Part one: His Story

A detailed retelling of Beauty and the Beast

This is the first part in a 3 part story. This one is told by Beast just as the following one will be told by Beauty.
Comments and constructive criticism are welcome.
( I appigizze fir eny spiling mistakks)

I twirled the wine glass in my hand watching as the light thrown on it by dozens of candles created the illusion of fiery orbs dancing on its surface.

I could hear the clink of cutlery and now and then a voice rose above the confusion of hundreds of people laughing and talking.

Nevertheless, I stayed where I was.
I did not wish to join in the celebrations. I knew everyone expected me to appear and put on a happy face but, I didn't even want to see anyone. Not tonight.

Once again I stared at my wineglass and realised with a jolt that it was empty. I sighed and stared thoughtfully into the fire lost in my own thoughts.

Against my wishes I was to be married to the Princess Rosaline from the neighbouring kingdom. My father who is Tsar of Cartak wanted the two kingdoms to be joined and had decided a marriage was the best way to ensure this and an ideal way to get rid of his rebellious son (As tradition in both their kingdoms: the groom stays with the bride and her family)
Rosaline wasn't even beautiful. She was a plain little thing; intelligent and with a fun personality but, I still didn't think much of her.

She was nothing compared to Lady Catherine with her soft features, heart-shaped mouth and eyes that seemed to decide to be violet one moment and ocean blue the next. Although I think that last feature is my own imagining.
Although concerned with nothing but how she looked I was infatuated with her. We had been meeting secretly in the past months and yesterday was the last I saw of her. Yet I knew we would soon forget about each other, we weren't for staying with one person too long if we could help it, fickle that we were.

Drowsily I got up from my comfortable armchair and headed towards my bed to seek its bliss of slumber and forgetfulness.

The hairs on the back of my neck rose. It was as if some form of bad premonition hung in the air like the uneasiness of my men on the battlefield before we charge the enemy.

Unconsciously I rubbed my arms and muttered, "Blasted draft. Thought the window had been fixed a long time ago."

Just as I said this I paused a moment in front of the window finding it hard to see past it's stain-glassed surface.
I could make nothing out and I sighed, wishing I could see the garden lit with 

moonlight one last time before I had to make the twelve hour carriage ride to Jent: my betrothed's kingdom.
A passing cloud blocked the little light from the moon.
A few seconds later and the moon once more cast its elfish light onto the Palace gardens illuminating the figure of that of an old woman, hunched up against the cold. I was unable to make out her facial features but I saw that she was staring towards my window.

I retreated into the shadows in an effort to escape from her piercing stare.
What was the old hag doing in the Palace grounds? How had she passed the numerous guards stationed along the Palace gardens, patrolling the area to make sure no vagabond made his (or her) way into the Palace grounds (or, to make sure no clueless fairy came to bestow an unwanted gift upon the unhappy couple?) I shivered inwardly remembering the case of the two newlyweds who were cursed with the ability to read each other's thoughts.

With a practised flick I clicked my fingers.

The royal chamberlain trotted quickly towards me.
"What do You wish my Prince?" I heard the relief in his voice; he probably thought I wished to greet the guests now. I sniggered inwardly. Fool.

Still with my back towards him I finally deigned to answer him after a few tensing minutes.
"I want you to bring her," I said, indicating with a wave of my hand at the old woman outside "Inside to my apartments."

I was well known in the castle for my mood swings and my enjoyment in making the servants' lives miserable by giving them petty and unnecessary tasks. With that in mind most servants didn't think twice about the task only set out to do it as quickly as possible to get it done with.

For once though, I was to be surprised.

Flabbergasted he stared at me, open mouthed. "But...But, Sir! Surely one of the Palace guards will deal with her and make sure she stays away..."
My mood changed drastically for worse.
"I gave you an order! Fetch her now!"
Bowing and stuttering he retreated from the room and shut the heavy wooden doors behind him.
Cocky impertinent monkey. By tomorrow I'll make sure he's on the road to Harugue searching for a vacant chamberlain post. Not that he's likely to find one.
In an effort to calm down I once more stood facing the window, thinking. I was curious as to how and why the hag was in the Palace grounds.

My back to the door I didn't see them come in until my chamberlain announced their presence.
" Sir, I have brought her."

I detected a note of disdain in his voice and I could just imagine him, escorting the hag into my rooms with his nose in the air. I grinned and turned to face 'her'.

The smile fell away from my face.
If I was not a Prince and had not been drilled on etiquette I would have jumped back in shock. 'She', was horrendously hideous, a pale gaunt sallow individual with thick eyebrows and freckles that looked like fine grey paint splatters. She had shrewd skewly set eyes and thin lips. The only thing that was remotely beautiful about her was the colour of her eyes.

I was repulsed and with great effort I managed to ask her, what she was doing in the Palace grounds.
This whole time she had not once acknowledged me as Royalty: no bowing, no greeting whatsoever. She was scrutinizing me, I saw, with growing dislike.
Who does she think she is? I was just about to reprimand her for being disrespectful to me, the Tsar-to-be, when she spoke.

Her voice (so different from that of her appearance) was musical and as she spoke I listened, transfixed.
" I seek shelter for the night, gentle Sir. I have travelled a long distance and I am hungry and tired. If Sir would be so kind as to let me sleep in the stables even..."
At this my good mood (what little there was to begin with) evaporated.
" I asked you a question witch: What were you doing in the Palace grounds. I would've let you have a warm meal and a roof over your head but, since you refused to answer me I have decided otherwise."
"Sir! You would turn away a starving old woman...You really are a cruel man." Almost sadly and regretfully she looked at me then but I did not care, I was in a foul mood and the wine I had had made me angry and aggressive.

Then I said something I was for years afterwards to regret.

It seemed to me as if the words came out painfully slowly. For the first time in my life it felt as if I was literally choking on my words.
Now I was certain of the fact that the hag really was a witch. She was trying to make me swallow my words, to think carefully about what I said. But, I wanted to be spiteful so with great effort I forced the words out. They seemed to pause before exploding from my mouth.
" to get...your hideousness out of my sight NOW!"

For a few seconds she stared at me, shocked but that quickly gave way to utter rage contorting her face.

She looked down at the floor and drew symbols with her hands in the air, her hands supple and moving with a practiced ease.

Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light so intense that I had to cover my eyes.
Tentatively I opened them and beheld the sight of a tall majestic woman standing where the hag had previously stood.

As if in a trance I slowly made my way towards her. She was exceedingly beautiful and she looked as fragile as the Ieshki lotus flower.
Her beauty dazzled me and I found it hard to look away from her.

Our eyes met and for the first time I noticed that hers were of the same colour as the hag's but, were encircled by fine lattice patterns almost the same as that on a snowflake.
Wait. The same colour eyes as the hag's? This woman, however beautiful, and the hag were therefore the same person. She must be a Sorceress. Still, beauty such as hers was rarely found. Even I was astounded by my superficiality when I softly said, "Lady, you may stay here in my father's Palace as long as you wish. I apologize for the way in which I..."
The words were barely out of my mouth when her lovely face was distorted by a sneer.

"Stop! Rosaline sent me here to see what kind of man you are, one who looks at someone but does not judge them by what he sees or one who looks at someone and either scorns them for how they look or accepts and takes advantage of them. In just a few minutes I know you. You sir are an extremely shallow materialistic two faced monkey who takes things by face value. Rosaline was right is suspecting you for being small-minded."
Her voice rang in my ears and seemed to strike at me. I tried to move but my body felt as if it was frozen in place. Hey...wait a second. Did she just call me a monkey? The rest might be true but a monkey?

She splayed her hands at her sides and said in a low dangerous voice, "So be it! I place upon you a curse. That because you see only face value you will become hideous yourself on the outside. An abomination! People will run away at the sight of you and for generations whisper your name in fear and revulsion."
I gave a gasp of pain and fell to my knees. What new sorcery was this? It felt as if I was on fire. Every fibre of my being screamed out in pain. I fell down next to her and barely registered what she was saying but somehow it became burned into my memory.

"Only when you learn to love another and she you will you be freed. Spoken or written words will fail you when you attempt to inform others of your curse."
I cast up pleading eyes at her. Please end the pain! I will do anything! But only incomprehensible sounds escaped my throat.
A new spasm of pain rocked my body and I closed my eyes. Almost instantly the pain ended and upon opening my eyes I saw that she was gone.

I tried to stand but, a searing pain shot up my legs. I screamed in agony. There was the sound of shouting and women screeching but, they all sounded so far away.
I felt as if I was stumbling around in a thick mist. My sense of sight also seemed blurry or so I thought when I saw my hands and 'knees'. They were of a turquoise blue with a silver sheen and they were...scaled.
I gasped and swore. That WITCH! She has done this to me.

Again I attempted to stand but the pain was so severe that I decided to remain kneeling.
Afraid of what I would see I slowly turned my head and looked behind me.
A...a tail.
Wait, that couldn't be right.

Without even realising the pain this time I 'stood' up or more like slithered upright. Looking down at myself I saw that the 'tale' was where my legs were supposed to have been.

Shocked I fell down upon my 'knees' again. What had she done to me? I was a monster, ugly and repulsive. Unnatural.

I pounded my fists on the thick carpet in frustration.

My door was flung open and feet apeared in my line of vision. There were collective gasps and a stifled cry of disgust.

I glanced up at this, straight into the shocked eyes of my father.

I managed to croak hoarsely, "Father?"
An incredulous expression crossed his face.

As if not even believing the words that come out of his mouth my father 

said softly, "My son...It can't be. Wa...what happened?"

I opened my mouth to tell him of the curse but all that escaped my lips was an unintelligible whisper. I tried again, this time clutching at my throat in pain as I tried to force the words out.

"Are you...who did this to you...?"
But my father trailed off, shock and disbelief etched on his face.

"You would listen to this, this beast Tsar?! I know I have no right to try and influence your decision but, is it not clear that this is not your son," Demetri, a Palace guard and my gambling companion had a look of repugnance and anger on his face as he gestured wildly in my direction. "The fact that his chamberlain is not here is proof enough that this monster has vanished away both your son and, his chamberlain." He lowered his voice, "Or killed them and hidden them away."

He was right. Where was my chamberlain? Most probably sulking somewhere. That man always left me when I most needed him.
My father looked sceptically in my direction.
"If you are my son beast, prove it." As I could not talk I stared at him pleadingly, litrerally speechless. This was all happening so fast. One lousy decision to let a hag into my chambers had brought this. How was I ever to know?

My father gave one final look at me. Still I could not respond.
He closed his eyes and opened them. They were no longer indecisive. My hope faded.
"Where is my son?"
Right here father! I'm here! But still I was unable to speak. This time a look of fury crossed his face and as he said the following words everything around me seemed to darken: "Kill it."

Another Palace guard (one I did not know by name) drew his blade from its scabbard and said, "With pleasure."
My heart thudded in my chest and adrenaline began pumping in my veins.
As both of the Palace guards rushed me something inside of me, something alien, flicked a switch.
Energy and blind anger filled me. I longed to cause them pain, to see terror in their eyes.

My vision seemed to fade away into red and my body used a sense it had never before been able to use very well. Scent. And also a new sense.
As their feet pounded on the carpet I 'felt' where they were. I could suddenly judge how heavy they were and the exact force needed to send each of them flying.

I gave a hollow laugh and swiped my arm to my right. It connected with flesh and I heard someone, dimly, bounce into the wall with a sickening thud.
Suddenly I found myself moving with inhuman agility and lighting speed. I ducked as someone slashed their sword at me and quickly rebounded with my own attack, ten times faster quickly ending his life. Fresh attackers kept on coming and I easily mowed my way through them leaving a path of bloody destruction in my wake. I was enjoying myself.
I heard men shouting and women screeching in terror as they fought each other to escape outside onto the Palace gardens.
By now I knew that I was in the main hall.

Then I heard a child scream. It was as if the switch had been flicked again but the other way, this time by me.
My vision and everything else returned to normal.
Just a few people hadn't yet fled.
They were the people who were too shocked to move. I was scared that the blood frenzy would seize me again so I made as if to advance upon them.
As soon as they passed the threshold of the entrance I slammed the heavy wooden doors (what had previously taken four men to shut I only had to give it a slight push) shut behind them.
I knew that what I did now would forever banish me from the sight of another human face however terrified. I could not afford the same blood lust again.
In a deep booming voice, one which I would never had previously been able to do, I shouted, "Tell all you know that from this day forward the house and line of the Tsars of Cartac end. All those who enter the Palace grounds will never return to their loved ones for it will be guarded through time by me." I banged loudly on the doors for emphasis.

In frustration I banged once more upon the doors and sank to the floor.
My shoulders shook as silent sobs racked my body. I closed my eyes refusing to look at the carnage and destruction I knew was around me.

Unknown to him
A terrifying voice rang through the villages surrounding the Palace with its message. Just as it came to an end a boy collecting wood on the edge of the royal forest watched astounded as the trees in front of him spread their branches and intertwined them with those trees next to them.
In less than a few minutes an impenetrable barrier of interwoven branches surrounded the royal forest and...It's Palace. Quietly, unseen a lone hunched figure stole from the forest and behind her she left an almost unnoticeable gap hidden behind a briar bush the rose buds blooming brightly and unnaturally in the elfish light of the moon.

End of part one


(Laughs maniacally while punching away at the keyboard)