The tribe has settled into their home; everything's peaceful. For now.
Alex, Willow, Lily, and Jeremy walked in silence wedged between Vaughn at the front and Killian in the back with the two werewolves, Logan and Evan, briskly walking on either side of the line of vampires and werewolves. Suddenly Vaughn stopped dead in his tracks, making Peter almost bump into him as the rest the line did to him.
He sniffed the air with his pig-like nose and then tasted it with his puke green long tongue. “It seems as if yo-” he was saying, but then Alex saw a flash of fur come sprinting out of the deciduous trees to his left. The figure jumped onto Vaughn's shoulder, digging his claws into his chest and back and its teeth into his paper white neck. Vaughn quickly shook the creature off and took a step back in surprise and agony, his slits-for-pupils turning a deep bloody red as he then ran after the werewolf that had attacked him.
As Vaughn ran after the lone wolf, about ten other wolves jumped out of the bushes and tress beside the captives. After the other werewolves had appeared Alex, Willow, Lily, and Jeremy had taken refuge behind some nearby trees.
Before Alex got to watch the fight unfold he was grabbed by his should and thrown onto something's back; when he got the chance, he was relieved to find that he was clutching the fur of a wolf. But, he couldn't recognize the wolf very well.
“Who are you and what do you want with me?” Alex asked the wolf, trying not to let his voice waver.
“I'm part of the search party sent to find you that Holly put together,” the wolf panted to him as they ran through the dark forest.
“Where's Willow and Jeremy and Lily? Are they safe?” Alex asked anxiously, remembering his friends.
“Yes, they're also being taken somewhere far away from the fight. We're almost home,” he replied.
Home, Alex thought wistfully, I finally get to call someplace home, again.
By the time they reached home the forest had turned a midnight black as the sun set below the trees. Before they even trotted into the clearing where a fire was burning with a pot of stew over it, Alex could already smell the delicious fragrance of the vegetable substance. When they did come into view of the gathering of wolves Alex jumped off the wolf's back he'd been riding the whole time they'd been traveling.
“Alex! Thank goodness you're alright and safe,” Holly called over to him relieved, but he could tell that there was a long lecture to come; all of his ran over and hugged him.
“Go and get some supper you four, but once you've all finished your supper I want you to all come see me, immediately,” Holly told them sternly.
They all nodded their heads and headed over to the steaming kettle of stew.
“Now, what I understand of this situation is that the four of you had the bright idea to go pick berries while we were trying to find our new home, yes?” Holly asked unimpressed as Alex, Willow, Lily, and Jeremy sat before her after they'd finished their meals.
“Yes, ma'am,” Alex replied formally for the him and his four friends, taking in the seriousness of their actions.
“And I'm sure you knew very well that we were already lost, and yet you go and pick berries getting lost yourselves! While that you get caught by our enemies and cause a costly battle that could've been avoided. I'm not saying that that wouldn't have ever happened, but we certainly didn't want to have one right off the bat! Because of the battle I now have newly injured wolves to tend to. I cannot express to you all how disappointed I am in the four of you,” she said loudly breathing heavily after saying everything in a rush; she recollected her thoughts and her appearance.
“These are dangerous times, as you know. You can't just go off and do your own thing without clearing it with an adult. The Lost Tribe is right over there,” she said throwing her arm behind her as she motioned to where the Lost Tribe's home was at,”who knows what they could've done to you four.
“I won't give too heavy a punishment since you were all probably scared out of your wits when you got caught by the Lost Tribe and the two vampires, nonetheless. Your punishment is to take care of the elders for as long as I say you will, you will also tend to the wounded alongside of me since I have no apprentice at the moment, and you will go nowhere without an adult accompanying you for at least one month. This is a pretty light punishment, considering what I'd planned to give you when I first learned of what happened and what the results were. Understand?”
“Yes, ma'am,” they all chimed in solemnly and stood up to leave.
“And another thing,” Holly called after them and they all looked back at her before entirely leaving,”I don't want to hear of any more reckless Berry Picking Adventures, got that?”
The next morning Alex got a full view of their new home. Their new home was situated in a large clearing ,in the middle of a thick patch of trees, that was able to fit almost double the amount of tribe members they had right now. The ground of the clearing's flooring was covered with a mixture of pokey pine needles and soft deciduous leaves because of the combination of the two types of trees. The west side of the clearing was where the main entrance was and also where the elders had chosen their spot to be. The wounded were placed in the middle of the clearing where a fire pit had been built the night before.
Adjacent to the large clearing there was a much smaller clearing a few feet away from the southern side of the clearing; Holly had told them that that space would be used for training and for council meetings. The trees to the north of their home started to thin out and you could see a wide river with white sandy shores a few yards away. Sometimes even, if you were a more unfortunate wolf, you could catch a glimpse of a wolf that was part of the Lost Tribe also getting a drink the same time you were and they would start barking at you madly until you finally retreated to your own home; this had already happened a few times earlier that day.
Their new home was wonderful and had all the things they would need: food, water, and shelter, and, as Alex had noticed the night before, you could see the stars twinkling in the sky when you went to sleep for the night, unlike Alex's former home back East where everything was shaded by the constant covering of huge deciduous trees. The only bummer about Alex's first month or so at his new home was that he had to spend it taking care of the wounded with Holly.
That morning, right after he and his friends had finished eating some of the leftover stew from last night for breakfast, Holly had assigned Alex and Willow to help her out with the wounded and Lily and Jeremy were to help take care of the wounded.
“How's the 'Elder Crew' doing?” Peter asked Jeremy as they both got water together in the late afternoon.
He sighed before saying,”The elders are so strict and picky! They're always complaining that they're uncomfortable, even after fifteen minutes of trying to provide as much padding as possible, and still continuously whine that their bones are sore after ten minutes of rubbing each and every bone on their body! I can't believe I actually thought they were nice . So, anyways enough about my crews' problems what about yours? How's the job of taking care of the wounded going?”
“Fine, I guess. I mean Willow stares off into space every once in a while with a pained expression on her face, and every time she does that it just makes me remember that my own parents were murdered that day, which I try to forget. But, besides that things are going pretty calm. I guess the wounded are either too tired or too weak to complain, and I don't mind that a bit,” Alex said filling him in on his own task's problems.
“Well, we'd better be getting back. I can see that our 'caretaker' is already getting ants in his pants....hmm...that's a good idea-” Jeremy said and then paused,”no, I guess we're already in enough trouble to actually put real ants down his pants.”
Alex chuckled to himself and finished filling his bucket with water as Jeremy walked back to the clearing. Once he finally got back he and Willow began to “water”, as they liked to call giving the wounded some water drink, all of the wounded sitting or laying by the fire pit. After they'd finished their last task they reported back to Holly that they had finished their chores.
“Boy, you guys sure do it fast, but I hope it's done right,” she exclaimed surprised that they were already finished. As she walked around surveying their completed jobs her face brightened as she saw that each one had been finished correctly.
“Well, it looks like each job is done correctly, so you two can go and enjoy your supper and the free time you have left, but only where we can see you.”
Alex and Willow went in search of Jeremy and Lily by the elders' corner, hoping that they ,too, would have also completed their chores early. They both shook their heads as Alex and Willow came, skipping with joy, to see if they were both finished. Disappointed at their response Alex and Willow went to eat their supper alone with each other. Since there was a council meeting Alex successfully convinced the adult that was watching over them that he had to take a looonng bathroom break, alone, and scurried after the last few stragglers of werewolves that were heading to the meeting.
“The meeting will now come to order,” Zeke called out over the crowd and coughed to try to get their attention.
Holly began the meeting out with telling everyone who didn't already know where water and reliable food sources were located at, and where herbs and and other medicinal related plants were found at. Then she ended the meeting by talking about the events that had recently occurred.
“I want you all to know that it has come to my attention that the two vampire, Vaughn and Killian, have sided with the Lost Tribe. I don't know why they've decided to do this, but I won't it this go without getting an answer; further investigation will be held in the near future, hopefully.
“I also want you to know that Alex, Willow, Lily, and Jeremy send their deepest apologies and I know that each one of them regrets the actions they took that day. In fact, why don't we hear an apology from them right now,” Holly said, amusement clearly dancing in her brown eyes, as she stared straight at Alex in his hiding spot.
He froze in his place, his mouth hanging open, as he looked back at Holly in astonishment. Finally, he bashfully stepped out of his cover to meet the speechless looks of everyone gathered at the meeting; he walked all the way to the front, where Holly stood, with his head hanging. Once up there he gave them a sincere apology, which seemed to work because by the end of his apology almost everyone was nodding their heads in acceptance. The meeting then ended and everyone walked back to the larger clearing while Alex waited to have a private word.
“How did you know that I was there?”
“Oh, I've seen you past times sneak off to the meeting with everyone else when I usually stayed behind to take care of the children. I never bothered to reprimand you because I knew you would just go back to listening in on the meetings anyways. Now, I would like to thank you for what you just did. Because you came up in front of everyone and formally apologized, everyone has accepted it. Also since you did that I'm going to cut you and your friend's punishments short; you're all finished with your work, but we'll still be keeping a close eye on you all,” Holly informed him with a wink and a small smirk at the end.
The tribe was, once again, at peace after so many weeks of being on edge and constantly traveling; that peace would last a good long six years before the next fight between Lost Tribe and the newly formed one would come to be.