14/The First Alpha
My mind reeled with questions until it stuttered to a halt with the most important one. “Who?”
Seth’s smile turned lethal. “Our Alpha.”
At my questioning expression he elaborated with an exasperated sigh.
“I see he’s as stupid as ever to keep his one ally in the dark.”
Immediately, I jumped to Nash’s defense. “You don’t know him well enough to say that!”
Seth tilted his head and scrutinized my features as if I grew another head. “I’ve known him for decades.”
“Decades, but you both look younger than twenty.” I was mystified rather than defensive.
“You really don’t know anything do you?” He said it as if it were redeeming.
My defenses were up again. “I’m not completely ignorant. Nash said he couldn’t tell his own kind’s secrets so he told me about vampires.”
Seth stood in disbelief for a brief moment before bending in half with laughter. My face glowed with fury and embarrassment. I made the briefest movement to leave.
“Did I say you could go?” Seth’s words tangled with reverberating growls, his eyes blazed with golden fire. Muscles stilled under his watchful gaze. Predator and prey. My frame wilted into the chair. “I may be more tolerant of humans than most werewolves but I’m not so lenient of my enemies.”
His blatant threat was as shocking to me as the change in his emotions had been. How had I gotten so comfortable in his presence? Of course we were enemies. Seth was not my Nash. A baser instinct took hold of my trembling form and stilled the muscles throughout my body to a deceptive calm. I assessed the situation from a prisoners point of view instead of the easy chat between strangers I had carelessly assumed. My features schooled to a nonchalance. “Enemies by association?”
Seth matched my cool demeanor with a flippant response of his own. “If not by nature then yes.” We fell into silence as he tended to the kettle and poured two cups of tea. One was placed in front of me, the other on the opposite side of the crudely cut table.
I reached for the cup, watching Seth cool his with short puffs. At the last moment, my fingers traced the side of the table. “Where’d you buy this, it’s very...natural.”
Seth spit out his mouthful of tea with a youthful laugh. When he finally settled down and cleaned up his mess I could still see the mirth in his crinkled eyes. “It’s the tradition of our pack to make our own houses and anything in it. The tea you have are herbs I scouted for before winter. The cup, the chairs, my clothes, everything you see I made for me and what’s mine. It is our way. We do not buy anything from the humans.”
“You don’t interact with humans but you don’t hate them?” The ease began to transform into curiosity again.
“You probably noticed the many homes we have. Tell me, Jessica, how many wolves did you see? Peeking from lit windows. Children playing in the snow.”
“About forty homes, but I only saw a handful of...wolves.” I answered unsure of where his questioning was leading me.
Seth didn’t miss a beat. “You and the other two are the first humans who have stepped foot on our territory. The entire pack was curious to see what we have been lead to believe for twenty years. Dangerous humans, natural enemies who have killed our ancestors.”
“Entire pack? But what about the other houses. They’re empty?”
“We’re a dying pack now Jessica. Alpha Davis lead the largest pack in existence because of his fearless leadership, then when he met his mate by the Goddess’s fate, his talent grew our pack into the strongest.” He paused briefly to motion for me to drink. “Before it gets cold.”
I did so hesitantly, I had watched him brew the tea but had no idea what the herbs were. My lips puckered at the strange taste. “His talent?”
Seth nodded. “Such a unique talent, one the council had never seen before.”
He sighed with a hint of irritation. “I guess I’ll need to start from the beginning.” I crossed my feat in the chair I sat in, the steaming cup between my hands.
“Before man, the land belonged to our wolves. They came from the south and the pack watched them grow in numbers, making homes in our caves, burning our Goddess’s land, hunting our food. They interested the alpha with their two feet and fur-less bodies. One woman in particular caught his eye. On his behalf, we prayed to the Goddess, sacrificed to her, offered our precious silver goods to her all so the alpha may be like the noisy beasts and win her heart. The Goddess grew angry at our request to be less like her perfect creation and more like them. She granted the request with righteous furry. The Goddess took the men and women the pack envied and stripped their souls from their bodies, forcing the pack’s own wolves into the lifeless bodies. Soon the pack learned how hard it was to survive with two hands and two feet, with no fur to keep them warm. The woman the alpha loved was no longer on this plane of existence, her body a shell, his pack sister now inhabited. The pack saw the error they made and begged the Goddess to give them back their wolf bodies. They starved in repentance, worshiped all day and night for weeks, until the Goddess revealed herself in the full moon. She looked down on them with pity and granted their wish but warned them she could no longer be with them in the daylight. She had used all her powers to grant their two wishes and would only appear to them on the nights of the full moon. The pack returned to their wolfish forms and celebrated until daybreak. As the light of the cursed sun touched their skin, the Goddess’ power dwindled and they were once again in their human form. And so life continued. The pack divided with deep hatred for their alpha’s lustful curse.
Three traveled north into the bitter cold of what’s called Alaska now. They live in an impenetrable fortress away from the humans.
Two went South where the days were long and hot to hide from the Moon Goddess.
Four stayed in the Goddess’ chosen land to worship her.
The Alpha went mad with guilt. He wondered to the sea and swam out of sight.
Many moons passed and the pack grew lonely and desperate, the four who stayed to worship the Goddess found more humans had entered their land from the sea. The Moon Goddess warned them to stay away from the humans but one didn’t listen. He fell for a beautiful woman with pale skin like the moon’s light. They fell in love and in his passion he bit her. At the next full moon the Goddess transformed the human into one of them, then left disappointed. The three wolves were elated to find out they would no longer be lonely. Soon three more humans were bitten. The Goddess did not approve of their choice of mates and cursed each bitten human to die rabid and untamable. Frustrated they asked for her help in finding a mate. She gave them signs that would point them to who she deemed as worthy, to become one of her wolves of the night. The Moon Goddess connected each mate with an electric pull. Finally the small pack of four grew to twenty and more. Hybrid children who could shift into their wolves any time.
But as the pack grew, the humans did as well. The children grew and wanted their own mates. Some stole child brides out of their homes at night because of the pull, whether lust filled or true.
Centuries of war broke out between the pack and the humans. We became natural enemies. We were invincible and could not die by their hands but the humans were so fragile. Soon, the human’s weapons advanced into silver knives and bullets. They found a way to kill our kind. We went into hiding as they won more and more of our land in their favor. Our numbers dwindled and the new generation lived in secluded peace fearful of humans.
Until Alpha Davis changed it all.