Cameron knocked on the door of the old farmhouse. She heard a voice welcome her from the other side. She gave Hunter a look that said stay here. Hunter nodded and Cameron opened the door.
She stepped into the warmth of the house and started to close the door behind her.
"You brought that thing this far, you might as well let it in out of the cold," Shawna Vea said from her seat on the old wing backed chair. She was writing in one her infamous journals and didn't spare Cameron a glance.
Cameron opened the door wider so that Hunter could enter. He stepped in behind her and closed the door at his back. Shawna Vea looked up then, her gaze fixed on Hunter. The tension in the room was electric and made the hairs on the back of Cameron's neck rise.
"I am glad to see you are doing well, Shawna Vea," Cameron said hoping to settle the air.
Shawna turned her gaze to the young woman and smiled softly. "I am glad to see most of your pack survived the attack on the bunker."
Cameron walked further into the room, "We wouldn't have had Jerral and Avani not shown up when they did."
Shawna's smile faded. "Have you heard from him?"
Cameron shook her head gravely. "No. We do believe he is safe at the sanctuary though."
Shawna Vea nodded in agreement and looked back at her notes. "I assume you being here means that Avani went ahead with her plan."
Hunter started to speak then and stepped forward but Cameron stuck her arm out and cut him off. "Do you know where she is? She left us with a vague note this morning and I'm a little worried about her state of mind."
Shawna closed the notebook in her lap. "No. She didn't leave any hints as to where she is going to be."
"Cameron's right. She's lost her mind," Hunter said unable to hold his silence anymore. He quickly lost his nerve however when Shawna Vea turned her blue eyes on him. He looked over at Cameron to see her shaking her head but it was better than meeting Shawna's gaze. He knew what she saw and worse what she would know he had done. Such was the gift of a Darshana and Shawna Vea was arguably the strongest Darshana in the world. He rolled his shoulders as she stared at him. He knew she didn't like what she saw.
"You don't like it either, Hunter Warren," she said. Hunter looked at her then. "You have done many terrible things in your young life." Hunter looked down at the floor. "But you are far from the worst I have seen and you are quite different from other Daevas, aren't you." Hunter chanced looking back up at her. Shawna looked him directly in the eye and knew then and there that this was the second of the Greater Powers. "Have a seat. We have a lot to discuss."
Cameron and Hunter sat on the old sofa across the room from Shawna's chair.
Shawna steepled her hands under her chin. "Our world has been on this path for quite some time. Before either of you, or even I, were born. Avani is out trying to find herself and her power. She has left the task of building her army to the two of you. She believes you, Hunter, are to be one of the three Greater Powers."
Hunter furrowed his brow. "She said that in her note but I don't understand why."
Shawna tried to soften the blow she knew was coming. "Because you have feelings that other Daevas don't."
For a moment Hunter still looked confused then he clenched his fist on his knee and spoke through his teeth. "How long has she known?"
"Mon ami," Shawna started.
"How long has she known?" This time it came out on a growl and his eyes began to glow with his suppressed anger.
Shawna's eyes softened. "She's known for quite some time, ami. She has discussed it with me for many years."
Hunter closed his eyes against the hurt and the transformation that threatened to take him. His skin rippled and he clenched his fist tighter until he could feel his nails digging into his skin. But he wasn't sure he could stop it like he had the night before.
Then he felt a hand lay over his clenched fist. He opened his glowing red eyes to see who it was. He stared at the caramel skin against his paler tan. He followed it up to the round, slim face with full lips and button nose then on up to Cameron's orange eyes. There was something endearing there. The transformation stop. He turned his hand up and opened it. Cameron let her fingers settle in between his. She smiled him then turned back to Shawna. Hunter continued to stare at Cameron as if he were seeing her for the first time.
Shawna smiled at the exchange. "Those emotions are what will help Cameron convince people that the world is in danger. Their children and their grandchildren are in danger. In this notebook, Avani has accumulated the names and contact information of Powers all over the world. She wants you to meet with as many as you can. She's setting up a base camp for them all to gather."
Cameron released Hunter's hand to take the notebook from Shawna. She sat back down and looked over the names.
"These are some of the highest ranking Powers in the world." Cameron looked up in awe.
"Yes, you will need their influence to raise an army."
Hunter came out of his trance then and looked at Shawna. "It just crossed my mind that you want us to raise a Lux army."
Shawna cocked an eyebrow. "Yes."
"You realize how dangerous this is for me?"
Shawna's eyes glowed then. "Do you realize how dangerous it is for me to have you in my house right now? You will convince these Luxes that you are different. That you are good."
"But I'm not. You know what I've done. It gets harder everyday to suppress that part of me. You can't change what I am." Hunter ran his hands over his face and through his hair.
Cameron looked at Hunter then at Shawna Vea. "He may be right."
Shawna looked at Cameron. "Get to know him. He doesn't believe he is truly evil and neither does Avani. You trust Avani, yes?"
Hunter reluctantly nodded. "Yes, I trust Avani. And you know I would do anything for her but..."
Cameron shook her head. "You can't do this for her anyway. For the Powers in this notebook to believe you are truly different, you have to want to change for you. Daevas can be decietful. They feel lust and greed. If you want these people, if you want us to see you differently then you have to come up with something better than 'I'm doing this for Avani and she's the best there is'." With that she rose. "Thank you, Shawna Vea. We'll be in touch," and she walked out the door.
Hunter rose and stared at the door a little confused. "Thank you, Shawna Vea," he said turning to her.
"She's right, you know." Shawna said. "You can't do this just because Avani has asked it of you. Don't you want to change?"
Hunter stuck his hands in his pockets. "I do but everyday it gets harder to control that side of me. Sitting here with you two was damn near torture."
Shawna shifted in her seat. "Perhaps it is time that you let someone help you control it. Avani saw the good in you but she doesn't know what to do with it. You see the good in yourself but you don't believe in it. Believing in it is a good starting place and maybe someone along the way will believe in it, too. Then together, maybe you'll figure out your future."
Hunter smiled at the older Power. "You are very wise, Shawna Vea."
Shawna shooed him with her hand. "Go, Daeva, and raise a Lux army. Change the world." She picked up her red notebook and opened it.
Hunter chuckled lightly. "Thank you, Shawna Vea. For everything."
Shawna waved him on and he opened the door to walk to the jeep.
Cameron was leaning against the driver's door. She was on the phone but hung up when she saw him approach.
"That was the Rover Pack. They are willing to meet with us tomorrow evening north of the City. They are in Canada and will have to meet us half way," she said pocketing the phone.
Hunter nodded. "So we have some driving to do and you'll need to pack a bag. Might as well make it your travel bag, get this thing started."
Cameron looked uneasy. "I'm sorry if what I said sounded, rude. But I meant it. You can't just do this for Avani. It won't work."
Hunter decided to test what he felt when she had put her hand on his. He reached around her and boxed her in against the Jeep. "It was rude but I'll let that slide. The real problem is that I am doing this for Avani. She's why I'm still alive." He watched the anger burn through the orange like flames in a fire and he smiled. "But I can tell you, honestly, that I'm going to do this for me, too. And for you. And for Shawna Vea. I don't like who I am. I didn't choose this."
Cameron swallowed. This close up she could see the dark brown iris through the red. It made his long, lean face softer, inviting. She liked him a little bit more for it. The slight change didn't go unnoticed by Hunter. He filed it away to be looked at later.
"Okay, cowboy," Cameron said. "That's a start. We have a day to build on that."
Hunter stayed where he was a moment longer, testing the air. Then he moved his right hand so that she could move away. He watched as she walked around the car. "There aren't any hotels north of the city, so I assume we'll be camping."
Cameron climbed into the Jeep and waited for Hunter to do the same before answering. "Camping is fine. Take me back to the City and I'll portal to my place, pack and meet up with you this evening."
Hunter turned the Jeep in the opposite direction from which they approached Shawna's house. "We'll meet at five at the market on Georgetown. We'll leave you car there and take my Jeep."
"I can take my car. Makes it easier to split up if we need to."
"We won't need to. I'm not leaving you alone for longer than I have to," he countered.
"I don't need a bodyguard," Cameron said folding her arms over her chest.
Hunter laughed. "No, I reckon you don't. The truth is though, you've put yourself in the line of fire being seen with me as much as you have. It'll be harder to kill two of us together than if we're separated."
"I can take care of myself - "
"Damn it, Cameron. I'm not trying to make you out to be some helpless female. I knew who you were when Avani said your name. But I'm not budging on this either. It makes everything simpler with one vehicle plus mine can go off road. You ride with me."
Cameron glared at Hunter. It had been a long time since a man had stood up to her or seemed so concerned about her safety. Plus, he was right on all counts. She hated him for it.
"Fine," she finally agreed. "I'll meet you at five." With that she portalled to her apartment leaving Hunter with a small smile on his face.
Five o'clock rolled around and Hunter sat in his Jeep scanning the parking lot of the market for Cameron. He didn't know what kind of car she drove but he figured he would sense her Lux blood the moment she arrived.
At fifteen after, he finally got the tingling sensation through out his body like he always did when a Lux was near.
Cameron stepped out of the newest edition of Chevy Camero. Hunter was surprised to see she had changed clothes. She wore a grey sweater over black jeans that topped brown hiking boots. Her wild curls were pulled back into a pony tail and she grabbed a brown leather jacket out of the back seat. She shrugged it on before popping the trunk where she pulled out a duffel bag with a tent pack attached.
Hunter flashed his lights to get her attention. She walked over and opened the back door.
"Thanks for helping a girl out," she said as she hefted her bag into the Jeep.
Hunter looked in the rearview mirror. "If you can handle that Camero, you can hanfle your bag." He gave her a charming smile as she sneered at him.
Cameron closed the back door and climbed in the passenger seat.
"Plus, you're late," Hunter said as he put the Jeep into gear and pulled out of the parking lot.
"I had to handle my own bag and five o'clock traffic." She looked out her window at the City as it flashed by.
Hunter laughed. "So, drive as far as we can then pitch a tent?"
Cameron messed with the vents to busy her nervous hands. It was strange being in such a small space with a Daeva. "There's a spot I go to about three hours outside the City."
Hunter glanced between her and the road. He tried to ignore the tension in the air. "You don't strike me as the outdoorsy type."
Cameron looked out her window again. "Just goes to show how much you don't know about me."
"Well, we have to raise an army together, so, I figure I will know most of it by the end of this." He smiled at her doubtful expression. "For now, though, how about we enjoy some music." He tuned into a country station and turned up the volume when she didn't object.
Two points for her, Hunter thought as he relaxed for the long drive ahead.
It was close to nine o'clock when Hunter finally stopped the Jeep in a small clearing in the forest north of the City.
Hunter got out and started to unload their bags from the back of the Jeep. He watched Cameron take a deep, appreciative breath of the forest air. The smile that brightened her face had him added two more points to her column in his mind.
He carried the bags to the middle of the small clearing and Cameron took hers to start making camp.
Forty-five minutes later, they had both tents up and a fire going strong. Cameron sat on an old stump outside her tent studying the names in the notebook that Shawna had given them. She was twirling a curl around her finger. Hunter decided then that it was pointless keeping score. She was wonderful creature and it tore at him that he still felt the urge to transform and kill her. To shake off the mood, he decided to talk to her.
"So," he said lamely walking over to her.
"Yes, cowboy?" she replied without looking up.
"What's your story?" he asked sticking his hands in his back pockets.
"My story?" she asked still without looking up.
Frustration started to get the better of Hunter. "Yeah, you know. How did your first transformation go? You know about mine. Tell me about yours."
Cameron closed the notebook and sat quietly for a moment staring off into the woods. She was debating on just killing him and telling Avani she was wrong. In the end she decided it was too much hassle and Avani wouldn't forgive her for a decade. "You don't need to know."
"And just why don't I need to know?" he said through gritted teeth.
Cameron looked up at him then and saw the reined in anger. She met it with her own annoyance. "I've known you all of two days. There are people who have known me most of my life that don't know the story of my first transformation. Your story was need to know information that matters to this mission. Mine doesn't matter." She rose and tossed the notebook into her tent.
"We're going to have to get to know each other if we are going to convince people to fight in a war." Hunter's fists were clenched by his side now and he had stepped closer to Cameron.
Cameron squared her shoulders to him. "I agree but - it's - day - two. I'm tired and hungry. We can start with less personal questions in the morning. Now, I'm going hunting." She shouldered past him towards the heart of the forest.
Hunter portalled in front of her. Cameron growled. "Move."
Hunter held his hands up in surrender. "I'm not gonna fight any more. It's not what I meant to do in the first place. And I know you can take care of yourself but can you try to be back within an hour?"
Cameron stared into those blood red eyes. She saw his annoyance at her and the controlled Daeva further in. And she couldn't deny that she saw the light still further trying to escape. She sighed, her anger lost. "Why do you care so much?"
Unable to stop himself, Hunter reached out and tucked a loose curl behind her ear. "Honestly, I don't know. But I do, so can you be back in an hour?"
Cameron blew out a breath and reminded her heart that he was Daeva. He was evil. It could all be a trick. "I'll bring you some supper, cowboy."
She didn't wait for him to reply. She stepped around him and sauntered a few feet into the trees before transforming into a cougar and bounding away. Hunter watched admiringly until she was out of sight. Then he turned and went to gather more fire wood.