Chapter 2: Alpha of the Arctic Circle
I didn’t want to do this and my Beta knew it. When we had received Alpha Atlas’ invitation I had disregarded it as politics that I did not want to be a part of. After all, my pack was made up of wolves who were viewed as strange and unwanted by their kin. Yes, I was their Alpha, but that did not make our participation in this event by my preference alone.
Besides, in addition to the invitation was a letter notifying me that we were to expect company, and soon.
Sighing deeply I mind linked with Jarrod and had him gather the adults of our pack for a meeting. This is not going to end well, I could feel it already.
I had no qualms with Atlas, after all I trained with his son during my youth. His successor, Alpha Orion was a headstrong and stubborn wolf. He would make a good leader one day, and he was one of the few that I could call a true friend outside of my own pack mates.
I left my small home and headed towards the large structure in the center of our town. Waiting there were six of my strongest warriors. My Beta, Jarrod rose his head and nodded at my entry.
“Alright everyone.” I began, “I have received an invitation from Alpha Atlas for us to join a gathering of northern packs.” I paused, eyes scanning the room. The older warriors, like myself looked wary, while some of the younger recruits’ eyes widened in excitement.
“As is the way with our pack, this decision is not mine to make alone, but I do warn you, our involvement in something this…public could change the dichotomy of our way of life. But –“ I hesitated, Jarrod’s eyes bore into mine. “I think that this could be an opportunity for us to establish our place as a presence in the Arctic Circle, and the surrounding northern tundra.”
I let my words sink in, there were other violent roaming packs over the frozen regions of Russia and the North Americas who we could announce our presence to. Our pack was made up of exiled warriors and war refugees. Inhabiting a small town to the northern edge of the human territory of Greenland, my people were made up of warriors who had sought safe haven after territory attacks decimated their home packs, and mated pairs and families who fled from the violent bands of rogues who invaded the remote areas of the arctic.
What had begun as just myself, Jarrod and the three other original members of the arctic wolves had now increased to a string of small towns along the northern edge of the arctic ocean.
It was Leon who spoke up first. “Alpha, I agree with your strategy. We are allies with Atlas and his kin, this would be the perfect opportunity for us to join with the northern packs and to announce our presence to the pack leaders in the rest of the Americas.” I nodded my head in agreement.
Jac continued, “Plus it’s a perfect opportunity to show off our skill among the regional leaders in the games!” He beamed enthusiastically. Laughter echoed around the room. Part of the gathering involved a series of tournament style games. I saw Atlas’ wisdom in this, wolves enjoyed nothing more than healthy competition, so this was sure to bring the male members of the packs closer very quickly.
“Where is the gathering being held?” Quince’s low voice came from the back corner of the room. “In a remote forest region in the northeastern part of the human territory of Canada.” I responded.
Jac’s eyes lit up, “That’s close to my home!” he exclaimed. “Yeah, maybe we’ll see that hot little sister you always gush about.” Ty teased him, elbowing Jac in the ribs. Jac was a war orphan who was raised in a wolf orphanage of sorts. We found him about 3 years back starting trouble with some eastern rogues, he’s been part of our pack ever since. Him and Ty are our newest, and youngest warriors.
Christian spoke up, “Were any other northern packs invited?” he questioned. The room went silent. I could see his eyes darken.
“No.” I responded truthfully. “This gathering is to be the start of a peaceful union of pack leaders, and we were the only northern pack that met that requirement.”
The men chatted amongst themselves for a few minutes debating the pros and cons, but I could tell where this conversation was heading.
Jarrod mind linked with me, “Alpha, I think we should do this. We have spent too long hiding among the ice and wind, if we are to establish our presence as a safe haven for any wolf seeking refuge away from the violence and war of their home packs, then we need to be visible.” I glanced at his eyes, sighing “I agree.” I thought solemnly, Jarrod was yet to find his mate, as was I. The difference was that I gave up long ago in trying to find my match, but Jarrod was much younger than I and was still waiting with blind anticipation.
All in all, the eyes that shown before me were filled with optimism and hope. I could see the decision was already made. Going through the formal motions, I put it to a vote, it was unanimous after some hemming and hauling one the part of Quince. “Well then, I guess we’re going to a party.” I stated with a smirk on the corner of my lips. They erupted in cheers, I glanced at Jarrod, who was smiling as well.
Hardly two days later I was waiting at the edge of our main town as a convoy of cars approached our home. I breathed deep, Alpha Atlas was coming to visit and personally invite us to attend this gathering. I had known Atlas and his family for a long time, and if he was making the journey to our remote town, I knew that this was serious.
Orion jumped from the lead SUV, a wide smile on his face. “Luca, is that you?” He boomed, rushing up to hug me tightly. “It has been too long brother!” He clapped me on the back, “What has it been 3, 4 years?” he questioned.
“Five, I believe.” I replied, meeting him with a smile of my own. Orion was a happy go lucky kind of guy who found his mate shortly after her 19th birthday, he had a loving family and a mate that adored him. He had the perfect life, I found it hard to suppress the jealousy I felt for him. Still, I honestly wished him the best, he was one of the most kind hearted and true friends I have known.
“Where is Jarrod? Where you are he’s always close by…” Orion continued, scanning the edge of town with narrow eyes. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Jarrod was the resident expert in stealth combat. Something that Orion could never master and has been a massive point of contention during the prank wars that dominated their time training together.
Stepping forward, Orion suddenly slipped as his left ankle was pulled violently from under him as he stepped in a rope snare. Turning to see the end of the rope being held by none other than Jarrod, who was doubled over in silent laughter watching Orion struggle to free himself while not slipping on the icy ground. Righting himself shouting, “Jarrod, I’m gonna kill you!” Orion proclaimed, leaping forward. Jarrod narrowly evading his grasp and disappearing around a building.
They both raced off as Alpha Atlas approached me. “Alpha Luca, it is so good to see you again” he smiled warmly, drawing my into a hug.
“Alpha Atlas, it has truly been too long.” I responded respectfully, my smile reaching my eyes. Atlas had been there for me in my troubled youth, many years ago when my original band of arctic wolves were little more than contract killers for hire. Yes, it allowed me to see the world but it did nothing to ease the ache of loneliness deep in my core.
He showed me a different way of life, originally proposing that we lend our services to train wolf packs to protect their borders. Which is what we did for a number of seasons until we saw the need for a safe haven for refugee wolves.
“Come, let’s get out of the wind and catch up.” Atlas said, walking towards what he knew was the town pub. I smiled at the nostalgia of it all, “Yes, lets.” I agreed. Orion and Jarrod would catch up once they were done trying to kill one another.
After several rounds of ale and much reminiscing and laughter, Orion and Jarrod had made up for lost time by prodding me about my isolation in past years. Every summer Jarrod would go on a trip with Orion and some of the guys to a different town in Greenland and North America to try to find their mates. I had stopped searching long ago, resolving that I was happier alone. It was better this way, safer this way that I not lose control to my wolf.
Atlas looked at me sincerely, “Luca, we need your pack as part of this union, your home has long been a place of safety and refuge for wolves from all nations. I want you to join with us, and together we can become stronger.”
Orion stiffened up suddenly, “Luca, I’m asking you this as my friend and as the godfather of my future child” he finished smirking.
“Orion, your mate – she’s expecting?” I stammered.
He nodded, smiling enthusiastically. “You were the one who trained me to be the leader that I know my father wants me to be, and my child will need me to be, so will you do it?” he asked with pleading eyes.
I sighed, “Yes, I would be happy to.”
Standing, I raised my mug, “To the northern alliance!” I toasted. Orion, Atlas and Jarrod stood around me. “To the northern alliance!” Their voices rang out. There’s no turning back now.