Hey everyone. I am really sorry about the delay in updating. I live in a new country, learning a new language, started a new job...and well, you know, real life and all.
This story will not be left unfinished, despite the time between updates. We love it too much to let that happen.
Thank you, for your continued support and hanging in here with me. I great appreciate it!
TonDC – Throw me to the wolves…
The sun is rising when Lexa wakes up with Clarke still in her arms and holding on to her grandmother's journal. She pulls Clarke impossibly closer and kisses her neck. "It's time, Klark."
The blonde opens her eyes and turns within Lexa's arms. "It is time." She repeats, before kissing her Heda. "Are you sure this will work?"
Lexa rubs her cheek against Clarke's before answering. "We need to get the Flamekeepers out of hiding. All we need is them to make one mistake and give us an idea of how many are out there and how deep their connections run." Clarke buries her fingers in the commander's dark hair. "Be careful." Lexa smiles, her eyes locked on the blonde. "I always am."
Indra is already waiting for them as they leave the tent. "Stay with her." Lexa orders her general, who bows her head. "Find me outside the village. I will wait for you." Lexa places a soft kiss on Clarke's lips before letting her go to visit the children and hopefully finding the boy awake.
Lexa is in her full armor and war paint with Phobos at her side faithfully but on guard. "Heda." Lexa turns to see that Makina is walking towards her, a smile on her lips and her hands folded in front of her in a peaceful and relaxed gesture. "I am pleased to see you this early. We really should continue with your training." Phobos steps closer and Lexa feels the growl forming in his throat and lays her hand on his back to silence him. Not yet, my friend. The wolf stays silent.
"I am needed elsewhere, Makina. War is approaching." Lexa tilts her chin upwards, unconsciously tightening her hand, which is resting on the hilt of her sword. Her voice is leveled, even and distant. "In fact, I decided that I will not continue the training at all." Makina stops in her tracks and for a second, Lexa can see the shock flicker over Makina's face before she composes herself and addresses Lexa again. "You should keep your training up if you want to stand a chance against Rukh."
There it is. Lexa smiles, lowers her chin and takes a step towards the Flamekeeper. "You will address me as your Heda and you will mind your tone and keep your opinion to yourself if you value your tongue," Lexa spits the last word. "Flamekeeper." Makina takes a step back, her eyes wide in shock, or maybe realization, before she offers the Commander her open hands, palms upward. A sign of apology. "Forgive me, Heda."
Lexa turns and walks towards the northern camp of warriors outside TonDC. As soon as she is sure Makina is out of hearing range, she addresses Phobos. "Go get Okteivia." The giant black wolf huffs, touches Lexa's hand with his nose before turning and running to find the young warrior.
Clarke is busy tending to the few wounds and changing bandages. The children are as okay as they can be. Rukh did take care of them. The children are settled in and especially the younger ones have found a welcome distraction from the horrors they have been through in petting Deimos. He patiently suffers through the unwanted attention; the little hands pulling on his ears and paws and tail. His look is pathetic, but overall, he endures it with grace.
The massive wolf lays still, only now and then tilting his head slightly to look at which one of the little monsters is climbing over him this time. Clarke rises and moves from the improvised beds, which more or less are just each a bunch of stacked furs, over to the other end of the tent. She passes Deimos and strokes over his face with her hand apologetically. I'm sorry. The wolf huffs and gives her fingers a lick, before she leaves to look after the boy Rukh held captive the night she forced Clarke to leave TonDC with her.
The boy is awake, and she can see that the cut on his throat is covered with a bandage that she needs to switch. Clarke sits down beside him. "Good morning. I am Clarke and I am going to change the bandage on your wound, okay?" The boy nods, looking at her with wide eyes. She starts to unwrap the cloth and does her best to smile. "What's your name?"
"Zayn." The boy lifts his head to help Clarke in her task. The blonde takes a look at the now uncovered wound; it will scar, but it shows no signs of inflammation or infection. "Zayn, do you remember me?" The boy nods, his voice a little raspy. "Yes, you are the one Rukh wants."
Clarke freezes in her movement, trying her best to hide her surprise. "Well, Zayn, it is very unusual for people to know her name. She tends to keep that a secret. How is it that you know her well enough?" Her fingers move quickly, and the fresh bandage is applied before Zayn is able to answer.
"I had dinner with her before I came here." He swallowed slightly. "She said she requested my company."
The blonde tilts her head, curious. "Can you tell me more about that?" Clarke reaches for a cup of water and hands it to the boy, who sits up and takes a few sips before nodding. "She had me brought to her tent the night we left. She let me sit beside her throne and shared her meal with me and told me that she wants me to stay alive so I can show you that she is not mean." The boy's focus shifts over to Deimos, who is still under attack by the youngest children. Clarke realized that he has a strange fascination for the wolf, but somehow different than the other's. "Do you want to see him up close?" Clarke asks, and the boy looks at her with his eyes wide, nearly yelling and obviously scared "No!"
The blonde narrows her eyes and puts her hands on the boy's, her voice calming. "Don't be afraid. He won't hurt you." Zayn looks nervously back and forth between Clarke and Deimos. "He eats humans!" Clarke looks at Deimos, and yes, he would and could kill, but he is not eating… "Why do you think he would do that?"
Zayn pulls his legs up and wraps his hands around his knees, staring into nothing. "Zayn, hey. Everything is okay. Deimos wouldn't hurt you." She strokes his blonde, shaggy hair out of his face and looks deep into his green eyes. "Zayn, talk to me."
"Rukh has a pelt and a head of a wolf his size over her throne. When I tried to touch the fur, she grabbed my arm and threw me away from it." He rubs his arm slightly as if remembering the pain he must have felt. "She told me that no one is to touch her wolf. She said wolves like him would eat nasty people and that I would be nasty if I touched it." Zayn swallows hard. "She then opened the wolf's fangs, and there was a hand in it."
Clarke lays her arms around the boy and tries to comfort him and herself. She tries her best to cover the shock in her voice. "Zayn, what color is the pelt of Rukh's wolf?"
The boy hides his face in her blonde hair and sobs, the word dropping from his lips like blood. "Reddish."
Octavia is about to sheathe her sword when Phobos is storming into the tent. "Well, you sure never learned about knocking." Raven mutters before patting his head. She looks at Octavia. "It's time." The young warrior nods, cupping Raven's cheeks and kissing her softly. "I will be back, unharmed." Raven smiles and tucks a loose braid behind Octavia's ear. "You better be."
Octavia is out of TonDC and vanished inside the forest to the east within a minute, with Phobos a good length ahead of her. The wolf is sniffing out Makina's scent, following a nearly invisible trail that leads the young warrior deeper into the forest. She is familiar with the area and moves quickly and without causing leaves to crumble or branches to break under her feet. She moves like the wind for over half an hour without her breath picking up, until she sees Phobos crouching behind a fallen tree a couple hundred meters ahead of her.
She slows down with her sword in her hand, but catches up with the wolf, hiding by his side with her free hand resting on his shoulder. Octavia stretches her head to see what is happening ahead of her.
Makina is standing, alone, in the middle of a small meadow. The ground is covered with leaves and branches. She looks around, making sure no one followed her, before she stomps her foot down four times. Seconds later, the ground before her opens up in a perfect circle and a man sticks his head out.
"What the hell…" Octavia whispers, tensing. Phobos reacts to her and moves, but the young warrior keeps him down with only a light push of her hand, still resting on his shoulder. "Ste daun."
Octavia focuses on Makina and the man hiding in the bunker, of which hundreds are hidden around this area. "She is on our trail. Now or never." Makina's voice is seething. "Give the sign, kill them all." The man in the bunker nods. "What about Lexa and the blonde?" Makina huffs in annoyance. "I don't care who kills her, just make sure it is done. Give the sign to the troops north to attack immediately." The man nods, and all Octavia can hear above the bunker entry closing again is the sound of a walky-talky being turned on. Makina pulls her hood back up and starts to walk further to the east.
Octavia's grip hardens within Phobos' fur. What can I do? She asks herself. The attack on TonDC is launched, she has no horse and she can't follow Makina and head to TonDC to warn Clarke and Lexa at the same time. Phobos nudges her side, pulling Octavia out of her thoughts. The wolf looks deep into her eyes. She smiles, rubbing his cheek. "You're right. Makina can die another day." Octavia leaps herself onto Phobos' back and the wolf turns and starts running back towards TonDC. "Hurry up, we need to save some asses."
Rukh's base camp
"Heda." The guards voice is shaking and more quiet than it should be. Rukh rolls her eyes and lets her head fall back. "What?" The guard enters, nearly crawling on the ground. "Heda, it's still confirmed. The usurper has pulled back her scouting parties. All her forces have gathered around TonDC, but-."
Rukh jolts up, her eyes furious and her face formed into a maliced visage. "But what?!" The guard steps back. "We got word just this minute…it seems troops in the north are moving into attack positions. Why would her own troops be immobilizing against her? " Rukh relaxes. She drops her head, focusing. Her fists begin opening and closing, her muscles tensing off and on. "Prepare for war. I want the entire army to leave now."
"Heda?" Rukh lifts her chin and looks at her guard. She thinks she has had him in her service since she burned down her village. He spent most of his life by her side, serving her. She can't think of his name. "TonDC is under attack. We need to intervene." The guard nods, despite the questions running through his mind. He knows her, and he knows there is reasoning behind her madness. He leaves, standing tall, to obey his Heda's wishes.
Rukh knows there are only two reasons for Lexa to pull all her forces back. She either wants to lure her out, or she is under attack by someone else. The clans are loyal to Lexa, but if history weighs in…she glances to her wolf's mouth, narrowing her eyes at the tattoo covering the skin of the mummified hand pierced by the wolf's fangs. The mark of the Fleimkepas. She grits her teeth, a truth becoming glaringly obvious.
Rukh can't risk Clarke getting hurt, therefore there is really only one option: take the bait and avoid the unnecessary risk of Clarke being harmed.
It takes Phobos only minutes to make it back to TonDC, even with Octavia's weight. The black wolf storms trough the city gate and heads straight for Lexa's tent. "Heda! They are coming from the north!"
Lexa is outside talking to Clarke when she hears the young warrior shouting. She furrows, nods and gives a hand sign to Indra. "Get my army to the north. We need to reach the meadow before they do. Now." Indra nods and hurries to fulfill her task before Octavia even reaches them to explain. When Phobos comes to a halt beside her and Octavia slides off his back, she focuses on Clarke and Lexa. "Makina has troops to the north and they are already on the move." Clarke takes Lexa's hand. "Makina?" Octavia shakes her head and answers slowly. "She will die another day. I had to come back-"
Lexa cuts her short. "You did the right thing, Octavia. No need for explanations. Take a horse and lead everyone who is unable to fight into the forest south. We need to keep them out of harm's way."
"Heda, I need to fight by your side." Octavia pleads, and Lexa gives her a soothing smile. "You need to keep Raven safe." Lexa turns to look at Clarke. "You stay by my side."