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They Could Hardly Believe Their Eyes

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My name is Bella, actually, my given name is Belladonna Mariette Swein, it's a mouthful for sure, but it's a well-kept secret as well. The world beyond Forks thinks it is Isabella Marie Swan, but that's neither here nor there. Before I start in on boring you all with my own story, I need to give you all a short history lesson. Not one you humans would get in your schools, oh no! This is about ancient magic!

This is the rough history of the magic that is here in Forks, Washington. In case you don't know where that is, it's here in the United States of America. Way, way up there on the far left-hand side to be precise. As far as you can go, before hitting the border between America and Canada. Every so often in the grand scheme of cosmic signs and portents, lay lines and ancient free magic, they combine together in one vicinity.

Thus drawing the supernatural to that location. Such a place could be called almost anything, this particular place is called, as I said before, Forks, Washington. As was the way in the very beginning, before humans existed here or anywhere actually. Each type of Fae went about its business and kept itself secret. Therefore separate from the rest of the Fae and this went on for many millennia.

However, little by little similar type's made themselves known to each other. Like for instance, the nymphs or sprites, the woodland ones were much more curious about their surroundings and let the water one's see them going about their day to day business. Still not interacting but cautiously aware of each other.  All living in harmony, sharing their world equally and with no other motive but to enhance the gifts of Jörð or Mother Nature herself.

That was until later when larger humanoid Fae entered the picture along with the advent of humans. So where once they complimented each other in their quest to uphold the balance of nature alone, now we had opposites and enemies. As the humans evolved and covered the globe so too did the Fae from their homelands, many predatory and parasitic in nature.

The New World, now instantly became a dangerous and volatile place. As each different type vied for a position, some for dominance, others only looking for a peaceful existence. Then for whatever reason one or two from each type of light Fae were slowly drawn to smaller places like Forks. Treaties, covenants and bindings were put in place to ensure some measure of safety for all.

As Witches, Shaman, Shapeshifters, Fairies, Mere folk and Elementals also arrived and were happy to live side by side with small groups of humans and each other. Darker Fae took themselves off and although no longer hidden still remained separate, from the Light Fae and humans. But they live in other magical locations.

Usually larger and more dangerous, like 'New Orleans', 'Las Vegas' or 'New York' where many humans reside, being their prey. These were usually Vampires, Goblins, Warlocks, Djinn, Trolls and Werewolves. The other smaller Fae who weren't interested in the humans for good or bad just kept on as before doing Mother Nature's business and keeping out of the bigger Fae's way.

As time passed lines between the Light Fae started to blur as Witches married Fairies or Shapeshifters mated with Mere folk and so on. Eventually including the humans into this large melting pot of magic and now non-magic beings. But the Dark Fae stuck to their own individual groups and rarely mingled, unless absolutely necessary.

This status quo has existed now for many years, once in a while one group of Dark Fae try to get control and are slapped down by the others and we keep out of the way as best we can. So that brings me neatly to my story, as I said I'm Belladonna Mariette Swein. Unbeknown to those beyond Forks, I'm both a human and semi-immortal.

Most importantly I'm an Elemental Witch, watered down from our long-ago ancestors of Norse mythology. I live here along with my father, he is a Wizard and like me part human and also semi-immortal. My mother was fully human and unfortunately couldn't handle the truth when it all came out. So, Charlie, that's my dad, it's Karlis really.

But don't ever let him hear you calling him that, he hates it says it's girlie! Well, he had to erase it all from Renee's mind and planted false memories. Sadly, for us, she left believing us both to be dead. Charlie was heartbroken about it, but it was really for the best, for all of us including her. Some humans just can't accept the supernatural and my mother was one; it was at the time when I came into my true powers that she realised we were not normal humans.

Which was strange really, because how could she not see that living in a magical town? Never ageing or growing older as the years passed. Did she think we'd found the fountain of youth? Talk about living in denial!  As a human semi-immortal, I age slowly like one year for every ten I'm alive. Therefore, the minute I hit puberty it slowed to a snail's pace.

Up until then, I was just like a human child. Around age thirteen, my life changed dramatically, so although I look like any normal seventeen and a half-year-old, I am actually fifty-eight years old. Of course, it's different for every one of us male or female, but the premise is still the same. Be you eight or eighteen when it happens.

Take my friend Angela she's sixty-six but looks twenty-one. Because puberty came at sixteen for her, Angela is also a Witch but a mystic healing one. Around town, you'll see humans wearing amulets or rings which stop them ageing to keep them looking the same age as their partners. Everyone here is either related to someone supernatural or is themselves.

We keep the place looking like any other small town and get the odd visitor. You know school inspectors, regional councillors or other officials from the real world. Then pandemonium happens as everyone has spells cast on them to look the right age etc, is bloody chaos really. Those that should be, long ago died are made to look like children and young adults and so far it's worked and if not we just modify some memories and everything is back to normal.

Well as normal as a supernatural town can be. Now that brings me to our news, my dad is the town's Chief of Police at age forty-two (two hundred and ninety-four) told me today a new family are moving here to Forks. This means we have to either cast the usual spells or stay as we all are now and I have to go back to high school. It's a lose, lose situation for me, I guess school won't be that bad.

However, the father of this family is a doctor and will be working at the local hospital. Damn, we haven't used conventional medicine in practically forever. We have to tell the outside world something's and when our last human doctor, who hadn't practised in years, died. Well, that really had to be reported sadly, so the medical board knew we were in need of a doctor then.

 Hell, we haven't used the hospital since Jenny McHugh's gave us all the pox in nineteen fifty-seven; it was a spell gone wrong, big time. The local Quileute tribe's shaman Quill Ateara the second had us in there so he could treat as all at the same time. I didn't stop scratching for months after that, some people still had the odd pustulous boil on and off as well, yucky!

They, this new family have five teenage foster kids, two will be juniors with me and three are to be seniors. The mother, it appears is an interior designer so Charlie told me. That will make a change; we don't have one of those. Magical folks are naturally messy and a little lazy. If we want something we just add it into the existing setup, not always very aesthetically pleasing.

Imagine the Burrow from the Harry Potter books and you'll know what I mean! I love those books, JKR obviously has some Fae blood in her, she got so much right and the rest well, it would be nice, but is just a flight of fancy. Like the wand thing, we never use them in day-to-day life. They are only for ceremonial purposes. Also pointy hats and robes, how annoying would they be all the time, again just for ceremonies.

It wasn't until he mentioned the Doctors name that alarm bells started going off in my head. Because I am also the town's historian. Why was that name so familiar? I know I've read it somewhere; well it's off to the library for me. I love magic you know. I just line up all the old books, say the name 'Cullen' and 'hey presto'!  Who invented that stupid phrase?

They flutter and fall open at the right page. Well, well, well!  'Stregone benefico' of course, I knew I recognised the name. Wow, Charlie just missed them, he moved here in nineteen forty-five when 'Forks' became a town. They had just left in nineteen forty-four maybe and I was born in nineteen forty-six.

What's that about a small world, of course, it's the magic that drew them in the first place and they assume nobody will know them now? Because the last time they were in Forks it was only the tribe and the Nymphs who were here, besides a few loggers who lived elsewhere. Well, this will set the cat among the pigeon's; we've never had vampires here, as they are usually dark Fae.

Not everyone's going to like this. Of course, by that, I mean the wolf pack. The Quileute tribe live on the local reservation and they too have magic, very powerful magic that allows them to shift their forms into those of horse-sized wolves. Their shaman, Quill Ateara the third is our doctor, magical doctor and we co-exist well with them.

Actually, we've blended, just as with all other magical beings and one is my going to be my future life partner, well at least I think so! As long as he keeps shifting, we'll be together. His name is, well I don't know yet! A fortune-teller with a travelling fair, that my mother took me to when I was ten told me I'd meet him in Forks! I wasn't listening, because she wasn't magic she was a charlatan!

Then as my mother wandered off the woman went into a trance, said he would be supernatural, not like me at all and 'M' was an important letter in his life! I hope its Embry Call, that being a play on the letter M. His mother came from a non-magic tribe called the Makah up in Neah Bay but got herself entranced by Sam Uley's dad. The tribe's name could also be the M.

He, Joshua Uley, was the shaman in training then and it all went to his head. No, his other head, if you catch my drift! Then the silly fool got himself killed by a nomadic vampire and nobody knew about Embry's conception until Tiffany arrived here demanding he marry her. Only to find he had already been married to Alison and Sam was also his son.

She stayed reluctantly at first, but slowly the two women became close friends and when it became apparent Embry had the wolf magic too, they never left. I knew if he was to be my partner I'd had to wait till he grew up, that was interminable. One of the serious drawbacks of being so long-lived, but hey, he's all grown up now!

Otherwise, I'm totally stumped, who could it possibly be? I don't know that many supernaturals! Well, I better ring the town bell and let everyone know. Then we'll have to decide to tell them or not! Or at least wait and see if they are trustworthy. He might be a 'Good Vampire', but what of the others?  We have to be sure before spilling all our secrets.

It's not them telling the humans that worries us. It's their own kind, they have rulers, and they have laws too. But the other vampire's are a danger to us; witches turned into vampires are never a good thing. It corrupts the magic in many cases and turns it dark, more than dark, deadly. At the sound of the bell, the council of Forks congregate for a meeting.

 I rarely ever ring the bell so they know it is important. Everyone decides it is best to drop his or her glamour for this meeting. As it's hard to be serious when the oldest member of the council looks like a six-year-old boy. Romain Octaff is one hundred and fifty, meaning he's actually one thousand three hundred and sixty-five and is our most ancient leader.

He and his wife Alina came here in nineteen forty-five too. Looking for a quiet place to settle for their end of days. We rarely live past twelve hundred and Romain and Alina are well over that, it's just a matter of time as they say. They are both spell casters and they more than anyone else protect our home from the outside world.

Angela's husband Ben Cheney will be the one to take their place and it is a heavy burden for him to accept.

"Bella my dear, what necessitated the ringing of the bell?" Romain asked me quietly and I stood to deliver the news,

As expected there was lots of annoyance, fear and general panic. I explained they were animal drinkers and this caused Jessica to be totally outraged,

"They're not killing my babies! I won't have it, do you hear me? Shelley, you're our best potion designer, can't you make one for them?" she said barely holding back her sobs.

As I said before, balance and harmony was the way around here. Jess had the animals all working together. Only the old and infirm were culled by predators and in exchange, they gave protection from wandering scavengers. Introducing a group of vampires would devastate our forest's equilibrium and thus affect us all. We collected important herbs, plants and even animal droppings for many uses.

No the Cullen's could not hunt here! Therefore, it was decided, we would pretend to be human and the Quileutes would have to deal with then first. They could reaffirm their treaty, tell them we had a devastating blight that killed all the animals and they should hunt in Canada for the duration of their stay. Meanwhile, we would protect the forest with magic making it seem like there was little or no life left.

We'd leave the insects, rodents and the birds alone, having it look like life was slowly returning to the area. Jessica was appeased and dragged Ben and Tyler away, Tyler was an illusion caster and could make the place look decimated. Meanwhile, we would have to equip the hospital, over the years we have used the things sent for other purposes. Just reordering the bare minimum.

Forks was apparently the safest place in Washington to live! Due to the lack of accident's or illnesses here. It was not hard to get sorted, a few quick spells and there you have it, one fully functioning hospital. The staff would be the problem. All the healers of every kind were co-opted into working there. Mostly it would all be an elaborate illusion.

If the doctor worked it out we would revise our plans, it was his coven we were most worried about. We knew from the tribe's records there was five last time, now they were seven. I had considered making it to sunny for them here but thought better of it. However, I had another little trick up my sleeve, if they were gifted as many vampires were; they'd be in for a shock.

 I would put a shield around their mind so it would not work within the boundaries of Forks or La Push. Where it came from or why I have it is a mystery, but dad thinks maybe far back on moms side there was magic once. But it must have died out when no one acknowledged or us it; of course, if you didn't live amongst supernaturals how would you know it was there.

TCHBTE

The night before they are supposed to arrive in town, the Cullens are meeting with the pack and the Elders of the tribe. Dad and I are there under my shield and I am going to shield all their minds until we know who has a gift. So as they arrive at the treaty line first I work my magic and then the Quileutes arrive and there is panic on the faces of two of the Cullen's and mild irritation on a third one.

We listen carefully to their conversation, dad can manipulate the sound to be louder inside my shield and we hear what they sat even at the speed they are talking.

"I can't hear anyone's thoughts Carlisle, not even the family!" One boy said, looking for the entire world as if he's constipated as he tries to hear something around him,

"Hot damn! Can we live here forever?" asks another big brawny one, he was slapped upside the head for that, by a blonde Amazon of a woman.

"I'm sorry Emmett, you know I can't help it!" the young one says and he looks a little happier, even while being contrite to the Emmett guy,

"I know bro, I was joking" the big one Emmett tells him clapping him on the back and moving a few inches, wow, he's strong.

"Alice?" the one called Carlisle says to a tiny little female,

"Nothing! I see nothing! It's all gone! The future is gone! I'm blind!" she whines, looking totally panicked, they seem to rely heavily on these gifts and she doesn't look blind to us.

"Jasper?" The doctor now asks,

"Wow! Can't feel a damn thing and it's awesome! Nobody's feelin's but mine in here, dang!" The blonde obviously southern one answers and he at least seems very happy about it.

Nobody else is asked so we guess it's just those three, but I leave it in place for now anyway. Better to be safe than sorry! They very quickly ratify the treaty with the Elders, adding Jasper Hale and Alice Cullen to the list they already have of Carlisle, Esme, Edward and Emmett Cullen and Rosalie Hale. The one called Jasper does not look happy about the name that is given, so I'm guessing it's an alias!

"Chief Black, can you tell us what has happened to the forest and surrounding lands?" Carlisle asked,

"We were struck by a severe blight a couple of years ago and only now is the land repairing itself. Might we suggest hunting further afield, perhaps Canada, the land couldn't cope with any more loss at present!" Chief William Black replied and they agreed to that easily,

As they leave the little female Alice, is attempting to clutch onto the one called Jasper's arm,

"Get a grip Alice!" he says shaking her off fiercely.

"But Jazzie, I've lost my gift!" she moans trying to grasp his arm again, wow someone can't take a telling,

"So have I, so has Edward, do you see us whinin' like a two-year-old?" he growls at her.

"But mine is more impo...!" she starts to say and stops herself but not quickly enough,

"Important! Was that what you were goin' to say Mary-Alice? Yeah, well without it you are pretty useless now! Just a one-trick wonder. I at least can fight and am still able to be of use to the family!" he spits at her and moves over to the big guy and the Amazon.

"Alice, that was uncalled for! Do you hear either of you're brother's complaining? No! Now apologise at once" A motherly woman beside the doctor said in a stern voice,

"I'm sorry Jazzie, you to Edward!" she says but obviously doesn't mean it at all, there's something going on there.

They are now out of our hearing range and I sigh, feelings of relief flood from me and the blonde guy turns and looks back. He shakes his head and catches up to the others. Dad looks at me and I shrug, nobody can sense or hear us under my shield! We head down to La Push to talk to Billy the Chief and the other Elders and see what they made of the exchange.

Now that their gifts are offline so to speak, we can go about the business of pretending to be human. But there seems to be some strange dynamic going on there. That girl, Alice she seems to think she's more important than the other two gifted ones. The empath and the mind reader don't seem that upset, confused maybe. In fact, they both seemed really happy for the break if nothing else.

TCHBTE

"Damn it, dad, I'm going to be late! What kind of alarm clock was that? It barely whispered to me!" I rant as I run around trying to get ready.

I was on my fourth outfit, what the hell do teenagers wear anyway? I eventually settled for skinny jeans and a short leather jacket over a band tee Angela left here. Black leather boots finished off my get up and I looked good enough. I don't usually care what I look like, but felt the need to make an effort today. I was still upset about last night, while at the rez we found out Embry had phased.

So now he's a wolf I thought that would be it! But oh no! He imprinted all right, on Leah and not me! So it's back to the drawing board for me, at least I know it's not Mike Newton or Austin Marks! They're nice guys, but both wizards so not technically supernatural in that sense and Austin is married to Jess anyway. It can't be any of the mere guys, because their names are unpronounceable to us and it wouldn't work. Hell, I can barely swim! There just isn't anyone else I can think of.

Dad was all for getting Mike to conjuring up some old truck for me to go to school in! Hell no! I insisted on a motorbike, I'm going for an edgy vibe here! At least I think that's what I'm doing! So I dash out the door and drive to school, just making it for the bell. Homeroom was boring, we all just looked at each other not sure what we should be doing.

"Everyone! My house tonight, we need to watch some human teen movies," Lauren said after signalling me to shield us all and we agreed,

I have biology next and walked there with Eric Yorke, he is a time manipulator! As in he can literally freeze everyone in place and then touch you to unfreeze you its awesome. He can also revere time by a few minutes; it's getting longer as he ages though.

"Ah, Bella, why don't you sit beside Edward? He's new and you can show him the ropes," Bob Banner says to me smiling, he's a herbalist wizard so looks like we'll be doing plant-based stuff this term,

I see the young boy from last night and he's smiling to himself. In fact, he almost looks high, could, not having his gift be making him euphoric? I suppose, not hearing everyone's every thought might have that reaction. As I pass the fan by Bob's desk, everything changes! His eyes go black and he jumps up to rush at me.

"Eric, freeze!" I yell just in time,