Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 59

We sat in silence for a painfully long time, the old woman never losing her smile. She didn’t even look offended by my question. The longer I had to wait for an answer, the angrier I got.

Eventually, she closed her eyes and sighed. “Alpha, I can understand that the situation has been a bit upsetting for you-”.

“A bit upsetting?” I shrieked. “It changed my entire life! Everything got taken away from me!”

Gunnar placed his warm hand on my knee and squeezed it softly. I clenched my hands into fists and took a deep breath. I probably shouldn’t scream at them if I didn’t even know how strong they were. They might not be allowed to be violent, but they can make houses disappear. Who knows what kind of other tricks they had up their sleeves?

The old woman opened her eyes, and the pain I saw in them took me by surprise. “What happened to the pack was tragic, absolutely catastrophic. I wish we could have avoided it, but sometimes an enormous sacrifice has to be made to keep the balance.”

I leaned back on the sofa, feeling my energy depleting by hearing the same thing about balance over and over again. “Everyone keeps talking about balance. It’s infuriating.”

“Balance is the most important aspect of our world. It protects not only the ancient beings but also everyone else on Earth. Too much of the same thing is never good, we all know that. Whenever there is a big natural disaster, everyone thinks it’s nature striking back. They aren’t all too wrong, but the reasons for it may not be entirely right. Of course, we are manipulating nature one way or another. Some actions are worse than others. We know that pollution and the destruction of nature are not beneficial for our lives here on Earth or the planet itself, but those are long-term effects. It might also lead to natural disasters, but not all of them. Some can be traced back to the imbalance of power. All the power places on Earth have the task of holding the balance, but when they get stripped of power or get abused, it will cause massive destruction.”

Was she telling me that those old ruins up in the forest actually hold such an important meaning?

She smiled. “It must sound crazy to you, but you also didn’t grow up like the other pups from the pack did. They knew the importance of the ruins and why they had to protect them. You didn’t get to know about the meaning and responsibility like your parents, grandparents, and all the others before that.”

“But why not? It would have made it so much easier for me to understand. Why did you let me in the dark?”

Apparantly, my parents always knew about the significance of the ruins and the power they had. They also knew about magic, but always acted as if they didn’t believe in it.

“It was part of the condition,” she said. “When we performed your ceremony, we saw a vision of the future- a prophecy. Usually, the ceremony is only meant to bless you and to acknowledge you as a new future protector. But in your case, everything was different. What we saw was horrible. Destruction, pain, loss. We knew prophecies do not have to happen the way saw them. But we also knew that if we continued what we did, it would come true.”

I gulped. “What exactly did you see?”

She clenched her tiny, wrinkly hands closer together, the white bony knuckles on her hands sticking out. “We saw a battle against the Vindictoria Pack. Your pack was fighting with all you’ve got, trying to win. You were with them, fighting alongside everyone, but you realized your pack was going to lose. You wanted to do everything to stop that from happening, and you knew about the power of the ruins. To save your pack and to win over the Vindictoria pack, you tried to activate the strength it held, but by doing so, you caused an unspeakable unbalance. You weren’t strong enough to hold the energy the ruins provided. Your spiritual level was too low, and the stones rejected you. They didn’t deem you worthy. Your heart and intentions weren’t pure. The ruins need to be protected. They are the higher power, but you didn’t want to protect them. You wanted to use them to save your family and to defeat the enemy once and for all. Saving your family is, of course, honorable, but that is not what a protector of the ruins is supposed to do.”

I could hear my heart beating in my ears, as rage rushed through me like a wildfire. “You want me to put the existence of the ruins over my life, and the ones I care about?”

“No, that is not what we want you to do. The mistake wasn’t that you wanted to save your family, but that you wanted to use the ruins, whatever the cost to do so. You forgot about their meaning and role on this planet and only wanted to use them for selfish reasons. They aren’t meant to be used for violence or war. Their role is not meant to be a weapon, but to protect the land, nurturing it. By using the ruins the way you did, you would have repeated what the Vindictoria pack did all those years ago when they tried to gain the upper hand over the territory by using the power of the power place to achieve it, hence destroying it. Those ruins used to be a beautiful castle up in the forest before it crumbled into itself.”

I jumped up from my spot. “That alpha had a different purpose! You said I was acting selfishly, but I wanted to save my family! He only wanted power. That’s selfish!”

Gunnar wrapped a hand around mine and pulled me back to the sofa carefully. I huffed and crossed my arms. How dare they compare me with that tyrant!

“We know you aren’t the same as him and that your reasons were different, but the result would have been the same. The ruins offer the protecting pack strength to fight off invaders, but only as much as the power place can bear to miss without risking imbalance. When you tried to take more and more power, the ruins couldn’t give away, they lost control, especially because you asked for so much in so little time. The imbalance would have caused massive destruction in the entire city, and even further, causing to not only kill you and everyone close but other thousands of innocent people.”

“I thought the ruins rejected me. How would I have taken their power, then?”

“They refused to give you more power willingly. You forced the power out of the ruins, which caused you to be overpowered. Your body wasn’t able to hold the pressure, killing you in the process. It would have weakened the ruins, allowing the Vindictoria Pack to step in and get access to the power source,” the younger woman said.

A long sigh left my mouth, my head thundering from the headache that had developed since we entered the house. “And so the Vindictoria Pack would have caused massive destruction, killing my pack, too.”

The two women nodded.

“That is exactly what we saw,” the old woman said.

I pinched the bridge of my nose. “I don’t get it, though. If I had a pure heart with just the intention of saving the ruins, would they have let me destroy the Vindictoria pack, even if they aren’t meant to be used for violence?”

“With a pure heart, the ruins might have given you more strength, but only as much as they could have given.”

“You see how little sense that makes, right? If the ruins had let me take their power, I could have killed the enemy, my pack would have survived, and no catastrophe would have happened.”

The young woman stood up and walked to the kitchen, filling water into a kettle.

“I think you forgot the point when I said you didn’t have the spiritual level to hold the power and your wolf wasn’t strong enough, either. You wouldn’t have been able to use the power, because it would have killed you,” the old woman said.

I stared at her, unable to understand what the issue was. Couldn’t they teach me to raise my spiritual level without killing my pack?

“How do you raise the spiritual level, then? I doubt it usually involved mass murdering.”

“In general, with awareness and acceptance. The moment you realize all is one and not everything is about you, you will raise your spiritual level. You have to be at peace with yourself and the world, which is hard to truly achieve and live by. Some people dedicate their entire life to achieving that sort of thing, and it’s not condemnable if you won’t be able to achieve that. Just living with more awareness each day can already be enough to have a higher spiritual level than those who don’t. People in tune with nature usually also have a higher spiritual level. That’s why many packs also practice certain traditions, revolving around appreciating nature, just like you did when you were a child.”

“Which doesn’t mean that everyone who practices those traditions will have a high spiritual level. It must come from within, and just celebrating something doesn’t mean you truly believe in its cause,” the younger woman added from the kitchen.

“Then why did we stop the traditions if it can raise your spiritual level? Shouldn’t we have done all we could to achieve that?”

“Because letting that battle happen wasn’t the solution to the problem. Even if you had been strong enough to handle the power of the ruins, we couldn’t know what kind of damage it would have done to them or if it had been enough to win over the much larger and stronger Vindictoria pack.”

The whistling of the kettle echoed through the room, startling me. Gunnar put his arm around me, pulling me closer to his side. I leaned against him, glad that I had him with me.

“So, you rather wanted to kill my pack than to test a different theory?”

The old woman shook her head. “It wasn’t something we rather wanted to do, and it also wasn’t a decision the ancient mages decided on. This was a group decision we all thought about for a long time.”

“Everyone, as in the entire pack, then?”

When we were supposed to meet the Vindictoria Pack for a peaceful meeting, most were very much against it. My hands got sweaty, hoping that everyone had a say and that they knew what they walked into.

She dropped her gaze. “No, not everyone was included in the decision.”

My heart dropped as I stared at her. “Some of them didn’t have a say in it then, maybe not even knowing what was going to happen and dying because of a decision others made for them.”

I felt like the world was collapsing around me. My father would never do such a thing, right?

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