It was mating season.
A valid enough reason to line the unmated females up like cattle while the men took a look, had a complimentary sniff, then moved on; choosing whichever females took their fancy. Mates were hard to come by, so most picked a bondmate and that was that. Medieval and old-fashioned but very much how things were done in the Celtic packs up in the northern wilderness of Scotland.
Rules were rules after all. No dispute, no arguments, that was pack life and if you didn’t agree, well, there was a life of solitude waiting for you in the surrounding woodland. Alone.
Luckily enough, it was an event many of the females looked forward to. It was a chance of a life filled with a purpose: to keep your bondmate happy. For most, the females were contained within their pack boundaries but this could mean seeing more of the small world they’d come to know. And that was enough to send the girls to a mood of giggles and excitement.
Standing in rank order, Titania stood happily in the middle while her parents stood in the immediate crowd. The pure blooded and higher ranked females were always picked first, shipped to different pack Alphas to strengthen the blood between packs and this year, Titania’s family had offered her up for the mating line-up, hoping for such.
Perhaps her piercing blue eyes, flowing charcoal locks or youthful innocence of her soul would attract a male of higher standing. Her virtuous looks certainly attracted many sets of eyes within her own pack. Despite the fact she had only just shifted. Despite the fact she was still just a child.
But Titania took it in her stride. Naively so. To her, this was a chance to explore the world, to grow up and perhaps be able to fulfill her ever growing wish of a prince charming. Like every young girl, the perfect male had occupied the minds of them all. Strength, power, and influence were desired and she anticipated a male who would protect her from the chaos of the world.
She’d seen the effect of bondmates and mates alike, and how she hoped for something similar. Someone she could care for, someone to support and maybe one day: love.
Male after male passed her. Eyes lingered but never picked to choose her. However, her smile never wavered and her excitement never faltered. Her mood would not be dipped today, she’d be content with waiting for another year if the moon sought that her best option.
Pairings were made, connections were forged and alliances were bridged.
Titania’s eyes flickered out her daydream as a figure in front held her attention. Blocking the deep hues of the setting sun the man leered at her and planted his nose in the crook of her neck, no reverence for any personal space. She stood firm but couldn’t help the childish spark of elation that broke through her system. His large green eyes took her in and with a charming, yet dangerous flash of teeth, he took her hand and pressed their bodies together.
She’d caught the attention of a Beta male and he was more than happy to claim her right then for the packs to witness. Cheering sounded and her smile grew. Her parents clapped and her previous Alpha, Alpha Colton, sent her a broad smile, satisfied at the strong alliance that could bloom from their bonding.
She walked towards her new pack, a skip in her step, oblivious and unaware of the malicious intent of the wolf currently holding her hand. Unaware of the budding darkness that swirled within those forest eyes, charming smile and slicked back hair.
Unknownst to Titania, this was not the happy ever after she had been dreaming of, but, a whole new world of pain, heartbreak, and misery unfit for a sixteen-year-old girl.