Chapter 1: Prophecy
It was a story of old. And a story of new. And everything in between...
Once upon a time, there was a savage king who pillaged villages like he devoured meals. His control over the land was absolute, and corrupting, that no other power could ever hope to defeat him. The walls of his castle built so tall that no one could scale them, as could be said for the icy barriers around his heart.
There were those that called him a demon. Others worshiped the ground he walked on as a God. Few knew of his name but did not dare speak it. Most referred to him as the Alpha King.
To suffer a thousand deaths was better than facing his wrath, it was said. And his wrath was easily lit aflame.
Deep within the depths of his castle laid where his enemies bled, purged by the fires of torturous heat and haunted by the souls that remained. They tugged at their chains day in, day out, hoping to, one day, finally be free of the eternal punishment. Yet, none received any kind of mercy.
"Mercy..." the graveled whispers of the prisoners begged in unison, almost like a pleading prayer. A prayer to the God. A prayer to their Alpha King whom they now rued defying.
Their king was a man like no other. And hardly a man. Rumors spread like wildfire in the lands; very few secrets remained. But the truth behind the king - there were many conflicting. And none that told reality.
Inside the mountainous walls of the castle housed a fleet of skilled warrior wolves, brutal and formidable standing at over a thousand men. And that was merely the royal battalion. They would raid villages for enjoyment, between their missions and excursions. They would take women at their own pleasure and they ignored the screams of mothers as they plowed into their daughters. They were monsters. But nowhere near the monstrosity that was said the king possessed. For he was an entirely different monster altogether.
The legends were known across the lands of the immortal Alpha King. Some speculated he had been born part werewolf part undetermined. And then he had been fed a sliver of silver every day, building up an immunity to the one thing that could kill him, as it did most werewolves. From there, his immortality only strengthened as he was mercilessly trained by the silent monks who resided in the hollow caves of Castriel. By the time he took the throne, there was no soul who would dare threaten his reign. And it remained that way for centuries.
His throne was cast by the greatest forgers to have lived, with rarest metals in the world supporting the almighty king’s backside.
Other than the throne and a crown to match, there were no further furnishes in the throne room, left plain, daunting, intimidating.
No flowers grew behind the walls of the castle, no nature of any sort blossomed. They wilted and rotted away in the days of old, before the castle had been consumed by strength, power and darkness.
In the hallowed grounds of Hallerian where the high priests chanted their curses and sang forbidden songs of the blackest nights, a new prophecy had been told. One with roots that stemmed from the very center of the earth, woven in the fabric of time itself and was destined since the beginning of the world.
Adalric Ethalowae, leader of the order, set out with his most trusted to inform the king. Their loyalties laid wherever the scales tipped towards. An alliance with the Alpha King kept them operating with the greatest freedom.
After a couple of days ride, they sought an audience with the king himself, despite their anxiety. The high priests were among those of the most powerful to have walked the earth and yet, this Alpha King had them quaking in fear. Adalric had met the king on several occasions but still, the king could gut out a soul with the mere look of his glaring eyes.
The fellowship awaited the king in the magnificent throne room, left to bask in the whispers that flowed through the hall. The ceiling was domed, capturing the secrets in its spherical grasp. The atmosphere was unsettling. This, Adalric knew, was a tactic of the Alpha King to establish his dominance, despite not even needing to. The hall alone shook any mortal soul.
“Kneel for your king!” a man bellowed, his voice filling every corner of the room.
In marched a horde of werewolves, surrounding the high priests and creating a barrier between them and the king.
And then the man himself entered. Everything stilled. His dominance spread like the plague in the air, forcing all of them to bow.
There, he sat upon the throne, superior to all those before him.
No creature would meet his eyes. None would dare. They merely angled towards him with their heads hung in submission.
“What brings the high priests of Hallerian to my court?” boomed the king, irritation laced in his tone.
“Your grace,” Adalric began, stepping forward from the herd. “We come to you with a new prophecy. It has been fated in the stars for as long as this Earth has existed and has only been revealed to us now in prayer.”
“Then, tell me. What does this prophecy foretell that is worthy of my time?” He did not appear convinced, which was unsettling to the high priest.
“It is a prophecy of you and your mate, your grace,” the high priest declared. The king’s expression morphed into one of discontent.
A mate would either strengthen him or weaken him. A king of his renown needed neither. He did not need a mate.
“What of this mate you speak of?” he persisted.
“Your majesty, the visions in the smoke were not so clear. But there is a girl, your mate. You and she are destined for a powerful fate. There are two paths. One of magnificence for the kingdom. The other of great evil and darkness.”
“What does this mean, high priest?” the king urged, rising from his throne and glaring down at the man before him. The aggravation was apparent in his eyes, as was the swell of pride to be told of a powerful fate in his future.
However, one with a mate.
Meanwhile, in a niche village tucked away on the outskirts of the kingdom, lived a girl.
Her hair was golden as her name suggested. Her eyes glowed blue with curiosity and vibrant youth. Her skin, lightly tanned but as pure as untouched snow. She was truly ethereal. And along with beauty came her freakish power.
She was not accepted in the village. Not since the incident. An incident that frightened many to their cores and either urged them to curse her out or to avoid the girl all together.
Time and again, she had wished to be a normal werewolf. To find happiness in a simple life in that small village. But she was not normal. And she could not find her place there.
Her mother had passed on giving birth to her, prompting her sister’s revulsion towards her. It was just the two girls. One was treated like a omega wench and the other, a proper lady who expected to be waited on hand and foot.
Olympia was not different, she was not an outcast, she was accepted. She had a place in her little life and it suited her comfortably. Aurelia could not understand how they were related in any way.
Aurelia wished to transcend the village, to find her place elsewhere, and yet, she had not. Indeed, nothing at all stopped her. In fact, her power was all she needed.
But it did not only terrify others. It terrified her.
She had not quite understood it when it had first developed at five years of age. The girl had always possessed it, but it had not shown until it had started to fall out of her control. She attempted to grasp the reins, pulling it back towards her, however, it was a power that had its own mind.
Maliciousness surrounded its use. The more she used it, the stronger it became, the more animated it became also. Soon, it used her rather than she used it. Thus, she kept it locked away, its purpose undetermined in her eyes of her own fate.
The temptation was very much there. It could save her from the multitude of harassment she received. It could salvage the dignity she had left from the attacks of her sister. It could act as her shield in all that threatened her. And it beckoned to be used. That was the exact reason why she did not.
Evil was an addiction. Giving in was the gateway into the hellish world.
"Where's that little runt of yours?" a male voice questioned, one Aurelia recognized.
She knew she must not interrupt this interaction. The bond between mates cast everyone else aside. She had not been so wise a few moons ago and had received a beating for it.
Thus she stood, waiting, listening.
"Out fetching water, Lochlan. I wish I could be rid of her," Olympia answered with a deep sigh.
"Why not be rid of her then?"
"She is my sister. I cannot leave her."
"You are too dutiful, my beautiful mate," he replied. Faint kissing sounds echoed out toward Aurelia. Thus, she left for a while longer, exploring the woods.
Alone, she allowed the stream to rush against her feet, soothing the aches of her tiresome labor. Deep inside, she had an unnerved feeling, eating away at her like silver poison. Perhaps it was the power she stored away, clambering out to seep through her veins. But she knew it was something else, something darker, something much more twisted than she could comprehend. She had felt this for the entire week, it only growing stronger with every passing day.
A crackle made by a fawn was heard from the other side of the riverbank. A majestic beauty to be sure. Aurelia's eyes met with the fawn's, yet it did not flee as she would have thought. Instead, it inched closer, as if drawn to her. Her hands itched to touch it, but she snatched them away and dropped her eyes immediately.
She returned home without a second glance back. Trifling with magic or anything of that sort was frowned upon in those parts. And she could most certainly sense a magical source by that stream. Most likely, Fae woodland, once their home.
As the moon overpowered the sun and the streets grew quiet, Aurelia rested her head against the hay bales. She deemed it comfortable enough a long time ago, more than the rough concrete floor.
Tomorrow, she would have lived eighteen years. Perhaps she would find her mate. She begged the Goddess she would not, for it would trap her in that quaint little town for all of eternity. Therefore, she planned to leave before that could happen. She would have an adventure like no other, searching for her place she hoped was waiting for her.
Sleep overcame her in a flash, the wave of darkness invading and stealing her away.
It was that night, she dreamed of him.
A man so captivating, he must have been some sort of god. A man so domineering, he must have been some sort of demon.
Those smoldering eyes golden with mischief and malice, shimmering in the candlelight of his chamber. A devious smirk lingered on his lips, directed toward her, as if he knew she was visiting him. His shirt was thrown open, revealing his toned chest and defined torso. Black hair to match his rougish features.
Then a step was taken. A single step. And he was right in front of her. His ruggedly handsome face so close she could feel his breath. His nose had a slight bump, adding a manly character to his face. Stubble decorated his jaw. His eyebrows pinched together.
"Oh, I'm coming for you, little wolf," he growled, cunningly, his tongue rolling over the fangs he bared.
One more step.
"See you soon."