It was obvious in the way that Devon stalked instead of his usual calm walk that he was finished playing civil. The fact that he was in hybrid form would tell the other lycans that they too should be shifted. The fact that he was missing his cuffs told them their Alpha wasn’t sure he’d come back breathing this time.
~ How do I know who to take down? ~ Zenlial knew Devon hated the use of mind speech, but surely he was willing to use it. ~ There are two guards out front of the palace. There are five out here in the forest perimeter, but none beyond the 10 leap boundary. I don’t have your whiffer sniffer, my friend. ~
Devon cringed just a little at the mental intrusion, but went with it given the situation that were currently in. ~ We need our pack protected along with the injured. Take out the two at the front and I’ll have the Pack take out the five in the forest. This way no alarm is raised before we want it to be. Be on guard Zenlial, stragglers could be coming this way and if they arrive and look unfriendly don’t take the chance.. if they look friendly confine them and still be wary. Don’t trust any unknowns at this point.~
“My sister Alyssa and her pups are in danger. Pack Simoan declared war upon Weylyn and Donnin it’s former Alpha doesn’t believe in mercy..” Devon gave a low rumble of frustration as his hand lifted to rake through his hair. “Inea, I’ll need ya here with us while Zen heads for the pond.”
~ It will be done, as always, my friend. I can focus on the guards and put them to slumber. Perhaps they can be salvaged since they are of your pack.” Inea had stood shoulder to shoulder with many of those guards when the last war came through. She knew that Devon did not want to lose them. Many were simply being bamboozled by the current Alpha. Unless they knew for sure where these people’s loyalty lied – death did not become them. “Believe me when I say I know how to take care of this clan and this pack. They might as well be one. ~ Inea was making her way through the forest as the elf gave her the information she needed. ~ Zen, cut to the pond, now. I have this. Thank you. ~
~ As you wish, lady. ~ Zenlial knew the dragon might have something more than she could provide for those lycan. Zen moved easily through the treeline and upward over the ivy-covered hill toward the area they called The Pond.
Lifting his head to look at the Alpha, the big lycan lifted a brow in question, “Yeah Dev?” He expected to be sent ahead to help the Pack clear the way to the inner bailey of the palace.
“I need ya to head to the pond and help Zenlial out.” The dumbfounded look on the male’s face told Dev that he hadn’t expected this and would need for explanation. “Zen can’t help my sister and the pups while also fighting off battle ready lycan now can she?”
“I’m pretty damned sure she’d try, but I see ya point and I’ll head off to help.” Wulf wasn’t pleased but he also wouldn’t let the Alpha down, especially since it was regarding his own family.
“You ready for this, son?” Kieran asked from the side in a low tone. On Devon’s other side, Jaysson was also in his hybrid form, staring forward at the palace. He was nervous. These people were his pack. His family. He prayed to the Goddess that they would listen to reason instead of the alternative – even if Ethan refused.
“As I’ll ever be.” If not ready Devon was very determined and that was just as dangerous in a lycan.
The trio of male lycan made their way to the front gate where Inea had taken the two guards out. They slumped over on the stone front, snoring. The rest of their loyal Pack were clearing the forest and securing the area surrounding the palace, which left the palace to them.
Something felt off as they pushed the heavy gates open and started inside. The inner bailey appeared deserted with carts tipped on the side, hay strewn about along with several baskets of fruits and vegetables.
This saddened Devon. The palace usually held a small market in the courtyard and there would normally be people from the pack all around, children running and flowers in bloom. It looked as though nothing had been upkept in months. The royal family must have always lived in fear at this point. Further back would be the balcony overlooking the courtyard on one side and on the other it would overlook the throne room. Only for festive events or needed judgements had the throne room been used by him or his father. He wondered if Ethan used it more often. How had he been so wrong in appointing someone to lead this pack in his absence?
Devon sniffed the air and glanced to the left where Jaysson gave a sharp nod and took off. He’d secure the upper ramparts of the outer wall while the two Alpha’s cleared out the courtyard and palace itself. Inea, used her magic and portaled herself to that double balcony so that she could get a bird’s eye view of everything. When she appeared, she pushed magic to the side and another guard grunted and then fell asleep. She grabbed him quickly and tugged his heavy form backward before he fell head-first over the railing.
Expecting a trap, the father and son entered the courtyard to not only surprise two hand full of Weylyn guard, but to be surprised by them as well. “We don’t want to hurt our own brothers,” Devon said quickly as they were set upon and surrounded. Leave it to Dev to try and take the high road. Kieran’s low, threatening growl told them that he didn’t mind hurting them at all.
“You have no brothers here.” One of them called out as he stood up and looked to the pair defiantly. “You abandoned your pack for a slave whore and you weren’t fit to lead it to begin with,” the lead guard said before raising up and shifting to his hybrid form. He was ready for a fight.
“That so?” Kieran chuckled because he’d known that a long time ago. But that was for himself. Devon hadn’t got the message. He supposed his son did, now.
“The way we see it this Pack is being cleansed of bad seed by getting rid of the lot of you.” The others rumbled in agreement as they rose to their feet as well to show unity in defying the Alpha family.
“Funny how the bad seeds ain’t done a damn thing ta have you all run ya families up and away from the palace. But you’ll all support that one that’d sell ya downriver…”
“Lies!” the one to the side yelled.
“You left us with him and his. He’s doin’ the best he knows how… while the lot of ya run off and leave us all.” another shot off. “Wa’n’t til Kieran’s raidin’ and sellin’ souls that ours started payin’ the piper.”
“I never sold souls…” Kieran growled. He couldn’t say he hadn’t raided, though. Necessity was a horrible thing.
Devon glanced at his father as if to ask had they done so badly by their Pack that it would come to this turn over and betrayal? Kieran saw the look and he turned away from it in shame. Maybe. Maybe they had. But it had never been intentional. And the Goddess knew that.
“Well, since y’all ain’t own our side, guess that means we gotta take ya down.” Kieran pointed out.
“You blind old man?” One of the guards sneered. “You’re outnumbered.”
Kieran seemed to grimace. They’d think it was because he was having second thoughts. It was really because he was feeling a might bit sorry for how ignorant they were. Two of ‘em looked like they hadn’t been outside in years. This’d be easy as pie.
As Devon rolled his head from one side to the other a loud popping could be heard.
“So you’d betray us and stand with Ethan when we tell ya we take back his appointment?” Devon asked the question he knew the answer to, but he didn’t want to kill them. “We’re Weylyn blood. We’re the rightful Alpha family blood. We reclaim our place. Ethan was just sposed ta keep the pack safe til we could reclaim.”
“Yer point, Dev?” the leader growled.
“Ya know what treason calls for right?” There was a long slow sigh from him. The last thing Devon wanted was to slaughter their own, but if any were left standing it was a risk to all Weylyn including his own pups.
All of those around them shifted.
“So be it, your fate is your own choosin’.”
Kieran didn’t wait for an invitation. He leapt forward immediately – taking out two of the unlucky bastards. He had them on the ground, his back claws digging into one’s overly-developed gut while his hybridized jaws ripped the other’s jugular free from his neck. Blood and bodily fluids spurted and covered the dirt ground and he was already turning to bend low – ready for the incoming attack.
Dante moved off around the opposite side of the next tunnel they had come through. They had entered this system from below the palace so that they could work backward and be sure the enemy pack was not infiltrating. The first things they came by were a few Simoan scouts.
~ Well, that confirms they’re here… ~ Largros muttered, wondering how to dispatch these two without setting off alarms upstairs.
While Largros thought the situation over Dante engulfed the two in darkness and pulled them right off their feet to vanish from this realm without so much as a squeak. ~Save your energy for the bigger targets. Let’s get setup and get to work on these tunnels. I’m sure they are crawling with the enemy.~
Once the two had bypassed these and set up a nice magical shield between themselves and the palace, they needed to move outward. The dragon pulled out a band and went about trying to comb his unrully blonde curls back from his face. He popped the mop up and out of his way, then looked over at his partner.
“Nothing. Can I not enjoy the view I have while I can?”
“View? Heh… very well, demon. Enjoy while you can. I’ll not tell your dragoness and my lady would simply laugh at the situation my boredom has found me in.” Largros stepped forward, his footfalls nearly silent compared to that of a normal human. He had training and it showed. There were sounds coming from ahead of them. And then… a split in the tunnel.
“I’ll search this side. Largros, why don’t you scout for us down that corridor? If you see or hear anything let me know.”
“Scout? Sorcerers do not waste time scouting.” Largros closed his eyes. He began speaking in the old draconic tongue. Holding his hand out, he began moving very slowly in a radiating motion. His eyes sparkled a bright azure.
“The tunnels are being taken, Dante. It is some 10 clicks northwest where the fighting of the siblings Derek and Twilight is taking place. They are underground as well.” As the glowing diminished in his eyes, Largros was still wearing quite the impish expression. “We have the invaders surrounded down here. Shall we finish them off and scout along the way?”
“What about this tunnel?” Dante asked, testing the dragon sorcerer.
Largros shrugged, then held his fingers up and several electrical charges sped off and down the tunnel before Dante to hit lycan of the enemy Pack that were targeted by his magic. There were surprised yips and screams and a small explosion. Then… silence.
“There. Happy? There aren’t enough to be worried about. The real fight is this way.”
With a low chuckle the incubus turned a slow grin to the draconic male, “Impressive. I must say you are quite useful to have around aren’t you?”
~ So I’ve been told. ~
The demons eye’s glittered like beautiful rubies as he felt others close by. ~ Off to your left.~
Largros looked to his left and saw the lycan coming. He drew a short sword and swung out with such speed and fluidity the action might have been lost. The Simoan’s upper body fell over and Largros kicked him to the side.
Right as Dante appeared at the opening of the next tunnel, he cast his illusions and engulfed a good twenty or so in it. They were either fighting each other or fighting their worst nightmares by swinging at nothing. Some were even dropping to their knees and covering their faces as they prayed for it to go away.
Largros now wore the impressed expression.
The incubus walked right through the center of them and absorbed the energy that was pouring off of them. Fear was just as powerful an emotion as pleasure and honestly Dante found that it made him feel just a little ruthless, which was exactly what was needed at the moment. That easy grin spread across his lips once again, but this time it was showing all four upper incisors. Then, from head to toe, he reverted to his demonic form and used his claws to take out several of the unaffected lycan. They wanted to fight with claws and teeth… he could do that!
~ Stunning, ~ the dragon complimented on the demon’s true form. He’d never seen one. As lycan moved to run, he took them and swung them, using their own weight and momentum against them. Hard heads cracked into stone walls and those that needed a bit more help, felt the slice of Largros’ short sword or the stab from it. When he fought, he looked like he was simply dancing in some sort of slow motion movement. By the time they were through this underground cavern, the both of them had left a trail of bodies in their wake.
The Northern Pools of the Other World were most similar to the warmed pools of the Yellowstone National Park in the United States. The landscapes here were calmer; marked by trees and beauty. Even the packlands were more temperate than the rest of this world. As to the rest of this Other World , it was a parched landscape or at the very least, savannah surrounded by parched areas with little oases here and there where cities sprang up. Beauty was found all around but death was always nearby.
The elf moved through the northern wood toward the ponds that were nestled in a hilly area to the west. She climbed a tree quickly as she could and sighted the entire area.
~ There are several camps of lycan here. Who exactly am I looking for? ~ Zen asked Wulf whether he liked the mental speak or not – it would be useful right now.
~ Their sister Alyssa has reddish blond hair, stands about the height of Eva and has two daughters sixteen and seven and two sons that are nine. ~ Wulf gave the details as he moved up beside Zenlial’s position, at the base of the tree. He looked out around the place lifting his nose trying to catch her scent, but the pools made it hard to smell anything but the water.
The elf was actually a bit surprised Wulf hadn’t been irritated by her form of communication and he had responded as if it were second nature to do so. Now wasn’t the time for questioning, though.
~ I … have about 10 lycan in the area and three elves. I suppose this is confirmation he’s dealing with the elves, whether Devon likes it or not. They’re acting as… guards around this place. ~ Zenlial let the statement linger. Then, she focused, ~ Should I target them or let them remain? ~
~ For now, leave ‘em be. We have our task and need to focus on them. If they get in the way we’ll deal with ‘em.~ Wulf prowled forward a few steps but paused at Zen’s next words.
~I’m seeing movement in the upper treeline, Wulf. ~ While she waited for his response, she continued preparing. She placed her palms together and began a spell tuned specifically for elves. She wanted it prepared so that she could trigger it with but a word.
~ I see. Just give me a moment to work this all out.~ Wulf rumbled low as he looked at this from every angle while working up a plan and strategy.
Wulf was concerned that if Alyssa had indeed made it here then the Simoa Alpha would send warriors after her and the young. There were so many lives at risk that a full onslaught of magic or muscle might be more dangerous than just watching or flanking and taking people out quietly. He wasn’t sure what to do.
~ The enemy lycan are upon them, Wulf! The elves are defending the young. They’re running for a cave. The enemy is upon them from the trees, ~ Zenlial stood upon the branch and pulled her bow to begin picking off every Simoan Pack warrior she had a chance to.
With a snarl Wulf shifted to his hybrid form and rushed forward to take on the enemy lycan. Alyssa had shifted to her hybrid form by the time he got there to help. The mother lycan was fighting a losing battle and he could see it in the very way her stance weakened with every blow. What made it more heartbreaking was to see that one of her sons had already fallen trying to defend and protect his mama and siblings.
Zen’s expression changed, there was a grimace. The elves and the one that looked like Alyssa were fighting off a swarm of enemy lycan. There wasn’t a clear shot! The elf leapt from the branch and began running as quickly as she could to help out. She still had two arrows knocked.
~ The Simoa… they know. The third pool, the shallow one. When you can help, please do! ~ Zenlial sent the thought outward to her friend, Devon. He needed to know.
There was no questioning, Wulf didn’t think over the dead in the middle of battle. He had to think of the living and defend them from these other lycan. Turning, he rushed through the battle between the elves and the lycan to cut off the lycan that were after the remaining pups. Wulf lost it. He was raging as he swung and tackled three at once. ~ Get the pups out of here! ~
The little elf let loose the two arrows, taking at least one of the enemy out before she sped once again toward the cave. ~ I will! ~
Wulf’s claws were ripping through muscle and bone as he grabbed the nearest one with one hand to sling him back by the shoulder joint. Blood splattered across his face as he tore the arm completely free. His other hand grasped another lycan by the jaw and he dug in and yanked to do the same.
Zenlial was on the ridge above the cave where she had seen the young ones going. She let fly more of her arrows, before speaking words of strength in elvish. The elves who had been guarding the lycan family were down to two warriors. They would suddenly find that they were twice as strong, fast, and durable as they normally were. And they were beginning to beat back the incoming lycan.
Before the body even hit the ground the big lycan crouched down and used his strength to spring twice the distance any of the others could and landed on the back of one of his enemies. Wulf’s teeth sank into the enemy’s neck and clamped down. Within seconds, the warrior dropped and rolled with him. It wasn’t that Wulf enjoyed fighting.. It was that he hated the death of innocent ones and to him women and children were meant to be cherished, loved and protected. When they were murdered so coldly and brutally it sent the lycan into a rage. But this was the way of some of the packs… if they wanted to take the power from an enemy pack, the entire royal family had to be slaughtered. Wulf wasn’t going to let that happen.
The elves around him were sword dancing and taking out one after another of the Simoa, but their numbers for this mission had been substantial. Finally, they were down to three here at the pond itself before one of the elves lost the moment and found his chest split by a flanking lycan.
Picking himself up off the latest dead body, Wulf spit the bloody remnants from his mouth and stalked towards the next one. This lycan was faster and not so easy as the previous two. Like Gareth he was wiry and knew how to use his stature. Wulf was surprised he had thought of the other Weylyn brother. The remaining elf was fighting one of the enemy lycan and Wulf took on this one. He felt teeth and claws sink in but pain didn’t register. He grabbed the male to pull him free and sling him off with a roar. He felt the wild fire flare up his side and back.
Wulf stumbled but caught himself as the warrior came at him again. When he came close Wulf lunged forward and swung up hitting his foe dead center of the chest and sent him flying back through the trees.
The rustles of trees told the lycan coming down from his rage that his foe had gone high. ~”Zenny! Look up.. they’re going higher into the mountain paths.”~
~ I can’t. I can’t move… She’s stalking me. ~ Zenlial was very thankful right now for the mental speak. She wasn’t sure what to do.
“I’ll go,” the last standing elf realized that Wulf was Weylyn. He sprinted past, leaving the other lycan dead in the blood covered grass.
Wulf had to shake his head. An elf that wanted to protect lycan? That had been two…
Looking down at the dead elf he sighed. Okay, that had made three. Elves didn’t usually do this. They were usually happy to be rid of any and all lycan. And the one he had been assigned to work with? Wulf’s gaze moved to the cave not very far away from where they had been fighting just now. ~ Zen? ~
She was in the cave, where she had at least successfully taken out the enemy who had come in after the children. However, she hadn’t been the only one fighting. The eldest child had been fighting the other lycan off as well. And now, Zen was face to face with the enraged lycan. The elf didn’t want to harm the girl, but it seemed as if the girl had every intention of taking her out!
“Easy…I’m here to help…” Zenlial whispered to the growling, frothing lycan only a leap or two in front of her. The elven warrior was afraid to try using lycan speak, afraid she’d just make things worse. She could hear crying from further in the cave, but she didn’t dare look, for fear that the one in front of her might mistake the gesture as something more than concern. ~ Wulf… I need you right now. ~
~ Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2018