Beauty and the Monster
The kingdom had been taken over by a tyrant. Her whole family killed except for her. Her fate? To marry the monster to try to keep her people safe. What could she do? How was she going to protect the people when she could't even protect herself? Isabelle smoothed a hand over her best gown that had been laid out this morning. Even her maids knew she was the kingdom's only hope. Holding her head high she entered the throne room. Her eyes filled with tears as she saw the throne of her beloved father, occupied by the monster. She blinked back the tears and committed to not show weakness. Though her legs trembled, she curtsied before the throne and lifted her stony gaze to the man before her.
He looked at her with dark eyes and she tried to look for any ounce of good in them, but before she could see anything he blinked then stood up. Isabelle couldn't help but notice that he was a very striking man. Besides just his stature, the man had a charisma that commanded attention. That was what made him so dangerous. He knew what power he had.
"So Princess, you have come to save your kingdom. How very noble of you." His voice was deep and seemed to rumble down to the depths of her very soul.
"Well it appears I am the only noble one in this room then." Isabelle hoped he wouldn't see through her brave face.
"Point taken." He stepped down from the dais and began to walk around her. "Though they do say that opposites attract. That is what makes our coming marriage so interesting don't you think? After all, what more can you ask for than a marriage that will always keep you guessing. Because I can guarantee you," He came close and spoke in her ear, "I am nothing like you expect."
The deep voice dripped with evil and she couldn't suppress a shudder.
"I will accept this loveless marriage for the good of my people. But you will NOT harm them or so help me, you will regret ever coming to this land." She hoped her voice was as menacing as his because she meant every word.
He came around and stood in front of her and smiled. "At least we agree on the loveless part. Love is only a lie." Isabelle thought she saw pain in his eyes before he looked away. "But I will do as I please with my new kingdom. But if you please me I will grant you a measure of freedom. You will have a curfew of course, but I can loan you a horse from my stable-“
“You mean from MY stable?” Isabelle hissed through gritted teeth.
Lord Marek smirked, but it turned to a grimace as he icily replied, “Not anymore, princess,” he said the word with contempt, “I believe that when I beheaded your father last week that lovely row of stallions and mares became mine.”
Isabelle’s heart pounded as she clenched her fists against the rage that threatened to suffocate her at the mention of her father’s murder. It was all she could do to keep from lunging at him.
Fortunately, the echo of his words concerning granting her a "measure of freedom” pushed a calming breath of air into her lungs. If she could get to Thomas, she knew, there was hope.
Thomas had been her best friend since childhood, when his father was the royal blacksmith. Thomas had followed in his father’s footsteps, but preferred living outside the walls of the palace and serving those who wore cotton rather than satin. He never seemed to fit in with those of the royal blood, even as a servant. Isabelle and Thomas had that in common- perhaps that was why they had become lifelong friends.
As Isabelle held to the calming image of Thomas’s sandy hair and hearty laugh, a sudden scraping clang reverberated through the throne room. She and Marek both turned at the sound. A breathless messenger stood just inside the now open door at the back of the room.
Ok, your turn! What comes next?