We made it through several nights without any nightmares on Renesmee's part. She would open her eyes as we walked in the room to wake her, and never before. We got dressed and went to the house to discuss with the others the proper approach for the upcoming battle. There really was no avoiding a fight. This had become our daily routine.
It had been about a week, and I was not completely satisfied with the other night's conversation. I still had my doubts, but I did not want to discuss it around Renesmee no matter how much she knew. It was like a dark cloud of stress was constantly hovering over me. A numbness at the back of every thought that made me stomach curl in anxiety. I tried to keep it hidden, but Edward saw the constant worry written plainly on my face. He would take my hand and smile at me comfortingly, in a way that would melt all my troubles away. He knew what I was thinking without reading my mind.
When we approached the house one morning we heard a mass of voices speaking at once.
"What's going on?" I asked anxiously.
"Mary and Randall came." Edward said coldly. "And they brought news." He quickened his pace towards the house.
We leaped the river with Renesmee close behind and were in the house in a matter of seconds. Standing in the center of the room full of vampires were Mary and Randall. The two vampires had always been mysterious to me, always in the background, rarely speaking, never taking part, but that does not mean they did not stand out.
Mary's wild, curly brown hair was enough to catch your attention on its own, but the way it framed her light olive toned face just seemed to draw you in. She had a hidden fierceness in her red eyes, and they constantly scanned the room. She was truly a nomadic vampire, never returning to the same place unless needed, and the kind of person who comes of her own volition. At least that's what Edward had told me. She definitely gave off an air of independence.
Randall was a bit more understated. His dark blonde hair and pale skin wouldn't turn any heads in this company. He had a composed stance and seemed very calm. Carlisle had told me that he was one of the first vampires Randall had met after he was turned. He considered Carlisle a good friend, and had been very loyal to him.
Standing with them were two vampires I remembered from the field. Charles and Makenna. Witnesses for the Volturi. Of course they would be in danger too since Charles's ability-much like Maggie's- had allowed them to see through the Volturi's lies. Their mistake was admitting it, and now they were paying for it.
Charles stood there quietly. He had dark blonde hair like Randall, and his dark eyes were frantic. He stood close to Makenna, who was hiding behind a veil of black hair. When she looked up I saw a flash of confliction cross her face.
"Edward. Bella." Carlisle called "We were just going to get you. Mary and Randall found Charles and Makenna and they have some important information concerning the Volturi."
This immediately caught my full attention. I went to stand with Nessie who had drifted over towards Jacob.
Charles seemed to take a deep breath before starting. "A few days ago we ran into some nomads . We recognized them from the group of witnesses the Volturi had gathered at our last meeting. They were on the run. They had heard that the Volturi were hunting down the witnesses to kill them. There were rumored to be about fifty of them in the guard alone. They wanted to warn the others so they could run. We told them we would warn you, but they said you knew and had gained the help of the skill bender." He looked over at Scarlet who was standing with Seth at Carlisle's far right. "They said they would find others and gather here."
"The world is finally realizing the Volturi's true intent." Garret declared rather smugly.
"How many nomads do you think will make it?" Esme asked quietly, the worry seeping into her voice.
"I expect only two or three will actually make it." Makenna said softly. "There are so many in the guard. They are all trained. Even the younger ones."
"It is said they took out at least thirty of the total original witnesses." Randall chimed in quietly.
"Not even counting the others who must have been told." Mary added.
My mind flashed back to that day in the field. A perfect recall of the faces of the forty plus unknown vampires. The disorganized horde of witnesses, some even hoping for more than the chance to witness.
My eyes pricked as I realized we would be lucky if eight of those witnesses got here in time. My silent heart ached for those unfortunate people whose lives had been lost because of our family.
"At least we have Scarlet now." Emmett smiled. "She can singlehandedly whoop the Volturi for all of us!" He grinned, smugness radiating from his entire body.
Scarlet took a step forward, hands out and palms forward in caution.
"I would not go that far Emmet." She said quietly, doubt seeping into her voice. "I do not know how far my powers can go with such large numbers, let alone any distractions there may be. Even if I only take away their powers it could be too much. Be cautious."
"Can't we use our powers too?" I questioned.
"You could try, but I could slip up. I could end up taking away your power by accident, even if I tried to …differentiate. It's hard to explain. Remember my juggling analogy? "
I nodded, trying to comprehend what she was telling me.
"Imagine juggling in a room full of balls. When you use your skills the balls bounce. It is hard to keep track of the ones you need and the others get in the way." She trailed off as she thought.
When she put it that way it made sense.
"What else can we do?" Carlisle asked.
"Is this everyone you can gather?" Scarlet inquired.
"Everyone I know of."
"What about the others?"
"I could call in some of my older newborns." Maria chimed in. "I have some to spare."
"Can they control themselves?" Jasper asked hesitantly.
"As long as they are not around humans. They are about a year old so they should be able to handle the dogs and the half-breed." She nodded in Jake and Nessie's direction. Were we really this desperate that we would risk the others by bringing in newborns?
Edward felt me tense up next to him. He rubbed my shoulder comfortingly, though I could tell he was as nervous as me.
"How many?" Scarlet spoke up.
"How does eight sound?"
"Better than zero."
"I'll call Sean." Maria said and she ran to the phone.
I looked around and saw that the others were just as thrilled as I was to have newborns around, no matter how controlled they were. I don't think they were thrilled to have the southerners involved at all.
Carlisle turned back to Makenna.
"I would like to thank you for coming. I know what a sacrifice this is for you." His face was full of remorse.
Makenna looked up and smiled at him slightly.
"They are making a bad decision. I had to do what was right."
I was very confused by the conversation and was going to ask Edward about it, but I could hear Maria murmuring quietly into the small cell phone in her hand, and it distracted me from the odd exchange. I tried to listen in but I could only make out some of the words over the louder grumbles of protest in the room. She was discussing which newborns to bring up.
"Carlisle," Siobhan whispered at his side "Are you sure this is the best idea?"
"Scarlet knows more than we do. We have to trust her. Still, I recommend we all keep our distance and don't get to familiar with them."
I felt a pang of guilt as I realized what he was saying. Don't get familiar with them because they will not make it. One of the key traits of newborns was "Disposable".
"They will be here by tomorrow." Maria claimed.
"Good." Scarlet spoke up. "We will all need training. I will work with Jasper first so he can train the newborns when they arrive. I will work with the rest of you later."
Jasper followed Scarlet out of the house and several others followed to observe. Jake and Sam who had been hovering in the corner kept their distance, but followed the procession.
"Do you think they will know?" I asked Edward.
"The newborns. Do you think they know they will die?"
Edward hesitated. "I can't be sure, but I suppose they would have some suspicions if they are going all the way up north."
"Then why would Carlisle…" I started.
"He hopes that Scarlet's power will come through." He spoke before I finished. "At the very least he hopes they will get enough training to be a distraction without getting hurt."
I fervently hoped for the same thing. I did not want to have more people killed for us. None of them had chosen this life, and even now their fates were being decided by their creator.
I could feel my teeth against my lower lip. I was used to the odd way it felt now, my teeth oddly too sharp even for my cool marble lips. Edward squeezed my hand that was now in his.
"Mom?" I heard Renesmee call from nearby.
I hurriedly rearranged my face so she would not see the guilt that had been plainly written on my face a second before.
"Do you think they will make it? The witnesses I mean."
Edward squeezed my hand lightly, and I took a shallow breath.
"I hope so Ness." I said carefully, watching her face closely.
A single tear escaped her eye before she walked into my open arms. She sobbed quietly.
"Oh honey, it's not your fault." I said softly as I kissed her hair.
"Don't cry angel." Edward said as he wrapped his arms around both of us.
We stood there unmoving, Edward and I listening to the heartbeat of our daughter, her broken sobs quieting, and her breath settling.
"Why don't you go with Jacob." I suggested. I hated losing even a second of the time I has left with my daughter, but I knew she needed Jake right now. He always comforted her.
She nodded, and gave me a kiss before giving Edward one last hug, then she ran out to Jake in the yard. As I watched, I sighed and leaned against Edward who had put his arm around me.
"What do you say to a hunting trip?" I asked as I looked into his ocher eyes. It had been a while since our last venture, and I was feeling the ache more than usual.
Edward smiled and took my hand before we started on our way to the river. Our run quickly turned into a race, and I let myself loose. I knew he was much faster than I was, so I jumped into a tree, planning as I swung from branch to branch. As soon as he let his guard down I struck. I jumped out of the tree, landing on Edward's back and forcing him to the ground. I laughed as he lay there stunned momentarily, but he quickly caught up.
We slowed to a fast human pace, enjoying the morning. The trees were filtering the sun that had decided to show its face, and there was still a slight mist hovering just above the ground.
We were silent for the most part until I remembered the question I had wanted to ask Edward earlier.
"Edward?" I started. "What was Carlisle saying to Makenna, about her coming being a sacrifice?"
Edward was quiet for a minute. He looked like he was thinking about how to word something.
"Makenna has an… interesting family history." He said carefully. "They all know about the existence of vampires, and one of their ancestors is one. He changes one of the family members every now and then."
"What about the Volturi?" I said, shocked. "Wouldn't they get mad?"
"Well," Edward began again. "you remember Renata, Aro's bodyguard?"
I nodded. I felt kind of bad thinking about her. She was not a fighter. She was actually rather timid. She would have to die anyway so we could get to Aro, and I was the only one who could kill her.
"She was the one who invited Charles and Makenna to witness for the Volturi."
"So they know each other?"
"Yes, but its more than that."
"Then what is it?"
"Well, Renata did not change Makenna, but they were both changed by the same ancestor."
I stopped, a wave of guilt washing over me.
"They are related." It was not a question.
"She is turning on her own family."
Edward nodded silently.
"But they were witnesses. The Volturi would have killed them anyway right?" I was looking for an excuse to rid me of some of the guilt.
"They don't know that for sure. Renata is very high up in the guard. They may have made an exception if she had asked."
I groaned, as I realized what all of this meant. Makenna was not only risking herself and her mate, but also her entire human family that knew about the secret world of vampires. Would it never end?
"She knows it is the right thing to do." Edward attempted to comfort me. "With Charles around they can tell when people are lying, and she knows the Volturi are willing to kill for power. She thinks it is wrong, and wants to do the right thing."
I looked into Edward's dark eyes and my anxieties melted away, along with the rest of my thoughts. He brushed his hand across my cheek before pulling me in for a quick kiss.
"Let's hunt before they start to miss us." Edward smiled, and I noticed the sun was already directly overhead.
I quickly caught the scent of a nearby cougar, my favorite. It was behind a bush, looking at a heard of deer in the clearing ahead. I looked at Edward. He was already in hunter mode. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. Crouching slowly into attack mode I leaned forward. The cougar prepared to pounce, but I beat it. I leaped into the air, grabbing the cougar as we came into contact. I could hear the heard of deer scatter as Edward pounced on the heard, taking down the largest buck.
I had perfected my kill, and as I dropped my empty carcass I looked down at my clean shirt. I was proud of myself. It had taken a while for me to learn how to hunt without getting blood all over the place. I felt Edward's arm curl around my waist as he pulled me into his side. I looked up at him and smiled.
"So what do you say to killing some time at our meadow?" Edward whispered in my ear.
It had been weeks since we had been there. I smiled, knowing how beautiful the flowers would be and how green and soft the grass was this time of year.
I nodded enthusiastically, and Edward smiled back at me. With a quick but passionate kiss he grabbed my hand and he led the way to our special spot.
It did not take long to get there. The light from the clearing was visible even a hundred meters away. I ran faster, eager to break through the trees. The second I saw the meadow I stopped to take it all in.
The grass was a beautiful emerald green that even the lush fields of Ireland would envy. The flowers were in bloom, covering the field with patches of purple, yellow, white, and even some pink here and there. Memories flooded my mind. Renesmee when she was young, picking flowers to give to Edward and me, grabbing some on the way home to share with Jacob and the others. Last summer, when Edward and I just lay in the sun, hand in hand, feeling the warmth and watching the other shine in the brilliant sun. The foggy human memories of that first day in our secret meadow.
I released my shield to share the memories with Edward as they flowed into my mind. His eyes lit up as he took it all in, taking my hand in his again and leading me into the sun. The moment it touched his skin I immediately lost control of my shield, and my train of thought.
His beauty still left me speechless even after all this time. Even more now than when I was a human. I could see every individual ray of light that glimmered off his skin. I sighed in pleasure as the back of his glistening hand brushed softly down my cheek.
"So beautiful…" He whispered quietly as he leaned in to kiss me.
His lips were nearly to mine when we were interrupted by a silvery bell-like voice coming from the woods.
"Hold up you two. Don't start anything while I'm here."
Alice entered the clearing from the opposite side of the meadow, her eyes apologetic as she started towards us.
"What do you want Alice?" I said, slightly annoyed at my pixie sister for interrupting.
"Sorry." She apologized. "Scarlet asked me to find you Bella. She wants to talk to you."
My tone changed from annoyed to curious. "About what?"
"Why don't you go find out." Alice said as she rolled her eyes jokingly.
I looked at Edward, searching for answers, but he just shrugged and took my hand. I sighed. I had been looking forward to a quiet afternoon with Edward.
"It sounded important." Alice hinted as she saw me debating whether to go or not.
"Alright." I moaned. "Let's go."
"Race ya!" Alice said as she went sprinting into the forest. I looked at Edward who grinned at me, and we rushed off after her.
Alice laughed as Edward tried to outmaneuver her. He may have been the fastest, but Alice had her ways. She jumped over the river and landed a full second before him, both of them leaving me in the dust.
"Bella." Scarlet called. "I'm glad Alice found you. I want to talk to you privately."
I looked to Edward for answers like I always did when I was confused, and I was surprised to see he looked just as lost. Either Scarlet was blocking him or she was thinking something he really did not grasp.
I nodded silently and let Scarlet lead the way into the woods. We were several miles away when she turned around to finally talk to me.
"I had an idea while I was helping Jasper, and I think it will be our best chance of getting out of this alive."
"What is it?" I asked eagerly. "What can I do to help?"
"I was thinking that I might be able to strengthen your shield. My main goal it to see if I can make it a physical shield too."
"Yes!" I practically yelled. "Let's do it now! What do you need me to do?"
"Shhhh." Scarlet said quickly. "I don't want the others to know yet."
"Why all the secrecy?" I asked. It didn't make any sense.
Scarlet sighed and slumped to the ground. "They trust me too much. I have never used my powers like this before. I don't really know what I'm doing. You're the only one who is second guessing me. Don't worry, I don't take any offense to it. I understand why you don't trust me, but what I don't understand is why you don't trust yourself?"
This took me off guard. It was true. I did not trust myself to be able to protect my family. I could protect them from their minds' deception, but I lacked the ability to hold them in my arms and promise them they would be ok, and Scarlet seemed to fulfill that promise.
"Bella, you have to understand that my power is worthless. Without anyone else I am a normal vampire, but you. Bella, because of you your family, and many others are still alive. You are the protector. That's why I am so drawn to you. You scream safety, and that's the thing I long for the most."
It was kind of odd to hear of myself as safe. I still considered myself a bit of a danger magnet. But her words rang with undeniable truth.
Scarlet smiled up at me, and I could not help but smile back. I felt uplifted. A sense of hope and longing I had not had since the beginning of this long endeavor.
"So when do we start?" I finally asked.
"Not today." Scarlet shook her head. "We will wait till tomorrow when everyone is busy training the newborns. I think the best chance we have of strengthening your shield is by doing a power merge. If everyone is occupied we can see which powers are compatible without them knowing."
"Sounds like a plan." I said cheerfully.
I turned to go back to the house when Scarlet grabbed my hand. I whirled around to face her.
"Don't tell anyone." She whispered one last time.
"Got it." I nodded, and I ran off to join Edward with a new sense of hope in my mind.
Wow there is so much i wana say.
KK lets start with OMG we made it through the entire month with at least a view every day! You guys rock! I do think that has partially to do with ym awesome froends CockapooGirl100 on YouTube and DiehardTwihards on twitter. SOHUTOUT!
Next. I am officially out of pre-written chapters. This one was only half written, and you saw how slow that was. My goal is to stay 100% true to stephanie meyer's story when it comes to character backgrounds and interactions ect. and that takes research which takes time which i dont have a lot of sometimes sooooooooo it may take longer than a month per chapter. I do have some outlined though which may help.
ALSO there will be an onslaught of characters so i suggest you familiarize yourselves with the ones we have. I am trying to set something up where you can see pics and descriptions of the new characters, because I know I personally love that kind of stuff. Keep an eye out on my profile page thing bc i refuse to post updates as chapters. This is like a book to me and i hate it when people post notes as chapters. gets my hopes up just to be crushed when i read them.
Anyway please review to give me the ideas i desperately need or just to say hey.
Update- I made the sight to help you keep up with the characters
check it out!