Twisted Beauty (Prologue)


The smoke rose from above the treetop, sprawling across the night sky. His golden eyes flickered towards the pale moon for only a second before he felt Selerium behind him.

“My Lord,” she whispered, “what has happened?”

But he had no words. He had nothing. He looked down at the ground covered in ashes. His eyes trailed over the ember that formed at the edges of the dilapidated structures. Fragments of homes, barns, and shops reduced to firewood. As he moved through the debris, he kicked over chunks of wood, making his way towards the only home that mattered–hers.

Selerium followed him quietly as shadows danced over their pale features, her long gown dragging over the ashes. He couldn’t help but wonder what of the ashes were human remains.

As he came into a clearing, he clenched his fists. The house he had come to find had been reduced to a pile of ashes. There was nothing left. He had nothing left.

As he stood there hollow, Selerium brushed passed him. Stooping over, she began to sift through the ashes. He swallowed as she lifted an uncharred chain from the rubble, the familiar amulet swaying in the still air. Even in the dark night, the royal crest—a rose—shimmered from the pendent.

“My lord. . .” Selerium trailed off as she took the amulet into her hands. “I am so sor—”

He lifted his hand to silence her and turned his eyes towards the distant castle that peered over their land, the large towers a forgotten silhouette on the horizon.

“I lost everything today.”


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