I woke up to find myself lying on the two-seater chair in the gazebo. I sat up and looked around the clearing feeling a little dazed and confused. The clearing was back to how it was before the feast last night and no one was around. From what I could tell it was sometime around midday. Memories from last night came flooding back to me. The strange sensation of changing for the first time, being able to fly and feeling more alive than I had ever felt before. I started to get up when I heard my dad's voice in my mind.
"Hey Toby, how are you feeling after last night?"
"I feel fine. A little tired though."
"Good. Everybody was shocked from what happened last night and they're all talking about it. They all want to see you change again mainly because of how damn awesome you looked once they had gotten over their shock and surprise." I chuckled to myself. "Anyway you should head to mine and get something to eat if you're hungry. After a huge change like that I can imagine that you most likely would be. But take your time if you want to think things through and would like to try changing again."
"But wouldn't something bad happen if I didn't have any guidance?"
"Haha no, you'll be fine. Nothing bad will happen if you try and fail without guidance or without having someone there. All that would happen is that you would stay in your human form. You'll know when you're doing it right when you feel the change to start. Oh and before you do try by yourself, one thing that does help is relaxing your whole body and picturing your animal form in your mind. Now I have things to sort out. I'll see you later. There'll be some leftovers from last night in the village's food storage. If you ask around I'm sure someone could point you in the right direction."
With that our conversation ended and with what my dad had told me about changing I tried having a go at it. I tried relaxing my body and pictured a griffin in my mind. I felt nothing and knew I hadn't done something right. As I was about to try again I heard someone walk up from behind me. I turned around and saw that it was Sarah. Her shoulder-length, golden-blonde hair and brown eyes gave me an idea of what her animal form could possibly be. She hadn't told me of her animal form but I had a feeling that it was something like a lioness. She walked up to me and smiled.
"Hi, Tobias, how are you?."
I smiled back at her. "I'm alright I guess, a little tired."
She didn't stop smiling. "Your first change was amazing last night. No one would have thought your form would be a griffin. Pretty amazing in my opinion."
I laughed a little. "Yeah, felt weird though. Changing for the first time I mean."
"I couldn't help but notice that you were trying to change again. Am I right?" I nodded. "Would you like some help?"
I shrugged. "I guess it wouldn't hurt."
She got me to stand with my feet shoulder-width apart, close my eyes and relax. She would place a gentle hand on where she thought I would need to relax my body more. Once she thought I was relaxed enough she got me to clear my mind of everything. I found it hard seeing as the thought of Remus and our dance last night kept sneaking into my mind but I finally stopped thinking about it. And so the last thing Sarah got me to do was picture a griffin and every little detail. As I pictured the griffin from the tip of its beak to the tip of its lion tail I started feeling the strange feeling of which I felt last night before I changed. I tried not to let it distract me and so it wasn't long before I felt my body change. After a while I opened my eyes and stood there as a griffin. Sarah was in front of me smiling.
"That was well done. Apply that same technique to get back to your human form. Try it now."
And so I tried. Was a little more difficult than I thought but I got there in the end.
"You still need some practice but you still did well. If you need any help don't be scared to find me, if you can't find me then contact me."
"Thanks." I smiled.
"Anyway, I better go. Have to look after some of the kids. See you later." She smiled and walked off.
Once again I tried changing into the griffin and was pleased that I succeeded. I started to wonder what Remus was up to so I tried to look for him. With a couple beats of my wings I was up in the air. I circled the clearing two or three times before heading off towards the main clearing which held the main part of the village and kept an eye out for Remus. I saw a few tribe members here and there both in human and animal form but none of them were Remus. I then landed in the centre of the village. People turned to look at me as I landed. I could see the awe in their eyes. Grenwick came up to me and bowed of which had never happened to me before.
"How can I help you Tobias?"
"I'm looking for Remus. Have you seen him?"
Grenwick shook his head. "No I haven't." He turned to everyone that was around. "Has anyone seen Remus?"
All of them said they hadn't. Grenwick turned back to me.
"Sorry we couldn't be of any help."
"It's fine. I'll find him at some point. I will probably contact him later."
"Anything else I could help you with?"
"Ah….yes, where is the storehouse that has leftovers from last night's feast?"
I changed back to my human form and followed Grenwick who led me towards just past the herbalist's house. We came to a clearing with what looked like a small house that would only have enough room for a lounge, kitchen and possibly a small bedroom.
"There you go. Help yourself to what's in there."
"Thanks…I'm just curious, how is everything kept cold?"
"This is the only building in the village with electricity. The entire roof is made out of solar panels. We had a backup generator installed in case something went wrong. So most of the energy is used to keep the interior cold so the meat and stuff can be kept for longer."
"Thanks. That's all the help I needed."
"No problem." Grenwick smiled and walked off.
I headed into the storehouse and filled my arms with what I felt like eating. It was a little cold but was a nice change to the summer heat. I eventually walked out of the storehouse with my arms filled with food. Most of it was the desserts that had been left over mainly because I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I made my way to my dad's house and, with a bit of trouble opening the door (almost dropping a few strawberry tarts), was able to finally sit down and start on my little feast. I was actually surprised at how hungry I was after last night's feast, though the fact that I didn't have any breakfast may be one reason for my ravenous hunger. Once I had finished, I cleaned up what dishes I had used and went to my bedroom and just lay on my bed. I thought about contacting Remus and getting me to meet me somewhere. I decided to ask him if he wanted to hang out for a bit.
"Hey Remus, want to hang out for a while?"
He didn't reply straight away though when he eventually did he seemed a little hesitant.
"I…I'm a little busy. Sorry Tobias."
I sighed, got off the bed and headed for the clearing that I had come across before the feast. I was drawn to it for some reason that wasn't apparent to me. Once at the clearing I lay down and just watched the leaves. There wasn't much of a breeze so they weren't whispering away like they had the day before. I started thinking about things until Remus crossed my mind again. I thought about how we danced last night and how I kept looking into his eyes during the dance. I closed my eyes and I pictured Remus and I just lying in the sun and laughing at some lame joke I had told. I pictured me in my griffin form and Remus on my back and the breeze blowing his hair back. I was suddenly disturbed by my grandfather.
"Tobias, I must see you. I have sent someone to collect you."
I didn't have to wait long before someone had come for me and it turned out to be Sarah. All she said was one word.
She turned and started to leave the clearing without looking back. I quickly got up and followed. Sarah seemed to be different like she knew something that I didn't. Thinking my grandfather's house would be grander than the rest due to the fact that he's chief made me feel slightly disappointed when we finally arrived. It wasn't huge and decorated with intricate carvings and have werelights and lanterns next to each door and windows. Instead it was small and humble with simple carvings around the door depicting the birth and rebirth of chiefs. I could hear what sounded like an argument coming through the front door. As soon as Sarah knocked on the door everything went quiet and my father opened the door.
"I've brought Tobias as you asked."
"Thanks Sarah, you may go." She turned and left giving me a hopeful look as she passed me. "Tobias, come in. Your grandfather and I would like to talk to you about something."
I walked in and my dad closed the door behind me. My grandfather was sitting on the couch. He motioned towards a chair at the end of the coffee table.
"Make yourself comfortable and take a seat."
Deciding to be respectful I sat down while my father leaned up against the wall near the door. I noticed the rather long object wrapped in cloth lying on the coffee table.
"There's something that we haven't told you and it's about time you knew. Not long before you were born I had a dream, a vision of sorts. Xavier, our deity, came to me and told me: One who was born of a wolf and dove would be the one who would give the tribe a chance to survive and destroy their ancient foe and be rid of chaos and destruction for years to come. I knew that he must mean the child of Lysander and Lily. Once you were born everyone was happy that you were healthy and wondered what sort of person you would grow up to be but your parents and I were worried. Especially when we had increased attacks by the opposing tribe about 6 months before you were born. Your grandmother died in one of the attacks. Your parents then decided to leave you in the care of your aunt, your mother's sister. She was the only person your mother trusted who wasn't part of the tribe. We planned on getting you here before your 16th birthday so you knew you would change before it happened and so you wouldn't panic when it was time. We were successful in doing that but only just. I started to doubt our success in defeating Solomon and Solamian tribe until last night when you changed for the first time. I once again have hope that we'll have a chance. And as a gift I have this sword named Dragonbane. It has been in the tribe for as long as the tribe has existed and is no normal sword as it has a type of power to it. If a human touches it, they are either incinerated or frozen to death. It doesn't harm shape shifters though depending on the shape shifter, it will be either as dull as a butter knife or as sharp as can be. There have only been a few occasions where the blade will show its true colours when held by a tribe member. Some of them have dropped it in surprise. Today I am hoping that it will show its true colours to you and if it does please try not to drop it."
My grandfather removed the cloth from the sword. It looked like any normal sword except there was a setting in the pommel of which looked as if a stone or gem could be placed into it. My grandfather handed it to me hilt-first. I took hold of the hilt and held it out in front of me at arm's length waiting to see if anything would happen. Nothing seemed to happen but just as I was about to hand it back to my grandfather, the air around the blade started to shimmer. I waited to see if anything else would happen but nothing did and the shimmering surrounding the blade died down. Both my father and grandfather looked disappointed.
My grandfather sighed. "I had hoped something would happen but alas, nothing but a slight shimmer."
I handed the sword back to grandfather hilt-first. He slowly took it and wrapped it in the cloth that had covered it when I had entered the house.
"Lysander, talk to Grenwick about making weapons. We must have as many as possible. We must start preparing in other ways. Tobias needs training along with the other adolescents who are capable. We will also assign jobs to some for during the battle. Abigail will need a lot of help too before, during and after the battle. She'll be overwhelmed by the work that she wouldn't be able to handle it all on her own."
My father nodded and left the house. I was about to follow when my grandfather stopped me.
"Tobias. I know why the sword, Dragonbane, only shimmered and nothing else. I didn't want to mention this in front of your father. There was a special type of stone or gem that only we know about. It's called Lokrium and is used for many things, mainly for certain rituals and giving weapons special abilities. But it's rare, very rare. I only found out about a source of it not that long before you arrived and I want you to go and get some Lokrium, bring it back and give it to Grenwick along with the sword. He'll know what to do. Now, go. You have the rest of the day to do as you please."
My grandfather gave me back the Dragonbane wrapped in cloth. And so I was left to do what I wanted until the tribe was gathered and both my father and grandfather went through the village telling people where to meet and using telepathy to tell those they didn't see. I had gone to my dad's house and lay on the bed in my room with the sword hidden beneath it. Within the hour everyone was gathered in the clearing with the gazebo in its centre and I was called to attend the gathering with the sword. My grandfather explained everything to everyone about how we needed to prepare and that the prophecy had been proven to be true so far. My grandfather got me to show everyone the sword and the others whispered to one another about how the sword didn't seem all that special and how we most likely wouldn't have a chance. The gathering ended once everyone knew what needed to be done and who needed help. As everyone started leaving the clearing to start on what they had to do I saw Remus and I called out to him. He didn't seem to notice. I then tried to get to him through the crowd with some difficulty and I called out to him again. This time he seemed to have heard me as he looked towards me. I could clearly see his face of which seemed to be filled with sorrow and maybe a hint of confusion. I stopped and stood where I was. Remus turned back towards the path and left the clearing. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that something with Remus wasn't right. As I stood in the clearing I felt empty of all emotion. I didn't know what to feel. My grandfather came up beside me.
"Is everything alright Tobias?"
Feeling as I was about to cry, I turned to my grandfather and handed him Dragonbane and within moments I changed into my griffin form and flew off before anything else was said. I ignored any attempts of communication and didn't stop flying until I landed deep in the forest where no one could find me. I sat down amongst the trees and cried to my heart's content.