Ruby felt better now that Magpie had forced her to rest. She had been so worried that somehow Aryn could have burned down overnight that she tried to pull an all-nigher on both trips. It turns out it was a lot harder than she expected, especially with little food in her belly and the wind freezing the features on her face. They had made it back to Aryn before the sun had come down, the perfect time of day to take to her Alpha, Alcatraz.
She didn't talk too much with him, but she did know he was noble and wasn't doing anything sketchy that she could see. He was doing alright with himself, and the pack seemed collected as one, as a pack should, she reckoned. A strange surge of excitement like she had never experienced ticked her spine. She couldn't wait to show her sister her home and family. The last time they spoke, Ruby had run off to find Tristan, to patch things up, figuring out she was pregnant. She was welcome in Aryn, but she didn't bother coming back to see Magpie. In fact,t neither sister saw ear or tail of each other. It might have been time they all were busy with their own lives...
Ruby began to slow her pace, allowing Magpie to walk beside her. They had some strange glances, but that was to be expected bringing in a complete stranger. They moved towards the Main Den, walking in unison, the same kind of rhythm they had years before and had suddenly picked it back up. It's like they were becoming whole again, sisters.
Ruby stepped forward as Magpie stood behind her. Ruby bowed her head lowly so she wouldn't startle the other wolf of higher rank. "Alpha, I have been gone since some time to retrieve my sister. I bring her because I believe her presence to be beneficial to my children's health. They have not taken the loss of their father easily.."
Alcatraz didn’t have much opinion of Ruby, she had mostly kept to herself. But he could tell from afar that she was a caring mother, and knew from how she completed tasks that she was a hardworking and devoted, even if somewhat reserved, pack member. So when she disappeared one day it had been a shock. It was forbidden for a wolf to leave pack lands without permission from the Alphas. Or Beta’s at the least. But Ruby had left no warning to the pack that she was leaving, nor when or if she would return. She had told only her children of her departure, but even they had said little about it.
Though it was hard to blame the she-wolf for the rash behavior; her mate had died, leaving her alone to raise her pups. And the pups grieved heavily as well. Still, for Ruby to leave her children during this difficult time of their lives. It was a sad time for their family, one deserving of empathy. But it also seemed the wrong time for Ruby to leave them alone.
Still when Alcatraz caught sight of that deep red fur trotting toward him he withheld his judgement for now.
His yellow eyes immediately went to the black and white wolf who trailed behind her. Could this have something to do with her disappearance? The Alpha’s gaze flicked back to Ruby as she explained herself.
Alcatraz knew little about the reclusive family, so it was hard for him to denounce the journey to find her sister. It was clear she had done what she believed was best. Alcatraz could only trust that it was
best, now that all was said and done. “No, they haven’t.”
Alcatraz agreed, glancing again at Magpie again. The black and white she-wolf was Ruby’s sister, and kin to Finch and Guinevere, and on top of that she was now an honored guest here. “Welcome to Aryn. You are speaking to Alcatraz, Alpha male.”
His yellow eyes turned back to Ruby, “does your sister seek permanent residence here?”
A kin to Ruby would be welcomed enough, Alcatraz expected, but it would need to be brought before Athena as well before anything could be decided for sure.
Shortly after Ruby had told her the shocking news that her mate had died, Magpie deeply regretted not having searched to reconnect with her. The rest of the sisters had been able to hold the bond, but Ruby had removed herself from the leader-role, and their system had suffered from it. Nothing was the same without their stick-in-the-mud, independent, responsible head-sister around. So much had changed since then. There was a lot of ground to cover, and it was strange for Magpie to be by Ruby's side, and feel that warm bond again. She could feel her body tense at the chilling feeling of disconnect between them. Regret, Remorse, Guilt, all emotions that they had only prevailed over together
. She only hoped things could return to the way it was.
Magpie had never set a foot on Aryn before, and she didn't think Ruby would have either. After what had happened years ago, Ruby had been too self-conscious to believe her own judgement. However, she might have chose the best environment to raise her pups in. The air smelled strangely sweet, and when she and Ruby had crossed to the borders, she felt the terrain was safer and more guarded than even Chandor. The pack leader, Alcatraz, looked big and formidable. Like a regal stag, he stood stoic-like in front of the both of them, and Magpie made sure she didn't swoon."How do you do?"
Magpie bowed her head, and being her knees to mimic a curtsy. She was all for first impressions, though it was wise to keep in mind she was in fact talking to the Alpha wolf of Aryn.
Ruby finally lifts her head and responds. "She's come for a visit, but if she does decide to stay..."
Magpie felt Ruby's brown eyes on her with an unreadable expression. She didn't know what to say yet. She wanted to be by her sister's side, but she didn't know about staying permanently. "I would't want to intrude, if the children need me longer, I shall think about staying permanently."
Alcatraz nodded curtly in reply to the polite gesture. She certainly seemed kind, carrying a gentler aura than her sister. He could imagine her being a good sort of wolf to have during times of sorrow, with a kind and comforting presence. “Alright. Any newcomers, whether guests or new members, will present their case to the Alpha female, my mate, Lady Athena.”
Alcatraz knew well that he may carry the Alpha title, but ultimately all, even he, answered to Athena. She was the wolf who had founded this pack, and who ran it successfully with her clever wit and fair and just yet fierce paw. Becoming her mate may have risen him to her status, but she would always be first. It was a hierarchy he was honored to accept. “Come, Ruby and Magpie. I will lead you to her,”
he offered, flicking his dark tail tip to beckon them. He walked slowly so he could keep at their side. He looked at Ruby sideways, “You broke the law of the pack by leaving without permission,”
he said. Alcatraz was always a stickler for the rules, “whatever your intentions were, the laws keep order. There may be repercussions.”
Ruby kept her head leveled, a fogginess in her eyes. " I'm prepared to meet those repercussions."
She said in that old, steady manner that Magpie realized she missed. Even when she wasn't in a pack, Ruby was still the eldest and responsible. It truly was a surprise she would leave abruptly, this was the first time Magpie had heard of it! Ruby not warning her alpha, and running all the way to Chandor to help her children? She almost lagged behind trying to wrap her mind around it. The only time Ruby had done something irresponsible was...well she couldn't quiet remember.
Ruby had been a bit tense about confronting her Alpha. This might had been avoided had she just asked. Athena or Alcatraz didn't seem like the type to deny her request. However, a heavy doubt manifested itself inside her chest. If she wasn't allowed to leave, what else could she do? She had felt completely helpless to deal with her family's depression, that she completely relied on her instincts. In the moment it didn't seem to foolish...how ever. Magpie trailed behind a bit. Neither sister could except the kind of reaction Athena would have.
Alcatraz nodded shortly in reply, “Good.”
he said as they padded along. He could sense the shock in Magpie, and to be honest he was surprised too. It was unlike Ruby. It was not a short walk to the main den site, so to help relieve the tension slightly on the returning mother and her sister, Alcatraz added, “your circumstance will be considered, as well as your behavior historically in the pack.”
This was Ruby’s first time doing anything remotely out of the rules. Perhaps that would help her case. And driven by the grief of her lost mate… Alcatraz knew that Athena had lost her first mate as well. She would understand such emotions better than he.
Ruby nodded respectfully and turned to Magpie, who blinked in attention. "You can stay at the entrance, I'll approach her."
She said, attempting to ease her sister. However, Magpie wasn't going to give her the satisfaction. She instead came up shoulder-to-shoulder and said with a comforting smile, "We'll go together."
Seeing no opposition in Alcatraz' eyes, the sisters entered the main den site.TO BE CONTINUED