The Prologue

by Eliana

***

I cried out from the pain, my body feeling as if it were splitting in half. Mandy's encouraging words fell on deaf ears, all that I could hear was the pounding in my ears as my blood raced. Then, sweet release, followed by a sound even sweeter. Tears ran down my face as the beautiful cry of my child filled the air. I opened my eyes to the sight of Mandy, looking in awe at the bundle in her arms. She gently walked towards me, and a wave of emotion hit me- fear, love, wonder, disbelief, happiness, pride, sorrow, and so many more that I couldn't even distinguish. I believe I felt every pain and joy of motherhood in that one moment, that split second in time that Mandy silently placed that precious bundle in my arms, the blanket- wrapped being that was my child.

"It's a girl." Mandy's normally bossy and no nonsense voice took on a hushed tone, almost one of reverence.

"A girl." I repeated quietly, my lips forming the words without command from my mind that was too overwhelmed to order any response. "A girl.."

My first look at her beautiful, sweet face struck me deep within, and I loved her. I loved this little girl, this gorgeous miracle some entity above had seemed fit to bless me with, and I knew I would do anything for her. I would die for her, I would cry for her, I would live every day of my life in torment just to keep her safe. Her thickly lashed eyes focused on my face, and I fell in love with her all over again. Her liquid eyes, her dark wisps of hair, her rosy mouth, and her stubby little toes, were all perfect.

"Ella. My little Eleanor." My eyes traveled over her face once more, and a stab of pain hit me in the chest.

"May you bear that name with more happiness than your mother ever did." I whispered, tears stinging in the corners of my eyes. I held her close, and ran my hand over her soft hair.

A puff of smoke and the smell of lavenders suddenly filled the room. Startled, Ella broke out in the wails of a frightened baby, and I tried to console her. As I shushed her, I looked up to the newcomer in the room, a woman of great beauty, but beauty of a false and frivolous sort. I disliked her at once.

"I am Lucinda," the woman spoke. "And I am a fairy."

She paused, as if expecting some kind of response. There was none. Her dazzling smile never dimmed at the uncomfortable silence and my glare, making it quite apparent she was unwelcome here. Unfazed, she continued in a tinkling voice that grated my frazzled nerves.

"I have come to give your child a gift."

Mandy had told me about fairies such as this one. They were rare, but dangerous. Disillusioned by human perceptions of them, they try to act the way fairy tales portrayed them. This could lead to curses, gifts, ridiculous quests, and anything else that might give a sense of "adventure," "romance," or other such concepts to a poor mortal's life. I eyed this fairy distrustfully, she could be up to no good. Tired from childbirth, and getting a headache from Ella's unending screams, I brusquely dismissed her.

"She doesn't need any gifts. Ella's fine just the way she is."

Lucinda laughed, a laugh more tinkling and irritating than her voice.

"Nonsense! Human children can always use a fairy gift. Here, let me see her."

Before I could respond, Ella was taken from my arms. Too weak to protest, I could only watch as my child was snatched up by this mad fairy.

"Shhhh, my dear. Ella is it? What a sweet name. Be quiet, darling, so that I may give you a gift."

The infant's screams only increased in volume. Lucinda unconsciously frowned a moment, before her cherful smile took it's normal place once more.

"I've got it! My gift is obedience. Ella will always be obedient. Now, hush child."

The cries were cut off as sharply as if with a knife. My ears rung from the sudden quiet. I looked in horror and shock at this... this.. monster in front of me. In the name of goodness and generosity, she had just doomed my child to a life of servitude.

Obedience.

Ella will always be obedient.

I looked at Mandy. Her face was angry, her eyes fiercer than I've ever seen. I saw her mouth moving, but I couldn't hear the words coming out.

'How odd,' I wondered to myself. It was also odd the way that the room was moving, whirling arouind, the colors all beginning to run together. I was fairly certain that that wasn't supposed to happen.

Lucinda's smile, that awful smile, so fake and ugly.. I hated it. I needed to look away.

Ella. My dear Ella. The last face I saw before I blacked out, she seemed so beautiful to me, even though her face was distorted in a terrible grimace as she tried to continue her screams, but couldn't. Ella, my Ella, your life just starting and already there is a black mark on your future.

I never should have cursed you with my name.

***

A/N: I'm not sure if I want to continue this. If I do, it will be an exploration of Ella's mother's past. This is my first Ella Enchanted fic. I was a huge fan of the book- read it three times in a row once- but I guess my tastes grew to be a little more adult. Exploring the site, I found the section for Ella Enchanted, and it brought back so many memories I had to add my own little contribution. I hope you enjoyed. Review if you want me to continue, and if not- well, review anyways. Thanks!

~Eliana~