Unsettled by Brett’s phone call, Eóghan called Argus, Athdara, and Lucy to his office. It was still technically Titania’s but as the month went by, he had adopted it as his own for the time being. The wolves were the only ones he could trust wholeheartedly and they each had the skills needed to help aid his leadership in managing Duskfall through this hardship. Garth was the passionate Gamma, Argus the strategist, Athdara the organiser and Lucy, the one that had most recently spent time with Titania and actually understood what the woman was going through.
Laying untouched on the main table was a map of Scotland and its wolf and Human settlements. Garth, however, sat uncomfortably on the sofa, remaining where he was as the others took their seats. While Lucy and Argus took their places, Athdara stood by he door uncomfortably.
Drenched in sweat and blood, Lucy broke the eery atmosphere of the office. Inspecting a healing cut on her arm from her spar with a French Beta she said, “you interrupted me in the middle of my training, this better not be a casual gossip session.”
Athdara’s head snapped at such disrespect, but Eóghan let it slide. Titania had mentored her and her influence was coming through clear as day, the fact Lucy was still sane was an achievement and Eóghan did not want to hinder that when she was becoming such a strong wolf.
“As if I’d waste my time sitting around, braiding hair and playing dress-up.” Quipped Argus, throwing a scowling Lucy a cheeky wink.
Garth sat motionless while Athdara fidgeted with the rings on her fingers. Surrounded by such dominant wolves made her own on edge. She was below them all, apart from Lucy and she queried why she was in a clearly confidential conversation with the high rankers.
Lucy sent the middle finger to the cheery head warrior, who simply boomed. “Beta, what’s happening?” Noticing that Eóghan and Garth seemed to be deep in thought and not jesting, she quickly caught on that something was amiss.
“And why am I here?” Athdara added.
“Take a seat, Athdara.” She did as she was told, the room descending into silence as the Beta male addressed them all. “Make sure all the doors and windows are closed, what I’m about to tell you is strictly confidential,” He saw Athdara’s confused face and clarified, “Athdara you’re meant to be here, just lock the windows and I’ll elaborate.”
She nodded, “Yes Beta.”
After the room was locked all eyes swiveled to Eóghan’s expectantly. “Okay, brother lighten up, whatever news you have can’t be that bad.” Argus’s jolly persona was taking away from the severity of the situation.
A dark snort came from the sofa, “If you had heard the conversation Eóghan just had with Alpha Brett then you’d think twice about that.”
Argus straightened up, forehead creasing. “What phone call?”
This time Eóghan spoke up, already feeling a headache coming on from the stress that being the step-in Alpha caused. “Brett was wondering how the search parties were getting on trying to find Titania...”
A gasp from Athdara and a sharp intake of breath from Lucy could be heard at the mention of their Alpha’s name. “He wasn’t impressed when I told him that we weren’t searching, and if we did, we were putting others at risk. But he was still determined, hellbent to find her and bring her back. I didn’t expect anything less from him but what caught my attention was the fact Brett mentioned that Alpha Jared was staying with him.”
Angus’s head flew to Garth. “Alpha Jared of the Rosevelt pack??” Argus couldn’t contain the vein pulsing out his forehead, especially when Garth nodded grimly.
“The very one who sent an ambush a few months ago that Nathan was apart of.” Garth’s anger was also starting to rise, his wolf stalking around his head. It took a millisecond for Athdara to respond to her superiors bitterness.
“Don’t put it that lightly. That bastard knew what he was doing.”
Argus rubbed his fists, “If only I could punch him again, more of his blood deserved to be spilt.” He sent an accusing look to Eóghan while Garth nodded.
“Will you ever let that drop? Do you not think that I want to maul that wolf, but we can’t always act on our impulses Argus.”
“Argus’s right, we’re wolves so we should act on our instincts instead of letting that piece of shit walk. I still believe that we need an execution.”
As the males bickered about Nathan and Eóghan’s final decision on the matter; a quiet Lucy sat drumming her fingers on the table, lost at the turn in the conversation.
“Can we take it back a second, who’s this Alpha? Like why is he important to this?” As much as Lucy hated Nathan with her very heart and soul, she was more focused on the issue at hand when it came to her Alpha.
Thankful for the distraction from nearly attacking his fellow brothers, Eóghan turned to face Lucy. It gave the others a chance to draw their attention back to the importance of this meeting which was not to question Eóghan’s judgement. “He’s the bitter father of Titania’s second bondmate.”
Realisation dawned on Lucy as Eóghan carried on, “Jared can’t get over his only son, and only successors, death. Which is foolish since Quinn did not have a gentle touch.”
Growls came from each wolf at the mere mention of Titania’s abuse. “Many of the scars on her body were from him.”
“I see...” Lucy choked, her eyes flashing red. Remembering what Titania had taught her, she inhaled as many deep breaths as she could to control the taunt of the dark void. Insanity would not claim her until she found her Alpha and claimed her mate.
Being the voice of reason, Athdara distracted the attention away from Lucy. “So this Alpha staying with Brett is an enemy of Alpha Titania and Duskfall.” She scribbled away in her notebook.
“Yes. He’s been there months and there hasn’t been any word of foul play but Brett was complaining of Jared acting up recently.”
Argus's grip on the wooden table had it splintering, “I don’t like this.”
“I agree, too many coincidences.” The wolves watched as Athdara connected some lines from the notes on her page. “First the death threats...”
“Brett’s not going to like that Titania didn’t tell him that.”
Sending Garth a sharp look for interrupting, Lucy looked back at Athdara encouraging her to continue.
She took a deep breath, “To the random rouges trespassing onto the territory... to an actual hired hit to the border patrols.” She held up her notebook filled with criss-crossing lines, “It’s escalating, and considering this has been going on for nearly ten years...”
“Jared wants Titania’s downfall.” Angus concluded, running a thoughtful hand through the stubble that grazed his chin.
Lucy scowled, “She killed his only son, so of course he wants his revenge idiot.”
“Which means there’s more to this.”
“He wants to destroy her and take the pack with her.”
Eóghan nodded tightly to Garth, he was right. This wasn’t a quick kill for Jared but rather a full blown war after Titania.
Piecing the jigsaw together, Eóghan slammed a clawed fist through the timber wall. It held solid. “That bastard!”
The wolves in the office shivered at the dominance that now saturated the room. Athdara crumbled and her neck tilted on instinct.
“After knowing about her past with bond mates, I bet, fucking know that he’s been trying to find hers.”
Timidly, not wanting to upset the beast she added, “it would explain the massive gap between all the random rouges that appeared over the years to the actual ambush.”
“He wanted to watch her have the real thing and not be able to understand it.” Lucy snarled at such cruel tactics. “Watch as it ate her inside out.”
“Is this man capable of this?” Garth asked aloud. The wolves in the room were beginning to show through their skins.
Eóghan pictured the slick-back man with a pair of weasel eyes and a cunning tongue to match.
“Scotland and England have had a tense relationship to begin with, one of the things that stopped them from a civil war was promised bonds. If I remember correctly there were five pairings and Quinn took a fancy to Titania, mostly due to the fact she was a beautiful wolf but I suspect he saw how broken her spirit had become. At this point she’d already been mated to an Irish Beta, she broke the bond and ran away back to her old pack. Her parents were shamed.”
“I thought she killed him?” Argus queried but the question was on everyone’s lips. Titania never opened up about her past and hearing all this insight to her life before Duskfall was something nobody, but Eóghan, knew.
Smirking he answered smugly, “Oh she did. Went after the cockroaches after her third bondmate. That’s when she had had enough. First killed her third bondmate from Italy after an incident she refused to talk about but then she went after Quinn and the Irish bugger. I forget his name, not as if it’s worth remembering.”
“None of their names are.” Garth grumbled.
“As I was saying, England have had a rocky relationship with Scotland but Titania breaking the bond with Quinn then later killing him, none to gently either...made it much worse.”
A dark smile with teeth flashed from Lucy, her wolf appeased with the pain these males endured, she just wish she could’ve joined in the blood bath.
“So capability isn’t the question here.” Argus tensed, “It’s the question of when.”
“We need to find Titania and bring her back before they do.”
Athdara's warning rang loud and clear. Duskfall were in a race for their Alpha, with the approaching winter and threats from the South and North, it was going to be nothing less than a challenge. That was if she could be saved.
“It doesn’t add up. How did they know, if they do, that Titania isn’t here?” Asked Argus.
Another layer of threat was unveiled, “there’s a mole.”
Eóghan’s tone turned harsh at all these revelations, “Get the warriors together, we need to bring her back. We’ll hunt tomorrow, tell the French packs to prepare for that next dawn.” His eyes darkened, “and starting now we must find this snitch.”
With a quick bow, the wolves scattered, leaving Eóghan to the whirlwind that was his head. Dejected and desperate, he picked the phone back up. Not even the phone-line was safe anymore, but if he had to chance it for an update on the other packs then he’d do it. Eóghan was used to hiding his true intentions, he’d keep it casual and find out if there was anymore uproar, or even other threats. Duskfall would not be blind anymore.
Duskfall needed allies before things turned sour, not because of a disease wiping out pre-pubescent wolves but due to the impending war that was past its boiling point.