For complete disclaimers, see part 1.
Author's note: Please feel free to leave feedback by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Old man Preacher took one step into the valley. His wrinkly skin and greyish parlour did not mar his lively self. He had brought a group of six followers with him. His grey hair swayed in the unnatural breeze. He could feel the magical barrier, although he was not sure as to the purpose of it. His black eyes sparkled as he saw the snow covering the area.
Preacher led the way. He would navigate his followers to where the vile creature lurked. His eyes narrowed in determination, he would get them to kill it and thus save humanity once and for all. He had already lost his name over the many years. No one remembered him. He was after all far older than any of his followers despite his appearance. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He should have been bone dust by now, but by whatever faith was still out there he was alive.
He could still remember the day in which he had tried to get as many people as he could into his church. Trying to save as many people from the fate that awaited them if they were to gaze at the red sky, he had felt the evil in the air. It had been tainted with dark magic which he had only felt once before when he was a child. He had known deep in his heart this was the work of someone evil.
Over time, he had watched as his human fellows died. All the people he had helped had been murdered or passed away. Even his acolytes had not survived the passage of time and what the world had become. He had tried to keep in contact with his fellow brothers within his faith, but they all perished. Relying on those who were changed, it had been a dangerous endeavour, considering he didn't know who to trust. There were many creatures out there that only wanted blood; their primal instincts at the fore.
He was now setting out to find the source and kill it. It was the only way for everything to return to how it should be. He was sure it was the only way. He smiled as he led his warriors on a hunt to eradicate all the evil he felt. Vile creatures stood no chance against his select followers who were great warriors.
“We will head toward the human village and see what is there first.” Preacher voiced commandingly. He stopped and coughed violently. His followers only watched him. They didn't care about his health. He could see it in their eyes. They were only following him since he had money. He was the ringleader of the bounty hunters. Many places had offered rewards for certain beasts to be exterminated. He had accepted those jobs and handled the transactions while his warriors dealt with whatever needed killing.
He cast his eyes about and noticed the many wintery trees. It looked as though nature was surviving in leaps and bounds without the help of humanity. He felt snowflakes fall onto his hand and drew his coat tighter around him. It would be bad if he were to fall sick within this land.
He wiped his mouth with a rag and continued forth. There was still plenty of light left for them to trek further. He had already sent various groups of bounty hunters within to scout the area before attempting to meet up. They would all congregate at the human village and start to flush out anyone who knew the whereabouts of the vile creature within this valley. He would kill it.
Year 2015 AD or 0000 BI…
The sky was as blue as it could be and the sun blazed down upon the land. Green eyes gazed up to see if there was any sign of a weather change. She was tired of the heat and sticky feeling. Her black work clothes didn't help to keep her cool as she traversed the busy streets.
She held a pile of folders in her hands as she quickly dashed across the road even though the light had not turned green for her to walk. Multiple cars sounded their horns in warning, but she was too preoccupied. She had a deadline to get to. These files were important and her boss would grill her if he were to be embarrassed in front of his clients.
Tires screeched to a halt. Papers flew everywhere. A glance to her right and she knew her fate. She had made a mistake in her hurry. There was no way she would make the deadline. She wouldn't be able to see her friend. All the hurrying would be for nothing. She wouldn't be able to see.
Anna fell forward as someone pushed her from behind. Her hands and knees scraped the ground as she landed painfully on the road. Her ears had heard the bone crushing bang of someone else being hit by the car. She heard them bounce off the front and roll to a stop in the middle of the road. Turning around, she looked. Her green eyes were widened in shock and fear. She left her folders and papers and rushed over to the prone bloody body. No! No! No!
Anna knelt next to the bloody mess of the person who had saved her life. Tears stained her face as she stared at the woman who had rushed to her rescue. She gently placed her hand on the bloody cheek. This can't be happening. Not you. She looked down at the face and knew who it was. Her heart hammered in her chest as blue eyes opened slightly to look at her.
“I thought I… told you… to be careful… before you left… this morning.”
Anna didn't know what she was feeling. A great weight of pain boiled inside of her. She was going to break. There was no chance for her to stop this. She looked down into blue eyes and knew she was crying. Blobs of tears were mixing with blood. Her own minor injuries were forgotten as she stayed with the person she loved. She didn't know what to do. Her mind had gone numb. She didn't want this.
Thomas felt no pain as she stared into those teary green eyes. She was happy her love only had a few minor scratches. Not really caring about her own wellbeing, she knew her body was failing her. It was already a bad sign she couldn't feel anything. She stayed still as she heard the commotion around her. The driver had hopped out to call an ambulance. People were staring at them and just watching.
She was glad she had secretly tailed Anna for the entire day. It was just unfortunate she couldn't stop her from crossing the road. However, she had been there to save her. The foreboding feeling of the day before had faded. She had protected her. It was the only thing that mattered.
She could hear sirens in the distance. Keeping her eyes on Anna, she was sad though after everything. She didn't want to have her cry after all. It was a cruel reality. She didn't want to cause her any pain and she didn't want to lose her either. However, there was no way in which she could have both.
She stared at the bright blue sky. It was so clear without a cloud in sight. The wind was still blowing gently as the air currents changed. It would be so cool if she could discard gravity and take to the air. She would soar through the sky and look upon the land with such wonder and joy. To feel the wind against her cheeks with her long black hair flowing back, she would love to be able to feel it.
However, she was here on the ground. Her own blood surrounding her with a dented car screeched to a halt not too far away. The driver standing near her with his phone to his ear was in shock. Anna still kneeling beside her was crying her eyes out. She didn't want to leave. I must go home. I guess it is time to return. Back to the manor with my awaiting duties, I will return to it. Maybe one day I will come back for her. Blue eyes looked into green. She would have lifted her arm to caress the tear stained cheek, but she couldn't. “Anna, please don't cry. I love you.” Thomas whispered lovingly from a parched throat. She could see the alarm in those green eyes. It was inevitable. She had hid herself well. The paramedics were running over with a stretcher. She smiled as they skidded to a halt, but before they could lay one hand on her she disappeared in a blink of an eye. Magic lingered in the air.
Anna knelt there stunned as the love of her life disappeared right under her nose. She didn't know what happened or where Thomas had gone. Her heart was torn. It was shredded into a million pieces. It was my fault. Green eyes closed as she tilted her head back. She opened her mouth and let out a wrenching scream, “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”
It had been two months since the accident. Anna was in her darkened apartment. She had been there for that whole time. Her green eyes were dull as she stared at the ceiling from her bed. She had not moved from this spot. Time had ceased to mean anything to her. Her pale complexion contrasted savagely with the blood stained sheets. Her chest was still moving up and down, but very faintly.
Anna didn't care anymore. She had lost any reason to live. Quitting her job, she had been in no good frame of mind to work. She took the full blame for the death of the love of her life. Tears stained the sides of her face. Each good memory she had with Thomas was marred by the fact she could remember hearing the screech of those tires. She had felt someone push her. Turned and looked.
Her mind had ceased to move past that event. She couldn't live with herself. All of her workmates had stopped trying to see her after the first month. She had grieved over her loss. However, there was no burial. No one bothered to finish the police investigation either since Thomas had disappeared. All the witnesses had said they had seen her fall out of the way of the car and then became hysteric. Even the driver had been perplexed since he had said he had seen someone get hit by his car. He thought he had hit her, but she wasn't wearing the same clothes as the person who was hit. No one believed her that the love of her life had pushed her out of the way and got hit.
A hand caressed her cheek, but she didn't think about it. She had closed her eyes to dream about reuniting with Thomas in heaven, if she was allowed. Feeling the warmth, her tears were wiped away. A tepid tingling sensation covered her arms where she had cut them. They were no longer painful. She guessed she was dying at last.
Suddenly, Anna felt lips upon her own. She opened her eyes wide to see who it was. Remembering this feeling, it was so similar. It was impossible. She stared up in shock. The love of her life was kneeling next to her bed and kissing her. Am I already in heaven? She lifted her hand which had become useless before and delicately traced the cheeks in a loving caress. Her eyes were filled with tears. Thomas…
Thomas stroked Anna's face. Two months had been too long a time. She had been grumpy for the entire time as she healed and returned to her own duties. Her servants had been afraid of her. However, she couldn't help her moods. She was worried about the woman who held her heart. Hearing how the incident had looked, she heard how her love had quit and withdrawn from society. Everyone had been tensed. They didn't want to face her wrath.
She looked down at her love and knew she must have caused her great pain for Anna to resort to this. Luckily, she had made it in time to use her magic to heal the wounds. However, there was no way she could use magic to heal her delicate mind. She had damaged her far more than if the blonde beauty had been hit by the car.
Tears stained her own cheeks as she tried to stir Anna to the world of living. She wanted her spark of life back. Needing the green eyed young woman to love her and be with her. She gently gathered her into a tight embrace. It almost broke her. She would take her home. It was the only place she could think of to be able to help her love through the mess she had made.
Presently, year 3000 AI…
Thomas held Anna in a tight embrace. It was the safest place for her to be for them to traverse quickly to her home with the use of magic. It had almost felt like the time when she was hit by the car and had to go back for her. However, this time she was not carrying her in her arms. They stood facing each other. The young woman before her didn't remember anything of their past. There was little hope she would since she had reappeared in a different body.
She turned around with her feet gently stomping on soft snow. Her arm casually gestured to the wooden house in which Furry had built with its paws and magic. Blue eyes softened as she gazed into white eyes. “This is my home. This will be your home from now on.” She said welcomingly.
Anna stared at Thomas. It had felt comforting to be in her embrace and a little scary. She thought she would lose control of her emotions and act upon them. Her fear had subsided, but now the older woman was telling her they were to live together. She looked up into her blue eyes and could see the tension running through her body. There was something the dangerous woman was holding back. She wasn't sure what it was and knew not to ask since it might be impolite. Her white eyes looked passed her to the cloudy sky above which promised more snow. She looked toward the house before she was carefully being guided over there.
“Kayla and Katsi are humans who live here as well.” Thomas informed lightly as they neared the front door. She gentlemanly held the door open for Anna to enter before her. “There is also Hattie and Furry who you know. Rumeria will probably stay for a while too. You will be welcomed by everyone. There is nothing to worry about.”
“Why am I staying with you?” Anna queried softly. She had asked this question before, but Thomas had not answered because someone had greeted them off. Wanting to know why her father had agreed, she believed she had been safe with Izana as her personal guard. She wondered why the older woman was trying to fill that role when they barely spoke to each other.
Thomas opened her mouth to say something, but Kayla and Katsi rushed out of the living room to greet them. She would have repeated her last sentence to Anna to save her from having to explain the truth so early. Smiling broadly, she watched as Kayla and Katsi tried to make the young woman feel welcomed by giving hugs and talking cheerfully. She could only dismiss herself. There were other things she had to do and the important part of her life was finally home.
She walked up the stairs and left Anna to Kayla and Katsi's attentions. Her thoughts were on Hattie as a heavy weight was placed upon her shoulders. She stared at the door which led to the little girl's room. It was the original room in which she had stayed in before leaving. She gently knocked on the door before entering. Furry and Rumeria would be present with her, still sleeping on the bed.
Her blue eyes roamed the simple room. Furry hadn't had much of an imagination when it was filling the rooms. It only thought about the necessities. She didn't really mind, but none of the rooms felt homey until Kayla and Katsi showed up to do some decorating. The house had become livelier and resembled more of a home instead of a dry place to sleep.
She quickly approached the bed and placed her hand on Hattie's forehead. Smiling, she felt the high fever from transforming had subsided. She looked over to Rumeria who was also lying on the bed carefully hugging Hattie. “Would you like Kayla and Katsi to find you something else to wear?” She asked a little humorously.
“I'll go find them later.” Rumeria replied with a smile since she knew she had caused a scandal earlier in Allan's clan. She had been so rushed to answer to Thomas's summons that she only conjured enough material to clad her womanly attributes. So technically she was only wearing something similar to what Furry wore when it was more humanlike, but with an addition to her chest.
Thomas sighed as Rumeria's situation clouded her thoughts. There was little she could do for her except to give her a purpose. She knew what she was asking of the green eyed woman, but there was no one else. Being the only other one who could keep the young girl in her inert state, she wouldn't let her harm herself or others. Their power was a double edged sword. However, with control she could restrain the danger she imposed on others. It had been a long path to get to where she was with the amount of skill she had. She wondered if the little girl could master her own powers so she could wield them with care.
She turned toward Furry who was resting on the warm wool rug. A slight smile graced her lips at the way it was sleeping. It had his paws in the air and they were all twitching as if it were running. Air running… She would have laughed at what she saw next, but held it in. Never in her life had she seen the blue beast cock its leg up like a dog about to mark its territory. She decided to wake it up. There were a few things she needed her friend to do.
She gently nudged Furry with her bare foot and smiled as golden eyes opened wide. The beast immediately righted itself before looking enquiringly up at her. She decided to kneel down and stroke the blue fur. It had been a long time since she had done this simple act. She knew her friend loved the attention and sometimes craved for it. “There is something I want you to do. There is a man with blonde hair and green eyes. His name is Jacob. I want you to watch him. There is something about him that bugs me. Can you do that for me?” She asked sincerely.
Furry's lips curved up into a smile. It had been a while since she had asked for something of it in a nice manner. It guessed that she was tired. They all were after the entire ordeal of Thomas going berserk and then going to collect Anna, but running into Hattie, the hunters and Lizandrous. “It will be my pleasure.” It growled eagerly. “You should rest. It has been a very long night.”
Thomas smiled before turning to leave the room. She knew Furry would go when it was ready. There was really no hurry since Allen was still with Jacob. Also, she suspected Allen would question the three of them thoroughly as to determine why they were travelling into Cartian valley.
She walked back downstairs to see what Anna was doing. Her blue eyes watched from the hallway as Katsi and Kayla were talking animatedly about what fun they could get up to. She smiled as Anna was getting used to her new surroundings. It was going to be a few slow days of rest for all of them. She had put her body through too much. Even the slight healing and traversing magic she had used this morning had been a bit too much for her. She was glad no one had noticed.
Thomas could see Anna smiling at the two girls and how friendly they were. She knew Anna would like the two of them. They were likeable although a little naïve about the way the world now worked. She had tried to teach them the dangers of carelessly going out. Warning them, there creatures lurked in many places and could do them harm. She told them how creatures were cunning and might seem harmless from their looks, but would tear their prey apart at a moment's glance.
She was still concerned as to why Valils were able to get into the valley undetected. The magical field had not been checked in a long time, but she could feel it from where she was. The field was up. It was meant to warn her about the presence of dangerous creatures so she could keep them out. She should probably plan a trip to the valley rim. However, it would probably take a few weeks to check the field since she needed to walk the perimeter. There was no easy way to inspect it. She feared what other monsters could be lurking in her valley.
She could have easily taken off to inspect it while leaving everyone in Rumeria's care. Furry would still do the task she had asked it to perform. However, she was concerned about whether it would be a wise choice. Her house was only two days away from the human village and only a day from Allen's clan. The valley rim, on the other hand, was three days away and she still had to walk the perimeter. If nothing serious needed to be done, it would be a minimum of three weeks before her return. However, three weeks was too long. She could feel it in her core she shouldn't leave. There was still something she had to do even though she didn't know what.
Thomas stayed within the shadows as she watched Anna get more comfortable with Kayla and Katsi. She smiled and relaxed as she saw how the young woman was adapting to her new surroundings. I should probably let them all bond and stay away for a bit. At the moment, her happiness is all that I want. She sighed and turned on her heel. It would be fantastic if she could come and spend some time with the white haired woman later. It wasn't like she remembered anything. There was still time to explain.
She quietly walked upstairs to her own room. Quickly discarding her clothes, she left them in a raggedly pile by the door. They were quite soiled and she couldn't stand the itchiness any longer. Her long legs brought her to the bathroom door. It was her own private bathroom which she would use on occasion if the public one wasn't in use. However, this time she felt like hiding away.
She turned on the hot water and began to fill the tub. Her eyes raked her person and she could see the scrapes and bruises. There were various scars which would disappear over time. Sinking into the hot tub, she sighed voluminously. It felt great for her tensed muscles. Every muscle in her body cried in relief as she leant her head back and gently closed her eyes. There was still plenty of time for her to clean up, patch herself up and get changed.
It had been one very long night and morning. She wondered if she would be able to rest now since her objective to bring Anna home was successful. There was a small hope; she would be able to rest just for a couple of hours. She knew Kayla and Katsi would not disturb her and they knew she needed the rest.
She could still feel magic lingering in the air which belonged to Rumeria who had fixed up the house upon her return with Furry and Hattie. A reflexive smile came upon her at the thought of the bat beast barging into the house and Kayla and Katsi being frightened by the sudden intrusion. She wished she had been there to see the duo trying to push what seemed to be a stranger out of the house and barring the door like she had taught them. However, she knew her female servant would resort to magic and have the little girl tucked in bed before the sisters understood she was no threat. She still wondered though if it had turned out like that or if the olive skinned woman had knocked.
She gently rubbed her arms to wipe away the dirt and grime. Her eyes were still closed as she cleansed her body. She knew where the soaps were since she had performed this ritual for many years; although Kayla and Katsi at first misplaced some of her items from time to time. Quickly standing up, she let the water drain off her muscular body. The steam in the air kept the room warm as she swiftly dried and discarded the towel onto the floor.
Suddenly, a gasp was heard from her bathroom doorway. She swiftly opened her blue eyes where they widened at seeing who had entered her room. Her gaze met white eyes and didn't know what to think. She could see the blush was also working its way up on her own face.
“Sorry!” Anna squealed before she hastily turned on her heel. She would have fled the room, but warm calloused hands stopped her. Staying perfectly still, knowing that Thomas was holding her and the most likely fact she was still stark naked, she kept her eyes on the door. She didn't want to turn around.
“Is there something wrong?” Thomas asked concernedly.
“No, nothing.” Anna replied hastily as she tried to turn away.
“Wait right here.” Thomas requested gently, seeing her unease.
Anna stayed glued to the spot as Thomas removed her hands. She knew she should have knocked before coming in, but she didn't think the older woman had her own bathroom. Slipping away from Kayla and Katsi's attentions since they had chores to complete, she left because she was still unsure as to why she was here. She would have helped, but Katsi insisted on her to explore the house.
She then only noticed the pile of dirty clothes near the door. Berating herself, she should have been more observant. Feeling embarrassed at seeing Thomas's body, it stirred strange feelings within her and she didn't know what it meant yet. Her white eyes were trained on the door and could see the shadows moving across the room. She didn't need an imagination to know the powerful woman was getting dressed behind her. Her short term memory was showing her the specific details of what the tanned woman was exactly doing and what it would look like if she had been facing her.
She tried to think of something else. Needing to tone down her own embarrassment, she wondered if Thomas was embarrassed at being seen without her clothes on. However, something in the back of her mind told her the woman was confident in her body. She kept on trying to think of something else, but she could still see in her mind. Believing her face must be beet red by now, the image of the exquisite body in her head was not helping.
She felt hands on her shoulders and was spun around. Briefly, she glanced into blue eyes before dropping her gaze to the floor. She felt uncomfortable as she stood there before Thomas. Her hands were clasped together in front of her and she was fidgeting. She didn't know what to do or say. A little glad that at least the tanned woman had some decent clothes on which conservatively clad her body. Her heart was hammering inside of her chest and her hands were getting sweaty as she felt like she was going to be preyed upon. She was scared of what the powerful woman would do to punish her.
Anna was shocked as Thomas moved forward and held her in a tight embrace. She felt her entire body relax from the warmth coming from the taller woman's body. Her heart was still pounding, but she could also feel the older woman's heart doing the same. Her cheek was slightly pressed against her shoulder as her back was being gently stroked in a soothing manner.
“Don't worry about it.” Thomas whispered caressingly.
Jacob followed Allen to one of the cottages which were not being used. He had graciously accepted the invitation to stay for the night to rest up for their journey. They would head out the following morning for the human village which was at least one and a half day walk. It could probably be managed within one day for the whole trip. He wondered where the blue eyed beauty had disappeared off to.
Thinking back to earlier in the morning, Jacob had been stunned to see the two women in the distance before. He couldn't believe his eyes since they were beautiful and yet so different from each other. His chest had ached yearningly for them as if love was in the air, but he restrained himself and his feelings. He saw the white eyed beauty collapse and wanted to rush over to help. Staring longingly, his soul craved to help her. However, he was shocked by the blue eyed woman's actions. She had stood protectively over the smaller woman and had stared at him. His heart started to hammer at her intense gaze and his hands became sweaty. He wasn't sure what he was feeling, but he wasn't able to figure it out since he was ushered into the tavern.
Jacob had sat there and tasted the food and drink. He talked only a little about themselves, making sure not to reveal their true motives. Sensing Allen was trying to probe them, he was more guarded. It was understandable though since the blonde man was the leader of the clan and he seemed very cautious. He would have felt the same way if he were in his shoes.
Suddenly, Jacob saw those intense blue eyes and couldn't break his stare. His green eyes saw her long legs beneath the thin fabric and her long black hair. He was amazed by her seductive body and knew Mike would be staring as well. His heart was hammering within his chest as if it wanted to burst out of its confines. Feeling his hands were overly sweaty, his brain didn't want to think. The intense gaze from those deep blue eyes remained glued to his. He thought she was looking inquiringly at him as if wanting to know something he had. Snapping out of it once the blue eyed beauty had left; he learnt what her name was. Thomas .
He remained daydreaming until Allen had brought them to the cottage. His friends had dropped off their stuff around the room and were finally relaxing from the intense interview. They all knew they were being watched and would remain so until they left the clan's territory. It wasn't as if they hadn't had this sort of thing happen to them before, but it felt kind of weird within the valley.
"So what do you think of Thomas?" Mike asked coolly with a knowing smirk.
Langley sighed. She had sat through many of these sessions and knew where this conversation was heading. Her grey eyes glanced around the room. She was not impressed by the simple accommodation, but she wasn't displeased by it either. The lounge was comfortable and modest as well as the coffee table and other various items situated in the living area. A glance at the dining area showed much of the same style. There were only the bare basics. She wondered if this place was created as such to hold guests. It was assumed to be so since there really wasn't anywhere else she could see which allowed guests to have a room or such. Even the tavern didn't have any rooms.
"Come on Jacob, we're waiting." Mike called, carefully baiting him.
Langley looked up at the wooden ceiling. There really wasn't much to do besides sleep in this place. They really couldn't talk about the mission or anything personal. She had already seen a couple of people watching them out of the corner of her eye. Not even surprised at their professionalism, she saw how talented they were to seem like people minding their own business when they were actually being very observant. She would have pointed them out to the others, but that would just blow their cover away.
"She sure was a babe, don't you think?" Mike asked slyly.
Langley sighed a second time. She would have decked Mike by now with his insistence if she had been in Jacob's shoes. However, she knew the persistent one tracked minded human was trying to make everyone relax and enjoy the reprieve which had befallen them. There was nothing they could do until tomorrow when they were out of the territory. She would probably allow both of them to ride if she were well rested.
"Did you notice how blue her eyes were? And what about those legs?"
Langley closed her eyes tightly shut as her sudden headache began to throb. She wondered why she was getting one all of a sudden. Her mind was going around in circles, trying to analyse the people and their relationships with one another in this clan. She tried to figure out why there were no children seen anywhere. Were they inside somewhere? She could imagine hiding her own children from strangers if she had any. It was common to do so in the outside world and she didn't think these people were much different. However, she still had a strange feeling as if something was still not right.
"She had her eyes all over you." Mike commented, trying to boost Jacob's ego.
Suddenly, Langley got up from lying on the lounge. She walked directly toward Mike and pulled her arm back wide. A loud resounding slap echoed around the room while the now silent human held his reddening cheek. "Will you cut it out already? Jacob hasn't been answering you and won't. So drop the subject and move on or shut the hell up. You're making my headache worse with your childish fantasies." She yelled frustratingly. Her breath came out heavily as all the anger erupted within her. She stood menacingly over her irritating colleague who looked like he was about to try and find a bed to scramble under.
"That's enough, Langley." Jacob whispered admonishingly. He had been absently staring out of the window picturing the blue eyed woman named Thomas. Not minding Mike's one sided conversation, however, it looked as though Langley did. He wondered if the two were actually more than friends, but quickly squashed the idea. They were yards apart in personalities, always bickering. It was as if they were complete opposites. The only time they truly got along was when they were back to back keeping both of them alive. "Why don't you go and take a nap. I'll wake you up when they get us for dinner."
Langley calmed down and looked at Mike. "Sorry for hitting you." She whispered apologetically. Returning to the lounge, she lied down. Her eyes were already closed and she was snoring gently. Her chest moved up and down in a rhythm which seemed hypnotic to Jacob and Mike.
Mike rubbed his sore cheek. I guess that was a good price to pay for being able to annoy her . Smiling at her peaceful face, he wondered what she was dreaming about. He really didn't mind having her getting angry at him. It was really for her own good since he had seen those wheels turning rapidly within her head. He knew she was actually getting tenser as she tried to think about everything that was going on. There was only one solution to it and he had to step in since Jacob hadn't even noticed. It was usually his job to tell her to go rest if she was being overly stressed.
"Sorry she hit you." Jacob said ruefully.
Mike smiled. It looked as though Jacob had finally realised. "Don't worry about it. She usually gets tense in these surroundings. I don't mind being the punching bag from time to time. The thing I'm more worried about is you. You've been spacing out all morning. What's up? Is it that woman, Thomas, still bugging you?" He asked worriedly.
"I keep thinking about her. When I saw her it was like my heart wanted to burst and my hands were sweaty. I couldn't keep my eyes from staring. I felt like I couldn't move and didn't want to. I keep going in my head that it might be an infatuation." Jacob explained passionately as a slight blush started to work its way up his face at speaking from his heart. At the time, he had felt overwhelmed by the rush of feelings he had felt for that woman. He knew he would have dropped the mission or whatever he was doing for her if she had asked him. It was wild; he would do anything for her. The feeling was so strong he had felt confused. "Do you think I'm crazy?"
"Well, you have in the past day collapsed and had invisible things attack you. You've had the urge to hurry us all through the night. Then you fall head over heels for a total stranger and now you are daydreaming. In conclusion, you might be a little crazy.” Mike concurred lightly to take the edge off the truths he had stated. “Seriously though, I don't think it is an infatuation. I think she might have had similar feelings toward you. Her stare was intense, but there were undercurrents as if she were trying to figure something out. I would guess she was shocked to see you." He explained carefully as he watched Langley sleep. Glad she was resting, Jacob wouldn't have opened up to him if she were awake. It was a matter of pride; although he didn't really think she counted since she was always with them. "Did you also notice the other beauty in the area when we were escorted into the tavern?"
"I think I know her from somewhere. Well I feel as though I know her, but I don't recall meeting her anywhere. She felt familiar." Jacob replied wonderingly as he also pondered who the other woman was. He had seen her and felt strange. Maybe I am weird .
"Perhaps your empathy ability is going haywire." Mike remarked with a slight laugh. He had seen his friend use it on many missions to determine the true culprit of the crimes. His scepticism at first had been quickly replaced by awe at how right his friend had been. They had worked together for many years and there had never been a time where they were mistaken or had incriminated the wrong person. Jacob had always been open-minded when hearing one of the preacher's briefings. They would go to the area and ascertain if the facts were right before dismissing or proceeding with the mission. Even the preacher had to admit his friend's findings and clever investigative skills were more alike to those in the twentieth century.
"I don't think it has anything to do with that." Jacob replied seriously as a sigh escaped his lips. He closed his eyes and yet again his thoughts turned to those two women. Feeling something deep within him, it held a knowledge he was not yet ready for. He tried to scrape at the edges, but nothing could escape and he was left mystified as to what connection he could have to those two. I wonder if it has anything to do with my childhood memory loss .
“She could be a long lost childhood friend?” Mike suggested swiftly as if the idea had only just struck him. His face was perked up as if he were about to get a present. However, he was disappointed at Jacob's expressive features.
“I highly doubt that would be the case.” Jacob replied in a crestfallen voice. He would have had a better reception if that were the case. “This was something else. I'm not sure what, but I will find out.” He vowed determinedly as he lounged back on the couch. Gently closing his eyes, he tried to piece together what he was actually feeling. He wondered if Mike might have been right. It would sort of make sense, but she wouldn't have looked at him in that way. He had seen her white eyes filled with confusion as he saw her in pain. Why did I feel the urge to rush over to her side even though I don't know her? Why did Thomas also have the same glare in her eyes?
Jacob mulled this topic in his head for a while. He hadn't even realised Langley was fast asleep or the fact that Mike was checking his bags. His only concern was the connection between the two women and him. There was something there. He could feel it and the knowledge was just outside of his grasp.
“They are only resting. It doesn't look like they are up to anything. It would seem their story is true so far.” Izana commented in a bored manner. She sat on the roof and peered inside the small hole she had made. Smiling, she watched her three charges carefully since her father had some business to attend to regarding Anna. She had yet to go and see her after she was escorted by Thomas. It was saddening; she wondered where the two of them had gone.
“Are they doing anything else?” Sam asked wearily. He was resting on his back with his eyes closed. It was meant to be him keeping an eye on their three unexpected guests. However, he was really tired and wondered why his own brother didn't see. Allen had made him guard the south in the early hours of the morning after having to fight against Lizandrous and now he was to oversee these three. I guess I am sort of lucky I have Izana with me. Otherwise I wouldn't have a chance to actually relax.
“The lady is asleep on the lounge. The blonde is resting on the couch and the other guy is-” She paused as she made sure her eyes were not deceiving her. “-checking his pack. He sure has a fair few weapons with him for a mere traveller.” She informed excitedly as she peered even closer to the hole. Seeing exactly what the other guy had in his bag, she was of course directly above him. “He has a few throwing knives, a well concealed sword, a few small sachets, a sharpening stone and other normal travelling stuff. It looks as though he's a warrior.”
Sam abruptly sat up and hastily pushed Izana out of the way so he could peer into the hole. He wondered what was in their gear since there were chinking noises in their bags. Also their bags looked quite heavy even considering they had been travellers. His blue eyes widened at the condition of the gear Mike had in his bag. It was all well cared for and also looked as though it had been used a lot. “This could be bad. No one carries around weapons like that unless they were prepared to hunt something. I'm guessing these three are bounty hunters and they have a prey they're searching for within this valley. We should warn Allen. He would know what to do.” He whispered alarmingly.
“Cleanse the world of the filth that it has become.”
“Follow me and lend me your strength.”
“Save what is left of humanity.”
“Do you believe anything he says?” A spiky black haired man with a long katana asked. He swung it about in a practiced stance as he moved fluidly from one pose to another. Sweat was slowly forming on his brow as he continued to imagine fighting a group of enemies. His words had sounded a little airy, but the exasperation in his young voice was clearly heard.
“Leslie doesn't believe.” Leslie said shortly in a deep, almost mumbled, tone as he watched his friend practise. “Is Tyler tired of hearing Preacher preaching? Leslie not tired. Leslie only focuses on job. Preacher shows Leslie who dies, Leslie kill.” He leant against a tall tree with his big muscular body. Resting for a while, he had been practising lifting logs to build up his stamina since he was a hand to hand combat specialist. His pink eyes glittered in the afternoon light as he watched Tyler concentrate on his katana.
“I guess as long as we get paid.” Tyler commented with a smirk as he swung his katana for the last time before smoothly returning it to its sheath. He smiled as he wiped his brow of the accumulated sweat. His black eyes looked over at the others who had congregated within the human village. “Can you believe so many have followed him to this place?”
“Leslie believes most are here for money.” Leslie replied plainly as if he were reading out loud. He scratched his green hair in thought as he cast his pink eyes around the group of warriors. There were many talented mercenaries who he would probably get along with since he only had a few words. His pink eyes rested on a woman with hair as red as blood. He knew who she was and why she was there. Her name was Katarina and she was an avenger.
“Careful with who you stare at.” Gabriel warned kindly in a deep clear voice. He stood near Leslie and knew who he had his eyes on. His own grey eyes were looking at the same thing although for a different reason. He was one of the oldest followers and had befriended these two unlikely mercenaries. “Katarina will have your eyes if she sees you staring.”
“Leslie will take advice.” Leslie replied as he looked at Gabriel instead. He wondered how his friend had suddenly appeared right next to him. It was always a surprise considering how many times he hadn't detected Gabriel's presence and yet Gabriel was there. “Leslie wants to know, has Preacher decided yet?”
“Not everyone is here yet. He is waiting.” Gabriel replied matter-of-factly.
“Is your grey hair really showing your age? The Preacher's favourite isn't here yet. The blonde little bear probably got lost with his horse and sword.” Tyler began to laugh as Gabriel and Leslie showed no emotion to his comments. They only stared at him, but it was alright. He was used to them staring at him with blank looks. Knowing, his comments were in bad taste. “They will get here last or not get here at all.”
“OW!!! Why did you do that for, Orana?” Tyler rubbed his head vigorously where Orana had hit him in the head with her sheathed katana. Black eyes glared into her silver eyes which dared him to try and return the favour. He gave up the staring contest and cowered away.
Orana flicked her black hair out of her silver eyes. She watched her younger brother walk off in a huff of defeat; smiling in satisfaction at Tyler 's slumped shoulders. “Perhaps he will learn not to let his mouth run wild. He is still not strong enough and I fear our current assignment will be tough.” She uttered in a sweet and calm voice like the stillness of the night. Her katana was still in its sheath and she had used the flat side to hit him as well. She knew his pride had been hurt, but there was nothing she could do. One day, his tongue would end up being cut out because of what he might say in the presence of the others who followed the Preacher.
Gabriel smiled lightly. “He will eventually. We will keep him safe.”
Year 2015 AD or 0000 BI…
Juliana stood guard at the door. Her blue eyes watched Thomas's slouched form next to the bed. She could see the worry heavily weighing on those broad shoulders. Staying silent, thoughts formed in her head. Who is this young woman who has Thomas spell bound in worry? She sighed inwardly. There was nothing she could do to run a background check when the blue eyed woman had not explained anything to her. She had been shocked to see her friend arriving home with an unconscious young woman.
She leant leisurely against the door since Antonio was standing guard on the other side. Her faded black jeans and feminine black jacket made her look as though she were just a guest. However, it was a ruse since she looked just like Thomas as if they were identical twins. The only thing which really set them apart was the fact that her friend was stronger in every possible way; whether it was magic or physical combat.
Hmm, I wonder what Ileus is up to. He's meant to be here to report to Thomas right now. She knew Thomas's schedule had been thrown out of the window once she saw her worried eyes. It had been two days and nothing had changed. Her friend remained by the young woman's side and everyone reported to her in this very room whether she was listening or not. Luckily, she was present to handle the reports since it was a part of her job as head security detail as well as personal assistant.
It must be Ileus. She knew he was the only one who would knock twice while everyone else would knock at least three times. Smiling, she turned around and opened the door to see sparkling brown eyes looking up at her. She looked down at him since he was only five foot and she was a head taller than him. Seeing the grin in his eyes, she knew he hadn't heard yet.
“I got a report for Thomas.” Ileus informed perkily. He smiled cheerfully as he looked up at Juliana. Knowing exactly who he was speaking to since everyone knew Thomas would not open the door for them. She would normally call out for them to come in. His short crop of brown hair was a mess on his head which made him look more like a mouse.
“What is it?” Juliana asked curiously as she responded automatically to Ileus's personality. He was really infectious when he was giddy and smiling as if nothing could mar his fun or happiness. However, she only allowed a smile to appear across her features.
“It's a delicate matter which Thomas should hear immediately.” Ileus replied quickly as though his happiness would burst out. Although, there was also a touch of something wrong within the manner in which he spoke. It was like someone else had appeared.
Juliana's smile faded from her face. Ileus's smile was not far behind. She could see the seriousness within his voice and knew something was up. Quickly turning on her heel, she faced Thomas's back. She needed to snap her friend out of her state so she could attend to matters which were left unattended.
Slowly, she approached Thomas and placed her hand delicately onto her shoulder. It was time to rouse her from her vigil of the young woman. “I will watch her and call you when she wakes up. Ileus has an important report to give you. It is serious.” Her voice echoed around the room as if the fates were upon them. She knew the nature of the report since she had been the one to send Ileus on the errand in the first place.
Thomas stared at Anna's unconscious form. She had done her best to make sure her love had been fully healed. Bringing her home was a huge step, but now she could be with her. She had spent two months away, catching up with her duties. It was too long a wait and she couldn't stay away. Only wanting to visit without being noticed to see how the young woman was holding up, she had been shocked.
“Thomas, Ileus is waiting.” Juliana whispered patiently.
Thomas looked up at her friend and confidante. Worry filled her eyes for the woman lying on her bed. She slowly stood up and glanced at the door to see Ileus waiting patiently. Her blue eyes knew it was a serious matter if the man didn't have a smile on his face. She wondered what was up. “Call me if she wakes up. Don't talk to her or anything.” She warned commandingly.
Huh… wonder what that is all about. Juliana could see Thomas's worry for the blonde, but it was strange to be given instructions like the ones she just received. She watched as her friend left the room to attend to the report. A quick glance back at the bed showed the blonde hadn't moved at all. So she sat in the seat in which the blue eyed woman had been sitting in and started her long vigil of the young guest.
Thomas, on the other hand, walked to her office to hear what Ileus had to say in private. She didn't want the others in her household to find out just yet. Her absence from her world had been far too long and now she wasn't surprised to find multiple problems arising. “Let me hear it.”
Ileus stood in the middle of the room facing Thomas who sat behind her desk. His brown eyes could see she was far from healed after her return. He was still unsure of the circumstances involved in her return, but knew it involved the blonde lying in her bed. Taking a deep breath, he reported his findings. “It would seem the factions you have been worried about have started to move. There are indications those factions are aware of something that could be catastrophic. We are still unclear as to what it may be though.”
Thomas nodded her head in understanding. She flicked her hand for him to leave so she could think. Her blue eyes stared at the report which Ileus had left on her desk. She had not been mistaken after all to take the vacation. It really wasn't a vacation since she was secretly keeping an eye on the factions. She had known how dangerous it would be to take the task and Anna had almost paid for it.
Thomas remembered the accident and knew it was no ordinary occurrence. She had seen several members of the faction around that intersection. The car had deliberately sped up while everyone else was slowing down. Several people had tried to warn Anna of the danger. However, she had felt magic lingering in the air. She could feel its influence on the blonde and knew what was about to happen. Immediately nullifying the magical influence, she had taken the brunt of the car. It was only with a lot of skill she was still able to hide her presence from the members of the faction.
She sat in her chair thinking about the faction. It had been a small group to start out with who were members of the branched off family of her own. She knew they were willing to cut their ties from the family altogether so they could organise a wave. It would wipe out her family and let them become the new guardians. However, it was clear they had to get rid of her first since she was the last existing member of the main family. Her one hundred year existence was proof to her formidability.
She would have laughed at their foolish attempts, but they were involving innocents. They were involving humanity into their world which had remained a secret for millenniums. The head family had strived for generations to survive in secrecy. The more exposure they received would likely be more harmful to them. They would be hunted down like animals. After all the head family were part animal. They could all transform into mighty beasts.
She had tried to find a solution which would benefit all, but it would seem like the branch families were looking for power. She already had an inkling idea of what would be involved. However, she was still unsure whether she should interfere. It was true their plan was splendid. They would turn all of humanity into beasts and use them as soldiers to take over the head family. It would be a new beginning; a new world. Nonetheless, it would involve a vast amount of magic which meant many would be sacrificed to have their plan come to fruition.
It didn't help she had lost all interest in mankind. This had been a problem for a long time. The faction's attempts of overthrowing her were the reasons why Anna was lying in her bed unconscious. If it hadn't been for people's easily influenced minds, her love would be alright. She would remain in the world of humans with her life ahead of her. It had all changed when the faction involved her. The blonde's friends were easily influenced to leave her be while she spiralled down a road leading only to death. She had been so angry for not being able to help her sooner; to prevent her from doing what she did. However, she had been severely wounded and magic couldn't heal her.
She had stayed in bed while listening to reports and catching up with her own people. They were all glad she had returned even in her condition. They knew she would survive and she would take control. However, dreams started to plague her. Her worry about Anna increased. She hadn't wanted to leave her like that. It was a cruel world and she began to detest it more and more each day.
If the faction was on the move, maybe she would just let them. Humanity could be damned and she would be free from her duties as the sole surviving guardian. It had been her duty to watch over humanity and make sure the likes of her didn't interfere in their world. She had to keep her kind in the dark. No trace of their existence should be recorded or seen within the world of humanity.
She had been in so many battles to keep her kind from revealing themselves. Breaking up relationships and killing many humans who had been unlucky to have seen their kind. It had been the only way she had been taught to keep humanity in the dark about their kind.
Now she was in a human relationship of her own. She had not revealed herself yet, but that was likely to change soon. Torn by what to do, she had thought it would be simple to leave Anna behind and not return to keep her safe. The faction changed the outcome and now she had a choice to make. She had to either keep Anna in the dark for as long as she lived or kill her.
What am I to do? I want her to wake up, but then I don't. I want to be by her side forever and bask in our love for one another. However, it is a farfetched dream which will never come true unless I allow the faction to continue with their scheming. Why does it seem like the world is against me?
Click, tap, click, tap…
Furry. Thomas looked up to see the majestic lion-like beast who was her friend. She trusted it and knew it would always remain by her side. Smiling at the beast, there was a toothy smile in return. “What's up?”
“You're in a tight bind.” Furry commented lightly as if it knew something. Its golden eyes flared in amusement at Thomas's calculating mind. “The others don't know your frame of mind as I do. I can see your faith to your duties is wavering.” It paused to see if the woman would react to the allegations it had stated. It smiled widely as she remained sitting there as though she were still deciding. “You have fallen for a human.”
Furry almost jumped back into a defensive position as it saw Thomas's blue eyes turn to ice crystals. It could see the anger which she was trying to keep in check. “And now you have to make a choice. Take her away and hope she doesn't harm herself again or kill her now.”
Suddenly, Furry felt rough hands surround its neck in a choking manner. Its back was firmly slammed against the door and it could hear the timber fibres creaking. It could hardly breathe as icy sapphire eyes glared at it. There hadn't even been any time to react as Thomas quickly shut off its wind pipe. “However, you are also given another option as well; the opportunity to discard your duties and allow the faction to rule.” Furry managed to choke out. It smiled at the shocked expression on her face. It knew exactly what she had been thinking about. “Do you want to hear me out?”
“What is it you want to say?” Thomas asked in a dangerous whisper as she loosed her hold around Furry's neck so that it could speak clearly. Her anger was on a tight leash and she could easily snap its neck. She wouldn't have held back if it weren't for the beast being special to her.
“I can make all of your problems disappear with one small fact. Then you won't have to choose. You can go about your duties as you normally do. Do you want to know what this fact is?” Furry asked slyly. It could see Thomas's anger slipping and knew it was no longer in danger.
“You seem to be in a playful mood.” Thomas said distastefully as she let Furry go. She was disappointed in her reaction and moved back around to her desk to put some distance between them. However, she would not apologise for her behaviour since it was clear the blue furred beast was baiting her. “Will you end up telling me?”
To be continued…
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