Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.
War was coming. We could all feel it down to our claws. The rumors had been escalating like wildfire for weeks. Different packs were travelling, settling accords and protection. When we had higher enemies wanting to cross our borders, the old banter of possession amongst ourselves was unimportant. The enemy, when they came, always wanted our land, our females, our pups because their packs were dying off or they wanted to become bigger and better.
It was why I had set off running. Being a female who had just left her adolescence and who was still unmated posed a danger. I had grown up with stories, of packs that would invade lands and take the females, if they were their mates or not. There were a few that didn’t follow the traditions, the nature of it. Once a female was marked, regardless who her mate was, any linking bonds to him would be dissolved, become nonexistent. If the female already knew her mate, it was torturous for her and many ended their lives afterwards. The males, however, would sometimes meet their mates and keep the two. The lesser female always in the background, always placed last.
I would die before that happened to me. My pack no longer had males that were in adulthood and unmated. I knew that my mate would be elsewhere as my five sisters took many of the best wolves in our pack. Being cursed as the youngest, my outcome wouldn’t be so easy as it were for them. When the rumors hit home, I worried for weeks. My parents tried to calm me down, my father would take me to his meetings where I would look upon every male and wait for that tilt, for that shock, and want. Nothing. There was nothing.
So I set off to circle every territory in hopes that if my mate caught my scent, he would look for me and find me. I had been at it for weeks, in my wolf form and alone. I missed running with the pack and I knew how dangerous it was, but I would take the possibilities. Worse than dead was being forced to carry someone else’s pups. Pups that shouldn’t even be born in the first place out of the bonds of matehood.
I wasn’t the only one out. I caught the scent of many females during my territory runs, but I never got too close in case our scents mingled and ruined our chances to find our mates. The burning in my stomach was desperation, need, and most of all fear. My wolf felt it. As she stopped to look up at the waned moon, she howled loudly, sniffing the warm and humid air of the woods. There was only silence that followed and emptiness in my chest, where a bond should be.