Chapter 7: A Day for Mates
I circled the group, watching as the front gates of the arena opened to reveal Alpha Atlas and Orion emerge. I strode from my place in the woods to accompany them to Atlas’s left, Orion flanking him on his right.
Alpha Nicholai stood proud with a handful of his warriors at the entrance of the arena, a darkness seemed to spread out from their presence, silencing all those around them.
He was the son of the Alpha who reigned over the human territory of northern Russia. Their pack was ruthless and took what they wanted from human and wolf alike. I had been called in more than once to cull their rabid members who had become crazed after consuming too much human flesh and went on a rampage through remote human towns.
“We did not invite you, this is to be a civil gathering of peaceful nations, and yours is not among them.” Orion spat. Nicholai’s eyes flashed with red, he smiled maliciously.
“Oh, but we are, I have made some recent changes to the pack leadership in order to lead my people into a new era of peace and comradery.” He said while opening his arms, stepping in the direction of Alpha Atlas.
Orion and I growled in unison, halting his movements.
Jumping from over the wooden fence and landing lightly besides me, Jarrod immediately took a fighting stance.
I could feel the anger coming off of him in waves. We had both seen the atrocities their kin has committed, as far as we were concerned, Nicholai’s claims of peace fell upon deaf ears.
“Where is your father, Nicholai? Where is Alpha Serge?” Atlas questioned.
“I’m so glad you asked, Alpha Atlas.” Nicholai responded, a glint of malice in his eyes. Removing a large pack from his back the reached in and withdrew a bloodstained parcel.
Tossing it to the ground before us, the cloth wrapping came undone to reveal a severed left hand. On the hand was a large gold ring, the signature ring of his father. He would use that ring to brand any newly conquered wolves they forced into joining their pack, an eternal reminder that they were his property. My own pack had many refugees from his lands, all carried the scar of that ring on their skin, even the children were not sparred from his brutality.
“I would have brought his head, but I felt this made just as much of a statement.” Nicholai sneered.
“As you can see, I have taken over my father’s pack and I want to change things. Set things right.” He continued, bowing dramatically.
“I humbly ask you Alpha Atlas, to give me and my people a chance to learn your ways and embrace diplomacy as we create a better future for the region.”
Orion stared wide eyed at his father. I could feel them reach out to me via mind link.
Orion was shouting, “You cannot possibly be considering accepting his offer?”
“I am not saying that we blindly accept his offer, just that we allow him to stay a while so that we may accept some of his people.” Atlas stated calmly.
“Luca, back me up on this, do you honestly believe he murdered his own father in the name of peace?” Orion said, glancing in my direction.
“I have seen the brutality that Alpha Serge inflicted on his own people first hand, while I am not naïve enough to believe his motivations are pure, any opportunity we have to distance some of his pack members from the violence, I think we should take.” I stated.
Orion’s breathing stilled. “I agree with your logic Alpha Luca, we will accept his offer of peace. But, keep your men on guard should he betray his words, as will we.”
Alpha Atlas nodded.
“I still don’t like it, but I will trust you both.” Orion conceded.
Atlas stepped forward, “While we applaud your intentions, your pack has a long history of bloodshed and conflict.”
Nicholai’s expression faltered.
Atlas continued, “Struggles that we hope to help you mend. I welcome you and your kin to join us during the games and during the course of your stay we will evaluate whether your promise of peace is true, Alpha Nicholai.”
Nodding his head in respect, Nicholai looked between us with a wide grin. “We thank you for your benevolence, me and my kin will not betray your good will.”
A few of the guards were appointed to show Nicholai and his men where to set up camp at the edge of the cabins that we had constructed as guest quarters for the games.
Waiting until he was completely out of my view, I turned to Jarrod seething. “Why are you here? You were supposed to be looking after Red?” I shouted through mind link.
He flinched, refusing to meet my eyes. “I – I lost her after she rejoined her family.”
“You WHAT?” I could not help shouting using my own voice. Orion and Atlas gave me a quizzical look.
Grabbing Jarrod’s arm, I turned him to face me. “What do you mean ’lost her’ you left her alone?” I stammered, returning to speak directly into his mind.
“I was distracted and she slipped away, saying that she needed to find her twin brothers.” He replied, his angry eyes meeting mine. Jarrod has never failed me, not once, I was confused more than I was angry.
“You were not the only one to find your mate today.” He retorted, harsher than he meant it to be.
“Then why aren’t you with her?” I questioned, more incredulous that he left her side at all.
“She is underage and does not feel the pull yet as I do.” He replied, hanging his head.
“I am sorry, brother.” I said calming down, “But the main thing is that you found her.”
He met my eyes with a smile, I knew how long he had hoped for this day to come.
“I am also sorry to part you further, but I need you to keep watch over Nicholai and his men. Stay out of sight and alert me should they return to the arena.” He nodded his head in understanding.
Turning to leave, he mind linked a final time, “Alpha, I didn’t leave her alone, Jac was looking for her.”
I frowned, confused. “She’s his kid sister that he always speaks about.” With a smirk he left.