Copyright © 2019 – Nicholas Hall
"We'll face the murderous, cowardly pack. Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back."
The air was different, light, cool even though early summer, fresh as if blown in off of the ice packs, carrying with it stories of old, mixed with the light scent of pine, a deeper, richer, faint scent of the earth, of the forest primeval, and the smells of fresh water in abundance. Other smells invaded his highly sensitive nostrils; those of deer, an unknown scent resembling deer, but stronger; that of a bear, rabbits, perhaps a panther, but not quite a panther, such as they had at home. The sound of the morning was different as well; birds chirping, singing gaily, greeting a morning sun clear and bright, not hazy, heavy with humidity and lingering heat from the day before, burning from first light to last, filling the air with sweet greetings to each other and other creatures. An occasional "cough" of a deer or stamping of feet warned a trespasser away.
This new country he was now in was so unlike the home he left four days previously with its heavy, humid, hot, stifling, at times almost suffocating air. Absent were the squawks of the egret and blue heron as the big birds took flight, the almost eerie cries of other swamp birds, shuffling about the branches or lazing on the waters, the unknown and many times dangerous sounds, and the deep, thunderous, guttural roars of gators prowling the murky, mucky, bayou waters of the backwater swamps of the delta country south of New Orleans.
Absent also was the heavy, putrefying smell of rotting, decaying vegetation, of thick mud laced with organic remnants, all inviting insects and creepy, crawly critters to dine; the putrid, rank smell of sweaty, unwashed bodies, seemingly to permeate and radiate out for miles, found in the back streets of the great city on the Mississippi River.
His home had been "Cajun" country, a land of indigenous peoples, those native Americans, absented from their homes and grounds as it was colonized by the French, populated by slaves imported and owned by white plantation owners, brought from other lands; a refuge for the Acadians, and a land now rich in the African-American culture, lively Zydeco and Creole music, delicious jambalaya and etouffee, French, black, and white Creoles, cooked crawfish, oysters on the half-shell, Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, the blues, and a plethora of cultural, social, edible, and heavenly delights, all unique to this place jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico where the muddy waters mingled with the blue of the Gulf.
This new land he'd arrived in would take some adjusting to. He'd miss the music, the activities, the party at Mardi Gras, and the fun life down on Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. There was much he'd miss in the Grand City, "The Big Easy", but there was little he could do about it. No, he had little choice and was pressed with a deep obligation.
Finally, as though his listing of the differences would ever be complete, those final sights, the scents and sounds of his mother and grandmother as they prepared him to leave, the smell of blood and death growing pervasive and unrelenting as they gathered, sheltered in a hidden sanctuary near where the battle was in progress.
"You must go, Chase," his mother admonished. "As much as I love you and your younger brothers, you are the Alpha's, your father's, son and the Red Wolf will surely murder you, as he just now murdered your father and grandfather, to stop our lineage."
Herbert Landry, Alpha of the Bateau Parish Pack, grew concerned over the past two years over the activities of a rival pack nearby, led by the very ambitious and ruthless Alfred La Rue. Herbert was convinced "The Red Wolf," was planning an attack to overthrow him and take over the Bateau Parish Pack. If Alfred did, it'd be certain death to all of the adult and young males, adult females and those past puberty who could shift. The only ones who'd live would be the pre-pubescent females to captured and used as breeding stock or for the pleasures of the male conquerors until they were literally fucked to death.
Herbert was doing all he could to avoid a confrontation with the Red Wolf or show any signs of weakness, giving Alfred the opportunity to swoop in and take his pack from him. As a caution, wanting to save his own family, he and his wife, Sarah (Le Compte) began planning to save their sons and as much of their wealth as they could, should an attempt at conquering his Pack come to fruition. They enlisted the help of her mother, Marie Le Compte, an older, very wise wolf, an excellent attorney and thought among the members of the Pack, to have "second sight," the power to see into the future. She was well-connected to the Grand Council through a friendship established over the years and through representation of various fellow Lycans in court cases before the human world and in Lycan Courts. Marie was well thought of and respected throughout the Lycan world and there were many who'd do anything for her.
What Herbert and Sarah hadn't planned on was a vicious attack by a small group of Vampires settled in the New Orleans area. Vamps and werewolves just didn't like each other. In fact, they hated each other immensely and the vampires exhibited that hate when they attacked a family of four from the Bateau Pack when the family was visiting the beautiful city. The surprise attack by the vampires, swooping in and capturing a ten year old girl, killing her older brother and severely wounding their mother and father, severely enough they weren't able to quickly self-heal and pursue the bastardly blood suckers.
The male blood suckers violently raped and committed all sorts of sexually perverted acts in order to gratify their sexual lust until the poor child would no longer respond when a cold cock penetrated her body. The leader of the band ordered her killed and the vampire having a final fuck up her pre-pubescent vagina, broke her neck.
Learning of the attack, Herbert Landry ordered an all-out assault on this particular clutch of vampires. Locating their warren outside the city and knowing the creatures ordinarily slept during the day, Herbert and his contingent attacked! Instead of surprising them in slumber, the group was waiting for them. Herbert knew then, this ambush was planned by someone else and warned the vampires of Herbert's attack. There was only one other foe who'd do such a thing and it was the Red Wolf, evidently to lure him away from his own pack and leave it vulnerable. Fortunately, Herbert hadn't committed the full strength of his pack to the engagement and left his Beta with a small contingent, assisted by the mature females to defend their territory.
No attack came!
The Bateau Parish Pack won the battle with the vampires, killing the entire group, but suffered great losses of adult, fighting males in the process.
The Bayou country was quiet, eerily quiet after they vanquished the vampires and sought revenge. It was too quiet, Herbert thought, and called Jean and Marie to join Sarah and him, along with his Beta, to a meeting to discuss concerns he had and get their opinions. It didn't take more than two sentences before Marie offered her ideas.
"I think," she began, "we'd better change our plans somewhat."
Marie could feel some disastrous, life ending, pack destroying, catastrophic event coming. It'd be sooner than later, she thought.
"It'd be a wise Alpha," she suggested to Herbert, "to warn his pack to be even more vigilant and, in order to save the very young and the future of the pack, suggest their parents send them to safe places, to packs friendly to his own, for those packs who'd be willing to raise the little ones as their own if it became necessary and the Bateau Parish Pack becomes no more."
She paused, giving the others the opportunity to think through what she was saying before adding the most consequential of her warnings, the results of her "second sight."
"There comes, before the next full moon, an insidious, vicious, destructive force, bringing rivers of bloodletting, and destroying lives by murderers most foul and disgusting. Each pack member will suffer great loss, even death. Decisions will have to be made soon on what they wish to do, send their family away or keep them close. The older ones, any young wolf who can shift would be difficult to place, causing jealousy, rivalry, and an unwarranted threat to members of the host pack they might be sent to. It might be wiser to explain what the likely outcome will be if they should stay. If they do stay, they'll have to fight to survive. However, it must be their choice and that of their parents. Some may decide to slip away to save themselves and either reform into another pack or just exist as a solitary wolf. Maybe, just maybe, we could win, but I wouldn't count on it. The adolescents and teens, who stay, would be our forlorn hope."
Herbert called for a meeting of the adults of the pack, explained his concerns and Marie's insight, and asked each pack member to make the decision they felt best for their families. As their Alpha, he'd defend all who remained to his death. The adults who remained would be involved in the fight and he couldn't promise any of them or their families of survival.
Jean and Marie, back in their home, hugged each other tightly, their love strong and their bond unbreakable. They'd remain to fight for the Alpha and the Pack, protecting the escape of their three grandsons since their daughter, as mate to the Alpha, would stay and die with him if he succumbed to the attacking marauders. Sarah came late in their life and was the only child they had. Sarah, in turn, after mating with Herbert, didn't conceive until later in her own life, producing three fine, good-looking, boys. The grandchildren were precious to Jean and Marie and would do their best to save them. Beyond their grandchildren, they also had other parental responsibilities, great and intensely important.
Living with them, adopted as their own at age three, was now eight year old Gaige Wyatt Saulnier, a great-great-nephew on Jean's side of the family. Young Gaige's parents were killed in a fiery traffic crash on a foggy night while driving on the Interstate approaching the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge. As Gaige's god-parents and great-great aunt and uncle, his parents named them as guardians, with full right of adoption, should any misfortune befall them. Jean and Marie gave their niece and nephew, when they made the request to care for him, their blood oath to protect him with their lives. They were now faced with doing so.
Marie grew uneasy some six months before her "vision" warning her of danger of such magnitude, young Gaige's life would be forfeit should he remain with them. Knowing now the forecast danger was but a short time away, Jean and Marie had no choice but to exile him to a place of safety, a place they'd chosen, where he could grow and mature, undiscovered by those who might do him harm.
Utilizing her contacts and friends on the Grand Council she made arrangements for legal documents to be prepared, giving custody of Gaige and eventual adoption to someone who could keep him safe and provide the life for him they desired and he needed. Additionally, they revised their wills declaring Gaige their sole heir and moved their considerable wealth to places unknown and untraceable, known only to their own attorney, a member of the Grand Council, in various accounts and vaults. A trustee was appointed from the Grand Council until Gaige reached the age of eighteen. His assets would be available as he needed them as his adopted parents would request and be approved by the trustee. The boy would be well provided throughout his entire lifetime. A simple call to the trustee from Marie would alert the trustee something was amiss and begin assuming the trusteeship of Gaige Wyatt Saulnier. The trustee also was in possession of the name of the person who'd have guardianship of the lad until adoption of the boy by the person named in the documents or approve any adoption of Gaige by someone else.
"Make the call," Jean said softly to his wife, "and let's prepare him for his departure."
"I feel, my husband," Jean responded, "this attack will occur within the next seventy-two hours."
The next morning, Jean and Marie sat with Gaige at the breakfast table, explained carefully their fears, and what their plans were for his survival. He was a sad, sad boy, but knew his "oncle" and "tante" wouldn't lie to him. As much as he wanted to stay, he wouldn't be allowed. They set about helping him pack a suitcase with clothing, personal items, and a thick envelope with all of the necessary legal documentation in it needed for his future life. In a canvas zipper bank bag was a substantial amount of currency, three small keys with instructions where they could be used, four bank books, and the name of his trustee. Additionally, he was given a small metal lock box containing other quite sensitive documents with instructions not to relinquish it except to his new parents. He wasn't allowed to take his cell phone or laptop; instead they gave him a new cellphone with instructions it was not to be used until he was at his new home. Gaige wasn't told where he was going, only he'd be somewhere safe. The three of them hugged each other, cried, and expressed their love. It reassured Gaige he was loved to the point of them sacrificing everything for him. It didn't lessen the sadness, but did comfort him.
Marie's previous discreet inquires through the Council and the Guardian Corps confirmed all she needed to know. Gaige would be well taken care of. Getting him would be no problem once she convinced her daughter, Sarah, and Herbert to send her sons to the same place. A simple phone call to them, confirmed they'd be most agreeable and the plans were finalized. The Landry's were instructed by Marie to prepare similar documents for their sons so they could begin a new life as well which they did.
Marie was now grateful Sarah and Herbert followed their advice and had the documents and arrangements made for their sons. The situation was going to grow desperate soon and time was a resource not to be wasted.
Marie tucked her nephew (son) into bed that evening, sat with him until he fell asleep. Jean joined her and together they gazed lovingly at the small lad asleep in his bed. Gaige was a slight, thin but healthy, young man with dark hair and eyes, with a deceiving appearance of delicacy, and a very beautiful child. He was extremely bright, loving, inquisitive, perceptive, happy, well behaved but inclined to be mischievous, and wise, at times, beyond his years and blessed with special talents and gifts. Gaige was a joy to have around and they'd miss him so as they knew he'd miss him.
Jean and Marie weren't the only ones busy preparing youngsters to leave. Those families deciding to send their children away quickly made arrangements and before nightfall were sending youngsters on journeys to new homes or made arrangements for them to leave the next day, under the protection of their new guardians. There were others who decided not to send their children away, hoping they could protect them and there were those teens who decided to just slip away, in some cases accompanied by younger siblings.
Herbert and Sarah had a more difficult time convincing their sons to leave. Lowell Cashson, the oldest, argued he was old enough and strong enough to fight the intruders and wanted to stay. Herbert finally pulled his oldest son to him, holding Chase tight against his own chest.
"Chase, my oldest son, my heir, who would've been the future Alpha of the Pack, now is not the time to demonstrate your bravery and die. This is the time I need you most. I need you, my lovely boy, to do the hardest of all tasks, live, serve, and honor your dying father's wish."
Sobbing into his father's chest, Chase knew he'd do as his father requested, even though it hurt him to do so, realizing his father and mother wouldn't probably be around after the battle was over.
"You must leave and protect your brothers and Grandmother and Grandfather's adopted son, your uncle, Gaige. It is the future which you hold in your hands by your strength and love. Your mother's and my legacy and blood line will live on through you and them. Young Gaige, according to your grandmother, is special and must be protected. He must survive to meet his destiny. Will you do this for us?"
Chase nodded into his father's chest, sobbing his acceptance of his mission and duty. Sarah hugged him, told him she loved him, and she and Herbert hugged and kissed their other two boys, asking them to mind their older brother, protect each other, love each other, and remember their parents and grandparents. After that, it was a matter of packing and making certain the boys had the needed paper work and financial resources to travel.
A little before midnight of the second day, not quite seventy-two hours since Marie predicted the attack would come, she woke, finding Gaige, fully dressed standing by their bed.
"You must wake, Tante," he said, "they're coming and will be here soon. Many of them."
Jean woke, hearing Gaige's warning, gave him a quick hug and kiss, telling him how much he loved him and to survive, shifted to his wolf form, and dashed off to warn Herbert.
Marie threw on a robe, checked to see if all was in readiness, checking the backpack Gaige was wearing and making a last check of his packed suitcase.
"We must make haste, little one," she warned, "to join the others."
Sarah, once Herbert was warned, would've hustled her three boys to the secluded area behind their house and be waiting for them. It was but a short distance for Gaige and Marie to travel and when they arrived, they could hear the warning howls of the sentinel wolves on watch, alerting the community of the danger.
As they ran, Gaige asked, "Is Oncle fighting them?"
"Will he be killed?"
Marie nodded her head again.
"Will you, Tante?"
A nod of her head brought tears to the youngsters' eyes and a sob from his throat.
"You mustn't cry, my Pet," she said warmly. "You know Oncle and I are only trying to protect you. We will die out of our love for you and your love for us."
Sarah, Chase, Henri, and Jacques were waiting by a new, black SUV, their belongings already in the vehicle. Marie stopped near them, pulled Gaige closer, and slipped a velvet pouch into his backpack.
"These are for the future, should you need them."
He nodded his understanding and was about to say something when Marie slipped a heavy gold chain holding a large gold ring, it's crown a large red ruby, surrounded by diamonds, around his neck.
Speaking in French, bastardized by centuries of cultural change in Cajun Country, she said,
"This was your father's, his father's before him, and his before that back onto generations. It is the proud symbol of your lineage and heritage, bespeaking of your roots, and ancestry back to the Continent. It is recognized as belonging to and denoting a person of great importance, as your ancestors were, and as you will be someday."
Sarah gathered her boys together with Gaige. "Listen carefully to Grandmother Marie; she has made the arrangements for your safety."
Marie spoke very clearly, making certain the boys would understand her directions.
"We are sending you to live with a distant cousin of mine, some ten years younger. It'll be the last place the Red Wolf would ever think to look for you. You are leaving everything behind which might make you traceable. New cellphones and laptops are to be purchased at your new homes. Under no circumstance are you to try to contact us. It'd be futile, since we will be long dead. All it'd do is provide a tracking mechanism for your enemies to find you. You have all of the necessary legal papers, sufficient cash and then some, to care for yourselves for some time. Chase is in charge and if something happens to him then Henri is. Protect each other and love each other."
Sarah gave Marie a nudge. "The battle is drawing closer and we have little time to send them off."
"Is your cousin one of us?" Chase asked.
"No, he's human, but you'll be welcome once you identify yourselves and let him read the letter I'm sending with you. Friends on the Grand Council have made very discreet inquiries and have assured me there'll be no problems. You have the necessary papers giving guardianship to my cousin and paves the way for eventual adoption. I have provided information where the papers shall be filed, in what state, and what judge. The judge is a Lycan, a friend of mine, and will assure the confidentiality of the processes."
"What about me, Tante?" the tremulous voice of Gaige asked.
Marie turned to him, hugged him again, and responded, "You will go with Chase and his brothers. You will meet a very powerful wolf on your journey. Do not be afraid for he will not harm you, but love you instead and become your protector."
"How will I know this powerful wolf?"
"He will smile, open his arms welcoming you, taking you into them, and making you his own, raising you as his son and heir. You will be raised among humans and fellow werewolves, learning much from him and those who surround him, for he is protected from harm as well, by wolves who will put his life above theirs. You are blessed and will do well, my little one."
The sounds of the battle were extremely close. Chase growled lowly, and was admonished by her mother not to shift, but to get in the SUV and begin their journey. He grabbed Gaige's large suitcase and placed it in the back with the rest of their gear.
"Shotgun!" Henri called, climbing into the SUV front passenger's seat.
Jacques shuffled his butt into a back seat. Gaige gave Marie one last hug.
"I'll miss you Tante," he choked out.
"And we'll miss you."
"Where are we going Grandma?" Chase asked through the open driver's window.
"Here's a map, directions, and address. You're going to Northern Minnesota along the U.S./Canadian Border to a small town named Kabetogama."
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