Here is a synopsis of a story I've been working on. It's a synopsis so that they can get an idea of what the story is...
Part One: Fairest of Them All
Once upon a time, there was a rich and powerful king. He was dashing and handsome, yet he was cruel and selfish. Used to only having the very best, he decided it was time for him to wed. Set on obtaining the most beautiful woman, he rejected the nobles and princesses presented to him and traveled his kingdom far and wide to find a woman worthy of him. Along his travels, he stumbled into an apple orchard, and there the King met a most stunning woman. Yet, she was already happily married and had a daughter.
This did not deter the King. He murdered the husband and carried the woman away, leaving her daughter alone, with nothing but her fathers corpse and the orchard.
Grieving and full of rage, the daughter held onto her father's body and wept. The sun set and rose, and in the morning, she heard voices calling to her. One by one, seven snowy doves came to her, speaking in sweet voices and offering her comfort.
Desiring the power for revenge, the girl asked the doves of ways to make her a great and powerful sorceress; for one day she was going to kill the man who ruined her life. The doves promised her magic and glory beyond her wildest dreams, but only under three conditions:
She must give them the home that she and her parents shared. It is to be theirs to retire to at night, and she must never visit or see them after the sun sets. She was to cook her father's body into a stew and gather the bones in the morning after they have dined and bury them.
The last condition, the girl must not speak for seven years.
She considered these conditions, and her burning for vengeance consumed her. The girl left the cottage to the birds; then butchered her father's corpse for the doves gruesome meal. In the morning, she gathered the bones and buried them and waited for the next morning.
When she woke, she found a beautiful white tower in the place where her fathers bones were laid to rest. It was her new home, filled with volumes of magic, potions and instruments for darker arts. Every day, she doves would come and instruct her in the ways of magic but would always leave by sundown.
This is how the girl passed her time for six and a half years. She grew to be a great beauty, but cold and cruel. Rumors spread, whispering of a powerful sorceress in withered orchard.
And one night, when her seven years of silence were almost up, a voice called to her from outside her tower window. She peered down and was shocked to see the man who had come years before and shattered her life. The King asked for her hand in marriage, and, seeing her chance for revenge, the Sorceress answered "Yes." and was gone with the King before the sun came up.
Part Two: Beauty and the Beast
The woman from the orchard was wed to the King against her will. Though she as kept in the greatest comfort, adorned with gold and diamonds, she was a prisoner in a gilded cage. Her every move was watched for she had tried to take her life time and time again. The woman's attempts on her life grew more dire once the King planted his seed in her. Horrified at the child growing inside her, the Queen desperately tried to end her life and the life of the child, but it was all to no avail.
When the child was born, it was not a joyous occasion. The King sneered at his new daughter, for she was a she and not a he. Her mother shunned her, refusing to even look or touch the child.
At first, the nurses felt pity for the babe. She was a beautiful child, with clear green eyes, a full head of dark hair and fair, glowing skin. Yet, she never cried or laughed and it unnerved her care takers.
Belladonna grew up loveless. Her father eventually found a little worth in his daughter because she was a pretty little thing. She would be a prize later on in life, easy to marry off to the highest bidder.
As she grew, her mothers attempts at suicide began to turn into attempts on Belladonna's life as well. First, the Queen tried to brush her hair with a poisoned comb, feed her foxglove and lastly try to jump from a tower with the young princess.
At six, Belladonna was left motherless. After a year, the King decided to marry again, and left on his quest to find a beautiful woman. He had heard whispers of a powerful sorceress who was also beautiful and he set his sights on her.
Part Three: Witch
The Sorceress comes to the castle in hopes of seeking revenge on the King. The two are wed and she also meets Belladonna. Reminded of both her mother and the King when she looks at the young princess, the Sorceress becomes distraught and orders the girl be kept away from her so she can continue her magics in peace.
While the Sorceress desires to get her vengeance, the riches and resources of the palace and being queen seduce her. With the King's erratic whereabouts, opportunities to kill him without suspicion are difficult.
The Sorceress keeps her contact with Belladonna limited, not knowing with to do with her. Belladonna is wary and slightly fearful that this woman is also going to try to kill her.
As Belladonna grows, she becomes a great beauty. Her looks attract the attention of many, including her own father. The Sorceress notices his untoward looks to the girl and is sickened by it.
She kills him with a poison apple, at the same time framing him for the murder of his daughter. Wanting the whole kingdom for herself, she whisks Belladonna away to the old tower where she used to live. The Sorceress cannot bring herself to harm the girl, but at the same time is disgusted by her resemblance to the King.
Leaving the young Belladonna, the Sorceress returns to the Palace to rule.
Part Four: The Seven Doves
Belladonna beings her new life locked away in a tower. Frantic, she tries to find an way out, but by then, vines and thorns have crept into the tower and sealed the windows and doors. Fearful that she will die up in tower, Belladonna calls out for help.
The seven doves show up, and tell her that she can be free only on three conditions: She must not speak for seven years, she cannot visit them in the dark, and she must not leave the dead orchard. They will provide her anything she needs.
Not quite fond of home, and with nowhere else to go, Belladonna agrees to the terms. For a year, she finds the home the doves have made for her comfortable, but feels listless at the life she leads.
One day, while roaming the dead orchard, she stumbles across an old, rundown cottage. Knowing the doves had been gone for a few days, Belladonna becomes very curious as to what is in their home. She enters to find the place littered with human bones and bodies. Barrels line the walls, with people stuffed inside, and a few hang from the rafters by their throat. However, one body is placed under a glass case. It is a prince, one the doves have saved as a delicacy, stil breathing.
Compassion moves Belladonna to free the prince. When he wakes up, she embraces her, thankful for his release. He asks her many questions, but seeing as how she already betrayed the doves once, Belladonna refused to speak. The prince takes her for a mute, and pities her. He showers her with kind words of thanks, the first Belladonna had ever heard in her life. She is moved by his kindness towards her.
For the next few days, she nurses him back to health, while telling him through writing and drawings about the doves. He urges her to break her silence and come with him, but she feels hesitant.
The two grow fond of one another, and as the prince begins to declare his feelings for her, something bursts into the room. The doves fly in, only to turn into awful goblins, who seize the prince and turn him into a stag. The sew Belladonna's mouth shut to keep her silent, then turn her out into the woods as well. Distraught, she looks for the prince before he gets shot by hunters.
Part Five: Snake Leaves
When she finds the prince, it is too late. Two hunters have slew him, but moved by the girls' tears they give her the skin of the stag before departing. Belladonna wanders the woods, not knowing where to go.
One day, as she is taking refuge in a hollow tree, she hears men from outside. They are discussing what animals is up in the tree. One man come up to investigate, to find her sitting in the tree, shrouded by the skin of the stag. Taking pity on her, he coaxes her down. Seeing her mouth sewn shut, the man carefully cuts the strings.
The kind man turns out to be a King of a neighboring country. Seeing the sad state of Belladonna, appoints her a simple scullery maid position in the castle. He is a kind man, and every now and then, inquires about the strange, sad girl she found in the woods.
One day, the king falls ill and people are frantic to find a cure. Belladonna is saddened, for the king had been very kind to her. She hears whispers that the water from the Well o' the Worlds End can cure him. Everyone seems too fearful to go, so Belladonna sets off on her own, shrouded in her stag-skin.
After a long trek, she finds the well. It is covered in ivy and appears dry. Disheartened, she returns home but finds herself caught in an awful storm. She takes cover underneath the stag-skin, but sees a small white snake shivering trying to find shelter. She offers to share her shelter with the poor creature. In the morning, she finds the snake gone, but it returns to her, carrying three leaves.
The snake takes one of these leaves and puts it on the body of a dead bird. The bird hops up and flies away. She takes one of the leaves and places it on the skin of the dead stag and her prince if brought back to life.
Part Six: Wicked Step Mother
Belladonna rejoices at the return of the Prince. However, her happiness is short lived, because he remembers nothing of her or the doves. Heartbroken, she can do nothing else but follow as the Prince tries to find his way home. As they travel, a villager recognizes Belladonna as the princess. They have returned to her old home, and upon hearing that Belladonna is out and about, the Sorceress becomes wary.
Under the guise of being a caring maternal figure, she demands that her stepdaughter be brought home to her. Along with Belladonna comes the Prince, seeing this as an opportunity to get back to his home. Upon meeting the Sorceress, the two fall in love, leaving Belladonna devastated.
As she watches the lovers, Belladonna realizes that what she loved was the idea of the Prince, someone who had been kind to her. His true colors show as he covets the riches of the Sorceress, and Belladonna begins to see him as nothing more than a hollow man.
She leaves in the night, and returns to the King who showed her kindness. When she arrives, she is not recognized as the scullery maid, but is welcomed as a Princess.
She is taken at once to the King, who is near death. Belladonna places the last leaf the little snake gave her onto the King's chest and he is cured. Recognizing her at once as the girl in the hollow tree, the King embraces her and thanks her for bringing her life.
He invites her to stay for as long as she likes, and a romance begins to bloom between the two.
Belladonna and the King become betrothed, much to the delight of everyone. She is well liked by the court and the King is a kind, generous man, loved by his people. As preparations are made for the wedding, Belladonna receives word that her stepmother and her husband have passed away. She is now the heir to the throne.
She is unmoved by the news of her stepmother's death and new kingdom because there are no happy memories of the place. Belladonna continues on with the wedding as planned. As she begins to don her wedding gown, her lady in waiting stabs her in the chest.
Seven goblins appear as Belladonna's vision fades.
The woman who stabbed Belladonna sheds her disguise. She pricks Belladonna's finger and adds a drop of her blood to a vial. When she drinks it, her face and hair change to Belladonna's and she begins to prepare for the wedding.
Belladonna's body is taken by the goblins.
Part Seven: Cinders and Nettles
Once upon a time, there were seven goblins. They were horrible creatures, spreading death and disease where ever they went. The villagers cried for help, and went to the witch at the outskirts of the town. She was wary of the villagers. They had always shunned her and her ways, but she saw the desperation in their eyes and took pity on them. She sewed seven nets from nettles, weaving enchantments into them and gave them to the villagers. One net for each goblin, and they would be rendered harmless.
The villagers went in thanks, and did as the Witch said. The goblins turned into doves and flew away, and the villagers were appeased. As time went on, they forgot what the witch had done for them and began to return to their old ways. They blamed failing crops on her, dry creek beds and ill children. When a child was stillborn, they took to her house, burning it to drive the Witch out.
Vengeful, she sought out the doves and told them that even though she could not lift the curse, she could help them wreak havoc on the village. The doves did not know she was the one to give the villagers the nets, and listened to her carefully. She made them a bitter tea, promising after sundown they could go back to their true forms. If they could find a young maiden willing to keep silent for even years and never see their true form, they would be completely released.
The doves thanked the witch then returned to the village. At sundown, they returned to their true form and devastated the village, leaving not even a chicken alive or a blade of grass unpulled.
The witch looked upon the dead village with satisfaction, and left.
From that moment on, the doves/goblins traveled from place to place, trying to find a girl who would keep her silence for seven years. They failed time and time again, and after Belladonna was turned out, they doves were in distress. They made off to find the Witch to see if there was no other way to lift the curse.
They found her new home, on the edge of a great wood. However, the Witch had died leaving her daughter to carry on her work. The girl, named Elanora, was a dirty little thing; covered in soot from sitting too close to the hearth. The doves pleaded their case, and Elanora considered their situation. She told them there was nothing that she could do for them, but offered to be silent for seven years. She wanted riches and power, and upon hearing their story, figured that if she helped the doves with their revenge, they could put her in place of the Sorceress or Belladonna.
To ensure her silence, she cuts out her tongue and places it in the cinders in the hearth.
Part Nine: The False Bride
The goblins drag Belladonna's body to the woods and turn her into an apple, a small blade sticking out of it. Cackling, they leave and return to the palace.
The wedding begins, with Elanora playing the part of Belladonna poorly. Her manners are sharp and unpleasant. She covets the jewels and riches and shuns those she thinks of dressed poorly or beneath her. The King is puzzled by this behavior, especially her eagerness to inherit her stepmother's kingdom.
As he thinks, the King hears a tapping on the glass. He turns to see a small apple sitting on the sill and picks it up. Curiously, there is a small blade stuck in it. As the King moves to pull it out, something dark comes from above and knocks it from his hand. Startled, the King closes the window, thinking a crow must have gotten the apple. Sitting above the window is a goblin, holding the apple. It throws it into the woods.
The King is visited again by the apple as it rolls towards his feet as he makes his way to the ballroom. He bends down to pick it up, but again, something dark and rough whisks it away. He tries to dismiss it as a rat, but is unnerved by the mysterious apple. In a dark corner, another goblin crouches in the shadows. It goes outside and drops the apple down a well.
As the King uneasily exchanges vows with a fake Belladonna, the apple appears to him once again, laboriously being carried by a little white snake. The King stops Elanora from stepping on the small creature and scoops it up, apple and all.
He plucks the knife from the apple, and Belladonna is released, a wound in her chest, but still alive. The false bride is revealed.
aaaaaaaaaand.... i'm still working on how it ends.