When her mother died, Ella mourned, but she found happiness with her father. He raised her well but could only teach what he knew, which was nothing of womanly pursuits. Her father remarried, but her stepmother and two stepsisters thought only of themselves. Her father died, leaving Ella without income or prospects in a family that had never loved her. Years of cruelty and servitude pushed Ella to the brink. She fled to the woods, where woodland creatures returned her to health. She returned that night for her horse, a sharp knife, and her father's old hunting rifle. When her sisters next took coach to town, Ella took their money at gunpoint, smiling at their rage.
It became her living. She robbed only the arrogant, thoughtless rich, and robbed them well. Other disenfranchised women joined her. They called her the marauder princess, and through skill and her affinity for the forest creatures she evaded capture for years.
She so vexed the nobility that the prince entered her woods alone to forge a peace as princes do — through marriage. Long after the royal prince wed the marauder princess, the queen still disappeared for weeks every year, with her favorite rifle.