Hope Springs

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Chapter 33

Max sighed, running a hand through his hair and without looking at me held out his hand. I rose and took his hand. He opened the rest of the door and we headed out of the cabin to see Hadley, Josh and Leanne. They were standing by the flickering flames of the fire and when they heard us approaching they turned to face us.

“What happened?” Max asked, stopping in front of them and I leaned into his side, watching them concerned.

“We thought we should tell you how many there are,” Leanne said, her voice void of any emotion. “They have sixty wolves. So far. They might be getting more.”

“With that many wolves and no real authority they have to be fighting amongst themselves,” I said, “Right?”

Max nodded, “They should be fighting amongst themselves. Large groups of Rogues don’t really get along very well because there is a power vacuum and there are no concrete rules. They can just do what they want but there ideas and what they want to do clash. With such large numbers they must have some sort of leader.”

“They do,” Leanne confirmed, “Jackson O’Neill. The former Alpha of a pack in Ireland and for some reason he’s now here and trying to take over our territory. Harper saw him and told me and we felt like you should know. The Rogues will be better prepared than we thought.” She sighed, “We can go out and look for more information but if they smell us it’s game over.”

Max shook his head, “Stay here. If you go back the risk of us getting found out is even greater. Now we know exactly who we are facing and we know Jackson’s tactics. We’ll be able to combat that better but...” He sighed, “I don’t know. We’ll have to wait for the others to get back before we can fully deal with this.”

They nodded and then we all went our support ways. Max and I went back into the cabin which was where we resumed our activities before we had been interrupted.

Three days passed. In those three days we had been training and Max and I had been trying to nail down a battle plan. But today was the day when the others were supposed to get back. I bounced on the balls of my feet, feeling a little nervous. I was nervous for the information we would bring. According to what Max had told me, Jackson O’Neill was one of the most dangerous wolves out there. He had been overthrown in Ireland because of the harsh restrictions he had placed on his pack and because of his ruthlessness.

The fact that he was now our enemy was worrying and so I was worried. Max came up behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist and I stopped my fidgeting. I leaned back into his chest and he pressed a kiss to my temple. We had become a lot more affectionate in the last three days and I knew that it was because we could just feel the battle looming closer and closer. We didn’t know if the both of us would survive and we wanted to spend as much time together as we could. Touching, kissing, talking.

Sydney, Harper, and a tall leggy blonde who I assumed to be Dawn walked out of the trees and headed straight for us. Several pack members stared after them but their attention was quickly pulled back to the forests where Rhea, Will and Keith emerged. They headed towards us as well. They quickly came to our side and Max gestured for Sydney’s group to speak.

“The Rogues are being led by Jackson O’Neill,” Sydney said, “But they are unorganized and there is a lot of fighting. Many of them seem to not agree with Jackson because they feel like they are still in a pack and they don’t want to be. Already ten wolves have left. We feel like more will continue to leave but even with their numbers dwindling they still have a formidable fighting force and will still be dangerous.

“They’ve only occupied a small portion of our territory and refuse to go near the pack house.” She directed her last statement to me, “Trinity, Loup Chasseur have let your family go and they are living in your house but Jackson has wolves watching them. But they are okay.”

I smiled at her, I was glad that they had decided to check on my family. It seemed that that was the end of their report and so we turned our attention to Rhea, Will and Keith. Rhea gestured towards Will.

“We observed their training and found that they are mainly doing endurance training. They hope to outlast us in a fight and there supplies are dwindling, soon they’ll start hunting in the forest. When they do, that might be our best chance to ambush them. From what we observed Jackson O’Neill is the biggest threat. The others are marginal threats at best.” Will reported and Max nodded.

“It seems that Jackson and those closest to him will be the biggest threats. The others will not be that good at fighting or they will completely abandon him,” Max murmured, “That is good news. We will wait one more day. Then we will attack. Today will be a day of rest, everyone needs to rest, relax and make sure that they are healthy.”


Tomorrow was it.

Tomorrow was the day that would end this all.

For the rest of the night everyone talked and ate and many people resolved the disagreements that they had with others. Of course many feuds were still ongoing, just because tomorrow could be the end didn’t mean that people would suddenly change just like that. Petty little feuds were forgotten but many people were still mean and arguments were started.

Despite all that though, everything was relatively peaceful. I leaned against Max’s side, resting my head on his arm and I could feel him staring at me. Rhea took a sip of water and stared off into the distance, her eyes hazy. Finley was with Jackson, but we had promised him amnesty if he ended up deciding to fight with us or fled the battle all together.

I had this feeling that he would be fighting with us. He’d do it to protect Rhea.

“What are you thinking about?” Max asked and I glanced at him before returning my eyes to the pack.

“I’m just thinking about how tomorrow will be the ending of all of this,” I answered, gesturing towards the pack. “I’m looking forward to getting back to a normal life but I’m also terrified that we will lose some of our pack members and I don’t want that to happen.”

“Death is inevitable,” Max said, his voice somber. “But, when it does occur it’s never pleasant. I don’t think we can get our territory back without a fight so a fight is also inevitable. I can only hope that there won’t be many deaths.”

I nodded in agreement and he squeezed my hand. We were silent for a few more moments and the sky began to darken, stars beginning to appear. The moon shone its light down on us and it was then I decided that it would be best to go to bed.

We needed our rest for tomorrow.

Because tomorrow was when this all would end.

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