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Aug 13, 2020 8:53 PM
an unusual recruitment (Starr Twins and the Alpha Pack in Nemeton)
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The meadow is dotted with wildflowers, their sweet smell mellowed by the scent of the earth and all the other greenery surrounding them. The tall grass hides them from view, rising up above where they're settled in a hollow under the enormous tree growing in the middle of the clearing. It's peaceful. The sounds of birds and rustling leaves and grass fills the air, and the sky above is a perfect blue dotted with storybook clouds, and Jamie is settled beside him, in reach, and, for the moment, not in any pain. Alex closes his eyes and basks in the quiet contentment he can feel drifting over to him from his brother's mind.

The old Esche pack lands aren't really any safer than anywhere else in what is now Lowell territory, but at least they're familiar. It's not as though it's possible to hide - not really - so they might as well take what comfort they can while they can get away from the rest of the pack. They're busy enough with posturing at the visiting(/intruding, or possibly invading, depending on who you ask) pack that the twins were given a rare chance to retreat out here without anyone noticing. Hopefully it'll be a few hours yet before they're discovered.

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They have a couple of hours of peace and quiet. They hear the approach of the stranger before they see or hear them. The footfalls are controlled in the way only a disciplined, experienced warrior can be; very unlike their pack, or most of the humans in the area.

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Jamie actually notices first, the idle curiosity and then mild-but-growing alarm winding its way into his emotional profile alerting Alex before he even hears the footfalls. 

...Confused? He offers his brother over their bond.

Uncertain, he gets back. 

Alex moves to get between him and the stranger, and Jamie pushes himself up into a position more suitable for defending himself or escaping. 

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Now that they're paying attention, they notice the other oddity; the sound of something else striking the floor, just a bit before every step. They see him, then; the alpha of the visiting pack, his cane tapping the ground ahead of him.

"I hope I'm not intruding upon a private moment."

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Alex just continues watching him warily for a moment, choosing not to give the obvious answer to that question. 

"What do you want?" He asks after a moment, tone not quite hostile but not exactly welcoming, either. 

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"I found myself curious, Mr. Starr. Your pack doesn't seem to think highly of you, despite your unique talents."

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"What gave it away?" He asks, a little sarcasm sneaking into his tone. Jamie starts directing some distracted concern at him, so he shifts a bit to ease the pressure on his still healing knee. "What do you mean, 'unique talents'?"

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"You and your brother seem very close," he says, as though it's an answer. "It's an uncommon sort of bond, Mr. Starr. You can hardly expect to hide it from everyone."

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...Well, that's some threatening yet ambiguous phrasing. Though, that being an answer to his question definitely suggests that he's talking about their packbond, not anything else. But how could he have noticed that in such a short time when they've managed to hide it from almost everyone else? 

"What do you want?" He repeats, hackles now firmly up. 

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"Nothing you don't want yourself. The two of you have a rare gift, and I don't want your alpha wasting it."

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"You want to help us," he says, suspicious. "Just because of our empathic bond?"

Jamie steps up a little closer to him, emotions turning more curious than wary. Alex's head turns towards him just the slightest bit, the question he'd ask in this situation coming to mind pretty easily. "What would you consider 'not wasting it'?" He adds for him.

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"His plan seems to be allowing his talentness, slavering sycophants and psychopaths to wear you down until he decides he's bored with you. You'll find my proposal much more appealing. Tell me, what do you know of our pack?"

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He's not wrong. 

 

Well, there's the obvious thing, which is just about all he knows: "You're all alphas." 

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"We are," he acknowledges. "Are you the type to wonder about that? Do you ask questions, Mr. Starr? Do you imagine a world where you and your brother don't live under the thumb of a petty tyrant?"

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"Of course I do. I'm not one of his broken toys." Not yet, anyway.

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Jamie steps part of the way out of his shadow and squeezes his arm. "We'd never be able to kill him," he muses a little distantly, his words so quiet as to be almost inaudible. Not Davin, or any other alpha either. If they're all alphas, it stands to reason they'd need to be as well. 

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"What if I could grant you the strength needed to break free? There's much more you can do, with the right teacher."

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"The strength to defeat an alpha? That doesn't sound like something anyone would do for free. What would you want in return?" 

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"Oh, I don't know, I think you boys can guess. What does any werewolf want?"

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"...Most of the ones we know seem to want power," he says after a moment. "To be able to do whatever they want. Or at least enough to stop other werewolves from doing whatever they want to them.

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"An alpha draws power from his pack, Mr. Starr. And mine consists only of alphas."

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"You make us alphas, and you have more alphas in your pack. Mutually beneficial." Jamie concludes, voice still quiet but more audible now. He doesn't really believe that's all, but it seems to be the answer the strange alpha is driving at. 

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"Now you're learning. Are you willing to do what it takes to be rid of this millstone before it sinks the both of you?"

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There's a pause as Alex considers his own and Jamie's feelings on the matter. Then he nods, slowly.

"What exactly would be needed?"

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He lays out the plan. One of them will need to kill the alpha, of course. This one will then need to kill all of their betas, excepting the other twin. Then, with Deucalion's help, the alpha can transfer just enough of his power to his twin to make him his heir while retaining his own status.

"I'll leave the specifics up to you. Weighty decisions require time. Tomorrow, at midnight, we will meet here again, and I will begin your instruction, or accept your refusal. Don't dawdle, though. Discuss."

With that, he walks away.

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...They discuss. 

Alex has... qualms. Alex has a lot of qualms. If it didn't have to be all the betas that would be one thing - plenty of them deserve it. Some of those would probably even consider it a relief. None of them are as bad as their alpha, but a lot of them try. 

It's a really big pack, though. A lot of the betas just try to do what they're told and keep their heads down. Just like the twins do, but... with considerably more success, without the alpha's eye on them. Some of them have offered a little help, here and there, when they thought they could get away with it. (Sometimes they were right. Often they were wrong.)

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