The little girl smiled. "I'm Melisande. But I don't want to hear a story, I want to tell one." Her voice had a slight lilt to it, the singsong pattern of a child with a secret.
She was a bit odd, but she was a pretty child and had an amiable nature.
Emme nodded. "I think I would like to hear it very much."
The little girl seated herself on the grass and cocked her head to the side, and then began to speak.
"There was a princess who lived here, in this house. But the princess was very unhappy. She was forced to marry a man she didn't love. He was a kind man though, or tried to be, but the princess was angry at having to marry him, when her own love was so close by. She met her love in secret. But the princess had loved unwisely, and her love had a price. A very dear price."
Emme shivered. It was not a story, at all. It was thinly veiled gossip about the duke. "That isn't a very nice story, Melisande."
The little girl nodded. "Not every story can be nice, Emme."
A chill swept Emme's body. "I didn't tell you my name. Who are you?"
The little girl smiled again and her eyes were knowing as she met Emme's startled gaze. "You never have to tell us your name. We always know who you are."
Gooseflesh raised on her arms, Emme looked at the apparition before her. It had never happened when she was awake, it had never been so clear. She looked to be flesh and blood, but Emme had no doubt the child before her was a spirit.