Episode X - Decision
"They're coming!" Alice gasped. We had already created a perfect formation, the Cullens in the front line, the wolves hiding in the safety of the trees, Bella and Siohban protected in the middle by Fred and Zafrina. Everyone was crouched in their stances, ready to spring into action when necessary. I was sure Bella had her mental shield up protecting everyone, and Fred has his powers in effect. I stood in the front, next to Carlisle and Edward to make my move against swaying my brother. I took a quick glance over at Sarah who hid in the dense trees with Renesme on Jacob's back.
We stood silently until we could hear the footsteps of the Volturi on the snow. I thought I could smell more than forty vampires. Yes, there was definitely over 100 vampires in the Volturi formation that swiftly moved through the snowy mountains and trees, stopping approximately a hundred yards away from us. There had to be over 200 vampires that I could clearly see now.
"They're not all going to fight. The Volturi like to have spectators," Edward reassured me. Suddenly, he glared back at the group of wolves, staring intently at the smallest one, the only female, Leah. Through the short time we spent with the wolves, I've quickly grown attached to them all, particularly Leah and Jacob. The other wolves continued to mock the strong bond Leah and I shared, and she was finally beginning to regain some happiness. She could finally leave behind the hurt past with Sam, and begin to open up and accept others into her life. This profound liking we had for one another was the main reason for my astonishment of what followed.
"You've got to be kidding me!" Edward snarled at the little grey wolf who stared intently into the Volturi crowd. "This is the worst possible timing to imprint," he hissed the word that ruined Leah, damaged her beyond repair. Only this time, it was not she who felt the pain. The large, russet wolf, Jacob growled, and I could not tell if this was in protection of what Edward berated, or if it was a sound of disapproval.
"Imprint? What are you talking about?" Bella asked quickly. I wanted to speak up, ask Edward if everything I feared had come true. The time we spent, the rough patches of wrath and ire that we both rescued each other from, were they all lost now?
"She imprinted," he replied. The simple pronoun alone was enough to send my frigid heart burning ablaze in envy, jealousy, and incomprehensible anguish. She would know the pain I would be in; if we both survived, she would apologize profusely about that which she could not control. I wanted to console her, tell her it would be fine and that we had to focus on survival, on winning the battle, but the dense cloud of jealousy was one I hadn't the strength to break through.
"Leah imprinted!?" Bella snarled, and I was still lost in the haze of mixed emotions that surmounted both in my own personal sphere of thoughts and amongst all the others.
"Can someone please tell me what's going on!?" Jasper hissed, fighting back the urge to shout, knowing that we had to ensure the Volturi could not hear a word we spoke. "Was it with one of them?" he added, obviously angry.
"Does that mean the wolves won't fight with us?" Bella asked, worried that we had lost five powerful fighters.
"They won't fight the one she's imprinted with…" Edward snarled. "Though I guess it makes no difference since he wasn't a target of attack to begin with." Suddenly, I knew what had happened and I knew why the situation was so dire. The faith and love that had quickly erupted from within me for this strange woman, the inexplicable pain and torment she faced that I wanted to heal. I wouldn't have any of those opportunities with her, for I was never the one she was meant to be with. She didn't need me, she didn't need someone who would torture her, agonize over why she could not let go of all the pains she endured. In this world existed someone better, another warrior who could understand the battle wounds, the scars, and feel no pity or shame in the implacable wrath that bubbled beneath the surface. She had imprinted on my brother. Esme placed a hand on my shoulder, and I nodded, reassuring her that I was fine.
"My dear friend, Carlisle!" the one I assumed as Aro spoke up, clearly a fake smile on his face. His sudden words made me shiver in fear. All the vampires on our side stopped their quick murmuring, focusing intently on Aro's words. I was forced to brood over my despair and hide my sorrow, though I knew my efforts were futile. "My, what an army you have pulled together for this splendid occasion!"
"My good, Aro," Carlisle bowed. "This occasion is nothing close to splendid."
"Please, do not think harshly of our decision," Aro replied. "We make decisions for the improvement of our kind, and unfortunately, your son broke a very big rule."
"He did no such thing, it was a mere accident that a human solved on his own, much like a riddle," Carlisle challenged. "And how interesting it is that you still try to reprimand us when this single witness now stands among your army."
"That is besides the point," Aro smiled again. I looked over at their massive army, huge, powerful-looking vampires as well as the twins I knew were Alec and Jane. For tiny vampires, they definitely looked vicious. My eyes however, would not leave the most beautiful of the vampires that stood in their ranks, Brad. I stared at him, as I was sure he stared at me. His skin, marble white like the rest, yet he had color that they all lacked. The deep scars on his face had not vanished, but were accentuated, beautified, and added life to the otherwise flawless features. He was a true miracle, his earthy brown hair kept neat, and his eyes, golden-brown like pure honey. I almost leaped in joy; he did not consume human blood. Although Sarah had informed me of this already, it was more meaningful to see for myself.
His partner, a woman, stood very close to him, her hand tightly intertwined with his. Her eyes were also glowing topazes, and she abstained from entering a battle stance. By her demeanor and reluctance to leave my brother's side, I believed that she would not fight, but she was staring intently towards where Fred was standing. Were his powers making her ill, or was she capable of seeing through the effect, looking at Bella who would be her first target? She was just as beautiful as my brother, such gifted vampires, and I knew why Aro had wanted to keep them just by their looks. I tried to think what would be the best thing to say. I knew I had to keep it short and simple, for if I did get time to speak to him, it would be severely limited.
"I'm sorry to say that if you decide to punish us, we are ready to fight," Carlisle sighed heavily. I knew he didn't want to fight, and thus he would be an easy target for the Volturi. After I finished dealing with my brother, I decided I would protect Carlisle as best as I could.
"Please do not make such rash decisions, Carlisle, you know I will never harm you if I had the choice," Aro said, sincerely.
"You cannot expect me to stand back and watch as you murder my family," the blonde was still calm, though his words carried an aggressive message.
"Murder? It is justice, my friend," Aro smiled. I was already getting irritated with this guy, so I looked back at my brother, who still gazed at me. I wondered if he was trying to tell me something through his eyes, so I stared at the topaz orbs. I could see pain, a real struggle. I wanted to believe that he refused to fight, but I was certain he was anguished at seeing me as a vampire amongst the Cullens. Would his wrath at them converting me be enough to sway him to fight with the Volturi as Sarah feared? He flashed the quickest grin at me, that I didn't know if I really saw it, or if he simply bared his teeth as a warning sign, but I didn't doubt my brother. He wouldn't give up on good.
"Let us deliberate," Aro said to Caius and Marcus. The wrinkly man looked at Jane and Alec, who nodded quickly and stared into our group, though I knew their powers would be useless with Bella with us. "Bradley, my son," he smiled, before huddling in a perfect triangle with the other two, their black capes covering them perfectly.
"As you wish, master," I heard my brother nod, and suddenly, I heard gasps coming from random positions in our group, until I heard everyone struggling to control their own bodies. My brother was more powerful than any of us could ever imagine, and it was going to be a huge problem. One by one, the members in our army would grunt, struggling to lift a leg or move an arm, losing complete control.
"What's going on!?" Jasper hissed, failing to turn his head to face me.
"Is this his power?" Zafrina gasped, as the others also began to murmur. We all knew that this would mark our end. I looked over to where Leah was hiding, wondering if he saw the wolves hiding in the density of the trees. Did his powers reach them or would they be able to protect us until we could move again? Then I realized; if I was frantically looking around at all the others, capable of moving my body in a way they all could not, either his powers did not affect me, or he refused to bind me.
"He's on our side," I whispered in the lowest voice I could muster.
"That's hardly believable! He'll kill us all!" Jasper snarled.
"I can't hear his thoughts," Edward frowned.
"He hasn't bound me," I tried to explain quickly, but the others were hesitant, knowing very well that if they could not move, the Volturi would easily pick them off one at a time.
"It's possible his powers do not affect you," Jasper continued to challenge, revealing my own personal doubt that I may actually be wrong. Was he adamantly trying to compel me into this motionless state? Was I a fool for believing that even through this time he spent with the Volturi, he managed to maintain his purity, understand that the Cullens were not to blame? I wanted to scream, run up to him and beg him to join our side, protect the ones who deserve protecting. I wanted to peek into his mind, see everything that he planned, but I knew that attempting to use my powers may potentially lead to our demise. I pondered over my options, mulled over what few key decisions may be the deciding factor of whether we survived or not. There were no mulligan, no chance for recovery, and I had run out of time when the triangle broke apart. Aro smiled.
"And so it shall be," he said, and the entire Volturi clan snarled.