The sun began to set. Above the trees, the skies were clear, and the stars began shining in the sky. The Moon was already up, impatient to start its journey. Birds chirped in quiet songs, and crickets began their evening tunes.
Walking quietly through the woods was a large black wolf. His presence was hidden from the world around him, as if he wasn't there. His name was Theo, the Great Alpha of these lands. Blessed by the Moon Goddess, he was born with gifts meant to protect all those under him. He was the son of a Great Alpha and Great Luna. He was the last child they had, the youngest of 8 children, but he was the only one born with gifts.
He strolled through the woods, making his long trek home. He had been called to settle a dispute between two lesser packs. He was strong and formidable, yet he spent his recent years dealing with petty squabbles. The silence of the woods was welcoming.
In the woods, no one was there to fear his size, no one there to curry his favor. There was no one. But then he stopped. The breeze had died down, and he couldn't hear the creatures. He had somehow wandered to the edge of the forest. To his left was a grass clearing, and to the far distance, a large house. In the clearing stood a little child - a girl.
She could sense him, but how? One of Theo's gifts was being able to hide his scent, his presence as if he were invisible. He stepped to the girl, but he didn't know why. She, too, took a step towards him. They both slowly walked to one another until they were feet apart.
Theo took a breath, and the smell of Juniper filled his nose. Thoughts of winter and warmth filled his mind. He shifted from his wolf form and furrowed his brows.
Mate - he could hear the words in his head over and over. He stared at the young girl. Her hair was a very light blonde, and her eyes were a very pale blue. Even during the sunset, it appeared as if the blue was glowing.
The girl looked up at the man in front of her. He had dark brown hair and eyes that were green. His eyes looked stern, and his gaze was hard. But this did not stir her as she smiled brightly up at him.
When Theo shifted, he inadvertently stopped masking his presence. He stared at the girl for several minutes, but suddenly, he could smell wolves running to them. They took him for a stranger - possibly a rogue in their lands.
Before he could speak, he noticed they stopped. Did they realize he was the Great Alpha? He studied them. No, they seemed to be struggling...in place?
He looked back at the little girl. Her eyes were white now, shining, glowing.
"Mate," she said aloud.
Theo was surprised. How? He thought to himself. He knelt to get to eye level with her.
"What is your name, little wolf?" he asked. She wasn't normal, no, she was like him.
"Calliope," she answered. Her name, her voice, it sent a shiver up his spine.
"And how old are you, Calliope?"
"5," she responded while holding up five fingers.
"Do you know who I am?"
She knew his name. She was controlling a dozen wolves, keeping them frozen. Her smell, the way her voice sounded... this can't be what a mate bond feels like.
"Calliope!" Someone yelled.
Theo looked up and noticed two people running from the large house. Before they got close, they, too, froze.
"Are you doing this, little wolf?" Theo knew the answer, but he wanted to see if she knew.
"I am." Her voice was steady and sure. It was her wolf speaking; Theo was sure of it.
"And are those two your parents?"
Calliope turned to look. It is like she didn't know who she froze. She just wasn't allowing anyone near them. She nodded.
Alpha Wyatt and Luna Evelyn. Theo recognized them. He somehow wandered off course and into the Riverbed Pack Lands. But he didn't know much of this pack other than they were loyal to him, small, and caused no problems.
Theo looked back to Calliope.
"We need to talk with your parents. You need to unfreeze everyone," he requested in a gentle tone.
"They might still harm you," she responded quietly.
"I think everyone has realized who I am, little wolf. They wouldn't dare," he smiled at her reassuringly.
Calliope gave a little nod. She closed her eyes, and when she re-opened them, they were blue again. Everyone unfroze and stumbled as they regained their footing. The warrior wolves took a few steps back but didn't disperse. Only the Alpha and Luna approached.
Evelyn bent down and pulled Calliope to her. Wyatt looked at Theo warily. Theo was a strong wolf, some would say dangerous. Why was he here, and why was he talking to their daughter? But neither dared to speak first. It wasn't their place. Theo was the Great Alpha; he ruled over them, over everyone.
Theo finally turned his gaze from Calliope to Wyatt.
"We should go inside and talk."
Wyatt nodded and led the way. Calliope pulled away from her mom and took Theo's hand in hers. Sparks went through their hands. He looked down at Calliope and suddenly felt protective over her. His wolf spirit was going wild.
All these years alone, we find her, and she is a child? Theo questioned his wolf spirit.
Her wolf spirit, I feel her, Theo's wolf replied. I-I can see memories...dreams...she is the last one.
The last one what? Theo asked. This made him even more confused. But all his wolf spirit would say is she is the last one.
Wyatt took them into a private sitting room in their home. Theo sat on a couch, and Calliope sat by him. Wyatt and Evelyn looked at them nervously.
"Calliope, come sit with us," Evelyn tried coaxing her daughter, but Calliope acted as if she didn't hear her.
Theo motioned for them to sit.
"I don't understand. To be honest, I did not intend to come here tonight." Theo started. "But something, perhaps the Moon Goddess, pulled me here."
"I don't understand, Great Alpha," Wyatt responded.
"Well, it would seem your daughter, Calliope, is my mate."
Wyatt and Evelyn both stand to their feet, but Calliope has frozen them before they can speak or move. Her eyes are glowing white again, but this time, her parents take notice.
"Little wolf," Theo said as he looked at her. "Their reaction is normal. Let them go so we may speak."
Calliope looks to Theo. Her white eyes look at his green ones. After a moment, she blinks; her eyes are blue again, and her parents are unfrozen.
"What do you mean mate?!" Wyatt yelled.
"She is a child, that is sick!" Evelyn added.
Theo allows them their anger and yelling. After a minute, he held up his hand, demanding silence. Once Wyatt and Evelyn sat back down, Theo explained.
"Yes, she is young. But you two just saw her power. She has gifts. She even knew who I was; she knew my name! I didn't even know hers."
"But you are old! She is 5!" Evelyn interrupted.
"I'm 138," Theo sighed with irritation. "Look, I am not here to take Calliope, mark her, or mate with her. So, stop, calm down."
"Then what are you here to do?" Wyatt asks. "If she is your mate, then what are your intentions with her?"
Theo looks to Calliope.
"I just feel an overwhelming urge to protect her. I have no wants, no desires, nothing of that nature. This isn't what I expected when I thought of what a mate bond felt like. But that may be because of her age. Look, it is hard to explain. Yes, I am much older, but look at me! I've looked like I'm in my early 20s for over 110 years. We Greats can live for hundreds of years. She will live for hundreds of years. The Moon Goddess has given her the same responsibilities I have: to protect and lead."
"Are you going to take her from us?" asked Evelyn with a hint of concern in her voice.
"Not yet," Theo answered with a shake of his head. "It wouldn't be safe. Calliope cannot move to the Royal Moon pack until she can shift. We may not be at war now, may not have been at war for over 30 years, but I don't trust the sun wolves wouldn't move to kill her if they found out about her. They dare not approach me nor my mother, but a child who can't shift? Your pack would be swarmed."
"Do we need to go into hiding? Send her far away?" Wyatt asks with concern and worry.
"No," Theo responds. "Live your life as you have been. Swear your warriors, your pack, to secrecy. No one will suspect a thing from a pack going about its normal life. I won't say a word, and neither will you. I will send two members from my pack to join yours. They will be protectors in my stead and teachers for Calliope."
"We have a teacher here... a school that Calliope attends," Wyatt interjected.
Theo shook his head. "They will not be here to teach her to read or write. These two will teach her how to control her powers. Help her grow and figure out what else she can do. They will be here to teach her how to be a Great Luna."
Wyatt and Evelyn looked at Calliope. How can their daughter be the Great Luna? But they saw it - felt her power over them.
"Why now does she reveal her powers?" Asked Wyatt. "Why now does she reveal herself as the Great Luna? Why our child?"
"I suspect my presence made her wolf show itself. But I was about her age when my first gifts emerged. It is a sign of a powerful Great... or so they say. Why her? That's the Moon Goddess' doing. I have no control over who my mate is, same as you."
"So for the next 13 years, we live our lives normally? How do we explain the transplants from your pack?" Inquired Evelyn.
"13 years? Doubtful. I shifted when I was 16, not 18. The wolf spirits of the Greats are too powerful to hold in until we are 18. But don't worry. The law states that you cannot mark nor mate with someone under 18. Those laws apply to me, too. And the transplants? I send away a few people each year to join other packs. We do this to keep the relationships between the Royal Moon pack and other packs on good terms. This year, it's your pack."
Wyatt takes Evelyn's hand. They seem to mind link each other, and then they nod.
"I won't lie, Great Alpha," Wyatt says cautiously. "It is all too much and hard to understand. But we do understand that Calliope has been blessed. We cannot deny that. We will keep all of this a secret. It will not leave these pack lands. I can see you only care for Calliope's safety, something everyone can agree on."
"I can assure you," Theo said as he stood. "This has caused me great confusion, too. Well, before it gets too late, I need to continue on my way. My companion is waiting to meet me at the Crimson packhouse. We will continue our journey home from there."
Calliope stood and took Theo's hands.
"Don't worry, little wolf," he said with a gentle squeeze of her hands. "We shall meet again. And when we do, you shall be stronger."
She gives her head a gentle nod before going to her mother. Evelyn scoops her up and holds Calliope in her arms. They watch as Theo heads outside. When he shifts, his smell and powerful presence disappear. They could only see him as he ran off into the woods.