I raced back to the glade, ignoring Trevor's angry voice. He could never keep up with me. The bell rang before I could kill the deer I had my sights on but I didn't care. Not now that they were out of session.
We all gathered at the border of the elves and vampires. We were put in our spots. Mine was near the front and I fidgeted nervously. They had been in session for 24 hours; the longest session yet. I looked to my right at the vampires.
They were pulling at their collars and sweating. I felt a little bad for them. They were sensitive to the sun and I'm sure it was very uncomfortable right now since it was nearly noon. Everyone was whispering among themselves until the elders showed up. The whispers died down.
"Good afternoon," our elder said loudly and we echoed his greeting.
"Thank you for gathering today," the vampire elder said in his grim voice. "We have been in session and have come to an agreement."
Everyone cheered and I looked excitedly at the vampire side of the domain. Would we finally get to see what it's like there?
Our elder held out his hands and we all quieted. He looked around until his eyes landed on me. I blinked. They were sad.
"Lillian Greentree, please come forward."
I frowned. People stepped out of my way as I walked forward slowly. Everyone was staring at me and I tugged at my skirt. This didn't bode well.
"Roan Dragomir, come," the elder vampire said.
The vampire I spoke with just hours ago looked as confused as I was. We looked at each other, frowning. I could tell he was trying to figure out what was going on, too.
"Our races have been at odds for several eras," the vampire elder said. "Every elder has sought to bring peace among our land. We have with the humans and the werewolves."
"We have come to an agreement," our elder said. "Our races will merge as one."
I blinked a few times as everyone broke into speech. Some were angry, some were happy, and some sounded like they were walking away. I looked at Roan, my eyes wide.
"Wait, what!?" we yelled in unison, looking at our elders.
"Silence!" the two elders shouted and all noise died out.
"The marriage of Lillian Greentree to Roan Dragomir will happen in two months at sundown," the vampire elder said and I felt like I was going to faint. "Everyone, return to your duties."
I stood, frozen in place, and gawking at my elder. He beckoned his finger and I walked forward on shaking legs. I walked up the wooden stairs to the deck. He embraced me but I didn't return it.
"This is a joke, right?" I whispered.
"Please, Lillian," he whispered back. "Just-Just hear us out. Come inside. Your-Your fiancé is most uncomfortable in this sun."
I didn't have the chance to argue as he dragged me into the Meeting Hall. I had never been inside before so I took the moment to look around.
The entrance was two heavy doors. One was on our side, the other on the vampire side. The silver line that kept everyone on their sides continued down the hall. It was cooler inside and darker to accommodate the vampires. I didn't mind too much. My eyes were sharper than others so I could see in the darkness.
At the end of a carpeted hall - the left half green and the right half blood red - was another set of doors. Our elders opened it and I gasped quietly.
The room was small which took me by surprise. I had expected something grand but the contrast made up for that. On our side, trees and plant life grew in abundance. I didn't know how they managed to grow without sunlight. The floor was grass and the seats made of tree trunks. On the vampire side, things were darker. There were a few torches and the floor was the same red carpet. The seats were made of stone and had cushions but still looked uncomfortable.
"Lillian, this is Elder Donne," my elder said and I made the elf salute: fingers splayed out and slid from my left shoulder to my right.
"Roan, this is Elder Arlan," Elder Donne said and Roan hesitated before doing the vampire salute: his right hand in a fist and over his heart with a bow.
"Both of you please sit," Elder Arlan said. "Are you thirsty, Lillian?"
I just shook my head, staring at the top of the table where the silver line still cut through. I wanted to run but I stayed put.
"What about you, Roan?" he asked.
"Perhaps you could explain everything instead," Roan snapped and I glared at him.
"Do not talk to Elder Arlan like that," I said.
He just glared back at me.
"When we made allegiance with the humans," Elder Arlan said, "our treaty was simple. We are allowed on their domain and they on ours so long as no one tries to start a war. We trade weapons and food with them."
"With the werewolves, it was easier," Elder Donne said. He had a very quiet voice but unkind eyes. "As long as everyone remained peaceful, they are allowed to mingle."
"Vampires and elves, though, never seemed to find a common ground," Elder Arlan sighed. "After much thought and rereading of our history, we believe we have found out why."
I waited, clenching my jaw.
"With each treaty that was signed, a marriage was preformed," Elder Donne said and I shook my head, sighing. "It was a merging of the two races."
"It took us so long to find this because our two races are riddled with political disputes," Elder Arlan continued. "Now, though, we hope that this will solve our problems."
"How?" I demanded. "We're different races! At least with the others, they shared common traits!"
Elder Donne looked at me. "You don't need common traits, Lillian Greentree."
My jaw dropped. "Of course we do," I said. "How are we supposed to get along?"
"Or have children?" Roan added and I blushed.
"Who said anything about children?" I asked in a high voice and he cocked a brow.
"You don't know who I am?"
"No," I said. "Should I?"
He leaned back, crossing his arms. "I am the prince."
I groaned and put my head in my hands. Oh great.
"I'm sure you'll find that you have some common traits," Elder Arlan said. "From what I understand, Roan Dragomir, you have a strong curiosity in elven history."
"Lillian shares that interest only with vampires," he said and I glared at him.
"This isn't about hobbies," Ron said, slamming his fist on the table. Even Elder Donne flinched. "I need to be able to have children, Elder Arlan! I need an heir! How can I do that with an-an-an elf!?"
Elder Arlan sighed. "We are still working on that part," he said and I threw my hands up in the air.
"Seriously!?" I shouted. "That's all you have? Besides, I can't cross that barrier and neither can he!"
"Actually, you can," Elder Donne said and I narrowed my eyes. "Stand you two."
I hesitated but did as he said. Elder Arlan led me to a spot on our side and Elder Donne placed Roan across from me.
"In order to do this," Elder Donne said, "you must agree to the marriage."
I stared at the vampire in front of me. His eyes were narrowed as he looked me up and down.
"Agree to marry a vampire?" I said.
"And you want me to marry an elf?" he snapped.
Neither elder answered. I chewed on my lower lip and ran a hand through my hair. Perhaps... if I marry him, I could still come back to my friends. I gulped and held my hand out, my fingers stopping just at the edge of the barrier.
I don't know what made him do it, but he extended his hand, too.
"What now?" he asked through clenched teeth.
"If you both have truly agreed, then you will be able to clasp hands," Elder Donne said. "If you have not, you should be warned that it will cause harm."
I took a deep breath and pushed my hand against the barrier.