“Split up. We’ve done this a million times before. Remember your partner and get to work! Half take the left, half take the right,” Instructed over the bond, watching in pride as my warriors split down the middle going their separate ways.
As part of the training I gave then, I assigned everyone a partner. This partner matched them in height, weight, build and fighting abilities.
Each partner would be on the opposite team, and because they worked so closely together during training, their wolves were bonded more than any mere friendship bond. They were as close as
brothers, and as a result, they would be able to link with ease during the fight, able to keep each other updating on what was happening as they each took up their respective battles.
If anything were to happen to one of them,
their partner would be able to feel it over the bond. It took a lot of training and mutual respect to reach this level of bonding outside of a mating pair, however, the benefits far surpassed any hard work needed for the pay off.
“Alpha, we have a problem!” My Beta called from the front of the line.
"What problem?” I growled back.
“You really need to come and see this for yourself!”
I raced to the front of the battle line, brushing along the fur of all the warriors I passed to give them strength and reassurance from their Alpha.
As I made my way to the front, I was hit by an overwhelming scent of decay. It clung to the air, burying itself deep in my nose, clogging up my senses with the sickly, almost sweet aroma. I could hear the grunts of the animals up ahead, and though I had knowledge of what Sophia and her old pack were, this was not what I had been expecting to hear.
The noises were almost painful to listen to –they moaned of desperation and pain. It was almost as though their souls were crying out for release, but they were trapped in their own personal hell.
When I finally saw them, I understood.
The hell they were trapped in were their own
Creatures of all shapes and sizes were posed
outside the house, but none of them seemed to fit. Some had arms that were far too big for their bodies, some didn’t even have two of them. Others had teeth that were protruding from their face as though they were too big for their mouths. They were a melody of mixed bodies, all stuffed together to create the grotesque, spliced versions of themselves.
“What the fuck is that? Have you ever seen anything like that before?” My Beta asked me over the bond.
I expelled a breath, my wolf body tense and
unnerved. “Never.” I admitted. “This changes nothing. We fight as we always planned to fight. This is what we’re trained for. Go, warriors, I’ll see you at the end of it. May the Goddess be with you.”
“They’ll be okay, wont they, mum?” My
youngest asked me.
I looked down at her, taking my attention off
the pack for a second. I had been watching them ever since Khaos had left, seeing the way they walked with their shoulders hunched, their movements stiff and awkward.
None of them liked it when he went away, but today was particularly hard on them. They knew a battle was coming, and they knew that not everyone would survive it.
“Of course they will, sweetheart”, I told Antheia, reaching out to hold her face in my hands. I closed my eyes and inhaled the unique smell of her, the sweet, innocent smell of my youngest pup. “Don’t worry about your father. This is what he does. You should have seen him back in his day. This is nothing.”
"Yeah… but he’s old now.” She said with a twist of her full lips.
I let out a bark of laughter, “he’s not old! Trust me, your father is in his prime, and there’s not a wolf out there that can match him in terms of strength and wit. He’ll find his way back to us. He’s like a bad penny. He’ll turn up in the end.”
"And what about Eros?”
I looked back at the pack. “He knows what his responsibilities are. He knows our pack members are relying on him to lead the next generation as their Alpha. We have to trust him. He’ll do the right thing.”
"But the right thing for who? Sophia? Or us?”
I looked back at my daughter with a frown on my face. “Is that not the same thing? Are we not part of the same team?”
"Obviously not,” she tutted with a roll of her eyes. “Sophia is his priority now. He’ll protect her, even if that means he turns his back on all of us. She’s not a part of this family, is she? She’s never wanted us.”
"That’s not true… She’s a very confused young woman, Antheia. She—”
"Luna!” One of the Omegas called out the same instant the alarms sounded out around the packhouse. “Luna! They’re here! We’re under attack!”
"Antheia. Safe room. Now!” I demanded without a second thought. “Wolves,” I shout out over the pack link. “If you are capable of fighting, I implore you to do so. Those that are seeking sanctuary, please head towards the safe room now. Make sure all the pups are in there first! That is non-negotiable. Protect the young, protect our pack, and may the Goddess be with you. The battle will be bloody.”
I felt a frisson run through me, and I closed my eyes as I embraced the feeling. My wolf was waking from her peaceful slumber. Ever since Khaos had been back in our lives, he had easily slipped back into the role of carer and protector. We hadn’t had to fight every day and claw at survival. Now she was relishing the moment to get her teeth wet with the blood of her enemies.
“Mum?” Antheia asked, concern in her voice.
I turned to her, knowing already what was causing the concern. I had felt my eyes burn as they changed colour, my wolf taking over. I knew that my jaw was broken, shifting into the shape of the animal inside me. My canines elongated. My skin prickled. I wasn’t ready to shift into my wolf completely, but we had mastered the partial
shift, taking on the strengths of each of us.
To my surprise, Antheia was panting, tears
streaming down her face. I heard the crack, and I smiled in pride.
Seems as though I wasn’t the only one to have mastered the partial shift. If the young wolf wanted to fight, the young wolf was going to fight.