*Trigger Warning, mentions of child loss*
Looking at the stunned faces of my two friends I couldn’t help but smile.
“Paloma! What the heck?
Is that the Seer?”
Lilly asked in shock, and I replied yes with a nod of the head. I was also amazed to see her standing healthy in the Temple doorway.
“You said, you found her body? I thought she was dead! What’s all this about!” Quinn turned to me and asked.
How do I even explain― how this is all possible when I am finding the truth hard to believe myself and I witnessed firsthand how the seer somehow came back to life.
I gulped down and recounted all that transpired here when I entered the Goddess Temple. I did leave out the fact I had found her behind the waterfall and how it opened for me. It didn’t pass me that the Paramount had never found her, it gave me reason to believe that place maybe a sanctuary or a secret.
The girls looked on in awe as we walked in silence through the meadow filled with flowerings plants, their eyes locked on the Temple and the woman that stood strong at the entrance.
It was the strangest and most excited I had felt in a while. I was so happy I had asked these beautiful women to join me here tonight, they bolstered my confidence and gave me strength. They were my family when I had none and I wished nothing more for them to meet someone who I could call sister.
Nimue stood like a statue of a deity at the top of the temple stairs, her hair billowing in the soft breeze. Her markings shinning in the moonlight, a mirror of my own. As I stepped forward and took lead while we climbed the steps to greet her.
My body began to tremble in anticipation, I don’t know why?
I just feel like things are about to change! It maybe just my own wild imagination but I felt as though the air was electric with some power that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Both Quinn and Lilly must have sensed my thoughts, because they mutually put a hand on my shoulders and walked either side of me as I ascended to the temple above.
A million things ran through my head in those moments before greeting Nimue.
Fear of embarrassing myself, what should I say?
What was the proper way to greet her?
Where do we go for now?
Do I hug her or just shake her hand?
Maybe a pat on the back?
It’s probably ridiculous, but when we first met there was no build up it was just a shocking situation and then we chatted like two regular people no fear or difference.
Now I am I awe of the woman; her status and reputation precede her. She was spoken of in tales and revered by all. And even if I am supposed to be a distant relative, a sister of our markings I am new to all of what that means.
It’s like meeting your idol and given the opportunity to become their friend and confidant.
You want it more than anything but fear that you will mess it up, because you are just you. Just as I am just me.
…An average wolf with a teaching career ahead of me. Fate has gifted me a mate and thrust me into this world to become a Luna and then I learn I was always meant to be a Luna though a different one. One foreign to me, one I hope I can live up too.
As I took the last step, halting before Nimue. A smile grew upon my face, and happiness filled my soul as I looked into her healthy-looking eyes. She didn’t stand on formality and wrapped me in her arms greeting me with love and kindness.
“I am so glad you are here. The night is as I envisioned so long ago.” She said her mysterious comment and walked back deeper into the temple. Checking on my friends momentarily, I then waved them forward with me as we entered the temple grounds.
They were in wonderment as they took in their surroundings, as was I once again.
More so now as I peered around the once messy Temple to see it spotlessly clean the tapestries that hung upon the wall brighter and more vibrant, as if they were new. A citrus and pine scent wafting in the air filling me and soothing and calming my inner beast. The statues that lined the walls all glistening as was the alter that stood at the precipice of the room. Its marble slab filled with candles lit and fluttering, the warm wax flowing pooling and dripping down the edge.
It was nothing like the dilapidated and unloved sight it had been, and I couldn’t help but feel even more astonished by this woman in the flesh. How she had done such a fete was beyond me and she stood alone in the temple.
“How is this possible?” I asked while turning about halfway into the temple, viewing all that was.
“Anything is possible when you have the means.” Nimue replies and smiles at me, winking cheekily.
“You will get used to all this…” She shows around the room then looks back. “All of it, it will take time, but you will. You are actually more like the first ones than any other Vegus Luna since.”
I wondered what she meant by that, and asked “How so?”
“My dear you grew up unknowing of what and who you are. Just as the daughters of Gaizka did. They didn’t come into their gifts until they matured, and the goddess markings appeared and even then, it took them time to realize their potential.
Since then, their offspring our ancestors have grown up and been taught from birth about their origins and all that they could achieve when it was their time to inherit the marking of the Goddess.
The thing was over time, as the daughters of the Patria Luna expanded and grew. The Vegus Luna’s bloodline began to diminish wiped out from the threat of the Tenebris.
All that exists now― is you.”
Nimue approached me as she spoke looking at me tenderly. “So, who are these two fine women that you have brought with you this moonlit evening?”
Happily, I introduce my friends and we all spoke freely for quite some time. The girls taking some time to come round to the fact they were conversing with the Seer of Legend. But once they did, we all chuckled while telling tales, it was like we had reunited with a long-lost friend. The conversations and laughter flowing so fluidly.
As the evening drew onwards Nimue retreated to the alter. The girls went outside to bask in the illumination of the moon giving myself and the Seer some time to speak.
“You healed so fast; I was worried it would take so much longer. I am so relieved to be honest.” I said unfettered as I breathed a sigh of relief.
Nimue’s little giggle was unexpected as she took in my words.
“I hope I didn’t overstep bringing my friends here. I will be honest I needed their support. I know it’s weak of me, but I won’t lie to you it’s the truth. And I hope you will help me learn who I am meant to be. Because I am struggling here.” I exclaimed in a long breath.
“Of course, Paloma, I am so happy you brought your family with you. To know that you have had their support and care for you while I was incapacitated is a great relief and I can’t wait to meet those other friends that you spoke of so affectionately.”
“Tonight, is the beginning of your journey. Are you ready to become the person you were always meant to be?” Nime said and awaited my acknowledgement, while I let out a whispered. “Yes.” Grateful for all that she stood for and filled with hope for the future.
“I hope you don’t mind I have called some to witness.” Nimue said and called the girls in. I turned and smiled at them while I noticed movement to the rear of them. Shock overcome me when Atreus and Elder Tsuki summited the stairs and stood in shock looking at the spectacle ahead.
Both their faces were frozen in disbelief, though Elder Tsuki’s soon changed to one of relief and happiness. He held onto Atreus knowing that they were to stand back and witness what was about to happen.
I stood central in the temple, my face forward looking toward the flickering light of the candles upon the altar. Quinn and Lilly took their places behind me.
Nimue stood front and centre, before the altar looking the picture of health and strength. And all I could think was how much I admired this brave woman, how much I wished to be like her.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for being here.” She said and lit another larger candle placing it in the center of the altar.
“I have dreamed a lifetime of this night before us, in my slumber of death. I wondered for so long had I mistaken my vision…
Had I interpreted what I had seen wrongly.
I had believed I failed and so, lost in my heartbreak I had been unable to free myself from the weapon that Louise had speared me with. That was until yesterday and my savior stands where she belongs amongst her brethren about to become the She-wolf she was always meant to be.”
Nimue’s words sang across the room, their impact hitting me deep in the heart with all the gratitude that she had instilled in them.
I could feel it in the air and all around me and I was as grateful to her as she was to me.
“Tonight, is the start of a very long journey. One you have been destined to take even before you were born.
I spoke of my vision Paloma, the one I had over a century ago. The one of this night and the days ahead of us.
I have seen this night in my dreams ever since…
The vision changed so much for my past and yours. And because of it you hold this.” While I could feel the heartening touch of my friends, grasping my arms in comfort and support. Nimue spoke with zeal and emotion as she approached me and placed her hand on my neck.
Upon the butterfly.
Would she finally reveal what this meant for me?
Silence continued to fill the room, only the beating of my heart and the sounds of breathing could be heard amongst the sparking burning sound of the candles.
“No one person is infallible. I am proof of that and the mistakes I have made have had an impact on others. The thing is… Without mistakes we don’t learn.
The vison was clear, it showed how a darkness attacked the Vegus Luna and killed the wolf within so that this day could never take place.
At the time we believed.
Ipek and I studied the vison finally realizing that she was not the Vegus Luna that I saw, what I had seen was the demise her daughter.
We were terrified that the last of the bloodline would be wiped out by the eternal-hunting Tenebris and so we came up with a plan to save you.
To save the bloodline but in doing so we revealed a secret and a forbidden act that would affect others for the past century ruled by the evil within.” I glanced over to my two friends as a shudder of fear and uncertainty rolled over me. They took my hand in theirs feeling the weight of what we were about to learn.
“You must understand, the devastation that Ipek felt when I shared the vision with her. She had spent lifetimes hoping to become a mother and at the time was pregnant with her first child who she had just discovered would not survive the womb.
To learn that the next child would also suffer the wrath of the Tenebris and end the bloodline of the Vegus Luna was all too much for both of us.
So, we researched and studied. We prayed to the Goddess for a solution and in the end, we discovered one that would change the lives of yourself and countless others.” Tears streamed down soaking Nimue’s cheeks it was heart wrenching to see and my own filled. Watery with empathy for this strong woman who was crumbling before us.
She wiped away the felled tears, regaining the strength from within and began to remove something from around her neck that had been hidden by the clothes she wore.
Holding it in her hand, she reached out and revealed a golden chain with a white pearl hanging from the end.
“This is your right.” She held up the necklace in the grasp of her hand while the pearl dangled in the air. A Lunar Pearl, a gift from the Goddess herself. It holds power and gives us strength when we need it the most.
With this you can hone and funnel your powers until you have better control of them. Walking over she places the pearl over my head and instantly I could feel the power within the marking coming to life in a way I had never felt before. It thrummed through me, tingling at every part of my body until in settled into a peaceful lull.
“We the marked are gifted with these symbols of the Goddess.” She said taking a deep breath while contemplating what to say next. Suddenly the room filled with others that stepped out from the darkness of the walls behind them.
It was the keepers.
The marked ones, just like myself and Nimue.
They lined the up surround us on all sides.
“Both myself and your mother had one also.” Nimue stated while pulling out another that matched my own. She held it in her hands staring down at the item in a daze.
“And it is with one of these, we with the help of some witches discovered a way to help you and give you this marking. Paloma.” She stated but her words just confused me, because I am in my twenties while she has been in stasis for over a century. It was so out of this world that I couldn’t put my head around it.
“Don’t worry I will explain…
The pearl holds the power to connect with our inner wolves because it was a gift from the Goddess herself.
You see, your other half is born and brought to life within the womb just as you are. You grow and nurture together until one day you are born. The child’s being on the day they come into this world the wolf’s when you shift for the first time. Though they are always with you from the moment you are conceived.
The thing is the human soul can die and the wolf can live on and vise versa. The human can live on, and the soul of the wolf can die.” I thought about her words and instantly the vision of the True Alpha came to mind.
Was this what happened to him?
Had his human died and his wolf lived on. Stuck in the sorrow of the loss of his loved ones and my heart ached once again for him and all the others who would suffer such a fate.
“Something we discovered was that the wolf of your mother’s firstborn was strong and had helped the child to grow and develop in the womb. Though even she was not strong enough to stop what would be inevitable.
We discovered that we could use the pearl to transfer and hold the power of a wolf.
And so, after hearing of your future fate and the threat that the Tenebris were to you. Ipek used the pearl after the birth of her first daughter to save the power of your sister and held it in her pearl until she could place it within you when she was pregnant.
So, ensuring your life, through strength and power reinforced by your sister.
Though I fear our discovery has been used by the Paramount to steal the wolves of other lycanthropes to increase power of a lesser breed.”
The last few words made so much sense, how Caroline and Nathaniel had created the fake mate bond. They had stolen the power from our actual mates. The true evil the Paramount was willing to do had no bounds.
It’s one thing to save the power from a soul that was already dying. Giving them life when they were going to perish. It is a whole other ball game to steal the power from healthy Lycanthropes that had a full lifetime ahead of them. She had stolen the life not only of mine but Atreus’ mate, before we even had a chance.
It was all so much to take in that somehow my sisters’ power was within me. hidden somewhere lurking in the background and I never knew it.
“So, I am only strong because of my sister?” I questioned struggling with all that this meant.
“No Paloma, you have yet to become the person you were born to be. You have lived your life in the shadow of your sister’s powers. The power you have had through your life and used was hers. You have yet to grow into the woman that you should have always been. Your sister’s power was stronger than your own when you were first given it. The dominant power taking over so your own went into a hibernation. Where it awaits its emergence.” Nimue said and I gasped along with the women beside me.
“You were never an Omega Paloma, you have always been a Luna…” She said as she drifted off in thought for a moment.
“Though that part of you will have to die, so that your true self will be born.”
Bonum Vesper ― Good evening.