Brett cursed as the delayed ferry added four hours to his journey. By the time he finally arrived to mainland Scotland he still had a nine hour run to Duskfall pack lands. His wolf pushed forward, desperate to take Mother natures harsh chill head on, but he had to force his body to stop. Winter was nothing to laugh at so precaution was needed and despite his boiling anger towards the Rosevelt members who chose to cross Ash Crescent, he still had to use his head, no matter how emotional he was.
Eóghan greeted a ragged Brett on the 16th of December, two days after his expected arrival. One look at the Alpha male told Eóghan that he’d done everything in his power to persevere through the snow, cold and mist, conditions which did not give for a good nights sleep.
He extended his arm to Brett, thankful for his presence during the turbulence of the past month. “Alpha, I’m glad you could make it.”
“Not an Alpha any longer.” Brett tried to joke but his voice came out strained, Eóghan commended the wolf who stood in front of him; he was a worthy ally of Duskfall.
Brett grabbed the hand and rather than shaking his hand, he pulled Eóghan into a side hug. “It’s good to see you, apologies for the delay. The ferry couldn’t travel until nightfall so I got stranded, I probably could’ve swam here quicker.”
While rigid into the sudden embrace, Eóghan patted the males back. He was grateful for the support as the past couple of days had seen revolt within Duskfall and the Beta male was sure he had bald patches from running his hands through his hair so often.
“You’re here now which is all that matters.” He retracted from Brett, who’s worn face said it all, “Come, I’ll show you to your cabin.”
The males trudged forwards, Brett following Eóghan through the coniferous woodlands surrounding Duskfall. After discussing the events of the past few weeks, Brett listened intently but couldn’t help the tiredness that littered every muscle in his body, he got away with a few single word responses but Eóghan could sense the hulking mass needed some sleep. Luckily they passed the patrol wolves, who dipped their heads in respect before cabins lined Brett’s line of sight. While Eóghan lead him to one shared among the Beta’s to the East, Brett couldn’t help but let his gaze drift to a very familiar cabin.
It loomed in isolation but its two floor structure showed its basic but grandeur appearance. He stopped. Memories of the ball celebration not even three months prior flickered through his head. The champagne. The Moon. The Happiness. Her.
Titania’s cabin looked right back at him, silently mocking him.
“It’s wise not to go in there.” Eóghan admired the cabin but stood firm. “You can stay in my lodge since I sometimes sleep in the office... when I actually get any sleep.”
Brett gave him a tired smile. There was no point in arguing. Fruitless in the current situation of war, pack politics and death. Before leaving Ash Crescent he had already lost a wolf to the cold. He shivered at the thought of leaving his birth right of the Shetland islands behind but scolded himself for dwelling on the guilt; he was finally doing something for himself. Ash Crescent was in good hands and Brett was of more use here, well... that’s what he kept telling himself.
“Training is at 5pm, I’ll see you in a few hours when you’re rested.” Eóghan kept a hard exterior in front of the established male, after staying up late to scout Titania in the Eastern forests with no luck, he was also shattered. But he refused to sleep. Not until his Alpha returned safely.
Duskfall grounds were filled with sparring wolves and those who were not training were being briefed on borders, roasting vegetables or shielding the children from the brunt of the impending violence.
Brett strode around with confidence, his posture demanding, his face set in stone and eyes cutting as he observed the comings and goings of the pack. Many wolves recognised the intimidating Alpha male and bent their necks in submission as he passed, whispers and mutterings flew but he paid little attention. He had one goal and he would not be deterred from it. Eóghan had paired him with a group of wolves to scout for Titania on the Eastern borders. He was content that there was an effort to find her and with him in charge, he knew the warrior wolves he’d been assigned knew the risks, especially those associated with a feral wolf.
Females admired the seasoned warrior as Brett stood topless in front of his ten wolves. Scars and tattoos stained his porcelain skin. Danger and determination seeped from his essence and his detached eyes showed the wolves that he meant business. Leja, a newly trained tracker, gulped as he commanded the group with little effort.
“We’re going to scout the Eastern borders for Titania,” He started, gaining the attention of the wolves in front. Some mouths remained open. “We spilt into three groups of three and scent the area, here’s a scent for reference.” He threw one of Titania’s training tops to the warriors.
Many did not know how to react, they had hunted game but a feral wolf? Especially one as skilled and deadly as Titania? The two newbies couldn’t help but fill with fear while the rest accepted their task and took a sniff of Titania’s scent.
“We’re tracking..... an Alpha?” Leja stuttered. She was bewildered beyond comprehension, but the other wolves didn’t share her thoughts.
Brett focused on the female, “The animals have migrated, what else did you think we were doing?” He retorted as she shrunk back.
Argus nodded to Brett, fully understanding the implications this hunt would have.
With a commanding wave and a deep grunt, they set off in their formation. One tracker and two seasoned warriors per group into the negative temperatures and dark shadows of the forest. Brett’s dark wolf howled its frustrations into the bleak grey sky. It was time to save what was his.
“Are you sure broadcasting that we’re searching for Titania is smart? Especially when we know Duskfall has a mole...”
Athdara couldn’t help but speak her mind to her Beta who sat watching the rest of the wolves train outside. He spotted Nathan sparring alongside the Spanish wolves, he sighed before returning his gaze back to Athdara who sat in the corner seat with her notebook.
“With time ticking away forcing the opponent into a location is safer for Duskfall. Alpha Jared only has 26 wolves so we can outnumber and ambush him. Let them play by our rules rather than them taking us by surprise.”
She nodded with his logic, “But what if Alpha Jared finds Alpha Titania before us?” Despite being gone for a month and a half, Titania was still their Alpha and all wolves in Duskfall referred to her as such.
“He won’t.” Was Eóghan’s tight response.
Athdara wasn’t convinced, “But...”
Eóghan growled at her and cut Athdara off mid sentence. His wolf was not happy at the implication or suggestion that Titania’s death was an option. However naïve, but it was her returning to Duskfall was a beacon propelling him out the darkness.
“It’s our only option. We also know the lands better than him so right now, Duskfall have the advantage.” She bent her neck in submission as his dominance saturated the air, she was smarted than pushing a wolf so close to the edge.
“Of course Beta.” This placated Eóghan as the wolf within calmed. He took a deep breath and pinched his nose, “Any news on the mole?”
Flicking through her notebook pages she paused and stopped at a list of suspects. “I have five potential suspects but for some of them it’s only slight suspicion and we also must consider all the people who didn’t agree with Titania’s rule... and those who didn’t like her. It was a long list but I tried to narrow it down to particular singular motives or links to the Rosevelt pack itself.”
Intrigued, Eóghan picked a stray grain of rice out of his beard and nodded for her to continue.
“In terms of connections to the Rosevelt pack I did some digging and found some connections. From there I observed them for a few days and have strong probability that the mole could be Bella Guild, Hugo Lopez, Julian Heathshaw, Caymden Frey and Beta Adam Ronald who is from Bleulune.”
She scribbled some lines before meeting Eóghan’s wide eyes, for Caymden was a Duskfall wolf. He took a seat processing it all before signalling for Athdara to continue.
Her voice took a serious tone, “They all have familial links bar Hugo and Caymden who have personal vendetta’s against Titania. Titania killed Caymden’s older brother when establishing the pack for the Alpha position and Hugo is a Spanish wolf who’s family has a lot of stocks in the coal market. Two years ago, Titania sold over £360,000 worth of coal which saturated the market, decreased the stock price and ruined his family’s investment. They later filed for bankruptcy.”
“Both plausible candidates. Do they have connections to the Rosevolt pack?”
She pulled out a sheet of bank details. Athdara knew how to work the dark web and find documents that packs took great care in destroying. Cunning was not a skill wasted on Athdara.
“The Rosevelt pack bailed out the Lopez family, but the family haven’t made any payments since last year which could suggest that the Lopez are struggling to pay back-”
Eóghan chimed in, “Or they’re paying the Rosevelt pack back in another way.”
“Precisely,” Athdara nodded, “And Caymden has taken four vacations to the South of England in the past year and a half. He has no known family there so there would be no reason to visit.”
Happy with her analytical review and proud of her means to find such sensitive and intricate information, he shot her a grateful smile, showcasing his pearly whites. He knew her skills were imperative to Duskfall’s redemption.
“I’ll interview them both later, but for now keep the names on the down-low. Especially Beta Adams. We can’t go dragging names through the mud when there’s so much uncertainty. Am I clear?”
“Yes Beta, I’ll not tell a soul. ” She made a cross over her heart, swearing her words as true, despite the lie. Quickly packing up her notes, she slipped out the office and left Eóghan to watch Duskfall prepare.
She caught herself staring at the Beta male as she admired his strength. His loyalty to Duskfall and Alpha Titania was like no other wolf, her instincts told her that his devotion and desperation to find Titania meant that she would never have a chance. She snapped out her self pity and closed the door, creating a distance between him and her.
Now was not a time to think of such things. Not when she had singlehandly brought the enemy to Duskfalls doorstep. What had she done?