“Ready your bow,” he yelled as they closed in on them. “Steady,” he cautioned them. The demons began to fan out, searching for those they might devour. “Release!” The arrows appeared to move in slow motion as they flew towards their targets. The elves didn’t hesitate. Each whipped another arrow onto the string, readying for another shot. It wasn’t necessary. Thalion’s breaths stopped as he watched all three of the original arrows find their home. Blood and guts, which both looked and smelled about like raw sewage, rained down upon the forest.

“YEAH!” All three elves shot their hands up in victory.

“That was a close one,” Revion muttered, as he leaned over, trying to catch his breath and wiping a bit of ichor from his clothes.

“Too true,” Thalion agreed. “Come, we must get back.” He told them as he turned and once again took off in a sprint.

Mona ground her teeth, drawing in her power, ready to make her escape. Once again, she realized that she had been defeated.

“OH, NO YOU DON’T,” Peri yelled and she pushed even harder, attempting to wrap her power around the witch to hold her in place.

Just then, Vasile burst through the trees, his power nearly knocking everyone to the ground. He never paused as he took one step and leapt across the thirty or so feet to where Mona fought the Fae. He landed on her chest as his massive jaws wrapped around her throat. He sunk his teeth until he felt them hit her spine. He pulled with all his might, swinging his head violently until he ripped her head from her body.

The raging storm immediately stopped and the silence froze everyone in place. Vasile’s body heaved as he victoriously held the witch’s head in his mouth. He dropped it on the ground and howled a long, deep bellow into the still, dark sky.

No sooner had the howl ceased than they all heard a loud slow clapping. Their heads turned towards a very tall, very large, unfamiliar man, who came striding through a billow of black smoke rolling out of the forest. His eyes were a brilliant yellow and his face was pale. His jaw was sharp and his lips thin and tight across his face. He strode casually into the opening where they had battled Mona.

“Well done,” he drew out in a deep voice, as he continued to clap. Vasile’s eyes narrowed on the new comer and his lips curled back. The wolves around him gathered and followed the Alpha’s lead.

“You have done what no one else could have, and honestly, I have to say thank you.” The man bowed his head slightly at Vasile, but they weren’t fooled by the false sincerity. “With that witch out of the way, my plans can proceed. However, since you have defeated such a powerful foe, you might think yourself capable of stopping me as well. Therefore, I feel it necessary to demonstrate that I shall not be so easily thwarted. So, you should think twice before getting in my way.” His words had barely registered when his hand flew outwards and a black bolt shot forth and slammed into Vasile’s chest. He was thrown back into a heap and Alina, who had already, began to run for her mate, dropped in mid-stride. One by one the members of Vasile’s pack felt the pain of their Alpha’s death, even those who were no longer in his pack sensed the loss and agony.

Peri screamed and turned, firing her own power at the man, but he was already cloaked in the black smoke and then gone.

“Alston, get the healers,” Peri yelled as she ran to Vasile’s still form. She ignored the howls of the wolves and focused on the fallen Alpha.

Alston ran over to Rachel and Sally who lay exhausted on the ground, their mates hovering over them. “MOVE!” He yelled at the two snarling males. “If you want your Alpha to live then move.”

Costin and Gavril phased back into human form, heedless of their nudity. Each male picked up their fatigued mates. They carried them over to where Peri crouched over Vasile. Peri handed Alston a stone and he took it and pressed it to Sally’s head. Peri did the same to Rachel.

“DECEBEL,” Peri yelled. “Get over here and give your healer strength.”

Decebel ran over, still in his wolf form. He laid his head on Sally’s lap and drew on his power as an Alpha. One by one the Alpha’s all walked over and laid a hand on the healers, using the power bestowed on them by the Great Luna. They gave freely in hopes of pushing life back into the Alpha who had united them as one and defeated an evil that none of them, on their own, could have beaten.

Jacque, Jen, Crina, Elle, and Cynthia formed a circle around Alina protecting the Alpha female, waiting, and hoping to see her chest move.

Sally felt the darkness receding, she tried to open her eyes, but stopped as soon as she felt the faint trail of a spirit she knew very well, a spirit she had brought back once before at a time when Vasile’s life had been hanging in the balance due to a deadly poison.

“Vasile?” She called out. “Have you fallen? Vasile answer me!”

There was no answer, nothing.

She felt power pouring into her and her gypsy blood knew instinctively what to do. She sought out the source of the injury, what had brought down so great an Alpha. It wasn’t a spell it was damage. Vasile’s heart looked charred, almost like it had been cooked. Her heart fell, she didn’t know if she could heal this. She felt Rachel and could tell that the healer was moving Vasile’s blood through his body and willing his lungs to take in air. She was keeping him alive. Sally felt it was hopeless. Regardless, she pushed forward, determined to save the Alpha whom she had come to love as a father, who had given her a family and a home.

She touched his heart with her healing light, and as she felt tears on her face, she called out. “Please, you said if we called on you, you would answer, you would help. Don’t take him from us just yet. He is still needed. Surely you are aware of this.” Sally continued to try and heal the damage done to his heart, but knew that she could not do it alone.

“Sally, chosen of your blood line,” she heard the Great Luna’s melodic voice in her mind, “mate of Costin, and healer to the Serbian pack. I have heard you, you who are pure of heart, and give of yourself so freely without regard to your own safety. I will grant you this. Do not give up Sally the battle is not over. You have been tested and found faithful; my children have proven that goodness can prevail. So take heart now, your Alpha, my beloved, will live, and you may rest for a short time. But, where one foe falls, another arises. You must continue to stand firm, you must continue to be what I have called you to be, to follow the path set before you and if you stumble I will be here to help you regain your footing.”

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