Forty Four: Oblivion
A ton of fears enshroud him. The fear of seeing his mate hurt and him not being to protect her.
As he walked through the corridor, the smell of blood entered his nostrils. And the scene before him also riled his already frightened wolf.
In front of him was a grieving wolf, his mate no longer alive. From the look of it, she was shot through the chest. The cries of the wolf override Talon’s hearing. Though inside he was breaking, he knew this was another loss from war. An avoidable circumstance.
Francis was his best spy. With his cousin in the arms of pack Morris, no one had the connection and reach to warn them. But even still as Alpha Highcliff, he should have had an inkling of what was going on or what was going to happen.
This was no longer the time wondering for what-ifs and buts, the deed was done and pack Remmington was victorious this time. He had to begrudgingly accept that fact.
“Kayla Marie!” He calls her name again as he ran through the halls painted with carnage.
What if the next body he encounters was Kayla’s? Talon couldn’t stomach the idea and began feeling dizzy.
He breaths in deeply, trying to catch a whiff of her scent. But it was a hard task when the smell of different wolves was muddying the air around him.
“Julius?” He mutters his Beta’s name.
His Beta was leaning against the wall with his abdomen all covered in blood. He was smiling callously at Talon and chuckles as he fluttered his eyes to clear his vision.
“Ah, I’m glad you’re back, sir. Gotta admit I thought something bad might have happened to you.” Julius quips, hissing as he tried to move.
“Damn it, Julius. I’m so sorry I let this happen to you.”
Talon knelt beside his Beta and hoisted him up, slinging his arm over his shoulder.
“Don’t mention it, Alpha. This is nothing I can’t bounce back from. You should have seen the other wolf. Her head is no longer attached to her body.” He snickers.
Talon held him as they walk to the pack’s infirmary. While they were walking, the remains of pack Remmington’s attack greeted Talon. A small fire had broken loose, glasses and windows were shattered, and bullet holes littered all over the walls and even the ceiling.
The infirmary was sadly a sight much more daunting. The room was filled with an overwhelming amount of grief. In his eyes, the sight of one wolf immediately melted his heart. Kayla was passing through the room, carrying an infant child as she escorted an injured wolf to one of the many beds.
Talon brought Julius to the nearest bed, setting him up before he turns to his mate who was busy cleaning the wolf’s bloody leg all the while having a baby hanging on her body.
He approaches her, touching her shoulder gently. Once their eyes meet, Talon was flooded with relief seeing as though she was okay.
“Love,” he mutters. “Hi.”
She replies with a meek smile. The brave face she initially wore crumbled as she began to sob uncontrollably.
“You’re home.” She gulps.
“I came as fast as I could. I’m sorry I’m too late.”
He pulls her from her seat and plants a long kiss on her forehead. Words could not express how much weight lifted from his shoulders after holding her in his arms.
“No,” she shook her head, wiping the tears in her eyes. “You had no idea this was going to happen. Julius put me and other wolves in the basement panic room. I’m safe…”
His brows meet at her trailed words.
Kayla grimaced and looked at the baby.
“Her mom and dad died and no one is offering to take her. Ah-I don’t know what to do. She won’t let go of me and she doesn’t want anyone touching her.”
Talon flattened his lips, gazing at the child. He knew the child’s parents as he was the one that officiated their wedding. Sadly, as most wolves were, the child’s parents were orphans too and had no living relatives. Talon felt his heart drowning in a swell of unfortunate happiness.
Seeing Kayla holding a child made him feel complete. He wondered what it would be like to watch her hold their own children too. The thought made him giddy as he smiled lopsidedly and kissed her again.
“If you want, we can arrange something and take her in.”
For the first time, Talon felt what seemed like a whole zoo of animals in his stomach when Kayla smiled.
“I’d like that. I’d like that very much.” She said. “I love you, Talon. I’m relieved that you’re home.”
“Me too, Kayla. I love you too.”
Talon pressed his forehead against hers and stayed like that for a few moments. She drew herself back and sat down. Kayla took a minute to compose herself before she spoke again.
“The wolves that came here, they ransacked your office and took a lot of papers from your desk.”
Luckily, it was his practice to not keep hard copies of his documents. Instead, he was optioned to have copies of important paperwork in multiple thumb drives he keeps in his pocket and wallet all the time.
“Rest and let the other wolves do their job.”
“No.” She sternly spoke and panicked after she realized she had raised her voice. “I mean, no I won’t. I should help, right? We’re already overwhelmed and I need to help. An extra hand won’t hurt.”
He was thoroughly convinced that with every word that slipped from Kayla’s mouth, it was a spell that continually pulled him in. The determination in her stance made him even more fall in love.
He caressed her cheek and stepped away. He let her go begrudgingly. He knew he would get more time with her later. A sigh slips through his lips as he walks out of the infirmary but not before holding an ‘OK’ sign at Julius. To which his Beta replied with the same gesture.
A minute later when he arrived at his office, the condition was worse than what he envisioned. Empty drawers were strewn all over the floor and a mound of useless documents was stacked on one corner.
The glass cabinets that held his family’s memorabilia were broken in to but nothing was missing. In fact, nothing noteworthy was missing except a painting that would probably sell a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
The only thing that caught his attention was a small envelope, stamped with pack Remmington’s family crest. The wax seal was already broken.
It was as if it was purposely left there making him extremely cautious as he picked it up and read the words written on it back. The moment his eyes grazed through the receiver’s name. Regret washed over him quickly.
Nathaniel looks at his brother with rage coursing through his veins.
“And you stand there, justifying the death of Selena’s parents as expendable casualties when it was you who dismembered their bodies. Do you plan on doing that to her too?”
“Fuck you, Nathaniel. With Selena, it feels like I’m doing something right. How about you? Rejecting her, choosing another wolf, and then planning to marry that wolf. Personally, I think you deserve it. Brats shouldn’t get what they always want. I am exalted by her gaze and she matters nothing to you.”
For him, she was everything he could not have. An unreachable haven he could only admire silently. And so, he could not let himself look away and ignore the danger in front of him.
“She will want nothing from a heartless bastard like you.”
Nathaniel pushed himself and draw his ax, sending it flying in Roark’s direction.
Roark’s nimble footwork showed as Nathaniel kept his attacks ongoing. While he retaliated with his own attacks, the two of them were almost equally skilled.
“I can wait. That’s all I’ve ever done.” Roark spat as he sent a jab at Nathaniel, completely missing his mark.
They exchange hit after hit. With each successful punch, the more tired they become. Though none of them seemed ready to give up. The tension in Nathaniel’s chest continues to tighten as he blocked the attacks from his brother.
All the words that Roark had said were kindle to roaring flames of Nathaniel’s wrath.
Nathaniel was callous though his brother was on another level.
“You’re waiting for a unicorn.” He muttered.
Would it be a cruel intention if he acted on his jealousy and rage to reap Roark’s life then and there?
Wolves like Harrick and Roark cannot walk freely. Alpha Remmington is now unmasked and hiding in his disguises was no longer an option. The only options were to hide away forever or to make Roark disappear forever.
“Doesn’t matter. You know nothing about my struggles when all your life you had your ass wiped by another wolf, served by a silver platter, and went away your life merrily.”
Nathaniel swung his other ax at Roark, slashing the wolf’s skin though not deep enough to cause a significant amount of damage.
Roark hisses as he steps back, gripping the hilt of his dagger.
“You know nothing about me too.” He retorts.
“I know enough to say that you are a terrible fucking human garbage.”
There was that face again. Nathaniel saw through the facade Roark masterfully wore. He knew because he too wore it every day to please his wolves. That faked strength underneath the rigidness of his conviction laid someone who was unsure of their actions.
Nathaniel felt like he was standing in front of two mirrors, two reflections. One of his father, and the other was Roark.
While a slew of fast-moving slashes rained in his direction, Nathaniel’s mind wasn’t focused on fighting. He was distraught and only had one thing in his mind.
Killing Roark almost seemed like he was about to kill his father too.
It was always his job to protect those who carry on his blood. That was why he couldn’t just slay Harrick. Instead of killing him, he sought to save his other brother by letting other wolves judge him and not by the hammer of his spite.
With everything swirling in his mind all at once, Roark’s swift movement evaded his vision. Nathaniel felt Roark’s sharp blade piercing his stomach. Immediately he steps back.
“You’re ditzy.” Roark mocks. “I am aware of what trouble every Morris passes down to their children.”
He smirks. “No. It’s only the first son of the first son in every generation.”
“Well then, show it to me.”
Nathaniel glances at the cut in his abdomen. All he needed was a few minutes and it will be all healed. That is if he finds a way to stop himself from bleeding to death first.
He snakes his hand behind him and pulled his remaining ax.
It was tempting to lose control over himself. And yet he was teetering between the idea of saving Roark and now completely eviscerating his existence by the use of his wolf.
“I’d rather be one in control when I subdue you.” He says.
“Still looking down at me, are you? Your heart is not in the fight. I can feel you toying with me.”
He wasn’t toying around. He was trying his hardest not to strike him severely. Just the right amount of strength and he would be able to immobilize Roark and from then on, he was unsure of the next steps.
Roark continued his onslaught of attack, each slash of his dagger nipping the surface of Nathaniel’s skin.
He took notice of his brother’s demeanor and how unsatisfied the wolf had looked. The sadness in Roark’s eyes made him grit his teeth in anguish. Maybe his brother also didn’t want this fight?
“I don’t doubt your capacity for murder, Roark.”
Roark swept his legs on Nathaniel’s feet. He falls on his back and Roark pins his neck with his boot. Nathaniel gripped his ankle, applying as much pressure as he can.
“Blessed by a wolf too aggressive that its human could suddenly lose control at any given time. Bullshit, Nathaniel. Stop holding back and show me the power you stole from me.”
As he began to feel desperate on breathing again, all his strength was focused on snapping Roark’s ankle. He had not let go until Roark let out a gasp and fell beside him.
Nathaniel heaves for air as he stood and moved far away from his brother.
“I am no thief.” He spat.
Roark hoisted himself up.
“You are. I only wanted a father of my own. If it weren’t for you and your useless whore of a mother…”
Nathaniel’s vision darkens. He felt his wolf’s claw catching his flesh. Even his wolf was at its tipping point. Only Nathaniel could not let that happen.
“You did have a family. A family of murderous, disgraced wolves. I mean, Frank seemed more excited raising you than his son.”
“Frank is no family. He is an opportunistic leech that’s far more useful alive than dead.” He retorts.
Though Roark was limping, he charges at Nathaniel again. His attack was hindered by his broken ankle but Nathaniel surmised it was going to heal after a short time. Before that, he acted quickly and buried the sharp edge of his ax in Roark’s thigh.
The wolf yelps in pain as he stumbled on the stairs, collapsing with a loud thud.
Nathaniel stomped on his injury, making Roark scream. The agonizing howl Roark let out disgusted Nathaniel.
He shouldn’t be doing this.
Once again, he watched himself stand before two mirrors. The mirrors that contained his father’s image and then Roark.
“You’re too greedy, Nathaniel. What goal do you wish to achieve by killing me? Isn’t a life full of fame and glory enough for you? Why do you have to kill me too?” Tears left to be shed clung on Roark’s lashes.
Roark was afraid of dying and he was unable to decide what fate he had to give the wolf.
His heartbeat paced uncontrollably as he looked down at Roark. No matter what he does, his brother cannot come out of this without losing something.
He didn’t seek fame and as for glory, he took it in his family. The greatest joy was when he felt his loved ones were safe.
“Nothing.” Nathaniel answered.
What can he gain except another round of shame and regret?
“I came here to find my own solace. Alone.”
Nathaniel shook his head.
“Solace is not found in planning a grand scheme to kill off a whole pack.”
Roark widened his eyes.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re the one with my brother’s blood on his hands. You hunted him down and now you’re here for me.”
Nathaniel refused to believe that the wolf had no inkling of what was going on. He is Alpha Remmington and as all operations were conducted, everything needed to pass through the Alpha’s hands.
He wasn’t certain if the wolf was only trying to deceive him. He placed the bit of his ax next to Roark’s neck.
“I don’t enjoy hurting wolves of my kin. But our paths diverge greatly from each other.”
Roark stiffened, knowing one sudden move his head would no longer be on his body.
“I did us a favor by killing Jacob. How dare he act like a saint when he left broken pieces of himself behind to be forgotten. If you’re the kind wolf everyone praises you to be, understand that he is beyond evil.”
Nathaniel pauses for a moment and realizes what Roark had meant. Broken pieces left to be forgotten just like the childhood he wished to have but never touched. Pieces of his father that had caused a rift in his life have now finally resurfaced.
Just then, the mirrors that stood before him shattered in an instant and what was left in its broken pieces was him. His blood-stained appearance stood in every little shattered piece.
“Does it amuse you seeing me like this? You think so little of me that you won’t even use all of your strength against me.”
If Roark had the will to fight for what he wanted, why couldn’t he do the same?
He knew now why those mirrors stood in the first place. He thought they were his obstacles, the wolves responsible for every shit he was going through. But he failed to look at his own weakness.
“You have everything that everyone can dream of why do you still want more?”
Nathaniel never wanted more. He was contented with his life, he believed that before.
He wondered, if Roark was here on his own volition, doing what he wanted and following his own desires, what’s stopping him from wanting to be free himself?
“I have nothing…” He murmurs quietly.
The only wolf hindering him from his happiness was himself. Roark was more than willing to do what made him happy unlike him who second-guessed everything.
“It’s sad that you deny your privileges just to make yourself feel like you’re the victim.”
Why couldn’t he be more like Roark? Someone who had the freedom to choose their paths and not think of others.
Or be just like Jacob. The felicitous way his young brother brought himself was always something that gave Nathaniel a sense of glee. As long as Jacob wore his smile, he thought he was doing something right.
“And even now that you’re about to kill me, you still taunt me.”
Then it hit him. It was the pack. His pack. It was the reason he was holding himself back.
His life revolved around it solely and every decision he had ever made, pack Morris and all his wolves were in the center of it but never him.
“Roark, killing you today was the last thing on my mind.”
Would this be a decision he was willing to bet his pack on? To kill Alpha Remmington now without bringing the wolf in front of a jury to judge him fairly was unfair to the wolves who lost their family in the hands of pack Remmington. On the other hand, Nathaniel wished for vengeance for the death of his mother and father. And slaying Roark now would mean justice even if that was already insignificant.
Nathaniel bit his cheek and turned the butt of his ax on Roark. He raises his hand, watching the color on his brother’s face drain away.
“I’m sorry, brother.” He spoke. “It is what must be done.”
To end all of this, he had no other option but to capture him. Nathaniel gripped his ax and prepared himself to strike Roark out cold.
This was the last thing he was going to do to pack Morris. Bring Roark to justice even though that his wolf wanted to follow the darker option.
His heart constricts as Roark closes his eyes as if he had already accepted his fate.
Nathaniel brings his hand down though before his ax had contacted Roark’s head, he caught the smell of Selena’s blood and felt a blade slicing his flesh.
“Nah ah.” A woman’s voice chimed in, her innocent tone catching Nathaniel as he yelps and falls next to Roark.
“Mirabella…” Roark spoke.
“Hmm, got here in just the nick of time.” She laughs.
Nathaniel watched and writhed in pain while the female wolf took Roark’s hand and pulled him up.
“What are you doing here?”
“Orders by the Beta. Retrieve Luna Highcliff and eliminate the rest of Nathaniel Morris’s family.” She grins.
The cut on Nathaniel’s back was not healing at all. It meant that the dagger she used on him had traces of silver and it was now slowing down his healing process.
Roark glances at Nathaniel and huffed.
“And where is she?” He asks.
She smiled wickedly.
“Look at me. Take a guess on whose blood is on my dress now?”
Suddenly, the sound of skin hitting skin entered Nathaniel’s ears. The confident smirk the woman had worn faded, her face red from Roark’s slap.
Nathaniel and Roark stare at each other. The look of remorse washes over Roark’s face.
He wanted to believe that he was only hearing things but he knew very well it was true.
Roark refused to utter a single word as he walked away.
The woman shook her head, chuckling to herself as she turned her attention to Nathaniel. She points her dagger at him.
“Harrick wants to repay the favor and I am to spare your life.” She says and walks over to where Roark had stood.
With that, Nathaniel no longer cared for anything.
The spiraling abyss of his dreams and wishes was thrown aside along with his hopes and ambitions for himself.
Nothing mattered and not a single pain could compare at the thought of him seeing Selena’s body turn cold and pale.
In a state of unending despair, he had lost his other senses. He could not hear or feel anything. He willed himself to keep running, following the unmistakable scent of her blood despite his open wound.
He had no idea how long it took him to find her. It seemed as if he was wandering through the woods.
He caught her with his gaze. There she was. Sprawled on the ground. Her lips apart, pale cheeks glowing under the sunlight, a crimson red stain dauntingly carpeting her shirt.
“Love?” He murmurs.
Nathaniel falls to his knees, gathering Selena’s body into his arms.
He gulps and pressed his ear against her chest. He found no heartbeat and no pulse.
As he cradles her, gazing at her calm and resting face, hot wet tears fell on her cheek from his.
How could he pretend to be strong now when the world had lost one of its brightest lights?
His sobs begin to get louder until he was screaming his denial that Selena was gone. He was howling in pain while he buried his nose in her hair.
“My moon, please…” Nathaniel gripped her body tightly.
When his world had crumbled down how was it possible that things could turn darker than what could he imagine?
“Please…” He sobs. “I love you. I should have just marked you and I wouldn’t care if you hated me. I… sorry. It’s all my fault for not standing up and taking you.”
Nathaniel’s mind returned to the moment when Selena brought her guard down and she took his lips. In that fleeting moment, he drowned in the iridescence of her warm light. Her simple touch dispelled his worries.
She brought him a stillness he wanted to be trapped in forever.
He touches their foreheads together feeling an electric shock. He took a sharp breath and pulled away.
Her wolf was still in her. Alive but barely hanging on. It was like their wolves resonated with each other
A smile broke into his face as a mix of emotions veiled over him. Tears continue to stream down his face as the woman he had loved stood a chance at life.
He pulled the neck of her shirt, ripping it in the process, and exposed her neck.
This was the only way to save her life.
Nathaniel pauses for a moment, stung by the pain of his wound. If he marked her now without his wound healing first then he would most certainly be trading his life for hers.
Still, he was immovable. No more second-guessing. Selena’s life was more important than his.
“My moon, I’m sorry things had to boil down to this. The world should not be deprived of you or your light.”
Nathaniel sank his teeth into her body. The very taste of her made him freeze up as his wolf craved the sweet nectar of her skin and blood. He draws his canines out and used his tongue to clean his mark.
He felt his body weakening but that didn’t bother him at all.
What was his life if pack Morris was removed? He had nothing to be proud of nor someone to cling to.
Without pack Morris he was nothing.
Winston and his family were already okay. His only regret now was not spending enough time with Jacob.
But as it stands now, death brought him joy. Surrendering his life was all that is left.
Nathaniel weakens, his eyelids become too heavy to keep his eyes open.
And after all everything, the fear of Death reaping him of his soul was daunting as it was an act that would mean abandoning his pack.
But no more did pack Morris stand firm in front of him. Selena mattered more than any other thing in his life. The woman he loved and held so dear that he couldn’t imagine a world without her. The woman whose eyes fluttered open, revealing the most beautiful shade of brown he had been graced to witness.
Nathaniel smiled for the last time, his heart welling with content as the coldness of oblivion’s call drags him into his eternal slumber.
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