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   Chapter 18 Wildwood The Society Book 1

Wildwood: The Society Book 1 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 21784

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:40

Chapter 18

After Albert left, Ivy debated what to say when everyone returned. Part of her wanted to blurt out her new found knowledge as soon as everyone was in the door so she wouldn't be the only one who knew. The rest of her wanted to wait until they were all together to tell the tale. She also wasn't certain how much of the story Russell and Eric would keep from the rest of the pack. She also wasn't quite sure how she felt about the information and what its possible implications could be. A small part of her wanted to keep it to herself long enough to actually think it through. Albert had after all given her quite a densely packed nugget of information.

"Decisions, decisions, " Ivy muttered as she cleaned up the kitchen and picked up an empty box to continue packing. She still hadn't made up her mind by the time everyone returned and oscillated between thinking of herself as selfish and smart. Max and Eric came first, Max in high spirits and Eric somewhat amused.

"The sheep were not amused by my presence, " he told Ivy.

"Well, sheep and wolves are natural enemies, " Ivy said. She held out a plate of cookies and he took one while they listened to Max spouting random bits of farm animal knowledge at them. As long as she got the milk she needed for her products, with some left over for cheese, she didn't really need the details, but let them wash over her as she doubted she could stop Max even if she wanted to.

"As long as you are happy, " she told him, offering him the plate of cookies.

Russell and Alex arrived shortly after and were in similarly good moods. "The work crews finished the main section, " Alex said. "We can move in any time." There was an edge of relief to the words and Ivy knew it was not due to the fact that he would no longer need to sleep on her fold out couch.

"Or at least not entirely anyway, " Ivy thought. As she felt relief as well, it was hard to fault it. As they made final preparations for the big move, Ivy decided to wait until they were all at Wildwood to tell them of Albert's visit. Even though it made her feel a little selfish, she thought it was also practical as well.

It took three days to finish packing and ferrying the last of the items they needed to Wildwood. While most of Ivy's furniture was staying in her apartment so that when they needed to come into the city they all had a place they could stay, leaving involved a massive last minute shopping spree. As they needed a new bed for the new house, Russell had picked up the largest one he could find. Since they had no sheets that would fit the enormous new bed, Ivy had to stock up on both sheets and towels.

While Wildwood was located an hour from Isilton, the nearest grocery store was a further hour in the opposite direction. Rather than starting their habitation with a two hour grocery run, Ivy led a shopping expedition to stock the pantry. On the day she finally left the city, she was driving a rented van loaded with coolers full of produce and meat and boxes filled with canned goods.

"All the items a family of adult mages, shifters and construction workers need, " Ivy said as she slid behind the wheel. While she had purchased a vehicle for her use once out of the city, it was already at Wildwood. Since it wouldn't fit all their pantry stocking supplies, it had been left out there while other personal vehicles were loaded down with the plunder from their less food related shopping sprees. As Ivy turned the key and started the engine, she saw the caravan ahead of her. Danny and Melisa each had their own vehicles and she could see them ahead. Max and Alex were already at Wildwood. At the front of the caravan line Ivy spotted Russell's Land Rover and knew that behind her was Eric's Subaru. The wolves had insisted on both the first and last position in the caravan.

"It's like they expect some sort of roadside bomber, " Ivy said dismissively. She thought about Walter Garrett and her smile at the wolves' precautions faded. "As soon as we arrive I'm bulking up those shields, " she promised herself as they all began to head towards the highway. In addition to Max and Alex, Rose would also arrive at Wildwood before they did. A landing strip had been roughed in and Rose wanted her plane in a secured location. Hackett had insisted on going with her for safety, despite his fear of heights.

"I have the feeling that stun gun Rose keeps in the plane will be of more use than Hackett if it comes down to it, " Ivy thought. The wolf had been positively green during take-off. If Hackett managed to survive the short plane ride, then he would be taking the rented van she was currently driving back to its owner. Ivy switched on the radio as she tried not to think of logistics, possible attacks and tangled family ties.

As Hackett told her a copy of the shifter clan laws would be brought to Wildwood, she still hadn't figured out all of the ins and outs of alpha-dom and what exactly the implications of William's blood might be. She knew Russell's family was more or less in charge of their pack and, that as Hackett was of their pack and a counselor; they probably had some form of clout.

"And Russell is some sort of alpha, " Ivy mused. She had figured that much out, even if she didn't know where that placed him in the pack hierarchy. "Or what that means for me as his mate." William hadn't brought Emily back to the pack because of the problems it would create. Even without knowing about William's blood, Ivy was a strong mage being brought back to the pack by an alpha. "And I'm bringing four other strong mages with me."

Ivy sighed, knowing that she and Russell would have to have a long talk soon. "But until then I can't do anything." Ivy turned up the radio and began to sing along as she drove. The caravan moved to the interstate and then to the two lane highway, finally spilling them onto the road through Isilton. Ivy had to change radio stations several times as the van's built in unit had a very limited range.

Instead of going directly into town, they skirted it, heading straight to Wildwood. Once everything was unpacked, they would head to the diner for a mass diner and pack welcome. As it was a Saturday and would be evening by the time they got around to it, all of those Ivy hadn't met on her initial meet and greet would be there. As they turned onto the old gravel road leading to Wildwood, Ivy tried listing the names of Russell's various family members, hoping she could keep them

she was looking, the others turned and they all watched Hackett's tense conversation. Ivy realized she was holding her breath and forced herself to exhale. She tried to breathe in slow measured breaths as Hackett finished his call and walked over to them. Though the diner was overflowing with people, it went dead silent. As Hackett moved, a path opened before him and closed behind. He stopped in front of their small gathering.

"At the last informal gathering of the Shadow Council, information regarding recent attacks on both shifters and mages was presented, " Hackett began in a voice designed to carry through the room. "It implicated the involvement of both the Fae and Vampire clans. Their clan leaders were asked to bring those responsible to the Council for a formal hearing. The representatives of both the Fae and the Vampires returned to their clans. It was believed they went to locate the individuals responsible for the attacks and bring them forward. The formal hearing was scheduled for tomorrow evening."

Hackett took a deep breath as though preparing for a dive. "A little less than an hour ago, a messenger arrived from each of those two clans. The missives received were both a formal resignation of the two councilors seated as representatives and of the Fae and Vampire clans withdrawal of support for the Shadow Council."

"Withdrawal of support?" Eric repeated. Ivy thought he sounded just as shocked as she felt.

Hackett nodded. "They no longer acknowledge the right of the Shadow Council to govern their actions."

"With the Seers already withdrawn, that means the council is disbanded." Ivy replied. The ice sliding through her belly turned to lead.

Hackett nodded. "Yes, although I have spoken to Hamilton Bridges, the shifters and the mages will maintain their alliance."

"But things are changing, " Rose said softly behind her. Ivy saw Eric take her hand to offer comfort. After his pronouncement, Hackett began moving through the room answering questions to the best of his ability, trying to stop panic before it could rise. Ivy looked out of the window. The day was cold and overcast, but by her estimate, they had about five hours before actual sunset. She turned back to Russell.

"Would you mind either getting something to go or eating back at home?" she asked.

"The celebration has kind of paled hasn't it, " Russell replied.

"Actually, I was thinking of our shields. We have about five hours until sunset and only the one temporary shield meant to keep general burglars out. Having at least one fully formed shield up before full dark would make me feel a lot better about going to sleep tonight." She told him.

"I'll second that one, " Rose said nodding. Behind her, Ivy could see her three brothers nodding in agreement as well, even if Danny's new bride Melisa looked lost, and she knew no one would be complaining about tromping through the cold and mud in the growing darkness tonight.

"Actually, would you guys mind if I spent the night tonight, instead of crashing at Toby's?" Eric asked.

"Not a problem, " Russell replied. He scanned the room and caught several worried looks from family members.

"We could always move the gathering to Wildwood, " Ivy suggested. "As long as you don't mind that we don't join you until the shields are up." Russell looked relieved and gave her hand a squeeze. At their feet the dog gazed solemnly up at them, no longer excited by the myriad of new scents. She wondered if the dog could feel the tension in the room. After a brief announcement, their group was on their way back to the house, most of the diner's patrons not far behind.

"Looks like we got out of the city just in time, " Russell said as they headed back to Wildwood.

"Yeah, but what happens now?" Rose asked. "We can't keep everyone with us."

"Tonight we shield Wildwood, " Ivy said. "Tomorrow, we start shielding the pack." It wasn't much of a plan, but no one wanted to think further into the future at the moment, so no one protested. Ivy tried reminding herself that she had planned to shield many of the houses in the area anyway, but she had never been very good about believing the lies she tried to tell herself. She knew the truth, they all knew the truth. If the Shadow Council had been disbanded, they were planning for war.

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