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The Orphan's Tales: Helia at the Stake by shadowedstar213 The Orphan's Tales: Helia at the Stake by shadowedstar213
from my senior thesis last semester.  Inspired by Catherynne M. Valente's The Orphan's Tales.  Fall 2014.

(SPOILERS!)

"It was before dawn, in the sleepy gray, and your father pulled poor Helia out of the Castle, in a plain white shift with her hair streaming like fire in the fog.  The batty old conjurer was there, in his fine blue robes, but he never spoke a word – a servant never says nothing unless he’s asked – just smiled softly all the while.  The King tied your poor dam onto a pile of fresh-cut logs and tied her to it with rough-hewn ropes.  She didn’t struggle, not even when the ropes were so tight her wrists bled.  But when she saw you, well, no mother is so strong she doesn’t care if her babe sees her burn.  She wept, then, and screamed, trying to reach out to you, her little chick a-peeping away in the morning, though she never begged to live, no, not once.

The King drew a long knife and hacked off her magnificent hair, handing the length to his addle-brained Wizard.  They stood over her for a moment, and your sire’s face was dark as dirt.  Then, he lit the branches of ash and oak with a great crackling torch, and she was still screaming, but it had a terrible, terrible keening sound, like a song, a frightful death-song that came out of her bones, and you cried even harder, so scared you were by that screeching, singing noise.  The fire licked at her feet and caught her dress; it lit up her head like an angel’s."

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February 18, 2015
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