Goddess of the moon bk2 “Last born”

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Chapter 17: Lost

Liam's perspective: (Day of battle)

I woke to an empty bed, and even though I knew this was a possibility I couldn’t stop the pounding of my heart, the feeling of loss. I should still feel her presence. She was only going to find the sacred willow tree, but I couldn’t feel her at all. It was as if she was just gone. I throw on my clothes and go in search of my brother. I didn’t have to go far as he was waiting just outside my door. I had asked him to do as he did back home, keep watch over our princess. So why the fuck was he leaning against my door with an unreadable look.

Liam: Where the fuck is she Luke!

He shakes his head opening his mouth to speak, but says nothing. Fear and anger rise inside me. I punch the wall beside his head causing chips of stone to scatter across the floor. He throws a hand against my chest hanging his head submissively, something he has never done. Was this fear? The way he was acting was only agitating me more. Gripping his shirt I lift him up inches off the ground so that his eyes are on mine.

Liam: Where is she?

As if snapping out of a daze with a crazed look, he shoves me with both hands against the other wall.

Luke: She was there and then she wasn’t. I followed her to the sacred willow. It had a heartbeat, a bright orange flame flickering on the trunk like a fucking heartbeat. She touched it and she started glowing. Then she looked right at me. She told me to get back to you, to make sure you lead them into battle. She promised she’d be back and then she was gone.

He released his grip from my shirt and walked off. She was gone. I spent the most part of the day watching wolves and other mystics prepare for battle. Hearing whispers asking where the princess was as it was apparent she hadn’t been seen all day. I knew I was going to have to speak to them, but how when I have no answer for their question. Where was the princess? At some point I found myself in the garden on a bench near the maze with my head in my hands. The strange scent of a human girl makes me lift my head. I am met by two big green emerald eyes of the little girl from yesterday. Willow's enchantment worked.

Ana: You don’t have to be afraid. She’s not lost.

I squint my eyes curious at the little golden haired girl. Her smile runs into two large dimples as she fiddles with a butterfly charm on her bracelet. Curiously it looks like one of the blue butterflies I’ve only seen a few times in Willow's presence. I look at her again questioningly..

Liam: You know where she is?

Ana: She went to visit her mom and dad.

Liam: She couldn’t have sweetie. Luna and Thomas are dead. Willow's not.....

My breath grows shaky, my heart slams in my chest. Just as soon as my panic starts, it stops as a small hand touches my arm.

Ana: She’s only visiting. She’ll be back, when the moon is full and directly above us. You’ll see, I promise.

I could almost hear Willow's voice and the words "I promise." Out of nowhere a small hoard of children run past and into the maze, Ana along with them.

Baron: She is wise beyond her years. Trust me when I say that you can believe her, the fourth wolf says as he approaches me.

Baron: I don’t always understand the things she tells me, but I learned a long time ago to never doubt her. Although there have been a few times she was tricking me into giving her what she wanted.

He laughs like a father who’s wrapped around his little girl's finger. It warms my heart at the thought of having children with Willow.

Liam: Do you know if she speaks of before or after the battle?

Baron: What she spoke about last night was in reference to before. She’s been a little foggy since the enchantment. She still has her average witchcraft but the white magic has been suppressed thankfully, meaning it worked. Either way, the packs are growing restless as dusk approaches. Believe in what Ana tells you, but also believe in yourself. You are the descendant of the second wolf, Sebastian Reed, and the husband of our new Goddess. You are by right our alpha and we will all follow you.

Liam: Willow said you are to stay back.

Baron: If you were to ask, I would follow.

He puts his fist over his heart and bows. The laughter and screams of children from the maze echoes. Baron laughs and disappears in after them. I stand with a new found confidence and rejoin the packs. Vlad seems to already know and stands beside me. Luke being my second in command stands with me.
I address the crowd instructing them as Willow had instructed me, assuring them all she would meet us in battle. Night fell quickly and the battle had begun. I watched and waited for the moon to hit straight above anticipating Willow's return.

Luke: Get your head out of the clouds brother, I’m already three ahead.

In wolf form I steamroll three vampires at once. As I shift back to human and am about to say we’re even a vampire leaps at Luke’s back. I kick up a spear from the ground and send it an inch from Luke’s head and directly through the bloodsucker's heart.

Liam: One up!

Luke yanks out the spear and sails it in my direction. I duck out of the way and watch as it plunges through the neck of a strange half demon creature.

Luke: Even.

I welcome our little game as a great distraction. At last I can finally feel her presence with the moon directly above of us, just as Ana foretold. I watch as she moves with such grace cutting through vampire after vampire. I realize she’s headed straight for Daniel. My heart palpitates, fear starts to take control. The waves of vampires and demon creatures are endless. The closer I try to get to her the further I feel I am pushed away. I look up to the moon to draw from its power, begging the moon goddess for a little help. I breath in, scanning the area looking for a path. Just as I see an opening I hear my brother call for help.

Three big vampires have him pinned. I run head first into the chest of one like a line backer. Nicoli comes out of nowhere taking out another. Once Luke is back to his feet I turn and freeze. Watching in horror as the man she once considered a brother stabs her in the chest with her mother’s dagger.

Liam: Willow!

I scream running toward them. Just like in her vision, Willow somehow encases herself and Daniel in some sort of energy force field, like an impenetrable bubble.

Liam: Willow!

Luke desperately tries to hold me back, but I was like a god damn freight train ready to derail. Just as I was almost free of Luke’s grip, Nicoli tackles me.

Liam: What in the actual fuck are you doing?

I screamed at my brother. The look on his face was contradictory to his actions. He didn’t want to be holding me down.

Liam: Get the fuck off of me.

I roar. Desperate to get to Willow I almost break free.

Luke: She made me promise. I didn’t want to, but she said under no circumstance was I to let you intervene. It could change the fate of everyone we care about.

The rage inside of me wanted to fight what he was saying. I looked on to see at that moment a last glimpse of her beautiful blue eyes. It was a subtle glance. She mouthed the word fate just before turning back to Daniel and did the unthinkable. She kissed him! Instantly upon doing so a blinding light exploded, causing a sonic boom to tear down the shield; blasting everyone its path, turning vampires to ash while its force blew me, Luke, and Nicoli back.

Unable to comprehend the devastation of my heart. The deceit of it all! I ran to where her body stood just seconds ago. All that remained were specs of light that I could have sworn formed into her image. My hair stood on end like static, and for a brief moment I could feel her touch. Then just like that, the lights dimmed and she was gone.

I succumb to my anguish, as a darkness plagues what remains of my heart. Shoving Luke off of me I shift to my wolf. Like a rabid beast I slaughter every remaining vampire that had escaped the blast, before losing myself completely. For weeks I wandered aimlessly through the dense mountains of Russia living only as a beast. That is till I came to a familiar place, like something out of a dream I stood staring at the tree before me. Just like Willow's painting. I stand here now before the sacred willow tree, the birth place of the first wolf and my Willow. Like Luke had described, there in the trunk an orange flame flickered like a beating heart. Something was compelling me to it. I knelt down placing my palm over it.

Instantly I could hear Willow's laughter and found myself in some sort of an illusion. Conor and Kali where there. The sun kissed the faces of children running around a golden field in fits of giggles. I erupted in laughter as I scooped up one of the children and threw him in the air while Willow's laughter echoed softly beside me.

What cruel trick was this. How can the gods be so spiteful. Anger filled my lungs as I found myself back in the dark woods. The light from the tree was gone. I ran for miles through the thicket of trees trying to escape the images of what I had just seen, her beautiful laugh, her haunting blue eyes.

Somehow, I found myself back at the tavern in Nevel, and immediately pick up Luke’s scent. What the hell was he doing here. Had he been here the entire time. I thought to leave but it was too late, Luke’s hooded eyes made contact with mine, and it’s all it took for me to know it was time to go home. It was a long journey. Neither of us speaking of what happened. Luke made small talk, giving me updates on everyone back home whom he had kept in contact with, our father, Conor and even Liv, though he treaded lightly as if afraid I would shatter. Honestly, if he weren't here I probably would. Or, I’d be back at Nevel fighting whoever may be willing to take me on.

Once home, I stood in my cabin in the middle of the living room, unable to keep the tears at bay as I do exactly what I have tried so hard not to do.... I shatter. I cry, sobbing like a toddler having a meltdown. I can still smell her, hear her voice, see her face. She is everywhere and fucking nowhere. I go to the lake, the place that was once my escape, but it wasn’t mine anymore, it was ours. I hear her laugh, feel her touch, see her perfect beautiful naked body coming out of the water in a blanket of gold from the sun's rays. She is everywhere and fucking nowhere. Anger consumes me as I cannot escape her no matter where I go.

The next few days pass in a blur as I wake up with my head pounding and mouth dry like a fucking desert. Flashes of the other night cross my blurred vision. Drinking way too much alcohol, letting another woman touch me. The touch of another woman disgusts me. I drink more to kill the pain, but It’s not enough. The pain won’t go away, and now plagued with guilt at the scent of another woman’s perfume makes me sick. I know, I didn’t fuck her and never once did I touch her with my hands or lips, but her hands stroked my cock through my jeans as I sat wasted in a dark booth at the club. How I made it home is unclear as I stumble out of bed kicking empty bottles across the floor. The pounding at my door makes my head pound more, feeling like someone is taking a sledge hammer to the back of my skull.

Luke: Liam!

I hear my brother's bitter voice. I make my way down the hall while searching through the empty bottles for a drink before opening the door.

Luke: What the fuck Liam!

He barges in seething through his teeth.

Luke: You look like shit.

I walk away from him and into the kitchen where I find a full bottle of Jameson hidden in a cupboard. Just before the mind-numbing liquor can reach my lips Luke knocks it out of my hand shattering it on the floor. I grab him by his collar slamming him backward against the counter. The counter I took her on and made her my everything. Luke catches me off guard kicking my ass to the floor where I deserve to be.

Luke: Willow asked me to watch over you. But god damn it brother this is beyond me. You know she would have never wanted to see you like this. To see you drowning in your own self pity and grief. You can’t keep running away from what was. You need to face it. You need to move on, because I can no longer keep my promise to her if it means watching you try to kill yourself.

He pushes off of me and disappears. Day turns into night as I remain there on the floor absorbing my brother's words. If I wasn’t a were, I’d be dead from alcohol poisoning, but instead I am fucking sober, lost in an endless sea of despair. At some point I find myself in her cabin. Standing in her loft staring blankly at her paintings. I’m not sure when I turned on her iPod or that I even did, but the familiar tune of an Imagine Dragon song came to life. She loved their music and sang to nearly every song. Her last painting still sitting on the easel captured my eye. We had looked at it a dozen times together trying to decipher it, but to no end. The blood moon, the strange arrangement of trees. Taking a closer look at her white wolf with the blood shaped dagger on her chest, makes me question how much she knew.

Why would she tell Luke to keep me from her, to stay with me during and after. She had to have known her fate. That last image of her mouthing the word fate burns in my eyes as the words to “Stuck on You” from the current song playing hits me like a god damn silver spear to the chest. “Time goes by and still I am stuck on you.” God it fucking hurts. My chest tightens. Tears swell my blood shot eyes. I stagger backward before crumbling to my knees. “ Didn't you know you were the one, you were the only?” The music fades out as I look up at the painting again, seeing something I didn’t see before. The moon peering behind the trees forms an image of the sacred willow tree with an orange glow flickering like flames in the center, pulsing like a heartbeat. I flash on the night at the sacred willow and the flickering flame on its trunk.

Was it possible! Could she somehow come back? The dagger did not affect her when she used it on herself or the first time Daniel stabbed her on the boat, so why would it now. There was never a blood moon. The words repeat in my head “blood moon”. I pull out my phone searching for the next blood moon.

Liam: It’s happening now!

At some point the song had switched to “Warriors” and oddly the volume blasted at particular lyrics that had me standing beside myself. “From dust. Will come....When you’ll have to rise above the best and prove yourself. Your spirit never dies!” I look at the painting again trying to figure the location of the trees and the moon when something in the corner of the painting catches my eye, a tree stump. I fly out of the house running past my cabin into the open field and spot the very tree stump. I look out to the treeline as the blood moon is rising on the horizon. With great anticipation and a pounding heart, I wait and watch, as the painting comes to life before my eyes. The gold ghost flames from the moon's light dance in the trees. I keep holding on to some sliver of hope, visualizing her wolf walking towards me, but she never comes. Darkness falls upon me once more. I squeeze my eyes shut, balling my hands into fists and clenching my jaw. I cannot possibly take this any longer.

I open my eyes slowly as if there would be any change. When I see clearly that nothing has, I drop my head in defeat. I turn away using the tree stump to hold myself up as I felt myself slipping. I wanted to scream her name from the top of my lungs, but I could barely breath. I wanted to curse the gods but my voice had no sound. I wanted desperately to be without a care in the world, to shut myself off. I feel myself slipping further into a darkness I’m afraid I will never pull myself out of. A sudden cool wind on a windless night passes through me, sending chills down my spine. All the hairs on my body stood on end. The sound of electricity crackles behind me followed by a flicker of light. Small blue butterflies swirl around me leaving a trail of moon dust. I could feel her warm touch as if her arms were wrapped around me. Was this her way of saying goodbye?
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