There was a moment in the morning where I simply forgot the kind of life I had begun to live.
I was content with the knowledge that I was wrapped in a man’s arms, his breath heavy on my neck, but even as the sunshine started to burn my eyes, I came to the realisation that this probably wasn’t the way my life was meant to pan out.
Or was it?
If there is some higher being, did he/she look down on me on an infant and say ‘this one needs some trouble’ and orchestrated this massive war just so that my character would change?
I struggled free of Karter’s arms and left him a note, the same way I did yesterday morning, before running down the hall and pounding on Celeste’s and Dolly’s wall – I didn’t know why, but I suddenly needed my best friend.
Celeste opened the door, her eyes were smudged and slightly panda looking and she was scowling, before she realised it was me. She sighed deeply, holding open the door and making her way back inside, figuring that I would probably follow her.
Though I tried my hardest, my eyes instantly wandered to the bed, where Dolly’s sleeping figure lay sprawled beneath the sheets. I followed Celeste to the table and chair set up in her room, wondering if every room had a tea table.
“I know what you’re going to say.” Celeste interrupted my prepared speech, and I wasn’t entirely sure how to begin it now.
Celeste looked towards the bed, her eyes softening around the edges until I could practically see her soul – and her soul looked exactly like Dolly. That’s what being soul-mates are about, having your soul reflected in someone else’s.
“Dolly and I talked it over, and we’re not staying out of this fight.” Celeste stated and I floundered – how was I meant to talk her out of this?
“We’ll be by your side no matter what.” Celeste commented, and I felt tears welling up behind my eyelids, blinking quickly to keep them away.
“Now, if you don’t mind, I want to get back to my soul-mate.” Celeste gave me a knowing look as if to say ‘perhaps you should do the same.’
I left Celeste’s room slightly bewildered, but certain that was not how that conversation was meant to happen. I was meant to be able to convince her to stay safe, not to allow her to risk her life and that of her mate’s just to see me die anyways.
Decidedly, I chose to run around to all of the pairs I knew of, finding myself at last in front of Grey’s door. It would be wrong not to give him and his mate the same chance that I had given the others – but at the same time, I knew I would need Grey’s healing powers on the wounded, and his partner’s power to accelerate the growth of plants – which was helpful considering he could grow an ivy branch out of the ground tripping any enemy who deigned to get close enough.
“You can go in you know.” A voice behind me stated, almost making me jump out of my skin in fright. I turned around to face Jared – Grey’s soul-mate.
Jared was a year or so older than Grey, with a unique sadness in his eyes. No matter where he went he kept this little rose seed in his pocket – for a special day he said, making me wonder if ever a day would come.
“I’m not sure I want to.” I admitted, surprising both Jared and I, before he broke into a smile.
“Don’t worry; we made our choice when we chose to follow you.” Jared stated, pushing open the door and striding inside – giving Grey a light hearted kiss on the cheek.
“You finally found the door I see.” Grey stated, easily finding a seat on the edge of his bed.
I blushed furiously; did everyone have to know where I was at every darn minute of the day? Though, it honestly didn’t surprise me that much that he knew I was standing outside his door the whole time.
“Yeah, I guess I did.” I smiled, finding my customary seat on the chair in the corner of the room.
“Before you ask, Celeste warned us you’d probably be coming by to try to steer us off coming to fight, but it’s not going to happen. You got us into this, you bloody well get us out.”
I was surprised at his language at first, but I relaxed coming to terms with the ferocity that was the healer. I had expected him to be meek and mild, but this ferocity suited him better – he talked like someone who had seen death and slapped it in the face. It was the voice of a warrior.
When I finished my rounds with the pairs I found myself back in the room I shared with Karter. The sheets were ruffled and he was nowhere in sight. I slowly made my way towards the front of the house where the sparring area was set up. I was in such a state that I practically ran into Kaleb, which was quite the achievement considering he was standing still.
“Ella” He nodded his head formally, and I waited a moment, feeling as though he wanted to say more.
“Hello Kaleb” I smiled, touching his arm briefly.
“Listen… Good luck.” Kaleb ran a hand through his hair awkwardly, before turning and walking away to his room.
What a strange guy.
But the strangeness didn’t stop with Kaleb, as I walked through towards the door people in the hallway stopped talking, reaching out to brush my shoulder with their hands as though in mourning – as though I was a widow.
I tried to shake it off – but everyone I saw looked so sad, as though they already knew what I was planning to do.
Karter was waiting for me outside, a grim expression on his features – Celeste standing behind him, looking between us as though she wasn’t sure what was about to happen.
“Ella.” Karter called my name, and my eyes instantly found his.
Before I could even think about replying he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close, his forehead touching mine briefly before his lips found mine in a sweet kiss.
I wish there had been fireworks, or that tingly feeling in the pit of your stomach that you hear about, or just the general feeling that ‘this is it – this is the person you’re meant to kiss for the rest of your perceivably short life.’ But of course, no such luck for me.
Karter dragged me over to the sparring mats, trying to hit me again and again until we were both drenched in sweat, but neither of us dared to call a time out. We weren’t training for a WWE match were there would be water breaks, we were heading into a war were you wouldn’t be able to stop until everyone was dead.
That night when Karter was showing I was pacing the room – we hadn’t had any time to talk about the kiss earlier, and it was beginning to play on my nerves. Karter exited the bathroom with just his black trouser pants and a towel wrapped around his shoulders as he shook the water from his hair.
My heart jumped and stammered, suddenly unsure of where to look I took to looking at the painting on the wall behind me. It seemed safer than staring at him for the moment. A light chuckle made a shiver run up my spine and suddenly he was there, standing beside me, hands on my waist nuzzling the back of my neck.
“Ella, will you stay with me tonight?” Though it was his usual question, there was more to it now.
“Of course.” I answered quietly, repeating the words a little louder and feeling Karter smile and kiss the back of my head.
Slowly but surely Karter turned me around, his hands light on my arms trying to warm me up as I shivered. Karter bent down a little, his amber eyes searching mine before landing a kiss on my lips. Again and again Karter kissed me, until we were nothing but a tangle of bodies beneath the sheets.
The morning was way too bright for my liking. The sun was shining right through the window. For the first time since I had started staying the night with him Karter’s body wasn’t wrapped around my own – I was thankful for this considering neither of us wore any clothes.
I eyed off the pile of clothes just a meter from the bed, unsure if I wanted to risk Karter waking up just to get dressed, but the sun was seriously starting to annoy me and I felt the need to be more proactive. Like laying here was just sapping away my energy until I wouldn’t be able to move away.
I quietly flung the sheets off of me, sprinting to the pile of clothes and pulling on my bra and underwear before slipping on my pants and what I thought was Karter’s shirt since it was a little bit bigger.
After I was dressed Karter stretched, making me wonder if he had been awake for my little dash and dress. He came over and planted a kiss on my forehead before frowning, a little crease forming between his eyebrows. I reached up to smooth it, and he smiled slightly before pulling on some pants of his own.
“I can’t hear you.” He whispered and I tilted my head in confusion.
“I didn’t say anything?” I replied and Karter shook his head, moving back to sit on the bed.
“I mean, I can’t hear your thoughts.” Karter explained, sighing on seeing my still utterly confused expression.
“When soul-mates bond in any way they are generally able to hear one another’s thoughts, they also become more powerful than they would be alone. I can’t hear you.” Karter explained, his voice breaking, and I wondered if our night together had somehow broken the illusion we had both been holding onto.
“Come on, let’s go down for breakfast.” I suggested, watching as Karter found another shirt to shrug on before I grabbed his hand.
Breakfast was a muted affair, people sat in groups but no-one really talked, they just looked sombre, like they all knew that today they were walking towards death. Not enough of them looked hopefully enough that they would walk back out.
I sat at the table with Karter, Celeste, Dolly and Kaleb, and even though I wanted to talk to them, joke around like we had every other morning, my mouth didn’t seem to work the way I wanted it to. Celeste and Dolly kept looking at one another quietly while playing with their food, and I wondered if they were sharing a telepathic conversation.
Karter grabbed my hand and started running his thumb over it, soothing my nerves. Kaleb stood abruptly hands fisting.
“I’m going to make sure everyone’s ready to go in an hour.” He stated, not giving us a chance to tell him not to worry before he was gone.
Everyone was more than ready. None of us were taking bags or any possessions other than stuff we might need to help our powers – some of the nature users had seeds or a bit of soil in their pockets, some of the witches like Celeste had a small bag full of concoctions they had been steadily making over the last few days.
Celeste looked between Karter and I, a small smile playing on her lips and I gave her a look – just because she could figure out what had happened last night doesn’t mean she was allowed to comment on it.
“Alright, time to go.” I said standing, and everyone followed suit, piling into a group, looking at me for direction.
I nodded at them all, happy to see that they were all still willing to go through with it.
I hoped they wouldn’t regret it.
What a night Karter and Ella had!
Be prepared for the next few chapters as the war begins with a duel to the death.
Honestly, I'm warning you - serious feels and major twists and turns coming up so stay posted
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