No sooner had he ripped the wolf apart, Alina saw a glint of silver moving fast behind her mate. She screamed both through their bond and out loud for him to move but it was too late. Emilian had plunged a dagger deep into Vasile’s back.
Vasile heard Alina’s gut wrenching scream just before he felt the air rush out of him and the cold steel bite deep into his back. His wolf howled, enraged at the cowardly action of his enemy. Vasile could not have stopped his wolf from taking over at that point even if he had wanted to. He phased, jumping out of reach of his opponent at the same time, and though the knife was pushed out by his power, the wound was still bleeding and badly enough that it would take some time to heal.
As he lowered his body, his muzzle pulled back in a deadly snarl revealing canines over two inches in length, he met Emilian’s eyes. He too had phased to his wolf. He foolishly believed he had a chance now that he had injured the larger Alpha. Vasile knew better. Vasile flew at the cowardly wolf in a rage, running straight at the Alpha and plowing his head into his ribs. Emilain’s claws dug into the ground, attempting to stay upright so that he didn’t end up on side with his vulnerable soft stomach exposed. He managed to keep his feet and bent his head around to clamp his powerful jaws on Vasile’s shoulder. Vasile immediately dropped and rolled. The unexpected move caused Emilian to release him. They circled one another, now both fully aware of the other’s strength.
Vasile watched Emilian step slowly to the right, his ears pinned down tightly to his head and his fur puffed up to make him appear larger. He could tell that the traitor was weary and probably would not be able to fight much longer. And as Emilian lunged forward fast and hard, Vasile knew that the other Alpha’s plan was to attack as hard as he could moving with quick in-and-out motions in hopes that Vasile would somehow make a mistake. He dodged the snapped jaws and whipped around just in time to take Emilian’s claws on his flank instead of across his ribs. No sooner had Vasile lowered himself to the ground then the usurper was coming at him again. This time when Emilian lunged, Vasile was ready. With lightning quick speed, Vasile jumped under Emilian’s snapping jaws and clamped down on one of Emilian’s front legs with bone crushing strength. He released it just as quickly and jumped out of the reach of Emilian’s own muzzle. The traitorous Alpha stumbled as he tried to put weight on the broken leg and quickly pulled it back up. Vasile’s wolf sensed victory as his prey weakened. It was time he show Emilian why he was the rightful Alpha for the Eastern Romania pack. He drew on the power of the wolves who had sworn fealty to him―something only an Alpha with a loyal pack could do. It fueled his own magic and strength. Then he felt something he had never felt, his mate’s magic and power flowing into him. It was warmth and light and goodness. He imagined that if he could see inside of himself it would appear as if the sun was shining brightly, chasing away the darkness.
Emilian sensed the change and Vasile saw the cowardice in the other wolf’s eyes just before Emilian turned and started to run. He made it two steps before Vasile landed on him his back, crushing the other wolf’s spine. Emilian collapsed and Vasile latched onto his neck and in one smooth motion jumped off of him and turned him so his stomach was exposed. He met the wolf’s eyes and as soon as Emilian dropped his gaze, Vasile buried his teeth in his neck and ripped his throat open. He waited to see if his prey was indeed dead, and then he threw his head back and howled.
Alina fell to her knees along with every wolf present as her mate declared his victory over his enemy. The howl that he sang out into the silence called to each of them. They joined him in one accord as they sang together. As the howl died she watched Vasile turn in a slow circle regarding his pack as one by one they bared their necks in submission. Finally, he was in his rightful place. He was where he needed to be in order to help their species thrive, to become the mighty wolves that the Great Luna desired they be. He met her eyes last and she alone among all of those kneeling could hold his gaze.
“Come to me.” His voice was gravelly, the wolf still in control.
She obeyed, standing and walking through the crowd. As she walked she heard the murmured words of her pack as they addressed her, accepted her.
“Luna.” Over and over it was repeated until she reached Vasile’s side. He looked at her, and she saw the adoration burning in his eyes.
“You must address our pack now, Luna of Mine.”
She turned and looked out over them. Some she knew very well, others she had yet to meet, but for every single one of them she held love in her heart.
“Vasile has taken back what was his by right. He is our Alpha. I am his mate and his Luna. Today we vow this to you as your Alpha pair. Never again will you live in fear. Never again will you be unprotected. Those of you who are dominant, never again will you battle with your wolves. Your Alpha is strong enough to control the beast raging inside you. We are pack; we will love each other, support one another, sacrifice for those who need us, and we will stand united. Declare your fealty to your Alpha and let us once again thrive under his care.”
Vasile released them from his power and the howls and cheers were deafening as they rejoiced. From here they could begin to heal, to grow, and to face a future as a united pack with an Alpha ready and willing to do whatever was necessary to see them thrive.
Romanian Proverb # 21
Începutul e anevoie, urma vine de la sine.
A good beginning makes a good ending.
“I understand why you did not want my help,” Anghel told Vasile as they stood in library of the Eastern Romania pack castle. A mere twenty-four hours had passed since Vasile had retaken his pack and yet it already seemed like a lifetime ago.
“I could not prove myself as capable and strong if I had to have your assistance, not for claiming the Alpha title.”
“True, but I feel responsible for what has taken place, and I am sorry for all that your pack has suffered over the years.”
Vasile patted the Alpha and longtime family friend on the shoulder. “You are not responsible for the actions of another. You know that. Emilian would have found another way. He was determined to lead a pack, thinking that the position itself would give him power. What he did not understand was that the power must come from within. To hold a pack together, to be able ensure that the dominants obey and that everyone is protected, requires true strength bestowed by the Great Luna. Attempting to do so, without such strength, is like trying to fell a mighty oak with a butter knife.”