Six years have past. Will the peace remain? Or will it be devoured by tragedy?
“Alex? Alex, are you okay?” Willow asked and shook Alex's sweating form lying on the dirty ground fiercely.
Alex slowly opened his olive green eyes and looked up into Willow's worry-etched aqua eyes.
“Yes, I'm fine,” he said twirling a piece of Willow's white silky hair that had slipped off of her shoulder and brushed his cheek.
“Did you have a flashback?” she asked, tugging her hair out of his fingers, as she stood up.
“Yes,” he said pausing as he also stood up to join her,”It was about when we were ten, when we'd first moved here after the battle with the humans.”
Her eyes clouded for a minute and the she said,”Well, it must mean something, and I don't really think I'd care to know what this one's trying to point out. So, I'm going to go get washed up, and I suggest you do the same after I'm finished.” After saying this she walked out of the training clearing over towards the river.
It had been six years since their encounter with the humans, vampires, and werewolves and Alexr and his friends had all hit puberty; now they were full fledged werewolves.
Alex was now sixteen and a fine warrior at that, or at least that's what all of his training instructors had been saying the last two and a half years he'd been trained by them. He'd let his bangs grow shaggy over the years, and the longest of the bangs now reached to the tip of is strong determined jawline while his shortest barely reached the bottom of his eyes; because of his long bangs you could barely see the beautiful green eyes they were hiding. He'd also grown well-muscled, from the years of practicing and working out, and reached the good tall height of 6'0”. He also knew that, through the years, he'd grown cocky of himself, gaining too much self-confidence from all the praises he gained from his instructors; likewise, he'd usually speak without thinking it through first, which, many times, didn't earn him any brownie points towards the one he admired and adored, Willow. But, besides those two flaws, he was a most loyal companion that would always be there to help.
Ever since he'd hit puberty at the age of 14 and had his first transformation, Alex had been receiving flashbacks from the past that were usually sent to remind him of something he'd forgotten or something that would become essential in the near future. Every time he acquired a flashback, he would immediately tell Willow, Jeremy, and Lily. This particular flashback was rather confusing to Alex; there could been many things the flashback was pointing at because it was so long. Could it be telling Peter that he'd forgotten his promise to Carl to protect Willow? He didn't think it was pointing at that since he'd been keeping an eye on her every moment of his life after that sorrowful day. Could it be telling him that the war that William had foreseen was just around the corner? Alex hoped that ,above all things, the flashback wasn't pointing to that; he was just starting to get used to the peacefulness and calmness that had settled in for the past six years.
What he didn't tell his friends was that he also had visions or strange dreams while he was asleep that would give him insight that, he knew, was crucial to the future. He'd only received two so far; the first one was when he foresaw his transformation and the second one was quite different. In his second vision he'd dreamed that he and Willow were walking a long treacherous path hand in hand with Jeremy and Lily trailing behind them, also hand in hand. Each time he and Willow took a step farther he looked behind him to make sure that Jeremy and Lily were keeping up, but every time he looked back they both seemed to fade a bit more and more each time. The last time he looked back at them they were two transparent, barely visible figures behind both him a Willow; they both had sad smiles plastered onto each of their faces. He tried desperately to tear himself from Willow's grip, but she wouldn't let go and kept on looking at him with the same mournful pleading eyes he'd seen the same day Carl and his parents and all the other dead werewolves had succumbed to the humans; he knew he wouldn't be able to ignore the agonizing look the one he loved continued to give him.
“There will come a time,” a voice,raspier and colder then Willow's,said coming out of her mouth,”where you will have to choose between your two closest friends or the one who you hold dearly to you. When that time comes there will have been more bloodshed and pain to have crossed your path, and you will have to make more decisions that will affect you and those you hold close to you; choose wisely my friend.”
After the voice had finished what it was saying Alex had woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, gasping for air with tears streaming down his face from something he'd witnessed in his dream that he couldn't remember. That dream had come to him a year earlier when he was fifteen , and since then he'd, thankfully, received no others.
Now, Willow had also turned sixteen that year and, because of her one more year of experience that Alex didn't have, was almost just as good as Alex was when they were in their wolf transformations, but because Alex had more muscle and strength then she did he could occasionally beat her. When they were in their human formations practicing martial arts, which every werewolf did after six months of training as a wolf, so that no matter the situation they would always be well prepared, Willow had the upper hand because she had the agility of a feline and the cleverness of a fox, which Alex didn't have. Even though girls were supposed to wear dresses at the time, those who became warriors had the option of either wearing a dress or a tunic and leggings, and Willow could always be seen wearing a tunic and leggins; in fact, she was the only girl warrior who refused to where a dress, ever.
Over the past few years, Willow had continued to grow her hair out and it now reached her waist. She'd also grown even more stubborn the past six years, and would rarely show her true emotions; if she said she didn't care about something, Alex knew that she did, in fact, care about that something. He knew that if she continued to keep it up she would one day deeply hurt herself, so he always kept a close eye her like he'd been doing for the past six years.
Jeremy, who was now seventeen years of age because he was a year older then Alex, was still Alex's closest friend, although,anymore now, he seemed to always be occupied with Lily since they'd progressed to the stage of being “together”. Alex wished for the passionate love they shared together to sprinkle over the current relationship he and Willow had together, but he wasn't a hundred percent sure of what Willow's feelings held for him. He sometimes caught looks and actions that sometimes indicated that she held the same feelings for him that he held for her, but he knew the only way their relationship would advance was if he stepped in and did something about it; he wasn't quite ready to take that bold leap yet.
Jeremy, however had been that bold and his relationship with Lily was going strong and firm; Alex had sometimes seen them steal a kiss with each other throughout their long busy days. Also, because he'd already been the strongest out of their gang when they were little, still remained the strongest out of the four of them; he'd grown just below the category of buff and was as tall as 6'3”, towering three inches over Alex's height of 6'0”. Even though he was the most robust and ironlike out of them all, he managed to also be the clumsiest, which could sometimes cause injuries to others. Although he was the clumsiest he definitely wasn't the most unwieldy when he was training with Peter. Most of the time, because of how big he was, he used his brute strength to scare his opponent, which usually worked because when he transformed in his wolf formation he was huge,but if you did have the intelligence to see around his facade you sometimes had the upper hand.
Lily, who was now 15, had been the only one out of their whole group who'd chosen to become Holly's apprentice as a Healer. Holly had always said that she had the makings of an excellent healer, and she was right. After two years of being under the watch and guidance of Holly, she was now coming to the point of surpassing the middle-aged werewolf because of her ever present calmness, which seemed to always soothe the sick or wounded wolf she was taking care of. But, because of how much she wanted to help others recover she, many times, forgot her own health and would push herself to the point of almost fainting, and the only person who could sense this part of her was Jeremy. He always seemed to know when she was coming to her breaking point, and when that happened he would always step in and tell her to take a break, even though she always, at first, refused to acknowledge that she was being pushed to her limit until he finally managed to convince her otherwise.
As expected, Lily became the beauty of the tribe; her heart shaped face emphasized her soft and gentle features and her red ringlets that remained just below her ears, which would have made her features look more childlike if it weren't for her beauty, brought out the amber in her brown almond-shaped eyes. She walked with a grace that made every werewolf look up and acknowledge her as she passed by, especially all the younger girls who thought of her as a princess.
Because of the relationship Lily shared with Jeremy Willow had, just like Alex, been pushed off to the side as “second best”, and he always saw her eyes get moist with sadness whenever she saw them walk off together. Whenever he saw this he always felt like screaming to Willow that he was there for her, that he would be the shelter and protection that she needed, but instead of going to him at these times should would take comfort in talking to another friend she'd made, Kelly.
Kelly was a large female wolf who was at the age of twenty, four years older then Willow, who gave off a sisterly affection towards Willow. At these times Willow would leave Alex to fend for himself since he'd made no other guy friends besides Jeremy. Sometimes, though, if he was lucky, she'd come over and talk to him, and, at those times, it felt like the only two people in the world who existed at that moment were him and Willow. But, that only happened on rare occasions; at other times it felt like the only thing that connected him and Willow together were the crescent moons they each shared on their foreheads when they transformed. Peter's was white because of his deep auburn almost black fur, and Willow's crescent was the same deep auburn as his fur because of her white silvery fur; they both didn't know what it meant.
Alex sighed. He broke out of his meddled thoughts and went back to the main clearing to see if Willow had finished her bath. When he reached home she was already gone with Holly on business to Dr. Rogers' house.
“Willow, could you at least walk a little faster? It's not like you're walking towards your death,” Holly called back to Willow as they tramped through the moist, molding forest.
If she tells me one more time to pick up my pace I'm gonna turn around and go back to camp. Plus the only reason I came with her is because Lily was detained with a grumbling elder, Willow thought childishly to herself.
Holly and Willow were going to see Dr. Rogers to get information on some of the rumors that were going around and they were also going to ask the doctor about the vampires. Since they'd been settling into their new home these past six years, Holly hadn't had time to go ask the doctor if he knew anything about the vampires the Lost Tribe had befriended. Rumors were also spreading through the werewolves back home that the townsfolk had been getting suspicious of Dr. Rogers; the humans were apparently saying that he was the one who was hiding the werewolves that had mysteriously disappeared six years ago after the humans had attacked them. So, Holly who had brought Willow along for sheer company, was going to talk things out with the doctor himself.
The house was now coming into view and Willow could make out the same old fading blue paint that covered the outside of the shell of the house. It had already been six years since she'd last seen the old house and clinic that was adjacent to it, and yet everything was the same as it'd been all those years ago. Since Willow had stopped to stare at the house from a distance away, Holly was now very far ahead of her, so she ran to catch up with her and walked alongside of her the rest of the way.
When they finally reached the front door, Holly knocked on the all-too-familiar chipped wooden door. The same maid from six years ago opened the door and immediately let them in,
“I'll bring you right to him,” she told both of them as she and Holly shared a secret smile.
The maid opened a door that was on the left side of a hallway that was at the top of some steep, creaky wooden stairs that twirled up in a spiral, making Willow slightly dizzy by the time they reached the top of them. Inside, the room's walls were completely lined with shelves of neatly organized books, about ten feet in front of Willow was a painting of who she assumed was Dr. Rogers' father, a fireplace with blazing logs because it was late fall was just below the portrait, and to the right and left of the fireplace were two midnight blue big velvet chairs with a quaint mahogany table in between them. Sitting in the left chair, his back facing them, was, who Willow presumed to be, Dr. Rogers.
“Holly? I was expecting you to come sooner then later, of course I'd always hoped it would later, but it that you've come sooner. I'm guessing that you're here because of all the rumors that have been going around, right?” he asked Holly, now standing up and facing them.
His once, Willow guessed, wavy black shoulder length hair was now speckled with gray and white here and there throughout his head. His once porcelain skin had now taken on a grayish tone and was also beginning to sag around his cheek areas, making him look older then what he really was; his eyes that were once a beautiful emerald green and sea blue, were now dull and held a deep sadness to them.
“Are you well? You don't look well; not well at all! You've got to look after your health, and you know that, doctor,” Holly tutted worriedly.
“I'm quite fine. These last few years have just take a toll on me, that's all.”
“So, let's get down to the point; is it true that the humans have suspected you of hiding us on your property? Tell me everything and tell me the truth. If Willow's being here bothers you, don't let it; she's very strategic and finds answers to problems quickly. Everything I plan on doing, I ask her opinion on it first.”
“Alright, it's true; people have been coming up to my house and inquiring what I've been doing with my land and what's in my clinic, which they know very well that I am a certified doctor, they just never call upon me.”
“The nerve! It's your property, they have no right to barge into your house to ask what you're doing with your property! If it were me I'd kick them right out of here,” Holly said hotly.
“I've refused to tell them anything and I've told them to stay off of my property, but the still persist on coming here. I don't know what to do anymore; it's gotten so out of control,”he said, slumping back down in the chair,”I fear that one night they'll come to my house with torches in their hands, threatening to burn down my home.”
Willow watched as Holly walked around the chair and stood facing him. She placed her hands upon his shoulders and looked directly into his eyes, saying, “Whatever happens, my tribe will always be here to back you up.”
“Yes, but what of the Lost Tribe? I'm having trouble communicating with them; they refuse to listen to what I have to say. Even after all the years of hospitality....they just won't listen! I have to tell them about what's going on, and the only way I can think of getting the information through to them is by sending you. I know I'm asking you a lot, but please consider it.”
Willow watched silently as Holly's eyes narrowed in the firelight and she took her hands of of the doctor's shoulders. Silence filled the room for a few minutes until she finally replied,”Alright, I'll do it. Willow and I and some others will travel to the Lost Tribe's home.”
“Thank you, thank you so much! You don't know how much this means to me,” Willow heard him exclaim with relief in his voice.
Willow frowned at Holly's decision; going over to the Lost Tribe was not her idea fun especially since she knew that Vaughn and Killian would be there or at least somewhere close by. Every night when Willow went to sleep she dreamed about one thing: the Lost Tribe; they were either dreams about things that had already happened or of things to come, but it was always about the Lost Tribe and nothing else. Alex wasn't the only one who received visions and flashbacks, his were just always about different things while her's were about one specific thing.
Even though Alex hadn't told anyone about his visions or his strange dreams Willow knew about them; some nights she could hear him moaning in the dark ,and then ,after a few minutes of moaning, he'd wake up panting or gasping. On those nights Willow would go to his side and hug his head like a baby to calm him down ;after he looked up at her with hysteric eyes she knew that he would forget everything the next morning. That was the only reason she did it; because she knew that the next morning he would forget everything.
“Willow and I will now leave,” Willow heard Holly say suddenly through her thoughts. As they walked out the door the maid held open, Holly gave Willow a look that said “Keep your mouth shut, for now”. She bit back her angry remark to what Holly had decided, and quietly walked out the door after her.
Alex grunted as Jeremy threw him off of his back as they trained together. Alex looked at his opponent in frustration; Jeremy had become good, really good. Not only did he have brute strength, but he'd also gained some new moves and skills that Alex was unfamiliar with. Then, just as they'd finished assessing one another and were about to lunge at each other, they heard a horn blow in the short distance, which could only mean one thing: council.
Even though both of them knew that councils were held right where they were, they still bounded through the grass and tress back to the main clearing instead. When Alex was in his wolf form it felt like all his fears and worries were gone; he could feel the long grass tickle his cheeks and tail, feel the moist leaf covered ground under his paws, it felt like no one could catch him. There was only one word that could describe the incredible sensation that filled him as he ran through the woods: free.
When he and Jeremy finally reached the clearing they were surprised to find that the everyone was crowded around Holly, the new King of the tribe, Willow, Zeke, and Quinn ready for a council. Alex and Jeremy pushed their way through the crowd up to the front of the gathering, ignoring the nasty comments that followed their actions, to stand on either side of Lily.
“What's going on?” Alex quickly whispered to Lily.
“I don't know; Holly and Willow just came running through the tress all of a sudden and ordered everyone to gather right here for a meeting. They said it was urgent,” she whispered back.
“The council will now take place,” Zeke shouted above all the chatter.
“I know this seems very odd because we aren't in our usual meeting spot, but the news I have to tell you is too pressing to have to wait until everyone walks through the woods to our normal council spot. Today, as most of you already know, Willow and I went to Dr. Rogers' house to discuss the truth about the rumors that have been flying around; they are true. Humans have been coming to the doctor's house for quite some time now to implore about his property and what he's hiding, if he's hiding, anything on it. He's refused to tell them anything and he's continuously told them to stay away, but they won't listen.
“Now, the problem he has is that he's lost touch with the Lost Tribe, and he wishes for me and Willow and perhaps some others to go and inform them of what's going on. I immediately told him I would without getting all of your opinions, which I am sorry for, but he's been under much stress and I feel that this is one thing we can do after all the hospitality he's shown us these last few years. But, I will still ask you now, what do you all think?”Holly informed everyone with a concerned look on her face.
Alex looked over at Willow, who was standing beside her, and could almost clearly see the fierce anger flashing in her aqua blue eyes, which voiced her opinion on the matter. He then looked over at Zeke and Quinns' faces on either side of Holly and Willow; they both had unreadable, blank expressions chiseled on their faces.
He heard snatches of different conversations flying all around him; most of them were negative responses, but some were open-minded to the proposition. Then, before anyone had given a definite answer, everyone heard a shout come from the back of the huddled gathering.
“Holly, someone's coming this way! It looks like the doctor himself,” a werewolf cried up to the front of the group of wolves. Everyone turned their head to the back to find Dr. Rogers half-limping, half-running up to them.
“I'm terribly sorry to....disturb everyone this evening.....but it's an emergency. The townsfolk......have just come barged into my house......saying that if I don't move out......or tell them what I'm hiding on my property......that they'll come burn my house down in two days......and search my property. If they find any evidence......of werewolves staying here, they said that they'll put me......in the stocks or kill me. I have no idea what I'm going to do,” Dr. Rogers said through breaths of air from the rush.
Instantly after he'd finished speaking, everyone broke out into hushed tones of worry. Alex heard some of the werewolves call the humans bastards, others worried about the safety of their children, and he heard one voice above the rest mention the battle between the humans and werewolves some years ago.
“Okay everyone please stay calm and be quiet,” Holly yelled above the mixed voices,” First things first, we must tell the Lost Tribe about this,no matter what; Willow and I will go inform them. Lily, you are to be the new Healer of the Tribe; I meant to appoint you the new healer at an official ceremony, but seeing as we don't have time for that I will quickly announce you as one. You must certainly know by now that you have surpassed me in many ways as a Healer and I wholeheartedly appoint you as the new Healer. Congratulations! Now, onto the third thing, we need to hurry and make look as if we never lived here; put leaves and sticks all around the padded down areas. Zeke, I leave you in charge of that. Fourth and foremost, I want you, Quinn, to to discuss with Dr. Rogers of possible places we can go.”
At first, everyone stood still, dumfounded and still trying to comprehend the information Holly had just distributed, but then they all went into action. As everyone began to scatter around Alex, he watched as Holly and Willow left the council. His eyes never leaving Willow's back, he saw her look back at him with a warning look in her eyes, and then they changed into a pools of a tender expression he'd never seen her show him before. As soon as her eyes left his, he dropped to his knees in pain as a vision flooded his mind.