“Only the dead have seen the end of wars.”
Marius knew the shot fired under the savage attack by his wolves sent the bullet on an unknown course. The silenced weapon only coughed like a reticent plague behind which death followed, prepared to scythe down anything in the path of the bullet’s trajectory. He felt an enormous pain in his chest. It was an agony brought on by complete awareness of what would follow. Damn them! Why must we eternally fight with the only result a sybaritic illusion of victory and glory?
He watched as the assassin fought with determination to free himself from the tearing fangs. Marius observed the wolves had every advantage against the man. They were careful but never fearful. For their prey, there was never compassion or empathy. They did not strategize in deep contemplation. They merely attacked and with innate skill, took down their target. This is my eternal fate too, it seems.
The crunch of bones with wet huffs of fury blasted out of clamped jaws, and straight tails pirouetted in the air in a frantic dance with death. The scene was horrifying and mesmerizing at the same time. The chief of security to the House Răzvan watched from a safe distance as the wolves dispatched the man. The jaws clamped on his throat muffled the screams of suffering death.
Marius approached with care until he stood over the man whose eyes stared up at him in wide open disbelief. “To be eaten alive is the reward for placing duty and enrichment before a moral code of honor,” he said to the dying man. Recognition stared up into the sky as black pupils widened under the brightness of day. There was a flicker of understanding before the prey of Dacian wolves passed on.
“Do you know what the difference is between you and I, besides the obvious? Marius questioned the corpse frozen in death’s grimace. “Ancestral memories,” came Marius’ answer. “Mine come to me as experiences lived over countless centuries. You followed only hearsay, for the sake of a misguided belonging to a tribe who would take from me what is not theirs to take. Did you believe killing the Duchess would somehow make life better for your clan?
The wolves sat on their haunches and tore at clothing and flesh. They were difficult to tear away from the spoils of their hunt so fierce was their hunger for reward. They obeyed their Alpha and followed Marius as he hurried back to the pavilion to find out what had happened to his Duchess. The crowds were agitated but not panicked. The masses milled around slowly dissipating in every direction. The band played. The Honor Guard kept curiosity seekers away.
Rolf trotted behind his Alpha. The taste and smell of the man’s blood and flesh was satisfying but a new scent filled his nose. From the pavilion, Rolf smelled new blood and he whined to hasten his Alpha.