I don't own Twilight or it's characters. This is a futuristic plot where vampires are the ruling body of a post-nuclear war. There will be some romance later, but it is not a warm and fuzzy story.

"Let me go! Please, you can't do this! This is murder, please just let me go!". My shouting did no good. The mob that carried me through the streets would not hear me. I had known these people my entire life, but all loyalty had been forgotten in the face of their fear. A new vampire king was to be crowned and tradition had to take its course.

The vampires had ruled our world since the Great War four hundred years ago. They were the only real power left after seventy-five percent of humanity had been decimated with the nuclear war and aftermath. Vampires could survive the harsh nuclear radiation, while we humans had to huddle in scared groups trying to eke out a living in this vastly changed world. Ironically, vampires were the reason humanity survived at all. They helped us to adjust. It was not a truly humanitarian reason though. If humanity died out they would be without a food source. So they assisted us for the same reason we help our goats, so there is enough food for later.

A system was created that had every human past the age of seven donating blood twice a week. It was a clean process really. No biting or hunting, just taping the permanent pic lines that every human was legally required to have. It was originally created by Carlisle the Great, the first vampire king and a champion for human rights. He and his advisors created the system to prevent humans from becoming extinct, but still allowing vampires to have their fill.

Carlisle had become a saint of sorts to humans and many prayed at the shrines erected in his honor. Very few still believed that any sort of god existed. It was difficult for people to believe in any deity that would allow us to come to the straits we were in. A few, myself included, still believed God was out there, but we were generally shunned if our faith was known. So most prayers, if said at all, were said to Carlisle. It was an interesting phenomenon considering Carlisle the Great was still alive and walking this earth, but that was how it was.

Carlisle the Great stepped down from the throne after one hundred years as he said that no one should have power for too long. The vampires then elected their next king, who was not as beneficent as humanity's Champion, but somehow we survived. And so every hundred years we have a new king and every hundred years the ritual sacrifice is made. Those who fight for human rights have protested this sacrifice every time, but each time it is upheld by the vast majority of their kind.

When a new king is to be crowned, a sacrifice must be chosen to bless the coronation. Interestingly, vampires are a superstitious lot and believe that fate will pick the most fortuitous sacrifice to be the victim. Lots are drawn to determine the village in which the girl will be found and then within the village a lottery is done to pick her name. I of course was the unlucky name drawn and so I am being carried away to my death.

I don't want to die. I'm twenty and have so much more to live for, but my life is to be cut short in the name of tradition. I have given up shouting. My throat is raw and I have cried all of my tears. I see the faces of the men who are carrying me and they are ashamed of what they must do, but it must be done. If the village were to refuse to give me up, all would die. And so to save my friends and family, I will now keep my peace and die with dignity.

Several hours later, we meet up with the squad that is to take me to the capital city. I am transferred without ceremony from one set of hands to another. The villagers are ordered to return and threatened with harm should anyone come back to try to take me. As if anyone would.

It is much faster traveling with the vampires. Their super speed does not require them to need any form of transportation and I am passed back and forth among the squad when one member tires of putting up with me squirming. It is very difficult to stay on the back of something that moves the speed of a shuttle.

A distance of three hundred miles is crossed at an amazing rate and suddenly I am facing the capital city, Arpegone. It's huge to my eyes although I have heard from stories of the past that cities before the War were ten times grander. Arpegone is populated entirely by vampires, the only humans are servants in the King's castle and they are never permitted outside the castle walls. As I expected, I am a curiosity to the city residents and a crowd has gathered to see me through the streets. Many look at me only in interest, but others look at me with hunger. Every vampire in the kingdom is well fed, but some miss the hunt desperately. Even with these spectators, we get to the castle without mishap, which is something for which I am very grateful. If I must die, I prefer it to be at the ceremony instead of being attacked in the street.

At the castle I am passed from person to person all of whom are required to primp and prepare me for my role. The ceremony is not for another two days, but I am to be treated royally until then. Like I want to be treated special. I simply want to go home, but I know it is futile to wish. I keep going through relaxing exercises to keep me calm. Yes, I'm going to die. No, there is nothing I can do about it. Yes, I can face this with dignity.

The day after I arrive I am taken to a sitting room. I'm told to sit quietly and that someone will be in to see me soon. Staring off into space, I am suddenly greeted by an impressive figure. He is beautiful, as all vampires are, and he looks kindly at me. He tells me how sorry he is that this is going to happen to me and how he wishes there was something he could do. I look confusingly at him and he chuckles.

"Oh excuse me, what horribly bad manners I have. My name is Carlisle and I believe that your's is Bella."

Carlisle! I dive to my knees to try to show the proper respect to humanity's Champion. Mumbling apologizes for my behavior, Carlisle simply picks me up and places me back on the chair.

"No Bella. Do not kneel before me. I was king once, but no longer and I feel as though I have failed you personally for not stopping this barbaric rite. Please forgive me for not saving you from your fate."

If he could cry, I believe he would have been doing so at that moment. His wise old eyes held so much sorrow and it looked as though he held the weight of the world on his shoulders. I wished to comfort this man even as I wished for comfort myself. I needed to distract myself from the events of tomorrow and so I pleaded, "Tell me about the world that was."

Carlisle sat and talked to me for several hours just telling me stories of the world before the War. I felt like a child again listening to stories around the community fire and I wished the moment would never end. But as all things, it did.

"Carlisle! Where are you? Oh here you are."

I spun around at the new voice and came face to face with the most breathtaking being I had ever seen. His skin was alabaster marble and he had the face of an angel. Riotous bronze hair framed his perfect face and his eyes pierced into me. His eyes! They were not scarlet. They were topaz! Wait, Carlisle's eyes were not scarlet either. They matched the color of the visitor's.

As my fuzzy brain was trying to sort out what was going on, Carlisle caught my attention.

"Bella dear, I would like you to meet my son, Edward. He is the new king to be crowned tomorrow."

I fainted.