Lord of the Wolves
A/N: Here’s chapter two. Hope you enjoy it peeps.Â I’ve also made some changes to Chapter One to fix a massive continuity error between book 1 and 2.
Show no weakness. Colin kept his eyes fixed on the wall of his unfurnished room and forced himself to keep breathing in spite of the pain it caused him. At least it distracted him from the memory of what had happened. Even after several days he couldn’t stomach thinking about his failed initiation. He didn’t know where his parents and their pack had found the human teen they’d sacrificed but they were still angry that he hadn’t been able bring himself to share the feast let alone be the one to actually kill the boy.
He rubbed his cheek, where he had a bruise â€“ one of many – from the savage beating his mother had given him after the ceremony.
â€œThis is your birthright, you should enjoy it,â€ she had growled â€œIf you fail next time, we’ll curse you as a traitor and sacrifice you instead.â€ Then they had locked him in his room and he had only seen the pack member who took away the bucket and left him bread and water once a day since.
Colin shuddered again at the memory of the human’s pathetic pleas and his his mother’s howling laughs. Ruling over humans might be his birthright but did he really have to enjoy hurting them so much?
â€œOf course not.â€ The voice from behind him when he should have been alone in his locked room made Colin spin around. Claws sprang from his fingers only to disappear when he saw who was standing there.
â€œMy Lord!â€ Colin crashed to his knees before Maelin, the Lord of the Wolves. â€œHow may I serve you?â€
Maelin gave a rich, warm laugh and laid a hand on Colin’s head in benediction.
â€œRemain a sharp tool in my armory, cub,â€ he said. â€œAnd not a blunt weapon like your parents.â€ The glance Maelin shot towards door was filled with contempt. â€œThey serve me well enough, I suppose, but they lack any understanding.â€ One elegant claw stroked the bruise on Colin’s cheek then Maelin dropped his hand to Colin’s arm pushing the sleeve up to reveal more bruises. To his surprise Maelin made an angry hissing noise. â€œYour mother did this to you?â€
â€œI failed my initiation,â€ Colin confessed. â€œI’m sorry.â€
â€œDon’t apologise cub. I’m pleased with you. You serve me better than most already, will you serve me directly?â€
Colin gasped as silver light flooded through him and washed his pain away. Vaguely he heard himself gabbling incoherently in a language he didn’t know for a few seconds before his senses returned and the pain with them. He looked up at Maelin who was regarding him oddly and clutched at his hand, nodding fervently. â€œI will do anything you wish of me, my Lord. My life is yours.â€
â€œGood cub.â€ Maelin said. â€œThank you.â€ It was the last thing Colin heard before the silver light overwhelmed him again.
Maelin looked down at Colin’s for a few moments after the boy had collapsed to the floor before allowing his smile to turn into a scowl. The cub was covered in bruises and small for his age. If he didn’t need the child’s parents for now he’d have torn them apart there and then.
Colin was still gabbling in a language that hadn’t been spoken for over two thousand years. He certainly would not understand what he was saying but Maelin knew it well even after all these centuries and the words whispered of the future. The cub was a seer, it seemed. Maelin knelt down by his newest companion. â€œI knew you had potential, cub, but you’re even more special than I thought.â€
Maelin pulled a mobile phone from his pocket and thumbed through the apps until he found the voice recorder then laid it down next to the boy’s head. His lesser servants like Colin’s parents would have been shocked to see his casual familiarity with human technology but it was useful and it wouldn’t do to miss anything his new seer said.
He covered the boy with the only blanket in the room, walked through the still locked door as if it wasn’t there and headed downstairs to find the cub’s parents.
They were sitting in what passed for their lounge though it had only a handful of wooden chairs and no other furniture in it. It looked like they were planning a hunt. Aran was still in his human form but Callie had partially shifted and was casually sharpening her claws. Maelin couldn’t help scowling at that. These two were useful enough, he supposed, but they and the rest of their pack were cruel even among his lesser servants and like all of them had no place in the world he would rebuild. And it was getting hard to divert the hunters, let alone the traitors who called his children renegades away from them. Perhaps he should stop protecting them and let nature take its course. Losing a pack to silver deaths never failed to remind the rest of his lesser servants to be more circumspect about their hunts. He considered for a moment then nodded. He would do that and for what she had done to her child he would kill Callie himself once the rest of her pack was dead. He would have to wait though. They needed to deal with the situation Aran had discovered without distraction, after all.
He was about to make his presence known to them when Aran looked over, saw him and immediately knelt.
â€œMy Lord!â€ His exclamation made Callie look over as well. A moment later she joined her mate in kneeling.
â€œHow may we serve,â€ she asked.
â€œWell firstly I’m taking your son from you,â€ Maelin said. â€œI have need of him in my direct service.â€
â€œYou honour us,â€ Callie said. â€œBut are you sure, my lord? I fear the wretched child is a human lover.â€
â€œLet me worry about that,â€ Maelin said. â€œThe cub is none of your concern any more.â€
â€œYes, my lord,â€ Callie said. â€œI’m glad to see the back of the wretch. Saves me the effort of killing him. I just hope his sister does better when she comes of age.â€
Maelin had to force himself not to gut the woman there and then, instead he sat himself on one of the wooden chairs they’d occupied until a few moments before and folded his arms. â€œI also have a mission for the pack. I need you to find that damned woman and deal with her properly this time before it’s too late.â€
â€œShould we kill her husband too?â€ Aran asked. â€œHe assured us she was dead after all.â€
Maelin considered that then shook his head. â€œTrue, he’s a human and he failed badly in this but I do not believe he knew he had failed. He serves us and we need the information he gains for us. Punish him harshly, make sure he is still broken to our will, but let him live.â€
â€œYes, my lord.â€ Callie sounded positively eager at the prospect. â€œI will ensure he remembers his place.â€
â€œI know you will.â€ He rose to his feet and swept back up the stairs to collect Colin.
The boy had stopped twitching and gabbling now and slipped into true sleep, no doubt because his trance had washed away the pain enough for his exhaustion to overwhelm him. Maelin pocketed his phone again and scooped the boy into his arms before vanishing from the room.
He reappeared in the main lounge of his den. Several of his companions were sitting around on the plush sofas and chairs, relaxing or watching their cubs play, including the one he was looking for.
â€œCan I borrow you, Lu?â€ he asked.
â€œOf course, Maelin.â€ His best healer leapt to her feet and came over, frowning when she caught sight of Colin. â€œIs this our new recruit?â€
â€œIt is,â€ he agreed. â€œHe needs healing.â€
â€œSo I see.â€ She laid a hand on his forehead. â€œAnd good food too. He’s chronically malnourished.â€ Her eyes flattened. â€œMay I speak freely?â€
â€œAlways,â€ he said. â€œI value your insights.â€
â€œYou need to do something about the outer circle, Maelin. Once they only killed on command but they’re out of control. These days they may worship you but they no longer respect you. How long until they no longer worship you either?â€
Maelin frowned down at Colin in his arms. â€œYou’ve said so before,â€ he conceded. â€œI’m beginning to think you’re right.â€ He handed Colin to her beforeÂ turning to Jacob who was lounging on the other couch and tossed his phone to him. â€œAnalyse the voice recording. The boy is a seer and was speaking my language while in his trance. You know it well enough. Make a transcription.â€
â€œOf course.â€ Jacob said before heading to his study.
Colin woke on the softest bed he’d ever encountered. Not that that was surprising â€“ his parents believed human comforts made people weak. He was surprised, however, to discover that the Lord of the Wolves apparently did not agree.
He opened his eyes to see a plain white ceiling that was much cleaner than at home. He started to sit up but was stopped by a gentle hand on his chest.
â€œHold still, pup.â€ The speaker was female and had a warm, friendly voice. â€œMaelin has asked me to heal you and I’m not quite finished.â€
Colin turned his head and saw a fashionably dressed brunette woman with the amber eyes of a werewolf sitting there. She looked to be in her mid-forties but given how slowly their kind aged she could well be twice that. â€œWho are you?â€
The woman smiled at him as their eyes met. â€œMy name is Lucy,â€ she said. â€œMaelin is furious with your parents, you know.â€
Colin stared at her in confusion. That was the second time she’d used Maelin’s name. No one did that, he was gong to query that but then what she’d actually said registered on him. â€œWait! Why is he angry?â€
â€œBecause of the state you were in.â€ Her eyes tightened. â€œIf you were a human you’d be dead.â€
â€œOh.â€ Colin looked away and stared at the cool green wall. â€œI deserved it.â€
Lucy gave a low, rumbling growl at that. â€œNo you didn’t, pup. Your parents are cruel idiots who don’t know the difference between ruling and torturing. That’s why you’re here and they aren’t.â€ She removed her hand from his chest. â€œYou can sit up now.â€
He did as she said and was stunned to realise he wasn’t in pain any more. Even the dull aches that had followed him all his life were gone. â€œWhat the hell!â€ He stared at his bruise free arms in disbelief.
â€œI told you I was healing you,â€ she said. â€œYou were a mess, pup.â€
â€œIs he really angry with my parents?â€ Colin asked.
â€œHe sure is,â€ she said. â€œHe was trying to mask it but I’ve rarely seen him so enraged. I don’t think they’ll live long after they’ve completed the task he’s set them.â€
â€œWhy?â€ Colin asked.
She laughed warmly and got to her feet. â€œI’ll let Maelin explain.â€ She pointed to a door. â€œThere’s a bathroom and clean clothes through there. Clean yourself up and join us downstairs.â€ She turned and headed for another door.
â€œWait!â€ Colin said. â€œThanks for healing me.â€
She paused in the doorway and smiled again. â€œYou’re welcome, pup.â€
After she left Colin investigated the bathroom and nearly chocked when he saw the designer jeans and denim jacket hanging there. These clothes were a luxury that would have offended his parents even more than beds. Human trappings they would have called them.
He really wanted to know what was going on and he certainly didn’t want to keep Maelin waiting, so he showered, dressed in the clothes â€“ which fitted perfectly â€“ and headed downstairs as he’d been told.
He peeked into the main room and spotted Maelin lounging in one of the many comfortable chairs. Several other werewolves were also relaxing around the room, including Lucy who was apparently playing Candy Crush on a tablet. Strangest of all a boy and a girl were lying in front of a large TV giggling at human cartoons. Their brown hair and similar features marked them as siblings, possibly even twins, but while the girl had the amber eyes of a werewolf, even though she was too young to have shifted yet, the boy had ordinary grey eyes that marked him as human but he seemed happy and completely unafraid of the werewolves surrounding him.
Colin was thoroughly confused but he was sure Maelin would explain. He walked nervously towards The Lord of the Wolves and knelt in submission.
â€œGet up, Colin,â€ Maelin said dryly. â€œI don’t expect such submission from those I’m inducting into my Inner Circle. I consider you all friends and boon companions, not servants.â€
Colin rose hesitantly to his feet and stared at Maelin, who pointed to a nearby chair.
â€œSit down, one of the others will fetch you some food Lu says you’re chronically malnourished to the point she’s amazed you managed to have your first change at all in the state you were in. We’ll need to fix that starting now. Once you’ve eaten we’ll talk.â€