Chapter Five: Meeting the Elders
Aron lead us a long way from town. I couldn’t even see the lights of Brookhaven anymore. Finally, we came to a terrifying forest. The trees looked dead and their branches looked all gnarled. It was like something out of a horror movie.
Max was walking beside me, and I grabbed a hold of his hand like a frightened little kid. It had been a bad habit of mine ever since I was a child. I was scared and Max knew it. He looked over at me and offered a confident smile. I wish I had his confidence, but I don’t trust that Aron isn’t trying to get us killed.
I thought back to the last time I had held Max’s hand before he went missing. I was nine and he was twelve. We were walking in some town in Arkansas and had come across a group of strange men, and the men had started walking towards us. I thought for sure I was going to die. I had latched on to his hand.
The guys were getting closer, and Max had moved me so that I was behind him. Max would be stupid enough to try and take the guys on. I had thought Max was crazy at the time but he was just protecting me. He took a cruel beating while shouting at me to run and go get help. I ran crying and screaming down the streets.
I finally found the police station and took them to Max. Max was laying there half dead. I started to cry even harder. The police called an ambulance and they took me back to the station. I was terrified that Max wouldn’t be okay, and I thought mom and dad would kill us for wandering the streets.
A noise snaps me back to reality. Max looks over at me, and I knew he had been thinking about the incident in Arkansas like I had been. I heard Aron talking to us but I was to wary to really pay attention to what he was saying. Had he been talking the whole time? The two shapeshifters looked at Max and I like we had made them suffer through a long lecture.
“So, you’re sure your Elders can help?” I asked.
“They are the ones needing our help. That’s why they sounded off the Call. Only the brave will answer.”
“Maybe we aren’t as brave as you think we are,” Kevin said.
I looked at the werewolf. I had almost forgotten about him. He looked kind of scared, and I could tell he didn’t trust Aron either. Maybe there was a way to jump Aron and get away from here and not be involved in any of this. Someone could at least try to distract him.
“Maybe we are just gluttons for punishment. Maybe we are just curious about why they would bring us all together,” Matt said.
“We need help. The fate of the world is in danger. We need as many helping hands as we can get,” Aron said.
So, they needed help in a fight that had nothing to do with us. How often do supernatural creatures get pulled into struggles brought on by other people? I mean, I am having my own crisis, and I am not sure I’m ready to fight someone else’s war. Maybe they wouldn’t need our help for long. Maybe they lured us here to kill us all.
I looked at Taylor, he seemed to know what I was thinking and he shook his head. Maybe it wasn’t as good an idea as I thought, but it was worth a try. I’m in no mood to go down without a fight.
“Destiny, you’re being awfully quiet back there,” Aron said.
Well, if I can’t solve it by force I guess I better be openly honest with him.
“How do we know you’re not taking us to die?”
“Why would I want you dead? My people need your help and I am in no place to deny them the help they need.”
“What help do they need from us?” Matt asked.
“Something powerful is coming our way, and they seem to think that it is evil. They will have to explain in more detail.”
“You can’t tell us?” Max asked.
I’m not so sure that I liked hearing that word come out of his mouth. Plus, the vibe of this forest was freaking me out. Who wants to stay in a place like this? I guess it’s a good place to hide a supernatural community. Maybe his Elders weren’t as scary as this forest.
I saw a building looming ahead of us. It looked old and abandoned and yet had a very lively vibe to it. It was like something old mixed with something new. The windows were boarded up, so no one could look in or out. They had bricks that were falling out of place on the stairs, so I had to be careful to not trip and fall. It almost looked like they were having work done to it, and it was almost as if the renovators had left.
The foundation looked sturdy and solid, so that eased my nerves a little. There was no doubt that this building had to be a landmark. The old Corinthian style columns and the gothic style windows gave that away. Whoever built this had a very interesting taste. And the gargoyles on the roof were classically placed in just the right spot.
“This building looks like a piece of fine art,” I said.
“This building is at least a couple centuries old, I think,” Aron replied.
“I love it,” Max said.
“It’s a fitting setting for what’s going to take place is it not?” said an unknown voice.
I turned around and saw an older man standing there looking up at the building. He had white hair with blue eyes that looked like ice, and his face looked weary and worn. His hands looked calloused and bruised, and he was smiling with amusement. He must be one of the Elders.
“Elder Henry! These are the recruits you called!” Aron said.
“I see not all of them are here yet,” Henry said.
“Elder Henry belongs to the Earth group. Our Elders are separated out according to our elements,” Aron explained.
“Hi, I’m Destiny and this is my brother, Max.”
“Ah, Destiny, yes I think they’ve been waiting for you.”
“I’m not sure why or maybe they just said you would be coming. You are new to the whole supernatural realm, so I’m sure they can offer you some comfort and help you come to terms with what you are.”
“I’m sure they can.”
“Come, let’s all go inside.”
We followed Henry up the stairs and into the building. The inside was lavished with furniture and Asian-style decorations that my parents would have killed to have in their house. I turned and looked directly into the face of a dragon. I jumped, and Max laughed at me.
“Ah, she has found our Dragon of Power. He gives our Fire Elementals strength, He also protects us,” said a young guy.
“Kai, she doesn’t have to know everything about our culture,” Aron said.
“Hey, just letting the young lady know a little bit about our history.”
He was handsome as well. The brown hair and brown eyes and the slightly darkened skin. He looked built enough to make any girl swoon on the spot. He had a mischievous look in his eyes as well, and I felt drawn to it at first. Then I caught myself.
“A Dragon of Power, then your Fire Elders must not be as powerful as you think,” I said.
“It’s an old myth that no one really believes in anymore. We find our power through our emotional outburst,” he said with a laugh.
“Kai, that is enough.” Henry said.
Kai didn’t look embarrassed about getting chastised by his Elder. That could be a problem. A disobedient member of a community could cause a whole lot of problems.
“Gather round, everyone,” another Elder said.
“For those of you that do not know, I am Elder Grant, and I am with the Water Clan. I can see things that no one else can see. This ability is given to me through the authority of water itself.”
“Yes, but what have you seen?” I asked.
“Young Destiny, I see grave things heading our way. It’s terrifying the immense amount of evil I have seen. In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this. It takes the blood of a powerful witch to activate this evil. The witch will fall and the evil will come, and then the rest of us are stuck here fighting until the death.”
“A witch could mean anyone and you could’ve very well summoned her here,” a young girl said.
I looked at the young girl. She looked like me, only our facial features were different. She had high cheekbones, mine are not so high. Her eyes were wide set, mine are not. The red hair, the green eyes, the full lips, and the pale skin was like mine though. She looked to be a bit younger than me.
“Selema, I would not knowingly put our family in danger. Of course, that witch isn’t here and she won’t be here.”
“Now, we have guests that need to rest. Aron, show them where they will be staying. Oh, and you can go anywhere you want as long as you’re back at midnight.”
“A curfew?” Taylor asked.
“Yes, to ensure your safety,” Henry said.
I could live with a curfew. Midnight was late enough if I needed to go out and hunt and if I just wanted to get away from everyone. I think we might be safe here, and they looked like they were ready to fight anything that wanted to harm them to the death. I had to hand it to them; their people respected them and listened to what they had to say.
As Aron showed me to my room, I felt a pain in my stomach and throat. I will have to worry with that later, because right now I must process what today has brought me to deal with.