This brought him to his next set of problems while he streaked away from the scene, leaving nothing behind of his mate, the vampyre, or himself. His brother would be waiting for him, not having asked what was pressing enough for him to suddenly leave a rather important meeting over the next delegation of the Howling. It was the gathering where an Alpha was to find or present his mate, three of which had been a complete failure for him up until this point. Looking down at the priceless treasure in his arms, he was not angered by the record. His brother, as he was Beta, would take over for him in the case of his absence from the clan. Being the eldest at times had its advantages. Also, because he was elder, he would be the one to determine the mate for them. Tarquin knew enough that this would not be a situation the human would understand. They would have to find a way around it. Fate had taken it out of all of their hands.
As he moved, he scented his brother before he saw him. The younger by only two years, nearly unheard of in the shifter world, Rion was a force to be reckoned with. More volatile and brash then his elder, the place of Beta and protector of the throne was one he was well suited to. Love, and the fact that Tarquin was the only soul who could soundly kick his ass, kept him in line. A recently attacked mate may not be able to take him on. Though—he smiled to himself now that the fear was gone—she had sassed a vampyre who was well on his way to striking her. That took more guts than she probably realized.
“Brother?” the golden wolf questioned in his mind.
Where Tarquin was dark and brooding, Rion was light and easygoing, by appearances anyway. Many had found it to be misleading in their dealings with them. He used to say to his mother that their likenesses had gotten mixed up by the Goddess Mother somehow as a joke. In their case, it was much better to go for the “brooding” one than the “lighthearted” one. Rion had an Ivan the Terrible interior and a serene cherub appearance. It was unsettling. No one wanted his ass kicked by an angel. It just wasn’t fair.
“Hurt,” Rion said, intruding into his thoughts.
“She was hurt. I healed her before I moved her.”
Tarquin could feel the impression of confusion and the tail end of censure from his brother’s mind. Rion would be able to tell the woman was human. As such, she would be completely off-limits inside the compound. Their existence was one they guarded well. Humans were not ready to know that the things that went bump in the night were very real.
“Rion, she has to come with us.”
“Sure?” Rion’s animal soul looked over at him quickly, then to the woman, and then back again. He lifted his nose into the air.
Tarquin remained silent, knowing Rion would catch on soon enough. He would feel the pull in her blood, the scent that rose off her flesh, and would notice the possessive way Tarquin held her close to his body.
“Yes, Rion. This is our mate.”
Rion’s soul form sang a great howl into the sky, acknowledging and trumpeting the coming of his mate in their lands. In wolf form, they were more primal. Communication was more in impressions and single-word sentences. The older the wolf was, the more powerful his communication. The fact that Rion had resorted to basic language meant he had let his soul form nearly take over his human side in order to reach his brother as quickly as possible. The support was not lost on him. He would have quickly closed and dismissed the meeting before throwing himself in his brother’s wake. He had probably been ready to chomp on him for leaving so suddenly without him to guard, but the events now would silence any words.
“Go to the Domus, Rion. Prepare our room. She will heal in the bed made for her coming.”
Rion spirited off, his wolf a blur in the darkness. He would beat Tarquin by perhaps only a few minutes, but it would be enough. He could feel the happiness, the eagerness through their bond. He had worried his brother would need a balance to curtail his brash side. He needed a softness that Tarquin was not able to provide. He hoped the feisty woman in his arms would do exactly that.
Still, as he had seen by tonight’s events, and their own looks, the Goddess Mother did exactly what she deemed fit. And just because he felt as though this was what they needed, it didn’t mean she would provide it. She’d give what she knew was necessary. It was, he was sure, the reason why they had the woman he was now holding instead of some submissive. He was just too happy to care that she wasn’t what he had envisioned.