I don't know about you, but Breaking Dawn severely diminished my excitement about Twilight. I just didn't like the book much. The characters were all totally off, the plot was not well thought-through, and the writing made my eyes water. When the book finally advanced to the battle scene, I was exultant -- I thought that the story would finally take the right turn and amend for all the confusion from the beginning. But then nothing happened. SM later called it "strategy"... but I seriously see no connection between what happened in BD and The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare. So I decided to test the waters myself, and see if I could do any better.
That being said, I would like to remind you of two things:
a) I am not an author. I know I'm not better than SM. I'm just a sixteen-year-old venting her frustration.
b) I don't mean to offend anyone who liked BD. Everyone's entitled to an own opinion. You can still enjoy this story if you did :)
The story kicks off right where the Volturi are deciding whether or not to attack. Until then everything stays as it is -- if you need to refresh your memory, feel free to check Breaking Dawn (I had to do that quite a lot, especially in the beginning. I hope there are no contradictions. If you find any, however, please let me know). The italics in the beginning are straight from the book.
Beta'ed by TRDancer. A huge thanks to her! :)
"I must make the deciding vote, it seems," Aro mused.
Suddenly, Edward stiffened at my side.
"We have committed no crime," he called out over the snow-covered field. Despite his words, his voice was resigned and hopeless. There was no energy in his resistance. My grip on his hand tightened.
Aro put on a mask of sadness. "But alas, we cannot know the dangers." He turned back to his witnesses, making broad gestures with his arms. "If we do not protect our kind, who will? Many claim we have no right to exert our power. But they do not see the real nature of our work, the meaning of our efforts. When the southern covens arranged into armies, did any rules prohibit their actions? When they fought their bloody wars and brought down numerous innocent bystanders, were they acting against the law? No, they weren't—because laws for our kind do not exist. Only threats do."
I stopped breathing. The snow looked blood-spattered through my red lenses; my fear was quickly replaced by a sudden anger. Not an explosive anger like the one I was used to. This anger was white-hot. It didn't start, peak, and finish. It burned away until nothing was left.
"We are not your kings," Aro continued, casting a meaningful glance on Garrett, who was still standing in a crouch beside Kate. "We are not your superiors. We are your servants. We protect you from harm—and from threats such as these. If I could, I would go back in time and stop the wars of the south before they began. I am sure I am not the only one who would gladly have crushed the seeds of destruction before they could grow, had I possessed the knowledge I have today. But in the early days the wars were only a threat, not a danger. From that experience I learned that threats should be defeated before the danger. And here we have a threat."
The witnesses had started murmuring in low voices. Their eyes swept over the whole scene, from us to the Volturi, judging us. Only a few of them were still unsure; the rest looked at Aro with resolute eyes.
Aro, I was sure, could see it too. His face was still the same mask of sadness, but now there was something more brewing beneath it.
He turned Carlisle. "Threats," he said softly, almost in a whisper, "must be annihilated."
The silence that had weighed down on our ranks was suddenly swept away. A chorus of angry growls and shouts filled the air from our side of the field. The friends most loyal to us stepped closer to Carlisle to form a line of defense. The more skeptical allies crept further away from us, into the direction of the woods.
My nails dug into Edward's skin where my hand still gripped his. We both looked anxiously to the east—the side of the field that was not occupied by anyone. I knew what we were both thinking. It was a possible escape route for Renesmee and Jacob.
While our side erupted with noise, the Volturi guard stayed eerily silent. Their faces were not mockingly sad like Aro's, or even politely neutral—every one of them looked at us with bloodlust written all over their faces.
Carlisle remained quiet. I could not see his face, but his stance was tranquil and sad. Despite all his optimistic hopes, he'd known what our fate would be. He had accepted it.
"This is your choice, then." He spoke calmly, looking Aro straight in the eye. "To eradicate my family and friends."
Caius' smile was malicious, Marcus' expression bored. Aro's lips twisted down into a warped frown. "I'm afraid it is, dear friend."
"There's nothing we can do to change your mind?" Carlisle pushed on, clearly only asking for the sake of trying. "Is this all that remains of our long friendship?"
Aro joined his brothers at the head of his army. They stood in a straight line, like generals leading their troops against a foreign power. Renata fluttered behind him like a bundle of nerves. "What are friendships beside the wellbeing of our kind?" he countered desolately.
And with that he raised his hand. His army crouched down in one harmonized movement.
"We need not resort to battle," he continued. "The only threat here is the little girl. Hand her over, and you can all leave unharmed."
A furious growl gushed out of my lungs, and I wasn't alone. Even Edward was snarling at Aro's outrageous offer. Carlisle didn't hesitate with his answer.
"No, Aro. We are a family—if you want to kill one of us, you will have to face us all."
It was the answer Aro had been expecting. He nodded, obviously pleased. "Very well."
After that, many things happened at once.
Aro's witnesses scattered, running into all possible directions. Most of them dashed off into the woods, some went to join the Guard. Surprisingly, a rare few came to us. Garrett beamed at them as they crouched down beside him.
In the space behind us, our own witnesses began to scramble. A big part of them made a frenzied departure towards the safety of the woods. Randall, Mary, Siobhan, Liam—from one instant to the other, our forces were diminished severely.
And yet I understood them and could only hope they made it out of the clearing in time. For something was happening on the other side of the field as well. The Guard had quickly rearranged themselves into an arrow-shaped formation. Their actions were measured, deliberate. The Volturi were attacking.
Our reaction to their attack was more disorganized. Snarls and hisses ripped through the air as we took off at the same time, like a flock of birds at the first sign of danger. Except that we weren't flying away from it. We were heading straight toward our deaths.
In the rush of it all I was dragged along, mechanically attacking the source of danger. But before I could properly be involved in the fight, two strong hands grabbed my arms, catching me off guard. I was flung backwards and dropped onto my back. Before I had time to realize who it was I was thrashing against my unknown adversary, blindly snarling and kicking.
"Hush, little one, it's just me!" a voice called out. I focused my eyes on my opponent for the first time. It was Zafrina. She smiled at me when I met her eyes. "I promised to cover you, remember?"
I stopped thrashing, suddenly feeling like an idiot. I now understood what Edward had meant the many times he'd said that newborns were no good in a fight. Had I reacted like that to a real attack, I would have been dead in less than a second.
I mumbled a sorry and scrambled to my feet, swiftly assessing my surroundings. Zafrina had thrown me out of the battle's way, onto a patch of snow by the trees. The real fight was taking place a good ten yards away from us. The area around us was shrilly silent.
When my eyes took in the scene of battle, I could feel something heavy in me sink down to my feet. Everyone I had ever cared about was there, fighting against a power we had no hope of defeating. Even Emmett's smile was gone as he took on a large, dark shape—Felix, I guessed—and bared his sharp teeth. Rosalie was close by, fighting against an opponent of her own. Others—Benjamin and Tia, Garrett and Kate—were fighting back to back, clearly seeking help in numbers. Already now our ranks seemed ridiculously small against the unstoppable wrath of the Volturi.
I started to search more keenly, feeling more desperate with each second. Watching Emmett fight was one thing—at much as it shamed me to admit, I was more interested in how my husband was doing. But he was nowhere to be seen.
I strained my eyes more. The wolves had joined the fight too, but all of them looked strangely unfamiliar and distant to me. None of them had russet fur and kind brown eyes. None of them was carrying a small child.
Had Jacob managed to escape? I forced myself to believe that not seeing him was a good thing. The fight was still in its early stages; he couldn't have already been brought down.
A sudden cry broke me out of my frantic searching. Zafrina has disappeared from my side. I could soon spot her a few feet away, crouching in front of two shady figures.
"Step aside, woman, we only want her," a deep voice hissed. I didn't recognize it.
"No chance, honey. You'll have to get through me first," Zafrina answered, sounding surprisingly high-spirited. It made my heart sink even lower.
Almost wearily, the big figure gestured something to his partner. The latter crouched down quickly, and sprang.
This one was a woman. A strand of curly, brown hair stuck out from under her hood. She landed on Zafrina before I could so much as blink.
But Zafrina was not surprised. She hurled the woman to the side before she could even fall to the ground. When the woman landed, she did not get up. Her eyes were blank as the pages of an unfinished book.
"How do you like the darkness, my dear?" Zafrina snickered. I was surprised by her tone—I'd never heard her be this cruel before.
The other vampire hesitated for an instant before throwing himself into the air. I could only cry out before Zafrina was pinned down to the ground by the large figure, making strange noises like a cat. I was paralyzed; weakly, I waited for the blindness to come over the man so Zafrina could free herself. But when I heard a terrible ripping sound I realized that it should have already happened. Something was wrong; Zafrina was screaming and thrashing on the ground, her eyes wildly concentrating on the man. But he was fine.
"Bella!" she screamed out, snapping me out of my state of shock. I lunged forward, intending to knock the man off my friend.
"No, Bella, your shield!" Zafrina's words came out agonized. I halted in midair and fell to my hands and knees. What did she mean?
I checked the thin film that I had thrown over my family just a few minutes ago. I could only feel a few light sparks in it; the most had broken out of it, out of the reach of my protection. Zafrina, too, was left unprotected, whereas her opponent was not.
Horror washed over me—I was thwarting Zafrina's powers!
Cursing myself, I hastily adjusted the form of my shield. Some light sparks reemerged, some vanished—the members of the Volturi who had smuggled themselves into it. The screaming next to me abruptly stopped as the dark man was tossed to the side, his eyes blank as his partner's.
"Thank you, little one," Zafrina said, straightening herself. "Try to keep your shield over the right people."
I was about to apologize when I saw her clothes, ripped off from right next to the shoulder. A long gash ran over her side, leaking the blood of her last meals onto the so far spotless snow.
"Zafrina!" I gasped, rushing over. "Are you all right?"
She shrugged with a smile on her face. "Could be worse. Don't worry about me—concentrate on your shield. It's our best asset."
The shrieking on the field was getting worse and worse, but there was a different tone to the cries now. Some of them were painful and mostly accompanied by the sound of tearing. Some of them were more deeply tormented. They were cries of grief.
Terrified, my eyes scanned over the crowd again. Through my peripheral vision I could see figures approaching us again and Zafrina crouching to fight, but my mind was preoccupied by something else. The anxiety was overwhelming. Where were my greatest treasures, my husband and my child? I could see neither. As far as I knew they could both be dead. I almost howled at the thought.
But then my eyes caught a glimpse of bronze hair. The sight of Edward's angular face and familiar, beautiful eyes affected me like a drug: I felt a sudden high, and seemed to drift away from myself in an odd out-of-body experience. My world was reduced to the tiny spot he was standing on.
When I looked at him more carefully, searching for signs of injury, I noticed he looked preoccupied, like he was looking for something. He wasn't actively fighting but dodging the attackers instead. His head whipped from side to side.
My hazy mind took a few seconds to realize what he was doing. Edward was looking for Demetri! I drew in a deep breath, finally feeling some kind of ease. If Edward was looking for him, maybe we still had hope. Renesmee must have escaped with Jacob.
Zafrina's screaming once again brought me down to Earth. She was struggling against another set of attackers, this time three. More dark shapes were gathering around us. It could only mean one thing: I had been detected. Now I was the main target.
Checking my shield, I crouched down in anticipation. This time someone was sure to get through Zafrina, and I would have to defend myself. Would I be able to concentrate on keeping the shield up and fighting at the same time? I would soon see.
True enough, I was soon surrounded by vampires. As I scrutinized their faces, I recognized a few of them: Felix was there, along with Heidi and Chelsea. The others I had never seen before, but they watched me as maliciously as Jane had when she'd first tried to torture me.
"Hello, Bella," Felix said pleasantly. He took a step closer. "Nice to see you've joined us."
The white-hot anger was still there. A low growl started forming in my throat and I bared my teeth, but tried to keep myself under control. Newborn ravings would help no one. Instead, I tried to remember everything I had been taught about fighting in the last few days: how to position my arms just below my chest where they could both defend and attack, how to not concentrate on each person separately but process the group as a unity, how to keep my knees bent but tight.
But even with all those tips and tricks I knew I had no chance. It was time for me to die.
Thankfully, I'd already acknowledged that fact.
I tried to copy the style of Breaking Dawn as much as I could without losing my personal touch. How did you like it? I'm welcoming any criticism and/or suggestions. Please never forget to review! :D It keeps me going.