When the sun set I lay down in a small clearing and waited for the moon to rise.
“Hello dear, I see you’re waking up.” I opened my eyes to my mother standing a few feet away smiling at me. ‘I am, but I need to see the prophecy to get my questions answered.’ She nodded and beckoned me to follow her. We walked in silence to an old temple covered in vines. ‘Where are we?’ I asked looking about.
“I’ve lead you out of the mortal realm into the land of the gods. All prophecies are kept here. Come, I’ll show you yours.” She stepped silent as a falling moonbeam into the temple leading me to a circular chamber filled with scrolls. “Do you mind dear?” I shifted into my human form wearing the silk dress again. My mother smiled, a proud light in her onyx eyes. “Good, this one.” She pulled a silvery scroll off a shelf marked with a wolf’s head carving. “Read it.” I took the scroll hesitantly, it felt warm and cold to the touch but soft. Rolling it open I began.
Paths and choices, tangled webs,
Which mate to choose, which to wed.
Man or wolf its all in her head,
But make the wrong choice and she’ll be dead.
Twin souls shall war for the silver one and the curse shall begin.
Light and dark must battle lest the witch win.
To man or beast her heart must fall.
But once claimed her light shall illuminated all.
Alpha Queen, goddess in her own right,
To save or destroy is within her might.
“What the...” I read it twice again before looking up. “What does it mean?” At that my mother chuckled. “Well if it were straight forward it wouldn’t be a prophecy now would it?” Huffing in annoyance I handed the scroll back. “I’m obviously the silver one, twin souls would be Gabriel and Steven.”
“Is it?” That brought me up short.
“Isn’t it? Steven kept blabbering about being the one in the prophecy and Gabriel is his twin. But they’re twins of flesh and blood while Gabriel and Fenus are the same but different bodies! Oh my goodness! That explains why Gabriel was turning me off when he was trying to get in my pants! Fenus is my soul mate, my original mate!” My mother beamed at me proudly.
“Your friend Raven is quite insightful, yes?” My eyes bugged as realization swept over me. “That’s what she was trying to tell me! That its the wolf soul that determines mates not the human portion. So the first werewolves didn’t have voices in their heads?” This made her laugh. “No no, they coexisted with their, as you call them, inner wolves, they were one and the same, like you are, or will be when you wake up.” A question popped into my head. “Wait so do werewolves have two souls then? A human and a wolf soul?” Why had I never thought of this before?
“No, one soul is split into two factions. More often than not rouges are the ones who live as the ancients did as one soul, they rely more on the savagery of the wild than packs who often live in or near civilization.” That made sense actually.
“Its time for you to go now, time flows differently here. Its already almost dawn.” I sighed but smiled at my mother having at least a few on my questions answered. “Thank you.”
“Where in the Moon Goddess’ name have you been?” I looked up from the toast I was buttering to a livid father. “Do you know how worried I was?” He pulled me off my chair and hugged me tight. “I was talking to the Moon Goddess, I’m fine.” I mumbled into his chest. "I needed to sort some things out."
“Gabriel is in my office. Why didn’t you tell me you left the dance early? I would have come and picked you up.” I groaned hiding under my father’s chin. “I ran around for a while. I didn’t want to bother you. Why is Gabriel here?”
“Because he was worried when you disappeared from the dance.” The hair on the back of my neck rose and I turned my head to see Gabriel leaning against the wall. “I just needed some space, I’m not used to that kind of energy yet.” The lie came easily. I let my dad go and returned to making myself breakfast. “I’ll let you two be.” My father left the room smiling back at us.
“I’ve been thinking.” I felt him moving closer to me. “About?” I couldn’t bring myself to look at him after learning he had orchestrated the rouge attack, instead I went to the fridge and grabbed the raspberry jam. “Us. Specifically that I’ve known you for a week and I think it’s time we mate.” I couldn’t breathe.
His arms wound around my waist and I could feel his erection pressing against my butt again. “I heard about the rouge attack. If you had gotten hurt I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I need to protect you.” He kissed the side of my neck making me cringe slightly. “And I need to eat breakfast. I haven’t eaten since that hotdog at the game.” To prove my point my stomach growled. “Alright, you’ll need your energy for later.” I highly doubted it. I ate my toast and then some chicken I found in the fridge. Ideas raced through my brain, I needed to get out of here. ‘Hey Jena you free?’
‘Yeah, want to train? I’m headed there now.’ Yes! Escape route targeted. ‘Be there in five.’ I made a show of smacking myself in the forehead.
“Darn! I forgot I was going to train with Jena today. I need to be able to protect myself in case of more rouge attacks.” Gabriel’s eyed darkened but he forced a smiled. “Okay, but after training you’re all mine.” I smiled at him and popped one last piece of chicken in my mouth before dashing out the back door. That was close.
“Hey Jen!” She waved me over to where she was sitting on a log with Drew. “Congratulations.” I smirked at their confusion until I pointed at the matching bite marks on their necks. Jena blushed but Drew grinned holding her closer. “Thanks.” Some couples mated fast, others took their time.
Jena and Drew taught me what they had learned over the years and then I taught them using a combination of shared memories and demonstration. “You can watch your opponent’s eyes to gauge where they’ll attack. It makes dodging or blocking a lot easier. Learn your own tell signs and either eliminate them or play then up in a feint.” Jena raised her hand. “Tell sign?” She asked. I motioned Drew over. “Watch Drew while we spar, see if you can predict his movements by the subtle shifts in his weight or the way he tenses his muscles, pay close attention to you opponent's eyes.” I nodded and Drew sprang at me but I was no longer there. “Tell sign, you paused to gauge distance before jumping, trust yourself to know.”
He growled in frustration and spun around to lunge at me, swinging a fast punch with his right arm. I danced back a step leaving him off balance and lightly smacked the back of his head. I feinted left twice and the third time I went left he swung right. “This is all defensive. Do you have any good offensive tricks?” Jena asked. Tricks were what I did best.
I nodded. “Most of what I learned is defensive because I needed to survive but yeah I’ve got some good offensive. Drew your turn to watch. Jena shift and I’ll show you some things.” Without thought she stripped out of her shirt and shorts. Drew’s eyes stuck fast to her breasts until she fell forward and shifted.
“That was one of the most graceful transformations I’ve ever seen.” I said softly. Jena wagged her tail at my praise and wuffled at Drew when her stroked behind her ears. ‘You coming?’ With a shake of my head at her impatience I shifted. “Woah...” Drew breathed in awe instinctively bowing to a higher rank. ‘Dude! That was wicked!’ Jena bounced in place the light breeze ruffling my fur slightly. Her sandy fur stuck up backwards in the wind and I chuckled. ‘Alright, attack me.’
‘What? No way! I can’t do that! My wolf hates the idea.’ I stared deep into her golden eyes addressing her wolf. ‘Kaya, this is for training purposes you’re going to be the best warrior I can make you. Attack me.’ She huffed but sprang. This time I let the attack hit me. We rolled so I was on my back then I kicked her off with my hind legs careful not to let my claws catch. ‘Where’d that come from?’ Jena asked getting to her feet.
‘I seemed vulnerable didn’t I. Play up weaknesses so your opponent underestimates you. It really works. This time I’m going to attack you, okay?’ She nodded and got into a ready stance.
‘When I hit you going for your throat rise up with me and fall onto your back then kick up and back with your hind legs. Really dig your claws in, the goal of this is to kick your attacker off you and to rip their guts out.’ Before she could object I ran at her going for her throat as I said I would.
Grappling with our forelegs and snapping at each other we rose onto our hind legs where my larger size put me on the upper hand. Jena fell onto her back and I on top of her lunging for her neck. I felt her hind paws dig into my flesh at the base of my rib-cage and thrust me off tearing eight deep gashes into my stomach. I hardly felt the pain. Flipping midair, I landed on my feet facing Jena who stood as well. ‘Well done! You’ve got a strong kick.’
‘Oh sweet Moon Goddess what have I done?’ Her legs buckled and collapsed under her. “Jen!” Drew rushed to her side. "Jena baby?” Slowly I walked forward leaving a thick trail of blood that diminished with each step. ‘Jena look at me.’ Inlaid in my voice was an alpha command. Shakily she lifted her head but didn’t meet my eyes. ‘I want you to see something.’
I rose onto my hind legs and shifted into my human form completely healed. I purposely shifted naked and holding my arms out spun in a slow circle. Shocked gasps and I saw what they saw. My body pale as poured cream, still too thin, covered in silvery scars head to toe of varying sizes. “Two things leave scars on a werewolf’s body, another werewolf, and silver.” I spun to face them and Jen whimpered at the eight fresh scars down my abdomen. “I didn’t feel them.”
“So many scars... What happened to you?” Drew whispered voice hoarse. I ran a finger down one of the scars then answered. “When I was seven, the day after my first shift, I was abducted and forced to be a slave. I spent ten years being beaten for their sheer joy and the last year being raped.” Drew’s eyes were the size of saucers. Jena shifted and hugged me tight.
Slowly I hugged her back and felt hot tears spilling down my back. “I had no idea. We all knew you had been kidnapped but we never knew what happened.” Gently I rocked her in my arms until she dried her eyes. “Sorry bout that.” She sniffled.
“Its alright.” I let my clothes return and Jena gawked. “Whoa...” Drew stood and wrapped an arm around Jena’s waist. “There’s a useful trick.” He said appreciatively.
“Kendra!” Thomas came running out back with Skye on his heels. “Raven’s been taken.” It took a moment for me to process what he’d said.
“When? By whom? Why?” Wordless he handed me his phone. “Hello?” John sniffled on the other line and cleared his throat. “Kendra? Raven’s gone. I went by her house this morning to take her on a picnic but she wasn’t there. On her bed was a note and her room smelled like rouge.” He broke down crying again. “Please help me, I don’t know what to do.”
“Where are you? I’ll come right away.” There was a pause then he recited Raven’s address. “Okay, I’m going to hand the phone back to Thomas, I’ll be there in eight minutes.” I tossed the phone to Thomas and shifted. “You’re just going to take off? No plan?” Jena was stopping me with a gentle hand on my shoulder. ‘I’m going to track the mutt until I find Raven.’
“Then I’m coming with you as back up.” She stared at me defiantly but I nodded. ‘I’m not completely unreasonable. Just try to keep up.’ She shifted and then Drew did. ‘I’m coming too.’ I glanced at him them shrugged and took off.
Raven’s house was a pleasant yellow two story farm style ranch house with white trim and railings along the porch. John sat on the steps with Raven’s parents. ‘Stay in wolf form, scout perimeter. Find the trail but stay together. If we’re being watched I don’t want you two getting separated.’ I flicked my ear and they left. Taking a calming breath and sending a prayer to my mother I shifted and approached.
Raven’s mom was doing her best to comfort John while her dad was on the phone with the police. “I’m sure she’ll turn up. This isn’t the first time she’s snuck out.” John nodded mutely. So he hadn’t shown them the note. “John?” I knelt in front of him and took his hands in mine. They were cold and trembling slightly. “Raven’s a big girl she can look after herself. I’m sure she just didn’t want you to worry. Come on let’s take a walk to calm you down.” He let me pull him to his feet and guide him to the woods.
“Show me the note.” Silently he passed a crumpled piece of paper to me and sat at the base of a tree. “Have you told your alpha?” He nodded but stayed quiet. With a small sound of sympathy I brought the paper to my nose and drew in a deep breath. John, Raven’s blankets, a foreign wolf, traces of shadow and oak. “Steven.” I growled. John’s head snapped up, his eyes blazing gold with an inner fury. Unrumpling the note I read it.
I know where you are. You don’t know where I am but I have something of yours. A little bird that’s been keeping what’s rightfully mine from me. So either I break the little bird until she can’t fly or sweet little Kendra becomes mine and she goes free.
“Asshole!” I crumpled the note in my fist and shoved it in my pocket. “I can’t let him hurt Raven, but letting him have you is wrong. I don’t know what to do!” John buried his head in hands and cried.
“Hey it’ll be okay. I’ve got two of my friends finding the scent trail. We’re going to find Raven and get her back to you safe and sound.” I put an arm around his shoulder calming him the best I could. “Okay. Okay, let’s go get her.” He stood looking determined and stripped out if his shirt. I turned away to give him privacy. ‘We’ve got a solid trail and blood, a lot of it.’ That’s not good.
‘Be there in three.’ I needed to eat more, I didn’t have the energy I needed to keep shifting. John wuffled and I turned around. His fur was a pale blond like his hair. “Follow me.” I took off running following Jena’s scent to where she and Drew waited.
John whined when he saw the blood spattering the ground, I got angry. “I’ll kill him.” I growled. Using my fury I shifted and sniffed the blood. It was Raven’s. ‘Spread out every ten feet and run as fast as you can. Stay on either side of me, I’ll be on the trail.’ I shot off through the woods following a trail of blood that curved gently back toward the city. At the tree line I shifted again and stumbled but kept running the blood was laced with terror. She was conscious and in pain.
The trail led to an abandoned warehouse on the far side of town. Half crumbling from disuse and beaten in by the weather the warehouse stank of rat piss, mold, and just barely under the stink, Raven. John, Jena, and Drew shifted behind me when they caught up. John was about to bust down the door when I made him stop. ‘They’ll expect that.’ He stared at me like so many others had over the last few days. ‘Its a new development don’t ask yet. See the holes in the roof?’ John nodded as did Jena and Drew. Good I was broadcasting to all three of them.
‘Go through there and take out any guards. Be careful as they’re likely to have silver. I’ll distract them at the front door.’ They nodded and climbed onto the roof waiting for my command. I opened the door but made sure I was to the side.
Bang! I yanked my arm back as silver buck shot blasted through the door. “You missed.” I called.
Click click. “Goddess dammit Larry! I told you not to shoot her! Give me that!” Cautiously I poked my head through the door. “Is it safe to come in? Or do I need a secret password?” Steven stood with a double barrel shotgun in his hands beside a thin man. Six others stood around him. ‘Wait for my count.’ I ducked back behind the door and used the last if my strength to shift and shift back wearing a tight fitting low cut silver dress. “Come in my dear, please.” Steven called smugly. ‘Go.’
I pushed open the door and walked in as sexily as I could. Primal pull, please work. “I’m not late to the party am I?” Their jaws dropped and their eyes stuck on me letting Jena lead the boys down into the room and launch an attack. The warm body count went from eight to five in six seconds.
Unfortunately the others heard the snapping of necks and turned to look. I launched myself at Larry and snapped his neck then kicked him at Steven. He sidestepped easily and brought the shotgun up to aim at my chest.
“Did you even hear the prophecy?” I asked stepping slowly in a circle. Steven stepped along with me counterclockwise. “Of course I did. That’s why you belong with me.” I shook my head sadly. “Steven you were never in the prophecy. It says twin souls, not twins of flesh and blood. Its not you and Gabriel. Its Gabriel and Fenus.” From our current position I could clearly see the fight going on behind Steven. Jena was down, stabbed with silver and bleeding heavily. Drew knelt beside her trying to keep her conscious. John was beating his guy into a bloody pulp. But the other two were bearing down on Jena and Drew. Silently I commanded them to turn on each other and smiled grimly when they did, slicing at each other with their knives.
“I will not let you mate with my brother!” Steven screamed. He pulled the trigger but I didn’t feel any pain. “I’m not going to mate with him.”
He shifted, an angry mass of grey and black fur and launched himself at me. A streak of black came from out of nowhere and careened into Steven’s side. Fenus had come to my rescue, and he had brought the one person I never thought to see again. Clarissa Taiven, the witch.
She bustled over to my side and I realized that I was kneeling clutching my stomach. “Hey, Kendra right? Look at me, its going to be okay.” She put a hand over the hole in my abdomen and the tiny round balls of silver popped out. “You’ll be fine, you’ll heal right up.” I shook my head and pressed my hand back over the wound to stop the bleeding. “Not enough energy, I can’t even shift right now. But thank you Clarissa after all we’ve been through I didn’t expect this kindness.” A cough racked my body and I tasted blood. “All we’ve been through?” She murmured. He eyes went wide and she scrambled back a few paces into Steven’s line of sight.
“You! It can’t be!” I chuckled humorlessly. “Are you really so surprised? You can have Gabriel if you still want him. He’s not my mate. Fenus is.” Clarissa laughed. She laughed and laughed until tears came from her eyes.
“I’m over him. After all these years I’m over him. I wish I could take back my curse. We could have been friends.” Clarissa smiled sadly and I realized the two massive wolves behind her had stopped fighting. Steven was staring at Clarissa with a soft look in his eyes. “Just shift and tell her you oaf.” I said softly.
Fenus came to my side whining softly. “I’ll be okay.” I dropped an arm over his neck when he lay down beside me. “No you won't.” Clarissa said gravely. “The curse will take you on this new moon. I am so sorry but you’re not seventeen.” I blinked slowly absorbing what she had said. Had I forgotten my own birthday? Steven shifted and came up behind Clarissa. “Mine.” He murmured pulling her to her feet. “W-what?” She stuttered. “You’re my mate.” He kissed her and I had to turn away and cough up more blood. “Help me up.” Fenus stood slowly and let me lean on him as I walked slowly to where Jena lay.
“You gotta open your eyes baby. Come on don’t give out on me!” I hobbled over and slumped beside Drew. “Help her please.” He begged. I took the hand pressed onto my wound and put it on hers letting my blood soak into the gash. Her eyes flickered open bright gold as the edges of the slice began to knit together. “She’ll be just fine. Let her rest.”
“Kendra!” John screamed my name with so much agony that I flinched. “Raven please don’t die. Please don’t die. Baby please!” John knelt holding Raven’s bloody unconscious form. Fenus helped me over to where Raven lay. “You can save her John. You’re going to have to turn her and while she’s turning mark her. This close to the full moon, she will heal.”
“I can’t. I can’t.” I fell to the ground beside him and touched his shoulder gently. “John, you can save her.” His eyes turned golden and I knew his wolf was calling the shots. “What do I need to do?” He asked eyes fixed on Raven. “Give her your blood.” He bit into his wrist taking his blood in his mouth the pressed the most tender kiss to Raven’s lips feeding his blood to her. She twitched then her eyes shot open and she began to struggle. “Mark her.” Without hesitation he bit into the side of her neck claiming her as his and held her close while her tremors subsided. “You might want to talk to her parents about this.”
“J-john?” Raven shivered one last time and looked up at her mate. “I knew you’d come for me.” She sighed and snuggled into his chest.
“Silver?” A small jolt of energy went through me at the use of my true name. I turned around and stood slowly leaning heavily on Fenus. “I might be able to heal you most of the way but I don’t know how to reverse this curse.” Clarissa stood with Steven’s arms around her waist.
“Thank you.” She instructed me to lie down on my back which I did with some help from Fenus and Steven. “This might hurt some.” She held her hands over my stomach and a light glow surrounded them. With wide eyes I watched my muscles and skin knit back together until the hole was the size of my fist. “I couldn’t do anything about your uterus, I’m sorry but you’ll never bear pups.” I waved a hand and struggled to sit up. “That was my own doing. Fenus take me into the woods. We need to be alone.” Fenus lay down beside me and I crawled onto his back gripping the scruff of his neck so I wouldn’t fall. “You’ll make a good luna, Clarissa. If you can knock some sense into that mate of yours of course.” I smiled at them and let Fenus carry me from the building. Fenus carried me gently into the forest and to the mountain meadow full of flowers where we had first met.
“I never took you to be the romantic type.” I said laughing softly. Fenus huffed and shot me a look that said “What did you expect?” He lay down amidst the fragrant blooms letting me slide off his back. I grunted when I hit the ground and Fenus whined licking the blood off my stomach. “Run away with me Fenus. Make me yours.” He rolled his eyes and gave me a look that said “I want nothing less than to make you mine but now is not the time.” I chuckled and placed a hand on his cheek. “To break the curse. I’ve waited ten thousand years for you and I don’t want to wait any longer.” I wrapped my arms around his neck and he pulled me to my feet. I brushed my hair away from my neck and tilted my head to the side. “Mark me.” I whispered hoarsely. I closed my eyes and winced when I felt his canines pierce my flesh.
He removed his teeth and licked his mark free of blood. Warmth spread through me starting at his mark but morphing into a burning heat bringing waves of energy. The burning and the pressure inside me wouldn’t wait for this dress to be removed in the conventional fashion. “Help me get this off.” Fenus obliged and tore the dress to shreds sitting back to wait.
So this was what a first shift felt like. My mind cracked open sending memories and abilities cascading into me. All I could hear was my pounding heart and the blood rushing in my ears, but I became aware of another sound a high pitched wail of agony. I was screaming in pain. My bones popped and snapped, first my legs then my arms, growing longer, thicker, stronger. My joints reversed sending me onto all fours. My scream turned into a howl as my face pushed out into a snout and my spine rolled out into a tail. The burn became an itch as thick silver fur sprouted all over my body. I felt strong, stronger than ever before. I stretched cracking my back and adjusting to my new strength. A growl came from behind me where Fenus sat watching. I turned and padded forward to bury my nose in his glossy fur. Shadowed cedar. I was his, now he would be mine. I nudged his chin up and bit into the side of his neck where it met his shoulder tasting his blood hot and rich on my tongue. Licking my bite clean I pressed myself against his side, rubbing my cheek against his.
This was our destiny.
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