Forgotten Wolf

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48 Gamma

“Where is he?” I scream at Sara as my body trembles.

“I’m sorry Luna, they left early,” she apologizes on Chris’ behalf.

Her formality sends a cold shiver down my spine because never once has she called me that.

Why is she here?! She’s supposed to be with him.

“Don’t call me that!” I hiss. “Why aren’t you with them?” None of this adds up, my emotions and mind are reeling a mile a minute, threatening to spiral out of control.

“He needed me to protect you,” she replies sadly. “We’ve sent too much of the force on the offense, pack defense is on bare bones minimum. If something goes wrong...” she trails off.

“What aren’t you telling me?” I whisper, feeling my chest tighten with dread.

“He’s worried... I’ve fought alongside him many times, he’s never been like this before,” she says, shaking her head like she’s trying to erase a memory.

I drop to my knees, feeling utterly defeated as my chest tightens.

I’m too late.

“He’s going to be betrayed,” I whisper. “I had a dream that wasn’t my own, like someone was trying to warn me. A charcoal wolf comes in from behind and kills him.”

“Fuck,” she hisses with a faraway look like she’s trying to reach him. “I can’t get through,” she growls as she starts to pace.

She freezes a moment and cocks her head towards the front door before rushing over and dragging me up off the floor. When her face comes into view, she hides nothing.

“What is it!?” I ask, my sense of panic rising as I take in her wide-eyed expression.

“Jude’s coming...” My heart leaps before dropping like a stone, her tone was a warning.

“He’s already cut his way through the outer patrols, he will be here in less than a minute.” Her concern and anger are clear.

I turn back to Chris’s room, grabbing two of the silver guardian daggers from the nightstand as a commotion at the front door snaps me around. My heart hammers in my chest as I slip out of the bedroom and creep carefully to the stairs.

“Fuck Nate, stand down! I need to talk to Chris!” Jude is radiating power and authority, trying to force Nate to submit.

“He’s not here,” Sara cuts in dangerously.

“Sara! Tell them to back off,” Jude growls and throws Nate and Liam, aside.

She reminds him, “You’ve been banned Jude, Chris-”

“We don’t have fucking time for this-” his head snaps to me as he finally realizes I’m here. My heart stops as his crystal blue eyes lock on mine, the same ones I’ve looked into a hundred times and all I can see is my friend.

Sara takes the moment of distraction to shift mid-lunge, tackling him out the door. I race down the stairs and out the door to see Jude wrestling Sara’s wolf.

‘He’s not hurting her, he’s trying to pin her without injury!’ ‘He feels like he always does, a boy scout.’

Nate and Liam have recovered and are about to jump in when I step in.

“Wait!” All eyes snap to me. The warriors freeze and nod as Sara and Jude stop their struggle. He sets her down and she positions herself between us.

“Where were you?” I ask lowly, my nerves on edge as he stares at me with his blue eyes begging for me to understand.

“I was out looking for you, but I found out something I wasn’t supposed to know. Ended up locked up, finally managed to break out last night and came straight here to warn Chris. He’s being set up. Rob is behind it all, where is he?” Jude finished, the worry clear in his voice and furrowed expression.

The tightening in my chest has long since become painful.

Jude looks rough, his story fits and it explains his absence.

“He’s in the field with Rob doing a sweep to take the rogues out,” Sara confirms.

“It’s a trap. Rob planned the whole thing out. There’s a second group of rogues sweeping in behind them. Rob’s planning to kill Chris and take over Still Waters.” Judes insight chills me to the core. All the pieces are fitting together and the picture isn’t pretty.

“You need to go and warn him,” I say, turning to Sara.

“I can’t, he’s ordered me to guard you,” she replies, hesitantly. I can feel as she weighs the safety of her Alpha and following his orders and the conflict is eating her up.

“Fine, then use your loopholes. I’m going to him, so you better come with and keep me from dying,” I reply, locking my gaze on her.

“He’s going to kill me,” she groans before her eyes glaze over and she links the pack.

Claire’s there in an instant as warriors pull in from various areas.

“Put everyone on lock down, get Doc ready for the worst case scenario. You’re in charge, everything goes through Claire, no questions asked, understood?!” Sara’s command is unmistakable as everyone replies in unison and murmur, ‘yes, head warrior.’

Her attention snaps to me. “Get dressed and arm up, heavy jeans and that canvas coat will be most durable.” I nod and take off while she issues more orders.

I’m back down in record time, wearing the dark, thick jeans and canvas coat Mack left me. There’s pockets everywhere for daggers and I carefully slip the six she had given me into. I had quickly braided my hair to keep it away from my face and sling the quiver and bow across my shoulder. My chest is a knot that I keep pushing away to focus on the here and now.

“It’s not the most dignified way to travel but you’ll be riding Luke, wild we can get there in a fraction of the time. You are not to engage, do you understand me?!” Her tone leaves zero wiggle room.

“Shadow, you’re up,” she nods at Jude. “You are attached, got it?” Her eyes are dangerous and hard as she finishes doling out orders. Everyone shifts and we take half of the warriors. Luke steps up and bows to help me on.

I’ve ridden my share of horses, even an elephant at the circus once, but this is my first pony sized wolf.

“Hold on here.” Claire points to two spots on his scruff just above his shoulder blades. “Wolf back isn’t a smooth ride but it’s the fastest.” Her regularly calm facade creases with worry.

Cautiously, I slip onto Luke’s back, knotting my fingers in the dense brown fur at the base of his neck. I take comfort in the weight of my bow as it pulls tight on my chest when I hunch over his back.

“We’ll get them back,” I promise Claire as the pack breaks off.

-----

The ride is indeed bumpy and takes quite a bit of concentration to keep from slipping off as we race through forests towards the fighting point. I call Eric on the way, desperate to find out what’s happening and buy them time.

“What’s wrong Luna?” He answers, his concern clear.

“They’re walking into a trap. Is Chris anywhere near you?” I can’t help the desperation in my voice.

“Sorry Luna. He has us anchoring their retreat, to mop up any that try and run. He’s got Rob-”

“Rob’s the one behind this all,” I cut him off ,unable to contain my anger.

“I knew he couldn’t be trusted,” he snarls.

“We’re coming from the south, but I’m afraid we won’t be in time,” I trail off.

“He won’t want you in danger,” he warns.

“That makes two of us, but at anyrate we’re coming,” I dismiss.

“We will push in from the north, be careful Luna,” he warns.

“You too,” I say as my heart feels heavy.

I catch Sara staring at me, clearly having picked up on only half of the conversation.

“Alpha Eric is going to push in from the north to buy time,” I explain. She nods in approval and pushes on faster.

-----

Snaps, snarls, and howls faintly reach my ears as we draw closer to the battle ahead. We’re coming in behind Rob’s flanking force but far too many for our small group to break through so Sara leads us off to the left taking a ridge to hopefully skirt them and get ahead.

The main battle that comes into view below makes the battle at the dungeon look like a slight skirmish. A flash of brown slams into Luke, sending us all tumbling as a group of attackers swarm us.

In an instant, I have a dagger in my hand and drive it deep into the brown wolf’s ribs, sliding the whole length as we tumble. Luke recovers mid-fall and ends up on top of the wolf, ripping his throat out. Jude is there in an instant, blocking any further attacks. His wolf’s size dwarfs Luke’s as he cut down every oncoming wolf.

After the initial surprise, our wolves closed ranks, making getting close impossible. I nock an arrow, looking for a shot.

Sara told me to hang back but said nothing against helping from afar.

Her fighting style is more wild and savage then the rest, showing her comfort in solo combat. Her smaller, female frame is more agile than the larger males she’s fighting but she plays them like a fiddle. Twisting and falling back to get them to expose their vitals, she strikes like a viper.

A wolf circles in from behind, launching itself at her back but my arrow buries deep, crumpling it on impact. Her eyes snap to mine as she catches on before giving me a curt nod and moving on to her next opponent.

My next shot takes the wolf attacking Luke, he’s doing the best he can but this is far beyond his gentle Omega spirit. The next two shots take wolves cresting the ridge while Jude holds back the flow, trying to come up the back.

A howl ahead sends my heart racing. It’s Chris! We push forward and can just see him take down the rogue Alpha, my shoulder burns where I see him bleeding from a savage bite.

I look down and see two arrows is all I have left before a searing pain in my back drops me to my knees. It’s the same phantom pain as the shoulder pain but so much worse. My heart pounds as I see a knife in Chris’s back as Rob launches himself at him. The pain flares again as Chris lands, twisting the knife painfully in his back and drawing an agonizing groan from me.

I stagger to my feet, nocking an arrow, but my hands are shaking so badly as I watch Rob drag Chris’s head back. A smile spreads across Chris’s face as he resigns to his fate.

‘Take the fucking shot!’

I snap back and draw, too many branches are in the way but I take the best shot I can.

*Thwack*

The hit is solid, as the arrow buries to the fletchings in his ribs, hitting both lungs and spraying Chris with Rob’s blood.

Instantly, my last arrow is, nocked as Derek roars, trying to break the hold they have him in. My shot is unobstructed and lands square in the heart of the larger male holding the dagger in Derek’s back.

Derek shoots up and pulls the knife out of Chris’s back, spinning on the second male that was holding him. The momentum of the spin buries the dagger through the attacker’s skull as he crumples, dead before he hits the ground.

Howls ring everywhere as a new batch of wolves break through. I feel Eric’s familiar energy as he dives into the thick of things. His fresh energy rallies our tired wolves as they join in and cut the rogues down.

The ridge is overrun with rogues as Sara and Jude fight desperately to beat them back. I throw a knife into the nearest attacking wolf, buying Jude a moment to try and break free.

Too late I see the mousy grey that crests the ridge, landing on me. I hit the ground hard under its weight but get a dagger up in time, sinking it deep into its ribs and piercing the heart beneath. I push it off with barely enough time to meet a man with a long, skinny knife.

I hear Jude whimper as he loses ground to the group he’s fighting. The man in front of me takes all of my attention back as he slashes by my ribs, barely grazing the skin. Thankfully, the jacket took the brunt of his attack.

His skill level far surpasses mine, all I can do is just keep falling back, dodging, and hope for an opening. He lunges for me again but his eyes are locked on mine as his neck tilts up. The blade flies from my hand as it seeks its target. He sees it too late and isn’t able to twist enough as the blade passes through his neck. He falls to the ground, hands desperately trying to stem the flow of blood as he chokes to death.

“Get up Gamma and do your fucking job,” Chris roars from below as he and Derek fight off more rogues from making their way up. I scan for Xavier but I can’t see him anywhere, then I notice his eyes are locked with Jude!

With a final push, Jude throws the attacking wolf off his back and onto the rocks below as he closes the gap with me. Nate and Luke break through, fill in with Sara, and push the rogues back further. I see a grizzly veteran wolf make his way to Chris as he shifts. It’s New Moons’ head warrior, who I saw talking with Sara at the meeting.

Chris spins to meet him as my heart pounds, I’ve got no arrows left and I can’t hit anything with a dagger that isn’t considerably closer. Surprisingly though, he bares his neck to Chris instead turning his attention to the nearest rogue.

The shift is noticeable as every wolf turns on the rogues. With the ridge clear, we quickly make our way down to Chris. He looks every part of a god of war, drenched in blood as he finishes the fight.

The crowd parts, letting me get to him as we wrap ourselves around each other. The tightening in my soul instantly relaxes at his contact. After a moment, he pulls back and cups my cheeks, staring confused at me like I’m a dream.

“Why are you here?! You’re supposed to be safe at home,” he looks pointedly at Sara, before looking me over.

I must be quite the sight, drenched in dirt and blood.

“It’s not mine. Don’t blame Sara, I told her I was coming. She did what you told her to and protected me,” I defend, trying to keep her out of trouble.

“How did you know?!” He asks, surprised.

“Jude showed up right after you left warning that Rob was behind it all. He was only able to break out after the reserve rogue force left to join the battle.”

Chris’s attention shifts to Jude as he takes him in. “I owe you an apology,” he grumbles, clenching his jaw. “Shift!”

Jude instantly obeys, but keeps his eyes averted in respect. He looks like hell, numerous bites and slashes coated his regularly pale skin in blood.

“Gamma Jude, it’s long past time for this to be official. If I wasn’t so hard headed we could have moved past this long ago.”

My eyes go wide at his words.

Gamma Jude!

Chris takes a blade offered by Derek and turns back to Jude. “Do you accept?”

Judes hand shoots out, palm up, and he nods without hesitation. In a quick motion, Chris draws the blade across both of their palms before grabbing his hand. “Welcome to Still Waters,” Chris grunts and the wolves break out in howls.

Chris staggers as I slip up against his side to brace him. Eric walks up freshly shifted, baptized in battle.

“Think it’s time for you to get back,” he says, eyeing the damage. “We will clean up here. I’ve got plenty of people called up to help get your wounded back.”

“We owe you a debt today,” Chris says solemnly.

“I just hope this is the beginning of a long prosperous alliance,” he replies with a genuine smile. “Luna,” he nods in respect before turning and issuing orders.

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