Stephenie Meyer owns the fictional characters Edward Anthony Cullen and Isabella Marie Swan.
a/n: The M-rating is for language and violence.
Part 1/The beginning
Isabella was the eldest child of the king.
When the princess was 15, her father was brutally murdered.
The king's loyal subjects, fearing an insurrection to put the king's cousin, the Duke of Argyll to the throne, quickly crowned the 13-year old Prince George, Isabella's brother, as the new king.
But George was king only for 52 days. An assassin's arrow dead center to the heart killed him instantly.
A war broke out among three forces wrestling for control of the kingdom. One side was Argyll and the other side was the Duke of Montgomerie, another cousin to the old king.
Argyll and Montgomerie were allies but when the king fell, they separated ways.
Each had ambitions to grab the throne from the young Princess Isabella.
The king's loyal vassals led by the Duke of Kent swore to protect the princess.
When George fell, Kent quickly left the castle and in a secret place in the forest, crowned the princess as the new queen.
Isabella was only 16 years old.
Kent's heir, Lord Edward, was in Lumberland securing the boundaries between two rivaling clans, while his father the duke and two uncles went to fight for the protection of the new queen.
Three months after the new queen's ascension to the throne, the duke summoned his eldest son.
Edward's new duty was to escort the queen's safe passage to London to reclaim her father's seat of power, now hers.
He left his young wife, the Lady Tanya, and his newborn son with his mother safe in Cullen Hall.
His two younger brothers joined Edward as they journeyed five days straight to the war country.
Edward had never met the new queen.
Not so for Isabella.
She was 10 years old when she first glimpsed Edward, who was six winters older than her. The handsome young lord was heir to England's most powerful dukedom.
She fell in love, even at a young age. It was an obsession that grew with the years.
Whenever Edward was in London, she would peek at doorways and secret windows to watch him. She would don a disguise and escape her maids-in-waiting to observe him at sword practice.
Once when she was perched on her usual hiding place, her adoring regard on the unsuspecting Edward, a cloth he used to wipe his brow fell to the ground. When the area was deserted, she picked up the red and blue cloth bearing the duchy of Kent's colors and coat of arms, with the letters KnT embroidered on it.
She valued this keepsake, silly as she might feel about it sometimes, close to her heart for many years.
It was unfortunate that she was never introduced to him but Edward was acquainted with her other siblings, especially George.
She had loved him all her life. Her world shook when he was near, his very name has the effect of making her breathless. The princess was convinced, even at a tender age, that it was his devastating green eyes that sealed her fate. They were the sort of green eyes that would haunt a girl's dreams.
On the day she turned two and 10, she swore to herself that she would ask, beseech, entreat and beg her father, the king, to marry her to Kent's heir. To belong to Edward was her first and last prayer.
Isabella was heartbroken and inconsolable when Edward Cullen, the future Duke of Kent, married Tanya Mullineaux two years later.
His father greeted him with instructions as soon as he was inside the generals' tent, in the middle of the advancing camp.
They discussed strategies and routes that were safest for the new queen's travel back to London. There were intelligence reports that Argyll's troops were coming from the south while Montgomerie's were likely waiting in the farther northside to ambush the queen's party.
His father's small army would ride straight to the castle to secure the kingdom for the queen's return.
By nighttime, he was summoned to the queen's tent for the final briefing of the routes and plans to implement her safetynet.
Edward was to be her close-in guard.
He was curious of this young queen his whole family was protecting and he himself has committed to give up his life for.
He never questioned his father's decisions and alliances. It was their way.
His father was loyal to the old king and now, to the new queen, as was Edward and not only because he was following a command.
He believed in the old king's ways, which were fair and humane. There were cruelties but this was as expected of a great monarch. He would protect this order, as represented by Queen Isabella, to his death.
When Edward entered the queen's tent, all of the highest-ranking lord generals were there, all 22 of them, in command of an army of more than 20,000 men-at-arms and a third of which would ride for the castle come dawn.
The rest would spread out to secure the route area while Edward and 30 of the best knights - and not just nobles but warriors - would be escorting the queen as personal guards.
There was only one woman in the tent, the queen, and 37 men including Edward. Twelve men were sitting around the war table with the queen.
His father took the last unoccupied seat but he himself remained standing as befits his second-tier position, slightly to the side, about 10 feet away from the queen who was in profile and listening to one of the nobles giving the solemn but rapt audience a briefing.
He stood still and stared.
The queen's sable hair was unbound and flowing behind her back, a dark chestnut mane. Even sitting down, he could tell that she was a delicate, petite girl.
Gazing fixedly at her clean, pale profile, his heart leaped and he knew without a shadow of a doubt that his breath was taken away as well.
While Lord Worth was speaking, the queen turned her head and looked directly at Edward.
And God in Heaven help him! He found himself facing what had to be the most breathtaking woman he would ever see in his life.
She had the lightest, most expressive brown eyes. She stared back at him, unblinking, her face without expression.
Edward was rooted to the spot, flustered and mesmerized, and all he could do was stare right back at her, forgetting to bow respectfully, as was expected of him.
Worth stopped speaking, noticing the queen's inattention. The whole tent fell silent.
It seemed the silence went on a long time instead of seconds, broken only when Edward abruptly wrenched himself out of his frozen state and bowed to the queen, finally.
Clearing his throat, his father formally presented him.
"My liege, this is my eldest son, Edward. He will be in-charge of your close-in guards while in route," said the duke.
"Your grace," Edward intoned. He took several steps forward, his eyes now courteously averted to the ground.
There was a significant pause before the queen spoke.
"Edward Cullen," the queen said softly.
Her sweet voice pierced his hot skin and traveled straight to his very soul.
His heart was pounding, his nostrils flared as he inhaled her distinctive strawberry scent.
He slowly looked up at her, dryness in his mouth.
"What is the name of your new son?" asked the queen.
Edward was startled by the question, but he answered at once.
"His name is William, your grace," he said huskily.
The queen nodded at him and turned back to Worth.
Edward let out a long breath and slid further to the side, now 15 feet away from the queen.
He was shaking.
He released another tortured breath.
When he looked at her brown eyes, something stirred in the deep part of his soul, some emotion he couldn't even begin to identify.
Edward crossed his arms and scowled. He didn't understand what had just happened. When the queen pinned him with her unrelenting stare, he felt his breath leave him and there was a sharp tightening in his stomach muscles as if he had been kicked by a manic horse.
All his muscles hardened and he felt as if an iron fist was squeezing his heart.
For the rest of the war meeting, he stayed in the back of the tent, hidden from the queen's view.
She never looked his way again and for that he was both relieved and oddly bereft.
Two hours later the meeting was over and they all departed the tent.
He stood silently outside of the queen's tent, his head bowed as if in deep prayer.
No one minded his tall figure, standing sentinel. He was the queen's guard, after all.
But Edward was not praying, silent and supplicant as he seemed to be to the casual observer.
He was utterly in shock.
God in Heaven ...
Welcome to QAC.
1. Part 1 chapters are short, about 1,500-2,000 words (usually). Part 2 and 3 chapters are longer between 3,500-5,000 words. After that, the chapters will only become progressively longer.
2. There will be future lemons but it is a slow burn.
3. This is a multi-POV story but its Edward-Bella centric. It's a romance story after all.
Brief genealogical list of QAC characters:
1. House of Cygne (ruling noble family of England and parts of Scotland)
King Charles (deceased) - Queen Renee (32 years old in Chapter 1)
Queen Isabella (16 years old, crowned after George's death)
Princess Angela (14 years old)
King George (deceased at 13 years old. As the heir apparent he was crowned after King Charles' death)
2. The Cullens of Kent, Lumberland and Forks
Lord Carlisle Cullen, Duke of Kent (41 years old) - Lady Elizabeth de Montfort (39 years old)
*Lord Edward Cullen, future Duke of Kent (22 years old)
Sir Jasper (20 years old)
Sir Emmett (17 years old)
*Lord Edward Cullen – Lady Tanya Mullineaux (20 years old)
Lord William Cullen (11-month old)
3. The Brandons of Brandon
Lord Godfrey Brandon (deceased), Earl of Brandon – Lady Esme Leofric (deceased)
Lady Alice Brandon (16 years old)
Lady Rosalie Brandon (15 years old, from his second wife Lady Rose Hamill who remarried when Lord Brandon died, leaving Rosalie in the castle when King Charles became her and Alice's guardian)
4. The Argylls of Argyll
Lord James Argyll, Duke of Argyll (39 years old) – Lady Victoria Montgomerie-DuFour (22 years old)
All character names in the story, except for some not generally recognized, belong to the author of The Twilight Saga. Plot lines and settings not identified or familiar to Twilight belong to the writer.