Chapter 33 - Consequences
There are some experiences that you go through in life that leave you wishing you’d made different choices. Wishing that you could have seen the path that you’ve put yourself of.
Hearing about Irie’s experience, seeing the pain on her face, the bruises that lingered on her body, and the anguish over what she had experienced, made this one of those moments. I had never thought about the way Riley had attached herself to Ian. Or about the many different signs that were there, even when I really didn’t see them.
I was looking back now, seeing all of them. How one day she was just more withdrawn but still functional. Then all of the sudden, she was very cosey with Ian. I was even now seeing the times she acted illogically over females getting near him
All of it left me feeling, well, worthless. Like my inability to see also meant I couldn’t protect someone who I truly cared for. I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t want anything to do with us anymore. I wouldn’t give up that easy, but I still wouldn’t blame her.
Then to have her fall asleep in our arms with those words coming off her lips, well they were the last thing I expected to hear. I silently thanked the Goddess for bringing Irie to us. I was imagining several different outcomes all day, including us being banished from her sight for the foreseeable future. I didn’t expect her to fall asleep telling us that she loved us and basically saying that Riley’s shenanigans hadn’t changed that.
Seriously, thank the fucking Goddess. Irie didn’t hold onto hate or grudges. We’d figured that out quickly. She was forgiving to a fault.
I looked over to Ian, quickly finding out that he was out too. He was wrapped around her from the front and had her head tucked under his chin. Cradling her in his arms, between us, like the precious being she was.
While she was talking with us earlier, he had linked me to apologize for his stupidity. Actually, he had basically spent the half the time saying how sorry he was that he had put us in this position. Put her in it. I had tried to tell him that it wasn’t exactly his fault. I had seen my fair share of hungry females, looking to make me a conquest and secure a position of their own. The only difference is that the crazy one didn’t attach herself to me. And that she was batshit crazy.
My mind was working in overtime going over all the different things that we needed to do. At the top of that list and the one thing that wouldn’t be rearranged, was tending to Irie. We’re lucky that nothing worse had happened, but it was still a big enough scare. We had to wait weeks till the next full moon to mark her again too. I wouldn’t dare change that tradition. I didn’t know its origins, but I wasn’t willing to chance making the Goddess mad by not following it. We’d been lucky to find such a perfect mate, I refused to piss that away because I didn’t have enough patience to be respectful.
Plus, given what had occurred and her being pregnant, neither of us wanted to push too much on her. The stress of the ordeal was enough, yet we still had the aftermath to deal with. She didn’t need more stress, like that of being marked in front of her new pack, added on.
Until we did mark her, she was in some level of danger. Especially if and when others found out she was pregnant. I wasn’t going to bet on that being kept a secret either. Mate and pregnancy news spread through packs like wildfire. Even more so when it involves the Alpha family.
I knew she wasn’t going to like it, but we had to keep patrols up until she could be marked. Thinking of patrols reeled my mind toward the other things we needed to touch on, and there were many. We needed to ensure our patrols were ready for anything. Truth be told, we should have Irie with when we do that. Several of the warriors had told us about the tricks that our little mate had played to keep them off her while she wove inward. If she knew how to do that, she likely could give them some pointers on how to stop someone else from doing it.
Her little jaunt through the territory, being chased by our wolves, also made it glaringly obvious that we needed to make sure she was fully introduced to the pack. We needed to introduce her and explain the look of her wolf to everyone. Then explain when the next marking ceremony would be.
As tightly wound as my mind was, going over all of this, it was also exhausted. Riley was likely already being brought in front of the seniors because no one wanted to wait on her mini trial. The evidence was pretty clear and easy and didn’t need a lot to explain, but it would be hours before it was over. That it if was even over today.
I had to force myself to rest alongside my mate and brother.
Hours later I woke to Irie’s mother, Catherine, lightly shaking me. Then a pinch to get my attention.
“Dear, you all need to wake up and eat something. Laura is bringing up dinner with Tori.” Adam and Catherine had decided to stay with us until the next ceremony. Adam had not so gently asserted that he wasn’t leaving his daughter again until she was fully bound to us, if that was what she wanted.
I sure the hell wasn’t going to argue with him, although I did want to assert that we were hers and she was ours. No, arguing over any comment right now wasn’t a good idea. Not after all they had gone through. Both in leaving their daughter in another’s hands who had fucked up and then finding her again only to have her kidnapped. Nope, not going to argue with a very protective and insulted father. Not right now.
Dad had even commented to me not to dare.
I sat up while she woke the others. Ian and I helped really wake and sit Irie up. We really didn’t need to help her, but we wanted to. After the bath, massage, the nap, and food she’d gotten, she was already much better looking. Not fully recuperated, but still enough that it didn’t seem sitting up was difficult anymore. From what the doctor and mom said, when she first woke up, that wasn’t the case. Thank the Goddess for our healing.
“How are you feeling sweetheart?”
“A lot better, can I have real food now please?” The little whine in her voice was immediately answered as we started to move. Catherine stopped us and chuckled. Then told her to be patient as mom and Tori scooted a full cart of food in.
“We figured that you were probably all famished, so we brought up a lot.” Tori had swapped places with Ian so he could get a plate ready. “Don’t you dare disappear on us like that again.” She said as she lightly hugged Irie.
Tori had given us her own thoughts on the matter. I was actually really surprised too because I thought she was going to rip a new asshole. Nope, she wasn’t pleased with the whole thing but her focus had been only about making sure Irie would heal okay. She did tell us that we were idiot males and needed to get our heads out of our asses, but that was the extent of it.
“Ya ya, like this was something I planned on happening. Now scootch, Ian has food for me, and I swear if anyone hands me soup, I’ll throw it at you.” Her attitude being back made me happy.
“No worries baby girl, I grabbed a few things for you. None of them being soup.” We sat there chatting and eating for a bit. Finally enjoying the first lighter mood we had all gotten to have in days. There was no mention of anything negative.
We talked about how Catherine and mom had been going room by room straightening things out. Because I guess Ian and I didn’t have a feminine touch or enough attention to detail for it to be clean and presentable enough. They made sure to mention how easy it would be to change one of our old rooms to a nursery. Or multiple nurseries.
I should have known that the light mood wasn’t going to last long. Kota came in while we were chatting and asked if he could give an update. We all nodded because what else were we going to say, no?
“The pack found Riley fully guilty for everything.” Not a shocker about the outcome, just how quick it was. I really thought that it was going to take a lot longer, especially with the council’s involvement.
“She had attempted to basically plead temporary insanity, but the warriors called out how very sane she was up until she wasn’t getting what she wanted. The investigator from the City also provided proof that all of her crimes were thought out. They did agree that she was likely out of her mind but that it wasn’t an excuse for the behavior. Keeping on the crazy train, tried to claim Irie was some sort of witch or some evil spirit sent to destroy us all. Obviously, that was pretty quickly refuted by everyone and they reinforced that being crazy wasn’t going to save her from repercussions. She also, um, told them that Irie was pregnant.”
I should have figured that she would try anything to get out of trouble, including shoving the attention elsewhere. I was hoping we could keep it a secret for longer. Not that I didn’t want to celebrate. I was just afraid of what was going to come out of it.
“What did they say?” Ian looked like he was thinking the same.
“They honestly didn’t care. Well, they did care, but not in a way that benefitted Riley at all. They basically said that Irie being pregnant was a sign that the Goddess had already blessed you all and that her revelation of it had only made her crime that much more severe. Cuz you know, kidnapping a Luna right before she was to be marked isn’t bad enough. Let’s make it a pregnant one to boot. They also added that if she lucid enough to figure out that Irie was pregnant, she can’t use the excuse that she didn’t know what she was doing. Mark and Daniel didn’t even have to say anything. She went off the rails bad enough on her own.”
That was true. Outside of rogues, wolves were pretty respectful of pregnant females. Unless a pregnant female was trying to harm someone else without cause, wolves wouldn’t use force at all. We valued pups, family. Even when packs argued or were against each other, that was one thing we were careful about.
“What did they decide as a sentence?” Irie asked.
“Death. The council agreed and even agreed that the manner and time are up to you three so long as it’s soon. She uh, freaked out quite a bit, yelling about a whole bunch of things. We had to sedate her before we put her back in the cells. The guards are going to monitor her and call the doctor if she needs to be re-sedated. The council still said, even if she was out of her mind, that she’s a danger to everyone and they cannot condone any other sentence.”
I wasn’t surprised. One thing that I knew about my pack members was that loyalty was pretty important to them. Everything that she had done was against everything that they stood for. I’m sure that they felt betrayed too. And her other crimes, well that just puts it all over the edge.
“What do we do?” Irie looked at both of us. I could tell she didn’t know what to say here. I hadn’t seen her be even remotely aggressive, outside of defending herself, so I’m sure the thought of a death sentence was hard.
“We should do it right away tomorrow, right after sunrise. There’s no justice in making her wait for it, that’s just cruel. It will also end this quickly and remove the danger of having her around.” I wasn’t down for torture and I didn’t want there to even be a possibility she could escape and do something again.
“But... how will...”
“I’ll do it.” Ian volunteered. No one, and I mean no one ever wants to be the one to execute a pack member, but we had to. She was dangerous and had committed treasonous and heinous crimes. She killed innocents and she could have killed Irie and our pup.
The rest of the night was solemn as we all just spent time together. Adam and dad had joined us after Kota revealed everything. We sent him to let the guard and everyone else know that the sentence would be carried out right away. Anyone in the pack that wanted to bear witness was allowed to.
No one slept much that night, we all tried, but it wasn’t that easy. Knowing what was going to happen in the morning tended to do that to people.
We all started getting ready as the sun rose. Everyone dressed in black. We had asked Irie if she wanted to come or if she wanted to stay in the room. She said that she needed to be there. She needed to be present not just for herself, but for the pack who would be losing someone.
It wasn’t the right time to tell her how fucking perfect she was, but I would later. Often too.
Everyone walked out to the clearing together. The same clearing we were going to mark Irie in, the one we would mark her in soon, was going to be where Riley took her last breath. Mark and Daniel were still here and were waiting with several pack members. Neither said a word as we walked past them to the center.
I don’t know if Daniel had ever had to deal with anything like this. I guess I don’t even know if Mark had. It isn’t like this happens all the time. Anyway, them being present was a sign of respect and support as fellow Alphas. It was also a sign of respect for everyone involved since they had knowledge and some type of participation in what happened.
Alphas didn’t hide away from responsibilities or anything for that matter. That’s the other reason we wanted to get this over with.
Mom, Dad, Adam, and Catherine stopped to stand with them. Kota and Tori came with us as they would stand with Irie while Ian and I, well, mostly Ian, carried out the sentence. Riley was already in the middle, turned away from the pack. Her guards knew that it was better for her not to be staring down the pack or trying to get sympathy.
Kota, Tori, and Irie stopped just before the center. Irie squeezed both of our hands before letting them go, then Ian and I continued forward. Reaching Riley, the guards turned her to us. She had been bound; her arms tied tightly behind her back.
The way she looked at us, I didn’t disagree that she was out of her mind.
“You came for me. I knew you’d come.” Her voice made it seem like she thought we were here to rescue her or set her free. I didn’t know if she was really out of it from the sedatives or had just finally fully snapped.
“Riley, you have been found guilty of the murder of innocent wolves and treasonous acts against the pack, more specifically against the to-be Luna of RiverRun. The sentence determined based on your crimes, which has been agreed upon by all parties, is death.” As I was talking, Ian was putting on a glove. He would be plunging a silver dagger directly into her heart. The quickest and most painless death for our kind.
“As Alphas of RiverRun, your prior Alphas, we will carry out your sentence. Do you have any final words?”
“You were supposed to be mine Ian. Wasn’t I good enough? Why won’t you be mine?” It was official, she had completely lost it. The Riley I was used to would have never pleaded or whined like this. She was gone. I could hear Irie and Tori behind me, saying the same thing.
Let’s get this over with. I know it isn’t easy, but it is going to just be worse if we delay it anymore. Ian nodded, agreeing with me.
I moved behind Riley and held her steady as Ian took the dagger from one of the warriors. There wasn’t a single sound around us. The pack was so eerily silent, it sent shivers down my spine. Ian walked up to Riley and put his arm on her shoulder.
“Are you going to take me away now?” She asked, I could see she was looking up at him.
“Goodbye Riley.” He plunged the dagger through her rib cage and directly into her heart. It didn’t take but a few minutes and she was gone. Ian pulled away with the dagger and several pack members came to take her from us.
“We will prepare a general burial for her. She isn’t allowed warrior’s rights, but we don’t need to treat her like a rogue.” I looked to Irie, silently asking if she was okay with that. I probably should have asked her first before putting her on the spot.
“She was broken. She needed to face the consequences of her actions, but we should still pay her respect for the good she did while part of the pack. She was still a person.”
No one else said anything, but I could see the nods from pack members, signaling that they were happy with the decision.
“Let’s go back inside.”