Wolf Lake Ch. 02byGojenngo©
To those of you that wrote me to tell me how much you enjoyed the first chapter of this story, I hope you enjoy this latest addition. There is more to come so please let me know what you think and if there is anything you would like to see added. Please remember that the author reserves all rights in this work including the right to copy, reproduce or publish this work in any medium.
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Sam stretched, her body feeling relaxed and languid. Content didn't begin to describe how she felt. She'd been with the pack for almost a month. Her days were spent with the different pack members learning about each one and better understanding her role as Nafarius' mate. Her nights were spent with Nafarius, often times the two of them wandering out into the woods to make love surrounded by nature.
There was little privacy within the mountain. With the small alcoves giving way to one another it was easy to see and hear what everyone else was doing. It had taken her a few days but eventually Sam adjusted to the lack of privacy. The pack was a family but unlike most humans they believed in close physical contact. Whenever she walked through the alcoves individual members reached out and touched her. Often times when she was standing still one or more of the pack members would move closer until they circled her legs, leaning into her for comfort. She found herself smiling and running her hands through their hair in a gesture of fondness and comfort. Having been alone most of her life it was a new experience but one she had quickly come to treasure.
Thinking back over the existence she had come to love, Sam couldn't help but worry about tonight's events. Tonight was another milestone for her. It was the first full moon since she mated with Nafarius and was infected. The final step to becoming his mate for life was to undergo her first change in front of the entire pack.
"You're frowning." Nafarius reached over and smoothed his finger over the lines that had appeared on her forehead. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Sam rolled over and faced her mate. True to tradition, Nafarius had not taken animal form since the night of their first mating. He would not be allowed to change until she did later tonight, if she did. "What if I can't…"?
Nafarius, knowing what she was going to say, pulled her close. "Hush, there is no reason for you to worry. I come from a long and prestigious line of werewolves and now so do you. There hasn't been one among us that wasn't able to make the change. You'll be fine." Kissing her forehead he rolled over and got to his feet. Looking down at Sam still nestled in among their blankets he pushed all his fears aside. He refused to think about the possibility that she might not be able to make the change and what that would mean for the pack, and for him.
"I must go, Roland is waiting for me."
"Where are you going?" Sam sat up and quickly pulled one of the loose fitting summer dresses she'd been given over her head. She had noticed that the female members preferred them to jeans or pants of any kind. After asking Maddie Sam had learned that it was a cost cutting measure as it was easier to slip out of a dress when one starts to change.
"The food supply is getting low; Roland and I are going out to see what we can find." None of the pack had been allowed to hunt for the past month. Again, tradition dictate that they wait until the hunt could be lead by their leader and his mate.
It was one of the first things Sam was expected to do tonight after changing. She had to prove herself to be able to provide for the pack, which meant making her first kill in animal form. She had spent the past month learning what her new role would be as well as preparing to meet several challenges. Some she looked forward to but there was a part of her that would be relieved once she had firmly established herself.
"When will I see you again?" She asked.
"I'll be back before the sun completely sets. That is when you and I are expected to appear before the pack." Nafarius leaned down and kissed her gently. "Rest, you have a long night ahead of you."
Sam nodded but as soon as he was gone got up and went about cleaning their small alcove. She couldn't rest, she couldn't sit still and she wanted to be out among the pack members. Unfortunately, she knew that they would keep their distance. It was a way of reserving their complete acceptance of her until she had proven herself in the most basic ways. If she could not change she could not lead.
The day went by unbelievably slow. Eventually, the solitude got to be too much for her and Sam was forced out into the common area. As she had suspected most of the pack kept their distance, only a few coming up and offering her a comforting touch. Maddie, who seemed to have given Sam her unfailing loyalty that first night, was the only one that stayed with her. She was quiet, offering Sam her silent support.
As the day progressed Sam could sense the rise in tension. She felt the sun begin to set behind the mountain and she knew that her time had come.
Slowly, the pack members filled out from the mountain and into the clearing leaving Sam to prepare alone. Taking a deep breath she looked around the place she had come to call home before closing her eyes and searching inside of herself.
Her animal was there; she knew it. She'd known almost instantly that Nafarius had been successful in infecting her. It wasn't long after their first mating that she'd begun to notice changes in herself. Every one of her senses seemed to sharpen and she understood the world around her in a different way. She'd always believed that animals were more in tune with Mother Nature and now she had proof. She could smell the changing season on the wind, she knew the age of a tree simply by touching the bark-covered trunk, and she knew the hierarchy of animals that dwelt in the forest around her.
After a time she grew accustom to the changes and Sam had turned her energies to learning other things about herself. She had spent several hours alone in the woods looking into herself until she found her animal. The wolf was deep inside of her, not yet aware of its own existence. It was as if the beast was asleep waiting for some signal to waken it. Now, as she stood there alone, Sam tried to decipher that signal.
Sam could feel the pull and the power of the full moon and it was her most reverent hope she would be able to use that power to summon her animal. Still possessing human pride she ran her hand down the front of her skirt, smoothing out any wrinkles and checked to make sure her hair was in place. Once she was fairly confident that all was well with her appearance Sam squared her shoulders and stepped out from the mountain.
An immediate hush fell over those assembled. There wasn't one pack member unaccounted for. Those few that had ventured into town for necessities had made sure to return so as not to miss this momentous event. Their leader would take a mate but once and there wasn't one among them that didn't want to be there as witness to her first change.
Flashes of her first night in the clearing ran through her head as the crowd parted allowing her passage to the center of the circle. Nafarius stood waiting, still in human form, off to one side. Even from several feet away Sam could see the tension that started in his eyes and ran through his entire body. She tried to give him her most reassuring smile but feared she'd failed. He wouldn't be allowed to interfere and she knew it was going to cost him.
Sam stepped into the circle and slowly turned around. Everywhere she looked stood the men and women she had come to know and to think of as family. The moon, having reached its zenith pulled at her and the members of her pack and she watched as each one slowly started to change.
Men and women shifted, their bodies quivering in the moonlight as muscles rearranged themselves. Bodies seemed to grow long and the distinct sound of claws clicking on the rocky ground could be heard throughout the forest. Some had slipped from their clothes while others simply shifted, rendering the fabric. Sam watched, spellbound, as a wave of unseen power washed over the clearing until Sam and Nafarius were the only ones left in human form.
It was time. There would be no more delaying the inevitable. It was either here and now or never. Taking a deep breath Sam pulled her dress over her head and let it fall to the ground. There was a collective sigh at the sight of her alabaster skin glowing in the moonlight. Her pale complexion was made that much more startling by her black hair, which fell down her back and floated around her waist. Nafarius wasn't surprised by the pack's reaction but he knew that their appreciation wouldn't be enough to save her if Sam wasn't able to change.
Closing her emerald green eyes Sam tried to focus. She could feel the tension coming from Nafarius and the rest of the pack members. It was thick, making it hard to breath and drawing on her concentration. As each minute passed and nothing happened the pack members grew more agitated.
Several minutes later Sam collapsed onto her hands and knees still in human form; her body covered with a fine sheen of sweat. Opening her eyes, Sam lifted her head and found herself staring into the yellow-gold eyes of over a hundred werewolves. Slowly, she got to her feet.
"Samantha." Nafarius took a step forward.
"No!" Sam held up her hand to stop him. "You can't interfere. If you do you'll undermine any power I have."
"What power can you have if you can't change?" Nafarius took a step forward only to stop short when Jared, a young male in the pack, came forward and growled. Grabbing the young man by the fur Nafarius sent him flying. "You would dare to come between me and my mate?!"
Nafarius' below of rage echoed throughout the forest sending those animals that still remained scurrying in fear. His attention turned to the insolent wolf for only a moment was all it took. In the next moment several of the pack attacked, all of them lunging at Sam at the same time. "NO!"
Sam went down in a pile of fur, her body unable to withstand the strength of a dozen wolves. Nafarius stood frozen watching as the woman he had come to love was ravaged by his pack. The clearing was filled with the sound of snarling wolves as canine teeth ripped into tender flesh. The smell of blood filled the air sending the watching pack into hair-raising howls.
He knew that he was forbidden to interfere and that tradition dictate that any werewolf unable to change be considered inferior and destroyed. If he stepped in and saved her then the pack would turn against him as well. In that moment it didn't matter, Nafarius was willing to turn his back on his pack if it meant saving Sam. They had mated for life and he meant to honor that even if it meant leaving the pack.
Pushing his way forward, Nafarius started pulling wolves apart searching for whatever might be left of the woman he loved. He didn't expect to find her whole but at the same time he couldn't stand by and watch the pack devour her. Pushing the last wolf aside Nafarius stared at the place he was sure Sam had gone down.
In her place was beautiful black wolf crouched low on all fours her hackles raised and teeth barred. Nafarius started to reach out to her only to snatch his hand back when she tried to take his fingers off. Backing off he understood that she was in the grip of her animal. Changing for the first time, especially during a fight was guaranteed to leave her feeling aggressive. Seeing her so beautiful, more wolf than any other member of his pack brought his beast to the surface. Animal instinct took over, his desire to meet her on the same level causing him to shift. In a burst of power Nafarius changed, moving from human to animal in a split second.
Still, even in animal form Nafarius waited to approach her. Sam had turned her attention from him to her new pack members. One by one they were slowly crawling forward, their heads and bellies low to the ground. Roland was the first one to reach her and rolling onto his back offered her his neck. Slowly, Sam lowered her head and gripped his neck with her new, powerful jaws. It was a symbol of her dominance, a show that she could crush his neck. At the same time it was a show of trust that Roland would offer himself up knowing that she could destroy him.
Sam growled low once in her throat. The fight had brought her animal bursting through with a vengeance. She was hungry, the desire to hunt and hurt so intense it burned painfully in her belly. She could smell Roland's blood flowing just below the surface and she longed to lock her jaws, breaking the skin and feeling the warm liquid flowing into her mouth. It took a supreme act of willpower to release him and even then she did so slowly.
Maddie was the last member to approach her. Sam leaned down, locking eyes with the young woman and gently gripped her neck with her jaws. Maddie whimpered once, not in pain but in absolute surrender. Letting go, Sam licked her jaw before letting her up. Maddie went to make her way back into the crowed only to stop when Sam moved in front of her, forcing her to stay behind her mistress.
Sam had noticed early on that Maddie was the most subservient of the females and often times bared the brunt of the other women's anger. She wanted to get the point across that from now on Maddie was under her protection and that anyone acting against Maddie risked offending her. Maddie had been kind to her that first day and every day since and Sam wanted to make sure she was taken care of.
Nafarius watched with approval before deciding that it was time for Sam to show her loyalty. She may be dominant over the pack but he was their leader and she had yet to pay him homage. Sam watched him approach through narrowed eyes. He was surprised to see that while she had changed her eyes were still the same deep emerald green, unlike the yellow-gold eyes of the rest of the group. Those eyes were watching him now with suspicion. As he drew closer she started growling, the sound vibrating low in her chest and working its way up her throat until she had pulled her lips back and bared her teeth. This time Nafarius didn't back down but instead kept advancing, his own growl turning into a snarl.
Sam recognized him as her mate and as leader he was dominant. Still she waited until he was standing over her, his body almost twice the size of hers before rolling over onto her back. Their eyes locked as he lowered his head and took her neck into his teeth.
Sam shivered; her body going tense even though she knew she had nothing to fear from Nafarius. She was hungry, she wanted to hunt and at that moment her power filled her practically to overflowing.
Nafarius sensed her struggle and releasing his grip on her neck leaned down and licked her jaw. "Let ussss huntttt."
Sam rolled over and bound to her feet. Standing on all fours, Nafarius beside her and the rest of the pack quickly following in line, she was ready. The blood rushing through her veins, the scent of the forest filling her senses stirred something primitive in her. As if on cue, together she and Nafarius headed out of the clearing and into the woods.
Nafarius was quicker, surer of foot from years of experience yet this was her hunt and he let Sam take the lead. She broke through the trees in a blur of black power, becoming a shadow in the night and it was only through superior senses that he was able to keep up with her. He was surprised to see her making her way through the underbrush with ease; it was as if the forest simply parted, allowing her passage.
Sam immediately picked up on the scent of a doe having recently passed this way. Given the late hour the deer was sure to be bedded down for the night. All Sam needed to do was track her down and then flush her out. Lack of rain helped to keep the tracks fresh and it wasn't long before she found an inhabited den. She slowed to a trot, Nafarius falling instep beside her. Together they had run through the forest, always in sync with one another as the rest of the pack spread out around them.
Nafarius sat back on his haunches and waited, watching as Sam explored the surrounding area. He knew the woods well but she did not and he assumed that she wanted to see what, if any, means of escape the doe might have.
One some instinctive signal from Sam the pack circled around the area and began closing in. It wasn't long before the sleeping doe caught the scent of danger and in a burst of movement erupted through the underbrush, Sam immediately on her heels.
Nafarius and the others followed, every one of them wanting to be there when Sam brought down her first kill. The doe was in a panic at the scent of danger coming from every direction. She constantly changed direction, at one point heading straight for Nafarius. Each time Sam seemed to anticipate her movements and countered them all. It was obvious that Sam wasn't running at her highest speed but instead was moving just enough to keep the doe constantly on the run, wearing her down.
Sam wasn't sure how much time had passed before the doe started to falter. She stumbled but her superior agility kept her legs beneath her. Still it was enough for Sam who immediately took advantage and leapt. Her front paws landed just behind the doe's shoulders, the long claws immediately sinking while at the same time she got a grip on the doe's throat with her teeth.
The force with which she landed sent both Sam and the doe crashing to the ground, the frightened animal struggling to get away. Sam, unlike anything originally contemplated in nature, possessed both superior animal and human skills that helped her to bring the doe down. Within minutes the animal lay motionless on her side, blood seeping from her neck and shoulders.
Sam still had her teeth deeply embedded in the doe when Nafarius arrived. He had seen her bring the animal down and had experienced a moment of fear. Deer, even a small doe, had vicious hooves that could do fatal damage during a fight. Although Sam now possessed the animal instincts of a wolf she was still young and inexperienced and he had worried about her fight to make the kill alone. Most pack members hunted in groups of two or more, usually four so as to minimize any danger.
Nafarius approached slowly, Sam rolled her eyes up at him and growled obviously wanting to protect her kill. It wasn't until Maddie and the other pack members arrived that she relinquished the dead animal. Immediately, everyone moved in to share in the kill all of them confident in the knowledge that their leader's mate could provide for them.
Sam was exhausted. She lay down on her belly her head on her front paws and watched as her pack consumed her kill. There was something unexpectedly rewarding in watching them feast on what she had provided.
Nafarius joined her, after having eaten his fill, and watched with pride. She was truly his mate; Sam had proven to the pack and him that she was worthy of that position. He knew she was tired but he was anxious to move on to the rest of the night's events. Nudging her with his head Nafarius encouraged her to get to her feet and follow him.
This time he led the way as the two of them ran through the forest. Instinctively, Sam realized that they weren't headed home and that there was more to be done on this night. The moon had passed its zenith several hours ago and she could see the sky starting to lighten.
Some time later they passed through a thick family of trees and entered a world like nothing Sam had ever seen. Before her, bathed in the last moonlight of the night was a small lake continuously fed by a waterfall. To her right the banks of the lake were covered in soft grass that invited one to lie down and gaze out over the water, which was exactly what Nafarius had done.