Jen listened, captivated by Rachel's words as she imagined Gavril coming for her, saving her. Surely Decebel would do the same. While Rachel had been talking she had continued to seek out Decebel's mind but he was blocking her. She could still feel him, but there were no words or images or emotions. She didn't know what was going on with him, but deep down Jen knew that something was majorly wrong with her wolf.

"It was in that time of intense emotion,” Rachel continued. “And dire need, that I heard his voice in my head. He saved me. And when he took me back to the pack, he claimed me. My mother told me that she had long suspected that the Alpha would be my mate. Gavril was thoroughly confused as to how I could have been in his pack for so long without there being any mating signs.  Our bond only solidified after I was nearly killed.

My mother explained that sometimes, with dormants,  mating signs will only be revealed after a major cataclysmic event.  These traumatic events sometimes bring out the wolf in the dormant so that she can bond with her mate. The more diluted the blood, the more intense the cataclysmic event will need to be."

Jen rolled her eyes, "Yeah, I got front row seats to that show."

Rachel once again looked at Jen in confusion, "What does that mean?"

"You know how I told you that I also have a mate?"


"Well there were no mating signs until I was nearly killed. Nothing. There were only two reasons that we were convinced that we were mates. The first, my blood tests came back as inhuman, and the second, the indescribable pull that we feel towards each other."

Rachel smiled at her, understanding etched in her face. "It took that crisis for your wolf to surface. Hard to believe, I know, but you do have Canis lupis blood, which means that you hold a wolf inside as well. It's just tucked way down deep. What mating sign appeared?"

"We can hear each other's thoughts." Jen's smile lit up the room as she remembered hearing Decebel's voice in her mind for the first time, "I don't think I've ever wanted anything so much than to hear his voice in my head." A single tear escaped Jen's eye and made a path down her clean, soft cheek. She wanted to hear it again. Needed to hear it. But he wouldn't let her in.

Jen wiped the tear away and looked up into Rachel's softly glowing eyes, "So then what happened, after he claimed you?"

"It was kind of rocky at first. Alpha males are extremely possessive and can be pretty intense about their mates. He didn't want to rush things, but everything in him told him to complete the bond and the Blood Rites. After spending some more time with Gavril, it was clear to me that I loved him. That I was made to love him. We were bonded over 3 centuries ago."

"So it's pretty safe to say that, um, these fur balls don't have commitment issues?" Jen joked.

Rachel laughed, and the musical sound was a pleasant break from the turmoil rolling inside of Jen. The longer she was unable to connect with Decebel, the more desperate she was beginning to feel. She took a couple of deep breathes, wincing with each as her abused lungs expanded. I can do this she thought to herself even as she felt darkness pushing inside her mind where Decebel should be. She not only could do this, but she had to. Because not seeing Decebel again after finally having their bond was unacceptable to her.

"You are thinking awfully hard about something." Rachel observed.

"Just hurting," Jen lied, "So what happened that caused you and Gavril to hide?"

Rachel ran her fingers through her hair and once again leaned back in her chair. She let out a deep breath and then continued her tale, "About two years after we bonded there began to be some tension among the surrounding packs. Serbia being the most volatile. The Alpha there was working with a witch."

"I take it that she wasn't the kind of witch that was married to a dork, and was a stay at home mom who wiggled her nose to use her magic?"

Rachel's eyebrow's rose, "Um, no. She was evil, vile, and wicked. It's forbidden for the wolves to work with witches. You see, there is no such thing as a good witch. Their magic comes from darkness and death. When the Serbian Alpha found out that there were two gypsy healers in Romania, he declared war. Any packs not willing to help him, were against him, and therefore attacked. When they came here, Gavril's pack and the Eastern Romanian pack joined together to fight the Serbia Pack and their witch. My mother was killed in that war, as were many other good people. Gavril was injured badly. I found his body on the edge of the river. I could feel the life slipping from him, because it was slipping from me as well.

"I couldn't lift him, so I laid there and held him and waited for death. I would happily go with him, because there is nothing on this earth for me without him." Rachel took another deep breath and sat up straighter, "But fate decided that it wasn't our time. That night, a woman came to us. There was a soft glow around her and she looked like she was gliding on the ground instead of walking. Her movements were graceful and sure.

She told me 'you cannot die at this time healer'. I asked her who she was. 'I am Perizada of the Fae. If you die, the balance of life in the supernatural world will be thrown off. That cannot happen. There must be a healer at all times. You are the only one who knows what and who she is. The next to come is not for centuries. Though others with your blood may be born, they have not been called. You and your wolf must live'. I told her that as long as my presence was known, the Serbian Alpha would seek me out. So she agreed to spread a rumor that we had died. But in realty she hid us away from the other wolves. There is a spell on our home given by the Fae. If you don't seek me out with a pure heart and pure motives, then you cannot see this home. Any person seeking to do us harm will just walk right past it. She also gave me simple Fae magic to cloak myself and Gavril's presence when we are out. So we have lived here, in silence, in hiding. Waiting. Perizada said that when the next healer came, the last witch could be destroyed. It's very possible that the very same witch three centuries ago that helped the Serbian Alpha, is still helping him today."

Jen couldn't believe what she was hearing. Thad had a witch working for him. An honest to goodness witch. A thought donned on her then, "Why does he want a healer so badly?"

"Healers can do several things. They know herbs that can heal. They can look inside a wolf and see what plagues them. They have connections with the Fae, and believe me you do not want to be an enemy of the Fae. But the most important and most guarded reason that an Alpha wants a healer is that she can protect a pregnant Canis lupis."