Flashback

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During the entire meal, Tiernan stood behind his master's seat and waited. The food made his stomach growl. It had been a while since he had seen such a sumptuous meal and now he was hungry. Taryn turned to him and dismissed him for the remainder of dinner.

Tiernan sat over a bowl of porridge and listened for the umpteenth time to the story of the evil witch and why Taryn was disfigured.

Tired from a long journey, the witch asked for a place to sleep at the King's castle. A celebration was in full swing when she entered the ballroom. A storm had left her skirts in tatters, and a twig was entangled in her hair. When the King saw the witch in her pathetic state, he had denied her request. He had laughed at her and told her that there was no place for ugly people in his castle. The witch became angry and threatened the King and the Queen, but they laughed again and questioned her power. In her anger, she had put her wand high above her head and chanted a spell.

Tiernan listened. It had been the King's fault that his son was called a freak and a monster. He pushed his bowl away and went to see his master.

Tarynstood on the stoop of the throne. One Princess after the other walked over tohim and kissed him. After every kiss, the Queen watched her son expectantly.But nothing happened. The spell wasn't lifted.

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