I stop the projection, looking up at Toran in confusion.
Uncle Cyrus and Bre were mates…
How could Bre be Toran’s mate? “Your uncle and I grew up on stories of the Fated gold and silver wolf pair that were thought to create the most powerful wolf hybrids in all the land, the Ivory twins.I did not even think he believed in them, but I guess I was wrong to assume that,”
Toran chuckles dryly.
“We had known Princess Breanna, a gold wolf, our whole lives and being a silver wolf himself, Cyrus saw an opportunity he could not pass up.Though he did not know who Bre’s true mate would be, before our 18th birthday, Cyrus sought the help of some Spirit witches to not only shield Breanna from her true mate, but also forge a false mate bond with her.This meant that when Bre and I turned 18, neither one of us could feel the bond…but she could feel it with him.I, however, had been betrothed to Bre for years and we were both committed to taking over the Kingdom together, even if we found our true mates.It was what we were taught to accept.Cyrus had hoped Bre would fall for him and leave me altogether, but his fake bond with her was not as strong as he had hoped.He could never convince her to leave me, because mate bond or not, she was falling in love with me…and I with her.wane because he could not mark her and it was not long before Breanna realized something was wrong with their bond.”
Toran pauses for a moment to gather his thoughts, the memory of her fate still a fresh wound in his head.
“My wife was a smart woman,” Toran says proudly, his eyes flickering with melancholy.
“And when the sparks began to fade between her and Cyrus, she realized her bond with him was nothing more than an illusion.On the day she no longer felt the sparks of their bond, she confronted him, demanding an explanation for what he had done.It was then that I experienced the true power of the mate bond for the first and only time.My heart felt like it was about to burst and I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.My wolf was practically inconsolable so I ran home to check on her and found her…”
He does not finish his sentence, his eyes fixating on a small spot on the table.
“I watched my mate die in my arms…and I never got to enjoy being hers,” Toran whispers.
“Your uncle robbed me of my one and only soulmate…so I killed him and thus began my war.”
“You see, Cyrus outsmarted us all,” Toran adds quietly, leaning forward in his seat.
“He turned the truth against me and King Arthur believed every word.Bre and I were married several years, never once feeling the bond, and so, when I told King Arthur years, Bre had confided in her father that she felt the bond with Cyrus and several of Bre’s closest companions confessed that she had, in a moment of weakness, given herself to him.My heart became ice the moment I realized the world had turned against me and I waged war to seek my revenge.King Arthur chose to support Scarlett Haven and Ravenstone left the Kingdom.”
A single tear rolls down his cheek but he quickly wipes it away, straightening his tie and clearing his throat.I try to make sense of everything he just explained, but there are still so many questions left unanswered, so many things I still do not understand, too much to just forgive.
“You have questions,” Toran chuckles softly.
Words spill out of my mouth before I have time to process them and I do not even care about my stutter anymore.
Something flickers in Toran’s eyes as I speak but I cannot decipher what he thinks of me.
“Y-you said y-you knew A-agnes….Th-that y-you sent her to m-me,” I stutter, also signing the words so Agnes can follow along.
“That is not a question.”
“H-how? H-how do you know her?” I demand.
“You can read minds and yet you have never thought to search her memories for that answer?” Toran asks, tilting his head to the side.
“Did you never wonder where she came from before? I have always been curious about Agnes’s past but she never answered any of my questions when I asked and I could never reach into her thoughts without hurting her.
Toran eyes Agnes for a moment, and she furiously glares back at him, revealing to me that whatever their relationship was previously must not have been a good one.
“Agnes was a former pack member of mine,” Toran explains.
“I hardly noticed her in Ravenstone but I knew her husband well.He was a good hunter.One of my best scouts actually.”
Agnes was married? Iask myself, glancing at the small woman trembling in anger.
“She was happily married and had a small boy, maybe only a few months old when your father committed the most horrific war crime to punish me,” he adds, a hint of anger in his voice.
“You see Zane, your father is a cold-blooded killer who sent four bombs to a daycare center in my pack…We lost 26 pups, among them, Agnes’ only son.” I stare at the man in front of me, unwilling to believe my father would do such a thing to innocent children.
Agnes seems unaware of the revelation Toran has given me and I tap her on the shoulder.
“Did my father kill your son?” I ask, hoping with every fiber in my body that Toran is lying, that my father is not truly the monster Toran makes him out to be.
My heart sinks, however, when she signs the word yes, tearsday without wanting to tear him to pieces for destroying her family.
How could she even look me in the eye and love me like her own son after what my father did?
“And your husband?” I ask her.
“Killed in action,” she replies, pressing her lips together to hold back her tears.
“Damon, her husband, was killed in battle shortly after they lost their son,” Toran explains.
“A-and how d-did she end up in S-scarlett Ha-Haven?” I ask, dreading his response.
Toran is unable to meet my gaze and stares at his hands as he answers.
“I knew you survived my attacks,” he murmurs.
“And I knew Sebastian was hiding you somewhere in your Pack house.All I needed was to get inside and I would repay Sebastian for what he did to the pups of my Pack.”
“So y-you sent Agnes,”I reply, realizing the woman I have seen as my mother for the past 20 years was sent to kill me.
“I didn’t give her much of a choice,” Toran shrugs.
“I was so angry, so full of hatred that I did not care what I did so long as I made your father pay.I gave Agnes an ultimatum: become a rogue or kill you.”
My mind is in turmoil trying to make sense of everything Toran just revealed to me and I find myself unable to look at Agnes anymore.
Has she ever loved me or has she always been looking for a way to complete her twisted mission? her, hurt that perhaps everything we ever shared, all the laughs, the memories, and the love, was never real.
“What did he tell you?” She signs, tears rolling down her cheeks in heavy streams.
“Because it’s all lies!”
“But you wanted to kill me,” I retort, her kind eyes filling with pain.
“Is that a lie?”
“No,” she shakes her head adamantly.
“Never did it cross my mind to go through with it,” she replies.
“Because you are not your father.You were just a boy locked away in a room.A boy who needed love and I had so much love in my heart left to give and no one to give it to.It only took one look,” she begs.
“One look and I loved you.You are my son.You are my baby and that will never change, no matter what that man says!”
Toran seems to understand the conflict.
“Agnes is not to blame for what I asked her to do.She was just another victim of this war.”
“V-victim?” I snap angrily.
“Y-you are n-no different from m-my fa-father,” I growl, unwilling to shed any more tears in front of him.
“Y-you take and y-you destroy…j-just like him!” Toran says nothing in his defense, allowing my anger to sink in.
“y-you killed m-my br-brother,” I stammer, remembering all the times my mother would get lost in her thoughts as she played with me, likely wondering what it would be like to have both of her pups together.
“W-why? W-what d-did h-he ever do to y-you?!” The tiny smile returns to Toran’s lips and he shrugs.
“Nothing …That is why I did not kill him.”
“W-what?” I gasp in shock.
“I did not kill your brother,” he replies.
“I don’t know who really killed Jonathan, although I have my suspicions,” he shrugs.
“But I am sorry I cannot answer that for you.”
“B-but you d-did kill my m-mother,” I retort, unwilling to forgive all of his sins.
“My mate was murdered right in front of me,” he says quietly.
“AllI felt was anger and pain and I wanted nothing more than to inflict that onto the man who took everything from me.
Unfortunately, I never could.
Cyrus never did find his true mate and in my rage, I killed him too quickly to enjoy it.
When your father took over as Alpha, he became just as bloodthirsty as I was and he set about to slaughter my pack.I could not let him get away with it.”
A look of shame washes over his strong features, his fingers drumming against the table top anxiously.
“So on the night of King Arthur’s birthday party, I sent my warriors to the King’s Mansion with one goal in mind.Hurt Sebastian as his brother hurt me.”
Anger burns through my veins at the thought of this war.
How many innocent lives have been destroyed for the sake of revenge?
“But I failed…”
My head jerks up in his direction and before I can ask what he means, I hear two sets of footsteps walk towards the dining room.
The door opens and a young man with similar features to Toran approaches us.
A familiar scent fills the room, one I have not smelt in over two decades, and I notice a pair of small feet behind the young man.
He steps aside, the blood draining from my face as I stare at the beautiful woman smiling back at me.
Her hair is long and silver now, but her eyes have not changed despite all these years.I stumble onto my feet, my heart nearly pounding out of my chest.