The Queen in Shadows

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Chapter 3

Eighty years ago the world looked a lot different for werewolves. There was relative peace between all species, wolves, vampires and humans.

Vampires have, historically, been a power hungry species. Their scientists created an implantable chip that could control a wolf. Each implant is connected to a liquid silver capsule. If the capsule breaks open, silver would flow directly into the veins, killing the wolf instantly. In the beginning, many wolves died this way.

The Alpha King Armand, ruler of all wolves, fell in love with a human woman. They lived together, ruling the wolf Kingdom for ten years. She was as loved as he was, treasured and fiercely protected by our kind. No one cared that she was human, but her.

She wanted to be immortal, she wanted to rule by his side forever, but that was the one thing our King couldn’t give her. Werewolves are born, not created. He couldn’t turn her into a werewolf.

In her desperation she reached out to the vampire King, Remus. He seduced her with his beauty and the things he could offer her. Vampires can be both born and created. For a small price, he offered her everlasting life. For immortality, she betrayed Armand, trapping him so that Remus could implant the chip.

The Alpha King’s disappearance caused chaos in the wolf community, packs turned on each other, believing that insider mutiny was to blame. With the packs distracted and fighting each other, the vampires were able to move in easily. Many wolves had already been collared before the council of elders even knew what was happening.

We lost before we even knew we were in a fight. The nail that sealed the coffin was Remus killing Alpha Armand. Every wolf, collard or not, felt his death in their bones. The grief of his loss caused a mass surrender.

The weight of his death caused the remaining wolves, the wolves fighting the take over, to lose the will to resist, broken hearted and defeated the remaining wolves were captured and killed for the inconvenience they caused.

Since then the collective spirit has been broken. There are small groups that meet in secret to resist but most are too afraid, afraid the entire species will be wiped out if they are caught. Truthfully, I don’t think their fears are unfounded. Anyone caught in any kind of rebellion is always executed, I don’t suppose the King would hesitate to kill every last one of us.

My father was killed when I was four, he stopped a vampire guard from beating a wolf that had fallen out of line due to exhaustion while working. After his death guards raided our house, as they often did when a wolf stood up to them, searching for evidence of rebellion or illegal activity. My mother was killed for obstruction, when she wasn’t docile and compliant with them. I was raised by dad’s brother and his wife.

My uncle always talks about my dad’s Beta energy. He was fiercely loyal, helpful and honest to a fault, everything an alpha needs by his side. My parents would have been the right hand to the Alpha in the old world.

My aunt and uncle work underground to save as many of us from the collar as they can. I am not allowed to be a part of it, “plausible deniability” they call it, though I doubt it would matter. Being associated with known rabble-rousers is cause enough for investigation, which almost always results in execution.

I sit quietly, waiting for someone to give me instructions. A boy comes into the kitchen and sits across from me at the small table. I say boy because he is obviously younger but he doesn’t look like a boy. He is tall and broad, much larger than my uncle. He is the other kid being tested tonight. I wonder why he didn’t come with Orin Killion.

“This is Alex Killion” my uncle says before sitting down “and this is my niece, Elle.”

I recognize him. We’ve never met but I’ve seen him in the street. His deep olive skin and long dark hair are beautiful. He has large dark eyes, framed by long, thick lashes. His face is serious, he doesn’t even look up to acknowledge the introduction.

His hair is shoulder length and slightly curly. He runs his hand through it and I blush, feeling like he somehow read my mind and knew I was looking at it.

Hair is a big deal in our culture. It is considered sacred, we don’t cut it. It’s a reflection of our pride in our identity as a wolf and as a member of a pack. My hair reaches well past my waist. Alex has beautiful hair, it’s obvious that he takes care of it, that it’s important to him.

My uncle clears his throat before looking at us seriously. It’s almost time.

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