The Legacy of Ashes
Disclaimer: I own a scooter, and my cat owns me. Twilight and all recognizable characters are owned by Stephanie Meyer.
Summary: Seth Clearwater continues traditions that were started by his natural enemy.
The Legacy of Ashes
Seth Clearwater squatted down, his nose wrinkled in distaste at the sickly sweet incense smell of the smoke that drifted low around the clearing. It coiled and drifted toward him seeming to want to settle on his skin. Huffing out, he thought even when they were dead the Cold Ones continued to attack him. He sent out a silent prayer for a small breeze to dissipate the scent. As if the spirits, were listening the leaves began to ripple from the shifting air current that passed over them.
Standing he sensed another presence near him, tensing for a fight, he used his extra senses trying to figure out if there was another vampire that he'd miss. Realizing who it was he returned to what he was about to do. The newest member of the pack whined in an uneasy manner. He glanced at the gangly young wolf, its fur a deep reddish brown, matching the hair color of his great grandfather. "You know you don't have to stay."
The young wolf stared at Seth, weighing his options. He phased from his wolf form. Seth reached for the small package that he carried from his home. Removing the small wooden box from its leather wrapping, he pulled out a small wooden cross; Seth scooped a handful of the now cooled ashes from the fire that burned overnight. He placed the hand carved cross upon the ashes and said a quick prayer to the spirits.
Seth quickly dug a small hole and placed the wooden box in to it. "Why do you do that?"
Taking a deep breath he answered, "A long time ago, before you were born a great man saw injustice being done to his people." Patting down the soil he placed a large rock over the small grave. Turning he faced his son, "This man watched as the rulers of his world kill others of his kind. And in doing so he saw the souls of these beings being sent to wander the world, never to be at rest."
Dusting off his hands, he walked away from the little grave toward a large outcropping of rocks. He knew that he would be followed by his son; laughing lightly to himself he never thought he would have a son that reminded him so much of his friend. "So this great man decided to at least try and give these lost souls a chance to make it to Heaven."
Seth sat patiently waiting for the next question to come out of the inquisitive child. "But WHY did he do it, and WHY do you do it now?"
By now his son Charlie was within his reach, he quickly grabbed him and ruffled his hair, "Come here, I was going to tell this story at the council meeting tonight. But I think you'd understand it more now." Shifting over he made room for his son to settle on the rock he was sitting on.
Settling back he allowed himself a moment to remember the first time he saw Carlisle burying the ashes. Taking a deep breath he allowed himself to be pulled in to the memory. "You know the Cold Ones are the natural enemy of the Pack." He looked down at his son, noting that he nodded. "Yes dad I've heard all the old stories."
Chuckling at his youthful pride, he continued, "Did you know that the Cold Ones mate for life, like penguins." He heard the snort from somewhere in the forest. Looking at his son he realized that his son hadn't heard the new audience member. Figuring that his senses had not fully developed he brushed it off, "It's like imprinting for them, they love the one person forever and if their mate was killed they would focus on revenge killing the one who did it."
The wind shifted blowing the scent away from them, "A long time ago we had a treaty with a different kind of Cold Ones, and I guess you could call them vampires." Seth heard the low rumble that came from his son, "Settle down" he commanded softly, "These guys are the good guys you'll understand when I'm finished." Charlie looked at him like he was crazy or going to be.
"Once a long time ago we had a treaty, one of the rules was that that they couldn't 'bite' a human." Charlie nodded in agreement he'd heard this before. "Years passed and both sides followed the rules, each side refusing to break the uneasy truce they created until one of them fell in love with a human."
Smiling he remembered Bella when she was human; "She was a great beauty, such was her beauty that the Alpha had also fallen in love with her." Seth sensed his audience was beginning to get antsy, "I'll answer your question, but you have to be patient."
Charlie settled back to listen his fathers long winded story. "This human was both beautiful inside and outside, her smile was like the sun and her eyes the color of chocolate. Both vampire and wolf loved her and were torn by the natural urge to kill each other. They both realized that by having her in their world that they placed her in a dangerous position."
"The vampire loved her so much that when others of his kind were angered that he had forsaken their natural food source. Tried to kill her, he fought his own kind killing the vampire called James" Taking a deep breath Seth restrained his anger at the thought of Bella being pursued by James, although it was before he changed he knew if he was a wolf he would have done the same. "By protecting his love, he killed another's mate. James was mated to a female vampire named Victoria, it had angered her so much she vowed 'a mate for a mate' and so this is how the big war began."
Stopping Seth allowed his thoughts to drift back to the dark days of Bella's life. Jacob was so worried about her. Taking a deep breath he continued his story. "Victoria was so filled with rage, she created an army to kill the human, both Alpha and vampire would not allow this, so they set aside their differences and formed an alliance to protect her."
By now Charlie was fidgeting he was picking up loose stones and flinging them across the clearing, "Dad" he whined, "I KNOW this already, and you still didn't tell me why you did that." He gestured back to the little grave. Snickering he replied, "Geez your impatient, you're just like your great grandfather." Again he heard a soft chuckle in the forest, it was closer than previously.
"Ok fine." He ran his hand through his short hair cut. "I'll give you the short version. But tonight you can't say anything at the Council meeting." He glanced over at the overly excited child. "It was the day after the battle, Sam"
"Old Sam?!" came an incredulous cry, "You know he was Alpha before Jacob, he stopped phasing for Emily."
Seth steadied his gaze upon his son, "One more interruption and you will have to wait until tonight to hear the story." Sufficiently chastised his son made the motions of zipping up his lips and throwing away the key
"Anyway Sam, my Alpha, told me to check the fires that burned over night; we had to make sure that the fires didn't start any wildfires. The leader of the vampires came out to the battlefield."
He allowed his eyes to drift out past the trees, "Their leader was a compassionate man, he was a healer. I watched him as he went to the first fire that was smoldering. At first I didn't know what he was doing so I just stood back. Then he began to speak to me."
30 years in the past:
Seth padded out of the forest; he was still riding high from the adrenaline rush from the previous night. Sam had ordered him to go and check the fires from the battle, at first he was annoyed but needing time to process what happened he agreed. Stepping in to the meadow he realized he wasn't alone.
"Hello Seth." Carlisle said softly, Seth nodded his head then loped back in to the cover of the forest to phase back. "Hey Doc, what's up?" he said as he walked back in to the clearing. Carlisle had several small wooden boxes in his hand.
Chuckling Carlisle said, "If I remember correctly isn't it supposed to be 'what's up doc'?"
Smiling Seth said, "Yea, I suppose your right." His hand reached up to rub his closely cropped hair.
Standing next to Carlisle, Seth watched as Carlisle opened one of the small boxes, he used as garden trowel to scoop some of the ashes in to the box, placing a small cross inside. Carlisle started to say a simple prayer. He then proceeded to bury the box a few feet away from the smoking embers. Finishing he stood up dusting off his hands he turned to face Seth.
Carlisle glanced at Seth's face; he must have seen the flicker of confusion at what he was doing, "A long time ago, before the first permanent settlement here in North America I lived with a coven of very powerful vampires. They are the rulers of our kind."
Seth watched as Carlisle drifted back in to his memories, "They would and still will kill anyone who broke the rules. I always felt iniquitous for those who were punished. My human father was a man of faith, he had his own church." Surprised; Seth had not thought that his enemies were human once, He knew instinctively that this wasn't just a vampire but a good man no matter what the rest of his pack said.
"In..iniquitous?" Seth asked "Badly" Carlisle clarified, "I feel that being such as our selves have a place in the world, a soul."
Carlisle continued oblivious to Seth's surprise, "When a punishment was administered the ashes were swept away or left to be scattered by the elements. While I was living with them it was found out that there was an Immortal child. Elysabeth, she was still changed as an infant human but she was also a newborn vampire. A very dangerous combination, a child supernatural strength and an unnatural appetite, she couldn't keep our secret."
Carlisle walked over to the next fire, he repeated his previous actions, "It is against the laws of our kind to create such a child. Punishment for her maker and for herself was swift"
Seth noted the small change in Carlisle's demeanor; he realized that even though this child was long dead he still mourned the loss of life.
Carlisle paused in his story to say the same quick prayer as he did for the other, "I don't have the right to judge or to comment on weather the punishment was fair but what I believed in that moment was that this innocent child needed her chance to ascend to Heaven."
Chuckling Carlisle looked at Seth, "The rulers thought I was crazy. Actually I think they were just humoring me when I requested the ashes." He paused when the sun broke through the cloud cover yet its ray's didn't make it through the thick smoke from the fires. "That was my first time I did this." He gestured to the small grave.
"It felt right; it felt as though I were honoring my father's teachings, that for the first time I could retain a small part of my humanity."
Walking at a human pace they continued to the next fire, "The leaders allowed me to continue doing this. Ultimately they became annoyed when I wouldn't follow their ways; they realize I had made a choice of leading a just life that by choosing an alternate source of food I would not kill a human."
Seth studied the vampire before him; he realized that no matter what his pack brothers said about the Cullens, they were good people, "So you've chosen animals instead of humans?"
"Everyone in this life has choices to make." Carlisle said softly, bringing out another box, "I've chosen to try to lead the life my father would have liked me to have. To follow his teachings and to lead by example is what I try and do for the most part."
Seth thought about his wolf brothers, how they only saw the Cullen's as their enemies, but Seth had fought along side Edward, he saw the love that radiated from him every time he was near Bella. He watched as Carlisle buried and prayed for the souls of the vampires that threatened his family.
"Hey Doc, mind if I do that?" Carlisle held out the box. Gingerly taking it in his hands he squatted down upon his haunches, mimicking what Carlisle had done before. He dug a small hole and placed the remains in to it. Carlisle said his quick prayer, Seth realizing that he too had to make a choice also said one.
Standing both of them took a moment to reflect about what the events that transpired. Seth's eyes looked toward the mountain; he could clearly see the fading smoke of where He and Edward had battled with Victoria.
Turning to ask if he had another box he noticed that Carlisle had one ready for him. Looking in to his kind eyes, "I know you're a good man Seth, you'll do what is right. Lead a life of good; make the decisions that are true to the teachings of your father such as I have tried."
Seth realized that if his dad had gotten over his prejudices before he died. He and Carlisle would have been great friends. They were so similar that it was almost like having another father.
Seth took the small container from Carlisle. "Thanks" Carlisle started walking out of the clearing. His gaze looked toward the horizon where he had won his battle, but another had lost hers. He started toward the mountain, knowing what he had to do.
"That is why I do this." Seth finished, he glanced down at his son. "One day you'll become Alpha, We may have not chosen to become wolves but we can still retain part of what it means to be human."
"But if we are the natural enemy of the vampire why didn't you kill the one in the clearing?" Seth looked at his son struggling with the same ideas he did so long ago.
"Because it would have been wrong, His family made the choice, to honor and protect humans. The same way we were chosen to be the protectors of our tribe."
Smiling he knew his audience from before was within hearing range, "That and once you got past their smell; they're pretty cool to hang with."
Charlie looked at him quizzically, "Your great-grandfather wouldn't have liked it very much if I killed his father, would he?"
"Hey Seth, Charlie." a voice rang out from across the clearing; He glanced over watching Edward step out from the forest. "Hey Edward." He replied waving.
"Gramp Gramp!" Charlie took off running toward Edward, Seth thought 'he's phased last week, tonight's the council meeting. Wanna come?'
"I'll ask Bella." Edward replied. Smiling he scooped up his only great-grandson. "Hey there Charlie, I hear you have some news for us."
"Yep, hey where's Great Grandma?" Setting Charlie down they walked toward Seth, "She's with your mom and Grandma."
"Penguins?" Edward asked with a tilt of his head, "I call them how I see them." Seth said smiling; he stood up giving his friend a pat on the back.
"What is it with you wolves and my family, first my daughter and now my granddaughter?" Edward arched his eyebrow, "It's been a while."
Laughing Seth replied, "You vamps make some pretty fine ladies. She's good she misses the family we're expecting another one."
Edward smiled, "wow another one, how did Jacob take it this time." Seth laughed, "He doesn't know yet, we're going to announce tonight at the meeting."
Edward gave Charlie a quick squeeze, "Hey run home tell Great Granny I found you." He sent Charlie Clearwater home and waited until he was out of earshot before asking, "How did she take the phase?"
Taking a breath Seth replied, "She wasn't please but it was to be expected, he's got Alpha blood from both sides of the family, poor kid never have a chance."
"Carlisle would love to have been here but he's teaching in Toronto and couldn't get away until Saturday."
Edward tilted his head quizzically, to the now extinguished fire. "She fought like a newborn, we offered her a chance to learn your ways but she refused. She took four hikers this time." Seth stated sadly.
"Carlisle told me once that sometimes all you can do is show them an alternative way. It's up to them to make their own choices." Edward stated simply. "He would be pleased that you still do this for them." He gestured his hand toward the tiny ash filled grave.
They walked out of the clearing, "Lets head up to the house, I'm sure by now Charlie told Bella I called her Granny." He smirked.
Laughing Seth replied, "Your ass is grass isn't it?"
"Yup." Laughing they walked back to their families.