"Yes, Alpha," the Serbian pack answered.
"Costin will be my Beta."
The gasps that were heard that time seemed to occur in surround sound..
Jen's hand tightened on Decebel's. He glanced at her once and she saw the “don't question me” look. She knew they needed to always appear as a united pair so she bit her tongue.
"Costin's proclaimed mate, Sally, though unbonded, will be the Serbian pack healer. My third will be Drake, who was fifth in the former pack, and my fourth will be Seraph, who is a dominant of the former Serbian pack and has proven himself faithful." Decebel paused and looked around the room, making eye contact with the most dominant in his new pack. One by one, their eyes fell to the floor in submission. "If any of you have a problem with this and want to challenge, please come forward now."
The room was silent. Jen held her breath, waiting to see if any would defy their new Alpha.
"What now?" Jen asked through their bond.
"Now we try to unite a broken pack, train a new Beta, encourage a new healer, support a new mate bond, and find the evil witch," Decebel responded.
"Oh, gee," Jen muttered under her breath. "Is that all?"
“Humans think that the Fae are little, happy, winged beings that flitter around, causing mischief. If they truly knew the power we wielded simply by existing, they would tremble in their beds in an attempt to hide from us. Heaven help them if we ever decide to use that power against them.” ~Perizada of the Fae
"I don't think it is wise for us to take part in matters of the human realm."
Perizada listened as the high Fae of the council addressed her. She was trying very hard not to roll her eyes, and was beginning to realize why Jen felt it necessary to roll her eyes so often. When people said stupid stuff, an eye roll was by far the safest plan of action, especially when what you really wanted to do was tell them to pull their heads out of their butts.
"With all due respect, Dain," Peri ground her teeth together as she spoke, "it isn't just matters of the human realm. It's matters of the supernatural world and that does affect us whether we want to acknowledge it or not." She began pacing in front of the council members, three male Fae and three female Fae. "We can't leave the wolves to deal with this on their own, especially when part of it is our fault."
Peri stopped in mid stride and slowly turned to face the Fae who had yelled.
"Yes, Lorelle, our fault."
"How can you possibly say that we have anything to do with their current tribulations?" Lorelle asked.
"Oh, I don't know, maybe because we wiped every stinking witch, save one, from the face of the earth! Now, that 'save one' has power, power unlike any of them individually or together ever had. She has no other to compete with her power; she has none to hold her accountable. We did that! And now you think we should leave the problem we created to the wolves?" Peri was breathing hard as her hands fisted at her sides.
The anger she felt at her own kind manifested due to their lack of concern for other supernaturals – and humans – was enough to make her want to scream. They, who were the most powerful magic wielders of all the supernaturals, should be the ones leading the battle, not sitting back watching while the others were annihilated and hunted to the brink of extinction. At least, that's what would happen if Desdemona was planning what Peri thought she was.
“We understand you concern, Perizada, but we have to consider the wellbeing of our own race.” Alston, the highest member of the council spoke. “Let us confer on this matter and we will summon you when we have made a decision.”
Peri glared daggers at the council. “Yeah, you do that. Confer,” she spit out the word as if it were a disgusting taste in her mouth, “and you get back with me. Meanwhile, I will try to make sure that Desdemona doesn’t take over the world.”
“Aren’t you being a little dramatic?”
“Well, I guess you wouldn’t know for sure since you all insist on staying in your little bubble beyond the veil.” With those words, Peri turned on her heel and marched out of the great hall of the council.
Peri transported herself to the veil, all the while muttering under her breath about stubborn, selfish Fae who insisted on allowing others to perish.
“Not on my watch,” she said clearly as she passed through the veil. “Not on my watch.” She sent out a mental call to Adam and Elle, two Fae she knew she could count on, and who believed, like her, that the human realm needed them.
Two weeks after the announcement of the pack orders and designation of the healers, Sally sat in the indoor courtyard garden of the Serbia pack mansion. It was her favorite place to be. Flowers bloomed all around; some towered over her while others dotted the ground. A pebbled path wound its way through the garden and at the very back of the garden was a small waterfall that poured over large rocks into a pond filled with fish. Winter was beginning to wane and spring was on its way. She sat on a bench swing with a book that Peri had given her. It was a history of the gypsy healers, and their purpose in the pack. It also had lots of information on how their magic worked. Sally ran a finger over the sentences as she read out loud in the empty garden.
“After the Great Luna created the Canis lupis, she knew that her children would not be able to be medically treated by humans. Because of that, she looked into the spirits of different human cultures and found that gypsies had the greatest capacity for magic. She appeared to one of the female leaders of a tribe in Romania and told her that she would bless certain gypsy descendants with the ability to heal the Canis lupis. This not only ensured the health of the wolves, but created a special relationship between them and humans.”
Sally paused and thought about how the gypsy leader must have felt. Was she shocked into silence? Did she believe the experience or chalk it up to just a dream? She looked around the garden, pondering the emotions that must have flowed through the gypsy as she realized the legacy of her people was to be forever changed. Sally jumped as a large pair of hands came down gently on her shoulders and she felt warm lips press gently against her neck.
She heard a chuckle. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Sally turned to see Costin smiling, the dimple in his right cheek etched deeply in his face. She watched as he walked around the swing and sat beside her.