The Assassins

Ancient grudges never cease to become problems in the future. Kali Harlow has been going through changes since her eighteenth birthday. First, she found out that werewolves were real, and then she found out that she was an Assassin, an elite force of warriors that protect humans from the supposedly mythical beasts. Only things get complicated when the werewolves impact her personal life and not just professional.


1. Prologue: A Curse of Great Proportions



   There was a tale I was told when I was little. A tale that told of two men whose hate for one another grew so deep it became contagious. Their lust for vengeance rested in the bloody hands of their followers, ordered to kill any who trespassed the path dividing the two communities.

     They fought for years and shared one island, each group living as far from the other as possible. No one dared to disturb the path that lies between. It would only bring more death.

     The man on the East side of the island was Ephram. A well respected man and known for his ability to create almost anything with his two bare hands. The community was filled with the homes and other structures that he built.

     On the West side of the island was Mabius. A man known for his strong mind able to use his brains to map out what his community needed to survive on the island through harsh storms and the possibility of future attacks.

     The children from both the East and the West knew about the feud but the reasons as to what caused the great divide were very much in the dark. Still, they obeyed the wishes of their fathers and didn’t go within seeing distance from the path. That was until the twenty first year of their youngest offspring.

     Lila, daughter of Ephram, was told to gather wood for her birthday celebration that night. She complied with her father’s orders and trekked through the forest alone. Venturing further and further into the thickness of the trees, Lila soon found herself deeper in the woods than she’d ever been. She’d been known for wandering off but this time no one had stopped her.

     She heard the splashing of water close by. It was then that she realized how far away from the camp she traveled. Her breathing became more rapid knowing that she was too close to the border as there were designated areas to bathe and she was not near one of them.

     Curiosity held onto her pulling her towards the sound. She’s been told that those of the West were monsters. An array of descriptions about horns and claws danced around in her head from the stories she was told since childhood. Lila needed to see the truth for herself.

     Holding up her dress with on hand to keep from tripping, Lila moved further into the woods, taking her time moving soundlessly. Her heart was beating as she neared the slashing that had yet to cease.

     Lila found herself watching a private moment between two friends. They were pushing water in each other’s face and laughing as they took turns shoving each other under the water. She smiled at their innocent play and crouched down low to avoid drawing attention to herself. Her spying was cut short when she noticed a shadow had appeared from behind her. Someone had found her.

     ”Who are you?”

     She turned quickly at the sound of his voice and gasped at the sight of him - whoever he was. He was tall and without a shirt she could see his muscles, tight and firm. There was a scar that traveled from under his nostril to the tip of his chin.

     ”Who are you,” she asked without answering his question.

     ”Someone who lives on this land.” His voice was deep and strong sounding much older than he looked.

     ”You must be mistaken,” Lila said slowly standing up. “My family is the only family that lives on this side of the island.”

     He grabbed her arm and turned her. She squinted in fear that he would violate her but he only pulled the back of her top down to view her shoulder. ”You don’t have the family mark on you.”

    She pulled herself away. “I’m not your family.”

     ”You’ve ventured to far,” he said as he walked away. “Go back from where you came.”

     Lila’s face flushed red. “You will not order me like a servant. I come from a well-respected family.”

     The young man scoffed. “You will find no respect around here,” he said. “For you are no more welcomed than a disease.”

     She stood there in the middle of the woods at a panic. She didn’t know how she got on the wrong side of the island. She didn’t know how to get back to the East. Just as he was almost out of sight, Lila raced toward him pleading for help.

     In a fury he turned to her. “Are you trying to start a war?”

     She shook her head ready to burst into tears. “I just want to go home, but I don’t know the right direction.”

     His eyes softened for a moment then became hard as he told her to follow him - and fast. 

     They ran through the forest. Even as Lila’s dress stuck to branches, she pulled hard enough to rip the material. She already knew her mother would be furious but her mother’s scolding was nothing compared to what would happen if she was caught on the wrong land. Other’s had been slain before but she was Ephram’s daughter, his blood, his youngest child. There would be no holding back.

     ”Quickly,” he said and to her surprise, he held his hand behind him for her to hold.

     Without hesitation, she took the offer and felt her speed up immediately. For a split second, she glanced down at their fingers entwined and smiled. Distracted by the feel of her rival’s skin, she didn’t see the rock that caused her fall.

    ”Are you alright,” he asked cradling her head when she came to.

     The sun had gone halfway down and she jumped up in fear that she wouldn’t be home before sunset. Her father would begin to worry and jump to conclusions and that would turn what was supposed to be a celebration into a disaster.

     ”I must hurry,” Lila said. “There’s a celebration in my honor tonight. For my birthday.”

     ”Today is your birthday as well?”

      Lila nodded her head. “My twenty first.”

      The stranger smiled. “Looks like we have something in common. I’m Silas and today is my twenty first birthday.”

     ”Lila,” she said back. He took her hand and gently placed his lips against her soft skin.

     They stared at each other for a long moment. It was as if they knew one another but they were complete strangers at the same time. Lila had been told so many stories and she was sure he had as well about the other side and how they were monsters. But he wasn’t a monster. He was beautiful and he was risking everything he’d ever learned just to get her home. A clash of thunder broke them out of the trance they’d put themselves under.

     Silas stood up and reached his arm down for her. “You’d better get home. I wouldn’t want you to miss your celebration.”

     Smiling, Lila took his hand and found her body significantly close to his. The rain started to pour down and they laughed at their luck. Maybe at that moment it was a sign for them to split apart. For everything to stay the way it was but the force between the two of them was growing strong and they recognized that.

     They found themselves laughing as their wet clothes stuck to their bodies. Lila’s long, dark hair clung to her face and Silas did his best to brush it away. The touch of her skin sent shivers down his body for he never felt anything like this with such a simple touch. She quivered at the way his fingers glided gently across her face for she had never starved for any other affection.

     Even in the dark of the storm, their mouths found one another. Their hands explored each other’s body with such intensity they could have created a storm of their own. 

     With a clash of thunder, they broke apart.

     Lila wiped rain from her face only for more to fall on it. “What are we doing?”

     ”I don’t know,” Silas said raising his voice over the noise of the rain. “I just. I just want to be with you!”

     On her tip toes she leaned forward to kiss him again. “I have to go.”

     Silas pointed to the right of where they were standing. “Go that way. About twenty feet away you’ll see the border. I’m going to stay behind in case one of my father’s men sees you.”

     Lila nodded her head, fear showing on her face. “Thank you.”

     They kissed one last time before Lila broke from his grasp and ran as fast as she could.

     Silas never left her mind. Even as the rain cleared and she was dressed for the celebration, she couldn’t stop thinking about him. Her older sister, Rosemary, noticed the change of behavior but Lila brushed her off. Rosemary was still angered because she was not able to choose a husband of her own but Lila was since she was the youngest. Already married and with two children, Rosemary envied her younger sister of just three years. Still, Lila wasn’t going to let her jealous sibling get the best of her.

     Lila had chosen a plain white dress that reached her ankles. The top was fitted and sleeveless and the bottom came out loose at the waist. Rosemary put Lila’s hair up in a tight bun with a few loose tendrils hanging down. Even her lips were bright with color from a plant normally used to dye clothing.

     The night was but the light of the fire could be seen from a distance. Her sister followed me to the beach where the fire had been made and everyone was already dancing to the music. Seeing her, Lila’s father called for silence and announced my presence. 

     ”And there’s something else I need to say.” Her father’s voice boomed in the night. Everyone was quiet, watching intently, waiting for the news he wanted to share. 

     Her stomach clenched. It reminded her of her sister’s eighteenth birthday when there was a huge celebration, just like this one. Her father made an announcement saying that -

     ”I’m proud to introduce the man that will be marrying my daughter,” Ephram said with glee.

     Lila was sick to her stomach. She didn’t care to see who it was. It could have been the best looking or richest guy on the East side of the island but she didn’t want him. She wanted Silas and only Silas.

     It was Franco. Ephram put an arm around the young man’s shoulders and waved for Lila to come over. She wanted to run as far from the scene as she could. But she could barely move.

     Rosemary ushered her younger sister forward to the man in which Lila was to be wed. He wasn’t disgusting or mean but Lila felt ill from the sight of him. Forcing a smile on her face she unhappily raised her hand. Franco in turn took it gently and kissed it. She cringed thinking of how Silas had done the same thing only hours ago. How could it be that the day she found the man she love, was the day she was given over to a man she would learn to resent?

     The party guests were gone and only the stars we left to dance in the sky. The seemingly beautiful night didn’t match the chaos writhing within Lila as she pounded her bare feet against the forest floor. She didn’t stop when a stone cut deep through her foot leaving traces of her blood. With her long hair flowing behind her, she ran so hard not one strand rested on her back.

     It was when she reached the path that divided her from Silas that she dropped down to her knees and let out a screech that sounded more animalistic than anything. Her hear beat aginst her chest with such ferocity she thought it would explode and her lungs that kept her breathing air as she ran felt as though they would collapse. Tears streamed down her face as she clawed at the ground in agony.

      A voice said from the shadows. ”Lila?” 

     Lila was alert once more but couldn’t move nearly as fast as she could only seconds before. Her body had already began to ache. She crawled until she could stand and met Silas in the middle of the path.

     ”What are you doing here,” she whispered letting her head fall to the middle of his chest.

     ”I haven’t left,” Silas admitted softly in her ear. “What are you doing here?”

     Lila started to sob again. “My father has found someone for me to marry?”

     She felt his arms tightened slightly around her realizing the seriousness of her words. He pushed her back slightly so he could look at her face.

     ”Let’s run away together,” he said.

     Lila sniffled. “We… we can’t. Where would we go?”

     Silas slid his hand down her arm taking her fingers and entangling them with his own. “My father just had a boat made. We can go wherever we want.”

      Lila pulled his face to hers and kissed him. “Let’s go.”

      “Go back and get your clothes, food, whatever you think we’ll need and meet me back here within the hour.”

       Back at her camp, the area that the fire was in had finally burned out. the only thing that remained was the smell of burnt wood. Lila creeped from house to house making sure that everyone was asleep before she went to her own and retrieved her things. 

     She didn’t pack much, only a few dresses and meat that had been left out after the celebration. As much as she tried telling herself that she was the only one awake, she couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched.

     Fearing that her paranoia was more than just being scared, she hurried off into the forest yet again to meet Silas. Dogs barked in the background causing her to stop and listen for someone approaching. But there was silence in the woods, she had nothing to worry about.

     Relieved when she saw Silas making his way to her, any negative thoughts she may have had on the way over were gone. She wouldn’t have to marry Franco and she would always be with Silas. Lila had never been in love before that day but now she was starting to understand why her sister had become so bitter. Why would you want to be around someone all the time if you didn’t love them?

     Just as they were about to leave and never look back at the island, there was a shout in the distance and the sound of a weapon flying towards them. In the shadows of the night, both communities were standing on either bank with bows and arrows and torches. The chests of the lovers pounded together in unison.

     ”What are we going to do,” Lila asked.

     Silas gripped her tighter. “I have no idea.”

     Ephram stepped forward and then Mabius. The two men glared at each other. The glare was less about their children holding each other and more about the long lasting rival.

     Mabius stepped forward another step. “What is your child doing with my child?”

     Ephram grudgingly said, “I’m just as clueless as you are.”

     Lila turned towards her father. “Father, I don’t want to marry Franco. I’ve fallen in love with Silas. We shouldn’t have to suffer because the two of you don’t get along”

     Ephram stayed quiet, obviously disgusted by his daughter. His form tightened when Mabius neared the dividing path. Behind Ephram, he could hear the weapons of his followers lifting.

     ”This is not the way it should be,” Mabius said loudly. At first the lovers began to relax thinking someone finally saw how ridiculous the feud between the West and the East was but then Silas’ father said, “How could the two of you possibly met?”

     It was useless. The anger would never cease between the two men. They were to stubborn for any type of peace.

     ”Lila, come now,” Ephram said. “You’ve disgraced this family enough just by coming here. You are to marry Franco and forget this….”

     He was having a hard time trying to find the right words for the “wrong” situation.

      “She’s not marrying anyone,” Silas said standing tall. His stance was challenging to Ephram.

     ”Lila,” Ephram’s voice boomed. “Now.”

     Lila looked at Silas. Worry shone in her eyes. this wasn’t going to end well unless she did as her father said. Breaking free from the hold of Silas, Lila moved towards her father. She held Silas’ hand until their fingertips could no longer reach. One look back, and she watched as a tear slid down his cheek.

     ”No,” she heard Silas say and she stopped walking as she reached her father’s side.

     Lila hadn’t seen Silas following her but the second he stepped on the East side of the border, she knew what would happen. She ran to him, not hearing her father’s order to his men to shoot. With lightning quick reflexes, Silas pulled her to his chest and spun around to protect her from the arrows coming their way. Together, they fell to the ground with Silas’ arms still wrapped protectively around her.

     No one moved in the dark night. There was no sound, not even crickets dared to chirp. A riot was expected from those on both sides. The youngest two children had confessed their love only to be attacked with hate.

     They watched the two bodies on the ground, waiting for some kind of movement. Ephram stepped forward using his torch to see if his daughter was alright. Surely the boy’s body protected his youngest daughter from being wounded.

     ”Don’t touch my son Ephram,” Mabius said walking down to the border.

     The men looked at one another, neither stepping onto the path or the battle would just begin. A gush of wind passed by them putting the flames to each of the torches out. 

     A faint glow of light appeared to the side of the two groups. It was coming down the center of the border, moving slowly. A strange voice came from the same direction causing the people of the island to hold their breath.

     ”The hate you share has killed more than what has thrived. For if you let light in, your kin would have survived.”

     ”It’s the witch,” someone shouted in the mob.

     ”This is no concern of yours witch. Mind your business or you will be dealt with,” Mabius said.

     It was difficult to see her face clearly as it was hidden under a large hood but the ball of light in her hands was completely visible. It was a burning flame that had no affect on her skin, she held it delicately in her palms.

     ”A curse you’ve created on your own, your children you’ve so easily disowned. A curse I place upon both sides, identities you’re bound to hide.”

     The witch turned towards Mabius and blew at the burning ball of fire. Ashes broke off and circled his body.

     ”A man brilliant with his mind, cannot save him from father time. The clock strikes twelve for the generations to come, a monster for those who become twenty-one. The fullest moon will bring the deepest howl, they run free at day but three nights they prowl.”

     The ashes broke apart in the air not to be seen again as the witch moved on to Ephram. He tried to move, to get out of the way but his feet were planted like cement to the ground. Once again she blew at the ball and ashes drifted around Ephram’s body.

      “A man with such passion for things he builds, he can now create his own guild. The sharpest teeth, the quickest bite, seeking day but are bound to night. The life of your daughter has been taken; no longer does your family gain procreation. Cold as ice, hard as stone, a walking disease to call your own.”

     ”What did you do to us, witch,” Mabius shouted. He too was unable to move from the spot that he stood.

     ”As monster you will roam the Earth until your dying day,” the witch said to no one in particular. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it? To destroy each other? Now you have the tools to do so. Just remember what it cost you.”

     “Who are you,” Ephram questioned.

     She turned to him and stroked the side of the cheek with the back of her hand and he immediately knew the touch. “Celina,” he whispered.

      Pulling the hood back from her face, she proved Ephram right. He winced seeing her. Even with her hair covering the left side of her face, he knew what lie underneath. It was a burn mark from the fire that he and Mabius started when they were just twenty years of age. Reckless they had been, fighting over a woman that shared no interest in either of them because she had no interest being the reason in which two friends hated one another.

     The town had burned taking half of Celina’s face with it. Both Ephram and Mabius had haunting dream since then. Seeing Celina’s skin sizzling, remembering the crackle the fire made, and smelling the scent of rotting flesh. Without taking blame, they had both condemned each other for knocking over the torch that set the fire, for scarring Celine and causing her to flee. They had never taken equal responsibility as they were both at fault.

     Mabius and Ephram stood in utter disbelief watching the woman they loved and lost curse them for doing the same to their children that they did to her. Taking a step back, Celina placed her hands together killing the flame that burned within. 

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