Moonlight bathed its silvery magic in the dense forest, as if the moon herself cast a blessing upon the preferred home of her children. It pooled where it would, deepening the shadows into cool temporary depths that only daylight would extinguish. A blessing that embraced her children in its depths.
The night breeze rustled the leaves as if it were a swarm of frolicking fairies celebrating the beauty the night displayed. Serenity that only the occasional hoot of an owl belied, to be followed by scurrying feet in the underbrush. The owl’s prey rushing away from the danger the predator was.
Tania sat as still as the trees about her. So still that the owl’s prey rushed past her feet without knowing her as the greater predator. Her wild frizzy hair lifting in the wind and her blinking the only movement she allowed. She was a part of the forest, so much so that even her breathing went unnoticed.
Fireflies lazed and darted about, doing whatever it was that kept them up at night while most of creation slept. Little green stars that she stared at with an unfocused gaze, allowing her to see their collective luminescent beauty without shifting her eyes.
There was no change in the solitude of the night, but she knew they were there. The children of the moon, walking without disturbing the critters of the night unless they wanted to. They surrounded her and her heart gave a half hearted thud before settling down. An acknowledgement of the danger she faced that failed to penetrate her apathy.
Lifting her hand she took a bite out of her half eaten apple, her gaze still unfocused on the dance of the fireflies. They would have registered the hitch in her heartbeat and knew she was aware of them so she waited. Her gnawing hunger consumed any other considerations.
A dark clothed figure stepped out of the wall of leaves before her, not even rustling a single one. A sure warrior’s stride ate up the distance, her footfalls making no sound. Tania shifted her gaze to the figure without moving a muscle, her relaxed posture unwavering.
Like her, the figure was feminine. Her warrior’s stance and stride did little to disguise the lazy roll of well proportioned hips, hips that were evident with her tightly fitted clothes. Confidence oozed from her, competence that did not need to be advertised.
Others also stepped out of the shadows, but didn’t advance, leaving the warrior to stand under the light of the moon before the seated girl. Their gazes clashed, two calm pools in the night.
“I am Leo, warrior of the Shadow’s End.” She introduced herself with pride. “What are you doing in our territory?” The demand had a push that could only be found in alpha blood, not necessarily the Alpha or Luna but of that bloodline.
“If I’d known it’s pack territory I’d never have entered.” Tania replied with detached calm, some deep part of her tried to rise against that calm but found no ground. Lately she was finding herself apathetic to everything, even her safety. “I avoid werewolves.”
The warrior’s shapely brow came up in skeptism. “And yet there are two of you and you’re both werewolves.”
She shrugged her thin shoulders. “An accident of nature.”
The warrior drew back a bit as if to distance herself from the seated girl. “You want to be human?”
Tania cocked her head to the side a frown dancing through her eyes. “That is self hatred and I’m not into that. There are too many people willing to hate so why give them more of an advantage?”
The warrior didn’t answer but narrowed her gaze on the seated girl as if she was reassessing her. “You are rogue.” She stated with the conviction of someone who had just confirmed what she has suspected all along.
“There should be another class of wolves, not pack and not rogue.”
“And why wouldn’t you want to be pack?”
Tania’s eyes hardened, the most emotion she had shown since the confrontation had started. “Because packs are a bunch of wolves banded together who prey on those they think are weird or different. Bullies who egg each other in the misery of those weaker.”
“That’s...” She was interrupted by a raged howl that penetrated into the bones of those who heard it. She swung around in time to see a golden wolf get tossed into the guarded ring then back as the seated girl surged up from her fallen log.
“Cadan!” Tania gasped as she race to the wolf who was already on his feet and growling at the others, ready to pounce.
“Kill them.” A male of an alpha line commanded. He stood just inside the ring of guards, the shadows of the forest casting him into shadow that he appeared to be larger and more sinister than any man, even were, should ever be. Besides him stood another male, less bulky but with the same height as the monster.
Drawing her bulky cardigan against the chill, Tania looked at the warrior she had been talking to, her eyes back to their eerie detachment, as if her impending death was irrelevant. “Bullies.” She stated then turned back to face the man who had given the order.
The forest was now devoid of all its earlier sounds, it’s timid inhabitants hiding from the death the air telegraphed. The moon suddenly stood overhead, as if to showcase the brutality that was to be. Around the two the encircling guards had shifted and stood ready to tear the two rogues apart.
Cadan stood with his forepaws bent and spayed to give him more height when he jumped. His teeth bared as the low growl he emitted vibrated through every living thing. While most wolves had a bite worse than their barks Cadan had a bark that could and did shatter matter.
As if in league with the moon the wind picked up and circled the small clearing. Tania stiffened and the air around her blurred as if a distortion field underlay it. Her head snapped to the slighter male.
“Stop!” He shouted.
“Stop!” The female warrior also commanded at the same time. She turned to look at the male who kept his gaze trailed on the Tania.