It has been five years since the great coven war ended; and although Slasher still holds a highly respected position within the society and became high general of the vampire king’s army, she has decided to take a step back from that side of her life for a while. She is immortal therefore she has all the time in the world; to continue her assassin and warrior duties when she wishes to later or when she is desperately needed to do so, but for now she wishes to give Hope the happy life that she deserves and for her to live life as normally as possible. Not long after they returned to the society and explained the situation to the elders, she officially took Hope as her own and she became a member of the outside world. To reward Slasher for her outstanding achievements during the war they gave her a large piece of land to own and for her to do with as she wished, as well as a small cottage so that her and Hope could live together independently from the society.
Over time it had become apparent that they were many more individuals effected by the war than first believed. There were many witches, vampires and humans that had no home to go to, no family and some had no understanding of the world due to how they were kept and treated. Something needed to be done but it was believed that vampires, witches and humans must be kept separate and that it was impossible and a disgrace to have them mix so closely. Slasher didn’t understand this thought process, she believed it was due to her hybridism; the fact that her Lycan as a wolf and therefore naturally needs to form connections and needs a pack of beings to protect, or that as a vampire she had to defy and fight against those unfair and unjust. But one thing was certain, she needed and wanted to help these people, there must be something she could do, a solution that could help all those involved, and she was hell bent on finding out what it was.
This solution has led to where she is and what has become of her presently. She is now the coven leader of a haven of sorts, for all the witches, vampires and humans that needed help and a home. So far it is working well, she used some of the land that she was given to build houses and created a small community of refugees.
“Hope! Rise and shine! You need to hurry, or you will be late for your classes with Mrs Crocker.” Serena shouts for her daughter in an exasperated tone. Soon the silence is met with the groans and moaning of a very tired and unenthusiastic twelve-year-old girl, as she makes her way down the staircase and into the kitchen to eat her breakfast. “Why do you never move this slow when you have classes with Mr Stone?”
“Because training with Mr Stone is the best! Lessons with Mrs Crocker are boring.” She answers in a somewhat whining voice. But Serena could never be angry with her, she finds her amusing and adorable, and her personality enchanting and entertaining.
“Well if you do your best and I hear good things from Mrs Crocker, then perhaps I will start classes with you and start teaching you the things you are so desperate to learn.”
“Yes! Ok I am leaving; I will be back at noon. I love you mother.” She squeals excitedly as she races through the kitchen and out the door.
“I love you too sweetheart. Be safe.”
As I begin my duties of the day, I leave the central dwelling; that is in the centre of the community, where Hope and I live, and where we hold big meetings, gatherings or feasts and celebrations. I transform into my Lycan form and run through the out-skirting woods and around our settlement perimeter to check it is secure and that we do not have enemies or humans that are unaware of our existence wandering in, and then to touch base with our guards stationed there. Once the patrols are finished and I have met with each guard in turn, I then start my daily walk through of the community to see my people and ensure all is well.
Everywhere I turn I am met with genuinely happy smiles, many ‘Good morning Countess’ greetings and hugs from the children living here. The community as a whole has learned to work in harmony very well; we have farming land where all the food for the witches and humans is grown, we have sacred spaces for witches to practice in, many covered areas for vampires to take shelter under during the day when necessary, we are surrounded by dense forests that are perfect for hunting and as a barrier from the outside world, and we have a building that is used as a voluntary donating and vampire feeding private area.
“Countess! Countess!” My peaceful thoughts were soon interrupted by a distressed young warlock messenger running towards me.
“Yes, what is the problem George?”
“There is a small group of vampires at the border, the guards are keeping them at bay, but they are causing trouble, so they are awaiting your orders, countess.”
I can feel my eyes instantly flash a bright crimson in anger and protectiveness over this threat. How dare outsiders come and threaten my people. I instantly sprint away, using my vampire speed, towards the border where I can hear a commotion of multiple voices with my extremely heightened hearing.
“Alexander what appears to be the problem?” I ask as I appeared behind my Second in Command, a vampire that fought alongside me in the wars, a most trusted friend and exceptionally warrior. As well as the eldest and unmated son of Jet, my lieutenant in the last Coven Wars. But currently he seems to be in a very loud and aggressive conversation with someone whom appears to be the leader of this group that has approached our borders. He turns to me immediately and bows towards me with the utmost respect shown.
“My Lady, this coven of vampires has asked to see our leader.”
“I see, very well, you have the leader’s attention, why are you here?”
“We will not speak of our business to a wench. Where is your leader?”
“My name is Slasher and I am in charge of this community’s safety and wellbeing.”
The leader that had been speaking to Alexander stood rigid and glared towards me in disgust with his eyes beginning to turn into a blood-like colour. The rest of his men started laughing and shouting profanities in disbelief.
“There is no possible way that you are the leader! You are just a young girl!” One of the men from the group grunted towards me, that elicited kisses from my vampires and growls from my wolves.
“You are not Slasher. He was a giant of a man, a feared assassin and respected warrior, with the ferocity that would rival any beast. You are not he!” Another shouted towards me as the group became more agitated and aggressive.
The leader then silenced his men and stepped towards me, “this is a disgrace. I challenge the leader of these people for the right’s of their land and ownership of the people.”
As we both stepped into the central most area of the clearing, our respective groups stepped back to give us space. I decided to stay in my joint hybrid form as it would be closer to my challenger’s form and therefore fairer. My Delta, a wolf named Charles came forward and bowed towards me, “Alpha” he addressed towards me and I nodded graciously back. He commenced the official challenge between our group’s leaders and stepped back. We began the fight by circling each other and assessing for the other’s strength and weaknesses, however his arrogance and impatience became his downfall. I defeated him quickly, to the shock and disbelief of the group that approached our border, and to the disappointment of my people that hoped for more interesting entertainment. The group were not happy and conceded to leave peacefully, but not without angry threats thrown. I did not believe that we would be seeing the last of them. I did not trust that they would keep to their and did not wish for them to camp close by to be a danger to my people. Therefore, I charged my warriors to chase them far from our land, at least until the setting of the sun, before they could return, and could rest. I encouraged a stricter patrol for a further seven sunsets to unsure the community was safe and that there were not straggler vampires from the recent group that were defeated.
One morning, on our rest day after a normal week of duties and training; my Gamma, Arthur, a very young but loyal and quiet wolf, entered my study with a letter that held a hint of a familiar scent. He entered the room and bowed towards me, “Alpha, a message and request has arrived for Slasher,” he informed me as he rose.
“We do not answer requests for Slasher currently, you know this Arthur, store them away for now just as done with the others.”
“I apologise Alpha, however the messenger said that you would know them, and they would be greatly honoured if you could attend.”
“I see. Very well I will take a look. Thank you and you are dismissed.” He bowed shortly again before leaving the room.
Once my study was once more private and quieter, I extended a single claw and sliced open the letter cleanly. The delicate and gentle cursive on the parchment invited me to a presentation ceremony for the son of the Alpha and Luna at a wolf pack. This was a serious ceremony and it was a beautiful and deep honour to be invited to one. My questions and puzzlement were soon cleared away once I caught who had signed it. Alpha John and Luna Annette from the Northern Pack. It been a long time since I had contacted them and many things had changed, but we were still very dear to one another. I sent my response immediately and left to inform my people and prepare for the journey.
As two days pass, the preparations for the journey have been arranged and the community has been informed. They are sad to see me go but understand and wish for safe travels. We have loaded supplies into a cart that will be driven alternately between the warriors that I am taking. I have left Alexander and Charles in charge of the community whilst I am away as they are the next highest ranking after myself and will keep our people safe. Therefore Theodore, a vampire, and small number of warriors will be leaving with me as my third in command and personal unit. As we were preparing to shift into our wolf forms or mount our horses for the journey, and young girl came running across the gathering area with a large bag that appeared to move her in an unsteady pattern of back and forth with the sheer weight and size of it in the hands of the small girl. “Mama, mama…”
Running in her wake is a flustered and out of breath maid trying to catch the young girl.
“What is this?”
“I apologise greatly Serena; she would not stay put and once I turned my eye from her she had packed and bag and left the house.”
“I see. Do not worry Alice. What do you have to say for yourself Hope?! Alice is there to care for you and keep you safe whilst I am away. How is she to achieve this if you do not listen and run away.” I looked down sternly towards my daughter, meeting her bright hazel eyes that start to shine with guilt but determination.
“Please mother I must go with you.”
“Absolutely not. It is not safe for you to leave the community.”
“Why not? Many other humans and magic folk leave the community on visits and return safely. And you are attending a special ceremony at a pack you know, not going to war, so of course it would be safe. And if I am with you then you can protect me. Please mother.”
“But I wish for you to have as much of a normal life as possible whilst you are still young.”
“This is my life, and this is our family. I do not wish to change it, but I do wish to be a part of it, to experience and learn as much about it.”
I glanced down towards the passionate young girl that could be no more than 12 years of age but had the mind and maturity of many adults. I wished to protect her and keep her safe and happy, but I could not stifle her. And she is correct, this is a pleasurable outing and should be very safe, and by my side I could keep her safe the most.
“Very well. But only if you promise to stay by my side and do as I tell you and stay with Alice to care for you when I am attending to business. Would you be so willing Alice?”
Hope squealed in delight and jumped up and down on her toes whilst nodding her head vigorously. “Yes of course my Lady,” Alice then replied and left to gather her things quickly.
“We will return in half a lunar cycle. Are you both confident in looking after our people when I am away?”
“We will not disappoint Alpha” and “You have our word my Lady” were said in reply by Alexander and Charles.
I shifted into my large Lycan wolf form and laid on the ground for Hope to climb onto my bike so that I could carry her for the duration of our journey. I exited our boundary and lead the way for our small group to reach our final destination.
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