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The Darkest Hours

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Oh, hello. You must be new here. Welcome to Auradon.

Although, nobody really calls it that anymore.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "This is Auradon? But it doesn't look like anything I've heard about."

You've probably heard stories about how Auradon was in the past, back when it lived up to its reputation as a sugary-sweet paradise for every hero whose story had gotten a happy ending.

Then they came along.

Here, come into my hut. I'll make you some hot chocolate and tell you how it came to be this way.

Settled? Good. Let me start.

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Once upon a time, there were heroes.

Brave heroes, strong heroes. The kind of heroes that would stop a rampaging dragon, save a beautiful princess from a curse, or lead their family back to home.

One day, after they had all had their happy endings, the heroes decided to band together. They were worried that the enemies they had vanquished might rise from the dead and seek revenge on them.

So, with the help of the Fairy Godmother, they resurrected every villain, stuck them on a small prison isle, and banned magic from the kingdom.

I know. I think that that was a stupid idea, too. So did my father, but no one bothered to listen to him.

But, despite this, it all seemed to work out. The heroes elected Belle and Adam–best known as the Beauty and the Beast–as their rulers, and lived happily for twenty years, raising their own families on their values.

None of them thought about whether or not the villains were raising families as well. Until one day, when Prince Ben, the son of Auradon's leaders, had an epiphany.

He'd said it was because of a dream; others said it was because he'd heard about it from the people who ferried Auradon's leftovers to the Isle on a daily basis; but whatever the reason, the week before his coronation as king, he made his first proclamation.

That four children of the Isle should be taken to live in Auradon.

This shocked his parents, but they trusted his judgement and went along with the plan, sending a limo to the Isle to pick up the four children he'd specified:

Carlos de Vil, son of Cruella de Vil, the hag who had wanted to make a coat out of dalmation puppies.

Evelyn "Evie" Grimhilde, daughter of Queen Grimhilde, the one who had tried to kill Snow White for her beauty.

Jason "Jay" Farr, son of Jafar, the sorcerer who had wanted to take the Sultan's place as Agrabah's ruler.

And Maleficent II, or "Mal", daughter of the Mistress of All Evil and self-proclaimed "ruler" of the Isle, Maleficent herself, the witch who had cursed a princess and imprisoned a prince, all because she wasn't invited to a baby's christening.

All four were taken to Auradon to attend Ben's school, the prestigious Auradon Prep.

At first, they had trouble fitting in, considering that their Isle upbringing was much different than that of the snooty Auradon children, but they managed to find people who were willing to stand up for them.

And a mere week after arriving, they managed to solidify themselves as "good" by defeating Maleficent herself at Ben's coronation, turning her into a lizard and putting the barrier back over the isle.

And so, life was perfect for these four children, and they were on their way to finding their own happy endings. Mal was dating the now-King Ben; Evie had found a prince for herself in the form of Doug, Dopey's son; Carlos had found a mutual attraction between himself and Jane, daughter of Fairy Godmother herself; and Jay...didn't change much, besides the fact that he'd given up his thieving ways.

Unfortunately, everything was soon to come crashing down.

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Some time after Maleficent's defeat, the four children went back to the Isle in order to investigate the disappearance of their parents (except Maleficent, who was still a lizard).

There, they learned that four talismans that their parents had once used had awakened and were causing chaos, and that they had to take the talismans from their homes in a set of shifting caves.

What they didn't know was that these talismans had been communicating with each other, plotting to bring a reign of permanent evil to Auradon.

Okay, yes, that sounded ridiculous. But hey, it's magic; people can explain it all they want and it still won't make sense.

In any case, the talismans sensed the strong bond between these four, and realized that they would take over Auradon more easily if they worked together. And so, they set about with their plot.

The minute the four villain kids entered the caves, they were separated from each other. Each one ended up finding their parents' talismans without each other...and they all fell to the temptation to turn back to their evil ways.

Evie was the first to fall, having found her mother's talisman, a golden apple called the Fruit of Venom, in a cavern with a large apple tree. Foolishly, she took a bite and fell into a deep sleep.

In her dreams, she saw her mother's magic mirror, and it showed her visions. Visions of Auradon students–except Doug, oddly enough–mocking her behind her back. Visions of them abandoning her and her friends. Visions of her and her friends conquering them all.

The fruit poisoned her mind, and she accepted all of this as fact.

The next to fall was Jay, who found his father's talisman, the Golden Cobra, in a cavern filled with sand. Capturing the cobra had been no easy task, requiring quite a bit of speed and agility on Jay's part, but he'd managed to grab it by the neck.

Then it had congratulated him, and offered him a reward.

All the riches of the world, for Jay and his friends, if Jay let it become his servant and partner in taking over Auradon.

Jay accepted without hesitation.

Third to fall was Carlos, who had found himself inside of a dark, empty city. He'd easily found his mother's talisman, the Ring of Envy, inside of an elegant fur shop.

Unfortunately, Cruella herself had found it first.

There had been a scuffle between them, in which Cruella had hurled all manner of nasty insults at him and demanded that he leave. Finally, however, he'd managed to pry the ring off of her finger and put it onto his.

That was his only mistake.

Already royally pissed off at his mother, he gave in to the power that surged through him and his mother's goading and killed the hag with his bare hands.

He felt no guilt at this. Only satisfaction.

Mal was the last to fall, and was the one who, arguably, fell the hardest.

She'd been forced to scale a cliff to retrieve her mother's talisman, a dragon egg that was just waiting to hatch into a brand-new Dragon's Eye staff.

She'd reached the top of the cliff when she'd heard a familiar yell. Surprised, she'd looked down–

Only to find her friends, all corrupted by the powers of their respective talismans.

Her heart broke in two at the sight.

Then the Dragon's Egg made its move.

They've all turned to the dark side, Mal. I'd suggest doing the same if you don't want to lose your kinship with them. You'll be just like–

No.

You'll be better than your mother. Better than she ever was.

Tearfully, Mal lost herself to the dark powers of the dragon.

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It had happened so fast that the people of Auradon didn't know what had hit them.

The barrier around the Isle had opened, allowing the children of every villain to escape to Auradon. And leading them were the four children that had been accepted into Auradon just weeks prior.

Despite the fact that its citizens put up a good fight, Auradon was lost in minutes.

(It was odd that none of the villains had come, but no one thought much of it at the time.)

As soon as the four reached the castle that had once belonged to the Beast's royal family, the new High Queen broadcast an announcement across the land.

"We are the Children of the Isle. We are the ones that you, the supposed "heroes", abandoned. We suggest that you start running now, lest you suffer the same fate our parents did."

And that's when it became painfully clear what she meant.

Those who weren't executed immediately were sent to the Isle of the Lost, where the villains were still trapped. Upset that their children had taken what was meant to be theirs, they took their vengeance on the heroes that went there. Even worse, transport of basic necessities to the Isle (such as food, water, and clothing) stopped altogether, leaving the prisoners to die off one by one.

Within the week, High Queen Mal had reshaped Auradon in her image. Within the year, most heroes had been "converted", killed, or imprisoned on the Isle.

Evil has ruled the land ever since.

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What's that, you say? You want to hear the specifics of what happened to each hero and villain individually?

Well, alright then. I guess I'll tell you.

Let's start with what happened to the family that antagonized our High Queen and her mother the most.

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Let's be honest, Aurora's pretty much had everything handed to her on a fucking silver platter.

She was born to a king and queen, blessed with everlasting beauty and a great singing voice, she had three powerful fairies to watch over her, and she was engaged to a smoking hot prince ever since her birth.

Honestly, her life would've been perfect if it hadn't been for the whole "Maleficent didn't get invited" thing. Even then, she had her fairy guardians and her woodland animal friends. And she ended up falling in love with the prince she was supposed to get married to in the first place during a chance meeting.

After Maleficent had finally been vanquished (don't listen to what anyone else says, it was the fairies that did all the heavy lifting for that), she and Prince Phillip got married and life was all sparkles and sunshine and happily ever afters. But she was worried that Maleficent would rise from the grave and seek revenge.

And so, when Belle contacted her, she was quick to agree to the whole "stick 'em on the Isle" plan.

Maybe the fairies should've blessed her with a brain instead.

Some time after that, she got pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Audrey. And in true family tradition, she sheltered her and spoiled her rotten. This had the unintended side effect of turning her into a shallow, unlikable, unpleasant bitch, but Aurora was pretty much blind to that.

When the villain kids came to Auradon, Aurora's family was very unaccepting towards them. Phillip tried to get them sent back, Audrey mocked and belittled them at school, and Aurora's mom...well, let's just say she nearly doomed the kingdom.

Eventually, the kids turned out to be good after all, but the family still didn't trust them, still refused to see them as little more than carbon copies of their parents.

That's where they were wrong. The kids weren't their parents.

They ended up being far, far more successful than them, for one.

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Phillip was part of the army that tried to stop the uprising of villain kids. He ended up dead at King Carlos' hands.

Aurora, her daughter, and her parents were captured and brought before High Queen Mal days later.

The elderly king was lucky. His throat was slashed open immediately. The other three got far crueler fates.

Queen Leah, for daring to compare Mal to her mother, was banished to the Isle of the Lost, where she was soon torn apart by goblins in vengeance for what had happened to their mistress.

Audrey, for daring to mock the new rulers, was chained to a wall outside the palace. Queen Evelyn went to her every day and disfigured her face and body with a hot iron, while crowds of villain kids booed and jeered her. She died in a week from starvation and third-degree burns.

And the fair Princess Aurora? Locked in a dark cell, never allowed to interact with anyone outside. The cell itself was enchanted, to keep her alive no matter how many days she went without food, water, or the likes.

And so, Aurora spent her days in eternal agony, until High Queen Mal, bored with her, released the enchantment and allowed her to die...two years after she'd ended up there.

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Perhaps, as a footnote, I should mention what happened to the fairies and Maleficent.

The three fairies that had blessed Aurora died when High Queen Mal drained their magic in order to power herself and her allies. They weren't missed.

Maleficent, as you know, was turned into a lizard after her coronation. On the day of the uprising, Mal went to her cell. The lizard was probably happy when she realized that her daughter had taken over Auradon and believed that she was going to be freed.

It was probably mildly disappointing when Mal chose to crush her head under her bootheel instead.

That's life.

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Honestly, I'm not sure what to tell you about the fate of Snow White, her friends, and her one enemy.

We all know the story of Snow White: a princess with supernatural beauty and supernatural naiveté is hunted by her wicked queenly stepmother, but is hidden by a band of dwarves. The queen gives her an apple that she idiotically takes a bite out of, causing her to fall into an enchanted sleep. The dwarves chase the queen of a cliff, and a prince comes, wakes Snow White up with a kiss (which is creepy beyond belief), and they get married. The end.

The deaths of Snow White and her prince were rather uninteresting, just like their personalities. All Queen Evelyn did was have Princess Helena of Hearts chop their heads off. And the wicked stepmother queen was left behind on the Isle with all the other non-Maleficent villain parents.

It's when we get to the dwarves and their families where things get interesting.

Back when Queen Evelyn was just Evie, the sweet kid from the Isle who wanted a prince, she met and fell in love with the son of one of the dwarves, Doug. The love was reciprocated, and they began dating.

To her, he wasn't a prince. He was better.

Which is probably why she wanted him ruling alongside her once she'd helped take over Auradon.

He'd escaped during the invasion with the rest of the dwarves and their families, but the Hook siblings had managed to track them down a week later on Queen Evelyn's orders (keep them alive and unharmed, especially Dopey's son, she'd said).

Doug, she'd given his own private cell. The rest of them were thrown into a larger one together, and given the standard non-Isle prisoner treatment.

Two days passed until any of them were given food. While most of them were given the usual pre-execution slop, Doug (of course) had been given preferential treatment in the form of a slice of pie.

Or so it seemed.

Desperate for something to fill his stomach, Doug ate the entire pie slice–and fell over, stuck in an enchanted sleep.

For, you see, Queen Evelyn knew that Doug would never join her willingly, and unlike King Carlos, she was impatient. (We'll get to that story later.)

And so, she'd gone to the kitchens, given the cooks a slice of her precious Fruit of Venom, and told them to bake it into a pie for "her beloved".

As soon as the food had touched his lips, Doug had been besieged by visions. Visions of his family and friends mocking and abandoning him. Visions of him being left all alone.

Visions of a blue-haired angel, the only one to care for him at all in this world. Visions of her offering him sweet, sweet revenge by her side.

The venom ate away at his mind, until only a few key thoughts remained.

Everyone hates me. Everyone would ditch me the first chance they got.

Everyone except Queen Evelyn.

To put it nicely, he snapped.

When Queen Evelyn learned that the fruit had done its job, she went to his cell to release him. He swore that he would always be loyal to her, she promised the same, and the two shared a passionate kiss.

Right before they went to the dungeons and personally slaughtered every single dwarf and dwarf's relative there.

Still a better love story than what Snow White got, in my opinion.

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Street rat. Urchin. Thief. Filth.

Aladdin had heard it all. And we're not just talking about the times before he married Jasmine, when he was one.

He'd be the first to admit that he occasionally slipped back to his roots. Specifically, he'd make an item "disappear" from the castles he and his family visited whenever the hosts decided to mock him for it.

Maybe it was because he and his family didn't exactly think like most Auradonians. Sure, they seemed like a regular Auradonian family (the castle, the royalty, the two perfect kids named Aziz and Jamila), but in many ways, they were different.

For one thing, they were against the Isle and anti-magic plans from the start.

Aladdin, Jasmine, and their friend Genie had argued with the other royals (none of which seemed very sympathetic to Aladdin's roots) for hours. They argued that locking up the villains on an isle with only the bare necessities (that bit was Mowgli's idea) only made them as bad as their enemies, that Genie wasn't anything without his magic, but no one listened.

And so, Agrabah's royal family had been forced to live with the consequences of actions they had never agreed to for twenty years. They did find happiness in other areas (like the aformentioned Aziz and Jamila, as well as the Genie's daughter Jordan), but they lived with the guilt of what had happened all that time.

Is it really any wonder that they started preparing for the end?

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When the villain kids came over from the Isle, Aladdin heard that Jafar's son was among their ranks. And so, when family day came along, he took the boy aside (before Queen Leah made things go to hell) and talked to him, finding that he wasn't so different from Aladdin at his worst.

Aladdin left him that day with a pat on the head and the words "I wouldn't blame you if you gave in to temptation."

At the time, Jay thought he was talking about stealing things. He didn't realize that Aladdin was talking about the conquest of Auradon until much later.

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Thanks to their preparations, Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, and their families were some of the very few to escape Auradon during its takeover, riding a carriage across the border to Callista. They were greeted with the one thing Auradonians had lacked: understanding.

When King Jay heard about this from a trusted lietenant, he thought back to what Aladdin had said on Family Day.

Then he chuckled.

"Very well. Let them escape."

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As for Jafar, I'm like 85% sure he turned to cannibalism on the Isle.

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Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil...If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will.

Okay, let's not kid ourselves. Despite the insane catchiness of that song, Cruella was far from the scariest villain in Auradon.

Unless you asked her son.

Long before he assumed his current position, King Carlos was just a kid stuck in an unfortunate situation. His mother was perhaps more abusive than any of the other kids' parents (yes, even compared to Maleficent herself).

She made him sleep in the worst of conditions and turned him into her slave, making him cook and clean, never allowing him to touch the objects (her furs) that she valued more than him. If he ever got out of line, she had trained him to be scared of the very things she'd hated. A single woof would scare him shitless, and forced him to comply to his mother's orders.

In Auradon, meanwhile, there was a boy who had a very different living situation.

He was the son of Roger and Anita Radcliffe, Aaron. His parents loved him very much, though they never spoiled him like most Auradon parents did with their children. He loved animals of all kinds, a side effect of living with one hundred and one dalmations. Overall, he was a good kid.

A pity what ended up happening to him and his family.

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I already told you what happened to Cruella, so obviously there's no need to tell you again. Let's talk about what happened to the Radcliffes and their pets instead.

King Carlos had his army round up every single dalmation and present them before him. With Queen Evelyn's help, he killed every last one and turned their skins into a rather stylish jacket.

The Radcliffes, meanwhile, were thrown onto the Isle as soon as they were found. They ended up spending their last days in hiding, believing that Cruella or another villain was going to end their lives.

Starvation ended up doing them instead. Their bodies were found by hungry goblins a day later.

Maybe they should rewrite that old song.

Carlos de Vil, Carlos de Vil...if he doesn't scare you, no evil thing will...

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Tale as old as time...song as old as rhyme...Beauty and the Beast.

Hard to believe that a supernatural case of Stockholm syndrome managed to become the most celebrated love story of modern times, isn't it?

Of course, we all know the story. Girl meets monster, girl stays with monster in order to save her father, girl and monster fall in love, girl leaves monster to see her father, angry mob attacks monster, girl saves him, monster becomes human, girl and former monster get hitched.

Thing is, not too many people tend to talk about what happened afterwards.

Adam may have been human again, but he still had some anger issues to work out. And occasionally he took them out on Belle.

Belle, realizing that she still had to work on her lover's personality, began to think. Then she realized something: he was royalty, but he had nothing to rule over (besides the castle staff), no one to look up to him.

And so she got it in her head to ally with other people who had gotten a happy ending and create a nation dedicated to this idea, with herself and her husband ruling over them all.

And thus, the United States of Auradon was formed.

Of course, she needed some sort of incentive to get people to join. And so she offered a proposal to those she contacted: she, with the help of as many magic users as possible, would take every villain of every nation that joined them–yes, even the dead ones–and stick them on a prison island. Then she would ban magic so that no one could ever release them.

You know, I was always under the impression that Belle was one of the smarter princesses out there. This story managed to prove me wrong.

Not everyone agreed to this. The nation of Agrabah vehemently objected, but ended up staying. The nation of Corona ended up being so disgusted that they up and left, joining the recently-formed nation of Callista up north. (One of Corona's enemies ended up imprisoned anyway, but that's a story for another time.)

But still, the plan went off without a hitch, and the Isle of the Lost was created, populated, and then isolated from the world.

For years, life was perfect for the newly-crowned King and Queen of Auradon. They had a son, Ben, and knew that the world would be like this for as long as they were alive.

Haha, nope.

When he was preparing to be crowned King, Ben had a wonderful idea. By this point, you probably all know what that idea was.

Belle and Adam were highly reluctant, but they allowed their son to rescue four children from the Isle (after they made him promise this would be a one-time thing, and of course he listened, because who would disobey their parents?).

And so, four children were brought to Auradon, yadda yadda yadda, you know the rest.

Of particular interest was the attraction between Ben and Mal, the daughter of Maleficent. At first, he'd only loved her because of a potion she'd concocted (see also: the time the High Prince made an ass of himself asking a girl for a date), but eventually it wore off...and he was loving her for real. And no matter how much she denied it, she was falling for him too.

Honestly, it was like someone had taken a double-ended red noose and throttled the both of them with it.

They didn't seem to let up when she turned back to evil, either.

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Upon taking the castle, Mal used a spell to turn every staff member allied with the royal family into household objects–this time inanimate, this time permanently.

She captured Belle, Adam, and their son; the former two she locked up in a cell, the latter...

As a "thank you" for releasing her and her friends in the first place, for helping them in their search for the talismans, and for loving her faithfully, she cast a spell on him.

Turned him into a mindless beast, all too similar to what his father had been.

Had all his indepedent thoughts taken away, making him subservient to her and only her.

High Queen Mal had a really fucked-up way of saying "thank you".

After the subjugation of Auradon, she took Belle and her Beast, dragging them out in front of the castle. There, in front of a crown of gathered villains, she declared it a new age of villainy and debauchery, an age ruled by her and her friends, an age of iron and blood. And then she brought out her beastly lover and commanded him to kill his parents in the most gruesome fashion possible. He obeyed eagerly.

He was her Beauty, and she was his Beast. That was all that mattered.

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I realize that I never brought up Gaston, the villain of Belle's story. There's not that much to say, really.

He had three sons on the Isle–Gaston Junior, Gaston the Third, and Gil.

Gil became the third member of Uma's pirate trio, hunting for any heroes that tried to escape by sea.

Junior and The Third ended up becoming star members of High Queen Mal's army.

And Gaston Senior? He died. End of story.