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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Drums of War - 9. The Heart Shatters

** This chapter contains graphic violence. Reader's discretion is advised**

I was happy to hear that no one was going to be harmed, which of course meant I had to go harm someone. You know, to balance out the cosmos and shit. I shook hands with everyone, telling them to be ready to go as soon as everything was settled. No one argued, not even Phuong. She looked like she wanted to kill me, but she knew the others needed to go home. With all that out of the way, I made a beeline right for Anthony. The Tribunal member was looking at him curiously. Perhaps wondering what was causing him to twitch.

Pardon me,” I said politely, and the Member stepped aside. I snatched Anthony up by his throat, my hand turning into a claw. “If you ever think about harming anyone I care about again, you piece of filth, they would write horror stories about what I will do to you.” I chucked him like a fastball, and he landed at the feet of the Tribunal members. He still twitched. “Your Camp, your laws,” was all I said to the Eldest.

The Eldest's face was set stone, his eyes pits of displeased anger. Only about five percent was aimed at me. Aunt Minnie looked down at the twitching man with such disgust. Rhava's hands were clenched, and the crease between his eyebrows reminded me so much of Grandpa when he was about to pass judgment. It wouldn't be good to be Anthony right now.

We shall handle the discipline ourselves, Enforcer Davenport,” said the Eldest, his tone frosty. “The members of your delegation have been very helpful as well as respectful. Blood ties notwithstanding, all of you are welcome to Equis Camp and her lands. Please give our regards to Alpha Davenport and let him know we would like to open up talks for peace with Homestead.”

I bowed low, showing my respect for him and the honor he was giving to my friends. “We thank you for your hospitality, and I will tell our Alpha of your desires for peace. Perhaps our combined efforts shall bring those responsible for the kidnappings to justice. If you require nothing more of us, I would like to get these people home.” The Eldest returned the bow and made a gesture of dismissal. “Rhava, could you and Marcus lead us to the border? I would like to make sure no one misconstrues our peaceful departure.”

Rhava glanced at the Eldest who nodded. “Of course. We'll help you pack as well.” The group started back to where we had set up our camp with Marcus and Rhava flanking Phuong almost like an honor guard. The guys gave me a brief nod and followed without another word.

I turned to Aunt Minnie with a smile. “I'm glad to have met you. Grandpa says he will come for a visit once things are settled in Homestead, and I know Dad will want to meet you.”

She pulled me in for a hug. “You take care of those people, Dylan, and of your grandfather. They need someone willing to talk or kick ass as needed.” She gestured to the other Tribunal members, and they went the other direction, Anthony floating into the air and trailing them. I know my grin was a bit evil, but I wish I could just watch what they were going to do to him. Attack my family? I don't think so.

With the extra hands, packing was easy. I pulled out my phone and dialed. “Hey beautiful,” I said when Heather picked up.

Hey. So...” She trailed off, not want to ask.

Have five transport vans ready at the airstrip. We're all coming home.” I heard her breath whoosh out of her lungs, and I know she was grinning. I could see her bouncing up and down as she tried to contain her glee.

They'll be there. How long until you get there?” I could hear her clicking away at the computer in the office, probably filling out the vehicle requisition.

I was about to ask when Rhava looked over and said, “Three days. Two if we take the boats.”

Two days,” I replied. “I love you, but I need to call Dad.”

And I tolerate you, but you need to call Jon.” I could hear the grin in her tone and was not surprised when she just hung up. It was one thing I loved about her. Jokes and sarcasm included, she understood duty better than Quint even.

And you're marrying her why? Quint asked in my head. He knew why.

Cause you don't have a great set of boobs, and you do have outdoor plumbing. I heard all the guys snicker and give me the side-eye. I dialed Dad's cell.

Tell me you have good news or hang up this fucking phone right now.” Wow. Dad was not normally this rude. He was either banging Pat and they were hot and heavy, or the Council has reached a new level of stupid.

We're all coming home.” I heard something come from the other line that I never thought I would. “Dad, are you okay? You're...” Crying.

Relieved, Little Dude. Bring them home as fast as you can. Things are hitting the fan here. Dean and Kao also had some distressing news, but it can wait since it's no longer life-threatening.” I almost demanded to know right then, but I didn't want to piss Dad off. He seemed out of balance right now. The Council must really be bad.

I'll get them home, then I am coming to you. If for no other reason than you need your Enforcer.”

I could hear him groaning, and it wasn't in the sexual way one would hear around the camp...anywhere my dads decided to boink. “I...yes. Come here when they're home.”

Sure, Dad. Anything you want me to pass on?”

Tell everyone how proud I am.” God, he sounded exhausted.

Get some rest if you can. That is not a request from your son, that's an order from your Enforcer who will protect you even from yourself.” I'd had to hold him back from killing someone before. Once I almost let him kill the rat bastard, namely Kai Saechao. Phuong's brother, not our Beta but the other shithead bro, was nearly killed, and I wanted to let Dad pull his head off. I had to remind him I was in charge of assassinations. It was enough to take the killing edge from Dad, but Kai was one micron away from being skinned alive, dipped in lemon juice, given a full-body massage with sandpaper, dipped in rubbing alcohol, and then hung out to dry by his balls by fish hooks.

Those were Dad's thoughts, which he told me later that same day. I told him he should never hang a man by his balls...too easy to rip off.

Yessir,” he sighed, but I could hear the ghost of a smile in his tone.

There was a rustling noise, and I knew Pat had grabbed the phone even before he spoke. “While he takes a nap, you can tell me everything.”

So I did.


 

* * *


 

The night was spent on the banks of the river. The docks Equis Camp used were right there, but the ones in charge of the boats were not willing to take us tonight. First light would come soon enough. Everyone seemed in high spirits. Glad to be free of the endless sound of waterfalls, I would guess. They hadn't been treated too badly. No one was hurt or ill. Not even a muscle cramp.

I sat by myself on the banks of the river, just watching the moon sparkle on the water while still keeping an eye on everything. Zeke had said this place should be safe tonight. Should be was not would be, so we posted three sentries. With them and some handy magic from Phuong, Rhava, and Marcus, we should be fine.

There was something to smile at if only a little. Rhava was leaning against his bedroll with Marcus snuggled up on his right and Phuong on his left. Marcus was holding Phuong's hand. It was a wondrous sight, one I knew wasn't just a fleeting thing. The future Wind Master had found her mate. If he came with a plus one, then it seemed to be fine with her. I mean, I wasn't one to shake a finger at any poly relationship. I had my girl waiting for me at home, and I had the guys who completed my heart. Life is just so damned weird at times.

The only part I could see wrong was the two thousand mile distance between them. Both had duties with their people. Neither could easily forsake them for romance, and I couldn't see Phuong leaving the flock, not even for her mates. Rhava was young, and Equis Camp would elect a new spiritual leader if necessary. I wouldn't put it past my cousin and Marcus to pack up and head to Oregon to meet with Wind Master Saechao Sinh, Phuong's father, and make a formal pledge for her hand.

Hell, he might even say yes.

I turned my attention back to the river. What the hell was I going to do about my love life? I mean, I was never going to give up Heather. She's been in my life since I was thirteen. How could I leave the first girl I kissed? Had a crush on? Fell in love with? Wanted to marry?

How could I deny that I wanted the guys there with me? It wasn't just Quint in my mind anymore. I could sense Colton as easy as I could Quint, and Zeke had been there since he and Quint completed their mating. They were as much part of me as Heather, and I had no fucking clue what to do. What could I even say to her? Hey, honey, guess what? We're getting several king-size mattresses and putting them together so I can have my boys sleep with us. I'd be lucky to keep my balls.

I knew Heather loved them, too, but enough to open up our future marriage? She was open-minded, but was she that liberal? If her reactions to me even smiling at another woman were any indication, she wouldn't give it a moment's thought before she said no. Yet I couldn't not ask. It wouldn't be right to keep quiet. It wouldn't be fair to all five of us.

You got a second, Dylan?” Zeke asked as he came up. It wasn't like him to use my name much anymore, and it wasn't like him to intrude on private time. I motioned to the grass beside me and he sat, crossing his legs. “Listen, Quint didn't want to say anything, but I know what's on your mind. All three of us do. You can tell me to stuff it, and I won't be mad since it's pretty much all on you, but I wanted to tell you that we're getting married. The three of us.” I looked over at him, smiling a little. “We were wondering if you would mind if we shared the day with you and Heather. I mean, we wouldn't be getting married to you, just with you, and it would mean a lot to us to share that day with you and the only woman we think about.”

I looked deeper into his eyes. “You think about Heather?”

Duh. She's always on your mind. Like you get our emotions, we get yours, so we're saying we...um...”

You wonder what she looks like naked and want to see what it would be like with a woman, as long as it was her?” His face was a deep crimson, but he nodded. “Messes with your head, doesn't it?” He nodded again. I threw my arm across his huge shoulders, pulling him close. “Welcome to my world, Klondike.” He chuckled and nuzzled my neck a bit.

Zeke was cuddles incarnate, and I knew even after our respective marriages he and I would probably still cuddle. Was I sexually attracted to him? Yes, but only because Colton and Quint were. Romance? More like Bromance. I wouldn't say no if he wanted to mess around, but I don't know if I could initiate it myself. I would never do it until after Heather and I got married, and she made it clear I was open season after, but I could feel what they wanted.

They wanted us. They wanted me and Heather to be with them. Not just sexually. It was deeper, more than physical. I wanted it, too.

As far as I'm concerned, I would love for you guys to share the day with us. Hell, I want you guys to share a honeymoon with us. Maybe not the first night,” I said and he chuckled, “but it wouldn't feel right without you guys around. I can't say Heather would agree with the honeymoon part, but I know she would love to see you guys get married.” I knew that much.

So...you want us there for the second night of your honeymoon?” His tone was so laden with sexual innuendo.

I took his hand and put it on my dick. I was hard as a fucking rock. “You tell me.” He growled low in his throat, and the scent of arousal went through the roof. He pulled his hand away so he wouldn't try to ravage me right there, but I think I made my desires plain. Plainer than ever before. “Zeke, if I have my way, the three of you would be moving in, and Heather and I would have you part of our relationship.” There, I said it. Openly, I had said I wanted them. There went my straight credit.

So I guess it would be a good time to say that's what I was trying to say?” Zeke was trying not to jizz in his shorts. He had just gotten farther than either of his mates, and it was my idea.

Yes.”

We want to be part of your relationship.” His voice came out as a growl as he said, “The thought of you using this monster dick on me has all three of us ready to go.”

I glanced over at Colton and Quintin. They both nodded, and I could see the tents in their pants. My evil side took over as I pushed Zeke onto his back and lightly grasped his throat. His eyes got huge as I leaned over and put my face so close we would kiss if either puckered up. His entire body went limp as he submitted to me. I got even harder. I leaned forward, pressing my lips to his ear, and whispered, “Only if you fuck me first,” and then got up to relieve one of the sentries. There was no use in trying to adjust my dick. There was just no hiding it.

Evil bastard!” he cried, and I heard so many snickers from the group. None of it had been truly private as they could see and mostly hear us anyway. There were some grumbles, but they were very few and none from Homestead, Salt Lake, or Equis.

I did look over to Quint and Colt just to make sure I hadn't crossed any lines. I don't think I had ever seen Quint so turned on, and was that a large wet mark in the front of Colton's jeans? You're an ass, Creep, came Quint's voice in my head, and I just nodded.

Then I heard a roar of pain and smelled copious amounts of blood. A few silenced gunshots pew-pew'd to the northwest, and I forgot all about my aching boner. My troops responded quickly, those who could shift did. I never cared about the loss of my clothes when I was forced to shift. Neither did Quint and Jordan as I was joined by a lynx and a silvery gray wolf. We charged across the open space to see flashes of light and the beginnings of a wildfire. While it momentarily blinded us, I had seen enough of the hostiles' locations to do some damage. My brain had seen four gunmen, and I could feel at least four magic wielding asshats.

Two shots whizzed past my head heading towards the lights. Two forms fell, their heads now missing at least half their original mass. Gene had grabbed a rifle it seemed since I knew neither Colton nor Zeke was that good. There was answering fire, and a few bolts of lightning coming at us. “Keep behind me,” I hissed, and Quint and Jordan fell in line. Golden bullets were damn near impossible, so I didn't really have to worry about those being fired at me. Spells would just fizzle, so I didn't worry about those. Anything else I would heal.

Of course, they put that theory to the test as I took five rounds, three to the chest and two to my left thigh. All it did was piss me off, and I was upon the attackers. The main shooter went down as I put my claw through his chest and then used him as a semi-living meat shield to stop another fork of electricity. I could feel the energy crackle along my arm, but it didn't seem to do much except raise the hairs. I bet my mane looked like it came from the 80's. Then I shook the corpse off and used it as a missile to knock one shaman off his feet.

A huge rumble beneath my feet nearly knocked me over, but the quake wasn't aimed near us. Rhava had apparently joined the fight as I could hear the very rock rise up. It cracked, and I could smell damp earth and more blood. Rhava wasn't so nice to the forces attacking us; more had come from the southeast. A pincer attack, two forces with their target in the middle, and I hadn't heard or smelled a thing. Zeke hadn't sensed it, either. No one had, which meant there was some damn powerful magic going on, stronger than Phuong who had set up the basic perimeter.

Water began sheeting down, our friendly neighborhood weather mage flexing her magic. That would take care of the wildfire. It also ruined any sense of smell and threw off night vision goggles and the low light vision we Lycans possessed. That didn't stop me from seeing Quint rip out the throat of a shaman as Jordan quite literally bit the head off another. Looks like the good Mormon boy knew when not to play nice.

I felt Colton take a hit from a non-silver bullet, which sealed the fate of the shooter as Zeke went charging faster than I could ever go. It was damn hard keeping the rage Zeke was feeling from blocking out my side of the fight, and thankfully Quintin was able to funnel most of it into himself. No stranger to combat, Quintin knew a few things about battle frenzy and how to keep his mate's anger from taking over.

That distraction cost us. I didn't see the man in the grass with the rifle until it was too late. I heard the two rapid shots and veered toward him, but I knew his bullets had found a target. I could smell the blood. I knew the scent well. He just looked up at me, his eyes resigned and calm as if he knew I was going to kill him, and he had made peace with the Higher Powers. It was like he knew it was a kamikaze mission, and there was no pleading as I raked my claws through the back of his neck and lower back, leaving him in three parts.

My mind screamed at me to crouch down, and I did, Quintin and Jordan using my body as a springboard to leap at the last two shamans and dragged them to the ground. Their teeth flashed and claws slashed. They left nothing alive. Neither had I. As one we turned to the other side of the fire to see all was quiet. The rains were gentle now, dampening the flames and seeming a fitting ambiance for the mood. I did an all-over body flex and forced the bullets out as Quint and Jordan shifted back. They had some superficial wounds, and my bud had a gunshot wound that went through his hand, but they were alive. They propped me up as I shifted back, difficult with me towering over them.

I could see bodies on the far side of the campfires, and did a quick count of the allies. I could see four injured, the rest hurting but standing. One body. We lost only one, and my heart was ripped apart. The sniper had put one round through his forehead and one through his heart. The wounds were splattered with a foul cocktail of monkshood and silver nitrate. There would be no healing this. Despite the wounds to my chest and thigh, I fell to my knees and began to scream. My hand reached out of their own accord to pull his head into my lap. I didn't care if the monkshood was burning the wounds on my legs as it oozed out of him.

Gene was dead.

My brain refused to acknowledge it. Gene couldn't die. He was too smart, too sneaky, too kind...too GENE to die. He'd never tell stories from when he was a young man. He'd never teach me all I needed to know to be the best Enforcer I could. He...he'd never be my children's godfather like Heather and I had wanted. The biggest reason I had come north was dead in my arms.

As I looked down at his face, I could see the last thing in his eyes, that last fleeting thought. I'm finally done. He had led such a long and hard life. Such cruelty he had seen, such violence, so much hatred. He showed so much love, so much compassion, and such understanding. People like him didn't deserve to die by violence, but after his life...

Rest well, old wolf.” I felt a calm come over me. It was like Gene had placed his hand one final time on my shoulder and smiled his damned Sean Connery smile. “Gather the bodies. I want identification. I want it now. Colton, Phuong, that is your goal for tonight. Get me names.”

Yes, Enforcer,” they both said without even a moment's thought. They joined hands and began their search.

I looked up to see Zeke and Colton, along with Jordan and the others, with tears in their own eyes. Each had a story to tell with the name Gene in it. Rhava and Marcus gently lifted the man I admired, the man I loved, and took him down to the river to bathe him. I was numb, so I didn't protest as Zeke eased me onto my back and began to clean my wounds while another tended the rest. Some went among the bodies and dragged them closer to the fire to see what could be found. Scents on their bodies, passports, anything that could get me what I wanted.

Sir,” said one of my fellow enforcers from Homestead. “I can give you ID's on four of the men.” My eyes flicked to him.

I don't care about their names. Who sent them?”

I watched him swallow. “The four men work, rather worked, for Angus McLeod. They're East Coast Pack hunters.” One of the other men who served nodded his agreement. “We were both hunters with them.”

I sat up, much to Zeke's dismay, and took his cell phone off his hip. The numbers swam before my eyes, one of the less annoying side effects of monkshood poisoning, but I dialed. “Zeke, why are you...”

Not Zeke. Put Dad on the phone,” I said.

He's in a Council session, Dyl.” Pat had answered.

I loved my other dad, but he was often too nice. “I don't give a fucking shit if he's talking to God. Put him on the goddamned phone, now.” I heard him gasp, and I would apologize later.

Watch your language, Little Dude,” were Dad's words when he got on the line.

Alpha, with all due respect, shut the fuck up.” I was in no mood for a lecture. My language and calling him Alpha was a pretty sure way of letting him know. I could almost hear him get annoyed. “Alpha, I am calling to inform you that we were attacked by a large force just outside Homestead and Equis Camp territories. Among their numbers were no less than four members from the East Coast Pack, positively identified by two who served with them. Add in fifteen more gunmen and a dozen shamans.” My lower lip was trembling as I struggled to make my report. “Gene's dead, Dad.” I lost it again, and the phone slipped out of my hand. Zeke pulled me against his furry chest and held me while I bawled.

Quint, my second-in-command, snagged the phone. “The Head Enforcer is currently busy, Alpha,” he said with a brisk tone. In my head, he was relaying what Dad was saying while also trying to calm me down. Not take away my pain or grief, just to help me get it under control for now.

Fucking shit. Quint, anyone else hurt?” So much anger was rolling over the phone. Dad was livid, and Quint was in the middle of my mental breakdown, Dad's rage, and his own feelings.

Not lastingly, sir. We'll all heal.” I could hear his memories of past combat trying to break through his walls, to pull him over into maddened grief. “What are your orders, Alpha?”

Get home. Get me prints and anything else needed to ID the attackers. I need hard evidence.”

Yessir. Anything else?”

No. I'll notify Gene's next of kin. Tell Dylan he doesn't need...” I heard it and growled. “Or not. Just get him calmed down. I know you boys were fond of Gene, but Dylan worshiped him.”

I could tell Dad was just as upset, and it couldn't have come at a worse time, but he was right. Dad was my dad, and I loved him, but Gene was my hero.

Thanks to Timothy for his editing work.

Please don't kill me in the comments.

Copyright © 2018 Fantasyboy69; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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1 hour ago, jt15136 said:

@Fantasyboy69 Holy shit!!! This was such a hard hitting chapter. Gene will definitely be missed. I could almost feel Dylan's rage and sadness. 

 

Maybe as a way to make it up to us you could realease the next chapter soon rather than on time...😉

I won't lie. I was crying while writing this chapter. I'd been planning it since book 3 started, and putting it off as long as I could.

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1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

You killed gene.  I want Angus spirited by the most splintered spikes shoved up his rear so far hell be puking woodchips!!! And then his heart cut out and fed to him!

I’d rather have his balls fed to him. 

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Hello Angus. Fancy another meeting with the people you fucked with too much? There is no deity from on high nor demon below that can save his doomed ass now. I wonder how many groups are going to want in on the hunt?

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OK. That was a BIG SURPRISE.  Gene is gone 😢 and all because of Angus 😠. I think is time for Jon To finish what he started. But i do wonder what could be the problem with the council that Jon and Pat have to be there and Jon is ready rip heads off. 

Like always, can't wait for the next chapter.

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It sounds like war is coming between the east coast pack and homestead!!!!   I don’t know if Angus has any allies but he might want to start gathering them together.  Homestead has a bunch and will kick their ass!!!  (Are their donkey shifters out there???).   Can’t wait for more thanks!!!  

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3 hours ago, glennish said:

It sounds like war is coming between the east coast pack and homestead!!!!   I don’t know if Angus has any allies but he might want to start gathering them together.  Homestead has a bunch and will kick their ass!!!  (Are their donkey shifters out there???).   Can’t wait for more thanks!!!  

Well, as to the donkey shifter, Rhava could become a donkey should he choose, but there are no donkey Lycans. Still, it would be a funny wordplay.

 

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I must agree with the other people who commented on this chapter and it’s ending, while I’m very sorry that Gene was targeted by a hunter from the ECP, I don’t want to be Angus right now because he’s going to be very very sorry for sending hunters to kill Gene. I truly feel bad for the Homestead pack and the other packs who have been privileged to have known Gene or who had worked with him. I hope Jon does go after Angus so he can finish what he started. Jon is going to kill Angus for killing Gene and then look out because ECP might just merege with Homestead because their Alphas going to die a very very painful death, he’ll be begging for Jon to end his suffering with a swift death but I feel like he would deserve to stay with the slow death. Great chapter, I can’t wait for more.

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I have read this series of books numerous times now, as I have mentioned in the last few days. But every time I read this chapter it still makes me cry. The waterworks just turn on and there is no stopping it.Gene has been such a large part of your stories, and he has become beloved by all of us. His presence in his family and friends world will be missed and grieved for sorely. Especially now with the war to come, when his advice and wisdom would be invaluable. I'm sure more than a few people will be thinking "What would Gene do ?" While reading, you can literally feel Dylan's pain and grief and it becomes your own. Not to many story lines can make me cry but this does it to me each and every time. It is a testament of how good of a writer you are, when you can create an emotional bond like this to a fictional character. It was a very brilliantly written chapter, albeit a heart breaking one.

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I am wondering now if the reason the people wouldn't take them with the boats that night is they had been paid to refuse. Or are involved somehow with the ones responsible for all the missing people and knew that this fight was coming. I never thought of it before and I have read this series quite a few times(and still love it). For some reason it just struck me now as suspicious.

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