My Omega Queen Chapter 21: Ceremony
Just when Amanda notifies us about the time, Andy, Grace’s mate, also makes an appearance for the same reason. It seems as if all the Midnight Pack members have gotten the mind-link about the time. We start heading towards this huge meadow that’s only used for pack announcements and ceremonial purposes. Because of this, the forest we’re going through is quite wild, untarnished by human hands. It is dense, with trees as tall as your eyes can see, seemingly touching the sky. “They must be as old as the Gods.” I think to myself. Yellow and red leaves cover the ground like a carpet, as if it had been preparing for our long-awaited visit. I look around noticing these details in a daze when suddenly Andy leans in towards me and Grace and whispers:
“There’s a tale that I grew up with related to this forest. It says that this is where the Moon Goddess stood and realised that her beloved did not love her back, so she created the mate bond. That’s why the Queen has to be marked here.”
“That sounds very far fetched.” says Grace, while I listen quietly, thinking about how many queen markings has this forest seen.
“Well, it’s just a tale.” Andy replies, chuckling.
After a 30 minutes walk, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This meadow looks more like a round sports field, if you ask me. Despite that, the shadows coming from the leafless trees manage to cover most of it with their presence, creating a somber atmosphere. It was obvious, as everyone took their places in silence.
In the middle of the meadow, there stood seven huge stumps in a semicircle. Edward and the three elders were already there, waiting for us, standing on four of the stumps, while Michael and Amanda stood on the furthest left ones, leaving a vacant one between Michael and Edward, meant for the Luna. Rachel and her father Antonio, the Gamma, took their places in the front of the crowd, just like me, Grace and Rick, that had to be initiated into the pack.
Once people settle down and Edward does a little dry cough, everyone kneels at once.
“Let the ceremony begin.” he says.
Elder Cole brings a wodden bowl out of nowhere and places it in the middle of the semicircle, going back to his seat afterwards.
Edward then makes a step forward and ushers everyone to stand up, saying:
“We have gathered here today, on the first full moon of the month, to introduce and welcome into our pack three new members, among whom is my mate, and as such, your future Luna and Queen. Let us start the ceremony for initiation.”
Then Cole takes over the speech:
“I call up in the front for Grace Eynar from the Blood Moon Pack.”
We exchange a quick glance and then Grace shyly steps forward, holding her breath. I can hear her racing heartbeat.
The Elder stands between Edward and Grace, that are facing each other and asks:
“Grace Eynar, do you swear to protect the Midnight Pack and forever be loyal to our Alpha, Edward Avery Midnight?”
“Yes, I do.” she answers, confidently.
Cole continues to bring out a silver knife from his sleeve and displaying it in front of everyone, explains briefly, but officially:
“As per tradition, the pack introduction shall be done when our Alpha’s blood will touch the other’s, thus sharing a blood bond.”
Cole hands over the knife to Edward, who makes a swift and deep cut into his palm, without even flinching. Grace hisses at the sight of the wound, but gathers up her courage to take the knife that’s being handed to her, and makes a s***h in her closed palm, closing her eyes. Cole unites their palms, thus their blood intertwining and dripping into the bowl below them. I could feel Grace leaving the mind-link just as she grasped her head that was being flooded with the new pack members. Andy went to help her get back to the crowd and she sat down to compose herself. It is not unusual for some werewolves to even faint from being overwhelmed by the new mind-link, as it creates connections to all the members of the pack.
The same ritual was followed with Rick. By the time Cole finished his speech and Rick said his vows, Edward’s wound had healed so he had to cut his palm again, which was painful to watch. Finally, it was my turn:
“I call up in the front for Emily Winters from the Blood Moon Pack.”
I take a deep breath, raise my dress a bit so as not to step on it, and go forward. There was some whispering around, but my vision narrowed down to the person in the front. Edward welcomes me with his usual sweet smile, taking my hand in his. Our eyes make contact and we stay like that for a moment, which to me feels like a split second. However, Cole has to interrupt it with a dry cough so as to continue the ceremony:
“Emily Winters, do you swear to protect the Midnight Pack and forever be loyal to our Alpha, Edward Avery Midnight?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Since the blood sharing shall be done during the marking, we shall now take the Oath. As a Luna, will you solemnly promise and swear to lead the members of the Midnight Pack as to your best abilities, according to our werewolf laws and traditions?”
“I promise to do so.”
“As a Queen, will you do everything in your power to serve the packs among our corresponding territories by applying discipline and executing law in your judgements?”
Despite Amanda preparing me for these questions, I must have been holding my breath without noticing. A breeze gives me a moment to take another deep breath and confidently answer:
“The King and future Queen shall drink a sip of mead, out of these silver goblets.”
Mead is considered to be the drink of the Gods, thus it is served only to the beings closest to the Moon Goddess. Drinking it from silver goblets, the only material that affects us, is meant to symbolize our strength in the face of such a threat. Cole again goes to his stump to pour the mead and then brings the old goblets, that have been used from generation to generation, and hands them to us. I take a sip and the warm liquid flows through my throat, almost burning it. “It must be strong.” I assume, as I flinch for a second.
Now, it was time for the most important question of them all. Cole almost asks it joyfully:
“According to tradition, the position of the Queen can only be lawfully challenged at this time. Does anyone wish to challenge Emily Winters’ position as Luna and Queen of the Midnight Pack?”
“Ba-thump. Ba-thump.” says my heart, as Rachel confidently steps forward. Her chihuahuas had been behind her all this time, apparently.
“I do.” she says.
I gulp. No matter how much you prepare yourself mentally, it doesn’t get easier. At the same time, Accalia’s lack of reaction draws my attention.
“Accalia?” I try poking.
But there’s no answer.