Beautiful Hell (Draft 1)

For almost one hundred years, a brutal and bloody struggle for dominance between the kingdom of Ra'Ziel and the plains of Torath has torn the world asunder, raining death and destruction upon the earth. But this war is coming to an end. With only a few descendants of both royal lines living, will there finally be peace? Alexandra Ra'Ziel wants nothing more than to end the feud that took her older brothers from her, but Tristan Torath has different plans. He wants - he needs - retribution for the wrongs he has suffered. And so their story begins. Because anyone can find vengeance, but only a rare few achieve true justice.

Ok yeah, so here's the thing. I'm rewriting this story, so anybody who wants to read the new chapters (as I edit and revise them) can find them on my page. The Movella is titled Beautiful Hell (Re-imagined). And yeah, it's way way way better than this one, but also way more graphic too.

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9. Alexandra Maria Ra'Ziel

            Alex followed this ‘Jasper’ resignedly. His mask, hanging from his belt, was painted completely white, unlike her original captor, who had a devil-mask. His face – the first nomad face she had ever seen, except for the prisoners of war her father burned – was young but hard, with light brown hair and eyes. A few light scars crisscrossed his wrists and neck, and a strand of strange feathers tied into his hair added color to his ensamble.

            As if sensing her scrutiny, Japer turned. “Measuring me for a stake?” He smiled, but his eyes were haunted. “Sorry to disappoint, but that didn’t work last time.”

            “Last time?” Alex couldn’t help but ask. All of the executions happened at Ra’Ziel castle, so maybe if he had been burned before, she had seen him. This nomad, with his pure white mask, intrigued her.

            “Never mind, it doesn’t matter.” Was it just her, or did Jasper look guilty? He turned away too soon for her to tell. They were still walking, and Alex was sure they were somewhere near the center of the camp. She tried to memorize the way, but there seemed to be no method to the madness. Here horses – untethered and free – grazed placidly on a batch of grass. Next to them, a woman sewed outside her tent. Across the path, three boys play fought.

            The boys seemed so normal. Alex had seen boys playing in the streets almost every time she went to see Will and Maddie. To see it again here – in this living hell – was frightening. The children looked just like any others, except for the tiny, painted half-masks covering the tops of their faces. The one in green and blue knocked the orange one down, and the fallen boy took off his mask before turning to cheer his friends. Alex was struck by his face. He looked like any boy from Ra’Ziel. What if father is wrong? What if they aren’t demons?

            “You look conflicted. Finally realizing that maybe we aren’t the monsters?”

            “I just watched that … that devil kill my best friend. I saw the way he looked at the corpses of a little boy and his father.”

            “We aren’t all like Tris. I think he broke inside, but he wouldn’t let any of us help, so when he put the pieces back together, they didn’t fit right.”

            Alex looked at Jasper. He was staring at the ground, and didn’t seem to notice. His face was like an open book to her, schooled as she was in the subtleties of court. He really meant it, he really cared. “I’m sorry.”

            When he looked up, Jasper was smiling, but it was a sad smile. “No, you’re not. You just think you should be. If you live long enough, you will be.”

            With that he stopped walking. Alex hadn’t been paying attention, but they had reached the center of camp. All around, young men and women were being herded by nomads. The oldest might be twenty, but some looked like children.

            “I’m sorry, Lexie.” And Jasper locked a chain around her right wrist. Alex just stared at it for a minute, then followed the chain to a stake in the ground. Now that she was really looking, she saw that there were dozens of stakes forming a giant circle. The men and women were all being locked to them.

            She looked back at Jasper and saw him flinch at the accusation in her eyes. “I’m sorry.” And he was gone.

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