A/n: Okay, I'm going to see if this is worth continuing on with. I know I have another story going for Twilight already, but this idea just hit me and I had to write. Please review and tell me what you think!
Princess Isabella of Condre sat at the window seat in her private quarters, her brown eyes flickering about to take in the sights. Earlier she had been called to her father by a serf, and when she had arrived she had been caught up with the news of Alice, her cousin and dear friend, with child.
So caught up was she that she had missed the barely concealed nervousness her father, King Charles of Condre, was exuding with his posture and manner.
"Papa, Alice is with child! Is that not wonderful? I'm sure Jasper is-Papa?" Isabella gave her father a queer look, her warm brown eyes confused with his lack of joy.
Charles loved Alice as much, if not more than, Isabella herself.
"Ah, that is wonderful, truly it is Isabella. But I've news that I need to tell you. You know how I have created an alliance with the royal family Belliut correct? Well they would like a sign of my faith, that I won't turn around and stab them in the back. Isabella, you're getting married." Charles gave a nervous smile, something that happened only in Isabella's company.
With anyone else he was self confident and aloof. His guard crumbled around his favorite child and only daughter.
Isabella was staring at him in disbelief. "Married, Papa? Surely you jest?" Isabella's hand drifted to hover above her breast, her mouth slightly agape.
"No, I'm afraid I don't Isabella. You must wed Edward of Belliut to ensure that this alliance will not fall apart at first chance."
"No. Papa, no I cannot wed this Edward. I know nothing about him and just a few weeks ago he would have been viewed as one of your most influential enemies! Do not make me Papa, please, I do not want-," Charles just looked at her and gave her a sad smile with a slight shake of his head.
"Isabella, please, do this for me. For your father." Isabella felt tears gather in her eyes. It wasn't fair. She had been taught to do anything possible to help that voice. She could not go against years of learning, could not disobey that voice.
Isabella closed her eyes briefly and opened them, tears silently making their way down her cheeks. She was surprised when her voice didn't break.
"Yes Papa. I shall wed this man for you. If you can inform me later…I need fresh air." She didn't wait for a response as she all but ran from the hall outside to the lake's edge. How could he do this to her? How could he just sell her to the highest bidder, who happened to be his past enemy who somehow became his alliance?
Edward was 56, so the age difference was 39 years! Isabella's hands clenched and she walked away from the castle, towards the forest, still by the water's edge.
She sat at her favorite spot, on an old tree stump surrounded by wild flowers, further inland than the path went. It looked out upon the still lake reflecting the trees in the sides and the castle's reflection on the water's surface to the right.
If she didn't feel like looking at that pretty sight, she could sit the other way, looking upon the dark forest, and dwell upon a horrid marriage that had been arranged by her father as she stared at the shadows, imagining that something were moving through them, watching her.
Bran found her like that, hunched forward, brown hair cascading down her back, a look of utter despair in her eyes, her light blue dress fanned out about her in the light grass swaying with the wind. He approached quietly, eyes intent upon her face. Isabella only ever truly let her guard down in this area alone looking around at her surroundings.
However, usually her look was one of happiness, not despair.
"Isabella?" Bran said uncertainly, and frowned slightly when he saw her jump at the sound of his voice. Usually she was more aware than that.
"Ah, Bran! I didn't hear your approach. Was their something you needed?" As he looked into her eyes he saw her guards go up immediately and sighed softly to himself.
"Yes. Our Lord Father called for you, saying he had to discuss something of great urgency with you. He asks that you immediately return to the castle." Isabella frowned and stood just as a huge gust of wind blew, making her hair fly to her left, along with her gown, the grass and flowers doing the same. Bran gulped, for the sight was hauntingly beautiful, intimidating.
"Thank you Bran, for telling me this. I shall head back right this moment. Would you care to accompany me?" Isabella gave a friendly smile and Bran jumped for the chance to talk with her. Bran was 23 to her 17 and had made her his personal responsibility, seeing her as lonely since her true brother was distant, always on the move. Bran was Charles' illegitimate son, yet he viewed Isabella as his true sister.
Bran had accomplished to get Isabella out of her depression and she had actually laughed before she saw her father standing before another man who looked old. Next to the man was one that was considerably younger looking, copper brown hair glistening in the sun.
As Isabella looked upon the duo, she immediately retreated into her public façade, pasting a fake smile on her face. She turned to Bran and curtsied, winked when she noticed his nervous glance and walked gracefully towards her father.
"Ah, there she is now. Isabella, I would like you to meet Edward." Charles motioned to both of the men with his arm and Isabella curtsied enticingly, feeling at least one pair of eyes upon her bent figure. As she stood again and dropped her skirts lightly, she smiled.
The older man bowed politely and said, "I am John of Chester," giving a smile when he noticed Isabella's eye brows furrow. "This," he said motioning to the young man, "Is Edward of Belliut."
Isabella blinked her eyes, her smile still in place as Edward bowed then straightened, his bright green eyes smothering her to where she had to take light breathes. How is this possible? She thought, blatantly staring. When she had finally gathered her thoughts she managed to say while composing herself, "I hope you will find everything to your liking," looking at both of them as she said this, she missed the smirk her father gave.
"Yes, I do expect we will," Edward said gently, inspecting Isabella from head to toe. Isabella turned crimson but held her head high, daring Edward to try anything with her eyes. When her name was called by a distant voice, she hurriedly excused herself and curtsied before leaving at a brisk pace.
"And? How do you feel about her?" Charles asked, an expectant look on his face. Edward gave a crooked smile then watched Isabella's retreating figure.