Monarch Sade bared his teeth as he fastened the silver chain around his mate’s waist, tonight his queen would die. She wasn’t his true mate, that pathetic she-wolf had killed herself to defy him. This was his twin brother’s mate. His brother Sovereign, was a fool, weak and merciful, caring about the wants of his subjects and the whims of his undisciplined mate. Killing Sove had been easy, making his queen submit to her new Alpha and mate had not been.
No matter what humiliation she suffered, Cassiopeia still defied him in many little ways. From the kindness she showed all females, to the loyalty she garnered from the Alphas whose territory bordered the kingdom. Her spirit refused to submit. Yesterday she had failed him for the last time. Not only had she birthed a daughter to weaken his line, but the pup had been born dead. Cassiopeia did not meet his eyes as she stood, back straight, chin high and proud, still clutching her dead daughter.
He turned her face to him, but she looked up at the cloud shrouded moon, blocking him from entering her mind, refusing to submit to his intrusion. The forced mate bond rolled like a putrid worm and regurgitated disgust at his touch. He raked his claws down her face and neck with a snarl, she gasped but did not cry out. Eight years under his cruelty had taught her not to make a sound when he hurt her.
Wood was piled around her as he stepped back to watch the moments before her death. Wind began to gust, and the clouds fled as a strange darkness ate the full moon. Soon, it was shrinking to a sliver of light.
“You are going to die tonight, my queen.” In his insanity, he blamed her for being a foolish, stubborn female.
“My Goddess will welcome me, and my mate is waiting for me.” She never looked away from the moon.
“I wish I could be there to see your face when you realize it is all lies.” Sade smirked.
Eight-year-old Balthazar Orion obediently stood to one side of his father holding a torch. The flame blew and flickered fighting for its against the breath of the sky.
“Punish her,” his father ordered. “Show the territories around the Kingdom that the Monarchy tolerates no defiance in its females. They will submit and produce strong pups or be punished for their weakness.”
Balthazar touched the blowing torch to the dry wood and kindling, the roaring wind whipped it into an inferno. He waited for his father to pull his mother from the flames as he had twice before, but this time he didn’t. His mother’s eyes left the moon and found the young alpha prince.
‘Remember Orion, I love you, I forgive you,’ Her mind said to his, then she looked back up at the moon. She did not scream as the fire ate her flesh and his sister.
Balthazar looked up and grasped his father’s arm in fear, the full moon hung blood red in a cloudless black sky. All followed the prince’s gaze and a murmur of fear moved over the wolves in the sudden stillness. There was a scream followed by several more and nearly a dozen she-wolves, rushed forward and threw themselves into the fire with their Queen and Luna. Several of the Monarch’s betas, gammas and his head warrior collapsed as their mates burned to death. Their wolves thrashing as they shifted between forms. Two threw themselves into the fire as well. Others attacked each other. His lone surviving gamma was holding on to his screaming, pregnant mate, who struggled to reach the flames. The smell of kerosene hung in the air as the pack drew back in horror. The mates of the Monarch’s inner circle had ensured their deaths and the deaths or insanity of their mates.
The Monarch strode toward the struggling female. “Why have you done this?” he hissed as he held her by the throat. Her mate released her and stepped back in respect for his Alpha.
The female glared at him, baring her teeth, she spat at him, “You have blasphemed the Goddess with your perversion of her gifts, even now she paints herself in the blood of our Luna and Queen. We would rather die than live under your rule another day. We took your best with us so the packs can destroy you, you monster.”
The monarch smirked evilly, “Your goddess is dead. If she was so powerful then she should have saved the Queen and struck me down herself.” He turned her head from side to side before glaring at the gamma, “Since you have failed to properly train your mate, I will train her and return her to you. Take her to my chambers and chain her to my bed.”
She screamed and struggled as her mate dragged her away, cursing him as her mate and decrying the monarch. “I curse, False Monarch Sade... May the Goddess curse your kingdom and all who serve you!”
“Monarch, what will does it mean?” a voice demanded from the crowd of onlookers.
The Monarch threw back his head and laughed, then snarled at his subjects who bared their neck and knelt, “The Moon Goddess is dead, and your queen volunteered to join her by giving birth to a still-borne female. Look up, even now the illusion fades. Go home, tomorrow we go to war.”
As father and son walked back toward the castle, Sade lectured, “Orion, never let a female rule you, or manipulate you with their sweet voices and soft flesh. They are deceivers, never to be trusted. Because they are weak in body they will try to steal what strength you have. Do not be gentle with them. It is their duty to submit.”
Shouting drew their attention, they ran to the source. The lone she-wolf stood on the east parapet. Her eyes were wild as her mate begged her to step down, to obey.
She laughed at him, it was a mocking, harsh sound, the levity of someone who had nothing to lose and everything to gain. “No! I am leaving this cursed kingdom for the moon, and I am taking your son with me so the Monarch can’t make him into a monster like his own son.” Then she jumped, her body splattering on the cobblestones below.
Monarch Sade shook his head in disappointment, “A pity, I was looking forward to teaching that lovely, spirited creature her place.”
The bereft gamma howled his grief and jumped at the Monarch who shoved his son to the side. Shifting swiftly into his warform, he jammed his claws into the gamma’s chest and jerked out his still beating heart and bit it. Orion stared terrified, his father had just killed one of his inner circle, one of his most trusted and eaten part of his heart without a scent of regret.
Sade’s mangy, black warform held the quivering mass of muscle to his son, snarling, “Eeeaatttt.”
Obediently, Orion took a bite, almost gagging as he swallowed it unchewed. His father had taught him that a ruler was to eat the hearts of his enemy, to consume their strength and destroy their weakness.
Sade shifted back, his face’s expression made it seem as if he was bored of the nights happening to Orion. As if they had spent a quiet evening, not that Sade had made his son burn his mother and dead sister, not that a dozen she-wolves had sacrificed themselves for a purpose he did not understand, or that the Moon had painted herself red with his mother’s blood. His father just looked bored with blood on his face, hand, and shredded clothes, as he lectured him with a familiar message; tolerate no weakness, especially the weaknesses of females and ther Goddess. Young Balthazar Orion didn’t know it was blasphemy.“Never forget, my son. Love makes you weak, it makes you foolish. Just like this gamma, it will make you betray everything. The so-called goddess’ blessing is a curse even monarchs must overcome.”