“She roams the forest at night as though sleepwalking, our nightmarish Princess. That infernal owl clings to Her wrist and whispers the Witch’s orders in Her ear. Have not you noticed the absence of the Good Faeries? They stay locked in a lantern at the Dark Maiden’s hip, bearing unwilling witness to all of Aurora’s abominations.”
The children looked up at the old man in fearful wonder. “But how did She become so wicked? Was not She once the beauty of the land?”
The old man nodded wearily. “It is true; Aurora was once beautiful beyond measure. But on Her fifteenth birthday, She pricked her fingertip on a spindle, and the Witch’s curse awakened Aurora into Her true incarnation: Princess of Nightmares.”
The children exchanged disquieted looks. “W-what does She look like?” asked a small girl.
“Her beauty is now deadly,” he said simply. With sudden vigilance, the old man looked at the open window. “Get to bed, children,” he murmured gravely. “I have heard the call of Her owl. Aurora is awakened.”