1 Prologue

The fires climbed high over the gables of the wooden structures. Catherine cackled and twisted her fingers around a stray lock of hair. They earned this. Every weak call for help was a cry of justice. Everybody that slumped to the ground unable to carry on was proof of their might. Catherine licked her lips and stared off at a raging beast the clobbered through his last opponent.

"The rest have fled, my love."

Catherine's body stiffened as a low affirmative growl reached her ears the growl. They had won, but to what cost? Nothing would be able to replace what they had lost.

"It's not enough. He-I...we are not satisfied." The creature stood on legs with blood stained fur. The legs angled into a half changed torso, leading to a human face. Catherine had never seen sorrow on that face.

Catherine looked away. She could barely handle her own sorrow. Her wolf went between boiling rage and broken silence. She was his mate, but how could she comfort him now? His wretched heart was the same as hers. Her nails bore the same red stain. She refused to lie to him. She wouldn't tell him everything would be alright. She had no proof that they would get through this.

Her eyes searched after her mate against her better judgement. He needed her. She rushed to him, she caught his weakened form before his knees hit the ground. It was not the fatigue of battle that weighed him down. Catherine squeezed his blood-soaked arms. She could see his lip tremble. She pressed the top of her head against his jaw. For a moment the shaking stopped. Then she could feel her body shiver in time to his.

All the fighting. Their victory. Knowing that this ground was soaked with the life's blood of those who had betrayed them. Even that wasn't enough.

Catherine inched further into the chest of her mate and crooned. She wouldn't ask what now. She closed her eyes and tears flowed directly from her wolf's heart. Now was not the time for action or answers. Just for now they needed to feel this loss. Catherine wrapped her arms around his waist as she coughed into his torn shirt.

The man let out a mournful howl tinged with rage. Catherine clenched him tightly, feeling each ripple of his rage. His heart is breaking. One by one, the solo howl raised into a chorus as their confidants joined suit. Their howls carried over the flames and stench of death, over the tops of far away trees, haunting the hurried paw falls of the once strong Arrowsbend pack.

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