Once upon a time, as all fairytales begin, there was a kingdom. Full of love and laughter, the strong but compassionate King and his kind and caring Queen ruled happily for many years, until she grew very sick, dying within a few days of giving birth to a baby girl. The King, although suppressed with sadness, had to remarry, choosing his Queen's sister, Leila, as his new bride. Although more beautiful than her sister, she seemed very secretive, never wanting to reveal the true cause of her sister's death…poison. As his daughter grew, the King remained true and wise. Up until his daughter's second birthday, when a shadow crept up on the kingdom, swiftly snatching the perfect happiness away one night, taking the King with it. Now, the evil Queen's true nature emerged. No longer reserved, the darkness inside of her flew to every corner of her kingdom, engulfing everyone in its path. No-one could escape. She ordered magic could be performed by only herself with a huge army of dwarves and goblins, obedient to her every command, attacking any who showed even the slightest of opposition. Residing to her underground chambers, strange concoctions tortured prisoners as well as kept the Queen young and radiant. She came out of her castle, now surrounded by an aura of ruin and disaster, only for public executions, which she enjoyed greatly. Wicked and vain, mirrors were placed all around the kingdom just so that her 'fairness' could always be seen, with a special one placed high in her chambers that only she could see. Anyone deemed unworthy, in a kingdom now judged upon beauty, was banished to the mysterious forest beyond the safety of the boarders.

Shortly after his death, the King's daughter, Fiona, was given to a farmer to look after, as a memory spell was cast upon her. With no idea of her past, the farmer and his wife raised her as their own and she had all the love that her mother and father would have given. However, at the age of seven, she had to begin work as a servant in the castle, under the watchful eye of the evil Queen.

After ten long years of hardship, still Fiona worked hard to feed her family. Everyone knew of her compassion and gentleness she had gained from her mother, but with clumsy hands, short black windswept hair and blood red lips too bright for her sickly pale skin, her personality shone through rather than her looks. This, the Queen loved to exploit, often calling her to her room to comb her flowing blonde hair and talk about her radiance for hours. Fiona never complained though, knowing the results would be catastrophic for her and her family. Smiling through it all, she never showed the pain inside of her to anyone. The pain of knowing she would never be beautiful. She did not see that her beauty came from within, unlike the Queen, who's beauty was only on the outside, leaving a rotten core in her soul.

"Fiona, dear, please fetch my robe and leave me now." Queen Leila's voice was brittle like nails scratching on chalkboard. A slight croak lingered in her throat, but was stopped from rising by the youth potions she continued to gulp down. Fiona had been constantly combing the Queen's hair for hours, wondering why she always wanted her to do it and not her own maids Fiona curtsied, brought her the robe and quickly headed to the door. However, first she glimpsed into the Queen's special mirror, peaking out slightly from under the golden curtain. Glancing back, the Queen shook her head, "How many times have I told you that that mirror is only to be used by me. I'm afraid you may crack It." she cackled. Fiona breathed deeply and forced a laugh out of her. "Now, go away." and she gestured towards the door.

Fiona was so glad to get out of there, like she always was. Rushing down the hall and turning the corner, she nearly walked straight into a handsome young man, who looked just about the same age as herself, coming the other way. Shuffling awkwardly, Fiona helped him pick up the gift boxes her was carrying that had fallen to the floor during their encounter. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She suddenly stopped apologising when her eyes and the young man's met. He smiled, which Fiona was unaccustomed to when she first meets someone because they usually stare at her as if they'd never seen a person before! She smiled back so the man didn't think she was being rude. He spoke, his tone strong, but with a hint of tenderness in his voice, "No, I should be apologising. I should have watched where I was going!" Chuckling, he continued; "Before you go, can you point me in the direction of the Queen's chambers? I fear I've gotten lost." Fiona's smile was still upon her face, "Of course, it's just up this hall."

"Thank you. What is your name?" he asked.

"Fiona. I'm a servant usually working in the kitchens here, but the Queen often sends for me to help her get ready for…important occasions."

"You must be quite good at what you do if the Queen asks for you personally then." Again, he laughed to himself. "I'm Prince Louis by the way."

Fiona, now knowing who he really was, curtsied promptly, embarrassed that she was talking casually to a prince. "Oh." She sighed quietly. She was hoping that perhaps he would be her 'happily ever after', but this was just the childish, secret thoughts of a girl who had never been loved by a boy…man before.

"Well," Prince Louis began, "I best not keep the Queen waiting." And he hastily swept past Fiona, leaving her with cheeks burning more scarlet than her lips. Little did she know, but her and the Prince's assembly had had an audience.