Through The Motions
6 months later...
Today dawned plainly just like every other day of my mundane life. Firstly, I’m woken by the blinding rays of light making its way through the sheer gold curtains. Curtains that do absolutely nothing to block out the rising sun. I don’t understand why we can’t use something obscure that will actually block out the sunrise.
Groaning, I bury myself under the lightweight quilt that makes me boil and sweat from the humid heat of Helios’ sun hitting my window.
Just as I begin to find comfort again, my alarm blares blatantly which only ends up frustrating me enough that I turn the alarm off and throw my phone across the room over to my wash basket, where it lands with a slight thud as it hits the wall instead. Squeezing my eyes tightly shut, I pray to all of the gods for just a few more minutes of peaceful slumber.
“Li!” My eyes fly open as my brother Jasper shouts out to me as he bangs incessantly on my door.
“You’re going to be late!” He laughs as he walks off as I once again groan as I throw the light blue quilt off myself. Rubbing my eyes, everything is too bright, the sun merely reflects off the dull white walls of the large bedroom.
Stretching my limbs, I reluctantly pull myself out of bed and search through the pile of clothing on the ground until I find something that still smells relatively clean. Looking over to my overflowing wash basket, I realise that I need to do all of the washing soon, I literally have nothing clean and fresh left.
I take the stairs down to the kitchen two at time, knowing that I will be late if I don’t depart soon. Swiftly grabbing a bowl from the cupboard pouring the cereal then milk inside while sitting on the bench across from my brother. He seemed to be lost in his mates embrace with his gross googol eyes for her.
“I love you more.” Jasper makes kissy faces at his mate Helena as I try not to gag as the two act like lovesick pups.
“But I love you most.” Helena coos as she kisses his nose.
“Not possible!” Jasper laughs as he kisses her lips.
“Completely possible!” Helena laughs back returning the kiss.
“You both realise that I am sitting right across from you.” I butt in trying to separate them from continuing this love fest before it gets to far. If our parents knew just how often the two of them have had sex in this kitchen we wouldn’t have a kitchen anymore.
“Yes we do,’ Jasper mocks me as he pulls Helena off her own chair and onto his lap as he nuzzles her neck, ’But I know how much this annoys you!” Jasper laughs as Helena hits his chest in a teasing manner.
“Be nice.” She scolds pretending to be angry with him as she smacks his chest, ’Liana, you better hurry to finish that.” She points at my half eaten bowl of cereal.
“You don’t want to be late again, that goes for you two.” She looks over to Jasper with eyes of both adorence and annoyance. Only our moon could have given Jasper the perfect she wolf who can handle his child like behaviour.
“I know, I know.” I shrug as I hurriedly spoon cereal into my mouth.
“Jasper and I have to spend the day with your parents. We need to go over and learn the ropes of, how did they put it?” Helena pauses looking at Jasper before continuing. “Oh yes, ‘pack business’” She rolls her eyes. “As much as I hated the packs daily training I would rather be doing that.” She lets out a soft chuckle, an attempt to make me feel better about not going to training without the two of them.
“And it is going to be oh so much fun.” Jasper rolls his eyes. “Dad even said we get to train together which means I’m going to be black and blue by the end of the day.” He sighed.
“Thank god I’m not in your shoes.” I smile as I place another spoonful in my mouth.
“You really should be going now.” Helena reminds me as we both look over to the grandfather clock.
“I know.” I sigh as I slurp down the last of the milk remain in my bowl, before placing it in the sink. “Have fun today.” I wink over to the both of them as I hear them both groan.
Today will not be fun for either of them, but better them than me.
Starting with a slow jog to warm up my muscles I make my way over to the large open oval that is central to all of the homes in the pack. Somewhere that is easily accessible to everyone.
Each and every day is the same routine.
“Liana.” Griffon, My father’s Beta scolds me as I try to attempt to sneak by him hoping he wouldn’t see me just get here late. But, he’s a wolf so perfect sight tends to bite me in the ass.
“You’re late, as usual.” He mutters under his breath but we both know that I heard him along with other members of the pack. Although they are smart enough to keep their eyes averted from the scene.
Griffon has been placed in charge of holding the packs training each day, a job that sometimes I believe he is less than pleased with. He is looking moodier than usual, his ginger hair is a mess and his beard still holds crumbs from this mornings breakfast.
“You’ll spar with me today.” He doesn’t even make eye contact with me. Snubbing me as he walks off to oversee some of the others, giving them praise and instructions of their stance or guiding movements so that they flow effortlessly.
I gulp down as I follow him, today will be a hell of a challenge for me as the man is built like a bear, with all the anger of one to boot.
As we enter the centre of the training oval. Griffin and I are already in positions to begin my training. I haven’t even started yet and my muscles are already crying because they know they’re going to revive another ass whoopin’ from Griffin.
“Lets see how much you have actually listened to my teachings.” He grunts out as he stretches and removes his shirt.
His body is littered in scars, some small and other long and deep. Each telling a story of his past, the grazed blemishes and raised pelts mark him as a wolf of a true Warrior. A man who would lay down his own life for the good of the pack. Often times, my father would retell stories in the early days of war and he would simply praise Griffin as the best warrior he’s ever seen in his life. He is a seasoned fighter and the closest friend of my father, the two of them grew up like brothers.
I watch as Griffon assesses me, searching to target for any of my weak spots. We move around in a circle, eyes never leaving the other. Only darting over the others body for an opening to attack
He begins to circle me, looking me dead in the eyes. He separates the man I know to a beast that hides beneath the skin. This would fear me if I wasn’t trained to defeat enemies who wish to do me harm.
I stare at him back, hunching my shoulders back and forth as they’re ready to strike at any moment. Griffin comes at me at offense while I’m on defense blocking his attacks. His right going for my ribs and I turn jabbing my elbow into his back. He grunts, seeming to be annoyed but I see a quick pride in his eyes before it disappears in seriousness.
“So you have been paying attention,” griffin says as he begins to talk. He’s going to taunt me, to distract me. In the real world, there’s always going to be distractions. Just one wrong move can end everything for you.
“Who said I never listen?” I tease back, launching my body forward trying to jab another one of his ribs. However, he counters my attack my flicking my arm behind my back then pushing me hard onto the dirt ground.
I huff a breath bellowing out a low snarl, trying to calm my nerves knowing I’ll begin to fight with emotions and not focus.
“C’mon Li, is that the best you got. The moon goddess will laugh at your attempts to try to fight me. If you can even call it that.” I then roll on my back and flip my body upwards standing to my full height with fists raised up high.
“That’s better, show me what you got!”
We begin to circle each other as we have our fists protecting the more important parts of our bodies against the enemy.
“But how can she laugh at me if she isn’t even real?” I question him, I know he hates it when I do this, when I question the truth of the Gods.
“Liana.” He snarls “You know better.” Griffon shakes his head at me as he lunges towards me claws catching my forearm as I try to roll out of his reach.
Leaping out of his way I wipe away the small trail of blood from my arm. “How can I know that they are real?” I mock him, hoping to let his emotions instead of his head control him. “How can any of us know that they are real? They have never shown themselves to us.” I continue to try and get a rise out of him as he tries to land a right hook to my face.
I stay on the defensive dodging his attacks, he once taught me it is best to let an opponent wear themselves down first rather than going straight to the offensive. “I know that they are real Liana. Do you not trust me? I was chosen as your fathers beta, both him and I went and were taught by the god of war himself Ares.” He puffs himself up at that fact, not many are chosen to go and meet the god.
“How do you know that he was really a god?” I counter him, blocking a fist that was heading straight for my temple. “You said it yourself, you were high on some drug or flower that only grows in the moons temple.” I hit him with facts. If they have to get high how do they know that it wasn’t all in their heads.
Griffon swings at me aiming for my ribs, I dodge that attack, but I miss him sweeping his leg to kick me over. I land roughly on the ground once more as griffon lands a kick to my ribs with me being too slow to get out of his way.
“I know what I saw Liana, I know what I was taught, no mortal and no wolf can teach me what he did. Why don’t you ask your father?” There is a smugness in his voice.
“You know why I can’t!” I yell as I spring back up to my feet. “He tells me to trust in the moon, he gives no explanation and turns me away. I can’t question him on anything!” I growl beginning to get frustrated.
“That is because he believes in our gods. He knows the truth and you should listen to him instead of questioning everything.” He manages to distract me momentarily as his claws rake down my shoulder, trying to slice the tendon. I feel the warm sensation of blood seeping out but I ignore it. I moved myself away before he could get his claws in far enough to do serious damage.
He doesn’t give me a chance to answer as he chimes in with what he believes to be cold hard facts. “And you yourself always reference the gods Liana.” A cockiness takes over him as he stalks my movements. “You always say Helios’ sun, or in the Moon’s name or even ’I swear to the moon goddess above’ he looks me up and down, knowing this will annoy me. “You say these things, yet you still question the existence of them? Of the moon who showers us with protection and love”
He is partly right there. I do say those things but it is hard not to pick up on sayings when every person around me says them. I was raised with these sayings. But thats all they are.
I mull over what to say, but I decide to only answer one part of the speech he just gave me. “How can I not question the moon when everyone says she is nothing but love and kindness but she doesn’t want female alphas? She wants us to kill them? How can I not question that?” I try to dig my claws into any part of his flesh.
He pauses for a mere second, taken back by my question which give me the prefect opening to his left shoulder, his weaker one, hurt severely in a challenge long ago that never healed correctly. I manage to get my claws in before he yanks away, letting me rip some flesh away from him.
“This is the ONE and ONLY thing she asks of us. I know she has a good reason for it.” That is all he says on it, but something in his eyes tells me he knows more than he is letting on.
He lunges forward, I have taken my questions too far with him today, he will not tolerate this any longer. But his blind rage is good for me, he becomes sloppy giving me every opportunity to strike out and win this.
We dance around each other a wild look taking over both of our eyes. I can see the wolf trying to take a hold of Griffon, mine however stays back. She knows I can handle myself. I assess Griffon as he growls out lunging for me.
I dont dodge out of his way. I take this as an opportunity for me to win for once. He punches once to my ribs, then brings his knee up to the exact same place. I hear the crunch of a bone but I ignore it for he as left himself vulnerable.
He has left himself with no defenses. His neck is wide open for the taking.
I swipe at his throat, leaving lines from my claws, blood begins to pool as I bring my knee up into his stomach. He grunts in pain and I almost have him on his back, with my teeth around his neck.
But he somehow manages to flip us over, showing me all of his strength, the strength he claims he got from training with Ares. I land on my back with the air being rushed out from my lungs.
Griffon holds his claws around my throat. Both of us breathing heavily with blood running down both our bodies painting the ground rich in red. I am given no choice but to submit to him, there is no way out of his hold.
I can feel his claws press in harder drawing more drops of blood as I begin to struggle to wheeze air in and out.
I have no choice now, it is death or submission. I show him my neck, letting him know that I will no longer fight him.
Griffon gets off me while I remain on the ground letting my wounds slowly heal. “You did god today.” He praises me. “But do better tomorrow.” His words are a threat of what tomorrow will bring as he leaves me lying in the dirt
I can hear steps approach me as I lay on the ground too lazy to stretch out after almost defeating Griffon, but considering how close I had him to submitting to me. I’m claiming it as a win.
“Liana, do you know where your parents are? Or your brother?” I turn looking up to face a tall brunette, nothing but pure legs and muscle, Meagan. She is one of the packs lead hunters, lean and agile she knows how to execute the perfect clean kill.
“No sorry, although I know that they are all together going over some of Jasper’s training. Why do you need them?” I ask her.
“Dammit.” She mutters to herself as she looks around.
“Why?” I ask once again
“We are running low on our meat supply.” She sighs “Jasper said he would help round up some wolves to help but I guess he forgot.”
“I’m meant to run the morning patrol with your sister…” I pause thinking over my options.
We need skilled wolves to hunt, ones who are able to make clean kills. So that the meat is left nice and tender. Anyone can honestly ran a patrol as long as they are with a killed partner. And I feel like having a food supply is more important at the moment.
“If we can find someone to go out with Maya today I can go hunting with you.” I suggest
“I guess…” Meagan chews on her lower lip thinking over her options. She looks around the training field trying to find a replacement for me. I follow her line of sight as her eyes fall on Anthea, a newly shifted female. “Anthea needs the learning opportunity.” She muses.
“It would be good for her to start learning the ropes.” I agree. “And it would do Maya well to start training some more wolves to run patrols with her.” I shrug, Maya is shy and really only runs with me or her sister.
And that isn’t good for a wolf.
Wolves need to socialize, it’s unhealthy if they don’t, they begin to ignore the rules of hierarchy and put the whole pack in danger.
“Maya!” Meagan calls out to her little sister, beaconing her over.
“Yes?” She asks as she reaches us with Meagan looking over at me to break the news.
“Liana, I was just looking for you, we better get going.” She glances around she hates training, she isn’t as strong as the rest of us she is just a runner.
“About that…” I fidget with my fingers. “There has been a change of plans…” I pause knowing she isn’t going to like this.
“Whaaaat?” She draws out the word.
“I have to go hunting with your sister, my brother was meant to go but he has other obligations, I am taking his place since we don’t have a lot of hunters at the current second.” I’m rambling, I can’t help, I’m trying to sound like I am full of authority but it is coming out all wrong.
“So I’m going alone?” Maya asks, chewing on her lip the same way her sister does.
“No, we thought that you could take Anitta out with her and show her the ropes.” I point to Meagan trying to show Maya that we both think that this is a good idea.
Maya just looks between the two of us, sighing. “I don’t have a choice do I?” She asks.
“No sorry.” I shake my head.
“You’ll be okay.” Meagan reassures her sister. “It’ll be good for you.” She smiles pushing her sister off in the direction of Anitta.
“You go and meet the others, I’ll introduce Maya and Anitta.” Megan sighs, knowing it was better for her to be there with her sister before she joins me hunting with a few other members of the pack.
Wiping away the built up sweat from my forehead I walk back to the grand white stone pack house with vines of dusty pink bougainvillea that are just beginning to bloom adding a speck of colour to the old house.
We gathered up quite a lot of meat for the pack today, enough to ration out for around a month, we cannot take too much at one time or else we risk ruining our ecosystem and having no animals left to hunt.
I take my time walking, relishing in the warmth of sun, I have nothing left to do for the rest of the day now, I can do whatever I want.
I start off by joining my two closest friends Maaze and Davis in the kitchen for some late afternoon lunch consisting of last night’s leftover Moussaka. Maaze was moaning in bliss, loving the taste of the food. She loves any and all foods while Davis laughs at her has she leaves a trail of food all over her mouth.
My two friends are as opposite as opposite can be Maaze is firey full of passion that matches the flames of her red hair. So read that it leaves you with an illusion of a burning flame flowing behind her as she runs.
She is nothing but legs, but boy can she run. She is quick, almost quicker then me and the packs current tracker. Although I will never admit that to her. The two of us are both extremely competitive, just last week we almost destroyed the patrol hut as we were racing to see who could get there first.
I, of course won, but we both had to much momentum going that we couldn’t stop and then… bang, crash and down came the outside wall of the hut.
Maaze also has these adorable freckles that dust over her cheeks and her nose that I would kill for, but she absolutely loathes them, and she will let you know about it if you ever bring them up to her.
Years ago, back when we were still just pups, not even shifted yet, I told her how cute they were and how jealous I was that she had them and how I wished I had them too. That day she literally almost bit my head off, and actually bit my arm to the point that I needed stitches.
But they look absolutely adorable on her, they suit her so well. Matching her red hair and grey-green eyes.
Davis on the other hand is completely different to her, he is quiet, always thinking everything over at least three times before he comes to a decision. He is reasonable, Maaze jokes that he is brooding, but I think he is the only reasonable one out of the three of us.
I am also so jealous of his hair, it is the softest I have ever touched, as well as the lightest shade of brown without being blonde. He wears it long, long enough to cover his pine green eyes that are always watching everything.
But Davis, he does have a bit of a wild side to him if you know how to coax it out of him.
When we had all just shifted into our wolves we used to pull some pretty epic pranks on the pack for some fun. Pranks that would always land us in loads of trouble, leaving us sitting in the alphas office awaiting our punishment.
Which was never very severe considering who my father is.
Davis is tall, just like all male wolves with broad shoulders that make it look as though he was carved from pure muscle. Looking at him in any shirt he owns looks like he is wearing one that is three sizes too small with how tight they appear over his chest.
Just looking at him, you can tell that he takes his training very seriously. He is always out there on the training field working on himself, it is almost strange to see him in here with us today while the sun is still out.
He does this trying to live up to his father’s shadow. To be the lead warrior of the pack, the Master of War just like his father was before his passing. It is all he wants to do, make his father proud of the wolf he has grown up to be.
The day his dad died was the day his pranking ways died. He became focused and serious. We all did. Maaze aims to be the best female warrior this pack has ever seen, to be even stronger than her dad that she absolutely idolizes.
As for myself, I don’t care too much about living up to my family’s expectations of me. I find that being the daughter of an alpha comes with more burdens then it does privileges, and I know so many would kill to be in my shoes… having power and prestige in my heritage.
I just want to be a regular wolf, a wolf that doesn’t have eyes always watching my everyone, judging every action and always being criticised. To be a wolf that doesn’t have all this responsibility and a father breathing down their neck to be better.
To act more like my brother, to be like his mate.
But what can I do about it? Absolutely nothing. You can’t change who you were born to be.
Not when we are taught from birth that the moon goddess as some grand design for us all.
A goddess that noone has been able to prove to me is real and not some myth to keep us all in line and follow the rules.
After we ate lunch the three of us moved into the living room and just lounged around. “Is there anything you want to do?” Maaze asks as she slumps down on the old and worn four seater tan leather couch placed in the prefect position in front of the wall mounted T.V.
Davis sits opposite her on the recliner and just shrugs his shoulders while I grab the remote off the coffee table. “Netflix?” I ask looking between the two of them as I sit on the couch with Maaze.
This couch as been here forever, my great grandfather built it himself when he found my grandmother. He built it to last over the years envisioning it to be passed down from generation to generation. There are claw marks all over the back of the couch from young wolves unable to control a shift. Coffee stains from early mornings and bourbon stains from late nights.
It may be old and worn but it is soooooo damn comfortable. Your ass just falls into the comfort of the cushions, giving you the instant relaxed feeling. As if all the tension in your back never even existed.
“Drinks?” Davis asks as I begin to scroll through Netflix looking for something to put on knowing that we won’t be watching anything. I just like having some background noise.
“Yeah, something raspberry and some food would be nice.” Maaze answers for the both of us.
“Whatever is easiest for you.” I smile as Davis leaves the room.
“Are you ready for another race tomorrow?” Maaze turns towards me wiggling her eyebrows.
“Are you kidding?” I ask her throwing my head back in laughter. “We still haven’t fixed the hut, or the weapons shed or the-” Maaze cuts me off by throwing a pillow at my face.
“Okay okay!” She laughs. “Tomorrow we will fix everything and then the next day.”
“The next day you’ll do what?” Davis asks as he places a bowl of popcorn on the table and hands us both a can of soda while he sips on some water.
“Oh nothing, Maaze just wants me to kick her ass again.” I laugh leaning forward and grabbing a handful of popcorn shoving it in my mouth.
“You won’t beat me this time!” She shouts throwing popcorn at my face.
“Maaze.” Davis deadpans. “She beats you every single time, what make you think this time is different?”
“I have a secret weapon.” She giggles.
“And what is that?” I question her.
“Breaking both of your ankles!” She laughs at her joke, all of us knowing that she would never really do that, but at the same time we all know she would.
“You wouldn’t!” I gaped at her in mock sadness. Before I threw the bowl of popcorn at her which caused her to lunge at me and leave a trail of popcorn all around the room with Davis just laughing at our antics from his recliner.
It felt nice for us to be like this, even if only for a few moments, all of us being carefree and silly like we were when we were pups.
Without a single care in the world, no responsibility and no drama.
Maaze and I began to clean up our mess and actually watch something when we heard it.
The one sound that no one ever wants to hear.
The Horn of Strife...