Nineteen

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Age was a powerful figure to a werewolf.

Age brought power as well as knowledge. A powerful asset in the game of life.

Adelaide's age far surpassed that of Adam, she'd seen much while he had seen little, and with her age came history. His claws in her neck left her open with only a few small barriers to protect parts of herself that could not be allowed to be seen.

He watched as her life played out before his eyes while she did the same to him.

As a young boy, the youngest of three brothers, his childhood was very different from her upbringing. After the Pack Wars each pack had made it their mission to eradicate memories of the past discord within their kind and did their best to ignore it. Adam had been brought up in a time of peace, with no real idea of the dripping red cloud that hung over their history.

Although he had been brought up through peaceful times of politics, it did not mean his home life was one also of peace. Michael had always been one to administer punishments within his pack by his own hand and his son was no exception.

The death of Michaels first born son, Fredrick, was the tipping point of his behaviour towards his other children. Fredricks death during the Pack Wars had been a hard hit to his heart. The death of an alpha child was always a big loss to a pack, it put their stability at risk. Fredrick had been older than Adelaide and he had been gifted by the Goddess with an alpha wolf like his father.

It was a shame his father believed like the others that his genes had control of fate.

Adam's birth had taken place after Fredrick's death and the birth of a new son had turned Michaels heart to stone. As Adam grew Michael pushed him harder and harder to reach the accomplishments of his brother to no avail. The lines across his back, the evidence of his father's rage.

A werewolf's claws always left a mark.

A resentment had settled in him over the years. When his wolf had refused to reveal himself when he came of age it brought him more shame in the eyes of his father. Michaels lineage was failing and the deeds he had committed in the name of it made those who stood with him doubtful.

Abuse and fear had ruled his life and hunched his shoulders. Bowed his head. A weak shell of a wolf. He wouldn't have survived the wild, let alone a battle, if fate had decided to not intervene.

Whatever his father had planned, it had changed the course of his history and future forevermore. Their meeting at the clearing had been the change to lift his head for the first time. The wolf within had stirred at the strike of her claws and the change had come upon him.

And his journey had begun.

Reality returned to her as she removed her claws from his neck quickly and shielded her eyes against the sun. Its bright light blinded her momentarily as she re-attuned to her surroundings. Their connection had been strong and the effects of breaking the connection were affecting her greatly.

It took her a few moments to clear the spots that dotted her eyes before they fell upon Adam. He was hunched over with his head down, open to attack.

Any other wolf would have taken the opportunity that the vulnerable wolf presented.

His emotions permeated the air. Pain and grief. Her memories and emotions had overwhelmed him, as it would to anyone that had never felt such a burden. She moved towards him as she listened to his deep breathing and stood beside him.

"My burden is now yours to share." She told him.

He didn't answer her, she watched as his muscles bunched together and he pounced from where he stood. He moved quickly and stood to his full height, his arm snapping out, and his hand wrapping around her throat.

His hand was tight, cutting off her breath, but she did not move or struggle. She grinned, a full tooth grin with sharp canines on show and his fingers nearly met at the back of her neck. His touch tingled against her skin and her breathing quickened as her eyes simmered from their glowing silver to the burning red of her inner beast as she met his glowing golden eyes.

"Tell me female, does my brothers blood on your claws fill you with as much grief as the feeling of the claws against your mothers throat did?" He spat.

His words sent his hackles raising and brought her beast fully forward. The lack of oxygen to her lungs did not hinder the ferocious growl that ripped from her throat as her clawed hand came up to grip his wrist. She unleashed her dominance on him as she applied pressure and he released her willingly. He stepped back with his muscles quaking in readiness as she stalked forward.

"A brother for a brother." She growled at him.

Her claws were stained with the deaths of many wolves but Fredrick had been the most tantalising. Alasdair had been no younger than a boy, not even of age, when his life had been stolen. Taken on holy land. Fredrick had hung on his fathers every command and the killing of the child did nothing to deter him.

Adam growled his distaste at her words but did not move. He knew the truth of them and although he had seen from her memories the atrocities she had endured, he would never understand what it was truly like.

"Your father and brother committed some of the worst atrocities known within our history. All because they believed they could defy fate. They killed children and females with no fight, wiped out entire generations and killed some of the most powerful of our kind by shameful tactics."

Her breath hitched slightly as she worked hard to keep herself under control, to not unleash a hurricane of pain and suffering upon those she had worked so hard to nurture and protect. The tension in the air was thick as she continued to berate the male before her.

"He is responsible for the deaths of my family. My brother was a child, your brother deserved a fate far worse than my claws at his throat." She told him.

She snapped her teeth together as she stalked towards the edge of the cliff and looked out over the horizon. Adelaide reached up her clawed hands placed them upon her head as she closed her eyes and breathed deeply to calm herself.

It had been many years since she had dealt with hot headed males that spoke before they thought, especially a High Alpha at the beginning of their prime. She had been trained and conditioned to withstand their tempers, but none had ever had the balls to lay their hands on her.

She listened to her heartbeat slow and even out and she reached out further to the forest before her and listened to the familiar noises that soothed her. A peace had settled over her with the mid-day sun on her skin for only mere moments before her body seized in pain.

The pack mark on the back of her neck burned her skin as the shadow pain of claws sliced against her back. She arched forward as a scream left her throat and she fell forward, legs giving way to phantom slashes against her tendons.

Members of Moon Fang were under attack.

Adams hand landed firmly on her lower arm as he reached to catch her, the tingles of his touch did nothing to take away the pain she endured. She grit her teeth and felt the beast come alive as one thought crossed her mind.

"Grace." She cried out.

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