Belai and Weidinhun: Two powerful countries that have been at war for so long, no one truly remembers the original cause.
A Princess: Fated to marry despite a deep seeded prejudice, in spite of her pride and without any consideration of her heart. For neither her heart, nor her life have ever been in her own hands.
A Farm Boy: Dreaming of the glory of war, but barred from it until his eighteenth birthday brings the freedom he desires. As he tarries in his invisible prison, love will unexpectedly find him. A love so powerful, it will enrapture his heart. A love so forbidden, if accepted, if fought for, could bring about the ruin of two great countries.
A Story: When the struggle to do what is right and the desire to follow the heart wage war on two unsuspecting souls, Destiny, Love and Choice will collide. Survivors are rarely found in the aftermath of such battles.
While on her way to meet her betrothed, a prince she's hated all her life, Princess Bella is shipwrecked on enemy territory where she meets Edward, a farm boy. Despite the fact that their countries have always made them enemies, they fall into such a powerful love that's so forbidden, if they choose to pursue it, the greatest war their countries have ever seen could break out.
(A/N: Hello readers! If you're back for more after reading Twenty Four Hours, well, welcome back! I'm glad you've returned. If you're a first time reader of mine, I hope you will enjoy my story.
The story is divided into four parts, (although that is susceptible to change as I begin to finish the story,) but as of right now, it's written like this:
Part I: The Prince
Part II: The Farm Boy
Part III: The Princess
Part IV: The War
So, read, review and enjoy! And I do my best to reply all my reviewers via PM, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.)
Disclaimer: (My disclaimers would probably make more sense if you've read the disclaimers in the last half of Twenty Four Hours, but you'll catch on.)
Me: (skipping merrily along to Michael Bublé's song, Feeling Good, playing on my ipod.) Doo dee doo dee dooooo…
Edward: (Dressed like a dusty cowboy, hands just at his sides where I notice two guns) So, we meet again Capella.
Me: Edward! How wonderful to see you! Why do you look so distraught?
Edward: (Looking distraught) I thought after our date, you would feel a bit less inclined to write another fan fiction about me.
Me: (I playfully press my finger to his nose.) Oh you silly vampire, I just can't get enough of you.
Edward: (Fingers brush against his pistols, showdown music plays in the back ground) I just don't think I can allow that. I know you, and life is never good for me when you're in charge.
Me: It's too late love, I've already written half the story.
Me: Mmmm hmmm, and if you don't want to be stuck in the middle of what I have planned for you this time, you should probably let me finish.
Edward: (Hands tense at his sides, but finally pulls them away and surrenders. Exasperated,) Fine! But if I have to fear for my life again…
Me: You will.
Edward: What? What is it now, more drug lords and psychotic fairy vampires, or are you diving a little more into the super natural this time around?
Me: Oh no, nothing like that. We're going for war, forbidden love, and possibly a pissed off prince.
Edward: I'm the prince right?
Me: (Smirks) Nope.
Edward: A soldier?
Me: Hee hee. Nope. A farm boy.
Me: I disclaim all Stephenie Meyer's characters, but somehow in my last story I convinced Edward to go on a date with me. Something tells me I'm going to have to start all over again for a second.
Their breathing intensified the farther they ran. If the stables had not been so heavily guarded, they would have grabbed horses to carry them away to freedom, but when had fate ever made anything easy for the two lovers? He held her hand which gave her the strength when her legs screamed in fury, begging to fall in relief. She knew the consequences if they couldn't escape. She knew the consequences if they did.
They were getting closer and closer to the ship that waited for them. The ship that would pull them away from the prison they were fleeing from. Hope began to arise inside her fast beating heart. They were going to make it. She could smell the ocean.
Hope stood still as the sound of her father's dogs echoed in the distance. Their disappearance had been discovered.
She felt her love pull her harder. He was quickening his pace. She could almost feel the desperation flowing from his skin into her own, through the electrifying contact of their hands. Just as hope was starting to dissipate, this electric current flamed the fire inside her. She would not go back. She would not marry the man she had been promised to, not when her prince was here. Not when she had a chance at a happily ever after. Not when she had a chance to spend the rest of her life with her one and only love. Even if that life would only last for just a few more minutes.
She knew the consequences of what they were doing now. It was selfish. But how could one resist a love so powerful? Could anyone deny it? Could any withstand it? If her father had understood, if he'd even felt a small flame of the wild fire that blazed between them, perhaps he would have allowed their union. But he was a bitter old king, bound in heavy shackles by duty.
The trees of the forest came to an end, and the ocean came into view. She was out of breath, and took the few seconds he stopped to catch as much as she could. He pointed, and she followed his finger to the ship that waited for them. He turned the power of his gaze upon her, and his brilliant smile melted all her fears. She couldn't help it. She wrapped a hand around the back of his neck and pulled his face to hers. As always, she felt she might explode as the warmth of his lips pressed to hers, shooting an invisible fire all over her body. He laughed as he gently pushed her away, took her hand again and led them towards the ship.
We've made it, she thought to her self. We're going to be free at last! She could barely hear the thud of their feet on the docks. He was about to climb the rope ladder onto the ship and a man in a blue uniform appeared above him and held a sword towards his face. Suddenly, many men in blue appeared along the edge of the ship, each with their swords held out. They slowly backed away, bracing themselves for another run. But when they turned around, more guards surrounded them, each with their swords threatening to pierce the life of the love that existed between them.
Something inside her still held onto a hope that somehow they would survive this. Had they not endured such obstacles so far? Had not their love been hopeless from the beginning, and yet here they stood, still alive? She looked for any sign of escape, and his hand enclosed tighter around hers. Yes, there had to be a way.
All hope shattered as he stepped out from behind the guard and stood just in front of the young couple. She felt herself cringe in his presence. She could feel the hate radiating off him and eating up all the joy she felt standing next to her love. This is the end her heart surrendered, and just to prove it's point, she heard her love make a strange grunting sound. Her eyes grew wide, her breath stopped short, and she turned, already knowing what she would find.
She wrapped her arms around him as he fell limply into her, a dagger in his chest. Shock, depression, anger, despair; it all crept over her at once. She couldn't make a sound. She couldn't think straight. She didn't even notice the silent tears that now soaked her cheeks. He looked up and stared into her eyes, trying with all his might to convey his love through them one last time.
She put one hand on his face and held it there, until at last, his beautiful, love filled eyes shut, where they would remain closed for all of eternity.
It came now. The heart piercing wail her soul had been holding back made its way through her lips. So heartbreaking and terrifying was the scream that all the guard took one step back, and their strong grips on their weapons wavered. Deep in their souls, they knew what had just been committed was a crime against destiny. Surely, the consequences of this night would have a greater effect then any of them could imagine.
"Seize her." The dark man commanded. The men hesitated. It was just enough time. She would not live without her love. She reached down, grabbed the dagger, and before any could stop her, plunged it into her own heart. Some of the guards ran to offer their useless aid. She took one last look at her betrothed, anger still in her eyes, and he showed no emotion on his face. Only indifference, as if she were no great loss.
She then turned back to her love, and allowed her head one last time, to fall into his chest.
Part I: The Prince
Chapter One: The Ugly-Beautiful Pond
There is ancient pond behind my palace. It's the simplest, most ugly decoration in the entire castle, inside and out. The stone that forms the structure is old and beginning to crack. Moss grows along its base, and the fish the gardeners dump in rarely survive longer than a week. There are stone steps that are spaced unevenly across it, which used to be sturdy, but now wobble a little when a child dares jump across them. It's entirely out of place in this little garden.
The pond appears even more hideous when standing in comparison with the beautifully carved stone statues of men and women that occupy the rest of the garden. The castle walls themselves look a lovely pale white in contrast to the beautiful, well trimmed vines that decorate the structure with such elegance; you'd swear they were intentional about where they grew.
Even when I think of the paintings and the tapestries that adorn the halls of my long-time home, my long-time prison, I cannot deny that even though I can only see them in my imagination while standing outside, the pond is still quite grotesque.
I suppose if you were to strip away the walls, the statues, the tapestries, all the glory of my father's royal abode, the pond wouldn't look so bad. But here, while cowering before this glorious prison, the pond was a deep well of odious rot.
It was my favorite.
Even as a child, when no pressing matters called for my attention, I would lay by this pond for hours. I would name all the fish, apologize that they probably only had a few days to live, and even run my fingers through the water without fear of what dark thing might seep into my skin and penetrate my blood stream.
I owed my sanity to this pond. It reminded me that beyond these walls, imperfections never looked perfect. Just outside the capital city of our country Belai, lived the poorest of our people. And while my father never did anything exceptional to improve their conditions, he never imposed on their livelihood. With the exception of the required taxes, which were never unreasonable, the king left them to their own. It was how he preferred it. He would never choose to get his hands too dirty if he could help it. He would never run his fingers lovingly through my pond the way I did.
Even here, exposed to the outside elements, surrounded by the palace guard, it was the one place I felt truly alone. As alone as I would ever be. I knew my father's watchmen were everywhere; some in view, some hiding out of site.
One man in particular, a man who would only let me call him Seth, I knew, was never far away. He was my own personal guard, and he took his job very seriously. My father hired, or stole him might be a more appropriate term, from another country. I'm not sure which he came from. All I knew was he was the most skilled assassin of his profession, due to his ability to disappear into his surroundings.
No one could be invisible like Seth. And while this knowledge made me shiver, I appreciated that I could feel like I had privacy, even with him there. I always hated being followed by so many guards. This was my father's compromise: A deadly assassin in return for my own privacy. I couldn't deny that even despite his dark, secret past, I felt safe.
He was older, though he'd never admitted to his actual age. The few times he'd made his presence known, (which he only did when he thought I was in danger and needed to move me) I'd noticed that he had a surly look about him. His eyes were always intense, piercing, and dark. He spoke very little in my presence except what was needed to be spoken, and his strength was undeniable. His very presence could make even grown men cower. He didn't seem to fit in to my fake-perfect little kingdom. This was another thing I appreciated about him.
I knew he was out there this moment, watching me watching my pond. I lay here now, thinking of the day's great event. The most important of my life. The most infuriating. Even with the sun spreading it's warmth upon my skin, desperately trying to drive the chill, (that I was sure was composed of fear) that now coursed its way though my insides, I could not be comforted. Any escape from this golden prison I'd even dared to hope for, was being swallowed up by the chill that now ravaged my body.
If I could have brought myself to do it, I would have drowned myself in this pond. And I would have done it gladly. Alas, I am not that brave.
Today was the day I was to meet my oldest enemy. Today was the day I was to meet my future husband.
Of course the royal family of Weidinhun had never set foot on our land, (though they'd sent plenty of soldiers to do the job for them), the prince and I had hated each other since we could first understand the concept of "sworn enemy." It was all we needed to know. We hated them, and they hated us.
Why do our countries hate each other? Why have we been at war for hundreds of years? Well, I can't really answer that because I've heard so many different accounts of our earliest histories, it's impossible to make any sort of resolve. But it didn't matter. The hatred spanned over two hundred centuries, and until now, no attempt had been made to remedy it. My father, the king of Belai, was tired of having his hands dirty with the war that often ravaged our country, and that often sent our men to their deaths in Weidinhun.
Both sides had exceptionally powerful and well trained armies, and the loss was so devastating to both sides, it would sometimes take a while before one country would feel brave, or reckless, and start a new war. Though each battle had heavy consequences, they were generally short-lived, and no side had ever absolutely conquered. So the first attempt at peace in the history of our two countries was being put into action.
I was to marry the prince. He was to marry me. And though I hated him, all I knew of the boy was that his name was Jacob, son of William, and it was rumored he was often found in the company of women, and not women of any noble means.
When my father told me the news, there was no condolence in his voice. There was no pity in his eyes. There was no comfort in his arms. He was simply settled, and no one could convince him his plan was not fool-proof. He did not care for the feelings of his daughter. He did not care she would forever share the bed of a man she didn't know. A man she hated. He only knew that the war would soon be over, and his people could forever live in peace.
Whether true or not, there was no arguing with his vision. There was no arguing with the king. I saw my mother trying to hide the sympathy in her eyes, and knowing someone cared for me and this cruel punishment bestowed upon me, gave me strength to hold my tongue. I knew before I could even build up a good argument in my head, that I would do exactly as my father asked. I was not brave enough to defy my father. I was not brave enough to defy my king.
So here I lay by my pond. Here I lay by my one portal to freedom. "Can you help me now?" I asked it. A few fish swam in a circle, as if responding. I sighed, and searched again for the bravery I knew was hidden in me somewhere, to drown myself in my own little piece of Heaven.
The putrid smell hit my nose, which was odd, because I had grown so accustomed to it. Suddenly, an idea occurred to me. It was absurd of course. It probably would do nothing but make the prince hate me even more. I was foolish to think it was enough to turn him running with his tail between his legs all the way back to his wretched country across the ocean.
I thought about putting my hair in the water, and waiting for the next half hour while the smell intoxicated the long, dark tendrils. I smiled and let out a giggle at the thought. It would be so easy. Just roll over, and let the hair fall in. Perhaps the fish would swim though it, and add to already acrid smell, maybe even volunteer their own slimy texture to the smooth, silky texture of my tresses. My smile grew wider. Would he be repulsed enough to leave me in peace?
The thought ended abruptly. No, I could not. Not for fear of the boy, but for fear of my father. He would surely have my head.
I heard a trumpet blow in the distance, and I knew my prince had arrived.
I picked myself up off the ground, brushed off my pale blue dress, straightened back my shoulders, took one last look at my ugly-beautiful pond and prepared myself to come face to face with my future: A future that was getting darker and darker by the minute.