The last few weeks have flown by.
Routine pack meetings, warrior training, and some sort of mating ceremony training they decide to use this year so nobody in the pack embarrasses themselves in front of Alpha Leviathan.
So much stuff has been going on that I have been getting only four hours of sleep a night. I can feel the sleep deprivation setting in. Give me a week straight full of sleep and I’d be good.
Now I sit here with my essentials in one bag and some basic clothes in another. If I were to find a mate at this thing, I wouldn’t be coming home.
I have to lug these two heavy bags there and back. It probably doesn’t help that my essential bag is mostly made up of books.
When a she-wolf finds a mate at these ceremonies, she immediately moves to his pack.
We can call home and let our families and alpha know so the transfer can be put in, but that’s about it.
Once you hear their howl you’re screwed. Apparently you are basically stuck together and can’t be very far apart without one or both going nuts.
The first year you cannot be apart more than a few days or you will lose control of your wolf. I have never seen it happen, but I have heard horror stories about the massacres that follow.
I hear my father walking up the stairs to say his goodbyes.
“Asa, can I come in?” he says.
“Yeah, come on in. I’m all done and packed up.”
He walks in, and his eyes are filled with that look I hate. Doubt.
“Asa, I know you have done this many times, but I feel it in my wolf. This is your year. You will find your fated and will not be back.
“You have grown to be a fierce warrior and beautiful woman. I hope I do not see you again for many years. You will do me proud.
“Any man who bonds with you will be the mightiest and most worthy.”
Oh goddess, is he really doing this? It’s weird. Normally he just says bye and sends me on my way.
I wonder if this speech is for me or him. An Ancient with a daughter my age. Never mated. He usually isn’t a very emotional man.
He is well known as cold and heartless. But every now and then, he will show a softer side.
“Thanks, Dad. I will try my best to make you proud, and who knows, maybe I’ll be back in a few days.” I laugh, trying to hide my worry.
I hear Cypris growling at my words but shrug her off.
Instantly my father’s eyes turn black. His wolf isn’t happy about me saying I might be back. If I come back, I will be forever alone.
He doesn’t say a word at first, but it is all written in his eyes. “And remember what I told you about King Leviathan. Stay away from him,” he says.
“I’ll be sure not to shake his hand or give him any high fives as he passes,” I say lightly.
“This isn’t a joke, AsaLynn!” my dad roars, his voice shaking the mirror on my wall.
“The Alpha King was a man, once. A simple farmer. The stories say he was happy with his life, although he was unwed and had no children.”maginable to the rest of us werewolves. How terrifying was the Alpha King that he could make my dad so nervous?
He blinks, realizing how terrified I am. The black in his eyes fades, and he takes a breath to calm down.
“Let me tell you a little about Leviathan,” he says, his voice soft. “Then you’ll understand why we must be so careful.”
I nod, trying to calm my wild heartbeat. I can sense Cypris’s ears perk up, as if she’s particularly interested in hearing more about Leviathan.
“The Alpha King was a man, once. A simple farmer. The stories say he was happy with his life, although he was unwed and had no children.”
My father’s words take me to another time, a simpler one. I could imagine the simple joy of tending to crops, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, listening to the song of rain on the trees.
“That was until his entire village was slaughtered in a raid.” My father’s voice drops, and a chill runs down my spine. “Leviathan was furious. He single handedly killed the bandits, but not before his village was burned to ashes, the ground soaked with the blood of his mother, father, and younger siblings. That’s when the Moon Goddess came to him.”
“She changed him,” I say. “Created him as the first of our kind. Immortal. That was thousands of years ago.” I know most of this. We were all taught this when we were pups.
“Immortal, only to be killed either by the Moon Goddess or another Immortal.” My father nods. “Just like me. But Leviathan is the first, and he’s the most powerful.”
I feel Cypris hum happily at the thought, and a warm feeling spreads through me. I frown. What the heck is up with her lately?
“And being the first,” my dad continues, “he’s tasked with overseeing the werewolf race. He is judge, jury, and executioner. And he very rarely shows mercy.”
“Like he did for you?” I ask.
I can see the pain in my father’s eyes, but he does his best to hide it. “I did some horrible things, AsaLynn. Leviathan was furious, and he was ready to put me down before we were saved.”
“What happened?” My voice is barely a whisper.
I know it has something to do with my real mother.
I don’t know the details. No one in my family talks about her, especially my father. All I know is that she went into a coma while she was pregnant with me, then she died at my birth. Sometimes I can’t help but think that I killed my mom, and that my family would have been better off if I’d never been born. I grit my teeth and try to push aside the guilt in my heart.
Was I finally going to learn the truth?
Just as my father is about to reply, I hear my stepmother call from downstairs.
“AsaLynn! The bus is almost here! You’re going to miss it!”
My dad gets up and grabs my bags, a look of relief on his face. “There’s no time to go into the story now,” he says. “Just know that Leviathan has kept a close eye on us ever since. One paw out of line and we’re done for.”
He hands me my bags, and I can see his worry. “Be careful, AsaLynn.”
I nod, understanding how serious the situation is. I try to feel scared. I imagine the terrifying Alpha King and wait for fear to squeeze my heart.
But it never comes.
Instead I feel excited, Cypris pacing excitedly back and forth in my mind.
Well…that can’t be a good sign.
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