CHAPTER 1: Sorrow & Sand

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Flora's lungs burned in her chest as she pushed herself through the branches that clawed at her bare skin. She halted to a stop, her toes barely stopped in time before the ground turned into a sharp cliff. The river that she'd been running along thundered over the cliff's edge the mist created a white haze below.

Benson's heavy voice carried over the tumbling water's roar. He shouted for the guards to keep looking for her. Benson, her step brother, was the best tracker she ever knew and he was loyal to their sister. She wasn't sure why Mal hated her so much. Hated her enough to make her this. She looked at her hands stained with her father's blood and tears welled up behind her eyes. She didn't mean to hurt him. For so long, her father was all she had and she, all he had.

"There!" Benson shouted, coming out of the forest onto the rocky shore of the river. "Capture the beast if you can. If you can't, kill her!"

She gulped and looked back down the cliff then back at the men that carefully navigated the rocky shore heading toward her with ill intent and malice hugging the sharp planes of their war hardened faces.

She closed her eyes and jumped when an arrow whizzed past her head. She swallowed water when she hit the waterfall's base. Her lungs burned with the moisture. She kicked her legs trying to fight out of the beating current above. She caught hold of a log and held on coughing to regain her breath.

"Hurry don't allow her to escape! This way!" Benson pushed two of the soldiers over the waterfall's edge as he and the rest climbed down the cliff's slippery sides. She kicked still holding on the log trying to make her way to the other side of the large river its expanse monolithic in her state of exhaustion. She knew the water was cold as the air held the puffs from her breath. The beast inside of her filled her with heat against her fully bare skin.

Winter had always been her favorite time of year as her entire world was cast in the fluffy white snow that clung to branches, the surrounding mountain's peaks, roofs of buildings, doors, windows, everything that the sun touched with its light.

Her heart was heavy knowing that she had to leave her home and would never be welcome back. She fought the tears that burned behind her eyes threatening to blur her vision. She didn't have time to mourn her present that was quickly becoming her past. She didn't know what this life would bring her and she was terrified of that; however, whether instinct for life, or fear of death she wasn't sure. What she was sure about was that she was not ready to join her mother in the after.

By the time she reached the opposite shore she was miles from the waterfall. The Fairgain Woods that surrounded the great Dyumsiun River had disappeared and gave way to the Dessert of Sorrows. Flora pulled her body up on the sandy deserts beach the distant voices of her pursuers making her stand on shaky limbs. The beast that took hold of her consumed so much of her energy but she couldn't stop. Once on her feet, she looked back up toward the Mountains of Finn the outline of the castle that she lived in all her life looked like a mirage beyond the foggy purple mist that hugged the mountains like a blanket.

The creature that dwelled just under her skin allowed her to see her home in detail even at the great distance.

She winced when an arrow grazed her arm. She saw on the opposite shore Benson and his men wading into the water to continue their pursuit. It was a wide part of the river so she would get a good head start. Hopefully enough to lose them. She wrapped her hands around her naked body, her long white hair the only shield against the beating sun and harsh winds of the desert. She wasn't sure which fate was worse. The brutal, dry, hot, arid, cutting elements of the desert or an arrow to the heart.

The instinct to preserve one's life pushed Flora to continue on through the desert. She was afraid Benson would be able to follow her footsteps, but when she looked back the wind had covered up all signs of life. She looked forward seeing that same lifeless path ahead. It hit her that she could very-well die in that place. Only the gods knew how many had done just that.

What felt like an eternity later, her legs gave out and she collapsed in the sand. Her lips dry and cracked from the brutal wind whipping at her person. The hot sun scorched her skin, but there was no escaping it. This desolate waste land was void of life, nourishment and she would die here. She stroked the jeweled necklace around her throat a gift from her father to her mother. The only thing in her possession that told her where she came from.

The only thing that reminded her she was once a princess. That she once had a place in this world that made sense to her. That she was loved.

She shivered. She wasn't sure why, she wasn't cold. She glanced at her dark skin dark as burning coals as pale etchings of an ancient language started to glow on her flesh. A single tear rolled down her face and she fought the burning, contorting transformation that bubbled underneath her skin. The last bit of energy she had left, she used to push the beast away keep it nestled deep inside.

She rolled onto her back and looked up at the sun, bright and unforgiving. Where once was welcome in the crisp, cool, fresh air of the mountains was now beaming down on her like a wrathful god.

Merciless.

Then again she didn't deserve mercy. What wretch that hurt possibly even killed their own father deserved such a gift? Perhaps she should welcome death rather than fight it, for death was inevitable. All life met death eventually. Once she was dead, she wouldn't be able to hurt anyone she loved again. Once she was dead she could see her mother again. Once she was dead--


|:|A/N|:|

When you think you're having a bad day read this chapter and suddenly you might feel a bit different! I know someday do feel like this like everything is working against you to break you down! But never forget there is a day after that bad day and things will get better!


I was going to hold off sharing this story because I typically write an entire first draft before I post anything. However, I've been wanting to share my process more in hopes of helping other authors in their writing journey.


I've been chewing on this story idea for some time. I LIVE FOR! I LOVE... WITH ALL MY LITTLE BLACK HEART!! A fairy-tale retelling! I'm so excited to bring this world to life. 

This story, unlike most of the others, is a high fantasy romance story set in another world! So I'm serving you magic, dragons, djinn, elves, etc, etc, etc. What type of creatures would you like to see?

Yes, this is going to have it's share of the sexy bits (sorry you can't get away from that on my content, well rarely anyway HEHE)

COMMENT/VOTE/FOLLOW me on Insta I'll be sharing stuff there as I go along with this story!

-ALEX

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