The Volturi’s visit left us all on our toes. Knowing now that Alice couldn’t monitor their movements in our immediate future left us all feeling a bit nervous. I myself was more curious to learn about the Vampires and Halflings that walked among the humans for hundreds of years. I began pouring into the dusty texts that adorned the walls of Carlisle’s library.
Carlisle helped me, as did Esme and Edward. We wanted to understand better what it was about Halflings that posed such an enormous threat in the past to the Volturi. Carlisle theorized that if we could find where it was that they were hunting for ‘witches’ we would find higher concentrations of ancient covens that could have possibly been perceived as a threat by Aro.
We found tales of hundreds of families that were hunted down and killed after being tortured. We found accounts of horrendous atrocities to entire groups of people that were only thought to have dabbled in the dark arts. We found witness testimonials of individuals supposedly turning into wolves and terrorizing towns that were later hunted down and killed. Many of the stories were based on complete speculation and the horrors seemed to escalate as the hunt for witches grew in popularity throughout the centuries.
All of these years I had thought myself a monster, but seeing the accounts of the barbaric murders of innocent people truly turned my stomach. How could humans do such things in the name of faith? To think of the thousands of people living in fear that they would be tortured for a crime that they did not commit was sickening to me. I also found myself becoming more and more engrossed in the history surrounding the witch trials. It seemed that specific individuals lead trials throughout history. Those tribunals usually seemed to surround a specific geological location then spread outwards in a ripple effect as the word would spread to outlying communities of the discovery and persecution of witches.
Carlisle was right, fear was a powerful weapon one that seemed to motivate many people to do sadistic and terrible things. Power often seemed to go hand in hand with the spread of fear. It seemed many leaders throughout these dark ages dreaded their loss of power and their strategy to maintain authority was to instigate a common anxiety among their subjects. Those leaders used that alarm as a means to control their follower’s emotions thereby ‘governing’ their masses by channeling their collective fears into hatred and war.
Was that how the Volturi were ruling us?
It was Edward who first brought up leaving Forks, much to his mate’s dismay. I think Bella always knew that it was an inevitable truth that she would have to face, leaving Forks and leaving Charlie for a while to maintain the Cullen’s anonymity. Carlisle and his family had been living on the outskirts of the town for over a decade. While his ‘children’ were in high school it was a good cover story for them all to live and hunt in the area without raising much attention. But over the years those around them had aged and changed while the Cullen’s had remained perfect ivory statues frozen from the moment they had been turned. This was beginning to raise eyebrows in town and in an area as small as Forks, it was easy to become the unwilling center of attention.
Bella begrudgingly had to admit, Renesmee’s rapid growth made it difficult for the family to explain their newest addition’s drastic changes. To enroll her in school as Bella’s daughter was laughable as she appeared to be almost the same age as her mother. The family began discussing the possibility of relocating to be closer to the Denali coven in Alaska.
I knew Tanya and Kate had been mourning the loss of their sister heavily since our confrontation with the Volturi on the Meadow.
“I have wanted to discuss my theories about the Halflings with Tanya for quite some time.” Mentioned Carlisle, “And because they have a home deep in the Denali national forest, we would be free to live relatively undisturbed.”
“Do you think they have any knowledge of the Volturi’s actions during the witch trials?” Asked Bella, who for some unknown reason wrinkled her nose at the very thought of discussing anything with the Denali.
“I do. Remember their sisterhood is actually hundreds of years in the making. When they left Eastern Europe they were escaping more than just an oppressive rule from the Hungarians, they were fleeing because their names had been raised at several trials.” Bella’s eyes widened at this news,
“You mean, they were on trial?” She whispered in horror.
“Yes.” Replied Carlisle. “Their mother Sasha who was already a vampire had a bad habit of seducing men to keep herself in a certain lifestyle. Eventually Sasha became involved with an influential member of the clergy who did not appreciate her romantic appetite for other men. He felt cuckolded and eventually that resentment led to an accusation of bewitchment.”
“What does that mean, Mamma?” Nessie asked Bella.
“It means her priest sentenced her to die for his sins.” Edward murmured angrily.
“Shhhh!” Bella scolded her Hunsband, “Go on Carlisle, if Sasha was put on trial does that mean the priest knew she was an immortal?”
“No.” Carlisle answered almost chuckling. “His accusation stemmed from petty resentment, had he known what she really was, he may have kept quiet to keep her from killing him. Sasha was awaiting trial when she met Irina, Tanya, and Kate. All three sisters had been accused of various dark art crimes with little to no proof of any wrong-doing. Sasha took pity on the doomed girls and ‘adopted’ them and fled with them into the night, escaping their inevitable torture and execution.”
“Don’t look so shocked, Bella.” Rose scoffed from the corner of the room where she had been sulkily listening to our conversation. “Sasha and the girls made sure to punish their accusers. They had their revenge, but not before those men had executed hundreds of innocent women and children. The Denali have a lot of experience with revenge and men. In fact, they’re pretty famous for their…skills.”
Alice rolled her eyes at Roses’ statement, which seemed to drip with hateful venom. “Tanya, Kate, and Garret have been waiting for us. In fact, Garret and Kate are about to leave Tanya alone for a while to travel together. It would be the perfect time to pay her a visit and possibly stay a while in the area. In our own house of course.”
“Then it’s decided.” Quipped Edward. “We’re going to Alaska for a while.”