Tessa broke the mind link, having seen enough. Seeing the events through Cadence’s eyes answered why she had so much hatred toward the witches. ”Well, they helped attack our pack so that’s enough for me to hate them,” her wolf said as if it was obvious. Tessa couldn’t really argue with her. There had probably been other packs that fell victim to the monster’s wrath in his conquest for power and that would mean the witches were accomplices to those murders. ”Why did they wait until now to go against that thing. Their power combined should have been more than enough to overthrow or escape their Master, Tessa thought as a feeling of disgust wracked her body. “So, I wonder why they didn’t,” her wolf replied, unsure of what the answer could be.
Based on the archives about the great war, there has been no contact with a witch or signs of a coven since it ended hundreds of years ago. “Could they have actually been working with that monster to get revenge? Do you think there are others out there trying to destroy the order of things,” Tessa wondered, hoping this would be their only encounter with witches for a long time. “After hundreds of years, you’d think an attempt at revenge would have been made by now,” her wolf pointed out, but after John’s betrayal they needed to proceed with caution. The intentions of others were never clear.
Keeping her expression neutral, Tessa looked to Elijah for more information. She wasn’t about to choose sides until she had all the facts and so far, she only knew these witches were possible accomplices to the monster’s horrific crimes. “Besides the fact one is possibly his second chance mate, there must be more to their story if Elijah’s so willing to defend them, not once but twice,” Tessa’s wolf added, raising the question in her mind. “Are you sure this witch is even your mate, Elijah? She could have put a spell on you as a trick, so you’d have mercy on her during battle. It’s not unheard of for a witch to manipulate another being, hoping to save themselves,” Tessa pointed out, watching Elijah stand tall. “I’m positive, Alpha. I’m not sure how, but she is my mate. She didn’t even see me before I approached her on Alpha Monroe’s pack lands. I can assure you they mean no harm,” Elijah explained with truth shining in his eyes.
As much as she wanted to believe him, now was not the time to express how happy Tessa was for her friend. She could only hope Elijah’s instincts were right, after suffering a great loss. It’s said, once a wolf loses a mate, there is a gaping hole in their soul and they’d never be whole. That feeling was something Tessa came close to experiencing herself. Elijah had too much love to give, between his love for the pack and training the pups, to feel emptiness forever. He deserved a second chance mate more than anybody. “Okay, I’ll trust your judgement, but I can’t simply release them,” Tessa stated, watching his face fall in defeat. “However, after this meeting I’ll allow Zander to escort you to see her. You can explain to them that if they mean no harm, no harm will befall them. Understood,” she asked, and Elijah’s features brightened. “Yes, Alpha. Thank you,” he said with a beaming smile.
Tessa nodded in understanding as she thought over her decision to please both sides, for now. “This is what’s going to happen,” Tessa began, looking between the three. “Their magic will remain bound until they are declared innocent and approved by the pack. I need to ensure everyone is comfortable with them living among us, for however long that will be. There will be no decision or sentence made until I’m briefed on everything and know it’s safe. I will interview the witches as well. Understood,” she asked again, waiting for any form of rebuttal. “Yes, Alpha,” everyone agreed to her surprise, even if some were more hesitant than others.
Cadence was watching Tessa like a hawk. Even though she was trying to hide her displeasure, Tessa could tell she was having a hard time accepting her decision. Whatever information she discovered about the beast’s crimes has disturbed her more than anything Tessa’s witnessed before. “Bring Elijah in, Zander,” Tessa ordered, motioning her head toward the prison. “Of course, Alpha,” Zander said, placing a reassuring hand on Cadence’s back before walking away. His silence surprised Tessa, which caused dread to form in her stomach. “It has to be something pretty bad if he is left speechless,” her wolf noted, sensing their own wolves’ uneasiness. “We’ll get to the bottom of this,” Tessa said, determined to have peace once more.
Tessa started walking toward the pack house before turning to Cadence. “Let’s take a walk,” she called to her, and waited until their steps fell into a gentle rhythm, filling the forest with the sound of crunching leaves before she spoke. “I know you feel they should be put to death for their crimes, and while that might be the obvious decision to you, I need to be fair and keep an open mind to hear all sides,” Tessa started. When Cadence didn’t argue she continued. “It would be irresponsible of me to make a decision based on pure emotion and not facts. Do you understand,” she asked, hoping to ease her mind. Cadence huffed at her side as uncertainty filled her features. “I understand your reasoning Alpha, but I honestly can’t think of anything that would atone for their crimes,” Cadence answered solemnly. “They helped control the Rogues while that abomination ordered them to kill entire packs. Men, women and children of all ages, left mutilated by the Rogues under their control for that monster’s selfish and pointless act of revenge,” Cadence said, stopping to wipe the tears from her eyes.
Tessa remained silent as she thought over her Beta’s words. “Who told you this,” she asked, trying to keep her mind from imagining the scene Cadence painted for her. “Alpha Monroe told me,” Cadence stated. “He said the beast was once his Uncle and was responsible for killing his pack when he was a child. It claimed rights to the Alpha title and when the council refused, he had larger packs help with promise of an alliance when he rose to power, but they betrayed them,” Cadence grimly explained. “His Uncle was weak minded after this defeat and eventually his wolf took over and searched for a coven to wipe out his human spirit to exact his revenge. The rest of the story we know,” Cadence finished, her fist shaking with anger.
Since waking up, Tessa has heard more shocking news in one day than in her entire life. As much as she wanted to blame Dainin for leaving out all this important information, she couldn’t. They had been in their own bliss filled bubble since finding out about the baby. “We can let this slide for now. It has been a stressful couple of weeks for all of us,” her wolf sighed, growing frustrated. All Tessa wanted to do was enjoy the party, tell everyone their good news and spend the next couple days wrapped in her mate’s arms, but she knew a mess was waiting for her outside the hospital so it would all have to wait.
Once they were outside the pack house Tessa took a moment to turn to her distraught friend, giving her a small smile. “I know you may not see where I’m coming from Cade, but we both know how relentless and evil that thing was. We’ll have a meeting and get everyone on the same page and hope for the best. If they are found guilty of murdering those pack members for their own selfish gains, they will die, but could you imagine the guilt if we killed them only to find they were not acting of their own free will,” she asked Cadence, resting a reassuring hand on her shoulder. When Tessa looked deep into her Beta’s eyes she could finally see understanding looking back at her and with a smile she led her into the pack house.