Author: ms-ambrosia PM
He said, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace." AU. 2010 Age of Edward entry.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Edward & Bella - Words: 4,282 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 5 - Published: 10-03-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6372056
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Age of Edward Contest
Pen name: ms. ambrosia
Type of Edward: Medieval Knight Edward
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit The Age of Edward 2010 C2 Community.
Sitting in her favorite chair, Bella concentrated on the music pouring from her headphones, her foot tapping in time with the beat. She was becoming anxious, waiting and wondering what Edward had planned for their day together. He'd disappeared in the dead of night, leaving her to wait and wonder. After so many years together, it still amazed her that he was able to come up with something different each and every time.
She smiled as she finally heard his approaching footsteps, pulling the buds from her ears as she stood and smoothed down her dress. It was made from thin, white cotton, the fabric pristine and flowing. Bella could barely see her brightly-painted, red toenails peeking out from beneath the hem as it swirled around her ankles. She fought the urge to twirl, to watch her dress billow in the breeze.
It had been a gift from Edward, a box placed conspicuously where she would find it. It had a distinctly vintage feel, reminding her of something she'd worn long ago. The stark white fabric nearly matched the pale color of her skin, the diamond-like stones around the waistline glinting beneath the fluorescent lighting.
A soft knock on the door drew Bella's attention, her face breaking out into a soft smile. Taking a deep, unneeded breath—her nostrils filling with the distinct and pleasant scent of her lover—Bella walked to the door and slowly turned the handle. Edward stood on the other side, a mischievous smile on his face, one hand hidden behind his back.
"For you, my lady," he said with a bow, reaching out to place a single white lily in Bella's hand.
"Thank you, kind sir," she replied with a giggle, giving a small curtsy.
"Shall we?" Edward offered her his arm and she wasted no time taking it, placing her hand in the crook of his elbow, giving him a gentle squeeze. Even after all the years together, she still felt that spark between them when they touched, still got butterflies in her stomach when he smiled or kissed her cheek.
Edward led her along the well-worn path behind their small cottage in the woods. Admiring the foliage around her, the sun breaking through the trees, and the sounds of small animals as they scurried along them forest floor, Bella thought about all the years they had spent together, the different ways they had celebrated this day—of trips to strange lands, evenings watching the sun fall beneath the horizon, and late night swims on deserted islands. Though some of their celebrations had been more extravagant, Bella was content to spend the day with Edward, enjoying his company as they lingered near their home.
She wasn't sure how long they'd been walking in silence, but Bella soon realized they had ventured down a different fork in the path, in a direction she'd never gone when simply walking. In the distance, she could hear the soft rippling of water, and she wondered if that was their destination. Edward remained tight-lipped as he walked beside her, giving no indication as to where they were headed or what they were going to do. The only clue to his plans was the worn book he carried in his hand, the words "Tennyson" and "Poetry" written in an elegant script across the cover.
Finally reaching the clearing, Bella was surprised to see the small body of water in front of her. She'd ventured throughout the woods quite often, yet she had never stumbled upon this pond. Edward smiled down at her and laced their fingers together, pulling her underneath the shade of a weeping willow tree. She could hear the frogs croaking, the fish swimming beneath the surface of the water, and the smell of wildflowers permeated her senses. The wild blooms encircled the pond, their bright blooms in contrast to the overgrown grasses and tall trees.
"When did you find this place?" Bella asked, her eyes continuing to scan the area in amazement.
"Well, it wasn't actually here before. It was just a small clearing, but I wanted to do something special for you."
Comprehension dawned and Bella realized why she'd never found this place; it hadn't existed. She imagined Edward using his speed and strength, carving this giant hole into the earth, and finding a way to fill it with water—all just for her. Moving to stand in front of him, Bella slid her arms up Edward's chest, joining her fingers behind his neck. Stretching upwards and standing on her toes, she pulled him closer until their lips brushed in a tender kiss.
She traced Edward's bottom lip with her tongue, but before she could deepen the kiss, he was pulling away, his hands holding her hips firmly. "There'll be time for that later," he promised, leaning over to kiss her cheek. Grabbing her hand once more, he began to pull her towards the edge of the water.
Hidden between the tall, overgrown grasses was an old rowboat, its red paint chipped and faded. Bella felt that prickling feeling behind her eyes when she saw it, finally realizing what Edward's plans for the day were; if she could cry, she would have. She looked up at Edward's face to find that he was smiling down at her, the sunshine highlighting the red streaks in his hair.
Holding her hand, Edward helped Bella as she stepped into the boat, feeling it sway beneath her feet. She didn't actually need his assistance, but she appreciated the gesture just the same. He followed right behind her, shoving the boat away from the shore. Grabbing the oars, he rowed them out towards the center of the water, moving at a leisurely pace. Bella leaned over the side, staring at her reflection in the rippling water, remembering the last time she'd been in a similar boat.
When they'd reached their destination, Edward secured the oars along the sides of the boat, reaching behind him to pull out an old quilt. He spread the blanket out in the bottom of the boat, taking Bella's hand as he lowered them both down. Bella snuggled into his side, wrapping her arm around his waist and resting her head against his chest. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of being in his arms.
Edward opened the book he had brought along, the worn spine falling open to the page he sought. Bella squeezed him tighter as he began to read, his voice calm and soothing.
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
As he continued to read, Bella searched through the recesses of her mind, grasping at memories she hadn't considered in many years.
Though recollections of her childhood had grown faded and hazy as the years passed, Bella remembered being happy. Her father was sheriff of the shire in which they lived, keeping order and peace within the land, doing the bidding of the king. His position provided them with a large parcel of land, something he was proud to have acquired. Though her father's position allowed them more luxuries than most, Bella's mother still worked as a weaver, selling baskets and cloths to those in the village.
Bella remembered laughing and playing, running through the fields with her best friend, the son of a local farmer. He was younger, but she enjoyed their time together just the same. Holding his hand as they ran and played, sometimes hiding in the forest and playing games. She'd even allowed him to kiss her cheek, blushing and laughing when he promised to marry her someday.
She remembered little about her father other than his brown hair and eyes, traits that she had inherited. He was well-respected, known for being honest and fair. Bella could recall her mother's laugh, the gentle, musical quality of the sound. Unlike many children that grew up during that time, Bella's childhood was relatively simple and carefree.
At some point, however, things began to change. Mysterious disappearances and strange events began to plague Bella's once idyllic home. Her father worked long days and nights, assisted by a special group of knights that had been sent by the king to help with the investigation. Strange symbols were found carved into the trees, the dismembered bodies of animals lying drained of their blood. People began to retreat into their homes, fearful that demonic forces were at work just outside the village of Camelot.
Inside the city, a new king had recently risen to power, the supposed long-lost brother of the former king. It had been easy for Carlisle to step into power as rightful heir. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of the town, the kingdom had been ruled for hundreds of years by a large group of vampires, working together to ensure the safety of the villagers. With the same honey-colored eyes and strikingly pale skin, it was easy to persuade their subjects that their claim was valid. Carlisle has ruled the town two hundred years prior, and many people remarked upon his resemblance to the former king; it was uncanny.
Carlisle had stepped into power with his coven of vampires, hoping to ferret out a strange mix of oddities occurring within the outlying areas of the town. Though he was not yet sure of the nature, he was sure that a supernatural being was behind them. His subjects were understandably frightened, retreating into their homes and refusing to do their work. Farmlands that were once overflowing with produce were now wasting away, the smell of rotting fruits and vegetables filling the air.
The members of Carlisle's coven were equipped with special gifts and he hoped that these would be enough to allow them to find the source of the trouble. Esme, Carlisle's mate and the new queen, was filled with compassion, her mothering personality helping to assuage fears. Emmett was equipped with the gift of extreme strength, more so than even the strongest newborn vampire. He brought along his mate, Rosalie, a fearless vampire gifted with the power of intimidation. Jasper had the ability to harness and control emotions, a very useful tool when the villagers were panicked. His mate, Alice, had visions of the future, though something was blocking her gift, making her daydreams appear hazy and muddled.
Carlisle's closest confidante, however, was Edward, a vampire with the ability to read people's minds. He, along with Jasper and Emmett, was playing his role as a knight bound to protect his king. He spent his days riding throughout the village, picking out the thoughts and memories of those around him, trying to discern what was really going on. The biggest problem was that no one had actually seen anything out of the ordinary until it was done, until they stumbled upon the mutilated corpses and altars made of stone.
Though most people around them seemed afraid, there was one sheriff that showed no fear. He rode throughout the village with the knights, interrogating suspects and trying to piece together the few clues that had been left behind. Charlie Swan was no pushover and he took his job very seriously. Though it was dangerous for Charlie to accompany them, the vampires had to allow it, as not to raise suspicions of their own unnatural powers. They just hoped that whatever was out there, they would be able to protect him.
Weeks went by with no of sign the truth being revealed. Animals were no longer the targets of the attacks, as bodies of the local villagers began to be found deep within the woods. The townsfolk were sure that an evil sorcerer was at work, sacrificing humans to gain more power. Panic and paranoia began to increase, as villagers began to suspect blood-drinking demons. The vampires began to grow more concerned as well, but while Alice's visions continued to be blurred, there was no way for them to figure out the culprit.
Finally, Alice had a brief flash, the image of three men cloaked in long, dark capes, their eyes red and menacing. Though he was out in the farmlands, Edward was able to pick up the tenor of Alice's thoughts, seeing the vision in his own mind. Quickly, he began to ride deep into the forest, Emmett and Jasper on his heels. They were shocked to find three vampires standing around a circle, the bodies of several villagers piled up between them, drained of their blood.
As Edward looked into the eyes of the three vampires they'd found hidden in the forest, he felt foolish, never having suspected that one of their kind was the culprit. He didn't understand their methods—why they drank from both animals and humans, why they had sought to terrorize the local villagers. Reading their minds, however, he saw nothing but pure evil and knew they must be destroyed.
A fight quickly ensued, the sounds of tearing flesh and breaking bones filling the tiny meadow. If not for the extra gifts which the knighted vampires possessed, it would have been a closer battle. Having torn the vampires limb from limb, Edward started a fire, helping Jasper and Emmett gather the parts and pieces, tossing them inside the bright orange flames. Charlie Swan came riding into the clearing moments later, his horse panting and out of breath. Assessing the scene before him, he realized that the knights had disposed of the threat to the local village. Witches were often burned at the stake and he assumed this was the case here.
Thick, black smoke filled the air, the scent of charred and singed flesh filling the air. The four stood and watched the pyre burn, wanting to be sure that the bodies were completely destroyed. Edward began to hear the thoughts of someone else in his mind—an unfamiliar woman. Trees passed by her quickly as she ran, her mind full of wrath and vengeance. Edward felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle as he readied himself for her approach, alerting Emmett and Jasper. No matter what happened, they had to protect Charlie.
Her eyes were wild when she burst through the cover of the forest, directly across the fire from where the group stood. Her hair was unkempt, with sticks and leaves stuck in the strands. Her nails were long and her clothes were dark and torn. Edward immediately knew what she was—an immortal witch. Having never fought one of her kind before, he prepared himself for a fight, thankful for his knowledge of how to destroy her kind; just like vampires, fire would end her existence.
Before he had a chance to attack, however, the witch began shouting a muddled string of words, dancing in a circle as she spread a sparkling dust all around.
"You will be sorry, Edward," she shouted, looking him right in the eyes. "You will all be sorry!"
As Edward and Jasper approached her from either side of the fire, she jumped into the flames, her maniacal laughter easily heard over the crackling of the flames.
On the outskirts of the village, trapped within the confines of a tower, a little girl sat in the corner and cried, wondering how she had ended up in such a cold, dark place.
As the years slowly passed by, Charlie Swan continued to search the forest for his daughter, unwilling to admit that she'd been taken by the being the knights had destroyed. He and his wife were unable to cope with the loss of their only daughter, both eventually succumbing to their broken hearts. Edward continued to carry out missions for Carlisle, helping to keep peace and happiness in the land of Camelot, warning away vampires and other creatures that had less than noble intentions. And all throughout the village and the farmlands, the legend of the woman in the tower grew.
Bella spent her days in front of the loom, weaving threads of beautiful colors together, trapped by a spell cast by an evil witch. She couldn't even look out the windows and gaze upon the world below. Her only contact was through a mirror, which reflected the farmlands nearby. Each day she sat by the loom, weaving and staring into the mirror, watching as the fields changed from season to season.
At night, she was granted rest, curling up on a pile of rags in the corner. She would watch the mirror until she fell asleep, her dreams haunted by a man with bronze hair and golden eyes. She would sometimes find herself thinking of him as she weaved, wondering what his image meant. Leaving the tower meant death, so she was sure she would die there, alone and frightened, clinging to the loom until she drew her last breath.
One day, as she peered into the mirror, Bella caught the image of three knights riding along the edge of the fields. She sat up straighter and looked closer, trying to make out their forms. As they rode closer, she gasped as she recognized one of the men. He was the man from her dream. Unable to resist, Bella ran to the window and looked down, tears streaking down her cheeks as she watched the man dismount from his horse to help a local villager.
A loud crack averted her attention and she turned just in time to watch the mirror shatter. The broken pieces littered the floor. Bella ran and knelt next to them, hastily trying to piece them back together. The jagged pieces cut her fingers and she sobbed loudly as she realized she had little time left. The breaking of the mirror was the signal of her impending death.
Wiping her eyes, Bella pulled out her best dress, a flowing white frock adorned with shining jewels. She ran down the winding steps to the ground floor, holding her breath as she flung the door open. She smiled as she felt the sunshine on her face, the slight breeze whipping through her hair. For the first time in years, her feet touched the grass and dirt. She squished it between her toes, resolving to savor what little time she had left.
Wandering along, Bella admired the trees and the flowers in bloom. She smelled their pretty blossoms and even plucked one white lily, holding it tightly to her chest as she moved. Bella could see the castle off in the distance, rising so tall it seemed to be nestled in the clouds.
As she walked, her strength began to wane. She silently wished for more time, hoping to make her way to the knight she'd seen in her dreams. But as she reached the edge of a nearby river, she found herself barely able to stand. Climbing into a small boat that had been left along the shore, Bella lay down in the bottom, crossing her hands over her stomach with the lily still between them.
She allowed the current to carry her downstream, singing softly to herself. Bella hummed in tune with the rippling water, enjoying the sounds of the birds chirping high up in the trees. She closed her eyes as weariness began to overtake her, hoping and praying that she'd see her knight once more, that death would not separate them.
There was a commotion near the riverbank, a mass of villagers huddled around. Edward stopped his horse and dismounted, wondering what they were all staring at. He read the confusion in their minds, heard the murmuring about the beautiful woman in the tower. And then he saw her—in the mind of one of the men closest to the tiny boat. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, with her dark, flowing hair and perfect, pale skin.
Though the villagers were all sure she was dead, her curse having come to fruition, Edward could still hear the soft, slow thumping of her heart. She was hanging on, but barely. Rushing through the crowd, he pushed them all aside, reaching inside the boat to pull her body close to his. She smelled like the sweetest ambrosia, her scent floating around and making the venom pool within his throat.
Without taking time to think about what he was doing, he laid her over his horse, leading the animal into the woods. When he was out of sight of the villagers, he gathered her into his arms and raced towards the castle, the trees becoming nothing more than a blur of green and brown as he ran. He burst through the castle doors to find Alice waiting for him.
Follow me, she told him without words and Edward obeyed, following her down the stone steps that led to the castle's dungeons. Carlisle found no use for them, so the area was dark, damp, and empty. Alice must have seen more than he'd realized because a bed was already waiting. Carlisle and Esme stood nearby.
Are you sure?
The thought was echoed in the minds of those around him, but Edward had no doubts. With a nod of his head, he looked at Isabella, concentrating on the vein throbbing in her neck. Closing his eyes, Edward leaned forward...and bit.
Bella had never given a lot of thought to what death would feel like, but she imagined bright lights and lots of white, not the hot flames that licked and charred her skin. She could hear the mumbling of voices around her, but she was too consumed by the pain, unable to discern what they were saying. Bella flailed and twitched, fought the urge to claw and bite at her own skin.
She felt ice cold fingers on her forehead, a sweet voice whispering in her ear. Bella was still unable to understand his words, but the tenor of the voice was soothing, helping her to relax. Though the flames still burned her skin, she retreated back into the blackness, praying for the fire to burn out.
Bella wasn't sure how much time had passed, but the lava had stopped running through her veins. Warm fingers ghosted along her forehead, brushing her hair away. The voice from before was still whispering in her ear, begging her to open her eyes.
The first thing she noticed was the darkness surrounding her, candles barely illuminating the damp space. She turned her head slowly to the left, gasping as she came face to face with the man from her dreams. Warm eyes the color of billowing wheat stared back at her. Bella was unable to control the small smile that graced her face, happiness filling her when the man smiled back, the left side of his mouth lifting slightly higher than the right. Though she was confused about what had happened, everything around Bella felt right.
Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."
Bella smiled and snuggled closer to Edward, his musical voice filling her ears. She heard the book gently close, felt his fingers on her face. And just like that day, when she finally found the courage to look, she smiled up at the butterscotch eyes staring back at her. Edward hovered over her as his fingers traced along her jawline.
"I love you. Always," he whispered, leaning forward to kiss her sweetly.
Edward placed the oars in his hands and rowed them back to shore as the sun dipped below the horizon. Fireflies danced along the edge of the water, their lights growing brighter as twilight set in. Bella listened to the sound of the water rippling, the birds chirping, and enjoyed the scent of the wilted lily in her hand.
Grabbing Edward's hand once they reached the shore, Bella pulled him beneath the weeping willow, her long dead heart overflowing with love for the man by her side, the man she'd dreamed of all those years ago, the one that had saved her from her imminent death.
Rising up on her toes, she kissed him once again, her fingers slowly working on the buttons of his shirt. Pale fingers met pale flesh, lips crushing together in a heated embrace. Lying together in the tall grass, still warm from the fading sun, they came together slow and sweet, much like their very first time.
They watched the stars twinkle overhead and listened to the crickets chirp, thankful that they'd found one another. Fate had intervened, proving that true love would always prevail, no matter what obstacles or curses stood in the way.
A/N: Huge thanks to contagiously, famouslyso, and Kalimando for stepping in at the very last minute to beta this. The story is loosely based upon The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson and the song "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. Thanks for reading!