Hello there. I'm not particularly new to this fandom and I don't know if intend on staying.
This story is a rewrite of one I typed out years ago. I can't on my conscience allow the original to exist without a revision, so you've got this one. New readers may find this interesting, and old readers will find that plot elements have completely changed. Honestly, I think I'm going to completely rewrite huge swathes of this story, given that the entire last part makes absolutely no logical sense. I got pretty carried away, it seems.
I'll keep the old story up if you want to see some growth. Perhaps it will at least encourage those who want to write to start. Much changes in five years, after all.
Speaking of the old story, if you came here hoping for a renewed version of the romances within, save yourself the trouble of reading this. Now that I'm an actual, post-college adult, I'm rather horrified at the ages I was much more okay with setting together as a sophomore in high school, and I've also decided to readjust ages in this retelling to match what the books have decreed. I also think I'll have content that reflects the new M rating of this story. It'll be clearly demarcated when it does arise, if any of you are worried.
Chapters of this fic will be uploaded daily with weeklong gaps between each arc to facilitate writing enough material to continue this uploading pace.
Thank you for amusing me by reading this foreword.
And finally, a disclaimer: all recognizable properties in this work of fiction are property of Stephenie Meyer. I am simply giving them my own varnish and delighting in my own ditties.
1. something or someone that one vehemently dislikes
2. a formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine
(taken from the Oxford dictionary)
ASTERISM: ONCE UPON A TIME
1. used at the beginning of children's stories to mean "a long time ago"
2. used when referring to something that happened in the past, especially when showing that you feel sorry that it no longer happens
(taken from the Cambridge dictionary)
[Object: a tattered, hand-bound book, with pages missing towards the end. Corners have been folded, mildew allowed to fester in the binding. The book smells of decay and threatens to fall apart in your hands. You open the cover to find a loose scrap of paper with ink that is still legible, though faint, practically impossible for mortal eyes to read.]
Date: XX-XX-2XXX CE.
By the time you see this, reader, the owners of many of the names recorded will have passed on from this life. Souls wiser than I have always said that histories are written by the winners and are, for that reason among others, flawed. Souls humbler than I have always said to take the histories you read with at least one grain of salt, as for these flaws they are most likely false.
This may be true. I do not profess to be the all-knowing voice of the world, with its complete omniscience and uncaring. I am, however, prideful enough to declare that this work is as impartial as anyone's perspective can be. I strove to dictate a complete and thorough history of those described here, and that is what I will strive to impart to you as you read. I challenge you to find someone who is as close to my subjects as I, and I challenge you to ask that theoretical figure to do what I have done here.
I do not ask you to show sympathy to the figures described here. They have all destroyed and killed with glee, only serving themselves and feeding their own hubris. You either die a hero or live to be a villain, and those who have been recorded here did not die for quite a long time. They are, in the eyes of the rest of the world, monsters, fiends, beasts, demons sent from hell to punish the living; they have amassed countless blood-soaked epithets and relish every one of them. However, they aren't the invulnerable, lifeless forces that they tried their hardest to pretend to be. They laughed, and they loved, and they protected, and they cherished, and they lived their lives to be with each other. I have watched them run into battle unthinking at the mere implication that one of their own was in danger.
Perhaps this all sounds like an exaggeration to you. I don't know how you think, nor do I care. My task has always been simply to dictate what I have been told. Despite others' reassurances, I don't think I am to live forever, and while yes, my memory serves me well, a somewhat skewed record is a better thing to leave behind than nothing at all when I am inevitably turned to ash.
Thank you for listening to my rather long-winded and unnecessary explanation. If you are reading this then you truly are dedicated to learning, and I won't begrudge you my records of the witch siblings, who were never meant to be born and may continue to lurk in the shadows in the corners of your eyes. This story will begin, and then it will end, and we will all move on as we must. There is no true ending to this history, despite what the arbitrary boundaries I set on the words may say.
Is that overdramatic? I'm not sorry if it seems so.
Date: XX-XX-86X CE.
Perfection came from humble beginnings, from a little girl cowering into her aunt's arms in the corner of a dirty one-room building as her mother screamed in exhausted agony during childbirth. When the little girl was born, labor had been terrifying and painful and terrifyingly painful, but it had been short and the child brought into the world with little fuss. When the mother birthed this time, her distended stomach twitched from the fighting within her, each twin clawing to be born first. Only a midwife and her sister were there; a priest had come in to beg the woman on the bed to turn to his God for help, to cast off the crueler God she worshiped to save herself, only to be snarled at and turned away at the door. Could you imagine such a happening, dear audience? Could you imagine being told that you have to throw away all that you've ever believed in to live?
Ah. Of course. I seem to have forgotten exactly who might pick up this tome.
The woman was far stronger than we are. She spurned the priest, sending him away in between the pains that attacked her, and after he fled, she went back to her grim duty of bringing her children into the world. She begged them for mercy, begged them to understand who she was to them and who she was meant to be for them. She had prayed to her God for these children, and she knew that they would be born on that night, but her long hours of agony still ended in limitless relief when she was handed the twins she birthed. She breathed the names that she had chosen for them before drifting off to sleep, collapsing from exhaustion, the beginnings of a lullaby still on her lips.
The little girl in the corner, only just past her fifth year, was barely cognizant of what had happened. She knew of what the new arrivals entailed and had long since subconsciously embraced the role she would have to take on, but it took seeing them in person to truly have her new duty sink in. Her aunt had disappeared into the night, but she remained to stare unblinkingly at the babies pawing at her mother's bared chest. They began to scream, only barely waking the mother enough to free her breasts and allow them to drink from her with a fierce hunger.
A violent, choking bubble of protectiveness grew in her.
In that moment, the little girl's life completely shifted. Before, her fate was one that begged simplicity: she would grow up, she would find a husband, she would raise her children, and she would die, just another cog in the machine of feudalism. The second that she saw the two small twins, premature in their birth and still only barely clinging to life, she knew that she would live her life so that theirs were easy. She would be their guardian, their caretaker, their ultimate protector and gentlest nurturer. She would support them and die for them.
Isabella saw her siblings for the first time and fate coughed into motion.