A/N: Thank you for reading my story. I am an avid fan of ALL Mad Max movies, so expect occasional references to the first three movies in my chapters. This story takes place two years after Mad Max: Fury road.
Enjoy, and please remember to leave a review.
Chapter One: The City of Stones
I am a Princess in a city of stone. I was born from King Augustus and Queen Diamond. I have five sisters and three brothers. We are the legitimate children of King Augustus. I also have seven half sisters and two half brothers, but those are my father's bastards and I do not concern myself with them. I am told they are beneath me, and they are. My half-brothers, maybe they will rise in rank through military achievement. My bastard sisters may marry an officer or soldier. If they are very lucky they will marry a Deathlord. But no matter what, I will be wed to a Deathlord.
The world is not as it once was. Nuclear warfare has destroyed every semblance of true civilization that there is. We are underground. Our people prepared. The government built the city in an effort to endure in the event of a nuclear war. The fallout is less, here. But the fallout is everywhere.
My father is the King of this place. He rules the Stone City. His name is King Augustus. My mother is his wife. Queen Diamond. All of the women that are his have gemstone names. In a city of stones, we stand out.
My name is Sapphire. I am the eldest of his unwed daughters. I will be given to one of his Deathlords, when the time comes. To serve as a wife and a breeder to them. It is better, though. Here in the Palace of Stone. I could be in the uppercity, or the undercity. Women are slaves in undercity. Men are slaves there, too.
I am in the room I share with my two other unwed trueborn sisters. I am looking out of the window into the city. Beneath me, the dark city thrums with excitement. Water cascades from a waterfall into the city below, and the torches that light the city reflect in eerie compositions of orange in the water. This city is the shining beacon of hope for life after the fallout. The churning water provides electricity. There are labs built into the city. We have gardens here, food. Society. We have soldiers that keep the peace, and a functioning economy. We are unique.
I walk away from the window and make my way to my mirror in my room. The dress I wear is made of a thin, soft material. It is in a shade of deep blue, an ode to the pretty gem that I am named for. It ties around my neck and hangs down over my body. It's supposed to show off my figure, and make me appear more fertile.
The truth is, it is so hard to have children now. My mother started having us when she was only 15. She's nearly 40 now. She has been so fertile her whole life. But she has lived in the safety of this cave. I hope I am as fruitful as she was. No one has children like that anymore. The women of the uppercity may have two or three live births. The women of the undercity may have one child. My mother had nine. Even if we were only half as fruitful as she had been, that could be four children.
I continue looking at myself. My hair is so blonde it's almost white. Ice blonde, my mother calls it. My eyes are deep blue, so much like the gem I am named for. My skin is pale, because I do not go above ground where the sun is. Too much fallout. I might not have children if I'm too exposed to the nuclear fumes.
I pick up a brush and begin to pull it through my hair. My hair is straight as a pin, much like my mothers.
My two other unwed sisters, Opal and Pearl, are in the room as well. They are reading quietly, waiting. We will be summoned soon. My father is calling his officers in today, and he likes to have us there when he hands out bounties. The men work harder if they think they will be rewarded with one of us.
It doesn't take long before we are called. Our two adult brothers, Tyrus and Colt, come and get us. They are both older than me. They don't look like me and my sisters. They go above, where the fallout is. They go with the Deathlords and the soliders and lead the war machines to fight for our safety. I was never particularly close to Tyrus. He's older than me, aged twenty-four. He looks more like me, with the blonde hair. But he is cold, and harsh. He'd been harmed when he was young and still learning, and he had never been the same after. Colt, is younger than me, only nineteen, and more cheerful. He offers me an encouraging smile as I see him. I slide my slippers onto my feet, and my sisters and I follow behind our brothers obediently to the Throne Room.
The Throne Room, like all of the city, is underground. It is made from carved stone. Behind the throne, three large windows offer a spectacular view of the city. A small cave stream trickles down the wall and into a pool on the far side of the room. Overhead, iron chandeliers cast the room in flickering candlelight. Torches line the walls, further illuminating the room. The city is enormous, and electricity scarce. We only use electricity where it is really needed.
We arrive, and the room is already full. The officers kneel on the ground before the throne, on either side of the aisle in this room. They are organized by skill and rank. The front row is only Deathlords. And each row back comes with men of less skill. They battle through the ranks all the time, all fighting for the coveted position of Deathlord.
The Deathlords are the leaders of our army. They follow the orders of the king, and fight to keep the city from falling into the hands of those who would seek to take it. They are skilled fighters and killers. Ruthless men who fight as if they were born to do nothing else.
We are the last to enter, the three unwed Gems. I walk through the center aisle, past the hallowed eyes of desperate men. They are dying. We all are. They desperately want to stay in this city. It is safe from the marauders and biker gangs and the worst of the fallout. But most importantly, this city means a future. It is the last sliver of humanity.
I walk past the first row, past the Deathlords. There are five of them now. Three are married to my older sisters, Emerald, Alexandrite, and Ruby. The other two are married to the bastard princesses. I do not know the names of the bastard princesses. I don't care to know them. They are not Gems.
I find my seat in the chair next to my father, on his left hand side. I am the eldest now. I sit nearest to him. My mother sits on his right side, robed in gold. I meet eyes with her, and she smiles and nods at me. She has been preparing me for this day since I was a young girl.
She looks like me, and like Pearl. She has the same ice blonde hair that we do, the same pale soft skin. But her eyes are hard with experience. She has raised nine children, three boys and six girls. The boys are warriors, and the girls are princesses. She is my father's most prized possession. I assume that someone is watching Caleb, my youngest sibling. He is only seven, and is not here.
I watch my father glance over at my mother before they begin, and she reaches forward and gently touches his hand. He adores her. I know he does.
I am closest to my father because I am now the eldest daughter, and I am now the highest prize. I look upon the faces of these burnt-out men, and I know soon one will gain the rank of Deathlord and I will be bound to him. As I look past the first five Deathlords I wonder which of these men will be powerful enough to gain my father's attention. Their eyes are all on me, now. Before, they used to hold Ruby in their dead eyes. Now I see the glint of hunger in their eyes when they look at me. I scan over the crowd, looking for a likely prospect. They all return my gaze eagerly. All except for one man.
I have noticed him before. Just a few months ago he was a face in the very back of the room. Now, he kneeled behind just behind the Deathlords, so close to their ranks. He is so tan. He has clearly spent many years above ground, laboring in the sun. He has a short beard on his face and his hair is light brown, bleached from the sun. His skin looks rough, and leathery, from years of standing up to sand and violence. I cannot see his eyes. I look at him, the slump of his shoulders, the look on his face. The way his jaw clenched. I wish I could see his eyes. I wonder what they held in their depths.
With the three Gems seated, my father begins. My father is an older man, in his early sixties. He has a white beard, and hard grey eyes. He wears a fur on his back. It is a luxury item. The rest of him is clothed in leather armor. He is a cold man. Hardened by the fallout. He only cares for a few things. My mother and their children together, and the continuation of the human race.
"You men represent the elite of this city." He begins, his voice booming. "You defend her interests, and protect her future. Humanity can only survive with men like you, bold enough to go into the world and face the enemies that would seek to crumble this magnificent city. There is a man. He calls himself 'The Nightwing'. He leads a band of marauders that attack our caravans and steal our goods when we seek to trade. Valuable items. Food, Water. Fuel. This is a man that must be stopped. Kill him, and ensure the death of his followers. Bring me his head, and I will reward the one who does with the rank of Deathlord, a permanent residence in the city, and my daughter Sapphire. This man is a menace who can be tolerated no longer. Destroy him. These are your orders."
Sapphire felt a tinge of excitement in her stomach at her father's words. Soon, she would know who. With that, the men in the room stood and filed out. The Deathlords stayed behind. They had no desire for these prizes, they had already been rewarded with these things.
My father turned to look at me, and said softly. "Look carefully, Sapphire. In a few days you will be bound to one of these men."
I nod in understanding, and once more my eyes scan the men. Many of them have paused to admire me before they go, no doubt dreaming of the sons I will bring them, and the glory that comes with being a Deathlord. Girls that look like me, and like my sisters, don't exist anymore. The women of this world are run down and beaten. My sisters and I have been kept in pristine condition for the purpose of trade. We are exclusive items, valuable goods. One of us is worth thousands of gallons of fuel.
When the men file out, we are escorted back to our chambers. I walk in first, followed closely by my two sisters.
"Well I'm certainly glad that I'm not being traded off this time around. There were no men in there who appeared remotely capable of bearing strong children." Opal complained loudly as she came in.
I don't like Opal. She complains too much, too often.
"I don't know." Pearl responded. "There were a few who seemed strong."
At her words, my mind wandered back to the warrior in the throne room who would not meet my eyes. I thought of the shape of his shoulders and arms, and the furrow of his brow. I wished that he would have looked at me. He had seemed strong.
I walk to my window and sit on the seat there. I look down at the city, and listen to its sounds. I can almost imagine what a real city must've sounded like before the fallout. I am too young to really know.
Pearl walks over to me, and puts her arm around my shoulders.
"A Deathlord husband. How exciting." She whispers to me. She is trying to make me feel excited. I am excited, somewhat. I have been waiting a long time to marry a Deathlord. It is exciting, in some ways. I was excited watching my other sisters become wives.
Our mother taught us early on about how this worked. Everyone had a part to play when it came to saving humanity.
"Your father is the King. He leads the people, he inspires them. That is his job." Their mother had told them. "But we, we have a different job. I am all that is unseen. I will raise the future leaders of this city. As will you girls. And to your husband, you must be his comfort. The world is no longer a safe place. Make no mistake, every time they go above for us, they are walking towards death. But who else will stand between our safe haven here, and the darkness outside these walls?" She had pulled us close to her, and continued her speech. "We too have power. You are special. You are exotic. The men who you are promised to are powerful, and you can harness their power."
"How?" Ruby had asked. She had been young then. Only eighteen. None of us had yet been given away.
Our mother smiled her soft, coy smile. She was so smart. I don't know who taught her. She had been claimed so young. She must have learned on her own.
"You make him yours. Make him fall in love with you."
"Well how do we do that?" Emerald asked. Her and Ruby were the first to go. Twins. My mothers firstborn daughters.
"There are ways. How you speak to him, how you hold yourself. How you make love to him." She replied.
We all giggled at that. Well, most of us. Pearl had only been six so she didn't understand some things yet.
"You giggle, but it's true." Our mother continued. "Slaves can be bought. Women can be romanced. But you girls. You are Gems. He could've chosen the easy way, but he chose you. He will have to fight through hell and back to earn a place with you. You have more power than you know."
That speech had inspired me. After the speech, the older girls and I had been taught about just what we could do to please our men later that night. I was excited then. But now that the time has come I am afraid.
Pearl gives my shoulders another comforting squeeze and I smile at her. Pearl is my favorite of all of our sisters. She is so young. Only eleven. But she knows this world better than Opal does. She looks like me, with white blonde hair and blue eyes. Opal has brown hair, like our father. But with our mother's face and beauty.
Across the room Opal goes on another tangent, this time directed at me.
"Sapphire, Sapphire. Why don't you tell us what you think? Did one of them catch your eye?"
All Opal likes to do is gossip. It drives me up the wall. I ignore her prying comments, but she continues anyway.
"It's just as I said. There isn't a decent one in the lot of them." Opal taunts. She sits herself down in front of my mirror and looks at me in the reflection. "Poor Sapphire will be left with a weak Lord. How will he ever keep you safe? Surely he will be the shame of the whole city."
My mind drifts to the man with the sad, hard face. The man who will not look at me. "It is easy to call someone weak when you have never been through what they have." I counter to her.
Opal rolls her eyes continues her tangent, but I'm not listening. I go back to ignoring her, and Pearl hugs me tighter. "Don't listen to her." She whispers. "She's just jealous because she knows she isn't half as beautiful as you."
I offer a smile in response, and together Pearl and I giggle quietly. We don't have much time to be together like this. Soon, I will be given away. Soon, I will meet the man I will spend the remainder of my days with.
A/N: Thank you for reading, don't forget to leave a review of my story!