Part 1 - Chapter 1
This story is split into 3 parts, Part 1: The Present, Part 2: The Flashback, Part 3: returning to the Present. There is a reason I did this, and hopefully you’ll like it.
There were things I did in my life that I was not proud of.
There were things I did in my life that made me wonder why I was still alive.
I was waiting for all the bad karma to catch up to me. One of these days I would have bitten off more than I could chew. Right now though, sitting in a pile of lukewarm blood, I realised that I had cheated death again.
That’s how he found me. Sitting in a pile of blood that was not mine.
I looked up, meeting a pair of bright green eyes that stared down at me, the sun was setting fast behind him, making his light brown hair almost look yellow.
“Cameron.” I acknowledged him as he looked around at the dead bodies that surrounded us. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone came to find me. I was meant to be back at the pack house an hour ago.
“What are you doing sitting here?” Cameron asked.
“I’m... reflecting” I said, it might have been an unusual place to sit but it was just so tranquil and quiet here it made a lot of thoughts go through my head. Another factor was that I didn’t want to go back to the house.
The house was full of other people like me, and I really wasn’t a big mingler. I would rather be alone here than around people. I winced, well, I was technically around dead people but they weren’t asking me how my day was or what my next mission was.
No, they just lay there.
“That’s a first for you,” Cameron crouched to be eye level with me. Dressed in a thick cream coloured jumper, he looked really warm. I took his extended hand as he lifted me to my feet and I was almost worried about getting red blood on his cream jumper.
“Let’s head back. Lily put aside some of that vegetable minestrone soup you liked.”
I did like a good pot of soup, especially by Lily, a very talented cook. She could make a piece of stale bread taste good, but then again bread was amazing.
Cameron wrapped his left arm around my shoulder, he didn’t seem bothered over the debris over me, nor did he seem to care that his light coloured jumper was getting stains.
“So, how many rebellious rogues did you kill today?”
I shrugged, probably a few, just adding onto the bad karma. I was given names and locations and that was all I needed to get my job done.
The sun was setting fast behind the trees as we headed towards what little light was left, the moon was shining brightly behind us. It was one of those days that you could just make out both the sun and moon, sending beautiful rays of colours across the night sky.
We headed towards where the tree got thicker, bigger and had more leaf coverage. It was just what we needed, something to hide where we stayed. It was like a perfect shield from everyone around us.
“When did you come back?” I asked Cameron. When I was handed my mission earlier today, he wasn’t at the pack house. Cameron was sent up north for a different mission nearly a week ago. When we were younger we went on every mission together, we were inseparable. Now we were too good at our jobs to be with each other.
We both had our own specialities. Cameron was an excellent tracker, he didn’t even need a scent to find someone. He just knew where everyone always was. Me... well. I was an expert at getting people to stop breathing.
I was also an expert at not letting my feelings show, when you were pretty much a werewolf assassin you sort of needed that.
Our job was complicated, I guess in a way some people viewed us as police for the world that they didn’t know existed. We were the Enforcers, making sure people of our kind behaved.
Often, we didn’t, probably because we were more animalistic than human life.
It took a very certain kind of werewolf to be in this career, and I had no idea how I ended up here. Some called it destiny and others called it luck to be able to have all this power. I called it misfortune.
The Enforcers version of a ‘pack house’ was big, almost like a hotel. We weren’t really a pack since we legally belonged to no territory and could travel between them all without needing any form of special permission.
However we still had levels of authority that we had to follow. Most packs had something called an Alpha, the leader, that they would follow. Here we had the elders.
Those elders were the ones that greeted me as I was in the reception earlier with all my luggage, returning from another trip. They had an important mission for me and I had left without even checking everything into my room.
Now walking back into the reception area with Cameron, I could see all my bags sitting in a corner waiting for me with tags on them.
“Hey Bruce, can you send that up to her room?” Cameron called out to the receptionist.
I followed Cameron as he led me straight to the kitchen, I was starving. I could smell the range of aromatic flavours in the air, my stomach grumbling. Lily was one of the rare humans that stayed in the Enforcer pack house, no one knows how she started working here but it was rumoured that she was good friends with one of the elders.
She was tiny compared to the rest of us, barely reaching five foot and in a very slim frame. Old age was getting to her, all her hair tied up in a neat bun as she greeted us as we walked into the massive kitchen.
Large pots and pans filled with various foods to please everyone were cooked. I didn’t know how she did all this, most of the time she had no help.
“Ilargia! Welcome back.” She greeted me, passing a very large bowl filled with my favorite soup. She placed two slices of garlic bread next to it.
“Everyone else is eating in the main hall. Do you want to go there?” Cameron asked.
I raised an eyebrow, he of all people should know that I didn’t like eating with the rest of them. Instead I grabbed a bar stool and hopped onto it leaning against the kitchen top. Cameron copied me and launched into his bowl the moment Lily placed it in front of him.
Cameron finished his soup in minutes while I took a longer time trying to savour it. I dipped pieces of my garlic bread into the soup letting it soak up a bit before I bit into it.
“How was your mission going up North?” I asked after a few moments. Cameron cleaned the rest of his bowl, asking for seconds before he answered me.
“Not bad,” Cameron shrugged, “We didn’t find what we were looking for, so came back today. I was talking to the elder committee earlier, before they told me where you were. They have a new job for me, apparently you’re on it too!” he said excitedly. “Just like old times ey?” he leaned over letting his shoulder hit mine.
That would be nice, being on a mission together again, except it made me wonder why they would need both a tracker and an assassin on the same mission. What were they planning?
“How is the committee?” Was it still corrupt and filled with old men that said this wasn’t a job for females. Probably. Was it still filled with these men that told me I wasn’t good at my job but kept choosing me over other people? Definitely.
I stirred my soup, blowing on it softly as I let the heavenly liquid gold fill my mouth. This was one of the good things about being in this place, the food was delicious. Sometimes I wish I could just pack up Lily and take her with me.
“What did they say about this new mission?”
“Not much, I think they want us both to be together so we can go after we eat. They’re still around. Something about watching some Alphas.”
The way an Alpha was chosen still bothered me, nine out of ten times it was like a blood right. You were born into the family of leaders, almost like a mayor of a town. There were some rare occasions where that was not the case, you could be overturned, which was incredibly rare. Sometimes the elders gave you permission to start your own pack, again rare.
You would think in this age and time they could make it into a voting system, or having some type of eligibility criteria to see who was fit for the role. Except this species was inbuilt on keeping to traditions.
Whilst I wanted to work with Cameron again, I wondered why they wanted us to watch over some Alphas. Of course some were corrupt, using their people and packs to cause more disruption. Who wasn’t? Even amongst us Enforcers we had some rotten eggs.
The last time Cameron and I worked together was two years ago, a mission that went totally wrong. Ever since then Cameron was always sent to track people, a simple hidden task. I was given a list of wild rogues that I had to track down and kill.
I was almost like a bounty hunter, except the organisation would pay me. Generally the list was for bad people, except I never really double checked it. I trusted that whoever was named on the list was always worthy of what I was asked to do.
Some rogues were annoyed with being in hiding, they tried to cause havoc by terrorising humans that lived near them, abducting humans or torturing them. They were bound to no law.
The entire idea of the committee was to be able to live in peace with the humans, except that was harder than people initially thought. Centuries ago we did, till they drove us to the woods, to hide our existence. Since then packs had claimed different territories as their own, with their Alpha ruling them.
Some packs made allies, and some made enemies with the packs near their borders. That’s why we were needed, to protect ourselves from being discovered again and to protect themselves from each other.
That’s why rogues were the worst, they were werewolves that fit into neither pack or society. They often were lonesome, some were just lone wolves, minding their own business and living in human society. Some were rogues, when they made it their business to mess with yours. They needed to be put down.
I was known for putting them down swiftly. It was less paperwork sometimes, to snap someone’s neck in half than try to control and educate them. I wasn’t saying it was wrong, but I’m not saying it was right either.
Sometimes I get different tasks, like the one I had just returned from which also included finding a way to tag them, to monitor where lone wolves were and whether there was a chance of them becoming rotten.
“Are you done?” Cameron asked, looking at my empty bowl, “Let’s go see the committee.”
* * *
“Ah, Cameron and Ilargia, welcome back.” I nodded as the old man stood up at his desk. George, one of the most powerful and respectful Enforcers there were. At his age, nearly a hundred years, most of them would be retired, but not George.
Personally, it was a good thing, George was one of the few that I trusted here, he was modest, humble and always treated me like family.
“I’m sure Cameron would have told you that I have a job for you both.” George said as he pushed a folder towards me. I reached down with my right hand, flipping it open to a long list of names.
“There is a pack down South, their Alpha is hosting a party.”
“I love a good party” Cameron commented from beside me, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
“Parties are good, but Cameron I have something else I want you to do before joining Ilargia” George said as he overheard
“This party is a little bit suspicious when the guests are other Alphas from pretty strong packs. We just want you to make sure nothing... happens there.” he continued. He was right, there were a lot of names on here that I recognised and well... I also wondered why they were meeting up.
I was almost confused “Wait, you want us to babysit them?” this wasn’t something that I normally did, so why was it now that he picked me to almost give me a babysitting mission?
“I wouldn’t say that Ilargia, more so to keep an eye out and tell me what they’re planning. Are they forging alliances? Are they starting a war? There are too many big names and I thought since you both know all of them, you can work together.”
It sounded like babysitting to me. I reached for the paperweight on the desk, beside the folder, “This is new.” I said as I turned the heavy object in my hand. It was also familiar.
“Ah, the only one who notices,” George nodded, “From a friend.”
I shifted the paperweight between my hands, “How long do we need to be down there for?” I asked as I used the paperweight as a stress ball. Except it was made out of glass and acted nothing like a stress ball.
“A week or two. Ilargia I want you to go down earlier, keep an eye on things. You will be the elder representative as there must be one when there is a gathering of this size. You know all the Alpha’s there and Cameron will join you in the following week.” George stood up.
A fortnight seemed like a pretty long time for me to be just watching Alphas but I nodded. I just did what I was told.
I looked down at the paperweight in my hand, it was circular with silver and gold threads running from one side to another.
Paperweights always fascinated me, they were pretty much useless for their actual purpose. They were small and heavy, yet powerful when hurled at someone’s head.
I placed it back on the table and reached for the folder, Cameron moved closer to look at it.
“I’m sure you both know the Cavern Pack, they are hosting the gathering.” George walked around the table towards us.
I nodded, their pack was an interesting one. Their current Alpha had to take over from a young age which meant he had a good grip and foundation. He was fourteen when he had taken over when his father, the previous Alpha, was murdered in a rogue attack. Now their Alpha was twenty six and this was one of his first official hosting parties. Perhaps he was looking to make allies with these other packs.
“I want you to keep an eye on them, make sure nothing is being planned, and report to me. With three strong packs attending there will be a great deal of tension and I want to know that you both will be able to control this if something breaks out.” George continues as he takes the file back from me and goes through the pages himself.
“George... with all due respect. Cameron and I would be more useful in the front line and not attending a party.” I pointed out.
“I think you’ll like this one.” George smiled, making me curious as he handed the file back. “Also just a request, please be respectful to the Alphas. The last one complained about you, Ilargia.”
I groaned as Cameron chuckled, that was not new feedback to me. For some reason Alphas and I just clashed, maybe it was the one thing we had in common, hatred for each other. I wasn’t a fan of how they would treat me and they didn’t like that I was getting my nose up in their business.
At least in the last two years most of my missions didn’t involve Alphas. I looked up as I heard something flying through the air, and my hand shot up grabbing the object as Cameron yelped moving out of the way.
It was the paperweight.
“Keep it.” George said as he sat back on his desk.
* * *
A plate was placed in front of me with a sandwich nearly cut up into small pieces placed in front of me. I looked up to see Cameron towering over my beanbag.
“I’m busy.” I said as I flipped to the next page.
“You can read your goddamn file later. If your father knew you were losing weight faster than a rabbit on a treadmill, he would kill me.” Cameron, my self appointed adoptive father, said as he jumped onto another bean bag next to me.
I rolled my eyes but grabbed half of the sandwich anyway, I was hungry and this file was rather big, and boring, but it had to be read nevertheless.
“What’s the committee making you do?” I asked him.
“Don’t get jealous... but I’m going to be chasing a lead.” Cameron said with a sheepish smile on his face. I could tell he was far more excited than he was letting on. Great, he got the good part and I got the babysitting part. Clearly the elders weren’t trusting me even though it had been two years since my slip up.
I groaned, stretching my legs. “Why do you get the better file, want to swap?”
He grimaced, “To be honest I don’t want to deal with the unmated Alpha of the Cavern pack. Be careful with him. I have heard that he is definitely a handful.” Cameron grabbed the other piece of the sandwich biting into it.
“I’ve heard” I said, rumours were definitely like a wildfire in this community. The Alpha of the Cavern pack was a womaniser, but then again he had a long supply of unmated female wolves throwing themselves willingly at him.
“So when are you leaving?” he grabbed the remainder of my half eaten piece.
“Tomorrow morning, it’s nearly a full day’s journey. How about you?” I sighed closing the file.
“Tonight,” He frowned, he reached over taking me into a hug as I squealed trying to push him off. “I’ll see you soon!” he said squeezing me.
“Gross.” I muttered finally getting him off me whilst he laughed.
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