After erasing my insane thoughts, I stood up from the ground, remembering the howl released throughout the forest; my mind began to race with negative thoughts now. What if dad was hurt? What if Gunnar was hurt? I began to run as fast as my feet would take me, searching for familiar faces. Finally, I came to a sudden halt when I saw Erik's familiar and welcoming face!
I raced towards him and jumped into his arms. “Are you ok? Are you injured? Where are the others? Did the rogues retreat?”
He raised a finger and placed it on my lips, ceasing my rambling. He stared deep into my eyes with a half-smile; he then removed his finger and began to caress my cheek. I closed my eyes, leaning into his touch; he always knew how to calm my overactive nerves.
“I’m fine, Freja, a few scratches and bruises, but otherwise still alive.” He chuckled, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
“You are the first person I have found, and it seems as though the rogues have retreated, but I am not sure why?” I questioned aloud.
Erik looked away from me; a confused expression crossed over his face for a brief moment and then turned severe before turning back to me.
“We have to find the others and figure out what is going on,” He said in a severe tone.
We both stood there for a second, turning our full attention to our surroundings. Erik and I listened intently; after a moment, we heard faint voices in the distance to our left. We exchanged a nod and began running towards the voices.
After a brief distance, we located those who belonged to the voices. I frantically searched around for Gunnar and dad. As I scanned the crowds, I finally spotted Gunnar.
I looked at Erik. “I see Gunnar!” We both rushed in his direction.
Upon reaching Gunnar, he glanced at us both and relief washed over his face. I stood on my tippy toes and engulfed him in a big hug, to which he happily returned. Gunnar was a large and daunting man, but he had a soft spot for those he loved. He could be very playful at times, making jokes and pulling pranks, always trying to lighten the mood. Other times, he was earnest and played the role of Alpha all too well. Finally, releasing me, he glanced at Erik and nodded.
He turned his attention back to me. “Have you seen dad?” He asked me.
I shook my head. “No, I found Erik first, not far from here. We then came here, and I found you.” I replied, questioning whether or not I should tell him about my encounter with Cain yet.
He stood back and looked around, scanning the crowds to find our father or at least someone that may know more than we do.
After a moment, his eyes landed on something. “This way.” That was all he said before jogging off to his target, and we followed closely behind him. As we came to a stop, I realized who it was that he recognized, it was dad! I was so relieved to see him; I didn’t wait and rushed to him, then stopped a few inches from him.
He noticed me in front of him; his eyes widened, and he let out a relaxing sigh. Dad then closed the distance between us and wrapped me in that big teddy bear hug that only he could master and kissed the top of my head. “I am glad to see you both,” Dad said, looking between Gunnar and me.
Dad then released me from the hug and stood back. He looked to Gunnar. “The rogues have treated, any ideas as to why?” He asked my brother, who stood there with a blank face and a solemn demeanour.
“No, sir. I do not know why they retreated. After I heard the howl break through the forest, the rogues shortly after began to retreat.” He replied.
My father nodded his head. “Who was it that had howled?” He questioned.
Gunnar’s face turned grave, and a saddened expression was visible on his features. Oh no! “It was Mikael; he is dead.”