Once upon a time, a princess was cursed by an evil fairy. She bore the wrath of the mistress of evil, and the scorn against her kingdom. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, she would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and die.
The good fairies, Flora and Fauna had blessed the child with the gift of beauty and song, and Maleficent herself bestowed the gift of grace and the love of all those around her. All this set up to tell a story of a perfect girl who would be dead at sixteen. Then there was Merryweather. A slightly disgruntled fairy, but she had her heart in the right place. This good fairy spent her gift trying to lift the spell placed on the princess. Despite the horrendous magic, she changed the sentence from death, to sleep. From her nightmares she would wake by true loves kiss. Because of course, true love conquers all.
Maleficent may have been evil, but she would not be deceived. The fairies hid the baby from the witch, so she could not retaliate on her plan. That is, she couldn't follow up on Aurora. But she was determined not to be bested by those whom she hated so much. The devil woman remembered the presence of another at the celebration of the baby princess. Her betrothed, Phillip. He was just a boy, not older then five when he met his bride. Although, the prospect of marrying a baby was not appealing at the time. Now, on the eve of his own sixteenth birthday, Maleficent decided to give the prince a present of her own.
The day had been spent greeting relations and other royals. Phillip was still a boy, and hated every moment of it. When his father gave him permission to spend the rest of the day how he wanted, Phillp wasted no time in saddling Samson and disappearing into the forest. Little known to anyone at that time, he would not be coming back.
Phillip happily rode through the woods, his boyish excitement bursting at the seams as he pushed his steed onward, faster and faster. In a moment of recklessness, he dared to go off the beaten path and delved deep into the woods surrounding the forbidden mountain. His adrenaline waned as he realized he was lost, very lost. The foreboding trees gave him chills as Samson began to panic and back in circles.
"Whoa fella, easy..." He calmed his friend. "Easy..."
A unnerving chuckled echoed in the air, followed by the sound of wind, singing a haunting tune.
"That sounds...familiar..." Phillip puzzled.
The laughter grew louder and more amused.
The Prince once again took in his surroundings, memories from his childhood, the day his bride was cursed, all flashed inside his mind. "I'm sorry," he apologized to his horse, "we shouldn't have come out here, let's go." At that he turned in the direction away from the mountain, only to stop short at sight of the black figure blocking his way. He swallowed deeply.
"Hello my dear boy." The witch addressed with a smile.
Phillip tried to be cordial. "Good afternoon, Maleficent." He nodded politely.
"So you do know me, how...lovely."
"You made an impression all those years ago..." He simpered.
"I see, I suppose I did. Didn't I?"
Phillip didn't like this woman's presence and was eager to leave it. "Please pardon me for trespassing. You see, we've gotten lost...if you could just point is in the direction of Stefan's castle..."
The witch said nothing, only narrowed her eyes.
"You're not much of a prince, now are you? Timid, shy, not yet grown into your own skin..."
She was right of course. Phillip was a late bloomer, still small for his age, just barely beginning puberty. His voice was even still high.
"I am a prince though," he assured her determined. "I will repay any grievances I have caused."
"Yes, you will." She affirmed. Her staff lit like a flame. "Prince Phillip, son of King Hubert. My grievance with you is your existence. While I wish I could kill you here and now, instead I see a plan for a much more miserable future!" She thrust her staff into the ground and caused a great rumble. The earth split under Samson and thorny vines shot out and latched onto them. Phillip was lifted from his mount and brought in front of the witch. She raised her hands an began her incantation.
"With foliage of fall, and song of spring,
I curse you the form of feather and wing!
To be small and weak is forever your fate,
Plagued night and day with an avian state!"
Phillip's breathing became harsh and labored as he felt painful changes in his body taking place. The undersides of his arms felt as if they were being ripped open as thick fibers surged forth. His fingers grew long and flat, bursting from the restrains of his riding gloves. He screamed in pain as the bones in his legs twisted in their joints so that his knees bend backwards. The arch in his foot stretched and slid out of his boots. He felt his pectoral muscles almost inflate in size as his shirt tore down the middle. Painful spasms racked throughout his body as he mutated.
Samson whined in horror and bucked to shake lose from the vines that kept him, but they held fast.
The prince cursed the witch one last time in his human voice before his swears were turned to shrill cheeps. Maleficent smiled as the boy finally shrank into a five inch bundle of feathers. He fell through the thorny vines and landed harshly on the ground, broken and sore. A sad 'peep' was his only reaction from the exhaustion of the transformation. Maleficent simply plucked the gray-brown bird from the ground.
"I believe I have myself a new toy." The horned witch smiled.
Phillip looked to her in fear. What would she do to him now? He looked back to Samson as the horse was released to go back to the castle, but barred from saving his master.
The trek to the forbidden mountain was long and unbearable for the little bird. His heart pounded faster then any drum and his breaths were quick, never taking in enough oxygen.
Inside the castle, Maleficent escorted the transformed prince to the dungeon where a minuscule rusty cage sat in a corner. In it, he was tossed like a useless rag.
As Maleficent turned to leave, he let out a questioning 'peep'. She turned back, still smiling.
"My, how rude of me. You probably want to know what happens next." She rested her hands on her staff. "You see, the reason I have a grievance with you is that you're the one that will break the spell on Princess Aurora. I never intended there to be a way out for her, but those fairies had to go and change things."
Mortified, Phillip was at full attention. He had never met the Princess, but grew up with the knowledge that he would someday take her as his own. That was enough of a reason for the honorable young man to want to protect her.
"There is a way out for you too. True love's kiss. Just the same as your bride to be. But there is a problem now, isn't there? You're in here, and she's out there. Neither of you know the where abouts of the other. So it looks like two curses will come true together!" At this, she laughed manically. "So make yourself at home, little birdie. You won't be leaving anytime soon!"
"Why you wicked old hag!" Of course, all that was heard was twittering. Maleficent laughed even harder at this, and left.
First thing Phillip realized was how dark it was. And cold. He shuddered, his feathers puffing up. This was no place for a little bird. He sat on his feet and tucked his head into the plumage. Soon, the exhaustion caught up to him and he fell asleep.
A panicked horse sped through the woods, relying solely on instinct to get him back to the castle. When he returned, it was dark. The sounds of his clopping hooves on the cobblestone brought King Hubert out of the castle.
"Phillip! My boy, why are you so late?!" He stopped when saw the horse with no rider. "Samson, where is Phillip? Where is my son?!" Not expecting an answer, he turned to his surroundings, "Phillip!" He shouted. "Phillip! Where are you?!"
There was no reply.
Samson nudged the King, turning in the direction of the woods.
"What? Is he still out there? Is he hurt? Lost?"
The horse shook his head and again gestured to the woods, but with more emphasis to go past the trees.
King Hubert looked into the distance and felt his heart drop into his shoes. "The Forbidden Mountain..." Tears welled up in his eyes and he immediately knew there was no hope. "No...no no no...why would he go there? What's wrong with you?! Did you even try to stop him?!" He barked at the horse. Foolishness hit him as he realized he was yelling at an animal. Instead he hugged the horse's neck and wept. "Oh my boy...my only son...oh what am I going to do? What shall I tell Stefan?" A barricade of disastrous thoughts plagued the king's mind but he could do nothing but weep for the loss of his son.
Weeks passed mutely as the avian prince stayed locked away in that god forsaken dungeon. Food was brought to him daily. Wasps, spiders, bees and other creepy crunchy insects. For the first few days, food did not sound appealing, especially the dead insects in his bowl. Then he got desperate. He ate a spider first, deciding it was safe. Then he ate a wasp. The stinger pricked his throat when he swallowed and caused an allergic reaction. His throat became swollen and he did not eat again for two days.
Phillip hadn't seen Maleficent since he had arrived. Her goons were always the ones to 'care' for him. He almost wondered if she had forgotten about him.
The little weasels were just as evil as the witch, but none too bright or cunning. They often argued with each other and more then once his water or food had ended up on the floor, not to be replenished. It was from these despicable creatures that the prince devised his escape. He waited for his evening meal, when the cover of darkness was his advantage. He took a stinger from the body of the wasp into his mouth and stayed quiet. Soon, a deep snorting sound came from the hall. The door unlocked and two guards came in, already arguing.
"Squirrel tastes better raw!"
"You're disgusting, they taste better cooked."
"What about birds then?" The hog-like demon asked. "The little gray and brown ones, how do they taste?" His voice grew deeper as he eyed the feathered prisoner.
"Don't tempt me; you know we can't eat him."
"Yeah yeah yeah." The pig man bent down to fill up the water tray from the frothy bucket below. Phillip aimed and fired, shooting the demon in the neck.
"Ow!" He clapped his hand over the wound. "What was that?"
"What was what?"
"You pinched me!"
"No I didn't!"
"Yes you did!"
"You calling me a liar?!"
"That's exactly what I'm sayin'!"
The grim monsters started to push and shove each other, much to Phillip's delight. One guard raised his axe and with a swift swing, almost landed a blow to his companion.
The blade sliced through the rusted metal like butter and Phillip swooped out of his cage. But he wasn't out of the woods yet. The guards were oblivious to his departure, and he slipped through the barred door and into the hall. Then he flew straight up and parallel to the ceiling. The prince was safe just as long as Diablo, Maleficent's crow, didn't spot him.
As he came to an opening into a new room in the castle, he spotted a window across the way. Deafly, he swooped across the space and was home free.
As he sprouted from within, he heard a shriek before Diablo dove after him. The crow missed by mere inches, but still knocked the bird off his flight pattern. Phillip had not yet learned to really fly except from just flapping his wings in pure adrenaline. He flailed as he fell, trying to regain his balance. Diablo circled around for his second blow. The prince tucked in his wings and dove into the woods, his small size allowed him to maneuver between thrush and thorn. Diablo shrieked behind him as he became tangled in the vines. However, Phillip never slowed down. He had finally escaped.