For mortals, the Blood Moon is the end of days. A belief they have held in their hearts that when the Blood Moon arrives, Hell Fire will swallow the world. Of course, for many mortals this is mostly superstition.
For non mortals however, the Blood Moon is an event not to be missed.
A sign of strength for vampires and werewolves since the dawn of time, many fight to prepare for the coming Moon. For the rest of time they fight among each other, gaining hierarchy and trying to wipe each other out.
Survival for the Blood Moon is key, but sometimes just living another day for non-mortals is strength in itself.
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Being at the focal point of their Alpha’s shouts was a place no wolf wanted to be, so as Trey snapped back at his followers, many dipped their heads and pulled back their ears in regret. The messenger wisely sealed his lips for the clearly rhetorical question, but as Trey continued to give his orders, the uncertainty was clear. They were just running away? The Resistance had seen hard times in the past, but they had never just turned their backs on their city and run! Thankfully the human verbalized the doubts the messenger was feeling, taking him out of the centre of the Alpha’s rage.
When even Candy’s reproach didn’t work, the pack members retreated to follow their Alpha’s orders. The messenger, however, had one last stop to clear his conscience. Heading straight for the medical ward, he asked to see Tink. The Resistance was still reeling at the shock of their leader being alive, but maybe this was the miracle they’d been waiting for. The Pack had been in chaos since her death and Trey had seemingly lost his way. If anyone could get him on the right path, it would be Tink.
[i “Alpha Tink? It’s so good to see you alive. I know you need to rest and heal, but… Trey just gave his orders. He wants us to prepare to leave the city. The other Packs are falling and our only ally, the Sirhan Pack, has forbidden us to entering their territory. We can’t even warn them about the impending threat. We are loyal to the cause, Alpha. We will do whatever you and Trey think is best, but… I can’t help but feeling that if we leave now, everything we’ve fought for, all the lvies we’ve lost, will all be for nothing.”]
Raven woke to a pounding headache that did little to distract from the pain in the rest of her body. Her back was stinging with every slight movement and her leg was in agony. After hours in the moonlight most of her minor wounds had healed themselves, leaving nothing but scars in place of the fierce bites and scratches she got from her fight with Amber and the rest of Helena’s pets. The medics had set her broken leg with strict instructions to stay off her feet for the next week at least, yet Raven was already trying to stand while leaning on her cot for support. She couldn’t stay here, her Alpha needed her. Raven didn’t even really know how much time had passed since she had gone Feral, but the last time she’d seen Dustin the boy was barely alive and reeling over the loss of his other Beta. Raven had abandoned him not long after Anton had, leaving the boy completely on his own. She needed to find him and make sure he was ok.
If it was just a broken leg, Raven would already be out of here. Her wolf form could run on three legs, at least long enough to get back to Sirhan territory. It was her back that was slowing her down. The deep welts were slow to heal and there was further damage beneath the skin. Anton’s strikes had damages muscle and bone in her back making it difficult and painful to move normally. But even the physical pain wasn’t as debilitating as the confusion in her muddled brain. She didn’t remember everything from her time as a Feral, but she did see flashes:
[i Anton standing over her with that belt in hand… his soothing hand stroking through her fur… Anton’s knife raised above her head for that fatal blow… his soft, comforting words in her ear… the violent snap of Anton’s hands on her leg… his encouraging words in the arena… ] none of it made sense to Raven, making her wonder if any of it even really happened. After all, the last time she spoke to Anton, he accused her of not caring, of turning her back on him. He told her he wanted nothing more to do with her or Sirhan and that he didn’t care whether she gave her life for his, because none of it mattered. They weren’t partners, they weren’t pack… they weren’t even friends. All of this was having a severe effect on Raven’s ability to trust her own instincts. She didn’t know who she could trust anymore, especially since she had woken up back with the Resistance after she remembered her last rather severe fight with Trey. She needed to get out of here. She needed to get back to her pack, but if she was having this much trouble walking on her own, how the hell was she going to fight her way past the Resistance guard waiting outside her door?
Eli wished he could give her the reassurance she was looking for, but as she demanded to see Dustin for herself, Eli grimly shook his head.
[#776677 “I’m sorry, Lexi, but he’s not here. He left an hour ago, against my better judgement. Dustin came back here with a new resolve. He gave orders, tripling the patrols and banning any Resistance member from entering the territory. He sent out search parties looking for Raven and Anton, and then he released that big, black wolf from his cell. Shayd, I believe. Dustin said he wasn’t the Alpha his pack needed him to be and that he had to get stronger to protect Sirhan. He said without a mentor, and with no Betas to guide him, he had to turn to the only other wolf he knew with experience being an Alpha. He let Shayd out of his cage and the two of them went out together to train. I tried to follow, but your brother forbid it.”] Eli explained. He didn’t go into details about the shouting match he had with Dustin when he insisted on staying at his son’s side, and Dustin practically threatened to lock Eli in the cells if he didn’t stay with the Pack. The father/son relationship wasn’t getting any better and Eli was starting to get the dangerous thought that if Dustin wasn’t going to make wise decisions for himself, maybe it was time Eli made the decisions for him. Those thoughts only grew more certain as Baxter explained the danger his son was currently facing.
[#776677 “Helena’s pets are still working for her? Shayd was one of her most loyal. Damnit Dustin, why are you always so reckless?! Alright… They were heading towards the East side of the territory, where the city ends and the forest begins. If you see any sign of that Black wolf, bite him! Your vampire venom is poisonous to wolves. One bite won’t kill a Bloodborn like Shayd, but it might slow him down. We have to find them before he kills Dustin!”] Eli said, not trusting the Sirhan wolves as backup. Brining his injured daughter and her newly-turned friend into a fight wasn’t ideal, but Eli was out of options. He would kill this wolf for ever daring to threaten his son!
Into the wooded area of the Sirhan territory, the distant sounds of a fight could be heard as well as the familiar shrill yelp of Dustin’s wolf form. The scent of blood lingered in the air and as the trio grew closer, they’d see the horrific image of a huge, black wolf latch his powerful jaw around a much smaller, sandy-coloured wolf, and hurl him through the air to land in a crumbled heap on the forest floor. The blood on Dustin’s neck matched the crimson on Shayd’s dripping fangs as the larger wolf loomed over him, growling deeply.
[b “Get up. Get to your feet or die like a coward!”] Shayd snapped at the pup who was struggling to push himself up on his paws, meeting his opponent’s eyes with a surprising amount of determination considering how weak and injured he was.
[#ff00ff “If an army is what you want, Sir, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. I have a drug that I use on my pets – one that serves to strengthen the submissive bond they have to their Alphas. I assume it will work the same on bonding a new vampire to their Blood Brother or Sister, so we don’t have another repeat of our Anton situation. I will test this tonight and have a full report for you by morning.”] Helena replied, not concerned about false promises, since she fully intended on fulfilling this one. Wolves were loyal creatures with strong morals and even stronger bonds, but humans… humans were weak willed and selfish. Offer them power and immortality and they would turn on their friends and neighbours without a moment’s hesitation.
[#ff00ff “In fact, I have the perfect test subject in mind.”] Helena replied, giving her assurances to Nexus before respectfully taking her leave. There were only a few precious hours of night left and she wanted to have enough to report on when she returned.
Helena called two of her pets to her as she left the underground. Dealing with humans wasn’t exactly dangerous and Helena didn’t need the protection from her targets, but it would be useful to have a couple disposable mutts around in case those pesky packs decided to interfere. Besides, these pets came with a very useful set of tracking skills which would help her find her prey so much faster.
[#ff00ff “Alright my pets, find Piper. It’s about time I skin that little snake.”] She ordered, letting her pets sniff the air until they caught the now-human girl’s scent. At first, it lead Helena to the factory where Lexi and her friends tried to break in. The place was still crawling with cops trying to find out what really happened. Piper was no doubt responsible for killing numerous people inside, but as a child it was hard to fathom she was capable of such horrific murders. Then there was the evidence of drugs in her veins and her own accusations that Baxter’s uncle gave her something that turned her into a monster. Of course, the girl was now just a regular human so there was no proof to support his claim that vampires and werewolves really did exist.
Pending a further investigation, Piper was surrendered to someone who could keep her in line, someone who could ensure she didn’t try to run away or hurt anyone else, someone the law trusted yet the girl feared – her former foster father, Thomas Cutler. Even Helena could smell the stench of fear lingering at the scene and it delighted her to know the little traitor was suffering for her betrayal. Still, it wasn’t enough. Helena wanted her to pay and what better way that to make her current nightmare even more horrific? Her pets tracked Piper’s scent to a seemingly normal looking house with a locked shed out back. Inside the house, she found a handful of children between the ages of 6-17, all hard at work on their chores. The discipline was admirable, as each of the kids looked up with a timid, but polite greeting before immediately going back to their tasks, clearly fearing the consequences of both failing their duties or pissing off their guests. Though all the kids looked healthy and unharmed, their behaviour reminded Helena of kicked dogs which proved that there foster father clearly had some rather effective form of punishment to control them that wouldn’t be noticed by the agency that placed these children in his care. Piper, however, was nowhere to be seen.
[#778877 “You need something, lady? I don’t remember inviting you in. And.. holy hell, what happened to your face?”] The man in question appeared with an obvious lack of tack. Thomas Cutler was rough around the edges, with a drug problem hidden well enough from humans, but easily smelled by any vampire or wolf nearby. His very pretense sent a chill through each child in the room but did nothing more than amuse Helena.
[#ff00ff “I’m looking for one of your charges. A young girl by the name of Piper.”] She asked, not surprised by the stubborn glare in the man’s eyes. She didn’t even grace his comment about her appearance with a response.
[#778877 “Piper’s grounded. She ain’t seein’ any visitors. And who do ya think you are, anyway? You can’t just come in here and get whatever ya want!”] Helena’s distorted features twisted into a smirk hearing that. She stepped towards the man and raised her hand to run gentle fingertips down his cheek and over the pulsing vein in his neck.
[#778877 “I think you’ll find that I can.”] She said in a seductive voice, bearing her poisonous fangs.
Trey was on his knees in front of his fallen friend, his hands soaked in blood as he sat Leo up against him. This was once a wolf who looked for a purpose. A wolf who joined The Resistance with the promise they would create change and the world of races would be harmonised. There was never any promise it would be an easy fight for that change, but back when The Resistance was formed, there was very little telling of just how dark that journey would be. Leo’s final moments was far from that promise of change he was welcomed into. It was the complete opposite! He was trapped, alone, scared; and Trey had let it happen. He didn’t fight hard enough. He didn’t take the risks needed to protect the people he promised a new future for and now... hell, they were so far from utopia now that it all seemed a distant dream.
[+brown “I cannot save every pack in the city if I cannot save my own. Tink is injured. Amber is broken. I have just lost Leo. Can you sit see that I cannot fix all of this! What do you expect me to do!?”] Trey barked up at his pack as they informed him of what was happening. His voice was filled with a burning rage, fuelled by his own disappointment and self-hatred. Unfortunately all of that was directed to the poor soul who was simply trying to inform his Alpha!
[+brown “If Dustin is refusing help when I can barely keep my own Pack together then so be it. After the recovery we all gather our things, we retreat from this hell.”]
[+pink “You’re just running away?”] Candy interjected, which was quickly followed by short gasps from the Resistance members who ran into the room, hardly expecting the human who moments ago didn’t seem to be interested in their agenda suddenly cutting in!
[+pink “You know, I’m pulling Baxter away from all this shit because I’ve seen it destroy everyone! Even Anton, the selfish bastard that he is, is falling! That’s why I never wanted Bax in this world.”]
[+brown “Then why don’t you do something about it, go and get him, and while you’re at it, do something useful for once in your junkie-little-life and inform Dustin he is walking into a death trap and the Resistance have given in! He doesn’t have to worry about us anymore...”] Trey growled, having no time for the human.
[+brown “Take Leo’s body. He deserves a burial before we go. We leave by sunrise.”] With his orders, Trey stormed out the room and shoving Candy on the way. He needed to check on the injured, on Amber, on Tink, Raven, Anton...
Candy stood still, staring at herself in a mirror that was across the hall. She was selfish, but she made one promise to protect her little brother... she also knew just how much Piper meant to Baxter, and how much they had been friends. Swearing under her breath, and glaring as Trey started to make his exit she started to run out of the protection of The Resistance and towards the direction her brother travelled in. She couldn’t let him down again...
If she wasn’t a Vampire, Lexi’s lungs would have been burning from the run, the exasperation from the lack of oxygen constricting her airways. Instead, the transformation powered her to keep going. Despite the pain her body was in, her legs propelled her, the wind brushing past her face as she ran as quickly as she could to the safety of her family. It was a natural pull to her brother, who she currently had no idea about whether he was alive or dead! Baxter’s calls from behind her didn’t even break through and as she saw the defence Sirhan had put up, her fangs naturally bared out. She would rip every wolf apart if it meant she would find out the truth about her twin! Fortunately that wasn’t needed.
With the wolf who had much resemblance to Nana, Lexi instantly felt all her adrenaline come into focus. It was a dangerous resemblance moments ago to becoming Savage! That desperate need to fulfil her bodies desires, only in this case, it was her heart... she needed that reassurance and comfort and fortunately, she approached a wolf with a soothing voice and care to calm her down. Baxter was nowhere to be seen at this point, but as the older wolf addressed how hurt Lexi look she shook her head.
[+orange “I’m fine! I-I’m fine. Please tell me they are still alive? I need to get to the den! I need to see!”] Lexi insisted, her eyes darting between the wolves in a pleading manner. She didn’t want answers to her questions. She wanted to physically see her brother alive!
It was the moment she saw her father approaching that Lexi sprinted straight to him, allowing the energy that propelled her to Sirhan to expel out. Her body was shaking, her eyes were wide and fixated on her dad’s face, desperate to hear some good news. That was until he challenged Piper, and left bigger questions for Dustin’s safety.
[+orange “I’m alive because Piper sacrificed herself.”] She cut in, but there would be time to explain that later...
[+orange “What do you mean Dustin is training? Is he alive? How long has he been gone for? DAMN IT! Where did he go!? WHERE!?”] Lexi slapped her fathers hand off her cheek and spun around, as if attempting to spot him in the distance so how. She was frantic! Though just as she seemed ready to run again, a pair of comforting hands rested on each of her arms and earthed her to the ground.
[+blue “Lexi calm down! I’m sorry... um, Mr. Kane? Bad things happened but we had news that Dustin was at risk. She needs to see him.”] Baxter cut in having finally caught up. One of the Sirhan wolves were standing behind him, watching him intently having escorted him in but Baxter was desperate to support his friend.
[+blue “Piper was taken away by the police. I was killed. Lexi got hurt. Leo, one of the wolve’s controlled by Helena took his own life in front of Lexi, but there’s been threats Mr. Kane. Threats that she would be returning to a dead twin. Who is he with?”] Baxter quickly explained, seeing Lexi was far too shaken to begin attempting but also allowing his tone and voice to get her father to see the truth behind his story.
[+orange “He should be here with the safety of the pack dad! It’s dangerous out there!”]
[+green “Well I hope you do... I’ve never been fond of false assurances...”] Nexus stated, opening his eyes and staring at Helena with a threat that if he really wanted to, he wouldn’t give her a chance to live up to that promise.
[+green “My hostility towards you Helena comes from a lack of imagination... you have succumb to our rules, our own damnation to stay underground, hidden... you fight amongst the creatures who we have waged war with for so long, when your talents have so much more power. I do truly see you sitting amongst my side and by the excitement in your eyes at my plan, I can see there is a longing to finally demonstrate the true powers your particular talents uphold...”] Seeing the sparkle in Helena’s eyes made Nexus finally look at the witch with a sense of belief. He had been watching Helena for some time now, having heard of the powers she had and how long she had been plotting against the Pack’s that tradition had told them to fight against. They would build up to each Blood Moon, watching it span across the world as fight-after-fight led to more blood shed but no more or no less balance of power. There was no change, and that was because they weren’t fighting the right war...
When Helena brought up the rules of the Council, Nexus’ laugh echoed across the halls in mocking disarray.
[+green “To hell with the rules. The scriptures that guide us has made us weak and it is time for change. I will sanction this act. I will no longer spend another year of my life watching us hide away. We will strike with force. We will cause fear, panic, chaos, but it will be controlled.. We will have an army at our side to fight against any Pack who comes against us, or indeed any Council member who cannot accept that change is within our grasp.”] Nexus announced with no flicker of doubt in his voice. They would succeed and no one would predict such an unprecedented act.
[+green “Gather your most loyal followers and within the week we will make our strike. I want you to test on one or two humans, see if you can make it work. See if they will bow at your feet. I expect you to meet me each day with an update. Oh...and Helena, I would like to remind you that I am not Draven. I am not a fool. I suggest you remember that.”]
Leo stared down his former Alpha with hatred and blame in his eyes. He had been in that hellish pit for years. Tortured, starved, beaten, forced to do unforgivable things. For years, Leo had kept the hope that some day his pack would come for him, but it never happened. Even months ago when Amber joined their ranks, he thought that maybe, just maybe, the Leaders would come for their best friend! But no. She was abandoned like the rest. Left to an eternity of pain and fear. The only thing that would ever lesson the burden was the grave acceptance that he would never be free. Once Leo accepted his fate, he started cooperating, training for Helena, doing as she asked without question. He no longer felt her mind control depriving him of free will, instead, he chose to do her bidding of his own volition. It was the only way to escape his suffering. And why not turn his back on the pack that had turned their backs on him?
[#776677 “I am here because my Mistress allows me to be! I am here because Helena commands it! We are not free, Trey! We can never be free of her! She will always find us. No one is safe.”] Leo growled back, his voice gradually fading into a broken, hopeless tone. Despite his cruel deeds, Leo was still just scared and alone. Once a loyal warrior who fought proudly for the cause, now just a broken, frightened, soul looking for any way to escape the pain.
[#776677 “You can’t stop her Trey. You won’t win. There’s only one way to escape the witch.”] Leo said in a sobering tone before his final act of desperation. Leo fell, surrounded by the bright crimson of his own blood. The following sounds of Lexi’s screams and the Alpha’s shouts of rage brought members of the Resistance running onto the scene. Each of them taking in the horrific sight of one of their own, lifeless and still, at the feet of their Alpha.
[i “Alpha? Reports have come in from our scouts. Two of the city’s Packs have fallen. The Timbers from the South and the Riverside Clan have crumbled. Their Alphas and Betas all killed – an attack from within. It appears all the Wolves rescued from Helena’s control have turned against their own. We’ve sent messengers to warn the remaining Packs but… we may already be too late.”] One of the Resistance Wolves reported, not wanting to disturb his Alpha’s grief, but this news was too important to wait. The Packs were falling fast and soon Helena’s plan to overthrow the beasts of the city may actually succeed.
[i “We sent a Scout to Sirhan as well, Alpha, but… they were turned away at the border. It appears Dustin has forbid any Resistance Wolf, Vampire, or Hybrid from entering Sirhan territory.”] The Wolf reported, lowering his head with the bad news. He had heard the moment his Leaders had arrived back at the den that the Sirhan Alpha was in danger, but their Scouts couldn’t even get close enough to warn him! The damage was done and the trust between the Resistance and Sirhan was destroyed. Dustin was in danger, but his own stubborn grudge against the Resistance was preventing them from saving his life! That is… if he was still alive.
Lexi would soon see for herself the extra security Sirhan was enforcing. Their patrols had been doubled, with almost ever able-bodied wolf running the perimeter at close intervals, making sure no one slipped by unnoticed. They had strict orders from their Alpha to stop any Rival Pack from entering without an escort and to not allow under any circumstances a Resistance member to set foot across the territory line. Clearly, his brotherly concern had also been passed along to his pack, because as Lexi neared the border she would be met with the relieved faces of the Sirhan’s scouts.
[#336699 “Lexi? Thank goodness you’re safe! Slow down, dear, you look hurt! We’re so glad you’re alright, Lexi. After what happened with Raven, Dustin was afraid Trey would forbid you from coming home!”] One of the scouts – an older female wolf with greying fur like Nana, said as she met the girl at the border. She nodded to her partner, silently expressing that she’d escort the girl safely back to the den before swiftly making her way by Lexi’s side. They were met just outside the den by a relieved call from Eli. The father hurried out to meet his little girl, placing a gentle hand on his daughter’s distressed cheek.
[#995522 “Lexi? Are you alright? You’ve been hurt… I knew I couldn’t trust Piper to keep you safe. Let’s get you to the medics. Your brother will be glad to see you home safe, once he gets back from his training.”] Eli said, alluding to the fact that Dustin was not currently at the den – a thought that likely wouldn’t put Lexi’s mind at ease after the threats she got from Leo.
Helena heard the smooth tone beckoning her and turned to see the Council member who had so blatantly displayed his displeasure with her only hours before. Despite her internal grudge, Helena graciously bowed to her superior and waited patiently for his next instructions. A part of her feared he was here to carry out the punishment for her failures, but Helena hoped that wouldn’t be necessary. Her performance in the arena may have been disappointing, but in the hours since, she had orchestrated the fall of two powerful packs within the city. Her pets were obediently following her every command, tearing through their former packs and families as if they were mere strangers. The streets were stained red with the blood of the wolves she had already bested and there was much more to come. Hopefully her success with the packs would have bought her some leniency.
[#ff00ff “Rarely is there a plan without setbacks, Sir. But while others crumple under their failures, I strive to rise above and perfect my plans moving forward. Our targets may live, for now, but I assure you that little oversight will be corrected within time.”] She excused, admitting her short comings, but also projecting a strong confidence that she hoped would allow her another chance to prove herself.
[#ff00ff “So you wish to turn the masses above to serve us? An entire city of newly turned vampires… they would be rabid. Spreading the virus like the plague. We’ve always been cautious who we turn in hoped to avoid detection, but if you’re no longer concerned with those feeble humans finding out about us…”] There was a sparkle in Helena’s eyes; an excitement that mimicked a child on Christmas morning. She had her fun with the wolves, but this… this was a whole new challenge for the witch. If she turned enough humans into new vampires, they would go on a feeding spree! The humans who survived being fed upon would likely turn as well, and those who didn’t survive… well, a few less humans in the world would do them all a favour.
With legions of new vampires under their control, those packs wouldn’t stand a chance! They would be cornered at every turn, with no hope of resistance or escape! And the power… if it was Helena’s venom that started the pandemic, then all those newly turned would be her own blood brothers and sisters. They would be drawn to her, eager to support her, as she once was to serve Draven! She could have enough influence to rise to power and with Nexus supporting her from the top, she could finally reach her goal of becoming one of the Council! Screw Lexi and her royal bloodline! Not even that pathetic little wretch could stand in her way!
[#ff00ff “The Council has always required us to be discreet – to hide in the shadows and convince the humans we don’t exist. Such a blatant disregard for the rules would be a death sentence from the Council. But if this is your wish, Sir, and you are willing to sanction such an extreme act… then you can consider it done. If I can manipulate the minds of Alphas and Betas, then controlling petty humans will be no challenge. And of course, they will respect the chain of command, with yourself in the highest esteem.”] Helena assured him, wanting it known that she hadn’t forgotten her place. She was still willing to give him the credit and the power… at least until she earned herself an equal seat.
[#ff00ff “I promise you, Sir, this time you will not be disappointed.”]
Tink could still remember the day Amber was taken, just like it happened only hours before. They had been stuck in a long-going battle with the Council for days. Their supplies were low, they were running out of energy, and almost completely surrounded. They had been in similar situations before, and Tink, Trey and Amber all had the collective process to keep on fighting no matter the cost. Their mission, the symbol they wore proudly on their arms, it was worth every risk - even if it meant fighting until the end. All their previous battles had them facing certain death and yet, with their strengths combined together they always came out on top. Tink had no doubt the same would happen. They were preparing for one final push. Trey was preparing the remaining Pack members, Tink was carefully finalising the plans and Amber... it was Tink’s biggest regret. She should have been paying attention but before she could react, the Witch had made her move and took Amber away just moments before they called for their attack.
After that Tink had spent weeks desperately trying to find her friend. The Pack’s mission changed from repeatedly fighting for equality amongst the races, to putting all their energy into finding Amber. Tink didn’t rest. Every waking minute was plotting, gathering intelligence, working on what she could do to get her friend back and ultimately... that led to her supposed ‘death’. It was still a story she hadn’t told, but to see Amber so broken now just made Tink realise how much she had let her best friend down. She should have come back sooner. Trey was crushed under the pressure and Amber’s confidence and self-belief was shattered!
[+purple “Amber...”] Tink started, her voice saddened seeing just how lost her friend was. If she wasn’t so weak herself she would have argued against the medics and demanded to be by Amber’s side! However she couldn’t stand on her own and she was starting to feel herself edging towards turning savage! She wasn’t going to risk the Pack’s safety due to her own stubbornness, as much as she wanted to act on it.
[+purple “No one leaves her side. S-Someone... a-always watching her... A-Amber... I’ll be...I’ll be back...”] Tink insisted, finally surrendering to the medics and allowing herself to be pulled away for urgent medical treatment.
[+orange “Leo, you’re hurting me!”] Lexi instantly resisted, tugging back against the wolf as he started to pull her away. She wanted to believe him and she wanted nothing more than to get to her brother, but the more she listened to Baxter, the tighter Leo’s grip became; she quickly realised this wasn’t as innocent as what it appeared!
[+blue “You’re risking nothing Leo. I can tell. I can hear it! You’re doing this for yourself! Lexi I don’t resent anything! You saved me! You did what you had to do!”] Baxter quickly intervened but he didn’t have to fight Lexi’s corner on his own. Trey was quick to appear, determined to resolve this for both Leo and Lexi as quickly as possible!
[#FF8C00 “I will always be your Alpha! We tried Leo. We never gave up and I know it must have been hell. I have never forgiven myself for not finding you sooner but you are here now. We need to get you back but if you take Lexi, if you hurt her, you don’t leave me much choice. Tink wants you back, you understand? Listen to my voice and not hers. We care about you Leo but you have to stop this or I’ll be forced to attack!”] Trey pleaded, trying to reason with the crazed wolf but he could quickly see this was taking a turn for the worst.
It all happened in a flash. He heard Lexi scream in rage and pain, watched Leo crash against the table and by the time Trey had launched forward he was laying on top of his former Pack mate. Lifeless. Covered in blood. In the adrenaline rush, Trey had turned back into his human form and his hands were quickly stained with another lost life... he was supposed to be Leo’s Alpha. He should have stopped this from happening. As well as Lexi’s cries for her brother, Trey’s burning rage escaped his lungs and echoed across the base for all to hear. Leo may have been taken by Helena, he might have lost his ways, but he was once a loyal and determined member of The Resistance. Trey had been close to breaking point for awhile and knowing he pushed Leo to his final moments, was what pushed the Alpha over the edge.
Next to him, Lexi’s eyes were wide with fear. She had almost just been taken away to Helena by someone she thought she could trust. She was watching her friend being dragged away. She watched a man violently take his own life and worst of all, once again, her brother might be dead and she wasn’t nearby. It might have been wrong but Lexi didn’t wait for the broken Alpha for his permission. She sprinted, running as quickly as she could out of the base without looking back. At least until...
[+blue “Lexi! Lexi wait!”] Baxter called, having broken away from his sister and was now chasing after his friend but she wasn’t stopping. She wasn’t looking back. She had to get to her brother and she had to find out what was happening! So she sprinted straight towards the Sirhan base - not daring to even think about the dangers that might lie ahead...
Back in the Council lair, Nexus marched through the corridors with his red cloak draping behind him. It was a walk of purpose that had every Vampire within his path standing to the side with urgency and bowing their head in a mixture of respect, apology, and fear... it wasn’t long before he found the target he had been looking for. It was the very woman he had abandoned just hours before, but the very woman he had been thinking about since her display.
[+green “Helena. We need to talk.”] Nexus cut abruptly, turning to see any other Vampire’s who were in the surrounding area. They didn’t hesitate to get the message. Each and everyone disappeared in the shadows, leaving the two completely alone with one another. It was an intimidating scene. Nexus was a powerful figure - his power coming from his reputation. His history was well known, but his current position was even more terrifying. His seat amongst the four at the top of the council held a specific role. He investigated against Vampire’s who didn’t fit amongst the Council’s potential. Those who didn’t, he sentenced for execution. To be stood alone with him, especially after he hunted you down specifically, was never a good sign.
[+green “You disappointed me.”] He stated simply. His voice still, with no signs of emotion. Clasping his hands behind his back, he started to circle around Helena, his eyes looking her up and down as he did.
[+green “You have so much potential but you are wasting it. I hunt the rats in our society... the ones who need removing from our blood and history... but, your biggest mistake is you are wasting your talents on Packs who are destroying themselves. You want to know who are being treated like the real rats?”] Nexus asked, finally stopping directly in front of her, only inches away from her face.
[+green “We are.”] He growled, baring his fangs in anger.
[+green “Humans are disgusting. We force ourselves to live beneath them, hiding away, hiding who we truly are and keeping the secret of our power and our race. We are above them in the food chain and we hide away like cowards! We fight amongst wolves and yet, we have an entire city and an army of volunteers waiting above us - they just don’t know it.”] Nexus explained, his anger switching into a sinister smirk.
[+green “You see Helena, you have a gift. You disappoint me because you are wasting it. What do you say? You have an army, all waiting to kill at your disposal. That city can be ours. We can let our truth be known, make a real difference to the Council, show our power, dominance and take our place once and for all! Those who are worthy can join our ranks. Those who aren’t well... we’ll have a good food supply for years to come.”] Nexus revealed his truth, the plan he had been conjuring privately for years. He just needed someone as crazed to join his side.
[+green “We achieve this Helena, we’ll be infamous. No one will challenge us. You’ll finally have your seat amongst the four. You’ll finally be respected for your talents. You are wasting them. Beside’s, you can still have your fun. Those Pack’s are human sympathisers. They’ll try and protect their kind and let’s not forget, Anton is one of those creatures... that means he is part of the city. That means he can be a target and make his choice once and for all. So what do you say? Stay a disappointment, or mark your name in history? No Vampire in our history has attempted this. I think we start a new chapter and a new beginning.”]
Amber was showing all the familiar signs of abuse. Even the gentle hand of her best friend made her flinch and try to pull away, expecting pain. Yet on some level, she welcomed it. Amber deserved the pain after what she did. Her mind was still a little fuzzy, but the images were replaying themselves over and over again, forcing her to remember the sound of her screams and the taste of Tink’s blood. Amber’s stomach flipped and for a moment, she thought she was going to be sick.
Amber was taken a few months before Tink’s death, and at the time the news reached her, Amber was deep under Helena’s control. But she remembered that loss striking a chord deep in her heart. She remembered fighting for control for the first time in months. She remembered snapping her fangs at Helena and the brutal beating she received as punishment for her brief act of rebellion. She remembered the tears that dampened her fur as she lay in that small, cold cage in Helena’s workshop, feeling the last of her hope disappear and give way to Helena’s orders. Finding out Tink was alive should have been enough to break her free from that control, but it wasn’t. The pain, the fear, and the drugs coursing through her veins kept her in line and forced her to attack one of the most important people in her life! She could have killed Tink! And if the vampire didn’t get medical attention soon, she still might!
[#776677 “Come on, let’s carry Amber to the medical cots. We’ll need to…”]
[#005500 “No! N-no… the cells… l-lock me in… in the c-cells…”] Amber insisted as the medics tried to bring her in to treat her. The two medics exchanged a glance and even turned to Tink for guidance since it seemed the red-furred wolf wouldn’t accept treatment any other way. Amber blamed herself, she didn’t deserve to be trusted, and until she was sure Helena’s hold on her was severed, she didn’t want to risk hurting anyone else. At least in the cells, she knew the rest of her pack would be safe!
[#776677 “We’ll bring her to the cells and treat her there. At this point, I think it’s the only thing that will calm her down. We can release her once she’s settled down. And Tink… I know you want the others seen to first, but you’re in critical condition. You have to let us help you. If you let your condition get any worse, it’ll only add to the guilt Amber’s torturing herself with!”] The medic insisted when he saw his leader stumble. She needed treatment, stitches, blood, and a lot of rest if she was going to recover from this!
Leo was eager to leave the den before Trey and the others could return. At first, it seemed Lexi was going to make this easy for him, but that bloodsucker friend of hers was starting to cause problems. He seemed to know Leo was lying and Lexi trusted the boy enough to take his word for it! Leo needed to get her out now, before that little runt could sway her into staying!
[#776677 “Right now, the best way to protect your brother is to get you back to his side. Trey is trying to keep you apart, because he knows you two are stronger when you’re together.”] Leo told her, pulling Lexi towards the door. He had hoped the human girl would keep her little brother out of trouble, but the more that Leech spoke the more damage he caused!
[#776677 “You’re calling me a liar? I’m risking my neck to help this kid and you’re questioning me? Lexi, don’t believe a word he says! I thought he was your friend, but clearly he’s trying to keep you hostage here, just like Trey! Maybe he resents you for turning him into a Bloodsucker! Look, we don’t have time for this, we need to move, NOW!”] Leo growled, tightening his grip on Lexi’s arm. He yanked her towards the back door just as Trey came bursting into the room! Leo turned to meet his Alpha’s growl with a fierce snarl of his own. His grip was bruisingly tight on Lexi’s arm and he wasn’t about to let his last piece of leverage slip through his fingers!
[#776677 “You still have the nerve to call yourself [i my Alpha]?! You abandoned us, Trey! I was in that Hellish place for three years! Amber was only there for a few months. She was still naïve enough to believe you’d come to save us one day, but I knew better. I knew you didn’t care what happened to us! I knew you’d never come to rescue us! Heh, even when we were freed at the Blood Moon, you nearly turned us away. Treated us like traitors instead of victims. So we did the only thing we could to survive – we surrendered. We chose a new Alpha! We stopped fighting Helena and let her lead us, because we knew the consequences if we didn’t!”] Leo growled back with a rabid fury in his eyes. It explained most of Helena’s pets were still loyal. At some point, the brainwashing, drugs, and torture warped these wolves into willing servants. Only the newest of her pets, Amber included, had enough of their own free will left to want to escape. The rest gave up hope of ever being free. They knew to was only a matter of time before Helena captured them again, so it was better to avoid the torture and work for her willingly.
Leo pulled Lexi in close, leaning over her shoulder to speak directly into her ear, while keeping his malicious eyes on Trey.
[#776677 “He got your brother killed, you know? Helena was going to let Dustin go, she didn’t see him as a threat any more. But Trey pissed her off and forced Helena’s hand. Your brother is dead because of him!”] Leo sneered.
A searing pain tore through his hand and Leo was forced to release his grip on Lexi. He looked down at his hand, seeing the black streaks spreading out from the bloody bite mark. The venom was in his system and as a Changeling, even a small bite like that could be potentially fatal!
[#776677 “I won’t be taken again! After all these years, I won’t die a prisoner!”] Leo snarled, lunching for the table covered in medical tools and feeling his hand clasping around a scalpel.
[#776677 “Everyone you love is going to die, Trey! That’s what you get for turning your back on your pack!”] Leo shouted one final curse before raising the scalpel to his own throat. Leo had been beaten, drowned, starved, lashed, tortured, enslaved… he was not going to allow himself to be captured again. He’d rather die.
With one quick slash, the traitor fell lifelessly to the floor with blood pouring from his slit throat.
Arriving at the Den, it didn’t take long for the remaining Pack members to spring into action as soon as the smell of blood hit the air. Medics were waiting at the door, extra fighters came out just in case and in a place that was running out of morale it seemed those who remained were fighting until the end. As Tink and Trey arrived however, that sheer look of determination turned into shock. Firstly there was the rumours... they had heard so many different stories of betrayal and yet here was their Alpha holding Raven and Amber close, bringing them to aid! Then there was Tink. They all mourned her death! Before the questions could start, Tink pulled herself from the wolfs back, gripping her wound tightly to try and contain the little amount of blood she had left.
[+purple “There’s time dropped jaws and questions later! Move it!”] Tink ordered, watching each of the medics immediately scramble to each patient. However as one approached Tink, she shook her head and raised her hand in resistance. She had to check on everyone else first. She was on the edge, barely hanging on, but she had to put everyone else first and as she heard the thud on the ground from Amber, she staggered over and gently rested a hand on her red-furred friend.
[+purple “Stop. Stop it. I’m not dead. We’re here, together and you’re my sister Amber but you stop this. We have a lot to talk about but i need you to focus on anything but the guilt.”] Tink ordered to her friend, but there wasn’t much time for comfort. With Amber’s warning on Leo, Tink went to spin around to join Trey in stopping him, but as she did she collapsed with her blood loss. Fortunately a medic was directly nearby to catch her.
[+purple “T-Trey you don’t kill him! D-Detain him i-if you can!”] She ordered but it was too late, Trey was already sprinting into the Den.
Nearby Anton was struggling against two Vampire’s who were restraining his arms as Raven was being taken inside for immediate medical treatment. She needed exposure to moonlight, blood, organs, and professional medical help if she had any chance of fighting the next few days!
[b “Let me go! I need to fucking be there! I need to help her! And Dustin... they’ve got Dustin! He’s going to...”] Anton was shouting, but before he could fight any further, one of the medics injected him with a small amount of morphine which immediately reversed his withdrawals and put him in a trance. It probably wasn’t fair but with Raven’s blood all over the human, there was no telling what happened out there! If Anton had tried to murder her, which in theory he almost did, they couldn’t trust him. They also didn’t have the order from their Alpha to start any medical treatment on the potential traitor to start battling his addiction, so instead they pulled him towards one of the lockable rooms. There was no windows, no furniture inside he could hurt himself on apart from a mattress on the floor. It would give them enough time to treat the others and then perhaps they could find a clearer story about what happened! Unfortunately Dustin would have to hang on a bit longer... if he was still alive...
[#FF8C00 “No Leo you’re right, we need to get going. I’ve abandoned my twin brother far too much and he needs support. I’ve almost lost him more twice before - I can’t risk losing him again. You’ll help me protect him? You’ll make sure nobody touches him?”] Lexi asked in desperation, falling straight into Leo’s trap! She had just lost Piper and if anyone would know where she was taken to, it would be Dustin. After just losing one friend and being forced to turn another into a Vampire, she couldn’t lose her closest bond! After all the attacks on her twin recently, there was absolutely no reason for her to doubt. Beside’s, Trey had already killed one Sirhan Alpha. With Dustin now stepping up, what if it was all part of his plan? If it wasn’t for Baxter and Candy’s arrival, she probably would have already been out the door!
[#FF69B4 “There you go Baxter. We weren’t going with them anyway. I need to get you away from here and you’ve got yourself in enough trouble. Come on you annoying brat...”] Candy huffed, tired of this trade in conversation. As Leo grabbed Lexi’s arm, Candy grabbed her brothers and started to force him out of the room. Usually the timid boy would have accepted his sisters decision, not daring to have the bravery to resist but there was something different this time. He had seen the dangers that his friends had gotten themselves into and just how close to death they had been. He had seen the risk and he couldn’t just stand back again! His cowardice was the reason it all went wrong. If he was braver then Piper might still be around and Lexi wouldn’t have been forced to do something she instantly regretted!
[+blue “Lexi he’s lying! You trust me don’t you? He’s using your brother to play on your emotions to do what he wants. Candy I can’t....”]
[#FF69B4 “Stop getting involved and move it!”] Candy snapped in intervention, shooting a sharp glare at Lexi for pulling her brother into another situation!
[#FF8C00 “No he’s... Baxter is he...? Leo I thought you cared!”] Lexi hissed, trying to pull her arm away but Leo’s grip was too tight!
Just as Candy sharply pulled her brother, prepared to abandon Lexi to whatever her fate was, Trey came bursting in with his teeth bared and a fierce and threatening growl rumbling from his throat.
[+brown “Leo I am giving you one chance as your Alpha. You let her go, you come with me, and you become our prisoner. Or I do what I need to do and rip you apart here and now. I know what you have done. You betrayed each and everyone of us! Let he go!”] Trey demanded, pacing forward and snapping his teeth as he spoke. Leo had a matter of seconds to make a decision. Trey was strong, fast, and when he used his brute strength he was lethal.
[+brown “Lexi he isn’t on your side. He has never been on your side!”]
[+blue “Lexi Trey is speaking the truth! He hasn’t betrayed you!”] Baxter shouted up, fighting against his sister to try and stay for as long as he could!
There was a clear hesitation in Lexi. She wanted to get to her brother and make sure he was safe! If Baxter didn’t turn up when he did, she would have no intention of trusting Trey. Biting her lip, she nodded towards one of her new best friends and in an attempt to try and get away from Leo and open up an attack for Trey, she lifted up her arm and bit down her fangs on Leo’s hand, immediately trying to drain some blood and use some of her venom to force him away!
Raven could hardly feel anything besides the pain. She wasn’t sure how she was still conscious and a part of her longed for the chance to slip into that numb abyss to escape the torture for just a little while longer. But another, strong part of her pushed her to fight. Maybe it was her Wolf’s survival instincts or the responsibility of a Beta, but for whatever reason, Raven struggled to keep herself awake despite the pain. She knew she wasn’t safe yet and that there were others here that needed protection. She was in no shape to help those around her, but she would do anything to help lessen the burden on those who remained.
The voices around her were still muffled and distorted from her severe concussion, but she could pick out a few that were familiar: Anton, Trey, Tink… of course that didn’t help to clear things up in his muddled mind. One of those was supposed to be dead and the other two had been actively looking to kill her over the past few hours. Raven didn’t remember everything from when she was Feral, but a good chunk of it was coming back to her in flashes. It was strange: like looking at herself from the other side of a mirror. She knew it was her, but had no control over her actions. She did, however, remember Trey’s aggression towards her at the Resistance Den and the fact that five of his pack came looking to kill her . She also remembered Anton’s part in her torture. The confusion shift between him looming over her with a bloody belt in hand to him gently stroking her fur and muttering soft reassurances. She remembered the gun against her head, the violent snap of her leg in his hands, and those words… even before she turned feral, Anton wielded his words like a weapon against her. So why was he here now? Why was he shaking under the burden of her weight when he could have easily passed her off to the Resistance with a clear conscience?
The mystery behind her former partner’s motives was giving Raven an even stronger headache, so she pushed it to the back of her mind. She was too weak to fight anyway, so for good or bad, she would just have to wait to see what Anton had planned for her.
As the group stepped out into the moonlight, injured wolves each wined in relief. Raven turned her face towards the comforting glow, letting the healing light seep into her battered skin. The extent of her injuries was severe and she would need hours if not days under the moonlight before she would be out of danger, the moonlight did seem to be fading some of the smaller bruises and knitting back the shallowest of cuts. Even her breathing slowly started to even out, no longer coming in short sputtering gasps. She still had a long way to go, but one thing was clear: getting Raven into the moonlight saved her life. Even Amber began to stir after several minutes of soaking in the moonbeams. By the time they neared the den, the red-furred wolf was fighting to open her eyes.
Amber was weak and disoriented, but she recognized the fur of her Alpha and knew she was back with her pack. That fact both relieved her and terrified her! Amber had tried to fight Helena’s compulsion and did a much better job than her other rescued packmates, but in the end she too had let the witch get her claws in. The combination of drugs, beatings, and shocks drove Amber out of her mind and forced her to attack her own Alphas! At first, Amber thought she may have been hallucinating or remembering wrong when she thought back to the fight and tasted Tink’s blood on her fangs, but as she blinked her eyes open, and saw her formerly-dead Leader riding another from their pack, the chill of reality set in. Tink was alive… and Amber almost killed her! By the time the group set foot in the Resistance’s den, Amber started to panic. She squirmed, rolling off of Trey’s back and hitting the ground painfully hard. She couldn’t be here! She was a traitor! They shouldn’t trust her! Why didn’t they just leave her for dead?!
[#005500 “N-no… No! I didn’t… I didn’t mean… I.. Tink...”] Amber stuttered, hardly able to get the words out with her head still spinning from her injuries. She wanted to tell them not to trust her, to banish her right now before Helena could force her to do anything else to hurt them! But as she peered around at the familiar wolves and vampires of her pack a far more urgent threat struck her.
[#005500 “L-leo! He killed them all! Alpha, you h-have to stop him! He’s going after Lexi!”]
Leo knew he was running out of time. So far it sounded like he had Lexi’s trust; foolish, gullible child. It would be too easy to lead her away from the safety of the den and back to the Council. Leo had heard the orders his Mistriss had given to Shayd. The pup, Dustin, was as good as dead, and with Lexi delivered to the witch’s hands, there would be no one left to oppose her. After losing one twin, Eli would never risk losing his daughter as well, and he would bow to Helena in a show of submission that none from the Council had yet to drag out of him. Maybe his mistress would even reward Leo when he brought her the girl? Maybe he wouldn’t be beaten and starved like the rest of her pets! Maybe he’d be her partner, not her slave!
[#776677 “Your brother, he’s fine as far as I know. He and your father left hours ago after Trey kicked them out. But he’s not safe, Lexi. Trey is hunting down Raven as we speak – he wants her dead and you know your brother will try to stand in his way. Who knows what Trey will do to your brother if he tries to protect Raven? Don’t worry about the rest of the pack, I can sneak you out the back. No one will even know we’ve gone! But we have to leave now!”] Leo argued, trying to rush the young girl out the door. He thought everything was going smoothly until the human and her newly turned little brother arrived. Leo didn’t like the way the boy was looking at him and the questions he asked made Leo nervous.
[#776677 “Honestly kid, I don’t care if you come with us or not, but I figured you’d be safer with Lexi. You and your sister were recruited by Anton, right? I don’t want Trey trying to use you against the Sirhan, but if you’re leaving with your sister, then that’s fine by me.”] Leo said, not wanting to waste the time convincing him. But this whole meeting was taking far longer than expected and soon Leo could hear a commotion in the main hall announcing that Trey and Tink had returned. Their time was up!
[#776677 “That sounds like Trey! We have to go now, Lexi! Don’t worry, I’ll bring you directly to your brother; you can trust me!”] Leo lied, not realizing Baxter would be able to see the deception in his tone. To add to his urgency, he reached for Lexi’s and arm pulled her towards the back exit, ready to leave with her before the others could intervene.
They had both faced death on numerous occasions. Anton had witnessed many people die, he had seen himself and Raven on the brink of their own lives but each time that edge was getting closer. Not only was it getting closer, but it seemed death wanted to greet them both in the most gruesome and excruciating ways possible. When he was knelt by Raven’s side and his hand touched her neck, his eyes widened at how quickly her own blood covered his own palm. As he pulled it away to examine the severity, his own fingertips were already dripping with the amount of blood exposed from her wound. He might have been on a come down from the drugs, but the reality of how severe this situation was, snapped him back to a strong reality. His partner was dying, with most of the injuries by his own hand. The blood now on his skin was the perfect symbolism of what he had done. Helena hadn’t even played much regarding Raven’s injuries! She might have been the instigator but every wound was Anton’s decision, and Amber’s attacks were the final blow. Now all he was relying on was a strange toxin, provided by a stranger, with no guarantee of what would happen.
So the moment Anton poured that liquid every uncomfortable human feeling twisted inside him. The nausea, the anxiety, the pounding headache, chest pains, shaking nerves... it was nothing compared to the suffering Raven was enduring but selfishness, Anton resented that he felt this way. He hated everything about the fact he stayed and somehow had enough care that he couldn’t just run away.
Watching Raven’s body break and snap, he didn’t bother to turn to see the horror in the other Vampire’s eyes. For the entire time he stared at Raven, watching every wound split open and that pool of blood grow even more underneath her. He could get her out if she turned human, but the question was would she survive the transformation? With every sickening snap he could see every laceration widening, the fibres of her tendons shredding away and exposing the wound further. It was as if his eyes were determined to focus on every single detail of her bloody and broken body, scarring Anton’s mind with the images he wouldn’t be forgetting soon... not without another shoot up.... While the sounds of Raven’s breaking body took over the sound of the room, Anton was silent. Even as Tink and Trey barked at him to move, and to leave Raven to get picked up by the others, he remained frozen by her side as if in a trance.
When it all finally came to an end, Raven’s blood had pooled so deep that Anton who was knelt by her side, had his knees soaking into the puddle that had crept towards him. His jeans were stained and parts of his clothing had splatters from where it had shot from her wounds. His own eyes finally dared to look at Raven’s, expecting to see all signs of life to be disappearing at a rapid rate but instead, his own eyes narrowed as if trying to focus and taking a double take. Was that... she was opening her eyes? She was looking at him? They didn’t carry that controlled and clouded gaze that Helena seemed to summon on her puppets. Through it wasn’t the small amount of life in her eyes that caught Anton off guard, it was when she said his name.
He wanted to say something back. He wanted to say something that would make a difference, that would give her some hope and some reason to fight but how could he? He broke her. He was the one who beat her, knocked her down, continuously worked on Helena’s side to try and keep her alive but with each action he was taking away Raven’s survival. Instead, despite his broken wrist, his desire for another hit, his come down, his fucking exhaustion from being a pathetic human, he slipped his hands under Raven and lifted her up. He blood was pooling down his shirt, and within moments it was hard to tell who the blood was coming from!
[+purple “Anton, you don’t have to... let us take her.”] Tink ordered, waving over one of her own but as the Vampire got close, Anton shoved him away.
[b “I’m doing it...”] Anton hissed, as the Vampire made a second attempt to try and take Raven from his arms, he gave a much more forceful shove and a menacing look crossed his face.
[b “I said I’m fucking taking her and no one is stopping me! Come near me again and I’ll snap your fucking neck!”] Anton growled, pulling Raven closer to himself and taking a defensive step back.
[+brown “Ok! It’s ok Anton but we need to leave. We’re only trying to help. Tink come on. I’ve got Amber.”] Trey intervened, wanting out for all of their sakes. Tink was bleeding out, Amber was barely surviving, Anton was losing his mind and Raven didn’t have long left at all!
The group made their way out without any more threats from the Council and it wasn’t long before the exit of the tunnels were coming closer, and the shine of moonlight started to reveal itself. Trey sprinted out with Amber, wanting her in the moonlight as quickly as possible and Anton was hot on his tail. Once Trey was outside, he let out an Alpha’s howl, calling out for any Resistance wolves who could get to them as quickly as possible to aid in their travel. Tink needed an urgent blood supply and despite how she was keeping a brave face, Trey could see that she was close to becoming feral which as a Vampire, was the last few survival signs.
Anton however kept Raven close, only stretching out his arms in some attempt to expose her to the moonlight more as they stepped outside. He knew it would need hours of rest, but it was those initial bursts of light that would make the difference. His wrist was bursting in pain, his body was starting to hit the peak of withdrawal and his face was covered in drips of sweat while his body shivered, but the one thing keeping him going was his focus and persistence on Raven.
[b “I’m here... I’m here Raven. You’re not dying because of me. You’re better than that. You hear me? You’re better than that! I did it because I couldn’t let her control you. I did it because I had to so don’t you dare throw that back and die.”] Anton pleaded through gritted teeth, already rationalising his actions in his mind which brought a twisted look on Tink’s face, but Trey shook his head to stop her from arguing back. Anton’s thought processes never made sense, but it was his actions that spoke volumes. He was still trying to keep Raven alive.
Then just on cue, more Resistance wolves started to make their appearance. Some couldn’t believe that Tink was alive, while others sprung to action upon seeing Amber in a broken state. Tink used to last of her strength to jump on the back of one of the wolves.
[+purple “I hate to rush but we really need to get back. Anton, hand her over. We need to get back, get everyone healed and get moving to Dustin. Remember, he’s still at risk. We need to hurry.”] Tink reminded, not focusing on his care for Raven as she spoke as she knew it might cause Anton to refuse further. Instead she played on his other thought of focus. Somehow, it broke through to Anton and he started to make his way to one of the wolves, gently resting Raven on top while another wolf approached to pick Anton up.
[b “You watch her. You hear me? Don’t let her die.”]
[+purple “We won’t Anton.”] Tink assured and now that they had the resources to get back, Trey lead his pack back towards Resistance territory with the intention to quickly deal with Leo as soon as he was back...
Lexi had been stuck in the medical bay for hours, attached to an IV bag of blood. All she wanted was to check on Baxter and her mind was also on Piper. Dustin was never going to forgive her once he found out that Piper was taken away and Lexi just let her go! She was also the reason Baxter was now having to live the life of a Vampire. As Leo walked in, Lexi was sat crossed legged on the bed and looking out the window, so lost in her thoughts that Leo’s voice caught her off guard. Her head snapped around, almost too quickly that as soon as she saw Leo, she shot him an apologetic look.
[+orange “Hey Leo, sorry... yeah I’m feeling a lot better. We’ve all been through Hell and back recently. Do you know if Baxter is ok? Candy didn’t look too happy...”] Lexi asked, biting her lip as she did; she wished there was another way but if she didn’t turn Baxter, he would have died! Not that Candy would see that. All Candy saw was that Baxter was turned into a monster.
[+orange “Wait, Trey did what...? Is Dustin ok? Leo is my brother ok? You must know something more? Of course I can trust you but surely the rest of the Pack just won’t let me walk out of here and you’re still injured.”] Lexi spoke back, completely convinced with Leo’s act. She was so exhausted and had so much on her mind, there was no opportunity to even consider doubting!
[+orange “I don’t know if Candy will let Baxter come with us... she was really angry. I think she’s...”]
[#FF1493 “Angry? That doesn’t even cover it Lexi. My brother should never have been put in that situation. We are leaving and you won’t be seeing us but he wanted to see you before we went.”] Candy cut in, walking into the room with a bag on her shoulder and an impatient look on her face. A very sheepish looking Baxter appeared from behind, already showing the effects of his transformation. His shaggy hair was white, his skin was pale and cold to the touch, and there was no rise and fall of his chest.
[+orange “Bax. I’m so...”]
[+blue “Don’t. I just... wait a minute, are you ok?”] Baxter asked, immediately picking up on the worried look on Lexi’s face.
[+orange “Leo has just told me that we have to leave. We can’t trust Trey anymore and I’m worried about Dustin. He was checking that we should all go together but if you and Candy are leaving then I guess you’ll be safe. You just need to get far away.”] Lexi explained as she slipped off the bed, gingerly pulling the IV from her arm. As she did, Baxter continued reading her face before turning to Leo.
[+blue “Why do you want us all to come with you? And why such a rush? Trey would have no leverage with us against Dustin, so why do you need all three of us?”] Baxter asked, not trusting Leo at all and already reading the lies, but he had to be careful. If he openly spoke out, he could be putting them all in danger!
[#FF1493 “Who cares Baxter, we’re not going with them. Say your goodbyes and lets get going.”]
[#ff00ff “Take it back? No! Even after all these years, you still haven’t learned your lesson, Trey! I doesn’t seem to matter how many of your precious Resistance I kill or corrupt, you always think you’re going to miraculously save everyone in the end. Well, it’s about time I prove to you that your pathetic attempts at heroism will only get your friends killed!”] Helena snapped back, no longer harbouring any interest in bargaining with the Alpha. Shayd was her oldest and most loyal pet. He was her strongest weapon - Bloodborn destined and trained to become the Alpha of one of the most feared packs in the city! He was nearly three times the size of the little blonde pup, with enough raw muscle, honed skill, and ruthless power to overtake Dustin in seconds! And the best part? That stupid pup probably trusted Shayd! All he would see is the rescued older brother of his own trusted Beta! He’d probably follow Shayd to his grave without even a hint that something could be wrong!
It seemed that trusting Helena’s pets was a common weakness among this group. Tink willingly opened herself to Amber’s attack and was now being torn into by her former best friend and Anton was currently staring down the feral gaze of his own partner!
Raven was snapping and snarling as she made her approach, looking hell-bent on sinking those sharp fangs directly into Anton’s frail human neck. It wasn’t until the last second when her true target was revealed. Helena cursed, furious at this unexpected turn of events! She had forced Anton to torture that wolf, how the hell was she still trying to save his life?! Her only saving grace was that this betrayal wouldn’t stand for long. Amber was badly injured, but she was still in far better shape than Raven. By the end of this fight, that troublesome hybrid would be dead and Helena would have one less enemy to contend with… at least, until the Old Man showed up. Helena made her escape before she could see what happened, but she highly doubted the hybrid could have survived. Even with the Old Man’s intervention, the wolf was clearly dying.
It was a testament to her condition when Raven didn’t even stir as Anton approached. She lay deathly still, with the only sign of life coming from the shallow, laboured breaths and the shaky rise and fall of her chest. It was a reflex, more than anything – with her vampire blood, Raven should even need to breath, but her feral instincts wouldn’t stop the painful wheezing breaths that shook her core. Raven was bleeding heavily from her torn neck, the her fur was wet with sweat and blood from her fight. The welts and gashes in her back from Anton’s beating were reopened and her back leg jutted out at an unnatural angle as she lay there. But for a wolf who was always very defensive, especially when she as injured, she didn’t even stir when Anton approached. As he stroked the fur on her neck, Anton would be able to feel the sticky residue of blood and the torn flesh beneath her fur. A closer look would reveal a frightening splatter of blood by her muzzle, indicating some internal injuries as well. Helena was right, Raven wasn’t going to survive much longer. At this point, sheer survival instinct alone was keeping her breathing, but soon even that wouldn’t be enough.
As the strange liquid seeped into Raven’s mouth and trickled down her throat, the hybrid began to sputter and choke. The wet, rasps of breath seemed to struggle more now and the wolf hardly had the energy to swallow down the liquid! It took several seconds before the drug took effect, but when it did… the results were horrifying.
Raven’s body violently jerked and twisted, her bones snapping and muscles tearing so painfully, it brought the poor creature out of unconsciousness just to experience the torment. The sick crack of bone and torn flesh was so loud, it almost drown out the painful yelps of the hybrid as her body contorted and twisted, breaking itself into pieces. For any of the vampires in the room, it might have appeared as if the Old Man’s drug was killing her in the most painful way possible, but both Trey and Anton would know better. This wasn’t torture… it was transformation.
Soon the patchy fur was receding, leaving torn and bruised flesh in its place, and Raven’s canine form soon twisted and reformed into that of a human. She was left in her ripped jeans and tank top hanging loosely on her form. The back of her shirt was shredded, revealing the deep, angry gashes that littered her raw and beaten skin. The injuries that looked terrible on the wolf looked even worse on the human. Her neck was torn and shredded into ribbons, her arms were littered with deep bruising and fierce bites, and her broken leg looked even more mangled with the joint no longer hidden by her fur. The violence of the transformation ripped open any wounds that had started to heal, leaving the young woman lying in a pool of crimson. When the transformation finally ended, Raven had just enough strength to open her eyes, seeing the human sitting before her and - for the first time since turning feral – she recognized who he was!
[b “A-An-ton?”] She choked out, her voice as broken as her body. In true Raven fashion, she moved her arms to her side as if trying to lift herself up, not caring that she was still fighting for survival with every feeble breath. Fortunately, it would be a lot easier dragging a human out of here than a wolf, so they at least had a chance of getting her home. But if Raven was even going to make it home, she needed exposure to the moonlight. Right now, that would be her only chance at surviving this.
Back at the resistance, Leo got the call that his cover was blown. If even one of those wolves or vamps made it out alive, they’d know he was no longer loyal to the Resistance and that he was the one betraying and murdering his own pack. Leo needed to get out of here, but his Mistress wouldn’t be pleased with his cowardice if he just ran. No, he’d need a way to get back in her favour… and he knew the perfect thing!
[#776677 “Lexi? Feeling any better?”] Leo said, stepping into the room. He had already been treated by the medics, now sporting several bandages to cover his wounds from his fight with Amber. Of course as far as anyone else knew, it was injuries from his struggle with Raven!
[#776677 “Lexi I… I don’t want to seem disloyal, but… well, being a prisoner of Helena gave me a fresh perspective. I don’t agree with what my Alpha is doing, so even if I have to go behind his back I have to clear my conscience. Lexi, he ordered us to keep you here, away from your brother. Trey and Dustin fought… they broke the alliance between the Resistance and Sirhan and now I’m worried Trey’s going to use you as leverage. You need to get out of here. You, the human, and the new vampire, you all need to leave. If you come with me now, I can get you out of the territory unseen, but you’ll have to trust me. Can you do that?”] Leo asked, pretending to care about her wellbeing, as well as Candy and Baxter’s. If he could get they to follow him out of the protection of the pack, he could kill the human cook and her little brother, taking out two of Sirhan’s newest allies, and then hand deliver Helena’s greatest rival to her! All he needed was to get Lexi, Baxter, and Candy out before Trey and the others got back!
Trey was battling between keeping his attention on Helena and fighting for his own survival. The moment he stood to try and keep his focus on Helena, it seemed another power-hungry Council guard was literally jumping on his back, trying to rip his throat apart! Tink’s extra reinforcements were definitely buying them time, but that was it. With Helena’s control over his best friend and Raven, with Anton losing the will to defend himself... they were only surviving to listen to Helena’s taunts for longer. Just as Trey ripped another vampire from his back, he turned just in time to see Helena holding the familiar device which caused his entire body to tense. For a brief moment, within the chaos, Trey had frozen on the spot - shell-shocked with what he just made Helena do.
He just sentenced Dustin Palmer to death.
[+purple “Take it back! I said take it back!”] Trey screamed a bloodthirsty howl, the agony of his decision wrenching from his heart with the realisation of how he pushed Helena’s insanity too far. If he could, he would have leapt up on that balcony and ripped her apart! Before he could however, he was pulled back into the fight. For now Dustin was on his own again and unless by some miracle they survived this; The Resistance and Sirhan would be destroyed.
The despair in Trey’s voice was enough for Tink to risk everything to get her friend back. She had only heard the rumours of how much the pack’s had been falling apart but now she was witnessing it first hand! There was a fresh look in Anton’s eyes, behind the bloodshot gaze, glaring between Helena and Trey with utter hatred for what they had just forced upon Dustin; but there was still no strength to fight. Trey was crazed; not fighting tactically like he used to but like a rabid dog! Raven was barely standing but it was Amber who had her full attention. She had full faith that if she could somehow get through to her friend, if she could get her to come back to reality, then half of this mess would be over! Amber had the strength and smarts to beat Helena’s control and as Tink opened her arms, there was a smug smile on her face. She could see Amber was listening to her words. They might not have been sinking in but she could tell there was a partial recognition. All she had to do was keep talking and maybe, just maybe it would inspire Anton as well! He could do the same with Raven. Both of them together could get their friends back and then the fight would switch in the power dynamic.
Instead, all the moment proved was how much Tink had missed. Things weren’t as simple as they used to be and as Amber fell to the floor with the click of the remote, Tink didn’t even have time to drop her arms as the concern grew! Even her quick reflexes weren’t quick enough for what happened next. As she blinked, when she opened her eyes she saw a flash of red fur in front of her and then her own agonising scream filled the arena. Her hands instantly shot up to Amber’s neck, trying to pry the wolf off her shoulder but she just wasn’t strong enough! This wasn’t just a single bite. Amber was moving her fangs around Tink’s muscles, ripping and pulling! There was already a free flow of blood covering Tink’s right hand side and an artery had already been burst, shooting a spray of blood across the room. If Tink didn’t free herself in the next few minutes - she was going to die the moment she had brought herself back! Though Tink had no fear for herself... she was more determined to survive to protect Amber from the guilt!
[+brown “Argh! Amber! Amber listen! This isn’t you! This isn’t... ARGH! TREY! Speak... Amber you need to hear my voice! Listen to my voice!”] Tink begged between the pain, collapsing to her knees as Amber’s weight dragged her down and the blood loss was making her weaker and weaker. Now all that was left standing was Trey who was fighting for his life and Anton... they were doomed...
Or, so Tink thought.
As Anton turned on Helena, there was a slight moment of hope. He was fighting back! Deep inside Anton however, there was a deep and terrifying lack of fear. He was numb. He saw no purpose without the drugs to numb the pain and as his mind cleared, he was feeling the full impact of what he had done. Anton knew he was always destined to die in the hands of the Council. It was a fluke he survived Draven’s attacks... so as Helena made her orders, Anton simply turned his head to watch as Amber and Raven approached.
[b “It’s ok Raven. It’s ok...”] Anton whispered with a shaky and withdrawn breath, with no hatred or anger as she stepped forward.
The blood she was covered in, her own, was due to his hand. This was the revenge she deserved. He couldn’t save her and he couldn’t bring her back. As the two wolves growled, ready to rip him apart, Anton closed his eyes and took a deep and steady breath. It was the most composed he had looked for weeks. Almost peaceful amongst the chaos.
He felt a strong force press against his body, his breath taken from his chest and for a moment he thought that was it. His final breath. His final moment. The addict who died a coward.
Only instead he felt the cold force of the concrete against his body and the sharp pain of bruising already growing on his side. His eyes snapped open as his broken wrist hit the floor again and he only had time to look up to see the bloody battle between the two wolves! Raven had saved his life? She didn’t kill him. Instead now he was left battling with what he could do!? He couldn’t stop them, he couldn’t fight...
Instead his thought process was broken as another figure stepped into the room. Anton stared for a moment, rubbing his eyes the next... had he taken something? What was this old guy doing? Why had Helena run away from some old man!? In a brief moment just from his arrival they had been saved by this mysterious stranger. Even the Council guards retreated as the Old Man made his arrival. Anton was still on the floor as the imposing figure made his approach, staring up with sheer confusion, gratitude, and even for Anton... a slight tremble of fear... he didn’t trust the Old Man, nor why he had came to their rescue but he wouldn’t get a chance to question what had happened. As he was handed the purple bottle and he pointed towards Raven, Anton gripped it tightly in his good hand and quickly crawled over to his partner. His hand went straight up to the fur on her neck, stroking it gently but shakily.
[b “You should have fucking killed me...”] He whispered, staring at the bottle as he did. What if he was giving her a drug? What if this would do something she would hate him for? Not that when she regained consciousness that wouldn’t happen anyway. He beat her. He tortured her. If this old guy saved them, surely Anton had to take the chance with this bottle...
Opening the top, Anton poured the liquid down Raven’s muzzle with his own breath caught in his throat. He wasn’t strong enough with his own condition to get her out and he hoped that somehow, this was a miracle in a bottle.
Tink, despite her rapidly bleeding shoulder, didn’t hesitate rushing over to her friend. She quickly rested her hand on Amber’s chest, feeling for a heartbeat and instantly let out a sigh of relief knowing she was alive.
[+brown “Trey we need to get out now!”]
[+purple “I’m on it. Tink... don’t pull that sort of shit again...”]
[+brown “I don’t regret it Trey. I almost broke through. I know it works. Just... get her up and let’s get back.”] Tink ordered but as she stood up, she almost instantly collapsed again! Luckily her own reinforcements were quick to catch her as Trey, in his wolf form, nuzzled his neck underneath Ambers body and rolled her onto his back.
[+purple “Anton we need to get going.”]
[b “Not until I know Raven... and shit, Dustin... you fucking got Dustin kill-“]
[+brown “He hasn’t yet! We don’t know anything about Dustin but if we waste time here then he will be dead. Trey, get Amber back to base and get all the soldiers you need and head to Resistance territory. We need someone who can break through to Shayd... “] Tink started planning, despite her own blood loss, but stared at Raven on the ground... she was the family link, but she was barely breathing as it was!
[+purple “We can plan on the way. Come on let’s go!”]
<<I'm sorry this took almost a month! But to make up for it, I included a special guest!>>
Helena peered down at her prey, finding Trey’s continued resilience amusing. Hadn’t he learned by now? It was hopeless! He had no chance at protecting his pack now that Helena’s pets had infiltrated their ranks, and as for those twins… Helena had them right where she wanted them.
[#ff00ff “Trey, how many times do I have to prove to you that my threats are real? I have crumbled entire packs, slaughtered countless wolves, enslaved alphas and betas alike! You think those two brats are safe? I didn’t want it to come to this, Trey, I had plans for those twins. But if killing one of them is the only way to prove to you that I’m serious…”] Helena took out a small device from her cloak – the same one she used to communicate with the traitors in Trey’s pack. She hesitated, for dramatic effect, wanting to relish in the growing dread in Trey’s eyes.
[#ff00ff “Shayd? How’s my favourite pet?”] She cooed into the device, answered by the deep, familiar tone of the former Sirhan Alpha.
[#776677 “I’m here Mistress. The pup now trusts me. He’s released me from holding. What are your orders?”] Shayd’s calm, damning voice range out clearly across the arena. Helena knew this would be satisfying. Her eyes flickered over to Anton, knowing he had been close with the boy, and back to Trey, soaking in the potential anguish of a mentor losing his student because he couldn’t keep his own damn mouth shut!
[#ff00ff “Kill the boy. No witnesses. I want Sirhan to welcome you back as their new Alpha when this is all over.”] Helena commanded, adding that last bit to emphasize just how much power and control she had over their friends. Whatever hope or doubt the others had would soon fall and Shayd’s gruff voice sounded once again:
[#776677 “Yes, Mistress. Consider it done.”] With that, the line went dead as Shayd went off to carry out his orders. Helena knew that killing off one of her bargaining chips was a gamble, but the boy was pretty much useless at this point anyway! After all, she had thought him dead only hours ago. It was time to fix that little oversight.
[#ff00ff “Humanity, pride, connection… hardly a match for teeth, fangs, and muscle, wouldn’t you agree Tink? The boy is no match for Shayd. And in the pup’s death, the rightful Alpha will take his place in Sirhan, and your little allied pack will belong to me.”] Helena was smug and overconfident, her smirk never faltering, even as Tink boasted that she’d given away the secret to saving Amber. She was technically right: strong bonds, deep connection, a personal exchange – if she could make Amber remember how close they were, she would no doubt snap out of her Feral state, but only if she calm down and overcome the adrenaline. Amber would have to slow down and relax enough to clear the primal craze from her mind and focus on why she remembered these people and why she shouldn’t hurt them. It would take time – something Helena had no intention of giving her.
Amber was injured from her fight with Leo, and wasn’t nearly as swift as she usually was. As Tink dodged her first few attacked, Amber didn’t have the energy to keep pace. The exhaustion was slowing her down, just enough that Tink’s words started to break through the surface. For Amber, it was like her entire body was submerged in water as she strained to hear the muffled voice of her Alpha break through the surface. She knew there was some reason and purpose to the voice, but nothing was clear enough for her to understand just yet. Still, it was enough to make Amber pause and lessen her growling. She peered at Tink and Trey with a flicker of familiarity… before her entire world erupted in pain.
With a click on her remote, Helena send a fierce shock to Amber’s collar, stunning the wolf out of her momentary weakness and sending a new surge of adrenaline through her blood. The pain, fear, and anger overwhelmed Ambler, drowning out any recognition she had started to build for Tink or Trey. As Tink stood there and opened herself up to Amber, all the red-furred wolf could see was her prey. With a vicious snarl, Amber lunged at Tink once again, sinking her fangs deep into the vampiress’ shoulder. She ripped and tore into the cold flesh in what had the potential to be a very serious, if not fatal attack if no one stopped her! Helena lusted for the moment that Amber would make her final bite. If she killed one of her own Alpha’s, she’d never recover from the guilt! She would be a slave to Helena forever, just to escape the pain and shame of killing one of her closest friends!
[#ff00ff “Once again, you underestimate the power I have over your little friends, Tink. She will kill you. And if one day she ever does break my control, she will remember ever grueling second of it! She’ll remember the taste of your blood, the smell of your torn flesh, and the look in your eyes as your life slips away. Even if I can’t break her forever – the knowledge that she kill you certainly will.”] Helena smirked. That confidence wouldn’t last, however. As Nexus turned his back on her, portraying his disappointment, Helena’s smug grin twisted into rage. With all she’d worked for, all she’d done in order to break down the very fiber of the wolves and rebuild them into her perfect obedient pets, now her hard work and accomplishments will be cast aside for the sake of one, pathetic human’s defiance? That was the last strand of Helena’s patience. She had wanted to control Anton, to prove she could succeed where Draven failed, but he wasn’t worth the trouble he caused.
[#ff00ff “First, you destroy my face, then you destroy my credibility with the Council! No one makes me look bad and survives! Amber! Change of priorities! I want you and Raven to tear that human to pieces! KILL ANTON!”] Helena ordered.
When Anton first asked for Raven’s help killing the witch, the wolf flinched away from his approach and whimpered, expecting more pain. After all – he had beaten her into the ground with his belt, and after showing her some kindness in the cell, he then broke her leg with his own bare hands! But once Helena gave her own order, some semblance of fight returned to Raven’s eyes. She used what little strength she had left to push herself up on her three working legs. She turned her back to Helena, looking to Anton with a deep growl building in her chest.
On the other side of the room, Amber stopped before she could do any fatal damage to Tink. She turned her eyes and her blood-soaked muzzle towards Anton at Helena’s request and started stalking towards him. Now Anton was in the middle of two snarling wolves, both looking like they had the intent to kill. When Amber was close enough, she darted for Anton. At the same time, Raven mustered her remaining strength and surged forwards towards her former partner. But just before making contact, Raven slammed her side into Anton, shoving him to the ground as she met Amber’s attack full force!
Both wolves were badly injured, both exhausted and worn, yet both seemed to be fighting for the death. Raven, despite all the pain and torture Anton had caused her still fought to defend him, while Amber, completely overtaken by Helena’s orders, would kill anyone who stood in her way! The two were locked in a fury of fur and teeth, blood splattering the ground where they fought. Raven was in far worse condition, but her natural skills and fighting ability kept her on par with Amber’s quick, sharp attacks. One thing was certain – if someone didn’t separate these two and find a way to stop them, Raven and Amber were going to tear each other apart!
It was then that in the midst of the chaos, with wolves and vampires fighting to the death and former friends and allies ready to slaughter each other, that a new entity entered the room. A cloaked figured with his head shrouded in a dark hood, with only the length of his long, snow white beard visible beneath, entered the arena, walking with slow, confident steps towards the battling wolves. His one hand was concealed in the pocket of his robes, while his other gripped the tall, twisted wood of his walking stick. When he was a mere few paces away, he reached up and lowered his hood, instantly received a shocked and somewhat wary gasp from Helena.
[#ff00ff “You!”] She spat, clearly the only one in the room to recognize the old man who simple stared at her nonthreateningly. Despite his seemingly passive nature, Helena looked spooked. She retreated with a wisp of her own cloak, leaving her victims and pets alike to fight to the death in the arena.
The Old Man then looked towards the two injured wolves and raised both his hand and his walking stick as if he were a wizard, preparing to cast some kind of elaborate spell! But instead, he simple brought his stick down on the fighting wolves’ heads, knocking both unconscious with a swift, yet strangely gentle strike. With Amber and Raven collapsed at his feet, both bloody and weak, frail and injured, the Old Man turned his mysterious gaze to Anton. He reached out his hand, revealing a small vial of purple liquid to the human. Once Anton took it, he then pointed his wrinkled, shaky finger at Raven’s unconscious form. Without any instruction… without a single word at all – the Old Man turned and walked away in the same, slow, confident steps leaving the room in a state of confusion. No one knew whether the Old Man was a friend or foe, nor what was in the vial he gave Anton. The only thing that was clear was if Trey, Tink, and Anton had any intention of escaping, now was the time!
Trey was standing in a space that was highly likely to be his final moments. His partner, his friend, was in Helena’s control. Anton was lost in a mixture of guilt, withdrawal, and loss of hope and Raven... he wasn’t even sure Raven was there. Everyone else either found disgust in his presence, wanted him dead, or was commanded to bring about his execution. Others might have surrendered, maybe even begged for it to be over quickly but Trey was staring directly at the monster who had tormented him and everyone he cared about for years. While he was weak and injured, he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of taking away his pride. He had very little of it left... he wasn’t going to surrender it to Helena.
At least until she started to reveal the truth. Once again Trey’s doubts had led to so much chaos. He believed Raven was a monster. He lost faith in Sirhan. All this time the real monster had been right under his nose and he was so distracted he lost his ways... it was far too reoccurring. The Alpha was starting to wonder if his own downfall would be the rebirth of The Resistance. Only he couldn’t let Helena know that. Not now...
[+purple “I may not be the smartest leader, I may have made fatal errors, I may have let you beat me too many times but there is one thing you’re not understanding Helena. You beat me, you outsmarted me, but those twins... they’re smart. They may have been caught by you, tortured, but they’re resilient. That’s a true Resistance. You can take me down, but i can guarantee you those twins won’t be so easy.”] Trey snarled in response as he heard the full array of secrets.
He may have lost trust with Sirhan and destroyed any relationship that could ever exist, but he had to hope that somehow if he didn’t survive this that The Council wouldn’t win this. If Sirhan went down, then there was no longer any strong Pack’s with the right values in the city. Everything would crumble...
[+brown “No Trey. The real reason they are resilient is because they have something Helena will never have. Connection. Humanity. Pride. Something you lost too.”] Tink interrupted as she made her reveal, though she shared the same determination in her eyes as Trey. She didn’t fear Helena, in fact she embraced the upcoming fight for survival.
[+brown “Can see your pretty little features didn’t stick as well. Odd how much can change. You really are melting away. Thank you for giving me all the hope I need for Amber. Now you’ve just given The Resistance something they lost - Purpose.”] Tink grinned and as the order came for Amber to attack, Tink had no fear in her eyes. Instead as she made her first lunge, Tink timed perfect to slide directly under Ambers legs. She didn’t have to worry about fighting too much. The Vampires who came with her were keeping the other wolves at bay, she just needed a few others in the fight.
[+brown “Trey, snap out of it, grow a pair, and fight.”] She ordered and it seemed to snap him right out of it!
Then her attention turned back to Amber. She could keep avoiding the attacks... Tink was a strategist, a forward thinker and, a talent she always had was her use of parkour. So long as she could keep avoiding the attacks, perhaps she could break through to Amber.
[+brown “Amber I know you are in there. This isn’t your truth! You know who you are and you have a lot of hidden truths. You’ve been scared! I’ve been watching and you have been so scared of speaking up, but that’s who you are! If you do this, if you keep this up, this isn’t your truth. You’ll be a slave to the lies Helena is forcing onto you and I won’t stand back and watch you fall like that! Not today. Come on Amber, this is your Tink! I’m here, I’m alive! You wanted to speak didn’t you, when Trey called you out. What did you want to say? Come on Amber, speak the truth! Wake up from this lie!”] Tink spoke up, avoiding another attack by side-rolling out of the way. She was targeting the one aspect she knew about Amber: she was real, she was honest, she was fiery and determined. Those traits weren’t lost, they were just buried under fear.
[+brown “Remember when we made The Resistance. We argued for days about our ‘mission statement’. You snapped, you scolded me and Trey for bickering because you said ultimately it was to do what was right! I trust you. I know you’ll do what’s right...”] Tink spoke and she did something even she didn’t expect. She stood completely still, opening her arms for Ambers next move. She trusted Amber. She believed there was her friend in there. That trust may take away Tink’s life as soon as it was rediscovered by everyone else, but she was willing to take that risk for her friend.
Anton hadn’t moved since the fight had begun. He pinned himself against the wall of the arena, clawing at the back of his neck and watching the blood bath from the corner of his eye. He had done the unthinkable. He had destroyed his partner and he was watching her die. He had beaten her, snapped her leg, tortured her, messed with her trust... all for drugs... drugs he hadn’t got yet. Drugs he was still waiting for and... damn it why was he obsessed with the fucking drugs? He was literally itching his skin away with his broken wrist, not caring for his own damages or Raven’s because that need just wouldn’t go away. He was obsessed and losing everything he had good around him. Hearing Helena’s orders, his nails dug deeper into the back of his neck and he opened his mouth, letting out a silent scream as he keeled over. Why was she torturing him with these decisions!? Raven could barely move! She was dying! What did Helena expect her to do!?
Unfortunately Helena had made one terrible mistake. She hadn’t followed up her side of the deal. With Anton’s obsession came the withdrawal. He was sweating, shaking, desperate... he was torn between the need to care for his partner and his own greed. It made an odd combination with his mental state - one that was done. One that was over everything she had forced onto him. He was injured, so was Raven, but perhaps there was a way to somehow get out of this once and for all. With withdrawal he had his first sobering thoughts and he shakily pushed himself from the wall.
[b “You want her to follow my fucking orders?”] Anton sneered, laughing a pain filled laugh as he staggered by Raven’s side. Perhaps it was the fight back from the rest of the Resistance, or maybe it was just a final moment of insanity. What he would do next would probably get them killed, but his patience was finally drew thin.
[b “Raven... kill the witch with me.”] He ordered, glaring at Helena.
Nexus snarled, putting a sharp hand on Helena’s shoulder as he watched the scene taking place.
[+green “This is an embarrassment.”] He whispered in her ear, turning around and storming out through the only door they could escape through with all other exits blocked. He was done. He had seen enough. She couldn’t even keep a junkie under control.
Helena peered down at Trey as if he were worth no more than the filth beneath her boot. She watched the proud Alpha stand strong, despite his injuries, while the rest of her pets surrounded him waiting for her command to kill. But Helena wasn’t ready to end her fun just yet. She had been toying with Trey for years now, and she had far too much invested just to end it all so quickly.
Helena watched as Trey called out to his packmate, with Amber chained and wounded. Amber hadn’t been with Helena for nearly as long as the others, so her loyalty to the witch was still largely based on fear and submission. Where wolves like Leo and James would do Helena’s bidding just because she ordered it Amber needed to be broken in again. Not that it was much of a challenge. Helena was an artist when it came to breaking the spirit of a wolf.
Amber slowly raised her head off the ground, hearing the clinking of the chain around her own neck. She stared at Trey, almost looking as if she wanted to say something, before something in the distance caught the wolf’s attention.
Helena heard a sharp yelp and whimpers coming from Anton’s room and knew he had done as she commanded. Soon, the wounded Wolf was dragged into the arena. As soon as Anton released her, Raven shuffled away, trying to support herself on three legs, with her back left hanging at an awkward angle. Whatever trust Raven had started to build back was shattered along with her leg, leaving her far too wary and defensive to let her guard down in the arena. But it was clear, as the blood dripped from her saturated fur, that she wasn’t going to last much longer.
[#ff00ff “Trey, I see you’re as clueless as ever!”] Helena laughed as he immediately jumped to accusing Raven. It seemed all the Alpha could see was that Raven had turned murderer and attacked his own loyal pack, when in fact, it was his own pack that attacked her! The irony was almost poetic.
[#ff00ff “I suppose there’s no harm in letting you in on the secret. You won’t be leaving here alive either way. No Trey, Raven here is actually innocent. She hasn’t killed a soul! Your friends James and Leo, however… their paws aren’t quiet as clean. Too bad you left Leo unattended back at your base. You left him in the medic area, didn’t you? Along with Lexi?”] Helena grinned, knowing Trey would understand the threat. Knowing she had wolves on the inside meant no one was safe! Leo could easily kill Lexi or manipulate her into leaving the pack unprotected! But that wasn’t the only secret Helena had to share.
[#ff00ff “It’s funny, really. You were all so very careful not to say anything incriminating in front of Piper’s microphone, and yet when she left the room, you were more than happy to brag about your successes and failures to your pack! Leo told me your little secret, Trey. I know Dustin Kane is alive and I know you sent him away after breaking your alliance. Don’t worry – I have pets inside the Sirhan pack as well. Your little friend won’t be a problem much longer.”] Helena promised, wanting Trey to know that both Dustin and Lexi were in danger and there was nothing he could do about it. Even if he did somehow manage to escape and try to warn Dustin, the Pup wouldn’t believe a word he said after their last fight!
Everything was working according to Helena’s plan, until a new voice entered the scene. Helena was careful to keep her expression unchanged, not wanting Nexus to think of this as another failure. She had to play this off as no concern, or he’d start losing faith in her! Fortunately for Helena, she always had another card up her sleeve.
[#ff00ff “Tink, how lovely of you to join us! I always warned you that your love for these filthy, dog-breathed mutts would get you killed. It seems t didn’t stick. Let’s fix that, shall we?”] Helena threatened, raising her hand to hear the vicious snarls and snapping teeth of her own pets escalate in anticipation of a fight.
[#ff00ff “You’re right, Tink. Amber isn’t completely lost. She was only in my care for a couple months, meaning she – of all my pets - is actually still saveable! A little care and compaction, some trust and reassurance, Amber might have actually had a chance to move past everything I put her through. Which makes this so much more fun! Amber! Kill the Fang and don’t stop unless they kill you.”] Helena ordered. With a touch of a button, Amber’s chains fell away and she leaped to her feet, snarling ferally at her two Alpha’s, with no touch of recognition in her eyes, just like Raven. Whatever had happened between Amber leaving the Den and now had shattered the red wolf’s mind once more making her a slave to the witch. Without any hesitation, the injured wolf ran at Tink, lunging towards the Vampiress’ neck.
[#ff00ff “Don’t just stand there Anton, order your own little bitch into the fight! And if she doesn’t obey you, give her a good shock from that collar of hers. You need to teach your mutt to follow her Master’s orders!”]
[+green “Miracles? Ha, I’ve been alive for a very long time and I have yet to have seen a miracle yet. In fact the world is rather boring... we’re always waiting for...something... I’ve been waiting since the Kane’s were removed from the chair, I suppose I can wait a little bit longer for this ‘miracle’”] Nexus mused at Helena’s confidence having heard such bold words before. There had been so many who had tried to step up and join his side with the three other Council members, yet none nearly had the showmanship that this Vampire possessed. Nexus would usually never bother with such antics - no other Vampire had gripped his attention but there was something about Helena that was starting to attract him. Perhaps it was just her cruel and merciless nature against anyone who was not a Vampire - The Council had lost its way. Far too many creatures roamed and it was thrilling to see someone taking action. Even if that did mean standing in the same room as a hybrid and a human.
[+green “Weak, fragile, and emotional she may be Helena DeVil but she has still outrun you. I’ll trust you when we have less mistakes. Listen to me, I have a belief in you and that’s a lot more than I ever had for Draven. The others admired him but to me he was out of his depth... you however, I just hope you don’t add up to be the same.”] Nexus explained, hoping to inspire something within Helena to really show her worth. If he was going to pass on his vote of confidence, he didn’t want to make a fool of himself. The political power of The Council was fragile in its current state and he wasn’t going to be thrown under for trusting the wrong Vampire.
Anton was trembling on his hands and knees. His broken wrist was tucked against his chest, the pain now more awake as the drugs were fading. He wanted to scream out but his throat was so swollen, all he could manage was a gurgled whimper. His skin was a ghostly pale, almost matching back when he was a Vampire! Though the most terrifying aspect was despite how beaten the human was, it was how alive his eyes were. He had been lost within his own high for the past few hours, but now everything was heightened, more alert. He could feel intense pain, he could feel the weight of everything he had done and then there was the desire for another fix. With everything that was going on and everything he had done, his mind was fixated on that drug! His forehead was covered in beads of sweat and his bloodshot eyes stared desperately at the table ahead...
When Helena touched his cheek, his nerves were so sensitive he flinched. Even her voice hurt...everything hurt and he just needed something to take that edge off. However her manipulation came with those words... they did have a deal, he did need the drugs, he wanted the pain to stop and he just needed that fix. It was easier when the world was numb. Now he was sobering up which meant he was in control of his decisions... he’d be aware. The idea terrified him more than he ever wanted to admit and as Helena gave her orders, his wide eyes just stared down to the ground as he froze into place. What choice did he have? It was that or they could kill her... reluctantly, Anton squeezed his eyes shut and nodded. He nodded in agreement to the drugs, to the fact he desperately needed them and that he would do it... he would torture his partner.
Nexus smirked at Anton’s surrender, watching as the human crawled towards Raven, but a better show awaited them. Hearing that Helena was going to have her fun with Trey, Nexus gestured towards the door with a wave of his hand.
[+green “Please, don’t let me stop you. I’ll happily watch your efforts.”]
As they headed down the corridor there was a strained and tortured cry from Anton, followed by a satisfying ‘snap’ that brought a pleasant smile on Nexus’ lips. She really did have them all like marionettes... dancing to her song...
Trey had been surrounded by the wolves but he put up one hell of a fight. As he arrived in the arena, he had three deep claw marks across his rib cage and his tail had been split revealing the bone. His front leg had been bitten and there was patches of fur missing, but he was still standing strong. There was no sign of fatigue, no pain... instead just a burning determination to end this which was aimed straight towards Helena. At least until he saw the familiar red wolf in the corner...
[+purple “I’m here for the truth... so my conversation with you is over. Try and kill me but i have fought larger battles than these pathetic wolves. Amber! Amber look at me. I’m here for you!”] Trey called to her but as he did, just as Helena said, Anton arrived dragging Raven with the little strength he had.
[+purple “Anton? What the... what are you doing!? She’s your partner! Damn it can’t you all see she’s controlling you! Anton you know Raven would want you to fight back. Did she... Amber did she do this? Did Raven bring you here? Did she kill... “] Trey shouted up, trying to piece together everything that had happened but it didn’t make sense! None of it made sense! He didn’t know who to trust, what to do!
[+purple “Helena you want to kill me you kill me yourself you coward!”]
[+brown “Or how about we make this a fair fight...”] A unfamiliar voice broke out across the room. Nexus was just about to call for guards but as he did, the doors around the arena suddenly slammed shut. There was an eerie silence that followed as everyone tried to figure out what was happening and then, from the top balcony, multiple figures all wearing black jumped from a great height and landed perfectly around Trey. Each of them was wearing Resistance armbands, and each wearing black masks to cover their faces. That was until the one who spoke standing in the middle removed her mask, finally revealing a long lost leader: Tink.
[+brown “You thought you killed me didn’t you Helena? When you first took Amber i was standing in the way... you see Nexus, she couldn’t even get that right.”]
[+brown “Not now. Get over yourself Trey. Amber... look at me.... you remember my voice, don’t you? She isn’t completely lost Helena, you know that. So what are you going to do?”]
[#ff00ff “With all due respect, Sir, I may work miracles, but miracles still take time. Ten years ago, a wolf as strong willed as Raven would have taken months to break, but now I can have her submit to me within a week. She may seem unruly now, but that’s only because the process is just beginning. And as for Anton - he just needs a little more work, that’s all. It only took me a few hours to get him to turn his back on his friends, beat his partner bloody, and be willing to end her life.”] Helena explained with full confidence, not wanting Nexus to think she was nervous at all about his doubts. True, it caught her a little by surprise that Anton would try to kill the mutt and himself within only a few hours, but that was just a small set back. Helena could work with this and prove herself to the Council no matter what it took.
[#ff00ff “Equal to the chair? Forgive me Sir, but I think you’ve been misinformed. Lexi may have the Kane bloodline, but she is nothing like the former Councilman. She is weak and fragile, easily manipulated, and far too emotional. I had Lexi under my care for less than a weak and she broke in a matter of hours! Trust me, Sir, she is not Council material. But she does have her uses.”] Helena explained, hardly threatened by the young vampires after what she’d seen. Lexi had been obedient to her once, and it wouldn’t take much to solidify that control again. If anything, she wanted Lexi brought here just so others could see for themselves why Helena was a far better fit for that seat in the Council.
[#ff00ff “Yes, that brother of hers is frustratingly resilient. I thought he was dead until my pets came back to me with some interesting news. The boy is alive, but incredibly weak and he just severed the only alliance Sirhan had. As for the father… Elijah Kane would lay down his life for his children – I recommend we take full advantage of that.”] Helena agreed.
As Anton was kicked over to Helena’s feet, Raven gave another growl at the human’s treatment, but she was easily silenced with another shock. Watching the two unwilling victims gave Helena an idea. Nexis wanted a show – proof she was gaining control and Helena would give it to him. She knelt down next to Anton and gently caressed his check in a flirtatious manner. She leaned in to whisper in his ear, his tone just as enchanting as ever, despite the fact that her features no longer matched.
[#ff00ff “Anton, you and I had a deal. You’re not trying to break that deal now, are you? I’m going to need to see some proof, Anton. I bet those drugs are starting to wear off, right? You feel the pain starting to seep back in, you feel the itch, the need for a fix? I’ll give you what you want, but I need you to prove you’re not going to betray me again. That mutt is not your friend Anton. She’s a beast that needs to be put in its place. So I want you to grab one of her legs and slowly twist until the bone breaks. Cause her pain, make her defenceless, and I’ll give you what you crave.”] Helena promised, knowing that if he didn’t get another fix soon, he’d start feeling the effects of withdrawal. This way, Anton would have a hand in torturing Raven, he’d show to be obedient to Helena, and Raven would be punished for her empathy. It was a win-win.
[#ff00ff “The Alpha? Must be Trey. This will be fun!”] Helena smirked excitedly. She had been taunting Trey for years, stealing his wolves, corrupting them, forcing them to fight against their own pack. She loved the defeat in his eyes every time he lost another wolf, and this time would be no different!
[#ff00ff “If you would like to see a demonstration of how I can break these mutts and bend them to my will, then you’re going to want to see this.”] Helena said confidently, snapping her fingers. Five wolves from all different packs stepped out, coming to a halt in a neat line in front of Helena.
[#ff00ff “Lure the Alpha into the area so we can watch. Beat him down, but don’t kill him yet. I have a special pet in mind for that. Oh, and Anton. As soon as your broken the bitch’s leg, I want you to drag her back to the arena. Leave the muzzle on. Your Alpha friend thinks Raven’s the one who killed his packmates. I think it’s about time we set him straight, don’t you?”] Helena ordered, sending the mutts away to do her bidding. Trey would soon find himself in a scrap with Helena’s pets, attacking then bolting towards the arena in an attempt to guide him there. Once he arrived, all five wolves would take their place surrounding him in the center of the arena. On the far side, was an injured red-wolf, with a metal collar and chain around her neck, to keep her restrained.
[#ff00ff “Trey! It took you long enough. Are you here for a rescue or revenge? I’ve got your little Beta, Amber here. As you can see, she’d a little worse for wear. Or, if you prefer, something a little more bloody, I’m having Raven dragged in as we speak! You might have actually had a chance to save them if you’d been smart enough to bring your pack. But now? You must know you won’t be leaving here alive, Trey.”]
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