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----Aurora’s POV ----
Mating... Imprint... Significant other... True love...
Growing in a wolf society you hear that a lot in our village. Yeah, you read that right... Wolf society.
I am a werewolf and believe it or not, we do exist, in fact, we live amongst humans, unknown by them. We usually walk around in our human form, in fact, we are born with a human form, and develop the capability of transforming into wolves once we become of age. And when that happens, we find our mate.
You see, the moon goddess designed our significant other for each and every one of us, and once we find them, you love no other than that single person for the rest of your life. Not many have that chance though. It is rare for a wolf in this time to find a mate. Mostly because we are fewer and fewer every day due to the constant hunting we are facing from human hunters and rogue trackers.
My parents we're one of the lucky few to marry to their mate. My father met my mother while at a gathering of neighboring villages and fell deeply in love right away, but unfortunately my mother died while having me, Aurora Craton.
My father remarried some years after, and his second wife, who became my stepmother took over the reins of the Craton household. My father was the gamma for our pack but died in duty five years ago.
Now, I’m a couple of days away of turning eighteen and I’m nervous of finally meeting my wolf and most importantly, my mate.
"Aurora!! Are you done with the laundry?! Dinner's ready you know?!" My stepmother shouted from inside the house.
"I'm coming Montana!" I shouted back as I hung the last piece of garment on the line. I looked up at the sky and enjoyed the warmth the sun offered.
It was a rare sight, you see, we live in a little village named Iliamna in Alaska, most commonly known for its great lake.
As I mentioned before, our pack, The Blood moon pack, lives amongst humans without their knowledge of our existence.
As I stepped into the house, I was greeted with my stepmother's mocking sneer.
"What took you so long Aurora! I'm starving!" She said.
"You could've started without me Montana." I said as I sat at the table and begun eating. I gotta give it to Montana. Her cooking was number one.
"So, Rory... In a couple of days, you'll become of age, right?" My stepmother said making me look up from my plate of food.
"Huh? Oh... Yeah" I mumbled as I placed my attention back on my meal.
"You know... It's about time you started making your own money. Rodrick’s pension is kind of going low now." I looked up at her once again, almost choking on my food.
"Excuse me?" I asked her.
"Yeah. It wasn't enough to begin with dear and having to share it between to two of us has cost a huge toll on it. Your college funds are still intact though, but with the growing necessities around here, we might have to use it. That is, if your still keen on the idea of traveling before getting your degree." She said and I couldn’t help to roll my eyes.
I just graduated from high school not long ago and I decided id take a year before heading off for college to roam around a bit. If you asked me what I wanted to major in, I’d have no answer. I really never thought about it. All I’ve always wanted to do is go to my mothers home town but I wasn’t allowed because I’d risk missing class. But now that I’ve finished with school I’d take the opportunity. It was already rare for a wolf to finish high school and not drop out, since most of us find our mates before graduating and well, the females usually get knocked up before time.
“If im not mistaken Emma, your friend got into law school, didn’t she? When is she leaving?” Montana asked.
“I don’t know. August, I guess” I answered not really caring for this conversation. Emma was my best friend in school. The only one to be exact. Like me, she is one of the lucky few that turns eighteen after graduation, and because she’s such a brainy, she got into Harvard law school and leaving Alaska in a few weeks.
She continued to say. "Anyways, I decided I’d postulate your name for the leaders house. They were in desperate need for housemaids since it’s the alpha's birthday celebration."
"You did what?!" I shouted as I stood up abruptly, chair falling behind. "How could you?!"
"Now, now Rory! It's high time now that you cooperate with the expenses around here." She said as she folded her arms over her chest. "The alpha's party is one of the biggest events and they needed all the hands that could offer. Think about it! Maybe you'll meet your mate that night." She said as she wiggled her eyebrows at me.
I couldn't believe this woman. I huffed in annoyance and stomp up to my room. I couldn't bare being close to her any longer. It's not that she was a bad person. She practically raised me after my father died. But she was so annoying sometimes assuming that what she decides for me are the right choices for me.
I took up my phone and face time my best friend, Emma Johnson.
"Hey boo!" She greeted me with a hideous black mask on her face.
"What the hell do you have on your face?" I asked her with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh, It's a charcoal peel off mask. Tracy recommended it so I decided to try I out." She said with a shrug as she popped Cheetos into her mouth.
"So, what's the plan for your b-day! You must be super excited that your turning eighteen. You're gonna get to meet your mate!" She squealed in delight to which I rolled my eyes. "I can't wait until I turn eighteen."
"First of all, we’re not sure if I’m ever gonna meet my mate. You know that that's something weird to happen once in a blue moon. And second, I’ll be working on my birthday, so there's not much to do." I said as I rolled over on my bed and hugged my teddy bear.
"What do you mean you're working that night?" She gasped. " Oh, my Goddess. You didn't!" She threw me a suspicious look.
"No, I didn't. But Montana did." I said as I rolled my eyes.
"What?!! Uhgg! Why'd she do that?" Emma asked still in bewilderment.
"She said that it'd be the best way to find my mate."
"Oh, come on! She can't be serious!" I could see Emma's nose flaring. "Sometimes I really don't get your stepmom dude."
"Yeah, well... There's not much I can do. I'll just go to the stupid ball, work the night, earn my money and come home." I said to her stifling a yawn.
"Well... If you say so. Call you later. I'm gonna take this from my face and get something to eat. Love ya' boo." She said as she hopped out of her bed.
"Love you more." The call got cut and I stretched out on my bed.
'Was it really so important for me to find my mate? It's not even common anymore. What if he's a weirdo?
Questions after questions kept replaying in my head until sleep took me over.
I woke up a couple of hours later. I got out of bed and headed downstairs to find that I was alone in the house.
"Montana must have gone out." I thought out loud before heading back up to my room. I didn't feel like eating so I didn't bother to prepare something for dinner, and as usual, my stepmother was out so I didn't have to worry about her either, but her stupid words kept replaying in my mind.
What if I do meet my mate that night? Would I leave with him right away? Will he even like me? Will I like him?
"Uuhhg! This is so annoying!" I huffed as I squeezed into my pillow.
The next day I woke to a hammering sound at my room door.
"Gah! I'm up, I’m up!" I shouted as I rolled over and fell from my bed. I stumbled my way to the door and opened it to reveal my stepmother.
"What do you want?" I asked her.
"Sweetie, you should be dressed by now. You have to be at the leaders house in an hour." She said grinning her stupid teeth at me.
"Why?" I asked exasperated.
"What do you mean why? We already talked about this Aurora." She said.
"No, we didn't! You made your decisions for me and just told me!" I fired back. "You know what? I will go, and hopefully I do find my mate, so he can take me away from this place and from you!" I screamed as I slammed the door shut in her face.
An hour later I was dressed and on my way to the leaders’ house mumbling on how miserable my life was... Little did I know.
I should probably apologize to Montana when I get back home later.
As I approached the house, I couldn't help to feel annoyed at its grandeur. It was exaggeratingly huge. How many people lives here? A guard stood ready at the entrance and eyed me from head to toe before he spoke: "Name your reason for the visit?" He asked.
"Umm, I've been hired as a housemaid to help with the alpha's party celebration." I answered somewhat intimidated.
"Name." He asked as he pulled out a clipboard with multiple sheets of leaves.
"Oh, yeah... Aurora Craton, sir" I managed to squeak. He checked the list and then nodded. It took me a second to understand that I was allowed in.
I've only been to the leaders’ house once before back when my dad was the gamma. I was about six years old and we were together at the park when he was summoned for an urgent meeting. Since he had no one else to leave me with in such short notice, he took me with him. Montana hadn’t entered our life by then yet.
I remember he sat me in a chair just outside the meeting hall.
"Stay there Rory. I won't be long." He said as he patted my head and walked into the room filled with the other werewolves.
As I sat there, a huge man came walking into the direction where I was seated, he had long jet-black hair and dark eyes like onyx. A horrible gash across his face. Alongside of him was a kid with a mop of the same jet-black hair and bright blue eyes a few years older than me. He was arguing with the older one.
"But I'm the future alpha dad! I should be in that meeting hall with you!"
He argued. It was the packs alpha and his son.
"You're still not ready to face meetings such as this son." He answered in a monotone voice with a stoic expression.
As they came closer to where I was, I quickly slid off the chair and bowed my head in respect. That's what my dad and the other villagers did when they saw the alpha.
They didn't even acknowledge my presence though since they stood right before me and continued their banter.
"They killed my mother!! Those bastards killed her, and I want them to pay!" The kid screamed at his father. He was now trembling, and tears threaten to fall from the corner of his eyes. His father stood there expressionless before he finally spoke.
"Son, when the time comes, you will join us in the meeting hall, for now continue on your defenses lesson." The man said as he went to grab the doorknob. "I will avenge your mother." He said with a deathly aura before disappearing behind the door.
I lifted my head a little to see the boy still staring at the door. His eyes red with unshed tears while he held his hands tight in a fist.
He finally noticed me as he suddenly turned to face me and glared.
He quickly wiped his tears off with his arm as she shouted.
"How long have you been there? Who let you in?" He asked still glaring at me.
"Um... Daddy was called for an important meeting with the alpha and the elders, sir." I quickly answered as I bowed my head once more.
"Who's your father? What's his name?" He asked still not convinced.
"Rodrick Craton, sir." I answered him as I fidgeted with my hands.
"Craton? Your father is the gamma?" He asked me more passively this time.
I still wasn't familiarized with the statuses that were kept in the packs. You have the alpha, who is the leader. Then there is the beta, his second in command.
The gamma, who is responsible for strategize and organization of all events and meetings.
You have the elders, the healers or wolf doctors, the warriors, the seekers and the peace makers.
Back then I knew dad had an important role in the pack, but I didn't phantom on how big it was.
"Um... Yes?" I answered more like a question.
"Is that an answer or a question?" He said mockingly.
"Um... Answer... Sir. My dad is the gamma." I tried to talk with a bit more confidence.
He eyed me for a moment before he shook his head and waved his hand in dismissal. "Carry on with... Whatever you were doing, I guess." He said before he turned on his heels and left.
"You over there!" I was brought back out of my trance by someone yelling at me.
I could see a lady in her late fifties walking over to me as fast she could. Her face adorned with a scowl.
"Are you one of the volunteering housemaids for the gala?" She asked me.
"Ye... Yes ma'am. I'm Aurora Craton ma'am." I said as I bowed my head.
I felt a light tap on my shoulder, so I raised my head to find the lady holding her hand over her mouth.
"Rory?" She asked.
"Yes ma'am?" I replied not understanding her sudden change.
She then surprised me with a big embrace.
"Ooh Rory! The last time I saw you, you were just a little girl. Look how big you've grown!" She said as she pushed me back and eyed me from head to toe.
"Have you found a mate yet?" She inquired?
"Ummm. No ma'am. I won't be eighteen until a couple more days. Do... Do I know you?" I asked the lady.
"Oh, Right... I'm sorry my child. I am Kala. The head of maids of the leaders house and the village midwife. I knew your father back when he was the packs gamma and your mother as well. I was there the day she..." She trailed off. "I'm sorry I couldn't save her dear." She said with a mournful face.
I placed a hand on her shoulder to reassure her. "It's ok Mrs. Kala." I said as I held her hands. "It's a pleasure to meet you." I smiled at her.
"So. You're here to help us out for the big night tomorrow hun?" She said as she started walking off to the direction she came from. I followed her.
"Yes ma'am. My stepmother postulated my name. I'm sorry to say that I didn't even know help was needed." I said as I scratched my head.
"Well. Thank God she did. We need all the help we can get." She said as she opened two large golden door that led to an enormous hall.
No wonder they needed all the help they could get; this place was huge!
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