Memories of a wolf
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Kaleya Asterin's kin was murdered at the dawn of the silver moon. That night, as the Bloodorb pack cornered her, she leaped into the raging waves of the ocean, only to awoke with her mind blank as a canvas. She was a stranger to herself and had no recollection of the past. Devoid of any memories, the events of that day took a turn for the worst when she found out that she would be executed the next thing in the morning, and the alpha who sent her a life sentence was none other than her mate. Being alone and with no one to aid, Kaleya will have to fight the power of the bond, and chambers of her heart, while slowly unwinding the truth etched in her shadowed past. "I do not need a queen or a Luna. I shall not usher one with blood-stained hands into my realm. Hence, your presence holds no place, for my kingdom seeks no affiliation with you.”
The wind tickled the woman's golden hair as she hurriedly ran from those beasts that were after her. They were creatures that were hungry not for flesh but for power; they cannot fathom. Bathed with sweat and filled with anxiety, she slipped past grazing rock formations found scattered in the mainland grandeur. It was eerily quiet that night, and although she had no one to aid, the full moon was there to mend her de-escalating hope. The creatures, unlike humans, had remarkable speed and agility, abilities hard to imagine, and with the wrong intentions and state of mind, they could take over and rule places of tranquility.
A slither of moonlight appeared at the grand expanse, and with careful concentration, the woman chanted a few known spells that would help her with the situation.
"She's reciting incantations!" She heard another man growl. Perhaps the man hasn't shifted. That call was their signal, though; the men wailed as a knot in her chest tightened. Why wasn't it working? Why now, out of all times?
Thinking about how the moon abandoned her growing fear and determination made her lose the last string of hope. Her upper arm burned with archaic markings, and she clutched it desperately, praying to the Moon Goddess in agony to lend the woman her energy. Her mind was repeatedly chanting. Instead, a repulsing pain enforced its way up her limbs and torso. Suddenly she had a gist of what was happening, the ripping and tearing clawed like her passing nightmares. In exchange for power, a fragment of the soul must be given. This was it, Mother had grown too greedy she dreads this day when she can no longer make use of the power stored within the family bloodline…she thought to herself.
Sometimes she wonders if death served as their payment.
Twenty years ago, her mother had shown a path that no one else knew except for them. The family kept it secret. She was bound to find that path once more but failed.
As the woman sprinted through the thick undergrowth, her feet captured a few stubbles on the ground. It was painful, but she was dead set on escaping those vile creatures. They were shifters of the blood orb pack set to assassinate the last of her kind. It was pure genocide; seeing her pack's corpses was pure trauma and hell. Snapping out of her daze, the woman peered and saw how they were gaining in proximity. She might not transform just yet, but she was capable of running with her two legs; sprinting under sheer pressure is part of their training, and now did she only appreciate the endless torture she had to go through to strengthen her durability.
Then, the woman came to a complete halt.
The waves of sea thrash against the walls of canyons as her golden hair looked ghastly against the shine of the moon, and as she looked back again, saw their wolves growling ferociously, she then stumbled backward. The woman was cornered and outnumbered. Even if she managed to put up a good fight, there is no guarantee that the book in her hands will be kept safe and away from their hands. The knobs on her mind were turning, and the clock was ticking...it was now or never.
She quickly leaped into the unknown...
Head throbbing. Body feverish. I squeezed my eyes due to the amount of pain I was feeling. A soft and delicate white-stray light met my face just as I was slowly awakened from the pain in my upper arms. At first, there was the typical calmness like how every morning sunshine meets my face in a caress, the next thing I knew I was struggling to get myself together. My heart pounded in bewilderment. It took me quite a while to notice that my hands were tied to a wooden chair. I slowly looked around and saw no signs of any human or person. Instead, a pole was at the center of the white tent, a desk table with a few crumpled papers, a washbasin, a minute bed, and weapons propped against the wall. There was minimal furniture inside but enough to make sense that this person staying here captured me. Where was I? How did I get here? And most of all...why can't I remember anything?
Questions clouded my head, and no matter how much I tried to recall what had happened, my mind came out blank. Immediately, I became wary and vigilant of the situation. I'm a woman who is held captive, probably against my will. I do not know this place, and I sure do not know who I am either.
My train of thought was suddenly interrupted. Outside of the dome tent, murmurs and chatters ring in my ears. This isn't good...I need to escape, find any means to get out of here. Then, in the midst of my struggles with the rope tied in my hands, I paused upon hearing a low growl.
"Where is she?" A deep voice asked. Hearing that voice made me shiver. It intensified something within me that I could not explain, and it was stirring inside me, begging to be let out. Unable to fathom me feeling this way, I slowly take a breath.
My nervousness did not cease, especially when I sensed someone arriving. With a stunning set of features and a muscular build, there stood a man at the entrance of the huge dome tent.
My heart hammered inside my ribcage as he made his way towards me, slowly becoming clearer that this man was the most gorgeous man I had ever laid my eyes on. Of course, I can't technically guarantee that he was since I lost my memory, but besides the point, his beauty was indescribable. I snarled, and it took me by surprise when the man proved to be amused at how I reacted.
What was happening to me?
"What brings you into my territory?"
I didn't find the strength to speak. Other than that, I do not know the answer to that as well. But I do feel the heat rising in me, and if only I weren't tied, I would've smacked myself from making lightly of the situation.
He scrutinized me for a moment, gauging any signs of temperament.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. Burrowed inside me were emotions I cannot convey.
"Have no doubt, for I too find myself without words. To expedite your fate, let it be known that I, Alpha Knight Strevus of the Western Kingdom pack, shall not deem you, my mate. Tomorrow morning, your execution awaits.”
There was a slight nudge on my chest when he muttered those words. As much as I didn't want to admit it, his words held so much gravity that the instant connection I had with him—burned and crippled my insides. And the eerie thing was I didn't know why. My mouth was hanging open as tears plunged forward when the man left me inside the tent.
I still couldn't comprehend what he was implying. Pack? What does he even mean?
After some time, my gaze shifted to the newcomer who had entered the tent. In this instance, it was an unfamiliar face. His eyes were a striking blue with hints of blonde threading through his ash-colored hair. His complexion was rich with darkness, and his build held a certain strength. My thoughts drifted to the man I had encountered earlier, the one who arrived and declared his refusal and the imminent threat of my execution. Fear should grip me, yet why was he on my mind?
The man with grey hair came forward and pulled me from the ground, his hands gripping my tied arms. I fought hard not to make a sound, however, as soon as he got a hold of me, he harshly kneed me in my stomach and made me vomit and coughed up. Blood started oozing out of my mouth, and tears swelled up. I don't know what I've done to be punished like this, but I know that I didn't deserve this.
I was forcefully dragged out of the tent by this man—a stranger. Instantly, the intensity of the sun made me wince and squint my eyes. Outside, there were bystanders eagerly waiting and watching as I was being dragged. They briefly exchanged looks, though most of them already had malice looming behind their eyes. A few children were curious as well, but I ignored them.
"She's from the Southern...she should be killed,"
"No! We must let her suffer after what her kin has brought upon us!"
As I relinquish my mind of any shard of memory, the breeze swept my golden hair and dried away my glistening tears. The folks were still waiting when I gazed at them with fear and besieged. I had no memory, had no one but myself. They didn't say a word—basking in my apparent defeat and turmoil.
Apart from that, my heart weighed heavily, teetering on the brink of surrender. Not long ago, the man – if I caught the title right, Alpha – had rejected and turned me away. It wasn't just a mere declaration; his rejection stirred something deep within me. For reasons unknown, the pain cut even deeper than it had when I awoke, engulfed in uncertainty and solitude.
Why does he affect me this much? I stumbled as the pain built its way up to my core.
I lowered my head as pebbles and rocks struck my skin. A group of children was playfully tugging at each other, and instinctively, I shielded my face with my arms as the barrage threatened to hurt and leave marks. A sob managed to escape my quivering lips, but my silent cries went unnoticed by anyone around. I couldn't fathom the reason, but their rock-throwing ceased, a change I suspected was prompted by someone's arrival.
I raised my gaze, my vision hazy as it settled on a man standing just a few feet from me. Time seemed to stretch slowly at that moment. I observed as everyone around bowed in perfect unison, an undeniable recognition of his presence and power. This man, referred to as the alpha, walked past me. Alpha, they called him. That must make him the leader of this community. Maybe, if I found the words to explain my situation, he might grasp my predicament.
All thoughts and emotions set aside, I force myself to find courage. "Please! I beg you! I did nothing wrong! And even if I did, I don't remember anything!"
Forcing my breath and voice to appear steady was difficult but I needed to keep my act straight to survive and live. The corner of Alpha's lips shifted upwards while he narrowed his eyes at me when I spoke.
I intently stared at him. Behind my eyes, my emotions were overflowing.
Dimly I could hear their conversation growing weaker as I subdue to my consciousness. I wanted to fight. I wanted to live, but my prayers are always unanswered. It was the worst pain I've ever felt—the pain of humiliation and the pain that man gave.
Perhaps I was too engrossed with this new world and context I woke into, I tried redirecting my gaze, but I failed. As soon as I drifted into darkness, the last that I witnessed was his cold, piercing stare and his eyes that seemed to be glowing.
LATER THAT MIDNIGHT, my eyes, once so accustomed to the gentle caress of sleep, now found themselves subjected to an entirely different realm of experience–torture.
I wailed. My voice cracked with each noise I made, and my head jerked back and forth as my fingers scratched the wooden surface of the stool I was tied to. This time I was tired of holding back my desperate bellows.
I paused while panting, half-eyes closed. The Alpha reached out to my face. I can feel his stare but all I can visibly make out of is a blurry mess of a face. Then tears started flooding my eyes, making it hard to visualize the scenes transpiring completely.
"Who sent you here?"
"F-for t-the last time...I d-do not remember anything…"
"What are you hiding?" It was a challenge, a threat, a warning—for clarity and the desire to know.
"I h-have no—" I was cut off by my own screams when I felt the lash of a whip against my bareback.
"Why did you come here?"
"I-I don't know!" I cried, bloody tears flowing against the dingy ground.
Over the course of hours, they repeatedly questioned me, and I didn't change my answer. It was the truth. Even if I was to lie, the reality remained—I was utterly clueless about what they were alluding to.
"Just kill me...my family has probably abandoned me…."
There wasn't anything peaceful when I awoke.
Perched atop the highest reaches of the stadium, the Alpha occupied a position of undeniable authority within the upper quadrant. With a mere gesture from him, the executioner's hands closed around my hair, yanking me unceremoniously. The once-lustrous cascade of my golden locks once imbued with an otherworldly radiance, had now suffered a cruel transformation. No longer a source of magic, they lay matted and destroyed, a stark contrast to their former glory.
Gone was the silkiness, replaced by a gnarled mess that clung to my pale head like a discarded afterthought. Suspended in mid-air, my torso hung, vulnerable, and exposed to the collective gaze of the onlooking crowd. It was as if my very being had become a canvas for their morbid curiosity, a spectacle for them to savor and dissect.
The thing about torture is that it will strip you of everything, even the will to live. They hadn’t extracted any inf
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