Here's the next chapter! Sorry it was late, I got sick last Sunday, and I've missed a lot of school. I had a bunch of makeup work to do, and I went to the doctor twice…
Looking for a Beta, just to let ya'll know. I hope to have one by my 5th chapter.
I don't like this chapter as much… so let me know if its awful. I know my writing skills need to be refined after my long hiatus.
Previously . . .
Examining the bright red V etched upon her skin, the captain stood up and the soldiers walked away. With one last glance, he gave the girl orders. "Do not come to the kingdom again. You have been touched by a vampire, and all shall know it. If you are found in the land again, you will be burned at the stake." He finished harshly, and turned away. As the pain faded a bit and the sound of horses hooves disappeared, the girl looked up at the lighter sky. Dawn was breaking, and this was no new day. She could not go home. She had just wanted to get away, but now she was forced to. There was no going back now.
Chapter 2 – Third Person POV – Dakota by OAR
A maid in the Swan's castle crept silently to the young princess's room. If she woke up the king and queen, she would be punished. However, the young one was to wake up at this time, and it was her duty to do so.
Thankfully, the thick carpet running down the wooden floors of the hallway muffled her lithe footsteps, and she made it to the polished cherry door without any loud noises. The doorknob was cold and smooth under her hand, and she twisted it quietly before peeking her head into the small girl's room. It was dark, so she walked swiftly across the room to fling open the floor length curtains.
Meanwhile, the king and queen were in a light slumber, for they were due to wake within the hour. The queen's dreams were full of dreadful nightmares. She kept replaying the words they said to their daughter just mere hours before, and in her dream state, she vowed to apologize to the little princess.
A shriek was heard across the house, at that moment, though. The king and queen rose in bed, alarmed. The King, upset, stomped outside in his robe. Just as he looked around, his wife joined him, a robe wrapped around her as well. A very angry head of servants walked up, ready to dish out the punishment for who was causing such a loud noise so early in the morning.
And then the perpetrator, the maid who was one of the Princess's own, ran down the hallway, her cloth slippers padding lightly on the floor and her hair coming out from her neat bun. "Majesty!" She cried, stopping breathlessly in front of the king. "She's gone!" Her voice was filled with fear and trepidation, but also a sense of desperation.
Utterly perplexed, the king stared at her like she had grown five heads. The head servant grabbed the young maid's arm tightly. "How dare you wake the entire castle, much less the king and the queen!" He chastised in a terrifying voice.
Cowering, the maid looked at the King and Queen with pleading eyes, opening her mouth to explain herself. But the King stopped her. "Who are you talking about? Who is gone?" He asked, placing his hands on her shoulders and shaking her.
And then two words came from her mouth that would seal the fate of the entire royal family forever. The King, had he been prepared, might have fared better, but he was older, and no longer in his prime.
The maid looked up at the king, tears stinging in her eyes. "Princess Isabella," she said in a murmur.
And then the king, grasping his chest, fell. While the manservant dropped to the floor to try to revive the king, the queen sank to the floor, tears flooding her eyes. She let out a scream that was much louder and sharper than the maid's, and her head sunk in immense grief. Everyone within a mile's distance heard the cry, and though they did not know the reason yet, they all felt a pang in their chest.
The trees were a blur as the men on horseback rushed through the woods, searching everywhere and anywhere. Hunting dogs were running in circles, unable to find their target.
One of the men recalled why they had spent weeks looking in this vast forest. He hadn't seen his family in many days, and despite the grim circumstances, he couldn't find himself to care too much. No one in the entire kingdom knew the young princess. She was sheltered inside the large stone house of hers, and nobody in his hunting group even knew what she looked like. He couldn't get himself to be concerned about her past the basic level of human compassion for those who are lost.
"Double back!" The captain called from a few yards away, breaking the man from his thoughts. The hunting group all sighed, slouching in their saddles. Even the captain couldn't muster up enough enthusiasm to scold them.
The young princess stumbled through the woods. After laying in the clearing for what seemed like ages, her dead legs managed to raise her upright and walk in the direction that she knew would lead her to the next kingdom over. She was already nearing one of the borders after an hour of crunching through the underbrush.
In her state of shock, she didn't seem to register any fear. She was doubtful that anything could frighten her at the moment. She just kept walking, much like she had been before. She found the same thought running through her head again… What else was there to do but walk?
The fresh burn stung her skin, the pain making her shake more than the cold could. The soft nightgown, no matter how light the material, scraped against the burn, making the pain double. Her mind was busy rifling through her memories of her family, of the castle, just to distract her. Her mother, her father. Her maids. The little servant girl her age that she played with during the day, when she wasn't doing her lessons. Her lessons, she would miss those too, despite their tendency to be highly tedious. She did enjoy the reading, and the languages. Already fluent in French and English, she recited verses from her favorite poems in her head, anything to dispel the memories threatening to creep up in her consciousness.
Flashes of the bright red eyes made her cringe and pause in her walk every few steps. The pain… the pain she had to forget. The sun filtering through the trees gave her some distraction, but not enough. Now she thought of her Latin tutor, recalling the phrase he taught her.
"Fortuna favet fortibus," she whispered to herself, barricading the memories from her mind. They hovered on the edge, battering at her wall, but she shoved them away fiercely.
Just then, the trees broke away, and more light was shining through. The young princess couldn't help but feel hope, something that seemed impossible for her to have.
She walked past the last tree, hesitating before stepping onto the bumpy cobblestone road. It was a small village, one with only a few wooden houses. The streets had a few early risers walking about, doing their daily business. No one noticed her as she walked down the street in nothing but her torn and bloodied nightgown. She shied away from people if they walked too closely, her instincts telling her that anyone was a danger now.
Just as she passed the small town bakery, a rough and raw yell rang throughout the streets. People screamed, frightened, and ran past Bella, tugging their small children and groceries along behind them. Horses hooves were heard on the next road over, and she watched as a group of evil looking men ran into the streets. One woman slammed the doors to her shop up. She was shouting, and only two sentences made any impact on the princess.
"Go away, you foul beasts! I said go away, you slave dealers!" She cried, shutting the last window and disappearing into her shop.
Bella froze, her feet rooted to the spot. Slave dealers? She knew that's where her servants had come from… But slavery was an uncommon trend in her kingdom. There were only a few slaves, and she didn't really know why adrenaline was rushing through her veins.
A man behind her shouted, and she turned to see one of the men on horseback. He wore basic armor, and a sword rested on his hip. Judging by the shape, it was a pirate cutlass rather than an honorable knight's blade. Suddenly, Bella understood why she had heard slave dealer and pirate interchanged before.
Taking a few steps backwards, still petrified, her vision warped in front of her and once again she was in the clearing, the bright eyed vampire staring her down.
But the words coming from the vampire's mouth made no sense. "I've found one! Looks like an orphan!" He cried, his head turning over his shoulder to talk to… whom? The other vampires…?
And then when she finally got her legs to respond, she started running away. But the vampire caught up to her, catching her around the waist. Why his touch was warm rather than cold puzzled her, but she was too desperate to care. Struggling and shrieking, she felt the all too familiar tears running down her face.
The man, while he turned her round to throw her over his shoulder, exposed his face to her, and she saw the un-vampire-like eyes staring back at her. Hysterical, she only barely registered the fact that he was no vampire, but the fear still made her heart thrum in her chest like a thousand drums.
No matter how hard she struggled, he carted her off easily toward a wagon with bars for a door. Another man unlocked the rusty door, and her captor threw her in carelessly. Bella's already damaged wrist caught on a wooden seat with a loud snap, and she cradled the broken bone in her hand. Looking up, she saw two men and one adolescent girl. The men's cheeks were sunken in, and all of them were dirty. Worst of all, they all sported a dark, hopeless expression, one that made Bella's blood run cold.
Turning back to the barred escape, she stared at the men. They laughed at her, their black eyes looking through her. She was just a slave now.
"Don't worry, lass, you'll be sold soon enough," the first man sneered, "Let's hope you don't end up in a prostitution house, eh?"
Her eyes widened, and she stopped breathing. A prostitution house?
The second man snickered. "Hey, maybe we can stop by sometime to visit you there! We love to see such pretty faces in pain." He walked away, out of her sight, while his laughter died away, and her trembling reached such a violent level that she couldn't see straight.
Turning to the other three captors, she waited for something to happen. Anything. But they just ignored her, too caught up in their own loss of freedom.
With a rumble, the cart started moving. Too exhausted, the princess leaned on the side of the wall. She was too frightened to sleep, to close her eyes. She knew she'd see those red eyes, and she knew that she couldn't relive those moments in her dreams, not now.
So she pinched her chafed skin every few minutes, anything to keep her lucid. The wagon bounced and rumbled for hours upon hours. At one point, she heard some of the pirates talking about how they had to go to another kingdom, for they paid more for their slaves there. All Bella could do during the endless trip was stare at the floor of the dusty wagon and clutch her arm around her damaged wrist. Tears poured continuously, leaving trails down her dirt-covered face.
The first night in the wagon, she accidentally fell asleep. The red eyes and blood covered mouth shone brightly through the darkness, chasing her through dark and dense forest. The beast never let up, he just kept following her. Whenever she looked back, he would always call to her.
"Why do you run, Princess?" The malevolent voice whispered. "I'll always catch you."
She woke with a start, breathing heavily. The moon was still out, and the other slaves didn't seem bothered by the frightened screams that poured from her mouth when she woke.
After a moment, she realized that she was still in the wagon, and that she was away from the vampire, who now was only a pile of ashes. She almost had a glimmer of relief, until she remembered exactly why she was in the wagon.
The smell of fish overwhelmed her when they neared their final destination after another day of traveling. Starved, Bella stared out of the bars to the street behind her. The city was nice, almost nicer than her own city. The road was fitted with white stones and all the houses were painted. Men and women in the latest fashions ambled down the street, parasols out and purses jingling with coins.
And then the scent of freshly baked bread had her salivating at the bakery as they passed. Her stomach growled in protest, and her dry mouth whimpered hoarsely. Never had she gone hungry ever before.
But the bakery disappeared in sight, followed by all the other shops as they passed. Looking back at the gloomy wagon's interior, the noise they were approaching suggested a crowd, and Bella understood that this was the last stop.
With a whinny from the horses pulling the wagon, and a rough screech of the wheels, the wagon came to a halt. Pirates walked around, the intimidating sound of their boots drawing nearer. A man she had never seen before opened the lock on the door, and grabbed her uninjured arm, pulling her roughly out of the wagon and shoving her to a man standing beside him.
The horrible smell of the pirates bombarded her senses, and only heightened her fear. The vampires had smelled horrible, too.
But the man released her, forcing her through a door to a building nearby. Once inside the door, a severe looking woman grabbed her and yanked her toward a bathtub. She ripped off her ruined nightgown and dropped her into the freezing water. Two other maids started scrubbing her skin with rough sponges and soap that stung her skin.
When one of the maids discovered her burn, she looked right past it. The skin was still inflamed, and it was difficult to read it out. She only scrubbed there too. Bella held in a painful yell, and the tears that were about to spill over. The maids' chatter around her arrived on deaf ears, and she only had room in her mind for fear of what would come next.
With one last scrub, the maids pulled her upright and dried her with a coarse blanket laying nearby. They pulled a thin cotton frock over her head, and dropped her off at another door. She stood behind other slaves who had been cleaned, and she worriedly wrung her hands. What would happen to her now?
An auctioneer called out in a language that she didn't recognize. One by one, the line shortened. Desperately trying to find a distraction, Bella stared at her dress. It was a dull blue, but at least it covered her shameful burn. It only went to her knees, though, and her bruised arms were left uncovered.
One of the women standing next to her pulled Bella's good arm from her broken wrist. "Don't show any injuries out there," She spat, turning away. Bella cowered away, straightening her throbbing wrist.
And then the woman clapped on rusted handcuffs and led her out to the stage. People were crowded all around her. They all stared eagerly, hands raised in anticipation.
The auctioneer raised his voice, shouting out, while people began to raise their hands. One man, who greatly reminded her of her own head of servants at the castle, raised his hand last. After a brief exchange, the man came onto the stage. He grabbed the chain attached to her handcuffs, and led her over to another man with an identical uniform.
Adding her chain to that of another, a woman who looked like she could have been someone's mother, they walked away from the boisterous auction. Her mind still reeling, Bella stumbled as their small procession made their way through the fancy streets. The houses steadily grew nicer, and Bella's eyes widened and she opened her mouth to speak when she saw a castle in the distance. Maybe she could contact someone there… maybe she could go home… but she remembered the captain's threat, and she closed her mouth.
The men led the two of them to a large manor, one just off the side of the vast castle. As Bella walked through the door, she realized that this manor could be her prison for the rest of her life.
Fortuna favet fortibus means "fortune favors the brave" in Latin.
I don't know if I like this chapter. Usually I have much more dialogue, and I really hate writing in 3rd POV. Let me know if you guys want me to rewrite it.
I'm seriously looking for a beta now. If anyone who reads this has experience, I'd like to try having you as a beta. I'd like it if you were a good writer yourself, and if you've been a beta for another good story.
I think next chapter I'll skip 10 years in the future. I can't write BPOV when she's a little girl, that's just too difficult for me, but next chapter should be BPOV or EPOV.
Let me know what you think, please, even if you hated it!