1. The Moonstone Pack
The sound of leaves and twigs breaking echoed loudly around the forest as I walked along the overgrown path which would lead me to the pack-house. My heavy combat boots, were not meant for stealth, nor was I intent on being stealthy today.
This was not my territory, but I was here by invitation.
If the Alpha of the moonstone pack had any warriors or border guards patrolling, they were keeping their distance.
I couldn’t see them in the moonlight, but I knew that they were lurking in the shadows. I flared my nostrils and took in the scent of the forest. I could smell them, or at least the fear emanating from them.
They should be fearful. I wasn’t the strongest Alpha in the western hemisphere for nothing. Not that I was here for war. At least not yet. But my reputation preceded me. Not that I minded. Fear was a very strong weapon, and I knew what rumours abounded regarding me and my pack.
Most of them were true. I was cruel and ruthless with regard to my enemies, and I demanded loyalty and obedience from my pack. My word was law, and the penalty for disobedience was harsh. I allowed no one onto my territory without an invitation, and they were rarely given. Anyone who wandered into my territory, even if by accident was never heard of again; at least not outside my territory.
As we approached the pack-house I looked at it with disdain, as did my brother.
Kyrian glanced at me and raised his eyebrows. It had certainly seen better days.
As pack-houses went it was small. Nothing like our own pack-house.
I knew this pack was small and weak, but I had expected a little more than this. I wasn’t sure what the Alpha was expecting to offer us. Not that I was really interested in this pack. The Alpha, on the other hand, must have thought differently, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
“Tell me what we’re doing here again,” Kyrian asked.
I glanced at my brother. He was slightly shorter than me, and his muscles slight less defined. You could tell that we were brothers though. We both had dirty blonde hair, and piercing blue eyes. We both wore our hair long. Whilst mine was styled in an undercut, he always wore his in a braid.
I was proud to have him as my beta, even though he was alpha born.
“We’re here to cut a deal with this pathetic excuse of an Alpha,” I smirked.
Kyrian rolled his eyes.
“What you mean Bastian, is that you tell him what you want, and if he refuses you’ll threaten to wipe out his pack.”
I let the omission of my title pass. Kyrian was the only person who was allowed to call me by my name, everyone else addressed me as Alpha.
I never chastised him for not using my full title when we were alone. Kyrian would never dream of doing it in public. Having said that, I knew a gentle reminder never hurt.
“Don’t forget to address me as Alpha when we get inside,” I chided.
Kyrian smirked, and bowed his head.
I rolled my eyes and smirked.
“Come on little brother, lets get this over with.”
Heading towards the entrance of the pack-house I noticed Kyrian was scanning the area. Likely looking for any threats. The guards here were also non-existent.
“Do you think they know we’re here?” he questioned.
I chuckled at his frown.
“Use you nose, little brother. you may not be able to see them, but you can smell their fear.”
Kyrian sniffed the air, then he smirked.
I followed his gaze. He was looking at one of the windows on the second floor. Although when I looked, I doubted it was the architecture that had grabbed his attention.
It was the young woman, or girl that was staring down at us.
“What about her? Do you think she’s afraid of you?”
I looked up at her and smirked.
She quickly stepped away from the window, disappearing from view.
“If she wasn’t, she probably is now,” I chuckled.
I looked again, hoping to get another glimpse of the petite blonde in the window. She was definitely a pretty little thing, from what I had seen. It appeared I was out of luck today. She didn’t reappear so I focussed my attention once more on the doors of the pack-house.
When I we reached the doors, I balled my hand into a fist and banged loudly on the door. I quickly glanced over my shoulder. I had brought two additional warriors with me. They had kept a respectful distance from us, as was expected.
I quickly mind-linked them.
Stay outside, unless I call for you
The two men bowed their heads in acknowledgement.
I turned my gaze back to the door, ready to bang on the door again, however I had no need, as it slowly opened.
An older man stood their. He was clearly nervous. He bowed his head.
“Alpha Sebastian, Beta Kyrian. Welcome to the Moonstone pack, my name is Beta William. Alpha James is waiting for you, if you’d care to follow me,” he announced, a slight tremble in his voice.
I was surprised to say the least. A nod of respect was expected from a Beta, but not a full blown bow of submission. Not only that but I could smell the fear exuding from his body. My brother would never behave in that way. Perhaps this pack were weaker than I thought. It would make my job a little easier.
The Beta lead the me to what appeared to be some sort of conference room. Having said that, it could have been a dining room.
The long wooden console table could seat probably twelve on each side. Right now the Alpha sat at the head of the table, in a vain attempt to show he was the dominant Alpha in the room. That attempt had failed. I looked at Alpha James. I had been right in my assumption. He was a very weak Alpha. His dark hair hung limp, and a little dishevelled, his brown eyes struggled to meet my gaze. His beard was unkempt, peppered with grey, belying his age.
I didn’t doubt that my brother could best him in a challenge. I was beginning to wonder if he was a true alpha.
But we weren’t here for a challenge. At least not yet. I was here to see what this Alpha had to offer, or more to the point, what he wanted.
Alpha James stood as we approached. He held out his hand, waiting for me to take it. If that was what he expected, he was going to be sorely disappointed.
Instead I sat down in one of the chairs, leaving him standing there with his hand outstretched. He quickly withdrew it. His Beta walked over to the chair where he was sitting and stood slightly to the left of him, like some statue.
My brother took a seat next to me.
I leaned back on the chair and crossed my right leg over my thigh.
I looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to speak.
My behaviour was a blatant signal of disrespect. Any Alpha worth his salt would have called me out on it. He didn’t.
I watched him carefully, although I didn’t need to. He reeked of fear.
He cleared his throat, and gestured to a tray on the table.
“A drink?” he asked.
I nodded. It was whiskey, which I favoured. However I had no doubts that it would be a cheap brand. Especially if the state of his pack-house was anything to go by.
He looked at Kyrian, who shook his head.
My brother liked a drink, but in situations like this he liked to keep his wits about him.
Alpha James poured us both a generous measure, and slid one of the glasses towards me. I sniffed it, and took a sip. Just as I expected it weak. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was watered down.
I pulled a face and put the glass on the table with some force.
“Exactly why have you invited me here today, Alpha James?” I questioned.
He swallowed nervously.
“Well...Erm...I was hoping that we could become allies,” he stuttered.
I hummed and nodded.
“And what exactly can you offer me, hmm?”
He stiffened slightly.
“As you may be aware, the main transport route runs through my territory, and I exact a levy on any goods passing through. I’m prepared to waive this in your case, should you sign a non-aggression treaty,” he stated.
I looked at my brother, and rolled my eyes.
Then I glared at Alpha James.
“You really think the pitiful toll that you charge is reason enough for me to agree to not attack your pack?” I snarled, “at least offer me something worthwhile.”
His face paled.
“L..like what?” he stuttered.
I licked my lips and leaned forward.
“Like your daughter.”
Alpha James glanced at his beta, before looking back at me.
“What do you want with my daughter?” he asked nervously.
“I need a mate. An alpha female. A she-wolf that can bear me pups, an heir.”
he nodded, and looked at his beta.
“Send one of the omega’s to fetch Emmeline.”
The Beta nodded, and headed out of a door near the back of the room.
“What happens if you find your mate?” Alpha James asked.
I sneered at him.
“Don’t play dumb Alpha. Everyone knows that my fated mate is dead.”
He nodded. He knew of the rumours. Everyone did, but now he had it confirmed from the horses mouth, so to speak.
“Can you guarantee my daughter won’t meet the same fate.”
“That depends on your daughter,” I retorted.
I looked across the hall as the door opened. I frowned as the Beta escorted in a young she-wolf.
She wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting to see the petite little blonde. This one had dark hair and the same brown eyes as her father. She was definitely older than the girl we’d seen at the window. If she was also his daughter, then she took after her mother.
Alpha James stood up, and held out his hand to the young woman.
“This is my daughter, Emmeline. Emmeline, this is Alpha Sebastian, he’s looking for a mate.”
She smiled and walked towards me, extending her hand.
She was covered in the scent of other males. If her father was trying to pass her off as a virgin, he would be sorry. Besides, I wasn’t interested in her.
“Pleased to meet you, Alpha...” she began.
I completely ignored her and looked at Alpha James.
“Not this one...She has a face that could sour milk. The pretty one, the blonde one.”
Alpha James swallowed nervously, and his daughter’s face clouded with anger.
She opened her mouth to protest, but luckily for her, her father held his hand up to silence her.
She closed her mouth. At least his daughters seemed to be obedient. Well at least this one was. I couldn’t imagine the younger one would be any different.
“Sky...Skylar… she’s barely of age. She’s not ready to be anyone’s mate,” he stammered.
I folded my arms across my chest.
“You have a choice, either you bring her down here now, or I’ll leave, come back tomorrow and slaughter your pack. Then I’ll take her anyway!”