The Taming

Author's Note: Hi all! So happy you decided to open this story and give it a chance. I'm really thankful. Anyways, this story is the one that comes after the masterpiece, and I can only hope it lives up to Sinful Seduction. I'm pretty excited about this one. I wanted to write another one like SinSed because I don't know about you, but I get pretty bored with the stories being somewhat unoriginal on here. Nothing with fantasy or the hard-action romance like I want. So my motto is: if you can't find it to read it, write it! This is another one that's been in my head for a while. This starts off with a prologue and chapter one because I'm weird and I hate posting separate prologues because than chapter one will show up as chapter two. Ugh. No. Enjoy the first prologue/chapter (:

Here's the summary: After trespassing and taken captive by the shapeshifters to become personal servant to their princess, Isabella Swan has caught the eye of her dangerous, yet beautiful brother. He's captivated by her; he'd always been. She's unresponsive to his charm, but he's not one to give up very easily.

Prologue

Isabella couldn't sleep. The only thing that could help her was to walk out in the woods behind her little wooden house. She could let her thoughts run wild and she could unwind in peace.

Her aunt Constance was always making her do the household chores and watch after her horrid little cousins, Maud and Elise. They found any excuse to tattle on her. And aunt Constance was relentless with her beatings; she'd bring Isabella over her bony knee and slap her bottom till it was red raw.

She was only six years old and doing the chores, tending to the children, and cooking meals while her aunt Constance played cards, smoke and drank with her uncle Phillip's drunkard friends.

Isabella's parents had died when she was very young, aunt Constance had said. She also said that she didn't want Isabella, but she'd already promised her mother and father that she'd take care of her. Aunt Constance's way of making her pay for her shelter was to force Isabella to do anything and everything.

Sometimes she felt like she was paying for even being born.

Grumbling, the little girl kicked a stone into the water. She gazed out into the trees in front of her. It was only a few steps away. She leaped over the little bubbling creek and forced her way into the woods.

She held up her lantern and it illuminated the path before her. She did this every so often, and felt comfortable letting herself out of the house at night because she'd never been caught yet. She shivered at the thought of what her aunt Constance would do to her if she did ever happen to find out.

Oh well, she thought. She hasn't found me all this time, and she won't find me tonight.

As she made her way deeper into the forest, she proceeded to get this gut feeling that someone was watching her. Someone was following her.

Isabella tried to turn around, but as she turned around, she noticed that everything all looked the same. The surroundings looked the same. The twisted, crooked trees hid the moon and she couldn't see her path anymore.

She'd never been lost in the forest before. Maybe she was over-thinking things, and the path was right next to her. She held up her lantern and tried to find the path, but nothing seemed to give. Whimpering, she tried to retreat into the shadows to find her way back.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew and the candle in her lantern flickered. She gasped, seeing a tall figure standing about a quarter-mile away from her, staring straight at her.

Horrified, she stood as still as a statue. The moonlight shone on the figure's face and revealed two blood red eyes and a smile with teeth so sharp that they looked like they sever someone in half with just one bite.

An immortal.

She turned and ran, even though she already knew that her case was hopeless. Immortals were incredibly fast and strong—they could be by your side in less than five seconds and snap your neck in only two. They never died unless they were killed and burned; drinking the blood of humans helped them to thrive as long as they did.

The situation was so dire that when she tripped over a branch, she submitted herself to the immortal and hoped that it was a merciful one, and killed her quickly. As she looked up, she could see him towering over her. She let out a scream when he smiled at her, revealing those incredibly terrifying teeth.

He grabbed her wrist when she tried to beat away at him and slashed her there, watching with hunger as the blood poured from her skin.

A twig's snapping distracted him for a split second. It was probably another one of his kind, helping him to finish her off. But the howl that echoed through the forest seemed to startle the immortal. He glared down at her and grabbed her by the neck, getting ready to sink his teeth into her.

Suddenly, a giant black wolf collided with the side of the immortal's body, knocking him away from her. She scrambled backwards, fear consuming her. More giant wolves emerged from the forest and began attacking the immortal, shredding him apart as the immortal's screams echoed through the forest.

She grabbed her lantern and cowered into the corner with a hand over her wound. A smaller, brown wolf emerged from the forestry behind the girl and poked her on the shoulder. She refrained from screaming, only because the wolf didn't look like it wanted to eat her.

It began to lick her, on her arms and hands until eventually it got to her wound. She flinched when the pink tongue lashed out to touch the wound, but eventually let the wolf lick all of the blood away. As soon as the painful cut was there, it was gone, with only a silvery scar left in its wake.

The brown wolf trotted back and forth down the path, whining. She stood on her feet and decided to see what it wanted. It darted off into the woods, leading her through the path.

And she followed the small brown wolf through the woods. It stopped to wait for her when she got tangled up in tree branches and vines and brushed against her legs, whining softly when it thought that danger was near.

Soon enough, she was back to the edge of the forest. She could see her aunt Constance's house in the distance. She looked down to thank the wolf, but it was already gone.

Chapter One: The Capture

"Hold still," I mumble as I stitch closed the gaping hole in Elise's new dress. She whines and stands up straighter.

"If you stick me, I'll tell mother that you did it on purpose," she hisses, her flaming red hair bouncing around her face in ringlets. "She'll give you more chores because I said so."

I take a deep breath through my nose, trying to hold myself together. "I promise I won't stick you, Elise. Just hold still, and it'll be a guarantee."

"You'd best make me look pretty for Hans," she grumbles, standing straight and still so I could finish stitching.

I glare back at her, but she doesn't see it. She's too busy glossing her lips with a rosy red paint that I'd made for her. I should have added some belladonna berries in there, I think to myself.

One part of me tells myself not to think in such a way, but the other tells me to go right ahead with what I'm doing. I knot the thread and pull away from Elise as she hops down from the small wooden stool she'd been standing on.

She rushes out of the room without even thanking me and rushes down the stairs. "Isabella!" Aunt Constance screeches from the bottom of the steps. I rush to go meet her, not wanting to make her wait for me. I wasn't afraid of her anymore like I was when I was six, but it was just a habit—I'd been serving her every need for so long that it just became permanently stamped into my brain.

I rush down the creaky brown stairs to meet her. Aunt Constance has her frizzy orange hair decorated with a violet hat that looked to small for her head, and a too-tight violet dress that made her curves much too noticeable. She gives me a crooked smile, her yellow teeth flashing at me. "There y'ar, Isabella," she says, handing me a crumpled piece of parchment. "Your list o' chores while we're away. Lisey and Maud are goin' to meet their suitors and me and yer uncle are going to the Blue Serpent. Now don't waste no time, Isabella. We'll be home by midnight so you'd best get started awful quick!"

She cackles before turning on her heel and walking straight to the door. I watch as she tries to fit her large hips through the doorframe with little luck. Uncle Phillip comes from the kitchen with a pipe sticking out of his mouth. He sees her and rolls his eyes. "Whattaya know," he says. "What did I tell ya 'bout wearin' them bustles? Y'always get stuck in them doors."

Aunt Constance growls at him. "Just help me, will ya?" I watch as Phillip gives two big shoves before Aunt Constance is successfully out of the doorframe. She fans herself with her lacy handheld fan as she looks at my scrawny uncle. "Oh, Phil."

"Git goin'," he slurs, pushing past her and trudging down the porch.

Aunt Constance looks at me and frowns. "Why are ya just standin' there? I just gave ya all them chores. Go on. Git!" And with that, she slams the door in my face.

I sigh and turn to go back upstairs, unfolding the list before me. It reaches my knees. I sigh again, but this time I shrug my shoulders as well. I'm used to the length by now.

Returning to my little dusty attic room, I pack up my sewing supplies and stand up, smoothing down my raggedy blue frock. My hair is braided back out of my face like it normally is—I've never done anything special with it, never worn a pretty dress, never met a suitor.

It was mostly because aunt Constance refused to let me marry before her unattractive daughters did—and she didn't want some man to take her personal house slave away from her.

I watch as Maud and Elise fret with their hair as the coachman pulls down the stone path. I take in a deep breath and then exhale, my shoulders drooping. Aunt Constance and uncle Phillip were undoubtedly going to get drunk again at the local bar, the Blue Serpent.

It was a pity I have to stay inside, too. I'd not seen a prettier spring day than today. A gay breeze floats through the window and kisses my face. The breeze carries the scent of fresh lilac and dewdrops. The fields behind my house were overpopulated with colorful wildflowers and fresh green grass.

I bite my lip as I'm contemplating what I should do. Stay in and do my chores all day, or live a little? I've been cleaning this house for too long. Everything already looked spotless from my head-to-toe cleaning yesterday evening.

I fold up the list nicely and set it down on my creaky little bed. It was time to do something that I wanted to do…and that didn't involve household chores. I get up and push away from the windowsill, walking down the steps. I see my muddy leather boots by the door—I had no nice shoes since all of the money went towards Elise and Maud. Most of the dresses I had were all stitched by my own hand.

I slip the boots on and reach my hand out to touch the wooden doorknob. My fingertips tremble and I bite my lip. Live a little, I tell myself. Go on, do it. Open the door and live.

I push it open and I'm blasted with the feeling of being free and peaceful. I step out of the house and lock the door, not bothering to look back.

I walk to the edge of our property and kneel next to the creek to splash some cool water onto my face. It's so refreshing and rejuvenating. It feels like a lifetime since I'd been out here. When I wipe the water out of my eyes, I can see straight into the forest. I hadn't snuck out of the house to wander into that forest for ten years—not since I was almost killed by that immortal when I was six years old.

It still befuddles me about what happened. How did those wolves get so large? Where did they come from? Why didn't they attack me? Why did that little brown one choose to save me? So many questions. Too many questions.

I sigh and sit by the edge of the creek again. I wonder what would happen if I dare venture into those same woods again. I wonder what I'd find in that haven of secrets.

I stand up. I'm sixteen years old, almost an adult. It had been years since anyone was attacked and killed by an immortal, anyways.

I have a lot of time to pass anyways.

And with that, I take my first step into the forest. And once I take that first step, I will myself to keep on going. The sun shines beautifully through the trees and casts a flickering shadow down onto the grassy path.

It's been ten years since I last went wandering through these woods, and I wonder if I still know where to go. I look down at my wrist and at the silvery scar that was there. And I remember the night of my attack, and the courageous little brown wolf that saved me.

I'd pushed the memories away for so long and tried to forget what had happened, but a constant reminder still makes itself known upon my wrist in the form of said silvery scar. And the eyes of that sweet wolf were forever engrained into my mind.

It had been so very long since I'd been out exploring in the forest—and it had been so long since I'd seen its beauty. All of the blossoming flowers and serene breezes and the gentle chirps of birds hanging from twisting tree branches.

I venture deeper and deeper into the forest, not caring in the least if I ever find my way out. That way I'd never have to go back to aunt Constance and clean for the rest of my unfortunate life.

I come about an intersection in the trees and I debate upon which route I should take. The right path looks exactly the same as the left, but the left path has a certain edge to it that drawled me there.

About an hour into the expedition, I realize that I've been walking around aimlessly for much too long. And the carefree spirit that I'd possessed earlier seems to be disappearing as the sky seems to darken a little more with every step I take.

I hoist myself up over a fallen log and continue on my way. The fringed edges of my old blue frock catch on one of the sharp branches and tear a little piece off. I pull my dress away and examine it. It's been beat up worse, I decide, and move along.

As I continue on, the path I'd opted to follow seems to have disappeared right beneath my feet. Lost, again. And to top it all off, I can hear heavy footfall coming my way in the distance.

I decide that I don't want to deal with another immortal and hide in a small patch of weeds behind a tree trunk. The heavy footfall gets louder as people near me. A tall man bursts out of the brush near me, wielding a sharp sword. In his left hand there's a rope and tied to it is a wolf hybrid, sniffing the ground and growling.

I shrink lower in horror. I start to back up but I'm stopped by the feeling of cool metal to the back of my neck. My eyes widen. "Do not move," a thick accent growls. Shivering in fear, I have no choice but to obey.

The largest one, which I presume to be the leader, whistles and the rest of his four colleagues come rushing to his side. They all look at me with their dark eyes narrowed with uncertainty.

All five men are so unusually beautiful, a refresher from the dirty men I'd usually see on the roads when I'd go the market square for more fruit and vegetables. With wide-eyed fear, I suck in a breath and smash myself into the tree with fear.

Now I can really see them all. They have longer black hair that reaches the tops of their copper-toned shoulders, and even goes a little longer on some of them. They all have tattoos on their right biceps and paintings of handprints and tribal patterns on their toned stomachs.

And the thing I notice most is their height and body mass. I've never seen such huge men. They all look so powerful, so dominant. They could snap my neck just by flexing their arms.

They have deerskin pants and leather belts strung with sharp knives and other weapons. Fine beads, jewels and teeth were hanging about a piece of twin around their necks. The tallest man steps back, withdrawing his sword slowly. "You are trespassing on shapeshifter land," he growls at me.

I'm so afraid that words can barely get past my lips. "I…I was only walking through the forest behind my...my house. I did not know…"

All five men frown at me. "One does not simply walk onto our land," the second tallest says with a dark brow raised, mistrust evident in his stormy eyes. "You must have been walking for hours."

The third man's face turns bright red. "What are your motives, bitch? Are you an assassin? A spy?" He's shaking with such anger that I'm afraid he might burst.

"Lahote, calm yourself," the tallest one barks out sternly. Then he nods at the rest of his men. "We'll let the king decide what to do with her."

My hearts to pound inside of my chest. "No," I whisper. "Don't. Don't touch me!" The fiery one they called "Lahote" comes straight at me like an angry bull and hoists me over his shoulder. I kick and scream but the effort is relentless. Before I can even register it, they've got my hands and feet tied together. "No, no, no! I beg your mercy, just let me go!"

"Shut her up before they hear," growls Lahote. The shortest one nods and reaches into his leather belt and pulls out a blue crystal flask, shoving it into my mouth. I struggle, but the liquid's forced down my throat.

And my whole world fades to black all too quickly.

0o0o0o0o

When I open my eyes, I see the same tall man hovering over me. Leader. "Make yourself decent, girl," he growls. "You are in the presence of the king."

I sit up, a searing pain in my lip bringing me to consciousness faster. I lift my fingers to my lip and am horrified to see the bright red blood on my fingertips. The blood rolls down my chin and I catch it with the sleeve of my dress.

I look towards the leader with confusion but he refuses to look at me. I lean forward onto all fours, smearing blood onto the cold marble floors before standing up onto my wobbly legs. It's a huge room—a beautiful one, at that—and it is decorated with gold and silver and many beautiful jewels. Paintings of beautiful women and wolves and tribal legends; mounted heads ranging from those of great wolves to elk, deer, and vicious bears.

I must be in the shapeshifter kingdom of Canavar.

I look straight ahead. There is an old man with a crown sitting upon his graying hair lounging on a tall throne made of white marble and red velvet. His brows furrow together and he leans forwards to take a closer look at me.

The king waves his hand at me. "Explain."

The leader steps forward and points at me. "My King, we found her trespassing in the Black Forest this afternoon. A human girl from the nearby kingdom of Bravos."

"Bravos?" the king ponders. Then he turns his menacing eyes down to me. "Are you a spy? An assassin? If you tell the truth, you shall not be punished."

"No promises," a young man that looks like he's seen about 20 summers, says smugly, standing by the king. His hair is cropped close to his shoulders and he ties it back into a little bun on the back of his head. He is taller than even the leader and more beautiful than all five of the men that captured me combined.

He has a beautifully sculpted face with deep hollows in his cheeks and a square jaw that sported a cleft chin. Wisps of hair fall around his face and those dark eyes framed with dark lashes land on me. My eyes widen and I cower back a little from his words. He smiles evilly at my reaction.

I look back to the king and shake my head. "I am no spy, your highness. My…my name is Isabella Swan and I live by the edge of the Black Forest in the kingdom of Bravos. I am not but a maid in my own house. I beg your mercy. Please. Let me go. I have done no wrong."

The king rubs his chin with his hand. Then he looks at the leader. "Samuel, where did you find this girl again?"

The leader, whose name is apparently Samuel, clears his throat. "At the intersection of the Ives, near the Red River," he replies.

The king seems to ponder again. "Well," he says. "She's not like any spy I've ever caught before." His men chuckle.

Overcome with relief, I let out a loud sigh.

The king's eyes narrow again. "Don't misinterpret my words, girl. We do not trust you. You stay here until we can." And at that moment, every single fiber of my being seems to go numb as my worst fears come to light. "And you say you clean, hmm?"

As I stare straight ahead I can feel the young man's menacing eyes on me. I nod my head. "Y-Yes, your majesty." I agree.

I'm distracted by the young man's departure. He turns his back on everyone and his massive, powerful body walks down from the platform that the king sat elevated on.

He must be a guard, I think. He was menacing just to look at.

He slinks off into the shadows and it was just like he'd never been there at all. I shiver and turn my focus back onto the king when I hear him clear his throat. "You will be a servant in this palace," he announces to me. "And until trust is formed between us, you shall go nowhere, little one."

A young woman stands up beside the king. "My father, I should have her. She could be my personal servant, and that way one of us would always be watching her." The king motions her to sit.

"We cannot trust her with you, my child," the king says softly.

The princess stands again. "I know how to defend myself," she growls. "Let me, I beg you. I wish to do something to help. To ease your burdens these days is the only thing that could make me truly happy."

The king grumbles, but nods his head anyways. "You," he addresses me. "Go with my daughter. Tend to her every need. If you try to harm her, I can promise that your head will be on a stake."

My face pales and I can feel my stomach churn but I nod my head anyways. The princess motions for me to follow her down the hallway. Samuel unties my hands and my feet and nods at me to move. "Go," he grinds out.

I follow her into the dark corridor. I can barely see as the lights from the throne room fade out just as the sun sets each night. They are dimly lit by torches mounted in posts on the walls. The princess is beautiful in her very own way. She has long scars running down the sides of her face but I can barely see them in the light. I rub my chilled hands in fear of the unknown.

Her long black hair nearly reaches the backs of her knees. She leads me to her room at the end of one long corridor. She pushes the doors open, revealing a room furnished in red. Her bed, the great canopy over it, the curtains, the chairs, the sofas, all the way to the flowers.

"Suppose you like red," I say in a small voice, looking around. This room was the most beautiful room I'd ever seen. The princess tends to the fire roaring in the hearth and goes about lighting the candles in the room.

"'Tis my favorite color," she replies with a small smile. "How could you tell?"

My face turns bright red. This is the first time someone's ever joked with me. Though I'd joked with myself plenty of times in my head, I'd never really done it with a real live human being before. Constance and her evil twin serpents were always so serious.

"I am Emiline," she introduces herself. "Princess of Canavar. But I'm sure you already know that half of me."

She pulls out a handkerchief and goes toward me. I flinch when she touches it to my bleeding lip. She dabs at it softly. "However did you do this?" the princess asks.

I shrug my shoulders. "I don't know."

"You don't know?" she says with a hint of humor in her tone. She pulls away the handkerchief and hands it to me so that I may wipe the excess blood off of my hands. "How odd.

She goes and sits down on one of her comfy-looking red chairs by the fire. Emiline looks up at me with curious eyes. I try to give her a smile, but I can't say I'm particularly happy about my predicament. "Do you not know how to sit, Isabella?" I gasp and go to sit in the chair next to her. She smiles and stares into the fire. "Speak," comes the order.

I look up at her with my brow raised. "And what would you have me say?"

"Tell me why you are really here," she replies. "I wish to know the truth. Perhaps even your story."

"Well…" I whisper. "I told the truth to your father. I was only walking behind my house and I got a bit tied up in the beauty of the forest. I'd not been in there since I was little, and it was all so beautiful. I suppose I lost track of time and ventured too far. That's when they found me."

"Samuel?"

"Yes, I believe that's his name." I confirm. "And there were four others too, but I do not know what they are called."

"They are part of the kingsguard," Emiline tells me. "There's Samuel, the leader of them all. Then there's Paul, Embry, Jared and Quil."

I nod my head. "And Lahote…who is he?"

"Oh," she laughs. "That's Paul. He's quite the hothead isn't he?"

"Yes," I agree. "But why do they call him Lahote?"

She sighs. "Oh, the guard call themselves by their surnames mostly. They think they're being secretive by using those names. If you want to familiarize, I'll tell you. There's Samuel Uley, Paul Lahote, Jared Cameron, Embry Call, and Quil Ateara."

I nod my head. "Alright."

Emiline sits back in her chair. "Now tell me your story."

I shake my head, looking down at my hands. "I do not know what you mean by story."

"Everyone has a story, Isabella. Where did you come from? What kind of woe did you experience during your younger years, if you experienced any?" she pleads.

I stare into the fire and watch the flames devour the blackened logs. "My mother and father died when I was very young, so my aunt and uncle were forced to take me in. They didn't want me, and they made it apparent. My aunt Constance would make me clean and cook and take care of all of the household chores while her two daughters would be spoiled. Everything they needed or wanted was in their hands at their beckon call."

I look back at the princess, finished with my story. She shakes her head. "More," she says. "There's more, and you're not telling me that."

"I do not—"

She cuts me off. "Tell me about the forest. Why hadn't you been there in a very long time?" I pause and then look down at my feet, my face paling. She can see my obvious discomfort. "You can tell me, Isabella. We'll be spending a lot of time together so I suppose it's better to get this over with now."

"I was attacked," I finally say.

Emiline opens her mouth to say something, but she stops. "In the Black Forest?" I nod my head. She seems like she's pondering something but doesn't want to say anything.

I don't even have to say anything for her to know that I'd survived an immortal attack. She just nods her head and looks out the window. "I saw you looking at my scars," she whispers. Three pink, fleshy scars run across the right side of her face, pulling at the corner of her eye and mouth.

"Oh no, Emiline, I…"

"No, it's alright. The only reason why I'm pointing that out is that…I too, was attacked. As if it wasn't already plain as day. But the point is, I understand." Emiline explains. "I know everyone stares at me like I've three heads, but I'm used to it now."

The stars were already shining in the sky. I don't bother asking her how. She seems somewhat distressed by it all, so I don't push the subject. I gape at the time. Gods above, how the time has passed.

She looks at me with a softened look in her eyes. "Help me change, will you?"

I stand from my seat and follow her. Here I am, I think. A slave in a house to a slave in a castle. What an improvement in life I've made.

I help Emiline out of her dress and untie her corset for her until she's in her small clothes. She points to the white silk nightdress hanging in her closet. I take the beautiful material into my hands and help her slip it on. She pulls her gorgeous long hair out of the collar and lets it flow down her back. "Ah. Thank you," she says.

I blink. Thank you? No one has ever said thank you to me before. I grant her with a small smile.

She looks to the door. "I suppose I should show you to your chambers. They are right next to mine, and I am sure you have had a long day. A well deserved rest to you, Isabella."

She leads me out of the door and points directly in front of her to a slender white door with a golden handle. I open it, amazed at what I see—a nice, warm bed with golden sheets and a large window with moonlight filtering through it. Golden curtains, and wooden tables crafted beautifully by hand. Even my very own hearth and soft chair.

"Oh, thank you!" I whisper to her. She nods her head.

Emiline stares at me and purses her lips. "I think I shall call you Bella. It is more fitting for you," she declares. I nod my head. My parents used to call me Bella. It was the only thing that I remembered of them. Their sweet voices in my head, calling me that nickname.

I nod my head. "I like that."

"Get some rest," she whispers. "And do wake me tomorrow at sunup."

I nod again. I was already up early in the mornings anyways. She bids me goodnight one more time before closing the door. I pounce on my bed, stripping out of my dress. I can't believe what's happened today.

I was captured by a band of huge, intimidating men and brought to a large castle in the kingdom of Canavar, hidden in the Black Forest. Then I was threatened by a beautiful mysterious man before I was made personal servant to the princess.

I smile at the thought over never having to go back to aunt Constance. Even though my role of servant didn't change, I knew things here would be better.

I roll off of the bed and bounce over to the window. The moon was so large tonight and shining. So many things were racing through my head at that moment in time. But mostly, the eyes of that mysterious man lingered there.

He seemed so mysterious to me, and dangerous. I'd never felt such strong emotion channeled towards me. His interest piqued as well and those dark eyes seemed to stare directly through me.

I shake the thought away. He probably despises me. He probably thinks that I have come to kill them or pass along secrets that are unknown to me. I sigh and collapse on my bed. Tomorrow, I think. Tomorrow I'll think this over.

0o0o0o0o

Ahh, how was it? I feel like I've kind of put a Cinderella feel onto it, but it's not the sappy lovestory that we all know and love. Jacob will eventually come in, even though he wasn't really in this chapter all too much. Expect him to make his way into the next chapter. Also, please review. I feel that reviews are really essential for the first chapter to let me know how I've done and if I want to decide to continue this journey. Also, one question…are you excited for dark, dangerous and lustful Jacob?

I know I am. (:

Courtney xx