The Dark One, that was what they were calling him now. He was once the Light Bringer, the Creator's greatest creation, their favorite. Now he was cast aside.So, he made them. The defective Guardians, ones more apt to turn into something more demonic.Rogues will rule the world one day. What were the chances the perfect Guardian would be born at the time of the uprising. They would have to be an Alpha, spilled blood of their blood, and be more intuned with their angelic light. The Savior.
A wolf born
White as winter's first snow
Will be torn,
Between her sins and deeds.
She shall spread her angel' s gift
At a time yet foretold.
Only she can eradicate the demons of her kind.
Spiller of blood of her blood,
Guilt she carries ever high.
For she is the strongest of the hero's of the world.
Hopefully, he could find her before she ever knew what and who she was. Ah, little savior you won't survive to fulfill your destiny.Rogues would rule this pathetic heap the Creator affectionately called Earth. Whether humans, Guardians, or even Unspeakables fought back. The world and all her dimensions would belong to him.
Ezra was always kind to me before his first excursion as an Alpha. Now, now he was just an asshole. The same with my parents and his. Something odd happened out in the English moors when they went to to find Unspeakables.
I only wished whatever it was, hadn't changed my cousin so drastically. I wish, I wasn't living with a stranger. I wish someone would believe me when I told them that I thought Ezra, Aunt Nataliana, Uncle Jeroe, and my parents were now Rogues, masking themselves with illusions. But I'm only six, so why would they believe me? I'm not even supposed to know about Guardians and Unspeakables yet. Let alone Rogues.
One day, I would make them believe me. No matter what it took. I would prove that Ezra, wasn't Ezra.
"Little Rebecca, what are you doing, reading about such vile creatures?" Ezra asked. Slamming the thick book closed. Dust motes swirled around my sensitive nostrils, making me sneeze.
Ezra handed me a handkerchief, a disgusted look in his icy eyes.
"Research. Elder Zackeriah wanted me to read as much as I could, given the recent Prophecy our Protector foretold." He rolled his eyes at my choice of words. For someone my age and rank for that matter I used words beyond my age level and Ezra's for that matter. My reading level was that of a college Sophomore.
"A healthy young girl of seven should be outside. With her friends."
Truthfully, I didn't have any friends. Only pack-mates. We weren't permitted to befriend the humans we protect. I never understood that law. The American packs didn't follow that rule to the letter as we did, as all Euro packs did. Of course they weren't hunted like our brethren here in Europe and Asia. Lucky dogs. They can be friends with whoever as long as they don't expose what we are.
"Of course, sir." I glanced up at Ezra's crystalline eyes, and swore they flashed red, with a milky film making it almost a dark pink. But it was gone just as fast as it appeared.
I closed my books,that were still opened, and blinked rapidly, I had been reading about Rogues far too long, and I just projected the description of their eyes onto Ezra because of my suspicions.
I stood to put them away, as the librarian preferred them, I didn't get far when I heard his voice again. This time much closer.
"Oh, Rebecca." Ezra grabbed my chin tightly, forcing me to look at him. The Rogue eyes were back, and scarier up close.
"You will forget everything about the past Ezra. He is gone, and in your case he never existed the same with your family. They are not Rogues in disguise. They are the same as they have always been."
How strange, this feeling. Like a million bees have infiltrated my mind, the buzzing made it impossible to focus on anything but Ezra's words. And wow, they made sense. Ezra has always been indifferent, calculating, cruel, and deceitful. My parents have always been callous and uncaring, and my aunt and uncle have always been stoic and uncaring. Rogues were a myth.
"Ezra is Ezra and is no different. Rogues are but a myth."
"Good girl. Now go and play."
Ezra, my cousin has always been naughty and up to no good. He's an asshole but so are the rest of my family. I'm the only one that still is good. The way a Guardian should be.
Someone really should call the exterminator. The bees are nastier than ever this summer.
Across the Atlantic, the Manhattan Pack was performing five Mating Ceremonies. No one would guess that the one wolf the Ancient Prophecy foretold would be born just a year later.
And who could ever perceive the events that would unfold around the Prophecy Children? Who would ever guess that one of the Alphas born to them would be the former mate of Rebecca herself?
Tyler and Luna had been gone for hours. I was beginning to worry. I haven't been able to fall asleep. Now the morning light was breaking through the black out curtains that hadn't been pulled right. Where were they?
I rose, my muscles protesting, training yesterday was brutal. The basement had been reconfigured as a gym. Complete with an infinity pool, and steam room. Even those didn't help. Perhaps the pain was because I had lost a member of my pack, a piece of myself. Malcolm had explained, that unlike werewolves, Guardian packs were connected like one symbiotic organism. If one fell, the others felt it, the Alpha...me, the most. Echo...I had failed in protecting her, just like I had failed in protecting Placks---Trevor.
The kitchen was much brighter, much to my distaste. Groaning and reaching for the tea kettle with eyes closed, I managed to knock down every pot, pan, and anything heavy and dangerous to the floor. Everything but the damn kettle.
"Of fucking course. The one thing I need doesn't come crashing down, but everything else does. " I mutter as I start cleaning up.
In one of the pots, was a scrap of paper. Well, stationary. It was very fancy, and the script was elegant, too elegant and the calligraphy too neat to belong to anyone in my pack or my predecessors.
Curious, I scooped it up, and unfurled the rather large letter. My tea and my mess forgotten, I began to read.
"Dear Ambassador Dianna,
It has come to our attention, quite recently in fact that the newest Manhattan Pack generation do not, at present have a Protector assigned to their pack. As of the Statute of Guardian Protector Relations, you are in violation.
Unless, a solid and quantifiable reason as to why this atrocity has occurred under not only your but Elder Alpha Malcolm' s leadership, The High Council of Elders will have no choice but to reprimand the culprit or disband the Manhattan Pack and relocate the members accordingly. No matter their mate status.
The hearing will take place in two full moons time. Please, be aware this is a formal event, and will be attended by every member of the Manhattan Pack, Elder, Council, and Warrior.
And if all goes accordingly and in your favor, you may choose your new Protector from the selection we escort to you.
Luna's grandmother was coming. Fuck, disband us? We just saved the world. When was this sent?
August 24, 2016
No...that was before we faced Selvatore. Before we lost Echo. What would the Vischovo's do, if Echo wasn't present? When they learned she was stuck in another dimension?
It was almost the middle of October. The full moon was in a week. Why hadn't Dianna said anything? Hadn't she wanted to prepare us? I stood, the letter crumbling in my fists. My tea and pain long forgotten I stormed up the stairs to my aunt's room.
Pounding on the solid oak door, I yelled loud enough to wake even Echo.
"DIANNA WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US ABOUT THE HIGH COUNCIL OF ELDERS COMING HERE IN A WEEKS TIME?"
The doors down the hall, the rooms belonging to the rest of the Council opened. Looks of bewilderment on their tired faces. My mother looked rather shocked at my abrasiveness towards my elder.
Finally the door I wanted to open, opened. Valentine, Luna' s father stood there. An irritated, but understanding look on his face.
"Uncle Len, I need to speak to Dianna."
"I gathered as much sprout."
He let me in, and Dianna was sitting on a chest at the end of the bed. Her hair still disheveled from sleep. Or at least I hoped it was caused from sleep.
"Snow, I know you're angry- -"
"I have every right to be angry. They threatened to separate me from my mate! And you didn't think it pertinate to tell me, the Alpha of the Warriors of the Manhattan Pack?"
Collective gasps could be heard from behind me. I gathered, I wasn't the only one kept in the dark.
"Secrets are why we weren't prepared for Selvatore. Secrets are why Placksworth is gone, and secrets are why Echo is trapped in a Prison."
Dianna looked up at me, disappointment and shame clouding her eyes.
"I'm sorry. I thought, may be if they knew what has happened since Placksworth's death, they'd reconsider. They didn't so I was going to tell everyone tonight."
Luna: Eight Hours Previously
"What are you doing here?" I said rather bitchy, but he is Accalia' s mate,so he must be used to bitchy by now.
He was silent for a moment, as if contemplating a question that had been asked more complex than my own. Finally, his peculiar eyes flashed to me.
"Echo. She er, told me to meet you here."
Echo, reached out to him first? How odd. I nodded my head, and he walked towards me, I patted the spot beside me, and he plopped down.
It was strange, he was my half-uncle yet he was a stranger to me. I killed his father, and Snow, she killed his mother. His nieces are the reason he's an orphan. And here I was resenting him because his father trapped Echo and killed thousands of people. Those weren't his decisions. He wanted to help.
"I'm sorry I've been so distant towards you Tyler. I know you don't have control over parentage."
"It's alright pup. It gets some getting use to." Pup. How strange to have an endearing nickname from an uncle that looks no older than seventeen.
"Tyler, how old are you?"
"I'll be celebrating my fifty-second birthday in two months. Unspeakables never age, and my father was practically immortal, so I aged up to a certain point, and one day I just...stopped. I have been like this ever since."
"So you'll never grow old with Accalia?"
"In the physical sense."
The wind picked up, swirling through my hair, making it whip into Tyler's face.
Luna...Tyler...thank you for coming. Tyler you must make contact with your mother.
Is that why Echo wanted Tyler?
Luna you have to reach through the barrier into the Glades. Make contact with Ana.
I don't know if I can Echo. I've never tried without something that was connected to them in life.
I have faith that you can Lu.
I stood, remembering what Snow had said. Ana had been killed her, on Wolf Ridge. I hurried towards the hollowed log we used for storing clothes. Inside, I saw a shirt of Snow's...covered with blood.I took it in my hands and returned to the center of the ridge-top. I sat, cross-legged on the grassy ground, clutching the soiled shirt tightly.
Ana, grandmother. If you can hear me please come forth and aid me in rescuing Echo Vischovo. A member of the Warriors of the Manhattan Pack.
Luna, I will gladly aid you in rescuing your lover. But promise me one thing?
What is it? Anything!
Allow me to properly say goodbye to my son...and apologize to my children.
The wind picked up once more. Howling and roaring around me, my hair creating a vortex around my face, whipping my face. I could feel Ana' s power take over me, and I let her take control. I could barely hear Tyler's worried voice over the wind.
It felt...odd being back on the mortal coil. The feel of the grass beneath my fingers, the sound of the wind whistling through the leaves. The sight of the branches swaying because of it. Life.Tyler. He was here. My boy. How I have wronged him. Him being what he was, a cross between man, wolf, and monster; was a reminder of my betrayal.
Luna, my grand-daughter. How strange that is to say. I have grandchildren. Two, both almost a mirror image of myself.
"No, not Luna." Tyler's face scrunches in confusion.
"Mother?" His eyes darken at the thought. I flinch, although I deserved his reservations about confronting me again. I wasn't much of a mother. I wasn't much of anything...in the end.
"It's me." Tyler turned to me,
"Let's get this over with, shall we?"
I sighed, and turned. Tapping into my magic was easy.
"Forces of Nature and the Paranormal I call to you. I ask permission to tear into the void that is the Nether Realm to rescue the one loved by blood of my blood."
The wind began to swirl viciously through the trees, swirling around me like a cyclone.
"Call to Echo, Tyler! Tell her to be ready!"
A bright white light appeared between two elder Oaks, just large enough for a person to step through.A figure appeared, but the encompassing light made it impossible to tell whom or what it was.
"That's it Echo, just a little further." Tyler coaxed. Finally, she stepped onto the grass, she was beautiful, even coated thoroughlywith blood. Her frantic blue eyes zeroed in on me, or Luna. Her full lips pulled up in a weak smile, and she uttered a single word,
"Luna..." before she collapsed, Tyler, using vampiric speed, rushed to catch her before she hit the ground.
"Mother, will she be alright?"
I looked at the sleeping form of the young Guardian before me, and sighed,
"I'm not sure, but with time you and your new pack will know."
The walk back to 'headquarters' as Luna so eloquentlyput it, was silent. Tylerhad nothing to say, and I was far to ashamed to initiatea conversation. I was supposed to be apprehensive about seeing my executioner again...but I wasn't. I was enthusiastic about seeing my grandchildren.Soon, we arrived at the steps that led to the back door. Tyler turned to me,
"I mind-linked Accalia, so the pack knows, you're, you." He smiled, and walked up the steps. The door slid open and a brunette with chocolate eyes stood there. Her eyes narrowed at me.
"There on the couch." Accalia said coming from down the steps. "You must be the royal traitorous bitch everyone keeps fretting over."
"Accalia-" Tyler started,
"No, its true I did betray you, I betrayed my mate and for that I'm sorry."
"Sorry just isn't going to cut it." I heard the familiar voice of the ex-Alpha Malcolm my ex-mate.
"Hello M. How are you?" I said heatedly
"Don't get temperamental with me. You're the one who betrayed us. Me!" He said pointing angrily at his own chest. His ancient yellow eyes flashing.
"How many times must I tell you? Selv and I were in love before we learned who we were."
"Then why marry me?"
"I wanted to forget about him. You were the way to do it. I am sorry."
"Um excuse me mother, I believe Luna would like her body back." Tyler interrupted.
"Yes yes, come on Tyler get Echo inside. The girls and I are going to get her cleaned up. Elder Malcolm would like a word with his mate."
Tyler nodded, kissed Accalia' s cheek and carried indoors and out of sight. Accalia led me to a familiar set of double doors, the study. She knocked a few times and left when a familiar voice rasped,
"Come in, Angelina." I gulped, suddenly alone with the man I scorned and abandoned. I opened the doors, and there he was Malcolm. I still felt the flutterings of our mate bond but it was subtle and almost nonexistent.
"Hello Colm." He sneered at the nickname...but indicated for me to take a seat across from him.The fire cast an eerie glow across Colm's features, making him look more sinister than he actually is.
"I see you have possessed my grandchild." Colm says, breaking the heavy silence.
"It was her choice, to save Echo."
"Ah yes, and what did you ask in return?"
"Just enough time to say a proper goodbye."
"My children...and you of course."
His face contorted into anger.
"Now they are your children? From the horror stories we've heard from Tyler you weren't exactly mother of the year. And Lena and Dianna don't even know who you are!"
"I--Tyler was a reminder of my failings, and of my betrayal towards my own kind...my pack. Colm...I regretted leaving you instantly. Even in an arranged mating, the love that grows is undeniable and at least here I'd be an equal, someone that wasn't hidden away. Selvatore never genuinely loved me, he loved the idea of me, the power I could provide him. I'm sorry Colm."
"If you regretted it so much, why didn't you come home before he turned you?"
"I faked my death, and he told me, you had re-mated."
"Ana, I couldn't re-mate. It goes against Guardian nature. Males can't re-mate."
"I never understood that. Females can, but males can't."
"Males can reproduce, they just can't claim a female as their own." Colm was silent after that. He looked at me with softened eyes,
"I-I should be going. Luna wants control back."
"Of course. Goodbye Angel." He stood, and offered me his hand. He had aged remarkably well, his hands weren't gnarled and wrinkled. They were smooth and free of age spots. And his eyes still held their youthful sparkle. It was hard to believe he was from Brazil. All the Elder mates not from New York were. Probably why he looks so good. Latin blood.
I took his hand, and stood. I kissed his cheek, and whispered,
I turned and left and ran directly into the twins. Lena and Dianna stood shoulder to shoulder, the exact same height and eyes. Their identical black hair was braided the same way and they both had their hands on their hips.
"Luna Magnolia Everett where have you been?"
"Er, I'm not Luna at the moment. I'm your mother." The twins mouths snapped open at the same time, making the reaction quite comical.
"You're dead." Dianna, I'm assuming said, mouth gaping.
"Astute observation. I helped Luna bring Echo back. In exchange, she's allowing me proper goodbyes to those I wronged. I just finished with Colm, your father sorry. Now you two, and then finally, Tyler."
Lena was silent, but she looked pissed off. But also relieved.
"People thought I was crazy for believing redemption was in the cards for you mother I didn't speak to my daughter for weeks, because of the Sacred Promise."
"Why did you choose him, over us?" Dianna whispered, years of pent up frustration and pain evident in her eyes, the emotions laced into each word.
"I was young and stupid. I thought I knew what I wanted and that Selvatore was it. I was in love with him, and I didn't want to let that go because some higher power commanded it. I regretted my decision immediately. Selvatore loved the power trip having me on his arm provided. He turned me as a form of torture, he thought it would kill my wolf, but it didn't. It turned me into a--an abomination. Tyler just solidified my fears. My failure as a Guardian and as a mother was thrown in my face when Tyler inherited not only a wolf, but a dragon. I retreated into myself and forgot my very soul just to survive. It came down to the fact, that I didn't recognize the man I risked everything for. So I sought out Snow. Suicide by blood of my blood. Redemption."
"Well I forgive you. I mean if papí can, I can" Dianna whispered.
"I forgive you as well." Lena said. She hugged me, granted it wasn't me, me, but all the same, the contact felt nice. I hugged her back, and exhaled the breath I hadn'trealized I'd been holding.
"Onto Tyler. You don't remember me, but Tyler does."
I found him on the back porch, his peculiar orange eyes, the only hint at his parentage, staring at the glowing moon up above. An inverted crescent. The Waning Moon.
"I get it. You're sorry. You left me with Bernie and Nathaniel because I brought horrible memories and feelings of guilt and regret. Not to mention that I'm an abomination."
"Tyler, at the time I thought those horrid things. But you're my son. I love you and I'm sorry for hurting you. I'm so sorry you had to choose between your father and your Guardian family. I'm sorry I didn't say goodbye."
He was silent, he didn't even breathe. His eyes were flashing from a dying ember orange. To full inferno.
"I forgive you mom." He opened his arms, and I gladly stepped into them.
"I love you. You should know, with your father dead, the Universe will be looking for balance, and if it doesn’t get it… it could be apocalyptic. Goodbye my son."
And just like that, I relinquished control, and I left the mortal coil once more.
Coming back to the forefront of my mind was a strange experience to say the least. It wasn't like when I shifted, my wolf self and I shared the same mind, we were symbiotic. Whereas Ana and I were two different beings. She had complete and utter control. I had no memory from the time she took over, to the time I came to.
I was still holding onto Tyler, in the last embrace he would ever have with his mother. His unusual warmth felt very comforting and safe. It didn't feel wrong at all, he was family. And he'd helped save Echo.
I finally let go, and smiled up at him.
"She's gone?" He whispered.
"For now. I'll show you how to communicate with her."
"Thank you, Luna."
"Did it work? Is Echo okay?" I asked, I was hoping with all I had that trusting Ana had paid off, that my efforts weren't indeed in vain.
Tyler frowned, I was unable to tell if it was great,or horrible news.
"She's alive...but comatose. She said only your name before succumbing."
"Can I see her?"
"Of course, follow me." Tyler turned, without another word. I did so, growing exceedingly more nervous with each step, each inch closer to the room where my Echo rested. Would she still be my Echo? Or would she be completely different? Who knew what kind of horrors the Nether Realm held that I didn't witness.
Thecorridorwas unusually silent. No one was here. Not even my parents. Of course, the third floor was mainly occupied by the Warriors...except for Accalia, she insisted on living in the attic.
We stopped in front of an all too familiar door, I had spent many restless, uncomfortable nights beyond it. This was my room. She wasn't my mate, but they were hoping my scent would aid in healing her injuries. How badly was she injured? Was it purely mental? Or was she physically injured? Was the wound that transported her to that place still visible?
I pushed the door open with trepidation. There she was. Her mother must have dressed her. She was wearing a pale green frock, with a white Olive Oil collar. Her stockings were a white that looked purer than anything I'd ever witnessed, and she wore black buckle Mary Jane's.
Her blonde hair was still tinted a pastel pink, and it was braided and twisted around her head like a crown, and her eyes were closed. If not for her light hair coloring, she could have been Snow White, but instead she was my Aurora.
Her beautiful doll like face wasn’t pinched with worries, and her brow wasn’t furrowed in anger. Her beautiful blue doe eyes were closed, and her muscles relaxed in her sleep. It was the most peace she had known in months, and a part of me prayed she never woke. This world we lived in, that we were charged with protecting wasn’t worth waking up to if given the option. Maybe she’d wake with no recollection of what she was. Maybe that would be better for her, if she never had to worry about if I would come home, or if anyone one of us would. Maybe she deserved a world where she could be whoever she wanted, whatever she wanted. With no worries other than college, and a career and a normal family.
No. It wouldn’t be better maybe for me but not her. Echo loved this life. I hoped she had her memories, and I hoped she remembered me, if only for the memories we shared because come tomorrow, we’d have our new mates and our relationship, even if she remembered it, would be on a deadline.
I stepped ever closer, and finally knelt beside her. I took her pale hand in mine, and let a tear escape. My Echo, in the flesh. Finally, after months of searching...she was here.
The only thing I could remember, was Lycan. We had fought over something stupid...but we loved each-other, didn't we? It didn't feel the same, somehow. I woke, my eyelids fluttering open, adjusting to the bright sunlight. My hand was being held, I turned my head slightly, and saw Luna. A surge of warmth raced through me...I had only felt this way with Lycan...what is going on?
I barely recognized the room as Luna's. I hadn't been in it for such a long time. When we girls hung out, it was usually at Snow' s. She had a pool. It hadn't changed all that much. The baby pink walls were now a light lavender, and the frills that were associated with feminine youth were replaced with a steel gray comforter and matching window coverings. Her built-ins were painted to match, and instead of a fish tank and dollhouse on top of her dresser, there was a rather large flat screen. Her adolescent posters of teen heart throbs were replaced by paintings of beautiful landscapes and wolves running through lush green meadows dotted with colorful wildflowers.This was a room of an adult, not a prepubescent girl.
"Hey sweetie. Welcome back." Luna whispered tiredly.
"Back?" I rasped.My voice sounded like sandpaper against concrete.
"What do you remember last?" Luna asked frowning.
"A fight...with Lycan...but I don't remember what about."
"Do you remember our birthdays?"
"Faintly. Something to do with wolves or something."
"Echo, who are you currently dating?"
What an odd question. She should know this. I've been dating Lycan for over two years.
"Lycan of course." Luna's face fell.
"Echo...you and Lycan broke up six months ago. He's mated to Snow now."
"We're Guardians sweetie. Wolves, we have mates or soul mates."
No, this was impossible. This had to be an elaborate prank, a joke. Although cruel. Lycan knew of my insecurities when it came to the beautiful Snow, she was prettier. kinder, more popular, and she looked like a princess, and acted like a true Queen. Leadership wise, not like she was spoiled.
Luna was still looking at me, her beautiful, knowing eyes never leaving my face for very long. Her eyes held all her emotions, and the one most evident, was pain.
"If I'm not with Lycan, who am I with?"
Luna didn't answer right away. Her tears though, answered my question. The surge of warmth from before made a little more sense. I was with Luna. The beautiful cousin, the mirror image of Snow.
"Luna I'm so sorry I don't remember. But I do feel it. I feel the love? I don't know its warm. And comforting." Luna perked up some, but I realized she was listening to something else. She stood eruptly, crouching ever so slightly in front of me. A growl, fierce, low, and dangerous emitting from the depths of her throat.
The door opened, and Lycan stepped through, followed closely by Snow. The growl was from jealousy. Lycan was much more handsome then before. He radiated with power. He looked relieved to see me, but his eyes lacked the emotion I craved. It was true then. He was with Snow. I knew for certain when he looked at her. The look I craved, belonged to her. It always had.
"Snow. Lycan." Luna addressed them. Then she was silent, but Snow and Lycan seemed to still be listening to her as if she was speaking aloud.
Snow growled fiercely, her beautiful eyes flashing a brighter more neon blue. Aqua. Or teal.
"Echo, six months ago the day after our joint birthdays you broke up with Lycan, then Lycan saw you with Luna at the school giggling and flirting in the shadows. He started changing but Placksworth stopped him and sent me to accompany him in the woods. There we killed an Unspeakable. After school we went running and the four of us came out with our new relationships. At the bowling ally that night Luna was attacked and was gifted with the Sight."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Echo said,
"Everything because the next morning she had the vision of your death."
"At the Dragon's Battle you were sent to the Nether Realm. There you forgot everything. Including your love for Luna."
"Sure so magically I'm gay?"
"No you're bisexual like Luna here."
"So you're saying I never loved Lycan?"
"No you loved Lycan but you set him free."
"So he could be with you."
"I don't know the whole frickin' story Echo!" Snow yelled at her. Lycan where he was in the corner flinched at the harshness inhertone.
"I don't think yelling at our amnesia patient is quite necessary," was hisremark.
"I don't have amnesia!" Echo screamed. " I am not a wolf, and I am not gay!"
"Lycan is my mate and no one is getting in the way of that. Not even someone with amnesia. The High Council is here. The hearing is tomorrow and Echo and her parents are expected to be there." if I thought Lycan radiated power, he paled in comparison to Snow. I flinched at her tone. Knowing somehow she meant me when she referenced someone with amnesia.
Snow looked to me, and smiled.
"It is good to have you back Echo."
That was all she said before leaving. Lycan close behind. He didn't even say anything to me.
Luna sank to her knees once more in front of the bed I recognized as her's, ours?
"Lu?" She looked at me, her beautiful face contorted in pain.
"Why couldn't you have listened? Ran away when I told you?" She whispered before standing and leaving the room.
I was baffled, what was she talking about? A knock sounded on the door, but I was far too engrossed in my own thoughts to care much less get up and answer it.
The door opened and a boy not much older than I entered. What struck me the most about him, was his wildfire orange eyes. Purple and blue encompassed his iris, making them look like dancing flames.
"I am Tyler. I helped aid Luna in rescuing you. Do you remember anything from your time in the Nether Realm?"
Nether Realm? What was that?Flashes of bright white light surged to the forefront of my mind.
"All I remember is white." And anger.
Tyler. Why did that name sound so familiar?
"I am Accalia's mate. My father was the one who trapped you in the White Place. That was what you called it, before Luna rescued you."
I hadn't realized I had voiced my question until he supplied the answer to it.
"Is Luna alright?"
"Every action has consequence. She is dealing with her own. She spent many moon cycles looking for you, even when everyone else accepted you were dead."
That didn't truly answer my question, all it did was make me feel more guilty.
"How can I get my memories back?"
Tyler paused whatever he was doing and looked to me. He cocked his head to the side, like he was listening to a far off conversation.
"Mediation could aid your quest. Although time can only tell if your memories return. It could in a way be a blessing. You and Luna could never remain lovers once mated to your male counterparts. It is against Guardian custom."
"I can't be with Luna? Even if she makes me happy?"
"Happiness comes from our true mates. Not frivolous high school romances." Tyler was cruel, or he didn't like me.
"Who are you really?"
"I am Luna and Snow's maternal uncle."
That explains some of the dislike. But I didn't remember Dianna and Lena having a brother. And Snow and Luna would've mentioned it.
"They don't have any uncles."
"You have missed a lot in your time away."
"Where have I been?"
"The Nether Realm. My father created it to house his greatest fears." He had mentioned that, but it didn't make an iota of sense to me. Dimension? Mates? Was this some alternate universe?
"What do you mean?"
"Rest, Echo Vischovo. Allow your dreams to be your answers." He handed me a cup of what looked like tea. I sipped it tentatively and downed it when I found it tasted like chocolate and mint, with a hint of lavender. It was Luna's hot cocoa recipe.
My eyes began to droop, and I allowed to sleep to pull me towards my desperately sought answers.
Fire. So much fire. The pain was unimaginable. Where was I? Was this death?
You are Guardians. Protectors of humanity.
Run, get away. You don't have to die today. Please Echo, I can't lose you.
I won't run. I'll die a warriors death. But promise me Luna, you'll move on, carry on the Guardian line. I love you.
I TOLD YOU TO MOVE ON! GET OUT! LEAVE. NOTHING EXISTS HERE BUT ANGER!
I think I love you Luna Everett.
I'm sorry Lycan, but its over. Be happy. I know you like Snow. She likes you too. If I'm part wolf, I want to wait for my mate, or explore something I've recently discovered about myself.
I still love you okay? Do you realize how hard this has been? I'm just coming to terms with being bisexual and apparently being bisexual is almost unheard of in Guardians. Just save her. Save Snow.
I woke up slowly. The memories that returned, were just flashes of conversations. Bits and pieces of past arguments or bonding. I had broken up with Lycan, gave up my right to his heart and gave it to Snow. Luna had wanted me to run...it was during a battle of some kind.
I was alone again. Beside me was a glass of water, and a phone. I picked it up slowly, the date scared me.
October 31st 2017
No, that was impossible. It was June...
I just celebrated my sixteenth birthday. Now this crap phone was telling me I was half way to being seventeen.
The door opened and Accalia stood in the entry way, her auburn waves were braided and wrapped around her head, I guess I knew who did my hair.
"Are you here to make me feel guilty about not remembering too?"
Accalia didn't say anything, she just walked towards the closet. She pulled out a pair of dark jeans and a nice sweater.
"You'll need to shower. The High Council of Elders are here."
I stood, it was oddly refreshing, Accalia's indifference was like I was really home. I took the clothes, showered and dressed before I returned, Accalia instructed me to sit at the vanity and I did so.
"Look, this will blow over. Luna has just been...different since that night."
"Can I ask what happened after I...you know..."
"Luna went, well, I wouldn't say crazy, but she wasn't herself. She was depressed and kept to herself. She was obsessed with finding you. She was determined that you were alive even though Lycan saw you die.
Then one day, she found you. You treated her like shit, but she didn't care. She had found you and she was happy, relieved. She then dove into researching how to get you out of the Nether Realm. It wasn't until you contacted Tyler that everything came together. And now here you are."
Accalia played with my hair, until finally she settled with curling it into long beach waves. There was a loud knock on the door just as Accalia finished putting in the last butterfly clip. I stood and slipped on the shoes Accalia thrust into my arms. The door opened, and Lycan and Snow stood there. Their backs straight, and their arms clasped behind their backs.
Snow looked as beautiful as ever, her black as midnight hair was pulled up into an elegant chignon, and she wore a simple white sundress, and black stiletto heels. She wore no makeup and her eyes were bright green today instead of their normal blue.
"Good, your hair isn't as pink as it was. Come on, they are waiting." Snow said in a clipped, professional tone.
"We were expecting to tell them you were dead or missing, but since you are now here, we have to change almost our entire appeal. But don't fret none of that is your fault. They're mostly interested in Placksworth and his death. If they ask you were you've been, explain to the best of your ability. Don't mention your absence of memory. They can't know you and Luna were ever an item. You see, they've brought your intended mates, as well as a selection of Protectors."
I simply nodded. I expected, she thought I knew precisely what and whom she was talking about. They must be important if they have the great and powerful Snow so nervous. We came to a stop on the first floor. A set of oak, wooden doors were propped open, revealing the room inside to be a study or library of some kind. Four rows of what appeared to be juror benches were set up in front of the rather large window. The very top row was filled with ancient looking people, both male and female, although some looked to be either or.
The second to the top, was filled slightly younger, more discernible row of equally frightening and intimidating male and females. The last two rows I recognized. My grandparents were in the center, well almost the exact center. That spot belonged to Malcolm, Snow and Luna's grandfather. My parents were on the bottom row, right next to Luna's father, Valentine. My parents immediately stopped talking amongst themselves and stared at me. They looked almost surprised, hadn't they seen me yesterday? Hadn't my mother dressed me?
"Echo? Echo darling? You're awake?" Oh, they hadn't known I was awake, why hadn't Luna or Snow, or someone told them? My mother shot up out of her seat, and rushed to embrace me. My father close behind.
"Oh sweetheart, I am so happy you're okay."
Tears sprouted in my eyes as I returned her embrace, making sure to at least touch my father.
"I've missed you guys, so much!" I whispered to them.
"As touching as this is...we have business to attend to." A woman drawled from the top row.
"Of course High Elder Everett." my father said, squeezing my hand as he guided my mother back to their seats.
Soon, all of my friends were lined up next to me. Snow, and Lycan being in the front. Accalia took my hand surprisingly, whilst Luna looked everywhere but me. I sighed, I really had brought it on myself.
"We are here today to try the Warriors of the Manhattan Pack for breaking Guardian Law. You admit, Dianna that you allowed your Warriors to be without a certified Protector for almost a year? Without so much, as notifying the Council of High Elders of Richard Placksworth's death? Not only that but you stated that an Echo Vischovo was dead? But apparently she is very much alive. Do you care to explain this Miss. Heathcliff, or Mr. Johnson?"
"With all due respect High Elder Everett, we were under the impression that Echo was indeed dead. It wasn't until a few nights ago that Luna was able to make contact with Echo in the dimension she was imprisoned in. The next few weeks after the initial contact, Tyler was able to communicate with Echo telepathically because the intersection of the dimensions on Wolf Ridge. With the help of Ana, Luna and my deceased grandmother, and Elder Malcolm's former mate, Luna, assuming the spirit of Ana, was able to retrieve Echo from the Nether Realm. Unfortunately, after she was brought back to our dimension, she lost all memory of the last half a year. She doesn't know what or who we are and she's having trouble grasping the concept."
"So what you're telling us, is that Echo Vischovo is a security risk?" an unnamed member of the High Council questioned. I froze, security risk? I wouldn't ever tell anyone about their...cult? Even if I did, whoever I told would think me insane and have me locked away in the most secure mental asylum in existence.
"What say you Echo Vischovo? Are you a security risk?"
"No." that was my voice, but I have no recollection of uttering that simple word.
"In order to make you remember, we will force you to shift. It is not comfortable, and it is often viewed as inhumane, but desperate times..." High Elder Everett said softly. I noticed Luna cringe, and look to me quickly. I felt her hand wrap around my fingers and squeeze. "Do you consent?"
"Step forward Echo Vischovo. You as well Alpha Snow."
Snow stepped forward, and began unzipping her dress. When she was only in her bra and underwear, she kicked off her shoes. She turned and beckoned me forward. I gulped, and I hesitantly stepped forward. She indicated for me to strip off my clothes, and I did so. When I too, was in nothing but my undergarments, Snow began to tremble, and fur sprouted from her skin, and her face elongated and fangs poked through her gums, and her eyes, they turned bright blue, just like the blue I saw yesterday. Soon, a large, pure white wolf was in front of me, its aqua eyes examining me, I felt a familiar buzzing in my head, before Snow's voice echoed throughout my mind,
It was the only word I heard, but I could feel something happening to me. My nails grew to points, and my back began to crack and snap, my face I felt it elongating as Snow's had. I was soon on my paws, yes paws. My fur was tawny, a light honey brown, and my eyes like amethyst but a hue or two darker, I was confused, and scared. What was happening?
I collapsed under the pressure of Snow's voice. It was just a voice in my head, but there was this power behind it, that made do as she said. Everything that had happened to me, to us in the past few months came back in waves. It was like tsunami of pain, and happiness, and anxiety.
Finally I remembered. I remembered breaking up with Lycan in the back seat of Accalia's car. I remember Luna being in the middle of us. I remember the night Luna was attacked by Victoria, and I remember the day she called with that god forsaken prophecy, the one that foretold my death. And I remember Luna coming to my window that first night of knowing what we were. And our first kiss. How can anything like what Luna and I share not be written in the stars? Why must something so amazing be so frowned upon?
I did as I was told, being back in my human form was surreal. My vision was improved, I could see everything, even the color prisms in the air, and the individual dust motes in the air. I didn't even care that I was naked, someone off to the side handed me my clothes, and I hurriedly redressed.
"Now then, now that Echo knows who and what she is, we can move on." I resumed my place between Accalia and Luna. I would apologize and try to talk to her later.
"Under the circumstances you were under. We will excuse your misdemeanor. Now, if you don't mind, please Dianna, introduce your new Protector."
Dianna stood, and walked towards a door, that I always thought led to a closet. She opened it, and a girl, not much older than us stepped into the room. She was average height, and she wore what seemed to be early two thousands' scene girl attire. A short ruffled skirt, and mixed matched checkered knee high socks, and a white tee-shirt, with a skinny piano tile tie. Her wrists were occupied with an odd assortment of bangles and rubber bracelets. Her hair was the only normal thing about her. It was long, and wavy, and the color of rust colored Autumn leaves.
"Everyone, this is Rebecca. She is our new Protector."
This chick is our new Protector? She looks barely out of high school. And talk about professionally dressed, jeez didn't she know Protectors were supposed to be old, and as interesting as paint drying?
"Why don't you introduce yourself Rebecca dear?" A woman in the third row suggested.
"Well, my name is Rebecca Montgomery, I'm thirty years old, I was once a Guardian under some...circumstances I was changed into a Protector. I am very pleased to be here."
I looked to Snow, and she seemed displeased to say the least with Dianna's choice in Protector.
"Is that all?" Snow asked.
"No. Please escort the boys out please." Dianna nodded and opened the door once more. Four men walked into the room. I looked at the one on the end of their little line-up. He was tall, and he had raven black hair. His eyes are what captured my attention though. They were bright, and they sparkled mischievously. They were like Lycan's wolf's eyes...they were golden brown, almost bronze. He was beautiful.
"He's Michael by the way. Lycan and I had to interview them since we're your Alpha's. We actually chose him for you." I glanced at her and smiled. Well, if I had to be mated to someone against my will, at least he'll be nice to look at.
"Who did you choose for Luna?" More importantly, was he better looking than me?
"Alexander, right there, he's the blonde." Oh my God, they were male versions of Luna and I. Luna got the tall blonde, and I got the tall brunette.
"Echo, you first. Snow, who did you pick to be Echo Vischovo's mate?"
"Michael Kirkpatrick." Michael looked up, and found my eyes with his. He smiled and stepped towards me. As he took my hand I heard a faint growl. It was familiar only to me, because Luna had made the same growl yesterday. She was jealous and rightly so I supposed. I was supposed to love this man unconditionally. Would my love for Luna just go away? Forgetting it once was bad enough, but to know I had loved her so wholly and unconditionally but having to treat her as any other person would be undeniably painful. Perhaps Michael and, whats his face would be okay with Luna and I still seeing each-other in that way.
"And for Miss Everett?"
"Alexander Knight." Alexander looked up and smirked, it wasn't a cocky smirk, just a less excited smile than Michael. I had to suppress my own jealous growl as Alexander embraced Luna. She was mine!
"Now I believe that concludes our business here. Rebecca I hope you are happy here. Michael, Alexander, you will return with us until the girls are of age."