Of Wicked Wolves

Any other night he would have welcomed the crash of thunder rolling across the forest floor and tapping on his eardrums , but the lightning in the distance only reminded Ravi that somewhere beyond his line of sight his brother fought on the front lines of a war for a reason long forgotten. It is only a matter of time before a messenger came from the battle to tell his family that Zeb wasn’t going cross back over the horizon and greet then as he had in the past.

But the sunrise was coming anyway and with it a storm of both nature and deep in his chest. His attention turned down as movement began.

“How difficult it must be for them to scrounge about their entire lives only to die a penniless pauper,” he scratched out from the palace window while emerald eyes watched the townspeople move into the market.

The words were not crass or malice merely the observation of subjects ruled, until recently, with an iron fist by his parents. The wolves were always looked on with reverence by the other tribes. It was their place to set an example and cruelty was simply the easiest form to hold power. In addition to their own people, the wolves had ruled over Urim’s kingdom of Shifters since the New Beginning.

On the horizon in front of him was the first showing of light, from the palace window the royals received the first beams before their subjects. The sun barely high enough to cast a glow on the market. Stalls of merchants opened quickly as their owners wanted to be ready for the sunrise to peddle their wares to the masses of others stumbling sleepily into the space. It would be moments still before the light dipped into the valley beyond Royal Hill and basked the village with its warmth.

Behind him, her presence almost forgotten, his sister let out a sigh and shook her head, ” you shouldn’t think like him.”

But the older that he and his twin became, the harder it was not to adopt their life giver’s mind-set. The Fenris must be a line of strength to keep their hold on the throne. Even now, soldiers were out beyond the walls locked in deadly battle for this power with the Ursioae. Their people didn’t just need a ruler. They needed a general and a warriors decisions were crass, but fair.

He turned from the window to look at her, laying on a couch in the only beam of sunlight. The glittering of her jewel green eyes making the gray highlights in her hair more noticeable. Things were different before he changed. They were so close and he was nostalgic for a simpler life of romping in the forest and playing hide and seek until well after their curfew.

“Soon this land will be mine. I can’t afford the naïvety of childhood anymore.”

Despite only being seven, it was customary for a wolf to rise to power on the seventy-fifth day after the Emperor was laid to rest. Three weeks from tomorrow and the burden of leadership would fall from his mother’s lap to his. It was never something that he’d asked for or expected. It was not unusual for a wolf to rule for centuries, but in the midst of war his father had only survived a few generations.

It was not by birth right that Ravi has inherited the throne, but by carefully manipulated genetics. Their family chose mates that added something to the bloodline. An Alpha Omega wasn’t chosen if he was weak. The strongest of their people had fallen in the past to the changing and it was a wonder that a seventeen year old boy could succeed where many men had failed.

“You don’t have to be like him, Ravi,” her voice of reason attempting to break the ice that had settled in his heart, but even she could see that there was nothing left to save.

“The Fenris line has been in power since the birth of our people and it’s because we rule without mercy.” There was the hint of a shrug as though it was fate instead of choice that he should grow as callous as their father was.

Her book hit the floor as she stood abruptly and nearly ran for the door, “well, I see the demon has taken root…”

Before he could offer a sarcastic retort, she was gone, off to another part of the palace where her brother couldn’t darken her mood any longer. His shoulders sagged as he collapsed on the couch in frustration. He’d never asked for this, hadn’t even asked to be born, but here he was. On the cusp of seizing power and he’d never felt more weak.

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