tagNonHumanOut of Darkness Ch. 08

Out of Darkness Ch. 08

bylilgirlsix©

Once again, a huge thank you to my editor, Archangel_M, for his assistance and friendship.

Please continue to comment and vote.

Because of my formatting issues, { } denotes italicized text.


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Island of Sardinia - 1052 A.D.

The massive black panther traveled with his Betas through the forests. It had been six days since Erobos had made his demand to take his daughter as his mate. Erobos had given him one week to change his mind and allow the match. But that would not happen!

The panthers made good time to the caves of the werewolves. They stopped at the perimeter, waiting to be greeted by the sentries. Leander recognized Acacio, who had been the second of the previous Alpha.

Leander couldn't imagine what would lead the werewolves to accept Erobos as their Alpha, other than fear. Acacio was gaunt and didn't look well at all. Leander shifted and waited for the wolf to do the same.

Acacio shifted and held up his hand in greeting to the leader of the panthers. "Leander, I welcome you." What else was there to say? He wanted to say "help me destroy my Alpha." But to say it would be to watch his daughter die. But was the life she was leading any better?

He hadn't seen Zosime in three days. She had sent him messages through their bond saying she was well, but he didn't believe her. What had Erobos done to her?

"Is your Alpha present? I have an answer to his ultimatum." Leander knew he might not live to return to his pack. The cubs and pregnant females, along with their mates, had been sent away the day after Erobos had made clear his intentions. Leander would take no chances with their lives. The others had been given the choice of fleeing the island or staying and, most likely, dying. They had chosen to stay. This was their home.

Acacio felt so much older than his three hundred years. As much as he despised his Alpha, he had sworn allegiance and had bonded with Erobos and was bound to follow his orders, no matter what. He shuddered when he thought of what he would be ordered to do today.

{Alpha, the panthers are here.}

Leander watched the Beta carefully and could see his reluctance to communicate with Erobos. He took the moment to speak with his Betas. {We will die this day. Say your farewells to your mates now.}

The panthers moved restlessly, giving their last thoughts to their mates, and readying themselves to fight. They looked up as a flock of birds flew from the nearby trees. What had startled them?

Erobos strode forward, followed by his Betas. The wolves far outnumbered the panthers. Erobos assumed that Leander was here to give his consent to the mating. If so, he would tell Zosime to lead the humans to the wrong location. They would think the monsters had moved on or the girl was daft.

Erobos glanced around the gathered panthers, but no Leona. Perhaps her father wished them to have a formal mating ceremony. That would be expected of an Alpha in any case. He turned his attention to the old werepanther. "So, Leander, have you brought my mate to me?"

"You have no mate, Erobos. You will never see Leona again." Leander clenched his teeth, attempting to hide his apprehension.

"Then the werepanthers will be wiped from this island for eternity. And remember, you could have stopped this, Leander. You could have saved your people. But you are weak. And the weak must die!"

Erobos shifted into the massive monster Leander had seen before. He was stronger than he'd been even one short week before when he'd killed his father. He roared his challenge at the smaller Panther, who stood his ground.

The two animals launched themselves at each other, crashing together and rolling on the ground, saliva and blood spraying around them. The Betas waiting to see who would win could only see brief flashes of teeth and spurts of blood. But whose was it?

The Alphas parted and attacked over and over. The panther tried to ignore the pain as the long teeth of the Dire Wolf tore at his flesh. He knew he was dead already. But he wouldn't give up. He would fight to his last breath. He felt the jaws close on his back, severing his spinal cord. His rear legs went numb and flaccid. This was it. It would be over soon.

The black wolf stood over his foe, paralyzed and bleeding profusely, but still alive. He looked over his shoulder at his Betas. {Kill the panthers, now!}

Erobos watched as the wolves surrounded the outnumbered panthers and took them down, one by one. The Dire Wolf smiled to himself as he looked down at the panther, his sleek, black fur streaked with blood.

He shifted and stood above him as a man. "You have lost, Leander, and I will still find Leona and take her as my mate." He laughed out loud and morphed back into the gigantic beast who leaned down, ripped out the throat of his vanquished foe, and drained the blood from his broken body. He felt the warm tingling again through every inch of his body, to the tip of his tail. When he'd finished, he lifted his head to the sky and howled at the rising moon.

He walked away from the dead panther, reveling in his growing strength. But it still paled in comparison to what he felt when he drank the blood of the Dire Wolves. He would seek them out!

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Sardinia, Italy - Present Day

Seraphina sat on the corner of the Boss' desk, her legs crossed. She leaned across the desk, letting her head lie back, her long blond hair falling to the side, revealing the healing wounds where he had torn open her neck the day before. "Are you going alone?" She spoke in her most alluring tone.

Erobos glanced up at her, licking his lips as he saw the damage he had done to her pretty flesh. "You will not be going, Seraphina. I don't need the distraction. I have many operatives in America to assist me. You will stay here and take care of the pack while I am gone."

He smirked as she pouted. "Now, who else could I trust to take care of the affairs of the pack, hmm? I'm sure you will find a Beta or two to keep you occupied while I'm gone. But don't hurt them. A good Beta is hard to replace."

She laughed and sat up, arranging her hair to cover the wounds on her neck. She stiffened when his hand shot out and moved her hair behind her ears.

"I prefer you show everyone. You should be proud to carry my marks." He stroked his fingers from her ear to her collarbone. "Such a delicate neck, so easy to break. Remember to whom you belong, Seraphina. Always remember."

She breathed deeply, her eyes down, her body shaking uncontrollably. "I belong to you, Boss." She swallowed hard, shivering as his fingers trailed over her sensitive skin, lingering near the healing wound. She tensed as his nails tore the wound open again. She felt his fingers enter the gaping hole and watched as he took out one bloody finger at a time and sucked it clean.

"Mmmm, wonderful, as always." He smiled at her and turned his back to take a phone call.

She had been dismissed. She watched his back for a moment before hopping down and leaving the office. As always, she walked with carefully measured steps. The Boss didn't like anyone to run away from him. She pulled some hairpins out of her pocket and arranged her hair to leave the bites in full view. She gently closed the office door and went about her daily business.

Erobos leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and smiled as he heard the click-clack of her heels on the floor. His tongue savored the taste of her blood, but still only werewolf blood. It had been so many years since he'd tasted the blood of the Dire Wolf.

He had hoped to again soon, but Gary had screwed it up by pissing off the Baxter Pack. Well, now he had three reasons to go to America, to retrieve the stolen information from Gary's lab, and to kill that pup, Drago, and retrieve the female. Maybe all of his plans wouldn't be ruined.

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Nevada - Present Day

Silvano's face was pale as the cars sped down the freeway towards the old mine. He balled his hands into fists, his knuckles white, trying to control the emotions that warred in his soul. His wolf wanted only to kill the first Sardinian werewolf he saw. But he wanted to hold his son first before he died.

They had to get there in time! He had been worried about police pulling them over until he saw the police cars surrounding them, like they were giving them an escort to their destination.

{Papa, hurry! Kelly needs your help!}

Drago's message through their bond was so weak, even though he was closer every moment. Silvano knew his son was hurt and in terrible pain, but his first concern was for his mate, as it should be. Silvano leaned forward, grabbing the seat in front of him so he could see out the front. All he saw was the long, empty roadway. "Are we close? He won't last much longer." His voice broke.

Carr spun around in his seat. "We're almost there, Silvano. We'll do our best to get there in time!" If Carr could have willed the SUV to go any faster he would, but Cole already had his foot to the floor. They'd made good time, but would it be good enough? "Has he told you if there are any of them left alive?"

"He doesn't think so." Silvano sat back, concentrating on his son. {Stay with me, Drago. Keep talking to me. We are close!}

{No matter what, papa, keep Kelly safe. The Boss wants her back. He'd do anything to get her back. Even if I'm dead, you have to promise me you'll protect her. Promise me!}

{I promise, my son. We will care for her like our own daughter.} As he sent reassurance to his son, his own tears ran down his face.

Xylon sat next to his friend, wishing he could help, but there wasn't a thing he could do.

"We're here! Cole, drive around to the left. I think the buildings are over behind there." Carr pointed towards the hillside. The car skidded around on the loose dirt and came to a stop near the group of abandoned shacks. It was easy to pick out the sturdy one Drago had hidden Kelly in.

The SUVs pulled in, one after the other, and the Betas piled out, taking up positions on the perimeter. They circled the buildings, not allowing any direction to be unguarded. The on-duty Betas, in their uniforms and Police cars , closed off the road that led to the mine. There would be neither unsuspecting tourists nor any more of the Sardinian Alpha's operatives wandering in.

Logan and Jeff jumped out of the biggest SUV, the one they'd made into an ambulance. They had it equipped with everything the pack could need in a medical emergency. They had the sinking feeling that they would need it today. They arranged their supplies and waited to be summoned to either treat the wounded or tend to the dead.

Xylon and Silvano waited with the vehicles. Carr and his Betas would scout it out first, and call them in when they knew it was safe. Xylon watched the Betas, all trained Police Officers, surround the building. He could see where their specialized training made them even more adept at an operation like this than most pack Betas. Their coordinated approach was precise and efficient, allowing them to clear the area quickly and be confident they were not being watched. He saw Carr, Cole, and a few others disappear into the building.

Xylon held a restraining hand on Silvano's arm as they waited.

Silvano allowed himself to wait, but only because he knew Drago still lived. But at any time, if he thought Drago was drifting away from him, no one would be able to hold him back!

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"Drago, please come back." Kelly was barely able to whisper his name through her sobs. It had been almost an hour since he'd left her here alone. She hadn't heard anything except for the wolves. And even they had been silent the last half hour, except for the whimpering she'd heard every now and then.

She guessed at least one was alive. She felt bad for it. After all, they lived by instinct. It couldn't help being what it was. It was normal for it to fight for its food. She shivered. Was she the food they'd been fighting over?

She breathed deeply, trying to calm down. Drago was coming back for her, she was sure of it! He'd promised, and he'd said he'd never lie to her. But he was out-numbered. How could he possibly have killed them all? He didn't even have a weapon. Did he?

The sound of cars outside surprised her and she jumped up and flattened herself to the back wall. {Oh, God, was it more of them? They'd called in reinforcements? Drago, where are you? Don't leave me here alone!}

She could hear the faint sounds of doors slamming and male voices yelling. They were getting closer. She curled up in a ball, holding herself tightly, wishing it was Drago, wishing he was here with her. {Please, please, please.} It sounded like there were dozens of them!

She heard the sounds of muffled voices and footsteps closer, just outside the door she was hiding behind. {This can't be happening. Drago, no!} She covered her mouth as she tried to keep from screaming for him. But she knew he wasn't nearby. If he was, he would have had her open the door. He would have had her in his arms.

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Carr stood in the middle of the room, a shocked look on his face. He turned slowly, unable to believe anyone could have lived through this. {Holy hell! It looks like a massacre in here. Jeff, Logan, you'd better get in here fast. There are a few still alive, but barely. Bring Silvano so he can ID Drago for us.} He glanced up at the blood-soaked walls. There was even blood on the ceiling. Arterial spray?

Seven wolves lay strewn around the room. He walked carefully through the gore as the two pack doctors came in with a white-faced Silvano, who quickly scanned the room and let out an audible gasp as he spotted his son.

He ran to the badly injured black wolf, kneeling at his side. Jeff and Logan followed with their medical bags and set them down nearby. They quickly began assessing the black wolf's vital signs while the distraught father gently stroked the bloody fur on his beloved son's head.

{Papa, you're here. Don't let her see me!}

Silvano tried not to show his shock at his son's condition. {No, Drago, I promise, I won't bring her out until they've moved you.}

Silvano had to control himself. He couldn't let the fear show on his face. He couldn't let his son feel the fear through their bond. He stared directly into his son's dark eyes and smiled. He had to move a little farther away to let the doctors in to work, but he maintained his eye contact. He wouldn't let his son be alone through this.

Jeff could barely hear his heartbeat, it was so faint. His blood pressure was so low it didn't register on the Doppler. He was amazed he was still conscious. "Steve, get the stretcher!" He looked up at Logan, his face saying more than words. They both knew they needed a miracle. There was so much blood loss.

It was hard to assess since there was blood from seven different wolves spilled in the room, but from the look of his wounds, they knew. They weren't even bleeding anymore. Both doctors worked silently, each bandaging different torn and broken limbs. They needed to find a vein for an IV catheter. They weren't going to be able to do it in this dark room.

Steve ran back in with the stretcher and the doctors moved fast, taking him to their makeshift ambulance. They clipped an area on his neck and swore when they saw the torn flesh and vessels. They gently rolled him to the other side and were frustrated by identical wounds.

"I'll check for a Femoral vein. Maybe there's enough intact to hit it!" Logan gently moved the top leg, which was broken, and clipped the area and smiled. "Got it!" He quickly taped in the catheter, started some IV fluids at full bore, and bandaged the wolf's torn throat.

He looked down at the barely conscious were and smiled. "Hi Drago. We're going to take care of you." He could see the recognition in his pain-ridden eyes. Being newly mated himself, he had an idea of what Drago was thinking right now. He leaned down close to his ears. "As soon as we get those wolves out of there, your father will get her out." Drago closed his eyes in response. Logan imagined it was relief?

"I'm going to give you some pain medication, Drago. You'll probably fall asleep, okay?" Logan wasn't expecting the reaction that came from his patient. The wolf began snarling and trying to snap at him. Logan jumped back out of the way just in time to avoid the still sharp teeth.

Silvano ran forward and leaned down close to his son so calm him. He knew he couldn't afford to use any more energy than necessary. Silvano kept his hand on his son as he stood up and looked for the Doctor. "Please, he wants nothing until he knows his mate is safe." The proud father smiled lovingly at his son and stroked his fur. Drago knew his duty well.

Logan understood that and nodded, but he hoped they could get her out of there quickly then. Drago didn't have much time.

Jeff spoke quietly, "You're out of here, Logan. I'll assess the others and see if we can save any of them. I know Carr and the Council are going to want answers." Jeff looked down at their primary patient. "Drago, you're in good hands. Trust us. We're going to help you." He smiled warmly at the critically wounded wolf.

Jeff nodded to James, who was the best driver they had. The patrol cars would give them an escort so they could get him to the hospital as quickly as possible. They'd need to pull out every trick they had on this one. Logan had already sent instructions to Trina, his mate and Jeff's head nurse. She'd have the staff and facility ready for them. And the first thing they'd need was blood. Lots and lots of blood.

The Betas surveying the area found the bodies of the two wolves who hadn't lived long enough to join the assault on Drago. Jeff found two wolves still alive with a chance of recovery inside the building. They were put into an SUV for the hundred-mile drive back to the compound.

The dead wolves were piled into one of the trucks and taken to a mine shaft, where they were unceremoniously dumped. They shoveled dirt and gravel into the shaft, covering them with several feet. No one would find the bodies.

Carr stood at the doorway, his hands on his hips. "Cole, we can't take that woman out of there through this mess. We've got to get it somewhat cleaned up. I don't know what state of mind she's in, what she's seen, or what she knows so far. But I don't want her walking through a swamp of blood and guts."

Cole nodded. It was pretty disgusting in there. And the metallic smell of blood was thick in the air.

"Do you still have those bags of sand in the truck?" Carr liked that his brother was always thinking ahead. That's what made a good second in command. Cole always put a couple bags of sand in the back of every truck and SUV during the winter in case of ice.

"Yup, we'll get 'em right now." He turned on his heel and started running towards the vehicles. "Hey, Bryant, Brett, gimme a hand with those sand bags." A few other Betas joined in and in minutes they'd emptied the bags and spread the sand on the floor. The smell from the blood wasn't quite as bad. Of course, a human's sense of smell wouldn't be as sensitive as theirs.

Xylon handed Silvano a wet towel. If he was going to meet his son's human mate, it would help if he wasn't covered in his son's blood. His friend smiled at him gratefully as he took the towel.

Silvano painstakingly wiped the blood from his hands. He looked down and saw the blood all over his pants and shirt. She was scared enough as it was, he didn't want her to faint at the sight of him.

Silvano felt someone tapping him on the shoulder and turned to see Xylon with a fresh shirt and pants. There were always extra clothes stored in the vehicles; a were never knew when he'd unexpectedly shift and destroy the clothing he'd been wearing.

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