Chapter 1 : I am alpha
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Twigs snap beneath my feet, the dead fingers of trees now frozen in time, gripped by the ice of winter. Only the wolves still wail to their mistress; who, unfeeling, watches with cold eyes the kingdom in her icy grip. She is the queen without mercy, her subjects no more than spiders scurrying before her glare. There are no spiders here, in this frozen wasteland.
Why did I come? Not even crows tend this graveyard, only wolves. I came because I was called, a summons which cannot be disobeyed, by my icy mistress in the sky. I do not love her, but I must serve her nonetheless.
This graveyard is not my graveyard. The ice that grips me will not freeze me, except perhaps to freeze my soul. And in my task, I do not need a soul.
Only here do I have a purpose. Only here, in this eternal winter, in this unending night. Here I am master.
In the world I have come from I am nothing. Less than nothing. My life held no meaning, until my mistress called. She is a winter queen, and she is not beautiful. Swollen, yellowing, brightness marred by shadows, the clouds do her mercy when they veil her sickening form. Drift across, a tattered trail, a veil.
A part of her is still in shadow, a sliver of darkness which will soon be bright. A little longer to wait, no need for patience. I would rather wait forever.
But she will escape the darkness, soon. As she has so many times before. To free her subjects to a freedom they care nothing for. I remember the last time she escaped, and then I did not notice. Now I do not need to look to know.
Scars sting, brands placed on my body at my mistress's command. I was perfect, unmarked, sound. Now I am more beautiful.
Frost glitters. Some would call it beautiful, this empty world of ice. Crystals, webs of brittle diamond, reflecting the light of my mistress. I walk beneath the trees, in the shadows. The wolves howl on, as though to cry would speed their queen's emergence. As though she would break her lethargy to greet them.
She was always my queen, but I did not know. Not until the red teeth ripped my soft body, my helpless form, and gave me a place in this world. Before I was nothing, now I will be master.
The beast tore me, and I became it. It told me to follow it here. I came alone. It would be my master. I am master. I won that right by the law of my mistress. I was strong, and he was not. I am strong.
What has called me here? How do I hear my mistress call? She does not use words. I feel it within me, my mistress's call. And I come. Alone.
But soon I will not be alone.
The cloak of shadow slips from her shoulder, the final sliver of darkness gone. And I fall.
The pain is complete, greater than the teeth which tore my soft body. This helpless form is ripped apart, and I am new. I place four feet on the ground and answer the call of my servants, and I run.
My mistress watches, cold and unfeeling, and I know I must please her. I can feel the part of me that was a man, but I am not a man.
When the shadow returns, I am a man once more. I lie naked in the snow, alone. Alone and free. I remember the night, when I was not a man. When I called to my mistress and knew that I must please her. I will please her.
I leave this wasteland. There is nothing for me here but the ice and the common wolves. Back to the land from which I was driven, which should have been my home but never was. I will make it my home. I will make it mine.
Does my mistress smile when I bring to her another subject? She is cold, uncaring. She has many subjects; what is one more? I bring her more. I teach them, away from what was once my kind. I teach them to serve their queen, to obey me. I am master.
They are my pack, faithful and true, always. It is a small pack, now, but it will grow. And it is mine.
I give my gift to those who might otherwise be raised without knowing. Raised to fear the moon, my mistress. Not knowing that they could be free. For some it is too late, but bite them young and they will be faithful. They will realise that they are free, like I am free. My mistress is the moon and no other. No man, no beast.
I live in the shadows, away from the light. When I was a man, I walked in the light. I was caught, trapped in a web of lies and deception. I have escaped that now, escaped from the light into the darkness. Here I may do as I choose.
And I choose to please my mistress. I bring her more subjects, teach them to serve her also. Has she noticed me? She looks down unfeeling, as though her subjects were spiders cowering in the darkest corners. I will bring her more, until there are too many for her to overlook. Then I will please her.
Every time the cloak of shadow slips from her swollen form, I am ready. I know how to stop, how to bring a human child bleeding to the centre of my pack and make them a part of it. My mistress does not care if they die. Her kingdom is the land of ice, the eternal winter, the graveyard without tombs. She does not see them falter and fall. But she will see the army that I raise for her, the legions who march to serve her, and she will see me. And she will be pleased.
Until that time, I will continue to work. One by one, new servants join me, freed from the light. Together, we hunt, but I am master. I am alpha.
My pack is strong; it must be nearly enough. Soon, my mistress will be pleased. Soon, she will see me, greatest of her subjects. She will know that I am true to her.
How many more must I find? How much longer will it be? I spread my gift, save more children from the light. My pack is unrivalled, and it is mine. Soon, she will be pleased.
I am servant to the moon. I am the one who dwells in darkness. I am the hunter in the night. I am alpha.
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