Rafael stepped off the silver and glass elevator and into another world. He'd made a point of changing the look and feel of his pack's floors. They were darker, warmer. They were still surrounded by glass windows from floor to ceiling all around, as wolves didn't like to feel contained, but their design was different. A large, dark, wood round table took up the center of the meeting room. Around the table were plush black leather seats, with the largest belonging to him, at the head of the table. As beta, Gregori would sit slightly behind and to the right of Rafael. There were chairs set up just behind their alpha's all around the tables. The carpet was a deep chocolate, and thick, thick enough to keep their shoes made from making a sound, as they moved around the table to take their place. As Rafael had requested, none of the other alphas or betas would have left their floors to come to the meeting until they smelled him pass their areas. It was his way to gauge them as they came in. It was a power move, yes, but one he relished. He would have an alpha bitch soon, and not only did he have to find out what the hell that bitch of a woman who attacked their kind knew, but also how the other packs would feel about Camden's pack losing Theana, and the Ulric pack gaining her.
"They are coming up," Gregori told him, and Rafael turned to greet them. This meeting meant more than any of them thought.
"Alpha," a slender man said, his tawny hair cut short and barely touching his ears. His green eyes scanned the room quickly before he relaxed and looked slightly to the right of Rafael's face, respectfully.
"Thomas. How fares the harvest?" Rafael asked.
"Looks like we are going to do good this year," Thomas answered.
"Good, take your place."
Thomas did so obediently, sitting down across the table. The other alphas and their betas came in and greeted him much like Thomas. Only two were different, one he expected, and the other...well he did, but didn't think the cub would be stupid enough to actually do it.
"Son," Walter said, and Rafael inclined his head in respect. Walter turned to Gregori and greeted him the same way before then greeting the rest in the room by rank. As he was the father of their mate his interactions with them, by definition, would be much more relaxed from here on out. Rafael had known this would happen, but hadn't expected the sense of pride he would feel, or the warmth in his chest. He'd been so focused on the planning of claiming their mate, that he hadn't actually thought of lovingher, or what he would gain with her at his side. A mate meant more than just the claim. Cerebrally he knew that, but to feel it was another matter. He cleared his throat and looked over at Gregori, who nodded in understanding. They would give this back toTheana a thousand-fold.
"Son?" a wolf snarled, and Rafael's hackles rose. He curled his fingers into tight fists at his side, hiding the deadly claws that sprouted. Camden. The blond haired Adonis upstart who thought he had some sort of claim on Theana.
"Mine," Rafael thundered, his body vibrating with power. He could feel the urge of his alpha wolf pushing the edges of his power, eager to strike out, to kill a threat to his claim on Theana.
"Mine," Gregori choked out as he stepped up behind Rafael. Rafael felt something he had never felt before. Like two halves of a whole the aura of Gregori’s and Rafael's wolves meshed, the scent, feel, and power blending and magnifying. Rafael never looked away from Camden's eyes, but he felt as if it were his own body as Gregori thickened, hardened, his muscles growing. Part alpha and feeding from me, Rafael thought then, dazed. A low threatening grumble, directed at Gregori, snapped him out of his momentary calm where the man took over. Once again the wolf pushed to the surface.
"Back off, beta," Camden warned. He dared! The bastard dared to speak to Gregori, as if he were beneath him. Even Gregori being a beta didn't affect his strength. Gregori would always be stronger because he was the beta of the strongest wolf clan.
"Make me," Gregori snapped.
"You are beta," Camden said, tensing, his canines exposed, gleaming pearly white.
"A beta that can kick your ass and chew on your intestines. Play with me, little boy, and I'll rip your fucking head off," Gregori roared.
"You won't have to," Rafael promised, and then shot into motion. He slammed into Camden with a sickening thud, but didn't stop. He raked his claws across Camden's chest, drawing blood, even as he swiped with his other hand and tossed him across the room. He heard Gregori's battle cry and knew that Camden's beta had come to his alpha's aide. Gregori would eat him alive. The other alphas and betas moved out the way, but didn't interfere. Rafael leapt in the air, soaring through the air and then landing on Camden's back. He had had enough, Enough of this bastard challenging him, of him bucking the system.
"Say she's mine," Rafael ordered, grasping the back of Camden's head and slamming his face into the ground with each word. Camden refused him, and Rafael pounded harder.
"She is...yours," Camden gurgled out through blood. Rafael stood slowly, still grasping Camden by his hair and then tossed him back across the room. As Rafael walked back to his place at the head of the table he spoke.
"I will say this now. Though she is not marked yet, Theana of the Dolphus clan is the mate of me and my beta. She is protected, and, as such, Dolphus clan will be combined with the Ulric clan. Moreover," he added, straightening his suit jacket and glaring at Camden as he slumped in his chair, his beta cleaning his face of blood as it healed, "my beta is now also mate to my alpha bitch, so he is more than just some beta," Rafael growled.
"Understood." The other wolves in the room acknowledged, as Rafael reached the front of the room. He sat down in his chair with a sigh, and Gregori stepped up behind him. He didn't ask if he was okay, as to do so would make the others think he were weak, so he simply took a deep breath, drawing Gregori's scent in to check for blood. All he smelled was the beta's blood from Convel. Gregori was fine.
"Back to business, gentlemen, and I am sure I will not be so interrupted again. Where is the woman?"
"She is waiting just the floor below now for your summons," Thomas answered.
"Where was she found?" Gregori asked. It was a testament to Rafael's power that Thomas didn't stop to question why Gregori was the one to ask him. Rafael figured they had gotten the fucking message now.
"Just outside a casino in Tulsa. She was hidden there in a shelter for women, but had a penchant for heading out at night to go to bars. We very nearly didn't catch her. She has no scent," Camden said then, respectfully for once.
"No scent?" Rafael asked, incredulously. Human couldn’t mask scents, or at least they couldn't before. But for all of Camden's faults, he was one of the best they had in tracking and security. If he said the woman had no scent, she didn't.
"She had a scent, but it was not what you would expect. She smelled like nothing, blankness. Nothing like a human should have, and nothing like what permeated the hotel where we found the injured wolf. Until she started sweating. Then the scent leaked through, and we were able to follow it."
"Then she had something on topical then to hide her scent. Humans are finding more ways to come at us. Bring her in," Rafael ordered. Thomas reached in his pocket and pulled out his phone. He made a quick call, and the elevators opened soon after. Between wolves of the Convel clan a small light-skinned woman, with pixie short brown hair, walked into the room. Though he could smell fear seeping out of her pores, she held her head high and clasped her hands demurely in front of her. Her eyes were hazel in her heart-shaped face. She was pretty, in a the-more-you-looked-at-her sort of way. They made her stop next to Rafael, and he looked over her for a moment before speaking.
"What is your name?" he asked, and she lifted her chin, not answering.
"Speak, woman," Camden grumbled, his face now healed. The woman shook her head.
"So be it," Rafael said and motioned for Camden to come over. Faster than the human eye could follow Camden was at her side, and her fear permeated the air. With no mercy in his touch, Camden gripped her head and slammed her into the table.
"Zaria," Rafael said then, and the lone alpha bitch in the room stood. Soon there would be another when Theana joined them in meetings. Rafael would make sure she was included. Zaria stood slowly, her willowy frame as graceful as a dancer’s. She pushed her thin rimmed glassed up her nose as she walked towards the woman.
"This won't hurt if you don't fight me," Zaria said when she reached the woman. She placed her fingers on the woman's temples and nodded at Rafael. "She's ready." Something that most didn't know about the Beowulf clan was their extra powers. They were of the mind, and had control over it in a way that was nigh impossible.
"What is your name?" Rafael asked again.
"Lacey," Zaria answered.
"Why did you shoot my wolf?" Rafael continued.
"He deserved it," Zaria answered again.
"So you did target him?"
"No. He was a monster, and I shot him."
"How did you know to use silver bullets?" Rafael asked.
"They told me to," Zaria answered, swaying. She wouldn't be able to hold the connection for much longer.
"Who are they? Names," Rafael said.
"General Josiah White," Zaria said, and then left the woman. She gripped her head, and Thomas gripped her arms to steady her.
"Come. I'll take you home," he said then, after he looked to Rafael.
"Thank you for your help," Rafael said. He signaled with his hand, and the security wolves removed the woman from the room.
"We can't let her leave," Walter said then.
"Of course not. And it seems the government is against us now."
"Maybe, maybe not," Gregori stated. "We've had a treaty with them since we went public. They wouldn't be too quick to move against us so blatantly. This could be a small group."
"Or a large one," Camden added. "Either way we have military personnel who are gunning for us."
"What do you want to do to her, Isaac?" Rafael asked then.
"Give her to us. We will see if we can find out more for you," Isaac answered.
"Agreed. We will need to find out all we can. My people, it seems we have dangers brewing on the horizon that we hadn't been privy to before. We will have to prepare for this. We always knew that there were humans that didn't like that we existed, for good or for ill, but they hadn't had much opportunity to harm us. But if military trained combatants are now to be our enemy things can change. We must be careful," Rafael said then.
"I will let you decide how you want to safeguard within your respective areas, but, however, Convel and Rendall clans, I want you to coordinate a twenty-four-seven perimeter around Seurri until we have decided otherwise. It may just be important that we prepare to make Seurri a compound to keep us safe. Camden, get me schematics on what that would take and how long."
"On it," Camden said, popping his jaw.
"As for now, the meeting is dismissed."
Lillian MacKenzie Rhine
We will be with Michaela Rhua next! Hope to see you there!