Out of Darkness Ch. 14bylilgirlsix©
Thank you for your patience during this last two weeks. My class took all of my time and there was none left for writing.
As always, a huge thank you to Archangel_M who helps me more than he'll ever know.
Nevada -- Present Day
Kelly nestled into her grandfather's chest just like she used to when she was a little girl. She felt so safe in his arms that she felt like purring like a contented cat. But there was so much she needed to know. She reluctantly pushed herself away, clutching the blanket tightly around her naked shoulders.
She saw her shredded clothes strewn around the floor and the blood, smeared into the linoleum, and whispered, "Grandpa, what happened to me?"
"Kelly, we'll talk about it later. You need to rest." He slowly stroked her hair as he spoke quietly. "Come, I will take you to Drago. You will both be better when you are together." He stood and took her hand, helping her to her feet and then swept her into his strong arms. He strode towards the door which opened wide for him. He saw the two Betas standing outside the door. "I would like to take her to Drago."
Brett nodded and sent word to Carr who gave the go-ahead. "This way, Sir." Brett could tell an Alpha from a mile away. Carr allowed his Betas a lot of leeway but insisted on manners with high-ranking guests. Bryant took up the rear as the foursome made their way to the room given to Drago.
By the time they'd reached the room, a second bed had been set up next to Drago's. Kelly's grandfather gently placed her in the bed and covered her with the blankets. He watched approvingly as Drago's face lit up when she entered the room.
"Drago!" Kelly began to cry as her hand stretched out for his. When he closed his hand around hers, the tears flowed freely down her face. She imagined she could feel a spark as their hands touched. It was like they were linked somehow.
"Kelly, I'm here. We're together. Everything is going to be alright. We're going to be together forever. I promise." His hand held hers tightly. He swore to himself that he would never let go again. Drago gazed into her beautiful blue eyes, not able to look away for a moment. He had never felt as lucky as he did now. He had found his mate and his birth parents. Now the only thing left was to kill Erobos!
Logan watched from the doorway for a moment, but then began shooing the spectators away. "Why don't we let the two of them rest for now, hmm?"
Carr nodded. Good idea, Doctor. I think we have things to discuss anyway. Carr held the door for Kelly's grandfather and Zsigmond. Margareta was lagging behind. "Logan, maybe Drago's mother could stay for a bit?"
"Sure, that'd be fine."
"Thank you, Carr." Margareta had a thoughtful look as she watched her son with his mate. "Would you ask Carla to come in? I think I need to learn to share my son with her."
Carr grinned. He saw the surprise on Zsigmond's and Drago's faces. "I think she will be very happy to join you." The females would make their new family work. Carr had no doubt about that.
As soon as the door shut behind them the silence was broken. "I don't believe we even know your name." Alistair stared into the stone-cold blue eyes of Kelly's grandfather. "And we'd like to know why Kelly doesn't seem to know she is a were and why she smelled like a human until her shift." Alistair didn't trust this male. Something was odd about him. And how could he have known Leona?
The large black-haired male sat with all eyes on him. He scanned the room and appraised those in attendance. They were all Alphas and all wolves. He hadn't expected to see the panther earlier, especially one that looked exactly like Leona. And then to see there were five others. It was a shock to say the least.
"My name is Leonardo. I am from the Island of Sardinia. My brother was the last Alpha of the werepanthers, Leander." He gazed around the room at the shock obvious on everyone's faces. "Leona was my niece. My brother sent me away from the Island with my mate and our cubs to escape Erobos. We traveled through Europe for centuries. I took the surname of Creighton when we moved to Scotland in the year 1569."
He paused for a moment and looked at Carr, noting the distinctive chocolate brown hair and emerald green eyes. "I recall a werewolf pack using the name Baxter. The Alpha looked much like you."
"That would have been my great-grandfather, Angus Baxter. My grandfather, Ewen, came to America to start his own pack four hundred years ago. Did you know either of them?" Carr wasn't sure what to make of this.
"No, I stayed as far as possible from the werewolf packs. We kept to ourselves. By chance I found one of our former pack, a cub who had grown to adulthood but been separated from his parents. He joined us in the early 1600's, and that got me thinking about trying to find whoever still lived and bringing them together. But it would be dangerous to stay in Europe. When America became a viable alternative, I took it. I moved my family here and began doing what I could to find any of my pack that I could track."
"That is incredible!" Rhys was stunned. "And you were able to do this all without being discovered by any other were pack." Rhys shook his head in disbelief. "An amazing feat, Leonardo." Rhys was impressed with the Alpha. He had been able to reunite part of his decimated family without being detected.
"Please, my friends call me Leo. I think we will become closer than friends soon."
"I believe, Leo, that we are family. My mate and the other panthers are Leona's descendants, as are many more females associated with this pack. Your family has grown quite quickly." Rhys grinned and held out a hand to the formidable male who stood in front of them.
Leo hesitated for just a moment before reaching out his hand to grasp Rhys' in a friendly handshake.
Alistair still wasn't sure he trusted this panther. "So tell me, how is it that Kelly had a human scent but is a were?"
Leo sensed Alistair's distrust. He couldn't blame him. "We are very careful. Cubs are not. When we came to this country it wasn't an issue. It was wide open land and we were able to keep to ourselves. But in the last hundred years civilization has encroached upon us, and we felt the need to keep a tighter control on our cubs. I made the decision that every panther cub would be bound by an order, irrevocable by anyone but myself or the acting Alpha. The panther was ordered to stay dormant until such time that the cub was mated, or the decision was made to allow the panther to come forward. I was confused by the fact that Kelly has obviously NOT mated as yet. But her panther felt she needed to protect her prospective mate, and so disregarded the edict."
"So that explains why the panthers didn't sense Kelly. She and her panther are not really connected. They are two separate entities." Alistair was dumbstruck. He didn't know an Alpha had that much power. At least he wasn't aware of any werewolf Alpha with that power. "But Kelly doesn't seem to know anything about her were history."
"No, the cubs aren't told anything until they are ready to mate. I've always searched for more of our kind but have found none since 1878. I had hoped to widen the gene pool. The panthers won't mate if they are too closely related. I made the assumption that if she didn't find a mate in our pack she was destined to live as a human for the rest of her life. I didn't even think of the possibility that she would find a werewolf for a mate. I know, that seems ridiculous considering Leona. But since Kelly was ignorant of her heritage, the thought didn't come to me."
Rhys, ever the genealogist, had to bring up the obvious. "Leo, she and Drago are related. Drago is Leona's great-grandson."
"Not to worry, Rhys. They are second cousins twice removed, not close enough for it to be an issue. And aside from that, female panthers will not choose a mate who cannot father their cubs. And they seem to know. No, the panther has chosen, they will be fine."
"So what else can panthers do that we are ignorant of?" Alistair wasn't really sure he wanted to know.
Leo watched the white-haired were closely. "There is nothing to be frightened of, I assure you. The females are far more powerful than any mere Alpha." He smiled at Alistair's surprise. "The Seven Sisters were the most powerful, and were our Council in Sardinia. My grandmother was the eldest. She held the most power, the power of Sight, both past and future. Another had the power of empathy; she could feel the emotions of others."
Alistair mouthed the words, "Jenna and Tracy." He looked over at Konstantin who stood open-mouthed in disbelief.
Leo continued. "Another of the sisters could see the future of our kind, but only that part of it that was good."
"Katy." Rhys whispered her name.
"Still another had visions but they were difficult to discern and required much study to understand."
"That is Orsolya's gift." Guillame looked around the room as he said it.
"And then there were the twins, who, together, could reach into the minds of others and communicate with their beast."
Carr almost fell off his chair. "Rebecca and Danielle have just become aware of that ability."
"But that's only six. What did the seventh do?" Guillame couldn't believe this. "And what happens when the seventh sister joins them?"
"The last sister had the power to heal. As to what happens if they are reunited, they become more powerful."
Carr suddenly remembered something and sat up straighter, looking straight at Leo. "Did you know that Kelly has the healing power?"
Now it was Leo's turn to look surprised. "No, I did not. How do you know?"
"Logan said that Drago's healing improved when Kelly was with him. At the time, he had no idea why, but now, I think we can pretty much figure it out."
"If the Seven Sisters were so powerful, why couldn't they stop Erobos?" Alistair thought it best to be blunt and stared into Leo's blue eyes, the same color as Kelly's.
"The sisters were powerful against non-humans. But they had made an ancient pact to never harm a human, no matter the consequences. Erobos sent humans after the pack. They could do nothing but watch our pack die."
Konstantin found this history amazingly interesting. "Why would they have made a pact like that?"
"Half a millenniim before, the werewolves, werepanthers, and vampires were all at war with each other. Humans were becoming collateral damage in the battles. Eventually, the panthers and wolves banded together to conquer the vampires, who were given an ultimatum; leave the Island or stay in peace."
"And the vampires left?" Alistair didn't believe that. Vampires had never been ones to be truthful, at least in his experience.
"All but two or three left the Island. They had thought they could wipe out the werewolves and then come after us. They had brought thousands of Dire Wolves to the Island and set them on the werewolves. They outnumbered the werewolves and, eventually, would have destroyed them. But the Vampires didn't count on us banding together. The vampires didn't know that panther saliva was poison to the Dire Wolves."
Xylon practically jumped out of his chair. "So it is the saliva. I thought so!" Up until now the geneticist had sat quietly in a corner. But now they had his attention. "We found that out for ourselves by accident. I'm sorry to interrupt, please, continue."
"You have Dire Wolves here?" His head whipped around to face the Greek were. Leo had never heard of Dire Wolves in the Americas in this age.
"One of our own kind found a way to turn certain werewolves into Dire Wolves. They carry a latent gene that he was able to 'turn on' by using a combination of proteins. But we were able to defeat the last of them when we realized the panther's bite was poisonous to them." Xylon had hypothesized this very thing after the prior Jensen Pack Alpha had demonstrated accelerated tissue death after the bite of one of the panthers. In fact, subsequent bites had led to his being overpowered and killed.
"And now they are all gone?"
"We don't know. We don't know how many Gary made, or if there is still a viable formula in existence. For all we know, there could be everything they need to make more in Erobos' hands now." Alistair felt a nervous energy crackling throughout the room. The wolves, and now one panther, were readying themselves for the unknown. Would they be facing a lone werewolf? Or an army of Dire Wolves?
"I'm sorry, Leo. I still don't understand why the Seven Sisters couldn't hurt humans." Konstantin tried to fathom what they were being told. But he just didn't have it figured out.
Leo eyed the silver-haired Czech. So far, he had found all the Alphas here to be honorable wolves. It had been so long since he'd had many dealings with werewolves. The last he even remembered ever speaking to had been over six hundred years ago. "After the panthers tracked down every Dire Wolf they could find, they destroyed them. The vampires were given their choice and left. But when they surveyed the damage on the island, they saw that the humans had been decimated."
"They soon realized that the amount of game on the island was not sufficient to sustain both packs. But the humans farmed animals for food. Some of these animals would escape and breed in the wild. The were do not breed animals for food. We hunt! If the humans were destroyed, it was felt there could never be enough food for both packs to survive. It was then that the Seven Sisters decided that the humans were too important to the continued health of the island to allow their numbers to be lessened for any reason. So they decided that no matter what the reason, a were could never harm a human. And so it was until the time that Erobos used them against us."
"Do you know why he killed your pack?"
Leo spun around to face Alistair. "He wanted Leona, and thought it was my brother that kept her from him. Erobos was insane. He was never a normal werewolf as a cub, and a week before the attack, he became a Dire Wolf. I saw him myself. As to how it happened, I don't know. But I think that's what added to his paranoia about our pack. He expected to have Leona give herself to him to save the pack. But Leander sent her away, as he did with all the cubs and their parents. Only the old and infirm stayed."
"But it still doesn't explain why Erobos wanted to make more Dire Wolves." Carr voiced what they were all thinking.
Margareta sat next to the bed, watching her precious son sleep. His hand still held that of his mate, Kelly. She looked around the room, uncomfortable, not knowing what to say to the female who sat next to her. She finally found the courage to say what she felt. "Thank you, Carla. Thank you for raising my son. You and your mate helped make him into a strong, fine Beta." She looked at her hands, twining them nervously in her lap.
Carla looked at Drago's mother. She had lived through so much heartache. Carla had heard the whole story of the Hungarian pack and reached out to take her hand. "I only tried to be the mother I knew he deserved; the mother you would have been for him if he hadn't been stolen from you." Carla knew in that moment that the two of them would be friends. And they would be wonderful grandparents someday. But she wondered if their grandchildren would be wolves or panthers.
Zsigmond stood outside the door, eyeing Silvano. "I suppose I should tell you I'm grateful." He looked away, towards the door to Drago's room. "I am... grateful, I mean."
Silvano nodded. Silvano was a scientist, not a soldier, like Zsigmond, like Drago. "I think he is very much like you, Zsigmond, more than you know. You will be proud of him someday."
"I'm proud of him now. He escaped from Erobos, kept the girl alive, and made his way here, all without assistance. You raised a fine son." Zsigmond had to say the truth, as much as it pained him to know someone else was the reason for his son's courage and strength of character.
Silvano slowly shook his head. "No. When he came to us, he already showed the kind of Beta he'd become. We just helped him along the way. He grew into the wolf he was meant to be from the moment he was born." Silvano looked at his son's biological father. It was almost like having a discussion with Drago. They looked alike, they sounded alike, and Carla was right, their scent was almost the same.
"Margareta would like us to become one family. Silvano, I can't promise that I'll be good at it, but I promise to try." Zsigmond couldn't look at the Italian. He stood with his back to the wall, hands in his pockets.
Silvano moved to lean against the same wall, a few feet from Zsigmond. "I too, promise to try. I'm sure our mates will have our lives mapped out for the next few years, at least through the first grandchildren." He looked up in time to see the smile on Zsigmond's face. Silvano smiled too.
Sardinia, Italy -- Present Day
"Álvaro, I think I found something!" The Omega had his nose buried in an old, dusty book that had been lying underneath a pile of papers.
Álvaro jumped to his feet, glancing at his mate who had been helping comb through the old records and translating when needed. He smiled at her and winked. The sooner Erobos was dead, the sooner they could relax and enjoy their new life together. He could feel her tension and fear. And she seemed to be more worried about him than herself. But he knew Erobos would never accept her as a mated female. If he caught up with them, he would kill her on sight. Álvaro had no intention of allowing that to happen!
The brown-haired Spaniard stood looking over the Omega's shoulder. "What did you find, Ernesto?"
"This book discusses a female Dire Wolf and how to properly care for her. And..." Ernesto looked up at the Beta, surprise etched into his face. "And it looks like someone is still caring for her."
"What?" Álvaro turned his head, his eyes boring into Seraphina's. "Did you know anything about this?"
"No, Álvaro. I've never heard a word about a female Dire Wolf here." She leapt up and joined her mate. I've hidden nothing from you, Álvaro. I've told you all I know.
He felt her body close, could feel the heat emanating from her. He knew she wouldn't lie to him. I'm sorry, my little wolf. I know you would keep nothing from me. He looked down at her standing at his side. He leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead.
"Now, what do you know about a castle? This book talks about a Dire Wolf and a castle."
"The Vampire's castle?" Her face blanched.
"I don't know. Why? Why are you so frightened?" Álvaro reached out to pull her chin up to look into her terrified amber eyes. His fingers stroked her face as he held her fast.
"Erobos forbade the pack to go anywhere near the castle. He said the vampire would kill any wolf who dared to come there. Every so often an Omega would disappear and the boss would say that they had ventured too close and were killed by the vampire." Her voice lowered to a whisper. "I've never seen it... up close."
"So you know where it is?"
"Yes, I know."
"Take me there."
Seraphina bit her lip. "But the vampire..."
"You don't think your mate can take care of one vampire? Hmm? Trust me, little wolf. I am far more dangerous than you give me credit for." His hand slid down her neck, lingering on the ugly scars that marred her otherwise perfect skin. He took a deep breath to hold in his anger. "Take me there, Seraphina."
A few hours later, Seraphina stood with Álvaro and a group of Betas overlooking the dark castle. She watched his handsome profile as he looked out over the landscape. She tried to calm her fears. He was more than capable of taking care of himself. But just the thought that she could lose him made her shudder.