Jen laughed. “That’s about the only thing.” Decebel raised a brow at her when she looked back at him and winked.
Decebel, Fane, and Costin had formed a protective circle around the women and Adam, Sorin, and Gavril had stepped forward as well. The ladies were completely oblivious to their surroundings as they fired questions at one another, barely giving themselves time to answer. A loud throat clearing finally tore their attention from one another.
“I realize that you all want to catch up, and I assure you there will be time for that,” Vasile told them, not unkindly, “but there are other matters that need to be dealt with.”
“We are going to talk as soon as this pow-wow is over,” Jacque told her mom as Fane tugged her by the hand back to where they had been standing. Decebel, Jen, Costin, and Sally followed close behind them. Everyone seemed to gather themselves back together and the four newcomers commenced the progress towards the front of the room.
Cypher pulled Lilly close to him as they reached the front of the room. He didn’t feel threatened by any of the wolves, but he still didn’t want Lilly away from his side. He shook Vasile’s hand and nodded to his mate.
“Vasile, it’s been a very long time,” Cypher told him.
Vasile nodded. “That it has. I see that the Fates have blessed you,” he nodded toward Lilly.
“Hi Vasile,” Lilly smiled. “Good to see you again, though I wish it were under different circumstances.”
Alina stepped forward and gave Lilly a hug. “How are you holding up?” She asked her.
Lilly gave Alina a small squeeze as she answered, “I’m good.”
Alina looked at her face as she stepped back from the hug and she could see in Lilly’s eyes that, despite all that was going on, she was happy at Cypher’s side.
Thalion stepped forward and bowed slightly to Vasile and Alina.
“I am Thalion, Prince of the Elves.”
The room erupted into murmurs at Thalion’s introduction. Vasile silenced them with a look, and then turned back to Thalion.
“I’ve heard of you, though in all my time we have never met,” Vasile bowed in return.
“We have kept to ourselves for far too long, and for that I am sorry. I have come to hopefully right some of that wrong.”
Vasile reached for the Elf Prince’s hand and grasped it tightly. “We welcome you, friend of the pack.” He looked at Cypher and Lilly and added. “We welcome all of you.”
The rest of the meeting was spent with Cypher telling them of everything they had been through since Mona showed up in his forest with her proposition. Several times Vasile had needed to remind the group of dominants to pull themselves together, when they growled at something Cypher said and they disliked. But, by then end, everyone seemed to be on the same page.
Vasile addressed the room a last time before dismissing everyone.
“I need each Alpha to stay, the rest are free to go eat and relax as much as possible because the time for that is quickly coming to an end. Do not be foolish with dominance games or I will save your Alphas the trouble and kill you myself.”
The room began to empty until all that remained were the Alphas and Vasile’s core group.
With all the Alphas present, Vasile and Decebel’s wolves, the Fae and Cypher, Lilly, and Thalion, there were fifty seven total sitting in a large circle in the gathering room.
Vasile made quick introductions and immediately got down to business.
“Skender has filled me in on most of what has been taking place here while I was away. You have come up with a battle plan, correct?” He asked. The Alphas nodded and Dillon spoke up, as he had become the unofficial go between for the packs. “We’ve been practicing battle tactics with each other, learning how we each fight and we think we’ve come up with some strategies that will work to our advantage.”
Vasile turned to Cypher and motioned for him to take the floor.
“I am to meet with Desdemona tomorrow. I imagine she will not want to wait any longer to open the veil. I have explained to Perizada of the Fae where the veil to the underworld lies and she will be the one to lead you to it when the time is right. It is very important that any demons that escape be killed, quickly. Thalion and the elves will be the ones who take out the demons. They are the only one with the weapons that will kill them.”
“So, what are the rest of us supposed to do?” Victor asked.
“Desdemona will know that we are coming. There is no way for us to prevent that knowledge. Peri and the Fae council will be able to cloak our numbers, but she will still know we are coming. As she has done in the past, she will use any form of evil she can bend to her will. There will likely be multiple foes to contend with and it will be our job to take them out before they get to any of Thalion’s people,” Dillon explained.
“Once the veil is open, it will also be the wolves’ job to keep Mona occupied while I close it back.” Cypher rubbed his forehead as he let out a deep breath. He appeared nearly human for a brief moment in time when the pressure and strain of all that he had endured and would endure, settled on his shoulders. “I honestly don’t have a clue if any of this is going to work,” he admitted to the group. Lilly took his hand in hers and squeezed it for support. “But, I’m going to do my best to keep from releasing the whole of hell into our realm.”
“That’s all we can ask of anyone,” Vasile told him, “that we each do our best. This is not a fight to glorify one man. This is a fight to save many species. All each of us can do, is give everything we have to win this fight.”
“For the pack.” Decebel’s voice rumbled through the room.
“For the pack,” they all responded in unison.
“Get some rest,” Vasile told them, as they all stood, “tomorrow we fight.”
Peri, Cynthia, and the mated females sat in a circle on the floor of the study. Jen had sweet talked Decebel into building a fire for them in the large fire place and Sally, Crina, and Elle had managed to convince their mates to make hot chocolate for the lot of them. The males had refused to leave them, so they had taken up residence across the room, each looking equally broody and put out. Even Cypher had refused to leave and sat next to Vasile with the same fierce scowl.
They were all just settling in when Jen jumped up and squealed.