Forged In The Flames By Karima Sa’ad Usman
Chapter 28 The Hard Part (Aliana POV)
I gave my father a minute and did not trouble him to speak. I planned to listen to him and not interrupt to get the whole story. He took a couple of deep breaths and continued to talk.
“One day, Gamma Giles told me that he had overheard Leon planning to usurp power. He wanted to murder Mathias. I could not say he was lying because he had no reason.
We decided to investigate and found out he wasn’t Lying.
Leon wanted to be King; he had a grudge that he was to be King had his mother not been a mistress.
He also hated werewolves because his brother made me his beta and second in command, giving me and Giles more power than him.
He was envious.
I tried to tell the King subtly, but Mathias refused to listen. He loved his half-brother dearly.
We let it rest and kept an eye on Leon and his group. The other Lycans on the rank supported Leon’s agenda, and we knew all of them.
We managed to spoil most of their plans, but they finally planned a bold move to murder the King.
We told Mathias about it, and he promised to s*tri*p us of our rights and power if we continued trying to poison his mind against his brother simply because his brother did not like us.
We should have left it alone, but we were afraid that if Leon succeeded, it would doom the werewolves of Forest.
Forest would not be a haven for our kind anymore. Gile then decided to sacrifice himself for the cause.
I was to round up the traitors while he would go after Leon on the night they chose to murder the King,” he said, tears streaming down his cheeks. My father was crying. I guess it was a demon of his past.
“It didn’t go as planned. Princess, and what was supposed to be a simple arrest turned to a battle, and Giles killed Leon,” He said, crying bitterly. “Mathias went crazy. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t intentional and that we were trying to arrest the traitors. He did not believe me, but he did not act immediately.
Isabelle said we were trying to usurp power, but Mathias was wise enough to think that if that was what we planned, we would have come after him and not Leon.
The Lycan officers in Leon’s camp mysteriously died while the investigation was ongoing. That made us look more suspicious because Werewolves were responsible for food, and all the officers died of poisoning.
The Lycans demanded justice, and the werewolves working in the kitchen were executed, and we were removed from the ranks. I do not know what happened, Princess, but Mathias went crazy. He signed the Lycan Unity law, and hell began for us.
Giles was executed, and the rest of us were turned into slaves. What we were trying to prevent had happened to us.
I never knew a good man could turn so wicked. We were not allowed to see the King or complain to him. Things got complicated, and his officers made our lives difficult.
Soon the werewolves in the army came to meet me to help liberate our kind. Even though they had removed us from the ranks, they left us in the army so we could die like cattle in their stead. It was horrible.
Our part of the military was underfunded, and we were sent to battle with nothing but our wolves.
Forest being a rich territory, had a lot of anonymous attacks, and we were used to fend them off.
I wrote several letters to Mathias to inform him of our dwindling number. Still, he made it more complex instead of making things a little easier. Then we learned that he was going into partnership with Fedrick and that Fedrick would be allowed to source for slaves in Forest Freely.
Until then, Forest was the only place hunters weren’t allowed to source for slaves. Even though our living condition was terrible, Werewolves still came to Forest to survive. This agreement was going to ruin our lives completely.
It meant werewolves would no longer have a haven. With all the hardship in our world, it would be unbearable not to have shelter.
The able-bodied men of the werewolf community had a meeting, and we all decided that Mathias had gone mad.
We tried to save his life, but he had paid us back severely. Giles had been k*ill*ed for Leon’s death, and the werewolves in the kitchen had been slaughtered for the poisoning. The crimes had been paid for; what he was doing was extreme and mad.
We decided to group ourselves and demand emancipation from the King. We requested he allows us to settle in Woodland, away from his riches and his people. We did not want him as our leader anymore.” He said I plated the steak so it could rest.
I was listening, but I did not want to say or do anything that would make my father stop the story.
“We sent him the request twenty times, and when he finally responded, he said he would rather die than let us go.
He said he knew what we were planning and would never let us take over Forest. He said he regretted being friends with our kind. Our treasonous behaviour would never allow him to leave us unsupervised.
He said we should be happy that he did not wipe us out. The letter was long, and it enraged us.
He had killed half our population because of his brother and the officers who were trying to kill him. We had had enough.
I had had enough. We knew we would have no future under a mad king, so we decided to fight for our freedom.
We stopped the work we were doing and gathered ourselves to leave for Woodland. King Mathias came for us,” he said and bowed his head.
“Something odd about the night of that battle was that he spoke as if he had not spoken to us since his brother’s demise.
He behaved as if he did not receive our requests or sent us a letter. He kept saying, ‘How dare you plan to attack me after everything I did for your kind? How dare you try to attack me? Leon was right about our kind’,” my father said and wiped away his tears.
“I told him everything he did to us and how he expected us to continue living under such circumstances. He said he had been lenient enough, but we were going to die that day,” My father said and sat on the high stool in the kitchen.
“I didn’t want to kill him, but Mathias won’t stop fighting. He said he rather die than let us usurp power from him and divide his kingdom. He fell on his own sword,” my father said and began to weep.
“People praised me as if I had done something exceptional. But I had lost a friend. I could not handle the praises and knew our days would not be pleasant. We just wanted a settlement in Forest, not the entire thing, but Mathias was too arrogant to listen.
Isabell was dragged out of the palace by the men. They wanted to kill her, and I stopped them. She was carrying Mathias’ child, I could not let his lineage die like that. I knew he was misled and misguided. So, I told them not to touch her and sent her with her maids to King Fedrick.
I told her to please return when the child is of age. The scorned werewolves would eliminate her and her child if I let her stay. She knew it too, but a rage in her eyes let me know she might not return. I pleaded with her to return. I promised I would keep everything as is for Mathias’s heir. That is why we never embarked on any project and never built anything.
We isolated ourselves from the world and fought off the Snow King until he had no choice but to stop attacking us. I suspected Isabelle was trying to get revenge for her husband, but I decided we had sacrificed enough. That was how Forest became the werewolf home.
Isolated from the rest of the world until Nikolas came and took over,” He said and bowed his head.
“If Mathia’s heir is still alive, I believe I have failed him or her because I did not fight Nikolas. I could do just so much with a nonexistent army in a weakened state.” He said, and I turned off the stove and went to hold him.
I could not process everything now, but it was clear that my father was caught in the middle of everything all along. It was unfair that he bore the burden of it all.
“These people will never like us, Princess. This world has never been kind to our kind. I do not know the goddess’s plans, but I pray she remembers that we are her children and she turns the tide in our favour. I do not want Lycans to suffer; I just want us to live at peace as equals and continue to exist peacefully.” He said, and I could understand his pain.
Even though he had told me this, I knew it would be stupid and impossible to share it with anyone, especially Nikolas, who hated my father. No one would believe us. “Do you still have the letter?” I asked, and he looked at me, a bit confused.
“The reply King Mathias gave you and the copies of the ones the werewolves sent,” I said, and he swallowed.
“I might, but I would have to search for them,” he said, and I wasn’t so happy about his response, but the letters would help me.
“Please find the letters, Father. They might help us,” I said, and he shook his head.
“We demanded Woodland, and Mathias explained why he would not grant us our wishes. It won’t help with any argument you present, Princess, but I will look for it for your sake,” He said, and I thanked him.
I tried to cheer him up after it all and plated our food so we could eat.
We ate silently and retired to bed.
My father was unhappy throughout, but he wore a smile for my benefit.
It was hard seeing someone as strong as he belittled. I wondered what our future would be like. Nikolas wasn’t Mathias, and my people weren’t free. I had knots in my stomach, knowing that the chances this might end well for me were slim.
The odds weren’t in my favour, but I was still hopeful. Hopeful that Nikolas’ love is genuine and that he would keep his promises.