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.


15. Alexandra Maria Ra'Ziel

            Alex wandered through the nomad camp for hours, stomping her frustration into the muddy ground. For the first while, time seemed to pass in a blur of red-hot rage. I touched that monster because he saved Danny, and he flinched away! Alex was surprisingly hurt by the reaction. She didn’t know why, and she hated the idea of Tris touching her, but something about him called to her.

            Finally, she did come back to herself, enough to notice her surroundings. She didn’t know where in the encampment she was. Tents crowded close on every side, horses pastured in infrequent clearings amidst the clutter. The people here also seemed poorer. More wore the now-familiar garb of slaves, the others were conspicuously unadorned. The masks hanging from the men’s belts were plain and worn.

            It was then that Alex realized. The other prisoners laughed and smiled and talked, but when they came close to her, they looked away silently. Children stared. Man leered openly, but didn’t even come close to her. Women glared and sneered. And no one talked to her.

            “They don’t hate you, they just hate Tris.” Alex spun to find Jasper standing in the doorway of a tent. He beckoned her inside, then hastily closed the flaps behind her. “Or, more likely, they fear him.”

            Alex looked around the tent. It was so completely different from Tris’. Where Tris had barely had any possessions, Japser’s tent was cluttered with them. Every available space – of which there were many – was completely covered in small vials of strange liquid or boxes of powder. A sack lay open, hundreds of feathers spilling onto the ground. From the ceiling, strings of feathers and beads and chips of bone hung. And, on one chest, was the reconstructed skeleton of a cat, beside a pile of scales. It was the strangest cluttered mess Alex had ever seen.

            “Why? He’s horrible, I grant you, but fear? Rather, I think, they ought to hate him. I know I do.”

            Jasper laughed. “They do hate him, but hate is like a fire.” One suddenly appeared in his hand. “It dies when it runs out of fuel.” And so did Jasper’s, vanishing without a trace. “No, hate only lasts so long. But fear, fear is eternal.

            “And I know why you hate Tris. But how much do you know about him, really? You know that he killed your friend, you know that he killed a boy, but do you know why? I didn’t think so. Tris calculates everything he does. He’s had to, to live this long.” Jasper cleared a chair and Alex sat, ready for the story.

            “Tris was only a boy when it happened. He was young, stupid, naïve. He thought he was invincible. Then, one day, he wasn’t. And it was too late. He shattered inside, anger and indifference poisoning him. I have done what I can, but it isn’t much. Konni could have – no. No, she couldn’t. She couldn’t stop the fire, but I did.” Jasper looked at her again, then, and his eyes were intense. Mad. And suddenly, Alex knew, she shouldn’t be here. Were all of the nomads this unstable, or only Tris and his friends? Were they even his friends, Alex wondered.

            But Jasper seemed to recover quickly. “Anyways, Tris can’t bring himself to ask for help, so I’ll do it for him. Alexandra, Tris needs you. Something about you makes him better. Healthy again. He’s going mad, but you’re holding that off. You keep him alive, you give me the old Tris back.”

They talked more, of course, until Jasper stood unexpectedly. He picked up a live cat that Alex had missed in her brief survey of the room, and muttering soothingly, introduced it as Konni. Then, very politely but firmly, asked for privacy.

She wandered again, but eventually Alex couldn’t take it anymore. She turned back to Tris’ tent and ducked inside. Danny was staring blankly at a wall, but other than that the tent was empty.

            “He’s gone. You look disappointed.” Danny’s voice scared Alex. It sounded… empty. Dead. His eyes were clouded and unfocused. Badly fitting clothing that was obviously Tris’ bunched at Danny’s ankles and wrists.

            “Are you alright Danny? Please tell me.” Danny looked directly at her then, and Alex thought she saw a spark of life return to his eyes.

            “He said I could go home, Alexandra. I can go back.” Hope and fear mingled on Danny’s face. Alex was shocked. Tris had given her not only her cousin’s life, but his freedom as well. And yet her elation was tinged with her own personal despair. Danny could go home, but Alex would stay here, a prisoner, forever, with a madman that even his friends feared.

            Alex forced a smile onto her face. “That’s great Danny.”

            “I’ll tell the king where you are. I will bring the army, and we will get you out. I promise Alexandra.”

            Danny left that night. Alex watched him go silently. Her mouth tasted like ashes, her eyes burned, her lungs fought for breath that wouldn’t come. And Tris watched her, his eyes green stars piercing the darkness, his face obscured by a mask.

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