Hello! I am new to this website so please, constructive criticism would be great! I hope you enjoy my medieval tale, I am really looking forward to writng this baby! :D
Disclaimer: Roses are red, violets are blue, I don't own Twilight and neither do you! All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer and no one else.
"What do you think of the Duke of Whitlock's son?"
I sighed at my younger sister, Alice, "He is a pretty babe, that is for sure." I responded, knowing that my comment would irritate her. I often jested to her about her childish affection for the eldest son and heir to the kingdom of Whitlock.
Alice dropped her embroidery down onto her lap and placed both of her hands on her hips, "He is my age and I am not a babe-therefore he cannot be one either!" She huffed and leant back in her armchair which made her slim waist appear even slimmer, "Simply because your longing and yearning for Duke Jacob has been consuming you since you began to fill your corset-"
"Alice!" I gasped, my hands flying to my face. My sister, despite being a princess of one of the largest and most formidable kingdoms in Washington had the manners of a common innkeepers' wife. I was surprised that Lord Jasper wanted to have anything to do with a Princess who spoke in such ill terms.
She laughed at me, leaning forward and reclaiming her embroidery from her knees, "You are so quaint, Isabella. Any talk of anything you deem inappropriate and your face goes up in flames!"
"You should not be discussing my affairs with Duke Jacob!" I scolded her, placing my poetry on the small, wooden table beside me, "Simply because Jacob and I are more than likely to become betrothed before the spring you feel the need to tease me! You are simply jealous, my child!" I accused her, my voice sharp but a smile on my face. The thought of becoming the Duchess of La Push sent a warm thrill down my spine, "Your fifteenth summer was the summer that has just passed-"
"I am aware of this." She muttered.
"And therefore, you are a little too young to be betrothed to Lord Jasper." I gazed out of the window that lay beyond the fireplace-I couldn't see anything for it was a day of thick cloud but I looked anyway. Alice and I had been in the woman's room for the past five days for our monthly bleeding and strangely we attended together due to reasons we were not sure of but nonetheless, it was pleasant to have someone to pass the hours with.
"Simply because I am too young to be betrothed to Jasper does not mean I do not want to be." She smiled and I just smiled back at her-I had heard all of this before, "And for your sake, if you are promised to anyone-I sincerely hope that it is to Duke Jacob. La Push is a respectable kingdom...and I enjoy the annual festivals they hold to celebrate their history. They have the best dining in Washington, I am sure of it!" She looked at her sewing with a pensive expression and ran her fingers over the threads, "I have ruined this."
"Unpick it and begin again." I told her, picking up my book and flicking through the pages trying to find something to hold my attention.
"I don't wish to aggravate myself further," She huffed, throwing her work into the blazing fire, "Mother will have my head...but I don't mind."
I put down my book, "Why does mother make us sew and read so often? It makes no sense, surely there are more important and fulfilling things to do."
"She fears she will never be rid of us." Alice breathed heavily, standing and smoothing her dress down, "She has no boy-child to succeed father and we are disappointments not just to our parents...but to our kingdom. And there is nothing that can be done for mother is too old to bear children now. We are resented!" The bitterness in her voice was as clear as it always was whenever she spoke of father and mother. I should have remembered to steer conversation away from the topic of our parents-she became so cold when they were mentioned. We had never been neglected by them but it was painfully obvious that Alice and I were not as cherished as any boy-child born into this bloodline would be. It was something that we could do nothing about...but it hurt us both regardless.
I watched her move over to the fireplace and stir the coal with the metal rod causing the flames to spark and spit. I frowned. She loved our mother and father so dearly and strived to do her best to make them proud of her-but she never received the reaction she desired. She was an exceptional archer with a sharp eye and flawless aim and she was a keen horse rider-better than some of my father's knights although she never chose to flaunt the fact and yet, despite her doing so well in almost everything she chose to apply herself to, it was never enough. The only way in which either of us would please our parents would be to marry well and produce heirs. My anger swelled inside of me and once Alice had walked away towards her bed, I blindly threw my book in the fire and watched it burn. I wasn't going to be what my parents wanted me to be any more.
"Angela, please make some tea for my pains," Alice asked gently from behind me, a small smile gracing her face. She had always liked Angela. She had been a simple scullery maid but she and Alice had got along very well as children despite the fact that Angela was three summers older, so when Alice turned twelve, she demanded that Angela be her lady in waiting, "Isabella, do you want some?"
I nodded, "Please." The pains and the bleeding that appeared every new moon were infuriatingly painful. Sometimes both Alice and I would stay up at night because we could not sleep through it.
Alice nodded at Angela who curtsied and left the room, her long black hair swaying as she walked. When the door closed, Alice turned towards me and tilted her head to the side in thought and bit her lip-a habit she had learned from me.
"What do you wish to speak to me about sister?" I queried, "You look deep in thought..."
She clasped her hands in front of her and sat herself down on her bed, "Suppose that if you are to be betrothed soon...suppose it is not to Duke Jacob?" She spoke the words with caution, almost as if she didn't truly understand them herself.
"What do you mean?" I asked, perturbed.
"Forks is a very powerful kingdom...and though we have good relations with La Push-it is relatively small in comparison. Father may want to wed you with an heir to a larger kingdom, a kingdom with more power and wealth."
"Which kingdom are you talking about?" I demanded. The thought of being promised to anyone else but Duke Jacob was something that I could not comprehend. Duke Jacob and I had spent a lot of time together and although we were not officially courting, I felt announcing our relationship was the only thing that was preventing it from being true. He had never kissed me on the lips, no gentleman had...but he had kissed my cheek and taken my hand while we walked in the garden. Of course I was never allowed to be alone with him, it would be inappropriate, but I enjoyed his company greatly...and every touch would send warmth all over my body and leave a feeling of happiness in my stomach.
"I'm talking about Seattle-if you were to marry King Carlisle's son, Prince Edward...the two greatest kingdoms and bloodlines would be united..." She let her words slip away as she examined the expression on my face.
"Seattle." I whispered, "You believe that father would wed me to Prince Edward of Seattle? Have you lost your sanity?" I raised my voice, rising to my feet, "After everything the Masen's have done to our family-you believe that father would want to join our blood with traitors?"
"Isabella, it has been almost three decades!" Alice argued, her bright blue eyes narrowed in annoyance, "We cannot deny that we may need their protection at some point-we have enemies that will strike eventually and the Masen's are, whether we like it or not, well, they are almost fami-"
"NO!" I shouted, "Do not say it! Don't you dare!"
"They are not one of us! I do not care what happened thirty years ago...those traitors are not part of our lives any more-they didn't have to betray us, betray their own kingdom but they chose to! And for that, I have no sympathy!" I growled, "In the end, power means nothing, wealth means nothing and Forks can survive on its own!"
"ENOUGH!" I screamed, "Silence! I will hear no more of this!"
I whipped around and found a terrified Angela standing by the door with another maid called Jessica. Jessica was my lady in waiting until I was sixteen when I found her acting frivolously with a knight in my father's guard, a Sir Michael Newton, who, after the discovery, was demoted to stable boy along with Jessica who fell from one of the highest positions in the castle to being a scullery maid. My father had always prohibited the servants in his castle from engaging in any sort of romantic relationship...he never really explained why.
"Your Highness?" Angela asked again when I didn't respond.
"What is it?" I snapped and the instantly regretted my harsh tone of voice. Angela was a sweet girl with an insatiable need to care for people and she didn't deserve my hostility, "I'm sorry, Angela, I don't mean to be so rude. What do you wish to tell me?"
"It is perfectly all right, your Highness," She nodded at me, "King Charles and Queen Renée wish to speak with you in the Great Hall. They ask me to hurry you for it is urgent."
"Did they speak of what they wish to speak to me about?" I enquired, the anger from my sister's words vanishing and confusion replacing it. My parent's never called me to the Great Hall-I only went there for special occasions or banquets.
"No, they did not. All they said was that it was urgent and that you must go to them immediately." She answered reverently.
I nodded at her, "Thank you. I will go now."
Angela and Jessica, who I only just noticed were holding everything they needed to make tea, moved towards the fireplace and set everything down on the small table beside my armchair. Angela instructed Jessica to make the tea for both my sister and myself and then leave to return to the kitchen before coming back towards me and waiting for further instruction.
"Isabella?" Alice said, "You should go...it must be important for them to take you out of the woman's room."
I approached her and wrapped my arms around my little sister's shoulders, "I'm sorry for acting so angrily, Alice." I pulled back, "We'll talk about this later."
She smiled at me and gave me a small wave as I left the room, Angela walking behind me.
"Come here, Angela. When we are alone you must never walk behind me-I have known you for far too long!" I smiled at her over my shoulder and was glad when she quickly moved to walk beside me, "How are you, Angela? How is your mother?"
"I am well as is my mother, your Highness, thank you for asking. And yourself?" She replied in a friendly manner as we strolled past the library. We were a few moments from the Great Hall and I was glad of a distraction for I had no idea as to what was to happen once I stepped inside to speak with my parents.
"I am as well as I can be when I am in the woman's room," I answered evenly, Angela mirrored my expression for I knew she felt the same pain, "Though I'm looking forward to my tea when I return."
She nodded, "The tea will most certainly help-you will feel much better after a cup."
We stopped outside the huge wooden doors of the Great Hall and just before Angela motioned to the guards for the doors to be opened, I stopped her.
"I have a bad feeling about what is to happen." I whispered to her.
"What ever happens...it is God's will." She answered immediately, "He makes everything happen for a reason so do not fear the future, Princess Isabella. Do not fear change-it helps you to grow into the person you need to be."
"And the person I need to be...who is she?" I asked helplessly.
"...The future Queen of Forks."
I sighed, Angela had such faith in me, "You speak such words of wisdom for someone so young. Sometimes I forget that you are only five or six moons older than me."
"My father was a man of God and the words I speak are more his than mine," She confessed, "What I remember of him is all I have left and I am glad that his memory can give you faith in yourself."
I reached out to her and squeezed her hand gently in mine, "You are a sweet and loyal friend, Angela-thank you for everything you have done for my sister."
She smiled with watery eyes, "It is an honour, your Highness."
I let go of her hand and face the doors, steeling myself with a deep breath that filled my abdomen before exhaling and squaring my shoulders.
"Open the doors." I said and I saw Angela nod at them. The guards met in the middle and twisted the handles inwards before slowly pushing away from me, sweeping into the Great Hall where I saw my father and mother seated on their thrones.
"Isabella," My father greeted me, "We have news for you."
"I know. Angela told me that it was urgent-I came here as soon as I could." I replied as I walked towards them. I noted my father looked different as I came closer. His eyes, a dark hazel like my own looked almost as black as night and he looked tired, his skin looked wearied and worn-what could this terrible news be? My mother looked as she always did-irritated that she and I were in the same room.
"Close the doors." My father called and within a few seconds, there was only my father, my mother and myself in the Great Hall.
"What's going on, father?" I asked, "I don't understand why you have called me here...has something happened to Duke Jacob?" I felt my heart leap in my chest, surely he wasn't hurt?
My mother shook her head, "This has nothing to do with Duke Jacob." She answered firmly and I felt her words hit my core. It had nothing to do with Jacob...so I wasn't to be married. What else would they want to talk to me about?
"Recently we have had news from King Carlisle in Seattle," My father spoke quietly, obviously irritated by my mother answering a question aimed at him, "He wishes to make amends with us...and I have chosen to accept his apology."
"What?" I breathed, "Father, are you-"
"He has a direct link with England." He interrupted me, "Their royal line is immensely powerful and King Carlisle is offering us a link with them through him. This means great things for Forks and it can all be ours...on one condition."
"And what condition is this?" I demanded, "Father, I don't understand-"
"As of now, you are no longer allowed to see Duke Jacob-your courting has ended. King Carlisle, Queen Esme, Princess Rosalie and Prince Edward, are journeying to us as we speak and will be with us within the next two days."
I cannot see Jacob.
"Father! I cannot see Jacob? Why?" I gasped, "What does any of this have to do with me or my relationship with Jacob? I thought you approved of him!" Everything he was saying made no fundamental sense in my mind.
"When they arrive, we will discuss the betrothal." He continued.
"Betrothal?" I shouted in astonishment, "What betrothal? I thought I was promised to Jacob!"
"So did we but circumstances have changed and that is no longer possible!" My mother cut in, her eyes glancing over me disapprovingly, "Seattle and Forks are the largest and most powerful kingdoms in Washington-it makes sense to unite them and continue the blood line. It will mean more power and authority over this state-it is an offer that we cannot ignore."
I heard Alice's words in my head. Suppose that if you are to be betrothed soon...suppose it is not to Duke Jacob? If you were to marry King Carlisle's son, Prince Edward...the two greatest kingdoms and bloodlines would be united...How had she known?
And then realisation swept over me.
I was betrothed to Prince Edward.
"I am to be betrothed to King Carlisle's son?" I whispered, feeling my throat constrict with misery and my eyes fill with tears. I couldn't bring myself to speak his name out loud. All I could think of was Jacob...my sweet, sweet Jacob...
"Yes," Answered my father, "You will be the future Queen of Seattle."
"B-but...what about Forks? Who will govern Forks?" I heard myself saying, I hadn't remembered even thinking of the words. My thoughts were plagued with Jacob's handsome face and the fact that I might never see it again.
"Since they were babes, Alice and the Duke of Whitlock's son, Lord Jasper, have been betrothed but we have chosen not to tell either. When they are both eighteen, they will wed and eventually reign over Forks when I die." My father told me sighing, "King Carlisle is eager to rectify his wrongs with us...and your marriage to Prince Edward is a way that will benefit both kingdoms."
I put my hands on the side of my head and tried to halt the swaying room around me, "Father...I-I...I don't know Prince Edward! I have never met him and yet you expect me to marry him?"
"Isabella, we are giving you time to get to know him-" My mother told me, leaning forward in her throne.
"How long?" I whimpered through tears.
"Nine moons-the wedding will be next year on the first day of the seventh month." My father answered my question, "Go back to your room, Isabella, we will talk more of this when King Carlisle and his family arrive."
"Father, please! Do I not get any say in this?" I cried.
"No." Both of my parents said and then my father continued, "There is no use in weeping for it will do nothing to change the situation. Your marriage with Prince Edward will be a success-there is nothing to fear."
"A success?" I screeched, "You see a marriage where both myself and Prince Edward are miserable as a success?"
"Isabella Swan, stop this immediately!" My mother commanded.
"Tell me mother! Do you even love me at all?" I angrily implored, watching her eyes widen in surprise, "Or are you so determined to get rid of me that you will marry me to a man who does not love me? Do you dislike me so intensely that you will deliberately send me into a marriage so much like your own-one without love? One without fondness?" She didn't reply, she simply looked away as did my father who had turned a strange shade of violet, "DO YOU WANT ME TO HAVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE NOW?" I howled, my hands clutching at my deep blue dress.
My mother swiftly rose from her seat and struck me sharply on my cheek, sending me onto the ground in a heap.
"GET OUT!" She snarled at me.
Two beats of silence as I wondered if I could get to my feet without snapping my arm.
"I SAID GET OUT!" She screamed so loudly that my ears rang.
"Isabella, leave." My father whispered brokenly.
With tears streaming down my face, I stumbled to my feet and limped towards the doors and the two guards who I had forgotten the presence of opened the doors for me, no emotion playing on their features. They had probably seen things that I would never know of.
My thoughts were consumed with grief as I sprinted from the hall, ignoring the sharp pain in my ankle, and hurried as quickly as possible to the woman's room. Jacob. I had to find a way to see him-I could not live if I never saw his smiling face and beautiful eyes again! The thought of never hearing his voice again, the voice that sent strange shivers up and down my arms, was unfathomably painful...there had to be a way to evade this betrothal to a traitor's nephew.
I burst into the woman's room to see Alice sipping her tea by the fire and when she saw me, tear stained and barely able to breathe, she quickly left her tea on the table and came to me, saying nothing, and brought me to the bed where she sat me down. She wrapped her arms around me like a child.
"It's happened hasn't it?" She asked gently, smoothing my braided hair, "My sister...Queen of Seattle."
"You knew." I sobbed into her hair, "You knew everything!"
"How? How did you know?" I whimpered, tucking my brown tresses behind my ears and remembering Jacob's touch as he had done the same. More tears escaped my eyes, "Why couldn't you have warned me?"
"Isabella, I couldn't! It would have changed everything...I don't have the authority to change what is to come." She sighed, "Believe me, what you feel now will change. Do not fear."
"That is what father said!" I growled, pushing her away and stalking across to the other side of the room, "Everyone is telling me not to fear..." I glared at her, tears still pouring down my face. She sat calmly with her hands clasped in her lap, her eyes making contact with mine and not shying away from my gaze, "How did you know of this? Tell me."
She shook her head and rose to her feet, "I cannot say." She whispered.
"Why?" I went closer to her, taking her hands tightly in my own, "Alice I must know...you spoke of it merely minutes before I was told by father. I know that they did not tell you before speaking with me..." I remembered what father had told me about the betrothal between Alice and Lord Jasper, "I'll exchange one bit of information for another-and what I know would be of great interest to you." I raised my eyebrows through my misery, trying to pretend that this entire situation was not of large consequence, for then my sister would be more willing to share her information with me. In the end, I was distracting myself from the despair I felt underneath but I couldn't let myself dwell too much on my heart as it slowly splintered. The outcome would be disastrous.
"If the information you wish to 'exchange' is to do with my betrothal with Lord Jasper-you needn't bother. I am already fully aware of this." She smiled wryly, a light in her eyes sparking.
"But how?" I gasped, dropping her hands, "Father and mother were to tell you when you are sixteen..." I narrowed my eyes. Something felt wrong, there was a chill surrounding us which I didn't understand. How did my sister know all of this information without being told? "You are hiding something from me. Something significant."
Alice avoided my eyes, "I know. I want to tell you for it has been happening for so long...but I cannot."
"But you must!" I pleaded and then lowered my voice, "No one will know of it besides me. Angela is not here, neither is Jessica and the guards cannot hear through the walls...you can trust me."
"Sister, never believe that I do not trust you...but I fear that if I make you aware of this that you will eventually suffer for it. I do not want to have your blood on my hands." She looked frightened and seeing my sister look so terrified made me want to weep. Alice was my closest friend and with whom, I shared everything. She didn't have to hide from me.
"Alice, please...I beg of you." I whispered, "Where is the harm in knowing? If this...secret...is troubling you, would it not help to know that someone you trust can help you?"
"But you cannot help me. It is incurable!" She struggled out of my grasp, tears in her eyes.
I felt my face fall as did more salt water down my cheeks, "Alice...please! This does not just affect you-I must find a way to stop my marr-" I stopped abruptly. I could see my life as my parents wanted it to be with Prince Edward-cold, full of hatred and discontentment. I couldn't marry someone I did not love and I was sure that Prince Edward was as against this God-forsaken arrangement as I was, "I must find a way to be with Jacob, I cannot live knowing that I cannot be with him!"
She paused for a long moment that seemed to draw on throughout all time.
"Very well," She said, her face as white as snow, "I will tell you everything."