This Seven Tricks freebie story was the result. This takes place afterwards...
The old woman lit each candle in a circle around the table. The gesture seemed reverential, religious, but it was just a gesture. Another decoration, a way of dressing up her melancholy thoughts in a way that comforted her.
“May I join you?”
The tiny voice might have sounded like a series of squeaks to another, but the old woman wasn’t just anybody.
“Madam Mousenip.” She nodded her head at the tiny figure standing on her hind legs, sniffing at the air. “Come to gloat over your handiwork? Or perhaps I should say your paw work?”
She gestured to her own wrinkled face, marked with age and sorrow.
“Oh, come now, Prissipat. My spells never worked. It was your own self loathing which led you to believe my bite turned your face ugly.” The Mouse Queen waved her bald tail in a fetching manner. “I always thought your face was lovely, before and after I laid a tooth into you.”
“Lovely?” The old woman ran a hand down her face. “Everyone believed your bite cursed. I was forced to leave my home because everyone was afraid of me. I haven’t dared to look into a mirror since that day.”
“Maybe you should have. You never looked any different to me.” Madam Mousenip’s whisker’s drooped. “I never had the power my prince had.”
“What are you squeaking about?” The old woman glared at the deceptively helpless creature. “What have you done this time?”
“Nothing. Well, it was a nothing serious enough to drive my prince away.” The queen’s whiskers dropped further. “Have some pity, Prissipat.” Her tail went limp as well. “Your descendants have hunted my people ever since I bit you. I’ve been exiled, doomed to skulk in the walls of your castle, while a granddaughter with your name and twice as unpleasant with too many cats is destined the rule after her father.”
“Good.” In truth, Prissipat did feel pity. A tiny bit. Perhaps it was lonelieness or curiosity. Her nephew, the king never visited. She hadn’t even realized he’d named his daughter after her. “What’s this about driving your prince away?”
“Ah, well, I found what I thought was the perfect successor. Only he fell in love and ran away with the object of his desire.” The queen sighed. “Now I’ve got to choose another prince among a bunch of greedy gingerbread gobblers.”
“Such is the weight of the crown. Those destined to wear it are seldom worthy of it.” Prissipat glanced down at the flickering flame of one of the candles. “We can hope they will change into someone whose head will fit the golden round.”
“We can hope.” Madam Mousenip sighed. ‘’Tis a time of hope, yet all I feel is tired. Tired and lonely.”
“Take a moment to warm yourself by the flame of my candles.” Prissipat surprised herself with her own words ‘’Tis a new year. Let go of your regrets. Think of what you wish to do next.” She smiled a little. “Life is too short for such things. Especially for a mouse.”
“You’re right.” The Mouse Queen crept up to the candle and reached out her paws to the tiny flame. “I do hope Mousenip will be happy, even though the warren is a lonelier place without him.”
“That’s a good attitude to have this new year.” Prissipat nodded her head. “Hold onto it with both paws.”
Madam Mousenip nodded, the flame reflected on the liquid beadiness of her eyes.
It almost looked like she was crying. It might have been a trick of light. Many said that a mouse couldn’t cry.
Prissipat wasn’t sure about that. Still she pretended not to notice.