She's curled against a tree, trying to lose herself in her book. Frex's smooth voice intrudes her peaceful bubble.
His hands rest on the back of Nessa's chair as he gazes into the evening sky. He boasts a list of her latest accomplishments as though they are his own.
"Ah, darling Nessarose, you'll grow up to do great things," he says, stroking the girl's hair affectionately. And she glances at the perfect father-daughter image over her pages and silently vows that she will do great things too, if just to prove she isn't the disaster everyone thinks she is.
As she changes into her nightgown later, her sister wheels into the room. "Elphaba, I know you think Father doesn't care about you." She braces herself for the false reassurance, the lie. "It isn't your fault." Nessa is at her side, taking her stained hand in her own. "Some people are just destined to fail," she adds kindly. This unexpected blow stings far, far more.
But now, years later, she realizes that it's the truth. She's winded from running and running and running her entire life, but fate must catch up sometime.
So she sits, alone, in this miserable castle, and wishes it would all end soon.