Isabelle´s mother answered the door. Taking one look at our faces, she let us in. "Hi girls. You go right on down. Isabelle´s in the basement working some spells." She gave us both a hug and went to the kitchen. I wiped my eyes and and smiled faintly. That was why I almost envied Isabelle. We were both only children, but unlike my family, her mom was single, and her mother remembered who she was. When our families memories were modified each reincarnation, they would have no memory of their real heritage. It always took a lot of prompting to help them remember. Echo, Isabelle and I were very early on in this life, and we hadn´t had the heart to freak our parents out. Again. Also, in this modern day, our parents would probably send us to an asylum, or they´d think this was just another teenage phase like being obsessed with wearing black. For some reason though, Isabelle´s mother always remembered and would never hesitate to help Isabelle with her spellwork. Echo and I would come by as often as possible to cast a few spells with Isabelle, and sometimes her mother would join us too. I smiled again, happy to be in a house where I didn´t have to be so careful about what I said. Even in the front hallway as we were taking off our shoes, Echo and I could hear the music coming up from the basement. Nightwish. Typical Isabelle. We looked at eachother and rolled our eyes. If we hadn´t beem so upset as we were coming here, we probably could have heard it all the way down the street. We headed down to the basement where the overpowering scent of lavender met us. Isabelle turned the music down when she saw us coming down the stairs. Her expression was sad but also happy in a way. "Hey guys, I´m just lighting a couple scented candles." She lit another as she spoke. I coughed and squinted through the light fog of smoke the candles created. "Really?!?" I joked, "I couldn´t tell!" We all laughed, and the tenison of our situation was forgotten for a moment.
An hour later, we were sitting in Izzy´s pink and green room (Not the stereo-typical vamp room is it?) eating pizza. Yes, we all eat normal food too. We´re not animals. Well, not completely. That´s not the point. Anyways, the pizza had come late, so we had gotten an extra one for free. "Mmm..hawaillan pizza." Isabelle sighed, content. We had each finished a half pizza each and were sharing the remaining half. Coco lay sprawled across Isabelle ´s bed. "Dýou want your last slice, Coco?" I asked. "Uff! No, I couldn´t eat another slice." I turned to Isabelle. "You want it, Izzy?" she shook her head. "There´s enough for me to have more. You take that one." I reached for the slice in question and bit a corner off. Isabelle was sitting in her hot pink beanbag chair in the corner, and I was lying in the hammock next to her. There was a chick flick on on Isabelle ´s high definition LG flatscreen, but we weren´t watching it. Our minds were elsewhere, thinking about matters more important than "Oh my gosh, I just broke a nail, and did you see what she was wearing?!?" It was Echo who finally brought what we had all been thinking out of the silence. "So, what are we going to do?" She stood up and moved to the green beanbag chair across from Isabelle ´s. Isabelle swallowed the piece of pizza she had been chewing. "I don´t know. I was checking my email and I saw this one from the Night Board." Oh. So this was really important. The Night Board was compromised of 5 "elders" who kind of have control of making sure that who we are, no, what we are is secret from mortals. Some mortals deemed special enough knew who we were, but they were like Echo´s parents and mine. Those mortals were called "Old Souls", mortals who are reincarnated each lifetime. They also had to be reminded of their heritage. Darren and Derek were old souls, but they didn´t know it. I shook my head. Why was I thinking of them right now?!? Anyways, the 5 elders were as follows: Vampire, Werewolf, Elf, Faerie, and an Old Soul. From lifetime to lifetime, the old soul would change, but their role in our society stayed the same: making sure the other old souls did not reveal our secrets. "So I opened it," Isabelle continued, "and it said that we, as in us 3, have to return to our clans or packs or circles or whatever. The only problem is that we are, different." I rolled my eyes. "Well duh." Echo furrowed her brow. "Yeah, how are we going to do that? Especially you, G." The full realization hit me. I sat up in the hammock. "W-wait, as in go back and resume leadership?" I asked, afraid of what I might hear. "Yes. But the worst part is, we have to lead them into battle. Against the Orks, and the goblins..and the minataurs." Isabelle replied, worry plain as day on her face. "Well," she said, "We´ll just have to come to whatever circle meetings we can when we can. But G..I don´t know how you´ll do this..you can´t lead both clans.." she broke off, helpless. We looked at eachother then, and you could see in each one of our eyes, that we each wanted this, the three of us, our impromptu slumber parties, to go on forever.
My ringtone broke the silence. "Do you know what´s worth fighting for, when it´s not worth.." Great. Darren was texting me.
Hey. U ok? U looked upset wen u left. U wr cryng. Did I do sumthing?
"It´s Darren, isn´t it." Echo was staring at me. "How did you know?" I asked. "You look like you´re about to cry. And who else texts or calls you right at the worst moments?" she made a weak attempt at a grin. I tried to return it, but failed miserably. I looked down. I had to answer this.
It was a lie, but one I had told so many times, I almost believed it. But it didn´t fool Darren.
No ur not. I no u better thn tht. Wht hapnd?? Tell me.
Oh, if only he knew. I wanted to tell him so bad. So bad it hurt. I started to cry, tears running down my face. Isabelle and Echo put their arms around me, and tried to comfort me, even though it seemed like I couldn´t be comforted. My cell lay forgotten on the floor.
Darren put his cell down on the table beside his bed. As he put it down, his gaze fell on the picture next to it. It was one taking at the grade 8 after-graduation dance. It was him and Genevieve and Echo and Derek. His favorite part was him and Genevieve. They had their arms around each other. He was laughing at something and she was laughing with him, resting her head on his shoulder. Darren smiled sadly and got up. He headed down to the basement they had sound proofed two years ago. He sat down at his piano and took the music sheets down. He placed them on top of a cabinet next to the piano. Looking down at the keys, he started to play Yiruma´s "River flows in You". It was Genevieve´s favorite, and she always said that that piece was the one he played the best. But tonight, Darren´s finger´s slipped on the keys. He couldn´t remember some bars. He couldn´t play this properly right now. His hands strayed to the upper keys. Hauntingly beautiful notes filled the air. This was Genevieve´s song. He had written it for her. Suddenly, tears were streaming silently down his cheeks, and Derek had his arm around him. "This sucks." Darren said, his voice breaking. "I know man, I know." This was one of those rare times when Derek was telling the truth. He really did know.
I woke up to Isabelle and Echo snoring. I looked out the window. It was raining, but the moon was visible behind the clouds. I saw a flashing light in the corner of my eye. I rolled over. My phone was lying beside the hammock. I picked it up and flipped it open.
I´m dwn the st frm Isabelle´s house. Plz come out. I know ur thr. Plz.
I looked at Isabelle and Echo. Both were sleeping peacefully. I looked out the window again.
I´m cming, I replied.
I crept over to the window and opened it silently. The roof was suprisingly easy to get onto, considering it was wet and slippery. I slid down the eavestrough. I ran down the road. Then I stopped. He was there, his hair plastered to his face from the rain.The rain was pouring down now. I stared at him, longing to throw myself into his arms, to apologize, to tell him everything. "Please," he whispered brokenly. "Tell me what´s wrong. Let me help you, Genevieve. I love you. I´ve loved you since fifth grade. Please." He begged. My tears mixed with the rain that was still pouring down, drenching us both. "I love you too." I whispered. "You have no idea how much I want to tell you what´s wrong." I was crying in earnest now. "Than why don´t you?" he cried. "Tell me! Please!" He reached down and put my hands in his. "Please, G. I want to help you. I hate seeing you upset." I threw myself into his arms. "I can´t!" I sobbed. "It´ll put you in danger, and I can´t see you get hurt, Darren!" He was crying now too. "I don´t care!" He cried. "I want to make this better!" I took a deep breath, my sobs cutting it short. "I´m different, Darren." I stepped out of his arms and wiped my tears from my cheeks, only to have them replaced immediately by more tears and rain. "Oh, god. This sounds like a cheesy horror movie." I took another deep breath. "You´re different too, you just don´t know it. Darren.." I stopped, thinking it over. I didn´t want to hurt him..but I had to tell him. "Darren, I´m an Elvish Witch. I´m also a were-wolf. Echo is an Elvish Witch too. Isabelle is a Vampire Witch. You and your brother are Old Souls, mortals reincarnated like us. That´s why you´re always remembering things that don´t make sense, like memories of us together in the medieval ages. Those memories are memories. Memories from another lifetime." I looked away, afraid to look into his eyes, afraid he would think it was some cruel joke I was playing on him. Then I heard him sobbing. I turned and looked him in the face. "I remember now, G. I remember." He repeated. "But Darren, we have to leave. Echo, Isabelle and I. We´ve been called back...to lead our clans into battle." He looked into my eyes with that stubborn gleam. "Derek and I will fight with you," he said. I broke down again. "No. No, Darren, you can´t. I won´t let you get hurt because of me." The rain was really coming down now. "I´m not just going to sit at home while you go out to battle and I won´t even know if you´re going to come back. I´m not going to sit around while you go out to fight to the death!" He cupped my face in his hands. "I couldn´t bear it," he whispered. "It would kill me." Then he pressed his lips to mine. I kissed him back, running my fingers through his hair. Rain was still pouring down on us, raindrops splashing in the puddles around our feet. We broke apart, but his hand lingered on my cheek. "I´m coming with you," he said. "You can´t. I love you too much to watch you die, much less fighting for me," I whispered, kissing him again. "I love you." I repeated, and then I ran.
He watched her go. The rain poured down on him. He ran his fingers through his wet hair and closed his eyes. Taking a breath, he opened his eyes and headed home. His parents had gone out for the night, and his brother was still up, standing by the cupboard, one hand in a bowl of chips. Jersey Shore was on on the TV in the kitchen, but Derek seemed busy searching for something in the cupboard. He suddenly let out a triumphant "HA!" and pulled out a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. Standing up, he caught sight of Darren, standing in the hallway, dripping wet. Derek popped a pretzel in his mouth and put the bag and the chips down. "What happened to you?!?" he asked. Darren looked up from his shoes, which he had been gazing at intently, but not really seeing them. "They left." he croaked out. Derek blanched and dropped the can of pepsi he had been pouring. "WHAT?!?" Darren looked out the window. "Echo and Izzy and G." he winced as he said her name. Derek sank to the floor. Darren grabbed the dishtowel on the kitchen table and toweled off his hair. Sitting down next to Derek, he noticed that both of their phones were flashing. He got up and tossed Derek's to him. They flipped them open, and on both screens were the words:
"I love you. I'm sorry."
-Echo and Genevieve.
The rain stung my face as I ran, but when I came to Isabelle´s street, I kept running. I looked back. "We shall meet again soon, my sisters," I said both aloud and with my thoughts. I ran all the way to the forest on the outskirts of town. As I approached the looming trees, it started to rain even harder, and the wind picked up. The trees swayed in the wind, and leaves were falling off the tress and swirling around me. I took a deep breath and tried to calm my nerves. Automatically, the wind died down and the rain let up a little. Oh. I was unintentionally causing the storm to worsen. I took a deep breath and started to meditate. Not a deep meditation, but deep enough to calm my nerves.The rain stopped. Okay. I can do this. And so I ran into the mass of swaying trees. When I came to the clearing, I sat down and started to meditate again. I closed my eyes.I saw a flash of bright blue, and then I opened my eyes to a new clearing. The sky was filled with the magnificent colors of a sunset, and there was a nice breeze. The setting sun was shining through the trees. A stream was rushing along peacefully beside me. I smiled. I was back. Snapping my fingers, I murmured a single word: "Arenne." A brilliant white mare, with a black star on her forehead appeared out of the birches. She trotted towards me, her black mane blowing in the wind, a stark contrast to her magnificently white torso. "Hello, girl," I said, stroking her mane. I reached into the pocket of the black velvet saddle she wore. I pulled out a hair brush, a short white and silvery-blue dress, a silver cloak with a round black clasp, and a silver and black crown, two circlets woven together with silver leaves. I brushed my hair and braided two strands of it. I tied the two strands together. There. A true elvish hairstyle. I put the clothes on, and placed the crown on my head. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Mmm. Home. When I opened my eyes, leaves were swirling around me in the breeze. Cherry blossom leaves took the form of a woman. "Greetings Princess," she said in a musical voice, bowing. "Hello Rhea," I said, smiling at the dryad. Oak leaves took the form of a man next to Rhea. "And you, Ronnoc." I continued, turning towards the male dryad. "Welcome home, your Majesty," he said in a deep voice. He also bowed. I smiled. "It is good to be back, although the reasons of my return are not ones I favor." I said. He nodded. "Nonetheless princess, it is a pleasure to have you return." I smiled. "Thank you Ronnoc." I said, mounting Arenne. The dryads laughed, a beautifully musical sound. I smiled confusedly. "What?" I asked, afraid there was something on my face or something. "Nothing, princess. We are all just happy you have returned." said Rhea. They bowed again, and retreated into their trees. I smiled again, and shook my head. Dryads were weird. I laughed as I rode Arenne towards the elvish city. The lights beckoned me. I had returned home : to Faelistin. As I rode towards the city, the laughter of elven children greeted me. Elvish warriors met me at the city gates. "Tahlfera, Dreymus." I nodded my greeting and smiled at them. "Greetings Princess Lycaelaera." they replied in unison, bowing. I laughed to myself. I had forgotten my nickname. "Ly" meaning wolf, "Cael" meaning swift arrow or sword, and "Aera" meaning singer or song. Lycaelaera. I laughed again, this time out loud. The warriors smiled and bowed, then opened the gates for me to pass. I tapped Arenne. "Terei, Arenne" She started to trot. We sped towards the palace, the wind blowing in my hair. I laughed out loud, so happy to be back. At the palace, I dismounted and gave Arenne an apple. "Thank you," I told her. "Now go. Rest." She snorted happily, snapped up the apple and cantered off to the stables. "She has been waiting for you to return." I turned quickly. There stood my best friend, my bodyguard, Ferawyn. He smiled and bowed. I touched his head. "You do not bow to me, brother." I said, smiling. He stood up and I hugged him. "It´s been too long, Lyaera." he said. I laughed. My elven name was often shortened to "Wolfsinger" or "Wolfsong". Lyaera. "Yes Ferawyn, far too long." I sighed. "Well," I said, starting up the stairs to the palace. "Who was voted to rule in my absence?" I asked. "The people agreed it had to be someone close to you," he said. I turned my face lighting up with joy. "It was you wasn´t it?" I asked happily. He smiled, blushed, and nodded. I hugged him again. "I am glad. You are the one I trust the most." He smiled. "Now you are back, and I can hand the throne to it´s rightful owner." I laughed. "Race you up?" I asked. He laughed too. "I´ll give you a head start." he said. I smiled. "I figured you might." And we raced up the stairs to the palace. We burst through the palace doors, flushed and laughing. I walked towards the throne and sat down. Ferawyn turned to a warrior who stood by the door. "Call the city to the palace. Their princess has returned.We shall rejoice with a night of song and festivities! " The warrior smiled and ran to alert the city of the plan.
In fifteen minutes, the city had gathered in the massive square outside the palace. I left my cloak in the throne room and went out to greet my people. "Greetings my fellows! I have returned. Returned home to this beautiful place of magic and wonder. I have missed Faelistin. I, along with Ayrel, the princess of our sister clan, have been travelling these many years together since we last saw our people. Now I have returned, and it is good to be back. Now let us start the festivities and be merry! Can someone play some music?" I ended my speech with a question. The elves laughed. I laughed with them. My people. My friends. My family.
Isabelle woke up. She turned to her alarm clock. 5:30am. She groaned and rolled back over. "Isabelle!" Echo sounded urgent. Probably just a dream. She opened her eyes and rolled over again. Echo was standing over her, her eyes red from crying. Worry was clear on her face. "Izzy..Izzy, she´s gone!" Isabelle snapped upright. "WHAT?!?" Echo winced. "Shh..I said she´s gone, Izzy!" she whispered. Isabelle put her head between her knees and took a deep breath. "Well, we´ll just have to trust that she knows what she´s doing." She said. Echo nodded. Then Isabelle turned to Echo. "Do you know where she went? I can´t hear her thoughts anywhere!" Echo nodded again. "That´s because she´s in a shielded area. She´s gone back to the elves. Which means we should get going." Now it was Isabelle´s turn to nod. "Good luck, sister." she said. Echo hugged her, grabbed her purse and her cell and climbed out the window. Isabelle watched her run down the street and turn the corner. Then she turned, grabbed her own cell, and went downstairs. She sat down and wrote a note to her mother.
I need to go back to the vamps for a bit. The Night Board´s called Echo, Genevieve and I back to our clans. G´ll figure something out with her.She left early this morning. Echo just left. Now I´m heading out. Love you mom. I´ll call you.
Love, Your Izzy.
She left the note on the fridge, grabbed her purse and her house key, and left.
Darren was sitting by the piano again. His hands moved across the keys swiftly. His feet kept perfect time. Derek came down the stairs and picked up his guitar. Darren reached over and turned on the microphones that were in front of them. "Do you know what´s worth fighting for, when it´s not worth dying for....."
All night, there was dancing and singing, and elves read poems, and the highlight of the night was when two doves swooped down and laid my crown, which I had left in the throne room, on my head. Finally, at the end of the night, I stood up and sung for everybody in elvish. The words came easily, as if I had never left Faelistin.