The Protectors
Author: Fox Wild

Chapter 32
Gypsies In The Palace

Chapter 32

 

 

Gypsies In The Palace

 

 

 

Ruth made her way behind the pump house, still to injured to fly or even change form  She suspected the werewolves would be expecting her to make her escape when the portal was destroyed.  The last place they would look for her was behind the pump house.  She hoped.

 

She was recovering very slowly.  Regeneration from what was in her, from the darkness, took longer than from a werewolf wound, much longer.  She dug into the ground and buried herself as fast as she could.  Werewolves were all around.  The scents of all the vampires that had fought and died should cover hers.  She hoped.

 

She just needed protection from light, two, three feet below the surface should be enough.  She hoped.

 

Being in the earth was uncomfortable, but it was better than the wrath of the sun.  She waited, unable to breathe.  Fortunately breathing wasn’t needed but not doing it made her even more uncomfortable.

 

It was surely daylight now.  There were no sounds that she could pickup anymore.  The sounds of feet on the ground were gone, no talking.  She had no idea how long she’d been underground.  At some point she’d have to risk breaking through to the surface to find night.  Ruth fell into a sleep state.

 

Sound, something, someone?  Above her, directly above.  Had she been found?  Was it night and the survivors of Alexander’s death were coming out from their hiding?  Would she be able to take control of them if that’s what the sound was?  Would she even want to?

 

She felt worms crawling in her ears and nose.  They pushed against her eyelids.  She had to get out of this hole.  What if it was still daylight and the werewolves had found her?  Her mind reeled.  Too many things to consider.  If she was now the bearer of Fyodor and Mindy’s curse, could she be killed?  Or was she like Alexander on that front?  Questions and more questions, with no answers in this hole. 

 

Her mind focused once again on the noise that had woken her. The sound was an engine.  A creak, like something opening.  A car door?  Something was disturbing the dirt she hid under.  Hands grabbed Ruth and she was pulled up.  She started to fend the hands off, daylight flashed across her face giving her an instant second degree burn on her face.  She was pulled through the floor of a car.

 

“Jibble!”  Ruth shouted out when her eyes focused and she recognized him.

 

He had come for her in daylight.  Again taking her from below ground into the sanctuary of one of his vehicles.  This was a very nice stretch limo. 

 

“Yes, it is I.  And again I find myself rescuing you for reasons I cannot fathom.”  Jibble said to her with a smug quirky smirk.

 

Ruth threw herself at him and hugged him tight.

 

“Thank you Jibble!  Thank you so much!  You’ve been more of a friend to me than any friend I’ve ever had,  human or vampire.”  She said from her heart.

 

When she backed from him Jibble was still smiling at her, only now it was a softer, appreciative smile.

 

“You’re welcome Ruthless.”  He gave her a reassuring grasp on her shoulder as she looked at him.

 

Ruth took her place on the seat across from him, her face now fully regenerated.  Jibble keyed the intercom and told the day walker driving to move out and take them home.

 

Ruth held her grateful face as they drove on.  Jibble had come to her rescue.  Why?  Minions didn’t do anything unless there was some benefit for them, they didn’t have friends or care about other minions.  But Jibble had come, so what was the benefit to him in rescuing her?

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

They had defeated Alexander.  The portal was destroyed and the well between worlds collapsed, for good this time.  Doctor River Stone had seen to Snow immediately.  She was currently recovering with minor discomfort. 

 

They were barely out of the hospital, the new area had finally opened and the remodeling of the old was completed, when they received word that Lord Floyd had arrived.  Snow insisted they change and present themselves properly, Bait had wanted to simply hurry things up but yielded to Snow’s persistence.

 

Lord Squat made his private meeting room available to them, and both were in full formal dress when they walked into the room.  Lord Floyd, dressed similarly, stood from the chair he was sitting in and came around the desk to greet them.

 

He bowed low with a hand across his waist then turned to Bait.

 

“My Lord Inquisitor.”  He said and bent at the knees with his head down. 

 

He turned to Snow.  “My Lady Trustee.”  He repeated the formal knee bend to her.

 

“I am Lord Floyd, Bastion of the Exalted Master of Clans, his Grace Lord Leyland.  I have been sent by his Grace to formally summon you to his Excellency’s home, House Trust, Clan of the Moors.”  Lord Floyd bowed again.  “His Grace, Lord Leyland of the Moor shall present your Graces to the heads of all Houses, The Clan of Elders over common clans, the Council of High Elders over all noble clans, the Elders of Clans in service of the Immortals and the High Elder of our land.”  Lord Floyd informed them.

 

“That’s a lot of elders.”  Bait muttered.  Snow elbowed him.

 

Lord Floyd gave a smile.  “It is from there, your Graces, your formal Coronation will be held at the appointed time that the Bishop of Clans will set and consecrate your titles as King and Inquisitor Bait and Queen and Trustee Snow.”

 

Lord Floyd handed a purple ribbon tied parchment scroll to each of them.  “It is also requested that you bring with you, your Court.  Present them also to the heads of Houses and of our clans.”  Lord Floyd bowed again.

 

“Court?”  Bait said with question.

 

Snow understood what Lord Floyd meant.  “Yes, like the president has his cabinet, we have a Court.  Lord Floyd is the head of Lord Leyland’s Court, snZm for Hyden, various officers that deal with… stuff for us.”

 

Bait nodded.  “Not even one day off.”  He looked at Lord Floyd with a lost look.  Picking a Court wasn’t on any of his lists.

 

Lord Floyd bowed again.  “I will leave you to yourselves then.”  He said then quietly left the room.

 

Once he was gone Snow gave her thoughts.

 

“I was thinking, and if you have any objections for any reason, tell me, Sea Mist and Blade Dance for our Bastions.”  She offered.

 

The ends of Bait’s mouth curled down as he thought.  “I think they would be excellent.  Sea, from when I first met her till now, she has what it takes to deal with running a House.”  He looked at Snow with a question written on his face.  “How many positions are we talking about here?”

 

He was thinking of the presidential cabinet of the US.  He’d hate to have to try and fill even half the posts.

 

Snow smiled sensing his worry.  “With Blade Dance and Sea Mist agreed on, I think four.  One to deal with common clans, one for noble… um… military and tactics, and finance and dens.  The rest is just petty details actually.”  She gave him an arm flap when she was done thinking.

 

Bait snickered.  “Petty details, you know, Foamy The Squirrel had a bit about that being a great name for a Tom Petty documentary.” 

 

Snow raised her eyebrows, bent her head down and looked at him from the top of her eyes. 

 

“Okay, first, maybe second, at a time like this you’re thinking about Foamy The Squirrel, and… next, where did a smuck like you who won’t even touch a tablet ever hear of Foamy?”

 

Bait returned a presumptive arrogant smirk.  “Hey young one, just cuz I’m pushing fifty in human years, doesn’t mean I don’t get around the net.  I just like what I’m used to.”

 

Snow waved him off with jest.  “When I see you rocking out to Die Antwoord I’ll start to worry.”

 

Bait only half heard what she said.  Die Antwoord, probably not.  “What about Hovlek for military?”  He suggested, getting back to the matter at hand.

 

Snow’s face turned to a disappointed grimace.  “Has to be mated pairs.”

 

This information didn’t surprise the Inquisitor.  His insight offered him nothing.  Only that he would have to seek his advice from the Trustee.

 

“And what about the Padre?  No one ever showed up for that post.  That’s why Hyden’s been flitting around.”  Bait stated.

 

“Well, reading that part, he never was supposed to be revealed until after.  Come on lover, I just got out of the bikter and you’re already looking for the Padre.  It could take days, months, hell, look how long it took from the start of the werewolves till we were revealed.”  Snow flubbed her lips with a considering expression. 

 

“Bikter?”  Bait posed.  “What is a bikter?”

 

Snow chortled at him.  “Sorry, werewolf slang.  Hospital.  Think water closet to shithouse.  Bikter is to hospital like shithouse is to water closet.”

 

A light open mouthed guffaw came from her lover.  “Werewolf slang.  Before long you’ll have your own cell phones, internet and banking network.”

 

Snow rolled her eyes at him.  “Okay, prairie muffin, and yes, I know what a prairie muffin is and I remember you calling me it once.”  She slapped him on the shoulder lightheartedly.  “Max, he’ll do.  Kevashka  is more qualified, but Meadow knows militia and would be much better assistance to Max.  Together those two are aces.”

 

“Yeah, Grey is a bit… light in the… oh shit, I don’t know, competent command thought line.”  Bait said with mild exasperation.

 

“You mean he’s like the stereotypical human artist type.”  Snow said with a prissy glance.

 

Bait raised his hands to his shoulders with the palms up as his face went to a ‘you have me there’ picture.  “He does… anyways, he wouldn’t know the first thing about military politics.”  Bait said while looking off to the side.

 

Snow started pacing in a line in front of Bait.

 

“Squat could handle noble affairs and Dreghert can handle common affairs.”  Bait put out.

 

Snow stopped pacing.  She had a finger on her lips.  His words rolled in her mind.  He had picked the perfect people.  Both men excelled with diplomatic skills, and their mates were highly competent, sentient, and would be wise counsel.

 

She shot her lover a good smile.  “We’re done!  Tell them to get packing Inquisitor.  We’ll let them know why when it happens.”

 

He snorted, “You do have a mean streak.”  He retorted.  His face posed a question.  “But that’s only three, you said there were four after Sea Mist and Blade Dance.”

 

Snow looked at him quick.  “Finance and dens.”  Her head drifted off in thought.  “Not sure on that one, if we have to name them first, may not be part of our ‘official’ court.  I’ll have to ask.

 

Bait nodded.  “Yeah, well, we have time yet, sort of.  I’ll tell who we’ve got so far to pack and I’ll hurry back so we can get moving ourselves.”  He looked back to his lover from his thoughts.  “Noktok and Shelma, she’s the twadha with the accounting skills; Noktok’s got a brain and does some programming…”

 

Snow spread out her hands with her fingers wide at him.  “We are done!”  She hugged him with her agreement then backed from him.

 

Snow smiled up at him, they exchanged a short kiss, Bait pulled her into him and went in for seconds and a more fulfilling tongue lashing with his mate.  “Sea Mist says, if’n it don’t last at least forty seconds, it ain’t a kiss.”  He informed her as their eyes closed and lips met.

 

Snow backed after she counted the first forty seconds, then ten more.

 

He looked at her wanting to know the reason for stopping.  A light laugh came from her as she looked to his eyes.  “You have been studying our ‘verbage’, but you had the movements off a touch.”

 

Bait cocked a mister Spok eyebrow as he looked at her.  “Oh?”

 

Snow snickered.  “Yeah, ah,” she shook her head once giving a look to the floor then returning to him, “you dropped your eyes, instead of keeping them forward and widening them, plus you should have pulled down with your nose moving your center upper lip out some.  You said prostitute.”

 

She burst out laughing, not from pulling his leg, rather from the sheer humor that overtook her.

 

Snow laughed even harder as her lover repeated ‘twadha’ and worked his mouth and eyes trying to get the right expression to go with the word to mean the equivalent of chick, babe, or some other softer positive euphemism for a good looking, smart girl that has it going on.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

They had loaded up Bait’s truck for the airport.  Bait had just walked out of House Squat for the truck, now that they were ready to leave, and looked up, stopping about four feet from where the truck… was.

 

The lawn was a grassy field.  Off in the distance he could see a run of fence, double stranded with smooth wire.

 

“Electric fence.  Works better than barbed wire.”  Sam’s voice called out from behind Bait.

 

He turned around and looked back.  Sam was standing on the front wooden deck sidewalk of an old west train station.  Train tracks ran across the front of the station about thirty feet from where Sam stood.  Bait was on the opposite side of the tracks.  He walked to the tracks, looked up and down the line of rail then crossed and stood at the base of the step up to the sidewalk and looked at Sam.

 

“Who are you?”  Bait asked with a demanding wondering face.

 

Sam chuckled.  He took the tan leather gloves he was wearing off, watching his hands as he did, then clapped them together knocking the dust from them.  He moved his head up slowly, raising the brim of his hat till Bait could fully see his face to just above his eyebrows.  “You know my name.” 

 

Bait heard footfalls behind him approaching.  He kept looking at Sam as Snow came to stand beside him.

 

“What the hell.  We don’t have time for visions, and why?  Were done!”  Snow exclaimed.

 

Sam chuckled again.  “Not even close to done yet lill’ darlin’.  You’ve got a whole passel of things to do yet, and short time to do ‘em”

 

Sam slid his eyes back to Bait.

 

“Sam Elliot played Bill Tilghman in a movie titled ‘You Know My Name’, that’s the second time you’ve referenced that movie.”  Bait was serious in every aspect now.

 

Sam’s cheeks tightened.

 

Fairuza walked from the station and stood next to Sam.  Bait looked at her as he squinted.  This was not expected, he’d always assumed they were the same manifestation, now he saw they weren’t.  Snow had worked this out for herself a while ago now.

 

“But Sam Elliot, Bill Tilghman, both are white.”  Bait said as he raised a finger towards Sam.

 

Snow gave Fairuza a sideways look, she giggled and waved back.

 

“There was a black man, turned to save his life.  He ended up serving the Clay clan.  I’ve seen werewolves with some interesting abilities.  They’re hereditary, well some of them.”  Bait said with an accusing tone of discovery.  “Like being able to change forms, Worm can, Music could, and so could the werewolf that turned Robert.”

 

Sam’s left cheek rose up and he nodded.  “Bout damn time you figured it out.”  He said, then the image of Sam Elliot faded, the smiling black face of Robert replaced it.

 

Fairuza curtsied with flared palms, bowing her head and closing her eyes.  Her image dropped and Music stood in Fairuza’s place.

 

“Lady Snow, I think you remember Kicks’ mate.”  Bait turned a palm towards the young woman and looked to his lover.  “Music.”

 

Snow’s mouth was open some, she made some nasally noises but was unable to speak.  She moved to the edge of the steps and looked up at Music.

 

“I thought, you’d be with Kicks.”  She finally uttered.

 

Music smiled calmly.  “I have been with him since he returned, he’s home waiting.  I wanted to say goodbye, and thank you.” 

 

Snow was dazed.  She waved a hand at Music.  “Goodbye.”  Her voice was faint and distant.  “You’re welcome.”

 

A train sounded it’s whistle.  All looked to the tracks and down the way the locomotive was approaching with its trailing plume of smoke behind.  The long black locomotive with it’s shimmering silver colored accents and trim hissed and chugged with the squeal of brakes.  She’d be at the station soon.

 

The group looked back at each other.  “That’s our ride.”  Robert said as he reached behind the railing of the sidewalk and picked up a black leather satchel bag.  “Thanks for clearing my name, Duncan Galt of the humans.”  Robert smiled with accommodation in his face. 

 

Bait grinned back.  “It’s me who should be thanking you.  You went to a lot of work to leave a trail of bread crumbs for me to follow.  That was a tough job to do and not get caught.”

 

Breaks screamed as the train came to a stop, the wood car was right behind Bait and Snow now.

 

Music turned around and picked up a small light blue suitcase from the bench along the building just outside of the doorway.  She walked back, stood next to Robert for a moment looking at him then looked back to the Monarchs.

 

“Goodbye.”  She said.

 

Robert waved to them and he and Music locked arms and stepped down from the sidewalk and started for the train.  They didn’t look back.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

They flew via commercial airlines, first class, back to the same airport they had landed at the first time they were summoned by Lord Leyland.  This time the reception was much larger and they had their Court with them.  The humans at the airport watched as Snow and Bait received movie star attention.  They were taken to the same limo, only this time they had an entire entourage of vehicles escorting them.  Traffic was stopped so the precession could move through without any delays.

 

The arrival at Lord Floyd’s House was grand.  A full royal welcome as they were escorted into the castle with trumpeters, purple carpet, heralds calling out their arrival, the complete works.

 

They were presented to all the heads of all Houses, the Clan of Elders, Elders of Clans, the Council of High Elders and the High Elder of the land.   After they made their appearance and spent a few hours mingling, Lord Night Harvest took possession of the new Monarchs and took them to his House, at Lord Mort’s.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Sea Mist’s presence was again requested.  She had the same feeling as when Toad had called for her.  Night Harvest offered her the front seat of the convertible Rolls Royce.  Snow and Bait rode in the back.  It was the same car Night Harvest had picked Bait up in for their first private visit. 

 

Blade Dance was charged with learning what was expected of him and his mate at the coronation.  Lord Hyden was attending to him at House Trust, Clan of the Moors.

 

Snow took in the Irish countryside with a wistful glaze in her eyes and a soft pleasured look on her face.  This visit was far more pleasant than her last.  Excluding the long distance stepping that is, but does that visit even count?

 

Sea Mist had relaxed after Night Harvest offered her the front seat.  The image of Toad was far from her mind now.  She still had a biting question about her being included, without her mate.

 

Lord Mort whom had left shortly after their arrival at Lord Floyd’s House, greeted them at the door and led them inside.  He didn’t linger long, and politely excused himself.  The house was empty except for them.  Even the house staff was absent, seeing to everyone at the greeting event at Lord Floyd’s home. 

 

Night Harvest offered them refreshment and a seat.  Beers were dispersed and Sea asked if it was alright if she smoked instead.

 

Lord Night Harvest looked at her with expression.  “A different age now.  Be my guest.”  He told her with a welcoming hand gesture then sat down himself.

 

“Sea Mist,” Night Harvest started looking to her first, “I’d like to thank you for keeping your mouth shut, simply put.  I am much aware that you have sight, and have seen more than most.  Including things I have kept private.”

 

Sea Mist looked back blank faced.  Slowly, she gave him a meek single nod.

 

“And, since you’ve been so diligent, I felt I would include you, let you see first hand what you have known.”  He said, concluding with her and looking to Snow.  “Lord Bait and I had a conversation when you last crossed the water.  I will be letting you in on what was said.”  Night Harvest clasped his hands in his lap.  “After you’ve finished your drinks, we’ll take a walk.”

 

Snow looked at Bait then Sea Mist.  Bait joined Snow in downing their beers as fast as they could. 

 

Sea Mist shrugged.  “Glad I’m havin’ a smoke.”  She grinned at them then hit on her chillum.

 

Night Harvest stood, Sea Mist gave the lead to her Monarchs, as he led them through the house to a stairway down.  Once at the end of the hall past the stairs Night Harvest unlocked a door.  Once through the doorway, they were in display room of art.  They were led to an area where a black curtain covered a recessed area of the wall.  Bait had a classic look that said he’d been here before.

 

Without any words, Night Harvest swiped the curtain back.  Behind were three paintings.  Snow’s eyes fell on the center, larger one.  It was a painting of a man and woman standing together holding each others outside hands across their front.  The woman was a dark haired young woman with a roundish face. 

 

It was Snow, and beside her was a man.  There was no mistaking the face.  It was Bait in the face though it wasn’t exactly Bait.  Beside the centered painting were single paintings on their appropriate sides of the two people in the center painting.

 

“Shoshanna and Oskar.”  Sebastian told Snow.

 

Snow moved in close to the two paintings, the one of Shoshanna and of her and Oskar together.  The paintings were very old.  Dawn of time old.  The woman in the painting looked exactly like her, and Bait had a strong, extremely strong family resemblance to Oskar.

 

She looked on the face of Oskar beside Shoshanna.  Faintly she whispered, “Duncan Oscar Galt.”

 

Sebastian started his story.  “Correct.  Oskar did not die that day.  He simply left.  Tales of him that were assumed to be him, most were true.   He traveled lands raging his personal war against minions and those that served the darkness; the original rogue if you will.”

 

Sebastian gave a thin smile, his eyes moved off and he crossed from one side of the pictures displayed to the other.  “He made his way eons later to the United States.  He covered himself with a story of returning from war, he took work on a small farm.  It was there he met a young woman, she looked younger then he.  She was the farmers daughter, naturally.  The two became fast friends on the remote acreage.” 

 

Snow looked at Bait’s face close.

 

“They ended up being married, as is the human way.  They had a son, who in his time went to war.  This was World War Two.”  Sebastian when on.  “When he returned home, after spending time with his parents he started traveling the land, finding work wherever he could.  Like his father he ended up taking work on a farm that was distant from any city.  It was here he met a young woman that was also the farmer's daughter, but she was engaged to another man.”

 

Sebastian looked at the center painting.  “He worked on the farm for many years, he and the daughter becoming such good friends that she asked that he attended her wedding.”  Sebastian walked beside Snow and pulled Sea Mist over to them and draping an arm over Sea’s shoulder.

 

“The young woman moved near a city, not a big one, with her new husband.  They had a house out in the country, and he worked the rail yards.  They had a son.  Her husband was from a drinking man, and he too took to drink.  In time he became abusive of the woman, and even taunted his son into abusive actions of his mother.”

 

Snow looked down.  Realization was setting in.

 

“As fate would have it, the man who had worked at her parents farm, happened through the town some years later and saw her with her husband.  He kept his presence hidden, not wanting to cause trouble, but he could sense something was wrong.  So he followed them and watched their lives as they unfolded.”

 

Bait put his arm around Snow.

 

“He saw the abuse.  After a short time, he allowed the woman to run into him in the town, he was working at the local grocery.  He saw the beaten face of the woman he loved several weeks after she found him again.  Her arm in a cast.”  Sebastian clasped his hands in front of himself and looked down.  “That night, when returning from work, the husband had a fatal accident with a train, drunk he had fallen on the tracks, cut to bits by a passing train.”

 

He raised his head and looked at the picture of the Oskar and Shoshanna.  “It was three months later that this young woman and this man married.  Her next child was named after her husband’s father, Oskar.  As you have figured out Snow, Duncan Oscar Galt.  When Oskar took his human wife and mated with her, instead of her becoming a werewolf, he became human.  He took on freewill.”

 

Snow’s face was a stunned mixture of emotions.  She looked to Sebastian.  “Bait’s… a werewolf?”

 

Sebastian smiled.  “Yes, well, a quarter werewolf.  There can never be less than a quarter.  That is why Bait, could never have children with his human wife.  Had she been a quarter werewolf like he, then they would have been able to have children.”

 

“So, what does that mean?”  She asked.

 

“It means, the werewolf inside can be released.”  Sebastian answered her.

 

“Like with Worm, she had her werewolf released, she just can’t take her true place in werewolf ranks until she reaches her age.”  Bait followed.

 

Sebastian stood in front of Snow.  “There is something else I need to tell you.”

 

Snow looked at him. 

 

“Robert didn’t know.  This was my doing.”  Sebastian started.  “You were never mated to Duncan.  Robert was told to use the syringe I gave him on Duncan and inject it into you, what he was never told was that the syringe wouldn’t pull in any blood.  It only pushed blood out.  Your own blood that I had placed in the device.”

 

Snow hadn’t felt the gland under her tongue for some time, she probed around her mouth now.  It was empty, there was no hard lump under her tongue.  Her own blood, her body would have recognized it and in a short time, cleared itself.

 

“I am sorry to have tricked you, I needed others to believe you had been mated to him.  You were never abhorrently mated.”  Sebastian finished.

 

Snow looked away then stumbled off out of the room.  She walked through the house and out the door.  When Bait came to her she was sitting in the car.  “I want to go home.”  Snow said without looking.

 

“Snow…”  Bait started.

 

“I want to go home!”  Snow screamed.

 

Sebastian walked from the doorway of the house to Bait.  “Here.”  He said handing the keys for the car to him.

 

Snow was silent the entire drive back to Lord Floyd’s. 

 

Later that evening Sebastian drove Sea Mist back to Lord Floyd’s with Lord Mort and his mate.  Their ride, like Bait’s had been with Snow, was without words exchanged.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

The morning found Snow still in a state.  She hadn’t spoken with anyone, she’d only taken to her room and hidden.  Breakfast came and went and she still hid out.  When Bait came to her she only turned from him and walked away.

 

Lord Hyden came to her after lunch requesting she attend a run through of the coronation ceremony.  He received similar treatment as Bait.  Hyden went and talked with Bait, asking him to return to Snow and try to speak with her again, their time was short as was his.

 

“Snow, talk to me lover…”  Bait said to her with pleading when he went back.

 

“Don’t call me that!”  She screamed at him.  “You lied to me!”

 

Bait looked at her with a hurt face.  “I never lied to you.  Night Harvest told me to keep silent about what he told me.”

 

Snow snapped around towards him with a seething glare.

 

“All this time, you knew I wasn’t mated to you!  I protected you!  Did things I wouldn’t have had I not thought I would die if you…”  She turned away from him.

 

Bait sighed.  He would get nowhere with her, she was shutting him out.  He understood.  “I love you.”  He said then left the room.

 

She was alone for about an hour when the door blew apart.  Snow ran to the door to find Sea Mist there.  She turned to Lord Floyd beside her.

 

“Will three grand cover the cost to replace that?”  Sea asked him.

 

Lord Floyd had a raised eyebrow and surprised look.  “Ah, yes, that should more than cover it.”  He said and took the fold of bills she was offering him.

 

Lord Floyd quickly left the doorway with a fast nod towards Snow.

 

“Yo, piss-britches, what’s your frelling deal?”  Sea yelled as she stormed in the room.

 

“Get out!  You’re not wanted here Marshal!”  Snow yelled at her sister.

 

“I resign.”  Sea Mist retorted hard.  “Now then, you were duped and your MATE couldn’t tell you.  What did you want the most the entire time you thought you were mated to him?”  Sea Mist had come inches from Snow’s face.  “You wanted to be his full mate.”

 

“I said go away!”  Snow yelled back.

 

“Frell you, I resigned.  I don’t have to follow your orders now.  Them’s the rules, right?  Get over it.  Now, look at my face!”  Sea Mist grabbed Snow by the shoulders and forced her to look at her.  “We all had shit frelling happen, we all got raw deals.  You can have what matters most, you can have your mate.”  Sea said with force to her sister.

 

“You don’t understand, this is different…”

 

“Frell your differences.  I mated with someone I didn’t love, just to get out from being Bait’s mate, something I actually regret the most of all the shit I’ve done for selfish reasons!  I didn’t want a mate chosen for me so I picked the first frelling thing with a dick that would say yes.  And you have a chance with someone you actually love, dumbass.”

 

Snow looked back at Sea Mist with fierce eyes.

 

“I can’t mate with him.  He’s a quarter werewolf, I’d have to turn him, and I can’t.”  She told her sister.

 

“Shit, dumbass, he’s a quarter werewolf, where the frell was your frelling head when Sebastian frelling told you that frelling history frelling lesson you frelling bitch?  Turn him, no dumbass, you frelling can release him.  That’s what’s killing him.”  Sea Mist turned and stormed around the room in a fast pacing walk.

 

“Like Worm, duh!  When you bite him, his true line comes out.  He’s been living with us, that’s his dilemma, if he isn’t released he dies, he either has to become what he is or frelling die and you’re the frelling one letting him frelling die!”  Sea Mist raged at her sister while she paced.  “The only thing stopping everything else from going forward is you.  Frelling you dumbass.  You and your question.”  Sea stopped and glared at Snow.

 

“Question?”  She didn't get what Sea meant.

 

Sea Mist scoffed.  “Will you be my life mate?”

 

Snow looked like she’d been slapped hard, and in a way she had.  Her mind rushed on her.  She had the pieces all mixed up.  She started sorting them through in her mind and looking close at what she knew.  She’d missed the obvious.  Turning without turning, it had been in one of the books she’d read from Bait’s stack.

 

There were other things too.  Lord Leyland, Lord Hyden, Sebastian and even Sea Mist herself had left a trail of bread crumbs for her.  And her beloved Bait, she’d missed what he’d done too.  He’d been the most blatant of all.

 

Snow looked at Sea Mist with realization.  “I can ask him.” 

 

Sea Mist faced back with a ‘no shit, dumbass’ expression.  “Yeah, that’s what we’ve been trying to tell you.  Now, go get your nasty ass prurdied up.  Put on a dress, maybe some… makeup.  I’ll get a proper ‘I wanna get laid please mate with me’ dinner set up.”

 

Sea Mist chortled when Snow’s eyes snapped to her then rushed from the room.  As Snow dug through her closet for fancy clothes, workers arrived to replace the door Sea had destroyed.  She was a perfectionist when it came to her performances.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Sea Mist had a tower of the castle dressed to the nines.  Waiters and candle light on an ornately decorated private table for two.  A dove was in a golden cage nearby.  Two people playing music.  They would take turns singing the songs they played.

 

Once she’d set her prior arrangements into motion, she returned to her sister and helped her get properly 'funked up' as she put it. 

 

“Oh no, no.  This won’t do, what you’ve done here, this is a tragedy.”  Sea Mist told Snow when she entered her changing room.

 

Snow looked at herself in the mirrors.  “What’s wrong with it?  I think I look smashing.”

 

Sea Mist put a hand to her face.  “Yes, that’s one word to describe it.”  Her face held bushels of disapproving. 

 

“What’s wrong with it, it’s a very nice dress?”  Snow replied with a hurt tone.

 

With a sigh Sea Mist straightened herself and motioned to Snow.  “Don’t have enough time to list everything.  Lucky for you, I came prepared for this.”  She answered as she opened a dim pocket and pulled a covered dress from it.

 

“You’re not going to a prom, you’re asking the Inquisitor to be your mate for life.  When he first lays his eyes on you, his dick should spring up and slap him in the face.  You have to wow him like no other woman, including yourself, ever has.”  Sea Mist stated as she hung the dress up and started removing the covering.

 

Snow looked the dress, the gown over.

 

“Off with that thing you have on, let Sea Mist work her magic.”  She commanded.

 

After Sea Mist had her dressed, Snow looked herself over in the mirrors again.  The gown was far more fetching than what she had picked out.  “Now, isn’t that better than that old rag you dug out?”  Sea asked and she beamed at Snow as she swayed the gown as she looked at it in the mirrors.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

When she entered the room, she was properly escorted to the table where Bait already sat.  He was dressed to the nines also.  Snow looked radiant in her dress, long black with a plunging neckline and an abundance of fluff.

 

“Wow!”  Bait said when he saw her.  She sat across from him.  He kept smiling at her.  Whenever his gaze returned to her he smiled broadly and with love in his eyes.

 

The waiter came and served them wine, they talked casually while the musicians serenaded them.  Snow felt nervous.  She’d been down this road before, far to many times.  Rejected each time, was this a sure thing this time?  They both fell to silence when the meal was served.

 

Conversation returned when the dessert course was served.  Fortunately it was after nightfall as cream pie was served with a hunk of pudding filled cake.  Soon, the meal was finished and they were sipping after dinner wine.  Snow stood from the table.  Bait watched her as she walked up to him and knelt next to him and took his hand.

 

The musicians and waiter quickly left the room when she had stood, giving Snow her privacy.

 

Snow looked into his eyes.  “Duncan Galt of the humans, Lord Bait of the werewolves, I offer to you life with me, to love until our end of days.  Lord Bait, will you accept my offer of mating?”  Her voice quivered the entire time she spoke.

 

She’d spoken this offer over a hundred times, rejected each time and called names.

 

“Beautiful Snow, daughter of Trust and Frost, I gratefully accept your offer of mating.  I am honored that a noble of your line has chosen me.”  Bait answered in acceptance of her offer.

 

Sea Mist was standing behind a door peeking through a crack.

 

“Hot damn, we got's us a frelling mating ceremony to plan!”  She said to Mud and smacked palms with her.  Sea and Mud darted off to spread the word.

 

Snow and Bait were laughing having heard Sea Mist.  The scent of his lover hit him hard.  He started laughing.  It was hereditary, nervousness caused the girls to leak.  So did excitement.  Snow looked at Bait with embarrassed eyes.

 

Reaching a hand under her chin he raised her face.  “Forget about it.  We have people for that now.”

 

They both broke into laughter and Bait pulled Snow to him and embraced her.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

The rest of day six on Bait’s countdown was a mess of busy frantic planning, which it had been since their arrival, but now even more so.  Plans were in motion for the mating ceremony followed by the official coronation of the new Monarchs.

 

Sea Mist became the driver of the bus as it were, taking lead, organizing and delegating tasks.  Snow had commented to her soon to be mate on how well she handled problems and people in general.  Bait agreed and pointed out what a good choice she and Blade Dance were to head their house.

 

Blade Dance had his hands full as well.  Though very large, the castle of Lord Floyd was not nearly capable of holding the capacity of people that would be attending.  Blade Dance had traveled to Clans Palace of the Immortals, which hadn’t been used in an age.

 

He was spearheading the cleaning and setting up of the Palace.  Sea Mist was coordinating with him and arranging transport of needed goods, then he would see to it they were used as his mate intended.  They had a short time to prepare.  Sea had made a point of reminding him of the days left for their brother, no delays allowed.

 

Mud, as had been her place once before, was attending to Snow.  Wardrobe was their main focus.  Snow would need two formal gowns, one for the mating ceremony, the other for the coronation.  Faldo arrived and offered his services as makeup and hair specialist, and Beth the seeker showed up with books on a tablet of information on what the coronation was supposed to be like.

 

Faldo also was needed with Bait.  His wardrobe was just as detailed as Snow’s.  A proper haircut was provided by Faldo.  As Bait didn’t have a named attendant, he offered the prized position to Faldo whom graciously accepted.

 

Bait and Snow would spend their days at Clans Palace and return to House Trust and Lord Floyd’s hospitality at night.  In the Palace, each had their own dressing room where people buzzed around them making ready for the big events.

 

Lord Frost entered the chamber of Lord Bait. “If you all would please, a moment of privacy with my soon to be son-in-law.”  He asked.

 

Bait nodded at the people buzzing around him.  They made their bows to him and left him with the fallen Lord.

 

“Thank you, your Grace.”  Lord Frost said giving a low bow to Bait.

 

Lord Bait stood from the stool he was on and motioned for Lord Frost to come with him as he moved near a table with appetizers and drink on it.  Off to one side was a pair of chairs set near each other but not across from each other.  Bait pulled a beer for himself and poured a large glass of a crisp red wine for Lord Frost.  He handed the glass to the Lord and moved towards the chairs.  Lord Frost came with and Bait waited for his guest to be seated first before he joined him in the comfort of the chairs.

 

Lord Frost smiled firmly as he looked at Bait with his eyes of age.  “You’re a good man Duncan Galt of the humans, Lord Bait of the werewolves.  My King.”  He said with pride.  “It is well, and pleasing to me that my daughter has chosen you.”

 

“Well, I think the choice was made for her honestly, we were sort of pushed together.  I’ve gotten the best end of the deal.”  Bait responded.

 

With a knowing chuckle Lord Frost nodded with a gesture at Bait.  “Has my daughter ever told you of the time when she first met you?”

 

Bait nodded.  “Yes, I remember the day well.  It was at the Cromwell’s house after my father rescued me from my uncles farm.  She was the daughter, posing as, of the family residing there.”

 

“It takes a large man to admit when he is wrong, my King.  And wrong I was.”  Lord Frost began.

 

Confusion broke on Bait’s face, but he said nothing.

 

“It was a short time after you had met her, I was visiting my daughter away from my home as her mother had forbade her to ever set foot on Frost land unless she had summoned her herself.”  Lord Frost shook his head.  “Still can’t believe that I was so blind to the nature of that woman.”

 

After pulling from the glass of wine, Lord Frost sighed and continued.

 

“While she was staying at the house I was at, late one night she came to my bedroom chamber.  Her face long, her heart breaking by something from deep inside her.  She’d been rejected by every suitor that she’d came to with her offer of mating, typically violently in rudeness, coldly rejected.”

 

It was easy to see on the fallen Lord’s face that this pained him for his daughter.

 

“Father, how does a boy look at a girl when he is interested in her?”  Sadness asked.

 

Lord Frost felt sorry for his daughter.  So many times cast aside.  “Why do you ask Madelyn?  What troubles you?”  He asked in answer.

 

His daughter came and knelt down in front of him with her head down.

 

“The young boy, Duncan, I met him at the Cromwell’s farm.”  She looked to her father’s face.  “The way he looked at me, the way he continually looked at me.  His eyes… it was like he was trying to touch my heart.  It wasn’t like other human boys, the ones I encounter in working.  Theirs is only a wanton lust desire, this boy, his eyes held something… warm.”  Sadness described to her father.

 

Her father exhaled roughly.  “Young boys, human boys quite often, become enamored with a woman on sight.  Humans call this puppy-love.  That is all this boy had for you Madelyn.  When his eyes fall on the next girl to tickle his interest, he will not remember you.”  Her father told her with a sullen face.

 

He didn’t want to hurt his daughter, but being her father, he had to be honest with his daughter so she wouldn’t be hurt more because he didn’t speak now.

 

Sadness looked down to her lap.  “Are you sure I can’t turn a human?”  She raised her face to her father again.  “Could we ask his Grace Lord Hyden if an exception could be made?”

 

In a sharp turn of pain Lord Frost turned from his daughter.  He knew she didn’t mean the cut she’d given him.  She was much like him, very logical, practical.  Theirs was a dishonored clan, therefore the insult of asking for exemption of the law was moot in their case, they couldn’t be more insulted than they already were.  His daughter was simply being logical.  But the reality of it cut her father’s heart.

 

“Forgive me father, I didn’t mean to insult.”  Sadness said with an apologetic heart.

 

“I know.”  Lord Frost answered her as he looked to her again.  “I should be the one apologizing to you Madelyn, because of me, you come from a clan in dishonor.”

 

Father and daughter looked into each others eyes, understanding the pain in the other.  Sadness pulled her chin up and held her head high.

 

“It was a simple choice father, either I insult you by exemption, or by my refusals.  I see the former the lesser of the two insults.”  Sadness boldly stated.

 

Lord Frost looked at his daughter with firmness.  “Your rational is sound.  And I thank you for your consideration Princess.  But in my heart, breaking our law, even if by the grace of the Bishop of Clans, would be a greater insult.”

 

His statement wasn’t a slight against humankind, rather, it was that his daughter would have to violate a core directive in order to take a mate.  “In my eyes my beloved daughter, I would be casting an unbearable insult on you.”

 

There was a tear in Sadness’s heart.  She felt the love of her father in her being.  Through everything she’d done, all the trouble that fell upon her, he always stood beside her.  Not once did he ever shun her or reject her in any way.  He always was her strong loyal father.

 

“Thank you Lord Frost.”  Sadness said as almost, only almost, did a tear fall to her cheek.

 

“If I could father, this boy, Duncan.”  Sadness held herself in as she put her spine taunt.  “I would make to him my grandest offer.  If he were to see me more, he would love me.  Would you not consider that greater than any insult you would lay on me by asking the Bishop, that I find love?”

 

Her father’s eyes smoldered, his voice was harsh.  “Trickery, that is not the way to find love!  Foolhardiness, entice the boy with false pretense, that is what you would do!”  His eyes softened on her. 

 

“Madelyn, you don’t just make someone love you because you want them too.  If this boy is to be yours, then he will come back to you.  Chasing love, hunting it down, love isn’t game.  I chose your mother, for foolhardy reasons.   Madelyn will choose wiser than her father.”  Lord Frost told Sadness with solvent fortitude.

 

He took a deep breath and ran his hand over his daughter’s head, smoothing down her rampant hair then looked into her eyes.  “I took you mother as mate, because it was recommended… that I make my offer to her.  Madelyn, my daughter, I followed this advice given for the wrong reasons and from my own foolishness, thinking your mother would love me in time.  I knew when we mated, love me she did not.”

 

Lord Frost finished his rendering of the conversation he and Snow had when Bait was still just a boy, and his Snow, was in her fifties.

 

“I’ve seen how you look at my Madelyn, and if that is how you looked at her then, I wish I would have told her to entice you.”  Lord Frost told Bait.

 

A pleased small smile crossed Bait’s lips.  “Thank you Lord Frost.”

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

They drank in silence for several minutes, father and son, fallen Lord and King.  Life had tossed them about on a turbulent water.  There was much to be said between them that only the silent minutes in quiet company could convey.

 

Bait stood from his chair and walked to the table.  He dropped his empty beer bottle in the trashcan and grabbed a fresh one.  He took the bottle of wine with when he returned and freshened Lord Frost’s glass.  He set the bottle close by then took to his chair again.  After drinking from his beer, Lord Bait looked at Lord Frost with a face of thought.

 

He took a full breath.  “You know, father-in-law, Shyhon’s mate rejected her.  Despite her failures in the past, like the rest of us, she has changed.”

 

Lord Frost raised his head and looked at Bait.  Considering his implied meaning.  He caught his implication with ease, a chance to start life over again.  Not unlike Bait himself was getting.  Frost would get an extension of life if he were to mate with Shyhon, she being younger, he would follow her in age and days.

 

He chuckled as he shook his head.  “Ah, Lord Bait, trying to play matchmaker are we.”  He looked at his glass.  “I’m an old man, willing to take my turn and end.  I appreciate your sentiment,” Lord Frost raised his eyes to look at Bait.  “but all things belong in their place and time, especially ones time to pass after a long hard life of regret.”

 

Nodding Bait looked down in understanding.  “At least give it some thought.”  He said as his eyes returned to father of his mate.  “I think her intended was a foolish boy.”  He finished as he stood and walked back over to the stool and radioed Faldo he could come in and start prodding him again.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Two days, that was the time frame allotted until the mating and coronation ceremonies for Prince Bait and Princess Snow.  A short time for all to return home from bash two and reset to make tracks to Clans Palace for the events there.

 

A short time also for those involved in the arrangements to set the Palace up and make ready.  Bait’s ticking clock allowed for no extended planning for the proper event.  Normally an event such as this would have months of planning, however Bait only had five days left now and by Lord Leyland’s order, two more days were all that were allowed.

 

Sea Mist was worn to a frazzle.  She willingly took on the responsibilities of planner, and though she had been constantly reassured that she was doing exceptional work; gratitude for her service was made plain along with, she still felt she was coming up short of expectations.

 

It was early morning, Sea had returned to House Trust and was perched atop a tower of the castle for some quiet time before her day started full force again.  She released her breath and smoke into the morning breeze.

 

She heard footsteps on the roof approaching her, she turned her face back and felt out with her sight for who it was.  “Lord Night Harvest, I’m sorry, I was only taking a break, is there something you needed?”  She asked hurriedly while standing.

 

She turned in Night Harvest’s direction.  He walked forward with his hands in his pockets and a pleasant expression.

 

“Nothing wrong with taking a break, might say, that’s exactly what I’m doing.  Please sit.  Didn’t mean for you to get up on my account.”  Night Harvest told her.

 

Sea Mist sat back down and hit the joint again while Night Harvest sat down next to her.  They were looking over the landscape with the first hints of morning showing without any words for several minutes.  Sea Mist finished her first joint and started another one.

 

She was holding her fist hit of the second joint when Night Harvest reached over with a hand.  “May I?”  He asked.

 

Sea Mist looked at him with a shocked expression of her own.  She snorted and handed the smoke to him.

 

“You know, smoking this herb that you do, isn’t something new.  Been a part of society for millennia.”  Night Harvest said calmly as he passed to Sea Mist.

 

She nodded but didn’t say a word.  Minutes slowly passed.  They finished the joint then Sea Mist pulled her final one for the morning out.  She handed it to her visitor and he started this round.

 

Sea Mist was passing back to him.  “You have any regrets Night Harvest?  You know, things you’ve done you wish you’d done differently?”  She asked casually.

 

“Blade Dance.”  He said bluntly then took his turn.

 

Sea Mist started bobbing her head slowly.  Then she scoffed loudly.  “All because I didn’t want an arranged mating, then I end up creating my own arranged mating.”  She faced over at Night Harvest.  “I didn’t really love him.  He wasn’t my first choice even.”

 

Sea Mist looked forward and thought.  Her face held sadness, but not for herself.  She felt sorry for her mate that she had used to get her way, a selfish act.  “You know he wasn’t my first choice, or even my second, or my third.”  Sea said then took the joint and smoked from it.  Passing it back she looked off and shook her head.

 

“Fifth in line is where Blade Dance fell; the only one to accept my rushed offers of mating.  My first choice, he saw right through me.  He even told me he wasn’t about to mate with a woman who had no love for him.  The other three said similar things, even though they had feelings for me, they knew I didn’t love them even the smallest amount.”  Her head shook side to side lightly when she finished, chin down.

 

Sea Mist scoffed again.  “Poor damn fool, he hesitated, but not long.  Thought for sure he was going to say no, but instead, he said he would be honored to be my mate.  I used him.  He thought I loved him, thought he was my first offer.”

 

She tossed the last bit of the joint over the edge of the roof they sat at.  Night Harvest reached into his pocket under his suit coat and pulled a metal tube from it.  It looked like a cigar tube, and he removed the cap and pulled what Sea Mist thought was a cigar from it.

 

“Tobacco?”  She said and wriggled up her nose as she looked at it.

 

Night Harvest chortled.  “Not a chance Lady Sea Mist, not a chance.  Product of Lord Mort, hand rolled and one hundred percent cannabis just like yours, only without the paper.  Hand rolled in high quality marijuana leaf, cured by Lord Mort himself and his finest flowers inside.”

 

Sea Mist laughed and looked off.  “Of all the people, you are the last one I would’ve ever dreamed of sitting with and getting high with.”  She said with disbelief in her voice.

 

“In life my young apprentice, you will find it easier for people to talk with you if you put them at ease with a simple token of a common link, some small showing of familiarity.  A common bond if you will.  Don’t you feel more relaxed with me now, now that I am doing something that you enjoy, with you?”  He posed to her.

 

She smiled a closed mouthed smile as she turned her face towards him, the smile was contentment and honesty with what he had said.  She was more relaxed with him, no fears, and she did feel a bonding.  She could see the similarities between Night Harvest and her Bait.  Both would get you to relax and talk.

 

Night Harvest trimmed the end of the cigar and handed it to Sea Mist.  “Be my guest, start us off.”  He told her.

 

With an amused laugh Sea took the smoke from him, looked and sniffed it over with a face of approval then put it in her mouth and ignited it, drawing on it several times and savoring it’s flavor before passing to Night Harvest.

 

“You made five offers in one day, and not far apart.”  Night Harvest began again.  “What are the odds you think, that Blade Dance hadn’t heard of your rushed offers?”

 

Sea Mist’s body lurched, her face went slack as she took the hand rolled joint from him and drew on it slowly as she rolled what he said over in her mind.  She’d never considered what he asked.  A female makes her offer and is accepted; that might not spread fast, making her offer and being rejected, that would spread like wildfire.  A second time in one day, everyone would know.

 

Blade knew when she asked, he was a runner up.  He would have for sure known he wasn’t first or second, probably even knew he was the fifth in line she asked.  His face never showed anything that alerted her to this, and he still said yes.

 

He said he was honored to be hers.

 

He never laughed.

 

“He was the only one that I asked… … that actually loved me.”  Sea Mist said remotely.

 

“And still does.”  Night Harvest said with a calming voice.

 

Several minutes passed, Night Harvest finally stood.  Sea Mist looked at him with the cigar barely smoked in her hand; it had gone out while she thought.

 

“You can have that, save it for later.  Mort calls that an all day smoke.”  He said with a friendly smile pointing at the cigar in Sea’s hand.

 

Turning he walked off towards the grappling hook and rope she had used to get up here.  Night Harvest bend down, put a hand on the rope and climbed down into the window Sea Mist had exited from.  She looked off towards the sun as it broke the horizon. 

 

She smiled to the sun as it walked onto her face and illuminated the world around her.  She positioned her face directly towards it and felt the warmth of it caress her face and she enjoyed the moment.  She was at peace inside now.  The song birds of the morning began to break the silence of night all together almost as if they had been told to.

 

“Thought I’d find you up here.  How’s your night?”  Blade Dance asked her.

 

Startled a bit, Sea faced him, in her moment she hadn’t heard him come over.

 

She smiled.  “The night blew chunks, but the morning has started off good.” 

 

She watched as Blade Dance moved closer then sat down and dangled his feet over the edge of the roof with her, sitting where Night Harvest had been.

 

“Smoke with me?”  She asked holding up the cigar.  “It’s a Lord Mort hand roll.  Very tasty my lover.”  Sea giggled.

 

A light snort came from Blade as he smiled at his mate.  “Sure; anything for you my life.”

 

my life’ Sea Mist repeated in her mind.

 

Blade Dance exhaled.  “That there, that is a magnificent sunrise.”  He commented as he looked out over the fields surrounding the castle.

 

Sea Mist never took her sight off of Blade Dance when she answered.

 

“It is now.”

 

Blade Dance looked over at his mate; after a moment he looked down, not sure what to think of what he saw in her face.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

The day rolled on.  More and more people arriving at House Trust by the hour.  Lord Floyd was trying to coordinate lodging at his castle and den, which were now full.  Sea Mist gave up their rooms and she and Blade Dance transferred over to staying at Clans Palace which was now filling up.

 

“I don’t know which shocks me more, that I’m staying at Clans Palace or that I’m planning an event at Clans Palace.”  Sea Mist commented to Blade Dance as they walked up to one of the back side entrances of the Palace.

 

With a laughing snort, Blade Dance nodded in agreement as he carried their luggage in.

 

Sea would be picking the Monarchs and their entourage up for the formal event in a couple days.  Until then, they had to accomplish a month’s worth of work.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

“My Lady, Lord snZm.”  Mud said announcing the arrival of the Lord to visit Snow.

 

Standing fast the box of pins in Snow’s lap that a young woman was using as she worked on the dress Snow wore sprang to the floor.

 

“Oh shit, I’m sorry.”  Snow said to the woman who smiled up at her then started picking up the pins.

 

“Lady Snow,”  snZm began as Shyhon walked in behind him, meekly with her hands at her front, “Lord Hyden has sent me with Lady Shyhon, he has assigned her to attend you your Grace.”

 

Snow gave a nod in understanding.

 

“Before I leave, is there anything that you need?”  snZm asked.

 

Snow looked back at the woman picking up the pins and Mud.  “Ask them, they’re running things here,” she looked back to snZm, “I’m just the mannequin.”

 

snZm laughed at her joke then bowed and left her with Shyhon.  The young oracle came and knelt before Snow and looked up at her expectantly.  Snow shot a quick look to Mud and she collected the other woman and the two left Snow and Shyhon alone.

 

“You’ve been rejected.”  Snow said and walked towards a small couch across the room.

 

Shyhon remained where she was kneeling and watching Snow.  When she sat down she patted the spot next to her.  Shyhon stood and quickly went to sit beside Snow.

 

Snow sighed.  “Been there myself.  I know how it hurts.”

 

Shyhon lowered her head and looked to her lap.  Snow put a hand on her shoulder, when she did this Shyhon looked her in the eyes.  “There are going to be many single males here, I would recommend asking around.  I don’t want to have to pick someone for you, but that’s the lot that falls on me.”  Snow let her hand drop and looked towards her own lap.

 

“Before the next lunar cycle.”  Shyhon’s musical voice said.

 

Snow nodded.  She expected Shyhon would have seen the same things she had.  For whatever the reason, Shyhon was expected to have a mate by the next full moon.

 

“It will be hard my Grace, not many want to stay in an oubliette with their mate.  Humans would say I come with baggage.”  Shyhon said in a somber sound.

 

Snow smiled.  “As Bait would say, it’s all about perspective.  Write up a paper for your offer, list that you have your own family sized quarters in a refurbished oubliette at House Squat, the first oubliette in the den to be turned into living and working space.  Describe things from a positive perspective.”  Snow shrugged.

 

She had set the penance on Shyhon, she never thought she’d be trying to help her up-sell it. 

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Morning found Sea Mist hovering over a landing pad at House Trust.  Lord Floyd was waiting for her.  She would be taking the crew to the Palace for their only rehearsal of the mating ceremony and coronation to follow.  Ace was hovering over the second air pad, whomever didn’t fit in Sea’s craft, would be flying with Ace.

 

On the return trip to the Palace, Snow actually handed off her hairbrush to Shyhon.  She wouldn’t let anyone else touch it before, but now was all too willing to let Shyhon use it to brush out Snow’s hair while she rode in the back of the aircraft.  The two would whisper between themselves so faintly, you couldn’t hear that they were even whispering.

 

The landing at the entrance that the Monarchs would be using for the official event on the following day was a bit rough; the landing pads were being constructed for the event, such as they were, so landing in a field nearby was the alternative.

 

When Sea Mist showed Snow (and Bait) the room that was set up for their official mating in private, her sister was in awe of the beauty of the room and what had been done.  The largest bedroom in the Palace had been selected and was a radiant display.

 

“There will be flowers and some other accents that will be here for your grand day, they’re being kept fresh in a chiller.”  Sea Mist informed them.  “And you won’t need the room lights, we have hundreds of candles that will be set up for you.

 

Sea Mist turned around as Snow and Bait looked around the room and caught Shyhon’s face.  She was taking in the entire room, her face was blissful.  A single teardrop had rolled down her cheek.  Sea cocked her head as she faced Shyhon, considering her.  She faintly snorted at the thought that the woman was a true romantic at heart.  Had Shyhon become that sensitive?

 

Once the tour of what had been accomplished thus far ended and the Monarchs approved of everything, it was time to take them to the dressing rooms that would be their roost until the dress rehearsal started.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Snow had Shyhon working on writing something while she was being dressed and final adjustments made to her mating ceremony gown.  They had already run through this part of the ceremonies that would happen tomorrow, once the final adjustments by the seamstress were pinned in place Snow would have that dress removed and the next one readied for her.

 

During the entire goings on, she kept working with Shyhon, finally Sea Mist checked out what they were so secretly working on.

 

As Shyhon wouldn’t speak to anyone other than the Monarchs, she was working on a paper that she would hand to suitors to make her offer to them.  Sea smiled and gave a soft chuckle.  While the seamstress was putting her coronation gown on Snow, she left the room quietly and returned shortly with fine parchment paper and a scribe pen, inkwell and blotter.

 

“That crappy old white paper isn’t going to be used for your offer of mating Shy-girl.  When you have what you want to say all figured out, scribe it onto this, your offer should be flashy, you know, have some pizzazz.”  Sea Mist told her with a smile.

 

Shyhon nodded fast in thanks as she took the pen, inkwell, blotter and parchment from Sea.

 

“Can I see what you have so far?”  Sea asked.

 

Shyhon nodded and handed the paper she and Snow had been working on to her.  Sea Mist made some faces as she read the paper, some comical and some reserved.  She took another piece of paper and scratched down some suggestions on better phrasing and other things she may care to mention.

 

Snow was taken to stand on a small raised platform so the seamstress could work on the gown while Shyhon read what Sea Mist had wrote.  Sea Mist went with and fluttered over Snow and the dress while the seamstress worked.

 

“Owe!  Hey, I’m in this thing too!  Watch the pins would you.”  Snow exclaimed when she got poked as the dress was adjusted.

 

“Can you put more frills on the chest, to make it look bigger and hide some of the… um, empty spots?”  Sea Mist asked at one point.

 

Snow glared at her.

 

“Hey, I’m not being sassy, I just want you to look your best.”  Sea shot back.

 

Snow smiled back at her sister softly.  She really was trying her best and did want Snow to look stunning.

 

The seamstress left Snow alone for a bit while she discussed the dress with the designer and Faldo.  Snow motioned for Shyhon to bring the letter she was working on to her and the three women huddled around and read.  Sea Mist had taken an interest in helping the young oracle.

 

Sea Mist and Snow talked quietly about the letter and Shyhon whispered into Snow’s ear, she would relay what Shyhon said.  There were some smiles and laughs along with nods and faces of approval.

 

“You did approve the sliding down pole and the lift thing Seven wanted to put in didn’t you?”  Sea Mist asked her sister with a look of ‘you had better have’ when she asked her question.

 

“Yes, actually I did, thought it sounded fun.  Good idea too including with hers being the first oubliette to be turned into an apartment that the rest are also going to be refurbished for the staff that will maintain the house and den.  Does make it a lot softer sounding.”  Snow replied.

 

Sea Mist snorted.  “Shit, this sounds like a frelling sweet deal to me.  Nice digs to live in, days in the sun outside in the yard working on gardens.  Can I sign Blade and I up for this deal?” 

 

The two sisters laughed and Shyhon smiled and beamed.

 

“Okay, Princess, ready for you again, please?”  The seamstress said with the designer at her side looking to Snow.

 

Snow held up a finger to her then looked back to Shyhon.  “I think it’s perfect, you have great penmanship too; you think it’s ready for the parchment Sea?” 

 

Sea Mist guffawed as she gave the paper a final look.  “Yeah, shit, if the first man she shows that to doesn’t take her offer, he’s a frelling fool, moronic turd ball.”

 

Shyhon looked down meekly at her hands.  Sea Mist handed the paper to her with a smile.

 

“I’d run with it, get it on parchment and start hunting down the boys!”  Sea said to her.

 

Shyhon took the paper and Snow was pulled back to the small platform to be worked on.  Sea Mist followed after.  Shyhon tapped her on the shoulder while Sea was looking at Snow being positioned.  When Sea Mist looked back at Shyhon, she held her hands near her face and signed ‘thank you’ to her.

 

Sea Mist smiled showing some teeth.  “You’re welcome Shy.”  She said, then Shyhon went off to scribe the letter on fine parchment, that was not made by the Clay clan.

 

“Swiz, there’s a pin in my butt!”  Snow ejected at the seamstress.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

“Alright, let’s get moving!”  Faldo said loudly as he walked back into Snow’s dressing room, clapping his hands along with.

 

The designer followed a few seconds behind, both returning from giving Bait the work over.

 

“Rehearsal time, rehearsal time, Sea Mist, you’re not dressed yet, get moving girl.  Rehearsal time!  Don’t keep us waiting for your funky butt girl!”  Faldo yelled around the room.

 

Sea Mist jumped from where she sat and hurried to where Swiz was to help her on with her dress.  Faldo was trying to rush Snow off with him.

 

Snow turned back to Shyhon, “Finish your letter then come join us, okay Shy?”  Snow said to her which seemed to anger Faldo a touch.

 

Shyhon smiled and nodded to Snow.

 

“Come on your Grace, she isn’t the one being coroneted, Bait’s waiting, Sea Mist, please, you’re both killing me!”  Faldo exclaimed.

 

“I’m ready!  I’m ready already, frell Faldo.”  Sea shot out at him as she put her shoes on and hurried to him behind Snow.

 

The precession moved out of the room to begin the rehearsal leaving Shyhon alone in the room with her writing.  She was blotting the last portion of the letter she had finished scribing.  Once blotted she held the parchment up and looked at it with a smile.  With the help of the sisters, she thought it looked perfect.  She hoped Sea Mist was right, what man could resist the offer she was making.  It helped that two women whom had both been rejected had helped her write it.

 

She heard a door open and looked back, Lord Frost had entered from the door opposite the one the others had left from.  She looked back to the desk and placed the parchment down on the writing pad centered between the blotter and inkwell then stood and went to Lord Frost and bowed.

 

Rising from her bow she motioned to the room and made some hand gestures then pointed towards the door the others had left through indicating where he was supposed to be.  Shyhon bowed again then hurried off to join up with Snow and attend to her.  Had she known Lord Frost didn’t understand a lick of her sign language, she would have written him a note.

He didn’t know her hand movements were telling him the dress rehearsal was already going and that he was late and should follow her.

 

Lord Frost watched as Shyhon left him standing in the room alone.  She was a beauty he thought to himself as Bait’s earlier comments rattled through is brain.  But she was very young, and he very old. 

 

He sighed and was about to follow after where she had gone when he looked down at the parchment she had been working on as he looked around the room at everything in it.  In her hand waving, she seemed to have motioned to the parchment.

 

Lord Frost picked up the parchment and read what Shyhon had so eloquently written.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

It was a good two and a half hours later the precession returned to their various dressing rooms.  Faldo had went with Bait to attend to him and Mud and Shyhon were with Snow and Sea Mist helping them out of their gowns.

 

The room was a rush of activity, Snow and her sister were to meet up with their mates and head to a luncheon with Lord Leyland.  Everything was a tizzy as things all seemed to be happening at once.  The gowns were returned to dress forms that would keep them until tomorrow’s real event.

 

Everyone had rushed off to take care of things leaving Shyhon alone in the room.  She went to where her letter was, only, the pad was empty and the letter gone.  She started to panic, she looked in the drawer of the small table she had written it at.  Only more blank parchment.

 

Shyhon texted Sea Mist about her letter missing, Sea left the luncheon and came to her and helped her look.  They tore the room apart looking, Sea would ask her questions or make suggestions and Shyhon would text her back.

 

Eventually Snow texted Sea Mist telling her she was needed and she had to leave Shyhon alone.  Broken, Shyhon went to the small room provided for her near where Snow’s dressing room and mating chamber were and threw herself into a chair and started crying.

 

Who would have done such a thing?  Who would have taken her letter?

 

She was trying to pull herself together, Lady Snow would be in need of her soon.  She was wiping her face trying to remove any signs of her crying when a knock came from her door.  Time to attend her Lady.  She looked her face over again in the mirror then went to answer the door.

 

She bowed low when she opened the door to Lord Frost.  When she rose and looked upon his face she froze.  Why was he here?  Lord Frost cleared his throat catching her attention.  Shyhon held her arm out into the room inviting her visitor in.

 

Shyhon backed up, following the father of Snow into the room in front of him.  He chuckled watching her and stopped so she would.  She was wide eyed and wondering as she looked at him.

 

Lord Frost cleared his throat again and looked down nodding.  After a moment he reached to a pocket under his suit coat and pulled out a piece of parchment, Shyhon silently gasped.  Her letter.  Lord Frost had been alone in the room and saw her letter.  She almost spoke, he had thought she had left the letter for him.  She wanted to explain.

 

Lord Frost looked at the letter carefully scribed on the parchment.

 

To my dearest kind sir:

 

I wish to make to you, my offer of mating.  However, before I do there is much I feel I must reveal to you first.

 

Things about me, I am sure you have heard.  I tell you in truth, I have learned my errors and am no longer what I once was.

 

Besides the mating offer that I intend to make to you, kind sir, I have a dowry that comes with me and a home.

 

He quietly read the first part of her letter again.

 

Shyhon quickly looked around, she needed paper and something to write with.  She couldn’t move.

 

“I must say, fair maiden, I was most surprised.”  Lord Frost began.

 

Shyhon clenched her butt cheeks together hard in a nervous action.  She braced herself for the impending rejection.  What would Snow’s reaction be?  Had her father already told her that she had made her offer to him?

 

“Your offer of a home, to a man with none, and within the House of my son, most generous it is.”  Lord Frost continued.

 

Shyhon was lightheaded now.  His rejection would follow to an offer she never intended to make.

 

His eyes ran over the parchment again.

 

I give to you kind sir, my offer of mating, my heart, my life, all to bring to you whatever happiness I might.  I ask you now, kind sir, will you accept and take what I am to be with you through life, forever at your side in love and compassion as your blood-bond mate?

 

Lord Frost’s head made a short quick tick to one side as he reread the letter and the flowing signature of Shyhon closing it.

 

“I must say, I’m no prize.  My clan, abandoned in dishonor.  My name, all that I have left.”  He lifted his face from the letter and looked to the wide paralyzed eyes of the young woman before him.  “I am touched; that so lovely and young of a creature would bother with an old fossil such as I and in the standing I hold.”

 

Lord Frost pulled himself straight and put the letter back where he had taken it from as he looked over Shyhon’s face.  Shocking doesn’t begin to describe what happened next in the young oracles mind.

 

Lord Frost knelt before Shyhon with his face cast down.  After a short moment he raised his face to her.

 

“Lady Shyhon, Princess of House Squat in the line of Lord Leyland and House Trust; honored am I, a fallen Lord, that you have gifted to me your offer of mating.  I humbly and graciously accept your offer.”

 

What Shyhon’s thoughts were, what she intended upon doing in reply to her offer being accepted at that moment, we shall never know.

 

Shyhon fainted.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Day 3

 

Snow was awoken by the sound of a twelve string guitar.  Opening her eyes to the candle lit room, Bait sat near the foot of their bed on a taller stool with one foot on the floor and the other on the first rung of the stool.  He was playing the guitar, watching his fingers and pumping a foot for rhythm.  As he began the lyrics, he turned his head and looked into her eyes.

 

In the shelter, in the morning as the sun was brightly beaming.

I heard her crying out… ‘what is it all about I just don’t know, but I can't go back home’.

Lonely princess, all the days out on your own are growing empty.

Nothing is going well… if you could only tell them how you feel,

Their too real to understand.

 

Snow smiled, raising her hand to her mouth as she laughed, flattered.

 

Too many trite expressions, ending in forced rejections long ago.

Too many innocent faces, in too many far out places, something’s wrong.

Let me tell you that something’s wrong, it’s been that way so long… … and it’s a shame.

 

On the streetcar, to the city where she knows that she might lose it all.

Riding for just a dime, taking her own sweet time and knowing well, this could be her final fall.

 

Bait returned her smile as he sang just for her.

 

Past the boutique… down the alley to the river; people pass her by.

Sits on the big gray rocks, takes of her boots and socks and knowing what she will do next just starts to cry.

 

Tears fell down Snow’s cheeks, her head lowered and they fell to her lap.

 

Too many small suggestions, ending in angry questions from her mom.

Too many TV dinners and everyone loves a winner,

But she was lost; no one knows the trials she had.

 

In the shelter… in the morning as the sun was brightly gleaming,

I heard her crying out, ‘what is it all about?  I just don’t know, but I can’t go back home’.

Lord I just don’t know, but I can’t go back home.

 

He played out the last bars of the song, leaned over and placed his guitar on the floor then walked to his Princess.

 

“Morning.”  Bait said as he sat on the edge of the bed near her shoulder, leaning forward he kissed Snow on the cheek.

 

“Morning.  The calypso poet as a wakeup...  can say I’ve never had that before.”  Snow bubbled back.

 

“And I’ve never had a real wedding, mating ceremony before.”  He answered.

 

Snow cocked her head at him.  “You and your wife didn’t have a wedding?”

 

“Nope, drive through in Nevada.  I had to leave for my job, and she was on her way to her first day of her job.”  He informed her.

 

Not very romantic.’ Snow thought to herself.  She didn’t understand why, but she liked knowing that her mate hadn’t had a real wedding the way most humans do.  Hers was a real first for him as well.

 

“You ready to start the day?  We leave for the Palace in half an hour.”  Bait asked as he wondered what she was thinking.

 

Snow nodded.  “Been ready for this for… since I was born.”  She smiled warmly to him.

 

Snow thought back, to a time on a lone country farm and a family that allowed her to be a part of them for a while and the boy she met that summer.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Sea Mist had the entire unknowing Court and the Monarchs with her in the SV-109 (by Seven Aviation) and was landing on a golden pad encircled with potted flowers set into recesses in the landing pad.

 

Once out of the aircraft, the Monarchs and their Court were hurried off by attendants to be readied for the mating ceremony.  From here, the drive to the entrance of the Palace was only about fifteen minutes through the connecting tunnel.  Though it had a water view, it was fathoms below the surface.

 

The Palace sat on the shore of the largest underground body of water.  Light came to the vast hold through tunnels that had been dug through reflective rocks, the removed rock was cut and used along parts of the tunnels that weren’t reflective.

 

The Palace on the shore glowed from the light ported into it.  The entire place had a gentle glow to it.  Light echoed off the water, it was like a bright dusk, comfortably light without being bright.  Jeweled lenses would be used during the ceremonies of the day to change the color of the light. 

 

Werewolves were showmen by nature.

 

Snow and Bait looked up at the towers that ran to the top of the cavern.  Hundreds of feet above them nobles that had been disgraced resided.  Only two towers had occupants, soon to be joined by a third.  Lord Clay would be arriving in his cage soon. 

 

Lord Leyland had insisted on his being placed in his tower at this event, publically.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Being her father Lord Frost stood for Snow, Corn Stalk stood by his side in place of a mate.  He had yet to say anything about his recent acceptance of an offer of mating. 

 

For Bait, Sea Mist and Blade Dance would drape him with the sash.  Snow was radiant in her royal purple gown with black accents.  Bait wore black robes with purple accents and complemented Snow’s attire perfectly. 

 

Faldo would have nothing less then absolute perfection.

 

Lord snZm stood at the head of the arena of people in the courtyard of the Palace near the water edge, here the mating ceremony was performed so as many as would fit in the Palace viewing decks and courtyard could witness the event.  Seven, though not being a part of the ceremony was not allowed to run the cameras.  He was told to take a front row place with his mate.

 

After the mating ceremony, Snow and Bait were given two hours of privacy to consummate their mating.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

They were escorted by the purple clad royal guards of Lord Leyland’s personal guard.  The two guards by the door to their chamber in platinum white uniforms opened the doors, waited for them to pass as they stood tall and proud then closed the doors behind them.  After the doors were closed, the escort and door guards all left the hall.

 

This was a time of privacy, only the soon to be coroneted Monarchs were in this wing of the Palace.

 

The room was lit by untold numbers of candles safely away from the bed area.  The light of the candles made the plethora of flowers glow as they filled the room with their fragrance.  A gong sounded announcing the start of their time together as Snow and Bait both took in the room with smiles of awe.

 

Sea Mist had released the poet inside her when she had the room set up.

 

“This is amazing…”  Snow trailed off as she looked around at the beauty before them.

 

Bait managed a nod in agreement.

 

Slowly, and with broad smiles, the two lovers turned and faced one another.  Bait brought a hand to Snow’s face and brushed a lock of hair back.  He didn’t know why, but he felt nervous.  He leaned in and touched his forehead to hers, then backed and gently kissed her lips.

 

“Are you ready for this?”  Snow asked.  “There’s no turning back once I bite you, are you sure you want me?”

 

Bait’s face softened.  “My lover, since the day I laid eyes upon you at the Cromwell’s farm, I have wanted you.”  He kissed her lips again.  “My choice for turning back has long since passed my lover, like you, I have been waiting for this day since…”

 

Snow laughed gently as she looked down for a scant moment.  When she raised her face to him again, her eyes were different, hungry.  He skin was reddening, her mouth was open slightly and her lips apart just enough to show her teeth.  Bait ran a hand over her face, her skin felt hot.

 

The fragrance of the flowers in the room were drowned out by the fragrance Snow was emitting, her scent filled Bait’s nose.  She looked as she did the night she almost broke the law and took him on the loveseat at his house.  This time though, her scent and appearance had a completely different effect on the man she was hunting.

 

She gave a low growl of passion and gnashed her teeth at him then reached to his chest and tore open his robes, ripping them from him until they fell to the floor.  Bait inhaled through his nose taking in her full scent with his eyes closed.  As he released his breath and opened his eyes, he reached to her chest grasping her gown with both hands and pulled as hard as he could.  The fabric gave.

 

She held out her arms allowing him to fully rip the gown from her till it too fell to the floor.  Her inner thighs glistened in the light of the candles from the passion that trickled down them.  Bait lowered his body till his face was near her knees, leaning in he started sniffing up her legs stopping only to nuzzle into her crotch.

 

His face was as red as Snow’s when he lifted his wet face from her.  He kissed up her belly and body as he rose. Snow’s flow only increased.  He closed his lips on her neck, she rolled her head to the side and groaned out.  He kissed her along her jaw line taking time to run his tongue along and taste more of her.

 

He moved his face in front of hers.  His eyes were savage, as savage as hers.  He pulled his lips back bearing his teeth and snapped at her.  Guttural primal growls and sounds came from him.  Snow responded in kind with the two lovers gnashing their teeth at each other with wild faces and eyes locked.

 

“I almost took you that night at your house.”  Snow said in a husky rabid voice.

 

“I know.”  He responded with his own voice of desire.

 

“I wish I would have.”  She said as her body trembled.

 

“So do I.”  Bait gnashed his teeth at her.  “But you’re worth waiting for.”

 

Snow ran a hand down between her legs and collected some of her dew.  She ran her wet fingers over his nose and lips while he closed his eyes and savored the scent of his mate.  He licked his lips and her fingers.  Opening his eyes he once again locked eyes with her and growled.  She snapped her teeth at him and returned the growl.

 

This was no custom or mating ritual that Bait was executing from books he had read, though he had read on mating rituals.  The wolf inside him was rising to the surface screaming to be released, his actions came to him by nature alone, just as they did for his lover.

 

Snow pushed him back towards the bed and took a hunters stance and glared at him from the tops of her eyes with her mouth open and fast breaths coming from her raspy throat.  Bait backed from her as she advanced.  In a sudden lunge she grabbed him and threw him back between the posts of the four poster bed.

 

He landed in the middle and she was on him in a heartbeat.  Her head was near his waist as she pawed her way up him, her passion and scent poured from between her legs now.  She crossed a leg over his as she moved, allowing her scent to run onto him as she moved further up his body.

 

Her face was near his now, she straddled his body and let the fluid pouring from her drench his crotch.  She moved up him more, lowering herself to him and leaving behind a wet trail of her scent and desire, marking him as hers.  Sitting up she ran her twat up his chest to near his neck.

 

Bait’s mind was gone from the effect of the werewolf female’s scent on him.  He was lost in the pure ecstasy of the moment of being claimed.  Snow took her scent again into her hands, this time running her hands over his face and through his hair.

 

The first time he had mistook this for simple urine, the fluid from her was much thicker, the scent of her virginity and purity filled his every sense, consuming him.  Snow cried out as in a sudden move he pulled her onto his face and kissed her deep between her legs and took her scent into him and let her flow into him.

 

Her body shook and her mouth opened wide in a howl as she climaxed on his face.  His tongue drove into her again, her hips bucked against him.  A laugh of pure pleasure erupted from her, this time, they would finish what they started.

 

Snow pulled herself from his face as her claws tore into his skin.  He quivered from her touch.  Their eyes met, both with slightly open mouths with raspy panting for each other, Snow’s long slender fangs showing in her mouth.

 

“Bite me.”  He said to his lover with a graveled voice of passionate yearning.

 

Snow’s head started nodding slowly with a predators smile.  She came close to his face as she opened her mouth and bared her fangs.  Bait rolled his head to the side giving her clear access to his shoulder and neck.

 

He pulled her tight as her fangs sank into him, his head leaned back as his eyes changed.  While her fangs were still deep inside him his mouth opened and his fangs extended from his mouth.  He pulled her hair away from her neck and leaned forward and returned her bite.

 

They held their fangs in each other for an extended time, savoring the moment of life.  When they finally pulled from each other and looked to their mates bloody face, passionate kissing began.  No more words would be exchanged, this was their time of joining.

 

Snow backed from him and looked to his eyes.  In a quick move she reversed their positions, moving him to be on top of her.  He rose up on his arms looking down onto his lover and mate.  She bent her legs from under him and spread them wide, her lady open.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Their time together was glorious.  The long waiting well rewarded. 

 

When they left their rooms, Sea Mist escorted Snow to her dressing area, while Blade Dance took Bait to be readied. 

 

Snow was in her coronation gown, Bait had been brought to her dressing chamber.  Mud and others seeing to her had gone to get the garland of flowers that would be draped over both when Shyhon stepped in.

 

She walked up to them and smiled softly.  “I feel it is right I speak.”

 

Bait looked at her.  He took a moment to consider her and what he felt.  He looked to Snow, she read his face and told Shyhon to speak.

 

“You are with child, you will have a boy that you will name Oskar.  He will take the name Crow and be mated to Ace.”  Shyhon revealed to them.

 

Snow and Bait both smiled.  “We know.”  They said to her.

 

Smiling softly Shyhon bowed her head to them.  She never spoke verbally again to anyone but the Monarchs and her intended mate for the rest of her days.  She only revealed the writings on her back to the Monarchs, it was their decision if the messages would be delivered and when.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

The Monarchs walked down the coronation carpet.  They were both heavy with flowers.  Lord Bait looked much different as he was presented to the people he would be King of.  He looked like he did in his early thirties.  Snow’s bite had released the werewolf inside him.  Together they looked about the same age as the two in Sebastian’s portraits.

 

He was shorter also.  Their heights were now almost equal to each other.  Snow had actually gained an inch or two, Bait lost more than she gained by far.  Thus, the coronation was delayed while both had adjustments made to their outfits.

 

The change in Bait was expected, Snow had not been expected to grow, werewolves had never changed their height before when taking a human mate, but this was a unique situation.  There were other changes also, but that’s for another time.

 

As they walked towards where Lord Leyland stood ready to coronate them, flowers were thrown on them from the lines of people that formed the path they traveled to the raised platform the ceremony would occur at.

 

Their unknowing Court waited on the platform to either side of Lord Leyland with Lord Night Harvest on his left and Lord Hyden to his right. 

 

They came and were asked to speak their names and title.  Then Lord Leyland asked if they had decided on their Court.  They said together they had.  They did not inform him that they had yet to inform their Court they had been selected.

 

The coronation proceeded.  Once Snow and Bait were crowned, King and Queen, Inquisitor and Trustee, Lord Leyland called for their House.

 

“Trustee Snow, you have your name, do you wish to mark your life with a change of name?”  He asked.

 

Snow bowed her head with closed eyes.  “I do not your Grace.”

 

“It is well then, for I have no objections.”  Lord Leyland responded then looked at Bait.

 

“Inquisitor Bait, Duncan Galt of the humans, Bait is a name you took upon yourself as your werewolf name.  You have honored our ways.”  Lord Leyland held his hand out at him.  “It is now that I will give you the name to mark your life and the start of your full werewolf life by naming you.”  Lord Leyland announced, the audience was held in anticipation.

 

“Inquisitor, you have been the strong point, a firmament of my people.  Sturdy and strong.  You have weathered storms and hardships as a human, and as a human led werewolf protectors and earned the respect of all.”  A brief sound of approval washed through the audience.  “You have been like a brick.  Building up, strengthening werewolf kin.”

 

Lord Leyland looked out to the sea of his kin.  He spoke loud to all.  “I name you Brick!  Strong point of the new foundation!”  He announced.

 

The crowd erupted into a cheer then chanted his new name, marking his first change in life as a werewolf.

 

Brick turned and faced his subjects, changed into his werewolf form, threw back his head and gave out a howl that made Hovlek proud.  He pumped his fists in the air with the audience for a few moments then changed back into his human form and faced Lord Leyland again with Snow smiling at his side.

 

The audience lulled then died to silence.

 

Lord Leyland held a upturned hand towards each.  “It is time now for you to declare your Castle House and announce your Court.”

 

Brick spoke first.  “It is only custom that a House or Clan is named from the patriarch.  I have counseled with the Trustee and we have decided on my request that our Castle House be named first in honor of my lover, we choose SnowBrick as our Castle House.”

 

They bowed together to Lord Leyland and awaited his approval.

 

His smile already told of his approval.  “It is well, this name you have chosen.  Honor, a good thing in a name.  I approve.”

 

Standing straight again, Snow spoke next as was her place.

 

“Master of Clans, Lord Leyland of the Moor, I announce our court.  As Bastions of our Castle House, High Patriarch Blade Dance and High Matriarch Sea Mist.”  Snow announced.

 

Through the cheer of the crowd Sea Mist was heard, “Frelling shit!  Shitting frell!” 

 

Blade Dance covered her mouth and kissed her on the cheek.  As much to keep himself from the same type of reaction as his mate as to quiet her.

 

“As Brigadier, we name Lord Max and Lady Meadow.”  Snow announced.

 

Lord Floyd with his mate arrived at Sea Mist and Blade Dance and moved them to the front on the platform in their place.  Lord Mort and his mate moved Max and Meadow.

 

“We further declare that no position of common clan headship shall be declared, instead, under our rule there shall be no common clans rather they shall be Grand Clans and as head for our Court over them we announce, Magistrates of Grand Clans Lord Dreghert and Lady Vellehrahnda.”

 

This time there was no loud immediate cheer.  The audience seemed to be confused or in awe of the announcement.  A good minute of low sound came from them.  As Dreghert and Vellehrahnda were moved to their places, those watching started chanting their names.  This announcement was very well received, and highly respected.

 

They were left to revel in the moment for a few minutes before Bait raised his hands and calmed the audience. 

 

“And for Magistrates of Noble Clans Lord Squat and Lady Teagan.”  Snow finished.  The chant that tried to start, just didn’t have the right rhythm, Squat’s name just didn’t work with chanting Teagan.

 

Noktok and Shelma were announced as their heads of finance and dens.

 

All the installed came to a row in front of the witnesses.  They took hands like actors after a stage performance and bowed to their people.  The audience accepted them loudly with applause.

 

Lord Leyland called the witnesses to order.  Silence returned.

 

“Bring forth the disgusting one!”  Lord Leyland yelled back over his shoulder.

 

A silver barred cage was rolled out from the back of the platform where it was hidden behind a draping of curtains.  Inside, hobbled in a position of disgrace with his arms shackled behind him, legs bound, mouth gagged and suspended from chains was Lord Clay.

 

Night Harvest stepped from the sidelines.  “Exalted Master of Clans, Lord Leyland.  His Grace Lord Hyden and I conferred and hereby strip Lord Clay of all noble tiles and deem him abhorrent!” 

 

The water moved from the sound produced by the werewolf witnesses.  Ears regenerated from the damage done by the loudness of the approval of the witnesses.  Lord Leyland raised his hand and the sound stopped short.

 

“Abhorrent Clay the Despicable, to a tower!”  Lord Leyland yelled for all to hear.

 

He held a hand up as he spoke keeping the witnesses silent.

 

“Master of Clans, a request.”  Inquisitor Brick asked.

 

Lord Leyland gave him a nod.

 

“I ask that those currently in towers be released, that they be allowed to prove themselves in service to the clans.  That they not be allowed to breathe the same air as this man!”  Bait said and held his hand up also to the witnesses.

 

The silences was held, but strained.

 

Snow and Brick had mended rifts between werewolves this day, though at the time they did not know this would be the outcome. 

 

By calling for all common clans to be known as Great Clans, they gave them honor.  This closed old wounds between noble and common clans.  With the naming of Dreghert and his mate over the new Great Clans, the Monarchs proved their hearts to their subjects.  For as Brick had read to Snow from an old book of the legend, reading in the werewolf way, they were not just King and Queen for the western werewolves, but for all.

 

They would not lead separate from the Immortals, but with them.  They would bring conformity to rule and governorship.  Clay had sought to lead his own way, separate from the Immortals.  Snow and Brick were humble and sought to lead by the true law.  Each would have their areas of responsibility, the Immortals and the Monarchs.

 

A new beginning was marked with the Inquisitor calling for the clearing of the towers.  To their subjects, this simple act washed the slates clean for everyone.  They all had a fresh start.

 

Lord Leyland looked back to Sebastian and Hyden.  They already had their eyes and heads lowered.  He looked back to the new King and Queen under him.  “So be it.”

 

Clay was rolled off and taken to his tower where he would spend the rest of his days in solitude.  In a few days, his mate would join him in a separate tower.  It was her place.

 

After Clay was removed, Lord Leyland called Blade Dance and Sea Mist forward.  They stood nervously in front of the Lord of the Moor.

 

“Sea Mist, of you I am greatly impressed.”  Leyland started.  “You have been selected as Bastions of Castle House SnowBrick, and I see fit to declare that Blade Dance and you shall be Viceroy under myself and Her Grace, Queen Snow, Trustee.”

 

“Oh frell!”  Sea Mist gasped.

 

Blade Dance quickly caught his mate as her knees buckled.

 

She turn her face up at her mate.  “Viceroy.”  She faintly said.  “I’m a Viceroy.  You’re a Viceroy.”  She looked off as Blade tried to get her to stand on her own.  “We’re Viceroy.”  She muttered.

 

Mud came from the back of the platform with a cup of water for Sea Mist.  She drank it and looked at Mud.

 

“We’re Viceroy.”  She said to Mud.

 

Smiling at her Mud said, “Yes, you are.  Congratulations.”

 

Sea Mist finally stood on her own.  She looked at the cheering audience and smiled a goofy smile then waved.  After a moment she looked at Blade Dance and guffawed.  “Hey, I didn’t piss myself, how about that?”  She said to him.

 

He laughed at her comment then hugged her.

 

Lord Leyland called for quiet again and was about to call the official celebrations to a start when Lord Frost stepped forward from the crowd.

 

“Lord Leyland, governor of my line, a request to speak!”  He called out pulling all attention onto him.

 

Lord Leyland held in position of speaking a moment as he looked to Lord Frost and blinked twice.  He lowered his arm.  Frost had called on him as the head of his line.  His face was a hard question, but it was his right.

 

He gave Lord Frost a small bow.  Snow’s father moved to the side of the stage and climbed the stairs.  He walked tall and proud as he made his way to where Leyland stood.  “Your Lordship, forgive my interruption, I have an announcement to make, and this seemed the fitting place and time.”  He looked to his daughter for a moment.

 

Leyland held out a hand and gave a small bow again.

 

Lord Frost gave both Snow and Brick a look, smiled then looked at Sea Mist and nodded pleased.

 

He looked to the witnesses assembled.  “My kin, my family, my friends.”  He ran his eyes over all.  “Today, today we live in good times!  Today, my beloved daughter, she takes her mate, a man she has sought many years.”  Lord Frost looked back at Snow again with fatherly eyes of pride.  “Today has seen the prestidigitation of both my daughter and new son taking their places among us.  Monarchs to all!”

 

He took a moment to look over the witnesses again, smiling.  “It is also this day, that to this old man, beauty has come, beauty has come to me in her youth and made to me her offer of mating.”  He paused again looking to his daughter and her mate.

 

Bait raised a single eyebrow in wondering.  Snow gawked with a partially raised side of her near smile.

 

“I have accepted the offer of Princess Shyhon of House Squat!”  Lord Frost finished with joy, raising his fists by his head and bouncing them with glee.

 

As the crowd slowly rose into an approving response, encouraged by both his daughters rushing to him to congratulate him, snZm escorted Princess Shyhon to the front to be with her intended.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

The entire festivity would last a full month.  The celebration at the Clans Palace lasted three days.  From there the Monarchs went to the castle of Lord Floyd where they received people for a week and were presented with gifts from the heads of clans.  These gifts would in return be given to other clans by the Monarchs.  A new tradition was started.

 

After three days at House Mort, Lord Leyland invited them to his den, at Clan of the Moors.

 

Snow looked at the invitation.  She reread it several times before Brick finally came to her and asked if there was something wrong.  Things had been going well, it was time for a monkey wrench in the works.  She handed the piece of parchment to him and he read it for himself.  His brow furrowed in question.

 

“This is good news… so… what’s with the face?”  He asked her.

 

She shook her head and returned to the room.  “Yes!  My father’s mating ceremony, that is good news.  No, not that, I… I thought Lord Floyd’s, House Trust, you know, that the castle was his den, his home.  The invitation is to Clan of the Moors.”  Snow raised half her face in a smile.  “In Scotland.”

 

Brick reread the invitation himself.  “I guess we’re going to Scotland then.”  He confirmed with a nod.

 

Sea Mist had planned on flying them, Ace however told her since it was her father being mated too, she would fly them so Sea could relax and enjoy being a guest for a change.  She didn’t put up much of an argument, none actually.

 

When they arrived at Lord Leyland’s den, they were impressed.  His den house, was a small five room single story log building with a small yard.  The roof of the house came out from the front and extended over one side supported by timbers giving the house a loggia on two sides.  Log furniture accented the loggia completing the simple country image of the house.

 

The inside of the house was just as simple and modest.  The den below was very small, the smallest Snow had ever been in.  Lord Leyland’s tour of his home didn’t take long.  His staff consisted of nine people in total. 

 

The mating ceremony was held in the front yard of the house.  Lord Floyd and his mate stood for their son, and Lord snZm and his mate stood for their daughter.  It was a simple quiet ceremony.  The invited guests spent the night and in the morning the Monarchs traveled back home where they toured to several noble clans as well as several great clans.  Their Court traveled with them, it was a time of presentation of them as well.

 

There wasn’t time enough to visit all clans naturally.  But at each stop they made, they promised a personal visit at sometime in the future.  And they would do just that.  The month finally passed and they returned to House Squat to pack.  They would be returning to Snow’s den, but not to stay.  A new Castle House was being built for them.  Snow promised her den to Ace when she was of age.  And Ace was more than overjoyed by the gift.

 

When they arrived at House Squat, an attendant of the staff brought a package with a letter attached to them.

 

“It was delivered on the day of your coronation your Graces, addressed to both delivered by human currier.”  The attendant informed them.

 

“Thank you.”  Brick said to the messenger.  He took the package that was rather long and he and Snow went back into their quarters with it.  Brick set the package on the table and looked at it.  Snow stared with him at it.

 

“It’s from Ruth isn’t it?”  Snow stated bluntly with not so much of a questioning tone as a knowing one.

 

Brick nodded as he continued to look at the long box and the envelope.  “Yup.”

 

He took a deep breath and sighed as he reached for the envelope.  Pulling it from the box it came with he turned it over, broke the wax seal on the flap and extracted the letter from inside.

 

He read it aloud.

 

Dear Inquisitor Bait and Trustee Snow:

 

Before I am too far gone to do this, I wanted to say congrats on your coronation.  For what it’s worth, I also wanted to say thank you for helping and saving me from what was to happen to us.

 

I can feel the Darkness taking what’s left of me.  When we meet again I won’t be as friendly, if you can call how I was that, as I was before.  I can feel the changes inside us.  In my mind.

 

In the box is a sword that I am returning to where it belongs.  It is a werewolf blade that was held by Mindy.  We are assuming you don’t know who she was.  She was the first daughter, born to Alexander and Fyodor.  She was the reason they were kicked from the garden.

 

Mindy held a high office in the werewolf ranks and used this position to gather information for her father.  Her name was Karhalyn and she served Broadhurst clan of Westbridge line.  She is the one who also betrayed me and made us what I am.  She was a creature of both the light and dark, she couldn’t turn a human to a werewolf because of her dark nature, but she could make a vampire.

 

Tell Sea Mist thank you.  She’ll know why. 

 

By the time you get back, I’ll be hunting you.  Nothing that was Ruth will remain anymore.

 

Goodbye.

 

Ruth

 

Brick set the letter beside the box on top of the envelope.  He undid the tape that secured the box closed and lifted the flaps.  Soft black leather wrapped what was inside.  He reached in and lifted what was said to be a sword and set it on the side of the box he stood at.  Snow’s eyes were locked on the leather wrapped object with his.

 

Brick unrolled the leather cover until it was only folded over the object it held then he lifted the soft leather.  The blue hued metal of a werewolf blade in short sword form lay inside.  The hilt was wrapped with crudely cut leather strips.

 

Snow said nothing when she looked to her mate.  He looked back with his wolf eyes and covered the sword with the leather again and rolled it up, returning it to the box it had come from.  As he was lowering the sword back into the box, he noticed a small square white envelope in the bottom of the box.  Reaching in he removed it, set it on the table and put the sword back inside and closed the box.

 

Snow picked up the small envelope and opened the flap.  A small audio CD was in it.  She gave the CD a look of wondering then looked to Brick.  She had written a letter, why the need for a spoken message?  This was the thought in her mind as she looked to her mate who had watched her as she pulled the CD out, his face was more suspicious.

 

As their eyes met they both took a deep breath and released it.

 

“Want me to put it in the drive?”  Snow asked as she looked over at the player near the TV in the room.  “Or should we just pack it away for later?”  Her eyes returned to her love.

 

He took the CD from her hand as she held it.  Nothing was written on the label side.  He thought about simply breaking the disc in half and throwing it away.  His face was somber as he handed the disc back to Snow, his head nodded slowly with reservation in his aura.

 

Neither said a word as Snow walked over and placed the disc in the CD/DVD player and turned on the amplifier.  Brick walked over and sat down on the sofa.  Snow came and sat with him with the remote control in her hand and passed it to him.  She looked in his eyes for a moment then looked to her lap and waited.

 

Brick held the remote out and pressed the play button.  A slow melody from a single guitar started from the speakers.  He adjusted the volume, his mate looked to his eyes as both recognized the beginning of the song.

 

We’ve all seen the man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change.  The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange.  He asked a man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes.

 

“Get a job, you frellin’ slob ‘s all he replied.

 

Snow reached over and took her mate’s hand as she listened.

 

God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes, ‘cause then you really might know what it’s like, to sing the blues.

 

Ruth had apparently edited the track slightly, after the chorus finished the song became louder.

 

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love.  He said, “Don’t worry about a thing, baby doll, I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of.”

But three months later he say he won’t date her or return her call.

And she swear, “goddamn, if I find that man, I’m cuttin’ off his balls.”

 

And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walking through the door.  They call her a killer and they call her a sinner and they call her a whore.  God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes.  ‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose.

 

The volume lowered for the chorus again.  After it played through, the volume rose again, putting emphasis on the parts of the song Ruth had wanted them to pay attention to, the parts with her message hidden in the song.

 

I’ve seen a rich man beg, I’ve seen a good man sin, I’ve seen a tough man cry.

I’ve seen a loser win and a sad man grin, I heard an honest man lie.

I’ve seen the good side of bad, and the down side of up, and everything in between.

I licked the silver spoon, drank from the golden cup, smoked the finest green.

I stroked the baddest dimes, at least a couple of times before I broke their heart.

You know where it ends yo, it usually depends on where you start.

 

The volume dropped, lower than the song had started.  Brick let the song play out as he and Snow sat in thought.  He waited till the player stopped, there was nothing else on the disc.  Pressing the eject button as he stood he walked to the player and took the disc from it.

 

Giving it a look, this time, he did break it in half and tossed it in the garbage.  Snow shook her head as she stood without a word.

 

Brick walked back to the table with the box on it.  “Let’s get packing.  Hagelnug has our new House ready, we should get moved in as soon as possible.  The den is underway and some of the tunnels to the houses out from our home have been built.”  Brick said as he looked at the box, thoughts rampant in his mind.

 

With a blank face Snow nodded.  Back to work.  The building of their home was only the start.  The rebuilding of the werewolf clans needed their attention.

 

“What should we do with this?”  Snow asked pointing to the box with the werewolf sword in it.

 

Bait shook his head.  “Just like you, I have no insight on that.  We’ll pack it with the rest of our stuff and take it with until we’re told what to do with it.”  Was his only answer.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

As the new Monarchs were getting ready to move out of House Squat, so were Blade Dance and Sea Mist.  Their new home awaited them as well.  Like her sister, Sea Mist was also pregnant.  She had yet to tell anyone. 

 

She didn’t have to tell Blade, he had turned to her while they laid in bed, placed his hand on her belly and looked at her face.  He never said a word, only gently moved his hand over her belly with a proud smile.  Though blind and scarred, she could see in him that he knew.  She’d reached a hand to his face when she saw this. 

 

She believed that it was due to the change in her that she finally was pregnant.  She gave her mate a smile.  “I love you.”  She said to him.  She’d said that to him before.  This time, there was no question inside herself as to whether it was true.

 

This is what she was thinking about as she sat on their bed.  Their belongings were already at the new Castle House.  Her and Blade Dance were leaving ahead of her sister and brother.  It was her and Blade’s place to receive them into their new home.  Sea Mist was smiling to herself as she ran her hand over her slightly swollen belly when the door chimed.  She stood and went to answer the door.

 

“Father, Shy-mom.  Hey, come on in.  We’re all packed and gone, just need us now.”  She said with a light smile as she let them in.  When she closed the door and faced them, she could feel there was a matter that her father and his mate wished to discuss.  The air had a business smell to it.  “Okay, what gives?”

 

Lord Frost chuckled.  “You always know, not unlike your sister most of the time, you always know, but I assure you, this time, it is nothing bad we want to tell you.  Only something good.  My mate, a gift for the new Viceroy she has, for you my daughter of whom I am most proud.” 

 

Shyhon leaned over to her mate.  Sea Mist leaned in to try and hear what she whispered to him but wasn’t able.  Shyhon pulled back from her father and he spoke.

 

“My gracious Sea Mist, Viceroy of our Kind, it sits uneasy in my heart that one so pretty should do her duty with her trials so plain.  My gift for you is personal, for the face you shall show to those that come to you, it is only fitting that you face them whole, and that I bear your burden.”  When he finished speaking, Shyhon stepped forward and took Sea Mist’s hands in hers.

 

She knelt pulling Sea down with her to a kneeling position.  Sea Mist’s face moved between her father and Shyhon with confusion plain, she started to ask a question, her father shushed her before she could really even start.

 

Shyhon place a hand over one of her scarred eyes, then her other hand over her own.  She spoke faint whispered words and moved her hands alternately back and forth from her face to Sea Mist’s touching each of her scarred eyes with her other hand to her own face.  Though blind, she could see the glow that formed between them.  Shyhon’s hands started to move faster, gaining a little speed each time they moved.

 

Sea Mist’s face started to tingle, Shyhon continued for about a minute of time, Sea’s face felt cool and wet.  Shyhon stopped moving her hands and placed both over Sea Mist’s scarred areas where her eyes should be.  She held them there for a few seconds then pulled them from Sea Mist’s face and turned them as she brought them to her own face and covered her eyes.  Shyhon whispered again.

 

Sea Mist opened her eyes and watched as Shyhon lowered her hands, her eyes now gone and her face covered with the scars that had once been hers.

 

Shyhon stood then bowed to Sea Mist who was in a state of hobbled  amazement.  She barely was able to take the note that Shyhon handed to her.  After taking it, she looked with her eyes to the faces of Shyhon and her father.  They clasped the others inside hand and bowed to her.  “Viceroy.”  Her father spoke for the both of them, then they turned and walked away and left her quarters.

 

Sea looked around the room.  Seeing like she never really had.  She’d been blind since she was two, now, she saw with real eyes.  After taking in the room for several minutes while she thought, she looked at the note Shyhon had handed her and read it, several times.

 

Daughter Sea Mist,

 

I accept you as my own.  No separation do I make, you are my daughter in my heart.  Like your father, very proud of you I am.  Like you, I can see without eyes.  You my daughter, you are the face of our Monarchs to their people.  I have truly no need of my eyes, nor do I have need of an unmarred face.  It is better that you have a clean face when you present yourself as Viceroy to our Kind.

 

This is the most personal gift I can give to my daughter, the gift of eyes and a face.  My mate has no objections to my gift.

 

Love, Shyhon

 

Sea Mist dropped the note and looked around fast then focused on a point in the empty room.  “No, I do not wish to see with these eyes, only to be as I was before.”  She cocked her head and looked as though she were listening to an unheard voice.

 

“As my mother said, I am the face of our Monarchs to our people, the appearance is all I need, it is how I have always seen that will make me the greatest benefit to them in service to our people, I never want to lose that.”  She laughed lightly.  “Honestly, I can’t even remember what it was like to see through eyes.  I was happy how I was, thank you.”

 

Sea Mist smile large at the point in the empty room and bowed her head.  “Thank you.”  She said quietly.  She stood from her kneeling position and walked back into the bedroom and sat on the foot of the bed.  A few minutes later her mate came into their quarters.

 

“My life, we’re all ready, if you’re ready we can go now and…”  Blade Dance stopped short when his lover turned her face and large smile to him and looked at him, but didn’t focus on him.  “Sea…”

 

“A gift from my mother.  Shyhon has accepted me as her own.  That includes you too.”  She said.

 

Blade Dance stared at her, his eyes taking her in with great detail as his mouth hung open.  The eyes in his mates face were the eyes of Shyhon, he’d never really paid much attention to Shyhon’s eyes, but they were shaped differently than what Sea Mist’s had been.  His face finally broke a smile, the eyes fit her face well.

 

“My lover, my life, I did not think it possible that you could be more beautiful, your eyes, your face, never have I seen such beauty.”  He said to her with a faint hushed voice.

 

Sea Mist leapt from the bed connecting with him and wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist as she buried her face in his shoulder with jubilant laughter coming from her while she squeezed him tight.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

With their recent travels, packing for the Monarchs didn’t require much.  They put the last of their belongings in totes and had them ready to go to the moving truck parked in the yard.  They were stacking the totes when the chime for their door went off.

 

“It’s open, enter, come in, see the mess.”  Brick said towards the closed door.

 

A somber and sad faced Ace was revealed when the door opened.  As she walked in, her gate had a depression to it.

 

“Hey.”  She said softly, her hands went to her front and she fiddled with her thumbs.

 

She simply stood in the open area of the room, a few feet inside the door looking off.  Snow caught on first, Brick quickly followed and both stopped what they were doing and focused on Ace.  Her visit wasn’t social.

 

“What’s the matter Ace?”  Brick asked picking up on the feelings coming from her.

 

Snow moved to stand beside her mate and looked with concern at the young girl.

 

She was troubled deep inside.  It took her a moment before she was able to look at them.  When she did her eyes were heavy with sadness.  “Hovlek’s leaving.”

 

Snow and Brick looked at each other.  Thoughts ran through them, they looked to their feet as they each considered what this meant.

 

Slowly, Snow looked back to Ace.  “Where’s he at?”  She asked in her own voice of sadness.  She, like her mate, suspected what was up.

 

“In the front yard, parked by your moving truck.”  Ace answered.

 

They followed her out to the yard.  Hovlek was packing the last of his things he would be taking with him in the saddlebags of the Harley Davison motorcycle.  He was dressed in his colors, ready for the road.

 

He saw them out of the corner of his eyes, he gave a soft grunt as he closed the saddlebag but didn’t turn towards them.

 

“Wait here.”  Brick said to Ace.  He and Snow walked up behind where Hovlek was and waited.

 

A couple minutes passed as Hovlek messed with his bike, he was delaying speaking with them.  Both thought that if Ace hadn’t told them what he was doing, he wouldn’t have talked to them before he left.  And they were right in this assumption.

 

Hovlek slowly turned to face them.  He gave a small nod.  After a moment he held out his hands near his chest, but said nothing as he let them drop.  Brick looked over at Snow.

 

“So, that’s how it is then?  Just up and leaving?”  She said to him, not cold or negative.

 

Hovlek grunted once and looked down for a moment then looked to Brick before returning to Snow.

 

“Yes.”  He cleared his throat and looked down again before continuing.  “Hovlek… Hovlek returning to the road, where Hovlek belongs.”  He turned and moved to the bike and put his hand on the handlebars then looked back to Snow.  “It is on the road, on the back of this machine, happy Hovlek is.”

 

Brick walked up to the back of the bike, Snow followed a few seconds later.  Both looked at Hovlek.

 

The warrior sighed and looked down again, when he looked up he looked to both his friends.

 

“Hovlek’s years, long have they been.  Time, there is not much left.  Hovlek wishes to spend his end of days where Hovlek lived.”  He motioned to the road in front of the driveway with a look.

 

Both looked to the ground from Hovlek and stared for a moment.  Brick raised his head, Snow followed once he spoke.

 

“You’re one hell of an angel Sir Hovlek.”  Brick said.  Hovlek grunted with a smile back.  “A home you always have, wherever we hang our hats.  You my friend, are always welcome at our door.”

 

Brick reached over and put an arm around Snow as a tear fell from her face to the dirt and grass.

 

Hovlek turned and swung a leg over the bike and righted it.  He raised the kickstand from the board it was on and then kicked the Harley to life.

 

“Come back to us Hovlek, before you go.”  Snow said with sadness as she broke into crying.

 

Hovlek didn’t say another word.  He feathered the throttle of the Harley, moved his foot putting it into gear then started off down the drive, never looking back.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Their new Castle House would be built in two sections below the house on the surface.  The first den directly under the house would be their main den.  Next to that and deeper down, a very large den was also being dug.  This one would have special purpose, like the Palace, it would be used when the Monarchs held special events.

 

No werewolves would live in the main den, only humans in service would reside in the quarters built into the den.  Here the humans would train and learn about werewolf life and decide if they wanted to become a permanent part of their ranks. 

 

Though the house that the limousine Snow and Brick rode in the back of as it pulled to the door was very large, it had a modest look to it; for having thirty bedrooms.  They would share the house with Blade Dance and Sea Mist.  They would also receive and house their visitors there.  The house was built for others more than for the Monarchs and their Viceroy.

 

Blade Dance and Sea Mist stood at the end of the House SnowBrick family crest carpet.  The rest of their court stood on either side of the carpet lining the way into their new home.

 

The driver opened the door of the limo for them and they left the back of the car and went to Blade Dance and Sea Mist.  They bowed to Snow and Brick when they stopped in front of them.  The Monarchs smiled at Sea Mist as her eyes looked at the space between the two of them, unfocused.  They both knew of Shyhon’s gift, and the choice made.

 

“Welcome home your Graces.  We are honored to receive you and present to you your Castle House.”  Blade Dance announced.  The two parted and held their hands out to the carpet which held their new crest that Brick had designed and Snow had yet to see.

 

Snow laughed with heartfelt happiness as she saw her new crest for the first time.  Her final approval was needed.  She had no objections.

 

“A parrot head!  I love it!”  She said as she threw her arms around her lover’s neck.  In the center of the carpet the crest had a full color image of a scarlet macaw from mid chest looking out.

 

Brick kissed Snow and smiled at her. “What can I say, we are the gypsies in the palace.”

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

This is, to the best of my knowledge, a true account of the events as they happened.

I write these for you that you may learn of the history of our Monarchs.

I hope the story of their lives you enjoy.

 

 

Hovlek

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Finished March 17, 2014

Fox Wild, Author.

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

Coming Soon:

 

Morning Sky

OR

Blood and Bones

The Protectors Series Book 2

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

 

Brick was sitting on a bench beside a bus stop in a dirty part of New York City.  He straightened his suit coat.  A gift from Sebastian.  The night was moonless and dark.  The stars weren’t visible though the city night sky.

 

Picking up the paper in his lap he unfolded it and started reading.  He was waiting.  This part of town was not one someone would expect to find anyone dressed like he was, in fine clothes, sitting on a bus stop bench.

 

Nine months had passed since he and Snow had their coronation and taken their places as leaders in the werewolf ranks.  Oskar was nearing three months old now, Snow was a very proud mother.  They had been making their way across the country spending time at dens, as they promised they would.

 

It would take several years, but they would visit all dens and the werewolves that lived around them. 

 

A young man crossed on the sidewalk behind Brick.  He had spiked punk hair, wore a black jacket with black bondage pants.  His shirt under the coat was also black.  He was smoking a cigarette and looked over at Brick as he passed behind him and looked him over.

 

After he took a few steps past the bench, he seemed to make up his mind about what he was going to do and turned quick, moved to the bench and sat down beside Brick on the other end of the bench.

 

His face had several tattoos and metal from his piercings in his face and ears glittered in the light from street lamps further down the street.  He had jewelry through his eyebrows, lips, in his cheeks and in his nose.  Several earrings dangled from his ears along with studs and gauges in his lobes.

 

He was jittery.  He took a draw off of his cigarette and looked towards Brick and back forward again in short motions several times.

 

“Nice suit.”  The young man said to the stranger next to him.

 

Brick turned the page of his newspaper casually.  “Thank you.”  He answered.

 

The young man had his elbows on his knees and was leaned forward.  He bobbed his upper body in short motions and bounced his legs.  He took another drag from his cigarette.

 

“It was a gift from a friend, the Grand Inquisitor Night Harvest.”  Brick further informed the young rouge. 

 

The young man scoffed, smoke came from his mouth.  “The grand inquisitor, who the hell is that?  Never heard of him.”

 

Brick closed his paper, folded it over and placed it in his lap.  He turned his head to look at the man.  “My boss.”  He said with a smile.

 

The young man looked forward from looking at Brick and snorted.  “Whatever.”  He muttered.

 

His leg nearest Brick started bouncing again as he took another drag from his cigarette and exhaled filling the still air around him with the foul smell of the smoke.

 

“It’s rather late, what brings you out this night so late?”  Brick asked politely.

 

The young man looked back to Brick, his eyes moved up and down his frame.  The eyes of the man stopped on Brick’s watch and held there a moment before he looked back to Brick’s face and eyes.

 

“My girl.”  He answered.

 

Looking forward from Brick he went on.  “She works at a club just down the street.”  He pointed with his cigarette hand in the direction he had been walking.  “I bounce for another club.”  He said and pointed back the direction he’d come from.

 

“She tends bar.  I was going to walk her home when she gets done cleaning up the joint.”  He smoked again as his leg continued to bounce.

 

“Tough jobs.”  Brick responded.

 

The young man snorted again as smoke drifted up his face.  “Yeah, what can you do when your locked in.  Not like some big corp is going to offer us good jobs.”  He glanced at Brick’s watch again and scoffed.

 

Brick folded his hands on top of the newspaper in his lap, he still had a polite smile.  His eyes a soft blue human color.  “Have you ever tried to get a job at one of those places your talking about?”  He asked the young man.

 

He scoffed again and took another drag from his cigarette.  “Why bother?  They’d take one look at me and throw my application in the trash.”

 

Brick blinked slowly once.  “What are you willing to fight for?  What would you be willing to lay your life on the line for, knowing you would die?”  Brick asked the young man.

 

The young man stopped moving, he held his cigarette near his mouth but didn't smoke it.  His face changed, he was considering what Brick had said.

 

Seconds drifted by.  The young man started bobbing his body from the shoulders and took another drag from his cigarette.  He pressed his lips together leaving a hole on the away side from Brick and blew his smoke out.  “My girl, I’d die for my girl.”  He answered as he looked at the curb in front of him.

 

He turned his head towards Brick.  “She’d be worth dying for.”  He stated still bobbing.

 

Someone was walking down the other side of the street in their direction.  Both men looked towards the person.  It was clearly a woman, she crossed the street at an angle and continued on towards where they sat.

 

Brick looked back to the young man with a friendly smile.  “Sometimes, my young friend, opportunities present themselves in the strangest ways.  We all have choices, you happen to have freewill in yours.” 

 

Snow walked up to Brick and leaned to kiss him on the cheek.  After she did, she went behind him and put her arms around his shoulders and embraced him from the back.  “Hello my lover.”  She said pleasantly.

 

The young man looked at the girl that was about his age.  Her face and ears were pierced and she wore the dark attire that he was familiar with in his life and net of friends.  She definitely didn’t match with the well dressed man she was hugging.

 

“This is my mate, Trustee Snow.”  Brick said pulling his head back towards Snow.

 

He held out a hand towards the young man.  “Snow, this is Charley.  He was just on his way to walk Amy, his girl, home from work.  Nice of him isn’t it my lover?” 

 

Snow offered her hand to Charley with the back of her hand up and fingers curved down.  He clasped her hand and chortled with a nervous look.  Charley looked at the back of her hand and chortled again as he held it.  He was out of his element for sure, not knowing quite how to handle the interaction.  He bent his head down and kissed the back of Snow’s hand.

 

“Hi, ah, nice to meet you.”  Charley’s eyes darted to Brick for a moment that back to the more appealing face of Snow… who was introduced as Trustee.  Snow gave him a small smile as she retracted her hand.

 

The young man had confusion written all over his face.  Uncertainty welled in his eyes.  He dropped the end of his cigarette to the concrete sidewalk and crushed it out with the heel of his heavy boot.

 

Charley laughed nervously again as he looked at Snow, she was a charming sight.  “So, like, you’re his wife or something?”  Charley asked and flicked his eyes to Brick and back.

 

Snow smiled kindly.  “More of ‘or something’ I’d say.  In human terms, wife would be the closest description.  I’m his mate till our end of days.”  She answered.

 

The young man chortled again.  “So what’s the deal with you two?”  It was a natural question.

 

Though in gothic dress, the young ‘mate’ of this man was wearing fine threads and leather.  His girl had shown him many pictures of clothes she’d like to afford in magazines.  Though he feigned not paying much interest, when she wasn’t right with him, he’d look at the clothes in her magazines.

 

He’d seen models wearing the clothes Snow had on her back.  His eyes ran over her long silky hair that shimmered from what light there was on the dingy grime permeated street.  He noticed her eyes, they didn’t look human.  They were gray and golden yellow with pupils that drove into his soul.

 

When he looked back to the man, the Inquisitor, Charley saw the same type of eyes, with their own soul searching look.

 

“Here.”  The man said and handed him a business card printed on a light blue stock. 

 

The card was of a simple design on a fairly plain but good bond of cardstock.  On it was simply printed in normal font, ‘Lord Brick’ and in a medium sized print for the size of the card.  Below the name was a phone number.

 

Brick stood and his mate came to his side.  They hooked their arms together facing Charley.

 

“I have an offer for you.  It’s not an easy life I’m offer you, it’s a hard life, you’ll have to sacrifice your freewill like I did.  But it’s a good life and worth the hard work.”  This man said to Charley when he looked up from the card handed to him.

 

“Include Amy in your decision.  It’s important to include your lover in every aspect of your life.”  Snow said to Charley then looked to her mate.  “Isn’t it my lover?”

 

Brick smiled back with confirmation.  He clasped his hand onto hers then looked to the young man.  

 

“Very much so.  Talk about our offer, see if she’s interested in learning more.  We’ll tell you more, but only with Amy present.”  Bait continued.  “If she says yes, then call my number and either Ace or Mud will set up a dinner meeting for you.”

 

When Charlie looked down at the card, Brick walked Snow around to face the other direction and the two walked off down the street in the direction both Snow and Charley had came from.

 

“Hey, this isn’t anything illegal is it?”  Charley asked and looked up from the card.  He was alone on the street now.  The sounds of cars echoed in from nearby streets.  He looked the other direction, nothing.  They were gone.

 

“Damn it!”  He said with a restrained anger and punched his fist into his own leg just above the knee.  “I knew it.”  He muttered then stood up from the bench and looked both ways of the street again.

 

He looked at the card in his hand and snorted.  He flipped the card over and looked at the back.  Empty.  He flipped the card back over and held it between his index finger and thumb and read it one more time.  Charley looked back at the bench that no busses ever stopped at since he and Amy had lived in their rundown apartment and tossed the card towards it.

 

The card hit the end of the bench, slid backwards and fell to the crumbling concrete sidewalk.  It landed face up and turned towards Charley.

 

He scoffed at the card and how it landed then he turned.  He pulled a hard pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket and flipped open the top.  He pulled a cigarette out and placed it in his lips.  The stick of tobacco flailed around wildly as he returned the pack to his pocket and mumbled to himself.

 

He retrieved his Zippo and lit the smoke, snapping the lighter closed with the hand he held the cigarette in between his index and middle finger.  He took a drag from the cigarette and muttered as he looked to one side then he stepped forward at a fast pace to meet Amy.

 

The bench was anchored about twenty-five feet from the corner of the building at the end of the block.  Charley would turn left and head up the street.  He was about four feet from where he would turn.

 

“What the frell.”  He mumbled with his cigarette in his mouth and hands in his pockets as he walked.  Without stopping Charley changed his direction back to the bench.  He stopped stiff short of the bench, bent and picked up the card again, between his thumb and index finger and looked at it.

 

“This is bullshit.”  He said as he looked at the text on the card again.

 

He stuffed the card into his right front pants pocket, kept his hand there and started walking fast to meet his girl.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Charley turned the corner down towards where Amy worked.  It was a short five block walk.  There was an area where round metal trashcans were placed around a streetlamp pole for morning pickup.  He was passing them by.

 

“Hey, got a light?”  A woman’s voice said to him.

 

Looking over in the direction of the voice Charley saw a tall lanky woman with long jet black hair.  Her skin was pale, but she looked like she should be a few hues darker.  Like she should have light olive skin Charley thought from her features.

 

Her eyes were hypnotizing.  Her black leather corset held back her breasts the best it could and pushed the tops of each up making them eye catching.

 

“Yeah, sure.”  Charley answered her and pulled his Zippo from his pocket, flipped it open and lit in one motion.

 

The woman put a cigarette in her lips and bent her head to light her cigarette in the flame of his lighter.  She pulled with her mouth and the end brightened.  When she stopped pulling and backed up removing the cigarette from her lips, smoke rolled from both the end of the cigarette and her mouth that was slightly open.

 

“Thanks, I’m Ruth.”  The woman said.

 

At least it was dressed like a woman.  Charley looked her over.  Her cheeks, lips, nose, those eyes, her face. 

 

“And you are?”  She asked as she leaned back and looked at him with her cigarette held in her hand near her face from a bent elbow by her waist.

 

Charley slipped his lighter back in his pocket.  “Ah, Charley.  You’re welcome.”  He said then turned to walk off.

 

“Charley…”  She said causing him to stop and look back at her, and those eyes.  “Charley what?”

 

His face told of his confusion.  “W-What?  You stopped me.”

 

Ruth sighed.  “Charley, is that it, just Charley or is there more?”  She said with a mock condescending tone attempting to make herself comical.

 

He laughed apprehensively.  “Brewster, Charley Brewster.”  He couldn’t break from her eyes.

 

“Where are you off to in such a hurry Charles?”  Ruth said in a silky low voice.

 

Charley’s face winced.  “I’m going to meet my girlfriend, ok?”

 

“I’d like to talk to you for a moment, Charles.”  Ruth used a seductive voice.

 

Charley winced again.  “Look, dude, it’s Charley and I ain’t interested in what your sellin’, k.”

 

Charley broke from it’s eyes finally and darted off.

 

“Dude?”

 

Charley walked faster.  Ruth grabbed him and spun him around with force.  “What makes you think I’m a man?”  She demanded.

 

“The way you just grabbed me.”  Charley shot back reaching behind himself at his beltline.  “Your face for another.  Your Adam’s apple.”

 

Ruth felt her throat.  Her eyes snapped back to Charley.  She snarled when she spoke.  “I have a vagina!”

 

Charley nodded in fake acceptance.  “Ok, fine, you’re a hermaphrodite then, no problem.”

 

Ruth threw him back against the wall of the building behind him.  Kicking a leg up she placed it on the wall next to his head.  Charley had the wind knocked out of him and gasped at her, he slowly moved the hand he had behind himself that connected with the wall before the rest of him.

 

Ruth’s outfit had a piece of leather that was attached above her butt and ran between her legs and fastened with snaps in a triangle just below her navel.  She released the snaps and pulled the crotch cover down.

 

Charley had a full-on bush shot of Ruth now.  “Yeah, that’s a vagina alright.”  He looked to Ruth’s eyes again.  “Sorry, can I go now?”

 

Ruth had a manner of disappointment in her face.  She was expecting more of a ‘wow’ reaction.  She started pulling her flap back and snapping it.  “I have a business offer for you.  You gave Shithouse there your time, I have an offer of my own.”  Ruth told him, she dropped her leg beside his head to the ground.

 

“Not interested.”  Charley said and turned to walk away.

 

Ruth hurried after him, getting in front of him.  She held out her hand in front of his face, in her hand a wad of cash.

 

“You like money?  Course you do, that’s why you were going to rob that rich frell back there.  Till he made you his weird assed offer right?”  Ruth used the money to turn the young man around and face her again.

 

His eyes walked over the stack of bills.  All hundreds.  Charley looked at each bill individually.  Five thousand dollars.  That’s what he added up in his brain.

 

“Five grand Charley.  That’s what you can make a week with me.  The old fart even shoot you an offer?”  Ruth asked as she waved the cash in his face, watching his eyes dance.

 

He looked to Ruth, his eyes became entranced in hers again.  He couldn’t turn from her eyes.  He smiled at her from a distance.  “No, he told me to call him.”  Charley answered.

 

“Course he did.  I’m offering you cash Charley.  A lot more than he is willing to pay you.”  Ruth snickered.

 

Charley shook his head as he stared deep into Ruth’s eyes.  “I ain’t doin’ nothing illegal.”  He said sounding delighted to be with her.

 

“Oh, like you weren’t going to do anything illegal with that gun?”  Ruth said accusingly and pointing towards his back.

 

“That’s different, I don’t deal drugs or nothing.  My girl would leave me if I did.”  He nervously responded.

 

Ruth’s eyebrows raised.  “Oh yes, you mentioned her before, what was her name again?”

 

“Amy.”  He answered.

 

“Amy what?”  Ruth pressed.

 

Charley made a nasally sound and looked from side to side fast.  “What difference does it make?  I ain’t interested in your deal, or his deal for that matter, you can both frell off.”  He tried to turn away, her eyes held him.  She smiled nice.

 

“Nothing illegal.  We’re bounty hunters.  Like that guy with the show, something about dogs, Puppy Boy maybe?”  Ruth looked off with a confused face of thought.  “Anyways, doesn’t matter.  We’re like bounty hunters only far more hardcore.  You run with me and you run with the best, end of story.  And I pay cash.”

 

Ruth waved the stack of bills in front of Charley again.

 

“Report as much as you want to the taxman, we won’t say anything if you won’t.”  Ruth laughed and whapped him on the shoulder with a snort at her joke.

 

Her eyes flared at him.  He started giggling and acting love struck. 

 

“Also, we aren’t nearly as strict as Shithouse and crew.  We’re…” Ruth ran a finger up his chest, “not opposed to having fun, you like to drink, smoke, do drugs?  We don’t frown on that.”  Ruth was practically petting his face, he was inches from hers, looking from her eyes to her lips.

 

Suddenly Ruth looked up, she started sniffing the air.  She looked down the street.  Sniffed the air that direction and studied everything down that end of the street.

 

Charley looked up the street and inspected that direction the same as she had the other.  She looked up and around, sniffing hard.

 

“Ah, look, thanks for the offer and all, I’ll have to talk to my girl about it and see what she thinks.  I really have to get to her now, she’s probably waiting and worried.”  Charley told Ruth as he back stepped with a hopping motion then turned and ran towards where Amy was.

 

Ruth heard a click, like a gun being cocked.  It came from behind her.  She snapped around and looked, sniffed.  She hadn’t even noticed Charley run off.

 

An arrow of very large diameter ripped through the light pole next to her, at about head height.  Ruth snapped around again, the arrow had come from behind her, the direction she was originally facing.  And directly across from her. 

 

The arrow was parallel with the ground.  Whoever it was, was safe in the shadows and only a few feet in front of her.  She laughed towards where she thought the person was.  Now she noticed the boy had left.  “Oh Charley!”  Ruth said with a high pitched voice and disappointed face accompanied by a hand gesture near her waistline.

 

The person who’d fired the arrow could be anywhere around her.  There probably was more than one.  Ruth turned and started walking away.  She looked backwards to where she had been standing, then she quickly faced forward again; she broke to a run and leapt into the sky taking flight.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Snow and Brick were on the elevator up to their penthouse hotel room.  Their expense account covered the cost.  It was demanded by their job that they lodge in finer hotels, resorts and dine at finer restaurants than what either had access to in their field lives.  It wasn’t quite their taste, but in their position, it was expected of them to properly entertain their guests.

 

Lisa was waiting outside the elevator on their floor when the doors opened.  She was dressed in her tight night ops attire with her bow strapped across her back.  Brick couldn’t help but thinking the image somewhat reminded him of Sea Mist not too awfully long ago.

 

“Ruth’s back in town.”  Lisa announced as they stepped from the elevator.

 

Snow and Brick looked at her without welcome in their faces.

 

“Yes, we know.  Why are you here and not back at House SnowBrick with Sea Mist?”  Brick asked with a heavy tone.

 

Snow crossed her arms in front of her as she looked at Lisa.

 

She sighed and flapped her arms.  “Come on dad, if I hadn’t been there after you guys just left that human all on his own, Ruth would have charmed him into submission.” 

 

“You interfered.”  Snow began still with her arms crossed.  “We had the situation well in hand.  Sea Mist did order you not to follow us and has other duties for you.  Now you’ve gone and done your own things, Sea will report to me, I’ll report to Lord Leyland, he’ll talk to Viceroy Blade Dance and you’ll be back in class learning how to follow orders.”

 

“Mother…” Lisa started.

 

“Nope, don’t mother me.  You know better, we work best when we stick together and do what we’re told.”  Snow cut Lisa off with.

 

Lisa scoffed.  “You’re a good one to talk about following orders, didn’t you get your Valiant Knight title when you defied orders?”

 

Brick answered that statement.  “That was a different time and a much more trying situation.  And nothing relating to what you did tonight.  We heard.  Fired an arrow through a streetlamp.”

 

Snow moved closer to Lisa and placed her hands on her daughters shoulders.  “Look, Lisa, I did things, broke the rules and basically frelled things up.  I wasn’t smart about what I did.  I caused a lot of shit for myself in the end.  I don’t want you to make mistakes like I did.  I want you to be better than me.”

 

Lisa looked down.  She kicked her feet at the carpet.

 

Brick moved from the area of the elevators.  “Come on ladies, let’s take this to our room.”  He said and led them off.

 

Inside the penthouse suite the conversation resumed.

 

“Viceroy Sea Mist has me doing boring stuff.  Learning administrative duties.  Viceroy Blade Dance isn’t much better.  Yesterday he was teaching me how to walk when presenting myself to a Lord and Lady.”  Lisa stated once they had sat down.

 

Brick smiled at his daughter.  “I understand, you’ve finally gotten into the world you belong in as a werewolf and you want to do your duty.  But you also represent us as our daughter.”

 

Snow backed her mate up.  “In time Lady Lisa, you’ll be expected to present yourself on behalf of either the Viceroy or ourselves.  Being in battle is something I want to do as much as you.  My entire life has been in the field, this new lifestyle takes some getting used to.  But we do it because it’s expected of us by our people.  We do it for them.”

 

Lisa looked up at her mother.  Her eyes were heavy.  She felt what Snow had told her in her heart and knew she was right.  Like her father, she only wanted the best for her. 

 

“I can talk to Viceroy Sea Mist and Blade Dance, smooth this over.  She won’t report it, neither will he.”  Brick told Lisa.  “As long as you get back home and stay put, do what they tell you.”

 

“You’ll be working the field before you know it.”  Snow said with a comforting tone.

 

“But she was charming him!  What were you going to do about that?”  Lisa asked.

 

Snow leaned forward.  “She was only charming him so he’d listen to her.  She’s allowed to make her offer just the same as we are.  He has freewill, we can’t interfere with that.  He has to make his own choice and his girl with him.  If Ruth crossed the line and endangered him, we would have had her stopped.  She can’t use her charm to force him to side with her.  Them’s the rules.”

 

Looking to her feet Lisa realized her parents had everything covered.  They probably had a team watching from the shadows just like she had been.  After she ground her thoughts through her mind she looked up at Snow.

 

“I’ll go back.”  Lisa said as she stood up.  “I’m sorry.”

 

She left the suite and made her way across the states back to where Viceroy Blade Dance and Sea Mist were waiting for her.

 

 

Notify me when...

"This extract remains the exclusive property of the author who retains all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the work. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced or used by any person or entity for any purpose without the author's express permission and authority."

Please rate and comment on this work
The writer appreciates your feedback.

Book overall rating (No. of ratings: 
2
):
Would you consider buying this book?
Yes | No
Your rating:
Post a comment Share with a friend
Your first name:
Your email:
Recipient's first name:
Recipient's email:
Message:
 

Worthy of Publishing is against spam. All information submitted here will remain secure, and will not be sold to spammers.

No advertising or promotional content permitted.