I felt my power growing. An energy like no other flowed through the earth and into my body. I could feel Quinn tapping into it too, using our bond to strengthen herself in her fight against Clayton. Without turning around I knew Cassius must have been behind it, after all, he was a powerful wolf/mage hybrid and Mason’s key to killing Clayton and getting Cami back.
I pushed myself back against the witch’s black magic and managed to get to my feet; but her power was strong and threatened to slam me straight back down into the dirt. A sudden rush of energy hit me like a bolt of lightning and the witch’s magic was blasted away from me.
What was that?!
I turned my head to look at Cassius and to my surprise he knelt side by side, hand in hand, with his mother, Alessandra.
Both Mages nodded in my direction and I knew that I had to make the most out of this new found power while I still could.
I closed my eyes, shifting into my wolf within seconds. I looked back at the witch, her eyes glowing a fierce red and her black magic now focused on the Luna of Eastern Ridge and her son.
30 hours ago
Quinn reached across and shook Declan’s hand. Cassius clapped his hands together and smiled.
“Ok. Now the formalities are out of the way, when do we do this?” He asked.
Quinn turned to me and waited for my response.
“It’s about a day’s drive to Orcann territory. If we leave in a few hours we can get there in plenty of time before nightfall tomorrow” I answered.
Cameron rolled out a large piece of paper in the middle of the table.
I glanced at Mason as he mind linked me. How the hell was he mind linking me when he wasn’t part of my pack?
That would be my doing - Cassius answered in my head, reading my thoughts.
“Clayton has roughly fifty wolves in his pack” Cameron begun, addressing the room.
I tried not to let the others pick up that Mason, Cassius and myself were communicating via our link, clearly there was something they didn’t want the rest of the room to hear.
So I’m thinking that recruiting three wolves to fight for us wasn’t your only plan from Eastern Ridge?
Mason grinned at my remark.
Cassius is a powerful mage....but he isn’t our weapon.
I glanced at Cassius, raising my brow.
What’s our weapon then? I asked
Whilst trying to keep up with the verbal plan, Mason, Cassius and myself constructed our own; one that would happen behind the scenes. It was clear that a traitor was in the ranks somewhere, we had to keep this close to our chests.
Alessandra will remain out of the way. Mason linked. As the Luna of Eastern Ridge, no harm must come to her.
My mother will keep our scents cloaked, giving us the element of surprise.
I understood why Alessandra was to remain anonymous. I had been completely unaware of her and Cassius’s abilities. Eastern Ridge was a strong, yet peaceful pack; having a Mage as a Luna was attention that they did not need to draw to themselves, it would make them a target.
I felt Quinn’s eyes on me and turned to her, clearly I had missed a large chunk of whatever conversation was going on, but picking up enough to know what the plan was.
“Jayce?” Quinn said, touching my arm and regaining my attention.
“Sorry. Yes, I agree that it’s a good idea. Good thinking Quinn.
I powered towards the witch, dirt bellowing around my feet as the force of twenty wolves flowed through me. Just as the witch turned her attention to me, Alessandra and Cassius sent a wave of pure energy towards her, knocking her to the ground. I utilised the moment and hurtled through the air, landing on the pool of burgundy material as the witch attempted to regain her control. I sunk my teeth into the cloak but all that met my mouth was air. I shook the material...nothing, the witch was gone.
Forget about the witch. Get to Quinn while you can!
I nodded at Mason’s mind link and dropped the robe, my Luna needed me.
I felt relief as I watched Jayce bound towards the Orcann pack house; but the relief was short lived as the witch suddenly materialised beside us, grabbing Mason’s wolf by the throat.
“No!” My mother screamed.
“You will cease your magic or I will burn this rabid dog alive!” The witch hissed, a red snake-like tongue darting between her teeth.
She will kill me anyway. Don’t stop what you’re doing, Jayce needs that power...whatever power Jayce has then Quinn has it too. You can’t stop!
I clenched my jaw, my fingers digging deeper into the dirt until I thought they might break. Mason was family, he was part of the Eastern Ridge pack and had once been our Alpha; I couldn’t just let him die.
But then there was Quinn, an incredible warrior and also family and the Luna of Fern Creek. This was a decision that I could not make.
“The second we stop, the witch will kill all of us and Jayce. This all will have been for nothing” my mother whispered.
I looked around, all of Clayton’s wolves lay immobilised on the ground as we harnessed their energy. The moment I took my hands from the soil I knew they would be back to trying to kill us, before I could even shift back into my wolf.
“We need to take out the witch without cutting the tie to Jayce. We need more power, I don’t have enough; there is no more energy to draw from” I growled between clenched teeth.
I didn’t know how much longer I could keep this up. I could feel my mind getting foggy and the constant drip, drip, drip of blood from my nose was a tell tale sign that my body wasn’t holding up.
With every give there is a take...
“I know a source we can draw from” my mother said, looking at me, “focus on the witch and trust me, son, you’ve got this”
I turned my head and locked eyes on the witch. She held Mason above the ground in her grip, ready to ignite him the second she decided we weren’t going to stand down.
“Fine. Have it your way” she hissed.
Magic crackled from her hands, Mason’s wolf crying out in pain.
“NOW!” My mother screamed.
I gathered everything I had, every ounce of energy, every bit of power and projected them towards the witch. The blast that emanated from me was like nothing I had ever seen or felt. It was like the Goddess herself had blessed me with the spirit of a thousand wolves and sent them all as lighting bolts heading straight for the witch that dared harm us.
The witch’s eyes grew wide and her teeth formed a menacing snarl. She released her grip on Mason, dropping the wolf to the ground with a thud. The witch raised her hand in an attempt to block the gale of magic that came her way but it was a pointless act.
Our power radiated through her, the only thing to be heard above the crackle of electricity was the blood curdling scream that tore from the witch’s lips as her body spasmed uncontrollably.
Then she was gone, with a flurry of smoke and a crack of thunder, the witch was gone. Mason rose to his feet gingerly and a smile crept unapologetically on to my face. I turned to my mother.
“We did it-”
My face paled as I looked to the woman next to me. The once breathtakingly beautiful Luna of the Eastern Ridge Pack was now a shell of her former self. Blood poured from her eyes, nose and mouth. Her cheeks hollow, her hair lifeless and her body frail. The warm light that once shone from her amber eyes was gone, replaced with a blank stare. The energy we had drawn from had been her own...
I went to remove my hands from the dirt to help my mother but with the last bit of life she had left, I felt her gently squeeze my fingers. She knew that if I let go of our grounding then Jayce would lose the power that we had given him and Clayton’s wolves would likely kill us within seconds.
“No...” I sobbed, tears of pain running down my dirt covered face.
Then Mason and Dominic’s wolves were by my side. Dominic ever so gently lifting my mother’s head and placing it down on to Mason as he moved his body under her’s; providing her with the comfort and warmth of his fur over the harshness of the cold, rough ground.
I’m so proud of you, my beautiful cub. You will make a magnificent Alpha. Tell your father I love him and will wait for him with the goddess until his time comes to join us...
Then she was gone. A painful vice-like ache in my heart as the bond that had connected us my whole life was broken. My body wracked in pain and I cried out in anguish. My mother, my Luna, had sacrificed herself to save us all.
Mason, Dominic and Cameron, along with all of the Fern Creek and Eastern Ridge wolves that were still standing, raised their heads; howling to the moon, notifying the Goddess to make room for one more Angel in her realm.
I tore up the stairs of the Orcann pack house, my muscles pushing me forward, and my nose tracking the scent of my mate. My whole body pulsated with the power given to me by Cassius and Alessandra but also with the rush of feelings and emotions that came to me through my link to Quinn.
My wolf growled as I sensed Quinn’s scent heavily mixed with Clayton’s. Blood with blood. Sweat with sweat. Hatred with hatred.
I reached the top floor, Quinn’s scent was strong. I barrelled down the long hall, following the sounds of teeth gnashing and skin tearing. Suddenly a shockwave from outside shook the building. My body vibrated, a new level of power igniting in my wolf. No sooner had the power reached my body, that I felt it transfer...transfer across to Quinn.
I reached the door of the room I knew Quinn was in and threw myself inside. The image I was met with was one that I had not expected but that filled my heart with a pride and satisfaction that I didn’t know possible.
A majestic, silver wolf was on top of a bleeding, white wolf. Quinn’s left claw, pierced into Clayton’s back, gripping on with everything that she had. It was the right paw that took my breath away though. I watched as Quinn’s right claw shifted into that of a bear’s and gripped on to the front of Clayton’s scalp.
Clayton’s head was hauled back and he howled out in pain as his scalp started to separate from his skull, blood pouring down his fur; into his eyes and mouth. With one swift tug Quinn completely exposed Clayton’s skull. She growled loudly and threw the wad of fur to the ground, narrowly missing my feet.
Quinn let go of Clayton, and stalked around him as he cowered on the floor. Her ice-blue eyes studied him, watching every little move he made, every breath he took.
“He’s not healing rapidly anymore!”
I turned my head to see two girls in the far corner of the room. I had been so focused on Quinn that I hadn’t even seen them there. I sniffed the air.
Panther and bear.
The girls stared at Quinn, willing her on, hanging on her every move as she approached the animal that had single handedly tried to destroy her whole life.
Quinn suddenly shifted into her bear. Clayton struggled to his feet, slipping on his own blood that coated the floorboards beneath him. He attempted to bite her but Quinn was too fast, grabbing the wolf by the front legs and throwing him down, on to an upended chair. The satisfying sound of his back snapping echoed around the room.
Clayton gazed up at the enormous silver bear, unable to move his legs, he snarled at her, his eyes full of pure hatred. Quinn stood above him, then shifted into her human form.
I watched as she let out a long breath that she had been holding and stared down at Clayton’s wolf.
“Shift!” She growled between clenched teeth.
Clayton snorted and looked away from her.
“Shift you coward!” She screamed.
When Clayton refused to look at her, Quinn knelt down next to him, grabbing the blood matted fur at the side of his head and turning him to face her.
“I told you that I would kill you. How does it feel? Lying there, unable to move, completely helpless. I wish everyone that you ever hurt could see this. You’re fucking pathetic!”
Clayton snarled, attempting to turn his head and bite her but Quinn held him firmly, not giving him the opportunity. She laughed, a flicker of enjoyment in her eyes.
“This is almost too easy” she sighed, “what pleasure is eviscerating someone if their spinal cord is severed and they can’t feel it anyway?”
Quinn shrugged her shoulders and stood up, walking around behind the wolf. Just as she moved away I saw Clayton’s front legs move slightly and his eyes gleamed with something evil. I was just about to yell out when Quinn reached down, grabbing Clayton’s tail in her hand.
Clayton howled, attempting to get to his feet but before he had chance, Quinn made her move.
In one fast, whip-like motion, Quinn ripped at Clayton’s tail. I watched the two women in the corner gasp, one of them even throwing up, as Clayton’s tail was ripped from his spasming body. His spinal cord, clearly being an extension of his tail, followed suit; spraying blood from floor to ceiling before dangling motionless in Quinn’s hand.
“Just as I said. Pathetic” she breathed emotionlessly, dropping the spine to the floor.
I shifted back into my human form and looked at Clayton’s dead wolf. It was over, after all this time running from him...she had finally killed him.
Quinn turned to me. It took her a few seconds to register, then tears welled in her eyes and she ran into my outstretched arms. I held her, I held her for what felt like an eternity, never wanting to let go. She pushed back softly and looked up into my eyes.
“You’re alive” she breathed, looking me up and down to make sure I was in one piece.
“I am indeed. As are you”
I looked over to the two women in the corner of the room and raised an eyebrow.
“Friends of yours?” I asked.
Quinn nodded her head and shrugged her shoulders.
“Something like that”
Suddenly my ears pricked to a sound coming from outside. Wolves howling in grief, our wolves, mourning the loss of one of their own.
“We need to get back down there” I said, turning to the panther and bear in the corner, “it’s time for you to pay Quinn back for saving your life”