Direct quotes are property of their original owner, Stephanie Meyer, and all original material is property of myself.
No Copywrite is intended.
The sky was dark and stars were starting to shine as Jillian was starting to feel normal. She had spent the day with Jared and Sam sitting together watching movies and talking about anything and everything.
"Hey, babe?" Jared called out from the kitchen
"Yeah?" She yelled back from her place on Sam's lap
"The bonfire starts in an hour. It's cold, for you. "She could hear the smirk in his voice and laughed, "Are you gonna change?" He added on peaking his head around the corner.
"Yeah, I will."
Sam stroked her hair back, "I'll be chilly tonight. Wear something warm."
She nodded before pecking him on the cheek and heading upstairs to change. She let her hips sway as she walked and only stopped when she hears a growl rumble from behind her.
She threw on a sweater and jeans. She sat on the edge of the bed and took a deep breath.
She knew he would be there. She would have to stick close to Jared and Sam tonight.
"Are you ready to head down to the beach? We're gonna walk and meet Billy and Sue to help set up for tonight." Sam asked from the doorway
"Yeah. I'm ready." She gave him a smile and wrapped her arms around his waist, "Will Paul being coming too?"
"Yeah. He'll be coming as soon as his patrol shift is over."
"Embry will be there as well.."
Jillian nodded understanding all too well that he would be there. taking his hand in a tight squeeze she smiled reassuringly, "I'm ready. Don't worry."
She pulled him down the hall and out the door to the front yard where Jared was waiting for them.
He was already eating what looked to be a sandwich with everything on it that he had scavenged from the kitchen, "Ready?" he asked them around a mouthful of food.
She couldn't help but laugh, "yeah. Let's go."
They both took one of her hands and walked through the forest trail.
The birds sang and the bugs chirped both speaking a language all their own.
Sam squeezed her hand, "I think you should talk to Embry."
"Why? He's the one who ran away from me."
Jared laughed, "She's right. He ran, she shouldn't have to chase after him now so he can fix what he fucked up in the first place."
Jared Squeezed her hand and tugged her close as they walked, "Don't worry babe, I got you. I'll keep you safe from that asshole." He kissed the top of her head and gave her a heart-melting grin
Sam sighed deeply and tugged her closer to him, "I talked to him today."
Her heartbeat quicker in her chest, "Wh.. what did he say?"
"He asked if I was jealous of Paul and Jared."
He smiled, "Never, they love you almost as much as I do."
Jared scoffed, "Almost. Try more."
Their silly banter made her giggle as they broke through the tree line. There was a fire in the distance and Sam pulled them down to the circle of logs.
Jared made a beeline for the table of food and left her with Sam.
"Just hear him out. If he tries to talk to you. Don't run."
She gave a short nod and looked away into the blazing fire.
Sam hugged her and placed a sweet kiss on her forehead, "Do you want anything to eat?"
She shook her head, "No. I'm stuffed from earlier, but you go before Jared eats everything in sight."
He squeezed her again and jogged off to claim his food before Jared could.
Jillian sat on a log close to the fire. She felt relaxed staring into the blaze. She watched the flames dance against the dark sky letting her body relax.
The flames seemed to morph and change as she watched. They were dancing around the center the hottest and brightest patch of fire, intertwining and separating constantly just to come together again. It was like a dance between lovers, many lovers.
Her heart melted in her chest and she closed her eyes still seeing the flames behind her lids.
When she opened to gaze upon the dance once again she saw a man within the blaze. He stood straight and tall a bight solute. He seemed to stare into her soul and take her breath away.
She clutched her throat and gasped for air, falling from the log as strong hands wrapped around her upper body and pulled her upright on the log again.
"Hey! Are you okay?"
She choked on the air she tried to desperately pull in and began to cough uncontrollably.
A hand slapped down on her back and her chin was lifted to the dark sky like eyes.
She gasped and began to panic, "Stop! Stop! I'm fine."
She tried to craw away and was pulled back, "Babe. Stop. It's us."
"Calm down hun."
She looked into Paul's and felt calm under his stare. "I.. I saw.." the words died in her throat as she began to relax in Paul's arms.
"What? What did you see?" Jared asked holding a plate full of food in one hand her hand in the other
"Nothing. Jus.. just the fire." She lied
They both gave her a skeptical look but let it go, choosing instead to surround her in their warmth and do their best to comfort her.
Jillian avoided the fire and everyone's eyes as more and more members of the council gathered around the fire.
Across the fire, Jillian saw Billy Black accompanied by his son Jacob Black sitting together with other younger men. As she looked at Jacob and he glared at her with hard eyes before letting his eyes fall onto someone sitting near her. She looked around and saw Embry sitting alone on a log close to Jared.
Her eyes snapped away just as Billy began to speak.
"Today we are here to listen to the Legends of our tribe. Shared only with those of Quileute blood and a very special few from the outside."
She blushed as his eyes fell on her.
He laughed and continued with a playful smile dancing on his lips, "The Quileutes have been a small people from the beginning," Billy he began his voice growing deep and serious, "And we are a small people still, but we have never disappeared. This is because there has always been magic in our blood. It wasn't always the magic of shape-shifting - that came later. First, we were spirit warriors."
Silence fell over the group and I felt as if I should have been taking notes, everyone was listening so intently it was amazing to hear the silence surround us all, "In In the beginning, the tribe settled in this harbor and became skilled shipbuilders and fishermen. But the tribe was small, and the harbor was rich in fish. Others coveted our land, and we were too small to hold it. A larger tribe moved against us, and we took to our ships to escape them.
"Kaheleha was not the first spirit warrior, but we do not remember the stories that came before his. We do not remember who was the first to discover this power, or how it had been used before this crisis. Kaheleha was the first great Spirit Chief in our history. In this emergency, Kaheleha used the magic to defend our land.
"He and all his warriors left the ship - not their bodies, but their spirits. Their women watched over the bodies and the waves, and the men took their spirits back to our harbor.
"They could not physically touch the enemy tribe, but they had other ways. The stories tell us that they could blow fierce winds into their enemy's camps; they could make a great screaming in the wind that terrified their foes. The stories also tell us that the animals could see the spirit warriors and understand them; the animals would do their bidding."
Jillian's eyes darted around the fire and those she knew were listening respectfully. Even Jared and Paul were using a great deal of effort to chew and swallow silently as Billy spoke.
"Kaheleha took his spirit army and wreaked havoc on the intruders. This invading tribe had packs of big, thick-furred dogs that they used to pull their sleds in the frozen north. The spirit warriors turned the dogs against their masters and then brought a mighty infestation of bats up from the cliff caverns. They used the screaming wind to aid the dogs in confusing the men. The dogs and bats won. The survivors scattered, calling our harbor a cursed place. The dogs ran wild when the spirit warriors released them. The Quileutes returned to their bodies and their wives, victorious."
Her vision began to blur and the light of the fire began to grow dim, her eyes fluttered closed and she was in darkness. She saw nothing but she felt cold surround her and a sickly sweet smell assault her nose. Voices rose around her and she began to see the light of the fire again.
"Generations passed. Then came the last great Spirit Chief, Taha Aki. He was known for his wisdom, and for being a man of peace. The people lived well and content in his care. But there was one man, Utlapa, who was not content."
A low hiss ran around the fire, and Jillian could not place where the sound came from, and it seemed Billy ignored it and continued with the legends.
"Utlapa was one of Chief Taha Aki's strongest spirit warriors - a powerful man, but a grasping man, too. He thought the people should use their magic to expand their lands, to enslave the Hohs and the Makahs and build an empire.
"Now, when the warriors were their spirit selves, they knew each other's thoughts. Taha Aki saw what Utlapa dreamed, and was angry with Utlapa. Utlapa was commanded to leave the people, and never use his spirit self again. Utlapa was a strong man, but the chief's warriors outnumbered him. He had no choice but to leave. The furious outcast hid in the forest nearby, waiting for a chance to get revenge against the chief."
The fire seemed to grow brighter as Billy spoke and Jillian had to close her eyes to keep from being blinded.
"Taha Aki left his body in the secret place and flew with the winds to keep watch over his people. Utlapa waited until he was sure the chief had traveled some distance with his spirit self. Taha Aki left his body in the secret place and flew with the winds to keep watch over his people. Utlapa waited until he was sure the chief had traveled some distance with his spirit self. Taha Aki knew it the instant that Utlapa had joined him in the spirit world, and he also knew Utlapa's murderous plan. He raced back to his secret place, but even the winds weren't fast enough to save him. When he returned, his body was already gone. Utlapa's body lay abandoned, but Utlapa had not left Taha Aki with an escape - he had cut his own body's throat with Taha Aki's hands."
Jillian's vision grew red as if streaked with blood and her throat became dry as Billy spoke, "Taha Aki followed his body down the mountain. He screamed at Utlapa, but Utlapa ignored him as if he were mere wind. Taha Aki watched with despair as Utlapa took his place as chief of the Quileutes. For a few weeks, Utlapa did nothing but make sure that everyone believed he was Taha Aki. Then the changes began - Utlapa's first edict was to forbid any warrior to enter the spirit world. He claimed that he'd had a vision of danger, but he was afraid. He knew that Taha Aki would be waiting for the chance to tell his story. Utlapa was also afraid to enter the spirit world himself, knowing Taha Aki would quickly claim his body. So his dreams of conquest with a spirit warrior army were impossible, and he sought to content himself with ruling over the tribe. He became a burden - seeking privileges that Taha Aki had never requested, refusing to work alongside his warriors, taking a young second wife and then a third, though Taha Aki's wife lived on - something unheard of in the tribe. Taha Aki watched in helpless fury.
"Eventually, Taha Aki tried to kill his body to save the tribe from Utlapa's excesses. He brought a fierce wolf down from the mountains, but Utlapa hid behind his warriors. When the wolf killed a young man who was protecting the false chief, Taha Aki felt horrible grief. He ordered the wolf away."
Her ears grew deaf as her vision went cloudy. She saw a pale-faced man with dark black hair. The sickly sweet smell engulfed her as the man stared at her with dark black eyes that reflected the stars above.
She opened her mouth to speak but could not. Her voice was gone and the man began to approach her as amber light seemed to flood around them both.
The fire appeared again, and Jillian's breathing returned to normal as Billy's voice grew louder.
"' Traitor," he screamed, and the warriors did not know what to do. The chief had forbidden spirit journeys and it was the chief's decision on how to punish those who disobeyed. Yut jumped back into his body, but Utlapa had his knife at his throat and a hand covering his mouth. Taha Aki's body was strong, and Yut was weak with age. Yut could not say even one word to warn the others before Utlapa silenced him forever.
"Taha Aki watched as Yut's spirit slipped away to the final lands that were barred to Taha Aki for all eternity. He felt a great rage, more powerful than anything he'd felt before. He entered the big wolf again, meaning to rip Utlapa's throat out. But, as he joined the wolf, the "Taha Aki's anger was the anger of a man. The love he had for his people and the hatred he had for their oppressor were too vast for the wolf's body, too human. The wolf shuddered, and - before the eyes of the shocked warriors and Utlapa - transformed into a man. The new man did not look like Taha Aki's body. He was far more glorious. He was the flesh interpretation of Taha Aki's spirit. The warriors recognized him at once, though, for they had flown with Taha Aki's spirit. "Utlapa tried to run, but Taha Aki had the strength of the wolf in his new body. He caught the thief and crushed the spirit from him before he could jump out of the stolen body.
"The people rejoiced when they understood what had happened. Taha Aki quickly set everything right, working again with his people and giving the young wives back to their families. The only change he kept in place was the end of the spirit travels. He knew that it was too dangerous now that the idea of stealing a life was there. The spirit warriors were no more.
"From that point on, Taha Aki was more than either wolf or man. They called him Taha Aki the Great Wolf, or Taha Aki the Spirit Man. He led the tribe for many, many years, for he did not age. When danger threatened, he would resume his wolf-self to fight or frighten the enemy. The people dwelt in peace. Taha Aki fathered many sons, and some of these found that, after they had reached the age of manhood, they, too, could transform into wolves. The wolves were all different because they were spirit wolves and reflected the man they were inside. That is how the magic came to us, but it is not the end of the story. . . ."
Billy looked over to another older man and nodded.
"That's old Quil." Paul whispered to her softly, "Another elder of the tribe."
Old Quil began, "That was the story of the spirit warriors," Old Quil began in a thin tenor voice. "This is the story of the third wife's sacrifice."
Jillian's brows knit and she turned to face the new voice that held the wisdom and age his face showed.
"Many years after Taha Aki gave up his spirit wolf when he was an old man, trouble began in the north, with the Makahs. Several young women of their tribe had disappeared, and they blamed it on the neighboring wolves, who they feared and mistrusted. The wolf-men could still read each other's thoughts while in their wolf forms, just like their ancestors had while in their spirit forms. They knew that none of their numbers was to blame. Taha Aki tried to pacify the Makah chief, but there was too much fear. Taha Aki did not want to have a war on his hands. He was no longer a warrior to lead his people. He charged his oldest wolf-son, Taha Wi, with finding the true culprit before hostilities began.
Old Quil lifted his arms to the sky and then let them drop, "Taha Wi led the five other wolves in his pack on a search through the mountains, looking for any evidence of the missing Makahs. They came across something they had never encountered before - a strange, sweet scent in the forest that burned their noses to the point of pain." A sickly sweet almost rotting scent they did not know what creature would leave such a smell, but they followed it," Old Quil continued. His quavering voice did not have the majesty of Billy's, but it had a strange, fierce edge of urgency about it.
"They found faint traces of human scent, and human blood, along the trail. They were sure this was the enemy they were searching for."
Jillian's breathing grew shallow as her vision faded again, when her eyesight returned to normal she focused on the pale man from before standing closer than before. He reached for her and stroked her hair to the side. When his hand grazed her cheek she shivered from the icy cold touch.
"My dear. I am so close now." he smiled behind bloodied lips, "So close to you now. I can practically smell the magic in your blood."
Jillian felt tears prickle the edges of her eyes as the fire returned before her. Her breath was gone and she was breathing in shallow pants as Old Quil continued with his story oblivious of her panic.
"They called it The Cold One, the Blood Drinker and lived in fear that it was not alone. They only had one wolf protector left, young Yaha Uta. They did not have long to wait. The creature had a mate, another blood drinker, who came to the Quileutes seeking revenge."
Billy broke in, interrupting Quil who seemed to be running out of breath, "The stories say that the Cold Woman was the most beautiful thing human eyes had ever seen. She looked like the goddess of the dawn when she entered the village that morning; the sun was shining for once, and it glittered off her pale white skin and lit the golden hair that flowed down to her knees. Her face was magical in its beauty, her eyes black in her white face. Some fell to their knees to worship her.
"She asked something in a high, piercing voice, in a language no one had ever heard. The people were dumbfounded, not knowing how to answer her. There was none of Taha Aki's blood among the witnesses but one small boy. He clung to his mother and screamed that the smell was hurting his nose. One of the elders, on his way to the council, heard the boy and realized what had come among them. He yelled for the people to run. She killed him first."
Death filled her mind, they had died. The cold woman had killed their people because they had killed her mate.
Jillian thought of her mates and wondered the lengths she would go to if they would be forcibly taken from her.
"And then the third wife did something the Cold Woman did not expect. She fell to her knees at the blood drinker's feet and plunged the knife into her own heart. Blood spurted through the third wife's fingers and splashed against the Cold Woman. The blood drinker could not resist the lure of the fresh blood leaving the third wife's body. Instinctively, she turned to the dying woman, for one second entirely consumed by thirst. Taha Aki's teeth closed around her neck."
She sacrificed her own life for her tribe. She gave everything up for her people.
Again her vision began to fade only this time she saw a young white woman with dark chocolate-colored hair standing in the snow, a stone spike gripped in her hand as she raked it up her arm drawing a line of crimson red.
Jillian snapped out of her vision and back to the storyteller, "And so the sons of our tribe again carry the burden and share the sacrifice their fathers endured before them."
A silence fell and was broken by a deep laugh coming from Jacob Black and the young boys beside him, "Good story dad. I love it every time you tell it to us!"
"Jilly, Paul and I are going to talk to Billy. Do you wanna come with us?" Jared asked rubbing her back
She shook her head and told him she was fine here on the log.
He kissed her softly and slowly on lips cupping her cheek and holding her close, "I'll be back soon." He whispered before jogging over to Paul
She wasn't alone for long as soon as Jared was gone another large warm body took his place next to her on the log, "He...hey, Embry."
They were silent for a long time and she almost gave up and ran to Paul who she knew would hug her and hold her until the night was over and Embry was at home, far from her aching heart.
Embry let his head fall between his hands, "I'm sorry."
She waited, "Why?"
He groaned, "I'm sorry because I didn't try to understand." He looked into her eyes pleadingly, "I just assumed you were sleeping around with them and that it was all about sex and there was no love or connection between you guys."
"You should be sorry."
"I am. I swear I am. It's just that when I looked into your eyes I saw everything that we would be…. And I didn't see Sam and Paul, and Jared with us."
"I understand." She stood to leave believing that this was his way of telling her he didn't want to be with her that he didn't want to try.
When she stood he clasped her hand and pulled her back down, "Don't go. Please don't go."
"You said that you never saw them with us, but they are. They aren't going anywhere, Embry."
He nodded and gave her a little smile, "I know. I wouldn't do that too you either. They imprinted on you and if its anything like what I felt looking into your eyes then I know that they would give up everything for you."
She felt tears burn her eyes, "What are you trying to say, Embry?"
"I'm trying to say I want to try. When Sam told me today that Jared was going to go upstairs and comfort you, I wanted to go to you. When he said that Jared might make love to you I wanted to do that. I wanted to be with you."
He cupped her face in his hands and looked deeply into her eyes, "I want to be with you. I want to see if we can make this work."
"I don't know Embry. I'm not going to stop being with Paul, Sam, and Jared when you're around just so you don't end up feeling jealous. I'm going to kiss them sometimes before I go to kiss you. There will be days when I sleep in their bed with them and not you. There are going to be days when I'm spread so thin and I won't want to be around anyone. Can you handle that? If not then maybe we're just better off trying to be frien…"
Embry cut her off with a kiss so intense it took her breath away. He held her close and pulled her onto his lap.
Everywhere they touched it seemed to set her skin on fire, she was being engulfed by his heat and passion.
"I want you. I've spent weeks watching you avoid me so I could avoid you and I hated every second of it. You call to me in a way I have never felt before. I want this. I want you, Jillian. Please." He begged
She couldn't take the pain in his eyes and nodded as she wrapped her arms around his neck and straddled his lap, "Okay."
She clutched him to her and didn't let go even when Paul approached.
"Hey, Embry. Be careful. Don't want to end up putting on a show for the minors." He told them both nodded his head to indicated the group of boys gathered around staring at them from across the fire. Jacob's mouth was wide open and the other boy's eyes were darting around now that they had been spotted.
A blush peppered her cheeks and they laughed, "Don't worry babe. We wouldn't let you get to turned on in public."
Embry grinned and pulled her closer, "Yeah we might have to beat up anyone who looked at what's ours."
They nodded their agreement and each placed a sweet kiss on her lips.
Paul laughed and gave Embry a good shove, "Glad you decided to not be an idiot anymore."