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    WolfM
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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.

The Alpha - 5. I Never Knew

Dorian checked with several members of the pack to make sure they received a notification about the funeral. He was pleasantly surprised his instructions had been followed. He couldn’t easily check if the neighboring packs had been invited and for the most part he didn’t care. It was customary for fellow alphas to be present to honor a fallen leader no matter if they were allies or rivals. With the responsible party or parties for the assassination still unknown, Dorian and his hunters were on edge about anyone entering the territory. They wondered if it was a rival pack using underhanded means of killing the leadership. There was also a worry about a visiting alpha being similarly murdered at the service.

There would be a second memorial within a few days to allow the human friends of Alpha Wagner to pay their respects. Word around town was he had died in a mountain biking accident. Since his arrival in Burney, he had become a well respected businessman among the human population. He was also known for being somewhat of an adventurist. It would be comforting to his friends to believe he died doing something he enjoyed. In such a small community, the death of someone like Randy Wagner would not go unnoticed. The Chamber of Commerce and local tribal council would want a chance to say good-bye to the man they had called a friend.

It took little convincing among the Hunter Corps leadership to agree to the avians providing air patrols during the funeral. They were setting up several security rings from the site out to try and make sure there wasn’t a repeat of the pack meeting. The flock master himself spoke to Dorian and the head of the hunters to coordinate the operation. In an extraordinary show of faith and good will, he offered himself and his mate as guests to make sure everyone knew they weren’t trying to make a move against the pack.

******

Walking into the hospital, Dorian was running through everything he felt he needed to still do. It wasn’t long before he was at the room to check on his step-father. Sarah sat on the edge of the bed talking to her mate and was pleased to see her son.

“Mom, how’s he doing today?”

She glanced to her mate before returning her gaze to her son. “Better. The doctor thinks he’ll be able to come home in another day or two.”

“In that case, with your permission and yours as well, Marshal, I’ll make arrangements to have you transported to the funeral.”

Shock briefly crossed Marshal’s face. “I hadn’t received word it was going ahead yet. When did all this happen?”

“Yesterday when I told the council it was happening today or else.”

“Thank you.”

“What can I say? I learned a lot from my dad when he was alive and just as much from you. Use the right tone and you can get the most stubborn of people to come around.” A satisfied grin crossed his face. “Grabbing Councilman Boxner by the throat also got their attention.”

“Dorian Carl Jackman, you didn’t.” Sarah knew from the look at his full name being used that he had.

Marshal filled with pride. “I wish I’d seen that. You just needed someone to help you channel that anger you used to have.”

“He obviously still needs outlets for that temper.” Sarah eyed her son.

“Yeah, well at least I put it to good use this time. Marshal, it didn’t hurt you’ve been good to Mom. I always appreciated that you never tried to replace my dad, yet you always treated me like I was your son. Now, get better quick. I need you to step in and bring peace to the council before I have to start knocking their heads together some more.” Dorian turned to walk to the door and glanced over his shoulder. “I’ll have someone pick you both up with a doctor or nurse before the service.”

Sarah stood and placed her hand on Dorian’s shoulder before kissing his cheek. With a smile, he left to attend to his remaining details for the day.

******

Dorian and a large crew meticulously prepared a pyre for each of the slain leaders. Wood was stacked with care and reverence. The platforms were checked and rechecked. Everyone who took part in the setup tried to make sure everything was just right. The only time Dorian had been away from the site was to check in on Marshal and his mother. By the time the work had finished, he was exhausted. The crew gathered around him to make sure he was alright. Especially after he sat on the ground about ten feet in front of the center platform with his head in his hands.

His youngest sister sat beside him and leaned her head against his strong shoulder. “It’s going to be fine. We’ll get through this tonight and start to heal. I’m proud of you for pulling this together so quickly.”

“I shouldn’t have let it happen in the first place.”

“You were off duty. It wasn’t your job to be patrolling the area that day. And even if you had been it still could have happened.” She turned a little to look up at her brother. “You took charge at the meeting and made sure everyone else survived. You even got the hunters on the trail of the shooter. I don’t know anyone else who could have directed them the way you did.”

“Thanks. I guess I’m just feeling like I messed up. It’s my duty to protect the pack, and someone got through.”

“Yeah, they got through everyone who was on duty. Not everything can be stopped. It isn’t like this was some feral. It was a wolf who knew what he was doing. Not even the hunters can defend against that.”

“Good thing you’re the smart one in the family. I’m glad the alpha made sure you’re going to college.” He kissed the top of her head. “And I’m glad you’re home on break right now. You’ve always known how to make me feel better.”

As they stood, she wrapped her arms around him. “Someone had to keep the hothead of the family in check.”

“I think I can make it through the rest of the day now. I have a few things to finish before the funeral starts, so I’ll see you in a couple hours.”

******

As sundown approached, the membership gathered northeast of town. There was a large section of land owned by the pack along the Pit River. It was used for special occasions, and none would be more so than this. The site was also away from the human population and at a wide spot on the river where it was at its gentlest. Lycan of varied species with the Forest Service and fire protection showed up with three water tankers in case any wind picked up and blew embers astray.

There was a slight feel of satisfaction for Dorian to see the council had done as he ordered. Still, he was surprised when representatives from four surrounding packs plus the avian leader arrived. They greeted the few council members who were left in a sorrowful exchange. The Pit River hunters spread out behind those assembled in hopes of providing some protection if there was another incident.

An avian guard for their leader shifted into an osprey and took to the air. His call to his brothers was easily heard as was the response from others in flight. Another of the guards stood beside Dorian and the hunter’s leaders. “Everyone in the air reports all clear.”

Gaelan, the commander of the hunters, nodded to Dorian. “This is your operation and your call.”

Picking up his radio Dorian spoke only one word. “Proceed.”

Five wagons draped in black and pulled by two horses each, slowly made their way up the road. Each was flanked by six men. Silence fell over those assembled as they watched the procession reach the end of its journey. The men at each wagon lifted the casket onto their shoulders. Dorian, Gaelan, and six more men carried Alpha Wagner’s coffin. The pallbearers walked slowly up the center of the gathering to stand before their individual pyre. The alpha’s body was the last to make the journey, as if he were making sure the rest of his fallen brothers had safely reached their destination. All at once, the five were placed onto the platform of their pyre before the men returned to their place in the gathering.

The acting leader of the council addressed the people. “This pack has endured a great loss. We had ten years of peace and prosperity under the leadership of Alpha Wagner. The first year of our new pack was not an easy one for some as change can be difficult to accept. But he tried to do his best to include everyone equally and not show favoritism to anyone. He used to speak about how he wished one of his sons had survived the countless conflicts in the past to see what we had become.”

After several more speeches, including from some visiting alphas, the leader of the avian clan stood. “I’ve had the honor of calling Randy Wagner a friend for many years. He found me on the border of our respective territories after someone thought it would be good sport to try and shoot a bald eagle out of the sky. My injuries were more from my crash landing, but still life threatening since I couldn’t get to help. In those days our kinds tended to keep as far from each other as we could, but he saw someone in need and got me the help that saved my life. After we both rose to positions of leadership, we maintained our friendship with both sides offering services to benefit the other. Of all the wolves I have known, I will never have another friend like him. All avians in the area mourn this loss and wish to show our respect to my friend, his mate, and this pack.”

As the flock master finished his speech, a V formation of twenty-one birds of prey flew over the gathering. As they got overhead, one veered off creating the missing man formation. Once they had passed, he approached Luna Wagner and knelt before her, handing her a single feather.

Dorian stepped to the front and took a few deep breaths to calm his nerves. “I first saw Alpha Wagner ten years ago when we all met to witness a challenge between two leaders. At the time I didn’t know who I wanted to win. Until that point I had only lived under one alpha and regardless of any personal feelings, my loyalty was to him and the pack. Alpha Wagner issued a warning to his people before the challenge began. They were to respect the outcome of the day. He added that if he lost and any of his pack attempted revenge, his beta and enforcer were instructed to kill those who would dishonor the fight. The great wolf continued to surprise me at the conclusion of the fight. He made sure his opponent was lying in a peaceful way before howling his victory. He saw to the former Luna’s needs and to his death made sure she was cared for. Alpha and Luna Wagner worked hard to build this pack to where we are today. All while showing respect for each member. He was not born into his position. It was something he earned through strength, perseverance, and courage. This will not be an easy loss for us to overcome, as a great leader is not easily replaced. But we will go on. We will honor the man who brought us together. Through our actions and the way we live, we will be the monument to his life. Thanks to him we are one people and will remain so into the future.”

Five torches were handed to Dorian and four other leaders of the Hunter Corps. Dorian knelt before the Luna, bowing his head as she lit it. Backing away, he rejoined the others as they each lit theirs off the first. The hunters set each pyre afire and watched as the flames rapidly grew in the kindling. The larger pieces of wood slowly ignited as each fire built in intensity. After about thirty minutes, the caskets themselves began to burn. People would be tending the fires all night to ensure all those being honored were properly cremated.

When morning came, Dorian was exhausted. He had insisted on tending the alpha’s pyre all night, adding more wood when needed. With the help of Gaelan and Luna Wagner, they collected the ashes when everything had cooled enough to do so.

Luna Wagner gave Dorian a kiss on the cheek as they sealed the urn. “He was always so proud of you. We both are. Of what you accomplished. It was like we were given a third son. After the loss of our two boys, I’m grateful he had you to keep an eye on.”

“I never knew.” Dorian stumbled back into a nearby chair. “I mean I knew he was proud of me, but not the rest. I mentioned to a friend this felt like losing my dad all over again.”

“He made me promise not to tell you or anyone else so it didn’t seem like he was playing favorites. Everything you’ve become you earned because of your own spirit. From the day you risked your life to defend him, he always saw something special in you.”

“Thank you, Luna.”

“I know last night would not have happened without your leadership. And I know it’s not something you want, but you would make a wonderful alpha.” She placed her hand on his shoulder briefly before walking off.

Copyright © 2020 WolfM; 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.
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Chapter Comments

Truly felt the emotions just pour off the page; the writing and pacing were truly excellent in this chapter.  Have to admit that I am glad a second attack did not take place.  Hope that they are able to find out who was behind the attack in the first place.  Can't wait to see what happens next.

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20 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter. We see the funeral go off with no problems for the former Alpha and the the Luna tells Dorian he would make a great Alpha. The first time we see someone tell him that, who is be serious about it.

Thank you, Chris. The luna lit a spark not only for the torch, but also for Dorian's future.

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19 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

Wonderful chapter. The respect this alpha garnered is amazing. And I'm proud of dorian

Thank you, Wesley :) It was an alpha who had brought ten years of peace and cooperation to the region.

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19 hours ago, Backwoods Boy said:

A very emotional chapter.  I do hope we find out "who done it."

Thank you, Backwoods :hug:

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16 hours ago, mikedup said:

Awesome chapter, sad but necessary, I hope that he is going to be rewarded

Thank you, Mike :)

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14 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Truly felt the emotions just pour off the page; the writing and pacing were truly excellent in this chapter.  Have to admit that I am glad a second attack did not take place.  Hope that they are able to find out who was behind the attack in the first place.  Can't wait to see what happens next.

Thank you, Centex :hug: I thought about a second attack, but decided to let them have the funeral in peace.

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Soooooo beautiful the way the alpha was honored.  The entire chapter was beautiful and emotional.  The thought of the Dorian and the Luna staying by the pyre until it cooled just awe inspiring. 

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On 3/11/2020 at 9:35 AM, dez421 said:

Soooooo beautiful the way the alpha was honored.  The entire chapter was beautiful and emotional.  The thought of the Dorian and the Luna staying by the pyre until it cooled just awe inspiring. 

Thank you, Dez. The reaction from you and the others lets me know I got this one right :)

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The funeral was peaceful and respectful. I thought the speeches about Alpha Wagner were special and a great tribute to him.  I was also impressed by what Luna Wagner told Dorian.  I think knowing how the alpha felt about Dorian and his relationship with him helped Dorian accept the loss of his alpha.  I am enjoying this story very much.  Thanks WolfM!

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On 4/26/2022 at 10:00 PM, raven1 said:

The funeral was peaceful and respectful. I thought the speeches about Alpha Wagner were special and a great tribute to him.  I was also impressed by what Luna Wagner told Dorian.  I think knowing how the alpha felt about Dorian and his relationship with him helped Dorian accept the loss of his alpha.  I am enjoying this story very much.  Thanks WolfM!

Thank you, Raven. I've written weddings and now funerals. Both were fun in their own way. A luna will always tell you what you need to hear at the moment your need it most.

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