I found the tracks in the deep snow between the trees. Tracks which lead to the pavilion outside the great house, fire pit mere embers, table splintered and its contents scattered in the snow beyond the trellised walkway. What once was a study in luxury and opulence was now a study in death, innards and blood sprayed along the jacquard walls, pieces of flesh and bone and bodies littering the floor. The only thing left living was the hunting hound, which lapped at the blood as if it were mother’s milk. It growled as I approached, but I growled lower, my eyes flashing, and it slunk away, whimpering and tail between its legs.
The Clan was on the move, rending everything in its path, exacting vengeance on those who had killed their Alpha. It was my job to hunt down this Clan, Clan Blue Marsh, and decimate all but the Alpha female, whom I would take as my prize and my mate.
As a Loner, I have no fealty, no ties to any Clan, so I have become an enforcer for the Great Pack of these lands, those in the hierarchy who keep the individual Clans in check, handing down Law and Judgment upon those who defy the Pack. Grizella was told the Pack would handle her mate’s murder, that they would send one to hunt down the perpetrator, yet she alone claimed an ancient right – a right no longer in play in this modern world – to exact justice herself by whatever means necessary, making her and her Clan rogues in the Pack’s eyes.
I was supposed to be the one to hunt the murdering cur down, it was I who was supposed to exact justice and collect the bounty, yet she screwed that up for me and therefore I claim her as bounty and prize – the rest of her Clan? I claim their heads.
Even now her scent hangs like ripe plums in the icy air, all spice and dark will, the scent of one in season and full of rage.
I will have her.
I will see her Clan decimated, no one to turn to, no one to come to her defense, no one to quell the fire burning in her loins.
No one but me.
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