Chapter One - Tristan is Out

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The rain fell like a vale onto the hills, raindrops sliced through the treetops and pricked against my skin. On two feet, I walked with careful steps through the forest, heading for the meeting spot. As my bare feet disturbed fallen leaves the scent of ochre and earth filled my nostrils, it mixed with the smell of a burning wood fire.

I was close, and my heart began to beat a little faster. I could do this, it was my birth right, and it was in my blood. The pack was mine, not his.

The moon was high in the sky tonight. It occasionally peeked out from behind the rain clouds. It was a terrible night to be out in human form, water dripped from my hair and ran down my bare chest, soaking into my jeans.

I pushed through thick brambles and I came out onto the woodland trail that led to the meeting site. Whispered voices crept through the trees that stood between me and my future.

The clearing was right there, but I hid behind a thick tree trunk, waiting for the right moment. The meeting place was a large circle. Stone boulders lined the edge and a fire burned in the centre, smoke rising from the fire.

In the clearing my pack was waiting. I could just make out the figures stood around the blazing fire, their faces lit up with the golden light. Every month The Wild Lands Pack would meet and it would be held by the Alpha. My father used to hold the meetings and my mam and I would stand by his side while he discussed the important issues facing our pack. But then three months ago he suddenly died, and the pack was left without an Alpha. I was meant to take my father's place but instead my uncle, the Beta, took control.

I hadn't shown my face at the last three meetings, but that was a mistake. My pack needed me, and I had to share the truth with them.

I watched him take my father's place. Uncle Morgan stood on the centre stone and the pack went silent. Rage boiled in my blood to see him taking my father's spot. It took all my strength not to turn and rip his head off with my wolf canines.

"Welcome!" Uncle Morgan's voice boomed, the sound bouncing off the trees. "Wild Lands Wolves, I welcome you to the monthly meeting, where I, the Alpha, will talk you..."

"You're not the Alpha!" I leapt from my hiding spot and stormed into the clearing, shocked faces and gasps followed my appearance.

Morgan rolled his eyes. His two thuggish friends closed ranks around him in case I went for an attack. "Excuse me?"

"You're not the Alpha, you're a murderer!" I stood in the centre of the gathering, my fists clenched at my sides.

The pack stood silent around me. The only sound was the rain and my ragged breath.

"A murderer?" he laughed. "What silly little tales have you cooked up this time?" Morgan asked, his shoulders relaxed. He didn't seem worried by my accusation, but his chosen Beta, Aron Brace, shifted beside him, ready to pounce if I made a move.

"You killed him! You killed my father, your own brother!"

Silence followed my words, no one in the pack spoke. They were too scared to stand up to my uncle and his gang of thug wolves.

Our pack was small and had suffered over the years. My father, along with the help of our pack healer, had worked hard to bring stability and had put a plan in place to guarantee the packs survival in the future. He'd had some success. We hadn't lost a wolf in years, until Dad died of a sudden heart attack. Father was fit and healthy, and even though he was old for a wolf, he didn't have any health problems.

His death didn't add up. Where others accepted his sudden illness, I didn't, and my suspicion fell on my uncle. Morgan had always been jealous of dad, but dad wouldn't believe it, he always saw the good in everyone, even his power hungry brother.

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