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THE FORSAKEN LUNA'S JOURNEY

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Meet Selene Nightshade, the pack's beloved Luna-in-waiting, a skilled healer and member of the Nightshade werewolf pack, finds herself unjustly accused of betraying her own people. Banished by the ruthless, vile, power-hungry beast Alpha Victor Blackwood who sees her as a threat. Selene embarks on a dangerous quest to clear her name and reclaim her rightful place, accompanied by her childhood friend Ethan Silvermoon whose loyalty will be tested by startling revelations As Selene's journey leads her into an uncovered supernatural hidden world filled with unlikely allies and conspiring enemies, a chilling truth begins to unravel. From rogue werewolf groups conducting insidious experiments to zealous human hunters determined to Eliminate her people, the threats mount relentlessly. Even those closest to Selene may be concealing secrets that could shatter her last defenses. Hunted by friends and foes alike, Selene must confront not just the rising forces of darkness, but also the doubts that lurk within her very soul. Can she master the ancient celestial powers foretold in the sacred werewolf prophecies? Or will her mission for redemption bring about the downfall of the Nightshade pack and the destruction of the werewolf world itself? Find out in this high-stakes supernatural and suspenseful story that will keep you gasping like a silver bullet to the heart, one woman's journey towards truth, justice and self-discovery could be the last hope for saving both humanity and the shadowy creatures that walk amongst them.

Chapter 1

My boots crunched over the thick layer of fallen pine needles as I hurried along the narrow forest trail. The trees towered high above, their branches forming a dense canopy that filtered the late afternoon sunlight into dappled patterns on the ground.

"Selene, wait up!"

I glanced over my shoulder to see Ethan struggling to keep pace, his shaggy blond hair matted with sweat. We'd been best friends since we were kids romping through these very woods. Ethan was like the annoying little brother I never had, but I couldn't deny he was loyal to a fault.

"If you can't keep up, I'll just have to leave you behind," I teased, forcing myself to slow my stride. "You know Jalen's life could be at stake."

Ethan's expression turned grave at the mention of our fellow pack member's name. "I still can't believe what they said happened. An ambush by rogue wolves this deep in our territory? It doesn't make any sense."

I frowned, mulling over his words. It was highly unusual for our kind to be attacked so brazenly, especially within the guarded borders of the Nightshade pack's lands. We werewolves may live in secrecy, but we fiercely protect our own.

A chill ran down my spine, and it had nothing to do with the crisp mountain air.

We finally broke through the treeline into a small clearing. Crouched beside the still form of Jalen were my mother Ariana and another pack member, their hands slick with blood.

"Oh, thank the moon you're here, Selene," my mother gasped as we approached. Her face was ashen beneath the mask of dried blood spattered across her cheek. "We've done all we can to stanch the bleeding, but his wounds..." She shook her head, eyes shining with unshed tears.

I dropped to my knees beside Jalen, my heart clenching at the sight of his motionless body. Deep gashes scored his broad chest, the jagged edges of torn flesh evidence of the ferocity of the attack. Though his eyes were closed, the pained grimace etched on his face spoke volumes of the agony he had endured.

Biting back the surge of panic, I focused on drawing forth the centuries-old healing magic that coursed through my veins. With trembling fingers, I hovered my hands over Jalen's mangled torso and began murmuring the ancient incantations.

A soft amber glow emanated from my palms, tendrils of energy seeping into the gaping wounds. I could sense the frayed edges of flesh and muscle beginning to knit back together, but the process was agonizingly slow. Dark spots danced at the edges of my vision - a symptom of overexertion. Healing such grievous injuries would push my powers to their limit.

"Who did this?" I ground out through gritted teeth, never faltering in my ministrations.

It was Ethan who answered, his voice thick with barely contained rage. "Hugo's pack. Those mangy furballs have had it out for Nightshade territory for months now."

A fresh wave of disbelief washed over me. The Bloodmoon pack were a roving band of outcasts, but even they shouldn't have dared to encroach on lands that didn't belong to them. Not unless...

"You think they were motivated by more than just a territory grab," I stated, realization dawning. Hugo and his cohorts had been thirsting for an excuse, any excuse, to spark an outright conflict with our pack - the strongest and most dominant in the region.

An ominous silence fell over the clearing, confirming my suspicions. The rules and boundaries that had kept our packs in a tenuous harmony for centuries were rapidly unravelling. If we didn't act fast, an all-out war could erupt, one that would be felt by every supernatural being in the Pacific Northwest - wolves, vampires, witches...perhaps even the oblivious humans in our midst.

A weak groan escaped Jalen's bloodied lips, shattering the tension. His eyelids fluttered open, glazed eyes struggling to focus.

"S-Selene..." he rasped, somehow finding the strength to speak. "It wasn't...Hugo..."

I froze, the amber glow flickering. "What are you saying? Who else could have done this?"

A violent tremor seized Jalen's body. Flecks of crimson spittle flew from his lips as he fought for breath. "V-Victor..."

The name of our pack's alpha struck me like a physical blow, ripping the breath from my lungs. My hands grew numb, the healing magic sputtering and dying as shock rooted me to the spot.

My mind rebelled at the implication behind those two ragged syllables. Victor Blackwood, our leader, our guardian, responsible for this brutal attack against one of his own? It was unthinkable, subversive...an act of outright betrayal.

And yet, the certainty in Jalen's fading gaze gave me pause. Whatever doubts I may have harbored, he was utterly convinced of what he had witnessed.

As quickly as it had come, the spark of life faded from Jalen's eyes. His body went limp, the last trickle of blood seeping from the grievous wound to pool beneath him in a dark, viscous stain.

"Selene..." My mother's quavering voice barely registered amidst the roaring in my ears. "What do we do now?"

The sheer weight of Jalen's final words threatened to crush me beneath its enormity. If he spoke true, our own leader had taken his place among the very rogues he had sworn to destroy. Yet something even more terrifying gnawed at the back of my mind - if Victor was willing to turn on one of his most loyal pack members, then none of us were truly safe anymore.

"We have to go," I said, my voice sounding eerily calm and detached. "Back to the den."

Ethan shot me an incredulous look. "Are you insane? We should hunt those Bloodmoon scum down and make them pay for this!"

"That's not what happened," I said sharply. I waited for my words to sink in, watched the realization shatter his bravado. "We need to get to the others before Victor..."

Too late. The crisp mountain breeze shifted, carrying the unmistakable scent of our alpha heading our way. My heart pounded in my ears as the thunderous rhythm of paws against earth rapidly closed in. Dark shapes emerged from the treeline, converging on our position.

At the head of the pack loped Victor, his lips peeled back from wicked fangs in a chilling snarl. I shrank back instinctively as his wild eyes met mine, sensing the predator lurking beneath his pleasantly human facade.

There would be no more misunderstandings, no mistakes. In that fateful moment, the line was drawn. Suddenly, I was made terribly, profoundly aware of one thing:

Victor Blackwood had come for me next.

 

Chapter 2

In the days following Jalen's brutal death, an uneasy silence fell over the Nightshade pack's territory. We moved through the familiar forest trails with a wariness that bordered on uncertainty, eyes constantly scanning the shadows for any sign of threat.

Ethan was never far from my side during that tense period. My oldest friend and most stalwart ally, he had appointed himself my self-sworn protector after that fateful confrontation with Victor.

"You can't honestly still believe the rumours about our alpha being behind the attack," he muttered under his breath as we made our way back to the den one crisp morning. "Jalen was probably just delirious from blood loss."

I shot him a sidelong glance but remained silent. As much as I longed to discount Jalen's final words, something in Victor's cold, appraising stare that day had embedded the seed of doubt deep within me. An insidious voice whispered that perhaps there had been a shred of truth to the accusation.

A

Heroes

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