Clarke hadn't known what to expect when she had left to meet the Commander, but whatever mental picture she had created had soon been forgotten when she had become the sole focus of forest green eyes of the admittedly terrifying woman who was settled so naturally into the wooden throne.
With a knife brandished in one hand and a battle-scarred warrior stationed at her side, it had been clear from the very beginning that this woman was a force to be reckoned with. She was intimidating, fearless, demanding complete attention from everyone in her presence without having to speak a single word.
Clarke wasn't the only one left impressed after their brief interaction.
There were very few warriors who would dare to challenge their renowned leader, directly or otherwise. It had been a long time since Lexa had witnessed such a display of bravery before her, regardless of whether the girl was aware of her status or not. This newcomer brought the threat of danger and conflict with her proposed words of peace, but also a tangible sense of intrigue. She was a wildcard of sorts, with the potential to be all that she claimed, or reversely the very downfall of all they had worked towards.
Tidings of death had not been far away as the blonde led the esteemed Commander towards the dropship, their path lined with bodies of the deceased warriors who had died at her very hand. It was a stark reminder of the animosity lingering between their people. A decisive event that would not soon be forgotten.
With a stroke of luck Lincoln had been revived from his presumed passing, perhaps without the initial results that had been promised but meeting the agreed conditions all the same. Perhaps there was hope for peace after all.
The day had barely begun but so much had already transpired.
Clarke had been unable to hide her relief to see Lincoln conscious and returned to sanity, finally gaining her senses to an extent where she could recognise the Commander's neutral expression watching her closely.
Suspicions aside, Skaikru had kept their word and that was all that could hoped for.
Lexa sheathed her weapon, aware of her warriors reluctantly following suit as they observed the enemy with disbelief. This was unprecedented. The Reapers had been cause for great anguish and misery for longer than anyone could remember but now there was hope for retribution.
The blonde girl nodded in response, a mixture of relief and anticipation burning in her chest as she wondered what hurdle would next appear before them. This was the beginning of a long path, but one that she wouldn't abandon.
A truce would restore some semblance of control to the situation, but there was much to discuss and only one person who would be suitable for the monumental task of restoring peace to this nightmare. Negotiations would be difficult, but not impossible.
"I'll go instead," Abby offered without missing a beat, clasping the girls hands tightly as she silently urged her not to become further entangled with these dangerous people. "As Chancellor it is my duty to forge peace with the Grounders, not yours."
Shafts of intense sunlight filtered into the dropship, illuminating the room that had, only minutes earlier, been the scene of devastation and broken trust. It lay almost empty now. The majority of Grounders had filtered back outside in preparation for their departure. Only the battle scarred warrior waited inside the dropship with them, her scathing gaze transmitting her true feelings of distaste towards the newcomers.
"No. Clarke's presence has been requested, not yours," Indra snapped, not having to agree with the Commander's decision to enforce it. The girl had no other option and her mother would have to accept the decision.
Clarke barely glanced at the aggressive warrior, smiling reassuringly at her mother instead as the older woman threw an irritated glare at the interruption.
"Don't worry. I know what I'm doing," she said, understanding better than her mother that there would be no negotiation about who was to attend the meeting. "The truce is all that matters now."
Abby sighed softly and pulled her daughter in for a brief hug, silently wishing that she could take the girls place. This was no place for child.
"I believe in you, just be careful."
There was little else to be said with the imposing warrior stood impatiently only metres away, listening with detached interest to their conversation. Indra would not restrain her irritation for long if this pointless interaction didn't come to an end soon.
"I'll be back before you know it," Clarke said, squeezing her moms hands one last time before slipping from her grip, turning to follow the warrior out of the metal ship. Abby followed with heavy footfalls, pausing at the ramp as her daughter continued on to the waiting procession of Grounder's.
Her heart ached to watch the young girl stride towards their ranks, immediately engulfed within their towering forms before she shared a swift nod with the waiting Commander. Abby could do nothing but watch silently as the group swept towards the tree line and disappeared from view and couldn't help but wonder whether peace could truly be a reality.
No, she had to trust her daughter. If anyone could negotiate peace with these people then it was the strong-willed girl. The real question was what price would be demanded for the truce? Abby suppressed a shudder at the thought. They would find out soon enough.
Clarke's friends were spread around the dropship exterior, each gaze following the departure with a shared sense of nervous anticipation. There was no telling what would happen from here. Bellamy moved into the central clearing as the small group was resolutely left at the abandoned site, painfully aware that there was nothing more to be done. It was down to Clarke now.
The young boy turned away with a heavy heart and caught the Chancellors gaze, recognising her internal conflict at this impossible situation.
"Clarke's never let us down before, this won't be any different."
Abby appreciated the sentiment but it did nothing to ease the discomfort that she felt about abandoning her daughter into the hands of the enemy.
"We shouldn't have let her go," Finn objected, kicking one boot into the earth in frustration. "This is all my fault."
Octavia bit her lip and resisted the urge to hit the boy beside her. "It's too late for that now. Let's just get back to camp. I can't stand being here any longer."
She crouched next to Lincoln who was propped against the metal ship, concern gracing her features at his pale complexion and rapid breaths. He had been through an intense trauma, he needed time to rest and recover.
"Help me with him," she called over to her brother, the two of them just managing to heave him up between them. "We need to get him to the medbay."
Abby nodded her agreement as the dejected group gathered in front of her, they had dwelt here long enough already.
The Grounder encampment outside camp Jaha was no less threatening the second time Clarke was escorted through the mass of threatening figures spread throughout the rolling hills, their piercing gazes following her every movement with frightening intensity.
It was a relief to be concealed within the confines of the Command tent with only one searching gaze to attend with. Clarke had no doubt that many of the warriors outside wouldn't hesitate to put their weapons to good use if given the opportunity.
"Lincoln's transformation was impressive. We can finally turn the tide against the Mountain Men with your technology," Lexa was saying, her gaze sweeping the war table as she considered this monumental step towards victory.
"We can share the knowledge with you. Your people can return to their homes, to their families."
Destroying the Mountain's first line of defence was only the beginning of the war effort to come. Reapers roamed where the Mountain Men could not, terrorising the enemy and capturing them for transformation. No longer.
"Then you may have your truce," Lexa conceded, glimpsing the flash of relief that lightened the girls face. "Once the crimes of your people have been answered for."
Relief soured into horror as Clarke understood the underlying meaning behind the statement. Had they not done enough to secure peace?
"Blood has been shed on both sides-"
"Do not think to compare your losses to mine," Lexa interjected, her calm demeanour dissolving instantly as her anger spiked with a vengeance. "The one you call Finn must pay for his crimes."
The blonde girl was already shaking her head, unable to consider building a truce upon the foundations of further violence and death. This was not the way.
"His death will mark the beginning of our truce."
"No! Violence is not how we solve our disputes. Without this truce we won't be able to save anyone!"
The raised voice did nothing to convince the Commander to change her mind. Blood must have blood, Finns blood to be precise. If the Sky People wanted peace then they would have to act or risk engaging in certain war.
"It is the only way. He must die. Blood must have blood."
Abby pushed aside her own fatigue as they trekked the final stretch back to camp, only one final hill to climb that would take them straight to the front gate. The guards had most likely already glimpsed them emerging from the tree line and would inform Kane of their return. It would be good to be safe inside the perimeter once more.
A quick glance over her shoulder confirmed that the group were making good progress. Octavia and Bellamy wore expressions of fierce determination as they hauled the large Grounder along between them. It was no easy task to say the least.
She looked beyond the struggling pair and scanned the treeline for the boy had been skulking along behind them in dejected silence, only he was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's Finn?" she gasped, taking a reflexive step back towards the forest as she realised exactly where he would have gone.
"He was right behind us," Bellamy grunted, turning with some effort to observe the still surroundings. There was no telling when he had taken off, they had each been so consumed with their own task.
"Stupid idiot," Octavia grunted, lacking any sympathy for the foolish boy who had caused them nothing but trouble. "If he wants to run after Clarke then let him. He's the one who got us into this mess."
Abby understood the apathetic attitude towards the boys situation, but she did not share the lack of sympathy. He was not an evil person at heart, just a broken boy who had lost himself in this new and dangerous world.
There was nothing more that they could do for him. If he had indeed returned to the Grounder camp then Clarke would see that no harm came to him. The Chancellor's first priority had to be Lincoln, he needed medical attention without delay.
"Let's hope he knows what he's doing," she finally muttered, reluctantly turning away from the deceivingly peaceful forest and continued on to camp with fresh vigour in her step.
Thanks for reading the first chapter! I hope you like the story and enjoy the premise.
Comment are always appreciated and I'll see you for the next chapter :)