There is a limit to how many times a story can be retold or extended before it becomes nothing but a mere distortion.
The story of Sleeping Beauty and her handsome prince, whom lived happily ever after.
What a pleasantry.
But no one has ever followed the story of Maleficent. Of course, she found love in the eyes of her beautiful Beastie. But what about the love that every fairytale necessitates? What of the love that creates new generations?
Aurora had been crowned the new Queen of both the Moors and the human kingdom with Prince Phillip at her side. A future, very brightly foretold for the couple.
But what of Maleficent? Her heart had been broken by a man, setting her expectations most likely for the rest of her existence. This did not mean she was happy to rid herself of love or its opportunities. She realized that she no longer required Diaval's assistance, and that it would be unjust of her to ask him to stay. After all… he surely had a life of his own before she came along. Of course, it would have seen the end at that moment, but nevertheless. The thought of her pretty bird leaving her tore her apart from the inside. But she, of course, planned her dismissing of Diaval with such meticulous delicacy. She followed the traces of his silver-lined feathers up into the limbs of a firm-standing willow; the tallest in the land.
Diaval's beauty transformed before her eyes, without the slightest lift of her finger. This was her gift to him, to shape shift of his own will to any form of his choosing.
"Why have you followed me here, Mistress? Have I done wrong?" He asked in a way that seemed almost disappointed.
"Call me, Maleficent." She smiled. "How many times must I remind you of that?" She grinned through her lips.
"Sorry-Maleficent…" Diaval stuttered. "H…have I done wrong?"
"Quite the opposite. You have made well worthy of your time here, pretty bird."
Diavals' scarred face drained of color as he looked up into her eyes – nearly losing himself.
"Yes." She whispered. "Your time. I will not constrain you here. You have served me, and you have served me well." Maleficent began descending gracefully from the trees limbs as she enunciated the words "You are dismissed" to Diaval's now devastated completion.
"Mist… Maleficent!" he called, more desperate than he intended as he immediately withdrew upon her turning to face him.
"I… I understand you have your wings back… but, I…I would really like to stay."
Maleficent displayed her mask of confusion and playful curiosity as she drew closer to him.
"And just why is that?" She smiled warmly, but cautiously.
"I just… want to… make sure you're safe." He mumbled, never breaking eye contact.
Maleficent poorly hid the surprise through the slight blush in her smooth, white skin.
"Well…" She stated firmly. "I see no problem with your residence here…"
"Thank you, mist….Maleficent." He smiled.
It was at that moment when the two looked into each other's eyes and giggled slightly for no apparent reason, until Diaval pulled a hand from behind his back and piled within it, was a clump of dripping mud.
"Don't you dare!" Maleficent squealed as she expanded her wings, prepared to flee the playful attack.
Diaval grinned childishly and lobbed the clump onto Maleficent's dress and immediately shifted to a hawk, taking to the wind – the now good-natured yet vengeful Maleficent close behind.
The two grinned widely until Maleficent tackled his form mid-air, wrapping her wings around his. Diaval's laugh became more apparent as he returned to human form, now sitting cradled in Maleficent's arms as they shredded through the wind that sat stagnant over the open water.
"Give me valid reason not to dismiss you over this water." Maleficent laughed grandly.
Diaval smiled warmly, before cradling her jaw gently, looking into her eyes.
"Will this do?" He whispered over the wind.
Maleficent panicked, as it pooled in her eyes. He advanced his face forward, closing his eyes.
Maleficent released her grip, sending Diaval into the water and speeding off, but not out of his sight. He transformed into the strongest winged creäture that entered his mind and was soon in pursuit. He could see the fury in the way she now carried herself, but his passion carried him faster.
He screeched in a way that you could swear resembled her name. He eventually caught up to her, pinning her as gently as he could manage despite the momentum to the highest sandbar. She fought him, but will no ill intent. She summoned no power to remove him from her. She only sat crying softly.
He loosened his grip and ran his fingers through her hair, mustering up the most sympathetic tone he could find within him.
"Maleficent, I am not him. I will not hurt you… I… I have watched you for what feels like my entire life. I have watched you grow and change, and I was and still am in love with every part of you. Every breathing moment, I think of you… your strength, your dedication and passion… and your smile… I would give every pair of wings I ever owned to see it once… "
Maleficent's eyes glowed with not power, but shock and her attempt to understand how any man could ever manage to stand beside her with pure intentions. She wanted to love him. She and he stood as she and Stefan once stood. As the most unlikely of friends. And for the longest time, she saw that advancement to be inevitable.
"Diaval, I –"
"You asked that I be your wings… but, I promise you… I can offer so much more than that. Just… please. Give me a chance… if I fail, turn me to a dog. Forever. You can even name me whatever you like, just please…"
Maleficent smiled through her tears. "Oh, pretty bird…"
"Diaval." He reminded jovially. "Call me Diaval."
The two laughed as Diaval cradled Maleficent's jaw delicately, kissing her ruby-red lips gingerly. There was no one around for miles, just endless waters that sat as still as his eyes on hers.
The kiss between the two became more passionate and almost fevered. The two fit into each other like predetermined molds as their eventual bare skin glowed in the sun and against the sand as the tides had lowered after so many hours of lust. Maleficent lay now tracing her claw-like nails that left marks on Diaval's back along his scars, staring off absent-mindedly but simultaneously content. They both knew with no words between them, that they were meant to be in each other's company, never to leave but always stand guard and learn that true love can indeed exist between the most unlikely of friends.
The two were married within a month. And very happily I might add. But Maleficent had begun to notice a startling decline in her health. She grew weak, her power drained, and she constantly lay about in a pool of discomfort that would cause her to moan in her sleep when her consciousness could not display as brave of a face. Diaval sat at her side in constant worry, noticing her beautiful frame would swell by the day.
His mind tore itself apart as to what could have caused such an illness for his poor Maleficent. He sat mapping every detail, symptom and effect. It was when he realized that there was too true a coincidence between the date of their encounter and the starting of this infirmity. He stood immediately, transforming into the most majestic lion and tore through the small land to reach his wife who still lay in her nest in the trees.
He made it to her breathless, taking her hands with a prideful and irremovable smile across his face.
"Diaval… what? What is it?" Maleficent asked, her eyes lined with concern. He smiled widely, catching his breath.
"There will be a child… our child." He said, nearly laughing.
Maleficent gave Diaval the same blank look she had mastered over the years. She batted her eyes at the ground, collecting her thoughts as spastic as they were, trying to find her voice in the midst of the mess.
The last time he had come to her with news of a child was the day of Aurora's Christening. She figured this time, he had to have been mistaken. Maleficent never would have admitted it before the curse was lifted, but she always secretly longed for a child of her own. For a brief moment, a swell of happiness washed over her. But panic quickly followed.
"You're wrong." Maleficent blurted. "I am no mother to any child by blood." She said suddenly quieter, keeping Aurora in mind.
"Not yet…" Diaval said sheepishly. Maleficent growled sharply at him in response. He did not fear her. He only took her hands and spoke gently to her.
"I understand how you're feeling… what you're thinking. I know you're terrified of making a mistake. We all are, it's a part of life, a beautiful part even… but what happened with Aurora-"
"What happened to Aurora!" Maleficent boomed with self-aimed rage. She sighed before continuing her thought. "No matter my mindset at the time, I placed the curse… I was still… me. I will always be me. Therefore, I will always be capable of making similar mistakes…"
Diaval gently took Maleficent's chin between his fingers and turned it to look him in the eyes. "I promise you, I will protect the both of you. At any cost. You have my word, Maleficent."
With those words said of consolation, Diaval gently kissed her, and laid her down to continue her rest.
Over the next several months, Maleficent grew. Her beauty intensified, especially in the eyes of Diaval. Maleficent would often sit high in the trees, cradling her wings around the child that grew within her, in an almost protective way. She never flew much anymore, sticking close to the ground made her more comfortable, and seemed to be in the best interest of her and the child.
The child's day grew close, and as Maleficent grew in size that seems to be filled by anxiety and fear of the unknown. She was of course the last of her kind. There would be no reference for the process in which a faerie child is born, simply letting nature take its course. Pain, being inevitably entailed.
"How do you think it will feel?" Diaval would ask from time to time.
"I think it to be no worse than awakening to find my wings gone… but then I would have never required you. And much like this pain, I find it well worth it in the long run…"
Diaval smiled softly, taking his wife's hands tentatively and holding her close, observing Aurora playfully run through the bright green land with all of her subjects, Phillip walking close behind in a haze of a daydream.
Maleficent and Diaval often talked of Aurora's future with this boy, making sure he met all of their expectations for her. Aurora never came to know much of her mother, so she reserved the title for Maleficent. She did however continue referring to Diaval as "pretty bird" unless involved in serious conversation. But overall, the two became a mother and father to young Aurora.
Maleficent would often try to calm her anxiety with a stroll through the lands, nothing too vigorous. The two lands of mortals and moors had calmed, at least a majority. The men that had been lost in the war before Stefan had ever taken the throne; this had angered a few select families within the land. They still desired to see Maleficent dead for what she had done. These men created stories of her horror and morbidity in her taking the lives of their soldiers, and how they promised to one day avenge them. The young children whom were told these stories eventually grew to be young adults, which is where they stood as of now. And as men will do, they will want to fight and defend their families on first opportunity. And so they did.
On one rather foggy afternoon, the now round Maleficent was out wandering the land, straining her eyes to see through the thick mist that sat still on the land. With the wave of her hand and a weak green glow, the fog moved aside like a gentlemen holding a door. She continued her stroll, gracefully floating above the land and her gorgeous wings following her closely. But in the distance, she heard the rough scuffling of feet and rambunctious laughing. She defensively cradled her child through her skin and robes, extending her wings defensively.
Through the fog arrived three boys, about the age of seventeen. One of them, never removing their eyes from Maleficent but bearing a dark smile, alerted the other two boys of her presence. They immediately reached for their satchels and pulled out chunks of iron leftover from the war that King Stefan had arranged.
They slowly drew closer, surrounding her. She backed away, baring her teeth through her lips.
"I… I will only warn you once… go no further!" She roared.
The boys laughed, tossing the iron fragments between their hands. One boy immediately pelted a piece, cutting her collarbone with a loud hiss as she screamed and recoiled. She instantly knew she could not manage this battle alone. She turned and screamed for Diaval, and while her head was turned another two pieces attacked her child. She screeched in pain and fear, and Diaval turned his head across the land – hearing her scream. He bared his teeth as he screamed in response, thinking his child was now tearing its way through her without his presence to comfort her and protect them both.
"Maleficent!" He returned his form to a lion, needing to be close to the ground to track her in the fog but also the speed to reach her. The boys laughed in response to her screams, as tears ran down her face.
"Please, leave me!" She cried.
One boy stepped forward, the largest of the three. "I like it when you beg…" he smiled darkly. "Do it again."
She glared at the boys, turning her wings to them, flapping with all the power in her being to lift off the ground, but it had been so long since she had lifted from the earth. The boy pulled a long iron chain from his bag, hurling it towards her and wrapping it around the base of her wings and pulling her back.
Maleficent fell to the ground in a screaming sob, pulling at her protruded abdomen, a sparkling water leaking from the bottom of her gown.
She lay panting in a startled manner, her child's arrival had been induced.
"DIAVAL!" She screamed with all of her being. The boys knew by her screams that someone would soon arrive to her aid, not leaving them much time. They removed the chains from her sizzling wings. Two of the boys took her by the arms, pinning her to the ground, the third standing over her. She struggled, but was left powerless between the pain, fear and weakness. The boy pulled a small rod from his bag, broken off on one end but obviously made of iron. The broken end formed a sharp shank, holding the other end tightly in his hand, and pressing the shards against Maleficent's neck. She shrieked in agony over the loud melting of her skin, but not before Diaval's 400 pound form leaped over hers, taking the boy to the ground, knocking the rod to the ground.
The boy yelled in fear, but Diaval roared over him, bringing tears to the boy's eyes.
Whilst Diaval focused on the one boy, another had released his grip from Maleficent, arming himself with the fallen rod. Attempting to save his friend, the boy pounced onto Diaval's back, shredding his skin with the sharpened end. Diaval roared in alarm, rolling the boy off of him and returning the favor to the boy with his claws, the boy screamed and he lay helplessly in the grasses - his chest bleeding profusely. The third boy panicked, pinning Maleficent with his knees, pulling the sharpest piece of iron from his bag and staring down at Maleficent whose form was now convulsing and arching in unnatural ways.
"If I die…" the boy growled. "I will die avenging the families of the fallen!" He pressed it over Maleficent's heart, as her skin melted and molded around the piece and her mouth gaped in the overwhelming pain. She thought that both her and her child would die at that moment. Her vision blurred to nothing but shadows. Her silence at first triggered no alarm as Diaval pinned the first boy.
It was the silence after so long, caused Diaval to turn. He had no time to think. He leaped, roaring with all of his chest's strength at the boy, mauling him without hesitation, the first boy immediately pulling the other's arm around him and running back to the mortal land, leaving behind the third boy and all of their belongings.
Diaval made sure to leave no shred of life within the boy, tearing apart his face and chest beyond recognition, then standing back to observe his work and any signs of life. He began to transform, slower than usual, careful not to worsen the gaping cuts across his spine, wincing through his teeth as he became human. He ran to the still Maleficent, having to dig his blood-stained hands into her chest to remove the piece of iron that was now molded into her skin. Her wings now hung from her by a few shreds of skin and bone. She whimpered and returned more to life as the iron fragment was removed, but she did not heal at a rate she usually did, in fact almost none. She shed many tears as she took Diaval's hand.
"Diaval…" she winced. "The child."
"I know, my love. The child will be okay. As you will be, alright?"
Maleficent cried loudly at that moment, similar to how she did that one morning she awoke to find her pride gone. Her legs outstretched, she clawed at the loose ground beneath her.
"Diaval!" she sobbed. "The child!"
Diaval instantly grew pale at the realization. "The child…" He mumbled, placing his hand upon it.
"Maleficent, I promise you'll…. Please promise me." He said weakly, his eyes tearing up at the corners.
"Promise me you will be alright…" He continued, looking down at her feet.
Maleficent had no response other than a weak scream as her body contorted, reflexively delivering the child. Blood rushed from her gown, and Diaval could do no more than take her hand for her to squeeze. He propped her up on a stack of moss he formed into a resting seat. He calmly but sullenly ran his bloody fingers through her hair, looking into her teary, bloodshot eyes.
"Promise me, pretty bird…" she mumbled through her teeth.
"Anything, I will promise you." He said, nearly sobbing.
"Promise me you will care for this child as you did me."
"Do not speak like that." He growled. "As my residence will, you will stay. Here."
Maleficent squeezed Diaval's hand as another wave hit, forcing the child through her. She screamed from her throat at the pain she had never before experienced. The creatures of the Moors solemnly lined the distant woods surrounding them, watching their true queen fall. The pixies cried into each other, the trees and ground snakes stood firm, just watching. All of her childhood friends had come to watch her die in bringing life to another.
She squeezed Diaval's hands in forcing the child out of herself. She arched her back and whined against the moss, screaming into Diaval's chest. He was falling apart just under the surface of his mask of strength.
Her eyelids grew heavy, her breaths short and rapid. Her wings and chest had hardly healed in the last few hours of agony in which she had faced. She sat amidst a pool of dark blood, no longer squeezing but fondling her husband's hand.
"Maleficent..." he mumbled, not taking his eyes from hers.
She rolled her head on the moss to meet his.
"From the moment we met… you needed me to be your wings."
She smiled softly for that brief second at the recollection.
"And even now, I will be your wings. I will carry you, protect you… and make you feel strong…" Diaval's voice began to break. "I will lift you above this world in any form… even if it means being the wings of an angel's soul…"
Diaval now cried at this exception. The child would arrive soon, and as would the departure of his beautiful Maleficent.
He laid a kiss upon her forehead, then lips before assuming his position in the pool of blood at her feet.
She balled her fists, gathering any remainder of strength she had to thrust the child into the world from her, screaming at the top of her lungs in misery. A final force.
And it was done.
Diaval sat silently but the child did not. It cried loudly, almost screeching. And in the residuals of her vision, Maleficent could see the wings her baby girl bore. She rested her head back against the moss, closing her eyes for the final time, hearing Diaval sob in the distance and scream.
Maleficent stood in an immense room colored entirely white. Her robes were white and free of blood. Her wings were fully repaired, and stronger than ever. Her natural reaction was to panic, but she did not feel the need.
She looked around for any accompaniment, and found two distant silhouettes bearing wings like hers. One a man, the other a woman. She ran closer to them, for they had emanated a strong comfort that called strongly to her.
Before her thoughts could process, two words burst from her lips.
"Mother, Father!" She yelled through her tears. She closed her eyes before making the impact into their arms. Warmth encompassed her as she heard her mother and father crying softly, holding her close.
The peace she felt was interrupted however by a frantic voice calling her.
She turned sharply to look behind her, but saw nothing. And it seemed that she was the only one that heard the voice.
"Maleficent, mother! Please! NO!" The voice called in frantic sobs.
"AURORA!" Maleficent screamed, pulling at her own hair and falling to her knees. How could she have forgotten about her?
"Mother, please don't…don't die! I'll do anything. I'll go back to sleep forever, but you have to make it, mother – please! I can't rule the Moors myself!"
"Aurora, I'm here! I hear you, Beastie!" Maleficent wailed.
"Mother, please! I LOVE YOU!" Aurora blubbered.
Maleficent screamed to the floors, clawing at them desperately. "AURORA!"
She stopped for a moment, sobbing quietly.
"Why can't she hear me?"
It was then that she heard Diaval's voice.
"I hear you, my darling."
Maleficent sat up slowly, staring off, craving to hear his voice come through her mind a second time.
"She's beautiful." He said. "Just like her mother. I told you, I would always be your wings. That I would always be with you."
Maleficent slowly closed her eyes, setting free her last tear.
"But I will not keep you from Aurora." His voice said firmly.
The room around her jumped and hazed. Again and again. Her chest became tight, and the only serenity came from the two hands that lay upon her back as she opened her eyes and the room flashed too white for her to see her own hands on the ground beneath her.
She closed her eyes and held her arms over her eyes to protect them from the light. But when she opened them again…
Aurora and Diaval sat above her – both with eyes more red than blood. They both broke the tense silence with a relieved sob, Aurora immediately wrapping herself around her mother tightly. Maleficent winced slightly due to the soreness that consumed her, but she didn't pay it any mind. She was alive. Diaval gently took her hand, smiling tearfully, cradling their child in his arm. She locked her eyes onto her, longing to hold her.
She gently rubbed Aurora's back, releasing her and stretching her arms towards the child with a slight whimper. Diaval looked down at the child as he lifted her – cradling her head carefully – towards Maleficent and lowering her fragile little form into her arms.
Maleficent stared in amazement, seeing the resemblance of Diaval and her in the infant. With a tiny yawn, wings expanded from the child's tiny frame - and even for her size – they were magnificent.
They were strong, like her mothers. She bore scars like Diaval's, which only added to her beauty.
"What will we call her?" Diaval asked.
"Mylah…" Maleficent responded in a frail whisper.
"Mylah, my love?"
"Yes. It was… is, my mother's name."
"It's beautiful." Diaval whispered as he sat behind her, looking into the unfocused, bright green eyes of the child.
"Mylah." He grinned.
Meanwhile, the two boys that had run back to town, fleeing Diaval's attack, were immediately hospitalized and questioned of what had occurred. They of course told their stories of the horrid Maleficent and her pet lion, "Diaval" in the taking of their friend's life.
They would never admit to instigating the fight, but the devastated families, one of which no longer contained a son to foster, decided that they had lost enough to Maleficent – and declared a second war against her, and anyone who stood in their way.