Published: February 16, 2015
"Wolves of Aryn!" Athena howled, standing at the highest point, beneath tallest tree, beside the den they had chosen for their home. There were few of them still, but all of the wolves came to her call. She looked from face to face seriously. Most were curious, some were worried. She was worried too, but Athena kept that fear buried. It wouldn't serve her, not now.
Bloom, the little red she-wolf Athena had caught, sat obediently, if not petulantly, between Alexandro and Alcatraz. "We have captured a thief in the borderlands, hailing from Blutwald." She paused to let that sink in. Hopefully the rest of the pack would recognize what a great threat this was. "Why they've chosen to leave their forest now, I can't say for sure. Which is why, until we know more, Bloom will be staying here under guard. If Blutwald was looking to expand its borders, Aryn is the next closest territory. I know all of you bear great courage, I would trust each and every one you with my life. And this is an insult which cannot be ignored; but against the Red Pack, we are too small." The truth of it was, war wasn't an option. It would take an act of the One to change the Alphess's mind about that. Athena had no intention of watching her family destroyed a second time.
"I will be leaving for Blutwald's border before nightfall, to confront their leader about the meaning of this outrage." It had to be her, and she had to go alone. She would not risk the lives of her family where it could be avoided, and whatever was happening across the plain, Athena was quite sure she needed to see it with her own eyes. "Alexandro, Alcatraz, and Charaka will take turns guarding the hostage, and patrolling the eastern border. The girl is not be harmed, nor is she to be allowed outside the clearing. And until my return, Alcatraz will act as leader." She was unsure how he would react to the position, but in the event things went sour during her negotiations, there was no other wolf in the pack Athena trusted to keep things in control. She only hoped he would understand that. "Seaver will watch Riley. Take him with you wherever you go, don't let him out of your sight. Help wherever you are needed. You as well, Isolde. Raghaalr, your knowledge of herbs must be applied. Though I pray we don't need them, stockpile such plants - healing and poisonous alike. Teach the others what can be used to help and harm."
Athena's eyes swept the gathering once more, a grimace lining her jaw. "Protect each other. I'll be back soon, and the One willing, I'll have good news."