Disclaimer for the next/last chapters: I do not own Twilight. This includes names, places from the books and/or movies, and all things Twilight related are not mine. They belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Warning (for my own peace of mind): If anyone is offended, advanced apologies. I'd rather be cautious and add a warning rather than catch flames after. I have taken many creative liberties with this story. Please don't try and Google the name of these reservations/people as they are part of my imagination and not real. Some cities and/or roads are real.
Previously on Loving the Sun...
Bella lightly pushed him away, "I read in one of the books that family is never apart. As long as you carry that person in your heart, they are with you always. I have you all in my heart... but I need to do this. I can feel it in my bones. I'm on the right track. Can you at least understand?"
Jared gave her a watery smile. "I get it, Bells."
She twisted the watch on her wrist and saw the time. "Paul was supposed to meet me. I really have to go. It's eight hours from here to Idaho. Tell him... tell him I'll miss him. Keep an eye on Billy. I left him enough meals for two weeks. Joy plans on coming by when you two are working..."
He held up his hand to stop her, "I got it. Don't worry about Paul or Billy. They'll be okay."
Bella squeezed him affectionately once more and climbed into her truck. She did a quick inventory check - journals, book, map, purse, phone - and waved at Jared.
She stole glances at the little red house she knew as 'home' just before the La Push Road sign came into view. She furiously wiped away the silent tears. Her heart ached at leaving her family and friends, but she would not be deterred. Soon, she would be in Idaho, and that much closer to the Adsila Reservation in Montana. Her first stop in her journey...
"And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat..."
Chapter 9 - Hardships & Revelations
What do you do when the one you love is lingering in limbo? How can you save them, bring them home to you, when secrets and loyalties bind you?
These are questions Bella has been asking herself since she left the Adsila Res.
She tried to persuade the Council to give her the benefit of the doubt. That she was trustworthy, without giving away too much on what she knew of the supernatural world. The Chief had been unwelcoming from the moment she walked through the doors of the building. His Council members were just as leery and stand-offish.
The Chief allowed her the chance to state her case and explain why she visited their tribe specifically. As soon as she reached the part about legends being more than "merely fables" the Council member on his right, a woman, stood and yelled at her in their native language. Three other members joined her in berating Bella, while the Chief paled at the outlandish scene.
Bella thought back on the audience she received at the Adsila Council.
"Silence!" Chief Shaw commanded. His Council did not open their mouths again. He glared at the young girl, collecting his thoughts before speaking.
Bella tried to explain, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause any of you grief. I just - I need help. If you know anything-"
The Chief raised his hand, dismissing her chatter. "I understand your desire for information. I can neither confirm nor deny any knowledge of what you seek in our archives. Outsiders are not allowed to sift through our ancestral documents."
"Please," Bella begged, "if you can just tell me where I should go next... anything..." she swallowed back the lump in her throat.
The woman next to Chief Shaw stared at the girl, appraising her aura's vibrant colors. She leaned in toward their leader, whispering to him. He nodded, turning his attention back to Bella.
"Hania Reservation. Tell their Council leader, Chief White, that Kuruk gave his blessing for you to read the legend. He will know of what I speak of."
The Bella glanced at the GPS, estimating how much longer she had until she reached the motel to catch up on some rest. Tomorrow, she would call Charlie and Billy to update them on her well being - just as she promised.
Outskirts of Hania Reservation, Utah
Bella dropped the letter to Billy in the mailbox, zipped up her jacket, and made her way back to the diner across the street. The marker was added to the map, and she felt a sense of accomplishment.
Soon, Jake. I promise.
I know I haven't been in touch. I'm sorry. Things haven't been easy out here. Although I have met some interesting people, gathering information has been like finding a needle in a haystack.
I discovered a legend I thought you be interested in. It's given me hope. I have to admit, there is this foreboding feeling that has lingered since coming to this place. I can't explain it, but it's as though I'm on a time limit.
You can't respond to my letters. I will call you soon to hear any thoughts you might have on the small details of the legend of Chogan and Ilyanne.
She was like me, a pale face, and she met Chogan by chance. Or perhaps it was fate... I'd like to think it was meant to be. Chogan wasn't supposed to be fishing on the settlers side of the river, and somehow he wandered there, to the exact place where Ilyanne sat by the bank. She found him to be beautiful - dark skinned and so different from the men she was accustomed to. Chogan knew the rules of his tribe, to stay away from the outsiders; however, he simply could not comply... He felt a pull to Ilyanne, his soul called out for her, determined to weave them together forever.
Months passed, and their bond grew in secret. Ilyanne's father, Christoph, observed the change in his daughter. He followed her one night and saw them together. Chogan defended Ilyanne, vowing to care for her for the rest of his days. Ilyanne's father went into a rage at the idea of his only daughter marrying a native man. He pulled out his dagger and shoved it into Chogan's heart.
Christoph gathered his family, forcing them to abandon their home. He knew retribution was coming from the tribe. Chogan was, after all, the son of the Chief. Ilyanne went along with them. Back then, it was different, she had no choice.
Late at night, Chogan would visit her in her dreams. Promising that their time together was not over, they would find each other once again. Ilyanne lived for the dreams, and kept up appearances with her family... then he appeared... but, it wasn't the Chogan she remembered. He was different. She went to him, and together, hand in hand, they disappeared.
How was he different? That is the question you might be asking yourself. The tale did not specify. I wish it had. Fate is a wondrous, albeit difficult thing. Faith is what keeps me going. The belief that he is not gone, that Fate would not be so cruel as to steal him from me before we could realize our future...
I miss you and Dad. Take care of yourself, please. Tell Paul and Jared that I miss them too. Give everyone a hug from me. Speak to you soon.
Migisi Reservation, Nebraska
The dirt road leading to the small reservation was not a dirt road at all. According to the attendant of the gas station - the last one she'd seen in over an hour - the trail would be clear. This trail, as he called it, appeared barely used and was mostly grass covered.
She was lost... it was late, and she was lost in a strange place.
Bella turned off the truck, and slapped the wheel, screaming in frustration. The signal on her phone flickered off and on at one measly bar, she had less than half a tank of fuel, and she was utterly exhausted.
Just as she succumbed to sleep deprivation, a loud knock on her window startled her. A very tall man stood outside her truck, flashing a light in her face. "Ma'am, do you need help?"
Bella squinted her eyes to get a good look at him. The half moon in the sky lit the side of his face, displaying his features... he couldn't have been more than thirty, long hair, and bronze skin. "I'm looking for Migisi Reservation. I was told to follow Kozen Lane, but I think I took a wrong turn." She covertly made sure her door was still locked. Her mother didn't raise a fool, and Charlie Swan would flip his lid if he found out she was being too trusting... again.
The man smiled at her and pointed the light to the clearing ahead of her, "That way, give or take a mile. Don't stop the truck until you reach the willow tree with the red X on it."
Bizarre... suspicious... This felt familiar in an odd way. "Why can't I stop the truck? And why do you have a tree with a marker?"
He stepped back from the vehicle and pointed again with his flashlight, "Go on now, ma'am. It's late, and you look like you could use some rest. The motel is five miles passed the willow tree."
Just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone, leaving kicked up earth in his wake. She thought of Jacob and all the times he would materialize when she needed him. She felt a tug in her heart. Taking it as a positive sign, the engine roared to life and she carefully rode down the clearing in search of the tree with the red X.
There was a definite vibe to this place... something simmering underneath the faces of these people.
The Council refused to see her. Members of the village ignored her when she walked by them. Every once in awhile, she would see a man or a woman and the hair on the back of her neck would stand. Being around the supernatural as much as she had been, she took this to mean there was a reason why she was here. In her eyes, the ones she chose to visit and was told to go to, held a purpose. Nothing was coincidence.
Too many things had happened in her life that were not merely by chance.
She bumped into a large mass of a human being and caught herself before she fell. "I am so sorry!"
A manly chuckle answered, "You again. Still here?"
She glanced up and saw the same man that pointed her to the res. A tingling feeling crept up her spine. She did not know what to make of it... was it a warning? "Yes, and no one will talk to me. Is there a rule or something I'm not aware of?"
You would have thought she was a comedian with how often he laughed at her. Her temper flared momentarily, "Thank you for your help." She turned on her heel and walked away from him.
Angry tears streaked down her cheeks. Never, even when she was a vampire girl, had she felt as unwelcome in a place. She packed her duffle bag and left the room key with the front desk. The receptionist ignored her.
Bella tossed the bag on the passenger seat and slammed the door closed. This entire trip here was a disappointment. She was belittled, rejected, and stared at with ridiculing eyes.
"Hey! Girl! Wait a second!"
She was not surprised to see that strange man running toward her. "Look, its fine. I'm leaving," she replied and reached for the handle. He stood in her way, blocking her attempted escape.
"I know you're looking for information about soul mates. I can help."
She stared at him incredulously, "Is this some kind of joke? If it is, I can assure you that I am not amused, Sir."
He smirked at her, "Listen little spitfire, I'll admit I shouldn't have laughed at you; but, you can't go around an unknown res asking to willingly give you - an outsider - free access to the archives of our people."
Bella tossed his words around in her head, and realized she had gone about this in a very nonchalant way. She knew there would be obstacles, challenges, and it would not be as simple as filling out forms. She had hoped it would make her appear trustworthy if she was obscure. Apparently, it was causing misconceptions to be made about her sudden visits in these villages.
The man continued speaking, "If you follow me, I'll take you to the Chief."
She contemplated it for a beat... "Allright. Is it okay if I meet you somewhere? I'm going to pay for another night and put my things away."
He checked his watch and nodded, "Sounds good. I'll meet you at the Community Center. The Chief's house isn't far from there."
"Wait!" She hollered after him. He turned and tilted his head to the side in an unexpected, familiar gesture. She blinked a few times, confused by the sense of déjà vu. "I don't even know your name."
He beamed at her, "Jackson."
She nodded, not returning the friendly grin, "Nice to meet you. I'm Bella."
The small, brown house lay hidden within the forestry surrounding incredible portions of the reservation. During her trek, she noticed a large section of the houses seemed to be an extension of the nature that shrouded them. Only one word came to Bella, stirring her inquisitiveness – camouflage.
The Chief was nothing like what Bella pictured. This was certainly a first for her, shaking hands with a female Chief. She was in awe at the respect the older woman commanded by her demeanor and the way she addressed Jackson. So lost was she that she barely noticed the outstretched, tanned hand graciously leading her into the home.
Bella became flustered, "So wonderful to meet you, Chief Reed. My name is Bella, and I'm from Washington, specifically the La Push Reservation."
The older woman shared a mystifying flash with the other man, and returned the sentiment, "Nice to meet you as well, dear. Just call me Tracy. No need for formalities. Jackson, you know where you should be and with whom. If I get another phone call, you and I will be having words, boy."
He mock saluted her, "Got it, ma'am." Then smirked at Bella, "See you around, little spitfire."
Tracy lead Bella to the living room, and soon enough the two were in a deep conversation about why Bella needed the requested information.
Hours later, she left the Chief's house emotionally drained.
She found a kindred spirit in Tracy. The wise beyond her years - many more years than she would have guessed - woman once fell in love with a stregoi. She was young, foolish, and drawn to the red-eyed Saint, covered in silver bite marks, who rode an onyx horse along their border. She was the newest in the den, therefore assigned to the late task of security. Bella asked what she meant by den and security. Tracy smiled, replying, "There are more creatures, far fiercer than a stregoi, that go bump in the night."
Their attraction was forbidden. Natural enemies, complete opposites... they should have wanted to hate and kill each other... yet, they could not. His honeyed, masculine aroma clouded her judgement, dizzying her with fierce want. Her scent shrouded him, toyed with his control more than any before her. He was a soldier, a god of war, and she gave in to her base desires.
Tracy was dragged through a world of obsession, violent sex, and bloodletting. She fell in love with that which she was supposed to obliterate. Slowly, she revealed her wounds to Bella... and Bella exposed hers as well.
Near the end of the visit, Tracy informed her the Council would meet tomorrow regarding her request. The decision to allow her access to the ancestral legends had to be unanimous.
Bella was on edge. Time was slipping away. She could feel it deep within. If she did not find what she was looking for soon, Jacob would be lost to her...
stregoi - vampire
Verse from: Cosmic Love (by Florence + the Machine)
Two more chapters left.