"About a month ago," Ian inhaled a deep shaky breath as his face saddened, "we were here in the woods as usual, hunting during the first full moon's night, when my nephew decided to chase after a scent that was to his liking. We pay very close attention to Adriana whenever one of us takes off after something suddenly. She is our lookout and would give warning if there was any danger lurking about. All seemed safe, so we let him go further."
I noticed Adriana sink her face regretfully into her hands. Something about what he just said upset her. Ian touched her ever so gently on the top of her head, as if to offer her some comfort.
Marek reached over and put his arm around his mate, looked at her hand covered face and whispered softly, "Adriana, lovely, we didn't know. Remain strong, no one blames you."
She nodded her face in her hands, understanding the meaning of his words, but remained distraught in spite of them.
I was overcome with grief for her, Marek and Ian. By the way the three just interacted with each other, I knew something horrible was about to happen to his nephew, and she felt at fault for it.
"As I was saying," Ian continued as he placed his hand in the crease of her bent elbow and gripped it gently. "My nephew had taken off farther up the mountain, chasing after his kill. After a few moments of him being gone, a new scent drifted past us on the breeze, catching our attention. The scent reminded me of Marek and Adriana, a venom scent. A vampire. Then we heard the attack. Blood curdling howls echoed off the mountain walls, coming at us from the direction Emil had left in." Ian bowed his head and stared down at his hands for a moment.
We joined him in silence. If he had said no more, we understood what had just happened. But after a few deep breaths, he composed himself and continued.
"We ran to where he was, stopping and watching in horror as his body thrashed around in agony on the forest floor. When we bent down to him, and Adriana looked his body over, we discovered several crescent shaped teeth marks on his neck and arms."
My eyes widened. I knew that bite.
"Within a few short minutes, Emil's cries turned to rough, labored breathing mixed in with painful whimpers; and his body slowly began to stiffen. We gathered around him, feeling helpless as my brother fell down at his side. Emil was his only son and knew he was fading, too fast for us to get help in time. My brother cried out, willing him to hold on, embracing his head in his arms and hoping for him to just keep breathing. Emil tried, but his attempted breaths were becoming too few and far between what was survivable. His struggled huffs told us the end was coming. Then, after another minute, Emil twitched in his father's arms, let out one last gurgled breath, and closed his eyes…forever." Ian was trying very hard to hold back tears while I sat stunned, fighting with my own.
"Oh, no, no, no…" Esme shook her head, whispering in sadness as she cupped her hands to her mouth.
Low hiccup sounds came from behind Adriana's hands. She was trying not to lose it. Marek made small comforting circles around her shoulder while Ian gently massaged the crease of her elbow he still held on to before he continued.
"That's when Marek heard a slight creaking sound behind him and looked up. He noticed something in the distance, moving quickly away through the trees and immediately began following after it."
"The vampire?" Emmett asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes," Ian confirmed. "The vampire had made its way silently through the tree tops, noticed Emil and violently attacked him. There was no way Adriana could have picked up on it; because it never touched the ground before then. But when it did land, she felt it as soon as we heard Emil's cries, and then the feeling was gone. It's venom made its way through my nephew's bloodstream swiftly, burning and killing him within a matter of minutes."
I went from grief to guilt in an instant, like Adriana. We hadn't attacked his nephew, but one of our own kind had. And I found myself feeling sorry for what I was at the moment. My hope was that Ian felt no ill will towards my family. He had just met us. But if we had come across a werewolf in these mountains, I couldn't say we wouldn't have attacked either. We were unfamiliar with their breed—and me personally, a true werewolf. I could only assume the vampire that bit Emil was, too. It's our natural defense to take out any enemy or threat immediately.
"Marek, what happened to the vampire you followed?" Jasper's asked when his thoughts sprung into combat mode.
"Ian's brother and father stayed back with Emil's body, while Adriana, Ian and the rest of his pack caught up with me. The vampire was surprisingly fast and we were not able to catch it and destroy it. But we were able to follow the scent all the way back to edge of the city it disappeared into. We didn't go in any further though, considering the condition of Ian and the pack. But we did notice a small shadowy figure jump over an outer castle wall shortly after, that sat up on a hill. No human could leap like that, and figured it was our vampire. As we ran around the outside of the city, getting a little closer, Adriana warned us to stop. She had picked up many mythical creatures and told us it was too dangerous to proceed. She took count and noted we were greatly outnumbered. So we regretfully turned and headed back home to put Emil to rest, which in turn, left the pack two nights if they were to plan to go back and seek out the repulsive vampire." His eyes narrowed and his voice sounded like he wanted to spit when he said the word repulsive. I mimicked his mood. Even though it was a vampire, I wanted it destroyed myself.
"I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew," Rosalie said sorrowfully.
"Thank you, my dear," Ian whispered softly then went on with his story.
"When we arrived back, changed to human form by late morning from our long chase across a few countries, Emil had already been taken down into town to my family, and we buried him that afternoon together."
I was troubled for Ian and his family, thinking about Renesmee. If she, or any of my family, were killed before me like that…I would be beside myself, hurting, for eternity. Then sorrow filled my mind as I leaned in as close to Edward, remembering Alice and Charlie had been taken from us. We didn't know their fates, but I could only hope Peter knew where they might be, and that they were still alive…somewhere.
"I'm very sorry, Ian," Carlisle mourned for his new friend. "We sympathize with you and the difficulty in losing loved ones."
"Thank you." He nodded. "We want to help you find your loved ones, Carlisle. And thanks to Peter, we're hoping to recover all three of them."
"Ian?" Rosalie asked with a hint of shyness in her tone, overcompensating now for her earlier remark that set him off. "What happened to Ahren? Did someone take him?"
"We took that night to hunt again, keeping a close eye on my brother, and in the morning we gathered to discuss the revenge we would take. We only had the one night left before we would have to wait another month to chase go back, not knowing if the vampire would still be there or move on. We needed to move as quickly as possible.
"Once we were set, we said goodbye to our families, who begged us to stay, then headed west to the city. Marek and Adriana stayed behind to keep our loved ones safe while we were gone. They stayed together at one house, not wanting to be caught off guard with anything that might travel through the trees again."
"How far west did you have to travel?" Edward asked, appearing to try to get a time frame and distance to where they were headed. Ian had mentioned a few countries…
"We ran quickly and arrived around the outside of the city within about four hours." Ian pulled from his memory.
"We had a count from Adriana before, of others who might be there, but didn't know if they moved around a lot. And if we were going to go up against those numbers, we were going to need help—we were going to need a distraction. So we proceeded around the outside of the city again, back towards the castle where our vampire disappeared. Off to the right, centered in a large rolling hill, we had noticed a cave opening before, and knew our only hope might rest in there. As we crept closer to the cave, we could smell them, hundreds of them; and we were glad our suspicions paid off. A few circled above us, screeching in their high pitched yells. But we kept low and quiet, not wanting to be noticed just yet."
"How many of you were there?" Jasper wondered.
"There were six of us. My father Faolan, my brother Tedmund, my nephew Ethan, my son Roman, my son Ahren and myself."
"Did other mythical creatures Adriana picked up on live in that cave as well, that could help you?" Emmett asked.
"No, the creatures were in the city, but our hope for distraction lie awake inside. And once we were ready, we took off into the cave, making sure to create as much of a disturbance as possible. We jumped off the walls with loud huffs and howls, making sure to kick up dirt and rock everywhere. And within a matter of seconds, the cave began to fill with high pitched screams. Great gusts of wind began to flow heavily and swiftly past us back towards the exit. They knew we were there.
"We looked back after a few yards of running from the cave to see the hundreds of large shadowy, black bats chasing after us, causing us to lope as fast as we could on all fours towards the castle walls."
"That is so cool!" Emmett shouted. And I had to agree. Even though there were six of them, any element of surprise would be helpful.
"I agree, Emmett." Ian smirked. "Not only would they cover the sound of us, but Marek made mention of the sensitivity of a vampire's hearing compared to ours. We could handle the higher pitch sounds, but to a vampire…the bat squeals would be deafening and extremely painful."
"That was very clever, Marek." Carlisle raised his eyebrows and curled up one side of his mouth.
"Adrian and I had a run-in with bats once before," Marek said, then shuttered at the memory. "And I could only hope whatever was in that castle, would react the same way we had."
"Ian." Adriana finally lifted her head from her hands. "The boys are coming."
He turned to look out the window behind him, up towards the sky and nodded his head. "Thank you."
I could tell by the orange light reflecting off the wall across from me, through the window, and the tree shadows that were growing bigger with each minute, that dusk was approaching. Ian's pack was on its way here, and I suddenly felt nervous. These weren't like the wolves that knew us back home. Would they enter hating us? Would they understand we truly came in peace? After Ian shared so much with us in the short time he had, I felt I'd already known him a lifetime. In our late sufferings, we had a bond. I hoped no one in his pack was quick to attack, and ask questions later… A scene like that would turn ugly quickly.
"Do you have time to finish the story?" Edward asked, anxious to hear more.
"Yes. I have a few minutes before I do need to go." Ian straightened himself in his chair.
"Once we ducked our way through the city, making sure to keep hidden in the darkest shadows, and approached the castle; we let out loud furious growls, letting them know we were there. The perimeter wall was high, but we jumped ease, and waited, hoping our vampire would show itself. But we got more than what we bargained for, and more than what we'd expected. We got what we'd feared. They came out in formation, forming a half circle in front of us. Then broke in the middle as, what we assumed was their leader, made his way between them, starring us down with his blood red eyes. It was too late to turn back. So we waited for our following, angry distraction to arrive shortly before we'd attack."
"Did you see the vampire you chased?" Jasper asked, his expression appearing as if he wanted to be there himself.
"Because we didn't get a look at it, we could only hope it resided in the line which stood before us. We'd kill them all if we had to, to rid this world of the one." Ian's face turned to stony anger. He pursed his lips, flared his nostrils and took in deep heavy breaths; and I saw a blazing hatred fill his eyes at the recollection.
Edward reached down and grabbed hard at my knee. I couldn't tell if he was still angry at me for blocking him or if this story was upsetting him just as much as it was Ian. I looked at his face to see him starring out the top of his eyes at Ian, and not friendly either. He looked heated. I replayed the last of Ian's words in my head, trying to figure out what could have provoked fury in him like that.
"What's wrong?" I whispered as I pulled his grip off of me, keeping a hold of him. I didn't want him to do anything stupid, just in case.
"Just thinking," he replied without looking at me, still starring Ian down.
"About what? What did he say?" I leaned over to see his face better. He still made no eye contact with me and continued a dark focused glare.
"I'll tell you later…" he said. "I need to hear more."
"Alright," I replied, turning my attention to Ian, giving Edward his thoughts to himself.
"What happened next?" Esme asked as she raised a worried eyebrow.
"They finally came…our distraction; by the hundreds still, hunting us, then flying past us and around at tremendous speed, screaming their anger. We watched as the vampires instantly grabbed at their ears and dropped to the ground, shrieking in pain. The flying rodents circled high and low the castle grounds, creating an almost blinding chaos. But we were not bothered; ready to take the opportunity we'd been given. We leaped down and made our way to the line, prepared to take them all out if needed until we found the one. We had to be careful to avoid their venom bites, though, not wanting to lose anyone else. So, we'd decided earlier we would aim for the backs of their necks; it being the easiest ways to detach their heads from their bodies with our teeth and avoid the razors of theirs."
I grabbed loosely at my neck, wanting to say I was impressed, but I felt like I was listening to the way I could be killed easily by any one of them. Chills ran down my spine and along my veins. His story leaving a sickened feeling in the pit of my stomach. I checked on Edward again. He was still hanging on every word Ian was saying. I wished I could be in his head right now instead of mine. His looked more interesting and intense; while mine was just freaking out.
"We started at each end of their formation, determined to make our way to the middle. Just as we began to approach the first vampires who were crouched to the ground, open and vulnerable, their leader suddenly screamed at the line to 'stand up and get them!' They stood on command and spread out, arms swinging, trying to defend themselves from the bats, holding their ears in pain when they could...looking for us."
"Did you get any?" Emmett wondered. "Vampires?"
"We did." Ian nodded. "I lunged at the first one on my end when he turned away to look for us, sinking my teeth into the back of his neck and easily snapped his head off like it was butter. He fell to the ground with a heavy thud, and I moved on. The next one saw me coming and eyed me in pain and fury as the bats continued to screech their high pitched screams, flying between us still and all around. I attempted to circle around to the back of him, but he kept his eyes in touch with mine, holding at his ears as he circled with me. I thought I would take the chance to try to dismantle him; bring him down to the ground to get at his neck easier. So I leaped towards his arm and ripped it off, flinging it across the courtyard. He fell to the ground with loud hisses and growls. I jumped on his back to hold him down, and tore his neck off in another easy chomp."
"Holy crap!" Emmett yelled as he rubbed at his arm, imagining how that would feel. I slowly moved my hand to the back of my neck, leaving it there in comfort of some sort of protection while listening to Ian continue. My stomach sickened more and more with each bite, rip and tear he talked about. And I wasn't sure how long I was going to last through this part.
"The bats started to break off then, their numbers lessening, which was our cue to retreat. We would be open targets if they were gone completely. I howled to get the attention of the rest of the pack to back off and head for the wall. That's when their leader eyed me. I had given my position away in the chaos. He looked down to see the two headless vampires on the ground at my feet. I watched his eyes turned as black as coals. He looked up around in anger, then quick as lightening, grabbed at a bat that flew across him, squishing it with his bare hand while focused his furious glare on me. The bats blood flowed through his fingers and down his arm before he threw the animal to the ground and headed my way. I darted rapidly towards the outside wall and jumped before he could reach me, meeting up with the rest of the pack. But when I did a quick count I noticed we were one short. That's when I heard Ahren cry out in pain. Two vampires had grabbed at him mid-leap, pulling down and throwing him to the ground. I wanted to help, but my father stood in my way, looking around at the sky.
"The bats had all but disappeared. I glared back down and watched in horror as they dragged my son, struggling and growling, back behind two large wooden doors. His claw marks leaving a bloody trail all the way up to the door as he fought to free himself. Then the doors shut with a loud slam, and he was gone. Their leader continued to stand in the middle of the courtyard starring at me and fire burned through my eyes when a smirk broke out across his face. We couldn't help Ahren, he knew it, and my heart broke in a million pieces right then and there. My father nudged me to jump over the edge…and I reluctantly did, with one final warning glare. That we'd be back…"
My eyes were wide open and I wasn't breathing. I looked around the room at my family, all of them wearing the same expression. Vampires had his son and Ian felt helpless. All he could do was watch him being dragged off, not knowing if he was alive or not after that. But he hadn't given up hope. And just like us—whoever had Charlie and Alice—we wanted to believe they were alive, as well.
"Ian." Adriana caught his attention and pointed to the window. "The sun is setting."
"Oh, yes." He stood up hastily. "Please excuse me," he said as he pushed in his chair and looked around at us. "We'll see you shortly."
Ian gave a nod to Marek and left the cabin quickly. I listened as his footsteps thudded along the forest floor then drift off with each further stride.
"He's going to transform?" I asked Marek, noticing the last speck of light fading away through the window.
"Yes, my dear." Marek nodded. "It's the last night of their full moon phase. You'll meet the rest of the pack tonight when they return."
Part of me was anxious, and part of me felt a little apprehensive to stand face to face with a real werewolf. What if I moved too fast, or too slow showing any fear? Would they attack me if I acted in any other way beside calm, cool and collected?
"That was a daring story," Carlisle said, "and such a clever idea to use the bats. I would hate to have listened to what would have happened if they didn't have them as back up."
"The casualties would have been much, much worse…if any would have come back at all," Marek said solemnly.
Edward stood up suddenly and started pacing the room, rubbing his thumb and fingers back and forth along his forehead in deep concentration.
"What is it, Edward?" Jasper stood and walked over to him. But Edward put his hand up to keep Jasper back and shook his head. He obviously didn't want to be disturbed while trying to figure something out.
Jasper turned back to Carlisle with an inquisitive look. But Carlisle only shrugged, not knowing what could be on Edward's mind. I still had a block on him they didn't know about and I thought about removing it. But he was so deep in thought, I decided to leave it. He hadn't made anymore motions to me, asking for its removal.
"How many vampires did they end up taking out?" Emmett asked Marek.
"I believe it was eight in all when they each gave a count on the way home," he replied.
Edward stopped pacing and walked over to Marek, leaning his hands on the table, taking a break from his concentration. "How many vampires do they remember seeing, Marek, when they stood up on the wall?"
It was a good question; we would need to know what our numbers were to go up against as well, if we were to help.
"I believe there were around twenty or so that came out."
"And Adriana," Edward turned to her, "how many did you count the night you first ran to this castle?"
"I can't say how many there were in all, but twenty-eight were touching the ground." She looked at him curiously.
What was he getting at?
"Hmm…" He went back to his concentrated pacing, looking completely baffled as his eyes danced about trying to make sense of it all, and what it had to do with us.
Then there was a howl out front, and my body went stiff. The noise caught me off guard, and I was suddenly very nervous again.
They were here.
Marek stood and motioned to the door for us. "Please. Come outside and meet the rest of Ian's pack. You'll be able to speak with them in human form tomorrow. I apologize we ran out of time tonight."
Emmett and Rosalie jumped up and were the first ones out the door behind Marek, Adriana, Peter and Charlotte. Carlisle, Esme and Jasper followed next. I started to move slowly towards the door as I noticed Edward still pacing.
"Edward!" I yelled a whisper to him.
He looked up at me, then around, not having a clue any one had even left the room. I motioned my hand to him to come outside with us. He nodded his head quickly then grabbed my arm when he reached my side to stop me, turning me around. "Bella, do you mind? For safety reasons?" He motioned to his head.
"Oh, of course." I nodded as I removed my shield from his mind, freeing his gift to listen in again. "I'm sorry about that."
"It's ok," he said as he kissed my forehead. "I can understand. It was nice to be able to think in peace for once. But I was insanely curious to get inside Peter's mind." He slightly frowned.
"I thought so." I placed and apologetic hand on his arm. "I knew in time though, that Peter would share his thoughts with us, and—"
I didn't have time to finish my sentence before Edward planted a heavy kiss on me.
"What was that for?" I asked as I melted into him, feeling completely limp.
He propped me back up, stared into my eyes and stroked my cheek. "For the peace of mind you gave me. I hated it at first, but it was…well…nice."
"Oh. Well, you're welcome then." I smiled as I threw my arms around him, kissing him back.
Rosalie popped her head in the door and sighed loudly, causing us to break apart in the middle of our heated moment. "Seriously, you two are going to drive me insane! Now be polite and get out here, you're going to be blown away by this."
Right, the werewolves were here and I suddenly felt uneasy again. Edward grabbed my hand and headed for the door. But I didn't move.
"What is it?" He looked at me puzzled.
"I'm afraid, and, I don't want them to pick up on it. But I don't want to stay in here and hide either." Calling myself a chicken would have been a better choice for an explanation, but I'm sure that's what Edward got from it as he chuckled at me.
"Bella," Edward put on his soothing voice. "If Ian wanted to hurt you…he would have done it by now. They're gentle remember?"
"Can you hear them?" I asked tensely.
He turned his head towards the door then looked at the ground. "I can." He smiled back at me. "They're faint, but it's alright, love; nothing to worry about, I promise." He grabbed my hand.
I sighed, nodding my head, trusting Edward. "Alright then," I mumbled as I casually forced one foot in front of the other, making my way slowly towards the door.
I paused in the doorway, looking hesitantly at the forest before me. Standing out in front of my family were five massive werewolves, glowing beautifully under the full moon's light. I knew immediately which one was Ian. His fur was short and blonde, with white tips all over, even up to the end of his tail. He stood erect on his hind legs, adding another foot to his already gigantic human height. He resembled more of a wolf than a man, but more of a man's build in his arms and stomach than Jacob and his pack. His large arms were crossed in front of his muscular rib cage, showing off his intensely defined six-pack.
He bent down to all fours when he saw me. Or rather, when he saw the fear in my eyes when I looked up to meet his gaze. I think he wanted to appear less frightening. His eyes, which I noticed first, were a solid black, outlined in reddish-brown. And where the whites should be, a medium-yellow tint took its place that glowed fiercely when the moonlight hit them. His face was definitely that of a wolf, with a large muzzle and tall upright ears and fangs that seemed to grow three sizes when he pulled his lips back over them to smile at me. He was beautifully frightening.
"Bella, Edward." Marek motioned for us to come join with everyone.
Edward grabbed hold of my arm. "Come on." He tugged me up alongside the rest of my family.
"Cullen family," Marek looked at us, then waved his hand out to the five massive wolves, "you all probably recognize Ian in front here. And next to him are the rest of the Dejanovic family—all direct descendants of Karolis Nidelya, the first of the Siberian werewolves."
Ian bowed his head, sitting down on hind legs when Marek mentioned his name.
Then Marek motioned his hand to the first wolf to his left. "This is Faolan, Ian's father."
Faolan bowed his head and sat as well. I noticed his fur was a little longer, medium length, and black with patches of grey around his muzzle, on the sides of his belly, and on the tip of his tail. He was skinner, not quite as burly or muscular, but very powerful looking none the less. His eyes were the same as Ian's, except for the light grey that outlined around the solid black. Ian looked like he was in his late thirties, so I figured his father was in his late fifties. He still had some years left on him. And we bent our heads in acknowledgement.
Marek moved his hand left again to a smaller wolf, but not much smaller than Ian, maybe half a foot in height on all fours. He was a beautiful sandy tan color all over, with a darker shade of sand running down his back and up his tail. His eyes were also a solid black, outlined in reddish-brown and yellow background. He stood with his head held high, very proud like. "This is Roman, Ian eldest son," Marek introduced him.
Roman stuck his right foot out, bowed his head then proceeded to sit down as well, sticking his chest out and keeping his head held high. His motions were extremely fluid, like that of royalty. And I assumed by his manner, and being the oldest son, he was next in line after Ian.
"To Ian's right," Marek motioned, "is his younger brother, Tedmund. He was Emil's father."
Tedmund's fur was a longer, more flowing thickness of light grey. And he had darker grey coloring over his eyes, like eyebrows and running down the front of his muzzle. His eyes were black in the middle with a light grey ring that ran around the outside like his father's. And in each corner of his eyes, dark brown tear marks stained at his fur. He stood only a few inches shorter than his brother, but just as muscular and massive.
This was a very powerful family. I could see how an attack on a vampire's body and neck was all too easy for them. Their mouths would fit perfectly around any of ours, as well, even another werewolf if given the chance.
Tedmund bowed his head soberly then sat, keeping his head slightly lowered than the rest. My eyes softened to him and I felt sorrow fill me.
"And finally," Marek motioned to the last wolf on the right. "This is Ethan, Ian's sister's son. His sister carried the transformation gene that was passed on, but his father is completely human."
Ethan was the shortest of the wolves, probably a half a foot shorter than Roman, and I guessed him to be the youngest of the group. He had thick, medium length, red and brown blotchy fur all over, and his eyes were solid black with light green rings around the outside of them and the same yellow tint in the background. His left ear was bent slightly forward, giving him a playful quality. He bowed his head to us, scratched at the ground with his right front paw then sat sideways on his hind legs, flashing us a fanged grin. I could tell he was the clown of the group just by the way he sat. He was their Jacob. And I giggled to myself when he winked at me.
Edward didn't find the gesture quite as funny as he moved closer to me.
"I would like to introduce you to the Cullen Family," Marek said to them while motioning to us. "They have come all the way from America so we can help each other, hopefully very soon." And he began his introductions of us.
"This is, Carlisle. He is mainly in charge, but mostly in family emergencies, as they are each free to come and go as they please. And this is his lovely wife Esme." They both nodded their heads to the pack.
"Next we have Emmett, and his beautiful wife Rosalie." They nodded their heads as well and all the wolves nodded back.
"And then we have Jasper," Marek said with a solemn look. "His wife Alice is who we will be searching for along with Ahren."
Jasper bowed his head and kept it there, looking sorrowful when he raised it back up. I noticed Tedmund looked at him a little longer, he understood the pain Jasper was in and wanted to show him with an extra respectful glance.
"And finally, we have Edward and his adoring wife, Bella." Marek smiled. "We will be adding Bella's father, Charlie, to our search. He was taken along with Alice a few days ago. Please keep in mind Bella's father is human, and it's vital we are extra gentle with him when we find him." All the wolves nodded their head to Marek in understanding.
Marek may have been twenty-two hundred years old, but past the pasty skin and cloudy eyes, he had a confidence about him that made him appear to be stronger than he looked. And I believed once again that we would find our loved ones.
As we were ready to head back inside so the pack could go hunt, I noticed Tedmund looking at Jasper and I. He was sad. Sad for himself. Sad for his brother, and sad for us.
I felt the urge to go to him.
"Give me just a minute, Edward," I said as I held up one finger. He nodded, staying where he was to wait for me.
The rest of the pack stood up on all fours as I slowly walked over, but Tedmund stayed seated. My eyes were fixed on him, and he knew it was him I was coming to see. I slowed my pace a few feet in front of him, looking into his tear stained eyes. I took a few soft steps closer then slowly raised my hand against his muzzle, placing my thumb up to the streaks in the corner of his eyes and followed them down, as if to wipe away his tears. Tedmund closed his eyes and rested his head against my hand. I moved my other hand to gently caress along the top of his head and down his thick neck in sorrow and spoke in a kind whisper to him. "I'm sorry to hear about your son."
Tedmund bowed his head then met my gaze, and I could tell by the look in his eyes, he was sorry for me and Jasper as well. There was a peace in the air then, and I was anxious to meet the rest of this pack tomorrow, in human form.
I wasn't afraid anymore.
Tedmund stood up with the rest of the pack when Ian gave a loud huff. And as quick as they showed up, they all turned and ran off into the distance, disappearing further down the mountain.
We headed back inside, still in awe of what we'd just witnessed. I was suddenly missing the pack back home, and Renesmee. I wanted to pick her up right now and hold her in my arms and squeeze her with all my love. I was homesick.
"Peter." Carlisle pulled out a chair and sat across from him, leaning over inquisitively. "I'm anxious to hear now, why you thought of us when you heard Ian's story?"
"Well, Carlisle, it wasn't until Marek mentioned the name of the city they followed the vampire to and the castle that lay just up on the hill…"
That's when Edward flung himself up against the wall. "No!" he whispered a shout, looking at Peter like he'd just seen a ghost.
Peter turned to him with a look. A look that signaled he knew Edward knew exactly what was going on. A look that had me frozen where I was and suddenly afraid.
"What city?" Jasper looked sternly at Peter.
"Volterra…" Edward replied.
"Yes," Peter confirmed, then looked to Jasper, "Volterra…"
I inhaled a quick gasp and quit breathing. Ahren was taken at Volterra. Ahren's scent was back in Forks. Ahren's scent was at the shop. Ahren's scent was in my father's car. Ahren's paw prints were on the ground at the reservation and Ahren's scent had led Sam to the ocean where everything disappeared.
I narrowed my eyes in anger when I put two and two together why Peter, the Slovakians and the werewolves had asked for us…Aro. Alice couldn't see around werewolves either.
They'd used Ian's son.
Jasper's eyes turned stone cold and black as coals when his thoughts caught up to mine. Fury filled his face and he clinched his hands together into tight fists. And before any of us could blink, before we could to anything, he was out the door heading west. Edward tried to catch him just before, but missed, then he too took off into the night after Jasper.
"Emmett, Rosalie!" Carlisle pointed to the door. "Go help Edward get Jasper and bring him back. Hurry! He can't go there alone!"
I ran to the door and watched in disbelief and horror as they streaked off into the forest, following Edward and Jasper, the full moon highlighting them as they ran into the distance…until I couldn't see any of them anymore.