Chapter 15: The Storm
I saw the army coming, and set myself at the natural chokepoint on the hill between them and the vulnerable Pack members at my back. The rock formations formed an inverted ‘V’, causing the group to be pushed together until the opening was only ten yards wide at the top. They could have avoided me, but they weren’t interested in the subtle arts of tactics. This was a thunder run, right to the heart of our territory, before we could mount a defense.
David came flying up the hill, I could hear him breathing hard as he struggled to stay ahead of them. “Get up here and stand by me,” I told him as he approached. I looked over the group, taking in what I could see. “Catherine, it’s the Bighorn Pack. Alpha Pierce is in there, surrounded by his warriors, I also can see Alpha Roger. Looks like a dozen or so Betas, maybe eight dozen warriors.”
“Dammit, Mary, get away. There’s nothing you can do against that, wait for us.”
“I can’t, they can wipe out everyone and be gone before you arrive. I love you all.” I cut off the link before she could respond, I had to do something quick. Lifting my nose to the setting moon, I cut loose a howl filled with outrage and warning. I watched as the howl echoed across the valley, causing the advancing army to slow to a halt. I let my dominance and power out, letting it flow down the mountain like a flash flood, knocking men back and some down to their knees. When I had their attention, I shifted, and then I REALLY had their attention.
I didn’t bother with clothes, I didn’t care. I hadn’t cared about nudity in a long while, and their stares and lustful glances were nothing new to me. I marched down the hill with David trailing behind me like a puppy, straight towards the Alphas in the center of the group. Alpha Roger I had only seen at the Trophy Luna “Welcoming” ceremonies, he was an older man whose mate had died before giving him an heir. His face was weathered, his black hair mixed with grey, and he had the start of a beer belly. The rumor was that he had asked Alpha Kendrick for one of us, to mate and impregnate us to deliver him one. Kendrick had laughed and told him to “find his OWN Luna, these are MINE.”
Alpha Pierce was a big man, bigger than his Betas by a little, but I had seen better. He was more of a politician than a fighter; he had gotten his position when the Bighorn Alphas were killed before they had an heir. The other Alphas wanted someone just strong enough to run a Pack, but not strong enough to be a threat to them, and young Pierce was their man. He had been Alpha for five years, was unmated and was in no mood to find one.
He was also a frequent visitor to the Pack House of Alpha Kendrick, mostly because he proved himself invaluable as a negotiator for him. Kendrick would send him out to get treaties with other Packs, using his fearsome reputation to gain money and land without having to spill blood. It was mostly through his efforts that no effective coalition had ever assembled against them. It was the velvet glove and the iron fist, and most Alphas picked the glove.
He was with us often, using us for his own needs as he took advantage of Kendrick’s generosity. He was never abusive, just insatiable; most of us preferred nights being given over to him over the others. We might not get sleep, but at least we were able to move without pain the next morning. I wanted him dead before he attacked, he was still a serial rapist, but I would have granted him a clean death.
Now? Not so much.
The wolves moved aside, some shifting to human form as I went by. I could tell by the murmuring that they had all heard of Kendrick’s overthrow and were looking at me with lust, fear and even respect. I stopped about ten feet away from where Pierce and Roger were standing, their Betas arranged behind them.
“Alpha Pierce, Alpha Roger. Your crossing into our lands under a flag of truce is an act of war. Leave at once and you may keep your lives.” He and his men broke up laughing. I crossed my arms in front of me, causing my boobs to be even more pronounced but I didn’t care. One way or another, I had to delay them until reinforcements could arrive.
“Hello there Luna Mary. So nice of Luna Catherine to send you to greet us, you’ve always been my favorite little whore.”
“And you’ve always been a slippery little bastard who was afraid to get his hands dirty. I don’t know, maybe things have changed recently, but I always thought an Alpha led from the front, he didn’t hide behind his men.”
His face contorted in anger at the insult, and he stalked forward, his six-foot plus frame making my five-two body seem childish in comparison. He swung his hand, and I stood still, allowing him to slap my face. The loud smack knocked me sideways a step, and I shook my head to clear it before standing tall again. “You little bitch,” he snarled. “What makes you think you can stand against me? You’re nothing but a cute ass he kept alive because he could still make use of it, unlike that weak mate of yours and the even weaker Pack. You’re nothing.”
“We killed Kendrick. His Betas. Almost all his warriors. All gone, and we have his lands and his Pack now.”
“Only for as long as it takes us to run Kendrick’s former territory. Who is going to stop us? You? That slut Catherine?” He laughed along with his men. “Tell you what, I’ll offer you a position in MY pack. You’ll like it, and you’re good at it.” He turned to Roger and smirked. “On your knees with my dick in your mouth and a collar on your neck.”
“That isn’t going to happen, Pierce.” I took a deep breath. “I, Mary Angelica Silver, challenge you, Alpha Pierce, for the leadership of your Pack.” As soon as I finished, I shifted into my grey wolf. I was a Luna, I was bigger than many females, but my small and powerful build in human form carried into my wolf. She wasn’t big, but she was strong and fast.
“Martin, get up here,” Pierce yelled. A young warrior ran up carrying a bag, the metal inside clanging against itself as he moved. I shuddered as I saw him put on gloves before reaching inside the bag to pull out a silver collar. He smirked as he looked at me. “I don’t fight wolves who aren’t worthy of it, and I don’t fight women. I subdue them, fuck them and send them out of my room until I need them again.”
I growled, circling him.
“I don’t have time for this, I have a territory to take. Beta Scott!” A large wolf came up. “Take some men, collar this insolent wench and have her returned to my house. I think it’s time I started my own collection of Slave Lunas.”
I went to attack him, but I never got close. Scott and a few other men got in the way, knocking me down and biting my flanks as they surrounded me. I snarled and snapped at them, trying to get through as the army moved forward. I heard David’s wolf let out a pained cry as a dozen men overran him, then it ended with a liquid snap as his neck was broken. I howled in fury, but the men surrounding me worked together to keep me from chasing after them.
“I’m sorry, Catherine I couldn’t stop them.” I looked at the man holding the silver collar and shook my head, then let out a loud growl. Launching myself at the Beta, I was fast enough to get under him and my teeth closed on his front leg. He howled in pain as I crunched down, breaking the bones as my body spun to his side. I let go, jumping for his neck, but I was bitten on the shoulder as another wolf jumped onto my back.
I got some lucky hits in, I even killed two of them, but they had numbers and time on their side. They stayed in a circle, biding their time until I left an opening. All thoughts of winning were out the window, they were too many and too strong. I couldn’t keep up the pace, the bites and blood loss were taking a toll. My movements weren’t as quick, and my teeth couldn’t find flesh.
I attacked a warrior, only to have two others attack from behind. Someone bite my lower back and shook hard. There was a sickening crack as my spine broke.
It was my turn to cry out in pain as my back legs went numb. I tried to drag myself forward on my belly, until a warrior’s huge paw pushed my shoulders to the ground. “Submit,” Beta Thomas commanded.
I growled and struggled to get free, and he only pushed me down with more of his weight. His claws moved deep into my shoulders, and I could feel the blood leaking from dozens of wounds into the dirt below me. Twisting my neck, I ripped his leg, causing him to jump aside.
I was panting hard from the fight, and I looked around at the six men surrounding me. Beta Scott was sitting on a nearby log, another warrior was splinting his broken leg until it could set. He looked at me with disgust, then he whispered something to one of them. The man took a silver knife from the bag, and my eyes went wide. It was a Bowie-style, the blade over a foot long, and with the silver coating the wounds wouldn’t heal quickly. The man stalked over and grabbed me, pulling me up as my legs hung useless below me. His left arm was wrapped around my chest and shoulders, holding my back tight to his as I struggled. He placed the knife at my neck, his voice low in my ear. “Shift back, take the collar and live.”
I struggled as the knife cut though the fur of my neck like butter, the blood soaking my fur. “Stop it, Alpha wants her alive,” the Beta said. I stilled as I saw the warrior approach, his gloved hands holding a hinged open silver collar lined with leather. “Collar her and take her home, have her see the healers. She’ll be fine.” He looked into my eyes. “SHIFT.”
I waited until the warrior was a step away. I still had an arm tight around my chest and the knife was back at my neck. “Goddess, forgive me,” I prayed.
I lunged my head forward with all my strength, and felt the sting of the knife as it sliced deep into my throat.
“Fuck!” The man holding me dropped me and the knife, and I hit the ground hard. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe. The blood was choking me; I laid on my right side, my left eye watching in fascination as blood spurted several feet up into the air.
“Goddam it, stop the bleeding!” The Beta was furious, and several warriors rushed in to help, but we all knew it was too late. Their hands couldn’t stop the flow of blood that pooled on the ground, and I started to fade.
I ran hard through the mountain meadow, my silver wolf jumping through the tall grass. I got to the edge and my mother was waiting for me, her silver and white wolf sitting under the chest of my father. Their tongues greeted me as I ran up, and I buried my nose in my Mom’s neck. I looked up as my beloved Darryl ran up, his neck rubbing against mine.
“You’re home now, Mary. It’s over.”