Marrok fell into his computer exhausted, a glass of scotch in hand. His wife had cried herself to sleep in his arms, reliving her children's change in her head over and over again, especially Aryn's. The Alpha knew that he wasn't going to sleep that night but after what he had witnessed, he couldn't if he tried. He wanted to forget it all, to go back to a better time where pranks and skinwalkers and shame weren't a problem. Looking up at his desktop on the computer screen, he saw a folder labeled Homemade Movies. He chuckled at it, taking another sip of the amber liquid in the glass. His wife must have been messing with his computer again but this time he didn't quite mind. He opened up the first video in the file and sat back.
The image of a dark door appeared on the screen. Children's soft giggles could be heard but the children themselves couldn't be seen. A woman's hand reached out and gently knocked on the door. Marrok heard his own voice reply 'Come in.' The woman's hand opened the door and two children rushed in to hug their father. The girl yelling in excitement as she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her to her father's arms, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy!'
Marrok took another sip of his liquor and smiled, he remembered this one. It was one of his favorite memories of the kids from when they were younger.
"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" Marrok turned in his chair to see his young children running toward him at full speed in their footie pajamas. Lyall leading the way in her excitement with her brother in tow, something that was somewhat rare in the case of the twins. Aryn would always lead his sister around, and she would dutifully follow.
"Well isn't this a pleasant surprise!" He picked both of the children up with ease and sat them both on his lap. "Isn't it past someone's bedtime?" He looked past the camera at the lovely woman behind it, his wife.
The woman laughed at the sight of Aryn messing with his father's hair and Lyall helping him, but the man was still looking at her. "Lyall wanted to tell you something before she went to sleep. She insisted upon it.
"Oh really? Well why don't you tell me what's so important, pumpkin head?" He tickled the little girl and gave her his attention.
The four year old squirmed in his lap, not looking him straight in the eye until he asked her. Then she grinned, revealing her mouthful of baby teeth.
"I want to be just like you daddy." Her grin grew bigger as she heard herself say the words. "I want to be big, and strong, and the Alpha!" Lyall had been ahead of her brother in developing a vocabulary. She was so excited that when she told her father she nearly fell off of his lap, he simply laughed and caught her.
"Really? But little girls can't be Alpha! Little girls are supposed to marry princes and live happily ever after!" The little Lyall just smiled at her father, knowing that it pleased him to see her smile. Marrok then turned his attention to his only son, and looked the boy in the eye playfully. "And what do you want to be Aryn?" The little boy smiled bigger than ever before, and whispered into his father's ear. "A mad scientist?" Marrok feigned surprise. "Why is that?"
"To blow things up!" He answered matter-of-factly.
Marrok laughed and pulled his son and daughter into a hug and set them on the ground in front of him. "Well," He groaned. "It's time for bed. Good night," He kissed Aryn on the forehead. "Sleep tight," He kissed Lyall on the forehead as well. " And don't let the bed bugs bite!" He reached forward and tickled the both of them.
The childrens laughter faded into another video, another memory. A school play of Little Red Ridinghood held by the village school. Lyall, being the only girl in her class was Red Ridinghood, whilst Aryn was picked to play the woodsman. Marrok grew tired of reliving memories and finished his drink.
He knew something had to be done, but he couldn't live with the constant reminder of his shame. That he had helped bring a skinwalker into this world. There was only one place that he could send Aryn, Aiden's Academy. Marrok hated that place but it would do the job of keeping Aryn away from the clan. As he pulled the admission sheets from a file long forgotten in a desk drawer, he remembered looking upon his sons face that night. The amber wolf eyes, the blood dripping from his claws and his teeth. He had to do this, he kept telling himself. He would send Lyall with Aryn, she would protect him as her brother once did for her as a child. They would insist upon it anyway. They never leave the other behind.
He filled out both of the forms and placed them in envelopes to be mailed in the morning. They would be sent to the Dean's office immediately. He knew that Aiden would accept the twins, after all, if it wasn't for Marrok's approval the school would have never been built. He would inform the twins in the morning after he told his wife.
The next morning, Marrok's nearly sleepless night was catching up to him. He woke with a start, not even remembering when he had fallen asleep. Knowing what he had to do, and wholly wishing he didn't have to, Marrok got up. He regretted it immediately as he felt the full effects of last night's drinking. "I shouldn't have drunk those three glasses of Scotch." were his thoughts as his hangover set in. Slowly standing up so as not to aggravate his headache, he opened his door and went to the kitchen, before he had to inform the twins of their destination.
Surprise was clearly evident on his face when he found his wife in the kitchen and a plate of food on the counter.
"That's for you, dear. Eat it, it'll help ease your hangover." were Katherine's only words as she went back to cooking breakfast for her family. From the sound of her voice, and the single moment she had turned around, Marrok knew she was still crying. Finishing up his meal, Marrok stood up. "You're going to send them to Aiden's…aren't you?" asked Katherine. "…how did you know?" replied Marrok. "Because, you get predictable when you're upset, Marrok." Understanding lit his face. "You know me so well." beginning to walk towards the Twins' room, he turned to look at his wife one last time.
"Go easy on them…please." was the barely heard whisper of Katherine as she stood over her sink, tears falling from her eyes, sparkling with rainbows as the light reached them. Turning, Marrok said nothing and went towards the Twin's bedroom.
Waking up for the second time in a row, to a knock at her and her brother's room, Lyall stood up and went to answer the door. Opening the door, surprise lit her face as her father walked in. Hearing a whimpering coming from across the room, she turned and looked on, tears in her eyes, as she saw her brother's new appearance. Canines poking over his lips, claws extending past his hands, face contorted in pain and his hair a lighter shade of brown, streaked with silver highlights. She wouldn't have had a problem with any of this, because she knew she looked the same, except that he looked to be in a terrible amount of pain, and unlike every other fully-realized werewolf she knew, his ears had become pointed. Understanding mixed with horror as she realized where she had heard of a similar difference. The only other 'werewolf' whose ears had ever been pointed while they were human, was the first skin-walker to have been born into the clan: Saida Bertolf.
Knowing what her father wished to talk about before he even began, she walked over and hugged her brother as she woke him up. "Aryn, Aryn wake up. D-d-dad has something to tell us." she stuttered as tears ran down her face. Waking up was a painful experience for Aryn. He woke up in pain. It wasn't nearly half as agonizing as it was when he experienced his version of the 'change,' but he was still in a large amount of pain. Unable to contain the groan that escaped his lips, he sat up to see his father standing above him looking down in what appeared to be a mix of disgust, disappointment, and shame. At what, even Marrok himself was unsure. Sneering, and a snide, "Here Aryn, this should explain how you're different…and why you can't be Alpha of the pack anymore." were the words the Twins' father spoke as he tossed a small notebook with the words "How to survive as a 'Skin-walker by Saida Bertolf" on the front of it, onto Aryn's lap.
"Pack some of your stuff, you're leaving for Aiden's Academy for the Metaphysically Inclined in three weeks." stated Marrok Bertolf as he turned and began to walk away. "What? What do you mean, father?" asked Lyall, fear beginning to take over at the thought of her and Aryn being separated.
"I mean, that you and your brother, need to pack a few essential items, because you're going to be attending Aiden's in a few weeks." was Marrok's response to his daughter's questioning. Relief seeped into Lyall's voice at the realization that she wouldn't be separated from the most important person to her, "Okay, father."
As soon as their father had left, Aryn broke down and began to cry as understanding took hold. He was a skin-walker, a being to be pitied, forced to experience pain for the rest of his days, and viewed as a disgrace. Lyall only hugged her brother tighter, as it was all she could do. "Shhh, shhhh, Aryn, it's okay. We still have each other. That's one thing they'll never be able to take from us. I love you twin." Aryn's only response was, "I love you too, Lyall." as tears continued to stream down his face until he fell into a troubled sleep again.
Standing just outside his children's door, Marrok could only feel guilt as he heard his son's cries. Tears soon trailed down his face as well, as he realized what he'd just done to his son set in. He had effectively disowned his child. And for what reason? He couldn't become a half-human/wolf? Did that make him any less important? Aryn was still his only son. And now, he had just distanced himself from him. Thinking heavily, Marrok went to his study, knowing that he would have to find a way to fix everything and make it up to Aryn.
Now the twins stood at the entrance of the school yard in awe of the sheer amount of creatures that actually7 existed. Centaurs raced one another in the in the courtyard while ogres and giants walked around in the back. Satyrs and Banshees played music that could barely be heard over the chatter of all of the excited students predicting what their first day would be like. Elves and Changlings could be found by the trees, whispering to the wooden pillars that guarded the school from the world. Then there was the academy, a towering brick building that looked like it belonged in the early 1900's but had been remodeled to suit modern needs at least that was a hope. The school was at least five stories high with several wide windows on every floor. Decorative touches surrounded the windows and the edges of the building making it seem castle-like and more massive.
The twins looked at one another, as if sensing the others nervousness and back to the school. This was it, there was no turning back now. They held their hands and stepped into the crowd that was to be the students they were to associate with for the next three years of their lives. Lyall lead Aryn past all of the unfamiliar supernaturals and toward the only ones they might stand a chance around, the wolves. Great Grays stood around watching the smaller wolves, the Red and Brown wolves, roughed around and wrestled as if they were pups. There were plenty wolves there that were on the verge of their change, their fifteenth birthday, but there were others who were older and more experienced in being a lycanthrope, especially the Grays, it was expected of them, as well as the Dires. Grays were known for their cunning and charm, whilst Dires were known for putting family above all else, hence the Bertolf family being so strong and large, and for their quick tempers.
"Remember, don't let them see that you're afraid." Lyall whispered into her brother's ear.
"I'm not." He smiled at his sister as they entered the wolf area. Aryn and his sister had an understanding. They protected each other. It had been that way since they were children. The twins saw others from their pack rise up in recognition of their arrival. The Grays saw this as well and saw their newcomers. Soon all of the wolves eyes were on the two, Aryn gripped his sisters hand tighter as she took a deep breath and stepped forward, letting go of his hand. An elder Gray student, probably old enough to be a senior, stepped forward.
"Who might you two be?" The Gray's voice was deep and gruff, he was America. He had to be slightly over six feet tall, towering over Lyall's five foot five inches. He had ashy blond hair with sharp facial features. He wore the school uniform that all the surrounding male population were similarly fashioned in a dark gray cardigan with the symbol for werewolf class on the breast pocket, the shape of a human touching a shape of a wolf's head. A white pressed shirt along with a black, silver, and purple tie lay underneath the cardigan and black pants and dress shoes donned their lower half.
"We're-" Lyall started but was quickly cut off by another Dire wolf, one around their age.
"They're nobody, just our cousins." The wolf thought that he was trying to disgrace the twins by taking away the fact that they were the Alphas children. A thought occurred to Lyall then that they didn't need the unnecessary awkwardness and treatment of being the Alphas children. She and her brother could be somewhat close to normal here. They could hide here and perhaps fit in.
The Gray looked at the Dire who spoke and to Lyall. He eyed her up and down in the female version of their uniform, the only difference between the two were that the girls work knee length skirts and small heels. She could feel his eyes judging her and sizing her up. Lyall looked the boy straight in the eye and stood tall.
"Just another Bertolf, eh? Both of you?"
"You could say that. They are my cousins. I'm Lyall, and this is my brother Aryn."
"Your brother doesn't talk that much, does he?" The Gray looked past the girl and at her brother, sizing him up as well. Aryn mentally and physically hid behind his sister a little bit.
"He's just shy, but a fine wolf. May we join you?" He looked her over again and gave a little half smirk that would have left most girls weak in the knees, but left Lyall unfazed.
"Sure. A wolf's a wolf, right? My name's Darren. Darren Loup." Lyall smiled pleasantly and shook his hand. Aryn looked at Darren and gave a quick friendly smile before looking at the other wolves present. As soon as the wolves started up again, a loud bell rang, signaling all to their first day of classes.