Cross the Heart: A Cinderella Story *Temporal Name*

Author's Note: A retelling of Cinderella, or, rather, the "true story". This is for a contest, I'm still writting it, as we speak , but here's Act One. Let me know what you think. Be aware that it will be slow at first and I've already cut out some scenes from this. Lemme know if I should add them back, I'll edit this chapter, and when I post the next chapter, you check back for edits, as well. Anway, on with the show! ~Tey

(Location - In a house, inside what appears to be a parlor. Three women sit, knitting.. One is clearly older than the other two, who are about the same age. She is evidentially the mother.
Enter Estela.
Estela, called "Ella" by some, wears a peasants garb and pants. Her stepfamily dresses in fine dresses. She rushes in, herself looking a total mess and her face bearing smudges of cinder. Her stepsisters eye her appearance, but her stepmother doesn't look so surprised. She sets down her knitting.)

Stepmother: So, Estela, there you are! I haven't seen you around all day. My, good Heavens above! Caught in a wreck?

Estela: No, ma'am. I was, um, shopping. (She bites her lip and looks down at her feet, shuffling them, and clasping her hands behind her back)

Gloria: (Giggling) Look at her, mama! She's been to the glass-smith again. Soot's all over her face, I reckon that's his kiss marks!

(Upon hearing her face is smudge with soot, Ella starts to clean her face a bit)

Monique: How is that funny, Gloria? I find it humiliating. Ella, as much as I adore you, stepsister dearest, you really must stop doing these sorts of things. It leaves a terrible mess for us to clean with the city's gossips. We're only looking out for you. We still can't get people to stop their desire to call you "Cinder-Ella".

Estela: Well...regardless...I only went shopping. Emberle has kin that are in the glass-making business. Since she was with me I decided to let her visit her cousin. And, Monique, if you hear them talking about "Cinderella" it's probably not even me half the time. Emberle has the same nickname.

Monique: Yeah, but she's hardly called by it. Anyway! So, what did you buy, Ella?

Estela: (Tenses) Uh...a new..accessory.

Stepmother: "New accessory"?

Gloria: She probably means a sword.

Estela: (Shoots Gloria a glare)

Stepmother: Estela - you didn't!

Estela: What's wrong with me purchasing a sword? Back in my father's day it was acceptable for a woman to join the military or, at the very least, know how to defend herself.

Stepmother: (rubs her temples, getting frustrated, and leans into her chair) Yes, but now the circulation that keeps us all alive in this age is tradition. It was commonplace for women to be in the military, but scarcely any were and are. Most women were raised like me: to be ladies. And since you are now considered a BelaRissi - one of my own children - you will be raised according to the standards set long ago within my family, as to how a young lady should be raised.

Estela: But I'm also a Salykire! The warrior spirit is in the Salykires!

Stepmother: You can be Salykire born, but you will be BelaRissi raised as long as you live under my roof!

Estela: Hark, do I hear encouragement to leave? (Sarcasm/bitterness)

Gloria: You can leave, Ella. Of course, since you're still a tad young, it gives anyone right to throw you into an orphanage. You would also become an ignorant peasant, for your studies would then be discontinued..and..

Stepmother: That's enough, Gloria, my daughter.

Monique: That's right, sister, let me finish this off.

Ella, we have been patient, we have been lenient and kind to you. We took you under our wing...

Stepmother: Monique, dear, please..

Monique: No, mother, let me finish!

..we've put up with your odd desires to dress like a peasant or scullery maid. We've put up with rumors that went around saying that we've turned you into a servant, took your room and clothes. We've put up with your selfish ways of doing whatever you want without thinking about how it effects us. Wake up, Ella! All that surrounds you is a real, living, breathing reality with it's bluntness ready to sting. It's not a game, stepsister dear.

Estela: You don't understand!

Monique: YOU don't understand. People have to evolve with the times in order to live through it. We all have to adapt. Today, yesterday, and probably tomorrow, everyone thrives on tradition and how you're born and bred. It looks very odd to everyone else that mother, Gloria and I are well behaved and that you are a roughed-up wild child. Mother wants us all to marry and be rich and successful. The way you act, people think that you aren't a noble anymore. It also does some damage for us. We're only trying to secure your future, Ella. People live off of hurting and lifting other people....

Estela: (Gets upset) It's all about reputation to you! As a Salykire I---no, let ME finish!--as a Salykire I cannot tolerate injustice, and I will not allow myself to fall weak, for it allows the world to fall a bit more closer to the bottom than it already is. You, wouldn't understand. Neither one of you would touch the sick, if you had the gift to heal, for fear that your gloved hands would then get dirty and a rumor would go around about your hygiene! (Runs out, her upset mood turned to tears and frustration)

Stepmother: Estela! Oh...oh dear..
(Scene ends).

(New scene. Location - kitchen. Estela sits at a small table, peeling potatoes, looking ever so somber. Emberle, her servant and friend, moves about the kitchen preparing the food.)

Estela: I can see and somewhat understand...society is scary to deal with when they all hound on you because of stupid rumors. Still, I just can't understand how that restricts me from being what I want to be: like a Salykire.

Emberle: They say you can't always get what you want, but, I matter what it is in the way, there is always a way around it and if you try hard enough you can achieve whatever you want. (Dreamily spoken)

Estela: My stepsisters hate me, and they have stepmother's love in greater abundance than I do, most likely. So, basically, my family has moved aside and I'm left alone.

Emberle: (Turns to face Ella, looking a bit hurt) You still got me..and your not the only one stripped of family!

Estela: Oh! I'm sorry Emberle, I know you're away from your family, too, and that I still have you. But, still, I wish they could understand me! I wish that I could just be understood by people in general! No one understands.

Emberle: What good is it to wish? Doing something about it is more effective, though I do see why you choose to not do so.

Estela: (Waving her hand) No, no, but you're right. Still, I do wish. I know what? I wish I was you, Emberle.

Emberle: Me?

Estela: Yeah, you. You're not naive, you're content--either that or a rather good person at hiding what you really feel without letting it hurt you. You're strong.

Emberle: I wish I felt so. (Looks over her shoulder as she washes dishes, at Estela, smiling wryly.)

Estela: Hm..(Smiles weakly, the conversation starting to die)

(Both go back to working, the small task of preparing food soon draws to an end.)

Emberle: We're almost done.

Estela: Yup, indeed we are.

(They both start to clean up, Estela starts to leave. She holds a bit of sadness still. Emberle notes it as Estela waves 'goodbye')

Emberle: Ella..

Estela: Hrm?

Emberle: Smile? (weak, hopeful smile)

Estela: (attempts a smile, but fails and turns to leave in defeat.)

Emberle: Before my papa died he told me something. He said something that went like "life is only as rich as you make it, with and without money, but mostly by how many times you remember to appreciate and then be appreciated."

Estela: (She had started making her way, sadly, to the door, but she paused at those words. She remains frozen a little after those words are spoken, pondering. She finally turns, smiles genuinely and gives her friends a hug and whispers,) Thanks.

(Estela Exits. Scene Ends.)

(Estela sits in her room, it's dark inside and outside. Outside it's rainy, thundering, too. She sits in front of her window in deep thought. Thunder rolls..)

Estela: long as I live under "her roof"..?

(Thunder rumbles.)

Estela: ...I do whatever she freedom...


Estela: As long as I live under her roof.

(She gets up from her chair and wanders around her room, thought bring a daze to her face. She travels to her closet and pulls out a traveling bag and opens it on her bed and then goes to her drawers and gathers clothes.

Knocking is heard. Enter Emberle.)

Emberle: Ella? Ya okay, Ella, ya've been in yer room for quite some time n-- (She observes how Estela merely only nods her head, continuing moving back and fourth, packing, not pausing in her movements.) What on earth..?

Estela: I'm leaving. Don't try and stop me, Emberle.

Emberle: Are you mad!? Leaving!?

Estela: Mind saying that a tad louder for my stepmother upstairs?

Emberle: You can't be seri--well, you are serious, I mean, you're packing and all. But where will you run to?

Estela: (She pauses in her moving around and thinks, getting dismayed by having not thought ahead. She shakes her head and turns to Emberle, shoulder rose to shed a shrug, but she looks to the sword that hung as onrnamentation on the wall, and smiles. She walks towards it, unhooking it from the wall.) I'll go to the military academy in Rutelia and become a knight. This sword I bought with you the other day will rust if it stays here any longer....and so will I.

Emberle: So that's it, huh? You have the audacity to yearn for more than you already have, my lady, when around you there are thousounds that have so little? (She crosses her arms, upset.) I understand you feel trapped, but don't you think this is all a tad drastic and a bit ungrateful? You have a nice family and are well off. Can't you just be satisfied? I tell you this as a friend, Ella....

Estela: You taught me to appriciate myself then be appriciated, Emberle. I can't be happy taking the backseat or being encaged. We all aim for the sky, and even then, we thirst. We often don't make it to our desired destination--but if feels oh-so-good to soar when your attempt goes good. I don't want to be a peasant while peasants wish to be me. I just want to achieve...and I can't do that as "myself."

(They both trail into silence. Emberle remains standing there, speechless for a moment. Estela finishes the last of her packing and starts to set off, moving past Emberle to the door.)

Estela: Well, I suppose this is goodbye? (She holds out her free hand to shake Emberle's in a farewell, but Emberle doesn't offer her hand in return. She just blankly stares at Estela. Estela gives a small smile, then drops it and sighs and withdraws her hand) Fine.

Emberle: You have family. Are you sure? They'll be torn over this and, not to mention, they'll murder me if they found out I didn't stop you.

Estela: (Aggrivated sigh.) If you're not going to help me, stay out entirely. What happens to you is your affair and not mine. The choice is as very much up to you as it is very much up to me. If you intend to stay and tattle-tale, go ahead, but, like you said, you'll get in trouble because you didn't stop me. You could come with me if you're so worried about me. You're not so bad a marksmen, I'm sure you could make a name for yourself, too.

Emberle: I haven't packed. I've no weapon of my own..

Estela: You can pack right now, and I'll buy you a weapon of your own.

Emberle: (She remains silents, feeling an awful feeling accepting the offer. She hangs her head, and just moves away, looking to her friend and shrugging, unsure.)

Estela: Do what you want, Emberle. But when you look back on this tell me, if I ever see you again, if that time--if there ever was--when you almost accepted my offer to come with you think your wings were being clipped or released from misery? Goodbye, my friend. (Starts to leave.)

Emberle: Wait!

Estela: (Stops and looks to Emberle)

Emberle: The...quickest way to Rutelia is an old abandonded route which I doubt you'd heard of and know the way to. I bet you didn't have a map to pack. I know my way around perfectly well, especially to Rutelia...

Estela: Emberle? (smiles a bit, knowingly)

Emberle: (Moves in front of Estela, opening the door.) C'mon. Let's go.

(Estela fights back a laugh, and nods and moves, exiting, with Emberle following. Scene ends.)

(New scene starts. Location: the parlor, in the morning. Monique and Gloria rush back and fourth.)

Gloria: Ella! Ella, where are you? Ella!

Monique: Ella! Please, where are you! Ella!

(Entere Stepmother, holding a note, looking distraught, but less so than the two sisters)

Stepmom: Girls, calm down! She's nowhere in this house and, apparently, niether is Emberle.

Gloria: Our servant?

Monique: Mama, what is that piece of paper you have in your hand? Is it from--?

Stepmom: Yes, my dear, Ella left us a note. She ran away! (both sisters gasp, utterly shocked, the stepmother distressfully shakes her head, taking a silk hanky and dabbing at her eyes) The note reads:

"My Dearest Family,

My utmost apologies, but I couldn't very well have just done this by telling you first and then follow through--this was the only way. I've run away, and Emberle is with me. By the time you read this we shall both be long gone, heading to Rutelia. Please, do not interfere. If you send someone to retrieve me, Emberle and I will fight back We're heading to the Military Academy of Rutelia to train and be knights. Oh, please don't think me naive or selfish. Stepmother, I will return, I just need to make me proud first. Emberle needs to get out more, having her stuck as a servant when she hasn't the faintest inkling of reality is almost cruel.

I've got money to pay for Emberle and I's tuition for the Academy and other essentials, so I believe. However, I would like to keep correspondence with you, mother and dear sisters, if you do not hate me. Keep well. Fare well. I love you, and I'm sorry..I just want to feel proud and feel accepting of any praise. Let me be a Lady in my own right. I may not fit in, and my attempts may have been found wanting, but I look up to you. I"m sorry, I really tried.


Your Ella"

(Change Scenes. Location: Outside of a large, stoney buidling. Wearing travelling cloaks and clutching their weapons, Emberle and Ella stand. Ella reading a note out loud.)

Estela: "..we love you very much. We miss you, and we're sorry. Please come home, but please be happy. If you must be in the Academy we can't stop you. We love you and wish you all the best in finding what you're looking for. We do so hope you'll reconsider and come home. Emberle, too. The house isn't lively without you two being rascals.


Your Family That Loves You"

Emberle:'s not too late, you know? We can still leave and go back home.

Estela: (She pauses, staring blankly at the letter, but folds it up and places it in her travelling cloak's pocket, looking determined.) We're at the gate to Rutelia's Military Academy. It'd be a shame to turn back now. Come on. (Sheathing an unsheathed sword and starts walking towards the fort looming in the distance, pulling her cloak tighter around her. Emberle follows.)

(The approach the tall building, stopping at an iron gate where a unshaven guard leers at the two females. He sneers and looks annoyed, and much like he's on the borderline of drunkenness [he holds a beer mug in one hand].)

Drunken Guard: Oi, 'oo gews tha'?

Estela: (Nervously) Um...E-estela Salykire and Emberle Ledea, err, um, s-sir.

Drunken Guard: Ah. Wha's ye r'ason fer woistin' me tim--err, bein' 'ere, lass?

Estela: (Perplexed) What? Why, why else would we be here, sir? We're here to train and be knights!

Drunken Guard: Eh? Y' lasses w'nt ter be knoights? Hahar! Delicate ickle maids...?

( He gasps and pauses, a quick fluid movement had been whipped out by Ella as she flicked a hidden dagger out from the long sleeves of her traveller's cloak, touching the tip to the guard's gut. An annoyed and serious look on her face, a portion of her cloak now pushed back to reveal her sword--her weapon.)

Estela: Look, you need recruits, regardless and we're willing to help. We're not bad fighters, why turn us away? (She pushes the dagger to poke him and drive him back) Need proof or something of our skill? (She says that almost threateningly. The guard stepped back, chuckling nervously, and raised the gate. He bowed his head as a the two girls now walked into Rutelia's Military Academy.)

Emberle: (To Estella, looking at the guard, over her shoulder, briefly) Well...that...went well, don't you think? Think we made a good impression? Or, rather, you? (Gives Estela a quirked brow, looking utterly mocking.)

Estela: (rolls her eyes) Oh, shut up! Let's find the headmaster of this place and get recruited. I'm sure we won't be the only girls, that guy just might either be really drunk or a real wretch! But, I never said we'd be living like queens here, did I? Heh, "appricate" though "and then be appriciated" --'quoth the Raven.'

(Scene Ends.)