Chapter 1 (Part 1)

Chapter 1 (Part 1)

A Chapter by Emma
"

Everyone has heard the story of Beauty and the Beast, but my story is different. I am the Beast, cursed to fall in love with the brave men who enter my gates for the sole purpose of killing me.

"
 Part 1  

     Chapter 1

 

     The sound of a horse’s hooves on the gravel drive floats through the window. There is a moment of silence before the feet of the rider land deftly on the ground and sword whispers as it is unsheathed. 

     It is time. 

     I stand from my seat in front of the easel upon which a blank canvas rests. Usually painting relaxes me, pulls me away from the reality at hand, but this time there is nothing, no inspiration to pick up a brush. I tried playing the piano too, that did not succeed either, my fingers insisted upon stumbling over themselves destroying any trace of a melody. I am not ready. I have known he was coming for three days. The moment he entered the forest I felt his presence. But I am not ready. I am never ready when they come.
    I glide out of the room designated for my artwork and lock the door behind me. I will take no chances with a stranger in my palace. The hall is dark, but I abstain from lighting it. The shadows are familiar and comforting, I will be revealed soon enough.
    The groan of the great doors reaches my ears. He has entered, he has sealed his fate. Before I round the corner to the pinnacle of the staircase, I take a deep breath and smooth the black lace of my dress.
    “Come out, I know you are there,” he shouts wrathfully.
    There is no escape, I will the front doors to slam shut and the wicks of the candelabras on the wall to ignite. Then, I step into the light.
    For an instant he freezes in disbelief, I am not what he was expecting. 

     He shakes the amazement from his features and says with daring dripping from every syllable, “Fight me, sorceress. Or are you too cowardly?”
    I deepen my voice and let it echo across the atrium, “Call me what you like, but the moment you entered my gates you became my captive.” With a flick of my hand, I pull the sword from his grasp. It skitters across the marble floor and disappears into thin air, “You will have no need of that while you are here.” Suddenly at a loss for words I quickly say, “Supper is at seven o’clock sharp, do not be late,” then turn on my heel and return once again to the safety of the shadows.
    I make it all the way to the fourth, guest bedroom door before I let out the breath I have been holding and lean heavily against the wall. That was awful, usually I do better than that.
     “My Lady, can I assist you in some way?” A deep voice sounds softly from behind me.
    I turn to the shimmering in the air that had once been my steward, “No thank you Cedric. Just see to it that our guest has everything he needs.”
    Faintly I see him bow at the waist and his words echo through the empty hall, “Yes, my lady.” A slight breeze lifts the ends of my hair, then the glimmer disappears silently down the hall. It is what happened to all of my servants when the curse fell. The wretched curse. It turned perfectly good human beings into shadows. Usually, I can see the features of my servants, but that is only because I have lived with them for a few decades. Guests only see a shimmering and feel a light breeze. My guests, it is what I tell myself they are. Not captives.
    I shake my head, maybe a walk through the gardens will calm my mind. And just maybe it will prepare me for tonight’s meal.

    The walk does help to clear my head. That is until I see Johnathan and Lucas returning from the stables with our guest. I take great care that they do not see me as I make my way back to the palace, where Bedelia, or Beedy as I call her, draws a deliciously warm bath for me; after which, she pushes a cup of molten chocolate into my hands and begins to work her invisible fingers through my hair. Within no time at all, she has pulled the dark strands away from my face and transformed them into a tangle of braids and curls that cascade down my back. Turning my head as much as I can, I admire Beedy’s handiwork and say, “I will wear the black, taffeta gown with the long lace sleeves and natural waistline. You know the one.”
    “Yes, my Lady,” she noiselessly moves to the far right wall of my dressing room, where my evening gowns neatly hang. She pulls the dress from its place and helps me into it. Again I inspect myself, letting the full skirts swish as I turn. The intricate lace sleeves and plain bodice are close fitting, but the skirts are folded and gather, creating a waterfall of black taffeta.

    “You out do yourself, Beedy,” I smile faintly at as I sit again at my vanity. She knowingly brings my jewelry box and delicately sets it before me. Opening it, I choose the family signet ring, an impression of a rose upon silver, two other rings that were given to me as gifts, dangling earrings that are made of black diamonds and dark, almost black, silver, and a two-inch wide bracelet that matches the design of the earrings. I pull the makeup drawer open and motion Beedy towards it, “Just a little.”

     She concurs by dabbing some rogues onto my lip and cheeks. My eyes receive kohl and an artwork of eyeshadow that swirls beside my right eye.  Standing I take a deep breath to calm the butterflies in my stomach. 

     “You look stunning, my Lady,” Beedy reassures me as she collects discarded clothes and towels.

     “Or like a Beast?” I ask remembering my guest’s earlier words.

     “Have heart, Lady. They always say that at first, but change their minds once they get to know you.” 

     I arch an eyebrow, “Once they decide not to kill me?” I sigh and move towards the door, I may as well get this over and done with.

     For the second time today I walk through the dark halls with the swishing of my dress the only sound that reaches my ears. I hesitate at the top of the staircase and listen intently. He does not seem to be here yet, so I glide down the steps and into the dining hall. The fire in the great hearth crackles merrily, oblivious my dilemma. Instantly I move to the small side table where the varieties of wines stand in neat rows. Choosing one of my favorites, a light, sweet wine, I pour the red liquid into a silver, brocade wineglass. Then moving to the chair at the head of the table, its back to the door, I sit and wait for my guest to arrive. The clock ticks loudly in the quiet room, as the hour hand silently passes the seven. I sip my wine and watch the candles flicker while I anticipate his arrival. What is taking him so long? Maybe he tried escaping. Or maybe he is refusing to come. If the latter is the case than Cedric will drag my guest downstairs, even if he is screaming and kicking.

      Suddenly I am aware of a presence behind me, a presence that does not belong. “You are late,” I say coolly, taking another sip from my wine, relishing the slight burn as it flows down my throat. He moves slowly past me, his muscles tense and his jaw clenched. I watch his every movement, as he takes the seat across from me. He sits rigidly an ireful expression on his face and I take the opportunity to examine him. His hair is short, light brown, and curls slightly at the ends. A shadow of stubble lines his jaw, giving him a rather rugged appearance. His eyes are hazel brown with gold flecks throughout them, their exact color would be impossible to paint. High cheekbones, sharp lips, and a straight nose make up the remainder of his features that at the moment, glower at me with an expression that clearly speaks of death.

     He makes no move towards the food and I frown slightly before saying, “There is no poison in the food, it is safe to eat.” I motion towards the excessive fare, “Please, help yourself.”

     “I am not hungry,” he growls.

     “You must be, after your long journey,” I lift a hand and make a beckoning motion, “Cedric.”

     He is by my side in an instant, “Yes, my Lady?”

     “Serve our guest,” I keep my gaze steady upon the person across the table from me.

     “As you wish,” Cedric complies and I feel a ruffle in the air as he passes me by. A plate lifts seemingly by itself, followed by various foods floating to its surface. It lands softly in front of my guest, who eyes Cedric’s glimmer uncomfortably.

    “Will that be all my Lady?” Cedric asks from nearby.

    “Yes, thank you Cedric,” I answer, dismissing him.

    As Cedric’s small wind leaves, my guest speaks, “Was that necessary?”

    “Yes, it was.” I lower my chin and attempt to appear menacing, “Now, if you do not eat the food before you, I will recall Cedric and have him force it down your throat.”

     I can see the want to defy spark in his eyes, but he slowly picks up his fork and begins to eat.

    A flare of triumph rises up within me and feeling bold I ask, “What name do you go by.”

    He does not reply, just ignores me and my feeling of victory momentarily turns to anger. I take a deep calming breath, before trying again, “I must call you something. Unless of course, you wish me to call you sir, like Cedric does.”

     I can tell the small insult hits home because he stills his hands, looks up at me, and says, “My name is Arawn.”

     I play the name over in my head before speaking, “You may call me…”

     “Beast, I will call you Beast,” he says clearly.

     I give a humorless laugh, “How ironic. Because it is your name that means untamed beast.”

     He knows my words true, I can see that, but he is stubborn.

     My second word is drawn out, “I suppose, I will tell you my name. In case, at some point you are in a good mood and feel inclined to use it.” I pause, as he looks up and narrows his eyes, afore I continue with a slight air of satisfaction, “My name Kalista, it means most beautiful one.”

     A sinew flexes in his cheek before he persists with consuming his food. I take another sip from my wine, all the while keeping my eyes fixed upon him. He has muscle corded arms and his hands are callused, probably from hours of swordplay.

     In the corner of my eye, I see the fire suddenly leap up, so I momentarily turn my gaze to it and in that second Arawn snatches up his dinner knife. He throws it straight and true towards my heart. My hands shoots out faster than the eye can see and catches the knife a breath away from my bodice. Anger blazes within me, but somehow I keep my features calm as if this is something I am used. It should be. I stand, with the knife still clasped in my hand, blood beginning to seep through my fist. Slowly I walk to where Arawn stands, his chair toppled over behind him. His eyes smolder with a light that is both horrified and furious. I halt a few feet away from him and throw the knife to the ground, causing blood to spatter. The knife clangs as it meets the stone floor and slides a few feet away, where it lies motionless, glowing in the firelight.

     “That was harsh and impolite, but you will have to try a little than that to kill me,” my words are smooth, but inside I am a tangle of fear and hurt.

     Arawn takes an angry step closer, “Impolite? Harsh? I have every right.”

     “Do you really?” My voice rises as it becomes almost mocking, “And who of yours did I murder this time? Your lover?”

     “My brother,” he spits out vehemently. Then adds disgustedly, “Do you go so absolutely insane that you cannot even tell whether your prey is male or female?” He refers to the stories that at night the Beast loses its mind and kills anyone within the great forest.

    For some reason, I feel the need to prove his assumptions wrong, “I have never, a day in my life, been lunatic. Every night I spend within my palace walls, knowing that if I so much as set a foot outside I will be torn to pieces by the rabid wolves. It is not I, but they who murder senselessly.” We stare at each other, him stubbornly not wanting to believe that I am innocent and I, wanting him to believe that my words are true. Finally, I break our gaze and move a few feet away, turning my back towards him. I need to ask the question, the enchantment will not let me rest if I do not. Although chances of any sleep tonight are slim to none anyway.

     I inhale deeply and turn my head so that my face is just barely visible to him, “Would you sacrifice a drop of your blood for me?”

     My question takes him by surprise because it is a moment before he heatedly spits out, “Never.”      

     Angling my head forwards again, I move silently, from the room, clenching and unclenching my bloody, stinging hand, as I go.

 



© 2015 Emma


My Review

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Featured Review

Okay :) I'm from one of the review groups you are on! Now please don't hate me, but I have to be honest. You use a great amount of detail which is brilliant but there are things that would make this better. Your paragraphs are way too blocky, which is off-putting to most readers. They need some more space!



An example would be-

The sound of a horse’s hooves on the gravel drive floats through the window. There is a moment of silence before the feet of the rider land deftly on the ground. A sword whispers as it is unsheathed. It is time. I stand from my seat in front of the easel on which a blank canvas sits upon.

Usually painting relaxes me, pulls me away from the reality at hand, but this time there is nothing, no inspiration to pick up a brush. I tried playing the piano too, that did not succeed either, my fingers insisted upon stumbling over themselves destroying any trace of a melody. I am not ready. I have known he was coming for three days. The moment he entered the forest I felt his presence. But I am not ready. I am never ready when they come.

I glide out of the room designated for my art work and lock the door behind me. I will take no chances with a stranger in my palace. The hall is dark, but I abstain from lighting it. The shadows are familiar and comforting, I will be revealed soon enough.
-----------------------------------------
Aweaome job though! it's a great start



Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Emma

5 Years Ago

Thank you for your review! It helps so much when people give me honest criticism! I will see what I .. read more



Reviews

This was a great introduction to the story, and does what it needs to: it sets the stage and draws the reader in. I'm impressed by how well you are able to describe things, it was very easy to picture the scenes in my mind. Also very interesting how you re-imagine an old fairytale, from the perspective of the beast.

There were some small things i noticed when reading:

"... the easel on which a blank canvas sits upon"
"on which" and "sits upon" serve the same purpose in this sentence: they both say the canvas sat on the easel. This sounds a bit weird.

"He moves slowly passed me ..."
"passed" should be "past" here. I noticed you did this once more, further in the chapter.

There were also several sentences that missed a word, like:
"The fire in the great hearth crackles merrily, oblivious my dilemma"
Here, the word "to" should be inserted in between "oblivious" and "my".

But those were only small mistakes, overall it was a very good chapter. I'll read the rest soon.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Emma

4 Years Ago

Thanks for reviewing! :) It's always nice to have someone review my work because they catch those li.. read more
I cant add much beyond what the other reviewer said. I will say you have a natural talent for descriptive writing.The way you describe sounds is especially original and well done.

Posted 5 Years Ago


Emma

5 Years Ago

Thank you for your review!
Okay :) I'm from one of the review groups you are on! Now please don't hate me, but I have to be honest. You use a great amount of detail which is brilliant but there are things that would make this better. Your paragraphs are way too blocky, which is off-putting to most readers. They need some more space!



An example would be-

The sound of a horse’s hooves on the gravel drive floats through the window. There is a moment of silence before the feet of the rider land deftly on the ground. A sword whispers as it is unsheathed. It is time. I stand from my seat in front of the easel on which a blank canvas sits upon.

Usually painting relaxes me, pulls me away from the reality at hand, but this time there is nothing, no inspiration to pick up a brush. I tried playing the piano too, that did not succeed either, my fingers insisted upon stumbling over themselves destroying any trace of a melody. I am not ready. I have known he was coming for three days. The moment he entered the forest I felt his presence. But I am not ready. I am never ready when they come.

I glide out of the room designated for my art work and lock the door behind me. I will take no chances with a stranger in my palace. The hall is dark, but I abstain from lighting it. The shadows are familiar and comforting, I will be revealed soon enough.
-----------------------------------------
Aweaome job though! it's a great start



Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Emma

5 Years Ago

Thank you for your review! It helps so much when people give me honest criticism! I will see what I .. read more
Very nice, love the introduction!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Emma

5 Years Ago

Thank you!

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Added on August 12, 2015
Last Updated on November 8, 2015
Tags: romance, fantasy, fairy tale retelling, beauty and the beast, young-adult


Author

Emma
Emma

Canada



About
Hello! I am seventeen years old and I live in Canada. I enjoy writing, reading, composing, playing my violin, singing, riding my horse, and drawing. So needless to say I have many hobbies! It is my dr.. more..

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