Sorry 'bout the wait, folks. Holidays, relatives, illnesses, hospitals, writer 's block, and the like put a kibosh to my fanfiction. Plus, there was the Christmas fic that my sister/friend wanted me to tackle…Gah! But I couldn't resist Peter and Bella. (so hot!)

"We, as humans, can by no means stop the sands of time. The sand cannot and will not slow; it has a journey to fulfill, trickling one granule at a time out of the hands of God. Either he can choose to open his hand and release the sand all at once, or he can minutely allow the grains to fall. We cannot stomp, yell at the heavens, drag our feet, or refuse to go; our birth and demise are in his hands. For he alone chooses the time and the place. So live and love, as you will, for his hands are almost empty." ~ Jamie S. (me!)

*Twilight is the sole property of SM and her publishing company.*

Chapter 11-

There are Monsters Afoot, Master


The Pacific Northwest region of Washington State was alight with vampire activity, newborn activity, to be exact. The Masters had observed such patterns before. The unsolved murders and massive disappearances were indicative of defensive tactics, though the warlords in the South were far more skilled and discreet in their endeavors. Therefore, our sovereign leaders were certain that a new offender, who was quite sloppy and undisciplined. Unlike Maria, who was the master of her trade, a cunningly scrupulous creature after my heart, this creator had caused a massive uproar in the Northwest portion of the State. Largely, the Volturi stood back and allowed such territorial wars to continue, only stepping in when the factions had become careless—attracting the attention of the humans—which had happened in this case. The nature of our being was in danger of exposure, thus, forcing the Volturi involvement.

Aro had set the usual clean-up crew to obliterate the threats: Jane, Alec, Felix, and I. For centuries, the four of us had worked together like well-oiled machines. We heralded death like the daily news, carrying out executions with a swift and decisive hand. Both silent and deadly, the four of us were a force to be reckoned with, tracking, torturing, and cleaving apart our enemies. Moreover, we had carried out said mandates without question. This threat was no different from the others.

From the cover of the trees, Felix and I watched in amusement as Jane and Alec sauntered toward the human and the redheaded wench, Victoria, eager to watch her demise. More often then not, the Twins were the ones who carried out the executions, desperate to keep Aro's praise. In this instance, though, it took every ounce of my power not to bowl over the tiny tweens and personally rip the twat's head off her nasty little body myself. The physical proof of my failure stood no more that five-thousand feet from me, but I was unwillingly rooted to the spot. Jane was a spiteful bitch who had purposely deprived of me of my revenge. Denying that child her pleasure was apt to garner a person a healthy dose of mental retribution, and since I had been on the receiving end of said torture more times than I cared to admit, I had chosen to relinquish my need for revenge in favor of retaining my sanity.

The Volturi had an unfortunate run in with Victoria about a half millennia ago. The bitch had a wonderfully cunning gift. Her evasion techniques were quite effective in deterring my own. Aro hadn't felt her endowment worthy of the guard. He was always one to overlook the more practical over the extraordinary, and having done so, he underestimated her ability. The slippery demon escaped right out from underneath our noses as we decimated her coven, garnering my own Heidi in the process. For centuries, the redheaded whore's face taunted my sleepless days and nights, prancing about the fringes of my mind like an evil troll. The nature of my gift was simple, really. My consciousness was a veritable map of information, a roster of every living vampire I had ever encountered. Like stars in the sky, they illuminated my psyche with their individual locations. There wasn't a place on the planet that I couldn't find you. She, however, had the ability to evade my attempts at her acquisition at the last moment, easily maneuvering herself out of harms way. She simply mocked me with her very existence, and Jane had ripped that pleasure from my awaiting fists.

I wanted to kill them both.

Victoria sneered at the tiny human, who hung limply in her clutches, so completely distracted by her quarry that she ignored the niggling feeling of danger—the danger that unknowingly bore down upon her.

"He'll come for me you know. My mate. He won't stop until he either finds me or ends you," the girl simpered, taunting the female vampire with the threat of retribution. This human was strong.

"I have ensured we wouldn't be followed. You see, I have constructed a rather large army of newborn vampires and set them loose like a plague of locusts. They will destroy everything and everyone in their path, including the human attendants of your little gala.

"Your friends, both vampire and human, are going to die in the most violent of ways. Revenge will be as sweet as honey. Their deaths…your death will set me free," the redhead purred.

"I seriously doubt that," Jane countered, a familiar ferocity in her voice.

The teen's eyes fixated on the crimson orbs of her intended victim, and she crumpled to the ground in a quivering heap, screaming toward the heaven for the agony to end. She had been sorely misinformed if she believed Jane had a benevolent bone in her body. It wasn't in her nature to grant her victims respite. The little witch tortured her victims just for the fun of it. She had always been a sick little fuck, that one. Even I wasn't that cruel, and I indulged in bit of sadism myself, from time to time.

Victoria still clutched the human tightly against her body, refusing to relinquish her prize even as she writhed in agony. Alec ripped the human away from the redheaded wench and clutched her fragile body against his own, while his sister, Jane, continued her painful leer. The two of them shared a knowing glance before Alec returned to his newly acquired treasure, someone who he had coveted since she had first stepped into the throne room in Volterra. The preteen spun the pretty brunette about in his arms and looked at her with a hungry scrutiny in his obsidian eyes.

"Ah, it's the halfling," he said with an air of humor in his usually reserved tone. "Not quite a woman and quite obviously not a vampire, even though my masters mandated it as such."

The boy gently grasped her clothing and deeply inhaled the girl's scent, raising his eyebrows in surprise. "Little one, I find it curious that you smell of another. Pray tell, did you tire of the boy so quickly? Did he not satisfy you? Apparently, so, as after only four months, you have found another lover. Your tenacity is quite arousing, little kitten. Should I guess that your personality change is related to your new lover? It is truly a shame that talent such as yours will be destroyed. Perhaps, Aro will allow me to keep you as a pet. The chains in my personal quarters haven't been used in sometime."

The girl and I shuddered simultaneously at his words. The chains. Fuck! My stomach turned. Her screams would bleed through the walls like water, cracking the foundation seep into the consciousness of everyone in the castle. Quit toying with the bitch and just kill her already, Alec!

The small vampire glanced at his sister and smiled wryly, the two sharing a silent conversation. He unfurled his arms and gently tossed the human aside, marching toward his other half with an arrogant spring to his step. He paused and looked over his shoulder, catching her gaze as he spoke. "Pardon my discourtesy, Isabella, but I have an essential and quite overdue execution to perform. Stay still, girl. Should I find need to pursue you, my action will not be so magnanimous."

Victoria glanced up at the feral guardsman and growled with intent, garnering an elevated dosage of fiery anguish from Jane. Her keening resonated through the trees. The crescendo was like a symphony to my ears, having dreamed of the act for five hundred years. Alec bent slightly, grasped her fiery red hair, and yanked the bitch to her to her knees, holding her still to prevent her escape. Jane's dark eyes sparkled with joy, as she grabbed the older vampire by the teeth. The two of them cleaved her jaw from its hinge, seamlessly tearing the bone and flesh from her skull. I groaned in pleasure as the pieces thumped to the ground along with her body.

In the blink of an eye, the siblings had gathered enough brushwood to fuel Victoria's pyre, and I observed the familiar silver lighter fall into the dismembered pile of severed limbs. The body exploded into a fiery inferno of singed hair and melting tissue, issuing a plum of amethyst smoke toward the heavens.

As her body smoldered at Alec's feet, I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, reveling in the feeling of her life force as it slowly evaporated from my mind. Surprisingly, I wasn't the only creature who reveled in the vampire's demise. It seemed that the human took just as much pleasure in her demise as I had. Felix and I heartily laughed as she gleefully danced around the fire, spewing the sort of profanity that regularly graced my fellow sentinel's lips. I was amazed by this tiny woman's ferocity and hoped that she would die swiftly before that all-consuming fire was extinguished for all eternity. However, her happiness was short-lived, as most things were in our company. Fate was a cruel bitch, indeed.

One call to Master Aro changed the atmosphere to one of dread.

The matter was settled quickly and precisely, as most dealings with our raven-haired leader were. Aro wanted her just as badly as the boy and quickly conceded to the preteen's wish, granting him permission to become the girl's sire. My stomach clenched at the thought of her painful eternity of servitude. If not for the punishment I would've earned upon my return, or moreover suffered at his sister's cruel gift, I would've rushed to her side and snapped her neck, saving her from a veritable nightmare—a kindness that I would've gladly given.

However, like the coward and dutiful soldier that I was, I turned a blind eye to my fellow guard members and focused my mind upon our original task: the disposing of newborns. I swallowed hard and tamped down my conscious hard. Then, I glanced over at Felix who nodded in return, both of us happy for a change of direction, a more enjoyable task. He and I knew whatever the little monsters had planned wasn't something that either of wished to watch. The two of them were sick fiends when they had cornered their prey, or in Alec's case, his new charge. We'd been a party to far too many despicable acts during our centuries together—so many, in fact, that my mind had been permanently blemished by their acts of ferocity. Aro had truly erred in his judgment that night he pulled those two children from the fire, and he'd read the condemnation in my thoughts on more than one occasion, thankfully ignoring my displeasure. Jane and Alec had been changed far too early in life. While compliant to a fault, the tiny terrors of the vampire world had lived up to their names, garnering the constant praise of their sire, who consequently, allowed them an extraordinarily long leash.

Felix and I threw our hoods over our heads, just as we had done thousands of times prior, and ghosted across the landscape, our dark cloaks billowing out behind us like dark, ominous clouds. We sprinted through the forest as though we were streaks of lighting, phantoms of the night, easily circumventing the fallen trees and bounding across ravines, leaving Jane and Alec to the rest of their sick, convoluted acts of cruelty. Each quick stride took us closer to our destination and farther from my screaming conscious. The dozens of individual signatures that pulsated in the darkest reassesses of my psyche allowed me to thrust the last remaining vestiges of my moral compass into the back of my mind, instead allowing the approaching life sparks to dominate my nature.

I slid to an abrupt stop just inside the tree line that bordered the Cullen property, smiling wryly at the shrill sounds emanating from behind the shroud of foliage. I was almost as giddy as a schoolgirl at the thought of the Cullens' demise. However, to my surprise and consternation, they were holding their own. Strangely enough, the yellow-eyed vampires had ensconced themselves with a multitude of monstrous beasts—horse-sized wolves, to be exact. Even from thousands of feet from behind the vegetation, their scent made me physically unwell. The sickening combination of perspiration, rotting earth, and testosterone radiated off the creatures in droves, permeating the air with their disgusting odor, burning my nose profusely. Clearly, the Cullens had acclimated themselves to the stench, as they fought without the slightest inkling of disgust etched across their perfect features. I wondered if their unnatural food source had predisposed them to a lesser sense of smell.

These monsters were of the supernatural variety—quite possibly a sub-species of werewolves, and I questioned the need to phone Master Caius with the new development. Our fair-haired Sovereign had nearly perished at the jaw of such a being, and it was understandable that he had spent the better part of a century hunting them down for sport. He would undoubtedly have been quite incensed to learn that, that not only were there others, but also that the good Doctor had harbored the fetid mutts right underneath our noses—taunting the leaders with their willful disobedience.

It had been centuries since I was surprised by the workings of this convoluted world, and here I was dumbfounded by this spectacle. The battle that ensued around us was unlike anything I had ever witnessed, and Felix and I quickly agreed that, for the moment, we'd step back and allow the factions to battle amongst themselves. We wouldn't dirty our hands if necessary.

Why place my head under the guillotine and risk my existence if the Cullens would do it for me?

The wolves had a natural penchant for the destruction of vampires, with their strong bodies and razor-sharp teeth. The giant creatures dismembered the surrounding vampires with the efficiency of several veteran guardsmen. The two of us were impressed by the mutts' natural abilities, thus furthering our decision to remain hidden. We watched in veritable silence as the reddish-brown beast leapt over a particularly feral newborn and whipped around, catching him mid torso with his massive teeth. Seconds later, the creature was joined by another who then crushed his trachea with a similar bite. I smiled broadly as the two of them pulled the vampire in two directions, prying him apart at the waist. It was fucking awesome to watch and reminded me of the scene in Jurassic Park where the two T-Rexes brutally shredded the stupid human.

God, I missed movie night! And Heidi. Fuck how I missed the little minx's shapely legs wrapped around me.

The ground rumbled beneath our feet as the powerful bodies collided with one another. The vampires and wolves worked seamlessly, dancing around the lawn and dismembering newborns with fervor. The largest one, Emmett I believe, reminded me of Felix with his exuberance, and I had to stifle a chuckle as he whacked the beautiful blonde in the ass as she passed. She yelped in surprise and blew him kiss moments after she ripped off the head of head of her victim, venom drenching her substantial bosom. Fuck me sideways. That was hot!

A loud noise drew my attention to the east, and I turned my head just in time to watch the Major and his coven mate as they stalked toward the overzealous leader. I watched him survey his options carefully, and was quite surprised when he chose, whom he had believed the less formidable of the two. Poor fool. He'll not know what hit him. The young vampire chose not to dally and lunged at the seasoned fighter, who easily anticipated his move, ducking and parrying out his way. The momentum propelled him toward a nearby tree, which in turn, he used as a pivoting point and promptly roundhouse kicked the Major in the gut, laying him out flat. Understandably, the action pissed the fuck out of him, and he lithely sprung to his feet, roaring with anger. As the newborn fixed his gaze on the other blond, he was waylaid by the larger vampire and forced to his stomach.

Without warning, Whitlock pounced on the man and forcibly grabbed his arms, painfully wrenching them behind his back. Then, the blond soldier sunk his boot into his back, and with skilled precision, he ripped the offending limbs from his body, venom soaking the ground in a fine mist. The newborn's head shortly followed suit and joined the twitching body parts in the massive pyre that raged where the garage had one stood.

I had never had the pleasure of watching the Major in combat. It was a remarkable sight. The man was a legend. Aro had always greatly coveted his military prowess, and coupled with his gift, brought even more to the proverbial table. We, of course, had gifted members in the élite guard, but none had such a raw aptitude for battle as the Veteran Soldier before me. I would've given my right arm to spar with the fucker.

With the death of the leader, the three gifted vampires seemed to visibly calm, and the blonde soldier resumed the fight. He danced through the throng with the dexterity of a lithe predator, bounding and twisting over their frames with a gymnast's grace, before he crushed them under the influence of his gift. And just as quick and agile as their vampire counterparts, the wolves swept in and ripped the influenced vampires apart with deadly precision.

When the last of the vampires had met their demise, the wolves' heads whipped toward us and we locked eyes for a moment, before they simultaneously howled into the twilight, quickly returned by additional doleful cries from more of their kind. We were horribly outnumbered. And terribly stupid to have allowed ourselves to be seen! The two of us desperately needed to regroup with the rest of our party and return at a later date, hopefully with an army to destroy this very formidable threat. The Cullens were fortunate, at the moment, and received a stay of execution. However, it wouldn't remain as such, once the Masters caught wind of their treachery.

Wide eyed, I gazed over my shoulder at Felix, who had a similar look of etched across his face. "We must leave immediately and rejoin Jane and Alec, and then regroup at Volterra. Master Caius will want to know more of this wolf problem immediately and knowing there's a pack of them residing with Carlisle will anger our King greatly. Let us flee the area. We are sorely outnumbered here."

A broad smile spread across the mammoth man's face, scarlet eyes twinkling with amusement. "Master Caius is going to pop a vein when he learns that Aro's pet, Carlisle, is harboring such a threat. Aro can't fain indifference toward his former lover, now. Can he? First, he risks exposure everyday by placing himself among the humans, secondly, he allows his twat of a son to tell a human of our nature. Now, the idiot Doctor is harboring children of the moon! How good is Carlisle Cullen dick sucking abilities? He's gonna have to be proficient at it to get himself out of this pickle. The shit is so hitting the fan, Dem!"

"Come now, Felix! Carlisle is too much of a puritan to have had a sordid affair with Aro. He's as much of a prude as his son," I replied through barely contained guffaws.

Without delay, the two of us spun on our heels and took flight back to the little clearing, dashing through the forest, and our dark swirling behind us. I pulled out my phone and dialed Caius, smiling broadly when I heard the robust voice of my King echoing through the receiver. The fair-haired leader was likely in a foul disposition, though I knew this particular call would substantially brighten his decade.

"Demetri, why are you not calling Aro?" he playfully griped. "You know how anxious he is about learning of the missions before Marcus and I. He is a spoiled little bitch when he does not get what he wants, and I for one, do not want to listen to his droning!"

I chuckled and nodded my head in acknowledgment. He was correct in his assumption. Aro was definitely pacing the library at this very moment, desperately awaiting news.

"Master Caius, there are some new developments in Washington. We've come into contact with creatures that may be closely related to werewolves, perhaps a sub-species."

Felix snorted at my half-assed declaration.

"Werewolves, you say?" he questioned, all traces of humor lost. "Explain yourself, Demetri."

I quickly relayed everything we had learned about the giant beasts, from their appearance to their temperament and everything in between, all while closely followed by the animals in question. My mind was a jumble of both familiar and unknown life sparks, and I was abruptly overwhelmed by vast amount of stimuli. I promptly hung up the phone, choosing to focus on returning home in one piece, rather then speak with the fair-haired King.

As we frantically drew closer to the twins last known whereabouts, I heard a terrible high-pitched wail pierce the darkness. An air of trepidation washed over me like a wave, and I knew we were too late to save our coven mates. I felt my connection to Jane and Alec slowly ebb into a dull pulse, and then they slowed faded into oblivion. My mind immediately slipped into self-preservation mode. Felix and I were no help to them, now. When, or if, we were able to return to Volterra, there would be hell to pay.

Felix and I flew by the clearing in a blur, hearing the massive footfalls overshadow our rustling movements as they closed in all around us. I chanced a look over my shoulder and promptly regretted it, shuddering at the proximity of the red-brown wolf from the Cullen house. As a final effort, I grabbed the nearest branch and swung myself into the trees, happy to have evaded his menacing teeth. However, my relief was short-lived, as my actions weren't nearly fast enough. His massive jaw firmly clipped the hem of my cloak and forcibly wrenched my body to the ground. Felix slid to a stop and turned back, grasping the large creature around the torso, crushing his ribs with one squeeze. A loud howl caught in his throat, and we watched in utter fascination as the broken body shimmered and shifted into a man. Unfortunately, we didn't have long to ponder the amazing sight before we felt the familiar rumble of the beast's cohorts bearing down upon us once more.

The two of us took off like bullets, he faster than I, and before I was able to escape, I found myself cornered, face to face with the barer of my possible demise. I furiously ripped off my cloak and stared the beast down. He snapped at me a moment too late, as I quickly dipped into a somersault, successfully evading his razor-sharp teeth. I immediately sprung to my feet and spun on my heel, lining myself up with his body, using it to launch myself into a perfect handspring. On my second turn, I grabbed the large beast by the head and utilized the animal's massive frame as a pivoting point. I centered my shoulders and used my body's own momentum to propel me into a back tuck and a final flip. Once I had successfully bound over him, I sprinted off toward the trees, weaving in and out of the trunks with relative ease. However, as luck would've had it, the jet-black wolf was rejoined by his pack, which in turn, joined the chase. Suddenly, I felt completely overwhelmed by their presence—my gift burning a hole in my brain.

"Fuck you," I screamed at the animals, "There's no way I'm not becoming fodder to a pack of wild dogs!"

After my rather confident avowal, I dug deep and propelled myself forward with every ounce of strength that remained in my body, confident in my ability to evade the deadly predators. Yet, as fast as I was, the wolves seemed equally so, closing in on me from all sides. The animals were too close for comfort, snapping and snarling at my heels. I leapt up and gracefully swung myself to a higher branch, taking solace in the trees. I lithely bound from branch to branch in a frantic attempt to lose the ferocious predators below. However, to my dismay, they hadn't halted their pursuit, trailing me for miles, attempting to thwart my escape. And as the trees thinned in the horizon, I understood their desperate need to corner and destroy me. The ocean laid before me in all of her glorious majesty, crashing against the rocks in frothy, purple, and white swells. Even on the verge of a tempest, I had never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life.

I vaulted my body off the last remaining branch and hit the ground running, pirouetting to the left as teeth snapped at my hip. I bent backward and connected my steel-toed boot with the giant snout of the offending fiend. Then, I used the momentum to flip myself into a handstand, lining my body up for a perfect dive. And I had done just that, I jumped backward into a gainer and sliced through the tumultuous water after three and a half somersaults.

Until we meet again, mutts! I thought as I propelled myself away from the cliffs.

Well, what do you think? Caius knows about the Quileutes and Aro knows about Jane and Alec. What do you think is gonna happen there?

Reviews and speculations always appreciated!