Chapter One: Elijah

"Robin, holy shit, I fucked up!"

The sound of my brother's voice jarred me awake. His annoying pants of anxiety causing my mood to plummet as I sat up in my bed with a yawn.

The sun was barely peeking above the horizon as the covers slipped past my shoulders.

I wasn't in the mood to deal with his crazy antics today, the goddess only knew that my mom should've swallowed. His insistent whining was enough to wake the dead as he all but stomped across my room.

"C'mon, stop ignoring me, Robin!! This is serious!"

I doubted it. 

Popping my back with a stretch, I finally bothered to give my older brother a look. He looked horrible, like a squirrel who got caught in a trap. His blonde hair that was the same shade as mine was messy, covered with dirt and blood.

It only took one sniff to smell the grime.

Instantly, I couldn't help but frown.

"Listen, I have better things to do--like sleep--than to bother trying to bail you out this time. Whatever you did, that's on you! Now. Get. Out. My. Room."

I punctuated each word with a hard poke to his chest, before I pointed at the door.

But he didn't budge, his crystal blue eyes wide with terror. They were so wide that it made me pause in my tantrum. Sighing, I dropped my hand to my side.

"What's wrong, Elijah? What did you do?" My hands were fisting the blanket, wanting desperately to go back to sleep.

The minute he left, I'd throw them back over my head and get some remaining shut-eye.

But I knew as soon as he sat down, that it was a lost cause.

Pulling my legs under my chin, I yawned as I listened to his frantic story. I couldn't follow most of it though, the events making little sense to me as his details ran amuck.

But one thing did catch my barely attentive ears.

"Wait, hold the phone. You left our territory? Why?"

Elijah looked at me, looking completely terrified.

It left a ball of nerves inside my stomach, for the first time since his rantings.

"I... I wanted to see if the rumors were true. The alpha was talking at the meeting yesterday, talking about some new clan closing in down by the rivers. One of my friends dared me to go check it out, see if they're friendly you know?"

I immediately sat up straighter, annoyance filling me up as I thought about just how stupid my brother truly was. Elijah was two years older than me, already blessed by the goddess with strength almost unparalleled aside from the alpha himself and the second in command beta, our father. Yet because of his carefree nature, he was always causing both me and our father trouble. It's been hard enough since our mother passed away, to be honest, things hadn't been okay in a very long time.

Our father had always been a kind and loving man, but he was a changed man since losing his mate. He was ragged and tired, a pale imitation of the father I had grown up with.

So I just couldn't understand why my brother kept taking so many risks!

As if our family's suffering meant nothing to my brother.

Didn't it bother him? That he was always messing something up?

I ended up saying the last part, unable to bite my tongue as he gave me a puppy dog face.

"Look, I'm sorry Robin. I thought it'd be harmless! But I really fucked up."

"What do you mean you fucked up, Elijah! Besides the obvious--you just broke a major rule between clans. We stick to our own, it's how we keep resources fair and you know it. Do you have any idea what that could mean for our alpha?" I hissed the words, disappointed in him.

Elijah shrunk back, sighing as he looked away from me.

"I know, Robin."

I sighed, tapping harshly against my arm.

"Well, go on then. Explain." I grumbled.

Elijah's nervous energy was still present, but after a moment my brother finally spoke. 

"I didn't think anyone would believe me when I said I snuck into the clan's territory. And I wanted to impress my friends, ya know? Especially since Stacy was there, and before you even go there, yes I know she isn't my mate, but I can't help but still like her. So I figured, I could at least seem cool to her and the boys. I just needed some proof, it was quiet there, and dammit Robin, I really thought everyone was asleep."

I scowled, unimpressed. "Werewolves are always on guard, Elijah. We have too many natural enemies to sleep without a care in the world. So what the hell did you try to take, are you stupid? You could start a fight or worse, a war!"

"Dammit Robin, that's what I'm trying to tell you!" Elijah suddenly yelled, and my blood seemed to stand still. 

"What the hell is that supposed to mean!" I said.

"I mean I might have already started one." His words were grave, but I didn't want to believe them. I couldn't stop my brows from knitting down, and Elijah couldn't maintain eye contact with me for long. But when I went to call him out on his cowardice, my brother continued speaking.

"I saw a glowing blue flower, it was like a crystal and it was perfect. I knew we had nothing like it past our border so I took it. But the minute I touched it, I got attacked. I... I didn't know what to do, so I fought back! I didn't even get a good look at him but the next thing I knew, I... Robin, I accidentally slit his throat."

Dread filled every pore in my skin, and I found it hard to breathe all of a sudden. Elijah, my playful, annoying, brother--had killed someone? The information wouldn't sink in, and even when I thought I couldn't process it anymore, he kept talking. I didn't know how it could possibly get worse, but it did. 

"There was so much blood, Robin, it was everywhere. On the f-flower, on the ground, I panicked and ran, and I forgot to put back the rose. I heard the howls, I could hear them chasing me. I was scared, I didn't want to die! So I threw the flower, Robin, and it just shattered everywhere. There was suddenly this bright blue light, it covered the entire forest. I panicked and ran until I couldn't stop running, straight past the border. I didn't stop until I was in the village. But Robin, I killed someone and I think I... I think I broke their..."

My brother's words were coming out in harsh gulps of air now, and I grabbed his shoulders, trying to anchor him. My words were just as shaky as I pressed him to continue. "What do you think you broke?"

I could see my blue eyes reflected in his, and they were just as terrified. 

"Robin, I think ...I broke their moon goddess artifact. The light inside it, it was just like ours. The one inside the temple."

My whole world crumbled at his words.  

But as if the goddess was punishing us for my brother's crimes, at the first streak of real light that broke in through my window, alarms tore across the skies of our village. 

The bell chimed in a deafening roar that had us both freezing in place. 

The Alpha was calling an emergency meeting.

As much as I didn't want to believe it, I knew it wasn't a coincidence.  

Without moving a muscle, my tongue which weighed a thousand boulders finally moved. 

"You don't breathe a word of this to anyone."

"But Robin," he started.

I cut him off, harsh as I stood from my bed. "Not a damn word. Okay?" 

Elijah looked defeated when he finally shut up. 

"And here, put this on. Hopefully, it'll mask the smell." I tossed one of my more beat-up jackets to him, oversized. With any luck, it'd fit. 

I watched as he struggled to get on the jacket, but he breathed out in relief as it covered up the grime on his clothing. It looked a bit too tight in the arms to be natural, but it would have to do. 

My shoulder's squared as I grabbed my jacket and I heard my brother sigh from behind me, his sins a horrible weight on my back as I stepped forward.

I knew that we would be facing the Alpha as soon as we left our home. 

I just didn't know the actions I was supposed to take when I did so. 

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