It was her first day of work, and she was already late. Her brother had forgotten to wake her, but excuses would get her nowhere. So she ran. The castle sprawled rather than loomed. She ran in one of the servants' entrances and threw on her black maid's dress and white apron, tying it as she went.
No one waited to scold her in the head maid's office. That's when she noticed the quiet. No one else had been at the changing room. The hallways were empty. The kitchen was still.
Following a sound, she walked out to the courtyard. Amid the lord's famous roses stood the castle's lord, its entire host of employees, and a beautiful stranger. She joined the crowd at one end, as far from her employer as she could.
"Until that time, you and yours shall be cursed," proclaimed the stranger. With that, the lord writhed, twisted, and became bestial. Rippling outward, a light washed over the servants, changing them as well.
The light flowed through the crowd like a wave, changing them as it went. It rushed toward her. Seeing her fate about to be written, she took in her breath and said,