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 Taking the First Step, tag Ella
☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: Apr 30 2017, 05:34 AM
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

A fair amount of time had passed since Ivan had attempted to fulfill his promise- or at least one of them- to Ella. After meeting her stepmother, he had come to the realization that what needed to be done was not something that he could do alone. He was only a toy and when he could traverse across the Earth was quite limited. It would be far easier to have someone else try to help with this matter, to act as his metaphorical knight and sweep her out of danger.

As none of those within his realm could truly do such a thing, he had turned to his role within the Land of Sweets. Many souls came to his land through their dreams. As such, it would be relatively easy to try and help Ella while helping another in the process. Such an opportunity came when an elderly gentleman came into his realm due to a wish for children.

He had seen his opportunity.

Their discussion had been long and he had been working solely upon faith and hope. Not everyone who walked into his realm remembered their dreams, but there was sometimes that feeling of what you should do.

So, he waited to see the result and as the days began to pass on he feared that he might have failed. As he felt a familiar presence enter the land, he changed the scape. The world looked a bit more fantastical, having taken upon the same look it had held when Clara had come. Many of the buildings were ones that he had plucked from his own memory, either of actual places within Russia that he had come to know while being owned by Drosselmeyer's daughter or fabricated versions of places formed from the toymaker's inventions. The land truly did appear sweet now as a gentle snow made entirely of sugar fell.

Straightening himself, he made to find his visitor.

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❂ ELLA FRELL
 Posted: May 4 2017, 04:09 AM
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The beautiful fairy land must have remained a memory deep in the back of her mind for quite some time now. Now it appeared to be so real to her that it was right in front of her. Images of all sorts of sweets and beautiful things surrounded her and she couldn't believe it was all there. She had been in one place like this once before, hadn't she? It felt like a whole life time ago but it seemed so familiar just the same. Dreams, yes, dreams. Was she in a dream now? Ella somewhat remembered sleeping after she had been doing some much needed studying. Or was this real after all? She must have been thinking of sweets and lovely things right before she had drifted off and here she was in a beautiful place with no knowledge of how she had really managed to come there in the first place.

Then a name surfaced in her mind. A smile brightened on her face as she remembered him and how she had so hoped to see him again. She had been thinking of the last encounter she'd had with him before she'd gone to sleep and the sweets she had seen that day so long ago. Surely that was how she had managed to come back to this lovely land and she was so very glad she did. After several moments of exploring, Ella thought he could see the prince nearby and found herself wandering toward him, excited to encounter him once again. She wondered if he even remembered her at this point, especially since he had just left her there at the house after she had practically begged him to take her with him.

No, she wasn't going to think of those things when she was in such a beautiful place. She felt the snow on her shoulders and smiled brightly as she kept going. She thought she saw him up ahead, the visage of him clear right before her. "Sir!" It was habit, sure, and she knew that he didn't really like it when she called him that. But she couldn't help herself. After all he was an actual prince and she was nothing more than a servant girl. "I thought I wouldn't ever see you again...And I don't know how I ended up here again but it's quite wonderful. How have you been if you don't mind me asking?"
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☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: May 5 2017, 01:28 AM
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

It did not take Ivan long to find Ella, as her presence stood out greatly within his realm. Approaching the human, he withheld a grimace as she spoke to him. Being referred to so formally from someone who was not one of his soldiers or subjects was quit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, he did not bother to correct the blonde, knowing that it was just in her nature. No doubt she would eventually grow out of it.

He tilted his head at her words. From the sound of it, she had probably fallen asleep by accident and thus did not realize how she had come to his land. However, it was of no consequence. After all, people often forgot about his land. "Well enough," he said, "I was recently in Asia and spoke to the Tooth Fairy. She gave me some rather sound advice."

He tilted his head. "But then, I suppose I should be asking you how you are doing?" he asked, a knowing smile crossing his face, "I take it that you met someone rather pleasant recently?"

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❂ ELLA FRELL
 Posted: May 9 2017, 04:32 AM
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"The Tooth fairy talking to the prince of the land of sweets?" Ella couldn't help but find the image amusing and giggled a little to herself. "That's a little funny, don't you think? I mean, i feel like she wouldn't enjoy it too much here unless she wants damaged teeth." Then again Ella didn't really get her hands on much candy these days let alone the sweets in the beautiful land she had somehow come across. She didn't mind the view and was slowly beginning to remember her time there from before. How long had it been? She tried to think back to it, squinting a little in thought. "But I'm sure you're teeth are just lovely..." She said, realizing how awkward she must have sounded just then and she gulped a little bit. He was truly just as handsome as she remembered from before, almost as if he was part of the dream itself too.

"Oh...well, I suppose I have. He helped me out when I wasn't expecting it and gave me clothes and he's insisted on taking me along with him sometime. I don't think I could but I want to. He seems very gentle. Wait-How did you know that? You haven't been watching me, have you? I mean...I thought you'd forgotten all about me." She said quietly, chewing her lip as she focused on her feet. "I don't mean to sound ungrateful of course. You gave me so much before. I just- I thought you didn't want anything to do with me anymore. After all, princes are very busy indeed and you must have so much you need to do." She said in the hopes that he understood what she meant. She was blushing now as she fidgeted, hoping more than anything that he would say something to ease her mind soon enough.
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☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: May 9 2017, 05:35 AM
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

His lips curved into a small smile. "I suppose," he admitted. Of course, he knew little about the Tooth Fairy outside of what he had learned from their conversation. "But then, this is not the actual appearance of this land," he admitted, "So I am sure she would like it fine enough. However, Japan probably made a better place for conversation between the her and I." After all, the Land of Sweets worked well when people were drawn into it because of their wishes. However, it was probably not the best place to speak to Guardians.

He did look mildly amused at the comment about his teeth, but decided to make no comment upon it. It was probably better to not mention that he was made of wood and though his construction was different now, he still acted differently than a human might.

Quietly, he listened to her speak. Though it did sadden him that she thought he had abandoned her, he was careful to not let that emotion show. "I promised I would help you," he said softly, "I might not be able to physically help you, but I attempt to have others help you. Not everyone forgets their dreams, after all. The man you spoke to likely remembered parts of a conversation I had with him while he dreamed and felt drawn to go to Burgess."

He gave a soft laugh at her words, though it was not mocking. If anything, it was a whimsical sound, as if he were entertaining his own thoughts and found something humorous. "I will not lie. I am busy, though it is not only because I am a Prince-Regent." His brow furrowed and he considered how much he should tell her. Would it be wise to tell her a great deal of information or no? "I spend a fair amount of my time as a Guardian, acting as my purpose as a protector of children." His lips curved. "And though you are no child, I did promise to help you in many ways."

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❂ ELLA FRELL
 Posted: May 12 2017, 04:32 AM
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Ella looked back to him, listening carefully to the prince for such wonderful ideas. She wanted to hear all about his time since they had been away from each other and she was fascinated by who he was. She was still having difficulty getting used to talking to someone who called himself a prince but it helped to think the man acting like she was a normal, real person. He spoke to her as if she were his equal and that was such a wonderful feeling that she couldn't ever let it be denied again. She didn't ask for respect much, only decency, and he gave her that in spades. Strange how he hadn't known her but for such a short amount of time and she felt that they knew each other in a deep kind of connection she couldn't exactly explain.

"Japan..." She mused, the small smile still on her face as she did so. "I would love to visit Japan some day. I'm sure it's very wonderful and the tooth fairy makes great company." Ella was imagining it based on the pictures and videos she'd seen of the country and wished she could see something so very wonderful in person some day. "I wouldn't mind meeting the Tooth Fairy either. I've heard that's quite lovely and is such a sweet sort of fairy." She hadn't meant to make a pun but she wasn't going to take it back now. She was just pleased to feel so at ease with him now and wanted that feeling to stay with her forever.

"You mean you sent Mr. Masters to me?" She blushed deeply, having been certain that the prince had completely forgotten about her since they had last met. After all, she had practically begged him to take her with him and he had not. Why should he care what had happened to her past then? Now she was realizing how much of a fool she had been for not believing that he still cared until that very moment. "Th-thank you..He's wonderful and I was really needing a friend. And how could you help me? I wish to be away from that home somehow and to have a life of my own but I do not think that will ever happen. And I suppose I should stop having hope...but I just can't. If help will not come from you then I suppose maybe it will come from someone else- But I do thank you for sending me someone as kind as Mr. Masters."
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☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: May 12 2017, 05:45 AM
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

He hummed, considering the words. "Perhaps you might be able to," he said. If his observations had been correct before, he was sure that there would be a great many things within Ella's future that she would be able to do that she had not been able to do before. "However, it was...different. Quite different from what I have known of the world." His lips curved upwards. "Though, I suppose that is not much."

He glanced around them as an idea came to mind. "Perhaps..." he muttered to himself. With only a thought, the scene around them changed. It was only an instant, as if one had stepped through a door only to discover themselves in an entirely different world. However, the feeling was not unusual. If anything, it was natural, as if the world should look as it did. The world had become a completely different, one that had been plucked from his memories of being in the hands of the child who had picked him up before he left upon meeting the Tooth Fairy. The two stood upon a small bridge of black and red, a quiet river beneath them. The sugary snow disappeared and the weather became warm. They appeared to be in a park and were surrounded by many trees in full bloom. Their cherry blossoms were alright under the glow of lanterns that hung in the trees quietly. In the distance, a building could be seen, though its complete structure was no clear due to the appearance of night. Only a few shades could be seen lingering about.

His lips quirked as satisfaction ran through him.

Ivan turned his gaze to Ella and he gave a soft chuckle. "I offered a solution to his problem," he corrected, "He remembered it and decided to follow my advice." He rose an eyebrow at her doubt. He had become used to her doubt, chalking it up to a consequence of how she had been raised. However, the toy was determined to show her that nothing was impossible. If she thought so, then he would create a miracle to show her contrary. "If you can tell me that once you awake," he said, "Then I shall agree. Mister Masters..." He paused before his lips quirked into a secretive smile. "Let's just say that he is the sort of man who knows how to get what he wants."

He was being kind. He knew that the man was not a good man, but he could tell that he was also not a bad one. Rather, he was a lonely one who only wished for the comfort of a family. It was because of this that he had placed the suggestion that the solution to his loneliness lay in Burgess.

He hummed. "Why, by finding the solution to what you told me about last we spoke," he said cheerfully. He can come to suspect that she suffered from a curse of some sort, but he could not be sure as to what sort it was. It was why he had spoken to the Tooth Fairy about the matter and he intended to seek out at least one of the people that she suggested that he speak to.

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❂ ELLA FRELL
 Posted: May 17 2017, 04:09 AM
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Ella was still watching him curiously, noting the movement he made and the glint in his eyes. Truly he was as handsome as a prince should be. When she remembered him in her dreams, he was every bit as handsome as he was right now in front of her. When he smiled it seemed to light up the whole sky itself and Ella couldn't help but smile with him. Gentleness was obvious in someone like him and Ella wanted to be around a truly kind soul for as long as she could. And knowing that Mr. Masters had not simply been an accident warmed her heart all the more. So he truly hadn't forgotten her after all. She felt silly for having been so ungrateful earlier and she almost apologized for her inner most thoughts.

Her face lit up all the more when he said something about helping her with the curse. A true and genuine smile widened on her cheeks and she couldn't help but feel thrilled at the very aspect of relief. Surely even someone like her could find a happy ending that she deserved. "You really mean that?" Her voice was an excited, rushed whisper. Her hands were shaking and her eyes were wide as she felt her hopes rise to the occasion. "Please say you've found some way that I can be truly free like you." She stepped forward curiously, wondering if it was all right to close a little bit of the space between them.

"Please, sir." She knew that he didn't want her calling him that. But after so many years of servitude and treating everyone else as if they were better than she, Ella couldn't help but respond in such a way even now. "I want to know everything you could possibly tell me. If there is really help out there for me, I'll do it. Name anything and I'll do it straight away. I promise I can be brave just to be free for the first time." She was shaking she was so excited and she couldn't seem to find her words in the right way. She could only hope that she could manage to express herself in a way that made some sort of sense.
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☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: May 17 2017, 10:41 PM
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

Ella's demeanor changed at the mention of his attempts to fix her problem. The reaction offered a slight confirmation to his suspicions. While her explanation had been vague, her reaction was quite joyful. If she was not suffering from a curse, then he could not imagine what she could be suffering from. Then again, he supposed that he might receive the answer to that soon enough.

The space between them suddenly seemed to grow smaller; however, only the nutcracker seemed to be aware of such a fact. His face became flushed and he stubbornly kept his gaze away from her eyes. He had never been the best at dealing...well, the reality of situations might be the best way to put it.

He cleared his throat. "I do not have the answer yet." He knew he would have to disappoint her once before he offered her a solution. "However, I have...spoken to the Tooth Fairy. She said that she would notify me if she learns of anything." His gaze flickered back to Ella. "I am currently trying to meet with one of the people she suggested I ask. I am afraid I am not the most knowledgeable upon the matter at hand."

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❂ ELLA FRELL
 Posted: May 19 2017, 02:49 AM
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For once Ella didn't care about pleasantries or keeping her pace away from someone as stately as a prince himself. She moved forward with a wide grin on her face without being able to keep the thrill from fully showing itself. She was giggling without even thinking about it though she knew she had to keep her cool. Be a lady, Ella. Behave, Ella. She had always heard these words throughout her young life on how she could behave. Hugging gentlemen simply wasn't proper and hugging one so handsome and as rich as this one was certainly not at all to be encouraged. But her stepmother was not there. Ella was without any of her terrible family and she was there all on her own with a friend. A friend who was trying to do nothing but help her.

Before she could stop herself, Ella rushed forward with little to no grace as she finally grabbed him in a fierce, tight hug. Finally she pulled herself away, not having given a hug like that in such a very long time.She was still smiling, her cheeks flushed with red as she dared to look up at him. "S-sorry...I couldn't help it. It's just that nobody's really tried to help me before this long and the fact that you've gone to all this trouble well-" She bit her lip and looked back down nervously. "You've done so much for me already and I wish I could somehow be able to actually give something back to you. How could I ever repay you?" Especially if he could find a way to remove the curse, Ella felt as if she would be indebted to him forever.
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☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: May 19 2017, 05:03 AM
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

A happiness seemed to fill Ella and Ivan could not help but grow pleased by it. In his time knowing the blonde, she had never appeared to be someone who spent her time being happy. Rather, she was constantly worried about what others would think. It was nice to see her filled with a carefree joy. He had hoped that she might experience it more often.

His thoughts came to a pause as she suddenly engulfed him in a tight hug. However, unlike others, he did not move away from the embrace or appear to be uncomfortable. Rather, he carefully returned it, though his grip was nowhere near as tight or fierce. While he was a prince and soldier, such affection was not unknown to him. He had been crafted to be a protector of children and it was not the first time that another had shown him such affection.

Yet, there was an old pang, the echo of a heart that was not quite human yet not quite wooden. His grip tightened for only a moment, but he was determined to ignore it. He could not be hurt again. The last time he had fallen for a human it had been too painful. Love was something that he was better without.

Finally, she pulled back. He blinked owlishly, tilting his head. "You do not have to repay me," he said, somewhat confused. Why would he ask for such thing? She did not think that his actions were done out of an expectation that she return the favor, did she? "I merely wish to see you happy and safe, Ella. It saddens me that you have not been either for a fair amount of time."

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❂ ELLA FRELL
 Posted: Today at 03:51 am
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"Don't be sad, sir. None of it's your fault...And besides at least I have a place to live and a roof over my head. It's not perfect but it's better than a lot of other people have. I mean, I could be on the streets." Of course these were all things her stepmother would have told her in the past, making her feel grateful for what little she was given to get by. These were all words that she had become so used to repeating that she almost began to believe it. Ella knew they were wrong, every single bit of it but she didn't know anything else. Her own life felt so terribly normal to her that she couldn't even imagine anything different no matter how much she wanted to be.

"I feel as if I should...especially since I doubted you. Honestly, I thought you had forgotten all about me and here you have sent someone wonderful to help me after all this time." Ella was practically glowing now, trying to move past the fact that she did still feel a little guilty for having had any sense of bitterness toward him. After all, he had been the best thing to ever happen to her. "As far as happy, well, I do what I can to get by. I never lose the faith and try to look for kindness in any possible place. There's so much goodness still out there in this world and I can't be dismal about anything truly. Of course things might not be wonderful right now but that doesn't mean I can't still have hope."
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☽ IVAN ZOLNEROWICH
 Posted: Today at 08:29 am
Quote
132 • Toy • Fortitude • Russia


'Cause the best gift I can give you
is this heart inside of me!

Despite Ella's words, Ivan could not help but find a sadness to her words. While she was correct in saying that she had a place to live, he knew that she lacked a proper home. His visit had told him that much. Her stepmother did not acknowledge her as her own children but as something lesser and it was clear that she acted accordingly. He knew that the woman did not treat her own daughters as poorly. Ella had been given almost nothing while the woman spoiled her biological children. Ella's father was probably worse if he sat by and did nothing.

"It is not sadness which ails me," he said. After all, he was quite sure that she had interpreted his reaction to her joy as something it was not. While the nutcracker felt sorrow for the young woman's misfortune, it was not sorrow that caught his heart at her actions. He was glad she was happy. However, his heart panged in a manner he wished it would not.

Toys were not meant to feel as he did. True sorrow would come if he allowed it. For now, he only felt hesitance, plagued by poor memories of the past.

His lips curved into a frown at her reply. It sounded as though she truly thought she must repay him. It was an odd notion. While he understood that there were some things in life that should be repaid, he could not understand why his actions should. He had acted in a manner that was natural and that he was sure any decent man would have.

He rolled her words around in his head. "In that case," he said, "Perhaps you might do me a favor?" His brow furrowed and he considered how to express what he wanted to say next. While he was coming to know English well, there were certain things that he sometimes struggled to say. "I need to go to Russia sometime soon and I wish that you might come with me." Slowly, the Nutcracker Prince's face spread into a smile. "I imagine that you might see a wonderful thing or two there."

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