58 The Meeting with the Alpha*
After taking their seats at the table in the centre of the marquee, both Victor and Grim were silent as they stared at each other, neither willing to concede. Grim's intimidation did little but amuse Victor, as he sat lazily with a small smirk on his face. After a few minutes, Victor finally conceded to speak first.
"So are you going to talk or shall I take your silence as unwillingness to proceed?"
Grim continued to stare. Victor stared back. Again, neither seemed willing to concede. Rassa found himself far more interested in what Grim thought he was getting from this drawn out silence. Exactly what was he trying to accomplish? If he thought Victor was going to magically comply, he was kidding himself. He was arrogant, powerful and had currently been dragged from his luxury home to deal with what he considered 'the dogs'. If Victor was the one to cave under Grim's intimidation tactics, it would be a first.
After a moment, Victor sighed and stood back up, "Very well, I'll inform the council of your stance on this topic".
Grim's voice sounded annoyed. But on the edge of it was a tone that Rassa didn't quite expect from such an outwardly powerful and intimidating man. Desperation.
Victor paused, but did not turn back around. After a moment, Grim spoke.
"You have heard of the Chaos Crusades, yes?"
Victor sighed, turning back to look at Grim with unimpressed eyes, "Are you going to talk about fairytales like the last Dragon being hunted down and its head mounted on a spike now? I really don't have the patience for this".
"They've started campaigning in the south," Grim continued, "The Packs were unprepared, their numbers already too few to stand a chance against their Saint Class Magicians, let alone the God Class that commanded the lines. And the Elves are helping them too, even you must know they are far more adapted to forest warfare. My people cannot fight against a force that can track their every move so easily. No matter the raw power we throw at their lines, we can barely hold them at bay. If this continues, they will push us back. Right onto your Coven's territory".
Victor's gaze narrowed. He could not sense a lie in the Alpha's words. He did not sweat, his heartbeat and breathing remained steady. Victor could not smell fear on him. Only that one emotion that Victor had sensed before. Desperation.
"How many have you lost?" asked Victor, "For you to agree to this meeting so quickly it must be a significant amount".
Grim frowned as he eyed Victor in silence once more, then the Alpha for the first time since Victor had met him, turned his eyes away. Rassa sensed that this meant something, and Victor knew it.
"Out of the twelve packs that operate south of your Coven to the border of the human lands, five have been utterly obliterated. The remaining seven have banded together, but Alphas never work together well. Our instincts are too dominant, we clash too often".
"Have you thought of uniting under one Alpha?" asked Victor.
"That would involve multiple Alpha Magus, and we don't have time to re-establish order after the loss of so many Alphas".
From the implication, Rassa ascertained that an Alpha Magus was clearly bad for the losing Alphas, whatever it was. Looking at the behaviour of the Lycans so far, it was probably a fight.
Victor sighed, "Then why did you agree to meet?"
Grim glanced at Victor with his dark eyes, clearly unwilling to share this information, but knowing he had no other choice in order to convince Victor, "Because the likeliness of me winning is slim. My pack is not large, and because we border your lands we are not in the immediate line of fire. But I can't deny that the possibility of gaining aid from your Coven would grately increase our chances of survival".
"Not Victory?" asked Victor.
Grim leaned forward, "Are you so out of touch that you have not even received the Order's new doctrine?"
"You can't be serious in saying you believe such Bullsh*it. 'In the pursuit of prosperity, Order shall reign supreme and eradicate the Chaotic darkness to imbue all corners of the world in light'? You can't eradicate Chaos," Victor scoffed.
"I understand the Law of Balance dictates that Order and Chaos shall not exist without the other, but it never implied that the Balance couldn't be skewed," Grim replied, "If we do not act quickly, all of us will perish. They've already taken the Dragons out. The most powerful amongst us all. The Foxes have gone into hiding, and all the subraces are being hunted for sport. How long do you think it'll take them to deal with the rest of us?"
Victor was silent for a long time, then he took a step forward to the side of the marquee and reached towards his shadow. His hand disappeared into it momentarily, then he withdrew a long scrolled map and walked back to the table, unrolling the map before Grim.
"Show me what you know".
Grim looked down at the map, a full continental map of the world, then he began.
That single map showed Rassa more about the world than he'd ever known. He'd come to know how the world had once been shaped, and had become more aware than ever before of how terrible a cost Order had paid without even knowing it. With the death of Chaos, Order had practically turned their backs on all acknowledgement of their opposition ever existing, and by doing so, had lost the technological advancements that had once made them thrive. While Rassa could not pinpoint exactly what had caused those that survived to either abandon or die out on entire continents, he didn't think it would be anything good.
What disturbed him more was the God Class Magician that had been mentioned before. There was such a thing? It had never been brought up in conversation before. Clearly not even the Magicians knew their was another stage of their development that they'd completely forgotten about. And whatever Dragons and the Foxes that Grim had mentioned were, Rassa doubted that they were any less powerful that Victor. Maybe more so from the way Grim seemed to idolise them.
In all, the lesson had been incredibly beneficial in terms of informing Rassa just how far the world had declined whilst the Balance between Order and Chaos had been skewed. With this, he came to one absolute conclusion.
His existence was necessary. It may have been bloody and dark and terrifying, but it was necessary. And with that, he was one step closer to acceptance.