Work In Progess – Hunter’s Crossing

This is one of my latest obsession, Werewolves. So, this is one of the stories that I’ll be posting snippets from this year. Come back here every now and then to check out what’s new. Since this isn’t a complete story. I’ll just be posting whatever I add to the story on this page. When it gets too long, I’ll start to separate it in to different pages to make for easier reading. But this is it for now. Sorry for any grammar or spelling errors, but I did warn you this is a first draft.

Prologue

“I don’t want to die,” the words were barely more than a whisper, but the fear and pain in her eyes held him. He held her battered body gently in his arms, she was the lone survivor of the car crash. The rest of the occupants, another female and two males were dead. They had been lucky, they had probably died on impact. The bits of twisted metal that remained of their SUV made it a miracle that this young woman had survived. But it probably wouldn’t be for much long. Blood covered her face from a long gash along the right side of her face. Her right arm hung limp at her side and blood soaked the left leg of her jeans.  Shards of glass and bits of metal pierced her exposed flesh.

He could smell death on her. If he had to guess, he would say she was bleeding internally. It was still a good two hours away from the small town he called home. They had a healer there, but she would never make it. The closet town was about a mile back, but looking at how quickly the color was leaching from her skin, at the way her gray eyes grew dimmer, he knew she wouldn’t last more than a few more minutes.

“Walker?” his second called from the road where he and the others waited. He had ordered them to guard the area while he had gone to investigate the smoke and skid marks. He had expected to find the worst and he hadn’t been disappointed.

He had found the woman lying in the snow about fifteen feet away from the car. She has flown through the front window, which had been the only thing that had saved her. She had amazingly missed the nearby trees and had landed in the newly fallen snow. She hadn’t been there long before they had come upon the scene. Her body still held some warmth where they touched.

Walker knew he should quickly put her out of her misery. He had actually planned on it when he had first heard the ragged wet sound of her breathing and realized that she was still alive. He had walked over to her, gently turning her on her side to see just how bad the damage was. What he saw gave him no hope, yet when she opened his eyes and looked up at him with those large gray eyes, his hands stilled. He had meant to snap her neck, make it quick and painless. But those eyes stopped him.

Her lips trembled as she tried to speak. Nothing came out but a hoarse crock. But she tried again and again until the words finally left her lips, “I don’t want to die.”

Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes, her lips trembled as her breath grew shallower, “Not…done…yet… Not…ready…to…die…”

She started coughing then, wracking coughs that shook her whole body. Bright red blood leaked from the corners of her mouth as her hand clutched tightly to his shirt. When she opened her eyes again, they were so distant. He knew that if he didn’t do something soon, she would die in his arms. She wouldn’t be the first, but for some reason, this one bothered him.

He wasn’t a saint, he was a fighter. He had killed before and he would probably kill in the future. He did what he needed to do to protect his people. He was the Alpha of his pack. It was his responsibility to protect everyone within his territory whether they were shifter, guardian, or human.

In the ten years he had been alpha, he had one rule when it came to humans, never change a human without their consent. They had to know beforehand that the transformation was hard and brutal and there was an eighty percent chance they wouldn’t survive it. It was the one reason why biting or attacking a human could be punishable by death depending on the situation. Yet, here he was, contemplating breaking his one rule.

He knew he really should just snap her neck and put her out of her misery, but something held his hand. He couldn’t say what it was, but if it had been any other person, they would already be dead. So what was it about this young woman that made his hesitate? After all, killing her would be a mercy right now. There was no way she was going to survive this.

Her breathes had become heavy, he could now hear the liquid in her lungs. She was probably drowning in her own blood. He knew he no longer had a choice, he gently shifted her so that he wouldn’t cause her any more unnecessary pain, his large hand cradled the back of her head right above her spine. He would make it quick, he promised her silently that she wouldn’t feel a thing.

As if sensing his intent, her eyes met his, tears ran down in trails along the side of her face. Her bloody palm shakily rose up, her fingers barely brushing against his chin. Her cracked lips parted as the words barely left her lips, “Can’t…die…yet…change…me…”

Walker gritted his teeth as he gazed down at the woman who was more than she appeared to be. Her pale gray eyes holding his gaze as her breaths came in shallow gurgles now. She had said the words. She had asked. Now he would do as she requested.

With a fierce growl, he bared his fangs and struck, biting the juncture between her neck and shoulder. Her blood filled his mouth, warm rich and sweet. Like nothing he had ever tasted before. But there was more there, there was power, pure power. It felt like he been shot with a bolt of lightning. Power coursed through his veins and filled his body. In that one moment everything went white. For one moment he thought he had died.

But when he slowly came back to himself it was to find his pack mates around him, worriedly looking down at him and at the woman in his arms.

“Damn it Walker, what the hell did you do?” Luke asked, leaning over his leader as he stared in horror at Walker’s blood covered mouth and the mark on the woman’s neck.

Walker wished he could answer him, but even he wasn’t sure what he had just done. Just who was this woman and what the hell had he just done. If she survived the transition, there were a lot of questions he had for her.

Chapter One

Pain, every movement, every breath, all she felt was pain. A moan barely escaped her parched lips but it was enough to alert the person in room that she was awake.

“Don’t try to move, your body is still recovering. You barely survived,” a deep gritty voice warned her. Sienna tried to peer through the slits of her eyes, since opening them was just took more energy than she had at the moment. She couldn’t make out much. Just a dimly light room and a dark figure moving towards her. Part of her knew she should be afraid, but another part of her, a new part of her told her she was safe. A voice in her head told her, healer.

She knew she should probably be worried that she was hearing voices, but it was just too much for her overheated brain to contemplated.

Safe. Sleep now. Need to heal.

She knew those words were good advice, but now that she was aware once more, she had a hard time doing as the voice suggested. Especially since they were coming from a voice in her head. One she had never heard before.

What happened to her? The last thing she could remember, they were driving home. They had gone to check on a lead. Her grandmother had sent her, Kailee, Richard and Steven to check out the tip she had just received.

Jack had been furious when he had been told he couldn’t go. They were always sent out together. They worked best that way. They always had. They were each other’s other half. But her grandmother refused to allow her twin to leave the valley. Sienna and Jack were the strongest magic users they had since Jordan disappeared. Because both of her parents and her aunt where also out of town following other leads, her grandmother had refused to allow Jack to leave as well.

Jack had demanded that he be allow to go in her place, but their grandmother overrode him. They all knew Sienna was the better tracker. If there was even a trace of Jordan in that town, Sienna would be able to find it and follow him. Jack had no tracking ability at all. He was the muscle, he had power and stamina, but that was all he had and they all knew it.

Their older brother though, had it all. He had power, he was extremely intelligent, and he was their grandmother’s heir. But he had left town last year without a word to anyone and now they were searching everywhere to find him and bring him back.

Sienna had no illusions about her brother. Her grandmother and parents might have been blind to his darker tendencies, but she and Jack weren’t. Her older brother was the not the god her family thought he was. If anything, he was a demon. The only reason Sienna and Jack worked so hard to find him, was to make sure that if he needed to be stopped, that someone was there to do it.

The twins didn’t have their brother’s strength and no real plan on how to stop him, but they knew they had to. Since they day they caught him beating  a young shifter pup in the sports equipment locker behind the school when they were ten, they knew that they would need to be the ones to stop him.

Sienna had been able to patch up the frightened boy with her healing talent, but she couldn’t erase the memories the poor child would have to suffer from for the rest of his life. Once the boy was healed and cleaned up, Sienna and Jack had escorted him home. Jack standing guard while Sienna held tightly to the hand of the shaking boy.

Jordan had watched them with a sneer on his lips warning the boy not to saying anything to anyone about this. After all, no one would believe him. Even as young as she was, Sienna had been well aware of the way the town was run. No one went up against her family and won. They were either driven out of town, or they became a pariah. No one in their town was brave enough to stand up family, no one.

The moment the little boy saw his mother open the door, he let out a cry and ran in to her arms. His mother was startled by the boy’s actions, even more so when she looked up to find the twin grandchildren of the town founder’s family.

Sienna told the mother everything she could, since the boy was crying so hard he couldn’t speak, she could only tell her what she knew. The woman looked furious, but there was also fear in her eyes. She wanted to shout, she started a few times but would stop when she again realized who was in front of her.

Sienna knew there was nothing she could do about her brother, so she did the only thing she could, she apologized for her family. She offered to put a ward around the house. It would protect the family against most things, but even a ward she and Jack built together wouldn’t hold against Jordan. It would be strong enough to give them time to escape, but it wouldn’t last against him. He was just too strong.

The woman said nothing in the end but just nodded. Her lips pressed tightly together as she gathered her son in her arms. With nothing more to say, the twins left. Sienna wasn’t surprised when she heard the family had packed up and left, moving to another town ruled by a strong shifter family. Sienna knew that they would need the protection of a strong shifter clan if Jordan ever decided to go after them.

Shifter magic and Guardian magic was different. They couldn’t coexist in the same place, that was why strong shifter families and strong guardian families could not live in the same town. If anyone could protect that little boy and his family, it would be a strong shifter family.

Suddenly remembering what she was supposed to be doing, made her forget for a moment that her body felt like it had been through a meat grinder, she tried to move and every muscle in her body spasmed at once. A scream ripped from her dry lips as her eyes shot open.

Her world exploded in light just as the bedroom door came crashing in. A large white wolf charged in to the room, fangs bared as his golden eyes darted around the room looking for the danger before darting back to her.

Where’s the danger, a deep growl reverberated in her head, setting of waves of pain which only forced her to squeeze her eyes shut and grit her teeth.

“There is no danger,” the older man grumbled as he looked first at the broken door, then at the broken woman.

I heard her scream, the voice insisted.

“That was due to her own foolishness. She tried to get up. Her body is still adjusting to the change. Her muscles haven’t recovered yet, it’s too early for her to move,” the man informed them both as he leaned over Sienna. Peering down at her with sharp hazel eyes.

Sienna squinted up at the older man. His rubbed his hand through his gray beard as he studied her. The wrinkles around his eyes deepened and his narrowed his eyes.

“She was damn lucky to survive the change,” The man said shaking his head as he moved a step back, “Damn lucky. If her wolf hadn’t awoken so soon, she would have died within the first few hours. Then we would have had a real problem on our hands.”

“And you don’t consider this a problem,” A new voice said, a sneer in her tone. Sienna tried to turn her head to see who else was hear but only ended up hissing in pain as the muscles in her neck began to spasm. The wolf at her side growled deep in his throat, she wasn’t sure if the growl was directed at her or at the new comer.

“Look at this place,” the woman continued, completely ignoring the large angry wolf that Sienna was all too aware of. From where she lay on the bed, she got a good view of his sharp canines. She was sure if he wanted to, he could tear her apart before she could even make it across the room. In the condition she was in, he wouldn’t even have to try hard. She couldn’t even blink without causing herself an extreme amount of pain.

“Stop your complaining,” the older man waved the woman off, “This isn’t your house. Never was, you have no say in what happens here.”

“Don’t forget your place old man,” The woman snarled. Sienna could feel the waves of power this woman was giving off. Sienna had never felt anything like this before. It felt like ants walk over her skin. She didn’t know what it was, all she knew is that it was raising her hackles. She wanted to shake the power off but couldn’t move. Instead a pathetic whine escaped her lips, which only got the wolf growling again.

“And don’t forget your place, girl,” The man said coolly, all it looked like it took all of his power not to bow to the younger woman, “You may be Beta of this pack, but this is my home, you do not command me here. You try and I’ll make sure that neither you nor your wolf sets a step pass the door. Then who will be there to heal you up when you go running wild again.”

Veronica, I told you once, you are not allowed in to this sickroom. You’re prescience is agitating her wolf, you will leave now, the wolf commanded.

“She’s weak,” The woman snarled, “How can you expect the pack to follow a weak wolf. She will never be Alpha female no matter what she is to you. The pack won’t accept a weak wolf, mate or not.”

The large wolf snapped at the woman. He bared his teeth and growled menacingly.

You will leave this place immediately and never return, the wolf ordered. Sienna wasn’t sure how to explain it, but she could feel the command in his voice. It was short of like a door slamming shut in her mind. It was the only way she could explain it. There was a finality to the words that could not be changed.

Sienna was too lost in all the new feelings to notice that the woman left. She was just glad when the prickling feeling finally left. When she finally dared to try to open her eyes once more, slower this time, she found the large white wolf staring down at her intently.

All she could do was stare back. There was something about the wolf that was familiar, something far too human in those golden eyes. But seeing as how she had no memories of how she ended up here or what the heck they were talking about, she wasn’t sure how she could possible recognize something about the shifter in front of her.

“She is right you know,” the old man said as he made he way back to the chair by the window that Sienna only now realized was there, “If she is weak, mate or not, they will not accept her.”

She’s not weak, the wolf said, this time Sienna could sense no emotion in the voice in her head, which she was still getting used to by the way, She survived when others would have given in. She was willing to be change to in order to live. She is not weak.  


Sienna sat in the high backed wooden chair near the roaring fire. She cupped the mug of warm broth between her hands and she stared at the dancing flames. There was an old worn quilt thrown over her lap to keep the chill away.

“I don’t understand, how did I get here?” she said as she looked up at the young woman sitting across from her. The woman had showed up, syringe in hand, not long after the wolf left. She introduced herself as Marian and informed Sienna she was a nurse at the local hospital, which the older man Walter scoffed at. Marian had rolled her eyes when Walter couldn’t see her.

She held out the syringe to Sienna had told her it was a painkiller they used for their severely injured patients when the pain was too much. She offered it to Sienna but warned it was all she could get. It would last for a few hours, but depending on her rate of healing, the pain would come back when it wore off. How much pain she would be in then, Marian couldn’t say. But at least this would help for now.

Sienna licked her dried lips and tried to reply. But her throat was having a hard time cooperating with her and the only sound she emitted was more of a grunt. Marian just smiled at her and told her to blink twice for yes, and once for no. Sienna had blinked twice.

Once the painkiller had taken affect, Marian had helped her to sit up, clean up, and change in to a new set of clothes. Walter had walked back in to the room with a cup of broth and handed it wordlessly to Sienna before turning around and leaving.

“Ignore him, he’s always been like that,” Marian said with a kind smile as she had taken a seat across from Sienna. “My father says he was like that even as a child.”

“He’s a family friend?” Sienna had asked, before taking a sip of the steaming broth.

“Heck, no,” Marian said shaking her head, “It’s worse than that, he’s family. He’s my father’s older brother. I was supposed to follow after him and because the Pack Healer. But when I decided to go to nursing school rather than learn from him, he declared me disowned. I tried to tell him that having real medical training would be an asset as a healer, but he would hear none of it. He’s very traditional. He learned everything he knew from his mother, who was the Pack Healer before she passed before I was born. She was just as old school from what I hear. Didn’t believe in having baby’s in a hospital, nope, you had to have them at home.”

“She sounds interesting,” Sienna said kindly.

Marian snorted, “She was the Alpha female. Interesting was the most mild way of describing her. She was hard and fierce and proud of it. My mother had to fight tooth and claw to give birth to my brother in a hospital. She swore she drove five hours in a snowstorm with my grandmother chasing after her just to ensure my brother was born in a hospital.”

“Where was your father?”

“Chasing my grandmother,” Marian said with a laugh. Sienna laughed with her.

“The people here, their a little eccentric and some are down right grouchy, but their good people,” Marian told her as she looked out the window behind Sienna at the snow-covered town in the valley below.

Sienna had turned as well to look at the tiny figures shuffling across the ice covered sidewalks. They waved at one another, called out to each other. They looked happy. But the large wolves that walked at their sides were not pet, no, they were shifters, other members of this community.

Sienna turned away from the windows and instead turned her attention back to the fire before her. Her mug of warm broth cupped tightly between her hands. She still didn’t remember what happened to her, how she had gotten here, or where here even was.

She looked back up at Marian was watched her with a kind smile voiced her worries, “I don’t understand, how did I get here?”

The smile fell from Marian’s lips and was replaced with sad frown, “My brother and some of his wolves were driving back to town when they saw smoke. They went to investigate and found skid marks and a broken guard rail. When my brother went to investigate, he found you. He said you were the only survivor of a motor vehicle accident. You had somehow gotten lucky and flown thrown the front windshield when the vehicle crashed into a tree. The new fallen snow softened your landing.”

Sienna could only sit there numbly. Kailee, Richard and Steven, they were gone. She had known them her whole life and now they were gone. The mug shook in her hands, so much so that Marian leaned over to take it from her.

“I’m sorry,” She told her, giving her hand a squeeze as she removed the mug.

“I don’t remember,” Sienna said, tears gathering in her eyes, “I don’t remember any of it.”

“It happens sometimes. You went through a very traumatic experience. You were injured really badly. By the time my brother found you, you were nearly dead yourself.”

“But I’m not dead,” Sienna said as she wiped the tears from her eyes and looked down at her hands and arms. There was not scratch on her. No bruises from what she could see, either.

“No, you’re not,” Marian agreed as she sat back. The look in her eyes now wary. Sienna frowned.

“If I was nearly dead, how long have I been asleep? It must have been a long time if I’ve healed already,” Sienna said.

“You’ve been asleep for two days,” Marian informed her, her tone mild but Sienna could hear the stress underneath it.

“Two days? That’s impossible. I’ve never seen anyone heal like that,” Sienna shook her head.

“No, you probably wouldn’t have. Even with the help of a healer, Guardian’s do not heal that way,” Marian agreed. Sienna heard the words, but she also was hearing the words that Marian wasn’t saying. Her heart sped up and hands clenched tightly in to fists.

“When my brother found you, you were nearly dead. He said there was blood in your lungs and it was choking you to death. He was ready to put your out of your misery, to ease your pain. But you stopped him. You told him that you couldn’t die yet. That there was something you hadn’t done yet. You asked him to change you.”

Sienna sat there, letting each word penetrate her numb brain. She didn’t remember that accident. She didn’t remember it at all. Two days, it had just been two days since it had happened. She had nearly died. Heck, she should have been dead. Kailee, Richard and Steven were. But she hadn’t. She had survived. No, that wasn’t right. She shouldn’t have survived. She should have been dead. Instead, she had been saved. Marian’s brother had saved her.

The whole fact that she had been changed, wasn’t bothering her as much as she knew it probably should. It was instead the fact that she should have been dead, but she wasn’t. Guardians weren’t turned to shifters. It just didn’t happen. Their magics were just too different. The two magic couldn’t exist in the same place, and that place just happened to be her body. She had heard horror stories of Guardians failing the change. The pain was supposed to be excruciating as their body was literally being torn apart by the two magics. No guardian had ever made it through the change.

If she had asked to be changed, she must have been out of her mind or utterly desperate. This was just too much. Her heart began to pound in her chest, her breath started coming in gasps.

She felt a slight nudge in her mind. It was hard to explain but it was enough to drop her out of her oncoming panic attack. She froze as she felt that slight nudge again. She didn’t know how to make sense of this new feeling. It was almost as if someone was brushing up against her. A shiver ran down her back as she realized that’s exactly what it felt like.

“Sienna?” Her head shot up as she stared wide eyed at the woman before her. “Sienna, are you okay?”

“I don’t know,” She said honestly as she suddenly realized she was curled over, her arms crossed over her chest protectively.

Marian gave her a sympathetic smile, “I know this is a lot to take it at one time. It would be a lot to take in for anyone. Maybe I should help you back to bed and I can have Walter bring you a cup of tea that will help you sleep.”

Sienna shook her head, “I can’t sleep. I need to contact my family. I need to let them know what happened to me. My brother must be freaking out by now if I’ve been out of contact for two days, especially if they learned about the deaths of my friends.”

Sienna noticed the frown on Marian’s lips, but the other woman nodded.

“I’ll talk to Walker.”

“Walker?” Sienna said, her brows knitting as the name tickled something at the back of her mind.

Mate, the new voice in her head insisted. Mate? What the hell did that mean? And what the hell was happening to her? Was she looking her mind? She heard a snickering then.

Ok, she was definitely losing her mind. She was certain of it.

“Sienna? Is something wrong?” Marian asked worriedly as she leaned forward.

“I think I’m losing my mind,” Sienna admitted. “I’m hearing voices.”

That brought a smile to Marian’s lips, definitely not the expression Sienna was expecting.

“You’ll get used to it,” Marian assured her.

“So, I’m not losing my mind?”

Marian shook her head, “No. In wolf form, we can’t speak like we do in human form, so we communicate mind to mind.”

Okay, that would explain the gruff voice she had heard before when she first woke up. But that didn’t explain this other voice. It was feminine, but at the same time childlike. Their thoughts were simple, not complex like a human’s. She said as much to Marian who nodded her head.

“That would be your wolf,” Marian told her.

“My wolf?”

“I’m not really sure how to explain this to someone who wasn’t born a shifter. We have a few shifters here who we made, but because the transition process is so hard on normal humans, most do survive the change. Usually it would be one of the Elders who would do the explaining, but because of the whole situation, things are a little different in your case. So I’m going to try and do my best to explain to you what its like being a shifter.”

Sienna really didn’t know what to say to that, so she just nodded.

“Okay, so Shifters are part human and part other. In most cases, the other is mammal, but I have heard of bird shifters and fish shifters. That’s usually were those fairytales about harpies and mermaids come from. Because bird shifters and fish shifters have such different make ups from the rest of us, they usually keep to themselves and are rarely seen.”

“I don’t know how it is for them, but for the rest of us, it’s like there are two parts of our brain, a human part and an animal part. The human part is complex and guided by logic, while the animal part is more simple minded and guided by instinct.”

“Our wolves are part of us, yet at the same time they are separate. When we are in human form, the human part of our mind is in control most of the time unless we allow the wolf part to take over. It is the same when we shift, when we are wolf, the wolf part is more control of our actions unless the human part asserts itself.”

Sienna’s face must have betrayed her lack of comprehension because Marian said, “I know I’m explaining this really bad. But I’ve always known what I am, so it’s sort of hard to explain it to someone who’s new to this. But I promise you, you’ll get used to it. The wolf is not a separate entity, it is you, just as when you are wolf, you are still there. The wolf is just the most instinctual part of you. You’ll understand in time, I promise.”

Sienna just nodded to make Marian feel better because she highly doubted she would ever truly understand this new voice in her head.

Dumb, the voice commented at that moment. Sienna really couldn’t argue but at that moment, she did feel dumb.

“You’ll get used to it. Soon, you won’t even remember a time when there was just a single voice in your head,” Marian told her, patting her hand. Sienna couldn’t keep the grimace from her face, which just caused Marian to laugh, “Things will look better in the morning. I promise. ”

Sienna hoped so, because really, she didn’t see how it could get any worse.

Sienna was scolding herself for tempting fate when she opened her eyes the next morning to find a large man towering over her. At first, all she could do was blink as she tried to make sense of what she was seeing.

From her position on the bed, the man looked like a giant. He towered over her, his broad form blocking out the morning light from the window behind him, casting his features in to shadow. What Sienna could make out didn’t lessen the fear that was suddenly starting to build as she realized that there was a large man standing at her bedside just staring down at her. She could barely make out his piercing golden eyes, but she didn’t have to, to know he was staring straight at her. The hairs standing up on the back of her neck told her as much.

She opened her mouth to speak, but instead of words coming out of her mouth, a dry hacking cough came out instead. Her throat was still dry and raw. But at least she realized, her muscles hurt a lot less from yesterday. Moving today made her wince, but it didn’t immobilize her.

“Here,” A glass of water was thrust in her face. Sienna carefully sat up and grabbed the glass and quickly brought it to her lips. She took small sips to ease her parched throat and to give her mind something to concentrate on rather than the warmth that had blossomed in her chest at the sound of his rich deep voice. A part of her she really didn’t want to think about at that moment was purring with pleasure.

Although she was absolutely sure her face betrayed nothing that was going on in her head on her face, when she dared to look up at the man again, it was to find a smug smile on his lips. It was as if he had heard her thoughts, she felt her cheeks grow warm and quickly darted her gaze away.

When she could finally stall no longer, she handed the glass back to the man who was already holding his hand out for it. He set it down on the table Walter had set up next to the bed last night, next to a small dish crushed herbs and old chipped teapot, the remains of Walter’s “special” tea.

“Thank you,” She said softly, belatedly remembering the manners her grandmother had drilled in to her as a child.

“You’re welcome,” the man replied, his voice a little gruff. Sienna instantly hated the fact that his voice seemed to have some awkward reaction on her. Goose bumps literally covered her hands at the very sound of it.

“My sister informed me last night that you wish to contact your family,” It literally took Sienna’s mind a full minute to comprehend his words. She didn’t even realize she was staring at his mouth until she saw the corners of his lips turn up in a smile, at which her cheeks suddenly flamed.

What the hell was wrong with her? She had never reacted to a man like this before, never. Her body was on fire, and she knew it had nothing to do with her injuries, but everything to do with this man. And what made it all the more worse was that this man seemed to know it.

She tried to remember what he just said, but it seemed to escape her.

“One of my wolves was able to find locate your bag in the car. We’ve already been in contact with your family,” The man informed her, she nodded to show she was listening as she tried to string together the words in her head to make sense. Her brain didn’t seem to be working right, and it worried her. Maybe she hit her head in the accident and something had broken, something that even shifter healing couldn’t help.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she nearly jumped out of her skin when a hand brushed against her cheek. Her eyes immediately flew up to the man who now watched her with sympathy rather than amusement.

“Give it time. Things will return to normal soon. Your body and mind are still adjusting to the change. Your brain is trying to deal with all the new sensory information not to mention you and your wolf are still trying to adjust to each other.” He told her kindly. The only thing she could do was nod since she didn’t quite understand what he was talking about.

“If you’re well enough, I’ll have Marian come up and help you take care of the necessities,” he said gesturing to the connected bathroom. Sienna could feel her checks warm as she did catch on to what he was talking about then. What made it even worse, was that she really did have to use the bathroom and she most definitely didn’t want him to help her there.

She gave a terse nod, avoiding his gaze. She refused to allow him to see the embarrassment and frustration she was sure that was written all over her face. She hated feeling like a stranger in her own body. She hated that her mind couldn’t seem to work right. She hated that nothing felt right anymore. Hot tears began to gather in her eyes as she clutched the quilt tightly in her fists.

“I will send Marian up,” The man informed her, she felt his fingers drift softly over her stiff shoulder. She knew the gesture was meant to be comforting, but jerked away from his touch all the same.

The man said nothing, instead her let out a soft sigh, turned and quietly left the room. Sienna watched until the door closed behind before she let her body relax. What she hated the most of all about this whole change, was the way that man affected her body. Even from just that barest brush, her body had responded. It had taken all of her self-control not to lean in to his touch, not to reach out and touch him. He was a complete stranger that she knew nothing about, yet she was ready to jump in to bed with him. What was wrong with her?

She needed to get better and then she needed to get out of here. As soon as she took care of her body’s needs, the first thing she was looking for was a phone. She would call up Jack and he would come and get her. She couldn’t stay here any longer. She just couldn’t.

Chapter Two

Marian brought her a set of clothes. Since she was about four inches taller than her, and about twenty pounds of muscle heavy then her, the clothes were loose and slightly big. But Sienna didn’t care. Marian had brought her a belt to hold up the jeans, a thick pair of warm socks, and a sweater that looked more like a dress on her, but that was okay. At least wearing something normal helped her to feel a little bit normal.

Marian also helped her downstairs and to the kitchen where breakfast had been laid out on a long wooden table. The stairs had been a little tricky, as she hadn’t been able to bit back the hisses of pain, but she made it downstairs, which was one step closer to freedom.

Two long wooden benches lined both sides of the table. The kitchen was empty except for them but it hadn’t been empty long. Sienna recognized Walter’s scent, and the scent of the man who had been in her room. But there were at least three other scents that strongly stuck out, that new part of her brain that was Other, catalogued them.

We will put faces to those scents, then they will no longer make your nervous, the voice assured her as if that would make her feel better about standing in a room cataloguing scents. The others scents are weak, they have not been in the room in a long time, but there is still enough for us to track them.

Tracking, that was one thing Sienna had always been good at. She had always been able to sense magical signatures. Each person’s magic was different, each person left a different signature when they used their magic and Sienna had been perfect at recognizing each signature and following it back to its source.

It was how she had known that it was her brother who had been behind all those awful things. She could sense his magic all over those people he had hurt and tortured. She had tried to tell someone once, but they hadn’t believed her. Told her she wasn’t sensing right. It didn’t matter that she was the strongest tracker born in their clan in hundreds of years. She had it wrong. It was never Jordan who hurt those people. She was bad for telling such awful lies.

The only one who had ever believed her was Jack. He didn’t need any proof. As far as Jack was concerned, if Sienna said it was true, then it was true. But no one ever listened to either of them and Jordan’s crimes always went unpunished. Even his own victims would never speak up against him. He was just too powerful.

That’s why it was so important that she got back home as soon as possible. People were dead and she couldn’t remember why. She needed to remember what happened? How had their car been driven off the road? How had she been thrown from the car when she always wore her seatbelt?

None of the things they had told her so far made any sense. She didn’t think they were lying to her. They had no reason to lie to her. But everything they had been able to tell her, just didn’t seem right.

“Sienna?” Marian’s voice broke her train of thought. Her new friend was watching her worriedly. “Are you okay?”

“I think so,” Sienna said with a frown, not quite understanding the fear she was seeing in Marian’s eyes.

“Good, then could you pull back the power, it’s kind of getting uncomfortable in here,” Marian said with a wince, her shoulders drawing up to her ears.

Sienna froze, only then realizing that the air around her had suddenly turned oppressive. It was like nothing she had ever felt before and was hard for her brain to make sense out of. It was sort of like what she felt from that She-Wolf when she first woke up but different. Then it had felt like there was something brushing against her skin, like ants crawling on her.

This was different. This feeling radiated from her. It was sort of like when you jumped into a pool and the water around you rippled away from you like tiny waves crashing in to the sides of the pool. But where the ripples stopped as the water calmed, this just went on and on.

This feeling was completely new to her. It was magic, she knew it was. She was a magic user, but this magic was foreign. It felt different, not wrong, but different. Where her magic before had always felt light and soft, like air, this magic was heavy, thick, earthy.

The magic immediately ceased, and Marian took in a deep breath and her shoulder’s relaxed.

“Thank you,” Marian said with a smile. Sienna would have replied if she had any idea how she had stopped it. But she hadn’t the slightest idea. If anything, she would think it had stopped only because she became aware of it. She had no idea how she had been doing what she was doing, so the moment she realized the magic was coming from her, it stopped because she was no longer doing it.

“What was that?” Sienna asked.

“That was Pack Magic,” A deep hoarse voice replied as Walter walked in to the room. There was a wicked grin on his lips and he shuffled in to the room. “I haven’t felt magic like that since the last time my grandmother, gods rest her soul, let her temper loose on the entire Pack. She had the entire Pack on their knees. That woman was the strongest female Alpha to ever rule are Clan.”

Walter’s laugh then, a sinister little laugh that sent shivers down her back, as he looked over at his niece, “I don’t think this one will have any trouble holding the Pack.”

Sienna had just opened her mouth to ask what Walter was talking about when a distant howl went up, alerting others who carried the warning as more and more voices joined the eerie chorus.

Intruders! A voice said in her head, Intruders have entered the valley.

Sienna froze, too stunned by the myriad of voices in her head to actually make sense of the words.

“Quick girl, don’t stand there looking stupid,” Walter said, wrapping a hand around her arm and began to drag her out of the room. Sienna stumbled, nearly taking both of them down when a strong arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her back up.

She whirled around to find the large wolf from earlier, Walker, Marian’s brother. His golden eyes glowing, a growl emanating from deep in his chest. His attention wasn’t directed at Walter and Sienna though, it was directed outwards, to whatever was outside.

“Get them to the Hollow,” He order Marian before releasing Sienna gently.

“What the Hollow?” Sienna asked as Marian appeared by her side to take her brother’s place.

“It’s their safest place in the valley,” Marian explained to her as she wrapped an hand around Sienna’s arm and began to lead her out the backdoor behind Walter.

“It’s sacred ground,” Walter said over his shoulder and he grabbed a worn gray coat from one of the hooks by the door and pulled it own. Marian grabbed an even larger tan coat from another hook and handed it to Sienna before grabbed a more feminine baby blue coat and slipped it on.

Sienna hesitated only for a moment before slipping the thick winter jacket over her shoulders. She had picked up on the owner’s scent the moment Marian had lifted it off the hook. Sienna knew immediately that this jacket belonged to Walker. She also knew just how possessive shifters could be about there things. But seeing as how she didn’t have a jacket and she had yet to figure out how to wear her new fur suit, this would have to do. She just hoped that smelling her scent on his jacket wouldn’t upset the large man.

Marian only gave Sienna enough time to zip on the jacket and slip her feet into a pair of boots that fit her better than the jacket. She couldn’t tell who the boots belonged, since she didn’t recognize the scent.

“My mother’s,” Marian explained with a smile, when she caught Sienna’s nose twitching, “She was the closest to you in size.”

“Hurry it up,” Walter ordered the two women, pulling open the backdoor, he shuffled out in to the newly fallen snow.

The new unknown scents that drifted in threw the open door nearly drove Sienna mad in that one moment. Her wolf, as Marian called it, became excited by all the new unknown scents. Sienna though didn’t know how to deal with all the new information bombarding her. Her body froze, as her brain went in to overdrive.

It was too much, it was just on much. She had never felt anything like this before. It literally felt like her head was about to explode. The world around her began to get fuzzy and it became harder and harder for her to breath. Too much, she wanted to scream, it was too much.

“Damn it, we don’t have time for this,” Walter growled as stalked back toward them. Marian hovered next to Sienna, her forest green eyes wide with worry.

“I’ve never seen anyone react like this before,” Marian said as she slipped an arm under Sienna’s arms and tried to pull her down the path that led towards the Walter’s truck.

Walter hobbled over towards them, shaking his head impatiently, “It would be our luck to get stuck with a tracker.”

“A tracker? But I’ve never seen a tracker react like this.”

“That’s because trackers aren’t made. Their born,” Walter informed her sharply as their two of them forced Sienna to move forward. Her borrowed boots slipped and slide through the soft snow.

“If trackers are only born, then how is she a tracker?” Marian grunted as Sienna slipped and nearly fell. She caught her before Sienna could hit the ground, but now she pretty much dead weight in Marian’s arms. Her eyes were open, but they were empty, her pupils dilated.

“Damn it,” Walter growled through clenched teeth as he and Marian struggled to get Sienna back on her feet. Marian was tempted to just pick up the woman, but she wasn’t sure how Sienna, much less her wolf would react.

Marian was just about to give up and pick the smaller woman up when all of a sudden Sienna’s eyes flashed silver and her body stiffened in their grasp. A growl slide from the woman’s lips and the air around them became electric.

“Sienna? What’s wrong?” Marian asked as the woman tried to struggle out of their grasp.

“Death,” Sienna’s voice was empty of any emotion, her wolf shining throw her eyes, “There is death in the air.”

Just then a howl broke through the silence that had fallen over the small town. One filled with pain and rage. Sienna didn’t know how she knew it, but she knew the howl had come from Walker. She also knew that wherever he was, he was engaged in battle.

The part of her that was wolf wanted to storm off in to the woods and join him in battle. But the part of her that was human knew she could be of no help there. She knew next to nothing about Marian’s brother, but she had no doubt he could handle himself in a battle. There was just something about him that told her he could handle himself in any situation.

Besides, his would not be the only battle today. She turned her head towards the town. She didn’t know how she knew it, but she knew there was danger there too. Let Walker have his battle. She had a battle of her own.


Sienna had been trained since she was nine with weapons. She had been born a tracker, and she had been born a powerful one. Her grandfather had seen great promise in her ability so he had trained her to be a weapon. She didn’t have powers like her older brother, but she had enough to defend herself against a magical attack. But her grandfather had wanted her to able to defend herself against more then just magical attacks, her wanted her to be able to defend herself against physical attacks as well.

Of course, she had never really tested those skills out on shifters, and if she was smart, she probably would be running away from danger rather than to it, but she had never run from a fight before and she wasn’t about to start now. She had been taught to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. It was who she was, and who she would always be, so there was definitely no way she was running away from this fight.

Letting her feet guide her, she followed the scent of death through the empty streets. She could sense rather than hear, Marian not far behind her. If Sienna was tracking what she thought she was, then it was good to have the other woman with her. Because they were definitely going to be needing a healer.

The scent of blood was growing stronger, and now that they were getting closer she could hear soft pain-filled moans and the deep snarl that was more feline then lupine.

“Sienna,” Marian called to her softly. As close as they were now, Marian must have finally caught on to the scents that had driven Sienna on.

Knowing she was not nearly as silent as her new friend, Sienna slowed her steps, trying harder to be silent. For surprise was the only thing she was going to have on her side.

Slowing down also allowed Marian to catch up with her. Sienna was at least smart enough to know not to run in without some sort of plan.

“Are you insane?” Marian hissed when she finally caught up, wrapping a hand around Sienna’s upper arm, “We need to get you to the Hollow, not run straight in to danger. You just barely survived changing. Are you trying to get yourself killed?”

“It’s not my life I’m worried about. Someone out there needs me and I’m not going to run and hide when there is something I can do to help them,” Sienna whispered back as she pulled her arm free from Marian’s grasp. Marian could only stare at Sienna, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide.

“You two deserve each other,” Marian said with a sigh, “You’re so damn alike.”

Sienna wondered only for a moment what Marian was talking about, but the thought left her mind when she turned to corner to find a large blank panther gnawing on the all too still body of a woman not much older than Sienna herself. The moans Sienna had heard earlier came from the little body lying a few feet away from the woman and animal.

The small body was still but Sienna could hear a rapid heartbeat that let her know that child was anything but unconscious. From her vantage point, Sienna couldn’t see if the child was wounded, one jeans clad leg was covered in blood, but whether that was their own or of the dead woman’s, Sienna couldn’t only guess.

“By the gods,” Marian breathed out as she finally spotted what Sienna had been tracking. Sienna looked over her shoulder to see Marian’s pale face as she looked at the scene before them.

“That’s Taylor. She’s one of Walker’s classmates. I just saw her yesterday morning at the diner picking up breakfast for her family.” Marian told her softly shaking her head as she clasped her hands to her mouth.

“As cold as this sounds, the woman is not my worry right now,” Sienna said as she pointed to the little body Marian had not yet spotted, “That is my main concern.”

“Shit, that’s Morgan, Taylor’s seven year old daughter,” Marian swore.

“She’s still alive and probably vaguely aware of what’s going on next to her. We have to get her out of there before she doesn’t something that will draw the attention of her mother’s killer.”

“Shit, shit, shit,” Marian swore, “Walker took the best fighters with him and they’re all the way at the edge of town. They’ll never make it here fast enough.”

“We don’t have time to rely on the others. We have to do something now. Do you have any weapons on you?” Sienna asked.

Marian just gave her a look and Sienna remembered who she was talking to, “Shifters don’t use weapons. Our whole bodies are weapons.”

“Only if they’re trained to be,” Sienna shook her head. If only she had one of her knives, but they were probably lost in the accident. Along with any of the guns they keep in the vehicle. Marian would be no help either, she was a healer not a fighter. That left Sienna with only one choice.

God, she hoped this wasn’t the stupidest thing she would ever do. Bending over, she yanked off her borrowed boots and thick socks. She bit back the sharp hiss as he bare feet touched the frozen cement sidewalk. She forced herself to concentrate on anything but the cold as she quickly unzipped Walker’s winter jacket and threw it over the discarded boots and socks.

Sienna wasn’t a shifter expert, but she knew enough to know that they didn’t need to moon or some silly thing like that in order to change. The change was done at the shifter’s command. She also knew that for a made shifter it usually took months to learn to shift on command. But she didn’t have months, she had a minute at most before the panther noticed them. Sienna also knew though, that an Alpha’s hold on their pack was absolute. If the Alpha commanded a shifter to shift, they would have no choice but the obey.

It was the way Shifter magic worked. So right now, she was praying she hadn’t completely lost her mind and that her Alpha would be smart enough not to argue with her right now.

Marian just stood wide-eyed as she watched Sienna strip. Normally, it would have made Sienna uncomfortable to get naked in public, but this was an emergency and by now, Marian had seen every bare inch of her.

“Please tell me you are not going to do what I think you’re going to do,” Marian whispered as Sienna placed the bundle of clothes into Marian’s arms. She was going to need to something to pull on when this was all over, at least she hoped she would still be alive to need the clothing.

“Tell your Alpha he needs to command me to change,” Sienna said as she struggled to keep her teeth from chattering and drawing the attention of the enemy.

“You are insane,” Marian said shaking her head, “he’ll never agree. Not with you.”

“Damn it Marian!” Sienna snapped softly, “We don’t have time to argue. Any minute now that creature is going to notice that there is a fresh meal just a few yards away. Do you really want to listen to that child scream as it tears in to her?”

Marian said nothing but just shook her head. Although Sienna couldn’t hear the words they spoke, she could tell Marian had done as she asked. The pained expression on her face let Sienna know the conversation probably wasn’t going well.

Sienna, do not move. I’m sending Luke now, a voice commanded in her head. She recognized the voice as the one she had head when she first woke. But now that she was more aware, she realized that it was the voice of Marian’s brother. Which meant he was her Alpha. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that man being her Alpha, but she didn’t have time to worry about it right now.

He won’t get here in time. There is an injured little girl who will be eaten alive if I don’t do something now, Sienna thought back, hoping she was doing all of this correctly. She had only been a shifter for a few days, and for most of that time she had been unconscious so she wasn’t even sure if they counted. She had absolutely no idea what she was doing. She was starting to fear she had done something wrong when only silence met her plea.

Then there was a deep growl that sent a shiver down her spine. Don’t do anything stupid and don’t move unless you absolutely have to. Luke will be there in a couple minutes. Wait until he gets there before doing anything. Do you understand?

Sienna nodded before realizing that there was no way he could see her nod, I won’t do anything unless I have no other choice.

She could tell by the growl that echoed in her head that he was not pleased with her answer. As the silence in her head drew on she feared he wouldn’t do as she asked. She was just about to call out to him when she felt his presence in her head.

Change, the order reverberated though her mind.

The sensation was hard to describe. It was like he was there with her. She could feel him but she couldn’t see him. He was all around her, a fierce and primal heat that sent shivers down her spine and set a fire deep within her. The feeling was intense, embarrassingly pleasurable, and yet at the same time almost painful.

The fire that has started deep within began to grow. The heat became all consuming until it felt like every part of her was on fire. Her mouth opened to scream, but no sound left her lips. She doubled over, clutching her middle. Tears gathered in her eyes. The pain became so fierce that the world around her disappeared. She felt herself falling forward and she had no way to stop it. She knew she must have hit the ground by she never felt it.

When the pain had become too much, when she thought she was about to lose her very mind, when she knew she could take no more, it stopped. All that remained where the echoes of the pain, as the fire within her abated and the world around her began to return in brief flashes of sight and smell.

When the world finally settle around her she opened her eyes to find Marian leaning over her, a deep frown on her lips, Sienna borrowed cloth clutched tightly to her chest.

“Are you all right?” Marian asked.

Sienna opened her mouth to reply only to realize that the muzzle of a wolf, was not meant to make the same sounds as a human mouth. The words she meant to say came out more as a pathetic whine.

Well at least she knew the shift had worked. When the pain had become unbearable, she had feared in that one moment that her new body wouldn’t be able to contain the shifter magic and that it was literally going to tear her apart. She had known ahead of time that there would be some pain involved in the shift, but she had not expected it to feel like she was being burned alive.

She would have to talk to Marian about that later when she had a human mouth and when the life of a child was not on the line.

Now that the pain had all but faded, Sienna realized she was lying on the snow covered pavement. Where her human flesh had felt the bite of the cold, her russet colored fur coat, kept her nice and warm.

Sienna stared at her front legs which had been arms a moment ago and tried to make them move. Everything felt different in this new body. She wasn’t sure how to move, much less make her body stand. She had naively believed that her new form would be as natural to her as her human form. But right now, she felt as help as an infant. Her human brain couldn’t figure out what to do with this wolf’s body.

Sienna could sense her wolf’s amusement at her floundering. She let out an irritated growl as she tired to move her new body and get her feet under her. It took her a few seconds, but she was finally able to get up on all four feet. She was proud of herself until she tried to take a step and landed back on her belly when her legs got tangled up.

Marian’s frown only grew as she watched Sienna fumble, “I don’t think this was a good idea.”

Sienna was starting to admit Marian might be right as she tried to pull her feet up beneath her, and quickly landed back down on her stomach when her back paw slipped on a patch of ice.

Sienna didn’t have time for this. There was a little girl’s life on the line. She couldn’t just lie here and listen when the panther eventually turned its attention to the frightened child. Walker may have send one of his wolves to help her, but there was no guarantee he would arrive in time. Sienna may be the only chance that little girl had. She had to do this.

Too Human. The new voice in her head declared. Not right mind. Need to be wolf, not human.

I am human, she wanted to shout back. Up until a few days ago, she had only been human, therefore she only knew how to be human. Being anything other the human had never entered her mind. She didn’t know how to be a wolf.

Be Wolf, the words came again, this time with a little growl at the end.

I don’t know how! Sienna silently shouted.

Not time for human thoughts, stop being human. Be Wolf. This time there was a definite growl in the words.

Then show me how!

It was as if she had said the magic words. The world around her began to shift. Her senses took on a different quality. Things around her became sharper, scents grew stronger, sounds were louder. But at the same time, things felt more distant. It was like she was there, yet not there.

Be Wolf, the voice in her head said as her body suddenly moved with ease, and she no longer lay sprawled on the icy sidewalk, but instead stood steadily on all four feet. The movements were her own, but she had not done them consciously.

“Sienna?” Marian asked warily as she backed up a step, giving Sienna space.

Sienna huffed in response, as she moved around Marian’s legs to looked around the corner. It was an odd feeling, to feel her body move and yet at the same time not be in control of it. She was starting to almost feel like a passenger in her own body.

Enemy, the wolf in her snarled, as the blank panther came in to view. The wolf lifted her nose and sniffed the air. The sharp scent of copper hit Sienna hard, making her stomach roil.

The wolf sniffed again, where all the different scents would have overloaded her human mind, the wolf took each scent, identifying and filing it away. Sienna recognized the fresh smell of snow and pine, the choking odor or exhaust and motor oil, and the now familiar scent of blood and death. But as her wolf kept sniffing, she realized the one thing she didn’t smell was feline musk. But where the smell of feline was missing, there was another scent the wolf couldn’t identify that Sienna recognized. Not but scent though, for she had never smelled magic before. But the crisp, almost tangy scent that tickled her wolf’s tongue was definitely magic, guardian magic.

She wasn’t sure how she recognized it, but she knew without a doubt that panther before her was definitely not a shifter. She had heard of guardians who were able to wield a magic similar to shifter magic, but she had never met them.

They were called Skin Walkers. They were an outcast group among the guardian clans because their magic relied on death. From what her older brother had told her, in order the take the form of their chosen animal, they first needed to kill the animal and skin it while the body was still warm. Then they needed to weave their magic to bind the animals spirit to the skin. Once the animal’s spirit was trapped, the skin walker would place the still warm and blood soaked skin on his body, and bind the skin to him.

Sienna had only been ten at the time when her older brother Jordan had decided to enlighten her about the darker side of their magic. Sienna had then watched as her brother picked up her pet rabbit and snapped it’s neck. He grabbed the hunting knife he had brought with them, taunting Sienna. Telling her he was going to bind her rabbit’s soul to its skin and bind the skin to Sienna. Then she could always been with her pet.

Sienna had gotten sick at her brother’s taunts. She had gotten sick, throwing up all over her grandmother’s prized rose bushes. Jack had arrived then, feeling his twin’s pain and fear. He grabbed Sienna’s rabbit from Jordan’s hand and grabbed Sienna by the arm. Pulling her away from Jordan’s taunting laugh and dragging her in to woods behind their family home.

Sienna just sat there and cried as Jack buried her pet. She told him what Jordan had said. What he had threatened. Jack had vowed then to protect her, to always protect her so that Jordan could never hurt her again.

But Jack wasn’t here to protect her now. And this creature before her tasted of the same taint as her brother. Which meant only one thing, Jordan was probably behind this attack and the accident that had landed her here. He was the reason three of her friends were dead. He was the reason she had taken the risk of being bitten. She must have found something out, something worth killing her for. But what? What had she learned that she couldn’t remember. What had happened in those days she couldn’t remember? What had she learned that was worth killing three of his own clans-men and his sister? What couldn’t she remember?

The sound of a little girl’s cry told her she didn’t have time to worry about that now. The panther had finally turned it’s attention to the child. Sienna wasn’t sure how far away Walker’s wolf was, all she knew was that they had run out of time.

The panther stalked toward the little girl. Blood dripped from its muzzle. Gore covered its large front paws. The little girl began to cry in earnest. She struggled, her small body trying to twist and turn, yet some invisible force held her in place. her cries turned it to screams as the panther got closer. She had just seen it feast on her mother’s corpse and now it was coming for her.

“Shit,” Marian growled as she realized something was wrong, “Where the hell is Luke?”

No time, the wolf inside her said, and Sienna completely agreed. They were out of time. Luke may get here soon, but he wouldn’t be here in time. By the time he arrived, the child would be dead. Sienna could not allow that to happen.

Her wolf was in agreement. Before Sienna even had time to think, the wolf took control of their body once more and dashed out in to the open street.

The skin walker did not seem surprised but her arrival, Instead it sat back on its haunches and waited for her, blood dripping from its open maw as its bright green eyes followed her every movement.

Her wolf didn’t hesitate for a moment to place itself between the skin walker at the child. Fangs bared, deep growl reverberating through her entire body.

The panther lifted it’s lips, exposing blood stained teeth, in a parody of a grin. A huffing sound escaped its open jaw. If Sienna didn’t know better, she would have thought that the animal was laughing at her.

Sienna watched then, as the panther began to shift, as limbs stretched and and the body became more erect. She watched in utter fascination as the creature’s front legs length and sharp talons retracted to become human hands. The process was mesmerizing, nothing at all like a shifter’s change. There were no bones breaking or limbs shifting. It was almost graceful to watch as the panther became a man.

Where a blank panther had been a moment before, now stood a tall fit man dressed in a gray suit you would expect to see in a board room and not in the middle of sneak attack on a shift village. The suit was pristine and clean, not a speck of blood or dirt on it.

A black pelt lay over the man’s back, the arms hanging over the man’s shoulders. The scent of the pelt stung the back of Sienna’s tongue. It tasted like ash and putrid blood, it tasted like death.

The man smiled at her, flashing bright white teeth. His face was clean of gore, but Sienna could still smell it on him. His handsome face was nothing more than a ruse hiding the evil within. He lifted a dark brow at her, when she made no move to shift.

He chuckled, his laugh deep and emotionless, just like his dark eyes, “You are far greater a prize then your brother promised. He had informed us that there was a guardian in this little village who had survived the change. But he did not tell us you would be able to shift so soon.”

Tracker, Sienna’s brain screamed. This man was a a tracker just like she was. That it how he was able to find her. That is how he knew who she was.

“Your family should be proud. To have two such prodigies in their family. Never before has a guardian survived and change, yet here you are. Not even three days after your near death and you stand before me in all your shift glory,” The man said as he took a step towards her.

Sienna’s wolf snarled at the man, baring her sharp fangs, letting him know not to come any closer. Her flashed her a grin, as he dared to take another step. The wolf lunged at him, her fangs snapping, ready to draw blood.

The man just chuckled and shook his head as if she were nothing more than a silly child, “I wonder what powers I would gain if I were to take your skin. A shifter-changed guardian, I can only imagine the taste of the power that flows through your veins.”

She watched in disgust and he liked his lips, his eyes traveling over her new body greedily.

“Not as fast as a panther, but I can imagine the strength in those limbs,” He said as that greasy smile returned to his lips as his dark eyes met her own. “It’s too bad I don’t have time today to play, little wolf. Your brother just wanted us to verify your continued existence. He has great plans for you. And so do I.”

Sienna felt the man drawing magic to him and she knew he was about to flee. Her wolf understood too, and refused to lose her prey. She lunged, her fangs snapping shut over his hand and biting down hard. Bitter blood filled her mouth as the man let out a howl.

His dark eyes flashed as he tried to grab Sienna’s jaws to pry his hand free. But Sienna held tight, using the all the strength in her body to pull him down. Her entire attention was turned on the man that she didn’t hear Marian’s warning until too late.

“Sienna! Behind you.”

By the time she heard the words, her body was already shaking and shuttering as volts of electricity shot through her. Her jaw opened and the man pulled his hand free. Sienna crashed to the ground, her body shaking uncontrollably, her mouth foaming.

“Idiot, we’re not supposed to kill her yet,” The man snapped as he clutched his bloody hand to his chest. Sienna could do nothing but lay helpless on the ground as the remnants of the magic coursed through her veins.

“If she dies from that little shock, she is not worth the Blackwell name she was born to,” a woman sneered as she appeared in the corner of Sienna’s vision. She was no skin walker, of that Sienna was sure, but she carried the same taint as the man before her. Whatever they were, they had corrupted their souls and tainted their magic. They didn’t deserve to be called guardians.

“You stupid fool. We have no idea how guardian magic will react in her body. We need her alive,” The man roared, and he grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped it around his blending hand.

“She’s still alive,” the woman said blandly as she looked down at Sienna still body, a sneer on her lips.

Sienna tried to growl at the pair, but all that came out was a weak whimper. The woman just snorted.

“Its time to go. The white one is on his way and he is not happy,” The woman smirked as she held out a hand towards the man. The man glared at the woman, but took her hand. Once again, Sienna felt him draw upon the magic around them. She knew if she didn’t do something they would get away. She tried to move, tried to stand up, but she couldn’t even lift her head. The wolf wanted to howl in frustration, but no sound left her lips.

Sienna could only watched as the man and woman disappeared in a flash of light. They were gone. They had gotten away. They had wrecked death and destruction on these people and they had gotten away.

As Sienna lay there staring at the place they had been only a moment before, she made a vow to everyone who had lost their lives that day. Now that she had their scents, she would hunt them down and make them pay. For every life they took she would make sure they suffered in kind. They had made a mistake in letting her live. She would find them, and the next time they met, she would have the upper hand.

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