“Look at that sight, men,” I lowly spoke as the small pack of Red Rock was light up in the distance. Chimney smoke and lights could be seen in the dusk of the evening. The vast woods hid the pack perfectly, but not perfect enough as we were able to find it without alerting the guards at the boarders. This plan was going too well and I was surprised we did not have any obstacles as of yet.
The day has come. Finally, after many years of planning and swearing for retribution, we were at the boarders of Red Rock. I patiently waited too long for this bitter, sweet moment. I perched onto of the thick tree with my Beta to my side, and I silently smiled at the sight in front of me.
Soon, that pack was to be mine and it would have been all worth it. Retribution at its finest.
And with a motion of my wrist, my pack released a battle howl into the darkening dusk sky.
Celsta - the day before
“How long are you going to stay?” I worriedly asked into my phone as I folded my new dress on my bed.
“I am not sure, hun. But this damn storm has buried everyone in. There are no planes for miles around and it is unsafe to drive anywhere,” my father complained through the phone. His voice sounded tired and I felt sorry for him. “Plus, the Council is looking further into the case and I suspect they will ask me to stay for a bit longer. I might be here for a few more weeks as they wrap the case up.”
“But Dad!” I exclaimed and threw my hand to my brow in annoyance. “Anthony’s Alpha ceremony is tonight and tomorrow is his mating ceremony. You promised him you would be present.”
My father went quiet for a second, and then he huffed into the phone. “Celsta. You have to understand this is more important. He is an adult and now an Alpha. If I am to join the Council, I have to sacrifice some things.”
I went quiet at that. I did not like my father’s reasoning, but all the same it could not be helped. I saw what he really meant. It was about him and not my brother. My father was never really one for family warmth and efforts.
“I will let him know,” I softly said, but I knew Anthony will be crushed to know our father will not be there for two of the most important nights of his life.
“Cheer up, my dear,” my father chirped into the phone. “It will all be worth it. If I get onto the Council, Red Rock will earn a new and highly honorable name. This is something I have dreamt of for years.”
I nodded, though I knew he could not see it.
“I have to go. The snow is starting up again and I have to get to the Council for court,” my father quickly said and with that he hung up the phone.
I stared at my phone with a frown. Typical of him.
I exited my room and walked down the long hall of the Alpha’s mansion. The mansion was built after too many pack members started living in the pack house. Now, only the omegas stayed at the pack house and higher, more respected pack members stayed at the mansion. I passed several doors and walked downstairs. I went to the kitchen and found my brother with his future mate sitting at the counter and enjoying a cold beer together.
“Anthony,” I greeted out as I neared the two of them.
Anthony was two years younger than I was, yet he was next in line to become Alpha of Red Rock. It was infuriating, but my pack remained firm that women could not be Alphas, Betas, or warriors. It was unruly of us females to be in those positions within the pack. I did not know the real reason why though, but I was always told it was more so on pack customs.
The future Alpha and his mate, Luna, turned to look at me. Luna, who was ironically named so as she was the future Luna of Red Rock, gave me an up and down with her big, blue eyes. I did not know much about his female wolf as she was from a neighboring pack. My brother brought her to Red Rock a few days ago and they have been joined at the hip in their own little honeymoon world. Luna was beautiful with her long red hair and fair skin. She seemed nice enough, sure, but we had yet to have an actual conversation of our own.
I nodded to her in respectful recognition, but to my surprise she turned her perfect little nose up at me and slid her eyes off my body. I glanced down, wondering if I had spilt coffee on myself, but my shirt was clean.
“What?” Anthony dully asked without noticing the rude action from his mate. He seemed annoyed I interrupted their alone time and from his tone he wanted me out of the kitchen.
I cleared my throat and forgot for a second what I was saying.
“Father is stuck at the council,” I explained once I regained my thoughts.
Anthony roughly set his beer down onto the countertop. He slowly ran a hand through his thinning brown hair and he glanced down at his feet. My brother was not that much of a looker, truth be told. I hated to say it, but he got some bad genes between our parents. It amazed me the other pack females were head over heels in love with him though. That was the future alpha title that was so attractive to them, I suppose.
“Who cares,” Luna huffed out to my annoyance. Her voice was a bit high pitched. I had to clench my jaw to keep myself from rudely telling her we cared.
My brother merely grunted in response though. Then, he picked his beer back up and ignored me. Much like my father, my brother was not one for family conversations.
I stood there for a few seconds, wondering if they were going to say anything else to me. But they did not, and as the awkward silence drew longer I decided to leave the kitchen. I walked out of the mansion and heard some whispers from Luna as my back was turned. My blood boiled a bit and I guessed she was talking in a hushed tone about me, but I had to ignore it.
As much as the first impression of this girl was not that great, I had to get along with her. She was the future Luna, after all, and I had to obey what she said or wished. Lunas were treasured in packs and worshiped in others. My pack has gone many years without a Luna. The pack members have waited too long for a new Luna and were excited when my brother brought her home after visiting her pack.
The pack was buzzing with the excitement of the alpha ceremony tonight. The elders sat around with the children and told them of old werewolf tales while parents and older siblings ran around to make sure the pack was top shape. Balloons and ribbons went up around the pack center. A stage was set up where Anthony will be given his alpha title. Fresh food was picked from the crops to the side of the pack and omegas ran around the pack with laundry or ingredients for the feasts. The pack was in pure chaos and I felt overwhelmed with the energy.
“Celsta!” A familiar voice called out to me from the side of the pack house. I saw a boy waving his hand at me and I bounded over to him with a smile. It was Terrance, or Terry for short, and he was my friend of several years now.
“Hi there,” I greeted as I leaned agains the pack house with him. We were in the cool shade and we watched the other pack members run around like headless chickens.
“Are you excited for your brother?” Terry asked me. He was handsome enough and had a stocky yet short build. His blond hair was long enough for him to pull back into a small pony tail and his face was covered in freckles from the long hours he worked in the sun.
We have been friends for several years now. Secretly, I hoped he was my mate, but as the years passed we did not feel a mate bond. Females sense their mates far before males do. Typically, a female can sense her mate between the ages of nine to twelve years old, whereas a male senses his mate between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. It varied in werewolves and depended on when an individual approached puberty.
I was sad to realize Terry was the same Terry to me when I was fourteen and he was sixteen. A part of me wanted him to be the one, but the Moon Goddess had other plans for us. Now that I was twenty and he was twenty two, we just hung out and enjoyed each other’s company as we waited for our mates to crawl out of whatever ditch they were hiding in.
“I am excited, but my father is not coming back for a while,” I slowly answered his question as we calmly watched the pack hustle around us.
Terry gave me a grim look and I knew what he was thinking. He did not approve of how my father ran some things and how he treated his children at times. He kept quiet though out of respect so as to not offend my family title or the title of his Alpha.
“They say they are going to draw another draft for warriors,” Terry eventually stated after a few moments of silence.
“What?” I asked in shock. My father ordered a warrior draft half a year ago for some of the older boys and men. It was needed though as the world of werewolves were approaching a new age of violence.
Terry nodded grimly. His family were omegas and not as well respected. As the oldest sibling, he had four brothers and his mother to watch after. Terry was able to bypass the last draft, but who knew about this upcoming one.
My heart sunk at that. There were too many rogue attacks nowadays and there were some newer packs forming without the approval of the Council. These kind of packs were unofficial packs and they were known as rogue packs. The rogue packs were slowly becoming a threat to the official packs in the area.
Warriors were well respected in packs and it was an honor to be chosen as a warrior. To become a warrior meant three years of religious training at another pack territory. This was unpaid time as well warriors were only paid once they were officially welcomed back into the pack after their training. To Terry, this was three years worth of money his family will lose. His mother worked hard, but he was the one bringing in the real money for his family. If he became a warrior and was sent to train on unpaid leave, it was unknown what would become of his family.
I grabbed Terry’s rough hand and gave it a firm squeeze.
“I will make sure you are not put in there,” I promised, and he gave me a sad smile. He knew I had little to no power within the pack, but all the same I will fight my brother and my father at the same time to make sure my friend was not pulled from his family.
After talking for a few more minutes, Terry and I eventually departed as he had to get to work on time. He worked for the fields, which was all omega work. Now with nothing else to do, I wondered around the pack and offered to help random pack members.
They refused my help though as I was the daughter of the Alpha. It made me wonder how much longer they will respect me once Anthony became Alpha. I needed to fit into the pack somehow, but my father never wanted me to work omega work or to become a warrior. Besides that, there were not many other options as even the normal pack members did not want me to join their businesses.
I sighed in defeat as I waited for the alpha ceremony. For some reason, I felt dread sinking in. I was slowly dreading my brother getting the alpha title and I wondered what that meant for the entire pack. I could only hope he was capable of being an alpha.
It was finally time for the alpha ceremony. I stood on the stage in my new blue dress and I was nervous as the entire pack gathered around. Beside me were the future beta whose name was Body; the future gamma whose name was Charlie; and some guy who was to be the future delta. My brother stood at the side of the stage with his shirt off and war paint etched on his skin. He held hands with the Luna who wore a white dress that revealed a bit too much if you were to ask me.
Once all five hundred or so pack members gathered, the three Elders stepped to the stage. Each one of the Elders said some things about pack and family, and one of the Elders especially drawled on about bravery and what it took to be an alpha. The pack clapped at the end of each speech, and then came time for my brother. Anthony took to the stage and the pack clapped immensely.
One of the Elders then held a staff above my brother’s head. My brother kneeled down and swore an oath to the pack. He swore he would be brave and protective of the pack to the last breath in his body. He swore as Alpha of Red Rock, he only had the best intentions of the pack and of the members. Family was the result of the pack, and he swore to never abandon his family.
The Elders then poured the finest of wines as symbolism of the Moon Goddess’s blood into the goblet of alpha’s. As that was my cue, I went to grab the goblet that I was given charge of handing to my brother. But, to my utter shock, my hand was bluntly smacked away before I could touch it. Luna quickly grabbed it and sent me the sweetest of smiles only an angel could make. She then turned around and handed the goblet to Anthony. The crowd clapped and awed as the future Luna handed him the sacred goblet of alpha’s to drink from.
My one role in the entire day was literally smacked away from me. All I could do was fold my hands up and keep my temper in check as Luna winked at the happy crowd and caught their attention. She was an actress and the people were eating it up faster than kids in a candy store.
After drinking the finest wines from the goblet, Anthony then passed the goblet to his beta. Down the line the alpha’s men took a sip of the wine, and the crowd clapped each time. I pretended to clap along with them, but my heart was not in it anymore. As I looked at each male that drank from the goblet, I felt despair. The men my brother choose were all his close friends and they all fell two inches short of being fools. These were the unlikely of men to be chosen for such serious pack roles.
The Elders then welcomed the new Alpha of Red Rock, and the crowd went into celebration mode.
“I am so proud of you,” Luna squealed as she rammed into my arm to bounce into Anthony’s.
Fury was at an all time high for me now, and like a volcano I snatched her hair back. She was whipped from Anthony’s arms in shock and I shoved my arm into her shoulder to glare at her.
“What was that about with the goblet?” I growled into her face in pure annoyance and my wolf was on the edge of control now. It was custom for a family member or a mate to give the goblet to the new Alpha. As she was not his official mate until the mating ceremony, it was passed down to me.
It was not just about the goblet that annoyed me either. It was her general attitude that pissed me off.
Just like Snoopy from Peanuts, her head tilted back and fat tears fell out of her eyes as she wailed. Anthony instantly shoved me off of her and I fell down to my ass on the stage. Some of the crowd stayed to watch my outburst, but I gave no fucks about my scene. My wolf growled at him, but he gave me the harshest of glares.
“Don’t you dare touch her again,” Anthony loudly growled at me and his wolf clouded his light grey eyes.
Was it stupid of me to grab his mate like that when he was right in front of me? Yes, yes it was. I gritted my teeth though and glanced at the Elders who stood to the side and watched with concerned eyes.
“I can’t be the only one who does not like the future Luna,” I spat out, and as on cue Luna wailed louder and crashed into Anthony’s chest. I rolled my eyes and knew it was all a show.
The Elders looked at their feet and said nothing about it. I knew they most not approve of any of this, but they most likely had no choice but go along with it.
Anthony’s face got red and he gripped a sobbing Luna’s arms in anger. He turned his head to his Beta and pointed at me. “My first order as Alpha is to lock her in the dungeons.”
He did not just do that. The new Beta roughly grabbed my arm before I could even move and he pulled me off the stage. I kicked my feet into the ground and pounded my fist on the new Beta’s chest. I screamed bloody murder to unhand me, but more male wolves turned to his side to keep me contained. I was not a warrior myself and I stood no chance against them.
How was it that I was the only one not questioning the new power within our pack?
As I was pulled back from the square and pass many pack members who watched me with critical eyes, I noticed a certain someone’s grin. Luna smiled like a sly fox as I was dragged towards the dungeons. My wolf wanted to shift and attack her, but with so many arms on me I could not get into position to shift. I was powerless and all I could do was stare back at her with a burning hatred.
Luckily Terry did not show up at my side to make things worse. He probably did not make a fuss about me being taken to the dungeons as he did not want to lose his family and join me. I was fine with that though and did not wish for him to help me. I was not willing to give him any further problems.
That was the moment I was truly alone. No Terry, no Father, no Alpha. From that moment on, I was in solitude. From that night on, the pack I once knew was no more.