I Do Not Own Sleeping Beauty
Deep in the mountains, there was a modest cabin. The cabin was occupied by a man. He was heavily muscled from years of hard work, and years pulling back the string of his mighty bow. His brown hair and beard were roughly cut, him having done it with his hunting knife.
His name was Victor, and he was a woodsman, making his living off of the land around him. And aside from bi-yearly trips into civilization to sell the numerous furs he'd taken, he lived alone.
Until one day, upon opening the door to his cabin, he found a small bundle of cloth. And inside the bundle of cloth, sleeping peacefully, was an infant girl. But this girl was unusual, having green skin.
Being a woodsman, Victor was a superstitious person, though not in a bad way. Were as many people of this day and age believed in the Christian god, Victor believed in the forest that gave him life, and would no doubt one day give him death. That the forest was home to numerous spirits that would aid, hinder, or simply ignore him, was a cornerstone of his belief. These beliefs had been passed down by his father, a woodsman himself, along with numerous lessons on the forest itself.
Victor knew what plants would heal, and which would kill. He knew the tracks of all the game, and to navigate by the sun and stars. He knew which woods were good for burning and which were good for building. He knew that while the animals could be predictable, they could also surprise him.
And he knew that this girl would be killed should anyone else find her.
Victor was well aware of the prejudice of mankind. His late mother had been witch, not a powerful one mind you, but a witch none the less. And he remembered watching, his hands tied behind his back, as superstitious villagers killed his father for defending her, before hanging his mother and setting her body alight.
And were it not for a conveniently placed stone that allowed him to cut his bonds, Victor had no doubt he would have been killed simply for being a 'demon's spawn.'
So Victor made a decision, carrying the sleeping girl to his bed, and brushing back a tuft of her raven hair, he set her down, making sure to position his various fur and cloth blankets so that she wouldn't roll off.
"Sleep peacefully Alice," he said, naming the girl.
Stepping away from the girl, Victor looked around his cabin, trying to decide on a place to put a crib for his new daughter.
"You must always respect fire," her father told the young girl as they camped out in the wilderness.
Eight year old Alice listened to her father's words with rapt attention, her yellow eyes watched as he stirred the fire. "It is both a force of life and death. It is powerful, able to destroy the tallest oaks and spread rapidly over many miles. And while it often destroys, the ash it leaves behind fertilizes the earth, providing nutrients for new life to grow. And it's warmth provides us with life in cold times, ensuring that we do not freeze, and that we have warm meals to eat."
"Do you understand?" her father asked.
Alice smiled and nodded. "Yes father. Fire is a force that should be respected for what it gives, not feared for what it destroys."
The older man smiled, as he added another log to the fire. "Very good. Now that's enough lessons for tonight. It's time for you to go to sleep, we have a long walk tomorrow if we're going to get to the trap-line before midday."
"No buts little lady. I know you're not tired. But we're wood-folk, we must rest when we can, as there will be times we cannot. You must learn to sleep on demand and wake at slightest feeling that something is wrong. Or else this will be short life."
Alice huffed, but crawled into the roll of blankets she had brought to sleep in.
"What's that word," Alice asked, holding up the book she was reading to her father.
Victor looked down at the word she was pointing at. "Enunciate," he said after a few moments. "It means to speak clearly."
Victor chuckled as Alice returned to her reading. He may not have been able to wield magic like his mother had, but she had made sure he could read. And he was never more thankful that he had managed to save many of his mothers journals and books. Alice wasn't a master reader yet, as she still often asked him what a new word meant, but it was a start.
And after she had accidentally set fire to some leaves a few days ago, via purple lightning from her hand, revealing that she did wield magic, Victor knew it was time to dig out the old books and teach his daughter to read.
His mother, even in death, could help her more than he could in controlling her gift.
"Happy birthday Alice," her father said, handing the thirteen year girl a small cloth bundle.
Alice eagerly unwrapped the small bundle, revealing a gold ring, set with a large black stone that had green line running through it. She looked up at her father surprised. This gift must have been expensive, "Father...?"
He smiled at her. "Every young woman deserves to feel like a princess sometime."
With tears in her eyes, Alice thew herself at her father and hugged him tightly. "Thank you Papa."
Victor held his daughter close. "You're welcome my angel."
"DAMN IT!" Victor yelled. "Do you have any idea how much danger you're in!?"
The sixteen year old Alice looked at her father angrily. "Danger? I'm able to blast any danger away with lightning," she protested. "All I wanted to do was see what what town was like?"
"Do you think that will stop them?" her father demanded. "My mother could hurl balls of fire, it was the most powerful bit of magic she knew. "I watched them HANG her before burning her body." Victor stopped, and Alice could see the tears on his face, as his jaw was clenched. "I just...I just don't want to see the same thing happen to my daughter," he finished, collapsing in a chair.
Alice felt her own tears fall, and felt regret for disobeying her father. He was just scared for her. Walking over, she sat down in his lap and hugged him, resting her head on his should. "I'm sorry Papa. I didn't mean to scare you," she apologized.
She felt her father's arms wrap around her like they would when she was a little girl, back when she'd have nightmares and crawl into his lap only for him to chase the demons away. "I know," he whispered. "And I know you don't want to stay here in the wild all the time, but you must understand that I make these rules for a reason."
"I love you Angel, never forget that."
"I love you too Papa."
Something was wrong.
Alice bolted awake just as her father entered the room, she could see the worry etched on his face. "You must hide now, hurry," he demanded.
"There's no time Alice," he said, pulling up the door to hidden chamber beneath the floor. "Inside now."
"Papa?" her eyes looked at his questioningly.
Victor smiled sadly at her. "Soldiers are outside, they're surrounding the cabin. No matter what, don't come out. No matter what you feel, no matter what you hear, promise me."
Her father watched as she climbed into the hidden compartment, before he closed the door and threw a rug over, hiding it and sealing Alice in darkness.
"Where is she Woodsman?" Alice heard through the floor.
"I'm afraid I don't know who you are inquiring about," her father informed him.
She heard a growl. "Don't play idiot with me. We've heard the truth, that you're raising a dark fairy as your daughter. They are maleficent beings, by handing her over to us you will save your soul from the fires of hell."
"My daughter is no maleficent being," Her father said angrily. "And even if she was, and I believed what you said about hell, she's not here."
"Prince Stefan," another voice interrupted, "we've searched the smokehouse and barn, she's not there. She must be inside."
"Stand aside Woodsman," the voice now identified as Prince Stefan demanded.
"Now see her...oomph," her father fell silent as she heard something fall to the floor.
"Search everywhere," Stefan commanded.
Over the next fifteen minutes, Alice heard footsteps as several people searched the small cabin for her. After a few moments some said, "She's not here your majesty. Perhaps her father told the truth. It is likely he sent her away, he may have anticipated something like this after she visited the village."
"Search the surrounding area," Stefan ordered. The last thing we need is a dark fairy lurking about the kingdom."
The footsteps left, but Alice waited. She dare not risk exposing herself yet, in case soldiers waited above. For several hours, Alice waited, until her stomach growled loudly from hunger.
The young woman tensed, in case the noise had alerted someone. But when she heard no movement, she lifted the door and peeked out. She saw no soldiers, but what she saw terrified her more.
"NO!" she yelled, pushing the lid open completely and scrambling out of the compartment. She ran to her father's side.
Victor lay to the side of the doorway in a puddle of red, Alice could see the line of red in his gut where the sword had pieced. Tears began to fall freely from her face, "Papa, Papa!," she called, trying to rouse him. But looking into his glazed over eyes, Alice knew it was too late.
The wail of pain and grief from the young girl silenced the forest for miles.
Alice looked down at the fresh grave, tears still falling down her face.
Her father had died trying to protect her.
That man, Prince Stefan, had called her a maleficent being. And as she wiped away her tears, her face hardened. Maleficent being, she would show them a maleficent being. She would have her revenge against the arrogant prince, revenge for herself and her father.
And as the young girl stood up, she left the name Alice behind her. She would take a new name, a name that would strike fear into her enemies.
Over the next fifteen years, the girl once know as Alice, but now answering to Maleficent, devoted herself to the study of magic. She traveled and learned from various other users until was considered to be one of the most powerful magical beings alive. Then she returned to the kingdom in which she was raised.
And discovered that Prince Stefan was now King.
And for six years, she terrorized his Kingdom from the abandoned mountain fortress she claimed as her own.
Then Aurora was born and Maleficent came up with the perfect revenge. Her father had died to protect her, and he had succeeded. Stefan would not die, and he would not protect his daughter. He would live with the knowledge that he had failed to protect what was most precious to him.
And afterward, perhaps Maleficent would finally find someone and give her father a grandchild.
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As for why Maleficent was left on Victor's step, That's up for you to decide.