Monday, January 18, 2016

Unwavering: Part 1: The Asking

Unwavering is a prequel to Unmasked that I have decided to write in tandem with the Unmasked series. Unwavering takes place roughly 5 years prior to the events of Unmasked and covers the story of how Brunhild and Kirsa came to be mates. Admittedly, I've never written lesbian romance before, so we will see how this goes. 

It was strange how white they all were. Brunhild had never seen so many snow-haired wolves in one pack. They unnerved her with their ice-colored eyes, boring into her from all directions. She sat upon the furs, legs crossed like the other men. Her waist cloth looked little different from those they wore, though her brooch was silver while theirs were bone. The few women in the room knelt quietly off to the sides, in deer-hide dresses that tied behind their necks. None had the look of warriors. Women apparently weren't warriors in this pack. Well, that explained why so many of the men looked less than amused at her presence.

"I was saddened to hear of Tederich's death, but I am disappointed that his son did not come to me himself."

Brunhild pursed her lips as Hagan spoke. She could see the anger in his grey eyes. He was perhaps a decade older than her and had been alpha of his pack for about seven winters. He sported a full beard, but his hair was cropped unusually short. He was a severe looking man, frown lines permanently creasing his brow. When standing, he was half a hand shorter than Brunhild, but he made up for it with the thick muscle banding his arms and belly.

"It is a tumultuous time, as you well know. The Changing of Hands is a critical period in all packs. My brother must tend to our people. It is his hope that I might provide an adequate substitute." Brunhild took a deep breath, her chest pressing against the wide strap binding her breasts.

Hagan's eyes narrowed a fraction. "You are not even a beta."

She felt her men stiffen along with her. "There are three adjacent packs and two betas. I am daughter of Tederich, sister of Rodrick, and a respected delta of my pack. I cannot help if my acting in my brother's stead is of insult to you, but I will not apologize for it. I simply ask on behalf of my brother that you attend the Changing as our father attended yours."

The corner of the alpha's mouth lifted slightly as he noted their collective discomfort. "I will consider it. You are, of course, offered hospitality until such time as I deliver my answer. You are dismissed."

They rose together, energy sparking between them as they pound a fist to their chests and nodded to the alpha. They filed out of the hall, Brunhild at their head. A group of women passed by them as they walked out. Apparently like everyone else in this pack, they were all snow and silver, clad in richly dyed hide dresses. The woman that led their little troupe was of middling height, neither tall nor short. Straight white hair framed her heart-shaped face cascading down her back like a milky waterfall. She was a perfect hourglass, with a generous chest and wide hips joined by a thick, well-defined waist. She looked up at Brunhild as she passed and smiled politely. Her eyes were neither grey nor blue, but somewhere in between. Brunhild nodded back at her, trying not to frown.

"I'll consider it," she mocked, as they came back to the long house Hagan had provided for their stay. She punched one of the thick logs that made up the wall, growling at the pain that shot up her arm. "I have always hated that lofty mutt. He's been an ass for as long as I can remember."

"It can't be helped," said Sigmund, crossing his arms. "He's the northern alpha. The three reigning alphas always attend the Changing of Hands. There is no point in the asking, but custom is custom."

Brunhild clenched her fist and shoved her braids out of her face. "Yes, and my brother's brilliant plan was to send me to the one pack that has no female warriors. Hagan's derision was palpable."

Sigmund sighed. "Rodrick trusts you more than any other wolf in the world. If Hagan knew that, he would not be so offended."

Brunhild rolled her eyes. Sigmund was of her father's age, sent to lend her credibility, she assumed. He was tall and broad, an elder copy of his son, Jurgen, her brother's closest friend. He was bald, with light brown eyes, and a black goatee that enhanced his strong jaw. He'd been something of an uncle to her and her brother. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about him shadowing her on this mission. She didn't need her hand held like a pup.

"Hagan would be dismissive of anyone save Rodrick himself, even though he damn well knows the new alpha does not do the asking." She lowered herself to sit on a pallet.

"Hagan will accept. Anything else would be a declaration of war. He's just lording his authority over us while he can. He knows we stand between him and the Kin. Gods know he's not going to go raiding anytime soon. If he alienates us, he loses access to the spoils." He looked at her a bit sideways. "The important thing, is to not do anything stupid while we are here."

"Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean?"

"You were staring really hard at that girl outside the hall."

Brunhild blinked. "What girl?"

Sigmund cocked an eyebrow. "Uh huh. Just take my advice. Leave that one alone. Word is Hagan has his eyes on her."

"Poor girl. I wouldn't fuck that man for the world."

Sigmund snorted. "Those words mean very little since you wouldn't fuck any man for the world."

Brunhild lay back on the pallet, waving at him dismissively. "Technicalities."

She rolled to face the wall as Sigmund and the others milled about the longhouse, tending to their personal tasks. Sigmund's warning was unnecessary. Sure the woman at the hall was appealing, but it wasn't like Hagan would give her any one of his women. She had no illusions of that. No one except her packmates would interpret her looks as anything untoward. Hagan couldn't conceive of a female delta, let alone female mates. They would wait for Hagan to deign to give his assent, and then they would go home.

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