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Cosumed in the Hands of Power

PROLOGUE

I run through the dark forest, my paws falling into a quick pattern of never ending speed. Thump, thump, thump, thump. The wind is blowing through my thick, jet-black fur, I can feel it rushing over my face, hear it whooshing in my ears, and I can taste the moonlight on my panting tongue.

I love the night. It is a sanctuary for me, where I go to think and relax, to be myself. But not now, right now, in this moment, I am here to hunt, to make the entire forest fear me and the scent of the Sanguis tribe. My sleek nose points toward the sky, searching for the scent of a warm meal. I prefer bear cubs, and normally save mice, birds, and other small animals for snacks. But right now, in this moment, my mind is full of bloodlust. I am hungry; I need to kill. Finally, I catch the scent of a badger, and I pivot on the heel of my paws as I bound toward the glorious scent.

I love the hunt nearly as much as I love the magnificent serenity of the night. I love the tingling sensation that flows through my body when I pounce, the brawn that courses through my veins when I sink my teeth into the soft, sweet flesh of the pathetic animal, tearing it to pieces, and the marvelous taste of victory when I am finished and blood stains my muzzle. I am about to dash forward again, in search for another meal when a vibration jolts through me, and I am suddenly thrown into a Respicio—a dreamlike state where werewolves can secretly speak with each other. But this power is only available to very powerful wolves. — And I find myself face to face with my father. But not truly, Respicio’s are like I’ve said, only holograms of a sort that present themselves in the mind.

“Caligar, come back now.” His voice is sharp, his body tense; I can sense the urgency in him immediately.

“Yes father, I’m on my way.” The Respicio fades instantly, and I turn on the heels of my paws and rush back the way I’d come, racing back to the cave I call home, to gather with my father and the rest of my tribe.


When I arrive at the cave, I transform back to my human form and immediately skid to a halt. Something is wrong. I can sense the tension in the air.

“What is it, father? What’s happened?” I ask.

He turns to me, but does not answer. Nobody does. They are all human and standing in a secluded circle, their heads down, grieving. I ask again.

“Father, what’s going on?” And then a strange feeling overcomes me. Someone is missing, their presence almost erased. It is only a moment before I put my finger on it.

“Father,” I say slowly. “Where is Tenner?”

He looks up, and I realize there are tears in his eyes. Actual tears. I am taken aback, I can’t believe this, we are the Sanguis tribe, the most powerful and dangerous tribe around, nobody can beat us, no one can diminish our strength, and we most certainly do not cry. And then suddenly, too soon, I understand. I dart my eyes around the cave, searching the eyes of the grieving people of my pack. And I feel a sick sensation in the pit of my stomach. I bring my eyes back to my fathers, and hold his gaze, and the sadness radiating from his soul is more than enough. People turn their heads now, moving aside quickly, letting me enter their grieving circle. I walk up slowly, my feet feel like lead, and when I am close enough, it is painfully obvious what I am seeing. There—in the center of all this grieving—lays the body of a brown wolf, blood gushing from the side of his stomach.

I drop to my knees. I feel sick. This awful, twisting, tying, dreadful pain in my stomach nearly consumes me. I feel as if the world is spinning, and then I feel tears forming in my own eyes. I sit there on the cold, stone floor for a long time, trying my best to keep my breaths calm, but they come out painful and ragged instead. For a prolonged amount of time, I feel like this pain will never go away. But I make myself stop. I make my tears disappear back inside me. I will be strong. I rise to my feet, slowly, and turn to my father, newfound strength stirring inside me.

“Who?” I question. My voice is cold and raspy.

He looks at me as if he does not want to answer, as if telling me will lead to terrible things. But then he sighs, and admits to himself that I have the right to know. I am, after all, the heir to ruling this pack.

“The Lumen.”

I feel my teeth clench firmly behind my grimace. Of course—the highest of the five packs we have to overthrow. My hands are balled into fists, shaking. I’m shaking. I want to punch the wall of our cave, to shatter the entire universe into tiny little fragments. But I control myself. I take long, deep, breaths, and nod coolly at my father, to show that I understand. And then I turn on my heel and walk out of the cave, into the cold bitter darkness of the forest, racking my mind for every way possible to avenge my little brother.


THREE YEARS LATER


I run through the forest, the sound of my bare feet falling in pattern with my heart, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump. The sunlight is trickling through the spaces in the rich green leaves; I can feel it absorbing into my bare chest, its warmth and power flowing into me. Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump. I know that I shouldn’t be out here, father had strictly told me to stay near the cave, but I had soon grown bored of the limited things to do, and I had taken off, as fast as I could, letting the wind blow through my sandy blonde hair, letting myself feel free. Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump. I wasn’t hungry. Not by a long shot, in fact, I’d just eaten a few hours before. But there was a tingling urge streaming through my veins. I wanted – no, needed, to hunt. And so I picked up speed, in search for a large chipmunk of some sort, but when I lurched forward, a Respicio invading my mind stopped me dead in my tracks. I stood facing a wolf of great silver fur—my uncle Deceus—who quickly transformed to his human form to speak with me.

“Caligar,” he boomed at me. He spoke in a firm and unyielding tone.

“Caligar, go home now.”

I smirked. “No thanks Uncle, I’m really enjoying myself out here.”

He growled viciously at me, his stance was firm, as a sign of supremacy.

“Caligar, need I remind you that you are still a boy, and I am your elder? Your father requests your presence immediately. Go to him, now.”

I rolled my eyes and grunted. “Yes uncle, right away uncle.” I said mockingly, and escaping the Respicio, I turned around and sprinted back the way I’d come.

When I arrived back at the cave, I could instantly tell that my father was angry.

“Caligar!” He boomed, the moment I entered the clearing in the forest where our home is. I didn’t even have time to walk up to him before every head there was turned in my direction. I jogged toward my father, doing my best to ignore the eyes that followed me.

“Caligar, what did I tell you when I left this afternoon?”

I stood with my back straight and my eyes staring straight at my father’s gaze, which looked as if it could burn a hole right through me. “To stay near the cave.”

He took a step closer to me.

“And so why…” he said staring at me, and then—so quickly I couldn’t register it until it happened—he made it so only his hand formed into that of a wolf’s and swiped his claws across my cheek as he bellowed, “did you disobey me!”

Instantly, my hands flew to my face, and I stared, panting at my father who was radiating such intense rage from his soul that I swore everyone there could feel it. I was silent for a while, before I realized my father expected an answer.

“I wanted to run.” I mumbled.

He glared at me, as I tried my hardest to hold his gaze. I would not drop my eyes that would be showing him I was weak, that I was letting him win. He stepped closer to me, so that his chest was nearly touching mine.

“You are only seventeen, Caligar.” He growled. “You are still a boy, and you must obey my orders until I die.” He glared down at me, to see if I was paying attention. “Do I make myself clear?”

I nodded, still clutching my cheek, which now stung with pain. “Yes father, crystal clear.”

He stepped back and nodded sadly. “I do this for your own good, Caligar.” He paused, and when he spoke again his voice seemed almost pained. “Tenner was of free spirit as well,” He made sure his gaze met mine clearly when he said this. “And look where that got him.”

I nearly dropped my gaze then, at the mention of my lost brother. The pain of missing him always nearly overtook me.

I wanted to walk away, to try and get away from my pain and sorrow. And I was just about to, but I saw the look in my father’s eyes and decided I should wait until he dismissed me. I stared at him, waiting patiently until he spoke the words allowing me to leave, to return back to my designated section of the cave. But when he turned around and began walking back to the cave, he turned to me and spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear.

“You are to stand there all night, Caligar.” He paused. “A small punishment for your disobedience.” And then he walked off into the mouth of the cave.

I stood there, in the middle of the clearing just as my father had told me. It had been early evening when my father had punished me in front of the entire pack, and by around eight my stomach began to rumble. I stayed put. By about nine, everyone had returned from the hunt. I could smell the blood, and my stomach growled, but I stood there, as stiff as a pole, just as my father had told me. By about ten thirty, most everyone had gone into the cave to lie down for bed. And shortly after, it began to rain. I continued to stand without moving a single muscle, just as my father had told me. The rain poured harder, and the wind blew ferociously at my cold, bare, skin. I stayed put. By now, the wound on my cheek had grown numb, and I was grateful for it. The rain continued for several hours, until at least three in the morning. By then, both of my legs had gone numb. I ached to sit on the grass, even for just a short moment, but I did not. I could not risk the chance that my father, or someone else would be watching me, nor my inability to stay awake. If I were to be found sleeping in the morning, my father would punish me even more severely.

Finally, when the sun began to rise, my father stepped out of the cave. I did not see him approach me, but I could hear his footsteps on the soft, lush grass, could smell his scent flowing through the wind, and could sense his presence walking behind me. He walked right out in front of me, held my gaze, and after a long moment, a faint smile appeared on his lips.

“Well done, my son.” And then with a wave of his hand he dismissed me. For a long time I continued to stand, continued to stare. I tried to walk away, but my feet refused to cooperate.

“Caligar,” my father said waving his hand in front of my wet, stone-like face. “You can go now.”

I nodded and managed to trudge my stiff and tired body across the clearing and into a dark corner of the cave, away from the others, where I instantly collapsed and fell into a deep sleep.


I awoke to the sound of a raven cawing. I rolled over sleepily, desperately trying to get back to sleep, but after just a few moments, I discovered it was useless. I heaved myself up into a sitting position, grunting when I found I was sore all over. I stood up, and walked out of the cave, and into the bright, unflattering sunlight. I moaned in protest and covered my eyes.

“There he is!” I heard my uncle Deceus call.


I blinked a few more times, and saw my uncle jogging toward me, a gigantic grin on his face. He swung his arm around my shoulders. “Finally, you’re up!” He grinned wider, “I have good news for you, boy.”

I groaned and shook him off me. “That’s wonderful, uncle.” I grumbled.

He laughed, and I grasped my head to try and stop it from throbbing.

“Come along Caligar,” he said chuckling. “I think you’ll really enjoy this.”

I was still really tired, and was definitely not in the mood for my uncle’s foolishness. But when he told me my father would be very upset if I didn’t come, my body jolted awake, and I ran after my uncle through the forest.

We arrived at a clearing in the woods—one I’d never seen before. As soon as my uncle burst through the bushes with me behind him, everyone erupted into a cry of joy.

“Caligar’s here!” I heard someone yell, and with that all of the heads turned in my direction, chattering with excitement.

“Umm hi…?” Everything here was such a difference from just yesterday. Nearly everywhere I looked people were grinning.

I took a few steps forward, and my father greeted me instantly.

“Caligar!” He boomed, smiling and embracing me with open arms.

“Father,” I said pulling away from his embrace, “what’s going on?” I looked around me to see every single girl from my pack scowling, sulking, moping, or crying. Which instantly confused me, I was the eldest of the Sanguis tribe, heir to the throne, and I had every single girl from every pack we’d ever conquered head over heals in love with me. And why shouldn’t they be? What with my glossy sandy blonde hair, glistening silver eyes, gorgeous tan, and terrific build, not to mention my father ruled the Sanguis tribe. So then why were they so upset? My father turned to me and smiled.

“Come with me, son.” And so I did. I followed him through a huge crowd of smiling people who patted me on the back as I walked by, congratulated me, gave me thumbs up, a few of my friends howled and pumped their fists. And I grew more confused by the minute. Finally, the crowd moved to let us pass, and I found myself standing face to face with three people. A petite woman with glossy black hair that flowed to about her waist, dressed in a tribal-like dress, a tall, rough man with no shirt and tan, instantly blending in with all the other males. Both were smiling, except for one, the girl in the middle. She was about as tall as me, she had gleaming, light brown hair that reached mid back, her eyes were a vibrant purple, she was dressed in traditional female werewolf clothing of shorts that allowed easy mobility and a tight t-shirt cut off right above her belly-button. And she was frowning. But even so, I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous she was.

“Caligar,” my father said, noting the grin on my face, and motioning toward the girl, “This, is Violet.”


Violet was a member of the Abrecume tribe, one of the many tribes we had overthrown, and she had been chosen to be wed to me. And honestly I couldn’t have been happier. This girl was gorgeous, but as I soon I found out, she had been forced into this, and was heavy-set on doing anything but marrying me.

When I’d met her in the clearing, I had walked up to her, smiled intensely, and offered her my hand, stating my name with confidence, and pride. She had grimaced, spat at my feet, and turned her head. I’d stood there, shocked while her parents uttered embarrassed apologies, and all the other girls gasped in complete disbelief. For whatever reason, this girl despised me, and I was going to find out why.

That night, she was staying at our cave, but early in the morning, while everyone still slept heavily, she got up and walked out into the woods. And I followed her. I shadowed her footsteps, being as quite as possible, as she entered the forest. After she’d gone deep into the forest, to a region even I was unfamiliar with, she turned around and scowled at me.

“You’ve been following me for at least an hour, what do you want?” She said coldly.

I was shocked. How had she known I’d been following her? I’d kept a safe distance, and hadn’t made a single noise.

“Well…?” She asked, crossing her arms in frustration.

I was so amazed I couldn’t help myself from asking her, ”How did you know I was following you?”

She scoffed, “Your scent is overpowering, and you make an awful lot of racket when you walk.”

I was astounded. This girl was more amazing than I thought.

“So?” She said icily, “What do you want?”

I took a step toward her, and she narrowed her eyes and growled. I stepped back, holding both my palms out in a sign of peace. “I want to know what it is you hate about me.”

She sneered. “You’re a part of the Sanguis tribe.” She stated. As if that was such an obvious explanation.

I sated at her confused. “I don’t understand,” I admitted. “I always thought that would be a reason to like me.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fear, not like, there’s a difference you inconsiderate b*st*rd.” She hissed.

I stood there bewildered, “But what’s so bad about being a part of the Sanguis tribe?”
She threw here arms into the air in frustration.

“You’re an outrage to packs! To unity! To family!”

I was really puzzled now. “How is that?”

She took a few steps towards me, and I found myself stepping back, until there was no place to step, and she had me pinned against a tree.

“You are a werewolf.” She hissed. “I am a werewolf; all the other packs you’ve ever attacked are werewolves.” With each word she pressed herself closer to me. “So then why do you feel this need to overpower them? We are all the same!”

I stared at her, wonder in my eyes. “Because my father wants our name to be known as the best, the strongest.” I paused and glared down at her. “And we are.”

“But why do you want that so badly?” Why must you be the ‘best’, the ‘strongest’? Is it not enough to simply be a part of this magical race?”

I was about to speak up with a retort, to put her in her place, when she spoke again, this time in a lower, softer voice.

“You should just leave the other packs alone; learn to stick with our own kind, not to fight it.”

I stared at her, truly contemplating what she’d just said. She had a point, I guess. But what about everything my father had taught me? Ever since I was a young boy, and especially after Tenner was killed, I had always been told that I should always be feared. And to be feared, I could not fear. I had to be tough, to not feel pain, to not feel anything. I was a Sanguis warrior, and I would make my father proud when he passed.

Violet was staring at me, and then she spoke again, in a gentle whisper, even softer than before. “That’s really sad.”

And then I suddenly realized that I’d unconsciously pulled her into a Respicio, and that meant that my thoughts had been made words, and she’d heard those words. I blew my sandy blonde hair out of my face, and kicked a stone at my feet. And for the first time since my father had taught me never to do so, I dropped my gaze. She walked up closer to me, and before I could stop her, she wrapped her arms around me and embraced me with her warmth. And I could only think to embrace her with my own arms.



The next day I went to my father. I had been thinking all night of what Violet had told me. And I decided to raise the “issue” with him.

“Father?”

He turned to me and smiled, “yes son?”

The wind was blowing hard, tousling my hair, and I stared into my father’s eyes, searching for the right words. “Is it wrong that we are taking over our own kind?”

“What nonsense Caligar! It is the exact opposite, now where on earth did you get that sort of idea?”

Violet’s words echoed through my mind; “You should just leave the other packs alone; learn to stick with our own kind, not to fight it.” I shrugged.

“I don’t know, maybe I’m just too tired to think straight.” I nodded at my father as a way of acknowledgment. “I’m sorry for wasting your time.”


My father must have known I was lying, with all those years of knowledge he must have sensed it. But he only smiled, and waved me off.

“Perfectly all right my son, now go rest. For we advance to the East to finally conquer the Lumen, Sideria, Impetues, Crastulos, and Zepirus tribes in two days.”


That night I met with Violet in the woods.

“Look,” I said. “I’m sorry about how you feel, and that you have to marry someone like me even though it clearly disgusts you, but I will not go against my father’s wishes, I will stand by his side when we battle the Eastern tribes and we will win.”

Violet scowled and threw a rock at me; it shattered when it collided with my body. “I should have known you were just a coward.” She hissed.

Anger boiled up inside me. “Coward?”

“Yes,” she hissed. “You are nothing but a worthless coward.”

I was ready to shift, to tackle her, and take her down, to make her pay for the words she’d said, but she held up her left palm to stop me.

“Don’t bother, I’m leaving anyway.”

I stopped dead in my tracks. “What?”

“I’m leaving.” She stated again. “I will not be a part of such foolishness.”

“But—”

“Save it Caligar. There’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”

I wanted to say something that could though, something reasonable, but all I could find when I searched my mind were desperate pleas for her to stay. I would find some way to fix it for her; I just couldn’t stand it if she left.

She smiled sadly at me and turned to leave when I called out.

“Violet wait! I—”

She turned toward me, waiting for me to finish.

“Please don’t go.”

She walked towards me, and pressed her body to mine. “Why? Why should I stay Caligar?”

She must’ve known why, she must have been able to sense it, must’ve known from the Respicio’s we’d shared. I loved her. So why did she continue to look at me like that? She knew how I felt, why couldn’t she just hear that and stay? And then I understood. She wanted me to say it, to speak the words aloud, to prove that I did have courage that I wasn’t just a coward hiding behind the power of my bloodline, and then she would have reason to believe that I would change all of this, and start to stick with our own kind instead of fighting with them. But I didn’t know if I could do it, I had never been good at expressing my emotions, I had always been taught to hide them. Ever since I was only six years old, and my mother was killed and my father had struck my neck with his claws, and told me with intensity that I was not to cry, that I was a Sanguis, and that we did not cry. I brought my hand to my neck now, to feel the scars my father had left me then. And then I looked at Violet; I stared into her stunning eyes, and found the words I’d been thinking all along.

“Because, I love you Violet.”

And then a smile grew quickly on her gorgeous face, and she pressed her lips to mine. I could only grin and kiss her back with such intensity I thought the forest would catch fire. And when she finally pulled away, she stared at me and smiled.

“Will you run away with me Caligar?” To start our own pack?”

I nearly collapsed with shock. “I—, Violet…”

“Please Caligar, we could get away from all this fighting and arguing. We could leave all of this behind and start a new beginning.”

The response was a reflex. “But Violet, I don’t think I can.”

She wound her hands tighter around my neck. “Why not?”

“Because I’ve lived like this all my life, this place is my home, these laws are a part of me. I wouldn’t know what to do if we ran off, I’d have no sense of anything.” I paused and stared at her, “We would die Violet.”

“Be daring Caligar, take risks! You know that what your pack is doing is wrong, so why can’t you back away from it?”

“Because they are my family Violet, they’ve raised and cared for me for seventeen years, I owe them.”

She shook her head. “Not if what they’re doing is wrong—and it is—it’s wrong Caligar.” She held my gaze, “besides, family can’t really mean much anyway, look at mine, they practically sold me away for fame.” She scowled.

I stared at her, I loved this girl, I honestly and truly did. But I couldn’t abandon my family, I just couldn’t. No matter what any of this meant to her.

“I’m sorry Violet.”

She stepped away from me, and anger filled her.

“Fine.” And then without even a simple goodbye, she turned into a gorgeous wolf of pure white, and took off running into the forest. I didn’t stop her. How could I? I had no right to chose for her, no right at all.


The night before we attacked the Eastern tribes, everyone was preparing for the battle ahead. Violet’s disappearance was, as my father had put it, “an unfortunate occurrence, but we would not let it falter our plans. Besides, a new bride for my eldest son will be an easy find after we win the battle.”

Everyone had gone to bed early that night, preparing for the battle ahead, but instead, I went out to the woods to think. I should have gone with her, she was right, what my pack is doing is wrong. Frustration overtook me and I punched a hole right through a huge oak tree.

So many thoughts consumed my mind at the same time then. My father and his consuming desire to be the best, how that burning desire had led to so many horrible ends, like my mother and Tenner’s death. How all my friends and their families followed so blindly after my father’s reckless ways… I sighed, and collapsed to the forest floor and thought of the one thing in my life that had always been bright and happy; my mother.

I thought of lazy days in the forest, games we’d shared with Tenner, her warmth… And then her passing. And my father… he hadn’t shed a tear. Yet he had when Tenner was killed. But why? Perhaps… perhaps he hadn’t truly loved my mother, if he hadn’t reacted at all to her death. I sprung to my feet now, a new feeling swirling inside me. Then he would not understand my feelings for Violet, what she meant to me. Violet… she could be in danger now. Of course! How could I have been such an idiot?

So with my hand still dripping with blood, and sweat sticking to my brow, I shifted into the form of my jet-black wolf and scampered off into the dark forest, hopes of finding the girl I loved so dearly.




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