Angela is taken by the Merchants.
We weren't a big pack, there were 43 of us, and that first year we lost four women, including my Beta Female. We didn't have a Pack Doctor, and the one we used was killed after he couldn't save a woman. The next year, my mate and I decided that no matter what, we wouldn't get pregnant, it was just too risky." He took a drink of beer. "I had her locked in a room, it was horrible. She suffered, I suffered, she begged me to relieve her and I couldn't. Then my wolf shoved my human part aside, I opened the door and she got pregnant."
I felt horrible for him. "It was a death sentence, we both knew it, but our wolves didn't care. At twenty weeks, she started a fever, and six hours later she and my son were gone. I killed her, it broke me. I shifted and ran into the mountains, I went completely feral. Two years I wandered the mountains alone, until one spring night I was walking along a cliff. I laid at the edge, my eyes watching the stars and the rising moon, and I heard a voice. It was a voice unlike any other, and it came from inside my head, not from outside. She told me to shift, and my wolf complied immediately. I stood up, turned around, and immediately dropped to my knees when I saw her. She was beautiful, ethereal, covered with the barest of silk, her long hair shining in the moonlight."
"You saw our Goddess," I whispered.
"Yes. I was impertinent enough to ask her the question that had haunted me since this started. Why. Why were our mates being taken from us in such a way, our babies killed, before they had a chance at life. Her answer shook me to the core." He took another drink. "She said it was because she cursed us to this fate. She made it happen, our own Goddess poured out her wrath on the wombs of our women, the cruelest of all possible judgments. She used our own wolves to ensure our punishment."
I couldn't believe it. "Why? Why curse her own creation? What have we done?"
"I asked the same thing. She told me how she created us to be social, she created mates to ensure Packs would develop bonds and ensure genetic diversity. Instead of waiting, instead of traveling to new Packs and creating ties of friendship, instead of honoring the mates she gave us, we became selfish, impatient and aggressive. We took what we wanted, when we wanted it. Choice mates became the norm, Packs went to war with each other, and she had enough of it."
My mind was reeling, and in a way, I was relieved. I had never been able to figure out how it could be so widespread when it first appeared, unlike how epidemics behaved. I didn't see how I couldn't stop it or save anyone, and now I knew why. It never was me.
Snake pulled me in, he could sense how I was feeling. "So how do we remove the curse?"
"We can't, not just yet. Every female who goes into heat with her mate will get pregnant, and every pregnant female will die. Eventually, there will be only one woman left, our Promised One. She holds the fate of our entire race in her hands. If she finds and mates her destined mate, the curse will be broken. If not... if she dies, if she is force or choice mated, if she never finds him, it's all over. We die out, slowly and alone."
"Wait, how do I fit into this?"
"You are the Blessed One, the mother of the Last Shewolf. Luna told me that you were in danger, that you would need protection, that your daughter would need it even more. She asked me if I was willing to do this. I swore a vow to my Goddess that I would protect you, and her, with my life."
"And all of us have taken that same vow," Uriel said as he stood up behind his President. "We have forsaken mates, Packs and all previous bonds to become your personal guard. It is our honor to protect you."
I looked around, every member of the Knights of the Moon had dropped to a knee, fist over their heart, bowing their head to me. "Rise, please... I'm not someone to be worshipped. I'm a person, just like you."
They all stood, and Maalik turned to me, handing me my Eve back.