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1 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Contents Epilogue I ........................................................................................................................................................................... 1 Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor-Part I ............................................................................................................... 1 Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor-Part II ............................................................................................................ 10 Epilogue One-Part III................................................................................................................................................ 19 The Battle For Akakor .............................................................................................................................................. 19 Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor –Part IV .......................................................................................................... 27 Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor –Part V ........................................................................................................... 36 Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor-Part VI ........................................................................................................... 51 Epilogue II: The Return to Volterra-A storyline tie-in for „All Worlds Collide‟ ........................................................... 66 Felix-- March 2011...................................................................................................................................................... 66 Demetri and Mia—8 years later in the Amazon Basin ................................................................................................ 68 Appendix I: Angel of Death: Felix’s Story....................................................................................................................... 75 Epilogue I Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor-Part I Bella‟s POV It was hard to leave my Dad behind in Forks, but I knew I‟d left him in good hands and in eight short months he‟d be way too busy to miss me or my little daughter. I‟d hoped that Nessie would settle into her new life in Hanover, NH and not stay too sad. And I knew she was grieving as we traveled cross-country, even without Edward‟s pained expressions as he listened in on her thoughts or when she‟d climb over the seat to curl up in my lap before crying herself to sleep. I had known it without her phone calls every three hours to update Charlie about what she‟d seen along the way, just so she could hear his voice. 2 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Thankfully, I had been correct about her ability to settle into her new environment. She had been apprehensive about starting the fifth grade in the middle of the year but after the first day, her jitters disappeared. As she‟d requested, everyone at Ray Elementary School called her Carlie Cullen. While she went to class, Edward and I worked hard setting up our two bedroom suite at our new house so we‟d be ready to dive into the world of academia upon our return from Christmas holidays. It was Thanksgiving Day when we received THE phone call from Charlie. Oh, we‟d had plenty before this one. Actually all of our phone conversations had seemed strained since our departure and Edward and I had chalked it up to his discomfort expressing emotions and missing us. He never seemed apprehensive with Nessie when we overheard their phone exchanges. I‟d secretly wondered if he was mad at us for leaving. When THE phone call came, Edward and I learned how wrong our assumption had been. We were at a distinct disadvantage with Edward‟s mind reading ability not being able to travel through the wireless network. Apparently, even with Alice‟s new freedoms with her sight, stick my father in a tribe full of werewolves, and Alice‟s visions went on the blink. The entire family had just sat down in our large dining room.. The table was laden with food, A beautiful oven roasted turkey, complete with all the trimmings, sat in the center on a silver platter. Surrounding it were serving bowls of mashed potatoes, cranberry salad, yams, buttered rolls, fresh asparagus, pumpkin pie and two crystal glasses were filled with eggnog. The whole thing looked and smelled positively nauseating. Jacob‟s eyes told just how our taste in food differed. Renesmee was eyeing the banquet wearily. Carlisle had blessed the dinner. It was the longest prayer I‟d ever heard. I believe he was thankful for everything from the house we lived in to the snails in the forest. When Jacob‟s stomach growled angrily, Carlisle finally wrapped it up and eight of us watched every bite that Jacob devoured and Nessie picked at. We were just watching in disgusted fascination as Jake put a fourth slice of pie on his plate. He‟d made sure there‟d be no leftovers. The bony frame was all that remained of the 25 lb. turkey. Nessie discovered that she‟d liked the yams, cranberry salad and pie, or in other words—the sweet stuff. That was the moment Dad‟s ringer went off on my cell phone and I excused myself from the table and walked out on the front porch to enjoy the morning sun dance across my sparkling skin as I talked to my favorite father. “Dad, I am so glad you called. Is Sue still cooking your dinner since you are three hours behind us in Forks?” I breathed as I turned my hand to watch a prism pattern dance through the glitters. “Hi Bella,” Dad sounded uncomfortable, uncharacteristically distracted. “Uh yeah, she‟s been pretty busy in the kitchen since early this morning. How was your dinner?” It sounded like a pointed question somehow. “Well it was good…” I said tentatively. „At least to Jacob it was,‟ I continued the sentence mentally. “Why do you ask?” For some reason I got the feeling there was more to the question than pleasantries. “Just wondering what you ate for your Thanksgiving meal.” He‟d put some emphasis on the word „you‟. There was a pause as I tried to guess at where he was coming from. I decided to stick to the vague truth. “I didn‟t actually have any of the regular meal. It didn‟t look appealing to me. But I did have a big meal just 3 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) last night.” That wasn‟t an exaggeration. I had found a black bear, a moose and in honor of Thanksgiving I‟d even caught me a wild turkey. “Hmmm, the thing is Bella,” There was another pause. I hadn‟t heard Charlie so uncomfortable to speak since he‟d given me the „sex talk‟ my senior year of high school. At least I knew that base had already been covered. “Listen Dad, whatever it is. Just spit it out. You know I don‟t bite.” I responded playfully. He laughed nervously in response. “Well, the thing is, I accompanied Sue to the cliffs last Friday and I heard about their legends, you see. I don‟t know how I‟d managed to go my entire life, with my best friends being Quileute, and not hear them before now, but…” He trailed off. I started to have a sinking feeling settle into the pit of my stomach. I knew the legends. I knew that they talked about the Blood Drinkers and the Cold Ones. Had my dad put it together? Was he in danger now as a result? What would he think of me? “I‟ve heard the legends myself. They are rather fascinating don‟t you think?” I tried to calm myself my voice sounded high and ringing with a growing anxiety of my own. “Yes they are fascinating but I think enlightening might be a better descriptive word to use. Did you know that they have a new legend?” “Really? You don‟t say.” I sounded as though I were choking on my words. Edward came out the front door with a concerned look on his face and sat beside me on the bench. He held my hand. “The Quileutes have a new legend?” I bit my lower lip. Edward gathered me in his silent embrace and rested his chin on the top of my head. “It was VERY interesting and all about a girl named Bella who brought the werewolves and a unique clan of Cold Ones together to protect her and everyone else in the area from vampires.” I tried to swallow but my throat wouldn‟t cooperate. Instead a strangled moan escaped my lips. “Vampires?” I asked. My eyes were still on my arm with the sun gleaming off it like sparkling water. I lifted my shield and thought, „He Knows! What should I do? How do I protect him now?‟ “The wolf pack will protect him, love.” Edward whispered reassuringly in my ear. I nodded my head but it only addressed one of my fears. „What will he think of me now?‟ I shuddered at the possibilities. „I don‟t want to lose him. Why did the Quileutes do that?‟ “He‟s one of them now.” Edward whispered quietly. He hugged me and kissed the top of my head before swiftly adding. “It must be hard for him to process this if it took him an entire week to mention it. He‟s called four times since then. He loves you Bella. Give him time to work through the shock. I believe he still wants to be a part of our lives. Just don‟t panic and remember I‟m right here.” I nodded my head weakly. 4 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Charlie‟s voice broke the silence. “Yes Bella, vampires. Just like Emmett said he was on Halloween. I know what you are Bells. I‟m just having a hard time understanding it…well, believing it.” His voice didn‟t sound angry or revolted. It just sounded sad. “I‟m sorry, Dad.” I breathed. Edward‟s arm tightened on my shoulder. “I couldn‟t tell you. When I found out it made some very powerful people unhappy. It endangered my life. I could never risk yours after seeing how certain vampires love their rules.” “That would be the Volturi?” My dad had his police voice on. Perhaps he felt more comfortable approaching this conversation as though it were a fact finding mission. “Yes, but I‟ll…” I fought to put some resolve in my voice. It worked. “…I‟ll never let them learn about what you know. You‟ll be safe.” I willed my words to be true. “I know you will Bells.” There was a pause before he spoke again. “So I was wondering a few things. Are you up to answering some questions for your „slightly out of touch with reality‟ old man?” I laughed in relief. Edward did too; just before he leaned in and kissed my nose. “Anything you need Dad. Shoot.” „Is the worst really over? Does he accept me? It sounds like he still loves me.‟ “Is that Edward I hear laughing with you?” “Yes, it is.” “Hi Dad,” Edward added. “Hello Edward,” Charlie replied politely. “It‟s a good thing you‟re there but I hope Nessie isn‟t.” “No, she and Jacob are getting ready to go hiking through the sugar maples.” “That‟s right I remember her mentioning how beautiful they looked this time of year.” He quickly returned to the matter at hand. “So about my questions; at the bonfire, I learned that you guys are supposedly immortal. Is that correct?” “Yes, it is.” “So you aren‟t going to age anymore?” “No, I‟ll stay 18 forever.” “Oh great, listen Bells, do everyone a favor and don‟t tell your mother. She‟ll either be jealous or demand that you change her yourself.” Edward and I laughed together. 5 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “So exactly how old are you Edward?” Charlie asked from the receiver. His tone was slightly more relaxed. I‟d wondered if he‟d remain so when he heard this one. I changed the phone to speaker so he‟d hear Edward as easily as Edward could hear him. “I was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1901.” Charlie‟s only response was a gasp. Edward ignored that and continued. “When I was 17 years old, I contracted Spanish influenza. It killed both of my parents and had pretty much killed me as well. My mother‟s dying request to Doctor Cullen was to save me, by whatever means necessary—to do what no one else could. Carlisle was very lonely and so he did just that.” “That is…well, that‟s something.” Charlie said sounding thoughtful. “So, I guess that would make you one hundred and eight years old. Bella, you really went for a mature man didn‟t you? Sorry Edward, I guess I didn‟t really believe the whole immortal bit.” “That‟s okay Dad,” Edward responded. “I‟ve lived a long time, but I was seventeen when I was changed, and my temperament and personality were set in the perspective I had at that time. So while I‟ve lived for 108 years, I still look and feel and act like a seventeen year old.” “A very mature, responsible seventeen year old,” I corrected. “Okay, I‟ll get used to it. Just give me some time. It feels a little funny though; you calling me „Dad‟ when you‟re about sixty years older than me.” Charlie gave an incredulous laugh. “Well you feel like a Dad to me. I don‟t really remember my own. Of course I have Carlisle for a father too.” “Too late now Dad, you‟re just going to have to suck it up; Edward isn‟t going anywhere.” I chimed in. “I don‟t want him to go anywhere.” Charlie said with some feeling. “Like I said, I‟m just trying to process all of this.” “Good,” I stated emphatically. “What other questions did you have?” I asked to steer the conversation in a different direction. I wasn‟t so sure that hearing Carlisle‟s age would be helpful to Charlie‟s precarious state of mind just then. “A few more for now,” Dad replied before he plowed into question number two. “Why exactly did you lie about going to Italy to save Edward?” “I couldn‟t tell you the truth. Like I said before, to know would have put you at risk and I couldn‟t chance that risk. You were too important to me. I couldn‟t lose you.” “I understand that you couldn‟t go into specifics Bella, but I‟d never have grounded you had I known what you were really up too. If I‟d known that Edward‟s life was in danger and that you had rushed off to save him…that it was a matter of life and death. Bella, sweetie, I would have been proud of you for that. Instead you fed me some song and dance and I knew you were patronizing me. It was very frustrating to me. Promise me Bella, that you‟ll be truthful with me about important things from now on. I know you‟re married and a grown up now, but don‟t leave me in the dark like that again.” 6 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “I‟m sorry Dad. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. Now, well, now I‟m not so sure.” I admitted a bit shamed faced. I hung my head. I felt Edward‟s hand rub my back. “Would you like it if Nessie did something like that and told you she went joy riding when she returned?” “I guess I see your point, when you put it like that.” I replied slowly. “Well, no need to worry about it now. It‟s water under the bridge. But I was really proud of you for what you did--even though it was dangerous, reckless and not handled very well. It was heroic and any father would be proud of having a child who cared about others to that degree. And after I got over being lied to, I was proud of you Bella.” “Thank you Dad. That really means a lot to me.” I was relieved. I was so worried about his revulsion of my new life but instead he seemed curious, and happy to get some answers that made sense to things that had nagged him for some time. Charlie sighed. “I suppose that motorcycles don‟t really pose a danger for any of you, do they?” “No, not really.” Edward answered. I heard a smile in his voice. “So what about this imprinting thing between Jacob and my Nessie? I was shocked to hear that part of the story. But you seem okay with it. How could the two of you allow that to happen?” Charlie was irritated again. “Oh, we didn‟t allow him to imprint at all.” Edward said defensively. “I was upstairs working to save Bella‟s life at the time. “And we both just about killed him when we found out.” I chimed in. “Really? What stopped you? I‟d have helped if I‟d been there!” Okay, maybe he‟d been a little more than irritated. “Nessie stopped me Dad,” Edward said calmly as he stroked my hair. It was very soothing to me. “She spoke directly into my mind and asked me not to hurt her Jacob. I knew I was a father then and I had to set a good example for my little daughter. “Umm, it was Seth that stopped me.” I added meekly. “Okay well, speaking of Nessie‟s delivery, it was in the legend but it was told in such a way, that Jacob was kind of the hero and not Edward; something about granting an exception to the treaty?” “Well, he was pivotal in keeping the treaty intact. He also performed CPR and kept Bella alive while I was delivering Renesmee and working to save her.” Edward said to explain why Jacob‟s assistance was needed. “So he was a hero that day.” Charlie‟s answer was curt. “Since when does Jacob Black get to call the shots on whether Bella lives or dies? He wasn‟t any blood relation to her and she wasn‟t his wife either. There was no legal jurisdiction that put him in that position.” Charlie paused as though composing himself. “Edward, what would you have done had Jacob said „no‟?” 7 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “I was already prepared to save her with or without Jacob Black‟s blessings. It was what Bella wanted and frankly I already knew that I couldn‟t live without her.” “Well, I‟m glad to hear that!” Charlie answered decidedly. “No one is happier that Bella is still with us than I am— except maybe you, Edward.” He conceded at the end. “Thank you Dad.” Edward‟s voice was full of emotion. “I can‟t tell you what it means to me to hear you feel that way, understanding what you do now.” “Well, I do mean it. I‟, not saying I‟m good with a lot of this yet, but I would be like your Mother was Edward. I would be begging you to do for her what no one else could do. I would want you to save her at all costs. So the Quileutes can tout Jacob around as the hero of the day all they want. In my book, it was you. So I thank you for that; Even though it sounds very inadequate.” “You‟re welcome,” Edward said softly as his arms tightened around me again. “But I couldn‟t give up. She was my life.” It was shortly afterward that THE phone call came to an end. An end much better than I had hoped for. The ending comment was of us still being X-men to him. Though I was still concerned for Charlie‟s safety, I felt that Edward was right. The wolf pack could and would protect Charlie. And it was strangely exhilarating having all the secrets out and not having to hide anything from my father, one of the most important men in my life. *** We had received permission to take thirty credit hours a term and even with my vampire mind and not sleeping, it was a heavy workload to juggle, considering my already full life with my family. We‟d taken a desperately needed break in the Spring at the end of Winter Term, for a week in Inverness, Scotland. It was very beautiful and the people were wonderful but the crazy adventures that Emmett, Jacob and Nessie got us into there could fill the pages of a book. Needless to say, I was never so happy to see Dartmouth than I was on our return trip home. I had worried about how Charlie and Sue would make it to Akakor in July with two newborns in tow. Not to mention how we would explain their need to be there. Even though I‟d promised to keep Charlie in the loop, we had some pretty strict guidelines concerning the perfected beings and I didn‟t exactly know where that line should be drawn. I decided to adopt a „wait and see what happens‟ approach concerning their existence and involvement in our lives. My concern was unneeded. In March, as we‟d begun our spring trip, we‟d met up with both of my sets of parents at the JFK International Airport in New York City, where we filled an entire first class section of our plane to Scotland. It was on this flight that I heard the happy news from Sue that Leah and Nahuel were also expecting. She told me that though her pregnancy was progressing at an accelerated rate, it wasn‟t as drastic as mine had been. They were estimating her due date to be July 15, 2010. They didn‟t know it but that date naturally coincided with the deadline for the temple ceremony at Akakor. I wondered if this event was the reason the two of them showed up in Alice‟s vision. 8 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I was more than ready to return to the world of academia and buckle down to a grueling Spring Term. It finished four days before Sue gave birth to the twins, Nathan and Naomi. Since Nessie‟s school was out too, we‟d flown out for the event. I should have known my dad would be a natural with babies, after I‟d seen how comfortable he was with Nessie. Still, I was surprised that he balanced both of them in his arms as easily as his fishing gear. And his grin was much more satisfying when he was showing off his babies than showing off his catch of the day. He did give Edward and I a few wary sideways glances whenever we took them in arm to cuddle but all in all, I thought he handled his new understanding of our true nature pretty well. Sue on the other hand…let‟s just say, Sue was struggling. I remembered all too well when Nessie was a newborn and I wanted to protect her from dangers like myself and Jacob. Of course, I had to admit it hadn‟t stopped as she‟d grown either. I got after Emmett at least once a week for some crazy activity he‟d involved my daughter in. Maybe being over-protective was a mother thing? Edward, Nessie, Jacob and I stayed with Dad and Sue for a month and they came with us when we left for our trip into the jungles of the Amazon Rain Forest. We met up with the rest of the family as well as the Denalis in Miami before catching our international flight to Manaus Brazil. I wasn‟t sure exactly what Carlisle had said to them to get them to come but they seemed quite eager for the adventure. As we traveled over the Gulf of Mexico, I„d opened my shield to Edward and reviewed with him the many things we‟d learned so far about what we needed to do on our short excursion. I‟d never seen Akakor before. Of course who had? It was later named the fabled city of El Dorado, the lost city of Gold. There had been some archeological digs surrounding a lake where some believed the city to be, but according to Leah and Nahuel, that was an outpost. We‟d be picking up the Cougar helicopter once more in Manaus to land in the lost and ancient ruins of Akakor shortly after nightfall. Our first information came from what Zafrina, Senna, Kachiri, Huilen and Nahuel deciphered from the Morning Star Sun Sapphire while Emmett held it in their living room at the palace at Akahim. Edward and I were not there but we‟d heard about it in minute detail upon our return trip from Isle Esme. The rest we‟d learned through the temple ceremonies themselves. In particular, Alice‟s vision a year ago during part of the Sun Temple ceremony in Akahim. I ticked off in my mind what we already knew of what was shortly to come to past. First we‟d all been given code names: Carlisle was „The Man With the Silent Heart and a Soul as Bright as Day‟. Esme was „The Heart‟. Jasper, „The Feeling Warrior‟ and Alice was „The Seer‟. Emmett‟s code name, being the instigator of the whole fiasco, was „The Activator‟ and Rosalie was „Beauty Incarnate‟. She‟d loved that one! No surprise that Edward was „The Reader‟ and I was „The Shield‟, or that Jacob was „The Alpha‟. The big shock at that time had been our little daughter‟s code name: „The Hope of the World‟. It still made me tremble inside to think of it, pride so fierce, shock so disquieting and anxiety so acute as they warred for my attention. Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri were code named, „The Guardians of the Moon‟. The only member of our party last year to have not 9 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) received a code name had been Huilen. She had since been given one as she‟d been called into a ceremony herself at the ruins of Chavin in Peru. Her code name was „The Teacher of Truth‟; a name that Nahuel had heartily approved for his Aunt and surrogate Mother. All of the Gem keys had to be locked in their keyports with the outer doors to the tunnels opened in each of the twelve cities as well, by 7pm on July 15, 2010. It would be the evening of the 14th of July when we arrived in the city of Akakor for its ceremonies to begin. Talk about cutting it close! After each of these keys were placed in their perspective locks in a certain order, it would deactivate destruction devices placed at fault lines and under mountain volcanoes in this region. This was the final fail-safe measure devised by the Gods to either restore the people of the Ugha Mongulala to their heritage and inheritance or to prevent its fall into hostile forces.” Tomorrow will be either a „Day of Restoration‟ or a „Day of Destruction‟ for the peoples of the Amazon. Though the original reason for the drastic safeguards had been to keep the sacred artifacts from falling into the wrong hands were the descendents of the Ugha Mongulala destroyed. Somehow there was a petroglyph of our family in the middle of the Petroglyph Forest near the ruins of Chan Chan. Zafrina, Senna, Kachiri and Huilen spent time scouting out the locations and searching for participants for the nine ceremonies to be conducted after they returned with Nahuel and Leah from their wedding in Forks. Leah agreed to help „Clean up Emmett‟s mess‟ in her new role as „The Wolf Goddess‟, but declined Emmett‟s offer of help. The twelve ancient cities that were to hold ceremonies to open the underground tunnels, Temples of the Moon and Sun Temples were: Akahim, Chan Chan, the port city of Ofir, Cajamarquilla, Cuzco, Nara, Paititi, Cadira, Chavin, Salazere and Akakor. There would be forces at work to prevent us from meeting our deadline. Some would apparently be other indigenous people of the area who had forgotten their own history and didn‟t understand what we sought to accomplish. Some were men in militia garb. Nahuel and Leah had told us that there were vigilantes in some regions that didn‟t want their power structure jeopardized. Our opposition would be fierce and they would have heavy firepower. There would be many who fought against us. Most of them not understanding that we worked for their very survival. We were told to beware of „The Two-Faced Man‟ and „The Pale Warrior‟. I had worried that these had been Marcus and Felix. I re-thought that when Felix himself called Aro a „Two-Faced Man‟ under his breath after a demanding phone call from the Volturi leader. That would make Caius „The Pale Warrior‟. I shuddered as I looked across the aisle to my father as he held his month old daughter Naomi and made her laugh. Because the third group that Alice saw coming was the Volturi. And my Father was walking into danger with his little family and his head full of facts—vampire facts. 10 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor-Part II Edward’s POV It was twilight as we landed in Manaus, Brazil. An airport shuttle loaded up our gear and drove us to a distant hanger, where parked out front, our Cougar Helicopter was fueled and readied for our departure. Bella sat beside me in the co- pilot seat as we went through the check list at vampiric speed. We were up in the air and heading into the sunset, towards Akakor, faster than a bat could fly. I had to grin over at the love of my life as I listened to the mental chatter from Charlie. He was apparently shocked beyond words to witness his daughter flying a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift aircraft with the confidence and assurance of a seasoned pilot. She looked over at me quizzically but no explanation was necessary as Charlie, who sat directly behind us, turned to Sue and announced, “My daughter is flying a really big whirlybird.” His voice held no inflection. I looked at Bella and we both suppressed chuckles. “I see that!” Sue‟s response was enthusiastic. “This is wonderful! Did Edward teach you Bella?” “Yes, he did last year when we were here.” “Aren‟t you supposed to log a bunch of hours before you can get a license to fly these birdies?” Yes, his tone and his thoughts were slightly escalating up the scale towards panic. I glanced over at him. I‟d wanted to reassure him, however he was looking out the window; watching the lights of Manaus get further and further away. “Right? Bella?” “Relax Dad,” Bella chimed as she turned completely around in her seat to stare her father in the eye. She was amused by his antics. “I don‟t have all of my hours yet. That is why Edward is the pilot. This trip counts as part of my training.” “Please turn around and keep your hands on the stick Bella!” He scolded her. „We‟re going to crash! We‟re all going to die! Whatever would possess Bella to take up helicopters anyway?‟ His heart rate was becoming unhealthy. I wasn‟t the only one to notice. Carlisle‟s concerned thoughts overlaid Charlie‟s mental chatter of doom. „Edward, please calm Charlie down a bit. It would be better not to have a medical emergency just now.‟ 11 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Dad,” I said in my most soothing, comforting voice I had. It took Charlie, in his panicked state, a full two minutes to realize that I was addressing him instead of my father, Carlisle. When I had his attention I continued. “Would you like to know how many years flight experience I‟ve had?” His forehead creased into lines of deep thought as he considered my words. His heart-rate started to return to normal levels. His thoughts became more rational. „Edward is 106 years old. That could count towards a lot of flight hours. Plus he‟d never put his family at risk—especially not Bella or Nessie. But do I really want to know?‟ “Yes,” Charlie gulped. “How long have you been flying, Son?” “Well, I can pilot many kinds of aircraft, but helicopters I have flown for the last thirty two years. I have logged over thirteen hundred hours; and a thousand of them have been with this model.” I could tell that my calm, assuring voice was having the desired effect on his panic. “Well, that‟s really something.” “And this aircraft is one of the safest ones there is.” Bella chimed in. Charlie turned to Sue again. His expression was sheepish but it was easy to detect a note of pride in his words. “My daughter can fly a huge helicopter.” The rest of the flight was uneventful. It was a new moon and with the light of day making its exit, the sky of the Amazon was blackest night. It was easy for me to sense Aurora who‟d caught up to us in Manaus and flew at our side. She‟d had to climb in altitude several times during our travels thus far, to stay inside the cloud banks and away from prying eyes. She‟d been in near constant mental communication with Emmett though. Emmett, who‟d turned into quite the mother hen to the adolescent dragon. She‟d recently grown enough to support Emmett‟s weight in flight. Renesmee, Jacob and Charlie and his little family all slept until they felt our cabin pressure change, due to my slow approach to Akakor. The city, though still mostly in ruins, had electricity now and from the looks of things, was well on its way to recovering its splendor of days gone by. I could appreciate that even in the dead of night due to my super sensitive eyes. “Wow,” my beautiful Bella breathed. “And I thought Akahim was magnificent!” It was magnificent too, especially now that Bella had come to complete the picture. “Where?” Charlie asked sleepily. “I don‟t see anything?” „What in the world is she seeing out there? A lightning bug?‟ “You will!” Nessie replied; so excited that she was literally bouncing in her seat—all evidence of sleep vanished. I took a moment to make mental adjustments as I became inundated by the thoughts of the villagers that had congregated inside the stone fortress of Akakor. I knew that most had been gathered for tomorrow‟s ceremonies. Others had already congregated in opposition at the north and southwest areas of the city to stage a coup. Nowhere did I sense the thoughts of Aro or Caius. Nowhere were there thoughts from the surrounding hills and jungles of vampires. I relaxed slightly from the knowledge that our real opposition had yet to arrive. Though she hadn‟t mentioned it, I knew that Bella had been anxious to bring her father and his new family into this conflict. I had felt it earlier from the tenor of the thoughts she‟d shared with me as she‟d reviewed what we knew already of tomorrow‟s events. Perhaps it had been her hope that we would have unseen help from Carlisle‟s new siblings that kept her panic tightly in control. My Bella had always had a great deal of faith. She‟d also commanded an 12 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) extraordinary amount of courage. I was in awe of her as she marshaled them to produce an optimism that shattered my doubts and misgivings. Bella had always been a terrible liar and I‟d made studying her face a priority since I‟d met her. I marveled to realize that there was no façade here. Bella seemed to exude confidence. Her own stress had been replaced by a conviction that shown through her eyes and radiated to her beautiful face. As we touched down, Aurora lighted on a hill to our west. Even with the darkness, the group of opposing natives stationed there could make her out from the reflected lights of our landing pad. Their thoughts were a mixture of panic and dread. Of course, who wouldn‟t? A dragon wasn‟t something one saw every day. As if sensing their anxiety Aurora turned in their direction and let out a roar that sounded like something I‟d heard from the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the movie, „Jurassic Park‟. That had been enough to convince them that perhaps having a Jaguar King and Wolf Queen wouldn‟t be all that bad after all. They began breaking their camp immediately. „One hostile tribe down.‟ I thought dryly to myself. Just then I lifted up over the last mountain peak and the lights of Akakor came fully into view. It was easy to find the landing pad. It was ringed in red lights and looked like it had anciently been used for just such vehicles to use for a like purpose. Apparently, not everyone agreed with my assessment. As we approached Charlie‟s thoughts became more urgent. „Thank goodness Edward got us here safe and sound. It was so dark I was sure we were goners. No…wait! What is Edward doing? Is that a volcanic crater he‟s trying to land us in? No, Edward wouldn‟t be that irresponsible. Would he?‟ “No Charlie,” I assured him immediately. “Not a volcano; just lit up to look like one. I think someone is developing their flare for theatrics.” My eyes narrowed as I sought the culprit by immediately casting my mind out to hear any thoughts around our scenic „airport‟. It only took a moment to find the culprit. He was hidden behind the closest hill to the north watching our approach with a slightly perturbed Huilen by his side. It would seem as though Felix had too much spare time on his hands. That and perhaps he‟d hung around Emmett a little too much. I sifted through the cacophony of sounds and searched for a mind or two more familiar to me than the rest. I heard nothing from Nahuel or Leah. The mental signatures of the three Amazons were also gone. They must‟ve not returned yet from their day‟s ceremonies at Salazere. I finally caught a more familiar „voice‟. His thoughts rang through my head with crystal clarity. „Mom‟s here!!! I can‟t wait for her to see Ava. She is going to be amazed at how much my little Ava Isabella has grown. I wonder if she‟d mind if I woke her up.‟ It was Seth and was he ever exuberant. From his mind I could see that he held the young girl, his imprint, in his arms. Her sleeping frame content in peaceful slumber, her darkened curls brushed around her head like an adoring wreath of delicate swirls. Ava stunned me not just with her innate beauty but by her growth. Not even one yet and already she looked to be more like four or possible a small five year old. It reminded me of my own beautiful princess who was 13 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) currently kneeling between Bella and me to see the approaching spectacle. She‟d grown so quickly too. Now at almost three she looked like an adolescent of between eleven and twelve. I was relieved that her growth rate had started to curb a bit. Seth‟s thoughts broke into my reverie again. „And I‟m going to meet my new brother and sister too. I hope I look good. Huilen tried to do a nice job cutting my hair…‟ Seth was as startled as I—as I was looking through his mind—when Ava suddenly woke up and back flpiied out of his arms before stretching her small body and shaking her head while her curls tumbled around her shoulders. She looked up at Seth and grinned. In that smile, I saw how well their relationship was going. She was one lucky girl. Bella and I landed the helicopter smoothly, and Charlie breathed a sigh of relief as he clamored out of the cabin with baby Nathan in his arms. “Careful Charlie,” Sue called out to him in her usual unruffled, pleasant voice. “You‟ll have everyone believing that you are afraid to fly with your daughter.” „That would be because it‟s true!‟ Charlie cleared his throat. “No, it‟s not that, it‟s just that I need to use the facilities. It was a long flight.” „That sounds like a reasonable excuse.‟ Then Charlie looked over at me again and gave me a weak smile before shaking his head. „Sorry, I keep forgetting Edward.‟ I was not surprised to find Sue enfolded in Seth‟s warm embrace before her feet had hit the ground. He took one month old Naomi from her arms and held her deftly in his big hands. “Hello little sister. I‟m your favorite big brother Seth. I‟m going to have so much fun spoiling you rotten.” She stirred in his rocking arms and opened her black eyes to peer at him. Her tiny mouth twisted in an expression that seemed to ask, „who are you again?‟. “Now what is that all about?” He continued in a soft falsetto voice one often used when addressing babies. As if in answer to his question, Naomi promptly spit up all over Seth‟s shirt. „Oh yeah,‟ Jacob thought wryly. „She‟s got the whole little sister thing figured out already.‟ He laughed and pounded Seth on the back. “It‟s good to see you again, man. Looks like just the sight of you curdled your sister‟s stomach.” “Sadly I used to do the same thing to Leah too.” Seth responded as though confessing a deep humiliation. “I just seem to have that affect on women.” I shouldn‟t have been surprised to see how Seth also handled the infant with the assurance and confidence of experience. After all, he‟d had plenty of experience with Ava. “I don‟t think you need to worry about spoiling her Seth,” Emmett crowed from still inside the aircraft. “She‟s left you a pretty „spoiled‟ present already. “Haha,” Seth said rolling his eyes at the vampire and his Alpha. At that, little Ava tottered towards us, her eyes heavy with sleep, as she reached up to Seth. Ignoring the white wetness on his shirt that reeked of rotten food, and pulling herself agilely into his free arm. He had a little girl in each and they gazed at each other. Naomi seemed to be studying the young hybrid, Ava stared with open curiosity. 14 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I had another surprise when Felix and Huilen made their presence known to the rest of our company and came into view around the hill that had concealed them from view. It wasn‟t the fact that they were there that had been the surprise, but rather the fact that they approached holding hands. Their thoughts were a hum of contentment. That was before Felix saw Charlie… “Charlie is here!” He literally jumped ten feet into the air. Charlie seemed to tense at first before calming his features into a tentative smile. „Okay, so this hulking man running towards me is a vampire but this shouldn‟t scare me senseless. Geez! He is scaring me though. He‟s freaking me out. I‟ve got to calm myself down. Think of him as a rather large hulking, boy scout…not a former Volturi guard who tried to kill my kids before. Pretend he has fairy wings and a wand…not a blood sucking vampire coming to suck me dry….Oh help!‟ Bella took a step towards her father as though she could read his mind as clearly as I had. She quickly patted his back and whispered her assurance in his ear. Felix was to his side in a flash, Huilen now in tow. “Charlie, this is such a surprise! He started to grab the policeman but seemed to stop himself as he gazed at the still sleeping Nathan in his arms. “Oh, sorry little baby.” He added in a sheepish whisper. Then back up to Charlie he added in a more quiet tone. “You remember Huilen don‟t you?” He‟d brought Huilen up close to his side, wrapping his arm around her. „I know Charlie will be happy for me. Anyone would be lucky to have someone like this sweet and spicy woman beside them. And I have been very lucky lately!‟ She smiled warmly up at him. Charlie was dazzled but quickly recovered. “Of course, we met at my wedding. You‟re Nahuel‟s Aunt, right?” „She must be a vampire then. I guess that would explain why she looks almost as young as Nahuel himself. Will I ever get used to all of this inhuman beauty?‟ “That‟s right. It‟s nice to meet you again Charlie. And congratulations on your new arrivals.” Huilen added looking down with a gentle tenderness to the baby in his arms. „Oh, these new babies remind me so much of the week Nahuel was that small.‟ Charlie beamed and nodded in acknowledgment. Felix held the Amazon vampire tight into his side and stated the obvious. “Huilen is my girlfriend.” „I can‟t believe it! She isn‟t denying it. Maybe she does sort of like me under the pique after all!‟ My father-in-law collected himself. He smiled cautiously over at the massive vampire. „Well, that‟s good I‟ll bet that if Felix is happy than everyone will be happy.‟ “You are a lucky…man.” Charlie responded forcing good cheer into his voice. Felix didn‟t consider the pause before the last word. „I remember what you said Edward.‟ Charlie thought at me. „I can‟t ever let on with him or Demetri that I know the truth. You‟re all just super heroes. Am I doing alright?‟ I smiled at him warmly. He was doing exceptionally well. I also noted that Jasper was standing close behind Charlie helping to alleviate his discomfort. “Well, let‟s get these babies out of the night air and into the palace.” Carlisle said as he gathered up four large bags and started down the path that led to the first large pyramid that was fully restored and brightly lit 15 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) up. The insides were every bit as breathtaking as the palace in Akahim was. I quickly assessed from the addition of gold leaf paneling, gilded frames and ceiling work, that the legends of El Dorado had been nothing short of fact; also that the Spaniards had never gotten their hands on it. I was bombarded by the thoughts of my family as we entered the palace and was led through the many opulent rooms that reminded me of the French renaissance but were even older and half a world away. Charlie‟s mental chatter was the loudest, cutting through the musings of the rest. „Holy smokes! Leah had said she lived in a palace. I thought she was speaking metaphorically. This is…this is…‟ Even in his thoughts his words were failed him. „I don‟t think even the Cullens could keep up with this splendor. This is like being royalty. Kind of like Nahuel and Leah really are the king and queen of the Amazon. Ha! Right, maybe they share this with lots of people. Maybe they‟re just house-sitting for someone. And we‟re staying here? I hope I don‟t break anything.‟ He continued in this fashion throughout the tour. Huilen had taken it upon herself to play hostess in Nahuel and Leah‟s absence. As she took us through the opulent rooms, my family‟s thoughts varied. Carlisle and Esme were comparing the designs to ones similar throughout Europe. Jasper was simply happy to take in the flawless details in minute detail. Alice was trying to figure out how to replicate two or three items for our home in New Hampshire. Rosalie had taken Renesmee and gazed at the two of them in the many beautiful 16 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) gold framed mirrors that graced each room. Emmett, well, Emmett was trying to decide which pieces he could stick in his pocket undetected. With thirteen vampires in the room, it wasn‟t likely to go unnoticed. I gave him a look; his sheepish expression let him know he‟d been made already. The Denalis walked from room to room conversing with each other. They had lived for longer than any of us Cullens and they were discussing the various aspects of the legends they had heard of El Dorado. After we were shown to our guest rooms and stowed our luggage, Huilen and Felix led the group into the main hall. The room was huge and in the very center was a domed ceiling which held an elegant chandelier that sparkled brighter than the golden leafing on the walls and ceiling. There sitting on a sofa, awaiting our arrival, was Demetri and his mate, Mia. Mia looked radiant despite her chalky undertones. Her eyes a sparkling golden topaz, let me know that she‟d survived long enough on animal‟s blood to bring her crimson newborn eyes to a faster end. Demetri‟s eyes held the same golden undertones. This lightened my heart to know that they seemed to have really made a serious commitment to forgo the traditional vampire diet; especially since we weren‟t here to be their conscience. If anything, Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri‟s food choice might have swayed them in the other direction; not understanding the nature of their „protection‟ for the people of the Amazon region. 17 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Demetri and Mia greeted us warmly. Their minds indicated no deceit behind their words either. Perhaps like Eliazar and Carmen, the Volturi would let them part ways without hard feelings. But somehow, I really doubted Aro would be so accommodating…at least not this time. Not when he‟d been tricked by their deceit and defection. Not when he craved a vampire hybrid of his own. We spent the next hour catching up on the news. They had been enjoying the jungle with Ava and Seth. The four of them had become quite a tight family unit and it was easy to see that Demetri and Mia had come to the same conclusions about Seth that I had myself. He was absolutely the best choice anyone could want for their daughter. I didn‟t need to listen in on their thoughts to see they had grown to love him and were quite protective of him. It was evident in the way they interacted. I did listen in however, perhaps it was out of habit and I was just a tad curious. How did a vampire turn over a leaf so completely to the point of welcoming a werewolf into their lives as their daughter‟s intended when our natural instinct was to defend and destroy against such? The answer was clear enough to read in their minds. They thought of him as their son. Their situation wasn‟t that different than Jacob becoming an integral part in the lives of my little family. I thought of him now as a brother, and a son. However, unlike Jacob and my family, Demetri and Mia had not had time to process the existence of shape shifters and understand their purpose. They had not fought side by side with them to preserve human life as well as that of our family. I felt as though I had witnessed a true miracle as I watched their family ties that bound them together—strong and unbreakable. It almost felt as though for a moment I‟d been granted Marcus‟ gift of measuring the strength of their bonds. I soon caught up on the activities being retold for our amusement. Apparently Felix had taken Huilen out hunting for dragon eggs. I could just imagine Huilen out there keeping an eye on Felix, feigning interest in his quest, all the while knowing that there were no dragon eggs to be found. She had been there when Samon had given the egg to Emmett. While they scoured the Amazon from one end to the other, they had come to know each other better. I learned much more from their thoughts about each other than the simple narrative they provided vocally for the rest. From Huilen‟s thoughts I gathered that at first she‟d wanted nothing to do with him. He‟d intimidated her. But then he‟d opened up to her and shared some of his deepest feelings and it had touched her in a way she hadn‟t expected. Through these excursions she‟d taught him about her home and things she knew about the jungle around them. He‟d thought her knowledge impressive and her maternal instincts towards Nahuel fascinating. Felix was completely in love with Huilen. Huilen was more hesitant; not that she didn‟t love him…she was pretty sure that she did, but she‟d been raised to be more reserved and cautious about matters of the heart. She was coming around though. Carlisle finally shifted the conversation to a more pressing matter. “Have either of you heard anything more from Aro?” He asked of Felix and Demetri. “No,” Felix responded, “But there have been whispers in the jungle of their arrival. I‟m guessing that they aren‟t happy either.” “They are coming. Make no mistake about that.” Demetri said his tone suddenly somber. “Their mental signatures get stronger each day. They are coming in from the North East. If they continue at the same speed they have traveled thus far, I suspect they will arrive with their guard tomorrow afternoon at 3:33 pm.” 18 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Precisely when this area will experience a total solar eclipse; they will have a five and a half minute window to have their coming cloaked in darkest night.” Mia added. „And they will try to destroy my family. They will try to take my daughter and my husband away from me. But I won‟t let them. They‟ll have to go through me…and Seth too.‟ “That seems rather fitting for them.” Jasper replied. His sarcasm added a lighter tone to the distraught musings in Mia‟s mind. Of course, Jasper would have felt her distress. It was what had prompted his response. “It‟s as if they bring darkness with them; to announce not just their arrival but their evil designs as well.” “Well, I say, „let them come.‟ There‟s nothing they can do in darkness that can remain hidden from us. We see as well as they do. Besides, between Felix and me, we can take them all.” Emmett‟s cocky spirit definitely turned the mood around. He and Felix seemed to size each other up, grinning at the prospect of being the dynamic duo. “They‟ll arrive shortly before we start the ceremonies.” Alice broke in, as a vacant look came in her eyes. I saw her vision as she had it and I shuddered involuntarily. “And Demetri is right about the eclipse announcing their arrival too. They are bringing a contingent of twenty guards with them. I see Alec, Jane, Chelsea, and Renata among them.” She paused before continuing. “There are also armed militia grouping to the south of the city. They see Akakor to a threat to their power base. They come heavily armed.” “Are they armies from a specific country?” This question was from Rosalie. “No, they wear no insignia. They appear to be local. Perhaps some sort of mafia, leftist guerrillas, and powerful drug lords.” I said as I viewed with Alice those she saw in her vision. They were just the sort of people Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri were to keep the people of the Amazon safe from. In keeping with my thoughts, Demetri remarked, “Well, that sounds like dinner time for three pretty scary looking friends of mine.” Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a shudder run through Charlie. Demetri saw it too. „Oh oh, hope I didn‟t spill any beans there.” Demetri thought quickly. “Well, he appears to have composed himself. Perhaps he thought I was speaking of Jaguar friends.‟ “We have two tribes of Amazon Indians that have sent small forces to oppose us as well.” Huilen spoke as she took up the briefing. “They are located to our west and southwest. Nahuel told us to ignore them for now and he would try to meet with them when he returned tomorrow. He felt that it was fear that motivated them and he was determined to keep them out of the conflict at all cost.” “It may be safe to say that the war party of warring tribesmen to the west is leaving as we speak.” I added as a small smile played across my face. I was met with quizzical looks. “It would seem that upon our arrival, they became more frightened by Emmett‟s dragon than any threat the Jaguar King and Wolf Queen might pose. They were breaking camp before we had the luggage out of the chopper.” “Aurora just cleared her throat.” Emmett conceded with amusement. “And she does have quite the set of lungs.” He said proudly. Everyone laughed in response. 19 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “When are you expecting Nahuel and Leah to return?” Esme asked when the laughter had died down. It was Huilen who responded. “They should be here anytime now. They finished up the ceremonies at the tunnel and temples in Salazere this afternoon and were waiting until full dark to start their approach to the city. It would seem that Leah can‟t phase while she is pregnant and her condition has slowed them down a little.” “How is she doing?” Carlisle asked with more than passing concern. “Remarkably well. But she is due now and she tires easily. The baby is kicking up quite a storm, but Leah‟s pretty tough herself. She seems to be holding her own just fine. Once last week, the baby kicked so hard it broke her rib. But it had healed itself within the hour. How‟s that for do-it-yourself repairs!” Huilen sounded impressed. “They‟re approaching the city gates as we speak.” Demetri added thoughtfully. I reached out with my mind and finally found the familiar thought signatures of Leah, Nahuel, Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri. Leah was weary but excited to see her Mother and the babies. Nahuel was concerned for his wife‟s activities that had required her to travel so close to her delivery. Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri must have already known about the militia that gathered to the south as they were already planning a hunting expedition to „take out‟ a handful of them before things got too busy tomorrow. There was a litany of other voices surrounding them. But another mental voice cut into my focused concentration. It was the voice of a young woman. She was anxious, fearful, filled with dread so acute it was painful in its tenor. The „voice‟ thought in Portuguese. I translated it automatically as I listened in. „How many more vampires are here now? fifteen? I know Shiloh told me to trust these people but how can I do so at such a disadvantage? And Shiloh isn‟t here right now either. Will he return with our Wolf Queen before these dangerous beings discover that I am one of the „Children of the Moon‟?‟ Epilogue One-Part III The Battle For Akakor Charlie’s POV Well, I had been immersed in the land that time forgot for about eighteen hours. For eight of them I‟d been dead to the world. I had awakened to a rather loud squawk and immediately started fumbling for my alarm only to find there was no clock to be found. The gosh-awful noise sounded again and again. I‟d stumbled out of bed and finally looked up. There, in a high window, sat a large colorful parrot. Sue was delighted. That was until the racket woke the twins up. 20 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) When we went down to breakfast, we were greeted warmly by my very pregnant step daughter Leah and her husband Nahuel. They escorted us to the dining room where an elegant spread of food was set up in warming trays. Several people were already eating. Seth had greeted us with little Ava at his side. Each had already served themselves rather large portions of steaming food. None of which I recognized except for the eggs. Well, it smelled good. I‟d mused, „Well, when in the Amazon, do as the Amazons.‟ And they did have a large variety of hot dishes to select from. Some had rice, some potatoes; some had corn as the main ingredient. There were also a good number of fruit choices, of which I did recognize bananas. I‟d tentatively selected a few things and sat down to steel myself for my breakfast ordeal. Perhaps I‟d watched too many National Geographic specials. I was wary of what was mixed in with the things I did recognize. There were visions of worms, bugs and fish eggs in the back of my head. After seeing Sue dive into her food and declare it „delicious‟, I started in on my own. After my fourth plate, I headed outdoors with Sue to explore the city. We each had a baby strapped to our back. My daughter Bella and her vampire family were already outside taking in the sights. I was very thankful that they‟d all eaten before we started our trip. Nessie came sauntering up to me and took my hand and I was immediately happy beyond words. Before I knew what was happening, Bella and Edward had relieved us of our young ones. “It‟s a trade Dad,” Bella had said when I‟d began to protest. “Nessie wants to spend some time with you and Edward and I want to spend some time with my new brother and sister.” We‟d spent the next few hours touring the city and ruins with Huilen as our guide. Felix found us and tagged along at Huilen‟s side, grinning at me often. I‟d have sworn that at least once he winked at me. I felt like I was Indiana Jones as we went through openings in what appeared to be cone shaped mountains but were really pyramids that had been lost for so long that vegetation now grew over them. The restored parts of the city were the palace, the Sun Temple, The Moon Temple, the main square and several smaller buildings where people resided. There were markets set up in the main square and commerce was in full swing. When I saw something I wanted to buy for Sue, Bella told me to wait until tomorrow because the ceremonies were today and we‟d be busy for the rest of the day. And before Felix had shown up, Huilen had been discussing with Sue and I some more about what would be happening. Apparently we‟d be down in an underground passageway at 3pm, in the Moon Temple at 4pm and at the Temple of the Sun at 5pm. I was wondering how the babies‟ naps would fit into that scenario and thinking that maybe I would volunteer to take them back to the palace instead. I‟d seen a satellite TV in our room and I was sure I could find some sports to watch while they rested. That hope was squelched when we returned back to the palace to meet up with Leah and Nahuel for a late lunch. Apparently, we‟d been summoned by name to participate in the coming proceedings. Well, maybe not exactly by name, but Sue was the „Mother of the Wolf‟ and I was the „Father of the Shield‟. Sue was supposed to place a portal key into a Keyport in the Sun Temple. I was supposed to read some stone tablet. I hoped it was in English at least. That, and also, I hoped it was large print. I hadn‟t admitted it to even Sue yet, but I might be needing some reading glasses soon. “Maybe its time to visit the optometrist Dad?” Edward said coming up beside me. 21 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I didn‟t hear him approach and he‟d been listening in again. “Sorry, I don‟t mean to be rude.” He continued. “But this is something you‟ll want to witness. It will be WAY more exciting than any sports game today. Trust me.” He‟d added as he patted my shoulder. “I‟m a little worried about Leah.” Sue said to me; while Edward and I both glanced over in Leah‟s direction where she was surrounded by numerous people none of us recognized. “She has been holding her back and pausing every fifteen minutes. I could swear two or three times I‟ve seen her with a flicker of pain across her face before she composes herself again.” As we watched, it happened again and Leah was definitely in pain. “Maybe the baby is kicking her ribs again.” I said trying to soothe Sue‟s worry. “Maybe Carlisle should take a look at her before we start there ceremonies. Maybe she can have a pain killer or something.” “I don‟t know.” Sue said doubtfully. “If I didn‟t know better, I‟d say she was beginning labor.” “What do you think Edward? I mean, what is she thinking?” I added. Sometimes the mind reading thing came in real handy. “Well, she is in pain that comes and goes.” Edward confirmed Sue‟s assessment. “But she doesn‟t need to see Carlisle.” He added as he turned to the stairs where Carlisle and Nahuel were descending swiftly and talking guardedly. They both looked concerned as they crossed to Leah and Nahuel put his arm around her and spoke softly to her. Edward continued, “She‟s already seen Carlisle. He said she is in early labor but that with first babies it could take several hours to progress. The plan is to continue with the ceremonies and they will keep a chair for her for when she needs it. Carlisle will be on hand to check her whenever needed.” I couldn‟t believe I was hearing this. “I‟m sorry.” I said noting the tone of incredulity in my voice. “Why exactly can‟t we postpone these ceremonies a day and make sure that Leah is taken care of?” Sue was nodding her head in agreement. Edward seemed to choose his words carefully. “All of the ceremonies have been done in a specific order and all must be done by tonight by 7pm. If there is a delay, it will cause some booby traps to trigger and set off cataclysmic explosions in the region.” I didn‟t know what to think. I wasn‟t sure I believed it. One thing was for sure, Leah and Nahuel did. “They‟re not the only ones who believe it.” Edward replied to my thoughts. “I believe it, Bella does, my entire family does and everyone who has already been called to participate in any of the ceremonies at any of the other eleven temples believes it; as well as three fourths of the native Amazons.” “This is about those legends from the Amazon that Carlisle was telling me about isn‟t it?” I asked my son-in- law as the pieces finally started to fit together. “Yes, only it turns out they aren‟t legends after all. They‟re fact.” I was still mulling that over when Nahuel called everyone into the main hall that seemed to suddenly be dwarfed by the congregation. 22 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “If I could have everyone‟s attention,” He began as the room became silent. “Welcome to the Tunnel opening and temple ceremonies at Akakor. We would ask that those asked to participate please come to the right side of the room as I call your title. If you have been asked to fight, please go to the left side of the room. If you are in neither group, we would ask that you go to the basement floor of the palace to await the outcome. We‟d like to keep as many people safe as possible.” He glanced down at Leah and rubbed her shoulder for a moment. It seemed as though another pain had come and he‟d known somehow just before it had actually come on. It was a little disconcerting but also sweet. “Alright, for the Tunnel Opening, we will need „The Russian Temptress‟.” I was surprised to see Edward‟s cousin come forward and stand alone to the right of Nahuel. Huh, I‟d thought she was from Alaska. For the ceremonies at the Moon Temple, we will need, „The Compassionate Spaniard‟ and „The Shock Toucher‟.” She was joined by her two sisters. I believed their names were Carmen and Kate if I remembered correctly. Nahuel continued. “Garrett, you may join them if you wish.” He said to a vampire that looked a bit like Indiana Jones himself. Garrett joined the rest of the Denali‟s. They were not left standing alone for long. “Now, for the ceremonies at the Temple of the Sun, we need, „The Man of the Wolf Who Straddles Two Worlds‟.” As he spoke a tall muscular dark-skinned youth left a younger woman to stand very warily next to the Denalis. He looked at his frightened companion, who still stood in the center with the rest of us and winked. I was surprised to see there was a wolf that was not someone I‟d known from the reservation. I began to wonder just how far this shape shifting thing went. Maybe he „straddled two worlds‟ because he was from another planet. Maybe he‟d started this whole mess. Nahuel‟s voice broke into my reverie. “Our next participant is „The Mother of the Wolves‟.” „Well, we‟re up,‟ I thought as Sue squeezed my hand before she left my side and stood next to the wolf man as though it were the most natural thing to do. I just hoped he didn‟t have any alien viruses. “…and „The Father of the Shield.” I started to walk over to join her but Renesmee refused to let go of my hand. She looked to Nahuel with a hopeful expression. “Yes, Renesmee,” Nahuel said affectionately. “Of course you may join your grandfather.” There was a small pause for laughter as the two of us made our way to the group to the right. We were soon joined by Seth, as „The Wolf Protector‟, who came with Ava much to the relief of Demetri and Mia. They seemed genuinely worried about this battle for some reason. Of course, a battle was no place for a child. I began to get a little unsettled myself as I realized that ALL of my family would be possibly in harm‟s way this day. The three tall, scary looking Amazons joined our entourage next as the Guardians of the Moon. I‟d seen them before but Renesmee insisted that they were „good guys‟. Well, I was certainly glad they were on our side. We were at the end of the list when Nahuel announced, “Our last participant besides my wife and myself, is „The Girl Child of the Moon‟. There was a buzz of murmurs throughout the room as everyone looked around to see who Nahuel meant. Finally he looked to the girl who the alien wolf man had left alone. “Yes Migina, this is you. You get to come with your brother for this adventure.” The young woman‟s eyes lit up and she immediately joined him. “Now, if the others who were invited would join in observing the ceremonies would join this group now.” At his words, there was a flurry of activity as around two dozen local Amazon Indian tribes people came 23 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) forward. Many of them looked to be chiefs or something--if their feathers were any indication. We were also joined by Carlisle, Esme, Bella and Edward. Nahuel next assembled the fighting team who would hold down the fort while we got the easier job. I was not surprised to see Jasper, Emmett, Felix, Demetri, Jacob, Embry and Quil there. I was surprised to see not just Mia, but tiny Alice and breathtaking Rosalie there as well. I was about to protest when Edward put his arm on my shoulder and quietly told me not to worry because they were a lot tougher then they looked and they actually enjoyed fighting. I doubted that very much. After many whispered goodbyes to families, they were joined by every able bodied man that was left from inside the city. Some of them looked scarier than the vampires did. In all there were about six dozen tribesmen. They might not have marshaled the latest in weapons technology, but their weapons of choice looked plenty deadly to me. In a matter of minutes, Nahuel had the remaining group, which consisted mostly of women and children ushered down a stairwell where a modern elevator door opened. It took three trips to get everyone down to the basement level and when that was done, Nahuel nodded to Jasper before taking Leah firmly by the hand and leading our group out the main door and into the main plaza of the ancient city. July 15, 2010 Tunnel Ceremony 3:00 pm Still Charlie’s POV I was surprised to see that where just this morning it had been a bustle of activity, it was now deserted. Not even a hint that a human had been there just an hour before. The sun‟s light had even retreated behind a cloud to take away the brilliancy of the colors leaving them faded. It felt as though time had reclaimed the landscape somehow. „It‟s like we‟re all walking ghosts.‟ I‟d mused as my practiced eye looked for any trace of passage. I knew there had to be something; perhaps at least bent blades of grass. Nahuel was sure of his course and set a fast pace. I was lucky to keep up. I certainly didn‟t have time for an thorough investigation. It was easier to see how every twelve minutes our pace slowed while Leah‟s steps faltered. I knew because I‟d been silently timing them. The only one who knew what I was doing was Sue, who‟d seen me do the same for hers. Well, I guessed that Edward knew what I was doing too. Leah‟s contractions were quite a bit apart. Sue still had hours to go with the twins when her contractions were in twelve minute intervals. I fervently hoped the same would hold true for her daughter. I was pretty sure the two worst times to have a baby would be in the middle of a battle or some hocus pocus ceremony with a bunch of primitive Amazons looking on. Finally, Nahuel rounded a stone wall and the ground began to bank quickly downward. Nahuel swiftly lifted Leah up into his arms just before another contraction hit and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead without slowing his pace. He murmured something in her ear and she smiled through the pain up at him. Sue told me that he had carried her last night most of the way from Salazar while evading hostile forces massed around the city. I wasn‟t sure what it was about him. Clearly he was stronger than normal and he was definitely a charismatic leader, but I didn‟t think he was a vampire. His skin was a rich brown and his eyes were an even deeper brown. I didn‟t think he was a wolf man either. But clearly he was something. 24 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “He is the same as Nessie.” Edward said from behind me. He‟d been so quiet that I‟d forgotten he was there. I guessed I‟d been too caught up in my thoughts. Apparently Edward had been caught up in them as well. I glanced back to him as he held my sleeping son Nathan. Bella was at his side smiling down at her little sister who had grabbed a fistful of her long dark hair and was trying to put it into her little mouth. “You mean he‟s a half-vampire, half-human?” I whispered back to Edward who grinned from ear to ear. I was thinking of Nessie attacking that mean old grizzly bear over a year ago. “Yes, and he has gifts of his own.” Edward added. “He can whisper and gentle people and animals.” “Well, I guess that would be a handy gift to have when you‟re going to be Lord of the Jungle.” As if to emphasize my statement, a monkey with a baby clinging to its back, scampered past us as we came to the end of our descent. We were in a small stone room. The atmosphere was so changed I could feel it. The air became mustier, heavier, cooler. It felt as though we had passed some unknown portal into a different world. Maybe we were in the alien brother and sister‟s world. “They‟re not aliens Dad.” Edward whispered behind me. Huh, I was actually getting used to having him in my head. Who‟d have thought. Well, I‟d use it to my advantage then. I thought, „Then what are they exactly?‟ “Not sure,” Edward‟s quiet voice answered me as though I‟d asked him aloud. “They definitely smell of wolf. But different than the Quileutes and not exactly the same as werewolves either.” I could tell he was perplexed as well. „You‟ll have to tell me what the difference between the Quileutes and the werewolves are later, when we‟re not in the middle of something.‟ I thought back to him. He nodded once to me before Nathan stirred and he looked down and started rocking the little bundle he held very gently. It was hard to think of Edward as a vampire. He just seemed so human. A small smile played across his face and I wasn‟t sure if it was in response to my thoughts or the dreams of a one month old. “We are about to enter the main tunnel of Akakor.” Nahuel announced. I was surprised to see that his mouth didn‟t match up with his words. My granddaughter was at his side as though performing a service for him. Then I felt her gentle spirit and Nahuel‟s words that seemed to carry to me in her thought message. “Is she translating?” I asked Edward almost too loudly. I turned to see his face lit up brighter than I‟d ever seen it before. Bella‟s mirrored his. Mine matched theirs as Edward explained, “Yes, in about four different languages at the same time. She‟s sending them out using her gift but in Nahuel‟s voice instead of her own. They‟d called her last month and asked her if she could practice it for them.” I was so proud of my little Nessie that I about felt as though I‟d burst from amazed satisfaction! 25 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I heard Nahuel‟s voice continue, “This tunnel area is larger than the others you may have seen as all the other eleven tunnels merge into this one.” Still carrying Leah, he led us into the underground passageway. It was the size of a Super Bowl stadium concourse--a good thirty feet across with stone walls, floors and ceilings. There were small openings every fifteen feet at the top that allowed air and light to stream in. I was glad to know that the sun hadn‟t permanently gone into hiding—especially down here. I caught the patterns of reflected prisms across the stone walls as we passed under each opening. Bella‟s shield was acting up again. Well, maybe that was a good thing. I turned around to admire it, but was surprised to see that Edward‟s face was glittering just as brightly. „Don‟t tell me you‟ve got a shield too, Edward?‟ “No, only Bella‟s got a shield in our family. The skin is just something we vampires like to do in the sunshine.” He said so quietly that it felt like a whisper in the wind. I shuddered once involuntarily. Before I could ask him more about that, we had arrived at the end of the road so to speak. There were three walls ahead of us. Nahuel called „The Russian Temptress‟ up and a brilliant white square-cut gem of some sort was placed in her hand. I noticed that her skin sparkled as much in the diffused light that streamed in around us, as the gem itself. Was it a diamond? It was the size of a golf ball. It shone as she pressed into an indentation above the passageway to the left. There was a small click that sounded behind the door. Then she repeated the procedure with the door to the right, where another click answered her actions. Finally she turned to the center wall and when she copied her actions of before, a very dramatic sound followed. There was a grinding of wheels and gears. The earth itself seemed to groan in response. Suddenly all three doors dropped out of the way to reveal three separate darkened tunnels concealed behind each one. Everyone gasped but I noticed that Leah‟s had been one of pain while everyone else had gasped in awe. That contraction had come eleven minutes after the one before. Two other things happened in quick succession. First the light streaming in through the tiny windows started to fade until we were in pitch darkness. The second was a loud explosion of sound that shook the ground under our feet and rained dirt down on us; presumably from between the cracks in the ceiling. July 15, 2010 Battle for Akakor 3:00 pm Jasper’s POV After the civilians had been safely evacuated to the state-of-the-art bomb shelter that had somehow been installed below the palace, and Nahuel had departed with those needed for the ceremonies, I marshaled my troops around me for battle placement. I had 33 minutes before the Volturi arrived and I‟d hoped to dispatch the other forces before things really got ugly. In the dark of night Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri went out for a second and third time to „hunt‟ the armed militia to our south. They were spacing their attacks out to make it appear as though their victims had simply deserted and gone AWOL. Before the sun rose, their numbers had been depleted by half, leaving only two dozen for us to deal with. They‟d also very silently damaged a number of their weapons so that they‟d fail to 26 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) work properly. I hated to kill these men, as they could be meals to hold over Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri for some time and so many vampires had gathered that these might be the only ones around for such meals for a while. I sent two Indians from the Yanomami tribe into the city to scout out a stronghold that could act as a prison. It was a good thing that I‟d made a study of some of the more common dialects here in the Amazon Rainforest when we‟d visited here last summer. Edward wasn‟t the only Cullen who was a quick study of language. Nahuel had tried repeatedly to reason with the opposing tribe of natives that camped to the city‟s southwest. They were one of the fifty tribes that were settled so deeply in the jungle highlands that, before Nahuel and Leah approached them, they had never made contact with the outside world before. The group was a joining of two of such tribes. Most of the unknown tribes, welcomed The Jaguar God and Wolf Goddess, having their own seers to foretell of their arrival or at least having the legends handed down intact to them throughout the centuries. But these two tribes were very aggressive and would not listen to reason. Perhaps Nahuel‟s gifts, given some more time, could have persuaded them. But they were so hostile that their minds were closed and they refused to hear the truth of his words. Even this morning he‟d met with their chief‟s under a flag of truce with four jaguars by his feet to bring the point home. It seemed as though the leaders didn‟t like having their power base disrupted anymore than the militia to our south did. I next sent for the Ticunan Monkey Hunter whose name was Ninham. He had gathered his elite fighting force of forty men. This had been part of his charge given to him in the Temple of Chan Chan when Chandra had blessed him with the gift of ten men. Each of his warriors were skilled and deadly. I had watched them this morning as they drilled on the side of the palace lawn. They were skilled in the all-but-lost art of invisible fighting. I sent them out in two groups. The first group of thirty warriors I gave the mission of sneaking up on the hostile native forces from behind concentrating their attack on the leaders but to take out anyone who got in the way. I felt that given new leadership that was more reasonable, the main group could be spared. If we were to wipe out the entire army, it would leave the remaining tribe without means of hunting. I knew there would be those at home with families that would mourn their loss as I would if something were to happen to Alice. Just the thought filled me with anxiety. So I gave them instructions to detain those who surrendered until we could determine their sincerity. This of course would be no problem for me, but only after the main battle had occurred. I sent the other group of ten to the sides of the militia encampment. Once there, they were to wait silently and invisibly watching and to work to incapacitate the hostiles should they gain the upper hand. That being done, I ringed the outer city with my human troops that had been armed with poisonous blow darts, poison coated spears and soon-to-be flaming arrows. Right over the main gate and closest walls I placed, myself and my own elite forces, hidden from view facing east, where Alice had seen the arrival of the Volturi. Bella had nodded to me as she left with the others. That nod let me know that she had shielded the entire city in a bubble of protection. As long as it held, we would have nothing to fear from Jane, Alec or even Chelsea. 27 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Right on schedule, the sky darkened into blackest night as the sun was completely eclipsed by the moon. Not that this dimmed my view, it merely announced the arrival of the real threat. As if to drive that point home, two vampires hurtled over the fence in a blithe move that we were prepared for. It was Felix and Demetri who reacted by dismembering the guards before their feet had even landed on the ground. Their moves were habit, much in the same way my own was; such was the life of a warrior who lives through their many battles. Just then from our south a rocket launcher shot through the sky and landed conveniently in a stack of logs that had been set aside for construction purposes. The ground rumbled in response. I‟d guessed that weapon was one our Amazonian „friends‟ hadn‟t „fixed‟ for us. Felix and Demetri added their kills to the flame and the fire roared in response. Two minutes later, the sun returned from behind the sun, only to be covered in a mass of clouds. The result was a lightening in the sky that allowed the weaker human eyes to see their targets without the distraction of the glittery vampire skin. From the looks of things as our battle commenced, none of the opposing groups had been taken out yet, there was at least one missile launcher operational and being used, and the forces that had been clustered before had strangely flattened out leaving our position in the city of Akakor completely surrounded. *** Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor –Part IV Leah’s POV We‟d been pacing ourselves since we‟d arrived back in the Amazon, after the wedding, to accomplish the remaining nine temple ceremonies before this final ritual here in Akakor. The real ordeal had been finding and convincing the assortment of tribes‟ people, who represented the different cultures from the region, that we were instructed to gather, to join us and participate. Sometimes it had taken all of Nahuel‟s skills of negotiating and my shape shifting to convince them to listen. One day in early March, we were in the middle of one of these difficult conversations, when I discovered that I was unable to phase. I‟d concentrated on doing so. I felt the heat shoot down my spine in preparation…and then, nothing. I‟d stood there naked behind bushes trying time and time again while Nahuel smoothly covered for me and for the first time, used his talent for „whispering‟ to the tribal elders to calm their mistrust and allow us to collect their most revered medicine woman to join us for the seventh temple opening at Nara. That was the first sign to me that something was different. Something had changed to my body, though I had no idea what that something was. No matter how many times I tried, the result was the same. It was another three weeks before the morning sickness set in. Still, I didn‟t put it together. As we traveled throughout the region, Nahuel consulted with the healers of the 28 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) various tribes and I swallowed more vile concoctions than I ever imagined existed. „Ambassador Leah doesn‟t want to hurt anyone‟s feelings now right?‟ I‟d thought to myself sarcastically as I‟d held my breath and gulped the putrid liquids of various colors that more often than not made a quick reappearance along with anything that may have been on the inside of my stomach as well. It had slowed us down somewhat. I‟d wondered what kind of bug I‟d caught that was disabling both my ability to phase and my wolfish healing powers. Nahuel had decided since at each of the temple ceremonies, one of the four perfected being siblings made an appearance that perhaps we might learn their thoughts about my condition as soon as we‟d finished with the temple opening the next day. If not, then we‟d travel to higher grounds so our high powered satellite-cell phone‟s would get a signal and call Carlisle to get him working on the mystery for us. That call became unnecessary when during the Sun Temple Ceremony, Dagda had appeared, took one look at me and proudly announced, “Leah, am I the first to tell you and your Nahuel the happy news?” I‟d looked at him blankly before turning a confused look to my husband. I‟d remembered my relief while I thought, „Well, „you‟re dying and have ten days left to live‟ wouldn‟t be considered happy news, so maybe my condition was temporary.‟ Nahuel figured it out before I did and I watched his face change from the worried expression that had begun to plague him to one of utter delight and astonishment before I was suddenly in his arms and he crushed me to him. “Leah, oh my lovely Leah! We‟re going to be parents.” “Well, darn, Nahuel!” Dagda replied in mock exasperation. “I wanted to be the first with the happy news. Now I have to settle for being the second.” His face became one of pure joy, the light that burned behind his face became almost blinding. It was hard to look at without shielding my eyes. “Congratulations to the Wolf Queen of the Amazon and her husband the Jaguar King, who in four and a half months will be the proud parents of the heir to their kingdom. This, their first born son, will be a legend among his people. He will be born the night of the total eclipse and, provided all is accomplished, his arrival will herald the birth of a new nation.” As he finished speaking, the intensity of the light emanating through Dagda lessened until he appeared again to be the man we‟d seen before. “I‟m having a baby?” My voice had been but a whisper as a hope so fierce it almost undid me began to work its way through me. Before I knew it I was trembling and tears were running down my face. „Carlisle was right!‟ I‟d thought. „I‟m not a dead end at all!‟ “Nahuel, we‟re having a baby!” I‟d choked out before his lips made speaking impossible. Of course, I‟d not considered how the effects of pregnancy would impact our schedule for the remaining four temple ceremonies to have completed before Akakor. We leaned heavily on Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri to help us locate participants. I wasn‟t exactly sure how they were able to convince those they retrieved for us, to come. Perhaps they simple took them while they slept. I was too preoccupied to ask; preoccupied with my growing bulge that was rock hard and growing daily. Thankfully, it didn‟t grow as fast as Bella‟s had, but still twice as fast as a normal pregnancy. I found that if I traveled by walking, more than twenty miles in a given day, I became quite ill. Nahuel took to carrying me a good portion of each day. The ladies of the villages that we did meet were eager to assist me. Their kindness and love always touched me in profound ways. They did not treat me as a stranger to their lands, but a fellow sister—a kindred spirit. 29 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) The last month had been the hardest as we‟d worked fervently to complete the last two ceremonies before Akakor. My little bundle of joy had taken on all the characteristics of a star athlete. He kicked and jumped and once even back flipped in my bulging abdomen; breaking ribs. That had hurt like a son-of-a-gun. I‟d tried to imagine during the hour it took to heal how Bella‟s ever survived her fragile human bones breaking without screaming with every movement that followed. Nothing like walking in someone else‟s shoes— even sort of—to appreciate their fortitude and strength. My new step sister had more strength and determination than I‟d ever given her credit for. As we returned yesterday from Salazere, I‟d begun to have a low pain in my lower back that would not go away. I tried to ignore it as I greeted my mother, Charlie and my new brother and sister upon our return. I was a pretty good actress, so I was sure it had been Edward‟s mind reading that had led to Bella knocking on my bedroom door at 1 am. She‟d come in and sat in a semi-reclined position and settling me on her lap while Nahuel tucked a blanket over the both of us. The coolness of her body was enough to numb my back and I fell into an exhausted sleep. This morning, I‟d awoken well rested and thought the pain had gone, but after Bella‟s „ice pack‟ treatment had been removed for a while, the ache returned with even more force. By late morning it was joined by an occasional sharp pains that all but took my breath away with their intensity. They felt as though all of the muscles in my abdominal wall were clenching in a spasm. When the fourth one hit within an hour, I realized that I was in labor. The day of the battle for our survival, the day of the final temple ceremony, the day of the deadline…would of course, be the day my baby would chose to arrive. I‟d reminded myself, that I was Leah Clearwater and determined to suck it up as best as I could. Nahuel was not fooled. “Leah, you know how important today is. Dagda told us the day our little one was born would be a sign of the birth of a new nation—our nation. Lean on me today my lovely Leah. I will lend you my strength and we‟ll get through this together, alright?” He‟d whispered into my ear when Carlisle had left our room after telling me that I was 95% effaced and 3 cm dilated already. I‟d silently nodded to my dear husband, whose tenderness in that moment had me batting tears out of my eyes. „My contractions are still fifteen minutes apart. I can do this.‟ I thought as I steeled myself and gave the love of my life a small smile. He took my hand and we left the privacy of our rooms and descended the stairs to the gathered company in the main hall and I did my best to put my „public face‟ on. Nahuel had become so attuned to my body that he sensed each contraction just before they hit and he slowed our pace while I braced myself and held his hand, or arm so tightly that it would have broken a human‟s bones. Nahuel didn‟t say a word, though it couldn‟t have been a pleasant experience for him. As we descended the slope of a hill that led to the lower level of the tunnel, a contraction so sharp my step began to falter had him swinging me up into his arms before I collapsed. He did not return me to my feet when we arrived at the portals, or when the sky left our company in total darkness, and he had to assure the humans with us that everything was as it should be. He did not release me as the ground shook or as we returned to the still darkened scene above us where we saw the sun that had just been eclipsed was hiding behind a bank of clouds. The scene felt strangely like night had fallen. He kept me firmly in his arms as he told everyone that we would make our way to the Moon Temple and we began our short trek across the main plaza. There was the blaze of a bon fire that seemed to help the human warriors see what they were dealing with. As we 30 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) neared our destination, a second explosion rocked a small stone home off to our south. It immediately burst into flames as the fuel inside the ammunition ignited. Even though my contractions were still ten minutes apart as we climbed the temple‟s stairs, Nahuel refused to let me go. I could hear his heart as it worked harder than usual. As though sensing my thoughts he looked at me and grinned. “Humor me Darling; it isn‟t every day I get to sweep The Wolf Queen off her feet!” His comment left me rolling my eyes at the same time it had me biting back a small smile. Then the next contraction hit, wiping the smile off my face in an instant. July 15, 2010 Moon Temple Ceremony 4:00 pm Still Leah’s POV We wasted no time as Nahuel led us through the outer doors of the smaller temple. The humans in our group seemed to balk as they entered the darkened interior. As my mother was one of those humans, I worried about her apprehension. I looked back at her from my vantage point at the front as my latest contraction finally subsided and found that Bella and Edward had both Charlie and my mom well in hand. Within minutes we were stopped in the small foyer of the inner chamber of the Moon Temple. Carmen Denali was handed the same diamond that Tanya had used to open the tunnel chambers below Akakor. She pressed it into the indentation that matched the gems size and dimensions in exactness and there was a clicking sound as metal gears responded, unlocking and opening the door in front of us. They also turned on an ancient light source that had lain dormant for centuries. Nahuel announced that this ceremony was for the women present before he led the way into the timeless chamber that was laid open before us. Each Moon Temple we opened had reflected the color of the gem used to open the chamber, and here, in Akakor with a brilliant clear diamond used as the key, the room glowed with a luminous white light. He finally set me down from our spot at the front of the circular room. I noted that this Moon Temple had a much larger inner chamber than the other ones we‟d visited. The numerous women who entered the room had looks of reverence and awe about them. I had seen it happen eleven times in eleven Moon Temples over the past year, and yet it still filled me with a sense of elation as I watched the others faces as they took in what no mortals had viewed for such a long time. It was especially exciting for me to watch my own mother become a part of the ritual. Charlie and Edward had been left in charge of the twins and she sat unburdened beside Bella. She grabbed Bella‟s hand and shared a moment of excitement with her before she turned her thrilled expression to me. Her eyes got bigger and then she winked. I winked back. After that I was glad that Nahuel called the proceedings to order as it drew my mother‟s attention away from me just before the next painful contraction hit. Nahuel moved from his place next to me with a final squeeze of my hand. “Hold on Sweetheart. You‟re doing great.” He told me under his breath. It was heard by only the more sensitive ears in the room. He then moved towards the Keyport and with him, went the attention of the ladies present. I was grateful to have at least one contraction where I didn‟t have to attempt to keep the grimace off my face. I thought I‟d felt pain before. When Jacob had taken the brunt of the newborn attack for me; I‟d suffered right alongside him— along with everyone else in his pack. Why was this so different? I was a protector, a werewolf, a Clearwater. Why wasn‟t I impervious to this pain? Wasn‟t a strong constitution supposed to be part of my heritage? The contraction neared its peak as I thought through the pain, „Apparently not!‟ I gritted my teeth 31 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) as Kate Denali stepped forward and Nahuel handed her the same smaller diamond. She put it into the Keyport and instantly, it was locked into place. The room brightened as though the light setting had gone from the dimness of the stars to that of the moon. Then Nahuel returned to my side. The contraction had subsided and I knew I would be good for another nine minutes. He looked at me and smiled. To the other‟s in the room it was a winning smile of The Jaguar King for his Wolf Queen, but I saw the tightening around the eyes that spoke volumes of his worry for me. I tried to give him my best smile to reassure him. It didn‟t work, so I rolled my eyes instead. That seemed to work more effectively than my attempt at happiness. Nahuel held out his hand and helped me up before leading me to the Bar of Knowledge that rested just a foot away from where I sat. Every time I had rested my hands on the different bars I had the most peculiar sensation come over me. It was like being flooded with images, of people, places, and events. It seemed to fill up some of my unused brain with information. It usually left me dizzy and lightheaded for a few moments, and usually led into a profound spiritual experience with the others on the room. I had noticed that with each placement of my hands, I had mastered more of the dialects of the native Amazonians, both ancient and modern. I understood their customs, their legends, and their history. I understood them. I was truly becoming one of them. I took a deep breath and placed my hands on the Bar of Knowledge at the same time as my husband did. As before, I was inundated with images and sounds, new understandings came to my mind. Then I saw something I‟d not seen before. I saw the city of Akakor in the glory of days long past. It stood out from the Amazon heights. A city covered in Gold. Color was everywhere. Lush plants were cultivated on verandas and fountains graced the palace, the Sun and Moon Temples and the main plaza. There were so many people, all of them happy; all of them ancestors of those who live in the Amazon today. They seemed to reach out to me and wave. They brought into my vantage point a chest of treasure and opened it. Inside rested my rare pink topaz wedding ring and hear-shaped necklace, my crown and the beautiful pink topaz gem that adorned my scepter. With a start I realized I was seeing the very people who had mined and crafted it for me. They were welcoming me to my new home—from the dust. The room began to pulse with brighter and brighter shafts of white light until the room was bathed in white. As it grew in intensity, so did a bond between every woman in the room. We were one. I gazed around the room, connected to each woman around me. When I locked eyes with any one person, the connection between the two of us grew. When this happened with the young woman, Migina, who was some sort of a wolf, I was greeted with a memory. It was of an older beautiful woman with gently flowing ebony hair that hung past her shoulders. She had a kind and gentle face. She was at home with her children. Migina was there as an adolescent girl. Her father had been killed years earlier and they were having a celebration of some sort. The girl lived in a family of „Children of the Moon‟. I wondered how that could be. Hadn‟t Edward explained to all of us that real werewolves only continued their species by biting and infecting others? Then I quickly revised that assumption as I remembered Edward and Bella‟s little „vampire‟ surprise that rocked the vampire world and shook loose their own dogma. Why couldn‟t an infected mother pass along the ability to morph into something else to her children? Was it often tried? And apparently, in this girl‟s family, it was the girls as well as the boys who transformed. It was interesting indeed. 32 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Suddenly the scene behind my eyes changed. There were vampires present and like my own reaction to the smell, Migina‟s nose wrinkled in distain. Before she had time to think through what that meant, the vampires were among them—slaughtering her family--her sister, her brothers and her mother; all gone…all except for one. Her eldest brother Shiloh, who took her with him as he escaped from the bloody scene of their home, had survived as well. She had been hunted, along with her brother, by the vampires that sought to take their lives. I was surprised that one of the vampires from her memory was none other than Felix, who had wandered freely throughout the city. No wonder she was so wary of him. She didn‟t know of his transformation away from the Volturi. With the same silent communication, I explained about myself, my family and the events that led to the change in not just Felix but Demetri as well. The entire assemblage was privy to our silent exchange. Every woman saw the painful past this young woman bore. Afterwards, I noticed her gaze shift to Bella and a wordless understanding of Migina‟s pain and Bella‟s trust passed between them as well. It repeated with each of the vampire women in the room. Surprisingly, all of this happened in less than ten minutes. I knew because I was hit with another contraction, this one even harder and more painful than the one before it. What I wasn‟t expecting was that all of the women in the room would turn to me in the instant that the pain hit me. Their concern turned into something else as they seemed to somehow take a portion of my pain and share it between them, leaving me with a mild discomfort only. When the contraction ended, so did the connection. The ceremonies at the Moon Temple were concluded. I knew that for the rest of my labor pains I would be on my own, but even that brief reprieve was a blessing to me. As if to accent our need for haste, there was another explosion that was heard from without. It shook the ground again. Alice‟s vision of heavy artillery was unfortunately dead accurate. July 15, 2010 Battle for Akakor 4:00 pm Jasper’s POV After Felix and Demetri beheaded two Volturi guards who jumped the main gate, we were inundated with flaming arrows from the west side of the walled city. Our human guards along that wall were well equipped with spears, arrows and blow darts of their own. They also had the additional protection of their shields and the wall itself. I knew that for the moment they could fight off that attack. The biggest blessing for the vampires turned out to be a problem for the humans. That was the cloud cover that settled in at the close of the eclipse that left the sky as dark as twilight. I wondered what the invisible warriors were that the Monkey Hunter had trained. Had they been successful in their missions? If so, had I miscalculated? The hostiles to the west had not disbanded and the militia to our south had not been stopped. An entire hour had passed. „Where the devil were they?‟ I‟d wondered in frustration realizing that they might have gone invisible in more than one way. As if to punctuate my thoughts there was a barrage of machine gun fire to our south. It had been some time since the rocket came from them. There were sounds of screams as four of our human guards fell from the wall, the powerful bullets ripped through their shields as though they were mere paper. 33 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I knew they would have to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Before I could address the problem I caught the unmistakable whiff of vampire from the other side of the gate. There were eight vampires and I could sense their indignation at our refusal to admit them entrance to our stronghold. Yes, Aro and Caius had definitely arrived. From over the wall I could hear Caius‟s arrogant voice. “What do we have here? Aro, we‟ve never had a wall stop our progress before. What could it mean? Do you think these are the vampires who have caused such harm to our Felix and Demetri that they could not even return to us?” His fury and disdain washed over me. “Of course it is.” Aro responded as though he were speaking excitedly to a three year old. “But our friends aren‟t far. I can smell them. They are just on the other side of this gate.” His voice raised a notch. “Felix, Demetri, we have come to take you home. Open the gate and welcome us properly.” It was harder to get a good read on Aro‟s feelings. He was more put out and disappointed than anything else. “Do I also smell Cullens here?” Caius added with more venom in his voice. “Cullens and werewolves. Yes, I smell a trap brother.” “I told you Aro, we couldn‟t trust anyone who consorted with those beasts.” Caius snapped back. I felt another‟s feelings as they sent out waves of suggestions; suggestions of loyalty. I realized it must have been coming from Chelsea using her gift to try to change our alliances. They should have guessed that we were protected by Bella‟s shield and such efforts were a waste of their energy. They had not seen beyond the wall. They didn‟t know that Bella‟s gift had grown and she could now shield the entire city from mental attacks while she herself, also in the city, was participating in the Temple of the Moon ceremonies. Emmett and I jumped on top of the ten foot wall as though it were a step ladder. “Hello Aro,” Emmett‟s booming voice called out cheerfully as he looked down on the Volturi leader who stood with his entourage outside the wall. “Emmett Cullen and Jasper Hale, how nice to see you again.” Aro said sounding delighted. “I didn‟t expect to see you this side of the equator. Is your entire coven moving into the jungle where you can have a larger vegetarian food selection?” “No, but thanks for asking. I am touched by your concern for the welfare of me and my family.” I replied in a sincere tone. I nearly choked on it. “Yeah,” Emmett added innocently, “Whoever it was that said you were a heartless monster must have been mistaken. “Well, I guess some perceive me and mine as harsh. It can‟t be helped I suppose. The burden of the ruling class has left us so misunderstood.” Aro templed his fingertips. He looked as though he wanted to reach out and grab hold of us to find out what he wanted to know directly. Fat chance we‟d let him. 34 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “What are the Volturi doing out in the jungle? Kind of hard to get lost in Italy and end up deep in the Amazon Rainforest.” I prompted. “Yeah, a little thing called the Atlantic Ocean would get you a little wet if you‟d gone too far in the wrong direction.” Emmett added sarcastically. “My dear young friends, I did not get lost. I have come to hunt down my two guardsmen who seem to have become confused as to the direction Volterra is located..” Aro continued. “Felix and Demetri,” Caius added already tired of the charade. “Tell them we‟re here to collect them AND Aro‟s hybrid.” “I haven‟t seen either of them for weeks.” Emmett replied without batting an eye. “I scared them off.” He added in a stage whisper.” “What do you mean you scared them off?” Caius demanded. “I can smell their scent. Don‟t toy with us, you fool!” “Well, it was worth a try.” Emmett said with a shrug of his shoulders. “Insolent!” Caius spat out as he lost all patience and jumped onto the wall himself. As he did so his three personal bodyguards jumped with him. It looked rather ridiculous as there was only room on the three foot width of the wall for one man to stand. Two were behind him and one in front. Then from his higher position he looked out into the city of Akakor and an involuntary gasp escaped him before he composed himself. Then he quickly looked down on the assembled vampires on the other side; quickly spotting Felix, Demetri and Mia. “There you are.” He said in malevolent triumph. “Did you really think you could outsmart us? We who have trusted you, who have been your family? How could you give up a bond such as ours?” Then he returned his gaze to Aro on the other side. “They are here. Mia is with them. But there is no hybrid with them. And their…eyes.” He added in revulsion. “Carlisle must‟ve brainwashed them all.” “Ahhh,” Aro replied again templing his fingers, “Our finest guardsmen have chosen to leave our service without so much as a thank you for all of the years we have invested in them. I see how it is. You cannot even come out and greet us as you leave our employ. It is…disappointing.” “Aro, Caius,” Demetri said as he too jumped onto the top of the wall. “This is not how we wanted this to end, but our priorities have changed. I have Mia now and I have served you for over a millennia. I will not be cajoled into a liaison with another woman just to provide you with your cursed desire for a vampire hybrid of your own. It was unreasonable of you to ask it of me. You talk of loyalty and family. What kind of father, would ask his son to commit such a heinous act? My home is with Mia and I will not return.” “Well, I‟m sorry you feel that way Demetri. I would be happy for both you and Mia to return to Volterra with us to your true home without requiring your stud services. I have an arrangement with Joham concerning my acquisition of a vampire hybrid. So if that was the main conflict you had with us, you may return. We can be very forgiving when love is involved. Remember Bella?” 35 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Yes, we remember Bella. We also remember Didyme as well.” Felix shot back. He did not jump the fence but he looked directly at Caius as he spoke. Caius scowled back. “What holds you here Felix?” Aro asked through the stone wall. “I get that Demetri has Mia now. But what holds you here? Were things really so bad with us? Did we not treat you with kindness and reward you often?” Aro‟s voice practically dripped with injured pride and hurt. “Love holds me here as well.” Felix responded as he looked deeply into Huilen‟s eyes. She smiled shyly back before looking down. “…Love and the thrill of adventure.” “You have found love as well.” Aro sighed. “Well, as for the thrill of adventure…I can see that you have found in the Cullen family those who are of a like mind. Well, while you‟re all busy playing Robinson Crusoe, perhaps you‟d like to explain what you have done to start a war deep in the Amazon jungle? Surely none of you have forgotten about our need to remain inconspicuous.” Aro sounded disapproving now. His feelings were carefully hidden from me. “This is not our war.” I responded. “This is a power struggle in the jungle; nothing that will show up on the six o‟clock news tonight.” “Is that so Jasper Hale?” Caius snarled at me as he jumped back down to land back beside Aro. He immediately gave him his hand as his guards leapt back to his other side. The exchange lasted an entire minute before Aro turned in my direction. “Jasper, give my best to your lovely wife. Tell her I hope to see her soon in Volterra.” I nodded. It took all of my composure to stand there and not attack him and the threat implicit in his words. “I would like to speak with Carlisle if I may.” Aro continued in the same breath. “Surely he didn‟t stay behind in America with such an adventure taking place here?” “No, he is here.” I said cautiously. “But he is in the middle of something and will be unavailable to visit with you until after 7 pm tonight.” “What is more important than coming out to meet with us…his superiors?” Caius scoffed in outrage. Aro seemed to take Caius hand again to silence him. “Patience brother, we can wait. They seem to have their hands full and I want to see if I can pick up Joham‟s scent in the meantime. His homeland was right over the Andes Mountains.” Then Aro turned back to Demetri, Emmett and I. “We will return to speak with Carlisle within three hours. See that he is available. We won‟t be as accommodating next time.” They turned to leave but Aro paused again and turned to Demetri. “I don‟t suppose you could tell me which direction to go to find Joham‟s scent? For old time‟s sake?” “Honestly Aro, I don‟t really feel much of a pull towards him at all. But there does seem to be something very faint to the north east of here.” Demetri half-lied smoothly. 36 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Aro gave him a wistful smile in response. “Ahh, I do hope you will reconsider your allegiance. Demetri, You will be sorely missed.” The group of now ten vampires disappeared quickly. That was when we saw a large group of over two hundred Amazon warriors being marched towards us surrounded by thirty of the Monkey Hunter‟s invisible warriors. It would seem as though they had taken out the leader of the rebel tribes and the rest had surrendered as I‟d hoped. We‟d just gotten everyone safely inside when there was a second explosion from the rocket launcher. This one landed between the Sun Temple and the Temple of the Moon. It took out a newly restored spring fed fountain that was a source of drinking water for the humans in the city. It would take some time to restore and it soaked the surrounding grounds in seconds. I watched as the group came out of the Temple of the Moon, their ceremony there completed. I shuddered to consider who might have been injured had that rocket hit just a few moments later. Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor – Part V Nahuel’s POV I knew today would come. It seemed that no matter how hard we tried to complete our temple openings early, we were met with unexpected challenges. Some of them had been as wondrous as they were surprising. I looked at my brave wife as she silently breathed through another contraction. This one had come only nine minutes after the previous one. I knew they were getting stronger too. And it wasn‟t just her death grip on my hand that let me know. I could tell it in her every breath, her heartbeats, her tensing muscles and the minute tightening of her jaw line that was largely unnoticed by most of our assembled guests. So I put on my brave face, wiping it clean of worry and anxiety as Leah stared up at me and sighed in relief, her contraction finally over. I swept her into my arms again and, from my vantage point at the top of the stairs to the Moon Temple, gazed out to survey the damage. I could clearly see the smoldering ruins of the capped natural spring that we had created to divert water for the inhabitants of Akakor. It looked like we‟d be getting our feet wet from it as we traveled across the plaza to the Sun Temple--where the main ceremony, marking the completion of our assignment and „defusing‟ the bombing mechanisms that lay hidden deep within the Amazon jungle, would be held. I quickly moved down the mountain of stairs towards the plaza, 37 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) eager to get under cover of some sort before the guerrilla thugs found another working warhead and took out another chunk of our home. Carlisle came along side me as I finished my descent. When I walked, five dozen people walked with me. The leaders of so many tribes watched to see how I would respond to the crisis about me, the ceremony, the battle, my wife; their eyes took in my every move as they made and revised their opinions. So much depended on me in that moment. It was hard to keep focused and keep my thinking clear. My sweet wife‟s breaths were shallow and quick. She needed my strength now too. It was hard to concentrate on the demands of my office when her need was so immediate and acute. “Nahuel, I need to check Leah before we start the ceremonies in the Sun Temple.” Carlisle‟s voice was quiet yet strong. He looked at me as though he knew the conflicting emotions I wrestled with. I knew he was right, but I couldn‟t think of where he would take her for the exam. “Allow me to take her ahead to the Sun Temple. Esme will come with us and we‟ll find an empty side room or hallway for a quick exam and then meet you back at the foyer to the inner chamber of the Sun Temple. “You have to stay here and lead the others, but we can assess Leah‟s labor quickly and see how she is progressing before you begin the proceedings.” I nodded to him and bent my head to kiss Leah softly on her forehead. “Leah sweetheart, I‟m going to let Carlisle take you on ahead.” “I know Nahuel. I heard.” She said, her condition made her tone sound irate. Only I knew better. My Leah was scared. She gave me a brave face and nodded once. She softened her tone. “Don‟t worry Nahuel; just hurry everybody up, okay?” I felt strangely remote as I place her in Carlisle‟s arms, as though I were somehow abandoning her. For the first time I felt the burden of leadership that took me away from my heart and bound me to work for the people of the land. They were up the steps and into the halls of the Sun Temple before we‟d made it half way across the soggy grounds of the courtyard. I worried as I looked about me at how the blasts had reduced parts of our city to piles of rumble once again. The ancients had told us that today would be either a Day of Deliverance or a Day of Destruction. For the first time, I felt a nagging worry as I passed the ruins of our water source. It felt somehow as though it was an omen of things to follow. I shook that thought off and concentrated on remaining positive. It took our group another fifteen minutes to climb up the many steps to the peak of the temple and locate the foyer to the inner chamber of the inner temple. True to his word, Carlisle waited there with Leah in his arms and Esme at his side, gently rubbing Leah‟s back as she worked through another contraction. “Well Nahuel, you‟re going to be a father pretty soon now.” He said with a small smile lighting his face. He did not give her back to me though. I tried to take her but it was Leah who spoke, as yet another contraction subsided. “Let me stay with Carlisle and Esme for now.” Her voice was breathless from the strain of speaking. It was as though all of her 38 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) concentration was focused on not crying out from the pain of her ordeal. “You need to preside here. I‟ll be there too, just don‟t worry.” “But Leah,” I protested. “I can do both!” And if I couldn‟t, I would choose her over the ceremony easily. We were having our firstborn son. That thought that had cheered me over the last few months was now tempered by my anxiety over Leah. “The show must go on Nahuel,” she said with a strained attempt at bravado. “I don‟t want to upstage you.” She sighed and added, “Only, can we speed it up a little?” “Yes, that is the best idea.” Carlisle said. “We have to finish the ceremony. Too much depends on it. Your wife is 100% effaced and dilated to 7 cm. so we should have time if we proceed quickly.” Their words spurred me on and I turned to find Shiloh, „The Man Who Straddles Two Worlds‟ already stood beside the Keyport ready to be handed the gem that would open the door and fulfill his assignment of opening the door to the inner chamber of the largest Sun Temple in the Amazon region. July 15, 2010 Sun Temple Ceremony 5:00 pm Still Nahuel’s POV I handed him the key to activate the door lock. It was a cut diamond large enough to rival a coconut. As he pressed it into the indentation beside the door, I heard the answering hum of gears as the door swung open and revealed the lit chamber. I barely registered him returning the gem key to me as I looked on in surprise at the light that emanated from the room beyond. It was unlike any lights I had seen in any of the previous eleven Sun Temples. The light beckoned to me with a soft golden glow and the scent that hit my nose was one of sun dried spices, ripe fruit and honey. I led our party into the inner chamber and for the briefest of moments I forgot my worries and drank in the beauties that were the Sun Temple in the ancient and great city of Akakor. There were twelve huge columns that rang the circular room. These twelve columns were covered in gleaming sheets of gold. And gleaming they were because they were basking in sunlight from the windows at the top point of the pyramid. I wondered at how that could be since there was a storm brewing outside and nothing to support the gentle rays of light that shone through the glass. The stone walls behind them had been intricately carved, showing jaguar and wolf heads in relief. Each had been painted in various shades of gold, copper, silver and other metals. There were also other carved figures. I could make out the four heads of the perfected beings I had met a year ago and had occasion to speak to individually during each of the previous Sun Temple Ceremonies. From his prominent position in the drawings it was clear that Akakor was claimed by Llasa. There were also many carvings depicting elements of weather: wind, rain, sun, snow. I heard the gasps behind me as everyone entered the room. Even my lovely Leah was distracted from her labor pains as she took it all in. I was thankful for that. It was also just what I needed to break the hypnotic effect of the majesty around me and spur me on to complete my duty so I could take care of my heart; as that was what Leah was to me. 39 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Everyone who had been asked to participate gathered around the sunstone mosaic in the center of the majestic room. Carlisle stood holding Leah in the circle. Esme stood to his one side. On his other side was an empty spot for me, as I was at the Keyport with my mother-in-law, Sue Clearwater in her role as „Mother of the Wolves‟. When everyone was quiet I began the ceremony. I welcomed everyone for the sacred service that had been last performed well over a century earlier. Then I presented the same large diamond to Sue that Shiloh had used to open the door. She slipped it into the Keyport and it locked into place. As it did so two things happened. First of all, the light that had started out as a light golden glowing became more vibrant and shone with more color throughout the chamber. Prisms began to shine against the walls. At first I thought it was from the vampires but when I gazed around me, none of the vampires shone at all. I silently wondered if Llasa had somehow blocked whatever it was in the rays of the sunlight that vampire skin reacted with from shining into the room. It certainly would fit with his personality. This was after all his show and he wouldn‟t want to be upstaged. The second thing that happened was a deep groaning of gears that seemed to extend from behind the Keyport lock and go straight under our feet into the ground itself. I wondered if they were the gears to start the defusing process that would save us from being destroyed. With that done, I escorted Sue back to her spot in the circle next to Charlie. Once there I put a hand on his shoulder and whispered, “You‟re next.” He nodded back to me, looking a little green. I took my place next to Carlisle. I was facing due east as I had in the other ceremonies. Leah reached out from where she was held in his arms and grabbed my hand. I took it and kissed it softly. The sounds of the gears had hid her gasp of pain during her last contraction. I honestly didn‟t know if we‟d get through the ceremony at that moment, but I kept it going all the same. I worried about whether the sounds of the gears I‟d just heard was all that was needed to be done to stop the detonation or if it depended on our completion of the ceremonies. I couldn‟t chance it. As though in response to my urgency, I heard once again the sound of rising rock as a chest rose in the floor directly behind Charlie. I nodded to him and he took a backward step out of the circle and almost fell over it. “Oops,” He muttered in a whisper under his breath as he looked to Sue, who smiled a tight smile. She was worried about Leah too. He tried to lift the great stone lid. It didn‟t want to budge. His face became red from the strain. This wasn‟t the first time it was too heavy for the bearer. Nessie was quickly at his side and together they lifted the lid and peered inside. He looked up to her with a question in his eye and a raised eyebrow. In response she gave him a wink. He removed a yellowed scroll with shaky hands and unrolled it carefully. His shaking made the paper rustle throughout the room. He looked around the room apprehensively. “I hope I can read this.” His voice sounded unsure. He opened it up and looked at the writing for the first time. Then he brought it closer to his face and squinted before pulling it back and finally sighing in relief as he started to make out the words on the scroll. Charlie cleared his throat and began. “In year zero the Former Masters left, but before they left there was War between the Gods--of good and evil. This war was terrible and devasting. Afterwards, the Former Masters left and a global catastrophe ensued. The Ugha Mongulala and the surrounding tribes lapsed into 6,000 years of barbarism. In the year 13 (10,468 BC) the course of the rivers was altered, and the elevation of the mountains and the strength of the sun changed 40 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) During this time, "...Continents were flooded. The waters of the Great Lake flowed back into the oceans. The Great Amazon River was interrupted by a new mountain range and now flowed swiftly toward the east and into the Atlantic Ocean. Enormous forest grew on its banks. A humid heat spread over the easterly regions...In the west, where giant mountains had surged up, people froze in the bitter cold of the higher altitudes..." All this would be known as the "First Great Catastrophe." After this first Great Catastrophe, the empire was set in ruins. Many of the passages that linked the borders of the empire were blocked; the mysterious light that illuminated the subterranean dwellings was extinguished; the twenty-six cities were destroyed by a tremendous flood; and "the sacred temple precincts of Salazere, Tiahunanaco, and Manoa lay in ruins, destroyed by the terrible fury of Gods." This would NOT be the last. Just after this 2nd catastrophe, the Gods returned to Akakor, but only a few. Their stay was short. Only two brothers stayed: Lhasa and Samon. Lhasa stayed with the Ugha Mongulala and Samon flew off to the east, first to Ofir and then to Akahim, where he assisted the maiden Amazon Warriors in their defense of the people. Lhasa, now king of the Ugha Mongulala, fortified the kingdom and supposedly had Macchu Picchu built as an outpost of the empire. "Lhasa was the decisive innovator of the Ugha Mongulala empire. During the 300 years of his rule, he laid down the basis for a powerful empire. Then he returned to the Gods. He convened the elders of the people and the highest priests and passed his laws on to them. He ordered the people to live according to the Gods' bequest forever and to obey his commands." After establishing this powerful empire, "he ascended the Mountain of the Moon, which looms over Macchu Picchu, and in his flying disk forever withdrew from the humans." I was not surprised that the magic that allowed him to read the language of the Ugha Mongulala also allowed him to tackle some of their harder vocabulary words. Finishing he rolled the paper and replaced the scroll into the stone chest. Nessie helped him replace the lid and the chest retreated back into the floor. Leah‟s grip on my hand tightened with such force that it took me a second before I could ask for Seth to come and take „The Morning Star Sapphire‟ into the center of the circle as „The Wolf Protector‟. He very quickly complied with a worried glance at his sister. As soon as he stepped onto the mosaic of the sun the gem came to life and cast letters all around the room. Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri were ready to read, translate and recite to us what message the stone had for us to hear. As they had in the past eleven Temple of the Sun ceremonies, Senna and Kachiri worked at the wall while Zafrina stood with her back to them and spoke the message reflected onto the walls. Usually they told about our instructions for the next ceremony. Since this was the last, I wondered at what information we were being given this time. 41 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Now that the great city of Akakor has been brought to light, it is to become a center for learning, for power, for kindness and sharing. It should also become a center for accumulating the knowledge that is contained within the Amazon basin and documented to help the sick and afflicted of the world. Each tribe should be represented at all centers of power, be it in the cabinet of Governing to assist the Jaguar King and Wolf Queen, or in the Center of Power as warriors to defend the land and keep it safe, or the Center of Knowledge and Learning to teach and instruct, to gather and preserve the ways of our people and pass them down to the next generation, while at the same time, preparing our people to survive in the modern world. Or even if it be the Center for kindness and sharing as ambassadors to reach out to those in need both those inside of the Amazon and those beyond our borders. Akakor is destined to become a diplomatic destination that will hold to the ancient ways, obeying the laws of the ancients and living in peace and happiness as true brothers and sisters to all.” As I heard those words, I had confirmed to me what I had suspected all along. Leah and I were only initiating what was to follow as we opened these twelve temples. Akakor was destined to return to greatness. It was destined to become a superpower. And my sweet wife and I had been hand selected to lead its citizens. Once again I was overwhelmed at the confidence that had been placed in our hands. I then directed the Brazilian girl, Migina, to take her place next to the diamond where it sat, locked in place in the Keyport. .She‟d been skittish until her experience in the Moon Temple. Now that fear was replaced with a peaceful confidence. Without any fanfare, she placed her hand directly over the massive gem and as she did, she closed her eyes and began to tell us in her fluid alto voice, what she saw from behind her lids. She spoke in Portuguese, but all present heard her words in their native tongue, just as they had for all of the ceremonies. “There will be a space of nine years until the struggle between good and evil will come to a head. It will start in the heart of the kingdom of the Cold Ones and will spread out from there to encompass all who follow the Path of Darkness. The balance must be restored. If there is no free will, there is no choice and where there is no choice the Powers of Light are thwarted, mankind is oppressed and unable to chose their own way, thus they are enslaved and impoverished and hope is lost. All of mankind must also have the chance to correct wrong choices and still return to the path of Light of their own free will. It is evil to stifle this choice. The right to choose is the primary reason for existence. It is a tool to learn and to discover for oneself the beauty of eternal truths. Those who seek to take away choice must be stopped at all costs. Beware of those who seem reasonable but act to destroy free will.” I was about to proceed with the last part of the ceremony. Leah had her last contraction three minutes ago. I hoped that we would have another three and a half minutes to complete the last part that required Leah‟s participation. Apparently there was something else that Migina saw because she suddenly started speaking again. “Those among you who leave to return to the Path of Darkness will have their memories of the Path of Light protected so that they may not be wrested from them by those who would use that knowledge to destroy others and circumvent choice. Knowledge is an important thing, to share with some and to guard against from others. Usually the line is drawn very conveniently down the two paths; but some try to walk both paths. It is hard to understand where they stand until they fall off one or the other, sometimes even both.” 42 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) As I waited this time to see if there would be more again, Leah curled into a ball in Carlisle‟s arms. I took her from him and this time he allowed it. We would need to perform the last step together at the Bar of Knowledge and it would have to wait for the minute to pass. I kissed her head and offered her my words of comfort. “You are doing wonderfully Sweetheart. And your contractions are getting closer together. Do you know what that means?” She glared at me as if to say „you‟ve got to be kidding me? You want to have a conversation now?‟ I couldn‟t help smiling a little bit. Even in pain her sarcasm was in fine form. “That means you are about to become a mother. It‟s almost over! As soon as we finish here, I am going to find you a place to lie down and help you get as comfortable as possible. Our son is just getting a little claustrophobic in there that‟s all!” As her pain lost its intensity and passed, her breathing returned to a more regular rhythm. Not so for her heart that continued to pound furiously. “Slow, deep breaths Leah.” Carlisle told her in his calm unruffled tone. “You need to make sure the baby gets enough oxygen.” Leah complied and her heart rate also returned to her regular steady beat. I carefully set her on her feet. Carlisle took her one arm and I took her other as we turned around and walked to the wall behind us where sat the Bar of Knowledge. Leah gave me a weary look. I looked back at her. I understood what she could not say to me in our present company. I knew that this labor was harder than she had been expecting. Her contractions were powerful. My Leah was in pain and I could not take it away. We placed both of our hands on the Bar of Knowledge. It grew brighter and brighter in the room in a pulsing glow. With each pulse of light, more knowledge was implanted in my brain. This time it was different though. This time it was more personal. This time I saw a young man who looked to be an older teenager. He had skin of a deep brown with a mop of curly chestnut brown hair and dark teak eyes that seemed to laugh with merriment. His limbs were strong and the curve of his face held the same features of my beloved Leah. We gasped in unison as we realized that we were looking into the future of the son that was about to be born. He looked to be tracking as he hunted. He had developed a great deal of talent in his endeavor it was clear to see as he examined the area around him. My heart swelled with pride and joy. „My son!‟ I thought and the sound was filled with a wonder at something I‟d never even considered before I‟d met my Leah. I heard Leah sob quietly at my side and I instinctively knew that this little glimpse of the future had given her the strength to hold on for just a little bit longer. “Sammon,” Leah breathed weakly, calling the vision of our oldest son, by his soon-to-be given name. Leah and I had decided to name him after the perfected being Samon, who‟d given us our charge in Akahim and been instrumental in our gifts of each other and seeing our loved ones, Harry and Pierre. The Bar of Knowledge pulsed again and I watched as my son called out to someone even though his voice was not present, then into view came two other youth. It was immediately apparent that they were twins and 43 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) with a start, I realized that they looked very much like me although their faces also held Leah‟s chin and hairlines. They tracked with their slightly older brother. I looked through the vision to my wife to see tears streaming down her face now. Before our eyes, a crocodile reared up at them from the swamp floor. Their weapons glanced off it‟s scaly back and suddenly the older curly headed teenager phased into a wolf and attacked the giant Caiman. The twins cheered him on. Later they brought the pelt from the giant beast back to Akakor and Leah, looking very much like she did today, came out to greet them. Her expression was one of pride and excitement. It was mirrored in the face of our oldest son. She hugged him fiercely and they shared a private moment of joy. The bar pulsed again and trailing behind her was a young girl of about 9 came scampering out of the city gate to join them. She was the spitting image of Leah and her face was animated with mirth. As she twirled around I was struck with another sense of longing for what was to be my future. I would have a daughter too; A little Leah to share my heart with. I could hardly wait to let her wrap me around her little finger. Honestly, looking at my children in this future vision, I was already filled with a sense of love for each of them. The bar pulsed again and this time I saw myself walk through the gate to join the reunion. I looked the same as I have for over 150 years but this time I held 2 toddlers in my arms; A boy and a girl. The twins ran to me and hugged me while retrieving a sibling each. I let out a lone chuckle of delight. One thing was very apparent. Leah‟s belief that she was a dead end couldn‟t have been further from the truth. The bar pulsed again, moving to another time frame. Our three older boys looked much the same as they did from the previous scene—perhaps a little older. There was a beautiful young woman with Sammon. Her back was to us as she gazed up at him and he looked at her as though he was a blind man seeing the sun for the first time. When she turned around I was surprised to see it was Migina. The younger children had grown to maturity and there were more little ones in the picture as well. It was unclear how many of them were our own children and how many were our grandchildren but we were definitely happy and surrounded by our posterity. The Bar of Knowledge stopped pulsing and as we stepped back from it, the room was filled with brilliant light. Leah and I looked at each other in awe. I grabbed her and crushed her to me as carefully as possible. We turned around, facing the others, to find that somehow in the midst of the streaming brilliant white light, a rainbow had passed through the glass ceiling and ended in the center of our circle.. I silently laughed as I looked around me at the room covered in gold and thought about the pot of gold that was supposed to be at the end of the rainbow. „Well at least its true today,‟ I thought wryly. We returned to the circle; when there I gathered my wife into my arms once more just as another contraction took her. “Hold on now Sweetheart. We‟re almost ready to find you some place to have our son. He is so perfect. He‟ll look just like you, so you know he‟ll be attractive. And he‟s a wolf too, so you know he‟ll be 44 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) energetic and loyal.” I rubbed her back with my free hand as she nodded while panting hard through the pain. July 15, 2010 The Battle For Akakor 5:00 pm Jasper’s POV I knew the Volturi would not be so easily deflected, but with them temporarily gone and the hostile troops subdued and agreeing to join with us in saving the city, we concentrated our efforts on the armed militia to the south of the city. My scouts returned and told me that they had located an actual stockade on the other side of the city that was still sound. I was glad as it would serve to keep the militia alive and warm for Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri‟s meals for the next several months. I was amazed at the trust the humans gave me and my fellow vampires. I noticed that they kept their distance from the three Amazon vampires, yet they would interact with the rest of us when necessary and afforded us the utmost respect. From their feelings, I knew that they held us in reverence. They were awed to be in our presence. They trusted us. Perhaps they thought of us as a gift from the gods to help them with our superior strength and knowledge. I would have to ask Edward about that later. For now, we had a job to do. I was about to send half of our forces out to join the invisible warriors we were already in place when yet another rocket soared over our heads and hit a portion of the outer wall of the city to the west. This had to stop. Who knew how many duds they had gone through before finding another working warhead. Suddenly I heard two sounds almost simultaneously. One was the sound of a primal roar that rose out of the cover of trees in the western sky. At the sound of it, a flock of startled parrots took to the darkening sky their vibrant colors stood out in sharp contrast to the angry grey clouds of the approaching storm. The other growl echoed the first and was closer. It was so sudden it made me jump almost as high as the birds. It was my massive brother Emmett; and was closely followed by his whoop as a course of action had just occurred to him. “Aurora didn‟t like how close that blast was to her temporary lair. She wants me to help her take out the ammo.” Emmett‟s face broke into a broad grin as he continued. “You know, fight fire with fire?” As he spoke a new plan formed in my head. I would still send out the troops but have them wait to tighten the noose until after Emmett and Aurora left the attackers practically defenseless. I sent out the invisible warriors who had returned to explain our plan to those already in place. They would then become the front line to stop any retreat. Another hundred warriors were sent out to form a larger ring around them. Emmett was gone in a blur that left the humans believing even more that we were gifted. Well, I guess that we were at that. In a matter of minutes we heard the batting of massive wings as Aurora took off with my crazy brother perched on her back. I doubted the humans could hear the words coming out of his mouth as they took off to fly the „not-so-friendly‟ skies. 45 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Now we‟ll see who's high and mighty. We‟ll show those bad boys what happens to people who play with fire. Give ‟em hell Aurora!” As they circled to gain altitude, I noticed from my place on the wall that the guerillas had noticed the new threat approaching them and after their initial reactions of disbelief were readying a response. Their three rocket launchers were turned to meet Emmitt's approach. I could only cross my fingers as I realized that a direct hit from one of their rockets would be deadly to more than just Aurora. I worried that perhaps this was not such a great idea after all. Then I realized that with their attention diverted perhaps some of their outer flanks could be apprehended without their notice. As soon as I thought it, my sweet little Alice grinned up at me and told me it would work. She had me dispatch Felix, Demetri, Mia, Rosalie, Jacob, Quil, Embry and Huilen for the clandestine operation. When they left, I turned my attention back to the counter offensive the hostiles were mounting. Two of the rockets had launched and nothing happened. There was cursing as they tried to re-load with what they hoped would be active rockets. The third one launched and the missile was sent skyward—straight at Aurora and Emmett. I gasped as I watched it speed towards them. Then Aurora suddenly turned on her tail and maneuvered out of the way as it harmlessly sailed by. I heaved a sigh of relief and was glad that they weren‟t heat-seeking missiles. I could just imagine the heat a reptile of that size could produce. Then I remembered that reptiles were cold-blooded and so was Emmett, so to speak. Either way, Emmett and Aurora continued their advance, angling down now in attack mode. The first launcher shot again and it was a good one. But the operator miscalculated his aim in his haste and it went harmlessly off its mark. Not so harmless in the destruction it caused when it landed back on the ground and left another burning pit in the main plaza. Aurora found the first main ammunition pallet and like a mighty flame thrower, she belched a stream of flame that erupted as it ignited the gunpowder and other explosives inside. The cacophony of sound that followed the explosion caused the human warriors to cover their ears. Several men along the closest section of wall were knocked from their positions and to the ground behind them. They were immediately moved and assessed as others moved to take their place. The second rocket launcher fired on Aurora. It backfired, taking its operator out in another fiery burst. The third launcher fired and nothing happened. Aurora moved on the second pallet. Soon it was ablaze. She didn‟t wait for the blast and the militia from that section tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher. They were unsuccessful in their attempts when the fire finally reached the explosive agents in the ammo that lied beneath. The explosion left them seared and unmoving in its wake. The beautiful dragon was as red as the flames that issued forth from her massive jaw. She rose higher in the air as she searched for the next target. The two remaining rocket launchers reloaded and took aim. I saw that at the further distance, Aurora had time to maneuver around the two approaching projectiles with ease. Then she descended again. She looked fierce and terrifying as she shrieked in fury. Emmett on her back looked as though he was bull riding with one arm held out above his head as he whooped and hollered. A third pallet was soon engulfed in flames. There was a sputtering of machine gun fire. I was surprised to see as the rapid bullets were deflected by Aurora‟s scaly body. Emmett‟s chest also provided an ample target. And the militia had to know they‟d hit their mark as Emmett‟s shirt was torn to shreds. 46 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Surprise Ladies!!!” Emmett bellowed at them as he and Aurora passed over their head before taking out the last pallet of ammo. “Didn‟t your Mama‟s teach you it is bad manners to try to blow up dragons? It only makes them mad.” He tsked as he shook his head in disappointment. They flew low letting the soldiers use up most of their bullets before the rocket launchers loaded once again. I began to wonder how many missiles they had on hand. The dragon was so low though that when the first one fired it exploded in their own camp as Aurora flew harmlessly higher into the sky. There was a column of smoke from the camp and coughing and sputtering. Clearly the smoke had confused them. Of course it would make it hard for our human forces on the ground as well. Not so for our elite vampire/werewolf force. Within moments, the first POW‟s were being ushered into the city walls by some of our human warriors. The prisoners were placed at my sweet little Alice‟s feet before our troops left to bring more back. The six men looked at Alice and laughed. I knew that was a mistake and chuckled to myself as Alice explained it to them by stringing them up and outmaneuvering them faster than their human eyes could follow. Their fists broke as they tried to attack her. Even though I knew she was in no real danger from the unarmed men, I wanted to rip their miserable heads off for their attempt. She was back for the arriving second group of hostiles, whose reaction to the sight of tiny Alice was much the same as the first. She wiped the grins right off their faces. She really was one scary monster . Emmett‟s cheer got my attention again as Aurora started her final descent. It appeared that her goal was to take out the missile launchers themselves. I supposed that, being a dragon, the smoke was no problem for her sharp eyes. She targeted them with deadly accuracy. Well, deadly for the first operator at least. The second one was able to jump out of the way as his weapon suddenly burst into flames. I watched as his spring landed him directly into Rosalie‟s capable hands. I saw his face change as he recognized the beautiful woman that held him before she knocked him senseless and passed his limp form off to our human forces before reaching for her next target. Their forces were getting fewer in number too. They were confused and disorganized as they searched for their missing companions—only to turn back and be confronted with someone they couldn‟t escape. Alice had already moved four groups into the stockade and was back for the next. She seemed a little perturbed as she came into sight. “What is the matter Darlin‟? Did someone get your dander up?” She looked up at me and huffed. It blew her bangs off her forehead and she put both hands on her hips as she looked up at me and practically barked, “That last group was so unruly. Oh, and I‟m afraid that big man with the tattoo met with an unfortunate end.” I had to laugh as the next group was dropped at her feet. “What did you do to him, Alice?” “I couldn‟t help it. He ripped my new Miu Miu belt with a dagger he had hidden in his boot. So I used it to snap his miserable neck.” “Well, it sounds like he had it coming to him then.” I comforted her as I watched the disbelief of the men she was to take to the stockade next. I hoped that hearing this would spare them any „unpleasantries‟ for themselves; at least for now. “He needed to learn how to treat a lady even if it killed him.” 47 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) She harrumphed and nodded her head sharply in agreement. I appeased her further. “Sounds like you‟re going to have to plan another shopping trip to find a new one now, won‟t you sweetheart.” “I hadn‟t thought of that.” She conceded with a grin. Then she looked at me almost apologetically and added. “You know, I didn‟t really kill him on purpose. He was trying to get away and I grabbed his foot after he ripped my belt, and he fell pretty hard and landed on some of the rubble their damn missiles created. That was what broke his neck.” “Well, that sounds like poetic justice to me.” I told her with a wink as she herded the next batch to their new temporary home. I looked back to the south and saw that the smoke had begun to dissipate. The guerrillas were regrouping and assessing their position. The invisible warriors were closing their circle. The militia was starting to panic. This led them to make every stupid mistake in the book and they were quickly overcome. Aurora and Emmett landed behind me in the main courtyard with a gleeful yell. “That was so excellent!” He hopped off Aurora‟s brilliant red and orange glistening body as the last remaining shreds of his shirt fell away leaving him shirtless and in heavy jeans full of pock marks. He rubbed her belly and then moved on to stand in front of her. “You were amazing Aurora! You outmaneuvered all of them. And you were so fast and graceful and strong! Just like me! I am so proud of you, Aurora” With that pronouncement, the dragon lowered her head to nuzzle Emmett‟s face before she stood up and let out a mighty roar that blew the hair back from my face and I was a good twenty feet away from her. Then she lifted into the sky and returned to the west presumably to get some rest. In no time at all, the stockades were loaded with some of the most vile and repulsive human monsters I‟d ever run across in my existence. Feeling their negative emotions left me shaken to my core and I was glad to know that they had been somewhat humbled by my tiny, sweet wife. She had them sized up quickly and knew exactly how to handle each group. With the battle breaking up I started to worry about the fires that were quickly spreading into the jungles surrounding Akakor. That was when there was another rumble and a loud clash of thunder. Then the skies broke out into a pounding rain that put an end to the fires quicker than anything I could have put together. The timing was so perfect I knew that Llasa had to be behind it. This was after all, his city. July 15, 2010 Sun Temple 6:00 pm Still Nahuel’s POV 48 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I was so focused on Leah and her contraction that it took us both a moment to notice the room getting brighter and brighter, centering its intensity in the center until a familiar voice rumbled out from the pillar of light giving it a shape and substance. “Don‟t worry everyone, Llasa is in the building.” And with a small chuckle at his own joke, the perfected being stood and the light‟s brightness faded to that of the noon day sun. He was dressed in a simple white tunic with a golden robe that flowed to the floor. There were golden gauntlets at his wrists and waist. He looked as pleasant and unchanging as he had the last time I‟d seen him during a temple ceremony three months ago. “Did you see that Sue?” I heard Charlie whisper. “Yes, I did.” She whispered back. It seemed as though my hard-to-ruffle mother-in-law had just been ruffled. “Well, I think it‟s about time we got this baby born. What do you think Leah?” Llasa‟s voice boomed from the light. It faded to reveal the perfected being that had a fondness for controlling the weather, known by so many as Poseidon. “Finally,” Leah replied. “Before the next contraction please.” “Ummm, you‟ll have to take that up with your son, Leah. He‟s in charge of his debut into mortality. But I can tell you that he‟s about had it with cramped dark places that seem to be caving in on him.” My wife nodded as Llasa gestured to the left and a door swung open. “I have set up my Drum Room to accommodate your delivery, Leah. Everything should be in order there. Would you like to have Dr. Cullen, Nahuel, Sue, Charlie, Seth, Ava and Esme attend you in your delivery suite?” “Charlie?” She asked Llasa in confusion. “Why would Charlie want to be there?” Llasa gave her a patient look. Then in my mind I was party to a silent communication between the two of them. „Trust me. You will want Charlie in there. While you and Nahuel were busy preparing for today, he went to every Lamaze class with your mother and was a great coach. It has taken every ounce of his control to have kept his place in the circle instead of helping you through your contractions so far.‟ “Okay then. But can I add one more person?” Llasa looked puzzled. “Can Bella be there too?” Leah added with a look over to her step sister where she stood in the circle with Edward as they held the sleeping twins. Her face lit up to know that, even in pain, Leah had wanted to include her in such a personal, family event. “Well, I think that is a lovely idea,” Llasa added with a smile. “Especially since her own experience was kind of ruined by dying and everything.” 49 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Bella passed the sleeping Naomi off to Carmen who took her in hand expertly and immediately started rocking the tiny infant. As our smaller family group moved towards the open door to the left, Llasa‟s voice continued from behind us and I saw another door open up on the wall to our right. “If everyone else would mind waiting for us,” Llasa said cordially to the rest of the attendees, “You can make yourselves comfortable in my Home Room. There is some food in there as well. It should be pretty good.” He added in pleasant humor. There was a murmur of thank you‟s from behind us. I looked at Migina as she walked silently with her brother towards Llasa‟s home room. She was a beautiful young woman who was apparently some kind of wolf and it seemed as though my son Sammon would imprint on her some day, making her my daughter-in- law. I mused at the improbability of seeing your soul mate as a newborn in the mortal world. The constraints of time to mortals really limited the possibilities. I roamed the earth for over 140 years before I found Leah. And speaking of time and Leah, as we entered Llasa‟s Drum Room, she was taken by another contraction. This one was only three minutes after the previous one. They were coming closer together much faster. This one was stronger too. She gasped in pain. With all of the ultra sensitive hearing in the room, I wasn‟t the only one that heard the „pop‟ and slosh as amniotic fluid got us both wet. “The contraction broke her water.” Carlisle said as he motioned me to put her on the bed Llasa had provided. “It shouldn‟t be long now. It‟s a relief that the amniotic sac broke on its own. It was thicker than a normal human one.” The room looked as though we‟d just stepped into a fancy birthing room in a modern hospital. It had the beauty of a top rate hotel with all of the equipment and set up needed to deliver a baby. Carlisle opened a cabinet, found a hospital gown and left with everyone. I helped Leah change and get comfortable in the bed. Then he returned by himself and examined her before everyone returned. She was already 9 ½ centimeters dilated. “You see Leah, Llasa was right. It will only be a short time now.” I told her as I kissed her forehead. It was slick with sweat. I dampened a cloth in a sink against one wall and dabbed at her face as Carlisle listened carefully to the baby‟s heart rate. He said that it was faster than a normal human baby but that was probably normal for our baby. Everyone came back in and I was surprised to see that when the next contraction hit about thirty seconds later, Charlie went right beside her across the bed from me and after getting her attention, started breathing with her in a practiced way through the contraction. At first I wasn‟t sure it did any good. She still seemed to be hurting but it did give her something else to concentrate on besides how bad the pain was. I had to revise my assessment when she called for him to breathe with her when the next one came. And every one of them that followed. “You‟d better be paying attention to what Charlie is doing Nahuel.” Llasa said in his happy tone. “Why?” I asked, not sure where he was going with the comment. 50 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Because, next time you‟ll be on your own to be Leah‟s coach. Charlie will be home in Forks.” He replied with a grin. After a good thirty minutes of contractions, I sensed someone else had entered the room. Though his entry was silent, everyone turned in welcome to Samon. But before anyone could greet him, Llasa saw him as he stood by the door. “Samon,” He said with a roll of his eyes. “Why are you here early? You know this is my temple opening. You‟re not trying to upstage me are you?” It was hard to imagine Llasa actually mad at Samon. He was such a kidder I was almost positive this was just another playful exchange for him. “Hello Llasa, and „No‟ I am not trying to upstage you at all.” Samon said with his gentle smile and eyes that seemed to twinkle with excitement. “I just couldn‟t wait when Leah and Nahuel are having their baby that is my name‟s sake. You don‟t mind that they are naming their first son after me do you?” That consideration gave me a worry. It was unnecessary. “Nah, I‟ll wait a year for the arrival of the Jaguar Twins.” Llasa responded with great aplomb. “Please forgive me brother, I just got impatient.” Samon walked into the room. He patted Bella on the back and gave her a huge grin as he passed her to sit at the foot of Leah‟s bed. “Hello Leah, you only have a few more minutes left and then it will be baby time. You have really done well with this happening during the temple ceremonies. It must be a wolf thing.” “Oh, I don‟t know about that,” A female voice said from the doorway. I turned with a smile on my face as Chandra stepped inside the door. “I think it may be more of a Clearwater thing.” “Chandra,” Llasa‟s tone was slightly exasperated. “Why are YOU here early? Are you trying to steal my thunder?” At the mention of thunder there was a boom that echoed from outside, which I hoped was just that and not another explosion. “I don‟t need to steal your thunder Llasa.” She replied easily with an eyebrow raised. “I can make my own noise.” “They aren‟t naming this baby after you. What is your excuse for coming early?” “I don‟t need an excuse.” Chandra replied unruffled. “I just wanted to be here. “I suppose Dagda is coming early as well.” Llasa practically pouted. “Not exactly, he‟s over in your Home Room chatting with Renesmee, Edward and Elizabeth.” Samon added before returning his attention to Leah. “I know you are getting ready to have another contraction so I‟ll be brief.” Samon said quietly as he spoke to my sweet wife but glanced up at me often to let me know his words were for both of us. “This new little one will be a special individual who will bridge three species. His children will span four. Your son will be a blessing in your lives and in the lives of all the people in the Amazon. He will be a tracker who will have his gift supernaturally enhanced by his vampiric nature. When he matures enough to phase, this gift will get 51 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) an additional boost of power that will make it stronger than any tracker that has lived before him. Make sure that you teach him everything you can about the land he lives in. He will be an alpha wolf someday who will lead his own pack here in the Amazon area and he will be a great agent for the Powers of Light.” Leah was positively glowing as she listened to Samon talk about her son. She was minutes away from becoming a mom and she already had the mother‟s pride figured out. Llasa turned to Carlisle and nodded. “It‟s time everyone. We should back up and give the Doctor some space to work in.” At Llasa‟s words everyone backed up and Carlisle got busy arranging things and calling Bella and Sue to assist him. Soon the bed had transformed into a birthing bed and it was turned so that everyone was around her head. Charlie continued to breathe through Leah‟s contractions with her until Carlisle finally told her that with the next one she was to start pushing. I‟d thought one push would do it but I was mistaken. It took four before the baby‟s head crowned and with the next one he was out. Bella was ready with a suction bulb and before I knew it I was listening to the most beautiful sound in the world. It was the sound of my son‟s cry and I was unprepared for the emotion that it pulled out of me. I was instantly transformed into a father with that cry and a feeling of love overpowered me. The feelings that exploded inside of me bound me to the tiny creature that was quickly wrapped by Esme and placed in Leah‟s arms. There were tears in her eyes. “My baby! My baby! Hello little one. Welcome to the world.” Leah said. Her voice, though tinged with exhaustion, was also exuberant. “Nahuel, our baby is here!” She added as she gazed up into my eyes. It was hard to see her beautiful face and it took a moment for me to realize it was because there were tears in mine as well. “I know. You were great sweetheart.” I kissed her on the lips. They tasted of salt and sweat but they had never been sweeter to me than they were in that moment. My sweet wife had just given me the greatest gift I had ever been given me--a son. She had once again enlarged my heart to include a new place for this tiny bundle in Leah‟s arms who eyeing her with a focused gaze. I looked down at his eyes that looked so much as they had in the vision. He turned his attention to me and I could almost hear him saying „hello‟ to me. Without realizing it I was smiling down at him as well. I was overcome with such intense emotions of awe and love as I told him in a choked voice, “Hello little Sammon. I‟m your daddy Epilogue One The Battle for Akakor-Part VI Carlisle’s POV July 15, 2010 Sun Temple after Ceremony 6:40 pm 52 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) The greatest moments I have enjoyed in my occupation have included attending the birth of a baby. There was something about participating in the miracle of new life that had always made me, a vampire, feel closer to God. It was no different when I delivered Leah and Nahuel‟s son, Sammon. Perhaps that closeness to God was enhanced by the presence of my new siblings, Samon, Chandra and Llasa. (Elizabeth and Dagda were apparently visiting with Edward and Renesmee and the other guests in Llasa‟s Home Room.) It was wondrous and joyful and when that tiny little baby drew in his first startled breath of life, he let go with a holler that sounded like music as it echoed and bounced off the stone walls of the Sun Temple. There had been a collective sigh from everyone in attendance and then we heard hands clapping from the home room and an unfamiliar melody rose up from beyond the room as the native guests sang a song of welcome to the newborn baby. Interestingly enough, Sammon was distracted by the melody and quickly quieted as the voices continued the song to its conclusion. I remembered Leah and Nahuel speaking to me on Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri‟s riverboat, about whether or not I thought they would be able to conceive. It looked as though I‟d guessed right. As I looked at Leah holding her baby close, even with her hair damp from sweat and her posture of exhaustion, I marveled. Nahuel leaned in and kissed her tenderly and they shared a look that was so exuberant yet loving. Sammon found his thumb against his fisted hand and drew it into his mouth beginning to suck. The action caused both his parents to gush with wonder. It was a piece of heaven when someone brand new to mortality has come to us from God, pure and innocent. Sammon looked absolutely perfect. His heartbeat ran as fast as his parents and his body temperature was hotter than a mere mortal's. I worked to remove the placenta and prepare Leah for introducing her son. As I performed my task, I thought that the birth of Sammon wasn‟t the only miracle to happen in the lives of Leah and Nahuel. Leah had undergone a transformation since meeting Nahuel last summer. Where once she was consumed by bitterness, there was now a loving serenity, a peacefulness. Where once she hated vampires with a passion that blazed with its fierceness, she was now married to one. Well, okay a hybrid, but she would have thought of Nahuel as being one before her imprinting. Where once she felt shame at her apparent barreness, there was now happiness so intense it was euphoric. Also, where there had once been a profound sadness, a hurt so deep that it seemed she had built fortress walls of protection around her heart to keep it from being further trampled. The problem with the walls she erected was that no one could get in to love her either. But with the magic of imprinting, those walls crumbled to dust and her heart was made whole through love; a love that overpowered the hurt from the past; a love that came with a future; a love that burned through her resentments and prejudices and helped her find herself again. Leah had come home to herself. Nahuel had transformed as well. When I‟d first met him on the „battlefield‟ during our conflict with the Volturi, he had seemed quiet and reserved. Of course, he was also walking into a field of angry vampires, but he was lonely. He had his aunt, but was estranged from his father and his three sisters. For over one hundred and fifty years, he had not really found companionship of close friends or peers, let alone love. Now, with his love for Leah, his heart has opened up and his entire countenance has changed. His face, once pensive, is often stretched out into a wide grin. His countenance once grave, believing that he was evil no matter what he did because he had „killed‟ his mother at birth, was now renewed by the understanding that he was not to blame for that death. Since his mother had come to him last summer, he had been able to heal that painful misconception of himself. I was sure that Leah had a hand in helping him as he worked through 53 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) that heartache. Leah had been good for Nahuel. She had given him strength and self confidence. I firmly believe that behind every good man was a good woman. When I looked at Nahuel and Leah, that belief was reaffirmed. They really did compliment and complete each other. And now they were parents. With the help of Esme and Bella, We quickly had Leah‟s delivery finished up and adjusted her blankets so everyone could meet the newest Clearwater. Sue was the first to embrace Nahuel and Leah before she took the baby from Leah‟s arms and rocked him gently. Charlie hovered over her shoulder and asked how it was possible that their baby got the „Charlie Swan‟ curls. That remark had gotten a laugh. Sue and Leah were both smiling brightly while silent tears streamed down their cheeks. Seth was next to take Sammon into his arms. The baby yawned so widely that it brought about chuckles as well. Leah told him that her son was pretty perceptive to know that his Uncle Seth would „put him to sleep‟ immediately. Of course, she was just teasing her kid brother and he knew it. He‟d told her in reply that he just had that affect on babies for some reason. Naomi had thrown up on him just yesterday. There were more chuckles to this remark. Leah made sure that Bella got to hold the baby next. It was evidence of yet another thing that had changed for Leah. She was making every effort to include Bella in her special moments. Leah used to pride herself in intimidating Bella. I had to say, I really liked the new Leah. Few people actually break out of their old conformities and embrace a different path. Usually, sooner or later, they revert back to their original behavior. Leah had really „become‟ a queen in every sense of the word. Perhaps she was returning to her original behavior, before life had beat her up so badly. Either way, the woman I saw in Leah right then was the true Leah. It was as we turned the bed around to face the rest of the room that there was a rumble under our feet as ancient gears ground into place. I knew in that instant that we had reached the 7pm deadline and the danger had passed, defusing the hidden explosives and ensuring the safety of the inhabitants of the Amazon region. Chandra was holding the newborn Sammon, when Dagda, Elizabeth, Edward and Renesmee came in the door. Everyone was looking at the baby. Charlie with his limited mortal senses had not noticed the new arrivals. He looked up at Chandra and asked, “I‟m sorry, you look so familiar to me. I know I‟ve seen you and these other two men somewhere before but still I don‟t think we‟ve met. I am…” Before he could finish Chandra finished for him. “…Charlie Swan, Police Chief for Forks, Washington. You are also father to Bella Cullen and now Nathan and Naomi Swan. You‟re the step father of Leah and Seth Clearwater. You are the Father-in-Law of Edward Cullen and the step Father-in-Law of Nahuel Clearwater. You are the grandfather of Renesmee Cullen and now of Sammon Clearwater as well. And you are the husband of Sue Swan.” Chandra smiled at the shocked look on Charlie‟s face. “You‟re also the man that Felix Volturi regards as the man he‟d like to emulate as a father figure. You are very practical and down-to-earth and you‟re pretty good with „weird‟! You are also very loving and protective. You are loyal and true. You are a man who doesn‟t need fan fare or high drama. You are as humble as you are genuine. You are a man worthy of the many blessings you have found yourself surrounded by.” She passed the baby off to Llasa who seemed to be excited by the prospect of holding someone so tiny, before she returned her gaze to Charlie. 54 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Well, I don‟t know about all the compliments but I am very lucky.” He had a look of embarrassment that turned to consternation on his face. “But how did you know so much about me? Was it Bella? If it was, you should take it with a grain of salt. Bella has always had a higher opinion of me than I deserved.” “It must be a daughter thing.” Edward said as he came up behind Charlie carrying Naomi in his arms while her twin brother was brought in by Renesmee at his heels. “Nessie is always doing the same thing to me. It is at times embarrassing.” “Hello Edward. Thanks for keeping an eye on the babies for me.” Charlie said by way of greeting as he gathered Nathan from Nessie‟s arms. I wondered if he were worried that she might drop him. But Nessie would never have done that even accidentally. She looked as though she was ten but she had the grace of a butterfly and the strength to defeat a grizzly. Either way, she didn‟t look worried as she handed him to Charlie. She even winked at him and kissed his cheek. “Charlie, I am Chandra.” She said as she extended her slim hand towards him. After shaking his hand she put her hand on his shoulder before moving on to Sue and Seth with a similar greeting. After she was done with that she stood before them with her brothers behind her. “As I mentioned my name is Chandra, and this is my husband, Dagda” He stepped forward and greeted the three of them in a similar personal way, adding personal antidotes to each. “And these are my brothers Llasa and Samon.” Again the introductions went around to the three individuals in the room who had not been previously introduced to the perfected beings. “There used to be only the four of us but now we have a new sister, Elizabeth,” She gestured to behind Nessie where Elizabeth stood smiling. “Hello! Charlie Swan, it is so nice to finally get a chance to meet you officially.” She said as she beamed from ear to ear. Charlie about did a double take as his eyes went from Elizabeth‟s face to Edward‟s, down to his granddaughter‟s and then back to the woman addressing him. “Of course, being the fine police officer that you are, I can see that you were quick to pick up on the family resemblance. Yes, I am Edward‟s mother.” Charlie smiled slowly at her and it wasn‟t hard to see him trying to work out the improbabilities inside his mind. “I‟m sorry; Edward had told me his parents had died of the Spanish Influenza in 1917.” He blinked once and then added somewhat softer, “Are you a vampire, too?” “Oh no Charlie, I am not a vampire. I did die in 1917. But that was, of course, just the death of my mortal human life. I have been kept busy since then. When your daughter Bella was born, I became her guardian angel.” Elizabeth‟s voice was sweet and musical. “You‟re a guardian angel?” He asked his eyes going wider in surprise. He looked to Sue as though she would confirm or deny Elizabeth‟s claim. “Charlie,” Sue said quietly to Charlie, for everyone to hear. “Please don‟t tell me that you can believe in vampires and werewolves, but angels are too far out there to believe in. From what you understand now, angels should be a piece of cake. Right?” 55 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Well, I guess I see what you mean.” Charlie admitted sheepishly. He turned back to Edward‟s mother. “Sorry, Elizabeth was it?” “Yes, and there‟s no need to apologize. It is a lot to take in.” Elizabeth added easily. “All mortals are assigned a guardian angel at birth. So when Bella became a vampire, I was jobless so-to-speak, until I was assigned to become Renesmee‟s.” She added looking down warmly at her granddaughter as she spoke. “Edward, you‟re mother is an angel.” Charlie said to Edward over his shoulder. His words brought about another round of chuckles. Charlie was using humor to deflect his anxiety. His heart rate was slightly elevated and his face had flushed to a slightly pink undertone. “That she certainly is. Although I always thought she was an angel.” Edward said unruffled. “Even when I was a little boy, I always thought my mother was an angel.” Elizabeth looked over to her son fondly. “Thank you Edward. Your words are high praise for me. I suppose it was the same for you and me as it was for Bella and Charlie and Nessie and you, Edward. Children often see their parents as all wise and knowing.” “We‟re standing here speaking with an actual angel. I‟m sorry it this is rude to ask, but you‟re not a ghost right?” Charlie added in sudden alarm. Elizabeth simply shook her head slowly once and Charlie relaxed again. “Angels! This is unbelievable.” “It‟s cool alright!” Seth joined in at his side. “Are all of you angels?” Seth seemed to skip entirely over the disbelief that Charlie seemed to struggle with. Samon answered him smoothly. “In a sense we are. Some of our assignments are classified as angel assignments.” Charlie seemed to mull that over in his head for a moment. Hey, I remember where I have seen all of you before.” Charlie sounded as though a light bulb had just gone off in his head. “You were in a picture from Bella and Edward‟s wedding.” He turned to his daughter and added, “You know, the one you had over the Cullen‟s fireplace in the living room.” Bella nodded in affirmation. A grin flashed across her face. Charlie was still putting the puzzle pieces together. “Wait a minute. Chandra, you said there were only six of you but Elizabeth, you said every mortal had a guardian angel assigned to them. Those numbers are WAY off.” It was Llasa who answered. “Allow me to explain. This is my temple opening after all.” He said with a playful smirk in Chandra‟s direction. “There are many guardian angels called into assignments. Often they have a biological tie to their charge. However, there are many levels of beings in the grand scheme of things. There are many different kinds of assignments and many different levels of progression. We are six brothers and sisters that exist as perfected beings. The four of us,” He gestured to him and Dagda, Samon and Chandra. “…are advanced perfected beings. Our parents used to be as well, though they have advanced beyond us in their own progression. Elizabeth and Carlisle are still so young to this life that they are still very much in the process of becoming.” “OUR Carlisle?” Charlie sputtered. While I was mildly amused as Charlie processed all of this new information, I was gratified that he thought of myself in a possessive group way. His use of the word „our‟ 56 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) made me feel connected to him as a friend and family more than just peers from the small town of Forks. I had feared that I would lose that closeness with him when he learned what myself and my family were. Llasa‟s look was knowing and amused. “Of course! The good Doctor is above reproach; leading his family, deserting his natural instincts and choosing a better way while fighting to save human lives.” “Sorry, of course I do agree with you.” Charlie said abashed. “It‟s just that he IS a vampire.” He continued under his breath. “Correction,” Llasa added. “He WAS a vampire. And while he still is mostly a vampire, special changes have begun already. He is becoming something more.” Charlie looked directly at me. His expression became somewhat sheepish. “Sorry Carlisle. You are probably the best man I know, even if you really are a vampire. But to go from being a vampire to an angel—well, that‟s really somethin‟.” “You‟re right Charlie.” I told him as sincerely as I could. “It is beyond rational belief.” “He‟s right about more than just that,” Dagda put in. “He was right about Carlisle being the best man/vampire he‟d ever met. That was right as well. Most individuals go through their entire life without meeting someone of the caliber of our newest brother, Carlisle.” His praise was embarrassing me while it touched me deeply at the same time. “Of course he‟s not exactly becoming an angel, he‟s kind of passing that level, having completed those requirements during his long existence here on the earth.” Samon added. That had even surprised me. I had not realized that. Esme looked at me with sheer happiness. She loved to have my deeds praised. Her look was shared by Edward and Bella too. Charlie looked impressed. I began to feel a bit uncomfortable with the attention. “It is a lot to process at once, isn‟t it Charlie?” I said. “Don‟t worry though; we all know how you‟re feeling. We went through the learning process last summer.” “How about that, Carlisle is going to be an angel.” Charlie mused. He spoke to me again. “Well, you‟ve already saved my family how many times already?” He smiled at me. It was a little nervous but his heart rate had returned to normal and I was glad for that. He unconsciously rubbed his chin as he put more puzzle pieces into place. He swung back around to Llasa and asked. “Now, if guardian angels are assigned at birth, then does this newborn already have one?” He asked pointedly. “Of course he does. He‟s already here. And he wanted to say hi to his son.” “His son?” Charlie‟s tone was perplexed. The answering voice was not Llasa‟s. But it was one that Charlie recognized at once.“Yes, my son, and my daughter and son-in-law too.” 57 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Charlie spun around to see his old friend Harry Clearwater appear out of thin air. “Harry?” He sputtered before he almost passed out. I was prepared to hold him up in the event that he did and Bella immediately took Naomi out of his arms. “Dad!” Seth breathed at almost the same time as Charlie spoke. He ran and threw his arms around his father‟s still materializing form. July 15, 2010 The Battle For Akakor 7:00 pm Jasper’s POV I was surprised when the storm system that saturated the ground with pelting rain, left as quickly as it had arrived. In the stillness that followed I surveyed the damage we had sustained. There was one section of the wall that would need to be repaired and four homes had been completely destroyed. The palace itself had sustained minimal roof damage where an incoming missile had grazed it. Most of the damage was centered around the Sun Temple that had miraculously been left untouched. I wondered if that was due to unseen protection. The water reservoir would need attention, and at the request of „The Monkey Hunter‟, leader of „The Invisible Warriors‟, I walked personally to the main courtyard to inspect the deep pits that had opened up during the fight. As I approached, I was surprised to see that the pits before me were not from the ravages of war, but were square and man-made. There were hidden gears that had been used to unearth a large cavernous area below. As I looked down into the blackened pit, I could easily see that there were huge plates of Gold inside. They looked to be the size of large windows. As I puzzled over what they could be for, I gasped aloud. I turned to look over at the Sun Temple and started to look at what was in that pit. It seemed as though the gold was sheeting for the temple. But it wasn‟t enough to cover the entire temple. Then I realized as I walked around the entire structure, that there were several opened pits and each contained more of the gold plating. I was told they had opened at 7 pm which was the deadline for the ceremonies to be completed. I gazed up at the temple and wondered what was happening now. We had lost three of our human warriors during the battle and a dozen more were severely injured. The city‟s healers were working with them now and I knew that Carlisle would add his expertise to their own as well when he became available. All in all, I was very satisfied with our defense of the city. I knew it could have been much worse. Still, we weren‟t exactly out of the jungle yet. The Volturi had promised to return—tonight—now, in fact. I hadn‟t even been able to get word to Carlisle. I knew that it was likely that the perfected beings had nullified Edward‟s gift inside the temple again so that option was out as well. As I thought through what we would say to the mighty Volturi, I noticed Alice as she approached me faster than a human eye could see, though in the gathering darkness I doubted anyone noticed. “Aro and Caius are coming Jasper.” She said quickly. I was surprised that though her voice sounded urgent, she was calm. I could sense no worry about her. I sensed…relief? 58 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “What do you see and when will they get here?” I asked her as I gathered her in my arms. After the last few hours I felt a sudden need to hold her close and reaffirm she was still with me. I would have died a thousand deaths if anything had happened to her. She was my life. It could have happened as easily as being in the wrong place at the wrong time with all of those missiles around. Even with her gift, if she‟d been distracted and had not seen… I‟d shaken my head and breathed slowly to cover the shudder that ran through me at the thought. Her words brought me back from my disturbing conjectures. “They are coming and he will demand an audience with Carlisle. He will be here in fifteen minutes and Carlisle will not emerge from the temple for another thirty minutes. Aro will demand to wait in the palace. I see us taking them to the main room, where they will speak with Demetri, Felix and Mia and try to persuade them to return to Italy. This conversation will occupy them until Carlisle arrives with Edward, Bella, Zafrina, Senna, Kachiri and Eliazar. Everyone else will enter the palace through a side entrance and take Leah and her new baby upstairs to her quarters without the Volturi being any the wiser.” Then her expression became somewhat perplexed. “The thing is, there is a woman with them--a woman who looks like a beautiful local woman from one of the many tribes around here. She is the reason that Aro is in a good mood. I can‟t see anything about her though.” She looked up at me and a small smile of apology played across her lips; as if her information wasn‟t valuable because it wasn‟t complete somehow. She was the most valuable person of my entire existence. And if it played out this way, perhaps we‟d get off better than we dared to dream. “I hope you‟re right.” I told her. “Aro is never more dangerous than when he is pleasant and polite. He truly is „The Two-Faced Man‟. I guess the question really is, „How do you keep a two-faced man happy?‟” I said with a sigh before I cradled her to me and bent to explain without words how important she was to me. We stood and held each other for a moment longer before I knew I had to prepare for the Volturi‟s arrival. The fewer humans that were around the better and I felt that the hidden citizens of Akakor who remained in the bunker would be safest left there for the time being. I instructed the human defenders who were not upstairs injured, or caring for the injured to join the others in the bunker before I allowed Alice to explain her vision to our vampire-shape shifter elite forces, that consisted of: Emmett, Rosalie, Huilen, Felix, Demetri, Mia, Jacob, Embry, Quil and of course, Alice and myself. As she spoke, I could see how it would play out in my mind. And I explained my idea to the others when she finished, after she had added that my ruse would work on the end of her narrative. We didn‟t want Aro to understand much about what was happening here in the Amazon. Aro liked to collect things and while he didn‟t care much for human politics, he might be of another persuasion if he felt it was a vampire hybrid and a Quileute werewolf coming into power. We felt that it would be best if Huilen were to assume the role as hostess when the Volturi arrived. She was from the area and Akakor was now her home. She could suggest to Aro that she had planted the thought in the heads of the human men around her to defend her home from the militia and then sent them back to their families. Her story would conclude by explaining that Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri had arrived with the Cullens to say „hello‟ to her nephew before they headed back to the States. We had all agreed on our roles when we became aware of the swift yet silent approach of vampires. 59 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “They are here.” Demetri said as he pointed directly to the front city gate. “If „they‟ means „us‟, your true family Demetri, then „yes‟, „they‟ are here.” Aro‟s voice said quietly into the night. “Are you going to leave us standing out here in the dark of night talking to a wooden door? I expected to be treated with more courtesy than that.” Caius spat out. I took a deep breath and prepared to settle into a calm and peaceful state that I could send out as needed. Caius would be a handful in that department. Already furious indignation rolled off him and hit me like a tidal wave. I had more to concentrate on than just Caius and his terminally cranky disposition. I knew I would have to keep close tabs on all of them. I signaled to Felix and Emmett who opened the massive wooden gate from the two sides and Huilen took over as lead. Her English had improved greatly in the last few years and with it came confidence as she spoke. “Hello Volturi leaders and welcome to my homeland. Won‟t you come in?” “Well, finally someone with manners.” Aro said in delight as Huilen ushered them inside the city proper. Aro looked around at the bonfires and smoking piles of rubble that littered areas of his view. “Sorry about the mess. We weren‟t expecting company. If we‟d known of your arrival, I‟d have scheduled my war at another time.” Huilen said with wry humor. “War is an ugly business.” Aro agreed amiably. As we walked towards the palace with the company of Volturi and the strange woman with a fast beating heart, I began to wonder what they had done to scare her so badly. Also I noticed Huilen‟s emotions of animosity that she struggled to keep under tight control as she looked to the lady. It was clear that she knew her as well…and didn‟t like her. After arriving at the palace and settling into the main room, Aro was delighted to take in the refinement he was surrounded by. “This place is absolutely enchanting. If I didn‟t know better, I‟d say it was the lost city of Akakor.” “You‟ve heard of Akakor from your castle in Italy?” Huilen asked without a hint of the irritation I sensed building inside of her. “Ahh yes! Of course I am well read in all the legends around the world, since I am essentially the President of the mythological world. All that is mysterious arouses my…curiosity.” Aro said as he took a seat in a chair like a king sitting upon his throne. His pompous arrogance exuded from him with an air of self- importance. I worked to control it and settle back into a tranquil calm that I sent out again in the strongest wave I could. Instantly I noticed Huilen‟s ire fade. And though Caius‟ mood seemed to settle a bit as well, his face remained set in a permanent scowl. I realized this was his relaxed facial expression after centuries of 60 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) glowers and frowns. He eased himself gracefully into a chair beside his brother and looked disdainfully at the assemblage of „subjects‟ before him. “Huilen, where is Carlisle? We requested he be prepared to receive us upon arrival. His insolence will not be tolerated! We demand that you bring him at once. And we want to speak to your nephew, Nahuel as well.” Caius barked out as though a command. I was struck by the interplay between the two Volturi leaders. While they were both in complete control of their emotional state, they were essentially playing the roles of „good cop‟—„bad cop‟. Aro behaved himself as the diplomat, while Caius‟ disposition lent well as the Gestapo. With Marcus gone, there was no sense of mercy between them just cold, calculating malice. “I am sorry that Carlisle wasn‟t here to greet you personally. As it happens, our battle ceased just before your arrival and no one was able to be spared to inform him of your impending arrival or your request. He is being located as we speak. As for my nephew,” Huilen said as she shot a quick glance at the dark skinned woman, “He is with Carlisle.” “Well, now that that is cleared up,” Aro said as he rubbed his hands together in anticipation as though a game show host. “We can visit with our sons Demetri and Felix.” I felt a tremble of anger shoot through both of the mentioned vampires. I was sure it was in reaction to the use of the word „sons‟. Demetri tightened his arms around Mia‟s waist in what looked like a move to calm himself. I sent another wave of calm his way. He took a breath and steadied himself. I wasn‟t the only one to catch his minute movements. “Oh Mia, how lovely to see you again dear,” Aro said in his saccharin sweet voice. “And you are such a beautiful vampire; a beautiful Italian vampire. You will of course be welcomed back home in Volterra as Demetri‟s mate. Allow me to express my condolences over the loss of your baby. That was so sad, but your efforts were still appreciated.” “Hello Aro,” Her tone was brisk. She hadn‟t been a vampire long enough to have learned better control of her anger. It had taken my focused effort on her alone to help her gain control enough for that clipped response. I didn‟t have to be a mind reader to guess at the response she wanted to give. I already knew that she was furious at Aro for ordering Demetri to mate with another female to produce a hybrid for Aro to study. This had been one of the straws that had broken the proverbial camel‟s back and cemented Demetri‟s decision to leave the Volturi for good. “Well, well, well,” Aro‟s tone was almost distracted as he processed Mia‟s reply. He then turned to Demetri. “You are well aware that it is almost time for your return to Volterra. I offered you a year to help Mia gain control of herself. She seems to be doing fine, even if the two of you have decided to become vegetarians.” He said the word as though it left a sour taste in his mouth. “Utter foolishness!” Caius interjected vehemently. His dander was up again. 61 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “No Aro, Mia and I will not be returning to Volterra.” Demetri responded slowly. “We have decided to make a home for ourselves without the demands my job description has placed on me in Italy.” I thought he had put it very diplomatically. “Ahh,” Aro said with sudden understanding. “Perhaps I could rescind my recent request; in light of your new relationship with Mia.” Demetri wasn‟t fooled for a minute. He had already been married to Mia when Aro had issued his order in the first place. “No thank you Aro. Mia and I have other plans.” “But you are the best tracker in the world! How dare you withhold your talents from us, you insolent fool. After all that we have offered you. This is reprehensible.” Caius tone was scathing. Aro looked between Caius and Demetri, then to Mia. He templed his hands for a moment and then with a quick glance in Chelsea‟s direction his face turned from calculating to pleasant. “Patience brother, all children get to a point where they feel the need for independence.” As he spoke, I could feel a change in mood around Demetri and Mia. They suddenly wanted to return to Volterra. It was almost a melancholy. I knew it was the influence of Chelsea‟s gift that had created this new feeling. I worried that it would overpower them. Aro continued to speak, this time turning his attention back to Demetri. “Of course, you may leave us for a time. We are still family though. Once you are Volturi, it is always your true home.” His eyes took on a sad cast. „Right,‟ I‟d thought. ‟Just like it has been for Eliazar. That must be why he was one of the key targets they had singled out to destroy in their plans to attack and kill my family.‟ “You know you will be welcomed back with open arms, both of you, whenever you are ready to settle down and join with us again. We will keep your room ready for such a day. We would even be willing to accommodate your new diet. You remember how tolerant we were of Carlisle during his stay with us over this very issue. Please think about it Demetri and Mia. You will be sorely missed.” Aro said sighing in resignation. And as he spoke I felt the feelings of Demetri and Mia both change as they resisted the pull of Chelsea‟s gift. They became a barrier that reflected back to Aro turning him into a melancholy mood of longing. “We will bear that in mind.” Demetri said stone faced as he met Aro‟s gaze head on. After a moment of uncomfortable silence that I worked through, relieving the tension in the air, Aro turned his attention to Felix. I felt his discomfort grow. He knew how Aro and Caius manipulated those around them. He would have to be on his guard. “Felix, surely you will be returning to Volterra with us?” Aro asked; his sad tone becoming almost happy with the prospect. “I believe Afton has been itching for a wrestling rematch with you and Caius has new guards waiting for you to train…” He left the thought hanging in the air as though to tempt him with them. 62 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Aro, Caius, I have been very happy serving you in Volterra. You have been my family for so long now that I have all but forgotten the brutality of my human life. However, I have a compulsion to „expand my horizons‟ you might say. I am seeing for the first time another way to live and I need to explore it more fully. I guess you could say that I am seeking to find myself—my own independence.” Felix said in what was probably the kindest tone I‟d ever heard him use. Felix looked between Aro and Caius as he spoke. At the end of his speech, he cast a glance in Huilen‟s direction. Aro didn‟t miss that either. Even as he spoke I could feel emotional confusion rise inside of Felix. Chelsea had apparently turned her attentions to him. “Am I to guess that some of your exploration might involve those of a romantic nature?” Aro asked in surprise with a raised eyebrow. “Perhaps I should allow you to pursue such interests—encourage it even.” Aro said as he eyed Huilen who returned his gaze with a pointed stare. Then he looked around him at the opulence of the Castle where she lived and it seemed as though his mistaken belief it was hers had his devious mind boggled with the possibilities. It wasn‟t hard to guess what he was thinking. He was thinking he could expand his power base through Felix into the Amazon and gain a stronghold on the American Continent in the process. “Let us part company as gentlemen, Felix. I am sure that you will be with us again. We are after all, family. Perhaps, it will even be that there will be a new Volturi arriving with you.” Aro said as he cast a nod in Huilen‟s direction. Then he extended his hand to Felix. A gesture that had it been anyone else, would‟ve been a form of salutation. But with Aro it entailed so much more than that. I worried about how reading the new information in Felix‟s mind right now would affect the outcome of our gathering. Just the thought that he and Demetri had deceived him about the existence of Ava would be enough to incite the Volturi leaders. Felix realized he was backed into a corner but I sensed the approach of the party from the temple. I sent a message to Edward to tell Bella to cover Felix immediately. I knew he was close enough to receive my thought. I only hoped he was listening. Finally Felix sighed and shook Aro‟s hand. Aro grasped it tightly and intently peered over it. After a brief moment he released it with a look of disappointment. “Bella,” he muttered under his breath and I let out an internal sigh of my own. “He has more than a skirt on his mind.” Caius retorted in distain. “You can see his eyes as clearly as I can. The red is no more. He has been brainwashed by Carlisle as well. And speaking of Carlisle, where the devil is he? Surely he‟s been located by now!” “I‟m right here,” came the familiar voice of my father and I let out a sigh of relief before renewing my efforts to maintain a certain level of calm around me and those in the rest of the room as I turned to the sound of Carlisle‟s voice in time to see him, Edward, Bella, and Eliazar enter the room. July 15, 2010 The Palace at Akakor 7:30 pm Carlisle’s POV “Carlisle, it is so good of you to finally join us. And good evening to the rest of you as well; Eliazar, Edward, Bella,” Aro said regaining his diplomatic composure as each new arrival nodded perfunctorily in his direction. “And how is your enchanting daughter Renesmee?” 63 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “She is fine Aro.” Edward replied without further comment. “Please don‟t tell me that you have entangled yourself and your coven so completely in the affairs of humans that you are now waging their wars for them.” Caius‟ tone was incredulous. I hated leaving the sanctity and reverence of being with my new siblings; torn from the presence of a newborn baby, the miracle of birth, being surrounded by light and peace to having to deal with Aro and Caius and all their dark conniving ways. Still, Aro believed himself to be correct. I had to remind myself that they truly believed that if they didn‟t maintain order in our world, it would collapse. I looked at him intently with my new sight and was shocked to see how dark black his aura was. Caius‟ was if possible, even blacker. They were covered in dark beings who clung desperately to them as though they were holding on on for dear life, so uncomfortable to be out of their element and perhaps in my presence as well. „Well, perhaps it would give me the home court advantage.‟ I thought wryly as I tried to ignore the vile, dark attachments the Volturi had picked up. “Good evening Aro, Caius.” I inclined my heads to each of them in turn. “And to answer your question, „no‟, I was not involved in the war. I was delivering a baby and tending to the injured. I can assure you that I came as soon as I learned of your arrival.” Well, that much had been true. Llasa waited to tell me until after they were through with their visit though. I was grateful for that. “Still involved with the affairs of mortals,” Caius‟ sour voice matched his expression. “Guilty as charged.” I was surprised how easy it was to ignore his perpetual bad mood. “Well, hopefully this delivery ended better than poor Mia‟s did.” Aro added in resignation. “Yes, it did. And I am so glad to see your concern for Mia‟s welfare.” I replied amiably. I knew that he cared nothing for Demetri‟s mate. Mia would be dead if it‟d been left up to him. I was glad that he was unaware that their baby was alive and well. Seth had taken her up the backstairs along with everyone else in Leah‟s family, Esme, Shiloh, Migina and most of the Denali vampires. “Yes, well, I have found another way to study the vampire hybrid breed, so I will be leaving Demetri and Mia here for a time.” Aro said as though it was his choice to allow them to stay. I nodded my head in acknowledgment. I wondered what he was referring to when he spoke of the „new way‟ he had found to study them. Did he know about Joham? I felt as though he didn‟t. Perhaps Aro meant to locate him before returning to Volterra. Aro continued to speak, drawing me out of my thoughts. “And Felix will be staying here for a time as well. He will be acting as my ambassador to the people of the Amazon.” I knew that Aro was putting the best face he could on losing two of his upper guardsmen. He had his „black hat‟ on as Stephen and Vladimir were so keen to call it. „We should leave brother,” Caius suddenly said. He knew there was nothing more to say that wouldn‟t involve them appearing stymied. “It is clear that we are not truly welcome here.” “Nonsense brother.” Aro said in a wide smile. “We were invited.” 64 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) I felt Nahuel‟s presence as he entered the room from behind me. “Invited?” Caius spat out. “I‟d hardly consider Jasper Hale telling us to come back later an invitation Aro.” “Oh, I wasn‟t speaking of Carlisle‟s rude son. No, I was speaking of the invitation we received from this enchanting young woman here.”. That was when Nahuel calmly came to stand right before the young woman who stood to the far left of the group from Volterra. She was an Indian woman who was beautiful and with a start I realized who and what she was. “Matcha, what are you doing here?” he whispered urgently. “Nahuel, hello it is good to see you too.” She said with a grimace. “Where are Tuia and Mandu?” Nahuel added with worry on his face. “Oh, they‟re fine. As usual you are most worried about them. Oh, and I am fine as well. Thanks for asking.” The hostility that came off the young woman was very evident. “Yes,” Aro said interrupting the confrontation. “We were out looking for Joham and were quite surprised to happen across Nahuel‟s sisters. After a fascinating visit with them, we were able to convince Matcha here, to return to Volterra with us for an extended visit.” “Yes Tuia and Mandu weren‟t interested in seeing Italy,” She said addressing her remarks to Nahuel. “But you know me brother; I grow tired of seeing the same green jungle for the last three hundred years. Aro wanted to study hybrids and I wanted to study abroad. It was a case of perfect timing.” She added with a shrug. Her tone was still defiant, challenging. “Matcha, are you sure that you want to leave just now?” Nahuel‟s voice took on a tone of reconciliation. “I haven‟t seen you in over ten years. You could stay and we could have a nice visit.” Matcha rolled her eyes and sounded almost bored as she responded, “Tempting, but I think I‟ll pass. But I know you‟ll have a very nice visit with Tuia and Mandu. They were going to finish their hunting trip and stop by for a visit soon.” “Well,” Aro said as he stood signaling the end of the conversation. “I guess we‟d better get going before we get put to work rebuilding this wondrous city.” His said with a chuckle. “It is always a pleasure to see you Carlisle, Eliazar.” As they departed the palace, Matcha looked back at Nahuel and said, “Oh, and if you happen to see father, tell him I said „hello‟.” That reminded Caius as well and he added, “And that he‟d better get in touch with us at once.” It was with that parting remark, the Volturi „guests‟ left the palace and the city. 65 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) It was then that we were finally able to let out a sigh of relief. I went at once to tend to the injured from the battle. As I cared for them I marveled once again at the events that had played out that day. The most remarkable had revolved around the birth of Sammon, son of Leah and Nahuel Clearwater. Harry appeared and had a joyful reunion with Seth and Leah. He gave his blessings to Sue and Charlie before announcing that he excitedly that he was to be the guardian angel for the newborn baby. Another surprise had been Migina, who had, along with her brother Shiloh, had her true heritage revealed; a heritage that tied the two of them to much more than just the „Children of the Moon‟. I knew Billy and Jacob were in for a surprise. When Migina finally had an opportunity to hold Leah and Nahuel‟s baby, she imprinted on him. I had to admit, that had been unexpected. Even Tanya and Kate were told by Llasa the circumstances surrounding their mother‟s creation of the immortal child. It was clear that as they listened to the unbiased account, their long held belief of their mother‟s blatant disregard for the law was altered. She had acted to save a young child whose parents had been killed in a mudslide. She heard the rumbling on the mountain and had tried to get to the little family to warn them in time, but she was too late. When she‟d dug the three of them out, she discovered that the parents were already dead but the little boy‟s heart still beat faintly. She knew Aro, Caius and Marcus and believed that their opinions concerning upbringing children were flawed from the start and that with the proper guidance; she would succeed where they had not. I was amazed later that evening as I looked around at my friends and family and realized just how richly my life had been blessed. Charlie wasn‟t the only one who had to make adjustments to what his understanding of reality were, we all did. The world operated on so many more levels than I‟d ever dreamed and our eyes were only now being opened up to them. I was grateful that I had made the effort to not let the circumstances of my reality, of being a vampire, change the foundation of my belief of good and evil. That has made all of the difference. It didn‟t take long after the Volturi left for the palace to settle into a peaceful, joyful state. Leah and Nahuel sat in chairs in the main room with their new baby. The local citizens were released from the bunker and they filed by to greet the new arrival before they returned to their homes for the evening. Tomorrow they would start the chore of rebuilding and repair. They would have a great future here in Akakor. It would be a truly great center for culture, learning and so much more. I thought of how this had all come about. How we had planned an innocent visit to the Amazon last summer. Then Leah had needed an escape to come to terms with her feelings surrounding Sam and Emily‟s wedding. Of course, then Nahuel arrived on the scene with his jaguars. Bella and Edward found the „Lost Treasure of Akahim‟ which Emmett inadvertently activated which led to our knowledge of higher beings and the world around us got a little bigger. I had been shocked to learn of how my family had been hand selected to bring Renesmee into the world. And of course, I had been given a choice. And my world has opened up again as a result. Demetri and Felix have chosen to walk the „path of light‟ and have been richly blessed as a result The Volturi and their dark ways have left once again in shame, unable to stand in the light. Even Seth has his sweet little Ava now to protect and watch over. And now, Akakor has been restored. This day has turned into one of deliverance instead of destruction. Leah, who had believed herself barren, has brought 66 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) forth a son who, according to my new siblings, will be a legend in his own time. Yes, life has been good indeed…so far. A/N: There really will be a total solar eclipse in July of 2010. However, it will be on the 11th not the 15th and to get the complete effect of it, you have to be further south than Brazil. (Argentina or Brazil…or some south pacific islands :) Epilogue II: The Return to Volterra-A storyline tie-in for ‘All Worlds Collide’ Felix-- March 2011 Felix turned and retraced his steps through the crocodile liar. He had dug up three of the reptiles‟ nests and none of the eggs inside had matched the one from which Emmett‟s dragon had emerged. He hadn‟t bothered to replace the soil, but walked away disgusted, leaving the fragile eggs exposed for some animal‟s lunch. Had Huilen been with him, she‟d have made him re-cover the nests, just as she‟d done on the many egg hunts they‟d shared. A black caiman grabbed hold of his leg from behind as it tried to catch him off guard. He rolled his eyes as he felt the massive jaws clamp down on his stone leg. He counted twelve of the gator‟s teeth shatter on impact but he was still knocked off his feet as the creature whipped his neck quickly to the side and rolled him in the mud. Normally, Felix preferred not to wrestle with gators. It was a messy proposition. But they were to humans, a lethal killing machine much like himself, and today Felix had been battling feelings of irritation and restlessness. He realized that he‟d deliberately egged the beast into the fight. It must‟ve been the female, set to watch over her hoard until they were ready to emerge as a pod. She would have unearthed them. Felix had disrupted her agenda. He hoped it made her put up a good fight. She did, but in the end, Felix had her for lunch. The food chain had been disrupted. The crocodile was no longer at the top. The hunter had become the prey. Felix threw her carcass off of him and stood in time to see a school of piranhas attack the nearly bloodless remains. Somehow, even with the fight, Felix remained unsettled. He knew it wasn‟t just his inability to locate a dragon‟s egg for the last year and a half. Heck, he hadn‟t even seen one dragon, other than 6 months ago when Emmett had brought Aurora to teach the area hooligans what true power was about. What had bothered him was that whenever he replayed the scene with the dragon, it showed the startled surprise of all of the human allies that saw her. These were local people who should have known about the existence of dragons in their region; even if they were rare. Working to dissuade his growing uncertainty with what he‟d been told, Felix had taken to learning some of the local dialects. With other „pale skinned‟ people in the area and his eyes now a golden topaz, he‟d been able to enter friendly villages and speak with some of their inhabitants about their lore and legends. He found the Indians to be friendly and very accommodating. They loved to tell their stories. Whenever he asked about dragons, and it wasn‟t as easy as it might‟ve seemed because new to their languages, he had to find a word for dragon and there usually wasn‟t one. After explaining as best as he could about fire breathing reptiles that flew and reminding them about Aurora from the summer before, they told him they‟d never seen or heard of them before. 67 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) He had an incessant thought that kept jumping to the forefront of his thoughts no matter how hard he tried to shrug it off. He had been lied to. And to make it worse, Huilen, whom he‟d grown quite fond of, had encouraged it. How many trips had they taken hunting for the elusive egg? She hadn‟t wanted to go lately. He knew why. There was no egg to be found and she knew it. She‟d told him that they needed to talk before he‟d left. What was her plan? Did she want to tell him how he‟d been played? He‟d stood still as stone, knee deep in the muddy waters of the swollen banks of the Juruá River, as he thought through the ramifications of his conjectures. „Why would Huilen lie to him? What would possess her to traipse across the entire Amazon Rainforest with him to go on a wild goose hunt? Was it to humor him? Did she laugh behind his back?‟ Felix thought. He didn‟t see her as the type but realized he didn‟t know her that well. He had assumed she‟d enjoyed his company as much as he‟d enjoyed hers. He‟d never really found a mate in the many years as a Volturi soldier. Oh, he‟d known plenty of women, but after being around Carlisle‟s family and seeing the bonds they had with their mates, he‟d wanted the same for himself. That had been what he‟d hoped would develop between him and Huilen. It seemed as though it might have too. It might have if Felix could have continued to suppress the nagging doubts that continued to plague him. He had come from Volterra. He‟d been under the tutelage of Aro himself, the master of deception. Lies should be common place to him. So why did this bother him so much? Why was trust suddenly such a big issue? He knew he‟d stood a little too long when the mud hardened on his clothes and arms. His face was caked with the stuff and it‟d matted in his hair as well. He trudged out of the water and found a clear mountain spring where he could clean himself. He‟d brought a pack with him that included a change of clothes. He donned the new attire then scrubbed, cleaned and set out his used set. The croc had torn one of the sleeves. He went to the appropriate plants and before a human eye could follow the sequence of events, he‟d sewn the rip as Huilen had shown him on one of their first outings. Everything he did made him think of the woman. Only now, those thoughts had become too hard to bear. „Surely the Cullens don‟t lie to each other like this? Not for a year and a half! If I‟m supposed to put up with lies, I might as well be back in Volterra, where at least I know to expect it.‟ He was brought out of his reverie this time by a musical laugh. It tinkled in the wind. It was the sound of someone he knew very well. It was the sound of his creator. Someone he‟d been friends with a very long time. Her scent had been blown away from him in the breeze but he caught a faint whiff of it now. But what the devil was Heidi doing here? He turned with a grin on his face to see the beautiful woman with ruby red eyes sitting on a boulder beside the spring as though she‟d been there sunning herself the whole while. The sparkles that danced across her skin couldn‟t be mistaken as water droplets, though no human was around to wonder about the display. Her brown hair spilled over her shoulder and completed the picture of a Greek goddess, stone on stone. “Heidi! “ He sang out in delight. His booming bass voice rumbling through the air. “I can‟t believe my eyes! Whatever are you doing here?” She shrugged, “Trying to figure out what was so fascinating out in the jungle to keep you away for so long.” She sighed in mock bewilderment. “But honestly. After tailing you all day, I‟m more at a loss than I was before; egg hunting, croc wrestling, and taking mud baths.” She shook her head. It made her hair spill around her face as though she were in an advertisement for shampoo. “I guess I can see the novelty of it but really, isn‟t enough, enough? I have really missed you.” She formed her perfect lips into a pout. 68 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Felix laughed. She had her Afton—her soul mate; though at the time of his transformation, she‟d used him to make her play for Demetri. Still, Felix knew his place with her. She was like a sister to him. Their relationship solidified and defined over the centuries. He fell into a familiar routine with her. Their banter was easy and natural. He realized that his tension and frustration had evaporated with her arrival and that he‟d missed her as well. “It is really great to see you Heidi. How is everyone in Volterra?” He asked as he approached her. “Oh, everyone is excited about Matcha‟s visit of course! Honestly, she‟s about as full of herself as Aro and Caius are.” “In other words,” Felix interjected. “She‟s fitting right in over there!” “Exactly!” Heidi said with a chuckle. “So how much longer are you planning on playing Tarzan out here in the jungle? I heard there might be a woman involved?”She added with a raised eyebrow as though encouraging him to confirm or deny the rumor. “I‟d hoped so, only I don‟t think it will pan out after all.” Felix admitted for the first time aloud. “I‟m kind of getting the run around. Huilen says she wants to talk when I return. I‟ve heard that line before.” His expression had turned glum. “I am really sorry to hear that Felix. I was hoping to meet someone important in your life. Now, I will have to distract you instead.” She pursed her lips in thought before she added, “You know what? I say we blow this joint. To hell with this Huilen if she can‟t see what‟s right in front of her. Chelsea and Alec are out looking for you as well. Let‟s scare them up and then you can show us some of the sights around here. Then you can come back to Volterra with us—where you belong. Don‟t even give Huilen a chance to have her little „talk‟ with you—skip the dumping all together.” Felix was surprised at how her words gave order to his thoughts that had been in such a snarl this morning. And why should he wait around to get the axe when he could return to his homeland--return to Italy where he belonged. As the thought took hold of his mind he almost realized that he was forgetting things. He thought he was blocking them out of his mind. He didn‟t know that they were being blocked from his memory and the talent that Aro could use to gain access to those memories. As he walked with Heidi once again to go to Volterra, he didn‟t hear the key locking to seal up the fading memories that had kept him here in the Amazon , and true to those who followed the path of light. Felix never returned to Akakor to find out what it was that Huilen had wanted to speak with him about. He hadn‟t guessed that the conversation she‟d had in mind, involved her confessing the deception over the dragon egg and her part in it. He never dreamed that she had meant to speak of her feelings for him that had grown and become stronger than she‟d realized. He never would know these things because he feared the unknown. When they met up with Alec and Chelsea, he found himself bound even tighter to his long-time companions. He was glad to get out of the jungle and get back to the important business of protecting the true leaders of the vampire world. Demetri and Mia—8 years later in the Amazon Basin Mia was busy preparing their jungle home for the kid‟s arrivals. Seth and Ava had been away for the last four years pursuing their degrees in the states. Ava had studied botany and she was eager to delve into the abundance of rare and unclassified plants back home in the Brazilian jungle. Seth, who had been attending universities for a while had just finished medical school and was returning for a short visit before starting his internship with the new hospital in Akakor. He hoped that he would someday be as skilled a physician as 69 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) Carlisle. Seth knew he was setting his sights high but there was no other role model he‟d rather emulate as he began his practice. Demetri had gone hunting with Huilen and Nahuel early in the morning but Mia had wanted to spend the time sprucing up their home and preparing a feast for Seth. She wasn‟t very thirsty and her excitement at being together with her grown baby girl was palatable. Hunting now would have been too distracting. There were only two and a half more hours to wait until their plane touched down at the new airport east of town. After Akakor became inhabited again, it wasn‟t long before it grew into a large city. Though its ancient splendor remained, it had spread out well beyond the original walls. Also with the tunnels opened back up, it was a large trade center with its new neighbors and had become a power center in the area in many fields. Nahuel had even given Demetri a position in his cabinet as an advisor to law enforcement. While the Brazilian government considered Nahuel to be the mayor or prefeito, of Akakor, the locals considered him to be the Jaguar King and his word was law. Already the city had its own airport and hospital as well as several universities and cultural centers. Mia loved living in the area and found that even on the sunniest days, their home was shaded enough for her to venture outside without alerting the humans around her that she was different from them. She had learned to control her thirst many years ago and now had many friends. Some of them were beginning to notice that she wasn‟t aging and so far, they thought it was a genetic or Italian thing. She knew that soon she and Demetri would have to move on but she was reluctant to do so. Nahuel and Leah were above suspicion. No one questioned their immortal youth as more than half the locals believed them to be gods of some kind. This wasn‟t the case for her but she pushed this thought from her mind as she started to prepare a chocolate cake that she knew was Seth‟s favorite. That was when she heard an unexpected knock at the door. When she answered it there was a young woman there. Mia had never seen her before but her red eyes told Mia all she needed to know. “Can I help you?” She asked formally in mild shock. The answer to her question came from behind her though as a lower voice she did recognize, though it had been eight long years since she‟d heard it last, replied, “Yes, you have been summoned.” And then her world had plunged into darkness. *** Demetri was eager to return home. The kids might have even beaten him to the house. He could sense Seth‟s pull getting closer and closer to him as he approached the city, and though he couldn‟t get a sense of his daughter at all, where Seth was, Ava was too. Nahuel and Huilen laughed as he really pushed himself and left them behind. They knew what his hurry was. He‟d talked non-stop about how his little girl had graduated at the top of her class and how Seth had turned down several internships to come to the hospital in Akakor. Demetri was definitely a father bursting with pride. He did have to skirt around the city to continue at his insane pace and keep in the shade but it added just a few minutes to his trip. If the kids had arrived first as a result, he knew Mia would enjoy the few extra minutes to have them all to herself. 70 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) As he neared the house he could sense that Seth was still further out and he rejoiced that he‟d be there to greet the two of them with his wife. But then another smell filled his nostrils. Something was burning. He was at the front door, which was wide open and an issue of smoke was pouring out. Demetri had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt as though all his insides had turned to pure ice. He walked through the house calling Mia‟s name though he couldn‟t get a sense of her being there at all. He rounded the kitchen and found the source of the smoke and pulled out of the oven the burned carcass of a roasted pig. This had been part of the celebration feast his wife was preparing in honor of their return. He moved it to the counter next to the mixing bowl where a chocolate batter was still stirring. Where the devil was his sweetheart? Demetri knew she‟d never leave like this. And the front door wide open didn‟t bode well either. Still, there‟d been no signs of struggle. Had someone surprised her? Demetri tried to calm himself as he reached out with his senses to the smells that were there masked by the more prevalent smell of burned meat. That was when he smelled vampires. Of course, his and Mia‟s scent were all around the rooms of the home, but there were two more he picked up on and they were ones he‟d known as well as the back of his hand. They belonged to Jane and Felix. Why they had come was a mystery to Demetri. Felix had disappeared eight years earlier. Rumor had it that he‟d returned to Volterra. His scent mixed with Jane‟s was all the confirmation Demetri needed on that regard. He reached out to sense Mia‟s mental signature. He could feel it going further and further away from him. It was moving quickly to the north-east and getting fainter by the minute. Jane‟s and Felix‟s were doing the same. They had her and it took but a moment for Demetri to deduct that they were traveling by jet and taking her to Aro. „Why?‟ Demetri was sick with desperation as he searched the house for any clue. „Had they found out about Ava? Are they going to destroy his beautiful sweet mate now? But why her? Why not come after him instead?‟ Demetri thought of Felix who had become his friend over the centuries and even though he‟d lost track of him recently, he couldn‟t imagine what would have possessed him to turn on him on such a personal level. Mia considered Felix to be a friend to our family. She wouldn‟t have seen him as a threat. She trusted him. Heck, Demetri trusted him as well. „Would Felix allow Mia to be placed in danger?‟ That thought had him almost as worried as Mia‟s abduction. He returned to the kitchen, opened windows to chase away the dense smoke. He turned off the stove. As the room cleared he noticed for the first time an envelope that sat on the table. It had his name on it. He recognized the elegant script immediately. It was from Aro. He picked it up with a sense of resignation. He didn‟t even turn it over as he felt the wax seal of the Volturi on the back side. He remembered the last time he‟d seen one of Aro‟s official dispatches. It had also been delivered by Felix. Only that one had been a good thing. It had been sent to pave the way for him to bring Mia to Carlisle so that Ava could be born safely for both mother and child. What would this epistle pave the way for? He opened the envelope, breaking the seal with trembling fingers. As he read the contents he sank to the floor and allowed stillness and shock to overcome him. *** “I can‟t wait to see Mom and Dad again!” Ava jubilantly jumped up and down; her mahogany curls bounced with each step. “Mom said she was making you a special dinner Seth. It‟s a good thing you‟re hungry. You‟ll be eating most of it.” 71 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “You better eat some of it too. You haven‟t hunted for a while and your momma worked too hard for you to turn your nose up at it.” Seth‟s voice was as excited as Ava‟s. “Hey, Seth will be fighting me for biggest portion size!” Leah chimed in as she walked with the new comers and her family towards Demetri and Mia‟s home. “Nahuel went hunting with Demetri this morning but I decided to hold out for the good stuff. And Ava, you‟re mother has been so cute in her preparations for today. She‟s been getting cooking advice from all her human friends so everything would be perfect. She even brought me a practice chocolate cake she‟d made for me to test for her last week. I had to explain to her about grinding up the cocoa beans and removing the egg shells before mixing it all together. She is trying so hard to get everything just right--so be nice.” “I hear you loud and clear.” Seth said with a salute in the direction of his sister, The Wolf Queen. “So whatever became of the „practice cake‟?” There was a laugh from behind them. “We ate it.” Sammon, Leah‟s oldest son answered while grinning from ear to ear. “Well, Little Harry dared us.” Llassa, one of his year younger brothers defended his actions. “Since when do you take dares from one year olds?” Chandria, their sister retorted with a roll of her eyes. “Hey,” Daggda, Llassa‟s twin retorted. “It wasn‟t so much the dare as it was that it was healthy.” There was a pause as everyone raised eyebrows trying to figure out where he was going with his idea. “Egg shells help clean out your digestive tract.” “Oh really?” Seth laughed. “Somehow I missed that one in my study of nutrition.” “Well, it‟s true.” Sammon said. “Besides, it made Mia happy.” “That much is true.” Nahuel piped in. “We simply chose not to mention to her that Sammon, Daggda and Llassa pretty much eat ANYTHING.” “Well, this story hasn‟t done much to help my appetite.” Ava said wrinkling her nose up in disgust. “Maybe I‟ll skip the meal altogether and go hunting later.” “No way Ava,” Seth‟s reply was cocky and he had a smirk on his face. “I have plans for you later and you‟ll need to have plenty of energy.” Ava flushed; the effect turned her fair skin to turn a deep crimson. She looked down as she shyly asked, “Why, are you planning on playing doctor?” This time it was Seth‟s face that turned an even deeper russet. “Whoa! You‟re the man, Uncle Seth!” Sammon joked as he pounded Seth on the back. “That‟s what I‟m talking about,” Llassa said to his twin. “Uncle Seth is as smooth as they come.” 72 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “I thought Uncle Seth was already a doctor.” Little Pire sounded confused. “Why would he have to play doctor?” “Okay, I think it‟s about time to change the subject.” Leah said quickly while throwing her brother a raised eyebrow. “Perhaps we should talk about ways to keep Ava and Uncle Seth busy for their entire visit so they don‟t have any alone time whatsoever.” “Thanks, Sis.” Seth said under his breath. “Well, I can play doctor with Uncle Seth if no one else wants too.” Little Harry said innocently. His face was happy at the prospect of having time to play with his favorite uncle no matter what the game was. “We‟ll see.” Nahuel replied smoothly. “Wait, do you guys smell something?” They were within a block of their destination and their keener sense of smell was quick to pick up the burn. The family picked up their pace as it became clear where it came from. Still they had to walk at a human pace as many of the citizens of Akakor recognized them and were looking their way in greeting. “Maybe Mom went out to gather some fruit in the jungle and forgot to turn off the stove.” Ava said uncertainly.” They came into view of the house and found the door wide open and the kitchen window open as well. “Demetri? Mia?” Nahuel said as he walked in. He went straight to where Demetri sat on the floor slumped against a wall; the letter still clutched in his fisted hand. “Dad?” Ava said as she passed Nahuel and saw his father. Panic shot through her at the sight of him. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Ava spun around and made a quick search for her mother. Then she returned to where her father still sat unmoving. “Where is Mom? Dad? What happened? Please, tell me…?” She begged him as tears sprung quickly to her eyes. “She‟s gone. They took her.” Demetri said in a hollow monotone. “Who took her? Where is she? Where did she go Dad?” Nahuel pried the letter out of Demetri‟s frozen hand and read through it quickly. His own face became ashen as he scanned the single page of text. “No!” He whispered. The letter was passed to Leah who took a breath and began to read aloud. All eyes turned from Demetri to her. “Our dear Demetri, We have waited patiently for your return and we now need your assistance in a matter of some urgency. You are being recalled to duty and we expect you to comply with our wishes. In order to assure your cooperation, your lovely mate will be our guest until such a time as we deem fitting. If you return to duty 73 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) and prove yourself still true to us, Mia will be able to visit with you and enjoy some freedom within the castle walls. If you return under duress and must be compelled to perform your duties, then Mia will find her accommodations less than hospitable for her stay. Either way, if you want to keep your lovely wife, I expect to see you soon. Otherwise Mia‟s usefulness will be at an end. Best Regards, Aro” “NO!” Ava‟s wail broke the unnatural calm. “We have to rescue her. Dad! Snap out of it.” Ava went to him and knelt beside him on the floor. She turned his face to her. “Dad. We need you. Mom needs you. You have to think. Come on, stand up.” She grabbed hold of his shirt and bodily lifted him to a standing position with her. She wrapped her arms around him and he took a deep gasping breath and sobbed tearless sobs into his daughter‟s hair. It was some time before they pulled away and sat at the table to discuss what would be done. In the end, to Ava‟s dismay, Demetri decided that the safest way to deal with the Volturi was to give them what they asked for. He made Seth promise to hide Ava. “Hide her from the Volturi Seth; even if that means…me. Don‟t tell me where she is no matter what. If Aro is alive, he‟ll find out about her. Promise me Seth.” “No Daddy,” Ava whispered as she tried to be brave. “I won‟t hide. I want to help free Mom.” “I‟m sorry baby, but your Mother would be mortified if she thought Aro knew about you and got his hands on you.” “When she reaches Aro, he may find out about Ava anyway.” Leah replied dully. “No, Demetri is right. The only way to keep you safe, Ava is to hide you.” “No, I won‟t leave.” Ava‟s defiant tone was laced with anguish. “Seth, tell them. We‟re a team. We fight together.” Seth looked at her sadly and he chose his words carefully. “Ava, we‟re a team and your dad is our leader and he wants you safe. We have to do this so he can concentrate on making your mother safe. Don‟t worry Ava. Your Father knows the Volturi better than anyone. He will figure this out.” He cupped her face in his large russet hands. He wiped away her tears with his thumbs. “But I don‟t want to go away.” She whispered. “I know baby. But this is important. Trust your father and trust me.” Seth‟s voice was strong even though it was quiet. Ava closed her eyes and Seth kissed each of her eyelids before he silenced her worry with a tender kiss. Demetri moved then and placed his arm on Ava‟s shoulder. She turned to him and wrapped her arms around him tightly as if such an action could keep him there with her. “Daddy, please don‟t send me away. You 74 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) know I can help. Please let me.” Her voice was more of a plea; she knew her father would never allow her to be placed in danger deliberately. “No my angel, you must promise me that you will go with Seth now. It is the only way I can bear to do what I must. The only thing I can control here is your safety. You know that I love you more than my own life my sweet little Ava. And I am so proud of the young woman you‟ve become. So please, for me. You must allow me this peace of mind. Go with Seth and then I can do what Aro demands with confidence, knowing that you are beyond his reach. Do this, for me. Please Ava.” Demetri whispered on pain to her hair. It was minutes before Ava found the strength to nod her head once in defeat. *** And so it was that Demetri traveled that same day to Volterra. He presented himself to the Volturi leaders who were awaiting his visit with much anticipation. He refused to touch Aro‟s hand though, just as Mia had and therefore, He was allowed to see his mate just once before she was removed from his sight until the Volturi were convinced of his loyalties. Demetri worked hard to convince them of his earnestness as much as he worked to remember his daughter that he protected by withholding his touch. In the next year, Aro sent him on different assignments to prove himself. When he performed well, he allowed Mia to be brought to him for a day or two but when neither of them was inclined to extend their hands to Aro‟s interrogation; she was removed to the lower levels again. This happened eight times during the next year and Demetri began to wonder what the urgent matter was that Aro had manipulated him to perform. He began to wonder how he‟d get Mia out of there safely, if the entire thing had been a ruse by Aro to play with him somehow. When Demetri was finally given his important assignment a year later, he was shocked beyond belief though he kept the revulsion off his face. Apparently Aro hadn‟t given up on his fascination with vampire hybrids. Nahuel‟s sister‟s earlier visit hadn‟t satisfied him. He was to kidnap Renesmee. And to make sure he complied, Alec and Chelsea were going with him. He felt like a traitor as he accepted the assignment without a blink of an eye in hopes that it would be enough to keep his own family safe. I knew Aro would never hurt Renesmee and perhaps he could later help her escape as well. And with the completion of this assignment, Aro thought that Demetri had proven his loyalty to him. That was until after his visit with Mia, he still refused to extend his hand to him. Aro was left to stew over the possible reasons Demetri might have to deny him access to his thoughts. Finally he had him brought to him and forced him to extend his hand to him with a threat to Mia. But Aro was stymied by his reluctance when all he found was thoughts about his mate and the Amazon. Neither of them knew of the promise Llasa had made during the Day of Deliverance, to protect the secrets of the land. Secrets that apparently included his little Ava. *** The End of Epilogue II: “The Return to Volterra” *** Here is the poster and link to „All Worlds Collide‟: 75 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) <a href="http://www.thetwilightsaga.com/group/fanfiction/forum/topics/all-worlds-collide-pg13"><img src="http://api.ning.com/files/zNBCwt0cfaQRFGp2*uOIHFrvTzIE2xEb7l7qOTOCufbPBSVEywb*NO*Xjf ksEBZ7wuAmy*XF466OjnYOr-jp92-Z8SnKlxJF/reverietext.jpg"/></a> Picture linked to story There are a few authors who have used elements of „Indian Summer‟ in their fan fictions besides „All Worlds Collide‟. The ones I know of are listed below with banners and links: <p style="text-align: left;"><img src="http://api.ning.com/files/kfVmgBLn3r*8H*YztKW6yMrHUJ0HqTNahWVw73bJjKIQpQEmTydOY1 WyOM8DvgvKi1vnAdTbIRk-tlNQ1D0G8x6DkIUYoFHr/TrueLoveBreaksAllDarknessBanner.jpg" alt=""/></p> <a href="http://www.thetwilightsaga.com/forum/topics/true-love-breaks-all- darkness?groupUrl=fanfiction&x=1&id=2570916%3ATopic%3A15624746&groupId=25709 16%3AGroup%3A422&page=1#comments">True Love Breaks All Darkness</a> Appendix I: Angel of Death: Felix’s Story The soldier awoke to protesting limbs. His tortured breathes produced little puffs of frosted dew. As he drew in the freezing air, it numbed the searing pain in his lungs to a dull throb. It was dark. He couldn‟t hear a sound. He sensed death in the air…it surrounded him; it called to him. He heard the raucous laughter of Matteo Adimari--his Father once again. The sound of his taunting chilled him more than the freezing cold. “You‟re worthless, boy. Just like your Mother. Just like your sisters.” Matteo sneered at him, though he had been but a boy of five. Felix had just spent the last hour milking their cow on a chilly January morning eighteen years ago, only to trip when his too-big shoes caught on the bottom step to the back door. The milk hadn‟t been the only thing to be spilt that day. His Father had back handed him so hard that his nose had bled. The memory came to his mind as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. Matteo Adimari was a cruel man, a night at the pub certainly didn‟t make life any the more plesent for those whom he lived with—those for whom his mead left behind welts, torn flesh and broken bones. The soldier shuddered again, this time not from the cold and gladly welcomed the blackness. He awoke again. It was still pitch black. He heard a gasp from somewhere in the gloom, far away. He tried to call out but his throat wouldn‟t cooperate. Where was he? Was this hell? No, it was too cold for Hell. But it was too dark for heaven; perdition then, maybe? He remembered the many times he‟d prayed for death to come for him, to come and remove him from the vile man he called Father. The man whom he was 76 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) convinced was Satan himself. But death never came…until now. He started to fade again as he remembered one such time he‟d prayed for the deliverance of eternal sleep. Matteo had come home to take out his displeasure at losing his gold in a game of dice. His little sister, Nina was the first victim he happened upon. He threw her tiny fragile form across the room so hard that a post in the wall frame broke. Of course, so did little Nina‟s back. She would spend the rest of her short life crippled. It also gave their Father more reasons to be unhappy. He had tried to come to his sister‟s defense after Matteo had thrown her. He ran at him and kicked him as hard as he could in the shin but even with his growing stature, his twelve-year old frame was still no match for his hulking father, who pulled him from the ground by the hair of his head and spat in his face before his pummeling started. Felix could still remember the sensation as his father‟s alcoholic spittle ran down his cheek and off his chin. He remembered his rage, as his dear mother ran to Nina‟s side where she lay sobbing and broken in a heap on the floor, or his Father callous disregard as he kicked his Mother out of the way and demanded she served him his food before it got cold. Cold—that was what it was--cold and dark. An acute pain began in his leg. He tried to rise up to inspect it but hit his head on something hard, plaster in texture, just six inches above his head. The soldier looked around carefully and tried to remember what had led him to this place--this place of cramped darkness. He tried to remember where this place was…who he was. But all that came again was another memory from the hidden recesses of his past. Another memory he had worked hard to keep covered, buried away forever. Somehow, it demanded his acknowledgement. This time he had grown to the ripe old age of sixteen. His physique was large and impressive from the years of being the „man‟ of the house. It had been he who chopped the wood, cleared the fields and worked the land. All of this had left his muscles strong and formidable from manual labor. The years had hardened more than his muscles though; they had also solidified his hatred towards his Father. His little sister Nina had died two years earlier. This left him, his older sister Maria and his Mother, Tessa to bear the wrath of the man who was Matteo Adimari. “Tessa,” he bellowed as he stomped into the house. The call was not unusual; it was what he held that was the bombshell. It was a two year old little boy. Mother had left the coals to heat in the fireplace and came to him immediately to have the toddler dumped in her arms. “Get this boy some food. And some clean clothes. His name is Armando.” “Who is he exactly,” Felix demanded right back at him. His new physique gave him a confidence to face his Father‟s wrath that had not been there before. “You‟re brother,” was Matteo‟s smug reply. Felix heard the tiny gasp that escaped his Mother‟s lips. Unfortunately, so did his Father, who spun on her and punched her square in the face sending her and little Armando both into the small wooden table beside the fireplace hearth. 77 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Don‟t you presume to judge me, woman. If you kept me happy I wouldn‟t need to find my pleasure elsewhere.” Matteo bellowed so loudly that it was heard throughout the neighborhood. Felix was consumed by so much rage in that moment; built up over years of abuse and humiliation that he found the first weapon his eyes fixed on--the poker stick, its end still in the smoldering coals from where his Mother had left it moments ago. He grabbed the handle and seared its brand into his Father‟s exposed back. It burned immediately through his course shirt as he spun with an agonized roar. “How dare you!” He raged. Felix prepared to strike again. This time the fight would at least be fair. His Mother, Tessa arrived to the same conclusion and managed to wedge herself in between them. Felix couldn‟t believe his ears when his Mother turned on him and chided him for dishonoring his Father in such a vulgar manner. Felix had never felt so betrayed in his life—or more alone. He walked out the front door leaving his only change of clothes, his crying Mother, his terrified sister, his half-brother, his domineering Father and the only life he had ever known behind him. He had travelled on foot from his hometown of Venice to Verona Italy. It had taken him over a week. He stopped nightly and survived on the hospitality of strangers whose modest homesteads were along the way. For a small act of service, they graciously provided him with a meal and a night‟s sleep in their barn. He was shocked to discover through these encounters, that not all men treated their families with such brutal contempt as his father had. Once he had reached Verona he joined the ranks of the local militia and started to train in the art of war. He came to again. It was still dark and cold. The darkness had lessened in its intensity somehow. There was a faint hue. When he moved his head up and to the left, he found a shaft of light shining through from too far above. He thought that perhaps his stay in perdition was at an end and the light would come for him now. The pain in his leg caused him to cry out. That had in turn brought on a spasm that shook his entire frame and debris rained down on him, chocking off his protest. His throat was dry. The soldier began to fear that he was too deeply buried in the twisted debris for the light to find him and deliver him to his eternal rest. A disjointed thought entered his mind. The pile of rubble he lay trapped in was the ruins of a church— an Abby. He lay dying in the broken remains of the Abby of Nonantola. Perhaps that would make it easier for God to find him…somehow. He heard a noise above him in the wreckage--a loud crash of sound; another‟s cries of anguish—fevered and then cut off suddenly. He remembered then, He was Felix Adimari. He was a soldier of the Verona Guard. His company had been called up to help the forces from Vienna, his hometown, to fight against the Genoese-Pisan alliance for threatening the trade routes to Northern Italy and disrupting the balance of power and wealth. They had begun their march from Verona two days ago on January 1, 1117. The night before they had found shelter from a winter storm in the pews of the famous Abby in Modena, only to have the intensity of the storm be upstaged early this morning by a terrible shaking of the ground beneath their feet. It shook ferociously and made Felix think about the walls of Jericho that were felled by the wrath of the Almighty. That was his last thought as the beams and the high ceiling above him plunged him into a great abyss. 78 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) There was more noise, more movement, more cries of horror and pain that cut off as quickly as they began. Itwas also lighter. Felix realized that the cold had numbed the intensity of the pain in his leg and for that he was grateful. The sounds and cries came to him again and again. They were getting closer. Now that he could hear them more clearly, he heard something before the cries of those above him. He heard happiness, pleasure, joy. He thought it must be the destroying angel bringing death to those who had earned their reward. He knew he had been right; being in a sanctuary of God had made the difference. His journey was almost over. He eagerly awaited his turn. His thoughts began to return one last final time to the family he would leave. The family he had abandoned. His Father whom he had always hated but never been allowed to destroy. Finally, after what had seemed a lifetime of waiting, the rubble above him was lifted and he sucked in a jagged breath of fresh, cold air. The light blinded his eyes; so did his destroying angel. She was long-legged and tall, strong, beneath a head of rich mahogany hair her red eyes were set off by her glimmering, multi- faceted skin that shimmered in the brilliant sunlight. She was as beautiful as she was deadly and he welcomed her coming and the release it would provide. “Thank you my angel,” He said though his parched throat made his request all but in audible. Knowing that such an angel would hear his request he continued. “Only first, promise me that you will take my Father as well. It is the only peace I can give to my family now.” “You‟re Father?” The angel asked suddenly curious. Felix was amazed at how soothing her voice was. It felt like a cool brook over small stones. When he imagined it his throat ached for such comfort. How long had he lain buried, without water? Suddenly he felt he saw his Father before him and he was strong. Not broken like now. His destroying angel was with him. “Is this your Father?” She asked the soldier. The older man turned at the sound of her voice. But it wasn‟t the glorious angel his eyes fixed on. No they fixed on those of his son Felix. They were eyes filled with hatred and cruelty. “What do you want? Come back to grovel have you?” Matteo mocked him. “Do with him what you will.” The angel told the soldier. With that open invitation from an angel of God, Felix did not hold back but returned in like kind every injury and hurt, he and the rest of his family had suffered at the hands of this demonic man. His rage consumed him until the life had been beaten out of his father. Then slowly Felix returned to himself. He was disoriented for a time. He was no longer in the home of his father. He was back in the rubble of the church. His leg was impaled on a sharp wooden spike that had broken during the collapse. The sight of it almost caused him to lose consciousness again. His angel looked on indifferently. He no longer cared for his life or his death. He had been permitted to give his family this final mercy…safety from the hands of the man who should have been their protector but was instead their master. “Now that has been taken care of, will you do a favor for me?” The beautiful angel spoke to him again. When the soldier did not reply she continued. “There is a celebration in Volterra at week‟s end. It will be a grand affair and many of my kind will be there. You are strong and formidable. Plus you intrigue me. My consort has been less than pleased with my trysts and has refused to escort me to the affair. I require your services.” She stood up and looked down at him. “Yes, cleaned up I think you‟re exactly what I need. Oh, 79 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) where are my manners? My name is Heidi. What do you say? I scratch your back…you scratch mine?” She said with another dazzling smile. “I‟m Felix,” He managed to reply in a rasp. He was perplexed. This angel of death, Heidi was passing him by? Or was this something else? Either way, he was not in a position to deny her anything, and the death of his Father had been so satisfying. Not able to say more he merely nodded his assent. That was when she did the thing the soldier least expected. She leaned over his neck and bit him. Bit him deeply. But Felix was a hard man, accustomed to pain. He didn‟t even cry out as she bit him once more. He had the sense that he was flying away—away from the ruined Abby—away from his mangled comrades—away from his family—away from reality as he knew it. He knew subconsciously that his leg gave him torturous pain as it throbbed from its injury but it was overpowered in the growing sensation of burning. He could still feel the numbness of his frost bitten fingers and nose, but the fire consumed those too. Perhaps Heidi had given him a test while he‟d been there in Perdition. Perhaps by killing his father he was no longer worthy of heaven and was now being sent to burn in hell forever. He was sickened by the thought that he would meet his Father there. That they would burn together. No there would be no mercy or justice for Felix Adimari that day. Heidi was not an Angel of Mercy but rather an Angel of Death after all. Felix lost track of how long the flames of eternal damnation licked at him--consumed him from the inside out. He only knew when he could endure the agony enough to think around its edges. He knew that he had made the right choice by taking his Father down with him. In doing so, he had accomplished in death what he had been unable to do in life. He had freed his family from their wicked tyrant, their oppressor. He had taken Matteo Adimari down with him. He could also hear the words his angel spoke to him. She told him that he would become an angel of death like her. He wondered if this could be possible. Was this redemption to be his after all? If he could bring others deliverance from their miserable mortal existence, then he would embrace his new future. He would go with his angel. He would celebrate his new reality. He clung to those hopeful thoughts as the fire consumed every tender memory he had of his sisters, his mother, the kindness of neighbors and strangers. It burned away the human longing he had long ago given up on—the longing to know a Father‟s love and approval. As his heart beat its last protracted thud, the Felix that was, ceased to exist. “Finally!” Heidi had said in relief that echoed Felix‟s sediments precisely. “I was starting to worry. You really are strong to endure such pain. Stand up and let‟s get a better look at you now.” At her words he jumped swiftly to his feet. In his new existence, his leg had been made whole without a hint of their previous discomfort. His eyes blinked in confusion that quickly turned to excitement. He could see with the eyes of an angel. Yes, he would like his new life, his new calling very much. That was when the burn in his throat became intolerable and his angel taught him the ways of an Angel of Death. Though he was immensely strong and graceful, Felix was proud at the attention his companion and mentor Heidi showered on him. He had never been the object of a female‟s desire and just the thought was intoxicating as the finest wine. He knew he was behaving like a foolish oaf as he panted after her affection 80 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) like a drunkard whose mug was drained. Still, it was the night of the Volturi Celebration, and he would be presented to other immortals on the arm of the most beautiful angel to have ever graced the great country of Italy. He did have an evening he would never forget. The party had only been under way for a quarter of an hour, when another angel, named Demetri approached Heidi. He was upset and his look of displeasure rested on Felix‟s startled face. He wondered if this was the consort Heidi had spoken of. He didn‟t care. She had found him, she had chosen him. He knew that this Demetri would just have to adjust. She was a lady after all; he would protect her from those who would hurt her. Felix backhanded the other vampire with a force that sent him across the room. Immediately there were five vampires on him. Felix was more than a newborn, he was also a trained soldier and he was stronger than he‟d ever been before in his life. He deftly maneuvered out of the grasps that sought to secure him and he moved once again towards his rival Demetri. He removed three more guards that tried to block his path and was about to attack the other again, when something unexpected happened. His angel, Heidi ran towards Demetri and held him in a protective manner. Felix was confused by a swirl of emotions and memories that assaulted him. One memory was of an older woman between him and his monster Father. She begged for mercy for the demon. That memory was interspersed with the woman between him and the object of his fury—his rival. The woman was Heidi, his angel. Only now, she wasn‟t his. Now she was his rival‟s. Now she was with who she desired to be with. How did Felix feel about that? Strangely, he felt many things at once and not a one of them was anger. He felt free, carefree to be what he chose and somehow, he was happy for his angel; happy that he had played his role so well; happy that he had repaid her kindness of allowing him to deprive his father of his worthless life. He was presented to the Volturi leaders, Aro, Marcus and Caius. They were polite and interested in his size and strength, as it was stronger than was typical for most newborns. He could see from their questions that they were military leaders and he was being sized up for his worthiness of rank in their army. Finally, the black haired Aro asked to hold his hand. He explained that it was a special gift he possessed that he would be able to see his thoughts through the touch. Felix was not surprised to learn that there would be a diversity of gifts within the ranks of the Angels of Death, and so he raised his hand to meet Aro‟s without hesitation. After a few long minutes Aro stepped back from the new one and sighed deeply. “Felix, you have been through so much. I‟m sure it wasn‟t hard for you to leave such a life behind you. And yet we have so much to offer you here…with us in Volterra.” The leader walked to his chair and sat. Felix wondered if being an angel for so long made him tire easily. He had not felt the need to rest even once in the few short days since becoming an angel himself. “There are so many things in life that are good and joyful for you to experience. We would love to have you do so here with us as one of our guards. But there are still some issues from your past that must be dealt with first.” Aro shook his head with a small smile on it. “First you must understand what you are. And then you must understand that what you experienced with your Father‟s death was only an illusion.” 81 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) “Only an illusion?” Felix spluttered indignantly. “No! I was there. I saw him die. I killed him with my own hands. He can‟t still…” His voice faded out and his eyes narrowed. He wondered at what treachery he had witnessed. He felt as though he had played the fool for some foolish woman‟s attempts at jealousy. “I‟m afraid so.” The white haired Aro conceded. “Heidi has a gift of her own. She can make you see your heart‟s desire. Apparently yours was your Father‟s death?” He asked the last line as a question, though he clearly knew the truth. “My Father lives?” Felix demanded, his temper was rising swiftly. He had never had anger issues before that he could not control, but his emotions now came swiftly with an intensity that swept him away like the crush of a wall of flood waters. “He lives for now,” Aro qualified carefully. He didn‟t want to further incur the wrath of the newborn in front of him. “Now, as you have surmised, there was a powerful earthquake the day Heidi found you. It centered out from Verona and leveled the church in the town you were in over 66 miles away. It has also caused havoc in Vienna as well. It may be some time before you can travel unseen there to exact your revenge. But this is a worthy goal for you and one I am eager to help you accomplish were you to choose to join with us. I could even provide you with the services of our most gifted tracker. I believe you have made his acquaintance already.” Aro seemed slightly amused as he inclined his head towards the vampire who had gathered Heidi in his arms; his face holding a look of dreamy anticipation. “…Demetri.” Aro said gleefully while clapping his hands together. “Oh, this is wonderful! Wonderful!!!! Revenge is a dish that is best served cold, and you can‟t get much colder than us!” Aro said, his merriment sounding musical and trilling. Felix felt an odd sensation at the Volturi leader‟s words. Aro had explained that his father still lived, that if he joined with them they would help him track the vile man down and help him finish him off once and for all. Then he‟d said that revenge was best served cold—that there was nothing colder than what they were…what he was now too. Then his earlier statement crashed down on him. He was almost afraid to ask. Had he misunderstood? Had Heidi given him more than one illusion? “What exactly is it about what we are—what I now am, that I need to understand?” Felix asked as he fought to control the panic that intensified to an overwhelming dread. “Aren‟t we Angels of Destruction…Angels of Death?” He could sense something horrible coming. Something he didn‟t want to know. Something he should have known already but it refused to surface on its own. “No, we‟re not.” Aro said before amending, “Well, we are Angels of Death in a very real sense.” He added in a chuckle that was shared with those in the echoing chamber. “No, we‟re not on any mission from the almighty, if that‟s what you‟re thinking Felix. No, far from that. No, no, heaven forbid!” he said expansively as he held out his hands dramatically to more laughter. “No Felix my dear boy, All of us, yourself included…are vampires.” As the words sunk in the soldier dashed from the room. He could hear Aro‟s pleasant voice as he left the castle grounds. “We‟re here to embrace you as one of our own as soon as you‟re ready.” Then he seemed to 82 Indian Summer Epilogue One ‘The Battle for Akakor’, Epilogue Two ‘The Return to Volterra’ and Appendix One, ‘Felix’ story: The Angel of Death’ (All Twilight Characters are property of Stephenie Meyer) talk to someone else from within the castle walls. “He really is a strong vampire that one. Nice choice Heidi! I can‟t wait until we see him again!” Felix ran and ran and ran. The day turned to night and the night turned to day. He could hardly believe what he had become. It took his eight long years to come to terms with his new reality and embrace his new family that awaited him in Volterra. The first thing that Aro did was send him out with Demetri to track out the man who had driven him from his home in the first place. The man he held responsible for his immortal state of darkness. And when Matteo Adimari was found, his Father‟s blood once again flowed through Felix‟s dried out veins. Here is my new introduction to go at the top of my story: Charlie Swan isn‟t the only one being shocked out of the world as he knows it. See how the entire Cullen Clan and the Quileute Shape Shifters discover that their supernatural world is just a little bigger than they ever realized as they find themselves having an „Indian Summer‟ they‟re not soon to forget! Indian Summer: an informal expression given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, typically in late October or early November, after the leaves have turned following an onset of frost but before the first snowfall.
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