It took me a day to recover from my fatigue. Dr. Amelia brought me several tonics and redressed my ankle. I was still furious with the two wolves that were locked below. Roland and Miranda had come to make sure I was okay and I apologized for their actions.
"It is the way of their race," the queen said.
I turned to Angel. "Where is Rosebud?"
"Her room," she answered. "She refuses to leave or speak with anyone."
I sighed and nodded. "I expected as much." I got out of bed and changed. "Come with me, Angel. We have some wolves to speak with."
"What if they attack again?" Roland asked nervously.
"Then I will use force," I said through clenched teeth as we descended into the dungeons.
William and Adam were both sitting quietly in their cells. I had placed them beside each other on purpose. They glared at each other but they weren't fighting anymore.
"We're going," I snapped. "William, you will be with Tiberius. Adam, you will be with me."
"David," Angel began but I shook my head at her.
I took hold of Adam's upper arm while Tiberius took William's. We marched them down through the village. I was leaning heavily on my cane, trying to keep my anger from boiling over. As we walked, I saw memories of my father's beatings. I was doing my best to keep him inside and not let that part of me come out.
When we approached the clan, they were gathered, shocked at how William and Adam were being escorted. I pushed Adam forward roughly and Tiberius did the same to William. William was the first to make the salute and bend his knee. Everyone else quickly followed. I tried to get my breathing under control.
"I experienced shame yesterday like I never have before," I began, loud enough for all 100 to hear me. "I still cannot believe the display my beta and Adam put on." I looked around at the other wolves. "I don't care what your history with the elves are. I don't care about how you feel about them! We are at an age of transition," I continued. "It has been thousands of years since you have had a human alpha, am I correct?"
"Yes, my alpha," they said in unison.
"My father was your alpha before me. He was a fool! He was weak and let you do as you decided. That included fighting with each other! I will not have that! You are a clan, a community. You are brothers and sisters, mates, and soon will bear children of your own. William, stand," I snapped and he did so immediately. "One of your member has fallen in love." Everyone looked up, excited. "With an elf," I finished.
The reaction I got was exactly as I expected. They growled, hissed, and condemned William. They called him a traitor and some even threw mud. William winced as the mud hit him and I gripped my cane.
"Shut up!" I roared. "If you threw mud, stand now!" Five wolves did and I pointed with my free hand to the left. "Stand there. We will speak when I am done." They obeyed, their hands clenched. "I will not accept this behavior! Must I repeat myself? I have agreed to let William and the nymph, Rosebud, to resume their love." More noises of dissent and I clenched my jaw. "Do not make me draw this Sword," I snarled and they fell silent quickly. "Thank you. Now, I have allowed it and there is nothing anyone can do. If I find out William is being mistreated, I will use force. Believe me. I will use force."
"Yes, my alpha," they said.
"Go back to what you were doing," I ordered then turned to William. "Your love awaits you in the palace."
"Thank you," he said hoarsely.
He wiped as much of the mud out of his hair as he could while he walked. I then approached the five wolves. I was holding onto my cane, not for support, but to keep that hand from reaching to the Sword.
"Names," I snapped.
"Nell, Chase, Sean, Peter, and Christopher," the first in line said, staring straight ahead.
"What you did was despicable. You acted as cubs." They winced. "I have half a mind to force you to do work for the palace. I will not put you around my family. But this will not go unpunished. That would make me as bad as my father." I paused and took in their fearful faces. "You will till the ear. You will each do 25 acres square."
"But we don't know how!" one said and I drew the Sword in one quick motion.
"My patience is gone!" I yelled. "If you interrupt me one more time - if any of you do! - I will drive this Sword through your gut. I will have someone sent to teach you. It will be a human. You attack or treat them wrongly, I will not hesitate in killing you."
"Yes, my alpha," they said in tiny voices.
"Go to the farmland and nowhere else," I ordered, pointing. "Your instructor will be there shortly."
I turned and left without waiting for a response.
I watched David walk away, frozen in place. I had never seen him in such a temper before. It was terrifying. Tiberius put his hand on my shoulder. He looked shaken, too.
"Let's give him some time to cool down," he said quietly and I nodded. "I'm going to see Christina. I'm sure she's worried."
"Yes. And I must speak with my parents."
We walked back to the castle in silence. I wrapped my arms around my waist. I was still scared. Seeing him yell, threaten with the Sword, and warn the wolves with death....
"Is everything okay?" my mother asked when I walked in. "We saw David but he didn't speak a word to us."
"Did you see where he went?" I whispered.
"To the barn," my father answered. "Angel, what happened? Did you argue again?"
"No," I said. "But he is very angry. We need to leave him be; at least until dinner time."
I spent most of the day in the parlor. I had a good view of the barn and would be able to see when he returned. I was positive he was shooting his arrows. Shortly after checking in with Christina, Tiberius had gone down to the barn but hadn't returned. I could only assume he was speaking with David.
Finally, just as it began to rain, the two men came back inside. I hovered in the door of the parlor as they walked in. David put his cloak up on the stand by the door and walked by without even speaking to me. I looked to Tiberius, hurt.
"Follow him," Tiberius said. "He wishes to speak with you in your chambers."
I followed, not sure why David couldn't have told me that himself. He was already in the room, taking off his muddy boots, when I entered. I shut the door quietly and stood by it. He didn't look at me for a long time.
"I'm sorry I frightened you," he whispered.
He glared at me and I shrank away. "Don't lie to me, Angel." I looked away. "My father... he is still inside me."
"May I come over now?" I whispered and he nodded.
I walked toward him and stood in front of him. He put his arms around me and drew me close, pressing his head into my chest. I ran my hands through his damp hair.
"Your father," I began, "is gone. Yes, a trace of him is in you. For 15 years, all you knew was the back of his hand."
"What if I end up like him?" he said in a muffled voice.
"You just need to learn to control your temper," I said. "I can help, should you wish."
"How can you help?"
I chuckled and he looked up, shocked. "Come with me. We need to have a conversation with my parents about what I was like as a teenager."