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Delacourte stood proud atop the cliff's edge overlooking the dark forest, it had been nine glorious years of power with his brother so far, despite their father only wanting one to rule, the two brothers were stronger together and it had indeed shown.

Never trust alone wolf, but two alphas, the world could indeed be their hunting ground.

“Why do you always come here.” Vinchenzo strolled up alongside his younger by twenty-minutes twin brother Delacourte, they weren’t exactly identical twins though: apart from both having light blond hair, big built and tall, Vinchenzo’s was slightly taller, had bright blue eyes with grey speckles, his hair, shaggy just coming over his eyebrows, a little wild like himself. Delacourte had dark grey eyes with blue streaks in and kept his hair short, just like his temper of late.

They had been inseparable since birth, always having the others back, it was them against the world.

“I like the view.”

Vinchenzo rolled his eyes, something was bugging his brother. Despite the view being grand with rolling hills as far as the eye could see, he could always find him here lost in thought when troubled the most.

“What happened.”

“Balakin.” Delacourte grunted out taking a seat on the cliff's edge. Vinchenzo clicked his neck twice joining his brother on the edge, transforming had always hurt his neck but it made traveling faster up the mountain.

“What do they want now.”

Balakin was a young werewolf clan by an odd hundred years, as opposed to them, the Alexeyev brothers whose family name and legend went back thousands of years, the Alexeyev family had been royals, kings, the first alphas.

But with all power came those who wanted to challenge it.

In 1703 to be exact one cocky son of a bitch Alexeyev prince had reined, a cruel leader who had believed in two methods: those that followed should fear, the rest were given the gift of death, no mercy, drunk on power the prince had almost wiped out their people, who had refused to go down without a fight and started a great rebellion against him.

The war had lasted many years eventually dividing the werewolves, a rare species as it was into dwindling numbers.

Despite the Alexeyev family's strength, raw beastly power, they had been outnumbered and ripped into pieces. It had taken almost three hundred years to rebuild their name, rebuild their claim to the throne and Delacourte would be dammed if some insignificant pups like the Balakin tried to take it away from them now.

“They want to discuss the contract, again.” Delacourte sighed looking at his brother, a bone-deep exhaustion ran through him. No matter how many threats they wiped out there was always another.

“This has to be the fifth time, why don’t we just go old school and challenge them, show them who’s in control, put them back in line.”

“I have been tempted to do the same, but…” Delacourte trailed off.

“Ja, I know, modern times and all, the paperwork and tedious contracts have become more of a bitch.” Vinchenzo finished his thought for him.

“If they keep pushing through,” They looked at each other as a smile crept onto their lips. It had been far too long since they had a good fight and they were itching for one.

Balakin was a young clan but they fucked like rabbits and outnumbered them a hundred to one at the moment, the problem with the Balakin was they didn’t want to keep their identities to the world hidden anymore, they wanted to show the world their strength, not shapeshift in the shadows anymore.

They also wanted the Alexeyev to step down so they could lead, oh no they hadn’t directly said so but it was pretty obvious that they were a growing threat.

The brothers had denied their repeated requests, the world had already far too many myths, books, and movies portraying their likeness from past slip-ups in history, they would not let their rein be the last. The world was better off categorizing them to be as real as Santa Clause.

“Do they not understand what the world would do to our kind?”

“You can’t force knowledge into a rock Delacourte.”

The sun bowed its head disappearing from the horizon as they sat waiting for the stars, there was a chill in the air that howled past them bringing on the scents of the fresh night.

“What shall we hunt tonight?” Vinchenzo smiled scanning the valley.

“Your choice brother.”

They strained their ears for the nightlife: the owls had come out along with thousands of beetles and insects ducking and diving the bats now out for a feast.

Far off to the right through the buzz, was a fox scratching at the ground, in another direction a hare chewing nearby a mother bear with two cubs, and about a half-mile from that a group of stags.

They sniffed the air in the stag’s direction and leaped together off the cliff free falling to the forest bed below.

The brothers landed on the forest floor gracefully stretching out and flexing their claws into the soft earth, together they looked up at the sky and howled deep from within sending it echoing through the night. Now every bit a dire wolf on steroids to the untrained eye they padded through the forest for a stag snack.

Royal or not they lived for the hunt it was just in their DNA, perhaps that’s why they were in security, not your little mall cop stuff, the kind where the Russian government requested you by name for events and private missions their top dogs just couldn’t do.

The government and royal Alexeyev family line had been close allies for many generations both guarding the other's secrets, no matter what they would always remain allies.

Both parties had far too much to lose otherwise.

If not for their treaty, Russia would have been a warzone, part of the peace agreement with the government was the Alexeyev claim to the forests and wildlife around since a time before such a thing as governments were formed.

It was why in such modern times more than half of Russia was unpopulated and remained untouched by human hands. Unknown to the world, most of the top parts of Russia were owned by the Alexeyev family, it was their land by birthright.

A werewolf needed room to stretch.

It wasn’t all grand through, manning so much property was a full-time job with countless problems despite all the human interference such as poachers, campers, construction, and the endless list of lost hikers. The amount of employed manpower needed just to get through it all on a daily basis was outstanding, and on top of it, all was Delacourte and Vincenzo.

On their 21st birthday nine years back their father, Klaus had decided it was time to step down with his three brothers and hand the reins over to his two sons being the firstborn in the family tree.

It had been hard work grooming them to lead but they had excelled at everything and Klaus knew they would continue to make him proud.

* * * * *

Klaus was waiting for them in the parlor, pacing. A servant had tiptoed in and out offering a late supper, a coffee, a strong drink, anything to calm him.

“It grows late, where have you two been?”

Vinchenzo turned sideways to his dad showing the stag draped over his shoulder as Delacourte held the door open.

“What apocalypse are you two preparing for?” Klaus enquired folding his arms over his broad chest.

“Da,” Delacourte sighed, there was no need for explanation, they all understood the need to hunt, the trill of the chase.

“Ja, I know, I just need you two to start sticking to the curfew.” Klaus turned to enter the main house; from the outside, it looked like a glass hotel framed by massive wooden supports pointing north and nestled in the heart of a mountain, it was defiantly not your everyday fortress. Seventeen rooms, eight bathrooms, three kitchens and lounges, excluding the guest house and staff living quarters, and last but not least the under-ground bunkers and garages, it was home.

“We are not kids anymore da,” Vinchenzo raised an eyebrow, he knew the curfew was in place to keep all from going out to make unnecessary drama, especially in such touchy times. One could almost taste the tension in the air of late.

Vincenzo handed the catch to three kitchen boys trying to balance its weight. Usually, after a kill the brothers would enter through the main kitchen dropping it off in there but having seen the front light still on so late, they had gone through the front to see if anything was wrong.

“I don’t care how old you two are, I know this feeling, I do not trust it.” Klaus downed the last of his vodka. Their father was worried, it had been about a month now since the Balakin had started stirring the pot, no longer barking but nipping at the heels.

They had sensed it while out tonight on the hunt, nearby growls had been heard. The brothers hadn’t paid attention to them loping casually along, heads high, sure it had rubbed them the wrong way that the Balakin had ventured onto their private property, showing disrespect.

As for the growling, it was a definite challenge the brothers were not paying attention to, Delacourte knew his brother and him were stronger, and could take them on with no hesitation. But they were a big clan and as much as his teeth wanted to sink into them watching the light leave their eyes, he wasn’t sure just how many Balakin were waiting in the shadows behind the stupidly brave eight nearby.

He would not put his family at risk, as much as he wanted to rip their throats out for daring to show such disrespect to them, Vinchenzo had slightly nudged Delacourte on their way home reminding him not to lose his cool, they would not be the first to draw blood, not yet.

“What happened?” Klaus asked not missing the side-eyes his sons had shot each other.

“Nothing we can’t handle da.” Delacourte assured him.

“Oh, I’m sure, but I would still like to be a part of this conversation.” Klaus pointed to the two of them. “come we have a lot to discuss it seems.” War was imminent and Klaus was determined to not be excluded, his sons were powerful and no doubt intimidating wanting to handle matters on their own, but Klaus had a secret, one it was about time to tell, a secret that could change everything.

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