The Pride of the Lalune

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Chapit Tranteyen

*Eva POV*

I kneeled there covered in blood, clutching the lifeless body to my chest as the tears of my silent cry began to cascade down my face.

This was not supposed to happen.

Our objective was to take out the bokor first and foremost and if Romilis couldn't break through to his son, we would just have to take him out as well. Luckily, Augustin was able to come to his senses fairly quickly, even faster when he found out that Lena of all people is his mate. With him now on our side, showing some vodou gifts of his own, brought us to believe that the impending battle was going to easily swing our way. We couldn't have been more wrong.

The saying is 'stay ready so you don't have to get ready', but how does one get ready when you have no idea what you're up against? We weren't naive to the fact that we knew nothing about this pack as far as strength and numbers, but we didn't anticipate the hulked up beasts that these wolves would transform into under the bokor's enchantment.

These bohemoths were gargantuan. They each seemed to grow taller and wider. Menacing creatures from the depths of hell. Teeth longer, stronger and deadlier—prepared to rip through any and everything. Even their thickened fur seemed to be impenetrable!

As some of the strongest warrior wolves to ever be known, we were always ready for battle, but the fight that ensued and the losses in the aftermath show just how limited our minds were in terms of supernatural battle.

When we stood face to face with the rogues, we knew they were under a trance and defeating them was going to take a lot of strength and stamina. I led the charge with Ethan and Michel flanking my sides. After watching Romilis meet his horrifying demise and watching Lena almost suffer a similar fate, I wanted this to be over as quickly as possible to bring back an inkling of normalcy to our lives.

Once the battle cry rang through the silence we went in full on attack mode. Blood and fur flying. Snarling, yelping and bones crunching as wolves were meeting their bitter and painful ends. We gained the upper hand so quickly it seemed as if a team of professionals had taken out a team of amateurs. As a matter of fact, they seemed to be more skilled before the bokor's incantation.

'Something doesn't seem right about this. Defeating them should not be this easy.' Michel spoke through the mindlink, drawing all of our attention to this fact.

Panting loudly as we surveyed all of the fallen bodies around us, we turned our sights towards a seemingly unbothered bokor and an even calmer Fabienne. While Romi was obviously still distraught, she wore a mask of focus and determination that oddly matched Augustin's. His brooding and threatening stance made it seem as if he couldn't decide whether or not to shift and rip out the bokor's throat in wolf form or start chanting the way he did with the discarded shewolf.

The bokor began to smirk and I was beginning to hate his stupid face more and more as the minutes progressed.

"That was quite impressive! But clearly that feat was a little too easy for you." He began to menacingly strum his fingertips together. "Surely, the grand and mighty royal Lalune Pack warriors deserve worthy adversaries, am I right?"

He began to rub a small satchel that was wrapped around his wrist and started to chant in a voice that was no longer his own. The limp, dead bodies surrounding us began to shake and rattle and stand back up to their feet, morphing into these seemingly possessed demonic super wolves.

'What the fuck is happening?!' Ethan barked through the mindlink as we witnessed the impossible.

A previously unbothered Fabienne tensed as she turned, locking eyes with me.

'Princess, this is far worse than we could have imagined. He is performing the darkest form of vodou magic that can only be paid in blood. These are no longer ordinary wolves. They are pure evil and will be difficult to defeat. I will try my hardest to take out my brother, but in order to stop these wolves, we need to retrieve and burn that satchel.'

I nodded and before I could respond to her, his irritating voice rang out again.

"Well I hope you warriors have enjoyed your little breather, but the time has come for me to kill my nauseatingly good sister as well as the dumb dog I should have put down long ago instead of taking him under my wing. Look what good that did me!" He shot daggers at a pissed off Augustin who was panting so hard he looked as if he would burst. "These wolves should keep you busy while I handle my business and when I'm done, I'll do what needs to be done to take the kingdom properly."

I took note of the satchel hanging from his wrist as he lifted his hands and the ground beneath us began to rattle and shake and the feral demon wolves stood to their feet, charging at us at full speed.

The once grey skies were now a shade of deathly black that no light would ever be able to enter nor escape. My father gave his battle cry as we braced for impact.

I planted my feet as a wolf descended on me so quickly I was caught off guard when it sideswiped me so hard I flew into the side of a tree, rendered completely windless. With no time to catch my breath, I jumped back up to my feet, full on attacking this wolf with everything that I had. I swiped at the fur that was too hard to push through, I attempted to attack its neck, but could not get close enough. In a last feeble attempt to cause damage, I took a jab at its nose, the soft flesh seemed to be the only part of the body not encased in armor and much to my delight, it actually worked. Even though it was only stunned for a few seconds, it made me realize that just like this beast, I needed to battle on my own two feet.

As quickly as I could, I yelled through the open mindlink. 'Shift! We can't beat them in wolf form. We are unmatched, but in hand to hand we can put up enough fight for Fabienne to do her thing. Aim for their noses.'

Somehow standing in my human form, I felt stronger facing these beasts. I stretched my achy muscles and smiled at the low growl Ethan released at seeing my naked body. I silently thanked Lafwa and asked that she still lend me her strength in battle. With her acceptance, I looked at my oppenent and started attacking. This was the fight of my life.

_____________________________________

*The Narrator*

As the battle between the wolves waged on, Fabio and Fabienne were displaying their unmatched skills on the battlefield as well. While Fabienne was strong in her craft, she alone was no match for the evil forces that her brother had solicited in his corner. Having both Romi and Augustin on her side made the fight almost even, but Fabio was still stronger.

She needed to get close enough to him to destroy that satchel. She had even tried to use a fire summoning spell in hopes that the pouch would combust, but like him, it seemed to have some protective barrier around it.

She knew she needed to stop this. There was no way she could allow her brother to garner that much power. He would literally destroy the entire world, like he destroyed their family all those years ago.

_____________________________________

Like most twins, they didn't grow up hating each other. In fact, being born and raised in their family's little shack back in Carrefour made Fabio and Fabienne the inseparable best of friends. Their bond beyond the womb was so astounding that their parents knew they were fated to be exceptional as long as they stuck together.

Being brought up in one of the strongest and most powerful vodouisant families in the country, it was only right they be trained as practitioners as well. Very early on it was noticed that the twins garnered powers that reached far beyond the lessons that they were taught daily. And to make their gifts even more special, they were always stronger together. Of course when they attempted lessons separately they had no problems achieving their goals, but when they were together they completed their tasks at faster and much more powerful speeds.

Even though Fabienne was only older than Fabio by mere minutes, she took on and cherished the role of doting older sister as if it were the most important title that she would ever carry. She adored her brother and always made sure that he knew it as well.

When they weren't tied down with their lessons or focused on completing their chores, they got the chance to just be fun loving children. Children that enjoyed a little mischief.

Whenever they could, they would sneak away to Kaskad Entèdi, Forbidden Falls, the hidden waterfall, deep within the forest that separated their lives from the wolves that always seemed to seek guidance from their elders.

From the top of the fall, the twins would perch behind the large boulders and deep rooted bushes to toss pebbles near the unassuming wolf pups playing in the large reservoir below. On plenty of occasions their infectious giggles would be carried through the winds alongside the roaring waters, garnering stink eyes and excited yips from the pups below.

For years they played this game, flourishing in never ending innocence, all while making sure to never cross the imaginary boundaries that kept them separate from the pups below, even as their bodies and wonderment of each other grew.

All was well until a young male wolf crossed that imaginary line on a dare and accidentally inhaled the sweet scent of peonies that would change his life forever. Gerardo was a magnificent warrior wolf in the making. At sixteen years old, he was already a towering 6 foot 4 Adonis with lean muscles, a warm and welcoming aura, and a heart that was set on being the best mate to Fabienne, once she came of age and he could actually claim her in the next year.

Fabienne begged Fabio to keep their eventual mating a secret, which he'd gladly do for the sister he loved more than anything. He loved to see her happy. Especially the smile she beamed that could light up his darkest days whenever Gerardo was around. But as their sixteenth birthday rapidly approached, he couldn't help but succumb to the worries that their twin bond would be broken and this wolf would be taking away the only love that he ever cared about.

On the night before their birthday, he accompanied Fabienne to falls like always to await a visit from the predator that would steal his sister away. He could feel her heart thumping triple time over their shared bond, and could barely withstand the wave of nausea that overtook him as he waited to break her heart and then hopefully mend the pieces.

With the moon hung high in the sky, Gerardo's silky grey wolf appeared from the trees as he shifted and quickly engulfed Fabienne in a hug, before shaking the hand of her brother, who would soon be his as well. As the soon-to-be mates sat conversing and cuddling on a boulder, Fabio allowed the worry in him to fester into full blown hatred at the thought of his beloved sister leaving him. He had to save her!

Chanting a silent incantation to mask his scent and mute his steps, he slowly lifted the silver enchanted dagger above his head, bringing it down swiftly to the sound of a disgustingly terrifying squelch. Fabienne screamed as he removed the dagger from the back of Gerardo's neck, pushing his lifeless body into the falls below.

Wiping the blood from his hands he tried to explain his reasonings to his sister who had since stopped screaming, but was frozen in place, looking down at the body now floating face down beneath them. Turning to face him as if she accepted every word that he spoke, her face was solemn as she began to glow from her chest outward. He could actually see her heart breaking as the bond she shared with Gerardo faded to black, but the twin bond they shared still seemed to pulse a brilliant gold.

He smiled with outstretched hands, feeling redeemed in his actions. That was until she began to chant an incantation of her own, literally shredding their shared bond until it festered and died, leaving Fabio confused and with an internal pain he never thought possible. Their bond was gone. And even though he had known the woman standing before him since conception, he felt nothing, empty. As if their bond was never there.

She walked away. No words, but a face full of hurt and anguish that would haunt him for the rest of his life. What if he made a mistake? No! This wasn't his fault. It was that wolf's fault! If he had stayed in his place beneath them, he'd still have his sister. Instead of feeling sorrow and remorse for what he had done, he manifested anger. Hot, searing, evil, all consuming anger. And then he allowed that anger to become hatred. Not just hatred towards the wolves that ruined his life, but towards the sister that chose them and threw him away like discarded trash.

One day, he would get his revenge.

_____________________________________

She closed her eyes as she thought back to all those years ago, to the new love that never got a chance to flourish. She thought about the falls she visits and the boulder she sits on all alone, listening to the memories in the wind. She then smiled as she saw Gerardo's kind eyes while she imagined what their life could have been.

She opened her eyes and looked around to see the new loves that has sprouted all around her. She glanced at Eva and Ethan in human form fighting those devil dogs with everything they had. She watched Michel shift back into his wolf and run full speed to Romi when she began to falter slightly from the pressure of the dark magic. She even smiled as she watched Lena hiding behind a tree as she worriedly peeked out at Augustin, who'd send her a reassuring nod every chance he got.

She knew what she needed to do. She couldn't allow these new loves to never see the light of day.

Unbeknownst to everyone else, she had a fail safe of her own. She started to chant a spell that she decided long ago that she would never need. But as she started to speak, she began to glow from within. Slowly but surely, the frayed and withered bond that once connected her to Fabio began to mend and reach towards him. Feeling his own heart start to heal, he instantly called out a ceasefire as he floated in the direction of the one person he's hated and loved the most.

"Fabi! I never thought that I'd ever feel you like this again." He fell to his knees in front of her as the last strands of their bond rejoined.

The fighting around them stopped and they were the center of attention and confusion.

Sobbing profusely, he looked up to gaze at Fabienne's face as she stood there without saying a word. "Fabi? Fabi I—"

She inhaled deeply. "Don't speak, Fabio. There is something I need to say that should have been said a lifetime ago." She stared into his eyes with conviction. "I fell in love young. With a wolf who completely changed my life. The night before our birthday, Gerardo and I were of course talking about our mating, but the real reason that we met up that night was because we wanted to give you your birthday present." She sniffled, but straightened her shoulders to continue. "Gerardo was winning more and more of my heart each day, but he knew that I couldn't live life without you. From the moment he knew that I was his mate, he started to build us a home in pack territory. Right next door he had a special project; a matching house for the twin I needed to survive."

An audible gasp was heard from those surrounding the twins, but the wail of anguish that escaped Fabio's lips could only have been released from the depths of his soul.

"The hatred that you carry for these wolves is because of your blind stupidity and I will never forgive you!"

His face scrunched in confusion, "But you repaired the bond...I don't understand..."

She turned to address the newly mated couples. "The Moon Goddess blessed you all with a love that I was never able to experience. Cherish it. I can only hope that when my time is up my sweet Gerardo is waiting for me."

She smiled as she pulled a small satchel of her own from around her wrist. "I repaired the bond because I couldn't allow you to destroy anymore love with the hatred that blackened our hearts."

Closing her eyes once more, she held the satchel to her chest as she began to glow once more. But this glow was accompanied by the painful screams of Fabio as they both began to burn from the inside out.

The clouds cleared and the blue skies gave sight to all of the battered and bruised demon wolf bodies that had now collapsed in the field.

It was finally over.

A white orb emerged as Fabienne's charred body hit the ground with Eva running to her side.
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