Just as I had gotten my body to relax the doors of the auditorium flew open and there they were, the mightiest and most powerful warriors of all time, and of course leading them was the magnificent General Farah Taylor. People saw her as a fearless, ruthless, and stubborn person, but I knew under all that tough exterior was a somewhat gentle giant. She married my dad when I was twelve years old. We were barely friends in the beginning but after dad was gone fate forced us to become close. Even though she was a pain in the butt and I was the thorn in her side we made it work and she was always there when I needed her the most.
As the leaders found their seats all the recruits were still standing, clapping to welcome them. I had heard stories as a young girl about how these eight great rulers defeated countless armies and destroyed hundreds of empires. They were the heart and soul of the country and would do anything to keep the citizens of Belva safe.
"Ladies, please be seated," Farah announced in her elegant English accent. "I want to first congratulate you for making it to this point. I'm sure many of you have worked hard and put in countless hours into your studies and let me be the first to say well done. As you all know we don't just take anyone to be part of Barva's army, you not only have to score high on our tests but you must also be disciplined. You must have honor and courage to succeed among us. I'm intrigued to see who will rise to the top and who'll fall to the bottom. I hope your first day had Fort Hail is one you will remember for years to come. Thank you." She said, taking a scan of the room. I was somewhere in the middle sitting next to my three roommates who were also my unit through boot camp. I had never met any of them until today but so far they seemed like a decent group of girls. Nicki who's a Vamp was on the far right and had short black hair. I could see she was full of fire and was going to be a hand full. Jenny, the Chrono, and Sena in the unit was on the other side of me and had long red hair. She was quiet and hadn't said much. Kendyl, who's a Tempest was on the far left and seemed distant from the rest of us. It was like her body was here but her mind was on a whole different planet thinking about something or someone. After Farah sat back down four other people spoke. Each of them talked about how great the army was and how our gifts and abilities would be used in extraordinary ways. I wouldn't call being a hybrid a gift but whatever. After everyone was done speaking they dismissed us to our barracks before dinner at six.
"Whoa, General Taylor was something else, am I right?" asked Niki, looking down on us from her top bunk.
"I know, I've only heard stories about her, did you know she once melted a man with just the flick of her wrist," Jenny answered in awe.
I couldn't help but let out a small chuckle as I sat down on my bed. Our room was decent sized, my bed was single and was placed at the far end of the room under the window. There were two bunk beds one on either side of the walls and enough closet space for all four of us to fit a few things in. I mostly kept my things under my bed or in the two drawer dresser at the foot of my bed.
"Do you think the foods any good here?" Kendyl asked as she felt her stomach grumble.
"I doubt it, I've heard the foods worst than prison," Niki said, looking at her freshly painted nails.
"It's not as bad as you think." I laughed, laying my head down and closing my eyes.
"And how would you know that?" asked Niki looking at me with a smug smile.
I sighed and sat up to explain.
"Well, I was hoping to wait a little longer before having to explain everything to you guys but I guess now is fine. So as you all know my name is Riley Carson. My father was David Carson and my mother was Karen Jones, but she died when I was very young and when I was twelve my dad remarried my stepmom Farah, Farah Taylor." I said, seeing the confusion rise.
"What?" Jenny asked, taking a few steps closer to me.
"That's impossible." Niki protested, shaking her head.
"I'm afraid not. She's raised me for the last five years and the last three have been alone since my dad died."
"Oh my gosh, you're not kidding," Jenny said as she raked her fingers through her long red hair.
"I wasn't sure how to tell you guys but I wanted you to hear it from me and not from somebody else. You ok?" I asked, noticing the star-struck emotion on their faces. They began asking questions about me and what it was like living with Farah. I explained as much as I could before the dinner bell rang.
"Come on, we don't want to be late," I said, heading towards the door. There were four dormitory buildings for the recruits and another two for staff. Ours was at the far end of the fort near the training center. The dining hall was right next to the Adler building, which held offices, the war room, and most of the archives. As we walked in we were hit with an aroma of fresh lemon chicken and broccoli. We found our assigned table and waited to be excused.
"Oh my gosh, it smells so good," Kendyl whispered, rubbing her stomach.
"Just wait until you taste it. The food is always the best the first couple weeks and even after it's not bad." I said, assuring them.
"How long do we have to wait?" asked Jenny, as she looked around the room.
"Not long, we just have to wait until the leaders join us and for Pastor Brady to bless the food."
"Oh, he is a dream."
"He's married, Jenny." I laughed, shaking my head.
"Who cares, he's the only guy here," Niki said, fixing her hair as if he was in the room already. We all laughed together and waited patiently to eat. After everyone was seated Pastor Brady stood on the balcony and blessed the meal. Each unit's table was numbered and had to wait for their number to be called before going up for food, but before the recruits could be called the Cohen table always went first. It held the most important people at the fort and their families. After they sat back down the next six tables were excused. We were one of the lasts tables to be called and as we got closer to the front I could really hear my stomach talking.
"Miss Riley, this must be new for you, having to wait for your food and all," Gloria said, in her sweet southern accent as she took my plate.
"Ha, yes ma'am it's certainly different."
"Well, you just make sure you get some vegetables, you're going to need them for this week."
"Yes, ma'am I will," I told her, with a soft smile forming. She winked as she handed me back my plate with chicken on it. As we walked back to our seats I could sense her eyes were on me. I didn't dare look up to her vicinity but I could feel my body was tense. She expected so much from me even though she knew I couldn't control it. Sooner or later I would break and there would be no stopping me. I was a strong witch and even stronger werewolf and being a hybrid made me valuable but also a threat. I had a hard time managing when I turned, especially when I was angry. There are only a few people who can calm me down once I'm worked up and even then it's a challenge. Trusting people was not a strong suit of mine and I was hesitant to be myself around others. My dad was great with people and always knew exactly what they needed or wanted. Everyone loved him, he was kind and gentle, but also tough as steel. I miss staying up late and talking about our day or watch a comedy movie. He was a serious person for the most part but sometimes he had to have a good laugh or make a joke. I think Farah misses that about him, he could always make her smile or laugh. She doesn't laugh much these days though, with all her work and meetings I don't think she even knows what day it is half the time. I looked up to her in that way though, no matter how tired she was, she always kept on leading.
After dinner they allowed us to return to our rooms to unpack and get to know our unit better. We talked for hours into the night about our families, childhood experiences, and most embarrassing moments. We laughed and joked as if we had known each other for years. It was nice to talk to girls who weren't raised in a military family and to hear what it's like to be raised in the outside world. I had always lived on base and we only really left if we were going on vacation and that was a rarity. The fort always had everything we needed, food, clothes, games, everything was available for us. I wished it hadn't felt so confining and so stickle to rules, but it wasn't all bad. As a teenager, I could always find ways out without being caught by Farah or security. Everybody thinks the base has high security but in reality, there's always a way around it. After we settled into our beds the room became quiet and it was then that I could hear my heart pounding in my chest. The fear of what tomorrow held was bouncing around in my head. The first day of training was boring with lectures but It still made me nervous. The second day was the worst, they push you to your limits mentally and physically. The physical stuff was something I could handle, it was the mental part that I had trouble with. I could deal with crap, but only for so long. As I said, I will lose control eventually, but the question is will it be tomorrow. Laying there, I pondered that question and soon I could feel the sun creeping up fast, and soon the wake-up bell rang.