|The Privilege of Love
Author: M. L. Zhang PM
What if during the ballroom scene when Henry learns the truth, Danielle didn't get the chance to run away? Instead, King Francis charges her on impersonating the nobility and sentences her to prison and possibly death. Will Henry overlook class & save her? But with Henry's impending marriage to the Princess of Spain proceeding as planned, will he save their love in time?Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 8 - Words: 17,898 - Reviews: 70 - Favs: 47 - Follows: 90 - Updated: 01-24-13 - Published: 03-20-07 - id: 3451109
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello everyone! It has been a very long time since I have written a fanfic—life and school have been so hectic. But, I got the idea to write a story from a role-play I did awhile ago. Please let me know what you think-- and enjoy.
P.S. I just edited this chapter since putting it up here yesterday—just added a bit more detail.
DISCLAIMER: I do not have any rights to the film, Ever After, however my thoughts and ideas are mine. As this is purely a work of fan fiction. The title is a working title, it may change. By the way, I've changed the spelling of Henry's name to that of the French spelling. I hope it doesn't confuse anyone—but I thought it'd be a nice touch, since it is set in France ;)
The Privilege of Love
By: M. L. Zhang
Chapter 1: Honor and Shame
The music slowly came to a cease, and all the courtiers stopped dancing to gaze upon the spectacle which included the sought after handsome prince. All eyes rested upon the young couple, as a precedent in their nation's history played out before their eyes.
"I can explain…" the young woman's voice was soft and pleading, just begging to be heard. If only she could get them to understand, perhaps it all may be alright in the end.
"Well, somebody better!" King Francis stood from his throne and glared down at them all. When he was angry, all received his wrath. The king's voice boomed throughout the room, full of his demanding presence.
The whole palace was full of courtiers in their elegant gowns and suits, as well as their masquerade costumes. Tonight would've been the night that Henri would announce to the court his intentions to marry Danielle, or as he believed, Nicole. However, Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent just could not keep herself from interfering in other people's affairs—especially when in her mind it may benefit herself.
"She is a servant! She's been a servant in my household for the last ten years." Rodmilla yelled with a deliberate smug smirk on her lips. Her eyes full of mischievous plotting and a deep-set root of jealousy.
Danielle held Henri's hand more tightly now—as if the invisible ribbon that bound them together may be snipped at any moment, never to be mended once cut. Their eyes met, Henri's questioning and Danielle's pleading—just needing to be heard and understood. "Is this true …Nicole?"
Sadly, with tears threatening to spill from her eyes she nodded, "Countess Nicole de Lancre was my mother… my name is Danielle de Barbarac … I am what she says…."
Henri's eyes widen as he stares at her and then his hand slips from hers, as if this little unconscious action was the finality of anything that could exist between them. That the invisible ribbon that held them together had finally been cut and nothing could fix it.
"What's this Henri...a commoner?.. You better explain yourself!" King Francis thundered, his arms folded across his chest in anger.
"There is nothing to explain Father… this woman in front of me is nothing more than a commoner and someone I horribly mistook for another." Henri replied, his countenance suddenly cold toward Danielle.
"But, Henri…" Danielle pleaded.
The nobles all gasped at this complete lack of etiquette.
"Madame… you will not address me so informal. I am a Prince of France… and you are nothing more than one of them!" He spat at her and indicated the common folk and gypsies he had invited to the ball just for her.
Tears filled her eyes and freely spilled down her cheeks, she was about to turn and run from the room, when Francis nodded and two guards blocked the exit. "So, then you have lied and deceived the dauphin of France!" Queen Marie accused her.
Danielle's sadden eyes seem to hold a glimpse of fear now for what they might do to her. Rodmilla stepped forward and answered for her, "Yes, Your Majesty, she has lied to you the whole time."
Queen Marie's eyes fixed on Rodmilla, "Then haven't you also lied to me, when you told me that you knew the "Nicole de Lancre" was your cousin and staying with you?" Her eyes narrowed at the Baroness, waiting to see what possible reason she could have.
Rodmilla shook her head, "Not completely, Your Majesty… as there really was a lady named Nicole de Lancre and she does 'rest' at our manor."
Before Marie could question her further, Francis was more concerned with the issue of a commoner posing as nobility. "Danielle…. You are henceforth sentenced to the prison on grounds of impersonating nobility until we decide your fate."
A sob broke out from the young woman and before she could resist, the two guards took her by the arms and led her away. Her eyes stayed focused on Henri, hoping he'd somehow overcome the truth and save her. She hoped that their love was strong and could transcend the constraints of the social hierarchy. But, to add to her sadness, he only stood there with a cold and distant expression on his handsome face and watched silently as they dragged her away.
When Danielle was gone from the ballroom, Henri turned and left the room as well, and walked out onto a terrace. He could not stand to be in the presence of others at the moment, his emotions were too many and too jumbled. Queen Marie looked to Rodmilla, "I'll deal with you later, rest assured." Rodmilla nodded, bowed, and then returned to her place in line.
This was not a suitable air for a festive ball, and Francis turned to the orchestra and waved his hand in a fluid movement, "Continue!" The music struck up once more in the tone of a lively waltz and the courtiers began dancing once more. Francis turned to Marie as they both sat back down on their thrones, "Can you fathom it all? Henri with a commoner?" It still boggled his mind.
Marie shook her head, "No … I can't. But then again… you can't control who you fall in love with." She was indicating more than just the spark of love between Henri and Danielle.
Francis caught the insinuation, "I really do wish that after all these years you would've dropped that issue, dear."
Marie nodded, "Yes, Francis." She said, though the issue was not forgotten for Marie.
Meanwhile, Henri was leaning against the stone railing of the terrace balcony just off from the ballroom. His arms folded and his head tilted up towards the sky; eyes closed and breathing deeply, just trying to get a grasp on his feelings. A steady, cold rain had begun to fall from the thick, dark gray clouds overhead. Thoughts of this evening ran through his mind and he still couldn't believe all that had transpired.
"I should go after her… I love her.." He said to himself, "No.. I don't know Danielle… she lied to me… I know a Nicole that does not exist." He argued with himself.
Just then Leonardo Da Vinci walked up to him and placed a glass slipper on the ledge beside Henri, "You cannot control fate, boy." He said, "Just as much as you cannot control your heart. Go after her." He tried to impart his knowledge that only age can bring.
He shook his head, "I cannot… she is but a commoner and I a prince…"
Leonardo frowned, "If you can't see past that, then you don't deserve her." He replied and then left Henri with his thoughts, staring down at Danielle's exquisite slipper.
Down in the castle's prison, some many flights of stairs below the main floor, Danielle sat on a mound of straw in the corner of her cell. There was a small window high up in the stone wall with iron bars so that it couldn't be reached. And a small mat sat on the floor against one wall that served as a bed.
She huddled with her knees drawn into her chest, her chin resting on her knees as she let her heart pour out through her eyes in the form of salty tears. Still wearing her mother's wedding gown and the one butterfly's wing she still had on after Rodmilla ripped the other off. She appeared to be a sad, fallen angel. Danielle really thought that he would've listened to her, that their love was stronger than this. The distinction of social class must really weigh more heavily for him than she had thought.
"What am I to do?" She whispered to herself. Everything seemed so dark to her. In just one night she had lost everything—her home, her friends, and the one man she truly loves. The dark, dank cell was a perfect visualization of her innermost feelings at the moment. And the eerie moonlight that spilled across the floor only added light onto what lay before her—a lifetime in prison or more dreadful yet, the executioner's block.
There will be more—and I do have a plot outline, but I'd just like to post something first to see if any of you out there like it. Thanks