"Did you hear that?”
“Don’t be an idiot, Garth. How could you not? It was pretty fuckin lou-”
A small growl from Eóghan showed his displeasure while he hid his confusion carefully. Eyes darting and ears perked, he knew it was Titania. But weren’t they supposed to attack tonight? His thoughts were scattered as the beast enraged at the lies his Human had been fed.
“We stick to the original plan; take the warriors into groups and lay in wait for attack. We patrol until they come to Duskfall.”
Brett’s eyes flew to Eóghan, narrowing to focus solely on him. He could feel the rumbling begin within his chest as his wolf voiced his distaste of the plans. While not technically an Alpha anymore, his wolf knew what needed to be done to prevent spilt blood.
“I disagree; by that time Titania will be hunted down. I refuse to sit back and leave her like a lamb for slaughter. We need to attack now and get the upper hand. We know the lands and could take them by surprise.”
Turning his head slowly to meet Brett, Eóghan’s lip curled at the tone and accusation of his words. He took a step towards him, while three inches smaller than the Shetland male, it did not stop his wolf puffing its chest and dispelling its dominance.
Inches away from Brett’s face, he growled lowly. “We. Stick. To. The. Plan.”
Returning the fire, Brett responded. “The plan has changed.”
Argus stood behind his Beta, arms crossed. While loyal to his pack, he agreed with Brett.
“Don’t forget who’s in charge here, Brett. You’re treading on thin ice.”
Another long howl cut the males bickering, silencing their voices as hers dominated. It echoed throughout the mountains, claiming the area to the one true Alpha: The Black Widow. The first female Alpha born of her name.
Time was running out. Titania’s last call suffocated the atmosphere with torment and Brett’s wolf was responding, edging the Human to act. “Then don’t make me challenge you, Eóghan, cause I bloody well will. I want her safe just as much as you, especially since they’ve decided to attack this morning. We’re underprepared and while we scramble, they will have hunted her down.”
Eóghan’s blank face conveyed his reluctance to budge.
“Listen to me and your head warrior.”
Eóghan’s gaze flickered to Argus, who nodded and dropped his arms. His wolf neck bowed. With a small growl full of exasperation and a wolf on the verge of shifting, he relented.
His mind flickered back to the events of the past. He was not an Alpha, not anymore. At the realisation that he was fighting a loosing battle against a wolf in love, he nodded to Brett and moved back into action. Unsuspecting of their attack, which was supposed to be tonight and not in the late morning, he barked commands, trying to calm his wolf who was snarling his anger at the lack of respect.
Garth rounded up those not willing to fight and gave them their orders to defend and patrol while the elderly and disabled were secured in a remote cabin. The other pack Alphas helped usher the wolves to safety but a few scowls littered their faces; some upset at the risk Duskfall had put upon their packs.
Duskfall was in a state of array; a frenzy of disorganisation. Wolves ran back to their cabins while the warriors remained; stoic statues prepared to fight.
Lucy’s wolf was anxiously pacing while she waited with the other remaining wolves. Hearing her Alpha, a wolf she respected greatly, in pain had her fur bristling. The desire to sprint towards the harrowing howls was overbearing, but Lucy, knowing better, remained firm and waited for the go ahead. She was separated into the East wing, a group that would ambush from the East with a few of her warrior companions. The nine of them had blue paint across their faces and bodies. Argus matched his group, the diagonal duck egg blue a colour of his family house.
Eóghan stood in front of the West group, sporting yellow body paint. The majority of wolves would be attacking from both sides, creating an ambush. Brett smothered the red paint over his eyes, the colour co-ordinated the current state of bloodlust he felt. As the front offensive, his wolf was anticipating being let loose from his cage; the mental restraints becoming too tight.
Nathan watched with hazy eyes as wolves applied their paint. He managed to stifle a snicker at the ridiculousness of their appearance but a sharp look from Argus had his hand quickly covering his mouth. Within three seconds, Nathan’s hiccups filled the air and warriors looked on in disgust; in a time of death and destruction Nathan was as giddy as a kipper. Lucy spat at the ground to his left and many refused to be within a few metres of him.
There he sat; a broken wolf whose claims for his change had been his downfall; alcohol’s poisonous hands tempting and ever bitter. A fractured soul aching. A disgraced wolf suffering. But suffering rightfully deserved.
In seven minutes the warriors were colour-coded, kilt adorned and ready to fight. Rolling his eyes, Eóghan ignored Nathan and his attention-seeking tactics, his wolf wanting to skin him where he stood, but instead, he focused on the wolves that remained.
“Thank-you all for putting your lives on the line for our Alpha.”
Duskfall wolves puffed their chests with honour for the chance to prove themselves. This was they had prepared for, this was a privilege to them and their wolves.
“To our wolves at Duskfall and those that live in the countries beyond, we’ve had our hardships but look at us now: Brothers and sisters that will spill their blood and tears for one another. A pack. A family. And today, we ride and lay our lives for the wolf that made Duskfall. The wolf that gave you food in your bellies, a warn cabin to sleep in and learned your languages to welcome you. Today, we avenge her and bring her back!”
The warriors each lifted a clenched fist into the air. Mixed growls of resolve and courage were the last sounds that resonated throughout pack grounds as determined warriors looked back towards Duskfall’s Beta. Adrenaline pumping; faces thrown back in a howl to the hidden moon.
A few curious faces peeked from their cabin windows at the warriors, watching with both anticipation and fear.
With a scowl printed on his face, Alpha Alfonso studied the warriors. He was already plotting over his plans to take Duskfall. With a few whispers among the Spanish wolves, it was inevitable that the ploy was already in action. Despite his crippled legs that would always require a cane to walk; Alpha Alfonso’s brain was ever sharp and tactical, a notorious and dangerous advantage. It only took a few choice words with Nathan for him to sink his relationship with Titania.
The wolf was so gullible to believe that he’d be allowed to enter his pack when they returned to Spain: as if.
Regarding his competition with the other Alpha’s, a few Chinese whispers was all it took to install a sense of doubt within their packs. Now all that remained was Titania’s death to give him the prize that a strong male, and not a emotionally driven women, deserved: Duskfall.
Turning to his Beta, Matius, he couldn’t help the glee that seeped from his voice. “If this isn’t perfect timing I don’t know what is.”
His Beta watched as his Alpha’s lips smiled cruelly, a dark gleam in his eyes as he watched through the snow frosted glass. “After playing nice for so long, it’s finally time to put what we talked about into action. Tell the others.”
On the other side of Duskfall stood a more sullen tone. The French wolves were still angered by the recent death of their Beta wolf and refused to acknowledge the warriors as they prepared for battle, instead choosing to sit, ignore and wait out the impending calamity. Alpha Lumiere simply watched on with a heavy heart.
For he had learnt a lot from his time at Duskfall and even despite the loss of his Beta, he still wanted to fight. Especially for the woman who had made him see his wolf for what it was, not a separate entity but a raw and instinctual part of himself. Something he never would’ve discovered in his home pack surrounded by Humans.
Encircled by his pack wolves in his cabin, he sent his best wishes to the group of warriors. His mate also looked on with foreboding before cuddling back into him.
With limited time, limited experience and a storm brewing, the wolves lined up, chests proud as they snuck off into the dense woodland. The ranked wolves took their positions as they shifted and chased after Titania’s calls with the stealth and prowess of undetected shadows; the morning sun catching the colour of their war paint. Dull colours that stood out in their frozen surroundings.
Only one lone figure remained outside to face the brisk chill of the oncoming snowstorm.
“Well this is estúpidoo- hiccup!" Nathan mused to himself as he lay belly up in the middle of the pack grounds. With whiskey humming through his system, he managed to upright himself after the third attempt.
“And heeeere we go!” He chanted as he stumbled after the warriors, without a designated group or orders he simply covered himself in all three of the body paints; amusement rising as the colours became a smudged brown. To him, the colour reminded him of his mate’s fur.
“Tatana, Imma come- hiccup - get you. HIC!"
A wolves sense of smell was an incredible skill. Fine-tuned and calibrated with micro-movements of a wolf’s ear, to pinpoint exact locations with incredible ease. A sense that many took for granted. But not the wolves.
As the wolves split into their groups and dispersed, their ears twitched capturing every sound of the coniferous woodlands. The creatures that hadn’t migrated were in hiding; foreboding, as their wide eyes took in the hordes of wolves crunching through the snow.
Brett’s wolf lead his group; a towering midnight black beast with grey eyes that scanned its environment. With the wolf out, his senses had heighted and he demanded blood. With a curled lip and hunched muscles, he waited for his warriors to catch-up.
′We’re in position Eóghan.′ He mind linked. With a careful count of the ten wolves with him, which were all accounted for, he communicated with his group to lay on their bellies.
Eóghan’s response was almost immediate. ’We’ve lost two wolves, tread carefully the ground is dangerous. We’ll be in position in T-minus 2 minutes.′
′Dead Rosevelt wolves on the East side, she’s been here.′
Argus took the carnage in. The once pristine snow was stained with a harsh crimson. Intestines and body parts littered the small clearing in front of them, while the scent of Titania prevailed in the air. The looming coniferous trees hung over the scene like nosy spectators. Bending to the force of the storms will, they sprinkled snow like sugar dusting, slowly covering up the grisly remains.
Lucy’s wolf was riled. When curiously scenting the mess of the corpses, she had detected Titania’s blood. While a few drops, that was all it took for Titania’s chances to be halved. She caught Argus’s attention and showed him what she had found. With his ears to attention and wolf’s fury starting to build he mind-linked the other two groups.
′Ready for command. We have a new development, Titania’s injured and heading to the West.′
As if overhearing the importance of the mornings events, Mother Nature sent her greetings. Sub-zero temperatures paired with a punishing wind that chilled even the ex-Alpha’s to their bones.
″In position. It’s time.′ Eóghan had to force the words into the mind-link as he struggled against the wind. With no shelter to take the brunt of the wind, they were out in the open. Before frostbite took his front paws, he motioned for his wolves to take cover in the shrubs around the cliffs edge to the West.
With a determined howl to alert the others, Brett charged with his group into the obscured blanket that hid the Scottish Highlands from sight.
For his rage would not be put out by a simple chill. His rage would execute those in his way and those who threatened his family. His rage would bring back the woman that he and his wolf had chosen as theirs.
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