A fogginess surrounds me and for a moment, my hearing is muffled to the sounds around me. Eyes still closed, I jiggle my finger against my ear in an attempt to clear my hearing. My hand feels sluggish and heavy like they do after an intense workout in defensive class. After a few moments I'm able to hear again but the result is an assault of the overly loud voices of Cree and... Gran?
"What do you mean you don't know what happened?"
" Like I said Tilly, she was assisting Echo here with locating an artifact he could use to siphon, and the next thing I know he's barging in my office with her passed out. I called you immediately and here you are, so now maybe we could get to the bottom of this. " You could tell he was trying to be patient with her but he was at the end of his rope.
"You assured me you could keep my granddaughters safe, not even a full week and one of them has a tattoo running the length of her arm!" With that I bolt up on what appears to be a sofa in Cree's office, the memory of my time in the feretory flooding back to me all at once.
I immediately look at the palm of my hand but there's nothing there. Turning it over I notice the intricate lined patterns running up the length of my arm. I guess my movements alert them that I'm awake, because my worried grandparents are before me in the blink of an eye.
"Oh my sweet girl. What happened? What did that boy do to you?" My eyes travel the direction of her extended finger and see Echo , eyes wide like a deer in headlights.
"He didn't do anything gran. It was this... thing, from the feretory." Grandad rests his hand on my shoulder and gives it a gentle squeeze.
Cree steps forward, concern written on his face. "What thing? What did it look like?" My eyes go to Echo, silently asking him to explain. He steps up and tells them what happened. At least everything that he knows.
" That's impossible. " Cree declares once Echo is finished. "Oculus has been around for centuries and it's never been activated. Besides, only another wolf can use it." My grandparents share worried glances with one another before asking the question.
" What exactly is this Oculus? " Usually grandad allows gran to take the lead on matters like this but it appears she's just as shaken by this as I am to even do her thing as councillium head. Cree basically tells them the same story that Echo had told me and with every word he says, I can see my grandparents deflate just a little more.
Leave it to Echo to not be able to read the room, because he chooses that moment to drop some more information on the table.
"Right before she passed out, there was something weird with her eyes."
" Weird how? " Cree inquires, his eyes searching my own.
"Well they kinda glowed the way ours do when our wolf is at the forefront. You know, golden." He finishes.
Cree closes the distance between us and lowers himself to my level, peering into my eyes to see whatever it was that Echo had seen. I guess they weren't glowing now since he stands once more and faces my grandparents.
" I can't explain what happened, hell, I can't even guarantee that everything will be fine, but I'll send her down to the infirmary, run a few tests and get to the bottom of it. " At that, the head of the councillium emerges.
She turns to Echo and says, "Young man, thank you for bringing Genesis to safety, if you'll excuse us, I'll like to have a word with Headmaster Cree." Echo looks from gran , to Cree, to me and back to Cree. "Apparently I wasn't clear enough. Leave." She puts a bit more authority in her tone and even though he doesn't know her position he scrambles to the door and exits the room, the soft click symbolizing his departure.
"Why must you always torture someone every time you come here?" Cree groans out . Gran ignores his comment and steps to my side, the one that grandad isn't occupying and takes a deep breath.
"Jacob, there's something we must discuss, something that, given the circumstances cannot be put off any longer." Hearing the seriousness in her tone, seeing the grim look on their faces, he walks behind his desk and takes a seat, gesturing to the available chairs before him.
No one says anything for a long time. I could feel the tension building in the air and it was getting a little difficult to breathe. I knew this day would come, the day when we would have to tell the school about my issues, I just thought I'd have a couple more months to prepare. I was trying not to think too hard on it, especially since the person who sat not even six feet away could be part of the reason I am what I am. Finally, gran had found her voice again and she starts with the dreaded truth.
"I'm not sure how to go about saying what needs to be said, I'm not even sure how you're going to take this, but this stays within these four walls." She waits for his agreement and when he gives a nod , she continues. "For the past six years I had been searching for my granddaughter after finding out that I even had a granddaughter to begin with. Not long after finding her, she told me something that, while difficult to understand or explain, doesn't change the fact that it's true."
" I have to admit, I was still skeptical, but after what's happened here today there is no denying it." Gran hooks her fingers through mine and grandad does the same on my other side.
"It seems, when my daughter left home all those years ago it was because she had fallen in love with a werewolf." My eyes hadn't left Cree's face, so I don't miss the tick in his jaw or the slight twitch of his eye when gran mentions mom running away with a were. "I'm not sure who this wolf is or where he even is, but it seems that he and Talyn procreated and had Genesis." Cree's eyes dart to mine and connect to my very identical ones.
It's clear he's in shock, he doesn't move, doesn't say a word. No doubt my grandparents think it's because what they've told him is impossible, but I'm holding a piece of the puzzle they don't know about. After what feels like eternity grandad finally says.
"I know it's a shock, but you have to say something." When he just continues to stare at me like I've grown two more heads, I decide to speak up.
"I don't think that's what's wrong grandad. I think the shock comes from finding out he has a daughter." Finally , a blink.
"What?!" Both my grandparents yell at the same time.
"I kinda suspected the day of testing when I used him for my psionic test. I saw a memory of him, with mom. I didn't know what it meant but Farrah and I had some guesses." Gran turns to Cree, almost mechanically, waiting for him to confirm or deny my story. He finally jerks himself out of his stupor and drags his eyes away from me to look her way instead.
"Is this true?" She croaks out.
" Uh, I - Uh yes, Talyn and I, we did run away together. Yes we were in love, but.." He cuts off and turns to look at me once more. "I never thoug- I didn't know she was pregnant. I didn't even know that was possible." His eyes bore into my own so deep it begins to make me squirm in my seat. "Are, are you sure?"
"About what? My father being a wolf? Pretty sure, since mom had an entire plan on getting me through my first shift and then masking me before sending me off to the academy. " Even though I was prepared for that question, it still stung.
"I, I don't know what to say. What do I say?" He asks grandad , who just shrugs his shoulder. "If I had known, I would have fought harder and I definitely wouldn't have gone off to form my own pack, I'd have come back for you both. Why wouldn't she tell me?"
" She didn't find out until a couple months afterward and she didn't contact you because she was afraid of what your father might do. "
Anger masks his face as his eyes illuminate when he realizes the reason he was left in the dark is because of his father.
"While I revel in finally knowing who got my daughter pregnant and ultimately put my granddaughter's life in jeopardy, we have this Oculus situation to deal with." I can't tell if gran is upset by the fact that Cree was the reason she lost her daughter all those years ago or not. Her face is a mask of indifference, but you could feel something simmering below the surface. Grandad, the easy going person he is, simply accepts it for what it is and focusses on the problem at hand.
"Well, it would explain why she was able to activate the Oculus, being part of my line and all. I guess it's ok, she'll be fine." His eyes dart to me once more. "Her magic will simply be a bit stronger now but she'll be ok once I work with her on control."
"Stronger?" Gran interjects. "Jacob, I don't know how ok things will be if that thing makes her stronger. She already possess some powerful magic, she needed a conduit of her own in order to even keep it under control."
"Is there no way we can remove it?" Grandad inquires, rotating my infected hand in his own. It was then that I noticed something wrong with my mother's ring that I wore. What was once a simple golden wyvern with a ruby stone, is now a golden wyvern with a dark, almost black orb with red streaks running through it. When I attempt removing the ring it doesn't budge.
"Guys, I don't think that's possible. I looks like it's made itself at home." Just then, there's pounding at the door and everyone turns to the intrusion. "It's just Farrah." I say, when I sense her magic's signature on the other side of the door.
Cree's eyes go wide and he blurts out, "Shit! I forgot there were two of you."