|My writing buddy : )|
I haven't written anything in ages, but after doing Cinderella Week in January, I was inspired to write my own version of Cinderella. I've always loved the Middle Ages, especially the Crusades and I thought that a war was a perfect setting for Cinderella. I'm still at the beginning stages, but I have the general storyline down, so I want to be able to post a couple chapters a month.
I have used several inspirations for the story, primarily the movies Ever After, A Little Princess and the book "Before Midnight."
~ ~ ~
Vezelay, France between the years 1182-1192
Marcella//Cendrella de Bourde; 7-17 years old
André de Bourde; 10-21 years old – Marcella’s older brother who leaves for the 3rd Crusades in 1189
Philippe de Bourde – Marcella’s father, a wealthy merchant
Carolina de Bourde – Marcella’s mother who left when her daughter was seven
Lady Ysobella le Bastone– The cruel stepmother who has a vendetta against the de Bourde household
Lady Constance le Bastone; 11-18 years old – The older stepsister who can be as cruel as her mother
Lady Marguerite la Bastone; 6-13 years old – The younger stepsister who can not stay out of trouble
Lord Leon Arpetian – The lord of Vezelay. One of the wealthiest men in France and a distant cousin to the queen of France.
Lord Lucien (Luc) Arpetian; 22 – Lord Leon’s younger son who fights in the 3rd Crusades
Lord Bayard Arpetian; 28 – Lord Leon’s older son, who is thought to be dead
Matthias – a lonely leper who is befriended by Marcella
~ ~ ~
Vezelay, France, 1182
Marcella de Bourde had dealt with separation and death from an early age.
When she was seven her mother came into her room and told her she was leaving. The little girl’s room was dark and fire was beginning to die. Mother who always looked so beautiful now looked older, more tired and worn out. For the last several days Mother had been ill and had stayed in bed where Marcella and her older brother, Andre, were forbidden to visit her. A week or so before, Marcella herself, had been ill, but had recovered. She assumed that Mother would get better too.
“Where are you going?” Marcella asked, hoping Mother would take her with her.
“No place that I can take you, dear child,” replied her mother in a soft voice.
“When will you return?”
“I…” Mother began, “My darling, I…may not return. I’m not sure, yet.”
It took a few seconds for Marcella to process what her mother had just said. Mother not come back? She could never remember her mother not being there with her. Always with her, teaching her, playing with her and now this sickness, whatever it was, was taking her away forever.
“You’re going to a hospital, where they will make you better,” Marcella said, daring to believe that it was the truth, but her heart told her otherwise.
“I am going to a type of hospital, but I cannot guarantee that you will be able to see me or that I will ever return home,” said Mother as she started to cough.
Marcella started to cry, “You can’t leave! You can’t leave me or Father or Andre.”
“Darling,” Mother said as she took her daughter in her arms, “If I return or not, you must promise me one thing. Please promise me.”
“Anything Mother,” said Marcella holding her tightly.
“Promise me that you will always be brave and be good to people. Listen to your father and your brother and they will teach you what I can not.”
“I will try, Mother.”
“No, you cannot try, you must” Mother said looking into her daughter’s eyes, “You must for me.”
Marcella was shaking all over. All of this was happening so fast. Was it a dream? Oh please, God, if you are real, let this be a dream!! And yet, she knew that it was real and no prayer to an invisible god could change that.
“All right, Mother,” said Marcella slowly, “I will be brave and I will be good. I will listen to Father and Andre.”
“Then you will be all right.” Mother said as she hugged her daughter tightly. She kissed her forehead and let her go. She got off of Marcella’s bed and left the room.
There in the dark Marcella replayed what had just happened. Mother was leaving and she told her to be brave and good. How could she be brave and good without Mother? Suddenly, she jumped out of her bed and ran across the cold stone floor, but she couldn’t feel the coldness in her feet at all and neither did she care.
Marcella ran out of her room, down the stairs and saw her mother walking out the door. Outside the sun was coming up over the trees and Father was in the cart with a sad and lost look on his face.
“Mother!” Marcella cried, “Don’t go please! Please don’t go!”
She would have run out the door had not Andre, who was ten, grabbed her and held her back.
“Marcy,” he said, “You have to let her leave.”
“No!” she cried as she struggled without success against her taller, stronger brother, “She can’t leave us!”
Mother was about to climb onto the cart when she turned around just for a moment. Marcella stopped struggling when Mother looked at her with her kind and generous smile.
“Remember,” she said quietly, “Be brave and be good to people.” And then she took Father’s hand and climbed onto the cart. Marcella watched in silence as her parents rode down the dirt road. The sun now fully in the sky with promises to be a beautiful spring day.
Yet, Marcella now had her own promise to keep
Three weeks later, Father told Marcella and Andre that their mother was never coming back. All had cried, even Andre, who never cried. The servants wept and the animals seemed quieter than usual. The whole farm changed from happiness to sorrow at the knowledge that Mistress Carolina la Bourde would never return.
Afterwards, all of Mother’s clothes and bedding had to be burned. Marcella didn’t understand, but Father had said that it was because of her illness and so the sickness didn’t spread. He went on to say that they had to do the same with several of Marcella’s possessions, however she hadn’t remembered that. She must have been to sick to remember any of that.
As she watched her mother’s clothing burn, Marcella remembered her father telling her the story of the magical bird from Greek mythology called the Phoenix. An animal that died by bursting into flames and turned into ashes. From those ashes the bird would be reborn into a stronger and more powerful Phoenix.
All though she did not know it at the time, that very day was the day that Marcella became a Phoenix.