Welcome, friends, to my crossover tavern. This time, I bring you a crossover between Twilight and Mount & Blade.
I have always wanted to dissect Edward's personality so as to recreate it in a sense that does not much detract from the original while still being more enjoyable to those who dislike Twilight. That is why I have specifically written this so that everyone, whether they love Twilight or hate it, can read and enjoy it.
This is a project I decided to take on to ease my mind on my main project of original fiction. As a result, I hold less scrutiny on this work, as opposed to my main project. That being said, I do hold a significant standard over this work, and thus sincerely hope you would enjoy it.
1) All copyright names are property of the respective owners. Mount and Blade, Calradia and all its locations are property of TaleWorld Entertainment. The Bear Tribes, Onyx Brotherhood and other additions are property of Chel and the Mount and Blade Expanded Gameplay III mod team. The modified faction name of are property of The_Mercenary and the Native Expansion mod team. Twilight and all associated characters are property of Stephenie Meyer.
2) In this story I will make use of several excerpts from Medieval II Total War and The Elder Scrolls, with modifications to fit the context. For instance, the opening quote is a modification of the Britannia Campaign intro of MIITW, and a certain phrase uttered within the prologue chapter was originally spoken by Emperor Uriel Septim VII of the Tamrielic Empire.
With no further announcement, let us begin.
"Calradia. A land of emerald meadows. A land of diversity. A land of conflict. A land of war.
The Holy Swadian Empire. King Harlaus the Mighty sits on the vestigial throne of the old Calradian Empire, ever willing to win back land his decadent ancestors had lost.
The Khergit Khanate. Skilled warriors and horsemen of the steppes ever-willing to pay the blood price for their ambitions.
The Nordic Kingdom. From across the Northern seas came a breed of spirited people ready for war and conquest, having come to Calradia to stay.
The Confederate of Rhodokius. A people of songs and swords, of tough crossbows and long polearms, of fine vineyards and strong women, and of leaders who would bend their knees to no one.
And the Vaegir Tsardom. Wary of his neighbours the warrior of the Eastern frozen tundra never sleeps, though he dreams of the greater continent of Calradia.
Calradia. One realm. Five kingdoms. Total War."
- A nameless historian –
The last twenty-four hours did not exist. The Migrating Bear Tribes did not exist. The Onyx Brotherhood did not exist. Nothing had happened at all. And the ghastly visage now standing before him is but a non-entity born from his own imagination. Or so Edward Cullen wished.
"Stand up, Cullen," the visage threw him a stern look. "You can do better than this."
Better? What better was he talking about? How could 'good' even exist when the love of his life, no, the very purpose of his existence was gone?
"Are you going to lie there forever?" the shadow continued, its voice ramping up unforgivingly. "The dead cannot come back to life. You know this. I know this. A little kid knows this."
Yes, the dead cannot come back to life. Yes, what's done is done. Yes, he could do squat to stop it. But would it follow that he had to go on? He'd rather not. If there was such a thing as unity in death, would dying not seem like the best solution?
The shadow hovering before him somehow read his mind, even better than he could read others'.
"Death? Is that what you are thinking about? Death does not solve anything," he said, swaying his ethereal head from side to side. "Life is sacred. To live is to act, to change, to yearn for the betterment of oneself and the world. Would you be so foolish as to think you can solve in death what you could not in life?"
"What can I solve?" Edward's voice sprang up in protest.
Unconsciously, his entire body followed. His hands, arms and legs worked in unison, perhaps the first time in the last half a day, stretching, squirming, and finally bringing himself back to his feet. Such unconscious act was seen quite positively by the shadow, as his blurry visage shifted a little to show it.
"You stood up," the shadow said. "Impressive. That's a good start."
Edward was dumbstruck for a few seconds realizing what he had just done, only to resume his stubborn defense.
"I am not doing anything. Not for you, not for me, not for everyone," he growled. "My wife is dead. My daughter is dead. My family is no more. I shall follow them very soon."
"Lies," the shadow silenced him with a well-placed exclamation.
"I am not," Edward retorted. "There is nothing worth living for me now. Nothing."
The shadow visage's eyebrow lifted.
"Oh, is that so?" he remarked. "Then answer me, Cullen. Why is it that you would live on animal blood rather than human, when you certainly could? Why make the painstaking effort to prolong your life for so long when for all those years Bella Swan was not part of it? Why, Cullen, why?"
Again Edward was dumbstrucked. Fundamental as the question was, he had never thought of it before, not after Bella came into his life.
"I... don't know," Edward finally answered.
"Let me answer for you, Cullen," the shadow then said. "You are a creature of conflict. You love life as much as you think you hate it. You love the everyday world, the way ordinary humans go about with their daily routine. You love the way you can go around and see the ordinary unravel before your eyes and mind. You love how those people with no supernatural or special abilities, those with a limited lifespan and even more restricted capability to change their own life, would go about contented with their share of life. You love it all, even when you see yourself above them. And that is why you continue living in the dangerous world your foster father has created, a world of much suffering, only to wait for another day to see life again."
Taking a brief pause for his words to sink in, the shadow then stared at Edward with his immaterial eyeballs.
"Am I correct, or do you have any other ideas?" he concluded.
"I am... not sure," Edward finally said, unsure whether he should accept or deny the shadow's statement. In all seriousness, he had never looked at the world that way... or rather, he had never thought he was looking at life that way. But it made sense. Strangely compelling sense, even.
"Let me ask you another question," the shadow continued. "Suppose you see a dying old man on the street. You are the only one who can help him, and you indeed have everything in hand to save him. Will you?"
"It has nothing to do here!" Edward exclaimed, exasperated.
"Oh, but it does, Cullen," the shadow replied snidely. "In the world you live in, vampirism such as yours is a privilege rather a right, or even a curse. Your answer, may I add, shows whether you deserve said privilege or not."
"Then I don't need that privilege, not any more!" Edward shouted like a child. "Give me my wife and daughter back, or give me death!"
"I am the one who make choices here, Cullen. In this world, I have more power than the Volturi you know ever have. I can kill you in a heartbeat, or I can let you live forever," the shadow smirked. "But worry not – I am benevolent up to reasonable standards."
The shadow's boast made Edward even angrier.
"If you are so powerful and benevolent, why don't you bring Bella back to me?" he questioned, steam seemingly coming out of his ears.
"Because life is sacred," the shadow answered. "I can't give life without something in return. Maybe I can bring them back with your life instead. But no, you would not want it, would you? You don't so much want her to live as want to live with her. Am I right?"
Edward gasped. Granted, the shadow might be as psychic as he was, or even more so, there was no way he could know what Edward himself was not aware of!
"What is the point of all of this?" Edward finally pulled himself together and asked.
The blurry lips of the shadow forged a smile as he heard that.
"I bring you two choices," the shadow said. "Would you rather die here and now, alone, without any friends, whom you never bothered to make in the first place, or relatives, who are either dead or away? Or would you, in all seriousness, follow my course of action, become the hero you could have been but never tried, building yourself a name and save lives in the meantime?"
"And let me remind you – even if you choose the first I do not guarantee you will see Bella again. There are many dead souls in the afterlife, much more than those alive. It may well take you an eternity."
"Either way, I won't see Bella again, is that what you are saying?"
"Oh, I don't know," the shadow said cryptically. "Who knows, if you are patient enough to search all nooks and corners of Hell, you may see her again... Or alternately, if you are successful enough in your quest to become an immortal hero as opposed to the immortal butterfly you are today."
Edward's mind was scrambled. Ever since he met Bella Swan, never had he thought he would have to leave her behind, separated from her for all eternity with no chance of reunion whatsoever. That alone was enough to warrant death for him.
But the shadow's words did make sense nonetheless. What was the point of dying when it would solve nothing? And if he was right... would it follow that part of him loved the ordinary life passing before his eyes every day even more than he loved Bella?
"Maybe I will follow you then," Edward eventually answered, his expression fatigued.
"I won't accept such answer as 'maybe' or 'perhaps'. Either you follow me, or you don't, Cullen," the shadow sternly reminded. "What shall it be?"
"Y... yes," Edward repeated, having no other choice.
"Then, rest well this night, Cullen," the shadow concluded. "For tomorrow, you shall depart to the land of Calradia!"
That's it for the prologue. Hopefully I will see you again soon with the next!