Prologue


She was a scrawny little thing, wet and trembling as she huddled underneath the narrow amount of shelter that the run down cabin provided. Dressed in nothing but a torn and soiled summer dress, her face covered in dirt with bits of leaves in her hair, the tiny girl crouched down low to the ground and drew herself into the nearest corner as she buried her face in her hands and cried.

'What is it?' someone asked, catching my attention. I shot a glance at the two hunters that came along with me, their faces and body etched in red from our previous chase.

'Nothing,' I answered, signaling them to leave. 'Leave me be.'

They hesitated, of course, as all loyal servants do, but with a nod of my head I dismissed them.

'Go home and take care of the women and children,' I ordered, glancing at the full moon. This was both mine and theirs' most favorite time to hunt. 'I am in no need of protection.'

I watched as they gave each other questioning glances, reading the hesitance on their faces and the confusion in their minds as they slowly began to walk off towards the trees. They kept glancing back at me, like as if they're waiting for something to happen…they're not scared about whether something might kill me, as I doubt that there is anything remotely strong enough to do so in these woods, but rather they're scared of what I might do – about what I might become.

'I'll be fine.' I assured them again, 'Tell the other's I'll be home soon.'

And with that they took off, disappearing in the blink of an eye as they entered the forest. I listened to the sound of their footprints pressing into the soft dirt for about a mile and could still smell the stench of animal blood on their bodies for far longer than that before I closed my eyes completely and allowed the noises of the woods to calm me. To any regular person camping in the forest tonight, all they would be able to hear was the slight rustling of the leaves or the soft calling of the wind before shaking their heads and writing it off as a trick of eye…but to those like me, we know better.

We know that playing off slight noises as a "trick of the eye" could equal instant death, especially during the full moon.

I inhaled deeply, letting the warm night air lick my skin and the soft drizzle of rain wash away all the grime and dirt I had accumulated earlier from hunting. My body felt full but unsatiated, as was the common symptom of drinking animal blood instead of human. I wanted to puke from the amount of blood I had consumed today – animal blood was considerably less nutritious than humans in regards to strength and power. I had to drink three times as much animal blood in order to get the same equivalent in human, and each time my body reacted strongly against it.

But I would endure this. I must endure this, for the sake of my people.

Crack!

The burst of thunder awoke me from my trance and I became all too aware of the young girl still huddling but twenty feet away from me. Being a creature of the night, I used the darkness to hide myself from her eyes, crouching low on a tree branch as I observed her.

She was young – about five or six in age and about three or four in appearance. She looked like she had been well taken care of before…before whatever had happened that left her abandoned and alone. I felt an unmistakenable tug from deep within me and quickly squelched it down.

Damn animal blood. The cougars hadn't been up to par this year, as the changing seasons usually affect their diet.

I found myself entranced with the child…curious and yet concerned about her well being.

This is absurd. I've seen plenty of humans before – I live among them every day! What is it about this girl that makes her so interesting? Why was I so interested?

And what was she doing so close to the territory? Humans usually steered clear of this place, thanks to the cleverly placed rumors of wild wolves and bears and even the more adventurous stragglers stayed about a few miles away…but what was a small child doing here?

And why again was I so interested?

I watched silently for a few more minutes before realizing that I had been there for a full hour, doing nothing but watching this small scrap of a girl. By then she had gotten tired of crying and chose instead to lay down on the dusty floor of the cabin, her head resting upon her arms as she fell asleep, her rosy cheeks stained with tears.

I jumped down from my perch, straightening up immediately and thought about how lucky and glad I was not to be plagued by leg cramps or any other problems that human tend to be prone to.

Silently, I crept towards her, feeling weird and yet giddy at the same time. I wanted to wipe off the tears from her face and shelter her from all the pain she must be feeling. I wanted to…wait, what did I just say? Was The Great Edward Cullen feeling…giddy? I wondered how my enemies would react to this.

'This is bad.' I told myself. 'This girl is human, nonetheless a small child. Surely, there must be someone out there looking for her.'

And yet I kept walking, like as if an invisible thread connecting me to her was being wound up...I was now five feet away from her.

'I'll send a ranger out to get her.' I reassured myself. 'By this time tomorrow she'll be tucked in a warm bed, safe and sound as her mother reads her a bedtime story.'

I reached out a hand, brushing a lock of hair carefully away from her face and mused over how easily I could crush her bones with my fingers.

'I'll wait until the ranger comes,' I reasoned. 'It's dangerous out here…'

And then she opened her big, blue eyes.


"Are you crazy?" Rosaline hissed, glaring at me with her hands on her hip. "Are you positively out of your mind? She's a human for heaven's sake!" Her face was red and livid, a stark contrast with her white-gold hair as she quickly glanced at the ceiling towards the direction of my room.

"Are you questioning me?" I looked her straight in the eyes and watched as she shuddered slightly before glancing away. Rosaline slowly backed up towards the fireplace, her head, bowed slightly in acquiesce. I could feel a strange course of anger flow through me as I thought about what she had said about the child.

"Relax, Edward." Jasper said, placing a hand on my shoulder. I could feel his power come into affect as Rosalie's breathing slowed and her fear disappeared. "She is merely concerned about the safety of our coven."

"Do you think I'm so careless that I'd put my people in jeopardy?" I glanced around the room, looking for answers.

"Of course we wouldn't," Alice said, approaching me with her arms out wide. "Not intentionally, at least." She smiled to soften the blow.

"What are you implying?"

She sighed. "You've been distant lately, Edward. And this outburst is not like you."

"Yea, Edward, what's with you?" My brother Emmett asked, putting a protective arm around his wife. "You didn't have to do that to Rose!"

"What are you implying?" I asked again. "Do you think I've turned?"

Silence answered me as I watched the main members of the coven – Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Rosaline, Carlisle, and Esme – glance at me in hesitation. Never before had they seen me so adamant about something, nonetheless someone. Never before had they seen me so angry.

I shot Emmet a warning look. "Emmett, you're my brother and I love you but don't you or your wife ever question me again. I will not have anyone harm her!"

"Might I ask why?" Carlisle, the most sensible one out the group, asked cautiously. At another time I might have been insulted that he considered me uncontrollable of my emotions, but at the moment I found myself agreeing with his careful approach. "Why this human child, Edward? I admit I sense something different in her, but not enough to risk exposing our family."

"She isn't a threat." I downed my glass of whisky, reaching for more. "And I have not turned."

"But you're not acting like yourself." Alice said again. "Edward, tell us what's wrong…maybe we can help."

"I told you Alice, I haven't turned." I said again, annoyed that she kept reverting back to that. "Perhaps I've been distant because of the recent threats directed towards our coven?"

"What else is she suppose to assume, Edward?" Esme defended. "You're our leader, the oldest and strongest out of the group and yet you haven't found your mate yet!"

"All I ask is that you believe in me," I said. "As your leader, you should know that I'm not a fledgling who cannot control his emotions. I've stuck it out this long, what makes you think that I'll change now?"

"The full moon…"

"Has always been the best time for me to recuperate my strength and hunt, nothing more."

"We're just worried," Emmett clapped a hand on my back. "We don't need any more trouble; there's a rumor going around that the undeads are rising in numbers and that they're organizing an army."

"How is that possible?" Alice asked. "They can't control their hunger, nonetheless think methodically."

"Someone's controlling them." We all turned to Carlisle with wondering eyes. "Someone like us."

"A turned vampire?" Esme bit her lip and clutched onto her husband's arm.

He nodded. "Possibly, you know they can't control their emotions and will bite anyone they come in contact with…" he trailed off as everyone turned towards me.

They waited for a response, watching me wearily as I sighed and defiantly stared back. I thought about the small bundle currently nestled in my bed and suddenly felt my heart tightening as a feeling of extreme protectiveness surged through me, leaving me shocked and gasping for breath.

"She's my mate."


A/N: (^^)

*waves meekly*

Hi everyone!! How do you like it so far? I'm new to the Twilight fanfiction world (hoorahh for vampires!!) so please be gentle with me!

Much appreciated if a Grammar Nazi could help me out, I suck majorly at that stuff. Also, characters will be out of character (OOC)!!

This is all that I want you to assume:

1. Edward and everyone else that is a vampire in Twilight is a vampire here.

2. Edward is the oldest and strongest out of all the vampires; he is also the leader.

3. Bella is not a vampire.

4. Vampires in this story are NOT like the vampires in Stephanie Meyer's story.

Thanks and please review!