Water Love

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Chapter 17

King Roul Lycaon Wolfram

I fix my eyes on my sister unable to believe she’s actually here. My wolf settles at the thought that I actually got to bring her back home. She was truly here with us after a decade. She was still healing after that pesky human shot her. A bullet laced in iron, wood, copper, and silver yet we don’t know who the copper was meant to subdue.

Silver can hurt a wolf as well as wolfsbane. Vervain for vampires and wooden bullets, but they couldn’t kill one. Killing a vampire is extremely tricky. Fairies, elves, and dwarves are susceptible to iron. But no creature is affected by copper, so why lace the bullets with them.

So many unanswered questions yet no answers. He’s dead and never going to hurt anyone again. His research as he placed it ruined and destroyed by water damage. How? Unknown. We burnt the place after rescuing the missing people. The humans he took dead but four remained alive out of the forty he was able to abduct. Some of the magical creature’s victim to his way and dressed in renaissance clothing with a tag on them. What he planned to do to them.

My sister will forever bear the scars of what that monster placed her through. Both inside and out because he branded her with his mark in silver. Jora bearing a similar mark as well. It kills me that I couldn’t have gotten to them sooner but at least there seems to be no presence of sexual abuse. Just the marks for his demented experiments. What he was trying to prove is beyond us and died with him.

We just have to make sure he was working alone to say our family members are safe. Mazelina’s breathing is steady yet I can sense the fear from her. The horrors he must have subjected her to during the ten years he had her. The bastard bared no right. She was such a sweet and noble person. She didn’t deserve what he placed her through. I hope he rots in hell for what he did.

I decide to let her rest as my mother sleeps next to her unwilling to let her daughter go. My father on the other side both with their arms draped around her in a sign of protection. Both sleeping soundly with their daughter finally in their arms and I couldn’t blame them. I smile as I see her safe with them. I walk out of the room nodding to the guard placed outside her room as a sign of precaution.

I walk over to the room Jora was installed into eager to get answers. Answers she might be able to provide as to how she managed to pry herself free from the cage and the meaning of the other woman. The gun going off near me still had my ears ringing despite it happening hours ago. Ethelwulf and I had paid no attention to our own safety by running inside to save them. They needed me and my wolf was mad.

I knock lightly on the door hoping she’s awake but receive no answer. I push the door open in a sign of worry and see Jora standing and gazing at herself in the mirror with her blouse pulled up and her hand caressing the scars on her stomach. She jumps slightly, startled by my presence and lets go of her blouse to look at me completely. Her sole focus on me with a fake smile plastered on her lips unwilling to show weakness.

This is not the Jora I remember. The Jora I knew was always smiling and showing her emotions on her face. She was strong and didn’t care about her emotions being read on her face. I admired that about her. Yet now she looks hollow and dares I say broken. Just like Mazelina. They didn’t deserve what happened to them, how long would it take for them to heal the scars left by the monster that robbed them.

They were missing for a decade and only the goddess knows the hell they went through and what they had to do to survive. It breaks my heart to see them both like this. I once planned on making her my wife but my wolf had gotten the scent of his mate and wouldn’t settle for less, we just needed to find her. And we would.

“Jora,” I say treading lightly with my tone as to not scare her. She was a trauma victim after all. She looks at me slightly confused for a minute or so before recalling that as her name. I hold Ethelwulf's aura at bay to present myself as harmless. She needs an easy hand and easy approach. “I was hoping to speak to you about your time there if you don’t mind?”

I know I’m asking for a lot being recently rescued from that maniac’s hands but I have to know. I need answers as does everyone else. We’re all attempting the same thing with the people that we managed to rescue and still breathed. We need to make sure no one else can hurt our family. She was important to me and Mazelina is my sister. I need to eliminate any threat tied to him.

“Ask away,” she says as she sits on the bed as if fearing her legs failing her. She seems distant and despite her not being my mate it’s hurtful. We were something once and now she acts as if we’re strangers. The curiosity of what he placed her through lingering in my mind. It hurt. More than Ethelwulf would care to admit. She was our friend and she didn’t trust us. Not right now.

I suppose a decade was a long time and what we had broken during that time. My eyes settle on the scars on her arms and the marks of needles and bruises of cuffs. My heart aches to imagine her and Mazelina in that position. Just thinking about it makes me want to kill that bastard all over again.

“I was hoping you could clue me in on what you went through and his goals,” I tread with caution. She looks fragile all of the sudden and I don’t want to break her. She’s suddenly made of glass with her pieces being held by tape. Something I don’t want to imagine.

“I never knew his name despite being around him for over a decade, we were just test subjects for his research for the government until he lost his job recently and went even more deranged than before. I don’t know much other than being strapped to a table. He planned on making us into dolls when you rescued us for his wife and daughter as if we were a toy.”

Her voice cracks and my arms wrap around her as she begins to let the tears flow free. it hurts. I can resonate with her pain not just because I’m her Alpha but because it’s so strong. She breathes heavily as she unleashes the hell she lived upon me.

“We were nothing to him just a means to an end. Opening us up and exploiting our weaknesses. We couldn’t stop him. We tried. Always drugged if we were lucky our bodies adapting to the pain he subjected us to. We were his toys.”

Jora breathes in before rephrasing everything so I could know. She connected with me through mind-link sharing all her horrors and memories with me. Words seemed to evade me as I saw everything she underwent the last ten years as we searched for her. Had Mazelina gone through the same hell she had?

The machines, the tools everything inspired anger in us. Now I regretted killing him because death was too gracious for him. He deserved to suffer the same pain they did. Now he was being tormented in hell but we couldn’t because I let him get off easily. My anger was granted release but his ghost would linger with them. Bastard. Just thinking about it was causing me to have a forced shift.

Jora’s hand intertwined with mine and she soothes me. She knew me better than most and knew just how to calm me. We’ve known each other for the longest time. I was surprised she wasn’t my mate but I have to trust in the moon goddess. If Jora wasn’t my mate it must be because we aren’t as perfect for each other as everyone would have hoped. The moon goddess knows what she’s doing.

Ethelwulf immediately settles as he doesn’t want to scare her off. Funny how he dares listen now. He’s sensing just how fragile her state of mind is. Jora rests her head on my shoulder as if to try to calm her own racing heart and assure herself everything is alright. Trying to prove she is finally safe.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, you didn’t deserve it,” I manage to speak and she tenses for a second before relaxing in my arms. Playing with the hem of her blouse. She’s trying to distract herself from her own memories as if they were consuming her.

“I keep replaying everything in my mind asking myself why me? Why did this happen to me? But then I think about it and thank the goddess it was me and not my sister or one of our pack members. Because at least I know I’ll heal with time but they might have broken. At least I’m the broken one and not some young wolf,” she reveals breaking my heart. That she has that mentality.

She truly was a queen even if she wasn’t mine. She cared so much about others that she was okay with the hell she underwent because it meant her sister or other wolf didn’t. She was thankful it was her and not some unfortunate soul. And she shouldn’t be okay with it. No one deserved such a thing to happen to them much less her. She was wronged and she had grown to accept it with her crown still held intact. He may have broken her but he hadn’t destroyed her.

I really do hope she has an upstanding mate. And that he loves her as she damn well deserves. Because only a true queen could accept that. Only a true queen would sacrifice herself for her people. Just like Jora did. Scars may have been left behind but nothing could destroy her. They were reminders of just how strong she was undergoing what that monster placed her through.

“How’d you get out of the cage?” I ask her and she looks at the floor ashamed. Of what?

“I’d love saying I finally managed to bust the cage open or some heroic but I didn’t. I was too weak to escape and the only way I did was because of her, she says her voice laced with both gratitude yet defeat. Shame for not being the one to free them from that hell. Yet she endured so much and he placed her through countless trials for a theory yet she’s upset because she wasn’t the hero.

“She freed you?” I ask her with a clenched heart as she looks so defeated. She nods and taps mindlessly. “You don’t have to feel guilty or shame for not being able to escape, he put you through hell and had you under huge amounts of pain,” I try to assure her but she shakes her head vigorous as she lifts her head off my shoulder to look me directly in the eyes. Not as a challenge but to convey whatever she planned on telling me next.

“You don’t get it, everything revolved around her. He stopped what he was doing because of her. He watched her for months and when he finally got her, he spent most of the time with her. We could all hear her screams, they pierced our souls as a blaring siren in our mind. She was his most treasured creature which means she received his undivided attention for days. If anyone knew anything it would be her.”

I didn’t like her answer. It shattered me. We would probably never know anything then. She couldn’t do much talking now. It intrigued me to know what being that man’s favorite meant or just what was so blatantly special about her! I thought her to be human by her smell but she might as well not have been.

“He would come to us after being with her all day. He would play with her the most and she was the only one that ever got water,” she confessed tears welling up in her eyes. He hurt her more than anyone could. She would make a beautiful stained glass portrait with her broken pieces. She has only been free from that monster for a few hours and here I am questioning her about it. Yet I fear he may still live on through their memories as a little voice in their heads. They never got the chance to end their monster. I did.

“You should rest now, your family shall be here shortly,” I say rising to my feet and she shakes her head softly.

“I don’t want them to see me like this,” she says ashamed. “I don’t want them to see me broken and that’s all I am. Broken.”

“You said it yourself Jora, you’ll heal and they’ve been waiting a decade to see you. And your sister has been waiting about a decade to meet you,” I answer her with a caring tone. I don’t want her to believe I don’t care for a second because I do. She may not be my mate but I still care for her.

“To meet me?” She laughs crudely at the thought and I understand she didn’t capture what I told her. Something she wouldn’t have done in the past. Never. She was so sweet and carefree. Never crude or sarcastic. Never cold or mean. She was the most even-tempered wolf I’ve met.

“Your mother discovered she was pregnant shortly after you disappeared. Your sister found her mate about three years ago but has been waiting for you to go through a mating ceremony or even let him mate her. Your family has been waiting for your return because they never lost hope you would come back. They never gave up on you now don’t you do so.”

She looks at me surprised but with a smile full of sorrow. Her scars would take time to heal but she would get there. She was strong and she proved it by surviving at the hands of her captor.

“And did you? Were you also waiting for me?” She asked and I could smell the fear and worry lacing in her voice. I dreaded this question. She was once mine, and Ethelwulf loved her but... we found our mate and we wouldn’t stop till we had her in our arms. I don’t want to break her heart after her years of torment but I have to be honest. She deserves that.

“I did for a while but I lost hope along the way. I was with countless women for about a year or two until I regained faith in the moon goddess,” I confess and she nods understanding but there remains a light of hope that I now have to extinguish. “But I’ve recently found my mate,” I add and her hope falters. She looks heartbroken and despite me wanting to console her I can’t.

“You found her?” She asks with a trembling voice and I nod. She deserves the truth and I don’t plan to deny her or my mate of that. I will not play them like others like to do. I actually have honor.

“Yes, we haven’t formally met but I’m chasing down a lead that will lead me to her,” I confess and she nods with a smile on her lips that doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

“She’s fortunate, and I’m sure she’ll love you,” she answers and I smile at her.

“I hope so, I don’t think Ethelwulf could handle it if it weren’t the case,” I tell her before making my way to the door, “I’ll let you rest now,” I say before going out and she nods.

I make my way to the other side of the palace towards and near my quarters. I have to see someone else before heading off to bed. I open the door to a bedroom close to my own and walk inside. On a bed is the witch that was on my pack that night. The one that held the key to finding my mate but she was still the human that was held by the same man that held my sister and first love captive.

Her scent was confusing and changing. Never the same. Always flowing differently. Now she didn’t bear a smell, something not possible by anyone unless she were a wolf holding it in. But no wolf scent was capable of changing. It was how we found our mate and hers was always changing. An odd creature she was. Perhaps she was a witch and placed a spell upon herself to have it change as much as it did.

She was alluring with a beauty I have never come across before. She was a fantasy with temptation rolled into one. She had generous curves with oversized breasts that held firm not saggy. She had a small waist and her hair was a breathtaking white. White platinum blonde locks. Her skin a caramel tone as if she spent her entire day outside.

She breathed softly as the machines beeped nearby. The bullet had nearly missed her and just grazed the top of her head. The fear in her eyes was all very clear. His hands over her as he demanded her to get them out. His little siren, he had called her. She tried but seemed fruitless only resulting in his anger as I jumped onto him.

I wasn’t planning on letting him leave or escape. Jora had helped. Yet she didn’t just seem fearful of him but us both. Strange for a witch but right for a human. She bore bruises and cuts. She looked so fragile yet so resilient. Despite being hurt she looked breathless. I had her installed near me until they figured out who she was and led us to my mate.

I need my mate just as Ethelwulf but right now just by being in her presence, I seem to be bewitched by her beauty if not more. She just holds a grace around her. Even more so she bore an invisible crown and an aura of power. Her amulet glowed brightly and adorned her neck beautifully yet something about it made him hate it. It was just an object. Yet it bared a mark of another. One that I didn’t like.

She murmured incoherent thoughts her face contorted in pain. She expressed pain so beautifully making one actually crave it. I remember her eyes being a violet-blue that allured and held so much power. She commanded respect and so much more even in her sleep.

“Marilla... Selene... Ocean Blue... Water... You left me...” Her words surprise me. Who in the world would Marilla be? Perhaps my mate? Selene? Few are gifted with the sight or voice of Selene. Ocean Blue? It’s the first time I hear someone refer to the ocean in such a manner. Left her? Where?

Everything about her intrigued me. She was a mystery wrapped in an illusion. She looked a fantasy despite us being magical creatures we all served Selene. I had to know, it’s the only way I’ll grant her freedom. Not a second sooner.

“My King, you called?” A female voice speaks behind me and I nod. I know exactly who she is. I had to ask an ally for her assistance. Witches and I were mostly in dispute yet she was his friend.

“I’m glad Ascelin was able to reach you so quickly,” I say my voice free of emotion. I can’t allow myself such things, being a king.

“Yes, well I was with him when you asked for me,” she says with a smile that I can’t gather if fake or real. Witches had a tendency of lying. I nod accepting her answer. “So how may I be of help?”

“I want you to ward off the place so no one with magic may leave the premises until my say so,” I order her and she looks at me rather irritated yet she masks it just as quickly as she showed it.

“Of course, I take it you’ve been bewitched or found your mate and she’s at the center of those troubles,” she says nodding off to the woman on the bed. What can she foresee in the future as well? She bares great power one of the most powerful witches around.

“Perhaps are you...”

“Intuitive guess, Ascelin just recently found his mate as well and underwent a similar situation,” she comments and I nod. I’d have to invite them over. Nice to know the old soul found someone, finally. He’s outlived me by a long shot.

“Alright Calista I’ll let you do what you need,” I say heading to the door.

“Be one,” she whispers in dreams. “You weren’t there? Where were you?” She continues to mumble and it leaves me at a loss. “Selene... Ocean Blue... Water... Maril...”

“Humans really do mumble in their sleep,” Calista mutters and I nod before leaving the room. I am determined to find everything about her. I will discover what lies beneath the surface and I will discover who is my mate. She would lead me to her or so help me the moon goddess. I ache for my mate and now that I’ve gotten a scent of her. I can’t get her out of my mind.

She would soon tell me everything but I had to let her rest for now. The wound was still fresh and we were really hoping it caused no damage to her brain although there was some slight indication that the bullet went a little deeper than initially thought. But no signs of it on her brain scan. We would have to wait until she had more strength to get our answers but I would get them.

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