It took the males mere minutes to follow the lingering scent of fear. Which, undoubtedly, led them to a still shivering Nathan. The male didn’t acknowledge the scowls directed his way and instead kept his eyes locked on the spot in front, a haunted and desolate look glazed his eyes.
Bleak. Bare. Broken.
Angus didn’t hesitate to storm in, face red and chest puffed, “What were you thinking!?”
He sent a sharp kick to Nathan who wheezed. ”What on earth were you thinking when you threw everything you had destined out the fucking window?? What, not man enough for our Alpha? Is that it?! Just some piss poor attempt to keep some sort of masculinity? Well congratulations, you’ve not just destroyed your soulmate but also our pack!”
He motioned to the postured males behind. Resentment, pure, thick and intimidating hung heavily in the room. Like a snake, it coiled around the once rogue male but his expression was elsewhere. His mind tumbling, head first, down the metaphorical rabbit hole.
Garth, hungry for vengeance with the injustice against his Alpha; a woman who had not just aided him with his very first shift but had shaped him from a hellion to the young man he now today, sent Nathan sprawling. The image of Titania’s rabid beast assaulting his mind. While the males spat, hit and abused Nathan; he remained stock still, taking the beating while maintaining the utterly empty look in his hazel mist.
"Filthy rogue, we should’ve disposed of you like the rest of your pathetic group.”
Nathan turned to an enraged Garth but said nothing and remained as such while the three males took turns exchanging fists, kicks, and claws. All the while Eóghan stood stoically by the door, a quick wipe of the eyes took the only evidence of the loss of the very female who saved his life many moons ago. He ushered the other lingering wolves away. Only Duskfall wolves in the Alpha’s old office.
“Orig hold him down..... ”
With Orig holding him, he sent a punch to his jaw. Garth could only see red, ”Scum. A fucking slimy piece of nothing.”
“You deserve so much more than this for ruining everything we’ve taken years to build. The lives you’ve taken will never be replaced, you’ve fucked every pack here!” Henry’s wolf was fighting his control. He rolled his sleeves up and let his wolf get retribution. A bleeding and broken nose was only the tip of the iceberg of what he promised the Spaniard.
It didn’t take long for the room to reek of the metallic tang of blood. Even less for the wolves to inflict the pain that their wolves felt from the loss of their Alpha wolf. Their wolves saw this act as cowardly, their Alpha lost to a mate bond rather than wit and strength. An unfair battle that not even the strongest wolf could overcome: they wanted retribution.
Orig and Henry were holding Nathan while Angus and Garth threw curses, punches and claws. No clothing left on Nathan’s body, only gashes. No forgiveness left for Nathan, only fury.
What made the males pause from their merciless beating was the sound of sniffling which swiftly but surely turned to full-blown sobs. Not your average cry, however. A rather soul-destroying wail. The males, at that very moment, witnessed another heart crack, crumble and fall apart. Nathan now felt the full effect of the severed bond and it caused his wolf to dissasociate within. How the darkness twisted and stabbed at his insides, the absence of life grew inside apart from the heartbeat that reverberated within his hollowed out chest. He cried not just for what his actions had caused, but he cried for the dimmed light that had been extinguished by the loss of his soulmate.
Upon hearing the heart-wrenching sobs and watching the once-proud male collapse into himself, the males gave each other a look before taking a few sharp steps back for even the wild wolves understood the primality of Nathan at this moment in time. A wide berth separated the males; harsh looks clashing with utter despair. All while Nathan rocked himself, eyes bloodshot and brimmed with newly discovered pain.
“So this was w-what she felt.... all this time.” He mumbled.
The heavy scent of darkness and depression made the males take another step back, the smell foul to their sensitive noses.
“Stop it! This is what you get for confusing Alpha Titania around for the past few months and this,” Eóghan stepped forward and pointed to the sorry excuse of the male on the floor, “is what she’s been feeling since the very beginning but you were too idiotic to truly see.”
Nathan buried his head in his arms while Eóghan delivered the harsh truth that he had needed to hear, “Your actions have cost us one of the strongest wolves and in essence, it’s cost you too. You’ve done this to yourself so you’re the only one you can blame.”
Eóghan’s wise words left a sombre note in the room. The bloodlust and anger could still be seen in the other four warriors, especially Angus but following their Beta’s lead, they simply glared at the wolf.
Angus snarled, “I suggest you run before my wolf rips your throat out.”
“Such a tempting offer, I’ll join you there brother.” Garth flashed his elongated canines, showing just how close to the surface his wolf was.
Nathan shuffled towards the door, almost on autopilot before his route was stopped by Eóghan’s form who dipped his head and in a hushed whisper said, “Cabin far North. Stay out the pack’s way until everything calms.”
Despite the bubbling anger, Eóghan knew full well that while Nathan was the wolf who had singlehandedly destroyed everything, he was a clear possibility to bring them salvation.
“Make sure to stay away.”
The dark look in Eóghan’s eyes was enough for Nathan to understand the hidden message: you’re not welcome here.
So, with a barely concealed limp the broken man jogged out. Ignoring the harsh growls directed his way. For he did not care of the amniosity focused his way, only for the throbbing within. Shakes of the head and mutters formed around him, Duskfall remained passive, a dangerous gleam in their eyes as Eóghan ushered them away. If Nathan noticed, he didn’t show it and continued the tedious hobble to the suggested cabin.
Angus’s pupils dilated as he watched the man walk away. “Eóghan you better know what you’re doing. Next time I see him, Duskfall will get the retribution it deserves.”
As Angus stalked away to blow off steam, Garth shook his head. He too was not happy and his skin itched with the need to shift and chase the bastard. “I trust you but this won’t go down well. Be prepared for that brother.”
“I know,” he replied and in a bearly there whisper added, ”it’s our only chance to get her back."
Garth’s eyes softened. A pat to Eóghan’s shoulder and he too disappeared. Voices all around grumbled and the distaste and need for revenge was already sweet in the air. Eóghan knew it was a rough road ahead, but what else was he supposed to do?
Nathan's mind swirled. dizziness in his head and sickness in his stomach. He slumped over and collapsed by an old conifer; emptying the contents of his stomach as his body was unable to bear the injuries that littered his olive complexion.
"Mierda,” he swore, the hard ground providing no comfort for the scorned wolf.
Not that the Moon Goddess bestowed any fortune or warmth for the man that lay before her. The peeking moon glowed through the clouds, the ever knowing enmity watching, forever watching. Forever waiting.
He rubbed the crusted blood out his eyes and wept. His tears bitter and salty on Mother Nature’s soil. His heart tore apart, speck by speck until the man became nothing more than a shell. A vacant vessel with nothing more than regret taut on his tongue. As he cried between sobs he pictured the very woman that literally changed his life and called out, begging, for her return. For the misery to stop.
Receiving nothing more than the silence of the woodland, he let the void take him away from the searing pain that corrupted him. Body and soul.
“Eóghan, you’re the rightful Beta and I think that you’re our only option, you need to step up.”
After a run, Garth had calmed. With the other packs, especially Alpha Alfonso discussing the events of the past four hours, Duskfall had to take action. Leadership had to be put in place. This pack had survived six years and was now one of the strongest packs both genetically and physically. As if he was going to let Titania's work go to one of the pompous Alpha's of the lowlands.
The Highlander froze at the honest, yet blunt words of Gamma Garth. He stopped. Past memories that surfaced regularly even after all the years took over and with a deep sigh, his answer was swift.
“Garth you know that’s not possible. You know that I will never put myself in that position ever again, I do not deserve such a title.”
Regarding the forlong look cross his companions face he slapped his shoulder, a sign of respect rather than insult, “We all have demons but we’re drawing at straws here. Think about it, think of all the hungry wolves that want this pack, our warriors and especially the fact that our genetics are not touched by whatever it is that is decimating the lowlands. Not to mention Alpha Jared...”
He sent a meaningful glance at the plagued wolf, “Eóghan, you’re our only hope for now.” Before the Beta could protest, Garth cut him off, “Think of the pack. It’s what she would’ve wanted.”
Defeated, Eóghan sighed and pressed a hand to forehead, wiping away the beads of sweat that had gathered.
“I understand the situation quite well, but not all is lost. I’ve contacted Alpha Brett, he’s going to help us in any way we need." He sighed, "and if not then well.... maybe Nathan will have grown up.”
Garth snorted, watching Eóghan pace past Titania’s desk to the window overlooking the vast lands. Mountains tipped a brilliant white. “And that’s the day I give birth. You really believe that this will do any good to him? A weak wolf like him will die of the rejection.” He paused, crossing his arms, “He’s of no use to us.”
“Fate works in mysterious ways, we can’t give up on her. I refuse to. Either Brett or Nathan will bring her back, it’s the only thought that’s keeping me sane right now.”
Moisture pricked Eóghan’s eyes but never strayed from their confines. Staring blankly out the window, he reminisced about the past while Garth sat down heavily on the couch, hands intertwined. He chuckled, the sound flat but thinking about what was best for his Alpha, brought back fond yet embarrassing memories.
“It’s a funny thing. In the beginning, that woman angered me. Threw me a bone and took my soul in the process. Pushed, pulled and pressured me until I thought I’d break and shook me to the core while she forced a new way of life into me. Made me forget my roots, my previous gang life and I hated her for it.”
Eóghan turned to look at his comrade who had his head hunched over his clasped hands. The raw emotion was seeping out the bloodthirsty warrior who never backed down, who filled the void with a cheeky and lewd sense of humour yet here he sat: cracking.
“But, while she.....destroyed me she also made me stronger. She built me up to survive the shift and while I hindered her that harsh winter, she trained me every day, fed me every day when my bones were too shattered to let me walk and did she ever complain? Hah, she told me to shut up and listen to her... a woman.” He ran a hand over the stubble speckling over his head and laughed once more, “Yet without her, I’d be dead, left in the wilderness with only a gun in my palm ready to bust one through my skull.”
“I owe Titania my life.”
“As so I.” Eóghan breathed out.
At the end of his admission, a moment of silence hung throughout the room. Both males too immersed in their thoughts of their leader to continue the conversation. Both pondering if anything could be done to fully salvage Titania, their only goal. Even if it meant either shaping Nathan into the proper Alpha male she needed or having Brett try his hand, these wolves were desperate.
Desperate for an answer before winter cast her icy presence over the lands. For what did they have without the master of the wild, their respected Alpha Titania who didn’t fully realize the depth that her wolves respect went, and it went further than anyone, man or wolf could ever imagine.