Rixa

Ariella Newbern thinks that she is a normal girl, until one day, on her way to school everything changes.

She is a Rixa.

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1. Rixa - Chapter 1

Rixa

 

Part 1

“Arie get down here now, you’re gonna be late!” Ariella Newbern woke with a start. She’d dozed off again in the already immense, heat of the morning, she realized. She grabbed her bag and swung it over her shoulder, then barrelled down her stairs, taking them two at a time.

“Bye mom!” She called to the house at large and then, without waiting for a reply, flew through the door and out onto the street.

As she had guessed it was a beautiful morning, a lock of blonde hair, escaped from her bun, had already begun to curl in the humid air and she tucked it behind her ear impatiently. She jumped into her car, eager for the air conditioning, and sparked the engine to life. As she placed her hands on the steering wheel her wrist caught her attention. The flame-shaped tattoo that had been on her left wrist for as long as she could remember was stinging. Odd. She thought. It’s never done that before. Pushing it to the back of her mind, Arie pulled out of her driveway.

She was just turning onto her usual school route, when suddenly, she saw it. A shock of jet black, startling against the pale backdrop of New York lit by morning sun, flitting in the corner of her vision.

Arie planted her foot on the brakes, hard, causing her to surge forwards into the windshield. She stared out of the window at the streak of black that she now saw was not in fact a shadow, but a man. A boy really, around her age, but much taller, dramatically so. The figure was long and lean, as if someone had taken a normal sized boy and stretched him out. She was too far away to make out the features of his face properly, but she could see that he had very black hair, and deep blue eyes, nothing like the sky blue of her’s, they were deep and beautiful and beckoning.

Part 2

Without knowing what she was doing, Arie swung the car off the road and parked, half-hazard. Breathing deeply, she clambered out of the car and began to push her way towards the alley.

The alley was, unsurprisingly, very dark, and was, surprisingly, empty. Odd. Arie thought,  she could’ve sworn she’d seen him go in here.

“Looking for something Ariella?”

A voice behind her made Arie jump. She whirled around the see the dark boy, half hidden in shadow, leaning against the cold, brick wall. His voice was deep and the sarcastic sound of it seemed to reverberate around the walls of the passage.

The side of his face that she could see was so pale that it seemed to glow eerily white against the black of his hair; it reminded Arie of the time Alan’s car had leaked oil all over their snow-covered front yard.

“H-how do you know my name?” Arie blurted out, her voice sounded cracked and scared so she cleared her throat.

“There are a lot of things I know about you, princess” the boy replied with a half-smile. It wasn’t much of a smile really, just one side of his mouth pulled up in a crooked sort of smirk.

Arie detested cutesy nicknames like princess, and she would have told him so hadn’t it been for the other thousand, more important questions that burned at her tongue, bursting to be asked.

 However, before Arie could even open her mouth, the boy reached forwards and grabbed her arm, flipping it over. His hands were ice cold and Arie immediately shied away from his touch, but not before he had a good look at her birthmark.

“Well look at that, princess, you’ve been spending too long up here, your marks almost faded.”  

Her mark?  He must have meant her birthmark, but why would that fade? And what did he mean, up here? Whatever it was this guy was trying to say, Arie had had enough. He was clearly not a messenger of truth, as she had previously thought, but was simply a madman, loose on the streets of New York. Arie began to turn away, when an icy hand snapped out and grabbed her, in a vice like grip.

Clearly, she wasn’t getting away that easy.

Part 3

“I don’t think so, I came all the way here to find you, and I’m not letting you go just like that!” All teasing was gone from his voice, now he just sounded angry.

Arie didn’t think too much about what he’d said about ‘finding her’, instead she focused on getting away. Without thinking about it, Arie let her instincts take over; she reeled back and slapped the boy right across the face, as hard as she could. To her immense surprise, he let her go. She staggered away breathlessly, and looked back in time to see the boy touching his face; where she had hit him was the imprint of a hand; black, as if burned into the skin.

Hit by the realisation that she had done this, Arie broke into a run.

She could hear the angry outbursts of the boy all the way down the street, and she swore she could hear heavy footfalls behind her; but she didn’t dare look back. Arie dashed across the streets, darting between cabs and push chairs, fighting her way through hordes of excited tourists, she even knocked over a taco stand at some point. But she didn’t look back, stop or even slow down, once.                                                                                                                  She just kept running.

It was just as she was turning onto a side street, near to her house, that Arie could sense something watching her. She stopped, dead, in the passage and slowly turned around. A hollow, terrified scream escaped her lips.

Before Arie, stood a monster such she had never seen before in her life. It was huge; towering above her at what must have been 7, 8 feet. Oddly enough, it was shaped similarly to a human, with a giant, fleshy torso, long, monkey-like arms and tree-trunk legs with knobbly knees. It seemed to be built entirely with sinewy muscle, and every inch of it was covered in oozing sores and puss filled cracks. the thing’s face was so swollen that all you could make out of it was a pair of glowing, amber eyes that seemed to churn and scald like fire, and a monstrous mouth, brimming with long, yellow teeth that ended in mean spikes.

Arie knew that she should move, but she felt glued to the stop, frozen by fear and shock. She opened her mouth to scream again but she had a horrible feeling that no one could hear her and that even if they did, they wouldn’t be exactly willing to help her battle against what could only be described as some sort of hellish troll.

The monster grunted, happily, and then; pounced.

Part 4

Arie leapt out of the way just too late; a giant, meaty fist hit her square in the side and threw her to the ground, gravel buried itself in her chin and tears stung her eyes. She lay there, piteously, feeling as if someone had used her stomach as a bouncy castle.

Get up. Arie thought, instinctively. Get up and fight.

She rolled onto to her back and pushed herself up from the ground, her own bravado the only thing keeping her upright. The thing was apparently not all that clever and was lumbering about, trying to see where Arie had fallen. whilst it had its back turned, Arie seized her chance and raised her foot; she kicked out with all her might, her own strength surprising her, as the thing went flying forwards, smacking right into the wall. A wild chuckle escaped Arie’s lips, startling her. A strange sort of energy was surging through her veins and a sense of power was taking over her mind.

Arie was too wrapped in her own success, however, to see the thing rising up from the ground, and heading back towards her, a renewed anger egging it on. Just in time, Arie saw it in her peripheral vision, and whipped around to face it. For a few moments they circled each other, like wolves waiting to rip each other apart. And then it sprung at her, heaving its great fist up to wallop her. But Arie was too quick for it; she ducked bellow the hand and then dived forwards and seized the thing’s throat. Her hands closed around its windpipe and she could feel the air whooshing out of it. And then, she could feel her hand burning through the sticky flesh, which began to bubble and singe beneath her touch. The monster screamed in agony and tried to through her off, but it was getting weaker and weaker, until-

It burst; ichor, blood and sparks flew everywhere, covering both the street and Arie in it. Arie stood, shaking in the aftermath of what she’d just done. She thought of the rippling flesh, and bile rose in her throat. Part of her was thinking over and over she’d killed something. Killed it! But the rest of her simply thought about the fact that she was covered in its blood.

“ Arielle! Finally” I’ve been looking all over- whoa. What happened here?”

Arie turned, shakily, to see the boy from earlier, staring at her with a mixed expression of relief, shock and, admiration.

“I-I killed it.” Arie said simply. “I don’t even know what it was but I killed it!” She exclaimed her voice very high all of a sudden.

“Whoa, hey don’t worry!” The boy said rushing forwards, “it’s in your blood to kill those things.”

“My blood? What do you mean my blood?” Arie demanded..

The boy hesitated, and then said “you’re a Rixa. A future queen of the underworld.”

Arie stared at the boy blankly, thinking vaguely that the boy was crazy, and then remembering the troll-monster and thinking that okay, she was crazy too.

The boy saw Arie’s silence as confusion and began to explain in a hurried voice;

“See the underworld isn’t just the hell that everyone thinks it is. Hell is just a small part of it. The rest is a country called Inferna, that’s ruled by a monarchy, has been for centuries. For a long time we’ve managed to live in peace with the monsters that guard the gates of hell, Brutus, like the one you just killed-” He gestures towards the pile of ichor and blood on the floor and then continued. “But 15 years ago they broke the treaty and committed an act of war against us. They kidnapped the king’s only daughter, the future queen of Inferna. That’s you.” He paused, and then carried on when Arie shot him a pointed look.

“And well, we’ve been at war with them ever since. Thing is, the entire time we thought that they had you, when actually they didn’t. See, you escaped when you were just a few months old. The Brutus assumed that we’d gotten you back, but we hadn’t. We’ve been looking for you ever since.”

“But why?” Arie asked, weakly. “Why not just let me go?”

The boy sighed, and looked at her with an expression of almost desperation on his face.

“You’re our last chance. Legend has it that the girl with the fire mark, the girl born from royalty, will be the girl to set us free. We need you Ariella. You are the key to winning the war.

Part 5

Arie had no idea what she was doing. One minute she had been a normal girl, on her way to school. And now she was a Rixa, a weapon of mass destruction, on her way to the underworld.

Fingering the mark on her wrist absent minded, Arie stepped forward and took the boy’s (who she now knew to be the messenger of the king’s) hand; saying goodbye to her world, and her life, forever.

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