Wow okay hi guys, it's me. This'll be my first fic in a long time, so I guess please enjoy it, and review!
Dear Baron Carlisle Cullen,
War has broken out between our country of Ovea and that barbaric country of Itul. I fear we may not make it, but there is always hope.
I am sending you my most prized possessions. My children, Edward and Alice, the only beings left beautiful in my life. My friend, please care for them as if they were your own. I know that you and Esme have never had children, though you have dreamed of them your whole life, so I know you two will take good care of them.
They have taken my Elizabeth from me, never to return, and I am not sure what will happen to me next, but my general has a plan. I hope that it will see us through and end this brutal war once and for all. Charles seems like a good man, but on the throne of Itul I fear he is much to eager to fight, and now we are seeing the consequences.
I have arranged to meet with a representative of his country to discuss maybe settling this war so that I can grieve for my wife in peace. I wish not to continue if there is no way I am to see her lovely face any longer. My friend, I know you feel as I do about these circumstances. If worst comes to worst, I know that you will raise my children well in my stead, with the goodness of my wife and I reflected in their lives. Please live carefully, my friend. And be safe.
With all love,
King Edward I of the House of Masen, king of Ovea
(Edward's POV, 18 years later)
The dirt floor shifted under my feet as I paced.
Victoria was late.
I was about to ask her the most important question of my life, and she was late. It was making me nervous.
What if she's dead?
What if she figured out what I was going to ask and was so disgusted she ran away?
What if she doesn't want me anymore after I ask?
What if she slaps me for being so presumptuous about where we are in the relationship?
I paced quickly back and forth, biting my nails until a knock at the door made me jump.
I dashed towards it and flung open the door, almost ripping it from its hinges.
It was my Aunt Esme and Uncle Carlisle.
"Oh," I said, disappointed.
"Hello yourself," Aunt Esme said, sweeping past me to put the groceries on the creaky dining room table.
"What's got you so worked up?" Uncle Carlisle asked, groaning as he sat down at the table, massaging his knees. He worked all day at the local butcher's, on his feet all day, even though he was getting old. I had told him again and again to retire, but he insisted that he needed to take care of us, and in order to do that he had to work.
"I'm waiting for Victoria," I replied, "I'm proposing to her today."
My aunt and uncle froze, looking at me.
"What? I'm of age, and so is she. I spoke to her father yesterday, and he said that if I can build her a house within a year of marriage, he will let me marry her. If I continue fixing roofs with James, within the year I'll have enough money."
"Edward, I-" Carlisle started, but was interrupted by a sharp knock at the door.
I dashed towards it and opened the door, but was met with a large man dressed in the clothes of the royal court. He was accompanied by a guard, dressed in the capital city guard's uniform. The large man was young, no more than thirty, with dark, curly hair, and blue eyes that held contempt for our simple home.
"Is this the residence of Carlisle and Esme Cullen?" He asked, looking around until his eyes met my uncle's. Uncle Carlisle stood up, meeting the man's gaze. They seemed to recognize each other, but neither seemed to be pleased by it.
Aunt Esme seemed to be afraid, and quickly came over to me, pushing me out the door. "Edward, we have some business we need to take care of. I want you to go and find Alice, and take her to the dress shop. Buy one dress with this money," she pressed a large gold piece in my hand, "And then return. By then we shall have finished. Please say nothing to Victoria until this is over."
With that she pushed me out the door and closed it.
I stared at the gold piece in my hand. Never in my life had I ever seen such money. We had lived near poverty since I could remember moving to this village with my aunt and uncle. The front had the head of the late king, Charles II and his late wife, Renee of Inol, on the back. Queen Renee had died giving birth to her daughter, the current Queen Isabella I, who was on the silver coin with her half brother, Stephen. King Charles II, his mistress, Claire, and Prince Stephen had died some three years ago from an illness that swept through the whole country. It almost took Alice and Uncle Carlisle. This left Isabella, the closest relative of King Charles II, alone to reign. Some tried to argue that she should not be queen because of her age, but she soon proved that irrelevant once she started cleaning up the leftover mess from the war that her father refused to touch.
The coin was worth a large fraction of what it would take to build a house for my life with Victoria. But I knew that I should obey Aunt Esme and set off to find Alice.
She was most likely at the local barber's. She was friends with his daughter, a charming girl named Bree Tanner, and aspired to style hair for a living.
I slipped on my leather shoes, falling apart from wear. I was going to have to replace them soon, but my life with Victoria came first. Until then, I would have to walk around with these or walk barefoot.
Walking down the muddy street, I passed the houses of the people I had grown up around. The thatched roofs added a smell of fresh straw to the village, and I breathed it in, the smell of home surrounding me.
As I approached the richer side of town, the houses were built with wood instead of mud, and the roofs made with brick instead of straw, but the streets remained the same, symbolic of the lack of wealth the village had. I imagined the capital's streets were not only stone, but marble, and the houses made with gold. I laughed, thinking about this as I came up to the barber's shop, one of the wealthier shops in the middle class part of town.
I pushed open the door, hearing the bell jingle above as the people in the shop turned to look at me, then turned back to their previous engagement. Alice popped up from behind the counter and squealed as she saw me.
"Edward, hi! What's going on? You never visit me here!"
I smiled back at her and held out the gold piece for her to see.
"Aunt Esme wants me to buy you a dress." I instantly regretted it, since it brought flashbacks of other shopping sprees I had embarked upon with Alice. They took hours and even at the end, sometimes she didn't buy anything at all. Now I understood why Aunt Esme wanted me to go get a dress with Alice.
Alice squealed some more and she dashed to grab her jacket, yelling towards the back, "Bree! I'm leaving, see you later!"
A muffled voice shouted back, "Okay, Alice, bye!"
Alice grabbed my hand and pulled me immediately towards her favorite dress shop. She could never buy anything there because it was always expensive, but now that she was given the money to buy a dress worth three times the dresses she normally bought, she was a force that could not be stopped.
I sat there for three hours, occasionally dozing off as Alice was measured, weighed, and fitted for a dress befitting a lady of the court.
I'll admit it was beautiful, but at the time, I did not feel it was worth the wait.
As we walked home, Alice cradling the dress box like her firstborn child, I wondered what business Aunt Esme and Uncle Carlisle could have with that large man so that I could not even be there.
As we entered the house, I noticed that the man had left, but Aunt Esme and Uncle Carlisle sat at the table, facing each other, looking tired, defeated.
A bag lay between them, looking much like a purse of money.
"What's that, Aunt Esme?" Alice said, approaching the table. Aunt Esme picked it up, and we heard the unmistakable jingle of coins come from the purse. She placed it in a small box above the fireplace and sighed.
"Edward, we have something to tell you," Carlisle said, "And I guess it's just as well that Alice is here, too."
He sighed, and I began to worry.
"That man that was here earlier, his name is Emmett. He is a cousin of Queen Isabella, and Chief Keeper of the Harem. Tomorrow, you will be going with him to the capital city, and will become a part of Queen Isabella's harem."
I stood still for a moment, unable to comprehend what had just happened. Had I gone from hopeful man about to propose to the woman he loved to a sex slave for a complete stranger?
"Did they pay you for me?" I asked quietly, referring to the purse.
"They would not leave until we had. The money will never be touched."
I stood quietly. I was an adult, they should not be able to do this, and yet they had, because I was still under their care.
Alice had been quiet, and now I looked at her. Her face was one of shock and fear.
"Will Edward come back?" She asked, pleading them with her eyes.
Carlisle sighed. "I don't know. They threatened to forcefully take you if we refused. Who knows what kind of problems that would have caused for you, Edward, if they thought you were a troublemaker from the start."
I turned and left the house, not knowing where I was going. I didn't want to ever go back. But I knew I had to. If I had to sacrifice myself for my family, so be it.
I found myself in the one place I felt happy. The place where Victoria and I had first met. It was a small field outside of the village, wild and covered in beautiful flowers in the spring. I sat myself among them and sighed, my thoughts running with nowhere to go but back in my head.
"I thought I'd find you here."
I turned, and saw Victoria there, smiling in the fading sun, a beautiful vision. My angel.
She came and sat next to me. We sat there, together in silence before I found my courage.
"I'm leaving tomorrow," I said, not looking at her.
She looked at me, though, shock in her eyes. No doubt her father had informed her of my question of marriage, and now she was going to be confused at my sudden change of heart.
"They're taking me to the palace," I continued quietly, still not meeting her eyes, "I don't know if I'll be able to come back."
She looked away, down at her hands, not saying anything for a long time.
We sat there, smelling the fragrant scents of the wildflowers, feeling the warmth of the sun's rays diminish as it moved farther down as the day passed.
Finally she spoke.
"Then I suppose we can't be together."
I looked at her, and she looked back. I saw sadness in her eyes, tears falling down her cheeks.
As I reached up to wipe them away, she reached up to do the same to me.
And I realized I was crying too.
The next day the large man, or Emmett, as I was to remember his name, came back with his fancy guard. They arrived in a stagecoach, equipped with a night-black horse and an angry-looking footman, about four foot high. I would've laughed if I thought it wouldn't make him angry. But it looked to me everything made him angry.
Esme had made me wear my best clothes, but I felt it didn't matter much. They looked rather poor compared to Emmett's city garb.
I hugged everyone goodbye and looked around.
Victoria wasn't coming.
I expected as much. She hated goodbyes more than anyone I knew, and knowing that we were never to be together probably gave her a sense of farewell already.
Still, I had wanted to see her before I went.
I climbed into the coach after Emmett and his guard, and we sat quietly as the coach bounced up and down the road.
After some time, we reached a building that looked to me like a mansion, and we were let out.
The guard took me inside to a room where sat four other men, all young, all handsome, all confused as I was.
The guard sat me at a chair next to one of the young men. He looked straight forward the whole time.
Emmett moved to the front of the room to speak in his booming voice.
"All of you have been chosen to join Queen Isabella's harem, an honor I'm sure you understand. Your price has been paid, and I'm sure you won't find your circumstances undesirable when you arrive. You are to entertain Queen Isabella, and make sure she does not get bored with you. If you have not been called to her rooms for more than two months, I will inquire of you to her. If I find that she does not desire you any longer, or does not wish to see you anymore, you will be sent home, and the price you have been paid will be asked back."
I looked around, and no one seemed to be afraid of this. I didn't know whether I should be scared or not.
"You may also be asked of from ladies of the court or other royalty. If Queen Isabella permits, you will be allowed to entertain these women or men as well. If you are not called to her rooms for more than two months but are being called to another's room, you will not be inquired upon."
I thought that was a pretty good break.
"There will be one week every two years where you will be allowed to return home to visit, but only on good behavior. I'm sure this is plenty of time for you to go home and come back, and this, in my opinion, is more than enough luxury for you."
"You may not leave the harem without permission, and you may not leave the palace unescorted. You will only ever leave the harem upon Her Highness's call."
He turned to the guard and whispered something to him. The guard left the room.
"Now, we will depart for the palace. You can make your introductions then."
He gestured for us to follow. We got up and followed him in a line, quiet as mice, until we reached the driveway.
There were two coaches, a large one and a smaller one. The smaller one, it turned out, was for Emmett. Us five were to share the larger coach for the long ride there.
We all climbed in and sat.
I sat in between two of the other men, and two sat in front of me.
I observed them, and noticed that there were three of us with fair hair and light eyes and skin, and two with dark hair and dark eyes and skin.
One of the fairer ones spoke up first.
"I suppose I'll go first. I'm Michael of Newton. I came from the village of Perth." He was fairly handsome, but seemed a little stuffy, and self-centered.
The other fair one spoke up, quieter, shorter. "I'm Jasper."
"Edward," I said, cautiously.
Much of the ride was passed in silence, and I had quiet to think about my feelings.
I thought about my family. I wondered what Alice was doing now, and what Uncle Carlisle was doing, and what Aunt Esme was cooking.
Mostly I thought about Victoria, and how I missed her. I resolved to see her again in two years time, and we would run away. We would live in the woods and be happy, surrounded by red-headed children and living happily, completely forgetting about this mess.
That's what I would do.
Be good, and run away.
Okaay...so there's my first chapter. Make sure you tell me what you think! I promise there'll be lemons later, but I'm building up to that. Besides, we haven't even met Bella yet! Or should I say Queen Isabella I. Well, please review!