Lord of The Wolves Chapter Nine

December 16th, 2015  |  Published in Haventon Chronicles  |  4 Comments

Start | LoTW Chapter Eight | Index | LoTW Chapter Ten

 

Callie’s sister Rachel and her pack held a village about ten miles from Haventon as their territory. Close enough to the town to be inside of its supernatural window but far enough away not to trigger her hyper-territorial sister and to slip under the radar of the traitors. Of all the outer circle pack leaders in the area she was the only one he actually liked. Hopefully elevating her pack to the coveted Haventon territory would give the others a lesson in the sort of behaviour he expected from his pack leaders. He doubted it though, it would more likely provoke a revolt that he would have to put down. Which would put his schedule back but Lucy was right, he did have to deal with the outer circle and sooner rather than later. He just hoped that enough would be salvageable.

Still he needed to talk to Rachel first. He knew that there was no love lost between her and her sister but that didn’t mean that she would want to challenge her. He doubt sibling loyalty would be an issue but she had always seemed happy enough with her current territory.

He went to her home first, a for more comfortable lair than Callie’s though still a little sparse by human standards. Only Rachel’s thirteen year old human son, Kevin, was there. He was watching music videos as he tidied the lounge. Maelin stepped out of the Mists behind him and cleared his throat. The teen spun around and immediately whimpered in terror before collapsing to the ground and grovelling at Maelin’s feet. It seemed that Rachel had taught her son to recognise him. Maelin didn’t sooth the child’s fear immediately. His Mistwalker side was starting to get hungry and Kevin’s terror added a spicy edge to the genuine devotion his mother had inculcated in him. Maelin drank it in for a few long moments before dropping to one knee by him and laying a hand on his head.

“You don’t be afraid, young Kevin,” he said. “I am not here to claim your life.” He stroked the boy’s hair and waited until his reassurances calmed Kevin’s ragged breathing. “I’m pleased with you. You serve your mother well.”

Kevin looked at him, eyes afire with pleasure at the praise. “I try, my Lord. What do you wish of me?”

“I need to speak with your mother,” Maelin said. “Do you know where she is?”

“She’s at the shrine with her pack,” Kevin said. “They captured someone and she seemed inordinately pleased about it which is unusual and she left me here because she thought t might upset me.”

“For Rachel it certainly is.” Maelin offered his hand to still kneeling young man. “Sounds like this person has annoyed her. I wonder why. Show me to the shrine please.”

Kevin took his hand and rose shakily. “Yes, my Lord.”

“Whatever you do don’t let go of my hand.” Maelin dragged him into the Mists. “It would upset your mother if I lost you in the Mists. Lead on.”

Kevin clung to Maelin’s hand and lead him through the streets to an abandoned farm a little beyond the village edge. Far enough away that no one would hear her occasional sacrifices screaming. Not that Rachel’s pack tormented their prey the way some of his packs did.

Inside Maelin took in the scene and raised an eyebrow. No wonder Rachel was pleased with herself. Her pack had captured a vampire, and quite an old one at that. Since it was a couple of days past full moon they were planning a belated sacrifice. He slipped a probe into her mind to get more details and was taken aback at the cold rage Rachel felt towards her prisoner – apparently he has been attacking teenagers in the village with the intent of deliberately creating several revenants. Quite apart from the danger of exposure such stupidity brought with it Rachel liked her human neighbours and was pleased to put a stop to that. It seemed she was closer to what most of the outer circle would consider to be the traitor’s ideology than he’d realised, but she combined it with a breathtaking ruthlessness and passionate loyalty to him that delighted him. And her pack agreed with her. It was a very long time since he’d an entire pack so close to being worthy of the inner circle.

It was also perfect for his plans. He stepped out of the Mists in front of Rachel, pulling Kevin with him. She gave a startled cry and leapt backwards before recognising him and dropping to her knees.

“My Lord! You honour us.” Her tone was steady if somewhat awed but he could sense herfear that he intended to demand her son’s life of her. Not surprising, really, Callie consistently accused her of heresy for not killing him at birth.

“Don’t worry, Rachel,” Maelin said. “Kevin is only here as my guide.” He released the young man’s hand and smiled at her relieved gasp. “Even if I were inclined to hurt you that way when you serve me so well it would be churlish when you’ve got me something so much better.” He stalked over to the cage where the vampire was confined, pinned to the ground by silver and rowan spikes through his limbs and naval. That alone would have been enough to prevent her prisoner escaping but Rachel had left nothing to chance and the entire cage was also warded. “Capturing an elder vampire is no mean feat.” He turned to where she was still kneeling. “Walk with me, dear Rae. I have something to discuss with you.”

“Of course, my Lord.” She rose and joined him.

Maelin smiled at Kevin again before walking outside with Rachel, as he did he saw the rest of Rachel’s pack descend on Kevin gabbling questions at him.

Once they were a little way from the building he stopped again and turned to her.

“Do you think you could sacrifice the vampire using the full rites rather than the abbreviated one?” he asked.

“I would imagine so.” Rachel tilted her head curiously at him. “It’ll take another couple of days to arrange everything but we should be able to get it together in time to still do it as a belaated sacrifice and if not we can wait until next full… Oh wait that’s an eclipse moon. Would the eclipse rites do?”

He shook his head. “No, and I’d rather not wait two moons.”

“I’ll make sure we get everything ready in time, then,” she said. “So what do you want me to ask or? At least I assume that’s why you want the full forms.”

“Other than the fact that he deserves it?” Maelin said. “Sacrificing an elder vampire would be impressive enough that I’d happily give you permission to – oh I don’t know – challenge your sister for the Haventon territory if you happened to askk.”

Rachel’s mouth dropped open and she blinked multiple times clearly stunned by what he was saying. “You want us to challenge Callie?” She ventured finally. “I have considered it but I never thought you’d give me permission. Sometimes I even wonder why you tolerate me – you have to know that I’m a heretic.”

Maelin couldn’t stop himself shouting with laughter at that. “Oh, Rachel, you are not a heretic. You are so far from heresy that your thinking that you are just shows how deep the problem goes.” He forced himself to sober. “Callie calls you that for not killing Kevin, doesn’t she?”

Rachel nodded. “She tried to kill me when he was born and I bested her but she still needles me about it.”

“Not to mention that you killed half of your pack to protect him as well,” he said. “And yet if I had demanded his death just now you would have killed him there and then even though it would have broken your heart. If your sister had a human child and I forbade her to kill them what do you think would happen?”

“Oh she’d turn on you,” Rachel said. “Kill the baby and then get herself killed trying to kill you…” she hesitated. “I’m glad you came. I was hoping to get your attention. I wanted to tell you something. I think she’s planning to turn on you anyway. Most of the other local packs as well.”

“What!” he stared at her. “Are you sure?”

“Not entirely, but Art called me. He was upset,” she said. “He said Callie was telling people you were an imposter. That you’d taken Colin into your service even though she warned you he was a human lover and the fact you tolerate me proves it.”

“Arthur told you?” Maelin scowled. He didn’t like Arthur like he did Rachel but he was the only other vaguely tolerable pack leader in the area.

“Yes, he thinks she’s being ridiculous but he thinks the others are listening. He’s to scared to tell you and asked me to try.”

“She thinks I’m an impostor but she calls you a heretic?” he snarled. “Rachel, if you can’t get the ritual ready do it anyway and I’ll pardon you afterwards.”

“Yes, my Lord.” She bowed her head. “You know I’m devoted to you, don’t you.”

“Of course I do,” he said softly. “Though you no more worship me than Callie does.” He smiled at her sharp gasp. “I’m part fairy remember. I can taste the difference between worship and other types of devotion. You respect me and are passionately loyal but you don’t think I’m a god. You’re right of course.”

“Wait, so we’re food as well as cannon fodder,” she asked. “I mean I realised we were cannon fodder a long time ago but I thought the sacrifices were for you to feed on their pain and fear, but if you can taste devotion that means it’s what you eat.” She tilted her head at him and added plaintively. “If you don’t need them can I stop, please?”

“Once it’s safe for you to, yes,” he said. “My followers used to only do sacrifices when I requested them or the found something like that vampire. Things rather got out of hand while I was unconscious after my last fight with Sabren. I guess people thought I’d stopped answering because they weren’t doing enough. Lu is right I should have dealt with what the outer circle had become as soon as I woke up. But you, you and your pack delight me, Rachel. Will you help me?”

“My Lord, we would race into certain death for you. Of course we will.”

“Are you sure, Rachel? You don’t even know what I want in the long run.”

Rachel tilted her head again. “I’ve always assumed it was to undo the results of the great betrayal and stop us being bound to the vortices and especially to Haventon. You might wantrevenge on humanity for binding us as well, but after so long it seems pointless. That’s why I don’t mind being Cannon Fodder. I’ll happily sacrifice my life to free our people, even the traitors.” She gave a sad snort. “Actually they may be more deserving of freedom than we are.”

It was hid turn to be rocked back in surprise and she looked down to hide her smirk.

“I’m right, aren’t I, my Lord?”

“Mostly, but there’s a bit more to it than that. I’ll explain once Callie is dealt with. But it seems you aren’t cannon fodder. My friends use my name, Rachel, in private anyway.”

Her head jerked up and she stared at him. “Y-you consider me a friend?”

“After this conservation I do,” he said. “I don’t know about the rest of your pack yet, though they are certainly close.”

“So maintain the formalities around them?” she asked.

“For now.” He reached out and took her hand. “Welcome to my inner circle, Rae.” He looked up at gibbous moon wryly. “Lu is going to be mad about this.” He paused and frowned towards the farmhouse. “Now tell me more about this vampire and what he was doing.”
***
Lucy and Colin had returned by the time Maelin got back to his lair. Colin was a little battered and bruised from his assessment and Lucy was treating his injuries while he ate another meal.

“It looks like Keran pushed you really hard, Colin,” Maelin said.

“He seemed quite pleased with me.” Colin smiled at the memory. “Said that he was pleased to see that I knew more than just scrapping with my claws, and he was gentler than my mother. How was Aunt Rae?”

“Your Aunt had captured an elder vampire, and an especially nasty one at that. She was going to do a belated sacrifice tonight but I asked her to wait a couple of days and use the full forms.”

Lucy snorted at that. “Yes, I suppose that no one would be surprised if that impressed you enough to give her permission for a challenge, but why the charade?”

“I don’t want Callie to know I’m on to her.”

“On to her?” Lucy asked sharply.

“Yes, apparently, she and most of the other local leaders think I’m an impostor,” he said. “They’re planning a revolt.”

Lucy shook her head. “Rachel warned you?”

He nodded. “Though she only knew because Arthur warned her.” He described the conversation and waited while Lucy absorbed it.

“Wow, you inducted her I take it?” Lucy said.

He nodded. “I thought you’d be mad at me.”

Lucy gave a wry smile. “Well I’m not entirely happy about it but I can see why and I do trust your judgement for the most part.” She tilted her head. “But really she thought the sacrifices were to feed you? I wonder how widespread that misconception is among the more tolerable outer circle packs.”

“Once this mess is sorted out I intend to find out,” he said. “I wonder if Sabren realises how counter productive knocking me into that coma was?”

“How would I know,” Lucy said. “She’s your sister. But this is going to be a mess, yo know. How do you think Callie will react when Rachel challenges her?”

“Badly,” Colin said. “My mother is terrified of Aunt Rae. She has been since Aunt Rae nearly killed her in that fight after Kevin was born. Mother still has the scars. I think Aunt Rae considered killing her after that but she didn’t have permission.”

“Maelin would have forgiven her in the circumstances and you’d have been better off.” Lucy snorted again, “Well, the vampire sounds like he deserves it and his modus operandi sounds awfully familiar.”

“I don’t think it’s coincidence, Lu,” Maelin said. “I just wish there was some way to use it. More importantly did Keran speak to his Queen?”

Lucy nodded. “She’s going to talk to the Night King and get back to us but Keran thinks my former pack will hear of this. In the circumstances he’s probably right and you know what they’ll have to say.”

“Oh yes.” He scowled. “Which means the Court of Hours will fear attack if they say no. Tsk. That’s no basis for a negotiation. Can you ask Keran to reassure them that I won’t attack the Court of Hours if they say no?”

“I can try,” she said. “But it may not work. I’ll see if I can talk to my family at Morna’s tomorrow. At least I don’t think they’ll be as inclined to yell at me there. They probably still won’t listen.”

“Talk to Morna as well,” Maelin said. “She knows I wouldn’t do such a thing and she’s well liked.”

“What’s happening tomorrow?” Colin asked.

“I’m going to a Wake,” Lucy said. “It’s going to be awkward but no way am I staying away, especially not since I found out why they’re tangled up with the Court of Hours.”

“And it’s related somehow?” Maelin asked.

“Oh yes,” she said. “It seems my late cousin’s youngest is a Mistwalker with a late transformation and your mother wants him dead.”

“Oh!” Maelin fell silent for a long moment. “Now that is interesting. If that means what I suspect it does then never mind the Court of Hours, your family are going to have to talk to me if they want to keep him alive. And of course even if it doesn’t mean that mother wanting him dead is an excellent reason to keep him alive. Yes, do check him out tomorrow. See if you can confirm what I’m thinking.”

“I will,” she said. “Though it would help if I knew what I was looking for.”

Maelin just smiled. “If I’m right you’ll see it and I don’t want to contaminate the test.”

“Is going to a Traitor’s wake safe?” Colin asked.

Lucy gave him a reassuring smile. “It’s fine, Colin. They won’t hurt me. The worst they’ll do is try and kidnap me and I doubt they’d even try that at the Wake. Morna would go berserk. They think I’m being held against my will or that I have Stockholm Syndrome or something.”

“Yes, well, I’m not too sure about the latter,” Maelin said. “I never expected you to stay once I released you given the lengths I had to go to get you to come with me and I still wonder why you did. You certainly weren’t listening to me when I tried to explain.”

“Well, of course I wasn’t.” She smiled wryly. “You have a terrible reputation for lying, and the evidence was against you as far as far as I was concerned. But it’s a lot harder to lie with actions and I couldn’t deny the use you were putting my skills to. It might not have been enough but then I got independent verification of what you were telling me.”

“You’ve told me that before,” he said. “But you won’t say who could possibly have backed me up that you would believe.”

“They asked me not to,” she said. “Though they said to tell you next time you asked last time we spoke.”

“So tell me because I’m asking.”

“I really don’t know how you haven’t worked it out by now,” she said. “What was the thing I pointed out that you’d forgotten when I first agreed to join you.”

“That I needed to put up…” he trailed off and stared at her. “You had me put up ghost wards because even in the Mists ghosts can conceal themselves if they try… Your sister? Your independent source was Karen? You’re right I should have realised. There’s no one else you would have believed.”

“I just wish she’d figured out who her attackers really were while she was alive,” Lucy said. “It would have helped.”

“She was getting close,” he said. “That’s why they killed her.” He looked around as Jacob came in. “So have Callie’s pack located that girl yet.”

“No, they’re not happy because Aran has her scent but trail is leading them around in circles.”

“That’s odd,” Maelin said. “Not many people can conceal someone from a werewolf who has their scent. Certainly not my mother fortunately.”

“Which brings me to the big problem,” Jacob said. “It’s not really on your behalf that they are looking for her.” He dropped his mobile phone into Maelin’s hand. “I don’t think the rest of the pack know but Callie and Aran are keeping very bad company indeed.”

Maelin cocked an eyebrow and looked at the phone, thumbing through the images with a deeping scowl before hurling the phone away and swearing violently.

“Maelin, what?” Lucy caught the phone before it smashed in to the wall and looked at it. Almost immediately she also started swearing. Colin leaned across and saw his mother and Aran talking to a short yet wiry woman with firey hair cut in a short angled bob and vivid green eyes. “She’s not a werewolf but mother’s body language is downright submissive… who is she?”

“That” Lucy said. “Is Gwendolen daughter of Madden, more commonly known as Gwen. The Summer Warrior, regent to the empty throne, Protector of the Winter King,” Her lips twisted into a bitter smile. “And murderer of the Summer King.”

“In other words, she’s my mother.” Maelin paced the room angrily. “What the hell are they doing dealing with her?”

“Callie’s a sadist with nothing but disdain for humans,” Lucy said. “If your mother offered her more chance to torment humans she’d jump at it. Aran… well he’s probably scared of Callie.”

Maelin stopped pacing and looked at her. “You’re right unfortunately. Okay, we’ll have to deal with this now. Jacob go and keep an eye on them some more. Contact me immediately if they make a move. My mother absolutely must not get her hands on that girl. Lu, go and fetch Rachel for me. We can’t wait now. So we’ll have to do it the other way.”

“Sure!” She held out a hand to Colin. “Want to come and get your aunt with me? I get the feeling you’ll be glad to see her again.”

Start | LoTW Chapter Eight | Index | LoTW Chapter Ten

4 Responses to “Lord of The Wolves Chapter Nine”

  1. torvawk says:

    Becka!!!!

    What is happening? So much plot movement and you stopped!! How… how… how can you just stop. arg a fortnight oi.

    Were you tired when you did this? There is a lot to edit. I can post all the edits if you want but maybe you should pull a trick I often do.

    Make it look different, print it out, change the font, change the screen size so the wrapping is different. Then re-read it pausing hard at the end of each sentence. Read it staccato style or something. Basically force yourself to read it slower once the words are in new positions.

    I cannot tell you how often there have been mistakes that I had been glossing over for weeks and when I do the trick above, they stand out as so obvious it hurts. 🙂

    Still the story is very good the plot churning is driving me crazy. I still don’t know what David is and it seems that is becoming more and more important.

    Then is looks like the renegades are going to downsize themselves and maybe align themselves with Daniel’s group. And so much more going on here. OI. I cannot wait for the next segment.

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Firstly, I replied to your email.

      Secondly, while Maelin would be happy to ally with Daniel and co they would be less enamored of the idea and there’s a very big obstacle that neither side is aware of yet but which has been hinted at for the reader. X-D

      Glad you’re still enjoying it

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