Chapter 2 – The Taunted
I sat on a log, watching the teen pups training, unable to really focus or concentrate. The Riverstone Pack had been scouting our borders and despite many requests for the Alpha's intentions, my scrolls remained unanswered which meant one thing… war.
War, I was not afraid of, I had been through many but the loss of innocent wolves, I could not stand. All realms had their own rules of engagement but knowing how strong my pack and I were, I worried, Riverstone’s Alpha, would not follow said rules, in order to gain an advantage. Especially after finding the scouts from his pack.
He was spying, for what reason? I did not know but his actions remained cunning and treacherous. Was he counting my pack? I should have been focusing on the teen's stance and performance but plans needed to be made and I was lacking confidence on where to start.
Other Alphas had their Luna to provide them with support and reassurance, but I had not found mine and no other mate seemed worthy of the title.
“We are far stronger, than any mere wolf pack.” Val, my Beta, sat beside me.
“I know, but imagine if that was your pup out there fighting and his life was taken?”
“Hunter, I know, I just don’t understand why? What is their motive?”
“We made sure the wolf packs knew not to challenge us, yet they are going against it. Were we not lethal enough when it came to prisoners? Cruel enough in battle? Have they not heard of our merciless approach to threats on our family?” I sat there with my elbows on my knees and my chin resting on my thumbs.
“Perhaps they don’t care? Perhaps they would like to be the supreme wolves?” Val offered.
“It still doesn’t make sense, why attack a pack ten times stronger than your own?”
“I don’t know Alpha but all we can do is be prepared,” I nodded.
“Training is over, eat and rest, we will continue tomorrow.” My loud voice rang out across the training grounds as the teens bowed and dispersed.
Standing in front of the mirror in just my towel, I wiped it with my hand, to clear the condensation. My honey amber coloured eyes rake over my appearance. I was in need of a shave, the hard thick dark stubble, rough against my fingertips as I ran them across my jawline. My aquiline nose, thick dark blonde eyebrows and pronounced cheekbones all framed by my messy blonde hair.
As an Alpha, my wolf was huge and all muscle, as a man, I very much stayed the same, only a smaller version. 6FT 7 with broad shoulders rippled in muscle, perfectly rounded pec’s, rock hard six pack with a deep V. Thick muscular thighs and calves. All of the pack’s clothing were custom made due to our large size, most packs only had a few large warriors but at Mountain Storm, we breed them big, it was part of why we remained the top pack.
Our woman were athletic and strong, in mind and body. They knew their place and understood their station, well, most of them. Every pack had promiscuous wolves, both men and woman, unfortunately, I had more than a few bidding for my attention but lately, I had become disinterested in them. My dreams were haunted by a dark blood red figure that held my attention; all I could ever see was the phosphorescent glow of the blue eyes and could not think of anything else.
I welcomed night time, despite the fact, I could not see the dark figure, yet they somehow felt familiar, as If they were home. I had spoken to no one of these dreams, half the time I felt silly for wanting someone or something, I knew nothing about besides these vibrant eyes and the colour red.
Life was far too complicated and with the threat of war hanging, my thoughts should have been anywhere else but of the stranger from my dreams. Crawling into bed, I hear a tapping at the door.
“Come in,” I allow, unenthusiastically.
The door opens to reveal a leggy brown haired, big chested woman.
“Scarlet, do you need something?” She sways her sultry hips as she closes the door behind her.
“You look a little tense Alpha… would you like some release?” she purrs.
“No thank you, Scarlet, please see yourself out.”
“Hunter, we used to have such a good time, what happened?” She pouts while pulling her mini skirt up higher.
“It’s Alpha Scarlet, and I will never answer to you, get out.”
“I can be your Luna Hunter, just thinking about you crèmes my thighs.”
Becoming frustrated, I send her a stone cold gaze of irritation. “Get out,” my jaw locked tight as I spit back at her.
“Fine, you know where to find me when you get tired of your hand.” Her sway was designed to render wolves at her mercy but I found it arrogant and displeasing.
I was on the hunt for my mate and knew she would not approve of my past exploits, so, best to cut off all contact now. I was at the age where you would normally settle down and start a litter, however, without a mate, that goal seemed unreachable.
Closing my eyes, I welcomed the darkness, for in the dark lay my mystery.
Every night, for the past few months, I had dreamed of this dark figure in red and burning phosphorescent blue eyes, last night, I dreamt it was moving. The figure was unfocused and flitting in and out from left to right, try as I might, I could do nothing but helplessly watch as the figure came in and out of view. I lifted my arms but to no avail, I moved my legs but they never went anywhere, it was hopeless.
An uneasy feeling found its way permanently attached to the pit of my stomach and made my skin crawl. In all these months of dreaming, I had found only safe and happy energy, but last night, I found panic, urgency and hast. What had caused this sudden shift in atmosphere? Was the figure running toward or away from something? Questions without answers came every morning and weighed upon my heavy heart.
“Morning sunshine,” Val strolls in without knocking.
“I see you’re in a fantastic mood this morning… seriously though, get up, the night patrol is back with injuries.”
Injuries? “Bring them to my office.”
Flicking the sheet back as fast as possible, I grab a pair of jeans and a v neck, blue shirt and head straight for my office. Injuries? Why had they come back with injuries, they were strong warriors and knew how to take down enemies without breaking a sweat?
Blazing questions scorched my mind, swirling a path of destruction, the most prominent being… why did they not link me? I could have come, been there in no time at all to assist aid and yet, why did my Beta know before me?
Opening my office door, I’m greeted with last night’s patrol. Only five, huh, one was missing. They rise to their feet as I close the door and move to my chair, they relax again.
“Tell me what happened?”
Val, a strong, tall and proud man with black hair and dull grey eyes begins.
“Karman has been taken to the hospital; her lower leg has been ripped off.”
“Why did no one link me?” I growl.
“We tried to Alpha, we were blocked.” Oscar, a bald man with dangerously green eyes, one of our finest trackers, jumps in to explain, “every time someone attempted, you would block the link, like you were in the middle of something?”
“I was asleep.” I defended myself, annoyed at his flipped remark.
“Well, whatever you were dreaming about Alpha, had your mind on lockdown.”
“I… I… don’t remember,” I lied.
“The sun began to rise, the rogues and vampires that attacked us disappeared with Karman’s leg, she is begging for death, we had no choice but to contact Beta Val.”
“Filthy bloodsuckers, why is our kind working with them?” Val questioned.
“From the beginning Oscar,” I ordered, realising there was a gap missing in his story.
“They attacked from the east just before dawn, we tried to talk to them but they wouldn’t phase out of their wolf. Then the bloodsuckers arrived, the one with a claw mark across his face ordered the attack. We shifted and defended, there were six wolves and three vamps and there was no precision to their attack, no real purpose behind it other than to taunt or provoke us. In all the commotion one of the wolves latched on to Karman’s leg and a vamp helped rip it clean off at the knee. Something called them back and as quickly as they came, they left, with Karman’s leg as a trophy.”
“I’m heading to the hospital now, you five, try and get some rest, Beta, link Marcus and have him meet me at the hospital… Oh and Beta, look after today’s training… no one breathes a word of this.” My Alpha voice commands while they all nod in understanding.
I arrive at the hospital in no time, with my Delta Marcus waiting at the entrance.
“Alpha,” he bows.
“Delta,” I respond as we head through the doors, greeted with severe howling, causing the blood to drain from our spines. Marcus and I glance at each other with the same look of trepidation.
As we sat there waiting for the doctor, Marcus and I began to plan for tonight’s patrol, after last night’s attack, it was clear there was to be no entry and exit from the border, unless under extreme guard. Wolves were meant to be free and the pack was not going to like the new restrictions but I will not allow any more of my family to be hurt.
After hours of planning between Marcus, linking in with Beta Val and I, we had come up with a foolproof plan on how to keep our family safe. I was adamant that, should anyone cross our borders, they die on site, no questions asked, no mercy given.
The pack doctor comes out to greet us, “Alpha, you are a good man.”
“Please Felix, tell me how she is?” I shake his hand.
“She’s not good, you obviously heard the screams, and her body is burning through the pain relief faster than normal due to it attempting to reattach a leg that isn’t there.”
Gulping in an air of sadness, I clench my jaw tight in disgust.
“She begged for death Alpha.”
“She’s unmated so, she may request for you to end her life when she wakes.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.” I run my fingers through my hair in frustration, scratching the back of my skull.
“I will inform you the moment she is conscious.”
“Thank you, Felix.” Marcus and I shake his hand again,
“Alpha, Delta,” he waves us off as he walks back into the surgery rooms.
“This is getting beyond control Hunter, Millie knows something’s up, she has begun to prepare the bunker dens for the pup’s arrival the moment we go to war.”
“You were given instructions not to tell her?” I query.
“I didn’t, she said the birds have started to evacuate and she has been unable to find an insect for three days.”
“Are you telling me the damn wildlife knows more about what’s happening than we do?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. If they are packing up to leave, what the hell is out there that has them so spooked, huh?”
I hate to admit it but Marcus was right, what the hell was lurking beyond our borders, in the shadows, where our sensors could not reach? We were prey, being taunted by an unknown predator and we were unprepared. The time for foolishness was over, we had to assemble everyone, ready them for whatever was coming.
“Get the pack witch to secure the borders.”