Waiting in Darkness

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Twenty three | Syn

I know I'm just useless, disgusting trash.

Such words should never have left his lips. No matter how angry I was, no matter how upset with him I was, I never wanted to hear him talk about himself like that again.

He stated it as fact, left no room for dispute, would never expect anyone to deny his claim. He believed it about himself and he believed that others regarded him in that way. And it was partly my fault. I had called him disgusting after all. Me, his mate, had only cemented those beliefs in him.

He never should have felt that way. Never deserved to feel that way.

I knew how much it hurt because I had called myself those same words for nearly a century. Even to this day I sometimes still felt that way.

Disgusting trash.

Useless.

Terrin didn't know the real meaning behind those words. But I would show him he was nothing close to those words. My own story would enlighten him on the very definition of those words. Even though I was still deeply hurt by Terrin's actions, even though sometimes it was hard for me to even look at him, to look at my mark on his shoulder, I couldn't leave him like this.

So I stayed, keeping my back to him as I reiterated a very dark time in my past, finally telling him the truth.

The whole truth.

"I was born during the mass decline of our population during the lycan wars. The werewolves overwhelmed us with numbers and split us apart. The hunters took out our strongest, by going for our alphas and betas. Then they began hunting us down for sport. As the older generation of our race died off, we didn't stand a chance. We didn't know how to fight and strategize. We were too young to master any skills, only having lived two or three decades. We no longer had packs and so we were easy pickings for werewolves who could easily overwhelm two or three of us in a hunting party of twenty." I closed my eyes as I briefly flashed back in my mind to a scene where I was pressed into the corner of the small hotel room, a group of ten werewolves grinning with malice at their cornered prey. The two other lycans in the room with me stepped in front of me, shielding me. Their backs were all I could remember, their faces a blur of lost memories.

"My mother and father were two of these lycans," I said, my mind still in my memory, looking terrified at my parents who faced their deaths. "They were young, very young. But they had been luckily enough to find each other, to experience having a mate in such a short lifetime. Many of my kind never had the chance. But even as mates they weren't strong enough to win the fight." In my memory my father lunged for the first werewolf, my mother following. I shielded my face with my arms, listening to the screams and the tearing of flesh. My skin was showered with droplets off blood. The sound of my parent's screams as they died was the only thing about them I could remember. Not their faces, not the sound of their voices, no memories but this one. As the scene faded from my mind I was left staring at the cave wall. "They were going to kill me too, but the leader of the group stopped them. He told them I'd make a nice birthday present for his sister. The woman ran a brothel, and needless to say upon one glance at my face, even in my youth, she was delighted."

I remembered being shoved at her feet and her hand roughly grabbing my chin to inspect me. The spark in her eye that day was the cause of my nightmares. I was young, just barely in my teens but she knew that once I reached adulthood I would be her biggest asset. "She trained me for years, forcing me to learn how to dance, to sing, to make conversation and smile, to play whatever instrument was most popular. And because I had yet to have my debut she made me work as servant behind the scenes. For years she kept me hidden, not wanting word of me to get out. I was to be reserved solely for the gentry and they would only get the best merchandise but I was not there yet. She owned a high end brothel so only the wealthiest could afford any one of us, but making me exclusive would just make the nobles want me more."

And want me they did. "When she deemed me ready, she made a huge deal about my unveiling. Her name was well known, for not only selling pretty faces but also talent. She claimed me to be the best of both, far superior to any of the others she had to offer. She made them curious so they all came when she finally presented me."

My first bid had been a horrifying experience. When they all saw my face for the first time, absolute mayhem ensued. Ghastly amounts of money were thrown around, shouting turning into full out fighting, blood being spilled as they all wanted the chance to take my virginity. Only one should get to claim it, after that I could be bought time and time again and remain the same.

"A prince of the Old Kingdom won. He hated lycans because we had killed his mother and sister in a hunt they had for us. He blamed their stupidity and weakness on us." I closed my eyes and shivered his voice hissing in my ear the things he had told me while violating me, taking out his rage on me. 'It was supposed to be for fun, they weren't supposed to die.' He'd kept saying. 'Your kind are disgusting monsters.' He'd been merciless with me, aiming to humiliate me and cause me nothing but pain and discomfort and succeeding.

"Being a lycan made it worse. I was an object of fascination, especially during the following decades when we became a rarity. Everyone wanted a chance to have me. To 'experience' it. They passed me around, using me as they pleased, commanding me to their pleasures. They aimed to prostrate me, to use me as an advocate of the lycans. They mocked me, hated me, hurt me because of their grievances against us."

I was subjected to the most hateful of them, all they needed to get at me was a purse full of money and a title. I was dragged to every fancy event and party hosted by them, forced to suffer through their frivolous lifestyle. And it only got worse as the years went on. The younger ones were more arrogant, full of themselves and boastful. They had nothing to be prideful of, no battles won, no amazing feats. The best they could do was say they'd fucked a lycan, that I'd been powerless to them. They would lie, boasting about how they made me moan and wanton when everyone knew I was silent and never felt any pleasure.

As lycans, our bodies didn't cave into something so mundane. Our thoughts and motives weren't clouded with lust, not unless it pertained to our mates. We didn't feel the need or the urge with any pretty face that caught our fancy. Most lycans just waited for their mate, it was easy to. The ones who didn't were usually just curious or fell in love before meeting their mates.

So to be forced into such a life gave me nothing but sorrow and pain. I hated myself and loathed my weakness. I didn't know much about the lycans, only piecing things together by what I'd heard through gossip. Half of the time, I couldn't even be sure if it was true or just lies. But one thing that was always the same was the strength of the lycans. While I'd mostly heard mocking remarks about our fall, I knew enough to understand that they only now felt safe to speak out against us because we were practically extinct. We were strong, ruthless in some cases but that had kept the werewolves under our thumb for centuries. They hated us because we were better than them, because they would never be able to compare. The hunters were our true downfall, the werewolves had only swooped in like vultures to finish off the already caught and killed meal.

But I wasn't strong. I let my race down. I would never be able to fight in a way that would honor our name. I only knew how to spar, using the stupid rules of the nobility that had turned tacts of warfare into a game. Fighting wasn't supposed to be a pretty dance that ended at the first drop of blood. It was supposed to be brutal, to the death, to win, to earn scars.

Me?

I was useless. Pathetic.

I didn't deserve to be a lycan. I was as weak as all of the werewolves, no better than any one of them. In fact, I was worse.

"Every once in awhile they would bring in a captured lycan. Hunting them became an obsession, and it was quite lucrative. Kings would pay chests full of gold for a live lycan, just so they could host a huge party and make a spectacle of killing them. And I was always at these parties, someone always buying me, some just for the sole purpose of watching me suffer by forcing me to look as my brethren were murdered and I could do nothing about it." They would laugh at me, laugh at my kindred as they were tortured and then killed. Their blood would still be staining the floor as I was forced to dance across it, fighting the urge to be sick. The werewolves would laugh, dance, drink and enjoy their evening as if they hadn't just murdered one of us in cold blood.

And I would grow to hate myself more and more.

I hated my cowardice, my inability to do anything because I was always frozen in place when I laid eyes on another like me.

"I resigned myself to my fate, believing this to be my punishment for being so weak. I had believed my entire existence would be this never ending party and orgy of the werewolves."

But then one male had changed that. He had come for me, bringing the last of the lycans with him to rescue me and teach me of the power we possessed, an alpha who would train me and show me what it meant to be a lycan. "Hakota heard the rumors about a lycan whore that was passed around the courts and came for me. He saved me and promised I'd never again have to be touched against my will, that I could have my revenge on them if I so wished it. He taught me how to use my anger, let me use my hate to fuel my vengeance so I could pay them back tenfold."

I let my story end there, he knew how the rest of it went. Silence stretched between us as I was struggling to wade through the hundreds of emotions I was feeling now. I struggled to catch the memories and shove them back into the box I kept them locked in. I couldn't make these feelings disappear as easily though.

I was filled with so many negative emotions. Sadness, anger, hurt, despair, bitterness, misery, and torment. But mostly anger. Anger from then, anger from now.

I had been wronged. Wronged by hundreds of werewolves and now by my own mate.

"Syn I'm–"

Standing, I kept my hands clenched in fists. Dredging all this up again opened wounds I had long since healed. It made my grudges stronger and the pain fresh. "That wasn't the only thing, he taught me," I ground out, turning to my mate. I hated the look of pity in his eyes. I didn't want pity and I didn't want his apologies. "Hakota taught me about the lycan mating bond, told me of its significance and the reverence it holds. It took me decades to move past my mental block that I was unworthy of a mate after everything done to me. I believed myself to be too used, sullied, and disgusting to deserve one. And when I finally got over that I was just met with another hurdle, I didn't believe him. Werewolves had mate bonds too but they were nothing like what Hakota described. I'd seen werewolves treat their mates badly, cheat on them and fall out of love with them. A mate bond did nothing to stop them from buying me for a night or two."

Grief was evident in Terrin's tortured expression, "Syn, I know there is nothing I can say or do to make this better, but–"

I wasn't interested in what he had to say. There was simply no excuse. Perhaps we had both been too broken for our bond to ever work. One of us needed to be strong enough to move past the hardships of our past so we'd stop hurting each other with our doubts and misgivings. "I've witnessed dozens of broke bonds, been the reason for some of them, but I never expected mine to be another one in the long list. I've been the other person countless times, but I shouldn't have had to accept that with you. Not in my own mating bond."

I deserved better than this and so did he. We would never find happiness with each other, Lune had been wrong about us. I would fix that now though, I'd give us both a chance for a better future.

I removed Terrin's chains, letting him free. "Go home Terrin, go find Heidi and mate with her. I'm sorry for having stood in your way for so long. It's time I move past this and stop holding you back." Because even though we had come so far, we were always bound to shatter. I'd had my taste of what a beautiful future with Terrin could be like, but the harsh reality of the situation was we would be more miserable in the end than happy. We had too many downs to combat the ups.

It was time for me to let us go.

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