Queen Morgana was furious, pacing up and down the room as she ranted at Nik."What in all the unseelie courts do you think you're playing at there? I told you to break that girl, and you've let her befriend your own son! She is supposed to be alone and friendless by the time I implement the next part of my plan you moron! If you're trying to undermine me you will regret it!"
"Please your majesty, I'm not trying to undermine you and I am fully aware of your orders. Neither have I missed noticing this happening. I assure you that I will break the girl, and indeed I have allowed this to happen as part of that plan. I swear my queen, I have calculated this as a way of breaking her spirit further."
Morgana glared at her knight through the mirror, barely appeased by his grovelling explanation. "See that your plan works, because if you fail then I will make your punishment such that no other shall dare to fail me ever again"
Downstairs in the barn, Elenie slept unaware of the plots being woven around her future. Jewel had curled up on the floor next to her.
Once Elenie awoke, her first actions were to feed the cats and tend to Taliesen, brushing his coat and cleaning his hoofs. She knew soon enough she would have to go over to the house and begin her chores but the company of the animals early in the morning soothed her spirit and bolstered her for the day ahead. As she finished, she heard Taliesen whisper in her mind.
"Now you are older, your faerie powers will begin to emerge. I will teach you how to use them as long as you only do so for good."
His first lesson was how to project an aura which would soothe those around her, and as Elenie began to cook breakfast for the household she practised doing so. It was hard work though, and she couldn't hold it for long, especially when she began to concentrate on other things.
Breakfast made, she headed upstairs to begin her next new chore - now that she was a teen Nik had decreed that she was old enough to use a washing machine as well as the oven.
The next full moon was Coryn's birthday and Nik encouraged Dory to invite her relatives around for a party (at least the ones living on the isle). The guests congregated in the living room to begin with and Mira decided to carefully try feeling out her youngest son to see what he thought of her son-in-law. Alas, she soon discovered that Nik had done his work well and Dyan's "reassuring" responses told her that he wasn't even hearing what she said to him correctly. Worse still, he seemed to think she had gone senile.
After a short time mingling, Dory called the household and guests through to the kitchen to eat some delicious baked salmon and chat around the dinner table settled down to normal small talk about homes and jobs.
Once everyone had finished eating (save for Nik who had had to rush off somewhere - he wouldn't say where or what for), Dory brought out the birthday cake and fetched Coryn from the living room where he'd been playing. Leaning over the cake with him she "helped" him blow the candles out before placing him down on the floor.
As soon as Dory had stepped back the birthday sparkles enveloped Coryn and he jumped up into the air as his extended family cheered and blew horns to encourage him.
He landed back on the floor and the sparkles dissipated, leaving behind a smart, disciplined child dressed very smartly in his party best!
Then came the best bit of the party as everyone adjourned back to the living room where a huge pile of gifts had been set up. There were Snowflake Day gifts for everyone as well as some extra birthday presents for Coryn.
Everyone took their turn in opening the gifts which included a snowy stuffed toy for Coryn, a new easel for Mira and, bizarrely enough, a pink lawn flamingo!
Eventually the gifts were all gone and everyone said goodnight.
As the guests left, Coryn went upstairs to his bedroom which had been magically transformed from a toddlers nursery to a little boy's dream.
The next morning, as Elenie cooked breakfast, Mira discovered that her conversation with Dyan the night before had not gone unnoticed. Nik railed angrily at her for some time, accusing her of a complete lack of manners and of attempting to spoil her grandson's birthday party. It was his last sentence though which chilled her blood.
"I warned you what would happen if you dared try to interfere with my decisions in this household..."
Turning his back on Mira he stalked over to where Elenie was cooking, Mira followed him, dreading what he would do next. As he approached, Elenie put the frying pan down and cringed away from him.
"You useless pile of rubbish! I've been kind enough to allow you to stay here and work for a living when I could have thrown you out to starve. You are worthless and now that stupid old bat over there has tried to go against me. Well, guess what brat, you get to take the punishment for her!"
With that, he drew back his hand and slapped Elenie around the face as hard as he could while Mira stared at him in shock.
He then turned back to her and ranted at her again while both of them cowered away, fearful of what he would do should they provoke him again.
For some reason, at one point when I directed Elenie to sleep in her sleeping bag she decided to go to sleep out in the yard buried in snow! I was very tempted to include it in the story, but it didn't quite flow right.