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Once Upon A Time


What if the fairytales we've been told aren't the true stories? What if time and aging and, let's face it, Disney have told us the wrong version?

Chapter 1: The Fairy GodMother


I remember when I first met Ellanora. She was a happy child and spent her days playing in the fields and forests with her mother and father. Those were wonderful times. I at the time was working for her father as a maid and I would often accompany Lady Jessica and little Ella in the fields. Lady Jessica was my closest friend and confident. Ella used to call me Lala since she couldn't pronounce Priscilla.

Then it all collapsed and shattered.

Lady Jessica fell ill, and none of my magic could save her. She refused to drink my potions and told me to save my power. She simply told me that it was her time to leave. Poor Ella couldn't understand was happening to her mother and would spend hours by her side, singing silly songs and telling nonsensical stories, hoping that it would cheer her up.

But it was all for not. When Ella was only five, Lady Jessica passed away. Her father spent most of his time sitting in his study staring out the window with an open book lying ignored on his lap. He no longer saw Ella but his deceased wife in her place. So he spent most of his time traveling and expanding his business. His poor daughter suffered in his absence. She didn't understand why her mother had to leave only that she had. With her father's negligence, she grew lonely and miserable.

So I stepped up and took her under my wing. She became the daughter I was never able to have. I remember that she would cling to my skirts and ask me question after question.

What is magic? How do you use it? Why do the birds sing? How do they know their songs? Can you use your magic to make me able to understand them?

Then I would lift her up into my arms and answer it, no matter how silly or unimportant. As time passed and she grew older her questions only increased. Ella never lost her curiosity.

It was a wonderful life.

Then everything changed when Ella was thirteen.

Her father returned from one of his ridiculously and needlessly long business trips with three more people than with whom he had left. It turned out that he had met his new wife on one his previous trips and had supposedly fallen in love. Ella was ecstatic. She had always desired siblings but her birth mother died before she could give Ella any siblings and as a lone Fairy I could never have a child. Now she had two sisters.

At first I was inclined to think the same, but then I sensed the darkness dwelling in their hearts. The sheer amount of evil within those three stole my breath away. I wanted to pull Ella away from them and burn them into oblivion, but I couldn't reveal my magic to Ella's father. So I kept my mouth shut until I was tucking Ella into bed.

"Ella," I whispered, "I want you to stay as far away as possible from your stepmother and stepsisters. Do you understand?" I still remember the confusion that swamped her features.

"Why Mama? Why do I have to stay away?" Her soft voice was laced with confusion and sadness. I brushed her silky hair from her face.

"There is something very dark residing in their hearts, Ella. I don't want your light and innocence to be snuffed out." After this she drifted off into a dream world. I then placed my hand on her head and sent magic into her mind, ensuring that her dreams for the night would be sweet.

The next day her father and his new wife left for their honeymoon, leaving me in charge of the children. The moment that their parents exited the property, Ella's stepsisters immediately turned on her. Even though it was the two of them against her, Ella stood her ground. She fought back. She made me so proud. When her stepsisters attempted to pull her down and break her, she shoved them off and walked away.

I remember one time, about a month after their parents had left, I had taken them to the marketplace. Ella's stepsisters were whispering to themselves and ignoring everyone at first. Then they started to harass a young girl dressed in rags. Before I could say anything Ella dashed over and shoved them on to the ground. She pulled the girl up and brought her over to me asking if I could help her. That girl eventually became our new maid and Ella's friend.

This sort of thing went on for the next three years, interrupted only by their parent's infrequent visits. However, during this troublesome and difficult time Ella only grew stronger and braver. She put up with so much nonsense from her stepsisters, even when they refused to call her anything but Cindersella. It backfired on them when Ella didn't only accept the nickname but embraced it. She wanted everyone to call her it. When I asked her why, she said it was because the name reminded her of a phoenix, a creature I had described to her long ago. She said that being called Cindersella made her feel like she was a phoenix, that she was rising from the ashes.

The next life altering event occurred when Ella was sixteen. By this time she had blossomed into a beautiful young woman blessed with an equally lovely personality. She was the example of grace and elegance. Her stepsisters hated her because of it and attempted to make her life a living hell. She took it all in stride.

This life changing event started when we received a letter from the royal family stating that they were holding a ball in the honor of the king's second son, who had just turned eighteen.

Ella wanted to go so badly. She wanted to see the lights and dresses and taste the exotic foods that were guaranteed to be there. I of course gave her permission to go but I would have to accompany her. I remember that she bent down and threw her arms around me saying she would not dream of me not going with her, that she would only enjoy herself if her mother and best friend came.

By this time she was already taller than me and not nearly as curvaceous as her mother had been so she couldn't borrow either of our gowns. She decided to save up her money to purchase a dress. Eventually she had enough to purchase a light pink dress. It was no ball gown but she still looked absolutely stunning.

Then the big night came. I had just finished changing into a plain green dress when I stumbled across Ella sobbing in the hallway. I immediately ran to her and threw my arms around her shaking figure. After a few minutes and a through soaking of my gown, her tears slowed and stopped. I pulled away and saw what had caused them. Her dress was stained and torn. There was no way she could wear it.

I knew what needed to be done. Quickly I pulled her to the garden. Using my magic, I created an elegant golden carriage pulled by six white horses. Ella's eyes widened and she didn't speak at first.

"But Mama, what about my dress?" I only grinned. Once again using my magic I made an elegant ball gown. For the life of me I can't remember what it looked like only that I gave her a pair of glass slippers.  She spun around and around watching her skirt billow out, giggling with disbelief. Then she stopped, turned, and looked at me.

"But Mama, what about your dress?" My dress? I thought What's wrong with it?   Yes it was still wet, but it would dry on the way there.

"Mama, I can't wear something like this and you not. Please give yourself a dress that's just as beautiful!"

"Ella, an old woman like me should not wear a dress meant for the young." She simply stated that I barely looked like I was twenty years old and that it was nonsense to say otherwise. I tried to refuse again but she insisted. So I gave in and gave myself a gown that, although it was a different style, was just as beautiful. She also insisted that I wear glass slippers as well, but I didn't give in to this demand. I have worn glass shoes before and they simply aren't my cup of tea.

Then it was off to the ball. The entire time we were giggling and joking around, doing terrible impersonations of nobles and even worse accents.

When we finally arrived, we were shocked into silence. The entire castle was lit up. It was magnificent. But the outside couldn't compare to the inside. I remember how the lights made Ella and her dress seem to glow. When no one was looking I added just a little more magic to the dress so she would actually shine.

As we approached the staircase a man leaned over to Ella and whispered to her. I couldn't hear him or Ella's response but I soon found out when the man yelled out and introduced us as Lady Priscilla and Lady Cindersella.

All eyes were on us. I froze not knowing what to do, I've never been the recipient of so much attention. As a fairy I try to stay out of the limelight as much as possible. Ella snapped me out of it when she gently took my hand and began to descend the stairs. Amazingly we both managed to make it without  tripping.

Ella was immediately swarmed by young men asking her to dance but they backed away as soon as the second prince approached. Ella blushed prettily and shyly put her hand in his.  I stood off to the side hiding from anyone who would ask me to dance. At first I was absorbed in watching the pair on the dance floor, as was everyone else. Then I saw several young men walking towards me from different directions. So I ran into the garden. I did not want to dance.

However, as I was admiring the roses, I was startled by a voice behind me asking why I was not inside dancing. I spun  around with my hand on my chest, attempting to calm my racing heart. It was Prince Stefan, the eldest prince. I responded by saying that tonight wasn't for me. He grinned.

"But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it." Then he asked me to dance, right there in the garden. To my surprise I accepted.

For the next few hours we simply enjoyed each other's company, laughing and joking, getting to know each other. It was almost midnight when he grabbed my hands and asked me if he could call upon me. I refused him. A human can not court a fairy. I pulled away and tried to walk away but he grabbed my hand again.

"Why not, Priscilla? We were having such a good time. I thought you enjoyed my company." Tears were pricking my eyes by this point.

"I can't tell you. Besides you wouldn't understand."

"Then make me." The desperation in his voice made me stop trying to pull away. I turned to him, tears streaming down my face, and said two words.

"I can't." I wrenched my hand away and ran into the ballroom. Ella was standing off to the side speaking with the younger prince. I grabbed her and told her it was time to leave.

Stefan shouted my name across the room and made his way over to us. Ella noticed that I didn't wish to speak with him. She grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the stairs. We ran as fast as we could in our large dresses. Ella tripped on the staircase and lost one of her shoes but she didn't stop. She kept a hold of my hand and continued running. Stefan almost caught us but we managed to reach the carriage in time.

As the horse ran, I looked out the window and saw Stefan standing there with tears in his eyes. I didn't look back again. I couldn't.

As the carriage moved along Ella asked me what had happened. I poured my heart out to her. I told her everything, what had happened in the gardens, the fun we'd had, and what Stefan had asked. When she heard that she understood. Ella knew that fairies were immortal and that it would only hurt both parties.

"Oh, Mama. I am so sorry." She wrapped her arms around me and held my crying frame much like I had done several hours ago. Who could have predicted this turn of events?

The next day, as I sat at the table staring at my breakfast, Ella informed me that she had burned our dresses and she had attempted to do so with the shoes but the glass slipper refused to melt. I smiled, thanked her, and told her to keep the shoe as a reminder of the fun she had.

The next few days were filled with Ella's efforts to make me smile. They didn't succeed but the effort she exerted did. She would help me with the chores or randomly bring me flowers. After about a week I began to truly feel better but Prince Stefan was still trapped within my thoughts. I honestly wished that I could have accepted his offer, but fairies and humans can't be in that sort of relationship.

Two weeks after the ball I was washing the floor in the main entrance when there was a loud knocking sound. There was no one scheduled to come by at this hour so I opened the door cautiously. Then I slammed it shut. It was him.

Ella heard the loud sound and rushed into the entrance asking what had happened. I rapidly explained who was outside the door and told her to get her stepsisters to deal with them. I then ran into the kitchen, intending to wait there until they had left. I heard Ella's stepsisters squealing and fawning over our visitors. Then I heard nothing. What? Did they leave already? Silently I walk to the door and peek around the corner and see something I never expected.

Ella was standing beside a pile of broken glass holding one of her glass slippers, the one she had managed to keep. She sat down in a plush chair and handed the shoe to Stefan's brother. He gently slid it on to her foot, then pulled her up in to his arms and kissed her.

A gasp escaped me. It was very quiet, almost silent, but it was enough to gain Stefan's attention. He turned his head towards me and his eyes widened when he recognized me. I ran back into the kitchen and went out the back door. But I wasn't fast enough. Stefan caught up and grabbed my arm. I pulled and strained but he wasn't going to let go. Not this time. He yanked me against his chest and pressed his lips to mine. I froze and just stared at him. He brushed my hair away from my face.

"Why did you run?" Tears began running down my cheeks. I furiously rubbed them away.

"Just leave, Stefan. Please."

"Why?" I  could hear the confusion and hurt in his voice. I wanted to tell him everything. That I was fairy. That I loved him. So I did. I sat him down on one of the benches and explained everything. he seemed very surprised when I told him that I was a fairy, but when I asked him what his thoughts were he simply said that it made sense since someone so wonderful couldn't possibly be human. He accepted the fact that I was different and still felt the same. He asked to court me once again. This time I accepted.

Six months later both princes asked Ella and I to marry them. Since none of us wanted a massive wedding or a long engagement, we decided to instead have a small double wedding in three months. There was no need to wait for decorators or party planners since my magic would take care of everything. The only reason we waited so long was because Stefan refused to allow me to use my magic to send the invitations and insisted they be sent the original way.

Eventually big day came. The castle was aglow with magic and we were surrounded by our family and closest friends. I only wish that Lady Jessica could have been here to see Ella floating down the aisle in her enchanted white wedding dress with pure joy shining from her. I know that she would have been just as proud of Ella as I am. I don't remember much else from that day, just the love and joy on everyone's faces.

Seventy blissful years passed in the blink of an eye and all of sudden Stefan, Ella, and my son-in-law were all old. And they were all dying. I thought that I had prepared myself for this. That I was ready to let them go when the time came. But when I did I realized that I couldn't, that I wasn't ready. So I did something rash, something forbidden. I used my magic to change them, to make them into fairies.

It was wrong. I knew that. That kind of magic is forbidden for a reason. I don't regret it though. I don't regret saving them from the grips of time. I do, however, regret the method I used. There was a legal path that I could taken, but in my desperation and fear I was too hasty and impatient. I paid for my actions. I was imprisoned for an entire century. For one hundred years I was not allow to see my family. I missed them so much.

The day that I was released was one of the most wonderful days of my life. I ran into Stefan's arms. He was healthy and young once more as were Ella and her husband. Turns out that they had actually had a child during my absence. They named their daughter after me.

So nearly two hundred years after that fateful ball and over a hundred since my release, we stand here in the middle of modern America. I take a sip of cold water from my water bottle as I watch Ella and my granddaughter weave crowns and chains from flowers, which they then force upon my son-in-law.

I hear a gurgle behind me and I see Stefan play with our infant daughter. She holds her arms out to me, so I gently lift her up into my arms and whisper to her.

"Hello, Jessica."

Life is wonderful.