00 - Prologue - Elias’ Point Of View.
Setting my tea cup back down on my desk, I breathed a sigh of relief. This nightmare that was this entire day was coming to an end. From waking up an entire hour late to missing a few important meetings, to dealing with the werewolves trying to steal my kingdom lands, I was pleased to see the sun setting.
Another hour or two, and I could close the book on this day. Not having to deal with it ever again. The wolves were getting far more aggressive than I had seen in years. Their new leader, whom I had yet to have a meeting with or even see in his human form, was leading attacks on my people. I knew next to nothing about him, just that he had taken control of this pack in the last year. They were blooming under him in terrifying ways.
The violence was heartbreaking and emotionally draining. Each day, this continued. They smeared every olive branch I extended in attempts to stop the killing on both sides back in my face with such anger.
Lines were long crossed now.
They hung bodies of my people from trees to swing in the wind like this was some sick game for the Alpha and his newly trained pack of hellhounds. At this very moment, there were a dozen unclaimed bodies in my throne room, werewolf and vampire alike.
We tried to return their dead, but to that end my own people died. Now, we took to burying them on our land, respectfully. Tomorrow, I would see off all their bodies, sending them back to the land that created them.
A soft knock on my door pulled me from the thoughts of the dead and I looked up, waiting for the door to open.
“Come in. The door is open.” I said, my voice just above a whisper.
“Your Highness, General Gaal sent me to inform you we have added another two werewolf bodies to the count to be buried. The guards came across them, scoping out the gates and quickly took care of them.”
“I see. Thank you.”
Standing up, I let a sigh fall from my lips. I wanted to see the two new wolves added to the collection of dead. I wanted to see what they looked like so that when it was my turn to rest, finally; I knew who I had to repent to. I didn’t believe in a higher power, or a god. But I believed that when I died, those who died by my actions would be there to judge my last moments.
Following behind the guard, he left me on my own when we reached the throne room. The two new bodies were still covered in mud and blood, not yet having been cleaned for burial. Both men distinctly had wolf features, but they were both young. One far younger than the other, probably still in his teenage years.
“Elias, this is getting out of hand now.” General Gaal said, approaching from the hall into the throne room.
“Believe me, I know. Fathers, sons, husbands, uncles. Dead. When will this Alpha stop? Surely he can’t keep going on like this, too. We have lost too many to keep going like this, but he refuses to accept any olive branch I try. He dishonours our dead, leaving them to swing from ropes while we honour his dead.”
“What choice do we have…” Gaal said.
“We are going to take all the wolves outside the gates and leave them for the wolves. They dishonour our dead, no longer shall we honour theirs. The blood is already on my hands. Might as well make the same statement they have to us.”
“Are you saying we…” Gaal said, his voice cutting off as if he didn’t believe I dare utter the words I did.
“Yes. Dishonour their dead, the same way they have done to ours.” I said, my voice low and full of sorrow.
This went against everything I stood for, but we needed to do something. As I said, the blood of his people was already on my hands. It couldn’t get any worse.
“As you wish, your highness, we will see that it’s done.”
“Spare the bodies of the teenagers from being put on display. That is the only rule”
“Understandable. I will make sure that no child is dishonoured.”
“I will oversee it all.”
“Absolutely not. It’s not safe for you to leave the gates.” Gaal said, raising his voice.
“Too bad, Gaal. I am, you won’t stop me, and neither will the beasts outside my walls.”
“As you wish, your highness.” He said, clearly not agreeing with this in the slightest.
Gaal arranged for guards to collect all the bodies of the werewolves and, as the last one left my throne room, I followed behind. Few vampires were on the streets, watching the guards carrying out bodies. Those who spotted me seemed to be surprised I was outside the walls of my brick safe house.
Standing in the gates, I watched as they hung the wolves in the same manner as the wolves had our dead. Disgust rolled through me, but I pushed the feeling away. A single wolf was in the field’s opening, watching the entire event taking place.
“Elias, do you want us to deal with that wolf?”
Locking eyes with the yellow-eyed beast, I spoke.
“No. I want it to tell the Alpha. What I want, however, is you to hurry this up? Outside, the walls aren’t as safe as inside them.”
“I agree. You should return to the safety of the kingdom and let us handle this.” Gaal replied.
“I am fine here, for the moment.”
“This is going to further anger the monster that is that Alpha.” Gaal muttered.
“I know. You need not remind me of that.” I hissed.
“At the very least, now he knows we no longer care to look after his dead.” Gaal declared.
“My only hope is that he takes these bodies back to the people who need them and allows them to rest.” I said, sadly.
As the last adult wolf was set into place, the wolf in the field disappeared and Gaal rushed to get me back into the kingdom’s walls and into the safety of the palace.
Inside the palace, I had one of my butlers fill the bath with warm water so that I could soak the stress and sorrow of the day’s events away. The horror that I saw in the wolf’s eyes when it realized what we were doing was telling. We were going to be slammed hard in retaliation for the event. But there wasn’t much they could do now that hadn’t before, sadly.
The warm water felt lovely on my skin, and goat’s milk soap had a soft scent now floating in the air as I aggressively scrubbed at my skin. Once I was cleaned and relaxed, I removed myself from the tub, wrapping in a towel and drying off.
I could see in the dark, but the candles that were lit in my room were nice. It was a soft, low light. Clothing was laid out on my bed, along with a steaming cup of tea on the table next to my bed.
Getting dressed, I sighed again. Just thinking about how the Alpha was going to react to this was stressing me out yet again. Giving my head a shake, I pulled back the blanket and crawled into my bed. The cold air from outside was seeping in through a window and soon enough I would need to have all the fireplaces in the palace lit to bring the warmth back. For tonight, though, the cold was welcomed.
Closing my eyes, I willed myself to sleep. After a few minutes, it worked, and I felt myself slipping into the tangles of slumber.
Screaming inside the palace jolted me out of the little sleep I had been getting. It was still dark outside, and bitterly cold when I stepped out of the blankets onto the floor. The scent of blood seemed to flow freely. My worst fears had come true. I felt it in my soul. The wolves had got inside the walls.
Grabbing the dagger from beside my bed, I held onto it tightly, thankful I could see in the dark, too. The sound of screams was endless, and each once filled me with anger and sadness. I just needed to make it to the throne room and I could get my father’s silver sword used for killing wolves.
My bare feet touched the wet sticky floor outside the throne room, and I didn’t need to look down to know that it was the blood of my kin. Despite all the screaming and the blood on the floor, I had yet to even see a single wolf. There was not a single person in sight.
Quietly, I walked to the place where the sword was set for the last fifty years and looked at the empty spot.
“Looking for this, your highness?” The voice was rough and deep. Turning on my heel, A massive man was only a few feet from me, my father’s sword in his hands. It didn’t take more than a few moments to understand that this was him. The Alpha.
Gripping the dagger tighter, I looked over at the man. He was twice my size and had almost a foot on me. But it was his emerald green eyes that pinned me in place.
“Surrender peacefully, and I might let you see the sunrise.” He said, showing me his canine teeth as he smiled.
“I think not.” I said confidently.
“Your death then.”
“So be it.”
I just needed the sword in his hand. I might be able to have a fighting chance here, otherwise, it would be my death. But I had made peace with that long ago. Gaal rushed into the room, blood coating him.
“Gaal stay away—--No!”
The Alpha used my father’s sword in a clean and well-placed swing to separate Gaal’s head from his shoulders and that act alone was the last death I could bare. Dagger in hand, I ran at the wolf and to my death.
Our fight was over as soon as it began.
He picked me up like a bad toddler. Yanking the dagger from my hand, he shook me back and forth for a while before he stopped. My entire being was reeling from the action. I barely had a moment to collect myself after the shaking before he hit me with the handle of the decorated sword in the head. Once scattered my vision and twice plunged me into darkness.