Disclaimer: I do not own Ella Enchanted nor am I making any profit from the writings of this fic. This was written out of desperate boredom and the need to unleash my creativity.
Author's Note: Here I am, stepping into new territory, into the fandom of Ella Enchanted. I am happy, of course, to receive feedback, comments, questions and constructive criticism and always look forward in bettering myself. Just don't send ogres my way.
Perfect, everything was absolutely perfect.
Lucinda had promised a beautiful day, and she had kept her promise – the sky was painted blue, with small smatterings of wispy clouds littered across. The wind from the North blew steadily, carrying the sweet delicate tinge of wild flowers.
Breathing in a huge gulp of air, I turn to Mandy, who was putting finishing touches to my trail.
'Oh, Mandy, I can't believe this is happening!' I could leap for joy. I had always dreamed of this day, ever since I met him, Prince Charmont. I thought of him often and hoped, my stomach twisting itself into a hopeless knot, that I would be marrying him. I fidgeted, pacing a little in front of the gilded mirror.
'Lady,' Mandy sighed as her struggled to stitch the loosening hem, 'stop flapping and keep still.'
I swallowed a giddy laugh and stilled myself, surrendering myself to my godmother's administrations to my bridal gown. As I tapped my foot impatiently, I studied myself – Me, Ella, free of the curse laid on me on the first hour of my life.
Hienil flowers, specially brought from the Elfian region, sat entwined in my dark locks. Seeing myself suddenly in my white silken gown, my lace veil flung to one side of my face, made my heart flutter madly and I bit my lip in my nervousness.
I guess Mandy must have felt the change in my posture because her needle stopped threading in and out of the slippery material and she looked up to give me a comforting smile.
'Don't fret, sweet, you'll be fine.'
Nodding bravely, I returned her smile.
Down the red carpeted path, I walked, trying to recall every single command issued by the Manners Mistress when I was sent to finishing school.
'Don't slouch… step lightly – on your toes…'
Behind me, was dear Areida traipsing after me, scattering rose petals around.
I looked ahead and caught a glimpse of him, my future husband and I gripped my hapless flower bouquet more tightly. Resolutely, I cast my eyes downward studying the Elfian decorative flowers, large roses folded expertly out of large FornEish leaves and charmed with fairy touches so that they bloom and unfurled as I walked pass.
'Keep your stomach in… head high…' I mutter and look up as I continued my painstakingly slow steps to the altar. With each step I took, the altar seemed farther and farther away.
This is ridiculous.
I quickened my pace, feeling impatience rise within me. When I finally reached the front and mounted the podium, Char offered me his arm to take. He leaned towards me and whispered in a tone which suggested that he was greatly amused, 'Can't wait to marry me?'
Thankfully, I was saved from replying when the man anointed for marry us began to speak. High Chancellor Thomas gave an opening speech which lasted many minutes about how the citizens of Kyrria ought to give their undying love to Kyrria's royal family and to the country, about how each of us are on this earth for only a short time and we have to make something out of it and such like.
Just as I was about to despair ever getting married to Char, he turned to Char.
'Do you, Crown Prince Charmont of Kyrria, son of His Majesty, King Jerrold of Kyrria, take Lady Eleanor of Frell, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and cherish, through sickness and through health, for better or for worse, forever more, till death do you part?' High Chancellor Thomas intoned gravely, keen grey eyes watching Char.
Ever calm and steady, Char replied with a firm "I do".
When he turned to me, I suddenly felt unsure – what if the curse suddenly took over again? What if that dreadful Hattie suddenly finds away to control me? Will I have to be a slave to my horrid stepfamily?
'And do you, Lady Eleanor of Frell, take Crown Prince Charmont of Kyrria, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and cherish, through sickness and through health, for better or for worse, forever more, till death do you part?'
Oh dear. I could be the cause of Kyrria's downfall! If the curse took me again, Char would be in danger! I would be his Bane! In history books, I shall be known as Ella of Frell, the Bane of Kyrria.
No. I can't let that happen to Char or to Kyrria. If it were to happen, I'd –
'Ella?' Char whispered from the corner of his mouth, a puzzled frown on his handsome face.
With a start, I realised that I had been standing at the altar, mute. Whispers ran along the crowd as they struggled to guess what was happening.
If the curse-
Stop it! The curse is broken! There isn't any curse, not anymore. Char would be safe. Kyrria would be safe.
'I do…' I said; my voice barely above a whisper and I winced when I heard my voice wobble and catch on the two simple syllables.
Like a white snake it rose from the ground, grand and imposing. Coiled magnificently from the ground up till what I imagined could be the sky. Cold marble was it's skin, polished and smooth.
A breath caught in my throat as I took in this sight.
What a temptation!
A warm hand curled gently around my waist and I turned to see Char, face glowing with happiness.
'Do you like it?' he demanded, sounding childish.
'Char… it's beautiful!' And it really was.
Eyes twinkling, he kissed me on my flushed cheek, 'I did promise, you know…'
It was my turn. The ride was a dream, longer and steeper than the rail at home. The hall rose to meet me, and Char was there. He caught me and spun me around.
'Again!' he cried.
We raced up. Behind me he said, 'Wait till you try the banister at home.'
His home! When will I do that?
Well, now seemed to be the time…
Catching his eye, I grinned impishly and made a dash for the stairs, gathering my dress in a messy bundle. With his long legs and wide strides, Char easily caught up with me. I gave a short scream of surprise when he suddenly scooped me into his arms.
'Char!' I gripped his lapels tightly as the steps zipped past me at a dizzying pace. 'Put me down!'
He laughed throatily and my heart uncharacteristically fluttered.
'Come on,' he said when we reached the top, setting me down on my feet gently, 'ladies first.'
I stared down at the banister, following it's trail with trepidation rising within me. It curved and turned, looping and spiralling downwards in a steep angle.
Strong hands wrapped around me, attempting to lift me onto the railing.
'No! Wait!' I scrabbled at his digits madly. At once, he released me. Turning me around, he placed his hands on my shoulders comfortingly.
'Ella?' His tone gentle.
Suddenly, I felt incredibly stupid.
'I…' I began timidly, my brain scrambling to conjure up a proper excuse, 'I was just wondering who would catch me at the bottom,' I lied.
He was silent for a moment, studying me.
My first day as a married maid and already this marriage is wrecked (and still in my bridal gown too!). I wonder if this is another of Lucinda's curses?
Unexpectedly, Char started to laugh. 'I see,' he said between chuckles, 'how silly of me.'
Giving me a quick hug, he said, 'Stay here, Ella, don't ride down just yet.'
With that, he thundered down the stairs at a breakneck speed. As his footsteps died away, I took a deep breath and studied the twists of the banisters.
Dear Lord… what am I in for?
I could always back down – tell Char that I couldn't do it, that it was too terrifying a ride for me. But mother had always said that a fault of mine was pride. It was pride that stopped me from admitting that I could not do this.
Seconds later, Char appeared, grinning. 'All set!'
He approached again, to help me mount this monster. I waved him off. I could do this, I knew I could. All I need was the nerve to mount it and before I could change my mind, push myself forward, so there was no looking back.
Right… seems easy enough.
Wiping my sweaty palms on the silk of my dress, I gingerly placed my bottom on the railings. Thinking on the violent curves ahead of me, I hesitantly swung a leg across, so that I was straddling it.
I think Char sensed my fear because he caught my hand, 'Ella, you can do this another time, if you want to.'
Sweet Char, giving me a way out. I almost cheerfully placed both feet on solid ground again before pride walloped me hard in the chest.
'I want to do this.'
He seemed to hesitate, 'If you are really sure that you want to…'
'I am,' I said firmly, turning to face my doom.
Taking a deep breath I gripped the sides and began pulling myself forward. I felt my bottom tilt upwards as I sat at an angle, starring with wide-eyes down the rail.
I lost my courage.
And unfortunately, lost my grip too. I shot down the banister like a white arrow, the Hienil flowers so neatly woven into my hair tore lose, fluttering down like lost feathers.
The air whistled loudly in my ears and I open my mouth to scream in terror when I saw a deadly corner ahead of me. My bottom felt as if it was no longer planted firmly on the banister, and I clawed wildly to stay on.
A sudden turn the other way made the banister disappear briefly and my head snapped back as my body went in the other direction.
The ride was in reality a mere few seconds, but in my terrified state of mind, it seemed like years. Relief surged through me as I neared the end and I saw a huge cushion positioned on the floor for me to land on.
Suddenly the front of my skirt flew to my face, exposing my royal pantaloons and undergarments for the whole of Kyrria to see.
The end of the banister came very suddenly and I found myself flying through the air and landing ungracefully with a flop onto the aforementioned cushion. Somehow, through my short tumble in the air, I had managed to end up with my back pushed into the middle of the velvet seat, with my legs rigidly sticking into the air.
The cushion, carried by the momentum of my ride, slid across the polished marble, still bearing me, the screaming monarch.
I heard a whopping shout, the slither of satin against marble and a thump of boots hitting ground as the announcement of Char.
There was a stunned silence which I guess was caused by my unlady-like position and then a loud guffaw of laughter.
I pushed the dress material so that it wouldn't obscure my view and instantly wished I hadn't. I now had an up-side-down view of things – the marble floor is now my ceiling, the exquisite crystal chandelier looked absurd, balancing precariously on a stiff chain. But it wasn't these details that dismayed me. It was the countless shoes that littered my ceiling.
Shoes that belonged to the royal family, their trusted counsellors and advisors, and of course, servants who came running in to see the matter of all the commotion.
I righted myself quickly, a deep blush staining my cheeks. I smoothened my dress over my lap, and threw Char a glare.
Char was laughing so hard that tears of mirth rolled down his cheeks. He clutched the end of the banister and clung on, wheezing and choking.
I stared at him incredulously. I was startled when someone started to laugh with him. I turn and saw it was King Jerrold. He laughed, his face turning red. Soon, everyone started to laugh – the Queen, the usually stern-faced counsellors, Char's brothers and sister, everyone.
I couldn't help it. A bubble rose within me and soon, I was helplessly laughing with the rest of them.
Char caught me in his arms and chuckled. 'Well, Ella, that was certainly very interesting…'
Later, the entire royal family trooped up the notorious stairs and each took the terrifying ride down. I think King Jerrold enjoyed it…
Author's note: Thank you graciously for reading and I hope that you had enjoyed reading this as I had enjoyed writing it. I would love some feedback and constructive criticism.