A/N: This story is quite a departure from the actual Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. The plot and setting is completely different and I play around with the main characters in some ways as well. Nonetheless, there will be an eventual Bella and Alice romance, but I'm shooting for a long and unique tale, so don't expect to rush straight into the lovin'. I'll try to lay out some of the important details of this new world right away, but if you're confused let me know!

And yes, I have two other stories still in progress, one of which is a Bellice piece. I'm thinking I'm going to revamp that one though since I kind of rushed into it.

Into a cruel land

"Come on Tera, Charlie can't start without you!" A chorus of children dressed in filthy rags and matted hair yelled and begged for a stray youngster to join the circle. The small girl tripped over her broken sandals and skid face first into the rocky earth. She slid to a stop in front of the only adult present amongst the large irregular circle of children. The man's murky brown eyes flashed with concern in the firelight as he hooked his hands under the girl's armpits and lifted her into his lap. Her lip was smeared with blood and dirt and tears streamed down her red cheeks. Quickly she nestled into the man's chest as her little body shook with sobs.

"Hush now Tera, your mother will look at your lip when you're done listening to the story. Now you can stay in my lap while I tell it, but you have to keep your ears open as wide as you can the whole time alright?" Charlie rubbed Tera's back gently as she nodded her head in compliance. The other children around the fire quietly encouraged the girl cradled in Charlie's arms to stop crying. This would be the children's first time hearing Charlie's story and it was very important everyone in the village knew it by heart.

"Ok children, we'll start at the beginning."

Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, vampires did not exist in this part of the world. The human tribes ruled the lands and shared a peaceful trade agreement with the islands south of here, inhabited by the werewolf folk. One night a mysterious fog crossed the sea to the east and with it brought the vampires. They arrived in massive black ships day and night for a month until finally no more came. By then the vampires who had arrived had already claimed the east coast and the middle lands. It was only a couple more weeks and the entire continent was there's. Humans became slaves or food and the werewolves retreated back to their islands where the vampires dared not to explore.

When the vampires laid claim to these lands and its people, there were four siblings that led the charge against humanity: two sisters and two brothers. Once the vampires gained total power, three of the siblings left just as swiftly as they arrived. Why this happened and where they returned back to, no one knows for certain. The sibling that remained, our King Carlisle, was said to be the most ruthless of the vampire siblings. He revels in hunting us humans and kills in the most torturous ways. If you must ever face him children, you give up your life lest he rip it from you.

With his siblings gone, King Carlisle had his generals scour the continent in search of the most beautiful human woman they could find. Finally they brought him a young woman named Esme who hailed from a tribe not far from here. Though Queen Esme was barely out of her teenage years, King Carlisle made her his queen immediately. Listen up children, if you find yourself before Queen Esme, do not feel shame in making yourself seem most pitiful. The queen feeds upon humans, but she does so begrudgingly for she has never forgiven King Carlisle for turning her into a vampire. Appear weak and helpless and Queen Esme will grant you mercy and find a different meal.

After a year of marriage, the king and queen took up permanent residence in their castle directly in the center of the continent. At this time Queen Esme was still a human woman, so she could give birth and she did when she had their first child, Lady Alice. From a young age Lady Alice was gifted with the ability to see the future, which King Carlisle cherished her for, but he despised her rebellious nature. Even once her father turned her into a vampire at age 20 and appointed her ruler of the northwest lands, Lady Alice refused to feast on human flesh. Children hear this; if Lady Alice is in your presence, do not fear as you should with the other lords and ladies. Lady Alice has kept her promise to only drink wild animal blood and the humans of her lands tell tales of the Lady's humble wisdom and near equality between her vampire and human subjects.

Fairly shortly after Queen Esme had Lady Alice, she gave birth to a son, Lord Edward. He was a quite young man, mostly because he was too busy with his gift of listening to other people's thoughts. Lord Edward yearned for the king's approval which pleased King Carlisle, but put Lord Edward and Lady Alice at odds more times than not. When Lord Edward was turned the king put him in charge of the lands in the middle of the continents; the closest place to the king and queen's castle. Should you run into Lord Edward children, try to make your thoughts insignificant. Lord Edward knows vampires are superior to humans and will pay you no more heed than he would a bug if you act like one.

Four years after King Carlisle established his kingdom, Queen Esme gave him another girl, Lady Rosalie. Lady Rosalie was not gifted with a power like her two older siblings, but she was remarkably beautiful even by vampire standards. King Carlisle did not see much use in Lady Rosalie while she was still a human girl, but Queen Esme pampered her as if the lady was the queen. King Carlisle chose to wait until Lady Rosalie was a more mature age of 24 when he turned her and deemed her ruler of the southwest lands. Children if Lady Rosalie crosses your path you must do much as you would with Lord Edward. These two siblings are very close and share a strong view of humans as dirt, so dirt you shall become.

After Lady Rosalie's birth, it was a few years before Queen Esme had yet another child: Lord Emmet. Like Lady Rosalie, Lord Emmet did not receive a special power, but he was unnaturally strong for a human. This delighted King Carlisle and he turned Lord Emmet at the mere age of 18 to quickly make him the ruler of the northeast lands. Lord Emmet has always been loved by all of his siblings for his endless pursuit of humor. Cause Lord Emmet to laugh children and you'll be safe around him. At the very least you should know by now that we live in one of Lord Emmet's human villages, just a few miles away from Lord Emmet's compound. Life may be hard under his rule, as we are told it should be for an inferior group such as us humans, but it could be much worse, so do not fret.

Almost ten years from the time King Carlisle made Esme his queen, she finally gave birth to their last child, Lord Jasper. With Lord Jasper, the king and queen saw a revival of a child of theirs having a unique ability when they discovered Lord Jasper could feel and control others emotions. Lord Jasper was a clever young man and enjoyed tormenting vampire and human servants of the castle by forcing them to feel strange things for and against each other. King Carlisle turned Lord Jasper at the same age as his other gifted siblings, 20 years old, and left him ruler of the southeast lands. Listen carefully children, to stumble upon Lord Jasper is the most dangerous of them all. He will use cunning tricks against you and if you fail at playing his game, Lord Jasper's viciousness is rivaled only by King Carlisle's.

Now in conclusion to our story for this eve, let me warn you of the dangers of nomads. These are vampires that live in hiding from the rulers, mostly out in the countryside of each land. Nomads have either been shunned from their vampire brethren and escaped before they could be executed, or were humans who were turned by nomads instead of eaten. Children it is very important that you not put yourself at risk of running into even just one nomad. These vampires observe no set of rules to keep them in place and would not think twice of doing whatever they please with you.

As Charlie finished his story, he sent a deep glare around the circle of children to lend more gravity to his warning. Tera squirmed in his lap and a child directly across of him cleared her scratchy voice to ask a question. Charlie knew what it would be; it was always the first question asked every year he had to retell the story.

"Charlie, what happened to the werewolf people? Why didn't they protect us from the vampires?" Tera nodded her head along with a few others and her bright eyes looked up into Charlie's old dull ones.

"The werewolves have stayed on their islands far to the south ever since the vampires came. Back then the wolves would have been greatly outnumbered and wouldn't have had the motivation to fight to the death for a continent that didn't even belong to them. I'm sure a few tried to help their human friends, but it just made more sense for the werewolves to return to their home and stay safe." A couple of small hands were raised to ask more questions, but a female voice cut loudly through the air.

"Father! The stew is ready!" Charlie jumped up from his log seat and set a surprised Tera back down on it.

"Alright children, this old man has to eat now and I think it's about time all of you do the same. Run along and ask your parents any other questions if you really want to know the answer right now." Charlie waved and walked past a few tiny wooden shacks before he heard the children screaming and laughing amidst a youthful game. He frowned and hoped they hadn't forgotten too many of the lessons he attempted to teach them tonight. Just as Charlie reached his house and extended his arm out to grip the knob, the rickety twig door flung open and out popped a head full of long, thick, chocolaty hair.

"Father, I said…oh, there you are!" The young woman wailed in Charlie's ears. He winced and tugged at his earlobes while the woman pulled him inside and shut the door. She led him to the slanted wooden table and smiled widely at him while he investigated the small bowl of stew in front of him.

"Well Isabella it certainly looks decent. Smells half alright too." Slowly Charlie submerged his spoon into the bowl, brought it up to his lips, and slid it into his mouth. Quietly his daughter waited with raised eyebrows to hear his verdict.

"Not bad sweetie. A lot of broth, but I know the shrimp was a bit scarce this season." Bella nodded her head with a pleased grin and the two fell into a quiet dinner. While Charlie later filled their bowls with a second helping to dispose of the rest of the stew, he noticed Bella deep in thought. As with the children earlier, he knew exactly what she would be asking him and only had to wait until the moment he sat back down.

"Father, I know our family is supposed to uphold the task of retelling the stories in this village, but what would happen if you just stopped? I mean, how would Emmet find out that one storyteller in one of his villages wasn't passing along his family's stupid history anymore? Who cares if the children don't know in what order that bastard Carlisle made Esme have all those kids?" Charlie tried to keep his composure as he swallowed a mouthful of stew. Silently he set down his spoon and fixed his gaze on Bella. He always knew his 17 year old daughter was a spitfire, but he worried that one day it would get her killed in the worst way possible.

"Isabella, passing on the stories is vital to the survival of each generation and you would do well to learn that as you will be the one to do it once I die. The stories explain why humans have to live in fear and filth as we do. They tell the children how to behave around each ruler. They tell them to beware of the nomads who crawl outside our borders. They give them hope that one day the werewolves will come back and save us. And for fuck's sake, address the vampires with their title! Lord Emmet! King Carlisle! Queen Esme!" Charlie's voice had been building through his speech and ended in booming volume with a fist pounded on the table. Both bowls of stew toppled over the edge, but neither human even batted an eye at the mess. Charlie looked away in shame at his outburst and Bella pushed out of her chair and stormed out of the shack without a word. Charlie didn't dare rush after her. He learned after years of her eloping that she was too fast for him anyways.

A/N: Oh nos, what's going to happen to Bella? Oh wait, I just implied that something is indeed going to happen to her. Hmmm, sneaky aren't I? Review!