As a tight knit community, Duskfall felt the tension from their leaders.
The next couple of days saw watchful eyes on Eóghan and Garth, as they marched around the land, got involved in every group of wolves, young or old, Scottish or European, they ensured that they knew the complete ins and outs of the packs. Meanwhile Athdara and Lucy conversed casually without the rank, eyes keen for the rat within their midsts.
Knowing what her role was, Athdara was determined to prove her worth. Lucy, Garth and Eóghan would look suspicious joining in the more domestic, but necessary Duskfall tasks while she blended in making her the perfect candidate to snoop. Working in the kitchen, skinning animals and joining in the female hunts let her investigate amongst the females for they should never be discredited. Females were just as cunning. While her efforts left her dejected, she returned to her sanctuary in her overcrowded office and began doing what she did best; using her brain to piece together any links, for the wolf had some trails to cover.
Lucy, however had other means of unearthing the mole. Starting with suspicious males- from the Spanish packs in particular, she beat them consistently in spars, taking out not just her frustration but her wolf’s yearning for their mate. Distraction was key and fighting and following males untill she was certain they weren’t reporting back to Alpha Jared was the best distraction she could think of. It beat moping in bed and as Titania always said; no matter your circumstances, the pack always came first.
A tense Eóghan made his way to one of his old hunting lodges. Duskfall was still demanding an execution but as the stakes were now higher, a desperate Beta wolf had no choice but to reach for what he thought was his only hope.
It was eleven, sun shining through the crisp air. No flowers bloomed and the earth was hardening, Mother nature was quickening the pace of the chase.
Three knocks to cabin door with no answer had Eóghan disappointed. He thought that Nathan would be up, and secretly he compared Titania’s downfall to Nathan’s. It took her months to let the darkness claim her and that was not by choice, while Nathan simply went belly up as soon as the heartbreak hit him. I thought he’d at least have improved, he thought while knocking louder.
“Get up Nathan.”
No response had him rattling the door so hard that the screws jittered, “I’m here the same time every few days. There’s no excuse so get up.”
A groan emitted from inside, “Not today... go away.”
This was the routine everytine Eóghan decided to try with Nathan, a decision he was starting to regret. The rouge would’ve been long dead if he wasn’t Titania’s mate, but that reasoning was slipping as Eóghan’s wolf growled. His fists clenched as his eyes burned through the door.
“I’m not leaving, either you open this bloody door or I’ll break it myself and sock you so hard you’ll be singing flower of fucking Scotland.”
His tone conveyed his seriousness as Nathan wearily made his way to the door. Upon seeing the Betas stern expression and rigid stance, he didn’t argue and simply let him enter the cabin. “I didn’t ask you to train me.” He huffed.
Eóghan inspected the disarray of the place, not impressed. “Though luck. Get changed and we’ll begin.”
Nathan muttered under his breath as he went to grab some clothes. He didn’t expect Eóghan to understand how he could barely get out of bed in the mornings. That morning, however, too depressed to go hunt he did receive a dead stag by his backdoor, from scenting it and the painful twinge inside, he knew Titania had left it for him. A nice change seeing as eating didn’t feel like a necessity to him anymore but the action left him even more confused.
Sighing from the ache in his limbs, he returned to find Eóghan sitting in the only chair that hadn’t been trashed from one of his episodes. “What’s this?”
Eóghan’s finger reached for the stack of whiskey bottles stashed under the couch. Nathan just shrugged, “what about it?” He fired back, his eyes still bloodshot from the night previous.
“Where did you get this from?” Eóghan demanded, “you’re isolated here and you wouldn’t make it a few feet into Duskfall lands to get any, not before loosing your head anyway.”
Not answering, Nathan turned and occupied himself in the small kitchenette. This had Eóghan up in seconds. His wolf glowed through his eyes as he growled, “I asked you a question. ANSWER ME.”
The Alpha command was heavy in his voice and Nathan felt his neck tilt. He was no match for an Alpha, even if he did use on be a respected head warrior many moons ago.
“Fine fine.” His body choked and he kept his neck on display, “Some of my friends brought me some.”
Eóghan could smell the lie a mile off, that and the skip in Nathan’s heartbeat was the giveaway. Pausing, although hidden his wolf picked up the faint smell of perfume.
“A female.” He deadpanned.
Nathan stilled but turned to face the enraged male. Although his voice had levelled out, the fury was not difficult to spot. Stuttering to find an excuse and cursing his forgetfulness to cover his tracks, he nodded.
Eóghan crossed his arms. His wolf had its teeth bared and was urging to have its mouth wrapped around the pathetic excuse of a wolf that stood infront.
“A female that you’re sleeping with.”
Again all Nathan could do was nod, but not before letting his mouth run away from him. “Sleeping with? More like banging her ass and pussy so hard they’re one hole.”
Eóghan had had enough, “So while Duskfall mourn the loss of the best Alpha they’ve ever had you’re here getting smashed and drinking? You’re not here on a fucking holiday.” Eóghan stalked Nathan dangerously, eyes golden with contempt, “You’re only alive on my order.”
Nathan snorted, only fuelling Eóghan. His face was right in Nathan’s, teeth bared, claws emerging, fur sprouting over the lack of regret and remorse. “Let me get one thing straight here, disrespect Titania one more time, I dare you, and your body belongs to Duskfall who won’t stop till you’ve gotten what you deserve.”
Instinct drove Eóghan hard, “Forget running, we’re sparring,” and with that he threw a punishing fist to Nathan’s chest.
“What’s your issue Eóghan? Titania’s gone and you’re worried about my sex life?” Nathan gasped, “I think your priorities are skewed.”
Eóghan raised an eyebrow, “I’d be more worried about what’s gonna happen to you once she’s back.” He threw an uppercut which Nathan dodged as they circled each other.
“When.” Eóghan corrected, “and you’re going to help me.” Eóghan foresaw Nathan trying to dislodge his footing and instead aimed straight for the face.
Shocked, Nathan didn’t manage to move in time and felt the full force of Eóghan’s fist.
“Help?! Excuse me but pah.” He spat blood on the cabin floor. “You’re lying.”
Fists flew as the two males sparred. Eóghan relished the chance to, in a way, avenge Titania for the wrongdoings of her mate but he did spot a slight improvement in his technique: less sloppy.
Washing his fists from the coat of Nathan’s blood Eóghan said, “I meant what I said earlier, you’re going to help me find her and you’re going to bring her back.”
“Did you see her when she turned, she didn’t register who I was.” Referring to the memory of the office when she attacked him, leaving his arm like a shredded piece of donner meat.
“That’s because you were doing god knows what with another female! Christ Nathan, you’re as thick as a potato.”
Nathan just took a swing from a water bottle but the smell tipped Eóghan off that it wasn’t simply water. “I’m no use to you.”
“I agree but we’re desperate.”
Eóghan signalled his head to their usual training route in the woods, “I’ll tell you what I’ve got in mind, let’s go.”
Not having a choice, Nathan followed Eóghan who barely sported any injuries from their spar. Nathan however downed the rest of the bottle knowing that it would numb the burn from his own.
Catching up to Eóghan he asked, “so what’s this magical plan of yours.”
Eóghan however had caught an usual scent; Titania’s. Bringing his wolf forward he knew he wasn’t hullicinating, but how?
He stopped straight in his tracks and an oblivious Nathan walked straight into him, “If you expect me to somehow connect with her telepathically then you’re out of luck, oomph, what?”
Eóghan took in another deep breath, “When were you going to tell me that she’d been here?”
Nathan blanched, “Um, what?”
“Titania.” But Nathan knew full well who the she was that Eóghan was regarding. “She’s been here... recently.”
Ignoring the iciness and urgency in Eóghan’s voice; Nathan acted casually and shrugged his shoulders, “Nope, I would’ve seen her.”
Eóghan turned his face to the Spaniard and his green eyes narrowed on him. “And those claw marks are yours then?”
The trees mocked him as they showcased Titania’s rage. “I get episodes sometimes.”
“You need to stop lying to your superiors, or if you’re gonna then at least be more convincing. Unless you want to admit to peeing on the trees.”
Nathan’s shoulders slumped, “How long.” Eóghan said calmly.
“A week or so, maybe nine days.”
Eóghan internally was starting to get excited, but refusing to show it he lead Nathan back to the cabin not wanting to alarm Titania if she was in the woods.
“Has she approached you?” Even though Nathan shook his head, this was progress to Eóghan: they had a starting point.
“Change of plan, sit.” Scowling at the crude demand Nathan cussed, “I’m not a dog.”
“You’re not good enough to even be classed as a dog in my eyes, just sit, shut your trap and listen.”
“You’re such a dick.” He crossed his arms over his lean chest and sat.
“Touché.” The beads in Eóghan’s beard clinked as he thought, a common habit for him to play with his beard when strategising.
“You need to gain her trust here, if she’s been visiting requently we have a chance. Even though she’s feral she’s still seeking her mate consciously or not.”
Nathan’s ears perked up, “How do you suppose I do that without dying in the process.”
Eóghan’s face sported a grin, “It’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
“Haha, how funny. Seriously though, why would she trust me? This won’t work.” He sighed, sinking into the broken seat.
“The mate bond is a special thing, it’s rare to even have a mate that isn’t chosen.” Eóghan looked Nathan in the eye, defeat was not an option here. “We need to at least try.”
Looking unconvinced, Nathan twiddled his fingers. Eóghan stood, realising that Nathan needed some thinking space.
“You owe her it.” Was his parting words to the Spaniard, before closing the door behind him.
He mindlinked Garth the updates and went back to the office, mind focused on bringing his Alpha back. He changed the border patrol, completely avoiding the area near Nathan, perhaps if the woodlands to the East remained as empty as possible, Titania would be more likely to approach.
That was his thinking anyway, not as if that proved successful in the past. Shaking the memories of the past away, Eóghan went to spar with the warriors before hunting with the females.
Winter, Alpha Jared or Duskfall... who would get to Titania first?