Dorian Jackman was brooding in his room at the Wolfridge Chateau. He contemplated the fight he had with one of the alpha designates of the Parker Valley Wolf Pack. It should have been an easy victory, but turned out to be the second time since arriving at the annual Congress of Alphas a member of that delegation handed him his ass and forced him to yield. First, he embarrassed himself when he mouthed off to their Alpha, John Stockdale, at the welcome reception. Being slammed to the floor with a paw wrapped around his throat in front of all the delegates attending the gathering was as bad as he thought things could be. Oh how wrong he was. After forcing a challenge with a scrawny young pup who was nothing more than a turnling, that half-breed beat his ego into submission and physically threw him into the lake. That was before the still teenager politely handed him his dignity in a paper bag by extending a hand to shake.
He tried unsuccessfully to convince himself his loss had been because of the interference of the other alphas overseeing the fight. If they wouldn’t have gotten in the way, he would have had no need to restrain himself from trying to kill the other wolf. He knew death matches weren’t permitted during the congress gathering except alpha to alpha. The rules were beyond strict even for that. He was looking forward to making the little bitch beg for mercy before he let up and accepted his victory. That never happened though, since he was the one who had to yield.
As he stared out the window towards the lake and the mountains, he had to admit he deserved both beat downs. The realization in itself puzzled him. It was not like him to give a second thought to how he treated others. Nor did he care what they thought about him as long as he did not hear what they said. And yet here he was thinking about what an asshole he’d been to everyone. He hadn’t always been like this, but he couldn’t seem to remember the last time he hadn’t acted like a bully. He felt slightly odd as he sat and thought about recent events. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out what actually felt different. If he had to describe it, he actually felt – good. There was always a pain in his body he thought was the result of an old injury and now the aching was gone.
The more he thought about his situation the more he realized he was the problem. The issue at the reception started because he didn’t like that Parker Valley brought non-wolves and a human with them. They also had a turnling wearing an alpha designate badge who was obviously mated to another member of their delegation. This was a meeting for the alphas of the wolf packs within the Council so a non-wolf being present did seem to be a justifiable complaint. There were humans in the service of many packs, but to actually bring one to the congress was an insult to all those present. If John wanted those types in his pack fine, but keep that trash away from the convention.
Dorian sneered at John Stockdale, the man who always acted as though he was better than the other alphas since he had such a large and prosperous pack. Dorian was proud of what he built as alpha himself. He had increased his territory far beyond what made up Parker Valley. He had merged small or weak packs into his to make everyone stronger. It also rubbed him the wrong way that Alpha Stockdale inherited his territory. The man never had to fight for his position or to build what he had; it was handed to him by his father as if he were being tossed the keys to a new car.
The turnling in John’s delegation was the final straw though and if no one else was going to say something then he would. That little bitch really pissed him off when it ordered Dorian’s men to back off. For whatever reason, they listened and actually did. He tore his enforcer and security detail a new one when they were out of public view. No one except Dorian gave his men a command to follow, and a little half breed thought he had the right to do it?
John did force Dorian to back down, and everyone around the reception saw it. The embarrassment of being picked up by the throat and slammed to the floor, being told to apologize as people snickered and laughed was too much. Storming off seemed the only thing he could do, even if he did return later and tried to act like he was having a good time. It was hours before the sensation of those damned claws pressing into his throat went away.
Dorian thought the incident at the reception would be the low point of the congress. No such luck. His skills as a bully and asshole to others let him easily walk the turnling into a challenge. The bitch didn’t even understand the process. It served Parker Valley and the whore right for letting someone unprepared come to a convention like this.
What he had intended as some afternoon fun time of beating the fur off someone who wasn’t even a real wolf, turned into him submitting a second time. It was a challenge to hide his embarrassment at having crawled on his belly to yield the fight. Not only was it not a born wolf who had beaten him, but the newly turned had somehow attained the abilities of a full alpha. Dorian seethed at the lunar spirits since he couldn’t shift to a hybrid no matter how strong he was. He should have known something was wrong when he saw the lupus form the boy took. No turned wolf looks that strong and powerful, and those facial markings. A turning usually leaves the animal form smaller and straggly. Rather than having the beautiful, muscular form of a born wolf, most tend to look more like a coywolf or some mangy mutt. Dorian hadn’t found his true mate yet, so he realized that might be holding him back from reaching the final level of a full alpha. Yet he knew of a few unmated wolves who had the hybrid ability. Oddly, as he sat brooding over the last few day’s events, thinking about what had transpired so far during this convention, his thoughts returned to how he was feeling. He couldn’t put a finger on it, but he was definitely feeling better both mentally and physically. His thoughts were clouded and yet it seemed as though things were becoming clear for the first time in years. Closing his eyes gave the feeling of time travel as he thought about the past.
Dorian was the second son in the Jackman household and one of five pups total. In the hierarchy of the Pit River pack the family was in the mid range. They had a modest house in the town of Burney, California and got by in their day to day life well enough. They were by no means in the middle tier in their ranking, but not at the bottom with the omegas either. Still, Dorian’s father was a warrior for the pack and did his duty when called upon in times of need.
Growing up, Dorian always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. His father was strict and believed in training their pups to fight. He often told his boys it was their lot in life. He could still hear his father’s voice, “By yourself you can’t protect everyone in the pack, but you can fight to defend your mother and sisters.”
Their mother tried to balance out combat training with knowledge and caring when she could. From an early age, Dorian’s father had him fighting his older brother in sparring matches. Eventually, it included his younger brother when he was old enough. It was a harsh way to be raised. Whichever child lost, no matter if it was from being smaller, younger, or unable to shift, there would be a penalty of some kind to pay. Punishment for losing could be anything as simple as added chores around the house to a beating from his father to toughen up the boys for their role in the pack.
If their mother stepped in to comfort her sons over a loss, her mate complained she was coddling them when they needed to learn not to lose. She was relieved when his lessons started pushing a fair fight. He didn’t want his sons using underhanded or dirty tricks to win unless there was no other option.
Long before he could shift into his wolf, Dorian was always ready to fight with someone. It never mattered if they were friend or foe. Even with the perpetual chip on his shoulder, when it came to a fight he lived by what he learned and fought by what he interpreted to be a fair fight. It wasn’t uncommon for him to come home with a black eye or busted lip, but the general question he got asked was how bad the condition of the other wolf was and did he fight fair. The only time it was allowed not to fight fair was if the battle was against the pack’s enemies. In those times, whatever it took to win and inflict the most damage was acceptable. His father knew his sons only role in the pack would be as warriors when they came of age. For all his flaws as a father, he wanted his boys to have the best chance at surviving any conflict.
Once Dorian was old enough to shift, he and his friends would run from town to the nearby Burney Falls. They had fun watching the visitors and campers to the state park while hiding in the trees. Sometimes there were random dares like stealing a hotdog from someone’s barbecue. By day they would swim in their human form at Lake Britton and at night they would dive into the cold water of the pool at the base of the falls, letting their wolf have some fun. Another favorite of theirs was to head to the lava tubes to the south of town near Old Station. The centuries old remnants from when the nearby Mount Lassen volcano system last exploded. He and his friends always enjoyed hearing the pack elders tell the stories of the great 1915 eruption of the mountain and its effects on the territory. They had fun howling inside the tubes, while their friends on the surface would listen to how far the sound traveled. Or hiding in a dark chamber and growling when humans approached. The boys would laugh their asses off while sitting in the picnic area as park rangers and animal control searched the lava tubes.