Wolves Reign

Los Angeles

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a part of Wolves Reign, by Caged Bird.

Downtown LA is not made up of palm trees and Hollywood dreams; it's dark, uninviting, and cold in more ways than one... Crime and danger lurk around every corner in these people packed streets.

Caged Bird holds sovereignty over Los Angeles, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
2,146 readers have been here.
4,287 readers have visited Wolves Reign since Caged Bird created it.
Moonstruck are listed as curators, giving them final say over any conflict & the ability to clean up mistakes.

Setting

Default Location for The Wolves Reign

Los Angeles

Downtown LA is not made up of palm trees and Hollywood dreams; it's dark, uninviting, and cold in more ways than one... Crime and danger lurk around every corner in these people packed streets.

Minimap

Los Angeles is a part of Wolves Reign.

38 Characters Here

Maia Murdock [152] "I don't know what's happening to me."
Jared Geyer [112] I'm not the golden boy everyone thinks I am..
Lauren Silverstein [110] Even the meek turn into beasts by the full moon.
Ian Bohen [94] I do believe in killing the messenger. Know why? It sends a message.
Coren Somerhalder [91] "Don't you know sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt?"
Daryl Garreth [89] Can't we all just get along?
Logan [73] When I find whoever did this to me I'm coming for blood. No law, no code of conduct.
Shavon Griessel [68] Be the best at whatever it is you do.. And I am the best at wolf hunting!
Victor Creed [65] "I despise my humanity as much as you cherish yours."
Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport [53] I can't abandon the person I used to be, so I carry her.

Start Character Here »


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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There was a storm brewing - how fitting for Adam's return. It was with a mild jealousy Lauren thought of her mate above ground at this very moment. She listened to the soothing sound of rain trickling down city drains and seeping through every crack to the underground. It had not been long ago that she heard this same noise and did not wish to be standing it. Where had her contentedness gone? When had she become so restless for the things she could not have?

She swung her legs off the fainting couch she was laying on and stood up, beginning to pace about the room. Her hand brushed over her abdomen and she hummed softly to herself. She had taken to wearing dresses with high waistbands and loose fabrics, doing her best to hide her ever expanding midriff that her ribbon thin frame only made more apparent. Thankfully it seemed her mate was too wrapped up in his plotting to take notice of any changes. She had become like a permanent installment in his room, like one of the many antique treasures that he every so often picked up and admired.

But it wouldn't be long before he noticed. She didn't even entertain the fanciful idea that maybe if he knew he was to be a father his whole outlook on life would change and he would find a new purpose other than to be the conqueror of mankind. His only interest in a child might be to train them to follow in his footsteps. In this case she would never leave, even if she could. She would stay in hopes of being a balancing force, even though she could see from the present such hope was futile and he would undo her every attempt to make them good.There would be nothing she could do to keep him from whispering venom into their little ears -- about how weak she was, how they should never be like her.

Lauren stopped in mid-pace in front the coffee table where the pile of Adam's papers were, something drawing her attention from her dark thoughts. She cocked her head sideways, the headline of a newspaper having been the thing to catch her eye amidst the clutter. Gently she tugged the corner of the newspaper out from under the other sheets trying to disturb the stack as little as possible then read it. The newspaper was full of sensational headlines about werewolves and updates on the "Wolf Rising" in Los Angeles.Adam and his generals used it as one of their sources to track what the humans were doing to arm themselves. She sighed despairingly when she was done reading and went to put it back before a thought crossed her mind that gave her pause. She looked back over it again, then instead of putting it back where it belonged tucked it under her arm.

She went to Sector 2, her mind racing, a puzzle piecing itself together a solution that she was not quite entirely sure she was deluded in following. The wolves in Sector 2 there looked away as she passed, down to their feet. It was true but unspoken, Sector 1 had dominated them, and therefore they treated her with just as much reverence as their own Alpha female. At Daryl's door she knocked. When Daryl answered she could sense some hesitancy from him to let her in. They hadn't spoken since Jared's exile, partially out of her own shame after what had transpired with her son but also because Adam had forbade her from ever coming.

After a tense moment of assessing her silently, Daryl stepped aside. Charlotte was in the room and greeted her politely, though also kept her distance. They all sat down in the seating area, Lauren taking a chair and Daryl and Charlotte sitting side by side on the couch across the coffee table from her in a united front. It was a touching sight, the closeness the two that had developed.. This wasn’t going to be easy.

"I have something to tell you both that I am very sorry to say. But there’s a funeral being arranged that I thought you should know about.." Lauren informed them crossing her legs and looking over at Charlotte "..It’s yours. Your father has called off the search, he believes you to be dead."

“How do you know this?” Daryl asked with a defensiveness Lauren was unaccustomed to having directed at her.

She couldn't help replying with a little of her own defensiveness and stated matter-of-factly, "There’s a lovely obituary written for her in the Los Angeles Times." She tossed the paper that she had under her arm onto the coffee table between them.

Daryl didn't pick it up, just glared at it then went back to eyeing her suspiciously "Why did you come all the way here to tell us this? We would have figured out on our own."

"I felt it urgent enough to deliver the news myself.. thought it might be easier too to hear it coming from me rather than figuring it out some other way after the fact."

Daryl let out a bemused hmph. "I'm sorry if I am having a hard time believing you - but given your actions lately - I can't help but think there's some ulterior motive as to why you're here, that Adam has somehow put you up to this.”

Lauren recoiled back as if she had been struck in the chest. Her heart labored. Oh. It was still there. She continued at an even tone.

"Trust me, there's no design, I came here not as a mouthpiece for my mate, only as a friend." She could still see the skepticism in both their faces and knew she needed to give them more."Adam has no idea I am here. He's forbidden I have contact.”" she admitted, looking at her hands with humility, "He would be very upset should he find out that I came and told you this." The tendons in her neck jumped lively with the force it took to say these words, but she knew it was necessary to hint at her risk in order to garner their trust. Her eyes peered out from behind her bangs, looking to Charlotte.

"I just thought you should know. The funeral is in three days. Do with the information what you will.. But I don't believe this man should have to bury an empty casket when his daughter is alive and well."

She looked between the two of them, sadness and shame coloring the hue of her brown eyes.

"I understand your mistrust in me. It's more than warranted. I'm not proud of everything I have done. But know as much as my actions seem to contradict what I am about to say - especially in the way I treated my son - everything I have done, everything I do, I do for love." she intoned. "But love is not always kind. It forces you to make tough decisions and sometimes that decision is whether or not you belong in the other’s life. Sometimes you must cut yourself out of the picture so that the other person has a chance at real happiness. -- I know you two have become very close but you must separate your feelings and what the right thing to do is for the both of you."

She stopped, allowing her words to sink in and the conversation to continue in silence. She knew she did not have to oversell the idea. Without further convincing what was being discussed would take all possible routes, and with patience she waited for them to come to the right conclusion – Her conclusion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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They spent most of the morning, or what Charlotte assumed was of the morning hour as time was meaningless here, tangled up in one another. It was lazy and amative, just studying the feel of the others skin on their own. She swore she could hear the monster in him grow silent as he'd rest his head in the crook of her neck. She was falling so hard and she didn't know what to do with her hands. Did she use them to brace herself? Leave them red and cut and itching afterwards. Did she wrap them around their throats? Choke the life out of this so she didn't have to decide. Did she hold them over his heart? Feel the way it beat in unison with hers. She couldn't make up her mind. She was terrified because she was so profoundly happy. Happiness like this was frightening. The universe only let you be that happy if it was preparing to take something from you...

At last she had found someone to whom she felt she could pour out her soul, but she couldn't make herself take that first step —those words were so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside her so long. They clawed from her throat. Sharp corners and curves, bloody and raw; but they never quite made it past her lips. Crashed into one another, consumed. Charlotte remained silent. She and Daryl eventually had to force themselves to get dressed, the day slipping away from them both, but Charlotte made sure to sneak glimpses of his figure when his back was turned so she could commit that olive skin to memory. There was an odd finality to breaking their little sleepy spell that she couldn't explain, she couldn't know this might be the first and last time they were ever able to be truly intimate, but the encounter had the feeling of rolling thunder — the precursor to a storm.

Not a few moments later, after the bed had been made made and the room tidied, there was an ominous knock on the other side of Daryl's door. She wanted to shout, Go away! Leave us in peace! but once more she remained quiet. This decision decided to bite her squarely on the ass. It was Lauren, and she was a harbinger of the inimical. Charlotte attempted to stand-metaphorically of course as they were actually sitting on the sofa- resolute at Daryl's side, giving a unified front, but as soon as Lauren produced that folded paper, her shoulders caved in; stealing the air from her lungs. Her sermon fell on deaf ears after that and a type of tunnel vision stole Charlotte's sight, the bolded print burned in her minds eye all she was able to see. Her father...had given up. Thought her dead. He had to be in agony.

She looked up at Daryl with wide, brown doe eyes brimming with tears. She was a model for diplomatic cool under pressure, but just now the best she could manage was to keep from all out sobbing. Her soul felt like it was being ripped in half. If she left, was permitted to leave, she would never return. This much she was sure of. They'd cry Stockholm syndrome and lock her away if she even attempted rallying for her captors. Never mind that Daryl would be literally risking his very life if he tried to come to her, to see her topside. Any scenario where she went home meant her and Daryl being apart. But then, could she really let her father bury the memory of his daughter? The only person he had left in this world. Could she allow her name to be used as a spearhead against the werewolves, a battle cry, a call to arms against a species over the imagined blood that had been shed? She was beginning to wonder if her Beauty and the Beast parable wasn't something more akin to Romeo and Juliet in it's tragedy. She locked down her emotions, rising out of her seat and wordlessly going over to her purse on the dresser. She paused, fingers fondly sliding over the book inside before she unsheathed it and laid it gently on her pillow as she slung the bag over her shoulder. "If it's my decision, then I'm leaving." She breathed coldly. "I won't be responsible for your death or my father's grief." She finished without explanation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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It’s true that whatever happens to you, life will go on, it’s something you come to terms with after a century and a half. Daryl had been through much and there was very little that his stubborn nature could not hold up against. Yet a situation such as this, the kindling of love put out before it even had a chance to start, was such a rare and tragic occurrence in life that it crumbled the oldest, most fortified of souls.

The terrible reality that had already crossed Charlotte’s mind had also played out in his head. Her return meant no future together. He had half a mind to fight this but knew too that her staying after this did not bode well either. After all she was a human living in a wolf’s world and his waning influence could only do so much to protect her.

Lauren watched the grim scenarios playing out behind their eyes, uncomfortably waiting for a decision. There was just a twinge of guilt that showed in her demeanor as Charlotte stood up and made her declaration and seeing the devastation in Daryl’s face. He was doing his best not to appear too emotional but a jumpy nerve in his jaw gave away his distress. He didn’t even look Lauren in the eyes as he asked his next question, feeling as if he were to look at her right now he might lose himself like it was a full moon. This may not have been her fault as she was merely the bearer of bad news but he felt the need to pin the blame somewhere other than his own selfishness. “How can we get her out? All the exits to the outside are guarded.”

“I’ll remove the guards watching the exit below the sewer line on 6th street.” Lauren supplied her solution readily, yet with enough passable emotion to not seem too eager, “Do you know where it is?” He nodded his raven head solemnly. “I wouldn’t waste too much time here. The guards will return soon enough.” Again, he silently nodded his head. Having wrought her destruction, Lauren began to leave, her heels clacking in the tensely quiet room over to the door. She stopped with one last regretful look towards Charlotte, “For what it’s worth. It was nice meeting you Charlotte.. I'm so sorry.” Then she clicked the door softly shut behind her.

Daryl walked over to Charlotte after Lauren had left, stopping her from vigorously stuffing her bag by placing his big arms around her tenderly from behind. "Your father's grief and all of this are not because of you. Your being here in the first place wasn't your choice. I should have known it would only be a matter of time before I had to take you back." he said and turned her around so that she would look at him. Underneath her cool gaze was a barely concealed current of emotion and he brushed one brimming tear from her eye. "This is going to sound like a bunch of bullshit because this isn't really what I want.. But it's all true. You'll be able to do so much better where you were.. Live a much fuller life and all of that. I want you to stay here, but not even I can be that damn selfish. You have the potential to do a lot of good in this world but you won't be able to do any of it here."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Striker Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein

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Lauren couldn’t believe how easy it had been to lead them on and more startling yet, how easy it had been for her to do it. She had become an angel of destruction, a tool used for devastation by Adam. He had blown on the embers and now she carelessly set fire to everything she touched, her permanent condition to ruin. Though she believed she had few redeemable qualities left that made her worth saving, she was all her child had, and she moved onto the next step of her hastily thrown together plan. Right after she had left Sector 2, she made her way to the exit she had previously mentioned to Charlotte and Daryl and dismissed the guards, then went up to the surface.

The rain had turned Los Angeles into a grey watercolor painting, the puddles on the concrete reflecting the traffic lights at empty intersections. Lauren kept her head low for the few pedestrians who dared roam this late hour and the occasional military convoy that sloshed deep puddles onto her feet. Soon she found herself standing before the industrial building that housed the Wolfsbane Warriors. The windows of the upper edifice had been repaired. On the bottom floor near the front entry two Warriors in heavy black body armor stood chatting. – For most of the city's residence life had been turned upside down, but for the Warriors it seemed dystopia had been exactly what they were waiting for; smug in themselves for having been the only ones prepared for the lycanthrope apocalypse.

Her heart palpitated. This was the stupidest idea she ever had; and this was coming from the woman who had built her life on the wreckage of herself and naïvely made mistakes. What made this idea particularly stupid though was her awareness of how stupid it was. She headed straight for the front door and as expected was deterred by the aforementioned soldiers clad in helmets and bullet proof vests. What good were those against a bite to their exposed necks she thought?

“Ma’am, no one is allowed inside except for authorized personnel.” One of the Warriors informed her in rote, raising his MK-47 in both hands cross wise to halt her. He was a middle aged man with brown hair and bags under his eyes who probably had a name like Chris or John. Yet as ordinary as he seemed, there was an observant look in his eye and lethal presence unmistakable to a well-seasoned Warrior.

“I have a tip for the Warriors. It is very important; I would like to give it to your leader personally.”

He scanned her without seemingly moving his gaze at all; from her eyes, to her mouth, to her fingers looking for all the tell-tale signs. His partner who had all the wisdom and presence of a rock snorted, “Now what makes you think---?” he choked mid-sentence as her demurely downward cast eyes lifted and lit up like a blood moon. It was the fastest way she knew she could get herself inside and it worked like a charm. Before she knew it she had been thrown to the ground with a knee digging into her back as her hands were pulled into cuffs behind her. Then they took her inside down to the bowl shaped dungeon beneath the headquarters where it reeked of rusty old blood and death. There were no prisoners, save for her now, and all the cells were empty. She felt as if she should be overwhelmed by all the horrible things that she knew transpired here – but she wasn’t terribly. The thing that was most panicking her right now was all the time this was taking. The proverbial clock was ticking for her to get back in time before her mate realized she was missing. Her hope was slipping away though that she might ever get back at all.

“I need to speak to your leader, please. This is not something that should wait. I must see him.” She intoned urgently but still ironically polite even as she was pushed down into a chair.

“Be careful what you wish for - you might just get it.” she heard Chris/John say who began fastening the restraints around her arms and legs.

“You ever see one like this before? She doesn’t look like one, does she?” the other one commented completely ignoring what she said altogether. He traced the barrel of the gun across her cheek, moving her hair out of her face, “I’ve never caught myself a she-wolf before -- didn’t think they’d be this pretty.” There was a vaguely lecherous tone in his voice that raised the hackles on the back of Lauren’s neck.

“Don’t get any ideas, they bite too.” The wise Chris/John said to his partner finishing up. “Let’s go get Striker.”

She was left alone with all the empty cells until some minutes later she heard the clack of stilettos coming from the hall the soldiers had left. A mature woman with silver hair came out. Her instincts told her that this was a woman of importance, her authority palpable in the way she held herself. Her skeptical blue eyes peeled through her skin like acid as if trying to see into her soul. It was almost as disconcerting as Adam's gaze.

“Are you.. Are you the leader of the Wolfsbane Warriors?” Lauren asked hesitantly with a clearly perplexed look on her face - for although this woman did seem to carry herself like a leader, an old white-haired woman was still not who she was expecting to be in charge.

“I prefer commander," she said. Her gaze now held an amused mirth observing the thin waif of a wolf as she and she chuckled at her as she came closer, "Surprised? Most of you are when they realize there’s a woman in charge. You creatures seem to have been stuck in the dark ages... Or whatever time period that attire of yours is from."

Lauren's face flushed with embarrassment looking down at her conservative dress that made her look all to the world like a 50s housewife. She recovered though from her initial shock and embarrassment and glanced around the dank dungeon curiously. “Well.. I can tell you have advanced much further from our barbaric ways. Is that a rack and an iron maiden I see over there?” She said dryly. She could tell if she didn't at least show a little spine, that this woman wouldn't take her seriously at all. Victoria smirked bemusedly at her. Lauren opened the palms of her hands indicating to the chair and her restraints. “Is this really necessary?”

“It is. I know better than to let that pretty little face of yours fool me.” She paused tilting her head, “I am Victoria Striker. My men told me you have a very urgent message to give me. But first your name.”

“Lauren Silverstein..” she replied, “I would prefer to speak without being tied up. I swear I’m no danger to you.”

“Ah, that is a very nice try, but I’m not falling for your wolf in sheep’s clothing act.”

“I'm not interested in hurting you, I came right up to the front door and let myself be captured just so I could talk to you. Besides, you and I both know these restraints aren’t really necessary. They’re not even silver-plated – it’s as useless as strapping me to a plastic chair if I transform.”

“What makes you think I won’t put a bullet in your head before that happens?”

“Because of what I’m about to tell you
" Lauren shimmied back in the chair now with the small comfortable smile of someone who knew they were about to change everything.

"The original progenitor of our kind, Adam, is still alive. He is planning a revolution against humanity starting with the sacking of Los Angeles. And if you kill me I guarantee you, you won’t be able to stop him.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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Charlotte wanted to pull her hair out or scream, beat on his chest until she garnered a more painful reaction. This complacency, this acceptance of reality was surely more heartbreaking than the reality itself. She knew she couldn't fault Daryl, he was following this scenario to it's only logical conclusion. He was following her lead, she just hadn't expected him to so easily. She had thought she would have to be the hard one, for his sake. Rip it off like a band-aid, quick and final. More oft than not, she would have praised this rational behavior but just then, all she really longed for was that same passion he had shown her last night. She needed to know that she mattered in the grand scheme of things, that she was worth fighting for even if the battle was doomed from the very beginning. She admonished her heart for being that of a girl's. Did not she want a minimal amount of suffering to be had here? No, she decided. Pain demanded to be felt, and sweeping it under the rug as she always did in the effort to maintain a strong appearance would only succeed in driving her insane.

Clutching her bag to her chest with her stomach in her throat, she watched Lauren slide out like a specter from some vivid nightmare, beautiful and terrifying in the misery that accompanied her. Her teeth all but caged her tongue as Daryl turned back to her with doleful eyes. He played the martyr perfectly, the only way he could have been more self sacrificing were if there was a literal blade to fall upon laid between them. "You idiot." She stated lamely with a manic sort of bewildered laugh, sounding deranged. She dropped her belongings and embraced him as tightly as was humanly possible; inhaling the scent of his shirt, the tears that had finally managed to break free being quickly soaked up by cotton "How could I have ever thought there to be anything monstrous about you." She asked herself aloud. She hastily pawed at her wet cheeks and gazed up at him incredulously. "I finally find someone and we might as well be worlds apart despite living in the same God forsaken city. How much of a tired cliche is that?"

Charlotte's generation usually ate up these sorts of circumstances; being born in an age where they romanticized tragedy and wrote poetry about the death of love. But young and budding affections torn out from the roots were much more undesirable now that she was in the thick of it...and to think getting kidnapped by werewolves was once the most devastating thing to transpire in her short and boring life.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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Daryl's breath caught in his chest in surprise as she wrapped her fragile arms around him with all her might - still more delicate than a wolves but with enough strength to pull all his broken parts together. After a moment's hesitation he tightened his hold a little more around her and stroked the back of her head as she sobbed into him. Charlotte rarely let her emotions have their way with her and even in her rawest moments showed bravery. Her strength was evident to him in her first days as captive when she had physically tried to assault him - so it was no surprise to him that the next minute with tear-filled eyes she looked up at him and called him an idiot. To anyone else she may have seemed a little crazy with a deranged smile and tears still flooding down her cheeks, but to Daryl he realized he couldn't have found a more perfect woman for him. The very thought made him smile: she was his woman, he was her man, the pain they were both feeling right now was proof of that. With this thought in mind he moved his hands to hold either side of her wet face and pressed his lips passionately against hers.

He pulled back placing a few more smaller kisses on her lips before he held her face inches from his so that he could speak. "Not our species, not this war, nothing will keep us apart. I swear to you, we may have to hide this, but we will keep seeing each other. One way or another." he promised. He fervently pressed his lips against hers again before pulling back a second time and with a mischievous smile added, "Even if I have to kidnap you again."

The sound of the rain above them invaded the insular world their relationship had grown in. The odds seemed stacked against them that such passion would last outside in different conditions, like young love cultivated in summer; except instead of fall's crisp breeze cutting like a knife through what they had grown it would be the cold concrete and the colder attitudes of their species. He wouldn't let these odds get in the way of fulfilling his promise though.

They lingered for a little while longer in the room, not ready to say good bye, procrastinating the inevitable. As the time drew nearer that they could no longer delay, he embraced her one last time tightly, breathing in at the base of her neck where her scent was most true, imprinting the smell into his mind so that he would never forget it. Then with a dejected huff he peeled himself from her arms. "We should go.." He took her bag for her and they left the room.

There was an odd sort of finality as Daryl shut the door behind them and they walked down the corridor. He felt as if it was going to be the last time to see his room or the inside of the tunnels; an end waiting like an eerie specter ahead them. He tried to dismiss the uncanny feeling but was having a hard time shaking it. They took the old moonshine route below 6th street that connected to the sewer line. The ground was slick and slimy with algae growing from the recent rainfall and he had to guide Charlotte by the hand since she could not see in the dark as well as he did.

Daryl found the manhole which they had to climb up and stopped, placing a hand on one of the iron bars leading up. “This is it..” He could feel his wolf’s shoulders moving in his, phantom fur bristling and sending shivers down his back. Someone’s walked over my grave. A voice said in the back of his mind, an odd phrase he had not used in a very long time. As Charlotte reached to grab hold of one of the iron bars herself, he halted her. “I’ll go first. Those manhole covers are heavy..” He already had Charlotte’s bag over his shoulder and climbed up ahead. He pushed the cover up slightly peering out onto the industrial backstreet to make sure it was empty before completely removing it and hoisting himself out. He looked around and deciding it was safe motioned for Charlotte to come up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Striker Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein

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Victoria released Lauren from her restraints, allowing her to move about the room as she explained in carefully selected detail how Adam had come to power from the attack on the Wolfsbane Headquarters. She kept to herself where and how they were hiding, and exactly how many there were of her species, but hinted at the level to which Wolfsbane had underestimated them. She also omitted telling about her relationship to Adam, painting herself as an un-notable pack member who had simply been watching from the sidelines as they swiveled down into chaos and war.

The two women now stood on opposite sides of the chair Lauren had been previously confined to, keeping their distance from one another. Lauren leaned against the back of the chair as Victoria with steepled fingers mulled over everything she had just been told. “I have to wonder why you are telling me all of this and to what end. It would seem if Adam were to succeed in his revolution it would be beneficial to you.” Victoria finally responded after a long pause. She placed her hands behind her back standing with a military cadence as she eyed Lauren, “As my father used to say within every conversation there is a negotiation. So what is it we are negotiating Ms. Silverstein? There must be something you want.”

Lauren shook her head as if she didn’t know what to say, looking down at her hands, “Adam is very feudal-minded, he controls through fear. If he were to succeed we would be in another kind of imprisonment.”

“So this is purely out of a moral obligation?” Striker scoffed incredulously. She looked thoroughly disappointed, turning away from her and marching a few paces back then quickly snapping back towards her, “That's not a good enough reason for you to risk your life coming here. If that were the case you could have martyred yourself in an attempt to kill him, not come to me and undercut your entire species. What is it you want wolf? Spit. It. Out.”

Lauren’s gaze fluttered back up to meet Victoria’s impatient one, looking like she was reconsidering her decision to come here. It was too late for that now of course. “I want safe passage out of the city. I’m pregnant and don’t want my child growing up in a war zone. Is that a good enough reason for you?” she asked defensively standing up straight.

“It’s a far more pragmatic one.” The commander replied coolly. She looked at Lauren’s stomach trying to perceive the bump hidden behind the bundles of thick fabric. “How far along are you?”

“A little over two months, I think.”

“Any other children?”

“No.”

“I have two. I don’t hear from either of them. Ungrateful brats. They’ve ex-communicated me because they say I was “cold” and “unavailable” during their childhood.” Victoria half-laughed as if such a notion was ridiculous. But in the next breath her voice took on a more introspective tone. “But there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t have done to keep them safe, and I did. That’s what matters. That’s your number one job as a parent, even if they resent you for it.”

Lauren stood awkwardly silent, uncertain if she should say anything at all to this. She had only just met the woman but she had a feeling this was an unusual candid moment for the commander. A womanly synergy ran between them, a concord of understanding between the mothers; Lauren had to remind herself not to be swooned into a false sense of security by it. Victoria seemed to remember herself the next moment and changed the subject quickly. “You know, it’s so rare to find a willing informant, it’s refreshing; Torture is such a nasty business I much prefer to get my information this way.. But I wouldn’t be a very good negotiator if I didn’t check the credibility of my sources. How can I trust you as a reliable informant and that you won’t take me for a fool?”

Lauren rolled right along with the sudden change in subject and was prepared for her question. “I suggest you post your men near the McGilchrist building on 6th street facing South.” Lauren stated simply. “A certain someone that you lost should turn up there pretty soon and you’ll see I am a very reliable source.”

“You mean that foul-mouthed pup you all swooped in and rescued? What do I care of getting her back?”

"No." Lauren merely shook her head, waited for her to guess.

It clicked. “The governor’s daughter? She’s still alive?” Victoria asked astonished.

Lauren smiled, “After you retrieve her, all I expect in return is your word to get me out of here tomorrow in exchange for Adam’s whereabouts.”

Victoria for the first time since undoing her restraints came in closer than five feet to Lauren and held out her hand. “You already have my word if this tip pans out.”

Lauren looked at the hand extended towards her then reached out and took it. Courteous smiles hid political minds; if they were juvenile they might have crossed their fingers behind their backs, both thinking the other the fool.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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In the end, the wind howls lonely along
barren earth and hollow remnants
of what could have been...

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The structures lining this industrial backstreet, located in one of central L.A.’s less picturesque corners, were ugly, unprepossessing piles of cement bricks. Decades of smog and soot had blackened every inch of the buildings dingy exteriors, while the steel-shuttered windows and spray-painted graffiti made it clear that they had been abandoned for some time.

Or so it appeared.

Daryl helped her out of the hole and up onto the curb like the rough around the edges gentleman he was. The rain finally had let up for a time, but the streets and sidewalks were still wet. Greasy puddles reflected the gibbous moon shining down through the low-rise neighboring buildings, and Charlotte shivered as she heard rats scuttle away in a hurry, startled by the alleyway's late-night visitors. Would she ever escape all these vermin? She fervently wished that Daryl had had the forethought to bring a flashlight, perhaps as a concession to her merely human vision, so that she might sweep the trash-strewn avenue with its cool, reassuring white beam. Stealth be damned. It was peculiar...She found herself feeling more fearful tottering on unsteady legs in 'familiar' territory breathing city air than she had underground in stagnation. In a short amount of time this place had forfeited all sense of familiarity, she might as well have been on an alien planet.

It was then, just as Daryl put the cover back on the sewer entrance, fully armed with silver round-compatible semiautomatic weapons, several dozen warriors descended upon them. They spilled out of a matte-black unmarked van that had slowly and unassumingly crept along the road with both its headlights and taillights off, so that it was all but invisible in the deep, tenebrous night. The first on the ground unleashed a blistering salvo right in Daryl's direction, hungry for the kill before a guttural voice from the back cried out in frustration. "HOLD FIRE! FRIENDLY IN RANGE!" Daryl had already swooped Charlotte up in his protective embrace to shield her from the hail of bullets. They had never even had a chance, it was a set up from the start.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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  

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As the metal slid into place over the manhole, Daryl heard the shik of a gun before the street erupted with a cacophony of bullet rounds. Instinctually he had grabbed hold of Charlotte and pulled her out of the way of the hail of gunfire with supernatural speed. He moved them from the middle of the narrow street against one of the brick buildings, putting himself in front of Charlotte with his hands enclosing her protectively on either side of her head.

No doubt the men attacking them were Warriors from the smell of the gun smoke tinted with silver. He panted with adrenaline and rage, looking down at Charlotte's fearful face. He could hear them coming up behind him and he prepared himself for attack; his nails grew into points from his finger tips and his eyes lighted themselves like embers into yellow fire before he spun around to face his opponents at the last moment. With his animal instinct overriding he could assess and dodge his enemies' expertly trained movements. He stopped the dagger aimed to plunge into his back, grabbing the man wielding it by the forearm and tossing him aside.

Charlotte was frozen in fear, just as she had been back at Gray’s security Firm when she was first taken. These antediluvian brawls were downright paralyzing for the untrained and very mortal. Never mind that she was on the opposite side of the battleground now, rooting for the monsterous creature instead of the men who opposed him. He had shielded her with his very body, his life over hers...

Many of the Warriors had given up their guns in favor of hand to hand combat, but a select few still took aim now that Daryl had stepped out away from Charlotte. Gunfire cracked like lightning as volleys of silver bullets whistled past Daryl, narrowly missing him, and sank deep into the building side only a few paces away. The argent sheen of the deadly shells implanted in the wall filled her soul with fear and revulsion. She was at war with herself, a micro battle amidst the actual fight, torn between sinking down onto the ground in a protective ball or throwing herself between Daryl and these soldiers. Either option rendered her useless. She was no fighter, nor was she a coward she realized. But what could she do? She watched in horror as Daryl pitched the men about like rag dolls, his ferality intimidating. She wondered at when he'd reach the point of losing himself and become a beast.Would he kill? Her feet tore from the pavement as she locked onto the arm of one of the Warriors prepared to leap into the fray. "Stop! He was releasing me, you don't understand!" She cried over the growls, shouts, and artillery fire. She tried to wretch him backward but he reflexively elbowed her in the stomach, knocking her to the pavement. He spun on his heels and finally took notice of her, scooping her off the ground by an iron grip on her forearm to shove her in the van no doubt. Target acquired.

Daryl let out a feral growl that registered in the pit of everyone's stomach as he turned a lethal gaze on the warrior that had knocked Charlotte down and was now dragging her towards the black van. The man paused and looked. It couldn't have been the first time the Warrior had been in a fight with a werewolf - on the other hand though, he knew it was one thing to be at war with werewolves and another to make a personal enemy of one. And in that moment he realized he made a fatal error by handling this woman in a less than gentle manner.

Daryl was ready to charge the man when another Warrior stepped in the way raising his gun at him. He knocked the gun sideways with an elbow, but the warrior quickly recovered and swung back around again to take aim. This time he attempted to get the gun out of his hand by gripping the warrior's wrist, only to be taken under the arm and with just the right footing by his opponent, was lifted and tackled to the wet pavement. His teeth rattled in his skull but on the ground it was no contest - he shifted his massive weight on top of the man, pinning him to the ground between his knees and raising his clawed fingers ready to end the fight with a single slash across the throat.

"NOO!" He heard a hoarse scream through the red fury clouding his mind. His hand froze in mid-air and he looked up to see Charlotte, her hand extended out as if to stop him physically though she was out of reach. Don't do this. Her eyes pleaded with him. For a moment his hand remained suspended, but then it slowly lowered itself down to his side.The yellow glow in his eyes flickered out and he put up no more struggle, unlike any other time where he would have done anything to escape. He was forced to remember himself and not prove to these men -- or more importantly to Charlotte -- the monster he was. He allowed himself to be overtaken and was kicked off the warrior by another and then held down with a foot between his shoulder blades and gun to his head.. "You make one fucking move this will be one bullet you'll never recover from." the man holding the rifle to his head threatened in a dark gravelly voice.

After they had secured him in silver-lined cuffs he was hoisted to his feet. Daryl felt like an adult pretending to be dragged by children. He could have easily shaken the warriors holding him on either arm, and they must have been aware of this too, feeling the strength in the unusual density of his muscles. They quickly took him to the van, shackling him in one of the metal benches within and started loading into the van. Whatever was compelling the wolf to remain calm they hoped would last until they got to headquarters.

Charlotte was seated across from him, though she required no cuffs for obvious reasons. She felt as if she were in a prison transport as they all packed in along side her a little too close for comfort. Guns firmly clasped in their sweaty palms, all feeling that sense of unease. "Everything is going to be alright now Mrs. Davenport, you're safe." One of the soldiers stated remembering himself; that this had been a rescue mission in conception, that she had been the object of said mission. She locked eyes with Daryl, determination settling into her jawline. She may have been safe, but he most certainly was not and she'd just have to see to that. She swore by the heavens above that no harm would come to him. It just couldn't. Guilt ate at her insides, a cold, slimy snake coiling up in her stomach and injecting venom from a set of sharp fangs to remind her who was to blame here. Had she not been so concerned about the life of one soldier who sought to slaughter her love and all like him, Daryl could have dispatched the men by now and escaped to safety. This was on her. She just couldn't bare the thought of Daryl's beautiful albeit rough hands bloodied. He was much more than a monster, and so much more than just a man...This wasn't the end. Not by a long shot If her name wasn't Charlotte Davenport.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ian Bohen Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein

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RUN CRIED THE CRAWLING
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After the warriors had obtained Charlotte and Daryl, Victoria and Lauren made their exchange; Lauren revealed where she knew Adam to be scouting above ground to set up a base and Victoria promised her safe passage, giving her a time and place to be so that she could be transported out of the city. Then Lauren left the headquarters. It took her some time to be convinced she wasn’t being tailed after leaving and she traveled a few extra blocks just to be sure, cutting through allies and abandoned buildings. Then she disappeared down one of the discreet entrances to the underground. When she got back to her sector she acted as normal as possible, meeting the eyes of every pack member she passed in the corridors but still felt paranoid about whether or not she appeared natural in all her self-awareness.

She did not stall for even a moment when she made it back to her quarters to rest. There were little details to be attended to. Immediately she headed behind the triptych over to their bed and pulled out the clothing trunk from underneath to change. Undoubtedly her vigilant mate would notice the scent of the outdoors on her and if she appeared disheveled. She felt a little anxious about the tightness of the new dress she put on but was more worried about time and moved onto restoring her wind-swept hair and her make-up back to its impeccable state.

In the mirror of the small antique vanity that she used she wondered if the resolved person staring back was really her? Her intellect felt heightened beyond what she thought in her capacity and colder than she believed to be in her nature. It was nauseating and thrilling all at once. Footfalls outside alerted her to Adam’s approach and she hurried to apply finishing touches. She fumbled the lipstick tube to the floor which she did not bother to pick up, instead kicking it under the bed as she abandoned the mirror. The handle on the door rattled, and she frantically positioned herself in the fainting couch as she had been before Adam left, needle in hand and cross-stitch in her lap.

On queue she looked up from her supposed engrossing task to her mate as the door slid open. He came in damp from the rain but with a self-contented smirk on his face. She forced her own faint timid smile, showing just the right amount of loving affection and fearful reverence the Alpha thought he deserved. It was to her advantage he thought her tamed, walking above her like a frozen lake unaware of the cracks growing beneath his feet. “Hello dear..” she greeted breaking eye contact and focusing on her stitching, "I take it everything went well from that smile on your face. Did you and Conrad settle on a location then?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ian Bohen Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein

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After settling on the warehouse as their rendezvous point and mapping out which areas of L.A. they'd attack first, in which order, and with whom, Adam and Conrad split apart to divert attentions in case they were being tailed; the timeless pair forever cautious and for good reason. You didn't live this long by being careless.

The journey back underground was a short one, but it was painful enough that Adam hoped he wouldn't have to make one like it again. He would bring this world to it's knees beneath his slathering jaw if it took the life of every man, woman, and child in these tunnels plus a few extra. His bloody rampages were that of legend. He and his army had laid waste to entire villages. Packs of marauding werewolves ran amok through the countryside once upon a time, devouring the populace while creating even more of their own kind. He could feel it then and he could feel it now, the dawn of man was over. It was to be the age of the wolf at long last.

He slid open the door to he and Lauren's shared quarters to find her resting on the fainting couch, tending to her stitching. It appeared rather tedious work. "Hello dear..I take it everything went well from that smile on your face. Did you and Conrad settle on a location then?" She inquired hopefully with forced pleasantries. It caused him to pause and mull over his response uncharacteristically. Just of how much was she aware? What details of his plans had she overheard? He made no efforts to hide anything, but he hadn't been forthright with information either. It was certainly eye opening to just how much knowledge she had acquired as the new Alpha female.

"Everything is going according to plan. Never you fret." he stated vaguely with contented sigh before he milled around the back of the couch and pressed a cold kiss to her brow. Shirking off his jacket, he stretched out on the couch adjacent to her like a fat, contented house cat, kicking up his feet to rest them on the coffee table. He'd have new and more lavish furnishings in his above ground suite once they owned the city he imagined. All of this was rubbish to him now that he had tasted freedom...and that was when he noticed it. To anyone else it might appear that his papers were merely stacked without thought, all piled together in no particular order of rhyme or reason. However, to those who knew better, it was an organized chaos. Everything had a place and something was missing. A newspaper. It seemed harmless enough, but to Adam, nothing was without threat. "Where's-"

Suddenly a rapt sounded frantically from the other side of his door. For god's sake, could he not even decompress before someone somewhere needed something else of him? He strode over all ill concealed annoyance, flinging it open with more strength than necessary. The poor errand boy standing on the other side looked positively green. "What is it that you deem important enough to disturb me in my own quarters?" he asked with a vitriolic tone of voice suggesting his irritation. "Sir, I.." the wolf swallowed, undoubtedly praying Adam wouldn't shoot the messenger. "The Alpha of sector two escaped with the captive from the siege on the Wolfsbane Warriors fortress, he apparently took her above ground before shortly thereafter they were both captured, sir." Adam stood there for a moment, just processing. "How did they get out into the city without raising any alarms?" The miserable whelp hastened to mollify his liege. "I can have the guards of each exit brought to-" It was then that Lauren interjected, cutting the wolf off by way of explanation.

He studied her skeptically through opalescent eyes. His gaze was like a knife, the way it was pointed at her. Waiting. A true hunter, after all, was someone who could but watch and wait for it's prey until it would pull the weapon out of his hand to impale itself. Had she been sneaking around, brave enough in his absence to hatch some sort of scheme and to what end? That notion frankly beggared belief.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ian Bohen Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein

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  

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Lauren felt bad for the young man delivering the news who was practically falling over himself trying to please his Alpha. As Ian, Adam had had that affect too, but since coming out as the bloodthirsty warlord of old people were more afraid what not pleasing him might do. "That will be unnecessary." Lauren abruptly interjected before the young man could even finish his last sentence.

They both looked at her. The predatory gaze in Adam’s eyes immobilized her with fear and for a moment she seemed to forget what she was going to say. Now she was not feeling very clever given the details she overlooked, the newspaper, the guards.. She would be unable to convince Adam of not scheming behind his back, but maybe she could convince him that her motives were more innocent than nefarious. That he didn’t catch onto her bigger plan was of greatest importance.

She set aside her sewing things and stood up on weak knees, holding Adam's gaze as best she could. "..It is my own fault. I dismissed the guards so that Charlotte could be returned discreetly back to the surface. I was unaware it was Daryl’s plan to take her himself. Nor that it would be so dangerous.. I feel absolutely terrible for what has transpired.. And that I went behind your back my love. It was a terrible choice, but I just thought I was doing the right thing."

Adam smiled at her but it was a manic looking, terrible thing. It took every ounce of control he had in the fiber of his being to keep his eye from twitching in that moment. He didn't mind losing Charlotte, she wouldn't of been of much use the way his plans were shaking out...Leverage if things were to go south but little more. He could stand to sacrifice her just to be rid of Daryl, if he was being honest. What was even better was now Daryl was out of his way without any of the blood falling to his hands, and the wolves would be out for vengeance with a prominent and well liked leader taken or preferably murdered. However...her act of disobedience was not to be borne. And further, she had revealed her insubordination to a third party. If the Alpha's own mate couldn't be made to bend to his will, how could any of them? Where was the irrefutable, united front they were supposed to be giving? The one worth following?

"My poor, sweet, naive lover...Your heart always in the right place but never quite in line with your mind." he ground out as he shook his head weakly before looking to the wolf at the door. "Go retrieve me Bishop and Warren, tell them to assemble our strike team and join me where the sectors meet. We haven't a moment to waste." Then, just as the messenger turned to leave, Adam stopped him once more. "Oh..and Rose...bring me Rose immediately." He said ominously, tone loaded all the foreboding the wolf needed. He cast one final and fearful glance to Lauren, his obvious concern ghosting across his pallid face but he made no plea on her behalf before vanishing down the dark tunnelway, leaving her alone with the Alpha who slid the door closed with an eerie sort of lackadaisical abandon. Adam made a point not to look at her when he turned back around, but instead meandered past her towards the couch. He settled himself there once more and began rolling one of the sleeves of his aegean blue button down up past his elbow. "Pet." He growled. "Might you fetch the steel lock box from my bedside table drawer? Now." He finished pointedly, making it clear this was not a request but a demand. His smile was now replaced with a leer that marred his usually comely features, distorting his expression into a malicious one that fit the archaic monster he was said to be.

In Adam's parody of a smile Lauren could see castles burning in his eyes and the force of a barely restrained wrath behind it. She watched him curiously and with fearful stillness as he rolled up his sleeve, then when he gave his command, jumped to obey it. "Yes." she replied readily, her meek voice barely audible. She went behind the triptych and soon reappeared with the steel metal box between her hands. Uneasy and unsure, she stood in front of him and held out the box silently. His current calmness was doing nothing to make her feel better, only heighten the horror of the moment and she could see now with her arms outstretched the slight tremble in them. He didn't accept the box but rather nodded to her. "Open it." he intoned with a blossoming grin. She blinked a few times then turned the box towards herself and undid the latch in front. When she laid eyes on what was inside, four syringes filled with dusty argent liquid, each neatly lined up in grooves at the bottom, her face blanched. "Silver?" she whispered, voice high. She didn't even need to ask, she knew what it was from her instinctual adverse reaction breaking out in cold sweat and hives up her arms like an allergy. It was silver nitrate used in Wolfsbane bullets. She had seen its affects on less fortunate wolves, boiling in the blood like an explosive chemical reaction, foaming and choking at the mouth. She looked back to him, eyes wide. Was he planning to kill her with this? Had her disobedience angered him so much?

He relished in watching her breath catch in her throat. Wrapping his massive hands around her slender neck had not deterred her well enough, she had been threatened before so many times in the days before him after all, so he had to take extra measures to make it known just what he was and what that meant. He was sure, for many a time she had been half in love with easeful death, called it soft names in many a mused rhyme but her end with Adam would not be that...not a gift of escape but a pain like that which she'd never known. He needn't await her mea culpa, her culpable expression was admission enough. "Very astute Lauren, you are correct. It's silver." He finally took the weighted container from her lithe hands and set it on the table in front of them before retrieving a hypodermic from the box and awarding her with it. He watched the inner struggle take place behind her eyes; run, fight, or give in? All three had the same outcome so she acquiesced...but he would not ask her to stick herself with it. Not today. "Now, if you would be so kind, inject me." he asked unwaveringly.

An utterly lost expression wrote itself across her face. Inject.. him? Was this some test of nerve? Was this really silver at all? What game was he playing? If she went to inject him would he determine her bold enough to try to kill him and kill her instead? Or if she disobeyed him would he only become angrier? All that came to her mind as a certainty was this man, Alpha of Alphas, love of her life, father of her child, was psychotic. Finally she sat down next to him, seeming to really set her mind to the puzzle. With her other hand she reached out and took his forearm and held the needle poised just under the crook of his arm. Her eyes flicked back and forth between the blue of his vein and his eyes, trying to gauge a telling reaction but seeing none. Then just when it seemed she had made her final decision to steel herself and drive the needle in, she withdrew back,still holding his forearm and looked up at him, eyes filled with defeat. "I-I can't. I can't do this."

He snapped and roughly grabbed her by the wrist then, his grip so tight her arm shook with the pressure and was sure to bruise in the ugly shape of an unmistakable handprint. He used his leverage to drive the needle point to flesh as he forced her thumb down on the plunger with one of his long fingers. The silver fluid slithered up his arm beneath his pale skin visibly, but he didn't so much as flinch. He didn't even blink least he break eye contact with her, all the while the argent solution sizzled in his veins, scorching his blood vessels. "I took to doing this a few centuries ago, built up quite the immunity...I will not allow for any weaknesses no matter what form. Do you understand?" he asked rhetorically, gaze locked with her own in a battle of wills. "I will always remain, even if it means I'm all that remains." He had used his grasp to pull her mere inches from his face while he spoke, but released her suddenly now. Had she been unable to perform the task because she was weak or because she still held some misbegotten allegiance to him? At the moment he didn't care, his point had been well made. He watched her slump back into her seat, her bones looking like they had liquidized as he stood in time for a second knock to sound at the door. Rose.

Adam met her at the threshold and spared Lauren one final glance before he gave the command, "Stay with her and ensure she doesn't get an attack of conscience. She is not to leave this room until my return. I have a city to burn to the ground." And with that, he was gone, leaving Lauren behind with the one person in all of the sector who abhorred her more than her own son. The one who sought to take her place, who had been dethroned. An inimical simper stretched across Rose's gauche face. They were alone at last.

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Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein
  1. Rose's Death

    by Moonstruck

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"In this part of the story I am the one who dies,
the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
because I love you, Love, in fire and blood."

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The situation was becoming more hopeless by the second. She glanced at the clock from the corner of her eye that rested on the side table. How was she supposed to get out of here with the Amazonian woman watching her? She beat her once as luck would have it, but a second time was doubtful. Besides, getting in a physical fight was not a wise choice for a woman of her condition. “You’re looking a little frazzled, Silverstein – Being Alpha female isn’t as easy as you thought it would be, hmm?” Rose commented smugly. Lauren scooted back up in her seat, feeling embarrassed she was caught looking so out of sorts, especially in front of Rose. She had worked years by Adam's side, pining for the exact position she was in, the role of Alpha female.

Well she could goddamn have it.

Suddenly she remembered the open lock box on the coffee table and leaned over to shut it. “What’s that?” The redhead asked nosily, sitting on the couch across from her, crossing one long leg over the other and throwing an arm over the top of the sofa. It irked her just a little in some way how comfortable she was in this room. She replied with a begrudging look and snapped the lid of the container shut. An uncharacteristically bad thought came to her mind, but then again current circumstances didn’t allow for her to remain in her moral comfort zone. She had already gone beyond that. She then collected the box and walked behind the triptych. Before putting it back in the drawer, she opened it once more and slipped one of the slim needles out and into her dress pocket.

Once she was done she returned to her spot where she had been sitting and picked up her cross stitch, blatantly ignoring Rose's presence. This didn't sit well with the former Beta's inflated self-importance and after just a few minutes, she began sifting through the papers on the table. Intentional as Lauren knew this was, her irrational territorial instinct was stoked. She wanted to be provoked. She needed it "I wouldn't touch those." Lauren stated curtly, "He doesn't like that.."

Rose stopped and daringly locked eyes with Lauren, "Oh, he doesn't? Or maybe he just doesn't trust you enough. It would seem that way anyway, since I'm here babysitting." She cocked her head to the side with an errant laugh and stood up. “What is your appeal, anyway?" she asked rhetorically, circling the coffee table, "I mean, I could understand him fooling around with you, but to make some sorry mutt his mate? I just couldn't wrap my head around it. It killed me to see him with someone so wrong for him. But then it became obvious. The only reason he ever paid attention to you was because of your connections to Sector 2..." While Rose continued her monologue drawing closer to her, Lauren discreetly removed the needle from her pocket, hiding it underneath the fabric of the cloth she was stitching with her thumb poised on the plunger. "...What good are you to him now though that your son and Daryl are not an obstacle anymore? He might amuse himself for a little while longer, but he’ll grow tired of you one day.. And from the looks of it that day isn’t far off.” She finished overtly looking at Lauren’s yellowing wrist

She stood above her now, mere inches. Lauren stared back at her seemingly unfazed, prim as ever and responded, "And when that day comes you'll be right here to snatch him up won't you? All those years before he must have just been blind not to see you. Or maybe it’s time to come to terms with the fact you’re just not his type. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing..”

That little nudge was all it took and she was being yanked up by the front of her blouse. The close proximity provided the perfect opportunity and as soon as she was on her feet she plunged the needle into Rose's chest, pushing the silver liquid directly into her heart. Immediately there was a fizzling noise like carbonation in a soda. Rose's reaction was delayed, still holding onto Lauren with a vice grip as she looked down at the needle stuck in her chest. "What-- What did you do?" she choked. The veins on her neck and all down her limbs slowly turned a darker blue and bubbled up like thousands of tiny little beetles moving beneath her skin. The veins on her face and around her eyes were soon affected too and the silver leaked through her tear ducts pouring down her cheeks in mercurial rivulets.

Lauren released herself from the clammy grip she had on her and stepped back, watching as Rose crumpled to the ground. She felt her own heart seize in horror at what she had done, the realization there was no limit to what she could do. It felt as if time should have stopped for such a momentous thing but it was over before Rose had even hit the floor dead. She had killed someone. Her conscience demanded she be outraged and sick with herself, but the volume of her feelings did not match the magnitude of her actions, and she was onto dealing with more practical matters. She gathered up a few belongings and was ready to flee the macabre scene when she noticed on top of the piles of paper on the coffee table the leather bound manuscript that her mate so tirelessly studied. She wasn't sure what it was but she was sure it was important. Her self-disgust only grew as she grabbed it and a few stray papers and shoved them into her bag.

Sentimentality or trophy she couldn’t decide why she took it. She wanted something to keep, perhaps something to remember him, although undoubtedly she never would forget. She was carrying his child after all, a permanent reminder to her the torture and survival she had gone through. He would die but in some way he would survive through her, and this made her feel to an extent that she had both won and lost.

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Character Portrait: Ian Bohen Character Portrait: Conrad Sutherland

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Deftones──Change
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Bodies were strewn everywhere. Men, women, children
their soma's shredded as though by a savage beast. Blood so darkly red it almost seemed black spilled from corpses that had been sliced open by powerful claws. Many of the people were still in their nightclothes, death having come for them while they slept. Their lifeless faces were frozen in expressions of utter shock and horror. Their homes bore mute witness to the grisly scene, while an eerie silence reigned over the district. There were no whimpers of pain, no desperate cries for succor. No sobbing families mourned their dead...not a living soul was to be found.

As soon as Adam's select few had joined together; Conrad, Bishop, Warren, and the chosen dozen that served under them loyally without question, they breached the surface and headed out on their operation. There was no mistaking it, not a one of them were under the illusion that this was a rescue mission to retrieve Daryl. Though it was only put into stratagem that very evening, they would attack tonight. Their long labored plans of revolution were finally coming to fruition...they could almost taste the air of the new empire Adam had offered them, and all it would cost was a little bloodshed. They were ready, ferality at a near boiling point from decades spent living peaceably like lowly rats in the sewer. They would seize their opportunity without hesitation.

The group split apart as Conrad took Warren and his team to the west side of first district they had marked for destruction, a proletarian industrial set of city blocks, which left Adam with Bishop and his team to cover the east. The needed to be stealthy and ruthless in their front, but this would come easily...It was a full moon and the men were already mid-transformation, those bitten would turn if the change didn't kill them first, and with a true alpha among them, they would follow by instinct alone.

Adam looked to Bishop as they lined up along side one of the buildings, ready to descend upon the mortals inside like the hounds of hell. "I want this quiet, and I want this quick. No one is sparred, not even the children." Bishop looked aghast for a moment but Adam silenced him with a look. "Either they become orphans or no longer share a species with their parents. This is the only alternative." In truth, Adam just needed more bodies for cannon fodder, more war dogs to throw into the fight so much so that even the young would suffice. He wasn't overtly broken up about the idea at any rate. Bishop nodded once stoically, undoubtedly torn up by the thought of his own son, but he did not allow for it to affect his effectiveness. He was unduly loyal to the cause.

The cold moonlight shone over a mauled corpse that lay sprawled upon the asphalt of the street. The body belonged to a full-grown man clad in the torn remnants of a cotton nightshirt and flannel bottoms. Exposed ribs jutted from his open chest. Gobbets of bloody meat still clung to the splintered bones, which were scored by deep claw marks. A lone animalistic figure turned back toward the corpse. It regarded the lifeless carcass boredly until a bestial sound erupted from the dead man’s throat, what had begun as human scream devolving into an anguished howl. The “corpse” snapped to attention then, already in the throes of a grotesque, excruciating metamorphosis. His still form had started to convulse violently. Bones cracked and twisted loudly as the murdered denizen came back to the land of the living. A tortured groan escaped the wolf's contorted jaws, but the pain-wracked utterance went unaided. Glassy mortal eyes turned into feral topaz orbs. A canine snout protrude from the scarred face, which appeared to be healing itself with preternatural speed. Jagged fangs flashed within the creature’s open maw, and a hairy hide swiftly spread over the sundered chest cavity as he doubled in size and the remnants of his clothing tore away in sheets, stripping the animal of any last vestige of civilization. The wolf now standing in his place looked absolutely maddened and lost until it fell at the warning growl of the white wolf before it...And just like that all of those bodies, the people that had to have been slain given how they were torn apart so completely, rose together like the walking dead. Those not already drug into the streets came barreling out of the apartments through walls that couldn't contain them...Coming back only to be reborn into to something new and terrible.

In the alley way, one of Bishop's wolves nosed the body of a twelve year old child with a tangle of pale blonde hair matted in blood, face devoid of color but still round with youth. Her eyes, unseeing as they were, still held their innocence. She had twitched a time or two but remained untransformed, her blood tainted after rejecting the change. It was a death less gruesome than others half her age had suffered that night; those who had bore the pain of the transformation, their tiny bodies braking in half with the sheer violence of it. The white monster nipped at the wolf's heels, urging him onward. They needn't waste time with the truly dead. Sympathies could not revive anyone.


Adam lead the howling horde across the train tracks, where they would collide with the untouched set of apartment buildings resting there. Then a handful of Bishop's men would keep them going, racing in for the slaughter, driven berserk by the moon. If the warriors caught on swiftly enough, they'd be distracted with this carnage while Adam and Bishop met up with Conrad and Warren at the warehouse to fan out in another direction. It was guerrilla warfare at it's finest combined with a little shock and awe for good measure. A perfect plan...

Adam and Bishop were the first back to the old depository, beating the other team by mere minutes, but it was enough time for Adam to slip back in his human form and let Bishop inside to wait. Steam coiled up in misty tendrils off of his exposed skin, a sign of the heat from his body's changing manifesting in the air around him. Blood and gore painted Adam's limbs and chin liberally, dripping down unto his chest in a very macabre portrait. Bishop was his mirror image, even in animal form. Blood had clotted in clumps of his dark fur and left a hellish impression. A map of the city supplied by some helpful fencer or another was laid bare on a rotting crate at the center of the open room and had marked upon it's face all of their points of aggression. Adam strolled over and glanced at it once more, the perfectionist in him still crying out for more familiarity with his surroundings in a city he had only lived beneath for the past century. That was when the scent reached Adam's senses, Bishop, who had been pacing alongside him, perking his ears and tensing. Warriors.

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Character Portrait: Ian Bohen Character Portrait: Victoria Striker

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Victoria took a few select Warriors with her to scan the area where the Alpha was supposed to be orchestrating his plan to take over the city. Howls echoed in the streets of the concrete jungle punctuated by sharp screams in the still night. Most of her men were redirected to fight the carnage happening on the opposite side of the district. Smart dogs. She thought of the diversion, although she wondered if she was being fooled in some other way and the Alpha wasn’t here after all. There was still a seed of doubt that the female werewolf had been lying to her or at least omitting some small truth. Maybe this was just more personal than she let on but it wouldn't matter because they would both be dead in the end, the Alpha and the traitor. There may have been some sound objections to murdering the original lycanthrope, but Victoria was not keen on hearing them. Killing him would be compared to the burning of the library of Alexandria, but it would leave plenty of room for them, the victors, to rewrite history.

The vague information the female werewolf had given was all she needed, they checked a few closed factories on the East side, but it wasn’t long before the werewolves had revealed themselves. Atop of one of the buildings one of her men spotted two lone werewolves entering an abandoned warehouse and radioed it in. The assassins – 5 of them total – then descended upon the warehouse. From a distance Conrad and his troop approached but Conrad halted them spotting the assassins. They could have easily taken the assassins, but opportunity had shined on Conrad to be rid of his only equal. He turned around as the rest of the werewolves caught up and took off the other way, the wild hoard instinctually following its leader.

Victoria signaled silently for two of her men to stand outside as she and the two other assassins approached the derelict brick building. They stopped momentarily outside the door listening. Not a sound. Undoubtedly they were both listening for the other. Victoria kicked in the door and they went in, guns blazed. One of the assassins sprayed some bullets as soon as he walked in, the bullets powdering the brick walls and splintering crates. Victoria layed eyes on the untransformed man and his werewolf companion in the middle... So it was true. Here he was. She had never heard of a werewolf being able to shift at will on the full moon. The man wore nothing but the blood of his victims, his eyes still aglow from his recent shift.

"You must be Adam.. What an honor." Victoria purred with a facetious smile, "I was so disappointed I did not receive an invitation to your little rendezvous. I'm Victoria, commander of the Wolfsbane Warriors. It must have just slipped your mind not to call; thankfully there's very little I don't know that goes on in this city."

The truth of the situation sat in Adam’s stomach like a stone, it had all been too easy, too unchallenged. Had he thought the simplicity of his immediate mission was a karmic handout that he was owed? Perhaps, if he believed in that sort of thing. He could feel the air become enervating & harsh, smothering life & breath with their very presence here. Was nothing sacred? How had they discovered him? He had been so careful
The black beast beside him raised his hackles. His only control lied with Adam’s calm. The barrage of bullets against the wall had done little to keep him together, their posturing was blatant in that. How many were here truly? Had his diversion tactic succeeded in some form? He hadn’t time to weigh the probability of this, measure their actions to ascertain such things. Adam really didn't like being caught off guard.

"Ah, yes well there was that whole business of my being dead. Nasty affair. Didn't want to worry you with such things seeing as you've so obviously had your hands full. I wish I could say the same, that it's an honor, but I'm afraid my definition of the word doesn't encompass..." Adam eyed them up and down with a belated sigh, gesturing flippantly at the street soldiers before him. "all of this."

He worried not that he was stark naked, he was of another era when nudity wasn't the stigmata it was today. If anything, He wore his body proudly, liberally bedecked with gore as it was. Adam tried to keep a steady carriage but his flickering eyes betrayed him. His mind raced at a million miles a minute, searching for an opportunity or weakness to take advantage of so that he might escape. He strained his hearing, waiting for the other shoe to drop and more warriors to fall upon them. He had to stall.

"I'd say it would at least be an honor to kill you, leader of the ever proud Wolfsbane Warriors but...I think we both know that would be a falsehood. Perhaps that's where your organization went wrong, placing a woman at the head of it's assassins. Tsk. No wonder your city is in shambles and blood flows freely through the streets." He forced an effervescent smile, not doubting his ability to tempt her into a monologue. "Oh well, such is life."

Victoria's amusement only seemed to grow as the Alpha tried dearly to hold onto what little bravado he had left. She let out a high, clear laugh, covering her mouth with the back of her hand mockingly.

"You're awfully brazen for someone who's quite literally exposed. Yet that's what dogs do when they're backed into a corner, they yip a lot." she bit off each word at the end with a cruel smirk, "Tell me, how does it feel to have spent the past two centuries bitterly plotting your revenge in some dark corner of the Earth only to have such carefully laid plans unravel so quickly? You must wonder how I did it, my being that of the gentler sex and all who hasn't the faintest clue how to conduct a war." She cocked her head to the side and moved a few steps closer, "I think you'll be shocked to know then that your plans weren't undone just by me, but another woman too. One of your own, in fact, some pregnant bitch you probably never paid attention to.. Lauren, I think her name is?" she tapped her pointer finger her to lip thoughtfully.

Did Victoria know what a face looked like, just before it was about to break? Adam did, he had seen it on others often enough, but never in the mirror. It was a shame that he had no reflection to stare into now for there were fracture lines all over him.

Pregnant. It simply was not possible. He was suddenly hanging on the wrong side of madness. He had lived a teeter totter lifestyle on the brink of a cliff, memorized the sensation of free falling towards a gasoline ocean while his clothes were on fire but this was another sort of fresh hell altogether. He did not conceal his shock, how could he, the weight of her reveal hitting him in the chest like a battering ram. Lauren
He had longed to be a king and she had made sure that when she burnt his kingdom down that he was still chained to the throne. This queen was not a pawn in his arsenal, her message screamed. What's more, her betrayal came with a child...something he believed biologically impossible. She had his offspring, his bloodline, his progeny and had managed to keep this from him. How could he have been so blind? He tried to recall how to breathe and just like that his adversary realized her mistake, her miscalculation. She hadn't known what Lauren was, his mate, and what that meant she was carrying inside of her. She had only revealed it in an effort to stand fast in her feministic pride. The horror floated silently on the air between them, neither able to lay voice to the recognition.

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Character Portrait: Ian Bohen Character Portrait: Victoria Striker

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With Adam's sanity unhinging, Bishop began to stalk, slowly trying to circle behind the human team. The warriors with her eyed a snarling wolf warily, poised to strike at any moment, waiting for Victoria's queue. It was a trick of the mind, to associate the largest thing in the room for the most dangerous. They really ought to have known better...Just as the hulking shadow predator decided to lunge, Adam did the same, leaping into the air and shifting on a dime. It happened so quickly, there wasn't even time to register his transformation. There was a human standing before them then there was a white monster mid air, it was as simple as that.

Victoria moved several paces back as Adam landed, now phantom white beast and took a swipe at her. She again raised her gun and shot, but the beast moved with surprising agility for its size out of the way. She backed further up as she fired a few more rounds, creating as much distance as she could between her and her opponent without getting caught in the fray going on behind her. She knew that if he were to come in less than five feet of her, the match would be over -- she stood no chance to a werewolf hand to hand. Even in her younger days she had avoided close quarter combat.With determination she rapidly shot a string of bullets which trailed behind her opponent, continually missing but at the very least keeping him away. When she had unloaded one gun, without any pause, she dropped the emptied weapon and grabbed the other at her side. In the fraction of a second it took for her to reach for it though, he rushed her again. She fired at the floor mere feet from where she was, inches from the beast, scattering slivers of floorboard and silver.Then she recovered her ground one bullet at a time, stepping forward with each shot that barely missed her opponent and backed him up further towards the opposite wall.

Every time he'd pull close, she managed to keep him at bay with a steady stream of silver rounds. The silver wouldn't kill him, but it still hurt like a bitch and should be avoided at all costs. Who knew women could be this much trouble? He suddenly found himself re-evaluating his stance of the sex all together. This intricate little dance wouldn't last for long though, she'd eventually run out of clips and when she did...suddenly an argent spray hit a little too close to home and sent Adam careening into the nearest wall in a gross over compensation. His shoulder impacting with brick sent tremors up the base of the derelict building, it couldn't withstand the force and weight of the animal so down came the support beams from the ceiling with a mighty crack. Debris showered over their heads in a splintering hail as a large girder nearly landed on top of Adam.

This proved as quite the distraction for as Adam was avoiding being buried by detritus, Victoria seized her moment and let loose a last round into his back. He hit the ground with an undignified thud, the ammunition stinging and burning like brimstone straight out of the sixth circle of Dante's Inferno. He could have sworn he heard a triumphant cry in glee from her end, which only further sought to irritate him. If she thought this was over then she had another thing--wait. That was just what he needed to use to his advantage. He quickly fell out of his wolf form, shrinking back into his human visage which slumped to the ground in a fashion that would have done an opossum proud. When in doubt, play dead. He didn't keep his immunity a secret for purely selfish reasons. Sure, he could outfight the three of them, even without Bishop, but it simply wasn't his style. Trickery and deceit were always simpler and came more naturally to him.

Bishop had finally managed to rip into the last of the two warriors that had taken him on when he noticed his fallen alpha.

Enraged he charged at Victoria with feckless abandon. His eyes positively glowed with fury as he snapped his frothing jaws. Victoria turned almost a fraction too late from her triumph towards the animal coming at her -- then another gunshot cracked and reverberated off the wall. Like that, the beast fell skidding across the floor and stopping dead at her feet. She looked up to see the other two assassins that had been standing watch outside for more werewolves until they heard the commotion, now standing just inside the doorway.

Victoria tried her best to catch her breath - as much as any sick person with her condition could - and flicked some rubble off the shoulder of her trenchcoat casually. "It is about time you two decided to show up." she rasped ungratefully, and motioned towards the other two assassins lying dead on the floor. "Now, put a bullet in each of their heads, unless you'd like to kill your friends a second time." The men hesitated, but did as they were told, knowing full well that at any moment the corpses could re-animate themselves.

Where a beast lay a moment ago at her feet was now a naked man with dark oozing hole with a web of dark veins on his back. She stepped over him and walked over to the two assassins, "We are going to burn this place to the ground. No one is to know that the original werewolf was here tonight or that he ever existed, do you understand?" she asked rhetorically, her glacial blue eyes looking between them. "The story remains the same, he died 200 years ago."

The assassins nodded their consent, then each of them spread out. Apparently Victoria was not the only one on the fast track to cancer, both of the other assassins had lighters tucked away in their pockets to nurse a smoking habit too. One started by lighting a few crates in the corner, and the other dragged some splintered pieces of floorboard over near Bishop and lit those. Victoria personally walked over to where the fallen Alpha's corpse lay, studying the body for a moment contemplatively. Just like that, the Alpha of Alphas was dead and the climax of her career was over. It wasn't a bad way to go out.

She dropped the few pieces of floorboard in her hand beside the body then lit up her silver lighter before kneeling down to start the fire.

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Character Portrait: Ian Bohen

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Laying there, refusing to even breathe, Adam could feel the shattered shells in his back work themselves out. His body healing, pushing the foreign objects free of his skin. It was slow and it was agonizing, but before long they'd clatter to the ground and his blood could begin to filter out the poison. He had heard her approach before she ever crouched down beside him, could hear the irregular beating of her slowed heart despite the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Her short, sporadic breaths that panted in time with her steps.

The flick of the metal lighter in concomitance with an arms load of wood dropping to the ground...

Just as she stooped down he sprang off the ground forthwith, like a spring loaded trap, pulling her forward and off balance. She dropped her lighter and clutched onto his wrists in shock as he took in fistfuls of her lapel, his claws sinking into her skin as they sharpened. His cold murderous gaze was locked with her own for a fraction of a second. Nothing about him appeared human despite not being in his wolf's form; it is as if the fur he usually wore had melted into his skin and become part of it. He growled and it was a terrible thing, an aria of fear made audible before he took those unsheathed daggers in his maw and tore at her throat. There was so much blood, it just poured out of his full mouth like a fountain. Victoria could not even gurgle or sputter in response as there was not enough of her windpipe left to even choke with. He had very nearly decapitated her, the vertebrae in her neck just out of his teeth's reach.

Adam allowed her crumple to the floor gracelessly as he turned to the two remaining soldiers looking on in absolute horror. He appeared every bit the thing of nightmares, bathed completely in red with blackened veins snaking out over his skin and splintering off into lightning like shoots. His eyes burned with unholy rage, returned from the dead to wreak his vengeance, bullets finally coming free of their fleshy prison to volley on Victoria's already cooling corpse. Their indomitable leader was dead and everything they thought they knew about the monster they hunted proved wrong. They backed away fearfully as Adam advanced toward them, quick to move around the fast burning flames that had begun to lick up the walls that they had only just started. The pair made it to the threshold just before Adam could catch them and slammed the steel door closed, this action followed by the sound of something metal sliding in between the handle and frame like a piece rebar perhaps. He howled in fury, he had chosen this place not only for it's anonymity and placement, but also for its fortified entrance so that they could keep the enemy out if things turned to war. It had never occurred to him that that door would equally keep him in. He smashed a heavy fist against the tempered metal, evoking cries of fear from the other side in tandem with an onslaught of bullets that rattled the door. Cowards the lot of them, fine representatives of their race. He could force it open but this would only end with him being gunned down. He may have immunity but there was even still only so much he could withstand and he was still hurting.

He whirled around frantically, the ever growing fire gleaming in his panic stricken eyes. He held no remorse for his fallen comrade, but in watching his body being consumed by the flame he was forced to face his own mortality. He could not end this way, ignominiously and outwitted. Betrayed. He was practically immortal God dammit. How had it come to this? A carefully cultivated persona, always a shadow to hide in or someone else to blame, meticulous planning and then replanning...Lauren. It had all gone to shit with her; he had mistaken her as someone of malleable character to be easily tempered and manipulated for his means but she had proved to be secretly fortified. He was the one who had ensnared her; thought nothing of letting her in close; now she was the one who had tricked him and escaped with his child. HIS legacy. He could not allow for it. If the stakes were not high enough with his life on the line, that was reason enough to claw his way out of this building if he had to do so brick by brick. Not that he wasn't prepared to do that anyway, his perseverance was admirable. He would escape this place just to claim what was his.

His face turned upwards in a stroke of genius as he quickly clambered up some smoldering debris that had miraculously not yet caught full on fire. He leapt from there to a rafter that was still largely in tact. The gaping hole in the roof from the fallen support beams sucked most of the smoke out of the building that masked the stars from view in a hazy fog. No human could manage this feat but he was no mere human. He need only reach the gable--that was when the rafter crumbled. The heat had warped it until it no longer fit in it's place, it's only option to come sliding down in pieces to feed the hungry flames. Adam's claws dug into the brick edging as he dangled there having only jumped at the last second, his feet scraping the side to gain some type of purchase. Bloody Hell. He glanced down at the girder he had only just been standing on now burnt up to cinders. He felt helpless, too much like he had all those nights as Fabian's plaything eons ago, like he wasn't in control of his of own fate anymore...or of anything really. He gritted his teeth and pulled his body up in an impressive curl just as the building gave it's last shuddering sigh and collapsed in on itself, finally dying after all this time.

You couldn't say it hadn't given one impressive last stand...

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Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein

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FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – BLINDING
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The sky was as grey and dark as the tunnels she left when she made it above ground, the moon just beginning its ascent into the sky. Yet she could feel its visceral pull on her body, the tension of her muscles trying to contort themselves into a new form. It was hard to suppress, she had only a little time before she couldn't fight it any longer. With urgency she walked towards the designated meeting place for her ride. A momentary loss of control of her body caused her to slam into the wall she was walking beside and she shrunk down hugging herself. Not now. Not now. Not now. Her breaths were short and ragged from the excruciating pain of muscle spasms and her bones willing to break themselves. Eventually she would lose, on the full moon this was inevitable, but she was trying with every fiber of her being, metaphorically and literally, to hold herself together as long as she could.

As if by instinct she had known to pause, a prickling sensation rose up her back. She could sense the approach of another werewolf; still on her knees, she crawled out of sight behind a dumpster. The padding footfalls of a gigantic monster stopped momentarily beside the alley she was hiding. Its ears perked up listening intently. If only she could get her heart to stop pounding, she was sure he could hear it. It lifted itself back onto its haunches, snout sniffing the air – Prey or friend? Another werewolf not far off howled, calling him away from the alley. She released her breath.

Once she was sure the street was clear, she ventured out again. She made it to the meeting spot, not far from the city limit. There she met none other than Chris/John and his lech of a partner, waiting in front of a sleek black dodge sedan with chromatic touch-ups – obviously silver. “Well hello there gorgeous, we meet again.” Chris/John’s partner started, pushing himself away from the vehicle. He had a jerk’s smile and a confident swagger that some women must have found attractive, but that Lauren, pregnant and in mid-transformation, made her feel homicidal intent. “You must have found the golden ticket to get yourself out of here. Oh, and hey – sorry about earlier, throwing you to the ground and all. –“

The more astute of the two, sensing her disenchantment, stepped into the conversation, “Ms. Silverstein, you look to be in a bad state. Shall we get going?”

Lauren twitched as his hand moved. He stopped; eyed her; then slowly proceeded to open the door to the back of the car. She stared them both down, amber eyes skittish and feral, before conceding and coming forward. She had little choice but to accept unless she wanted to find her own way out of the city; a risky business with werewolves and warriors alike loose on the streets. Although she knew in all likelihood this was a trap too, this was her only shot. She walked past Chris/John with a wavering smile and slid in. Inside, the vehicle was also modified to look similar to a cop car. It had shiny silver-plated bars and a thick Plexiglas barrier between the front and the back with only a few drilled holes for the passengers to be able to speak to one another. There were no handles to open the back doors from the inside and all the windows, including the rear, had silver-plated bars across them. The door closed with a heavy thud once she was settled in – it must have been reinforced too – every single piece of this vehicle had been designed to keep someone such as herself contained.

Chris/John and his partner then took their seats in the front and took off quickly towards the city limits. Lauren could sense that the warriors were just as tense as she was, could practically smell the adrenaline coming off of them through the glass. Whether it was because of her or the fact that there were werewolves everywhere, she wasn’t sure. It certainly wasn’t ideal to be in a closed vehicle with one no matter how well-equipped it was to handle it. They were safer with a grizzly bear in back. Chris/John glanced every so often at Lauren’s pallid face in the rear view mirror. She looked to be running a fever, her eyes becoming bloodshot, sweating, and twisting in her seat uncomfortably.

“
 She’s not going to make it.” she heard him one of them say.

“Should we pull over now?”

Their conversation was flickering in and out of her clouded mind, unsure of who was saying what as she was barely able to pay attention with the physical and internal struggle that was happening inside her. The more she resisted the change the less control she felt she had over it. She and her wolf were at odds about what to do and rather than being of one harmonious mind, her personality was splitting in two. Wolf knew it was pregnant and wanted to eliminate any perceived danger in the vicinity. Lauren wanted a safe passage out. Her wolf didn't give a shit. It was sick of waiting, couldn't hold off until they got out of this God forsaken city. The assassins knew what was happening before she did. “She’s changing! Shit! Pull over! Pull over!!!”

The vehicle came to an abrupt stop, causing her to hit her head ungracefully against the glass barrier in front of her. She rolled onto her side in the back seat, clutching herself, unaware she was screaming, the whole world going mute. She did not even feel the pain of her bones growing anymore, just felt the inside of the vehicle becoming smaller and her conscience being squeezed out of her. The last thing she could remember was the back door opening, the cold air from the outside slithering up her side over newly grown limbs; the windows fogged from the heat of transformation.

Then the wolf opened her amber eyes, metamorphosis complete, every noise crystal clear again.

The sound of a gun cocking flung the her into action. She threw herself out of the vehicle onto the assassin before he had a chance to fire his gun, pinning him to the ground and relentlessly biting and clawing the man with no intention of stopping until he was dead. The demure woman sitting in the car ten seconds ago was completely gone; not a trace of docility left as she tore a hole through the fibrous muscles of his gut and dug her muzzle inside in search of the soft tissue inside. By the time the other assassin had gotten out of the car and rounded the vehicle he was far too late to save his partner. He threw a silver dagger none the less that hit her in the back. With barely more than a grunt she ripped it out of her shoulder and whirled around. Gobbets of torn flesh dangled between her bared teeth and a deeply resonating snarl rose up as her wound sizzled and burned.

The assassin did not have time for his next move, be it to run, pull out his next weapon, or say a final prayer before he was thrown into the side of the vehicle and mauled. His cries turned into blood-curdling gurgles as razor sharp teeth ripped through flesh as if it were no more than cotton, bone snapping like twigs in a massive maw. Once he ceased to make any noise or movement she backed away, allowing the assassin to slide down the side of the vehicle leaving a trail of crimson blood. The trace of what human she had left in her begged her to stop her from continuing what she was about to do, what she had started doing to the first assassin... Devour him... But what of this wound in her shoulder? It would take forever to heal if she didn’t eat something, and for the past month almost everything she consumed made her nauseous. She had had some unknown craving that nothing she ate satisfied, until now, when it was illuminated her pregnancy’s very specific taste for the copper that tainted her tongue. Her wolf had no problem sating this craving for her and shielded her human side, making her look away. She could remember this all at a later time... When she was through with her meal nothing was left of the men for the moon to resurrect except bones.

Then she carried herself miles away from the city, ran wild into the unknown future, free, fierce, and at last powerful. She would wake up when the moon had set not knowing exactly where she was or how she got there but with the assured feeling that she was at last safe, having literally fought her way out of Hell tooth and nail; A fight that she hadn't even known she had in her until last night. She was like the moon, having gone through many phases and at last had turned to blood – her mate would regret ever having eclipsed her but it was he she had to thank for her spectacular transformation. She realized now that she could move the tides and shape her own fate, shape history as she undoubtedly had for many future generations of werewolves. The greater consequences of her actions had not yet dawned on her though and for now they did not matter. Her survival and her child’s survival were of utmost importance, and secondly, enjoying the simple pleasures she had attained from her struggle. Hearing the songbirds in the morning, being able to see the stars at night, and feeling the kick of a little baby boy that everyday told her
 It had all been worth it.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daryl Garreth Character Portrait: Charlotte Constance Lydia Marie Davenport

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Charlotte stood, every muscle in her body tensed. She could imagine a turbulent sea of hands shooting up in rolling waves in the next room over from the sound that carried through the walls. Their voices cried out to her like bands of seagulls, squawking without sense. Soon she’d be forced to stand before them. How had her life come to this? She knew she was about to be paraded about on stage like some show pony or prize by her more recent captors and it sickened her.

She thought back to when she had first arrived at the security firm a mere day ago
She had been practically dragged by her hair kicking and screaming since her and Daryl’s separation. He had given up the struggle almost immediately, on her behalf no doubt. She couldn’t bare it, what would they do to him? Charlotte had to make them see reason, she owed Daryl that much. She wouldn’t relent, not until─and that was when she heard it. The comforting voice of her father. Warm and familiar, like from a memory of a dream. “Charlotte.”

It was almost surreal hearing it again, when she thought she never would. She released fistfuls of the poor man’s jacket who held her in place or rather the reverse, it was difficult to tell anymore, and surged into her father’s arms. She was crying before they ever even impacted, the pair of them crumpling to the floor in an emotional heap. She hadn’t realized just how much she had worried for him until that moment. “My poor, darling girl; you’re home now. You’re safe. Everything is going to be alright.” He kept repeating that last line over and over in mantra as if to convince himself it was true, that she was really in his arms. Charlotte buried her face in his tweed jacket, like she had when she was seven and had had a terrible day at school. Everything was going to be alright
except it wasn’t. What of Daryl?

Not an hour later, after her father saw to it that she had a fresh set of clothes and a hot shower, they were both ushered into some sort of conference room. All he wanted to do was take her home but the warriors had other ideas. There, a frightening woman sat them down. She presided over the table like a watchdog; one of those poor animals who had been deliberately made vicious by being chained up and given little to eat; or better, like the old cobra, pale from centuries of darkness, who guarded the king's treasure in the Jungle Book.

Mrs. Carter, as Charlotte soon discovered was the unfortunate woman’s name, appeared little less than a lusus naturae: she was small, without breasts or hips, waxen, wilted, and monstrously myopic; she wore glasses so thick and concave that, looking at her head-on, her crystalline eyes seemed very far away, stuck at the back of her head. She gave the impression of never having been young though she must have been once, but Charlotte knew she couldn't let that lull her into a false sense of security. Age did not equal a certain softness. Looks were very deceiving, indeed...Though if she really set to contemplating Mrs. Carter's physicality, she was small, but her features were as hard as here beating heart most likely was.

She briefly recounted the media superstorm that had raged since Charlotte’s disappearance before explaining, “It’s important that we quell the city’s fear. They need to know we are looking out for them and that everything will be okay.”

But would it? From the little Charlotte had seen, both sides were ambling about like the blind leading the blind, killing senselessly when neither was quite the monster the other made them out to be. She had once staunchly believed the world to be quite black and white, human and inhuman, lines drawn in the sand
but the sea had since swept over them all.

"You want me to address the press." She said numbly, knowing full and well where this was going.

“You can’t be serious?” Her father asked aghast, he clearly had not anticipated this as she had. “My daughter has just been through a traumatic ordeal, she needs rest! Issue whatever statements you like, Charlotte is not fit for a press release.”

The woman’s expression went from sympathetic to hostile in the span of a second. “Mr. Davenport. I understand your position, but the people have a right to know that Charlotte is safe and sound
thanks to my team. They won’t take our word for it, they’ll want to see her. I can assure you, it will be quick and we can close the floor to questions. A few words and then we’re finished, otherwise money hungry paparazzi will just stalk outside of your home vying for a photo. You know how they are, like sharks in the water when the first drop of blood falls.”

She was good, she knew just which of Charlotte’s father’s strings to pull and how hard to get him to concede. Charlotte wasn’t so sold however.

"What about Daryl?" She inquired pointedly. Both of them eyed her in utter confusion.

“Who, dear?” The woman inquired, sickly sweet.

"Daryl. The werewolf ‘your team’ brought in with me. What is going to happen to him?"

Her jaw set, hard pressed. “I’m not sure
that’s not really up to me, but try not to fret. He can’t hurt you now.” She intoned, voice slick like summer rain on asphalt. Like a summer storm, shadows gathering in the gloom.

"No, I mean, I know that. You misunderstand me. He was setting me free when the soldiers came. He’s a good man. If something happens to him─"

Her father cut her off, picking his jaw up off the ground in a metaphorical and half literal sense. “Charlotte! He is not a man. He is an animal.” He choked. “You’re obviously traumatized. Can’t you see what she’s been through!?” he howled at the woman. “Now she’s got- blast, what the devil do they call it... Stockholm syndrome!”

"Daddy, that’s not─"

This time it was Mrs. Carter’s turn to cut Charlotte off. “Miss Davenport, I cannot authorize you a visit to see our captive. It simply isn’t safe; we do not yet know what he is capable of. We will extract what information we can from him, and then─“ She paused mulling over her word choice while Charlotte waited with bated breath. “─then based on his level of compliance, we will proceed accordingly.” She adjusted herself in her seat in an uncomfortable fashion, looking as if she had further things to say on the subject that she wasn’t allowed or wouldn’t allow herself to. She finished with a solid, “It goes without saying that his presence here should not be made known to the press. You understand, don’t you? Politics and all that.” Her tone was one you’d use with a child, not one you’d use with the heir to the Davenport throne.

"I understand." Charlotte responded with a forced, weak smile. She tasted the words on her tongue and perceived its flavor to be vile. She had always rather disliked that expression ‘it goes without saying.’ If it went without saying, then why was it being said at all?

She snapped back to the present where Mrs. Carter stood before her, thrusting a set of note cards into her shaking hands. Charlotte vehemently wished Daryl could have been by her side in this moment to loan her his strength, but she knew that she had to embark on this journey alone. She would have to open her wings and fly solo, for better or worse-whether she caught a gust of wind or plummeted straight downward. Her father, woeful but stoic, led her into the next room on a platform to the mic as a hushed silence fell over the captive audience, not a sound to be heard save the snapping of camera lenses. Charlotte cleared her throat and began to speak.

"Last night, a team from Grey’s security firm successfully retrieved me from downtown Los Angeles, and reunited me with my father
" She started before she looked over to her right and smiled at Mr. Davenport. "I-" She knew what her next line was supposed to be, looking down at the paper still in her hands, but she suddenly couldn’t free the words from the cards. It was all lies and wouldn’t help her Daryl. The scribbled sentences blurred together before her eyes, black lines dancing into one another in a grey haze. What could she say?

Mrs. Carter shuffled in place impatiently. Charlotte was a Davenport, dammit. She bled politics and she would not be cowed in front of her peers. Immediately a calmness befell her - a sort of inner tranquility that they wrote about in books, but that almost no one seemed to actually possess. One that came from having made choices with poise and purpose. She looked every bit the governor’s daughter in that moment. "With me they captured a lone werewolf, one who incidentally was in the process of setting me free." The crowd of reporters went wild, practically frothing at the mouth with unanswered questions drowned out by their neighbor’s own shouts and volleying cries.

Mrs. Carter looked as if she wanted to tackle Charlotte. “That’s quite enough Miss Davenport.“ She mouthed, moving towards her in measured steps, but Charlotte wasn’t finished. She raised a hand to hush them once more. This was surprisingly effective.

"I have seen their world. They are not the monsters we force them to be. Sure, you might think me driven mad by captivity, but I can assure you my words are my own. As with our own people, there are the well intentioned and the selfish. Those who would harm others to achieve their means and those who agonize over every choice they make. Desperate times called for desperate measures in my case, but the wolves that took me treated me with the utmost kindness and respect when I was under their care.

They have lived abominably, and in constant fear of being sought out and murdered by agents of this firm. This has compelled them to take drastic measures. Now, this firm, acting as its own governing body, asks me to conceal this truth from you so it can dispose of this werewolf, Daryl Garreth, on their own terms; but I ask the people, is that how we operate? Allowing fear to dictate who has the power? Are we really going to execute a living, breathing man without trial? Simply based on his genetic makeup?

Last night’s act of terrorism was an absolute tragedy, but I implore you, let us not blame the bloodshed enacted by a few on the many. The American people are better than that.
"


She shook her head, eyes scanning the awestruck audience. Their gaze instantly fell on another target, Mrs. Carter, who stood not three feet away from Charlotte. The silence shattered for the last time as they demanded answers in unison, indignant screams threatening to spill out of the building. Information had been withheld and they would not stand for that, not with freedom of the press and all that. Mrs. Carter looked to Charlotte in thinly concealed rage as Mr. Davenport came and wrapped an arm around his daughter.

"I’d like to see Daryl now." Charlotte declared, out of the microphone’s range.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ian Bohen

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On the city's fringe, an anonymous building burned to the ground unceremoniously. For a pit that had laid claim to the lives of two great leaders, the venerable mold was dissolved in a perfunctory silence. No one was left to bare witness to the end of an era, the two remaining warriors having abandoned it soon thereafter to report the travesty, or rather victory, depending on how one examined the event. This was probably for the best for had they stayed, they'd of been subjected to the most demoniacal of all shocks, that of the abysmally unexpected and grotesquely unbelievable. Confronted with an ashen eidolon of unwholesome revelation, they'd of been driven to hysteria for there in the nighted quiet a smile split the dark, arching upwards as the pair of orbs above it gleamed like chips of flint. One of two leaders was not quite so deceased after all...The prodigious alpha rose from the silhouette of a neighboring edifice donned in only a coat of ash and grime like some sort of dark phoenix reborn.

He admired his charred tomb with a sense of biting satisfaction, his escape having been a breath away from demise. If anything had come from this failed venture, it was only that Victoria's bones now lied in a mountain of brick and embers, freeing the warrior snake of it's loathsome head. That, and his newfound understanding of his lover turned adversary. It would seem even the formidable alpha was fallible, but he would not make that same mistake twice. If he burnt, Lauren Sliverstein would burn alongside him. His maniacal grin grew further as a slow unfurling of lips and teeth, shark eyes black in the flickering light reflecting the fire that may not have eaten his flesh, but had certainly consumed what was left of his soul.

The alpha lived to scheme another day, and this time with the freedom of assumed anonymity. This was a balm as well as a source of bitterness. But could he just create an ounce of nepenthe from the chaos of echoing images left to him...he could dispel this acridity and move forward and conquer. In madness he sank away from the adjacent building's rooftop and down into the accursed pile of mortar to sift swiftly and silently where he had last laid eyes on Victoria. There his stained hands unearthed a mass of scorched flesh and bone, many a piece crushed in separation.

The human body had thirty three vertebrae divided into five regions, but Adam only sought out one. He took the surviving sacrum, from the Latin os sacrum meaning holy or sacred bone, as a trophy, a spoil of war or king's guerdon, as it were. In ages long since past, the sacrum was the part of an animal offered in sacrifice. The Greek’s had believed the bone was indestructible. It was thought to be the seat of the human soul. Did Adam mean to possess her soul?...it was curious, but no. There was only one soul which he required possession of, and it had stolen away in the night with his child. The wind rattled the building's desiccated frame as it crumbled with a heaving sough, dousing the dying flames in ash. A single triumphant howl broke off into the starless Stygian sky to join in the chorus of mournful cry's heard round the cityscape. Long live the king.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Silverstein Character Portrait: Jared Geyer

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Tonight was a good night for a walk, it was mild out and there was hardly any need for the sweatshirt Jared had over his cotton t-shirt. – It was mid-April. Spring in the Northwest was like a pedulum swinging back and forth between winter and summer weather, often in one day. The smell of petrichor was piquant, rising in a foggy mist from the ground as the sun evaporated it. The snow remained on the mountain ranges in the distance rising into a lilac sky. It was not like last year, the winter seeming to stretch endlessly; stormy and cold; a bad omen of the times. It seemed like years ago even though it had been a little over a year now. The crescent moon showed itself before the sun had even went down, capturing a sigh of relief from residence at its half-shadowed face.

Everything was returning to normal; not in the sense that everything was going to be as it was before; but a new normal 
 Now he could walk on the surface a free man without being shot at, however that didn’t mean he still wasn’t welcome in all places. In fact he and his kind were restricted mostly to their own neighborhoods... ghettos really seemed a more appropriate term for the walled off segments of shanty towns.

Jared stayed out of the ghetto for as long as he could during the day time when they were permitted to go out. He didn’t care for the glares of humans as they spotted the identifying arm band on his sleeve. The ireful looks from his own kind hurt more; the sneer of “traitor” behind his back. It was exhausting being harassed on both sides, but he was safer amongst humans than werewolves. His former Alpha's request that he be left alone meant little with Daryl still incarcerated, and the only reason he knew he was still alive, ironically, were Adam's followers. As much as they intimidated, bullied, and pushed him, they would not kill him thinking there was a chance he might just lure his mother out of hiding.

The entrance of the ghetto loomed ahead, barbed wire fences stretching several blocks in either direction. Guards stood watch at the gate and intermittent posts along the blockade with silver-loaded guns. On the other side, things were quite louder and more packed than the human side. Most werewolves were outside their residence at this time, emerging from their stuffy projects and makeshift homes of corrugated sheet metal to enjoy the weather. Feral children ran around in scarcely driven streets while older werewolves sat on stairwells and cinderblock walls conversing and keeping a watchful eye on the young. The conditions weren't much better than being underground, in some ways it was worse... but they had to admit the view was a lot nicer.

Besides the wolves pulled up from the underground though, there were werewolves from surrounding areas that had been rounded up into the ghettos too. This thankfully provided some anonymity for Jared, but those who did know him either pretended like he didn't exist or met him with disdain. Therefore he avoided eye contact with most everybody he passed, keeping his head down like some lowly omega and weaved carefully through the crowd to not draw attention. As careful as he was though, out of the blue he was shouldered roughly by another pedestrian, a woman with a bundle in her arms. It almost seemed intentional with the force, but she had kept moving on in a hurry without a remark or excuse. That's when he noticed a little blue cap on the ground and it donned on him the bundle she had been carrying was a baby. "Hey!!" Jared swiped the knitted article off the ground and pursued the woman. "Hey! Ma'am! You dropped this!"

The woman did not seem to hear him, continuing on at a surprising speed for being in heels. He lost sight of her a couple of times in the maze of stands, people, and shanty houses but managed to keep track until she turned into a narrow space between two buildings. He hurried even faster to catch up and not lose her, but as soon as he turned the corner he abruptly halted. The woman stood a few strides ahead in the middle of the alley.

"Ma'am.. Uh... You dropped your baby's hat."
"Thank you I was hoping you would pick it up. If that hadn't worked I wasn't sure what I was going to do..."
"Huh?"
"...I was sure it would work though, you never could resist being a hero."

As soon as the woman came forward out of the shadows Jared wondered how it was ever possible he had not known who she was instantaneously; because here was his own mother. He had not picked up her perfume on the breeze nor recognized her shadowed face. This was the last place after all he had expected to see her, and even with her standing in front of him he had a hard time believing it was her because of the vague resemblance. Her dark hair hung limply around her face which was pallid and make-up-less; she looked forlorn cast in shadows, her eyes reflecting iridescent light in the dark.

“Mom?"

"Yes, it's me." her soft voice took away from her phantom presence, warmed him instead of chilled him and reassured that this was his mother and not some apparition.

"Where have you been?"
"I don't know... Everywhere. The coast, the mountains... I can't ever seem to stray too far from here though..."
"You shouldn't have come back." Jared stated abruptly, glancing over his shoulder and at all of the windows above their heads.
“I know, but I had to see you. I've missed you so much--"
“Who's baby is that?"

Lauren stopped her approach towards her son and gazed down at the baby she seemed to only just remember she held in her arms. She looked back up, jaw set.

"Mine, of course."
"You mean yours and.. and..."

His name hung unspoken between them.

"Would you like to hold him?" Lauren asked moving on after some moments.
"Uh, um.."

Before he could even form a coherent answer she was placing the little bundle in his arms. "His name is Jackson." she told him, stepping back and giving them both a tired smile. Jared clutched the baby uncertainly, looking at the little face staring back at him in the crook of his arm. "Jackson..." he repeated slowly, still trying to acclimate himself to the idea he even had a baby brother. He realized he still had the hat in his hand and placed it back on Jackson's head, who seemed to gaze up at him almost curiously. This was the first time Lauren had handed him over to anyone else.

His baby brother seemed as healthy as could be, despite his mother's own withering appearance, with rolls of fat and plush pink cheeks, bright green eyes and wisps of blond hair. His features beared no resemblance to his mother he painfully noted and he had no doubt of him maturing into the likeness of his father. If it was something she noticed yet, his mother didn’t show it, not an ounce of bitterness betraying her doleful gaze as she looked upon the both of them. He kept his pitying thoughts to himself, but felt the pain on her behalf of having to be reminded every day of her mate’s gouging memory.

"Mom, you're being looked for... Almost everyone thinks that you sold out to Wolfsbane."

Lauren chuckled as she fond over Jackson in his brother's arms, tickling his nose.

"Well then... almost everyone would be right. I did."

It was said with such offhanded nonchalance Jared was unsure whether to take her confession seriously. Even with all probability leaning towards that answer there had always been an ounce of doubt that she could have done it. His silence said it all and she expounded some more, still not looking up:

"I gave Wolfsbane the location of the above ground headquarters in order to receive passage out of the city. I also gave them Daryl and Charlotte... It was all me. I knew I was pregnant and was afraid if I didn't get out soon that he might find out..."
She finally looked up at him. "Are you ashamed of me?"
He swallowed,“No.. Uh, I just didn't think you had it in you. You really... You really did all that? And Rose...?"
"Yes. Rose too... I didn't mean for that to happen if that counts for anything..."

A smile cracked across his face. Even as she spoke of cold-blooded murder his mother still had a way of sounding completely innocent.

"Why are you smiling? I don't see the humor." Lauren scolded disapprovingly. "I really didn't mean to..."

He shook his head, trying and failing to stop grinning. He laughed,"No, I know. I'm just happy you got out. You and this little guy. I had no idea... You have to be the baddest wolf in history now since you killed the Big Bad Wolf and all.

The corner of her mouth crooked up despite herself and she looked away to hide what might have been the slightest look of pride, "Oh please..."

They stood there for a little while longer, the alley growing darker and darker. A street lamp flickered to life outside the alley reminding them both of the time.

"We shouldn't stand here too long. It's almost curfew."
“
Yes, I should go."
"We can still see each other. Everyone once in a while..."
“I don't think that's wise...”
"What do you mean?"
“It's too dangerous, for both of us.. And I have decided Jackson should know nothing about where he came from, who his father is."
"So he can't know me...?" Jared looked down at his baby brother; he had only just met him but the thought of being separated was already tearing him up. "That's unfair...”
"I am sorry Jared, I hate to do this to you. But I just can't..."
“I mean to him.” Jared said, “Don’t you think he has a right to know who his family is? Even if it is all messed up
 At least he will know who he is.”
She replied with unexpected sharpness, “--And who will he be? The bastard of a traitor or the prodigal son of the Alpha?"

Before the argument could go further they were interrupted by the sound of footfalls stopping at the end of the alley and they ceased to speak.

"HEY." A uniformed ghetto guard called down to them. "What are you two doing down here?"

Jared handed his brother back to Lauren and turned to answer. "Nothing, we were just talking, sir."

"Well you can talk out in the open. Time to go home anyway."

They both obeyed him immediately and began exiting the alley, the guard held out his baton after Jared had passed though, stopping Lauren. "Wait. What do we got here...?" Her blood went cold. Did he recognize she wasn't from here? Had she not stitched her arm band to every last detail? Jared was looking just as nervous as she did, watching helplessly. She stood stiffly, eyes staring at the ground as he reached out with his baton and moved the blankets in her arms aside. His face scrunched up in disgust at the sight of the baby. "...Fucking animals -- breed like rats. Do you even know how to take care of one of those?" Lauren said nothing in response, feeling more relief than offense at the present. The guard clucked his tongue disappointedly at her and removed the baton out of her way. "Worthless... Get out of here."

Lauren's knees felt like they had been fused together on the spot and Jared had to grab her by the arm to get her to move again. About a block away they stopped once more and Lauren dug in her pockets for something. Jackson was perhaps the quietest baby Jared had ever seen, not fussing in the least as he was shuffled from one arm to the other. His mother finally fished out a folded piece of notebook paper and handed it to him. "An address to send letters to. Make everything out to Karen Kastner."

He took the paper, but did not remove his eyes from her. "So this is it? I won't see you again? Either of you?"

"For now, this is how it has to be. For your safety and ours." Lauren pecked Jared on both sides of his face in a hurry, knowing her time to get out was quickly sifting away, "I'll miss you - I will think of you everyday as I have since I last saw you. You must write. Promise me?"

"Yeah..." He turned his attention to Jackson placing his hand on top of his head. "Good bye little brother." Jackson's tiny hands reached up and grabbed hold of his fingers as he went to pull away and it was with much pain Jared removed them from his grasp.

Lauren backed away, pulling the hood of her coat over her head. "Good bye darling. I love you."

Jared didn't say anything, the words lodged in his throat behind a dam of emotion. All his words came to him a moment too late as she had already turned and gone with his brother. It seemed everything he had wanted to say during their short encounter now came to him and he felt somehow cheated; he wasn't sure immediately by whom or by what, but he felt angry towards it. It didn't take long for his mind to come back to Adam though as the one to blame. From beyond the grave it seemed he controlled everything; he was not just a man anymore, he was an omnipotent figure, a movement, a zeitgeist. His vision lived on and along with it his vengeful spirit, making sure he and his mother would never know peace again.

Jared all of a sudden realized he was clenching the paper in his hand tightly and uncrumpled it, looked it over, then folded it back up carefully. He would dispose of it later. He walked through the thick, unsettling silence back home, the streets all but deserted in contrast to just a few minutes ago.

11 more days until the next full moon. The whole world seemed to be waiting with bated breath for it.Then there would be 7 more cycles that year and 214 more before Lauren would ever step foot in the city again, and counting the 16 cycles before that made it 230 that she would ever be seen by anyone else...

But it wasn't Jared who was counting.


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