When people hear the word fairytale, they think of brave princes saving their princesses from dragons, scullery maids becoming princesses with a wave of a magic wand, a curse broken by true love’s kiss, the happily ever after. But often times, people seem to forget the struggle the hero or heroine goes through to reach that end. We see a little bit of it during the Disney films, but we never truly see the depth of the story, what happened before and what happened after, what they truly went through, what they feel and think. The Kingdom of Disney is like that. It shows us the happy side in our Reality, leaving the much darker underside unseen except for those who live there.
How do I know this? Well, my story is like a fairytale, a rather unwanted fairytale to be honest. Who am I? I have many names and titles, all of them true in a sense. I suppose you could say I was the First Princess. No, I’m not Snow White, though she is a dear friend of mine. See, I was born long before Snow White, before any of the tales you know were heard in Reality in the form of the Disney films. I best start at the beginning, and like all stories, it begins with once upon a time….
Our story takes place on the mystical island of Avalon in the kingdom of Lord Oberon and his beautiful wife, Queen Titania. For many years, they had longed for a child of their own, but Faes rarely had children as they were practically immortal, save in the face of iron, and therefore had no need to reproduce as often as other races did. This did not stop the lord and lady from wanting a child to love, a child to show their love for each other. Then one day, a daughter was born, a princess that they named Deirdre.
Her hair was as white as the snow, eyes that made even the most vivid violets pale in comparison, her lips shaming the darkest red rose. She was healthy and she was their's. Her first smile given to Oberon, when he held her tiny form in his large hands. She'd grow into a great beauty when she grew up, and possibly very powerful, like her adoring parents
One starry night, Titania was tending to her precious Deirdre. She smiled down at her baby, holding her tiny hand in hers. Titania paused when she noticed something upon Deirdre's wrist. Gently, she turned Deirdre's wrist up in the moonlight. She gasped at the sight of a birthmark in the shape of a swan on her daughter's wrist.
Oberon walked into his daughter's nursery when he sensed his wife's distress. As far as he could see, his daughter was unharmed and perfectly at ease. He turned to his wife, curious to know what troubled her so.
"She's a swan maiden," she mumbled.
"What?" Oberon looked at her sharply, before turning to his daughter and saw the mark on her wrist. "It cannot be. The last died nearly a thousand years ago. I saw her die at the hands of that wretched mortal king myself."
"What can we do?" she pleaded.
"We protect her. Keep her here on Avalon away from the eyes of mortal men. If she does not meet any mortal men, she will not find her mate and thus die of grief like so many have before her." Oberon stated, determination clear in his gaze. He picked up his beloved child and held her close, smiling when she cooed and snuggled closer. "No one will use her, Titania. I promise." He smiled at her gently. "Come. We have the celebration of our daughter's birth to share. The Children cannot wait to meet their princess and we have yet to pick her godparents."
"Of course dear," Titania sighed, unsure.
Oberon planned a grand celebration for all his Children and decided to invite those of high and low estate from the Kingdom of Disney. They had never seen eye to eye, but Oberon felt that the birth of his daughter would be a good occasion to foster friendship with the other kingdom. A few days prior, he walked into his daughter's nursery and found the Trickster Puck hovering above Deirdre's cradle, making silly faces at her to make her coo.
"Puck!" Oberon growled, not happy the trickster had snuck into his daughter's nursery. "What are you doing in here?"
"I wanted to see the baby," he whined, ears drooping. They perked up a second later as he turned back to Deirdre. "She's positively precious."
Deirdre smiled up at him and to their surprise, let out her very first laugh. She laughed again as she waved her fists in the air, kicking her feet.
Puck beamed up at Oberon in genuine pride. "I made her laugh. It's the purest, most amazing sound in the world."
Oberon was happy and would later deny that there was a tear in the corner of his eye as he picked up his daughter and held her. "Indeed it is, Trickster." He looked at Puck thoughtfully before placing his daughter in Puck's arms. "Would you like the honor of being her godfather?" Chuckling at the stunned expression on his face, Oberon continued. "The one who caused her to laugh for the first time is worthy of that honor. I am sure my lady wife would agree. What say you Puck?"
"I'd be incredibly honored, sire," Puck gasped.
Deirdre cooed, seemingly in agreement with this choice. She yawned, stretching in Puck's arms before she settled, murmuring sleepily as her eyes drooped.
He squealed softly as he gave her a gentle squeeze. "I adore her."
"As do we. Come, it is time to let her rest. Tomorrow will be a big day for her." Oberon gestured to her cradle. Once his child was safely tucked into her bed, he leaned down and kissed her head. "Sweet dreams my little princess."
The next morning, Deirdre was unusually fussy. She kept squirming around when her mother tried to bathe her and dress her. She refused to hold still even for a moment.
"Deirdre, what's wrong?" Titania asked.
Deirdre whined, upset about something.
"Oberon, darling, something is wrong," Titania cried.
Oberon rushed in, ready to fight. "What is it?"
"Something is wrong with Deirdre," she whimpered.
Deirdre let out a soft wail, flailing around on her parent's bed where her mother had tried to dress her. Not even the sight of her father calmed her. She sensed something very bad was going to happen and she couldn't tell her parents. She was smart for a baby her age, but then again she was Fae. She whimpered as her father picked her up and held her close.
"What is wrong, angel?" Oberon cooed.
She whined, nuzzling against her father. She was scared, of what she didn't know, but she was scared.
"Oberon, maybe she's frightened of something. Maybe today is not a good idea." Titania tried, knowing that today was an important day for both kingdoms in attendence.
"But Titania, my love, how are we going to stop this? The guests are already here," Oberon sighed.
"Double the guards, cast more wards, anything!"
"As you wish, my lady-wife," Oberon replied, offering Deirdre back to Titania.
"Let us hope now she will let me dress her." Titania sighed, a slight hint of humor in her voice. "She is very wiggly this morning."
Deirdre wiggled in her mother's arms as if to prove her point.
She sighed, "Just being difficult now, are we?"
Deidre stuck her fist in her mouth and looked up at her mother innocently. She remained still for her mother to dress her up and carry her out to the throne room where hundreds had gathered. She let out a slight whimper at all the new faces, only used to the faces of her mother, father and Puck. She calmed down slightly when she was placed in the crib brought out for her and she could see the faces of both her parents from where she lay. She yawned and settled in for her morning nap, uncaring for what was going on around her. She slept through much of the ceremony and gift giving. She did stir when the three good fairies hovered over her cradle. She gave them a grumpy face, not pleased they had disturbed her rest.
"Oh, she is precious," Flora cooed.
"Just the sweetest little thing!" Fauna agreed.
Merryweather peered into the cradle. "She looks rather grumpy." She observed.
"She is," Oberon muttered, a grin on his face.
"We would each like to bless the child with a single gift, no more, no less." Flora stated.
Oberon glanced over at Titania.
She nodded with a smile.
"Please." Oberon waved his hand, showing that it was okay.
Flora curtsied before going back to Deirdre's cradle. "Sweet princess, my gift shall be the gift of beauty."
One gift, beauty rare,
Glow of moonlight in her hair,
Lips that shame the darkest rose,
She'll walk in starlight wherever she goes!
Deirdre giggled as Flora waved her wand and magic swirled in the air above them before floating into her cradle.
Fauna stepped forward to give her gift. "Tiny princess, my gift shall be the gift of song.
One gift, the gift of song,
Melody your whole life long!
The nightingale her troubadour,
Bringing his sweet serenade to her door.
Merryweather moved to give her gift but was interrupted by a gust of howling wind forcing the front doors of the castle open and swirling around the throne room, extinguishing all the torches and other forms of light.
Deirdre started wailing in fright, reaching her arms up for one of her parents to pick her up.
There was a roar of thunder and a bolt of lightning that struck the ground before revealing the form of Maleficent, Mistress of All Evil.
"Maleficent," Oberon growled. He guarded Titania as she grabbed Deirdre. Yes, he had invited her only out of respect as not doing so while inviting everyone else in the Kingdom could be seen as an act of war, but he was extremely wary of letting her near his precious child.
"Lord Oberon." She inclined her head as her pet raven, Diablo, landed on her staff. "Quite the glittering assemblage you have today. Royalty, nobility and-" her eyes landed on the three fairies and she laughed. "How quaint. Even the rabble."
"Ooh!" Merryweather groaned as she tried to fly at Maleficent, held back by her sisters.
"Yes, thank you for gracing us with your prescence," he grumbled, eyeing her.
"To show my gratitude for inviting me to this glorious event, I too shall bestow a gift upon the child."
Oberon didn't object, but oh how he wanted to. Something felt off, and he knew it. His mother, the great Mab, had always warned him to never doubt his instincts. Maybe if he had denied her, we wouldn't be having this story now.
"The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who know her but.... Before the bell tolls it's last as the old year dies of her twenty-first year, she shall prick her finger and spill three drops of blood upon the snow and join the Darkness or die!"
"Leave!" Oberon roared, "I welcome you into my kingdom, into my home, and this is how you repay my kindness?!"
"You were the fool then to think I wouldn't notice that your child was a Swan Maiden!" Maleficent cackled.
His eyes widened in shock. How could she have known?
"And now you will watch as your precious child destroys the Light forever!" She laughed as she vanished.
Deirdre began crying in her mother's arms, refusing to be soothed by her mother's words or rocking motions.
Oberon wrapped his arms around both Titania and their child as he glanced at Titania in worry.
"Oberon, what are we going to do?" Titania cried, looking up at her husband as she held her child closer. "She will stop at nothing to get her hands on our daughter and use her."
"There may be some hope yet, Merryweather hasn't given her gift yet." Flora stated, pushing Merryweather forward.
Oberon looked over to Merryweather. "Please, please save my daughter."
"She can't undo the curse, but she can help a little." Fauna soothed.
"But I..." Merryweather looked so unsure.
Merryweather sighed before looking at the princess. "Sweet princess, if through this wicked witch's trick, should your finger you prick... a ray of hope there still may be in this, the gift I give to thee. Through an unselfish act of greatest and purest love, this spell shall break, as it was done by three drops of blood, so by three drops of blood it shall be undone."
"Thank you," Oberon breathed, still concerned for his child.
Fairy Godmother stepped forward then. "Pardon, milord, but perhaps it would be best if the child was hidden. If I know Maleficent, she won't wait for the curse to take affect, she'll try and steal the child beforehand. All the wards in the world won't be able to stop her. Allow myself and the Three Good Fairies take the princess into hiding and raise her until the time for the curse has passed."
"No, I shall protect her," he objected.
"Oberon, they're right. She won't wait. Maybe we should hear them out." Titania reasoned.
Deirdre yawned and curled into her mother, obviously worn out.
"Everything will be fine, Titania," Oberon argued, "I can ensure that Maleficent won't come back. Please Titania, let us just let Deirdre rest for now."
"We will discuss this in the morning Oberon," Titania stated firmly.
"Yes, my dear," he agreed, kissing her brow.
But that discussion would never come.
Hades, God of the Dead, did no agree with Maleficent's plans. There were too many risks, too many things could go wrong or the spell could be broken and they would lose. Hades had been warned by the Fates that if the curse was broken, then the Darkness would lose forever. But Maleficent merely brushed him off, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. He sent Pain and Panic to steal the child from her cradle and kill her.
That night, while the island slept, Pain and Panic stole into Deirdre's nursery and took her from her cradle. Deirdre let out a fierce cry upon being woken up and began crying for her parents as they slept down the hall.
Awoken by the cries of their child, Oberon and Titania raced to their daughter's room, only to be met with a horrible sight. Deirdre's cradle was overturned, the many gifts she had been given destroyed, with no sign of their precious child.
Titania wept as she made a desperate attempt to find her beloved child. Oberon roared and ordered all of the Children to search for Deirdre.
But by the time they found the baby, it was too late. Puck was the one who found her and with heavy heart returned to his Lord and informed him that he had found the girl on the shores of the island. He had found her just in the shallows, her eyes unseeing, her fragile neck snapped. He led them to where he had moved her broken body, unable to look at her for long.
Oberon wailed over the empty form as he held her close. It would be the last time he would weep so for many centuries to come.
Titania waited back at the castle for her husband to return with their daughter. She let out a sigh of relief when her husband returned with their child bundled in his cape. She was confused when he refused to hand her Deirdre. "Oberon, give me my child." She held out her arms expectantly.
"Titania..." He glanced at her pitifully, unable to bear the thought of how it would wound his wife to know their child's fate.
"What is it? Why won't you give me my child?" Titania stepped forward, hand reaching out to move her husband's cape from Deirdre's face. A feeling of dread began to well up in her heart as she moved the cloth. She let out a gasp when she saw her daughter's blank eyes and shakily touched her cheek, recoiling when she felt how cold her daughter's skin was. "Deirdre...?" She looked up at Oberon, seeking answers as tears welled up in her eyes. "What happened?"
He told her, his heart breaking every moment of it.
Titania began to cry earnestly as she cradled her daughter to her, falling to her knees as her legs gave way. "My child... My baby..." She whimpered, rocking back and forth. "Who? Who did this?! I'll make them pay!" Her tears of sorrow grew cold and turned to tears of rage.
"I... don't know," Oberon confessed.
"It was one of them!" She snarled, figuring out that only someone from the Kingdom could have done this. "They'll pay for this!" She swept out of the room, carrying their daughter's body away to prepare her for burial.
Oberon found her later in their room, Deirdre on the bed, dressed in a white gown and her eyes closed.
"She looks like she could only be sleeping." Titania whispered, stroking her daughter's cheek. "I keep expecting her to open her eyes and laugh at me." She looked at Oberon, her eyes filled with tears again. "She can't really be dead... She can't be... This is all a nightmare..."
Poor Oberon and Titania, forced to witness the burial of their child so soon after they finally had their wish come true. Titania never cried again after that day and so soon after, she began to despise mortals and their ability to sire children while she struggled to concieve again. In her anger and cold heartedness towards them, she committed a terrible act that forced her husband to act.
It was with a heavy heart that Oberon exiled all the Children and his wife from the island of Avalon until they learned humilty and compassion for mankind. Oberon appointed the Wyrd Sisters as Keepers of the island and guardians of his child's grave. Then he too departed, never to set foot on Avalon for nearly a thousand years.
The centuries rolled on and neither Oberon nor Titania ever forgot their precious daughter. Both would go on to sire children with mortals, but none could ever take Deirdre's place. Titania married a human male and with him, birthed a daughter. Even though she loved her daughter, the pain she still felt caused her to be distant with her child.
I bet by now you're wondering where I come in. Be patient, I'm getting there. You see, I'm from what we know as Reality. This was all myth to me, or so I thought... This is where my story truly begins. There are times I still think I'm dreaming, but it's real. How does my story end? Well, it hasn't ended yet as I'm still striving for that happy ending. It's not easy, I assure you. Sometimes I wonder that if I knew then what I knew now, would I be here? Who can truly say?