The nightmare that plagued her loved ones for years afterwards looked like this: her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever.
But if you were to meet her afterwards, you might be shocked at how she gave no indication of being affected by that nightmare. How alive she was, how bold, and how markedly different. Here was a new person. Here was no meek, crumpled form wasting away in a moldy dungeon, water dripping on the bones, flesh eaten away, a rotting thing with coils of well-preserved bright hair.
Because it didn’t happen, thought her mother. She’s safe now, thought her father. Thank Merlin, thought her brothers.
But privately, she’d always assumed that it did happen. Something had died. Something had been discarded and left behind in the chamber. She had simply resolved to make it the fearful something, the selfish something that worried incessantly about boys who might like her, the something too paralyzed to speak; the something which might have been too self-conscious to befriend loony or round-faced, unpopular people; the something obsessed with staying quiet and meek and nice. That something was rotting at the bottom of the dungeon now.
And when she had the dream, it did not scare her. It only reminded her that she’d died and come out on the other side, and she would do so again, she would be foolish and she would be manipulated and she would rot and she would fail, because all people did. But you could choose what part of you would live on. You could recover. New. Unafraid.