Chapter 11: The Council
I rubbed my eyes as light warmed my face, "What time is it?"
"Nine." When I groaned he frowned, "I know you only slept a few hours but you really have to get up. The Council's expecting us at noon and we have to tell you a few things before you go so you're prepared."
I nodded, "Hey, what am I supposed to wear to this meeting?" I asked looking down at my torn clothes. These were all I had since I wasn't allowed home.
"We can stop by your house to pick some clothes up if you'd like," Vincent asked.
The thought of my house hurt. George's face popped into my head and I felt my eyes burn with tears.
"Alexa, what's wrong? What happened?"
I shook my head, "Nothing, everything's all right."
"No it's not. Something happened. Tell me!" Vincent yelled. I shivered at his sudden change of tone. He noticed my fear and came and sat next to me on the bed. He wrapped an arm around my shoulders, "I'm sorry, it's just, you need to start trusting me. You have to tell me stuff."
I nodded. I told him about the whole day. When I was captured by Rafe, the torturing, and killing Louvel. It was hard to explain what happened with George. I could hardly talk through the sobs that shook my entire body. I couldn't stand the separation from George. He was all I had left. Now he hated me.
Vincent looked mortified, "He saw you?"
I nodded, "I still don't know what he was doing out there. He was just in the forest for some reason. I told him I was harmless but he just yelled for me to stay away and that I wasn't allowed home."
Vincent buried his face in his hands and muttered a few curses before looking up at me, "This is why the Council wants to see you. It's not because of Louvel. They're probably happy he's dead. They want to see you because of George."
"What are they going to do?" I whispered.
He sighed, "Well, there's two possibilities: One, you'll be executed on spot. Two, you'll be given a mission to kill George and they may let you live if you choose to complete this task."
I was horrified. He had to be joking, but by the look on his face, he wasn't. Knowing this I just broke down into tears again. Vincent just rubbed my back and hummed in my ear.
"I won't hurt George. Whatever happens, I will not hurt George."
"But Alexa, what if it comes down to your life or his. Are you sure you would choose him."
I looked up at Vincent with a questioning look, "Are you serious? George is everything to me no matter what. Whether he hates me or not he's my only family left. He's all I have besides you and the pack. No matter what happens I won't let any harm come to him."
Vincent nodded, "You can just wear my clothes. I'll give you a shirt, jeans, and a belt." He smiled at me and kissed my cheek, "Come on, let's go downstairs and fix us something to eat before we have to go."
I smiled as my stomach grumbled in appreciation, "Yeah I could really use something to eat right now."
Vincent laughed and helped me up. He put his arm around my waist as we went downstairs to the kitchen. I sat down at the table and rested my head on my arms as he fished around in the fridge.
I could smell the bacon before it even hit the pan. My stomach grumbled even louder at the smell of food, "How much longer until it's ready?"
Vincent laughed, "What are you talking about? I just put it in the pan! It has to cook."
"You know, cooking things all the way through isn't exactly a necessity. I can just take it now if you want. It'll be less work for you," I said eyeing the bacon.
"No you have to wait just like the rest of us," Jacob said patting my head as he strolled into the kitchen.
"Can't we eat raw meat? I mean isn't that like a werewolf thing?" I asked.
"We can, but trust me, it tastes terrible," Jacob said making a disgusted face.
"I can only imagine," I replied, wincing.
I grinned widely as Vincent placed a plate of bacon and ham in front of me, "What no eggs or toast?"
"We normally would but since you're a new werewolf you can only eat meat," Vincent replied biting into his ham.
"Because for some reason everything else you would normally eat won't settle and will just come back up before it even reaches your stomach. It's not a fun feeling," Jacob replied.
I gagged slightly before biting into a piece of bacon. The meat tasted better than it ever had. The salt made my mouth water and the flavor just made me eat faster. It wasn't long before all of the food was gone.
Vincent looked at me shocked, "Boy, can you eat."
"Shut it. I'm a growing girl!" I replied, lightly slapping his arm.
"Come on you two, stop fooling around," I heard Dierk say as he walked in.
"Hey dad, good morning," Vincent said smiling.
"I'm surprised you're smiling at a time like this," Samael said strolling into the kitchen. "Your girlfriend's about to be killed and you could care less."
"That's enough Samael!" Dierk exclaimed.
"Sorry dad," he muttered grabbing an apple and sitting at the breakfast table.
"So Alexa, how are you feeling about today?" Jacob asked shoving a spoonful of eggs into his mouth as he spoke. God, men are so gross!
I shrugged, "Nervous. I don't really know what to expect. I've never exactly been put on trial before. Well, I mean I've been to court because I knocked this girl on her ass one time and she wanted me to pay her medical bills. She lost though."
Vincent made a strange noise as he choked on his orange juice, "Excuse me?"
I smiled, "You heard me."
"Yes but I'm not entirely sure if I believe it or not."
"Fight me sometime. Then you'll see what's up," I said smirking.
"Ha, okay, so when did 'Ghetto-Alexa' show up?"
"Ghetto-Alexa never left," I said laughing.
"I can assure you this is way different than court. This is a matter of life and death. Everything you say will be used against you. The majority of the time, also, you cannot please the Elders," Dierk explained.
"Who are the Elders?" I asked looking around the table.
"They're the first three werewolves to be created. Each race was created in sets of three: Two men and one woman."
"Really? Why three?"
"No one really knows, and no one really questions it," Vincent said. "It's the way Lord Iliziel wanted it."
"Who's Lord Iliziel?"
"He's the creator of all the races. You have your God, well we have ours. He returns every thousand years and stays for a thousand years to watch over us as ruler. He's actually due to return this year. We just don't know when."
"Wait so you only have a ruler when He returns?" This whole 'mythical-world' was baffling. I just couldn't keep up.
Jacob shook his head, "When He leaves He appoints one race to lead us. This time it was the Vampires. Thank God He'll be here soon to take those dirty blood-suckers out of the Castle of Light."
After seeing the apparent confusion on my face Vincent sighed, "I promise you'll learn everything soon enough. As of right now, though, we have to get going. You're trial starts in a half hour."
"A half hour? How far away is this place?" I exclaimed.
"Eh, three dimensions?" Vincent said shrugging.
"What? Well how do we get there in less than thirty minutes?"
Greg ran in at that point and ruffled my hair, "We teleport of course, silly!"
Teleport. Of course! Why didn't I think of that? I thought to myself and shook my head.
"What's wrong?" Vincent asked.
"Nothing, don't worry about it," I said smiling. "Hey can I get those clothes now? I'm feeling a bit…exposed." I added looking at Samael, who was staring at me with a disgusting look of hunger in his eyes.
"Yeah come on, after you get dressed we can leave," Vincent said getting up.
I nodded and followed him upstairs. The walk was unusually quiet. Normally when I was around Vincent we talked non-stop and laughed for hours. But right now, there was nothing. Nothing but fear. I could feel it radiating from him and I knew that I, too, was scared.
When we got to his room I plopped down on the bed as he rummaged through his closet, "Here these are the smallest pants and shirt that I have. Here's a belt too."
I took the clothes and began taking my ripped ones off. I smiled to myself as Vincent turned around, "You're not going to look."
"Wow, no balls," I said laughing.
"What? I have no balls because I'm a gentleman?"
"You a gentleman? Ha, don't make me laugh."
"You're a bitch."
"Tell me something I don't already know sweetie."
After the clothes were on I sighed, "Okay, I'm dressed. Though I look vaguely ridiculous." The pants were way too long so I had to roll them up a ridiculous amount of times, the belt didn't exactly help the fact that they were immensely big on my waist, and the shirt was extremely un-flattering.
"I think you look cute. Wearing your boyfriend's clothes is something that comes with every relationship," he said but I could see a glint of amusement in his eyes.
"Yeah but not an entire outfit. Normally you would give me your sweatshirt so I could brag to people and say it's from you. This is a bit much," I said walking downstairs.
"You guys ready to go yet? We only have fifteen minutes to get there!" Greg yelled grabbing my hand and dragging me to the backyard.
"Ow! Let go of me!" I exclaimed pulling my hand out of Greg's grasp. "So how exactly do we teleport?"
"We find a warlock to perform the proper spell. Lucky for us we keep one in the shed in the back," Matt said winking at me.
"Wait…what?" I asked as we walked to what seemed to be a well kept chicken coop. As we walked in I gasped.
I had thought that Matt was joking, but when I stepped inside the shed I realized I was sadly mistaken. Inside was a man chained to the wall. When he looked up he had one of the scariest looks of rage I'd ever seen, apart from Marrok. His hair was matted and greasy and a thin layer of five o'clock shadow darkened his jaw.
"Well hello, Malthas," Greg said waving at him.
He glared at Greg, "What the hell do you want?"
"We need to be teleported to the Castle of Light," Vincent said looking at the ground.
"Look me in the eyes when you ask for something. That's the least you can do you filthy mongrel," Malthas spat.
Vincent looked up, "You need to teleport us to the Castle of Light, all right?"
He sighed, "Well what else would it be. That's the only reason you ever come in here isn't it? Why do you need to be teleported this time?"
"Well Alexa here, is being put on trial," Greg said almost too cheerfully.
Malthas looked at me with a slight glint in his eye, "Really now? And why is that?"
"None of your business! Now teleport us before we're late!" Vincent yelled.
"Fine, excuse me for wanting a bit of gossip. You know you run out of things to think of when you're chained to a wall for three years!" Malthas snapped back. Soon he closed his eyes and bent his head and began murmuring a line of words that were inaudible.
Before I knew it I could feel myself being thrown forward at impossible speed. I tried to open my eyes but they seemed to be glued shut. It felt as though pins were being stuck in my skin and pulled out again. Then everything stopped and I felt myself being thrown to a hard surface.
"Miss, are you alright?" I heard a rough voice ask. I looked up to see an extremely tall man. No. A horse? No. A centaur. He had thin, horn-rimmed glasses and a long, curled beard. He held out a hand and I took it and slowly stood up.
"I take it that was your first time teleporting?"
"Yes Gringle, it was. She's kind of new to the whole mythical world," Vincent said putting an arm around me.
"Ah, Vincent Rayne, how are you doing?" Gringle asked giving him a warm smile.
"I'm well, but we really can't talk. We have to get Alexa to the Castle of Light."
Gringle looked at me questioningly, "Is this the new werewolf everyone's been talking about? The one that killed Louvel?"
Vincent nodded, "Yes she is. And she did kill Louvel."
Gringle looked at me, "Well I say good riddance. One less trouble maker we have to deal with. Good for you for killing that bastard."
Vincent laughed, "Thank you but we really must go. We'll try and find you again after the trial."
Gringle nodded, "I hope that I do see both of you." He then turned to me, "May Iliziel be with you."
"Thank you, sir," I replied and then Vincent pulled me away.
"Sorry about that. Gringle can be a bit of a chatterbox."
"He seemed pleasant. I don't think I've ever heard you be that polite before," I said laughing.
"Well around here you're expected to be polite to the older creatures. Whether you're from the same race or not. Unless your races are feuding. Then you can be as rude as you wish."
We walked for a short ways before I felt my skin become warmer. I could feel myself being engulfed in a warm light. I looked up to see the source of the brilliant gleam and gasped at the sight. It was a gigantic building made entirely of a multi-colored glass. The beautiful spectrum shone against the sun and engulfed the surrounding streets in amazing hues of greens, pinks, and blues.
"Beautiful isn't it?" Vincent asked looking at my face.
"I'm pretty sure that there's no word in the English language that can even being to describe this building," I replied in awe.
"This was the last thing Lord Iliziel left us. It's where the ruling race stays to watch over everything."
"Wait, I thought the Vampires are the ruling race?" I asked.
"They are. What's your point?"
"Well I thought we were going to see the werewolves. So why are we going to the Castle of Light?"
"Oh, because that's where trials are held no matter what," Vincent said smiling.
"I see," I replied, still confused, as we walked up to a massive gate in front of the castle.
A woman in a full suit of armor greeted us, "State your business, wolf."
"I am Vincent Rayne, son of Dierk Rayne, here to deliver Alexa Dharma for her trial," Vincent said, his face as hard as stone.
"Very well, we'll take her from here," the guard said grabbing my arm.
"I thought I was allowed to bring her to the trial room," Vincent said questioningly.
She shook her head, "With the Vampires in office we don't want to risk and attack from the werewolves."
"Oh come on! I'm not going to attack anyone! I just want to see her off to the trial."
"And you have. Now you can leave."
Vincent growled and turned to look at me, "Everything's going to be fine. Don't worry. I'll see you when you come back. I love you."
"I love you too," I said before the guard pulled me into the castle.
The walk was silent besides the metal from the guard's suit making a strange clunking noise. The inside of the castle was just as spectacular as the outside. The carpets were a deep crimson color and the ceilings seemed to reach into the sky. It seemed as if there were no walls because of the glass. There wasn't much for furniture besides a select few chairs in the halls.
We stopped at a pair of large oak double doors and the guard turned to me, "This is where you will be put on trial. Stand at the podium at the center of the room. May Iliziel be with you."
I nodded and opened the door. The room was large with rows of chairs lining the glass walls. Each chair was full. The races varied from tall elves to dwarfs, from mages, to demons, from human looking, to scaly lizard creatures. I stood at the large podium in the center as I was told. In front of me were three pillars with a large wolf at the top of each. These had to be the Elders. They were large silver wolves. They're fur glittered in the light from the glass surroundings and it made them seem almost transparent.
"You must be the infamous Alexa Dharma," I heard a woman's voice in my head say.
I nodded, "That is correct."
"Do you know of the crimes you have committed?" She asked.
"I murdered Louvel."
I heard the creatures around me murmur to one another. I just looked forward and ignored them.
"So you plead guilty to this crime?" A man's voice asked.
"I plead guilty to protecting myself from harm."
"Killing is a crime. Whether it was protection or not doesn't matter. You killed a man. Do you plead guilty to this crime."
"No I plead guilty to protecting myself."
"Fine then," the woman's voice said. "Guilty on the count of murder."
I was shocked. "That's not fair! How can you tell me I'm guilty when you don't even have evidence that it was murder?"
"We don't need evidence. We know," another man's voice said. This one had a thick accent.
"How do you know? You weren't even there?" I yelled.
"Do not raise your voice to us!" All three voices said at once.
"You are guilty on the count of murder is that clear?" the accented man asked sternly.
I simply nodded feeling completely defeated. How was I supposed to make it through this trial when I couldn't even defend myself?
"Now on to your other crime. We have not brought this up to our jury because we didn't want any type of uproar over it. Your second crime is revealing your identity to a human."
At this the murmuring intensified into panicked whispers.
"I didn't reveal myself to George. He was in the woods where I was washing off from when I escaped from Marrok where I was being tortured if you have forgotten about that?" I snapped.
"You admit that a human saw you in your wolf form?" The woman asked ignoring my comment.
"Well, yes he saw me, but-"
"GUILTY!" They yelled. The room then erupted into chaos.
"What does this mean?"
"Are we in danger?"
"How will we fix this?"
"Everyone calm down," the male wolf said. "We are in the process of terminating the problem now."
This got my attention, "Terminate? What do you mean by that?"
"We have sent forces to terminate the issue."
"Are you telling me that you're going to kill George?"
"When you say it like that it sounds almost…scandalous." The woman said with mock shock in her voice.
"If you lay one hand on him I swear I'll find you!"
"Like you'll even have a chance. With convictions like you have you're being sentenced to death immediately."
"What? Wait, what about Vincent and the others? Don't I get to at least say goodbye to them?"
All three wolves laughed, "They've already been notified of your conviction."
I felt myself being grabbed by two guards, "Wait, just let me see them! What kind of treatment is this? Is this how you expect to rule over everyone? No wonder Iliziel won't let you rule. Look how corrupt you all are!"
"Silence! Get her out of here."
Suddenly a bright light erupted in the room. A hole in the ceiling appeared and I had to look away from the light as something began floating down from the hole.
"Let go of this young girl immediately." The voice was heavenly and melodic. When the light dimmed I looked up and felt my stomach drop. The man in the center of the room was the definition of beauty. His skin was a light tan and his hair was a beautiful gold color. Every part of him was defined. His eyes were such a light blue that it didn't even seem that he had irises.
The whole room was silent and staring in awe. The man walked up to me and smiled, "How are you, Alexa?"
"How…how do you know my name?" I asked stumbling over every word.
He chuckled, "I know everyone, darling." He looked at the two guards and frowned, "Let her go immediately."
The two guards instantly dropped my arms. After this they dropped to their knees.
Everyone else in the room followed suit. As I started kneeling down he laid a hand on my shoulder.
"You have no reason to bow, my dear. You're perfectly fine standing."
The door behind me burst open to reveal a panic stricken Vincent, "Alexa are you all right?"
The man smiled brightly at Vincent, "Vincent my boy, you're just in time."
Vincent looked up and his jaw dropped.
"Vincent what's wrong?" I asked.
Vincent immediately dropped to his knees, "My Lord, it's an honor."
That's when it fully hit me. I turned slowly to look at the man in front of me, "Lord Iliziel?"
He smiled and shrugged, "The one and only."