An End of Ever After Novel
Azahr has always known what to expect from life. As the second son of Delphe, a great military future beckons, and he’s content in his role as future protector of his brother Adlard’s crown.
But when Adlard dies suddenly, Azahr is immediately thrust into the role of first son and future heir to the throne. Despite his best efforts, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing he does will ever make him good enough to replace Adlard. In the absence his beloved brother left behind, a dark void created by anger, frustration, and fear begins to open within Azahr. And in that void, a beast is born.
On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Azahr crosses a faery when he refuses her hospitality from a relentless downpour. The faery condemns him with a curse that will haunt him and threaten his very humanity; a curse that empowers the beast and sets it free.
Exiled from his home, Azahr takes refuge in a forgotten corner of the kingdom, where he battles daily to hold the beast at bay. Then, one day, the door opens and Kiara steps inside, bringing with a heretofore unimagined hope of breaking the curse. If Azahr can just keep himself together long enough for Kiara to see in him the man he could, and may yet, be.
Human Again is the fourth in a five part companion series that rewrites the classic tales of happily ever after.
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|Teens / New Adult|
End of Ever After
Once upon a time, I was a beast masquerading as a man, though I usually hid it well enough so no one would know. Then a faery’s curse unleashed it from under my control, and it nearly destroyed me. All these years later, I still suffer from what she did to me, still suffer from her ironically angry response to my own anger.
I’ve heard many versions of the faery tale my life was said to have become, a story of a man who was turned into a beast only to be redeemed by love when it was almost too late to save him from losing his humanity forever. While much of what the storytellers, the minstrels, those gathered around late night fires claim is true, they are mostly, if not entirely, glossing over the finer details wherein the real story lies. They forget that I was never a beast, but a man, a man who daily battled a merciless rage, an icy anger, a deep ravenous void that refused to be filled. I never had fangs, or horns, or a head full of fur, sharp claws, or a body outwardly different than any other human noble. Spinning tales of a curse, waxing poetic of a cure, they forget to talk about the before. And they certainly never mention the long road of after. Because therein is the true terror of my tale, in looking back and knowing that all the while I was outwardly a man, a man ruled by a beast.
Rather, they tell about the presumed happy ending, dwell on the supposed ways that Kiara saved me, and my soul, from being a lost echo in the crevices of my mind. Though Kiara pulled me back from the precipice, I still face the danger of tripping and tumbling headfirst into an abyss so dark that light is swallowed before it has a chance to shine. There are yet battles to be waged; the beast has been silenced, but it is not vanquished. It will never be gone.
Because love is not enough and it takes more than a gentle touch and forgiving heart to make a man whole again, as much as any broken man can ever be. Because a man cannot go through what I did and come through unchanged, because everything, every thing, especially magic, leaves a mark.
Some days are easier, some days my human side is so strong it seems impossible that it would ever again relinquish control to the wild animal within. Those days I smile freely and am every bit the man I’m supposed to be.
But there are some days that it takes only one wrong step to send me hurtling back into the darkness, one misplaced word to reignite the all-consuming fire of rage and with it the power of the beast. On such days, I try to disappear before I hurt anyone, stubbornly waiting out the darkness as minutes tick by like years and I fight to reassert control.
I’d be better off without those days. For they are all that stand between me and my supposed happily ever after.
So let this account tell the truth of my so-called faery tale, let it be known how black a heart can be, how deep a beast can sink its claws, and the sort of scars it leaves behind. Let it tell of how many shadows can shroud a man’s soul and how even a sliver of light can give it a heretofore forfeited hope that it may yet be redeemed.
Let it tell my story so others may yet know why it was I chose to fight at all.