Chapter 01 - Through Yellow Eyes
The mind-numbing stillness, the ache of your body, the fuzzy throbbing in your limbs. That is what guard duty is like. Staring out into the darkness of the night, the trees and bushes entwining with night and the shadows, not daring to move a muscle. Becoming apart of the landscape and the night, letting the critters and creatures blissfully stalk around you, not aware of your presence lurking beneath the very bushes that they graze on.
This is what guard duty is like.
The animals silence and scatter, as two of the patrol guards pace past – more infatuated with the moon light dancing around them, than myself concealed nearby. Their careless unacceptable. My shoulders click slightly as I softly move from out of the bushes, making sure not to move faster than the wind, making sure not to tread on a stick or stone.
My paws tread softly on the earth and dirt, as I lurk from the darkness, looking like nothing more than a shadow, stretching and bleeding through the woods. The small female wolf nuzzles the shout of the larger male wolf, they were still young – not mated but purely having a love affair.
I let a low growl rip from my throat, unbridled and aggressive, letting the Alpha power flow out of every inch of my body. ’I have been stalking you two for five minutes now,’ I growl as the she-wolf hides under the other patrol guard.
As my gaze dances between the two of them, theirs drops and they offer their necks submissively, ’we’re sorry Alpha,’ the male wolf says.
’Report back to Beta Barnes, I won’t have you two fucking around when you’re meant to be protecting the pack.’
Their snouts lower in the ground further, ’of course Alpha Griffin,’ they hum their voices no longer their own as they succumb to the obedience of their wolves.
’Now go, and explain your insubordination,’ I snap, sending them running swiftly into the darkness.
Had they perhaps paid attention to the patrol and guard duty schedule, they should have seen I was out on the field, they should have seen I would be lurking in the darkness, letting my wolf roam. Their incompetence sent a wave or irritation down my spine and I shivered at the coolness of the night, having given up the warm that had leached into the ground and the bushes that protected me from the wind.
I would now spend the night taking their place, circling the edge of the territory. We had been incident free for the last couple of months, and I planned on keeping it that way. The mess my father had left the pack in, left me sprawling in debt and the pack weaker than any other. We were the target of rouge attacks and the carelessness some of the younger pups meant that we’d had hunters roaming the forests, looking to take down some of the legendary werewolves that had been seen.
But no more.
I refused to continue of a trajectory of decent, left to my by my forefathers, I refused to have innocent blood on my hands. So be it if those young wolves spat on my name for their own disobedience. So be it if they talked to their friends and the pack, whining about their punishment and being reassigned elsewhere. I would play the bad guy, I would happily be the villain. So long as I didn’t have to face the death of another pack member.
I couldn’t do that again.
Not after the last attack, not after loosing so many, not after feeling their lives, their connection to me and the pack shatter. Their lives seemed too fragile, shattering like glass across the floor. I hadn’t expected such a pain, such a sadness and a grief to wash over me, then, ontop of it all. Telling their family, their parents and brothers, their sisters and children, their lovers, and friends. Reading the list of the fallen, the dead.
I couldn’t do that anymore; it ate away at what little soul I had left. It only made me feel so much more broken, so much more accountable, so much more powerless against those who wished badly on us.
As I lurked amongst the trees, I paused at a small pool of water, letting my wolf drink. Our tongue sent ripples across the water, our yellow eyes looked back at me, glowing in the night and I wondered if my mate would like the vibrancy, what her eyes looked like, what her wolf looked like and if she would like mine. If she would like our shaggy dark brown coat.
If she would forgive me, for becoming a man without her, if she would forgive me for the brooding I started doing, for the innocence I left behind well before eighteen.
I wondered who she might be, so unfortunate to be paired with me – an Incompetent man and Alpha.