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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19. Alexandra Maria Ra'Ziel

            Tris was just sitting there, staring at the wall. They were back in his tent, finally free of that horrible room. Alex shuddered just thinking about it. I would be dead by now, or worse, if not for Jasper. And Tris. Tris had stopped crying, but somehow his silence frightened Alex more than his tears had.

            He didn’t react when she came to sit across from him. He didn’t move when she touched his hand. “Tris, you knew who I was all along didn’t you.” He didn’t move, didn’t nod, didn’t deny it. He didn’t seem to even hear her. “Was that why your father wanted me dead? Is that why-” But Alex couldn’t finish the thought. Jasper was dead because of her.

            “No. No, that’s not why, Ali. Jasper’s – Jasper’s gone because I failed, not you. I was supposed to make you love me.” Even now, Tris didn’t look at her. Tears trickled from his eyes once more, but, to Alex’s relief, that darkness was gone. It left him looking strangely empty. “Once you did, I was going to show you off to your family. Let them see us together. And then, while they were shocked, my father would kill them. Then I would kill you, and the war would end. But I couldn’t do it. You didn’t love me, didn’t even care. And I, I couldn’t kill you, even if I wanted to. I couldn’t even just let you die.”

            Alex drew a ragged breath. She had known before he said it that he meant to kill her, but hearing Tris admit it was hard. But, try as she might, Alex just couldn’t blame him. She couldn’t hate him. “It’s alright Tris. It’s ok, you’re ok. We’re all fine.” And Alex surprised even herself by wrapping her arms around Tris’ neck and drawing him to herself. She held him there, crying into her shoulder, his tears running hot down her chest. He didn’t flinch or draw back this time, but seemed to need the support.

            Finally, the racking sobs slowed and stopped. Tris, Alex realized, was dozing against her. She smiled slightly as she laid him down, then paused. She had never seen Tris asleep before. Even now he wore a mask, but behind it his eyes were swollen and red from crying. His mouth was relaxed, but still turned up at the left corner in a half-smirk. And he looked young. She had never imagined Tris looking vulnerable, or afraid, but he did now.

            Maybe you didn’t fail, Tristan Torath. Maybe it just took this to make me realize it. Part of Alex did love Tris. She knew that now. She had known it earlier in the day, when he had spoken of dying alone, but she hadn’t admitted it to herself. In this poor, broken boy she had found a kindred spirit, someone who understood her pain, at least in part.

            A part of her would always belong to Will, but Will was gone, probably dead, and Alex knew then that she couldn’t wait for him anymore. She wanted to be loved, she wanted to love. And Tris loved her, that she knew. He had been prepared to watch his best friend – his brother, apparently – be raped and die, rather than her.

            Alex laid down next to Tris and curled against him. His body felt feverish and hot against her, but she seemed to fit there. Alex closed her eyes, and a moment later, Tris’ arm encircled her waste. Alex smiled, but Tris was already asleep again.

            Alex had barely closed her eyes when she saw him. Some part of her screamed that this was a dream, that he was dead, but the rest knew it was real. Jasper walked slowly across the canvas tent-floor. His bare feet left bloody prints, and the open wound on his throat seemed to pulse slightly with an odd light. Alex met his eyes, shining red in the dimness, and felt tears start to spill from her own.

            “I’m sorry... I should have stopped it. It’s my fault.” But Jasper only held up a hand.

            “Alexandra, I chose this. It was only a matter of time anyway. I’ve know I would die for years. Konni told me, that day, the cost of raising her. And I took it. But this way, this way Tris lives.” Jasper looked fondly down on his sleeping half-brother, a fiery smile playing on the corner of his lips. Alex scrambled to her feet, acutely aware that Jasper had already seen her, but ashamed none the less.

            “Alexandra, listen to me. Do you remember my tent? I need you to take something from it. I trapped my mother’s spirit in Konni, the cat. I was young, unwilling to lose her. I needed my family.”

            “What happened to her, Jasper? How did she die?”

            “She burned, in the fire that took my village. My magic, made suddenly stronger by the pain and death of dozens, protected me from death. Konni was not so fortunate. And, even though I lived, I was marked.” And the apparition was suddenly bare from the waste up. Covering Jasper’s torso and arms, the skin looked like it had been melted. Alex finally realized what he had meant the first time she saw him. He had already burned to death once. No one could have survived those injuries.

            “I’m sorry Jasper. I didn’t know.” It was a lame excuse, but all she had.

            “Why would you be at fault for the sins of your people? That is something Tris cannot understand. You are not them, Alexandra. Help Tris to see that. He carries a hurt, deep inside himself, a wound that only you can heal. He loves you, even if he cannot understand it. He loves you, even if he cannot see it. Tris loves his sanity, as he loved his madness while it was upon him. But, unlike madness, the person Tris can become is worth dying for. Tris is worth it.”

            And Alex closed her eyes, letting the words sink in. When she opened them again, Jasper was gone and morning light shone in the tent.

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