The Rise

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Chapter Five

"If I could bring Damon back, would he even be himself?" I asked Valerio. It'd been a question I've been pondering since I had that vision. Damon's soul in another man's body freaked me out. Would I see him as Damon? Would his soul be intact? Would he act as himself? Or would he be that other man?

I didn't know, and I was afraid to find out.

Valerio's smile turned into a frown. "I-I don't know. I mean, if your vision is true..." He grimaced, finally understanding the true complications of this whole situation. He leaned against the wall and covered his face with his hands. "Sorry, I just got too excited to see my brother again."

"I know," I whispered. "Me too." Grabbing his hand, I squeezed lightly. "But we can't think about that now."

We had bigger problems like the newest one – Ayodele. He was going to die, and Ashur's soul was going to inhabit his body. When would it happen? Days, weeks, years? How was Nakida going to react? How would Aaisha react? She seemed to have found a liking for him already. Losing her first pup, her mate, and now possibly Ayodele was not going to be easy for her; I would know.

"What are we going to do? With Nakida? Aaisha?" Valerio asked, voicing my thoughts.

I stood there, eyes wide. How was I supposed to know? I barely had this whole Moon Goddess thing down, but he was looking to me for answers. Answers that I didn't have, but answers that I needed to figure out.

"I say we don't tell Ayodele... yet," I said, choosing my words carefully. "We don't know when he's going to die. It could be in years. He shouldn't have to worry about something like this."

Who would want to live in constant fear, knowing death was approaching but not knowing when? That would be a terrible way to live life. But, on the other hand, I wanted to get his approval to put Ashur's soul into his body once he's gone. It just wouldn't feel right to me if I didn't ask for permission.

Valerio swore under his breath and ran his hands through his hair. "I can't keep this from Nakida. It's her brother. I think she deserves to know. They both do," he whispered.

I took a deep breath. That was true. He shouldn't live in fear, but he also shouldn't live in the shadows. "Let's get to know Ayodele a bit in our meeting, then we can tell him. If he thinks that this will be okay to tell Nakida, then we will. It's his life after all."

Valeiro still looked a bit uneasy but he agreed. We both walked back into the living room to see Aaisha gentlyflirting with Ayodele. And by gently, I mean, flat out telling him how sexy he was with those big bulky shoulders and "I bet all of you is big and bulky, huh?" And when his parents looked over and his mom raised a sharp brow, Aaisha rubbed her hand over her stomach, "It's the hormones," she said.

But we all knew it wasn't the hormones; it was just Aaisha being Aaisha.

I shook my head at her and ushered all of them to the dining room for lunch. When we were finished, Nakida brought her parents to a spare bedroom – one of two in the pack house that was left standing after our incident with Aeron – and they settled in.

Meanwhile Valerio, Samuel, Aaisha, Ayodele, Nakida, and I all met in my office. It had been the first official meeting since that night, and I felt uneasy about this whole thing. But I had to put on my big girl pants and stop making decisions based on feelings alone.

"So, Ayodele..." I sat at the head of the table with a blank notepad and pen. "Nakida tells me that you know much about history – divine history."

"Yes," he started, nodding. "I have studied your family ancestors since I was young. The Moon and the Night have always interested me."

"Can you tell me more?" I said, because I didn't know much about my family history. Mom didn't think it was important.

"There is so much. Where should I start?" he asked.

"Tell us the origin of Aeron," Valerio said. I nodded along. If we could uncover any reason at all that Aeron would turn on me, maybe we could figure out his next moves and his plans for the future.

Ayodele's eyes widened, but he nodded. "The God of the Night. Yes, well, legend says that thousands and thousands of years ago the first Moon Goddess was more than just the moon. She was the night as well. And, as you know, to us wolves we strive to be just as bright as our goddess, we worship her – you – like humans do the sun. Our goddess is the representation of positivity."

His eyes brightened, and I could tell that he was so passionate about this. It warmed my heart. "And the dark night sky is seen as something to fear, it's the unknown, the scary, the aggression, the feral. Our first Moon Goddess was powerful – probably one of the most powerful, if I can say that," he said, eyes downcast for a moment. "But she was not as powerful to wield the powers of positivity and negativity together."

My heart raced, understanding what was coming next – how Aeron came to be.

"She created Aeron and gave him the powers of the night. Aeron has been the one and only Night God since the world began. Hundreds of thousands of years ago."

Samuel leaned his forearms against the table. He looked serious and very much put together. Over the past few weeks, he went from the Samuel who made all of the pups laugh to Samuel the Alpha. "So, he's been working against Mae because she is the light, the positivity?" he asked.

I closed my eyes. The positivity. I wasn't anything close to that. In fact, everything seemed to be very negative for me at the moment – since the moment I became Moon Goddess.

Ayodele shrugged. "Possibly. But, why wouldn't he betray her sooner? Why not betray her mother and her mother's mother? Why now?"

"Because I'm weak," I said matter-of-factly. "I had a weak spot. I had a weak—"

Ayodele shook his head, rather aggressively. "No." His tone was strong and final.

"Do not say that, Moon Goddess," Nakida stated. "You are not weak."

"You are strong," Ayodele continued. "One of the strongest goddesses he's ever met. He is a weak man, intimidated by such vigor and truth."

Valerio nodded his head. "He's right. Your mother, at least from my experience with her, was much weaker than you. She made dark decisions. Letting you get raped and making me watch you. A strong goddess would never do that."

"Do you think that's why he betrayed us all?" Samuel asked. "He could manipulate the others, but Mae had Damon and Luca by her side. She didn't need him talking in her ear."

Ayodele tilted his head. "Jealousy could be the reason, but I suspect there is more," he said. "Your mother had your father by her side."

"My mother also left my father," I said. I hated how people looked up to her like she didn't hurt everyone and anyone in her path. She hurt my father when she faked her death. She hurt me when she let me get raped and tortured. She hurt Valerio and Damon. She let so many bad things happen.

"Why?" Ayodele said.

I pressed my lips together. I knew the reason she told me, but I didn't know if it was an honest reason. "To protect me from the Challengers and this divinity supposedly."

Everyone was quiet for a few moments, then Valerio sat up straighter. "Did she leave to protect you, or did she leave because Aeron told her it was best? Did he want her to be weak and vulnerable and lean onto him for support?"

I rubbed my hand over my forehead. "I don't know. I wish – I wish so much that she would've told me something, instead of putting everything into a dreams that I had to decipher."

"Maybe Aeron was controlling her, and she couldn't tell you straight out or else he would know," Nakida said.

My hand curled into a fist. "She's still responsible for her actions. She could've stopped the hurt, but decided to inflict it on people anyway, whether she was under his influence or no—" I started. Samuel placed a hand on mine and squeezed it lightly. He gave me a look of support. I took a moment to push my feelings aside. No making decisions based on feelings. I told myself that earlier and I was going to keep my promise. I squeezed his hand back and nodded. "Sorry, I'm good. This is a good theory." I turned to Ayodele. "But you said that you think there might be more to his betrayal."

Ayodele nodded. "I think this other divinity, as Nakida told me a bit about, is influencing him in some way."

"Well, let's find this bitch," Aaisha chipped in. "I'll rip her apart myself if I have to."

Ayodele smiled at her. "A strong woman. I like it."

I rubbed my forehead again and groaned internally. This was going to be a tough night, trying to keep Aaisha from getting too attached.

"Do you know where we can find Aeron?" Samuel asked Ayodele.

"I don't know much about his whereabouts now, but I know his first home was at top of the Mount Interitus in the most Eastern part of the country."


Hi Friends!

The Origins of Aeron? What do you think? Is it the full story?

What will they find at the top of Mount Interitus? 

Warmly, Destiny <3

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