Winter Wars

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Katrina

When Marcy starts to cry, I resist the urge to do so as well. Damn you empathy.

I look down at the letter again and fold it up. I don’t know what her letter says, but I doubt it’s any better than mine.

“I need to go to my room,” she mumbles. The makes an intense beeline towards the door and I think about going after her. If I do go after her, we both might end up freaking out and that would do anyone any good. I could send Ryner, and he would be obligated to listen to me, but Ryner isn’t a people person.

The only person left to send is, “Jayson,”

“Uh, yes?” he mumbles.

I turn to face him. “Go talk to her. I can’t do it and neither can Ryner. The only other person she sorta trusts is you. You used to do it all the time when we were kids anyway. Now, shoo, shoo.”

Jayson shuffles out. “My, my,” Ethan says. “I do believe you could make quite an Alpha.”

“Uh, no,” I say thinking of mom’s letter. “I won’t be the Alpha.”

“Beg pardon?”

“Well,” I start. “Mom went through a lot to make sure I’m not the Alpha—like refraining from stopping Marcy going near Sebastian.”

“Your mother was quite a gentle spirit,” Ethan mutters. “I do not believe she would let such things happened. Even if it is to your... sister.” What’s with the pauses these guys do? I wonder. It makes whatever they’re saying creepy or makes the other person nervous.

“See, here’s the thing, I’m like my mom in some aspects, but I’m more like my dad. My mom saw a lot and talked with my dad about it and I agree that Marcy would make a better Alpha. Everything that happened to her helped mold her into someone who can be a great leader. If I was the one to become Alpha, we’d lose a lot more than the Civil War. If Marcy hadn’t run into Sebastian, well, like I said, my being Alpha isn’t a good thing.”

“That whelp is unstable.” Ethan insists.

“Perhaps it is only for now,” Ryner starts. “She has recently lost her parents.”

“As did Katrina. She is fine.”

“Fine?” I ask. “Do you really think I’m fine? My parents died barely a week ago, my normal, carefree life is over, and my country is going to war because of some overzealous genocidal jackasses.” I glare Ethan. “I am not fine.”

“If you let things like this bother you, then neither of you are ready to be Alpha.” I hold his cold stare until someone walks in calling for Ryner.

It’s the supermodel looking chick I saw earlier leaving the kitchen in a huff. She looks at me in confusion and I know she thinks I’m Marcy for a second. People often said we could be twins until I grew three inches putting me at five foot eight and her still have five foot five.

“You must be the sister,” she realizes. “I’m Myra.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Trina.”

She turns away from me and glares at Ryner. “We need to talk.”

“I—”

“I don’t care what you’re doing or how important it is. We are important and we need to talk about that girl. Come willingly or I can make you.”

Talk about aggressive, I think. She might even be able to give Marcy a run for her money.

Ryner glances at his dad. Ethan looks away. He’s not going to save Ryner. Ryner looks to me. When it comes to drama, I’m all for it, but when it comes to aggressive females, I try to steer clear.

I give him an apologetic shrug. “I’m out of my depth.” There’s no way I’m getting in between two exes. It usually turns ugly.

Ryner lets out a low growl and follows Myra out.

“That is a woman worthy of being a Luna.” Ethan rumbles. “Powerful, assertive, intimidating.”

“Forceful, bossy, loud,”

“You have not room to talk.” He glares. “You are loud and forceful.”

“I’ve never forced anything,” I say. “If you have to force it, it shouldn’t be there. Famous words of my old teacher.”

“Perhaps,” he grumbles. “If you truly want the answer undoubtedly swirling around your menial little brain, seek out Ryner when he’s done.” Ethan turns back towards the TV. “I have more pressing matters to deal with.”

“How am I supposed to find Ryner in this mammoth of a house?”

“Sniff him out,” Ethan offers. “Your nose has always been exceptional.”

Very sound advice, I think walking out. How am I supposed to sniff him out? I don’t even know what he smells like and I doubt he smells like he did when we were children. Even if I did know, there are so many different and mixed up smells lingering in the hallways, I could never sort it out.

Maybe I could use my ears. I know what he sounds like, but he’s probably not doing much talking. Myra, on the other hand...

I stop walking. It’s been years since I ever had the knowledge or use of my super hearing, but maybe if concentrated hard enough I could find a way to access that knowledge. My memories may have returned, but the knowledge of how to use my skills have to be relearned.

I think back to her demands. I don’t care what you’re doing or how important it is. A cacophony of noises penetrates my skull. It takes all of my willpower not to pass out from the massive headache building in my temple.

“Focus,” I grumble to myself. “She’s loud. It can’t be that hard to pick her out.” Dozens of voices pass through my head. Marcy. Tyler. Claire. Ethan. There are some I don’t know. Another teenager. A few dozen children. An old woman. Finally I catch Myra’s voice. I start forward doing my best to keep focus.

Before I know it, I’m knocking a door in an unfamiliar part of the house. I peek in. Ryner looks frustrated beyond belief with his arms crossed. Myra has pulled her hair up into a ponytail and she looks almost murderous. Marcy has her beat in this department.

“What is it?” Myra demands.

“I needed Ryner, but—”

“What is it?” Same question just posed a very different way.

“I had some question about tomorrow, but you look busy so I’m gonna—”

“It is fine,” Ryner turns towards me. “What questions do you have?”

“Nothing that can’t wait until you’re finished.” He lets out a sigh. “Didn’t do anything then, not doing anything now. Have fun and try not to get hurt. I’m gonna go check on Marcy.”

Myra gives me a thankful glance then turns her attention back to Ryner. I back out and close the door. Walking to the nearest window and seeing only the forest, I’m almost positive I’m on the north side. Even though I know my position, all I can hope for is to find the stairs and pray that they’re the right ones.

As I wander, I try to listen for Marcy. She was the first person I heard when I first tried. Surprising myself, and probably anyone who knows me and my sense of direction, I make god time to our room.

When I open the door, Marcy is lying on top of Jayson—and not in a good way either. Jayson is splayed out on his stomach and Marcy is passed out on her back on top of him.

“Do I want to know what happened?” I ask.

“It’s not what you think,” Jayson groans. “She just sorta passed out when I was about to leave.” He wriggled from under Marcy and gently laid her on her bed. “I don’t know what happened.”

“Seeing as this isn’t the first time either of us has fainted for reasons unknown, but easily explained, I’ll skip the worrying.”

“You’re really not worried?” he wonders.

“Of course I am,” I grumble. “There’s just nothing I can do about it and the people who do are being all cryptic and irritating.”

“Um, what-what do you know about your mom?”

I cross my arms. “I know that she was a diviner. She saw more than she would have liked to, but did her best to make the right decisions.”

“Do you, um, do you know how she did it?”

“No, but I’d like to.” His gaze shifts from my feet to Marcy and back to the ground. “Why are you so nervous?” I ask. “Are you not supposed to tell me?”

Closing the door, I make my way to my bed and sit gesturing for Jayson to do the same. “I’m not,” he agrees. “But right now, I-I think it’s okay.”

“It’s completely okay,” I assure him even though I’m almost positive it’s not. “Ethan cares about our safety and if something happens, we have to be prepared.”

“I-I suppose,” he fiddles with the pockets of his jeans. “She had the power of precognition—seeing the future. She would have dreams of the future. Just possibilities. Things that could happen if certain decisions were made. For the most part, controlling them weren’t within her range of power, but this is what it’s like for most diviners. When things are in chaos, though, she can have dreams on will, but it takes a lot of energy.”

He takes a deep breath as if trying to calm himself. I suppose he’s aware of my lie and knows he’s breaking the rules. Maybe Jayson lives under the philosophy that what Ethan doesn’t know won’t kill him. I certainly lived that way when I was seventeen.

“Another way she used her powers is retrocognition—seeing into the past. When she would touch a personal item of someone or if an item has a strong memory attached, she could see anything that happened while someone was wearing that.”

“Like if someone were to die wearing a ring, mom would be able to see the events leading up to their death?” I ask.

“Yes, that’s how it worked. It’s very rare to possess both of these powers since they’re polar opposites. Not just that, but because they were opposites, it took quite a drain on her body whenever she used her ability consciously.”

“Mom never seemed to be sick all that often,” I recall. “She was always lively. She always liked to do everything.” A sigh escapes me. Mom liked to live life to the fullest every day which I thought was excessive, but with the life she lived, I supposed she really was living life like every day was her last.

“No,” Jayson shakes his head. “She only used her abilities by choice whenever she found Matrianna. She was very sick for weeks.”

“Matrianna. Who is she?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugs. “I know a lot, but Ryner knows more. He could probably tell you.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why would Ryner know and you wouldn’t?” I wonder. “I mean, I’m pretty sure you’re both capable. If I remember, you and Ryner are on par with each other.”

“Um, yeah, I guess we are.” He looks at my nose. “But he’s more confident than I am, so he’s noticed more.”

“Doesn’t that sound familiar,” I sigh.

“What do you mean?” he asks. “You’re so confident.”

I cross my legs. “Yes, but when we were younger, even though I was older, Marcy was always the one making decisions and whatnot. When we went anywhere, she was always the first to get noticed because she exuded confidence and happiness and life. She was so… bright I basically lived in her shadow. When Marcy shut down and stopped being herself, it was... kind of a relief I’m ashamed to say. People would notice me as me and not as someone’s older sister.”

Jayson frowns. “Maybe it worked out for you, but no one ever notices anything except my mistakes.”

“Marcy didn’t. I know I didn’t. But, hey, you know what,” I smile. “I think I’m okay with that. Marcy can be stronger and better than me. And she’s stronger and better because she’s not comparing herself to anyone else.” I tap his leg with my foot. “Cheer up, Jayson. At least you know that some people think of you as you and not a copy of a less than perfect parental unit.”

Marcy stirs slightly. She takes a sudden breath and whispers, “They’re all dead.”


“Are you sure?” I ask again. “Is that really what you saw?”

“Yes, for the hundredth time, that’s exactly what I saw.” Marcy sits on her bed wrapped up in her blanket shivering. “Everyone was dead because of me. There were bodies on the ground, I had a flag in my hand, but I was cuffed and chained. There was fire along the streets and craters and abandoned guns. The person holding my chains kept saying ‘Look at what you’ve done. Your army has been destroyed, you loved ones murdered, and this country torn. You have no one but yourself to blame.’” She pulls the blanket further around her and puts her head down. “I’m so scared, Trina.”

I sit next to her and hold her hand. There’s no way I can imagine what’s going through her mind. From the sounds of it, whoever that was, was blaming her for the Civil War and everything that is to happen. That can’t possibly be her fault. Maybe it was just a dream. Hopefully it was just a dream.

Jayson voices my doubts. “I wish I could say I believe it was just a nightmare, but I’m almost positive it wasn’t.”

“Then what was that?” she mumbles. “It can’t be the future. Please tell me it’s not the future.” Did someone tell her about mom, I wonder. Is she just guessing or did she figure it out.

“The future isn’t set in stone,” Jayson says in a soothing voice. “Any single decision can change its course entirely.”

“Maybe,” Marcy mutters. “Maybe I’m destined to end up alone again.”

“Hey, you aren’t alone.” I says sternly. “You have us. We’ll be there for you no matter what.” She mumbles something and ducks her head back into the blanket. Looking to Jayson, I raise my eyebrow. I got it, he mouths. Thank you, I whisper back.

“Marcy, Jayson’s gonna take care of you. I’ll be back. Promise.” She says something incomprehensible and I take that as my time to leave. Now more than I ever I need to talk to Ryner. I don’t even care about Changing. I only care about whether Marcy’s nightmare holds any value. Not only do I want to put her worries to rest, my own anxious nature is surfacing and I need some type of stability.

Finding Ryner isn’t that hard now that I’ve kinda got the hang of my hearing. He’s still with Myra which I find kind of surprising. He gets irritated with and wants to walk away from Marcy in five minutes. It’s no doubt be thirty and he’s still only looking frustrated.

“Hi, again,” I say scooting into the room. “I’m very sorry, but I need to borrow Ryner.”

“Can it wait?” Myra almost shouts. “We’re still busy.”

“I understand relationship issues perfectly seeing as I’ve quite a few disastrous ones myself, but my sister’s sanity, as well as mine, is kind of on the line right now. So, please, I need to borrow Ryner.”

“There we go talking about that girl again,” Myra throws her hands in the air. “If you care so damn much just go out with her already.” She storms out and slams the door.

“Sorry, I—”

“Thank you,” Ryner rumbles. “I find it hard to say no to her and she loves to hear herself talk.”

“I can see that. Sorry if I made it worse.”

“No worse than it already is. What is it that is so urgent? You would not interrupt us before, what has changed?”

I quickly repeat what Jayson told and me and Marcy’s dream. “Jayson said that the future’s not set in stone. Right?”

“He is correct. Time is fluid like a river with many branches flowing off.” Ryner nods. “There is something...” He trails off in thought.

“Ryner,” I say after a minute. ”Ryner,”

His eyes focus on me again. “Whenever your mother had dreams like that, when there were no other possibilities, the chances of that happening are almost impossible to avoid.”

“Are you sure nothing can be done? What about Matrianna? Can she help?”

“Perhaps,” His gaze loses focus again.

I start to get frustrated. Doing what Marcy loves to do when people irritate her, I take his face in his hands forcing him to look at me. “Ryner, talking to you is like pulling teeth. Sometimes you talk and other times you don’t. Right now, I really, really need someone to be there for me so I don’t freak out. Please talk to me.”

Maybe I look desperate, maybe he realizes he’s being an ass, but he looks to the ground and says, “My apologies.” He sighs and takes my hands away from his face. “Matrianna has not been seen or heard of since your mother called for her. She could possibly help you as she is the strongest diviner alive. She has the ability of retrocognition, clairvoyance, precognition.”

“My mom had two of those and it was very dangerous for her.”

“True, but any diviner with the power of all three possess is very strong and can withstand many obstacles. The last one to live was several thousand years ago for thousands of years until she met a rather unfortunate end.”

“Is there any way we can find her?”

“I do not know. It took months to even locate her and longer to find her.” He looks to my chest and I might be offended if I don’t realize what he’s looking at. “Where did you get that?”

“It was in the box,”

He lets out a growl. “That is silver.”

“Really?” When I touch the necklace, it disappears and I’m holding two eighteen inch knives. Ryner scurries back. My vision swims and I would have been impaled by the knives if Ryner hadn’t caught me. “I am so done with today,” I mumble. “Wake me up when the crazy ends.”

Ryner picks me and lays me down on a couch. “I am afraid that you would never awake again.” He glares at the knives. “Your mother had four of those. I am to assume that Marcy has a necklace similar to yours.”

“Yeah,” I mumble. “I hope she’s better now. She was in shock when I left.”

“Just like you, Marcy is strong. I believe she will be okay. Jayson is empathetic and very good at helping others feel better.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“You should sleep. You look exhausted.”

“I... am not okay. I’m exhausted.”

Ryner smiles. “Sleep now, I will do what I can to find Matrianna.”

“Please,” I mumble. “I don’t want her to be alone again.”


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