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The Council's Decision

Lakiya left us just before nightfall. Jed, Warrick and I were to have a quiet last night together before Jed took off on his bi-monthly business trip. However maybe ten minutes after Lakiya left Warrick sneaked out his window, so it was just Jed and I playing cards and board games for the night. We weren’t mad, but it wasn’t as fun without him.

Warrick followed Lakiya’s wolf trail easier than he expected. The trail led him to an odd clearing surrounded by wolf dens. In the center he spotted Lakiya’s white wolf form with the strange blue hue. She was standing a few feet away from an older, adult male, brown wolf, who was snarling at her, “You are banned from going anywhere near the humans until further notice.”

Lakiya shook her wolf’s head as she declared, “You don’t know what you’re saying!”

The brown wolf slowly moves closer. Warrick is walking quietly towards them . He said the brown wolf’s voice was more growl than voice when he stated, “You are a child, playing with dangers you know nothing about. I’ve protected this clan from our enemies, since long before I made you, and I will continue long after you’re gone.”

At this time her father’s face was about half a foot away from Lakiya’s. She wasn’t flinching, but between Warrick’s outrage at the father’s behavior, and his concern for her he leaped to her defense. He manged to land just in front of Lakiya, putting himself face to face with her father.

Warrick described the leap as a long graceful falling motion, that caused him to think he had somehow tripped as he jumped. He was shocked to find out just how in the brown wolf’s face he had landed. He didn’t let the wolf’s snarling snout shake him any, no, my adrenaline fused, head over heals in love, protective brother, looked him straight in the eyes and yelled, “She’s smarter than you ever thought of being. Being a bullying jerk doesn’t make you wise. It never has, and never will. If you got a problem with treating Lakiya the way she deserves; you’d better take it up with me!”

An older gray wolf, standing near them, but that was the other side of Lakiya when Warrick entered the clearing, had been watching everything since before Warrick showed up, and called out, “The decisions are still ours to be made, and as of this moment there will be no fighting.”

The brown wolf backed away from Warrick and Lakiya, and sat quietly, showing respect to the elder gray wolf. Warrick waited until Lakiya’s father had seated himself before he turned his attention to the elder gray wolf, who was being joined by four other wolves. Warrick exclaimed, “You must be the council of five. It is my honor and privilege to meet you.” Then he closed his eyes and lowered his head humbly.

One of the elders, a female brown wolf, began pacing around Lakiya and Warrick, inspecting them as she went.“Raise your head and tell me who you are.” she ordered him.

Warrick did as he was told.

The gray wolf cleared his throat before asking, “What did you call the young white wolf?”

“Lakiya,” Warrick answered, “it’s the name I gave her.”

An elder black male wolf inquired, ”Why?”

“Because she asked me to give her one.” Warrick replied, “And it’s the only name that fits her.”

“I meant; why that name?” The elder wolf clarified.

He informed them, “It means found, hidden, precious thing, which I changed to being, and that is so perfectly her.”

The gray male wolf asked the female brown wolf, “What do you think?”

She declared, “It would appear that Lakiya is no longer under her father’s rule, for she has found her mate.”

Warrick stammered,”No, I swear, I haven’t touched her like that.”

The elder female brown wolf came and sat by Lakiya and Warrick. “The bodies do not need to bind for the souls to bond.” she informed them, “If you were not her mate, you would not be one like her.”

Warrick furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. Then he looked down and saw his own large black paws. He didn’t believe what he saw, so he looked behind him to see his black fur hind end, tail and all. Then he noticed he had the same blue hue to his coloring that Lakiya had to hers. He smiled his first wolf smile and looked at Lakiya who smiled back as she exclaimed, “I didn’t know you could do that until it happened. I didn’t know about the mate thing at all. I figured if I was the leader I would have to be without a mate like the council, so maybe I’m not the leader?”

“The Creator said, 'The first leader of all will call to them, with a pure love: a mate, who gives them their name, a moral guide, a trusted adviser, and a small army to fight our true enemy.'” A white male elder informed them, “No one else can lead the way, they must succeed or all will pay.”

The black female elder finally spoke to add, “You have already completed the most important step without knowing or trying. The Creator will bring the rest to you at the appropriate time, for now you must choose the path to walk an order to lead. For the two of you are officially the First Leaders of All, for your souls are bonded as one, and so must your decisions be made.”

The brown female stepped away from Lakiya and Warrick, and joined the other elders. Warrick moved closer to Lakiya, an order to nuzzle with Lakiya. It was then that he realized how much larger than her his wolf was. As if she sensed the awkwardness growing inside of him Lakiya said, “Don’t worry, by the next full moon we will be closer in size. We’ll look about the same age in both our forms, at least if my calculations, based on my aging process so far, are correct.”

“We will stay with your clan, as advisers, for as long as you would like.” The elder gray male offered.

Lakiya replied, “I must go, be among the humans for a few days, and I would like to have you here, not only for the clan, but also in case I need your advice. After I have learned what I can I will be able to lead better.”

“Go as your heart guides you.” The black elder male told her.

Lakiya and Warrick lowered their heads to the elders, who returned the courtesy. Warrick picked his clothes up with his mouth, from where they had landed when he changed into wolf form. Then they walked out of the clearing side by side.

A few steps later Warrick found himself returning to human form effortlessly. Lakiya became human just a little faster, but she was more experienced in this one aspect of life. Once human he held Lakiya’s hand, squeezed it, and quietly exclaimed, “This had better not be some crazy dream I’m having.”

“If it is,” Lakiya replied, “my whole life is a dream.”

Warrick shook his head, trying to make his brain hurry up and wrap around the new boundaries of reality. Finally he said, “We’ll have to move your public appearance up to tonight, which means we’ll have to separate when we get closer to town. Since we don’t have any luggage you’ll have to claim you lost the one small bag you were carrying when your horse ran away, and you haven’t the faintest clue where he ran to.”

“Faintest?” Lakiya questioned with a scowl.

“Fine.” Warrick conceded, as they stopped by the pile of clothes he had given her, and she put them on. It suddenly occurred to him that he was still carrying his clothes, although he had moved them to his hand as he turned human, he should probably put them on, “You can say vaguest clue.”

She laughed, and he grinned at the thought of hearing her laughter for the rest of his life. Then he wondered how long that would be. He couldn’t stop himself from asking Lakiya, “How long are we expected to live, if we don’t get ourselves killed leading everyone against our enemy?”

She shrugged her shoulders and reminded him, “We’re the first of our kind.”

“Free Shifters.” He dubbed them.

“Maybe,” Lakiya replied, “Let’s sit on it for a bit.”

Warrick suddenly slapped his head and announced, “It might not be a matter of making it to the enemy an order to shorten our lives. If Jed kills me nothing else that has happened tonight will matter.”

“Then I guess we had better hope Jed is in a good mood.”

It was shortly after that when they had to separate from each other. He told her exactly where to leave the woods, and where to go to get into town. “Remember, make sure you find someone to help you find our house, so it gets around that you’re back, I mean finally here.”

She nodded her head and went on her way. Warrick practically ran back most of the rest of the way. He stopped to catch his breath just inside the woods.

Jed saw Warrick slipping into the back yard, and decided to save him the trouble of climbing back in through his window. Jed opened the back door and called out, “Did you have a nice moonlit walk through the woods?”

Warrick replied, “A more eventful one than you might imagine.” He stepped closer and added in a whisper, “But for now our cousin is about to arrive early, so let’s go get surprised.”

Jed and Warrick came in as I was putting a glass in the sink. Jed gave me his look, and I turned around to head to my room. We were almost there when there was a knock at the door. It was the Deputy, with our cousin.

“I ran into this pretty lady on the edge of town.”The Deputy stated, “And I wanted to make certain she got to her new home safely.”

Jed asked, “How did you know she belonged here?”

“If she isn’t the big sister of Annabel, then no one is.” The deputy replied, “They are so remarkably similar, heck they even got the same gorgeous green eyes. If I didn’t know better I’d say Annabel was a clone of this young lady.”

Warrick instinctively smiled as Lakiya stepped into the light and through the doorway. His mind raced for what to say. It landed on, “You look so young, it’s hard to believe you’re about to turn seventeen.”

Lakiya bent her head slightly, while her cheeks turned red and she replied, “Many things are hard to believe, and yet are.”

The Deputy chuckled a bit before stating, “Jed, if I were you I’d watch after these two, looks like love is already blossoming in the air. Guess it’s a good thing she is a distant cousin.”

Jed chuckled, in a this isn’t funny sort of way, put his hand on the Deputy’s shoulder and told him, “Let’s not put so much pressure on a first meeting, they’re still young, and have plenty of time for these things to develop on their own, if they’re going to. For now I’m certain Lakiya is tired from her journey, and would like to rest.”

The deputy left. We waited a few moments before Jed roughly ushered them into the living room, completely forgetting I was supposed to be headed for bed. Jed stood in the center of the room, with his back towards me, while they took their seats on the couch. I stood quietly in the hallway, in order to avoid attention landing on me.

Jed roared, “Somebody needs to tell me what is going on!”

“Warrick’s my boss mate.” Lakiya answered.

Jed’s eyes widened and Warrick jumped quickly to his feet. “It’s not at all what it sounds like.” He valiantly tried to explain, “Lakiya is more than just their future leader. They have prophecies on her, which have, and are, coming true.”

Jed interrupted with, “Are you getting to an explanation?”

Warrick nodded his head as he continued, “One of the things is calling a mate to herself, that gives her the name she bears. We haven’t done anything, our souls have just bonded, apparently.”

Jed looked at Lakiya still sitting on the couch, staring at him and nodding her head in agreement. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, let out a sigh, and opened his eyes again before asking, “Is there anything else I should know about?”

Warrick started to debate what to answer when Jed gave him a glaring scowl. It was then that Warrick admitted, “The position comes with a strange perk; I can transform into a wolf.”

“Well now, seeing Lakiya do it was strange enough.” Jed stated, “But my own brother, I can’t miss this sight.”

Warrick tried, but was unable to access his brand new wolf side.

Jed dismissed that part of the story and wouldn’t even listen to the full explanation of what had happened. He told Warrick, “I’m tired and I’ve got a long day ahead of me tomorrow, so we’re going to drop this for now, and I expect a more believable explanation in the morning.”

I was sent to bed, and Warrick was sent to his room while Jed made up the bed for Lakiya, before heading to his own room. As he passed Warrick’s door he stated, “Don’t let me hear any wandering bodies tonight.”

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