qdesjardin: (Default)


There is Raki, now a father of two boys living down in Monaco (Monte Carlo). Over the years, wanderlust has carried him across Italy, wanting to find the joy and freshness of living that he's felt, being with Maleficent. He's picked up Italian, and learned how to become a travelling merchant, selling various trinkets and toys from town to town.

He's fallen in love with a pretty girl, Vittoria, whose olive skin and forthcoming candor makes an alluring beauty. She told him some of the goods he'd been selling were duds, and if anyone caught him on this, he'd be in major troubles.

Where he is shy, she is confidently outgoing.

Where she faces insecurity, he advises her in gentle confidence.

And eventually, finding the scenery of Monaco promising, despite the political instability of the region, they'd settled into a glamourous home which overlooks the port and the waters, and it's a perfect spot for Raki as a merchant, because tons of foreign goods are delivered every day, and he can trade those off for reasonable prices elsewhere – which earns him more than enough to live comfortably with his family.

He is 36-years old now, and yet.. not even the joy he feels now can eclipse his memories of her. The woman who first touched his heart. It's difficult to explain – it isn't as though he's unhappy or dissatisfied to be with Vittoria, but at the same time, there is an incompleteness.

She would ask him why he stares out the windows some nights, or wander off on walks by himself to the forested regions. He'd never have a good answer, besides that he wants moments in solitude to contemplate somethings.

Because he is afraid of mentioning Maleficent to her. Afraid of telling her all the feelings Maleficent's brought out in him, that he doesn't feel with her. Afraid of ruining their marriage with jealousy for another woman.

When he finds himself lost amidst the trees, he would half-heartedly wish to see the coloured smoke of the cauldron again, and feel the mystery of stepping into the precipice of another realm, where anything seemed possible. A childish wonder, that he can only look upon now with a regrettable nostalgia. He doesn't recall the last words he's exchanged with her – except that it felt like a goodbye, and the intoxication of her promise.. living together with him one day, happily.

He tells his children it's good to have dreams, and to imagine them as real as the skies they see, the very ground they stand on now. As you get older, life's harshness can deprive you of innocence, but the fondest memories of the past thrives on.

He watches over them, making sure that they are happy.

When they ask him if he has a Dad and a Mum, Raki tells them yes – everyone has one, even the mammalian animals. That is how life goes on, even after they eventually die, for children are a living memory that their parents, and their parents before them have existed.

"And if you don't have any children?"

Then others may remember you fondly, and the good things that you've done. Or eventually, you'll be forgotten.


One day, after a week of deliberation, Raki tells his family about his visit to France to see an old, treasured friend. He does not mention Maleficent's name – only the fact that without her, he would not be here with his family today. It would be a private journey to reconcile his present with his past, and find an answering resolution to the haunted moments Vittoria would see in his eyes.

"I hope you'll find what you are seeking," she tells him, tearfully smiling.

He takes off on horseback, with some cash and a few days of rations.. not knowing when exactly he'd come back from visiting his memories.

The path is misty under the morning rays, a fuchsia sun under a teal dawn. He'd pass by trees where his mere presence sets the perching birds off into the skies, and the birds would appear like shadowy butterflies heading somewhere into the distance. The days travelling become alive, pregnant in vividness as he doesn't speak a word – he still remembers his kiss, with her, like electricity in his body when everything else disappears outside of her sensation.

At nights, his body would ache noticably after hours of riding; when he's moving, he is kept going by the promise embedded in his heart, and when he's resting, he's restless for the next day to come, so he can go on looking for her.

Finally, at night, his horse gives in from the constant trotting, and his rations run out, so Raki has to make a brief detour to Paris, where he sees smoke rising from within the city walls, and a few people fleeing down the opposite direction.

"What's happening in Paris?" he asks a panicked old man.

"It's Maleficent! She's wreaking havoc inside the city, and I for one am not about to die at her hands, believing in His protection. If I were you, I'd run as far, far away from here."

But Raki heads forth anyway, dismounting his horse and tying it to a nearby tree.

"It's your funeral, boy! Have you lost your mind?"

".. I have to find her," Raki goes, running to the gates.


The night skies seem to bleed red, and Maleficent turns her attention to the Notre-Dame Cathedral – densely packed with over half the population of Paris. The others have went to St Germain-des-Prés, or St Chapelle in the centre of the city.

Since this is where the King and Queen are sheltered, the faeries have devoted themselves primarily to the defense of this church – they're watching over the other shelters too, but France will have no future without the royal bloodline. Even if the new ruler is successfully able to take over rulership, the country's political power will be cut short, not to mention how devestating the blow will be to the people's morale.

Maleficent isn't aware of the royal presences in the cathedral. She does notice however the charms which have been cast to protect the borders of the Notre-Dame – it's those three blasted winggirls.

"Maleficent!" Flora yells, floating over the spires. "How we pity you. You only know hate in your heart, and you seek to inflict as much suffering and destruction upon us all. Why? What have we ever done to you to deserve your wrath?"

"Everything.." Maleficent clasps her hands tightly, as if they're wrapped around the throat of everyone. "This world is ugly to me, and all its inhabitants. You want to love someone, only for them to betray you and leave you in the end. You reach out to people, only for them to find you repulsive and disgusting. The pretty roses have thorns that prick the tender fingers of the wounded – of what value such a reality is, it is absolutely worthless. God has certainly fucked up on the first day of creation, and like the flood of Noah, I will wash away the mistakes- uaghghh-!"

A great pain throbs in her head, and Maleficent is on her knees, clutching her skull. It's like something is threatening to burst out of her shell, and the faeries look on, almost with bemusement at her suffering.

Her black horns seem to glow with malevolent energy, and some of her white hair seeps out, and she feels the urge to vomit.

But when she opens her mouth, it is green fire which pours out, scattering over the square, setting ablaze the wagons, the parked caravans – rapidly consuming them into ash. It takes her a while before she regains her composure, shuddering after a primordial outburst.

"She's out of control," Merryweather says, nodding to Flora.

"Any minute soon, the other faeries will come," Flora goes. "If this keeps up, we can take Maleficent down once she loses control of her powers like this. Nobody is able to control magick well under rage."


Maleficent wills the cathedral crashing down. The ground shudders, and the basilica rumbles deeply as its very foundations are being attacked, crushed from within.

Everyone within it is screaming, as the tapestry windows crack and fracture, and the chandeliers, tumbling forth and back, threaten to fall – groups of people, whimpering, kneeling tightly around the knees of the priests, who are reciting verses from the Book of John as a final comfort: "But to all those who have received Him, those who believe in His name, He has given us the right to be God's children, who shall not perish, b-but have Eternal Life-"

The priests' pantings betray their fear in-between breaths.

A mother holding her infant tightly to her breast – shielding her child from the horrors gleaming from out the cathedral walls.

The three faeries are descending down towards Maleficent, whose fingers are curling up, and whose legs seem to be taking root into the ground. Their protective charms on the Notre Dame are like parchment against an iron sword.

Maleficent sees them come. She jolts them with electricity, hoping to shock them in their path – but to no effect (the faeries aren't grounded).

Flora immolates the ground where Maleficent's standing, and the witch is quick to leap away before she takes the brunt of the flash incineration, even though bits of her limbs have been set alight.

Merryweather dashes behind the witch, and sprinkles blinding pops of light all over her – resembling the cascade of firecrackers.

"Aaaghh-!" Maleficent is dazed, her arms covering her face. The effect is like flashing lights upon someone prone to seizure. She crumples onto the ground, wailing, convulsing, tears welling out her eyes.

The Notre-Dame cathedral manages to hold steady, thanks to its arched construction, even though the windows have shattered over the organs, and some candles have fallen – and the Cardinals, remembering the ancient crypt spaces below, organise to get everyone down to where it should be more safer, women and children first, should the cathedral withstand more damage from the witch.

Now the three faeries dance over the downed Maleficent, in a sort of formation, concentrating on re-erecting their impotency field upon her.

She can feel it pressing down – her body is going to sleep, just like then, and in a matter of seconds, she'll be reduced to a helpless marionette on the ground, at their total mercy.

"Let it go, witch," they chant, "let it go. Soon your vengeance and hatred shall be no more, as it has no place in our world. Let everything go."

When Maleficent tries to bring herself on her arms, the ground seems to inch ever closer upward.

"Mama.." she groans. "I don't want to die. I don't want to die.." It's difficult to recall what her mother looked like. She never felt much affection for her parents, except when she was so young, and all she could do is cry when she felt sad.

"Tell us, poor thing," Flora goes, "why should we let you live then?" Even though the look on the fairy's face suggests there isn't any real answer for that, at least, not one that will satisfy her.

And then, there is Raki, wandering from around a corner – he's heard the sounds of destruction, the distant pops, and followed the sights of smoke and fire, over to the Notre-Dame where he finds the one person he's been looking for.

From the distance, he recognises her by her horns, but she is so badly rumpled that he wouldn't be able to recognise her otherwise. He is panting, out of breath from running this way. But he summons one more breath anyway, just to yell out her name.

Because she is not a monster. She is hurting.



And she, her cheeks touching the cold stone, glances in the direction of the boy who's loved her – a grown man now. Even if she doesn't see him clearly, and his voice has grown deeper, she feels a warm resonant pang in her chest,

(he's come back, he remembers me)

and she is falling through the air, her heart bursting from an overflow of memories both beautiful and bittersweet –

"I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream.."

"Because I am Maleficent," she goes, looking up at them with a renewed dignity, the Earth trembling beneath her. "For all your haughtiness, you self-righteous pipsqueaks will never understand me."

And in an explosion of force, she blows them all away, sending each of the faeries crashing into distant buildings.

She gazes at Raki, alone now in the square, and he's jogging towards her. He's so handsome; his hair has grown long, and his bodily stature is leanly muscular. Nothing else matters – she's happy enough just to be able to see him again, after all this time.

"Raki.." Maleficent's appendages reach out to him – he is eeked out. No longer do they even remotely resemble arms; they're like overgrown branches of a tree, covered with thorns and black petals.

"What's happened to you Maleficent?" he asks, worried. "What was that going on before?"

"I.. I tried to save Aurora," she tells him, croaking. "But I was too weak, and too late to do anything. And.. I'm supposed to be dead after my execution. I only wanted.. it to be happier. I'm sorry Raki. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you sooner, I'm sorry I hurt everyone who comes near, and I'm sorry everything turned out this way.."

She is sobbing, her body giving in onto his shoulders, him holding her. "I'm so sorry.. please don't hate me, like everyone else. Even if.. I'm no better than a monster in the end – don't I too still have the right to live and find happiness..?"

A long beat in the chill of the night, with all the fires smoldering away into fading embers.

"Maleficent," Raki says, feeling how warm she feels, "you aren't a monster." And he leans in and holds her lips to his, and despite the lingering taste of ash from her tongue, he finds it a beautiful kiss, and his heart is fluttering, as it did when he was a boy.

They kiss, forgetting the destruction around them, and he finds a feeling of wetness – her tears, pouring down onto her lips, her eyes wide shut, her mind's eye vividly seeing the blue skies, of the young Charles as she first found him, staring out at that sunset, and the forest she took him to,

and the fields where she danced with Raki, and the jovial feeling of visiting those exotic cities together- the way the balloons sailed into the skies, when he slipped and let go of the strings – oh my God, my heart is melting, I can't take it,

She tries holding him close to her, and when she pinches his back by accident with her thorns, and she feels him wince in her mouth, she decides to lean back, onto the ground, take him with her – and before they know it, he's on top of her, the night sky perfectly silhouetting him.

"Put your hand on me, Raki," she tells him, breathing heavily, notioning at her breast. So he does (they're soft), and her appendage gently rests on his hand, and he is trembling – feeling the thumps of her heart underneath, the constant rise and falls of her chest. "Can you feel it beating? I wish.. I've always felt so much, in my heart. If I could open up my chest, and press my very heart upon yours, I'd.. you'll feel how it aches, and all the scars it's felt through the years.."

"Get away from her, Raki!" Flora's voice, like a thunderous command, as she and her brethren flutter back onto the scene, along with the whole host of other faeries gathered here, like a swarm of bees.

"She's seducing you!" Fauna pips, recalling the scene with Maleficent and Charles, back at the castle. "It's her charms, you don't really love her!"

Raki looks up, shamefully interrupted, his hand getting sliced from the thorns. He doesn't know what to say, besides that it feels like getting caught in the act by his older brother.

"You.." Maleficent gets Raki off of her, and rises up on her feet, sheer vengefulness bubbling up. "You fuckers don't know anything!"

"We know enough, Raki is your next victim of your darkness," Flora goes – it's as if she's answering for all the other faeries, like she's the goddamned voice of this hive mind.

"He's someone who I love.. and who loves me back. Are you going to twist everything to make me EVIL?!" The swelling rage is too much for Maleficent to restrain, to the point where the energy seems to crackle out her limbs. "I've lost so many things over my life – but I know, you won't fucking take my Raki away from me! Non, NEVER!"

And she finds herself bursting outward – her whole body, engorged on her emotions, swelling out uncontrollably like the urge to vomit, her screams becoming deafening shrieks. Her barky exterior breaks open from the inside, revealing her guts and muscles, black bile spewing out and all over, spraying the faeries (and a very frightened Raki) nearby.

Maleficent's body is reforming. Scales begin to appear over her revealed organs, and her appendages lengthen and sputter to form sharp wings. As her neck stretches, her face splits outward to reveal teeth, and a snout.

Her very awareness is now blinded by viking rage and hate, over everything surrounding her.

The black wyvern, towering almost as high as the Notre-Dame, who moments earlier was the person Raki loved, but now he's running away from. The beast who wishes to annihilate.

Inside the basilica, everyone is paralysed with terror at the great shadow that is out the windows. The priests clutch the pendants to their hearts, "No.. no!" and a few people faint right onto the floor – the living nightmare too much for them to take.

"Oh my goodness.." Flora mutters.

qdesjardin: (Default)


The witch's rage blossoms feral.

The green flames burn the executioner's corpse at her feet, as everyone is fleeing the square, the shock of death embedded forever in their memories. Flora, Fauna and Merryweather have been knocked away from that blast, in various directions, and they are trying to regroup, to rein back hold over the monster unleashing herself,

ravaging whoever crosses her gaze, tearing their bodies asunder by force of will –

The poor soldiers who try to stand up to her, blindly lunging at her form with their spears and swords, they get swept aside with a swipe of her arm, the ground ripped upward in their wake.

"What happened to our charm?" Fauna asks – the faeries are atop the administration building, with a birdseye view of the unfolding horror. "Why didn't it hold her like it's supposed to?"

"We have greatly underestimated her powers," Flora says. "A wolf cornered will find great reservoirs of strength to fend for its life, and Maleficent-"

The waves of destruction radiate outward, Maleficent as its epicentre, and the very ground seems to cave in on itself as the roots of the Earth emerge out, those raw and gnarly tangles birthed, which wrap around and crush the people. It's like a viral infection played out on a macro scale.

"-we've been too careless with her."

"What are we doing, standing by while she's killing our home?" Merryweather goes.

"If we jump in now," Flora goes, "she'll kill us also, and there's nary a thing we can do about it ourselves.. I'm going to call for assistance – you two, you find the royal couple and their child, and you protect them. Get them as far away as you can."


Fauna and Merryweather flutter off, anxiety pent up in their hearts as to whether their masters are even alive, and not caught up in the wake of destruction. They fly higher, their fairy wings carrying them over the blocks, and find the King and Queen lying sprawled by the spires atop the torchlit Notre-Dame. They're unconscious, but at least they're breathing.

"Charles! Odette! Please wake up!" Merryweather skimps over and slaps them on their bruised faces, to no avail, all while the screams of Parisian people echo from the distance. "It's no use Fauna, we have to protect them in the cathedral, where they'll be safe.. where everyone can be safe."

And by the plaza, Flora has her eyes closed, concentrating. Faeries of the World, please heed my call. A great danger has befallen my beloved country – the evil witch Maleficent is consuming the capital from within. Her powers are too great for the three of us to handle alone, and her hatred threatens to consume everything that is good and alive. If she is not stopped, the deaths of millions will lie at our hands.

Her words carry over across the countries, and the other faeries do hear – if they aren't occupied already with an important errand, they start flying over to Paris.

Down below, Maleficent has decimated the entire square, the flames smoking over the ruins, making it look like a museum relic instead of the glory it once was, minutes ago. The visible sewage pipes leak sludge from the broken connections.

Her feet are perched atop the only untouched spot – where she is supposed to be executed. And she kicks the executioner's charred body down into the sludge.

Across the city, the bells toll.

The Notre-Dame cathedral is where most everyone is heading for sanctuary, hoping for the protection of Jesus from the all too real evil they've witnessed. Families, relatives, street ministers and the like who turn to the blessings of the priests for salvation, while the distant rumbles from outside threaten to get closer. A few people flee the city entirely.

Now, as Maleficent aimlessly strides down the lonely streets, inside, she is reeling from the results of her rage. The memories of being tormented as she grew up – being rejected by people, and feeling helpless against it. She could not push back then; it was being coralled into a corner and made a fool of. The names of who, she's forgotten, but their faces, she'll always remember.

How the tables have turned, for now the powers of Hell serve her whims-

(it hurts)

She winces. It is a stab of disorienting pain in her head, and she stumbles to a wall, trying to recover. She notices her appendages (arms) throbbing in time to her pulse, as if threatening to give birth(?) – have they always been this.. grown? The little thorns popping out the skin, and the visible veins, bulging, like that of leaves.

Down the street, more soldiers arrive, highlighted under their torches. This time, their forces are comprised primarily of ranged infantry, with some mounted cavalry; their aim is to shoot at Maleficent enough with leadshot to disorient her, so that the lancers can wipe her across the floor.

"Ready, aim.." the commander Solaire goes, the musketeers holding their weapons steady. "FIRE!"

The cascade of lead catches her off-guard, and some of it embeds in her torso, while other shots deflect off her thick skin, bruising her still.

With leaden smoke lingering in the air, the frontal flank kneels down to reload, while the rear flank stands by for another barrage of leadshot.

Solaire is a 53-year old veteran of the evil witch – he remembers to his distaste when she brought his troops low in the woods, and made himself piss his trousers at her mercy. He's seen her powers first-hand, and as such, his experience has made him so invaluable as to her defeat. Leave nothing to chance, he preaches this motto to those under his command.

"Ready, aim.. FIRE!"

The backline barrage, Maleficent is quick to react to, and as if acting on instinct, she freezes their lead pellets mid-air, and they poof into little shards which dissipate.

"Now!" Solaire shouts, and the frontline toss grenades (resembling black pots, with primer smoke erupting out the end) into Maleficent's vicinity, while her attention is distracted.


The resulting explosions consume her in searing flames, her skin flaking off, her body halfway splitting in two as she tumbles onto the ground.

The entire street reeks of gunpowder, with the faint stench of the sewers.

A few of the soldiers cheer – it appears they have succeeded in defeating her. But Solaire raises his hand, silencing their outcry. It's not over until he sees she's over. He orders the torch-bearers to toss their torches around her body, to light it.

And to his horror, he sees a life in agony, staring back at him.

The black bile jets out of Maleficent's wounds, as her splintered body is attempting to repair itself, her torso melding back together – albeit imperfectly, for black roses grow outward from the spot, and thorns curl up protectively over her injuries.

"Commander.." One of Solaire's soldiers try nudging him back to action. "What should we do?"

Her face, it's as if the paint has been scraped off the surface, and you can see it is like black marble beneath.

"Commander! Please advise!"

Solaire's lower lip trembles, and he is trying to snap out of his reverie- she spared him once, and.. what was it she'd said? Once, I was a normal person like you, shunned and feared by people, before betrayal has left me corrupted with hate. That was 20 years ago, and the destruction she's inflicted upon his city, the deaths, it is too great a risk to leave her alive.

Besides, he sees Maleficent's eyeballs aglow in green, the irises non-existent – those serpants in the shadow of the fires. They aren't the eyes of a human being, at least, not anymore.

The bells continue to toll in the distance.

"Execute her!" Solaire goes.

So his musketeers walk up to her and aim their guns at her head, point-blank range. Maleficent realises what is happening, and she concentrates on their muskets – overheating the barrels into deformation and detonating their gunpowder, so their muskets explode right in their faces, and their bodies collapse, leaving Solaire's cavalry and torchmen to deal with.

The cavalry ponies are nervous and unsettled by the violence, wanting to trot away, but the lancers nod to each other and kick their ponies forth – either it's killing Maleficent now while the opportunity presents itself, or run away and show how ineffectual they are at defeating her.

They are rushing down the street, in double file, their lances descending towards her centre-of-mass. Their faces impersonal behind their beaked helmets.

Maleficent glances at the ponies' hooves, trotting on the stone pavement, and she bumps up the ground beneath them in cascading fashion – she makes the ponies stumble, and inertia carries their forms forward as their riders skid and roll helplessly, still stuck to their saddles (because lancers have their legs locked to their ponies, so to prevent them from falling off after lance impact), and their legs snap by their knees, bones splintering.

They are in piles at either side of her, moaning.

Solaire only has his torchmen left – and they are already making a run for it, so he is by himself, as Maleficent steps forward, approaching him.

He stumbles on his backside, and urine escapes from his armour. There's grey stubble on his chin, but the gleam of his eyes is still familiar.

For a long time, Maleficent stares at him, studying the man quivering in utter terror. His whimpers into panicked screams, and his hands raised defensively, blocking his view of her like a sort of pleading.

She leaves him alone.


3 March 2015 12:30 am
qdesjardin: (Default)

Wither (At Relationship's End)

I remember once, when it used to be Summer,
I shared with you my secrets and memories,
and all my deepest carnal desires
of sin and beauty and pleasure.

Even little moments blossom into poignant memories,
when I shared them with you, heart to heart.

But as the seasons changed, and sadness
rose from the horizons,

You grew distant, like the rainbow which disappears
as soon as one tries to get closer.

The leaves crumbled and the trees grew barren,
and the familiar scenery eroded into
a hollow shell of that warmth and lushness
I once tasted with you.

Winter came, and I see you've found that happiness
without me,
and I, in all my shame,
could only stare as if caught behind a glass window,

lest I wither you away from my touch.

It is hard to admit defeat,
but the truth is - it's better to be the one letting go,
than be the one who's let go of,
like an old branch falling off the tree.

Sometimes, I wonder if it's better to numb
your heart to the feelings that once were,
instead of absorbing pain from the happiness
which once was,

but then I realise, it once was, instead of it never was.

Perhaps, trudging forth to the future that holds no assurances,
I may find a new happiness,
keeping you close in my memories.

qdesjardin: (Default)


Once they have packed, Aurora and her three protectors abandon the cottage – travelling by carriage through Strasbourg (where the Pied Piper recently spread dancing mania to its inhabitants) and down the Franco-German trade route, where they reach Paris by nightfall.

The raven, the faeries set free as they'd left. She soars towards the French capital before the carriage arrives, and finds her residence has been taken over by a family of five, much to her dismay. She'd been hoping to regain her vitality through her poutrices, as well as obtain her human disguise from polyjuice – it seems that is not possible anymore, and it isn't as though they'd be selling those wholesale on the market.

In frustrated anger, Maleficent pecks at the cottage window, fracturing it and surprising the family during their dinner, as she flutters away through the city.

20 years has stolen more than just time for her; if she had her full ability then, right beside Aurora, she'd appear in front of the child, and without hesitation, free her from her death – or postpone it beyond her responsibility. Alors, in this incapacitated state..

Non – that time, when she cursed Aurora, she had been so hateful that the bile in her veins seemed to burn right through her skin, that vengeful fire pouring out of her breath. It had been the force of her hatred that has kept the curse at bay from any intervention.

Her hatred that had unconsciously fueled her powers in the first place.

Does she love Aurora with as much love now, as her scathing hatred towards her parents?


Nothing changes the fact that Aurora is not her child.. or that this one act of love will never redeem her history of hatred – not for her, not in the eyes of the general people. And what should it matter anyway, when-


His name escapes her beak. This boy, he's now a grown man who she can only imagine about – he must be very handsome, living prosperously in Italy. Will he still be there for her.. once everything is over?

She perches herself atop the Notre Dame cathedral, and strains her eyes to see past the horizons toward Venice. But limited her powers are, and all she sees is the dark fog.

Her heart aches, just longing to be happy with him again.

Waiting up here isn't going to make anything happen. She thinks of travelling back to Gaumont's forests, her old home, where she can rejuvenate herself in private.

Her wings feel so weak..

She arrives at the forest by morning, but it's infiltrated to its core by soldiers, who have set up a stronghold devoted to finding her.


In the castle at Paris, Aurora awakens to the sight of her mother and father, kneeling over her by her bed. They do resemble her, both of them – she has her mother's pouty lips, and her father's eyes and nose.

"Aurora.." Charles tearfully whispers, allowing his hand to caress his daughter's hair. Through the blur of his tears, he momentarily sees a resemblance to Maleficent, before he tells her, "You look so beautiful. You'd be any father's dream.. I'm so glad you're back in my arms."

"I know, papa."

They hold each other in a dreamy embrace – lasting as long as all the moments her parents never got to experience, seeing Aurora's innocence as a child, her mood swings in her adolescence, and the days up to her adulthood.

"How about we cook you up a hearty breakfast?" Charles asks. "You must be famished."

Aurora smiles, giving his royal highness a kiss on the hand. "I'd be delighted."

So Charles orders his servants to cook up the best meals they can come up with. Roast chicken, steamed corn and peppered perogies – all for the young lady to eat at the table, while she fills her family in with her hopes of becoming the next Queen. Every word she says is taken in like precious gold, and what stays in their mind is how Aurora reminds them of when they were young. Their futures, entrusted in her.

But the hint of sadness is there in Charles and Odette's eyes, growing more and more noticable as the day goes on, and the shadows pass by from the shifting daylight. Aurora doesn't seem to notice as she is absorbed with all the beautiful things royalty has to offer – trying on the exquisite dresses, being treated to a spa with her mere, and learning to gallop a pony in the royal courtyard.

She's so happy.

Then with all the time remaining, Charles brings in a birthday cake, with a caramel filling and a little wax figurine at the top, resembling Aurora (obviously made by the baker in haste).

He asks her if she has a birthday wish to make.

"It came true already," Aurora goes, willingly forgetting about the prince from the forest, for her heart is ballooning with love – before she blows out the candles in one breath, leaving just one candle lit.

As the beautiful day draws to its close, the sky is awash in vanilla colours, and Aurora is starting to find herself strangely tired and drowsy. She is carried to her room by Charles, whose strength has yet to fade with his advanced age, and it is a small comfort, seeing that she is in no pain, as she lays in bed, tucked in like a young child in her comfy blankets, the last golden sunlight lingering over her through the windows.

"It's such a wonderful day.." Aurora sighs, seeing her father start to openly weep. "I'm glad I got to see you and mama. I can't keep my eyes open.. I'm cold.."

"I love you Aurora," Charles goes, his hands starting to quiver. "I'm sorry I never got to see you for such a long time."

"I love you too.. I want you to.. keep that love in your heart, daddy. Please, so that.. even after I die, we can meet again in heaven."

He is shuddering now in grief, but desperate to maintain grasp on the feelings of today, he tells her, "I know."

And then she nods, one last time, before her eyes droop into sleep.

And Charles is left sobbing into his daughter's hands, no solace from outliving his only child.


When he comes out of her room, Odette looks on him wonderingly – if Aurora is still breathing, if the curse Maleficent unleashed on her is a sham, and the glum look on Charles's face tells her everything, and she bursts into tears, hysterically wailing, coming down on her knees on the marble floor.

The faeries come by the scene, and Charles grasps onto Flora's dress, his hands madly clinging onto that one chance – "Can't you faeries save her? Can't you!? All those years, you must have come up with a solution for her life, goddamn you!"

"Calm your senses, my good King," Flora goes, her fingers caressing his tightly clenched hands. "Despair is not the final end; we shall place her in suspended animation, as we've originally let you on, and if you have some hearts at our disposal, we can revive her to live another day – and all the days to come."

"Please.." Odette rises up from her crying. "Aurora's all we have. The hearts, we have several of them, preserved."

"Very good."

While Odette goes to fetch the hearts, the faeries enter Aurora's room, where the princess lies, her face unnaturally peaceful. Merryweather clasps the dead princess's hands together, over the blankets, and places an amathyst stone over Aurora's forehead.

Together, they chant a spell, Flora kneeling by the foot of the bed, and Fauna holding hands with Merryweather over Aurora.

A field expands from the amathyst, enveloping the unwoken beauty.

"That should keep her steady long enough," Flora says, as Charles enters the room, despondently wishing for another minute of his daughter alive.

It is dusk outside, and Maleficent is fluttering unnoticed outside Aurora's bedchambers – it is too late. If it hadn't taken her so long with making the potion for herself (the guards have been on the lookout for black birds), she might have been able to save Aurora.

What are the three faeries doing with her.. oh, they've frozen her body. Maleficent recognises the stasis field – it's an experimental technique devised by the Taoists, to hold something in place for when the right time comes. It's how the 1,000 year old Buddha came to be, but whenever she's tried it, it always results in the irreversible warping of the object. She never really saw the use for it, until now.

Most likely, they'll attempt an open heart surgery.

But the curse doesn't end with just one heart.. the very life force of Aurora has been condemned – her healthy heart gave in to darkness, and so will other hearts put into her body.

The only thing left to do is show up.

So Maleficent blinks into the bedroom and reveals herself – the scorned witch responsible for everything, the very room seemingly darker because of her presence.

Everyone is paralysed by shock, and then the faeries raise their hands in defensive postures, prepared to smite the witch dead upon the slightest gesture.

But the mournful look on Maleficent's face is disarming. She hasn't come here to jeer at this tragedy.

She notices just how old Charles has become – he has white whiskers from his beard, and though she could still make out the youth he once was, it seems that person is long gone now, replaced by this devoted father to that child.

"Maleficent.." He deigns to say her name. "You.. What do you want..? What do you want!? To see me brought low, is that it? You've taken away my dearest Aurora.."

"I.." There's nothing she could say to him that would ever change his mind. She looks at Aurora, whose eyes are closed, and then Charles – the crux of all her desires and hatred. "I wish it didn't turn out this way," she says. "Your daughter.. she is so beautiful. I saw her with my own eyes, at the cottage. She's just like how I want to be.."

"Aurora is nothing like you!" Charles goes, his voice betraying the fact that she's struck something in him. "She has kindness, she beams with happiness and joy. She's able to love.. and she's everything that you aren't!"

(everything I'm not)

"Aren't you so sure?"

For a brief moment which stretches on in subjective time, Charles sees the young Maleficent – as she was then under the evening sunlight. The haunted smile she had, the dark beauty she encapsulated, and the taste of her lips, the ecstasy of holding her when they were wet..

The rage seems to dissipate from his eyes, as a strange tenderness emerges from the recesses of his heart.

"I touched you," Maleficent goes. "Once upon a dream." She is smiling mournfully, one bittersweet tear escaping her eyes.

The faeries look on with bafflement, absolutely unsure what to make of the scene.

"Yes, you did."

And he begins to step forward, towards her, lulled as if hearing a beautiful melody not heard in over 30 years. He understands now why he's been haunted by the memories of her, as hard as he's tried to push them away from his mind.

She is the one who showed him how love can really be – to love, to be loved, to be felt jealous and hatred about, to hate her for how she's become, what she's done, and yet still yearn for her. Is it actually so simple? The one who he's felt the gamut of emotions about..

His hand seems to want to reach out to her, and she raises her gnarly appendage in turn – they almost do touch-

"It's another trickery of Maleficent's!" Flora exclaims, snapping the other faeries out of confusion, and she blasts Maleficent from behind with a jolt of energy, wracking her body. "Your Majesty, do not be lulled in by her sorceries. She's charmed you!"

Charles is interrupted from his fond feelings, and Flora continues, "She killed your Aurora! Your dearest daughter! Cursed her to die at 20! What are you doing falling in love with Maleficent?!"

Maleficent is recovering from the pain, but the other two faeries are quick to cast a field of impotency around her, putting her in a very weakened state before she could react.

To her dismay, she sees the feelings of pain and rage return to Charles. "You're right – I may have had feelings for Maleficent. But those times are long past now. She is going to pay for everything she's wrought. For my daughter's sake, and for everyone's too."

"No.. Non!" Maleficent cries out, trying to reach out to him. "Charles, PLEASE-"

Then the door opens, and Odette steps in – a brief second of apprehending the scene before her, Maleficent curled up beside her victimised daughter. It could not be any more poetic.

"Flora," Charles says, grimacing at the fallen witch, "how long can you hold Maleficent still?"

"Not for long – perhaps an hour or two at maximum."

"Before then, I'll have things ready for her swift execution."

Something breaks inside Maleficent at those words, and all she wants to do is cry for herself – there is truly no love in the world, not for her. Love is but an illusory feeling, fleeting and deceptive.

Queen Odette strides up to Maleficent and spits over her face. "Fuck you."


Many townsfolk gather in front of the Hôtel de Ville, the recently built administration building in a flat plaza. The black-hooded executioner is prepared with his halbard, sharpened especially to behead the witch.

As Maleficent is brought to the stake, carried by her arms, the crowd jeer and jest at her through pelted garbage, and dead crows. She keeps her eyes closed, crying, not wanting anyone to see her, but the pain of their rejection she can still hear, as if there is no limit to the fathomless depths she can crumble to.

"Burn this murderess into ashes!"

"Feed her carcass to the crows! She's slain my son!"

The memories swirl in her head, of all the times she has been humiliated and brought low by other people, an inner torment ceaseless in its violent storm.

"Hey, hey! Wake up!" The executioner slaps Maleficent on the cheek, thinking she's fallen asleep with her droopy head and shut eyes.

Then she feels her hands raised up, rope tied around her wrists and fingers, binding her helplessly to the stake. Her stomach gives in to sickness, and she retches bile over her legs and on the kindling set under her feet.

Part of the crowd cringe from being grossed out, while the others take this sight as a sign of complete victory over the object of their fear and loathing.

The three faeries are supervising their spell on Maleficent, making sure that the imposed impotency never wavers until her death. Charles, Odette and the other members of the Parisian nobility stand nearby – there'd usually be a ceremony to dignify the execution, a priest to grant last rites to the guilty, but it is an incredibly rare exception tonight, for they are about to put an end to the personification of evil.

Everyone has fallen silent, while Maleficent stares at the pretty backsides of those human curtains.

"What is about to commence within our kingdom," King Charles tells the public, "will be a great step forward for humanity to stand strong against the forces of evil, and those who willingly submit to malevolence towards our people. Now witness the sword of justice," he gestures towards the executioner, "fall over the head of Maleficent, whose brutal and ghastly crimes will continue no more."

So in the end.. my life has come to this. Look at it. It's morbid. Today I was, tomorrow I die. I'm born and I don't know why. I've lived and suffered and strived – I love, I hate, I move, I admire, I despise..


"We will grant the guilty no last requests," the magistrate declares. "Whenever you're ready, Henri."

And then I die, and no one will care. No one will ever know that I innocently giggled when my mere patted me on my belly. It's just the things you're found doing while the horde looks on that you shall be despised for.

And Maleficent sees underneath the black hood, those gleeful, beady black eyes of humanity, ready to take its last stomp upon her. The axe is raised, and the executioner holds his tongue out.

It'll all be over soon. It won't hurt (anymore).

And it won't mean anything.

And when he swings the halbard, she notices just how the elongated shaft wobbles, ever so slightly in the air as it descends, the bladed head overweight in slicing the air, expending all its potential energy into kilojoules, all highly concentrated onto that needle-width edge.

Delivered to her neck.

I hate you.


My life is meaningless, and every one of you, the inhabitants of my reality are equally meaningless. You're rabble who wander this life for 70 fucking years, and I'll show you how sweet Death will taste. Life is governed by chance and fluctuations, fortune be damned, but Death is the great equaliser of us all.

I destroy you. DESTROY!

A much greater force than the executioner's swing pushes back, tearing the halbard to splinters, and exploding the arms which have held the weapon.

It happens in a split-second, and then in another, the executioner's upper body cannot withstand the sudden acceleration it faces – akin to landing on hard ground after a long fall, and those beady eyes are crushed along with the rest of his skull.

Maleficent's eyes are aglow in green, and she screams out the torments of her heart, and sends everyone around her pummeling away from an explosion.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone would just die?

qdesjardin: (Default)


In Merrywinter's basket, the petite raven sees the dance of shadow and sunrays, overlapping with the dandelion seeds being carried through the air.

The faeries' cottage resides peacefully beside a flowing river, where the waters run the mill for the sake of fulling textiles – removing impurities from the cloth, so they could be made into clothes which are sold on the German market as income.

Merryweather unlatches the gate, greeting the budgies who perch upon the makeshift house mounted on a pole; some bird feed is put there every morning by Fauna, and for the squirrels who'd want to climb up and steal some for themselves, the pole is swathed with grease so their paws slip.

Inside, there is Aurora (or if you'd call her publicly, Rose) by the sunlit desk – she is intricately decorating the sleeves of the beige dress with rose-like patterns. Her calloused fingers seem to weave as if without effort.

"Why do birds suddenly appear, everytime we draw near?" she sings to herself.

Flora emerges from the supply room, with another batch of coloured thread – she's taught Aurora all she'd needed to know from a young age about clothing, and ever since, the young lady has developed a talent and keen eye for designing people's outwear. Coats, dresses, gloves, using the material bartered for from the market (or hunting on the occasion).

Sweet Aurora; her fair skin, her lips as pink as St Valentine's. Her 20th birthday draws very near, and having discovered that a heart transplant is indeed possible, the three faeries anxiously await the day they take her back to Paris, where a preserved heart matching her blood type will replace her own cursed one.

Of course, none of this has been revealed to the young lady; it is a subject that's discussed in secret between the three, when Aurora is assuredly asleep or out frolicking.

What she does know is that she is royalty-in-hiding, having been taught all the royal etiquette and the political, managerial and diplomatic sciences – she would make for a very good Queen, oui, except that an evil witch named Maleficent is out to do her and her family harm.

She's wondered over the years when she'll be returning home to her castle, and see the faces of her beloved mother and father.

"When you're old enough," Flora tells her, "and we'll vanquish Maleficent's evil."

The company of the three faeries is so benevolent and enticing that Aurora does not once disobey them in leaving – on the occasion she's wandered too far in the woods, she delightfully gets lost with dreams of romantic love before finding the faeries again. The love and devotion hinted at from the stories she'd hear of princes who slay the monsters holding princesses captive.

Now Merryweather arrives with her basket of wildberries. "Toodle-hoo!" she goes, grinning as she lays down the basket. "How's the dress coming along? I've brought home a special little friend.."

She takes out the raven, it rests in her hands.

"Oh Merryweather!" Aurora's interrupted in her weaving, shocked by the sight of the raven's weakened body. "The poor thing, she's almost dead! What happened?"

"I found her lying under the brush – covered in all sorts of soot. She must have been lying there for a long while; had I not noticed her perchance, she would have likely gone unnoticed for years!"

"She must be starving..!" Aurora thinks of a way to get food into the raven; it would be too weak to even chew.. but since it is still breathing, it can still gulp. "Flora, do you have one of those nutrition poutrices?"

"Yes, we have some- I'll go fetch them right away!" The head faerie goes into the kitchen, where she scrounges the cabinets for the reserve poutrices, stored in jars. These drinks have been brewed in the rare case of a starvation epidemic, like when blight has taken crops, or whenever someone is particularly hungry or weak. But it doesn't taste like much; Fauna has described it as drinking raw batter, with all the lumps yet to be taken out.

Flora pours a little of the poutrice into a dish, and lays the dish down on a counter – Aurora comes with the raven.

"Lay her down so she could drink – gently, gently," Flora goes, her hands conducting Aurora as she angles the raven down so its beak could touch the drink. "I hope ravens don't mind if it's a poutrice."

The raven seems to contemplate the dish.

Then it tries one peck, and finding it good, it nips at the drink more excitedly, much to everyone's delight, until the raven seems to have life breathing through it again.


I feel like a small, hapless child, being cradled under their care. How the times have passed me by, and how I envy the radiance Aurora emits in even her smallest gestures. I always see her smiling, her eyes off in innocent daydreams. If I could admit it, Aurora would be the person I ought to be, had fortune favoured me better.

The faeries have raised her well. I will give them credit for that. They shower upon Aurora their attention – I would have prefered some modicum of privacy, but the one word that I would never use to describe the faeries' relationship wtih her is neglectful.

Neglectful like my own parents had been.

Neglectful as God's eyes turning a blind eye to the suffering I've endured.

If I grew up alongside Aurora, I would have loved her dearly as my family – someone like her, borne from the womb of my sister and the fertile seed of Charles. That fact is spectacularly incredulous.

If I'd raised her, I would never want pain to befall her pure soul.

I cursed her to die at the age of 20. Because I wanted to see the look on their eyes when they do see her die, and my hatred triumphs over them in retribution.

How pathetic of me..

At night, the raven pretends to sleep, even though she's brimming with energy and wakefulness. She is perched in a cage in the stillness of the lonely knitting room, hearing the river flow outside with the occasional breeze wisping at the windows.

She manages to overhear the hushed conversations of the faeries, discussing the risks of bringing Aurora back to Paris while Maleficent remains undefeated out there.

"She could just be biding her time," Fauna says. "What if she finds us travelling in the open, and casts us into misfortune?"

"My dears, I've got that planned for," Flora goes. "I've garnered the support of our fellow faeries around the world, and the instant I send a signal upon seeing Maleficent, they will arrive and banish her into oblivion!"

"And if she catches us off our guard?" Merryweather asks.

"Well, we'll be travelling under disguise in a carriage back home. We haven't used our magic all this time; there is no way Maleficent will know it's us."

"What about that raven?" Fauna goes. "Maleficent uses crows and ravens.. I don't think we should keep it. How do we know it's not connected with her? For all we know, it could be spying on us, listening to every word we say!"

Merryweather says, "I don't think Maleficent would be that unkind to one of her servants. I think the raven must have been travelling while it was freezing, alone without its flock, and the sheer exhaustion has led it to fall.. I dunno, gosh knows how many days it's lain there. I don't want to just toss it out when we were so kind to it. It's done nothing the whole time except peck at the birdseed."

"In any case," Flora goes, "we must remain vigilent. Those 20 years without a sign from her is no assurance.. and Aurora's birthday is in two days."


The next day brims with sunlight, and after an innoceous breakfast, Aurora asks if she can take the raven out for a walk.

"Ah non..!" Fauna exclaims. "We don't know if that bird carries Maleficent's foulness—!"

"Please?" Aurora eagerly unlatches the raven's cage, and the bird feigns a feral nervousness, pretending not to trust the hands reaching out for it. "She looks scared, she needs some reassurance.."

"Why do you refer to it as a 'she'?" Merryweather asks, tucking away the napkins. "I'm just wondering – mind you, I'm no expert on birds."

"I dunno, to me it looks like a she. Even ravens have genders too."

After the faeries relent from Aurora's desires, the young lady has the raven perch on her shoulder as she waltzes out into the forest.

"Those faeries.." she goes, talking to her newfound friend. "Sometimes, I feel like they're just being overprotective of me. I won't deny that I'm frightened of Maleficent – gosh, she must be one awful creature, slaughtering innocent people, but I wonder if she isn't just a faerytale. If she really has powerful magicks, there'd be more rumours from people about her, like Genghis Khan. I'd shudder to imagine what she might do with me, if she were more real.."

The raven squawks, as if agreeing with her.

"What about you? Do you have a family waiting for you? Or friends? I think ravens always do; they must have such lively occurences for them to fly about the lands everyday – perching up in the high branches, conversations about what they've seen, exchanging their own g'days.."

Now the raven seems downcast, its gaze looms gloomily upon the distance.

Aurora comes by a toadstool, lit by a ray of sunlight, where she decides to give her legs a rest. She pulls out some breadcrumbs from her pockets and scatters some by her feet, and the raven flutters down, pecking at the scraps, the crusts and crispy whites gulped down by its mouth in one swoop.

The life of a raven seems so simple and magical in its own right; they can eat, drink, fly whenever it gets cold, and feed their young with their beaks..

Are there such things like raven princes and princesses, in a ravenous kingdom?

The romantic mood of the moment makes Aurora relax; if she kisses the raven, and it turns into a princess.. how she is wanting for a prince to come along, and swoop her to paradise.

In her dreams, she pictures the ideal man who would do so – he'd be taller than her, his shoulders broad with confidence; he'd be kind, gentle and brave for her sake, and when she kisses him, she surrenders herself in his arms as she sees the stars behind his head.

And in her dreams, she sees him slay Maleficent, the wicked dragon who keeps her prisoner, freeing her once and for all from the worrying constraints of her fairy godparents.

She remembers a half-forgotten tune from that dream.

"I know you.. I walked with you once upon a dream.." She doesn't know exactly where the words have come from, only that they feel right with the tune. "I know you, that look in your eyes is so familiar a gleam.."

Aurora gets up and she dances – holding her arms to herself, just like how her prince would.

The raven glances at her, a bewildered expression on its eyes.

"Oh," Aurora goes, "I'm not being crazy – the faeries usually don't want me to meet anyone; but I fooled them. I have met someone, the prince of my dreams. He's taller than I am, and the most sweetest personality in his heart. He'll love me the way I need to be loved. Even though you can't see him, just imagine, I am dancing with him." To be a princess is to dance with your soul mate upon the clouds.

Even though no such person really exists. You always have notions of how an ideal friend or lover ought to be, hinted at by a tantalising glimpse, and sometimes you might be surprised by the person in reality. They surprise you with the variety of shades within their character, and disappoint you in the ways they cannot fulfill your needs.

She is twirling, holding the sides of her dress so she doesn't trip. She's so caught up in her motions that she doesn't notice attracting the attention of Prince Derek, who happens to be riding along on his pony.

At first sight, he is arrested by her beauty, and he dismounts his faithful steed (named Phillip) – he comes by Aurora's side, and joins her in her dance before she realises it.

"Aaah!" She shies away from this handsome stranger.

"I'm awfully sorry," he goes. "I didn't mean to frighten you. You looked like you were having a delightful time.."

"It isn't that.. you look awfully familiar. As if.. I've met you before."

"We have? Where?" Derek peers closer at the woman's eyes. "I'd like to know."

".. once upon a dream," she tells him.

Derek blushes at her statement; it may be something a daydreaming child might say, but out of her lips, it swoons his own heart. "What was that song you were singing?"

"Take my hands first."

He stares at her offered hands, like they are shrines ready to be honoured by his touch, and he takes them, and she shows him how she longs to be held, as they dance through the woods.

"I know you," he begins, "I walked with you once upon a dream.."

"And I know it's true," she goes, "that visions are seldom all they seem.. but if I know you, I know what you'll do – you'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream.."

They dance without a care for anything else, except each other's happiness, and the raven and his horse follow them avidly through the forest, until they arrive at the edge of it – before them, the hilly meadows with the sparsely pines.

Derek makes himself comfortable, laying down on the grass, sighing happily, trying to make out the horizon's infinities like he used to as a boy.

"I've never seen this before," Aurora goes, sitting down beside him.

"Me neither."

She follows his gaze, wondering what he sees – it's the same sight, but the perspectives betweeen two people can vastly differ, in more ways than one.

Some time passes.

"If I might ask, what is your name?" Derek goes, interrupting the comfortable silence.

"Huh? Oh—" His question jolts her into anxiety; if she gives out her actual name to him, she'd be forming an attachment to this stranger, and only encourage him to seek her out to his own disappointment – after all, she lives in a lonesome cottage in the woods, with her three doting faeries. "It's- I can't tell you."

She gets up, her cheeks red, but Derek grabs onto her.

"Why not?" He wishes he hadn't asked her that.

"I promised my godparents I would keep myself a secret," she tells him. "They said that people are eager to run their mouths off in rumours.. I have to go." She frees herself from his grasp.

"But when will I see you again?" he pleads.

"Never-!" She is rudely striding away from him.


A part of her is tugged at – is it really right to just leave him hanging? The one who resembles the prince of her dreams? She gulps to herself, and musters up the will to look him in the eye. "Perhaps we'll meet again someday."

"When? Tomorrow?"

"Erm.. this evening!" She just blurts out the answer without thinking, and she can't take it back.


"Yes.. I live in a cottage nearby in the woods – it's by a river, near the glen." And Aurora flutters along in the direction of her home, the raven perching on her shoulders and giving Derek a lingering glance. "Au revoir!" If we do meet again.. I don't even know your name!

For some reason, Derek feels fondness for the young lady, like she was an old friend he's all but forgotten about. He'll talk with his mother Uberta about it, and ask her if she still needs him in her affairs with the German diplomats – if not..


Arriving home, Aurora has to stop herself before entering the door; it feels like her skin is bursting in heat, from the anticipation of introducing the stranger to her home, and ultimately he'd whisk her off and away. But will he actually come? That is the question.

She fans her face with her hands, before opening the cottage door to the tangy smell of wildberry pie and onion-sauteed chicken.

The three faeries have made lunch, but their expressions are dour – as if they have brooded over a serious matter. It's something Aurora has only ever seen once or twice, in contrast with the usually jovial mood they carry.

"You'll never guess what happened to me," Aurora goes, hoping her excitement will diminish the seriousness in the air. "I met someone.. the man of my dreams!"

"Aurora!" Flora is troubled.

"I know! He has brown hair.. I was dancing, and there he was, with his cute horse – we danced together to the meadows, and- it was gorgeous being with him. He asked me what my name was, but no, I was fluttery on the inside.. I remembered what you said about meeting strangers."

"Have you seriously met with that stranger?" Flora says, as if in total disbelief.

"Of course I have! And he's not just a stranger.. he was dressed in his ermine cloak and had a glittering sheath on his pony. Almost as if he were indeed a prince. But I never got his name – only that I promised him to meet me here."

"At our cottage!?" the other two faeries join in unison with Flora.


And Aurora sits down with them, her stomach on the verge of hunger. She pauses before reaching out for a slice of pie. "I feel like I've fallen in love from just that brief encounter. Why aren't you happy for me?"

A beat.

"You are a princess, dear Aurora – and you have a kingdom to come back to, your mother and father included. Queen Odette, and King Charles. We've decided that after this lunch, we pack and head out back to the lands of France, in time for your 20th birthday, where you truly belong as royalty."

"But.." Aurora stutters. "This is all happening very fast, it's too soon. He's coming here this evening.."

"You've told us about your dreams for a prince who'd love you," Merryweather says. "See, you are already betrothed Aurora, to a handsome lad of the Frejordian kingdom – Prince Derek."

"I promised to meet him-"

"I'm sorry child.." Flora holds Aurora's hands in condolence. "But you must never see that stranger ever again."

Then the sadness hits Aurora, a tear at first, and then the rain all at once. "No.. no!" It feels like someone has poked a painful hole through her heart, and she bursts away from the table, her chair clattering to the floor. "I don't believe this! No!"

It is the first time in her life that she's known this kind of sadness – falling into a beautiful love, only to have it be taken away from her. She does not know what to do, besides running away from her protectors into her room, where she just grieves on her bed.

"And we thought she'd be so happy," Fauna goes.

Silently, perched by the windowsill, the raven cries for Aurora.


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