her straight to the woods on her return. He pointed to a tree from a distance and watched as she hammered nail after nail into the trunk. It made her feel quite ill to do it. Every nail seemed to send her into spasms as she hammered them in. By the time she was finished, she felt too weak to stand. She had to take to her bed for several weeks after the incident.
She stirred herself. The child had settled and was in a deep sleep. “Time enough in the morning to decide what to do”, she thought. She went to her own room and was soon fast asleep.
“Kiara! Kiara!”. Kiara awoke, startled by Moira’s frantic whisper and her hands shaking her shoulders.
“Am I dreaming?”, she asked. Moira silenced her with a finger to her lips. “Get Dressed!”, I will explain on the way. Not sure if she was dreaming or awake, Kiara quickly dressed, and they slipped out through the kitchen and headed for the woods. The moon was full and they tried to keep to the shadows and out of
sight of the doctor’s room. The air felt damp and cold. Kiara pulled her coat tightly around her as they walked in silence.
Finally, they reached the edge of the woods, and they relaxed a little under the protective cover of the trees. Moira stopped, and holding Kiara by the shoulders, she gazed into her eyes to make certain that she was being understood. “ Listen carefully, we have much to do and little time. The elders have given me human form for tonight so that I can help you. I need your help. We are half-way between worlds, neither human or Fae. We must work together to protect the guardian tree and allow the forest guardian to return”. Can we go home then?, Kiara asked. “Hush!, Moira looked at Kiara with a hint of impatience, which quickly turned to affection. She pulled her to her and hugged her. She spoke slowly and earnestly. “Yes, we can go home,- but first we have an important job to do. You must be brave, and you must remember who you are. The goblin has returned your powers to you, but for his own ends. He means to use your power to claim the land of the Fae as his own. He knows who you really are. He has been stealing the power from changeling’s for many years to increase his own magic. Now that he has a princess of the Fae to stand by his side, he thinks that he has all he needs to hold his claims,- once his armies have swept across our realms. He means to bend you to his will and take you as his queen. He believes that with you by his side, none will be able to contend with him.