Here we go! Last chapter! Fair warning: it's a cliff hanger.
The sun shined brightly through the canopy of trees, little slivers of warmth that peeked through the leaves and kissed the skin of the couple that lay in the meadow of flowers below. Littered around the edge of the small meadow were fruit bearing trees, and to the East, about half a mile through the foliage, and up a sloping hill, rested a very unique tree. But the tree did not stand alone, moving in the under growth, up the smooth bark, and through the yawning limbs, was something other. The other hissed whispers that despite the distance, tickled the woman's ears and tugged at her curiosity.
In her sleep, the woman murmured and pulled her body closer to that man at her side, she tucked her chin closer to his chest, to hear the steady thrum under his warm skin. Yet in her sleep, she began to kick at nothing, began to curl her hands into claws. Something greatly disturbed her, and with a great gasp, she awoke and sat straight up in the midst of the flowing flowers that danced in the wind. Beside her, the man continued to sleep, peacefully it seemed, as she looked down at him and then to the East. To where the tree stood silent and yet somehow called to her, like a beacon, a sign to stand and come to embrace what it freely offered her.
As she stood, and slowly began the walk through the beautiful meadow, the sleeping man turned and reached for her in his sleep, his hands returning empty, yet still he slept. "Come, come to me," the tree sang.
It was not the tree that called to her, it was the other, the strangeness that could not be defined, that lured her away from her partner, her companion as she steadily traveled through the brush and slowly ascended up the gentle hill.
The tree sat in a sacred grove that was enclosed by a circle of Cairns. The stone mounds were knee height and various ones were painted with odd symbols. Upon one mound was the symbol of ship's wheel with a vibrant blue center. Thorr's hammer was painted on a smooth stone placed a top a mound to the side of the tree. Littered throughout the grove, the Cairns were painted, some in vivid colors with complex symbols while other simple symbols were traced in an inky black. As if in a trance, the woman stepped silently over the Cairns, careful not to disrupt any of the stones.
Upon reaching the tree, she stared up at it, hesitantly reached out to the tree – almost afraid of what would happen the first time her palms met that smooth surface. The other trees in the beautiful forest had varying branches, their leaves different shapes and sizes, even different colors – but the bark of the trunks were always rough, scratchy, whereas the bark of this special tree was smooth, and cool to the touch. Never warm – as if warmed by the sun and never cold, even after an especially cold night, but always cool. Somehow the woman knew this, even though she had never touched the tree before.
Meeting the skin of her palm to the smooth surface of the tree, she was struck with an odd feeling. Something was off – something she could not identify, but it felt as if something was missing.
"You seek something, young one." A smooth voice announced. Startled, the woman turned her gaze from the odd tree, to its side, where a man leaned against the bark and eyed her with open curiosity. She took in the man, who wore strange coverings, but had beautiful bright eyes that reminded her of the life essence she had seen when they prepared their meals. All of him, she realized, was beautiful and other – so different from her companion and herself.
"I am not a man." The voice echoed eerily in the back of her mind.
Not trusting her voice, she nodded – yes, she was seeking something, but could not put her finger on what specifically she was seeking. Only that she had been pulled from such a peaceful slumber to walk, alone, t this forbidden place. It was forbidden, they had been instructed to explore any of the forest, but that this place was sacred, this place was not for them, only for the others alone and for their own safety, to never come to this part of the forest. Nor were they to touch the tree, partake of its offerings, "Stay away!" they had been commanded. Yet here she was, palm to bark, her mind inquiring as to why this place was off limits to them.
"I can help you find what you seek," the man offered, his voice a caress to her senses. Her eyes closed to the warm timber, as if he embraced her through his voice alone. Shuddering, she opened her eyes and stepped forward – towards the entrancing man and the promise he offered her.
When the woman stepped forward, towards the man, she walked through the sunlight that had pierced the leaves, and after she crossed through the warmth, she found she was no longer in the forest. She still stood upon a hill, but the scene had changed and now people were scattered, mourning the loss of someone. The sky was dark, turbulent – as thunder rumbled on the horizon – as if the Earth itself mourned with the people. Yet beyond the gathering of mourners, there lay a cave and as the tree before, something called to her from the darkness. Confused, she hurried past the group of men and women who cried out in their foreign tongues, who seemed to scream at the sky in outrage, and she could not help but wonder whom they cried out to. Did they cry for all of the dead men or for just the strange warrior? Even in death, his body held the fierceness she imagined he had displayed in life. Inside the cold darkness of the cave, she saw light – the warmth of a fire and the strange man was there again. Carefully, she traveled through the darkness to the light where again, the man lounged comfortably – this time amongst two small boulders. "The Hvitakristr has left the mortal world," the man mused.
"Who is the Hvitakristr?" the woman asked, and in that moment it was not an unknown woman who stood before the man, but suddenly me standing there, head tilted in confusion. As if I had been watching the woman from afar and that her decision to speak to the stranger had somehow been my own.
"All in time." The voice was different and upon closer inspection, so was the man. The man before had odd colored eyes and dark hair; his body practically screamed, "Stay away". Yet the new man in the cave, while I knew he was other, not human like me, was familiar. His hair was a burnt red color, his eyes now honeyed instead of the vibrant color from before, and his face – hauntingly familiar. Who was he?
"Do I know you?" I asked, inching closer still. The light of the fire danced in his eyes, and I noticed that I could see specks of color that matched his hair.
"Yes," the man answered, standing and moving closer to me, "You know me well," his hand cupped my cheek and I leaned into the familiar feel.
The name had not come from him, but rather from my memory. Faces danced before my mind – faces without names. A King – someone I knew to be evil, and another man – a friend? No, someone truly evil, perhaps more so than the king I had first seen.
The man in front of me – Edward! Yes, it was Edward and I knew that I loved him, wrapped his other hand around my wrist and pulled it upwards, towards his own face. Mirroring his own action, I cupped his face in the palm of my hand, and was unsurprised when he turned his head and sank his teeth into my wrist.
The fire began immediately and it seemed to burn and chase every feeling, every thought, every memory I had ever had. The scenes of the woman and the strange meadow, the forbidden tree, the death of the Hvitakristr, and the cave – hardened under the fire's wrath. While other thoughts that vainly tried to outrun the fire's reach, seemed to crumble into black ash as it whipped through my body.
In the dancing flames, I saw a man walk through a circle of fire, he was burned – but did not acknowledge the pain, his wrath seemed to push it away, to will it obey him and slink into the oblivion. Growling, he continued to walk away from the flames, his anger radiating from his body and yet, the fire crashed over him and the memory began to flake away with the rest of the ash. Steeling myself against the burn, I screamed, "No!" and reached for every memory, every face, every feeling and held tightly to them. The fire would not take this from me; I would protect them, if not inside my own mind, then somewhere outside of myself that they would be safe. Relentlessly, the fire pushed against the protection, the defenses I had hastily established for those memories. The pressure built as it pushed harder and burned white hot against every nerve. "Let me in!" it seemed to scream at me. Steeling myself against the harsh onslaught, I glanced around the cave, looking for something – anything – in which to hide my memories for safekeeping.
In the dark cave, to the right of the man, there was a tomb. The smooth surface of the rock called invitingly to me, and with the strength I had left, I pushed every memory that had not already been fortified by the fire, into the empty tomb. As I poured every tear, every happy moment, every sadness, every part of who I was - into the yawning space, I looked back to Edward who stood before me. I would remember him, as I stood here burning from the inside, I would lock him inside my heart and would remember this man. Someone I loved, but could only catch glimpses of in my own memories. They would be safe in the tomb, and when the fire stopped, I would return for them. So as the fire scorched a path through every inch of my body, from every limb, and finally descended in full force on my heart, I made myself drink in every detail of the man, the cave, and for some reason unknown to me - the Hvitakristr's death. The pace of my heart began to beat wildly, and the image of Edward standing in front of me, began to shake and shimmer. Still the fire gained ground and with two weak beats, my heart shuddered to a stop.
With the last wet beat of my heart, I opened my eyes and gulped in air to my greedy lungs. Only to find, I did not need air – not anymore. My heart did not beat, and nothing looked the same.
The sky was blocked from view by something solid – not the canopy of the trees I expected. Under the dark – perhaps stone – the air was not as fresh as it had been in my few previous memories. Before, the air had been crisp and I could taste the forest, the oncoming rain, even the darkness of the cave on my tongue. Here, it was stale somehow, no breeze to share the signs of surroundings. Beneath me, was something firm, but still somehow soft. My limbs seemed to sink into the surface what I would assume to be a comfortable manner.
I must be in a room of some sort, but could not identify which room.
Yet, when I reached back into what I knew would be a perfect memory, I came up empty, only with ashes that seemed to drift and escape through my fingers. Who was I? Where was I?
My eyes darted to the side as I threw my senses out in a wide net. I was not alone. Three people stood near me and I launched myself upwards, away from the surface, and into a crouch, ready to defend myself from the unknown.
"Izabel," a voice called. The same voice that had been with me in the fire, during the burning.
Turning, I faced the owner of the voice, a man with rusted hair, dressed in a familiar uniform, and palms stretched towards me. Edward.
"Edward," I breathed, remembering the scene in the cave, the tenderness, and the feeling I had for him. Was it love? Had I loved him? Taking him in as he drew closer to me, I felt a familiar tug towards him, the hum of his nearness, and my heart nearly began beating again. The overwhelming feeling of safety, of being home – wherever that was, and the longing for him, all assured me that the man before me, was mine. "Mine," I whispered, eyes darting to the other two beings near us. In a quick movement, I closed the distance between him and I, and then pulled Edward behind me, turning towards the man and woman and growling a warning to them. I did not know them and could not trust my Edward to remain unharmed.
Edward placed a steady hand on my shoulder, "It is alright, love, they are friends, you are safe." Not wanting to risk taking my eyes from the strangers in front of me, I turned slightly towards him.
"Are you safe?" I asked and for the first time, caught the musical quality to my voice. It seemed to dance on the wind, and for a moment I became distracted by the chiming resonance it created.
"Edward," the man in front of me called, "If she remembers you as her mate, she will be more concerned with your safety than her own."
Behind me, Edward nodded. "Izabel, this is Carlisle and Esme. Remember, you met them at the palace? They are my family, they are our family. They would never hurt you or me."
"Family?" I tested the word on my tongue, but it was not familiar.
"Perhaps," the man – Carlisle, began, " we should give you some time alone," and then they were backing slowly away from the opening, until they were out of sight. Once I could no longer feel them at the edge of my awareness, I turned back to Edward, giving him my full attention. My eyes roamed over his body, looking for any injury to belie his earlier statement of safety. I had to make sure that he was unharmed and had he been injured, return it tenfold of any who had accosted him.
His arms steadied me in my frenzy, "Izabel," he whispered, "I am unharmed." I had to look up to his face, as he stood taller than me. I framed his face with my hands and tugged him closer. His brow knit together, pulled downward, as he appeared to concentrate on something. "I still cannot read you," he whispered. "What do you remember?"
I shook my head, "I know you, that you are mine, but I do not remember you. I do not remember them – your family. Why is that?"
"When I changed you," he began, "human memories can be lost or forgotten."
I considered this for a moment as I also took in more of my surroundings. We were in a room; I knew that now, with stonewall and smooth ceilings. The room was plain – a bed with wrinkled and torn bedding - I assumed had been where I had awoken, a chest at the end of the bed, and a dresser flush with one of the walls. In the corner was a small hearth, presumably to keep the room warm. Edward mentioned that he had changed me, and that I had been human before. Vaguely I was aware that he was still speaking to me and I refocused on what he was saying.
"Tell me what you do remember," he insisted.
I concentrated as I pulled the hardened memories to the surface, "A forest with a tree and a strange man – I think he was like us," I paused as I recalled the rest of the memory, "And then death. You were in a cave and after you bit me, the burn began. I protected you while I burned, so that you would not turn to ash, like the rest of them."
"A cave?" he looked confused, "We were not in a cave when I bit you. We were in your chambers in Dagez, at the palace. In fact," he paused and considered for a moment, "We have never been to a cave together. Do you not remember when you met me?" His voice was careful and low as he asked the question.
"No," I shook my head, locking my gaze with him, "For me, I met you in the cave. Somehow, I knew that I loved you and did not want to risk you being burned away like all the others. I held on to you, kept you safe. That is all I know."
All my other memories had turned to ash, drifted away as the flames had burned a path through my body. Wait, that was not right. Some did turn to ash, but what happened to the others? "The tomb!" I exclaimed and he jumped a little at the excitement in my tone, "I protected everything I could reach by placing it in the tomb, the one in the cave."
He was silent for a time, probably turning my words over in his mind. Then I realized, I must sound very strange – placing memories into a tomb of all places. Perhaps in my mind, I had created the whole thing, something to remain anchored to throughout the burning. And yet, could it be true? Edward had been there, and while I did not remember him – remember meeting him for the first time, remember why I felt so strongly for him, remember anything outside the grove and the cave, I knew him and he was real. Perhaps the rest was real as well.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"A cottage, inside the Tyr borders. We are deep in the woods, far removed from any villages. Are you thirsty?" he asked.
I considered the question and swallowed experimentally. Was I thirsty? My throat neither felt dry or parched, it just was. "Not particularly," I answered. "Are you thirsty? Should we take care of that for you?" Immediately I felt my emotions twist and worried that I had somehow failed to take care of him. Yet, I did not even know what it would mean to be thirsty or what would slake his thirst. His face seemed worried as well and possibly, confused? It appeared he was thinking hard on something, but thinking of our conversation, I was unable to find the appropriate reason for his reaction. Something was off.
"Still, I should take you hunting," he began, "I am sure we would both benefit, and then we can talk some more." Hesitantly, as if he feared I would deny him, he reached for my hand and I willingly took it. Palm to palm, fingers intertwined, we stood and walked towards the doorway.
After exiting the cottage, Edward inhaled deeply and instructed me to do the same. Then, eyes alight; he had released my hand and asked, "Would you like to run?"
"I think so," not really knowing if it was something I would like or not.
Grinning, he replied, "Follow me," then before taking off, glanced at me over his shoulder with an amused smile, "See if you can keep up," then was off. His amusement and happiness was contagious and quickly I found myself grinning in return. Stretching my legs, I tested my limits and followed his scent. Quickly, I caught up to him and seeing me at his side, he pushed ahead again, his musical laughter floating on the wind as he sped away.
Laughing myself, I pushed myself harder and worked not only to keep up with him, but when once again at his side, push ahead and forced him to catch me. "We should stop soon," he seemed to whisper to me and I paused near a large oak tree. Not yet ready to be caught, I shimmied up the large tree, climbing it with skill I was unaware that I possessed, and continued upwards until I reached the top. It was beautiful from this vantage point, the sun hanging low in the sky, the easy breeze sweeping through the branches, and Edward climbing the tree after me. Yes, both peaceful and exciting at the same time. Perhaps I had enjoyed trees when I was human?
When he landed on the branch with me, I pulled him into my arms and pressed our lips together. A growl rumbled in his chest and I answered it with one of my own. My fingers tangled into his hair causing his hood to fall down to his shoulders, and pulled him closer still, pressing my body tightly against his.
I felt each hard line of his body, as I pressed him against the thick trunk of the tree. My hips rubbed against his, needing something I did not quite understand yet. All I knew was that I wanted him, needed him and I did not want to wait. Whatever it was that I wanted, the call to be with him, to touch him, to claim him that was so suddenly overwhelming, that all I could focus on was his lips, the taste of him, and the feel of him against me.
"If we do not stop," he spoke between kisses, "we won't be able to hunt."
Groaning, I pulled back from him, "I feel this need," but I did not know how to explain to him this deep-seated urge that pulled me to him.
"I understand. I felt the same way when I first met you. It can be maddening, but first we need to hunt." He turned and leapt from the branch to the ground, landing with a soft thump as his boots met the soft earth below. Then looking upwards at me, he waived at me to follow. Swallowing thickly, I also jumped and was amazed at how slow the fall was for me. As the ground slowly came closer, I was able to bend my legs to land gracefully next to him.
"Why did you stop?" he asked.
"You said we should," I answered, not understanding.
"No I didn't."
"Yes you did. You said that we should stop soon. That is why I stopped, but I didn't want you to catch me just yet, so I climbed the tree."
"Izabel, can you hear me?"
"Of course I can hear you!" I answered him. He was standing right in front of me, why would I not hear him?
"Look at me closely Izabel," his voice rang with authority, and I focused on his face, "I am not speaking aloud." He was right – his lips were not moving. He had not spoken aloud to me.
"I think you can hear my thoughts," he explained. Slowly, he cradled my face in his hands and then closed his eyes, "But I still cannot hear your thoughts."
Closing my own eyes, I tried to imagine him in my mind, standing in front of me, each hand placed delicately on my cheeks, and in my mind I saw him. He looked differently, almost an outline with shades of varying darkness and light that highlighted or defined the structure of his face and the brightness of his eyes. All color had been removed, but I could identify his movements, the changes in his face.
In my mind, I looked down at our bodies, also devoid of color, but something else stood out. Surrounding me was a haze; it pulsed against me, and seemed to wrap itself around me like a second skin. In contrast to the darkness, it almost appeared to be blindingly white and tentatively, I pushed at the whiteness, imagined stretching it outwards to encompass Edward in its glow. It was resistant at first, fighting back against me, but I redoubled my efforts and pushed harder until it began to lazily crawl up Edward's arms until it had wrapped around his body as well. "Can you hear me?" I asked quietly in my mind.
He jerked in response, would have taken a step back, had I not held him in place, kept his hands firmly on my face. "Yes."
Opening my eyes, I looked at him, focused on keeping him within the light, and tried again. "Can you still hear me?"
With a shudder, I inhaled and then the spell was broken. I felt the light snap back into place, and then a fire raced up my throat. His hands fell away from me and I felt my own begin to claw at my throat. "It hurts," I whispered, suddenly feeling extremely thirsty.
He nodded and turned me towards the West, "Push it aside in your mind," and I tried to push the aching away from me, but it was no use. "Breathe in," he continued, "and tell me what you smell."
Inhaling was even more painful; the fire pulsed more fiercely in my throat, demanding to be satisfied. Yet as I breathed in, I smelled deer in the distance, and something richer – a lynx perhaps, not far from where they stood by a stream. I growled as I caught their smells and Edward immediately released me. "Go, satisfy your thirst," he whispered against my ear.
Needing no further encouragement, I was off – racing towards the promise to quell the fire. Quickly the river came into view and I slowed, testing the air again to locate the lynx. It was downwind of the deer and I crept silently towards it, until I could see it laying low to the ground, muscles bunched in preparation of the kill. Mouth watering, I leapt towards it, grabbed it in my steely grasp, and sank my teeth into its throat. Blood coated my tongue and drove me into frenzy as I tugged and swallowed greedily. The lynx clawed and scratched at me in an effort to get away, it growled and snapped, anything to throw me off, and I hung on tighter. A sickening crunch sounded as I crushed the animal in my hunger. All too soon, it was still and the blood was no more. I looked up to see Edward watching me as he drank from his own kill; one of the deer the lynx had been stalking. His eyes were wide, pupils blown as he eyed me.
Then he dropped the drained deer, blood lining the edge of his mouth, and rushed to my side. I dropped my kill as well and he crashed into me, lips colliding, tongues battling one another. Eagerly, I sucked and licked at the blood on his mouth, moaning as the tang sent shivers up my spine. "I want you," I practically shouted in my mind, pushed it towards him with a fierceness I did not know I possessed.
"I want you too," he answered, his hands clawing at the tunic I wore. Frantically, we tore at one another's clothing, needing to come together, to feel each other skin to skin. As he tore the clothing from my body, his mouth captured a nipple in his mouth and sucked. My nerves screamed at me as my back bowed and my fingers tangled in his hair, pulling him impossibly closer to me.
My naked thighs circled his bare waist and pushed myself against him. "Can't wait." I thought. "Need you."
Whether he heard my frantic thoughts or understood the throbbing of my body, I did not know, but he pushed me against the ground and slid one finger inside me. "Edward!" I cried aloud, "Please!"
Growling, he added a second finger and pumped them inside me, his thumb circling a bundle of nerves that nearly drove me wild, as his other hand fondled my breast and rolled a nipple between his fingers. Bucking my hips, I nearly snapped at him, the need so great, pounding and demanding in my ears. Understanding what I needed, he removed his fingers and pushed his hardened length inside of me.
In that moment of coming together, I felt both our bodies sigh with relief, before the madness began again. He began pumping inside of me, long hard thrusts, his hands anchored to me at my waist. When I closed my eyes, everything was encased in shades of dark and light again, Edward was bathed in complete darkness, and the white that had previously surrounded me, transformed into a vivid, throbbing red. As the pressure inside of me built, I noticed the red was crawling over Edward, was pulling him impossibly closer, holding him to me. Then something inside of me snapped – beginning with a tingling in my toes, racing through my limbs, and then erupting between my legs. My hands clawed at Edward as I felt him follow me into the eruption of pleasurable fire. The red seemed to swallow us both whole, pulse around us, as we screamed our completion.
As the haze cleared, I opened my eyes and watched him above me. "That was," he was breathless, limbs shaking, eyes morphing from pitch black to honey. His kiss this time was sweet, intimate and he rested his forehead against mine. "How did you do that?"
"Do what?" I was breathless, my limbs exhausted and I was content to lay with him, limbs entangled with one another on the forest floor, forever.
"You pulled me in, held me there, and we shared everything. I felt what you felt."
"I have no idea," I chuckled and kissed his lips again.
Pulling me into his side, his hand idly traced patterns along my ribs as he placed butterfly kisses on the crown of my head. "Would you like to me to tell you what I know of your human life?"
I considered his offer. Did I want to know? To have knowledge of any I had left behind, of the people I may have loved or the place I had called home? Had I been happy? Again I searched for any memory outside of the ones I had protected during the fire, and again failed to remember anything. However, I felt rather than remembered – obligation, fear, and love. "Yes," I answered, "but not yet. I would like to find the tomb and see if my memories are there."
His fingers stopped tracing their patterns and he peered down at me, "What is this tomb you speak of? Do you know where to find it?"
"No, but you were there," I insisted, "And you spoke to me."
"Just what did I say?" his voice sounded amused, his lips curled into a smile.
Returning his smile, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, "I know it sounds unbelievable, and was probably just my imagination, but I would like to try to find it, to see if anything else was true."
Arching a perfect brow, he asked, "Anything else?"
"Well yes," and I kissed his lips again, smiling against him, "you were there and you turned out to be true."
Chuckling, he returned the kiss; "I suppose you have me there." Untangling himself from me, he shifted to his side, arm propped against his elbow, eyes dancing. "Tell me what you remember, and we will try to find this tomb."
"Well," I chewed on my lip as I recalled the dream, "It was on a hill,"
"Oh, a hill. There are so few of those."
Playfully, I swatted his chest. "And someone had died, there were mourners. Just beyond the group of people, was a dark cave. When I went inside, you were perched there – just waiting – one small boulders."
"Hmmmm…. Someone died, a cave, and boulders…. This is really narrowing it down for me."
"You told me that the Hvitakristr had left the mortal world."
In that instant, everything changed. The amusement that colored his voice had animated his features, the playfulness that had spread between us, was instantly gone. "What did you say?"
Uncomfortable with the sudden change, I whispered it again, "You said that the Hvitakristr had left the mortal world."
Quickly, he pulled himself from the ground and began scavenging what he remained of his tattered clothes, and began throwing scraps at me as well. "We must return quickly."
"What? What is it?" I pleaded.
He looked at me, eyes full of fear, "What you saw happened a thousand years ago. There is no way you could have known that. I never told you about that while you were human." Roughly, he yanked his tunic over his head, the ends of the material torn.
"If it has already happened, why are you acting this way?"
Quickly I pulled my own clothes over my body, the shreds and tears doing little to cover my skin, but it would have to do until we returned to the cottage.
"What else did you see?" he asked, voice rough.
"Uh, a grove enclosed with cairns and symbols and a tree."
"Just a tree?" he questioned.
"No, there was something else there."
"What else was there?"
"Something, not a man, but he looked like one."
A string of foreign words fell from Edward's tongue, all unknown to me, but judging the tone, they sounded like curses.
"Edward! Please stop and talk with me!" Forcefully, I placed my hands on his shoulders and stilled him.
"Izabel, you should not have seen what you saw. Do you know anything about the grove?"
Shaking my head in answer, he continued. "Did you see the Hvitakristr? Do you know who he was?"
I thought back to the hill, to the men who had died there and whose bodies had yet to be removed. The warrior who stood out amongst the others, and not just because it had been where the mass of mourners had gathered and cried. "Yes." I whispered, "I saw him."
"What did he look like?"
"I do not know. He was a warrior. Tell me why you are acting so scared." I wrapped my arms around him, pulled him to me.
Roughly he tugged his hands through his wild hair. "The Hvitakristr was a great warrior and it sounds like you buried your memories in his tomb. What worries me is that you saw two events you could have heard of, but in details unknown to mortals. If you saw this, that means you were seen too." His eyes were wide, crazed even, "I cannot loose you again."
As we ran back to the cottage as if a demon chased us, I could only wonder who exactly had seen me in return.
Author's Note: And there you have it everyone - the ending. It is HEA - they are together and happy (albeit sounding a little worried right now). If you look back to Chapter 20 or so, you'll notice that I alluded to some of what was mentioned in this chapter. This chapter includes a major clue to the next part of this story. I hope you enjoyed the story and will consider reading the next one in the future. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this story, favorite it, follow it, and leave comments. FanFic has been unreliable as of late for me to be able to see, let alone reply to the comments. I feel badly when I don't respond, but I want to thank each and every one of you who have stuck with me and these characters.
Speaking of, please allow me a moment to explain my extended absence - especially when I only had three flipping chapters remaining to publish. When I originally started actually writing down this story, the entire back half (including the ending) of the story was written - from the night of the Great Hunt forward. I worked backwards to fill in gaps and build the relationship between Jarpr/Edward and Izabel. However, as the story evolved and and I wrote in more chapters, content from the ending (Izabel discovering that Jarpr was immortal in Chapter 16 was supposed to occur in Chapter 30 or 31 with Jarpr explaining it to her). As her character developed, it almost seemed like she was really unobservant or lacked intelligence that she never figured it out on her own and that's just not who my Izabel was. But as I tried to rework these chapters, I also had a lot going on in RL - from work/life balance being completely unbalanced, from traveling a little to traveling each week, finishing my bachelor's degree, and family emergencies - I would often find myself thinking of this story during those times, but when I'd sit down at my keyboard, I had no idea what to write and would re-read the originally written chapters having no idea how to change them to make them fit.
With that said, as much as I would love to immediately start posting the second installment, I'm giving fair warning that I'm waiting until I have most if not all of the content written. I just don't think it's fair to anyone following along to wait - especially as long as some of you did for these final three chapters.
Although, if you would like to see this story from Jarpr's POV, let me know. Those chapters are almost completely written. :-)
And if you're still reading this . . .
JARPR / JASPER / EDWARD...
Looking back, I do see that I had originally listed this fic as Bella, Jasper, and depending on the site, "Bella, Jasper, Edward", "Bella, Jasper" or "Bella, Edward". I should have only listed it as "Bella" unless I wanted to give away the surprise in Chapter 30. However, I did my best to give clues throughout - I described his hair as "bronze" or "like fire" in various chapters. His name, Jarpr actually means "dark reddish" "brownish" and Audvard which means "guard" (I stretched that out for my purposes to mean warrior). And Vanir which is a reference to the "second family of gods" in Nordic culture.
The reason I changed the names was never to deceive anyone regarding "Jasper" versus "Edward", but rather the story was built on not knowing who was who. When I originally posted the story (and took it down later to rework it after only four chapters), I made the mistake of saying "King Edward" and then had to hide everything that could identify him as Edward. So when I reworked the story, I changed the King's name (now Vanir), Jasper, and Edward. But with every name that I changed, I tried to give you clues about them. For example, Yåkov meant "supplanter" (you know, someone who overthrows...).
With all that said, if you feel that I mislead you regarding whether this was a story about Izabel/Jasper vs Izabel/Edward - I am very sorry. I own my part in that and cannot imagine how frustrated I might feel if I had invested 30 chapters with a story just to find out it was a pairing I did not like/want/expect, etc. - especially if I felt that the author had intentionally made me think it was a pairing I rooted for/wanted.
While it was never my intention to purposely mislead readers so as to increase ratings/reviews/etc. - I realize that the impact has remained the same - readers were disappointed and felt that I had intentionally mislead them. If this is you, I am very very sorry. To be honest, I would love to one day write a Bella/Jasper fic, but just haven't found the write inspiration yet.