Some say there once was a time in ancient days when wild wolves roamed freely, the most eminent predator of the land. The catalyst by which the wolf animal became the creature with the stuff of most high predominance is two fold: the pack instinct and the Moon’s guidance therein.
And every so often, that guidance comes in the form of a gift.
Moon gifts are rare, overall. In some circles they are more plentiful and in others starkly absent. The True Mate gift is equally as rare and equally subjectively scattered. Gifts are given not with an individual in mind, not with one relationship, not with one lifetime in mind--no, Mother Moon sees all things, all lineages, and prepares in advance for the ones she wishes to bless. Things go wrong as imperfect werewolves make imperfect decisions and plans may be waylaid for a time, but the wolf she wishes to bless always comes into his or her inheritance in one way or another.
Perhaps it was cruel to give Richard Holt a True Mate that Mother Moon knew did not believe as strongly in the concept, and perhaps it was unfair to give Maya Henderson a True Mate who naively fancied himself invulnerable, but the stage needed to be set for future generations. And after all, all the Moon did was give the gift. It was her children’s prerogative to welcome it or abandon it. She nudges, guides, whispers to those who believe enough to hear it, but she does not control.
Grace Holt was born to be a healer, a center of empathy, a giver to humanity--but without her unique gift, she would surely have had those beautiful qualities squashed by a father who accepted nothing less than ruthless passion for excellence and public renown. After all, Richard was born with similar aptitudes, the Moon knows, but he was crushed by his own father only to try to repeat the cycle with his own daughter. The difference that made the Moon pass over Richard with any of her gifts is that he also had the predisposition to crave power, and if given Grace’s gift, he would not have cherished it the same way the Moon sees that the girl does.
Slate Atwood is a taciturn man who was born with congruent qualities to Grace’s that, raised in incredibly divergent circumstances, manifest much differently. His moon gift allows him to achieve the things that make him most fulfilled: seeing the happiness of those he loves. His true passion is to see his loved ones succeed. It’s a trait of uniquely pure altruism that many cannot understand, and perhaps this inevitable incomprehension is what caused him to be shaped into a young man many shy away from. His love is a strong power in the lives of those he gives it to, yet he hardly allows others to offer him the same strength.
His gift forces him to combat this reticence--it causes him to connect to others. His unique bond with his younger brother allows him to share much more of himself than he ever could have with his natural tendencies toward quiet and reservation. His ability to share Grace’s gift causes him to accept closeness of the physical nature as well as the mental and emotional. Perhaps if he makes the right choices, he will encounter another in his lifetime whose gift he can channel and more symbiosis will occur, but that script has yet to be written.
As for the gift of the True Mate bond, well, Grace Holt, though she keeps herself close to her maker, may well have misunderstood the magnitude of what a True Mate is without having seen her parents go through it. The choices her parents and their Mates made formed an unflattering picture of what it means to be True Mates, but they have nevertheless been able to communicate the gravity of what it means to have one’s soul match another’s with such complement. The Moon knew that all Grace truly needed for her own future success was to understand that the True Mate bond is something of great power and influence, such that her own bond would be too loud to dismiss when she found Slate Atwood.
And she did need to meet Slate Atwood.
Slate’s parents were also blessed with the True Mate blessing, though their choices illuminated the brighter side of what True Mates can become when fostered in a loving environment. Slate did not grow up with a mind as true and close to Mother Moon as did Grace, resulting in the quandary that Slate may well have not recognized the bond for what it was had he not had the example of his parents. However, with the combination of his closeness to the magic of a healthy True Mate bond to witness as he grew up in addition to his moon gift, he was made susceptible to the powerful nature of what such a bond feels like. When he saw Grace, he knew.
Grace and Slate are alike in many ways and different in all the ones that matter. Each with a heart as pure as the other, the two lovers will be able to bless exceptionally many more lives together than they could hope to as individuals. If Grace Holt and Slate Atwood did not have their moon gifts, and if they did not share a Mate bond, so many of the Moon’s precious children would perish or suffer.
There is more tumult to come for the two of them, but they will find their way. Too many lives depend on it.