This chapter was inspired by the prompt: Have a character shriek like a banshee.
“What are we going to do? Just surround the territory and attack? Use whatever means necessary on the bastard to get information on where the rest of the scientists are? It had to be that guy who followed us and Trein, or they would’ve been at that hunter’s camp.” Taking out the bastard what I’d wanted to do after Trein’s man attacked me to kidnap Ritch, but my personal desires had to be pushed aside. Now that we had evidence the man was complicit, and a murderer, I had free rein to kill the fucker.
Deke rolled his eyes. “No, Park, we are not just going to surround the territory and attack. The eagles are scouting for us. Ritch gave us the layout of Trein’s compound, but if he’s involved in these experiments, they can’t be happening openly where his clan gathers. No matter how much he has them under his thumb, the risk would be too great. But he has a lot of access to thick woods and mountains beyond his property—state land that is only too remote to patrol by humans.”
“Perfect for hiding an army.”
The bear’s beta asked, “But there are only so many human werekin, and what about the souls? They’d have to kill so many of us to get that many. Even we would have heard about it in our solitary dens. How can they have an army?” The rest of the betas and alphas were waiting in clumps, talking quietly while we waited for Landon’s clan to report.
“My mate brought up an idea that I hesitated to consider, but it has validity. There hasn’t been a wholesale slaughter of the clans to steal souls, but when the doctor was experimenting on him, he was attempting to isolate the different souls in Kraig’s body.” Deke flashed his fangs. “He succeeded in being able to suppress and enhance one or the other, sending Kraig into a feral state. His souls, a bonded pair, cause him to act as if they’ve been ripped apart by the death of the other.” He took a deep breath. “What if they found a way to rip a single soul apart, into an untold number of pieces, and mingle it with a human’s spirit? In that way, they could create a feral army, humans who’d gone wild and uncontrollable in a feral state.”
Silence fell over the group.
“But… but that’s impossible.”
“So is joining two souls that used to belong to two bonded werekin in a human werekin’s body. They’ve already done the impossible.” My stomach cramped with fear at what we might face. I’d thought about scientists, guards to protect them, a few complicit human werekin and clans… but I’d secretly been as skeptical of an army as the faceless guard who’d spoke up.
I only hoped I could stay alive to keep my promises to Ritch.
A call from the perimeter of the meet up sent everyone on alert, but it was just Landon with his men. The wolves had joined them, and now our group was complete again. “What did you find out?” Deke asked.
“The car on the video parked outside of Trein’s house.” Landon pulled out a tablet. “We used silent glider drones to take these videos.”
I marked the placement of all the guards on the main map. “There are a lot of patrols.”
Landon nodded. “We’ll have to use stealth to take most of them out if we want to get in close enough to attack the houses. The doors and windows are all fortified on Trein’s house, but his clans are far more vulnerable.”
“We’re not going to kill them all, are we?” As non-predators, the antelope clan was less inclined toward violence, but they were fast and nimble, a boon on this mission. “Women and children?” The herds protected the vulnerable.
“Whenever possible, mercy is to be given to the non-combatants. I say we allow the herd clans to take them to this building.” It was a small school. “Round up anyone who isn’t a threat and put them in the rooms and keep them quiet.”
Victor spit. “What if some of those cowards surrender? I don’t relish killing someone who isn’t fighting back.”
“Commit a small contingent of guards to hold them on the opposite side of the territory. Restrain them”—we all had restraints rated for bonded werekin—“and dump them. The goal is to take out Trein and his beta as well as his guards, but not kill them.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but Deke held up a hand. “Yet. We need to know exactly where the scientists are. Why was that human was so important they risked coming onto my territory and killing guards to take him? How many other clans are in on it?”
He had far too many points for me to argue. A sick sense of pleasure shot through me. Maybe I’d get to be the one who tortured the answers out of Trein. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to avenge Ritch’s abuse at his hands and the capture and experimenting of my brother.
“Are we going to keep talking about how we’re going to do this, or are we going to do it? The night is fading.”
“Let’s go.” The grim finality in Deke’s voice and the hardness in his eyes aged him. I didn’t know if my face had undergone the same transformation, but I met his gaze and held it. He was my alpha, my best friend, my brother’s mate.
“Be careful.” I’d already assigned two guards to flank him at all times and protect his back.
We moved to the borders of Trein’s territory, then stalked his guards one by one. We were nearly to his inner compound when one guard shrieked like a banshee as he died. Our element of surprise was gone.
I bolted for the houses I could see through the thinning trees.
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