ROMEO TRAVERSE waited just outside the woods, his shoulder and hip still ached from the silver-tipped arrows his wife, Amanda, had removed less than four hours before. His pride, however, would take longer to heal. As the alpha of the Delta pack, taking two arrows in battle scored him deeper than the tips could ever hope to penetrate. Still, he had his beautiful wife to thank for the healing that was already working its magic. Without it, he’d never have gotten this far. Still in his wolf, Romeo sat scanning the tree line. He’d brought everyone from his pack who’d been available to help. Gina, his niece, had stayed behind with Sarina, her older cousin and his first born. Brody, Sarina’s husband, had also stayed behind with four soldier wolves to guard his two grandsons. As the youngest heirs to the Delta pack, Jedidiah and Brody Jr. couldn’t be risked and with one attempt already foiled to use them as bait, Romeo wasn’t about to take another chance with them by removing their father. He’d spared the four wolves without hesitation.
His middle son, Wade, had made the trip as had his two youngest twins, Shawna and Joshua. Shawna was a ways back in the wooded area of their territory helping her mother take care of two wolves who’d come from somewhere in the woods. How they’d missed their presence all this time was a concern for another day as Romeo waited.
The arrows that had sunk into his flesh had come from the direction that Romeo was now exploring and he would find the shooter. As for whether or not that shooter was alone, well, he’d just have to figure that out along the way. And figure it out he would. The safety of his entire pack depended on ending Fenris once and for all.
Sitting on his haunches to breathe for a minute, Romeo thought back to all they’d gone through; the very first werewolf had a penchant for ruling everything.
Thankfully, the Delta pack had rallied and come back even stronger after Fenris and his pack had wiped out several of the male wolves’ families. Nearly a hundred women and children had died that night and it had crippled Romeo’s numbers, not to mention what it had done to the pack’s morale. Over the last few months, Romeo and his entire family had worked themselves to the bone to keep those male wolves from defecting and going after Fenris on their own. He was glad to have all of them with him tonight. Three nights away from the full moon, he needed every wolf he could get for this fight, especially if he was going to end it once and for all.
The arrows he’d received were a precursor, he knew, to what was coming. Fenris had wolves under his command who’d take on the fight and keep going. Romeo could only hope that Fenris didn’t have enough. If any other packs came to join him, Romeo knew it’d be bloody and brutal, something he wanted to avoid at all costs. He wasn’t afraid of the fight, but he didn’t want to waste the lives of his pack members just to snuff out a wolf who should have died eons ago… one who’d caused more than his fair share of trouble. The mere fact that he’d planted a decoy, a wolf who’d disguised himself as Sarina Traverse’s own mate, Brody, galled Romeo more than he wanted to admit. And to think that worthless black magician Dankar had been able to pull off such a ruse.
Romeo knew better than anyone that war was personal, from the infantry all the way up to the decision makers. Just as he knew that Fenris had more than overstepped his bounds when that young man had done his dirty deed. He wasn’t one to hold a grudge, but in Fenris’ case, he’d certainly make an exception. And as if Fenris wasn’t enough to deal with these past months, they’d had to put up with Lilith, the woman who created the werewolves in the first place. It pricked his ego considerably to have to admit that she had duped him. Consumed by black magic, she’d found a way to crawl back from the pits of Hell and somehow managed to slither inside Brody’s mind. It wasn’t long before she’d found her body. It had cost Romeo his son and now he owed Fenris for Jason’s death as well.
Romeo turned to see one of his generals standing at his side and quickly put away thoughts of the past. He tilted his head and the man continued
“Your scouts have returned with a count.”
Romeo knew the change would hurt and likely drain his energy even more, but he also knew that he needed to get the information correct the first time around. It took mere minutes for the shift to complete and Romeo was thankful for the young man who tossed him a pair of shorts to put on.
“What’s the report?” Romeo asked, knowing they needed to formulate a plan of attack that would end Fenris’ pack forever.
“There’s some twenty-five archers posted around the area sir. Some I recognized but plenty I didn’t. I don’t mean to assume sir, but I’m almost sure Fenris has asked for and received outside help. He’s never been dumb in the past and I doubt he’d slip up now, sir.”
“Thank you,” Romeo said, dismissing the young man with a wave of his hand. The young scout took his original place in the pack and Romeo turned to his top four wolves. “Alright, obviously we need these wolves taken out before we see about attacking the wolves inside the caves. None of us here have been inside, save me, and that will need some attention to detail. Right now though, I want our archers to worry about the twenty-five wolves that our scout saw. That’s Fenris’ front line of defense and that’s where we’ll strike first.”