Both women nodded. Anya even felt Anastasia's surprise and nod with them in her mind. Still, even with the women this close, Anya could tell they did not know her twin was there.
She pulled back “maybe we can all spare after the meeting I’m sure the men are going to be difficult and we will need some release” anya said though both woman saw her forehead form sweat. She put on her hood quickly and went to sit down.
Are you sure you want to go through with whatever it is you are planning, warrior goddess? he asked. What are you planning, anyway? You refused to tell me or let me see it in your mind.
just sit down Dracul she said as the prince stood up to started the meeting
The opening ceremony seemed to take forever. Everyone skewered their hand and pledged allegiance, but with so many, it took ages.
"Now that that is out of the way," said Mikhail, "I have something to announce. Alexandru, Anya, will you please join me?"
Anya stood up but the woman could see the effort it took though she hid it well from the men
Alexandru joined her and they stood next to Mikhail, who said when they were in front of everyone, "Gregori and I will not be the ones leading this council. Instead, the future prince and his second will. Any decisions that are made, with few exceptions, will be implemented when Alexandru takes over." There was a roar from the ancients in both protest and in understanding. "Now, if that is done, let us being."
He and Gregori sat behind the two of them. Alexandru instantly knew that this was a test.
"Our first order is about our younger males, such as myself, aging far faster than we should," Alexandru began. "As you know, we are finding our lifemates and having children far younger and faster than we should. While these could be seen as good things, it also means we lose our colors and emotions far too soon. Some as early as eighteen years. While in Brazil, I felt close to the source, but could not find it. I felt no hostile intent, but that doesn't always mean anything. I would like to hear your thoughts on how we should proceed with this and how to stop it."
Anya waited until no one spoke “I plan to do a complete search of Brazil” anya said in a stressed tone. She couldn’t help but squeeze annex arm though she made sure no one saw it “and yes that will take months but if Alex says the source is here then I will find it” she said in a serious tone
"But how do we know that it isn't nature giving us what we need?" asked one hunter. "Forgive me, but for children to..."
"I understand where you are coming from," said Alexandru, holding up his hand. "However, wouldn't something like this have happened centuries ago if that were the case? We are now steadily on the rise. What need is there to have children like us have children of our own? We have not had the time to learn all of the skills required of us. At 50 years of age, that is more understandable. Some lose their colors and emotions at that time. However, I found my lifemate long before that, and I had yet to even begin losing either."
While the hunters deliberated he said to Anya, What is wrong? You are acting tough, but your grip is bruising. And it speaks volumes.
I’m sorry She said releasing his arm im still healing and had a wave of pain, I’ll be fine She said and placed her hands behind her back “also I plane to make a training came of sorts while I am here, some of the women and men have offered their help on the de la Cruz ranch to help rain anyone of any age or gender in self defense” she said and instantly that got their attention
Cries of outrage filled the cave. Alexandru stood there, listening, knowing that if he said anything right now, they would label him a child jumping to a decision. Well, unless he caved and sided with the ancients and said no. Which he had no intention of doing.
With the arguments reaching a peak and neither child made a move to do something Mikhail and Gregori stepped forward to quiet everyone.
"We are simply talking and discussing what to do," Mikhail said when he got their attention. "As I have said, these things will go into effect for the next generation, not ours."
“We won’t have a next generation if they don’t go into effect now” anya said “if you think woman are incapable of learning this then please speak to the women in this room and the countless others like ivory who are out there this very moment, if you like we are to much of the light and should be at home safe let me ask this...how many times has home not been safe, how many times have our brothers lost a lifemate and their children in their very own him, I’m not saying all women should be hunters I am say it’s important that woman and children know how to protect themselves , it would increases our chances of survival “ she said and waited for someone to give her the cue, some ignorant male to speak up
An ancient moved to the front, bowed to her in respect, and said, "If I may. I speak from my own understanding, and nothing more, but it has been ingrained in me to believe that women, who bring life into this world, are to be protected. Men cannot create life. This is why I feel women should be protected." Agreements started to fill the air, while men with warrior women lifemates shook their heads with knowing smiles. "I would like to think my woman, should I find her, would trust me to care for and protect her. Even from herself if necessary."
“And are you telling me you would not feel at ease when you are away that she would be able to protect herself I’d she needed? Or the children she would bring in this world?” She asked him
"I cannot say for certain as I do not know what my lifemate is like," he said honestly. "I have yet to find her, and will not make an opinion on this matter. Any decision I make is from how I was raised, and not necessarily because I believe one way or another."
Anther ancient stepped forward, bowed, and said, "Well, I too was raised like you, but I have to say, the thought of my lifemate, should I be graced with one, fighting a vampire is abhorrent for me. You may be willing to weigh each side, brother, but I for one do not think our women should fight."
The first ancient sighed and went back to lean against a wall. The second got a lot of agreements.
“So you would rather her be killed or raped or tortured while you are unable to get to her?” Anya asked in a serious tone meeting his eyes “our work takes us far from home brother and woman and children have been taking in even our most safest places, why do you think they are the targets? They are easy to get, they don’t know how to defend themselves “ she said “how many more must we lose or how many more children and women must be broken before you find value in my words?” She said in a challenging tone
He growled at her and said, "That is the fault of the men, not the women."
She saw Alexandru stiffen next to her, though no one else noticed. His fist clenched. He felt it a slight against him, not just women. He felt Liliana in his mind, knowing she felt the accusation just as much and didn't like it either. That did little to appease the anger growing in him.
“That’s where you are wrong brother” anya said keeping her cool “that is not how our people are meant to work, along the line or war and bad decisions somehow we forget we are equal as lifemates, we are one soul split in two, as woman we are more for just breeding and being your light, it goes both ways, we can not bare children without you and you are the light to us, so why is it that some how it was decided that woman stop fighting for their families as well? When was it decided that woman are to be protected and are unable to protect themselves?” She said and leaned closer to the male “we are equals, no matter how much of the light a woman is she deserves to know how to defend those she loves, or is it easier to deal with your grief by blaming your brothers?” She said in a low tone “can you be everywhere at once? Can you make every decision right? We are not gods so why are you acting like men are suppose to be perfect?” She said “I think you don’t think women have what it takes, I think you think just because we are more of the light that it would taint us to know how to fight...look me in the eyes and speak your truth” she said with a soft growl as her eyes turned silver
"Of course women are of the light," the man said. "It is that very reason that they shouldn't fight. It isn't about just the taint or the miracle of childbirth. It is that women have far too much emotion to go through with a kill on their own. These warrior women, they do not fight emotionless and that could get them and their lifemates killed. If their men would take them in hand and make them stay where it is safe, their men wouldn't be divided in battle trying to defend their woman and themselves. Their men risk their lives thrice over just having them on the battlefield."
“Really...then I must be wrong in woman’s abilities “ she said in a soft tone “after all...I’m younger then you and have killed more then you have...so you must not be saying this out of ego right? “ when he growled she smiled “just to make sure I heard you correctly , woman wouldn’t make good fighters because they are emotionless.....Anastasia what do you think about that?” She said and moved so everyone could see Anastasia was suddenly there with a knife to mikhails throat.
There were growls heard around the room. She purposefully held herself slightly out where everyone could see her. Mikhail had his hands up more to keep others from moving than because he thought she would actually hurt him.
"I think that if I had known how to fight sooner, I wouldn't have fallen into the hands of a mad man," she said. "My family was busy saving Anya's life and Xavier, disguised as Alexandru, took me and broke me down. If I had known how to defend myself, I would have at least stood a chance at making it home before he raped me. I may not be able to hunt vampires, but I sure as hell didn't deserve what happened to me. I'd rather have known how to defend myself then let his filthy hands touch me."
"Anastasia, what the hell are you doing?!" Gregori growled, trying to move so he could get her.
She made Mikhail move back so that he was her shield, saying, "Proving a point."
“I trained her myself, for e weeks, in three weeks she is able to get in here without any of you knowing, that knife she has in her hand...look closer, it’s a large leaf that she had made into a weapon” anya said in a stern tone “every woman has a natural ability of defense, for Anastasia it’s nature, just because your women is of the light does not mean she is helpless, what makes her helpless is you, her lifemate locking her up like you do, telling her you will protect her when it’s not guaranteed, instead of working with her to keep your families safe, Anastasia will never be a hunter she is a natural healer and yet here she stands holding a knife to your prince” she said crossing her arms “anything to say to that?”
"I think that it proves that women should fight," said Jaxon. "Even if it's just to buy time, it is necessary. Look at Anastasia. She was broken a month ago, barely able to heal on her own, and in so short a time, she was able to do something that even ancients have a hard time doing."
"If I have any daughters," said Joie, "I hope they have half that courage and strength."
Anastasia wanted to weep at their words, but she stood still, tears blurring her vision. Dracul stepped up next to Anya.
"I for one, am ancient, and would never think to stop Anya from hunting," he said. "It is her calling, same as it is mine. But what she did for Anastasia is a gift, not a hindrance or trying to forge a warrior when there isn't one. She gave her the tools and confidence needed to face the world and the horrors in it, and knowing that she now stands a chance against them. She didn't have those before."
"Are you implying that I failed her because I didn't teach her how to fight?" Gregori growled, turning to Dracul.
"I'm implying that had she learned or had the confidence to ask for lessons without fear of her fears being pushed aside, she would have stood a better chance."
There was great tension in the air and Mikhail said, "Alexandru, you are leading this and I seem to be a hostage. You should step up."
Alexandru stood a moment before moving forward and saying, "I have a daughter and a son. I will be having both of them train because I feel I would be doing Suzianna a disservice if she were untrained and something happened. That is why, when I become prince, I will require that, at least until the age of 50, children of both genders will be trained in basic self-defense."
Anya didn’t have time to feel the relief at his words it happened so quickly. She turned and grabbed Anastasia and threw her to her father and slammed up a ward over Everyone just as the bomb went off. The cave shook and rocks started to fall from the ceiling. The wards kept the rocks from hitting anyone but they knew they needed to move fast before they were buried “Dracul escort the prince and Alex with my father, the rest of you follow them and for a protective line” she looked at the woman in the room “only we are small enough to fit through the collapsed door, are you with me?” She asked them
Jaxon and Joie nodded. Anastasia wanted to go to Anya's side, to help, but the look on Anya's face told her not to. I expect you back, Anya, Anastasia said, tossing her the knife. It will stay sharp. Use it well. And when you return, we can bring the baby out into the world. He is just like his mother.
“Jaxon cut them off, they go no further then this and heighten your sense for evil, joie find a way to lead them out of here by making a new exit, they probably have all the others covered cover also send out a alert to warn everyone you can , If I have my way they won’t reach you and if not I will by you time to get out once your out we swiped them from each side. Any hunters that are able to fight after the prince and his family are safe are welcomed to do so, Dracul your the only dragonseeker here help joie make a exit” she said and left through the small crack. Gun fire Could be heard, anyas ward was holding up allowing them to start making a exit with the ground below them.
Dracul sent her a mental kiss and turned to make an exit. Many of the hunters put Alexandru, Anastasia, and Mikhail in the center of them. Many of the men who had lifemates were checking on them in the spring. We are going to make an exit to the cave next door. The women will be just beyond that. They have all turned to mist but they have a psychic with them.
The ancients were uneasy. Anastasia gasped suddenly. She looked to the edge. Alexandru lifted her just enough for her to pin the arrogant ancient to the floor. There's our traitor. He's turning vampire now and seeks to a crack or vent to leave by. Being around them as I have, I felt the taint.
I just started feeling it too, said Jaxon. He must have planned ahead.
Dracul wasted no time, he sent the fallen brother on fire and turned him to dust, everyone took a moment to mourn and then a loud bang went off that was followed by a machine gun, the sound of men screaming could be heard “we need to get out now, he might have told the, where they woman are” said gregori mikhail! Cried raven in mikhails head they are here...they are trying to get it...the wards someone is taking down the wards!
Dracul managed to crack the wall. Everyone streamed out as best as they could. The men put the mist of women behind them as they all looked for an exit. Anya! Dracul growled, having stayed behind to grab her if needed.
just as they all made it into the cavern with the woman a blast broke down the wall and Anya came flying through it. She landed hard on her back and was up instantly and used the broken rock, she lifted it and covered the hole “go! Now! North is clear” she said and cried out as a bullet hit her shoulder but she kept the hole blocked “I killed the psychic it’s just them now...Alex get your parents out of here the way I showed you, everyone else follow Anastasia she knows the safe way out” she said as she dropped to one knee “Dracul....burn them all”
Dracul shifted into his dragon form and began to scorch every enemy he could, the heat of the cavern adding to his flame. Everyone else got out except for them. It should have been too hot for them, he said. How did they get to the heart of the mountain without breaking a sweat?
they must have had help She said and cried out again “please...just a moment longer” she said in a shaking tone “Dracul bring it down we are out of time...they are human they won’t survive..” she said stumbling over to him. Once in his arms she held on tight “your son is crowning...get me out of here” she said in a shaking tone.
Alex lead Mikhail and raven down a cold passage way that lead further into the cave. After several minutes They came to a small opening that lead to the middle of a high cliff “we will have to float down, there is a safe house below, Anya made sure if anything went wrong we would go here” he said as they all jumped and started to float down. It was a fifty foot drop at least and by the time they made it down to the ground they could no longer hear the fighting. It was a small cabbin but even Mikhail could feel the magic here and knew it was well protected “Do not inform anyone we are here not even gregori” Alex said in a serious tone as they all went inside. Liliana waited inside with the kids, the moment he entered she ran to him and embraced him “so it happened...Anya was right..there was a attack” she said in a worried tone “is everyone alright?” She asked
Anastasia paced and her father fumed. However, moments later, Dracul came in. Jaxon and Joie began fetching things and other women followed suit. Though he hated it, Anastasia removed Anya's clothing as he removed the ward around her stomach. Many of the men were speechless.
Anastasia positioned herself and yelled, "Papa, get over it! Anya needs help now!"
He stomped over and began monitoring the baby as Anastasia said, "Okay, now, I need you cradle her against you so that she is sitting partially up, Dracul. That's good. Now, Anya, push with your stomach muscles when I tell you." She waited for a moment. "Push!"
She yelled out and began to push. Her head leaned back into Dracul. He could see how sweat covered her body and she was losing blood from the bullet wound in her shoulder and two n her right leg don’t...focus on the baby...not the bleeding “ anya said when she felt the wounds being effected “he come first..” she said in a strained tone im...getting tired I need your help Dracul...please help me push