Torrents of Fate

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Chapter 4

Stars graced the black sky, and the air carried the fresh scent of the ocean. For the first time since this tussle for alpha began, Oscar Saxe was certain he would lose, and he knew why.

Lady Crowe.

After settling into one of the brown loungers in the den, Oscar gave his brothers an acknowledging nod to continue their discussion on the Christening event.

Looking from one brother to the other, he suddenly felt compelled to take a walk along the ocean behind their manor.

“Only Commander Crowe will be attending the Christening. His lordship will not be there, I thought we’d finally get to see him in person,” Eric, the last Saxe brother, said to the little group.

“Shouldn’t he be there? It’s the first time a tribe is set to enter the goddess’ lair in a millennium, and the network said he would be attending,” Carl said to Oscar.

Oscar shrugged. “The Lord Commander and the Ecclesia will be attending. The alpha doesn’t need to be there.”

Carl turned directly to look at Oscar from the couch, saying, “I find it ridiculous that they are guests of the Hayes instead of us.”

“Why? The Hayes are the highest-ranking clan of the Brox; they’re exactly who should be hosting the alpha family,” Oscar said, uninterested in the conversation at hand.

“Are you all right, Oscar?” asked Newton. “You’re more irritable than usual.”

He glanced between his brothers with a smile. They’d come a long way from being orphaned during the awakening. And with everything they’d done in anticipation of him becoming alpha, it seemed it was all for nought.

Oscar sat up in his chair. “Everything’s changed with the appearance of Lady Crowe. Is there anything we can do about this? The Christening takes place in a day, and somehow we have a female Crowe!”

“Commander Crowe said not to talk about it.” Newton hissed.

“Oh, what does it matter now? She is an anomaly that will ruin my chances.” Oscar stopped short. “Hayes is the only blessed fur that stands to gain anything from this.”

Hissing at Oscar’s statement, Eric stood up. “A female Crowe? You can’t be serious.”

“He is,” Newton replied. “We bumped into the high Lady after our meeting with the Philips, and if it wasn’t for Oscar, we would never have realized she was an ascendant.”

Carl shook his head, “How can there be a female ascendant no one knows about? Are you sure?”

“ir’gol’s ruins! Doesn’t that make her Andrea’s fated? I mean, they’re both black furs. How does this work?” Eric exploded, pacing around the den in an angry fit.

Oscar nodded. “My thoughts exactly. Outside witnessing the ceremony, what other reason does the high Lady have to be here incognito?”

It was unclear why the Crowes hid the stunning ebony wolf with the eyes of icy Luna from everyone. It was driving him crazy that he couldn’t figure it out. The mere sight of her raised his pulse and forced him to peek at her thoughts. The truth was, she was not at all what she appeared to be. Even though he could peek into Lady Crowe’s mind, he couldn’t hold it like he could anyone else’s. There was something else in her; she wasn’t just wolf.

“Did you use your ability with her?” Carl asked.

Despite his best efforts, there was that tattoo on her wrist that glowed whenever he tried to prod deeper or compel her. It didn’t seem that she was aware of it at all. What sort of magic was that? Did the Crowes keep her hidden because she was a hybrid of wolf and witch?

“Oscar?” Newton called.

Oscar frowned. “What is it?”

Carl asked, “Are you thinking of Lady Crowe?” with a mischievous smile.

“Not this again.” Oscar sighed, adjusting himself on the comfortable brown leather couch under his brother’s prying gazes.

Though he was the brown fur of the blessed brown clan, which meant he was the only one to possess telekinetic abilities, his brothers were quite perceptive when they needed to be.

“I’m trying to figure it out,” Oscar grumbled. “To have a female blessed fur and female Crowe is unheard of. Put those two together, and I cannot even imagine the outcome.”

“Hang on a minute, has anyone claimed this Lady Crowe?” Eric went to the couch closest to Oscar and perched on the edge.

“No.”

Oscar was certain of it. She had a sweet jasmine scent that, if she was already claimed, wouldn’t be perceptible. She would reek of her mate from the ritual that called for a blessed fur to claim his fated with a bite.

Eric sprung to his feet with a clap. “Then she’s fair game. Oscar, you have got to claim her. You’re currently the only one aware of her, so we should use it to our advantage.” He turned to his brothers and said, “Back me up here.”

“He cannot claim a fated that isn’t his just because he wants to win this thing,” Newton replied.

“Listen to me, Newton. We don’t have the time for your meticulous snail racing. The Christening is tomorrow, if we don’t get this resolved in time, Oscar may never leave the lair! Is that really what you want?” Eric shouted and returned to pacing.

Eric and Newton glanced at Carl, who turned his attention to Oscar. “There isn’t enough time to do this right, nor do I see another way around it.”

“Have you forgotten how fated mates work? He cannot claim a female that isn’t his, and if she was, he would know it from the moment they met. Oscar, you cannot risk the goddess’ wrath like this,” Newton told him quietly.

“Oh please. There has never been a female, blessed fur. And by Orin, she is fair game for any blessed fur at this moment,” Eric replied.

As Oscar rose, all eyes turned to him. “I must prepare for the Christening. We are done with this.”

“Do you intend to claim her?” Eric asked Oscar with his hands on his waist.

“I said we are finished with this.”

With that, he left them in the den and made his way down the moonlit hallway to his study.

Newton was right, he could not claim a mate who was not his, and he knew Lady Crowe wasn’t his. It was pointless to chase her, especially with the impossible Commander Crowe hovering. The last thing he wanted was to make an enemy of the Crowes.

It may have been because he discovered Lady Crowe, but the Lord Commander disliked him. When he stood that close to him at the diner, Lord Crowe’s mind was a low hum; he’d always felt that his abilities wouldn’t work on the ascendants and that finally confirmed what he’d suspected. But, no matter how fleeting, he managed to get in Lady Crowe’s mind. It was strange of her to defend him like that when he was certain she was eager to rip out his tongue.

Midway down the hall, he stopped and turned to his left when the thunder sounded and Guella, the tribe’s priestess, emerged from the flash.

“Guella, as beautiful as ever.”

In a giddy laugh, she kissed him on the cheeks. “Oscar, you silver-tongued tempest.”

“What brings you here? Good news, I hope?” He led her to a brown couch near the window of his study.

They settled into the couch, and she smiled at him. “A routine visit before tomorrow’s ceremony.” He nodded as she spoke. “There is still time before midnight to concede the quest, in honour of the goddess’ way.”

He felt a heaviness in his chest as he watched her. She was unaware of Lady Crowe, and if the moon goddess wasn’t ending the quest, then he was mistaken; Lady Crowe was not the mate of any Broxbridge blessed fur.

“I do not yield, Guella.”

“Very well.” Guella patted his cheek and rose. “I’ll see you at the Christening, Lord Saxe.” With that, she vanished as quickly as she’d appeared, and his study fell silent.

Lady Crowe had no effect on the Christening like he’d thought, which was unfortunate.

He might not make it out of the goddess’ lair. It would have been easier if she’d been a fated, so they wouldn’t have had to go through this. He would not be the first to back down, since none of the others were. Oscar took a deep breath and buried his face in his hands, wondering where he’d seen the mark on Lady Crowe’s wrist before.

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