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|Just One Drop(Grey Wolves #3) by Quinn Loftis|
"There were many practices done by older packs that have simply faded from knowledge. One such practice was called The Gathering," Thad picked up what looked like very old parchment and began to read, "I am Damon, Alpha of the Bulgaria pack. This is the account of the four packs, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and my own, Bulgaria, all of which have agreed to a truce. The Alphas of these four packs have met this night and decided to implement a new tradition. It shall be written into our pack records as a tradition to be followed every four years. The decree is as follows: All pure blooded, unmated pack members of age must attend The Gathering. The Alpha, four dominant mated pairs, and his mate shall accompany these pack members. The unmated females may bring ladies to help prepare themselves for The Gathering. The Gathering shall take place in the Transylvania Alps on an estate that has been purchased by three pack Alphas as a gift to our species to use for this event. The purpose of The Gathering is to help bring unmated wolves from other packs together and hopefully find true mates among them. It is in our nature to be territorial and uncooperative with other packs, but if we do not set aside these habits and put the greater good of the species first, we will one day cease to exist. This world will go on as if Grey werewolves had never been. If an Alpha and his unmated pack members are invited to join in The Gathering and they refuse, it will be treated as an act against the species and that Alpha shall be subject to a challenge. If he is defeated, his pack members will be split among the other packs. We must be vigilant if we are to survive. We must recognize that the very things that often make us strong and keep us safe have the potential to annihilate our kind."
When Thad finished reading, each of the wolves could only stare, dumbfounded. Of the many things this meeting could have been about, this had not even registered on their list of possibilities. Vasile himself had never heard of such a decree in his long life. He could appreciate the fact that it was definitely a way for the unmated to find their other half, but it was also a risk to put that many unmated males together. For that reason alone he understood the importance of having dominate mated couples there.
"Are you telling us that you want to implement this decree now, in this day and age?" Vasile asked incredulously, but continued before another could answer. "Gentlemen, we do not live in a time where females are told what to do. We live in the twenty first century with liberated women."
"Vasile, we know this concept is foreign and somewhat outdated, but we are not human." It was now Victor, the Alpha of Bulgaria, who spoke up. "We may live in their world but we do not, cannot live like them. We are a species created for pack, for family. Our males, especially the dominants, do not have the luxury like human males to date whomever they want for as long as they want. They need the light and peace a true mate will bring them. They need the darkness that resides inside their wolf to be kept at bay by this true mate. What better way to help our own than to bring them together?"
"I suppose if we present it in such a way that it is seen as in the best interest of our species, maybe the unmated will accept it and see it in a positive light," Vasile conceded, knowing that if these Alphas had set their minds to do this then there was little he could do to stop it without bringing a war to his door.
Vasile noticed that Dillon had not spoken up. "Dillon, what have you to say regarding this manner?"
"I was approached by Thad, and although in the past it was harder to include packs that were so far away, modern travel has obviously fixed that. The Alphas thought it would be good for an American pack to come and bring new blood, so to speak. I think the idea has merit and is worth exploring."
Before Vasile could respond, Thad spoke again. "We thought, if you would concede, that because your son found his mate in the United States that it would be pertinent of us to include an American pack. Since you knew Dillon Jacobs he was the first we thought of."
"Are there no secrets in this world anymore? " Decebel muttered. Thus far, however, he didn't have any real objections to the idea. The person that he would not want going wasn't full blood, so he didn't have to worry about that. Thank the moon, he thought.
"We have also decided, as Fane's mate is not full blooded, that it would perhaps be wise to include half blooded and dormant in The Gathering. Obviously they are potential true mates."
And there's the other shoe, Decebel thought.
Now he had a problem with it. If this was their decree, then Jennifer would be required to go. Since she was under Vasile's care, and had wolf blood – essentially making her pack – she most definitely had to attend this Gathering.
This day just keeps getting better and better, Decebel thought as he ran his hands though his hair, clenching his jaw. First he found his mangy pack mates going through Jennifer's things, then he found out Jennifer was at a club doing goodness knows what with some mutt – or worse, a human. A low growl rumbled in his chest at the thought. Now Jennifer would be required to be around other unmated males. Decebel was well aware of the fact that his whole day, good and bad, revolved around a mouthy, perverted, bossy blonde, and someone save him, because at her side was the only place he wanted to be at the moment. Vasile's words finally brought him back to the here and now.
"Since you have obviously taken it upon yourselves to plan this without consulting me first," Vasile words were laced with power – even the Alphas on the screen could feel it and averted their eyes from the Romanian Alpha, "have you also set a date for The Gathering?"
"We meant no disrespect, Vasile," Dragomir told him. "You were in the U.S., busy with your own issues and we did not want to burden you with this until you were back with your pack."
Vasile gave a simple nod in acknowledgment of his words, but continued to stare them down while he waited for an answer.
"The date is set for one month from today," Thad answered. "It is to be held in the traditional location of the Transylvania Alps and the large estate mentioned in the decree has been updated and enlarged over the years. It is now being prepared for our arrival."
"I will concede you this," he began and the others let out a breath."But," Vasile continued, his voice calm and controlled, "if ever again you make such decree without my knowledge, without my input and without my okay, I will remind you why I am Alpha to the largest pack in the world. I respect you all as Alphas and I expect the same from each of you."