Sweat flew. Teeth flashed. Claws battled claws and bodies collided.
Training up north was as brutal as far as the term brutal was concerned. To these wolves, submission was not given but earned. For they had not submitted to the cruel temperament of Mother Natures hostile winters, so in battle, it was not something these wolves gave without first proving their worth.
Many of the males that took up their spots in the training rings were not called brutish without reason. Sinuous muscle lined their bodies and the meaty diet only added to the intimidation these wolves bestowed upon those who looked upon them. Titania was no different. All muscle and hard edges. All shaped by the mountainous terrain and bitter cold. It was not difficult to differentiate them from other wolves as their cold exteriors, which matched the snowy tops of the mountain peaks, hard bodies, and acceptance of death, to which they viewed as the ultimate submittal was not usually seen amidst the other packs.
A formidable, deadly opposition.
It was no wonder that the Elder Council was adamant for Titania to take a bondmate. Surely a female couldn’t run a pack of such status without some help. She scoffed at such a thought. She’d managed for the past six years and would be damned to rely upon males in which throughout her life, had proved time and time again that they could not be trusted. Not as if Titania would ever let another bond fester her self-worth. No, that was the past and she was better than that. So much better. Her teeth were now sharper, mind tuned in survival mode and she did not prioritize herself with pointless emotions of love or even affection.
Love was a weakness and Titania was not weak. With those lingering thoughts, she took her own position in the ring. Wanting, but also needing, a worthy distraction.
Eóghan stood opposite. As a trained warrior he watched his Alpha for any indications of her first move. The problem with Titania was that she was unpredictable and Eóghan and many of his companions, struggled to best her. She was a whirlwind of darkness and did not feel emotion. In other words, numbness was the driver to push her forward. But, he knew his Alpha better than the majority of the pack as he had watched her over the years. A silent companion. A face to rely on. A wolf who had her back.
For those who had encountered hardships like Titania had; deserved a special kind of respect and Eóghan gave her the acknowledgment most did not seem to give her. She had saved his life in a sense and for that, he’d always have respect for her. Not that she’d ever know or appreciate such a ridiculous thought.
Despite this, he still returned her ferocity in combat. Titania was relentless, pouring every ounce of violent rage into each of her hits. But did Eóghan hesitate? He managed to send a kick to her right hip and scratch her arm. A flesh wound but nevertheless blood was spilled and Titania sent him a wicked smile; her piercing blue eyes daring him to do it again.
A simple wound may not have proved significant to most spars but to him, it showed improvement. Not many managed to injure Titania without her permission and in the past couple of weeks, he had managed just that. It had taken years in the making but finally, he was proving his worth to her. Which meant more than any normal wolf could comprehend but Eóghan was not simply a normal wolf.
“You’re improving Beta, next you’ll be having my hide,” Titania smirked and patted Eóghan on his shoulder. He refused to flinch at the harsh touch and grit his teeth slowly. Combat with these shifters was taxing to one’s body.
“That’s a Beta’s job. I have to keep up with you somehow.”
“True, very true.” She grabbed her discarded shirt and wiped her brow, catching the sweat droplets that clung to her skin. “Keep going the way you’re going and we’ll soon have a scuffle over who’s Alpha.”
Eóghan didn’t miss the deeper meaning to her words, especially after the obvious warning over the rogue the other day. Her face remained blank but her eyes shone. Like a double-edged blade, he replied in a way which he knew would placate her.
“Maybe so, but you know more than anyone that I do not want the Alpha position.”
She turned to him, assessed him for a second before revealing her canines in a pointed smile, “Calm down, I’m teasing.”
While maybe they were the words that came out her mouth, her expression spoke otherwise. Not biting, Eóghan simply nodded.
"Back you go. You've got a lot of technique to work on." She inclined her head back to the training grounds.
With a half-cocked smile, he couldn't help but retort, "Technique that didn't manage to injure you in the last fight?" Titania's eyes flickered to the already healed scab on her forearm.
"It's hilarious that you think this is an injury and it's a pity that you think you have the ability to beat me. So shoo."
Arctic eyes flashed and with a cheeky wink, Eóghan went back to the training rings. Endurance was crucial and over time her Beta had slightly, like a slow developing fungus, grown on her. She kept her cards close to her chest and just because she could tolerate the wolf did not mean much more than that. Titania recognized his strength and kept him close for an Alpha couldn’t have too many allies.
Deciding that presenting herself in her current state; covered in sweat, blood, and dirt was not appropriate for dinner, she nipped inside and took a shower. The wolves she passed inside the main pack house all tilted their heads in respect. None doubted her. Not anymore. Even with the upward battle of current day patriarchy, especially within the Werewolf Society, her pack had quickly come to the realization that she was there to stay. How Titania had smashed her competitors into the ground - literally.
And now, she instilled a deep sense of fear as her mentality had carved her into a hard-shaped weapon of destruction.
Surrounding packs stayed away and after the corruption of her soul, many believed she was lost to the moon herself. Lunatic. Insane. Psychotic. Just some of the remarks thrown. All because she hardened. All because she refused to take any sort of idiocy or disrespect. All because she was a Female Alpha.
The view out Titania’s window proved to be an effective vantage point. She could scour the talent of the sparring wolves, all while remaining hidden. From this, she could watch without any wolves showing off or becoming distracted by the dominance her wolf drove into the air.
Failing to resist the urge to smile, she watched with pride as her warriors tore into each other. No reverence for the family, neighbors or friends they may be fighting. Her wolves were close-knit and all knew that there was no bad blood held over such sessions. Instead, warm food in their bellies from the hunting parties brought about a merry and festive atmosphere, all battle wounds forgotten.
Once again consumed in thought, she pulled out a red stamped envelope from her desk that had arrived at her doorstep at dawn. Studying it intently she tore it open with a quick flick of her claw. Deciding that anything with an official stamp from the Elder Council was going to be mind-numbing, she plopped down on her favourite couch. Titania rolled her eyes at the very first sentence, to the addressed:
Dear Miss Titania Conlin,
Firstly, she had not referred to herself as a Conlin for many moons and still fought back her wolf at the very sight of it printed mockingly in front of her.
Due to certain circumstances, we would like to formally invite you to a meet and greet ceremony on the 30th of June near the Scottish borders. Many of the larger pack Alpha’s would like to have a discussion that relates to the health and wellbeing of the werewolf society as a whole. As requested, your presence is imperative and there will be no justifications for wolves that do not attend.
It is in your highest interest to precipitate,
The Elder Council.
Without a second thought, she ripped the fancy letter in half. These formalities did not grant her any kind of satisfaction and rather, put her and her wolf in a position of refusal. Not wanting to attend a party where social interaction was how other wolves communicated, she found herself in a complex situation. While she could easily continue with her life up the mountain tops, it would be irresponsible and foolish to blatantly refuse an, albeit it stupid, request.
So, she did what any frustrated Alpha would do. She made the preparations for the trip in a few days time before tearing into the gym. Anger simmering dangerously hot behind her thickly veiled mask. Wolves backed off and watched her with a keen eye. In awe, but also in fear of how she filled the room. Her presence demanded to be listened to and be listened to it would.
The mindless exercise distracted Titania’s mind while she schemed. Plotted. Planned. Analyzed the precautions and what would need to be done to make the trip somewhat worthwhile. Titania knew who would be at this ′gathering′ and she had a rough idea of what it would be about. The Elder Council adament she take a male suitor.
With a strategy in place, she forced her body to its limits. Inwardly relishing the pain it brought. For she had learned from a young age that pain equaled familiarity and now, she brandished the pain given to her. As long as the world was cruel and the moon punished those she sought fit, she would hold her anguish like a sword. Wielded in all its glory.
Not forgotten and never forgiven.