Chapter 18 - Long Days
I had been awake for hours, staring at the cold stone ceiling of the Northern Pack house. I normally wouldn’t object to walking before sunrise, because it let me stare at my mate, appreciate her beauty, the soundness of which she slept in my arms.
But not only was I alone, but I was worried, I was worried that there would be no one their for her, that she could not escape the walls of her mind that plagued her nights, that I would not be their to tell her it was alright, that I was there, that I would protect her, I would save her, that I would always find her.
“You awake?” Jamie asked, walking into my room as soon as the sun rose, even if it was stuck behind grey clouds.
“I am,” I sighed rolling over to look at him.
He blinked at me a couple times, his face non-reactive, “you’re not working, I thought you’d be working,” he said and suddenly his stunned silence became clear.
“Do you think she’s okay?” I asked.
“Ah,” he said, scratching his head, “It’s Alice mate, she’s, well, Alice – she’s strong, and fierce, and independent. I’ve never met someone who’s had so much control over their own mind, who’s been so sure of them self.”
I grunted and sat up, running my hands through my hair and scratching my head, he hadn’t been their yesterday. He hadn’t heard her confess the conflict that was burning inside her, he hadn’t seen the look on her face and the light flicker out in her eyes.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” I lied, reassuring Jamie more than myself.
* * * * * * * * * *
The wind whipped against the trees and the merciless terrain, howling and whistling, screaming against the mountain side. I didn’t mind the cold and the snow, but Jamie couldn’t have looked more unhappy, with a large scarf wrapped around his neck and tucked into his jumper, I noted to bring Alice next time and leave Jamie at home.
The Northern border ran through the rough mountain range, cutting through the snow the border of my pack traced the mountains and crevasses that made up the landscape. A single, well run path tacked through the snow and any wolf and animal knew that this was the territory of a wolf – perhaps not a human, but they scarcely travelled this far into the dangerous mountains.
But I could smell them, their stench tainting my pure lands and the prosper that came within my pack boundary. It made my nose crinkle as I walked throughout the snow laden trees and shrubs, stepping over well worn stones, the powdery snow crunching under foot.
Jamie rocked on his feet next to me, “are you alright?” I quipped, amused at his clear displeasure.
“It’s cold!” he hissed, and I’m sure, if possible, he would have found a way to burry himself deeper into his layers of clothing.
“It’s a perfectly fine day!” I laughed, gesturing to the blue sky that made the white snow glisten as the light danced between the clouds.
“I don’t give a shit,” he said, drawing out each word. “It’s cold, now can we hurry up and fix this rouge problem and go home?” he asked.
I chuckled and continued to walk down the path, “keen to get home to Grace?” I asked.
Jamie let out a huff, “we’re both keen to go home to our mates,” he said sourly.
I smirked at the clear displeasure and sour attitude that came with the cold weather, “You’re not wrong, but if you continue with that scowl it might stick and she might leave you.”
Jamie froze in spot, making one of the guards who walked behind us, almost run into him, “what?”
“You’re telling me she’s not just dating you because of your pretty face?” I chuckled and I smirked as I heard a cough of laughter come from our party.
The displeasure on Jamie’s face deepened, only making me enjoy it more.
“The clearing is just up here, Alpha,” one of the female guards said, pointing off into the distance.
“I know,” I chirped, “I can smell them.”
“So, you think it’s rouges?” she asked, her brows furrowing slightly.
I nodded, “It is, your betas were correct in calling us.”
“Actually, Mary was the one who urged them to contact you, she’s our most versed patrol guard along this stretch,” one of the older male guards said, placing a hand on her shoulder as she shifter her feet, now clearly uncomfortable with the extra attention.
“Well done, Mary, you did the right thing,” I said, offering her a friendly smile.
Her face was already stained with splashes of pink and red from the wind and sun, but I was sure it grew more, “thank you, Alpha,” she said, still keeping her head down and avoiding eye contact.
I turned and continued to walk along the track, eventually veering off and tracking through the knee-deep snow. Despite the nature of our visit, it amused me greatly to hear Jamie swearing under his breath as snow seeped its way under the waterproof layers of his clothes and undoubtedly soaking into his socks and pants.
Mary had called it a clearing, but it was a scar on the landscape, and I was shocked to hear a growl radiating from my chest, the party of guards suddenly taking steps backwards.
My fingers traced the cracked trees, splinters of wood and bark where the trunks had been snapped clean in half, as if a battle had gone down. The snow had been freshly compacted, and mounds thrown up, like a body had been thrown against the earth, the scent of their rotting fur clinging to the pure snow.
The scent alone had me scrunching my nose and my lips curling as I carefully walked the perimeter, Jamie and the guards standing off to the side, I could feel their eyes watching me and I could feel Jamie’s impatience had washed away. Wolves - rouges, barely crossed into my territory, barely came within a mile of the boundary, let alone let their tails brush into the air above my pack.
Yet here, here they had thrown themselves around, like pups, like wild beasts that had shifted for the first time.
“Has anyone come across recently?” I asked.
“No, Alpha,” Mary said, shaking her head.
“Has anyone from within the pack been here?”
“No one’s come too close, Alpha, the smell has repelled most,” Mary replied again, I was impressed with her diligence. She was why I liked having so many women apart of the guard and warrior classes, they weren’t as careless and reckless as the men.
“Good,” I grunted, crouching down and running my hand along the footprint etched into the snow. It was almost as if someone had purposely left it there, no other tracks, everything else so perfectly framed. The hairs on the back of my neck were now on end and every cell in my body was alive, this smelt like a trap.
Sorry for not writing as much! Hit up the comments and let me know what you think so far, I hope to a bit more writing this week so stay tuned for more!