Melinda stood staring out of the window of her cottage. Her usually vacant glassy eyes held a furtive expression tonight. Every sound made her jump. She had a feeling this prophecy could only mean trouble.

Something startled Melinda from her uneasy reverie.  The door was pushed open and in rushed a svelte figure clad in wine colored chiffon. A dark velvet hood covered her striking features partially. The new entrant in the cottage moved with so much grace that she gave the illusion of gliding on air. There was no doubt in Melinda’s awestruck mind who stood before her. It was the princess. 

Melinda’s half uttered gasp remained suspended in mid air as Princess Madneli’s melodious voice rang out. “Tell me o seer, where is the hairbrush? Oh you must hurry for there is no time to let slip by. For I do not know how long will it take for my father’s guards to find me.” 

“Same letters shall grace the moniker,
of her who shall see the future.
For silver strands of tranquil moonlight
would gleam when brushed on the third night.
With her whose future it shall be,
magic can then be set free.”

As Madneli’s voice rose the older lady in the room could feel her heart still. Her mouth remained wide open. The princess rushed towards Melinda. Her voice, an urgent whisper now, “You must see, o seer, the girl in your prophecy. She has to be me. I am the one.”  With these words Madneli took down her hood.

Now, the smallest child in the farthest corner of the realm knew the princess had silver hair. However, Melinda was left breathless with the beauty before her. The princess impatiently shook her hair as she rushed to the mirror in the corner and from the table picked up the silver hairbrush studded with gems the color of the ocean. “Our names. Madneli. Melinda. The same letters, just like you foretold. It is the third night after the moon has waned. If you brush my hair tonight, magic will return as the ever merciful goddess Gaya has promised. I hear footsteps. My father must desire me back in the safety of his castle. Hurry o seer!”

Melinda was too dazed to protest. She let herself be led outside of the back door. They stealthily made their way through the interwoven labyrinth of the streets. Melinda jerked to a stop. She had to reason with the princess even though it might mean her death. This had gone too far. For eons had passed since the last fruitful magic spell had been cast in the realm. “My princess, I cannot talk to the dead and I cannot see what lies for us in the future. I simply wove a silver yarn to earn some silver coins. And this is but a silver hairbrush with crystals.”

Slowly the fire in Madneli’s eyes started to dim. She looked shaken. After all these centuries of having faith, was there no hope left after all?

“My fair maiden allow me to guide you to someplace safe”. Before them stood a man like no other. Chiseled cheek bones, jet black hair, vivid blue eyes and with it a strong set of shoulders and a firm hand that had grasped Madneli’s arm. The face of the stranger seemed to emit a strange glow. Melinda listened to his words as if hypnotized by his energy. “I have been gifted by the ever merciful Goddess Gaya to have enough powers to protect you in this perilous journey. For it shall be a long and arduous one. One a pretty maiden as yourself has never undertaken and never shall anyone else undertake again. For we shall return successful and with our return, magic will return to everyone. It shall no longer remain with the privileged few, but be enjoyed by the entire realm.”

The princess turned uncertainly towards Melinda. Just then there was a deafening sound of footsteps. “Come, make haste”, he said taking charge. They let themselves be guided through the streets by the stranger. Turn after turn he ran with them at his heels till they had no idea of the direction they were heading.

Finally he slowed down and turned. His smile had vanished and in his right hand shone a cold silver dagger.  Before the princess could react the dagger had pierced right through her heart. She crumpled to the ground in a beautiful but sadly lifeless heap. 

The man turned his piercing gaze towards Melinda next. “So you don’t remember me, do you? Perhaps it is for the good of everyone. I have seen you prettier, but age suits you as well. Farewell sweet seer until we meet again. For meet we shall as destiny has foretold. This tale has no ending till the final end is told.”

Melinda felt the dagger smoothly, with infinite precision, cut through her heart, but the pain did not come with it. Instead came flashes of fleeting memory. She saw herself pretty and young standing in front of a silver haired man….. A middle aged fat Melinda looked on in horror as a silvered haired child collapsed in her arms… An even younger Melinda lay sobbing at the feet of a black haired man who seemed to be laughing. She saw herself looking stunningly beautiful as she faced someone whose back was towards her. “Magic is mine”, he said as he turned. The face with its sardonic smile was an exact replica of the man who had but seconds ago ensured her death. 

At last Melinda knew the truth. Her prophecy had been true all along. It was time to end this life. She would die this night, but the viscous circle would continue unless she found a way to end it once and for all.