THE WOLF FOLK SERIES
THE ADVENTURES OF JEREMIAH TATE
A STORY OF A BOY COMING OF AGE IN AN
Charles W. Bird
Charles W. Bird
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This story is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the author.
Prologue; Jeremiah Tate is nearing 16 years old and struggling to become a man in a family without his father. What he does not know can hurt him, yet what he does know leads him to explore further. On his 16th birthday, he is confronted with a situation that turns his entire world upside down, everything that he had believed in was suddenly suspect. When he finally works it all out in his mind, he is no longer the boy he thought he was, nor was he completely human.
The Wolf Folk are an ancient race, their exact origins are lost in the mists of time. They are likely the origin of the legends about Werewolves, however they are neither werewolves nor are they wolves. They are shape-shifters who have the ability to modify their appearance and are telepaths of considerable power. They mentally convince their observer of their wolf status. There were originally six great houses or families of shape-shifters that lived in peace with their human brothers. As civilizations began to grow, those jealous of the Wolf Folk began to harass them. They held humans in great esteem and refused to fight back. As continents began to emerge from the ice ages, the Wolf Folk emigrated away from their homelands and arrived in Alaska about 10,000 years ago, crossing the land bridge with the peoples who became the Hopi, the Cherokee and the Athabascans. The latter betrayed them and were subsequently shunned by the Wolf Folk, although they retained legends of shape shifters as their descendants became the Navajo and the Apache peoples. They had few laws among them, however, their traditions would not allow them to hurt a human, nor, for that matter, eat one, despite what old tales said. In fact, the Oath of the Prime Pack Leader stated, in part, "in sight of the Great Creator, I shall allow no harm to come to our cousins, the Humans through fault or deed of my own or those holding allegiance to me. I swear this upon my Ring and my life, so help me God!" This oath was so binding, no wolf would cross the line and harm a Human, nor allow harm to come to a human.
From Book 2; The next morning, they hammered out a plan to gather all the young wolves and keep them from getting into trouble. The ones already in trouble would be gotten lawyers to help them. Robert awoke early and got on the telephone in an effort to calm his wolves. He promised, "I will bring Lord Jeremiah, Prince Alpha of the Southeast Clan to help us." When he had hung up, he found Jeremiah standing there and became frightened, "Eeerra ahh Prince, I hope I have not offended you!" Jeremiah smiled and hugged the overwrought young wolf, "No Robert, we are all going to help. As soon as the vehicles get here and we load them up, we can leave for Springfield. Don't you worry, somehow, we will work all this out!"
SPRINGFIELD IN A HURRY
Helen and Jeremiah's Circle served a hearty breakfast to their visitors from Springfield and, as they were picking up the dishes and cutlery, Franklin, Lord Alpha Leader of the Southeastern Clan arrived at the door.
All bowed to him and Jeremiah recognized him by saying, "Lord Alpha Leader of the South Eastern Clan, Command me."
Franklin replied, "PRINCE ALPHA OF MY CLAN, THOU ART MY SON AND HEIR. GO YOU IN ASSISTANCE TO OUR BROTHER CLAN IN THE INLAND. YOU GO AS IF YOU WERE MYSELF, WITH MY FULL AUTHORITY AND STRENGTH. I NAME THEE MY AMBASADOR AND CHARGE THEE FULL ACCESS TO ALL FUNDS AND AUTHORITIES TO RECLAIM OUR BROTHERS AND THEIR GOOD NAME."
The leader of the group from Ohio sat on the floor, stunned and in tears, he had assumed, at best, the South Eastern Clan would assume control of their clan and absorb it.
Franklin walked over and lifted the young wolf from the floor, "THOU ART AN UPRIGHT WOLF, I CHARGE THEE TO BE THE LEADER THY FOLK NEED TO RECOVER, WE SHALL HELP THEE AND SUPPORT THEE, BUT THOU ART THY OWN FOLK. NEVER WOULD WE DESTROY ANOTHER CLAN."
Just then, Barney Dillworth arrived with four brand new Ford Expeditions, all in Jeremiah's name. They all carried full insurance and they had been serviced and had full tanks of fuel.
By taking little known roads across the mountains, they were able to shave 1,000 miles off their journey and they arrived in Springfield just before noon of the next day.
Jeremiah had Robert in the same vehicle as himself and he questioned him thoroughly about the Inland Clan. Robert told him that they did have a prospective Prince Alpha, but the boy was only 14 years old.
Jeremiah asked, "Is the boy cognizant?"
Robert replied, "He is very intelligent and I think he suspects."
Jeremiah thought to himself, as he kept his shields up, "I think a Regency will work, with Robert Bagwell as Lord Regent."
Chub was driving the Expedition they were in and Jeremiah's shields must have leaked a bit, "Lord Prince, that is a good idea. And, no, they cannot hear you, only I can peek behind your shields."
A thought suddenly came to Jeremiah, "Chub, are we related?"
The thought came back, "Yes, my Lord Prince, we are first cousins. The Lord Alpha Leader is my Uncle."
Jeremiah clamped down hard on his shields and did some serious thinking, he would announce his decision at the right time.
They came into Springfield and Robert directed them to the Clan Headquarters, a large business building whose sign said, "Wolf Manufacturing".
Robert led the group into the building, the few wolves in the building were visibly relieved when he introduced Jeremiah to them.
Jeremiah first asked for a report on those young wolves who were in trouble and already in jail. When he got the report he asked, "Has anyone been to visit our brothers in captivity?"
The teen who gave the report hung his head and replied, "No, my Lord Prince, we were afraid."
Chub grabbed Jeremiah's hand, "Easy My Lord Prince, these wolves are frightened and very afraid."
Jeremiah replied, "Of Me?"
Chub answered, "That, too, My Lord."
Jeremiah took a long breath to calm himself and asked, "What is the most prestigious law firm in the city?"
The immediate answer was, "Black and Caldwell."
Jeremiah replied, "Take me there, NOW!"
When Jeremiah presented his credentials to the secretary, there was a mad scramble and Oscar Black came out and shook his hand before leading him into his private office.
Before suppertime, there were lawyers posting bail and extracting young, frightened teens from jails and transporting them to the offices of Wolf Manufacturing.
Jeremiah ordered a large storage area cleared and food, soft drinks, towels and clean clothes brought. He stood at the door and personally welcomed each young wolf as he or she was escorted from jail. Amid many tears and very frightened "Thank You's", Jeremiah collected 200 teens who had been arrested by the local authorities.
After the released teens had been bedded down, Jeremiah ordered that a dragnet be put out, every wolf in the city was to be brought to the headquarters by daylight the next day.
There were to be no exceptions, there would be NO ROGUE WOLVES on his watch!
The next morning, those teen wolves who had been bailed out of jail congregated near the buffet table that had been set up for breakfast. When Jeremiah and his Circle came down, the teens dropped to one knee and one teen said, "Lord Wolf Prince, Command Us."
Jeremiah looked at the assembled young wolves and replied, "WOLVES, THOU ART AS YOUNG AS MYSELF, TOGETHER WE SHALL RESOLVE THIS MESS. FOR NOW, WILT THOU FOLLOW ME?"
The young wolf leader replied, "LORD WOLF PRINCE, COMMAND US!"
Jeremiah ordered the officers that remained of all the Clan's enterprises to meet with him. Those who were hesitant, he replaced then and there.
By that afternoon, all of the clan's businesses were operating, if not efficiently, they were on their way. Over the next week, the Lord Prince Alpha Wolf visited every business of the Inland Clan, those managers who were failing, were replaced on the spot. Those businesses that needed an infusion of cash, he wrote out a check while they waited.
By the end of the second week, all businesses and services were functioning. Jeremiah asked if he could meet the young wolf heir and Robert said he would bring him the next day.
The next morning, Robert Bagwell led a very frightened young teen wolf to the office that Jeremiah had appropriated. The boy looked as if he were ready to jump out of his own skin.
Jeremiah got up from his desk and put his arm around the boy, "Young Wolf Prince, we have much to discuss, but first, have you eaten yet this morning"
The boy stuttered, "eeerr nooooo, My Lord, I have not eaten in two days, sir."
Jeremiah shouted, "Food, get food for this Prince, NOW!"
The boy was starving, he ate almost everything in sight before his hunger was finally appeased.
When the boy had finally eaten his fill, Jeremiah sat beside him on the office couch and asked, "Do you know who I am?"
The boy replied, "Yes sir, you are the person who is taking over our belongings,"
Jeremiah's eyes went blood red and his canine fangs dropped full. With great difficulty, he constrained his anger, "NO, BROTHER PRINCE, I AM HERE TO SET ARIGHT THAT WHICH HAS GONE ASTRAY HERE. YOU, BROTHER, ARE THE PRINCE ALPHA WOLF OF THE INLAND CLAN."
The youth looked at Jeremiah,"Bbbbuuuyyt, they told me…."
By now, Jeremiah's temper and all of its control had been lost and he changed to his wolf. Those watching were suddenly confronted with a 700 pound Timber Wolf, full of anger and ready to tear to shreds anyone who dared confront him.
With great difficulty, Jeremiah's human came forth, his eyes glowing with the anger of his wolf. As soon as he had gotten his shredded clothes replaced and back on, he leaned over his desk and said, very slowly, "THIS IS THE HEIR TO THE INLAND CLAN. THIS IS HE WHO SHALL BECOME THE PRINCE ALPHA. SHOULD ANY OF YOU WISH TO DISPUTE THIS, YOU SHALL MEET ME!" The hideous grin on his wolf face was enough to scare all those present, those of the Inland Clan privately vowed never to anger this wolf again.
Indeed, they felt fortunate to leave the room whole and with all their parts still connected. Chub and Jeremiah's Circle stood in the back of the room, chuckling at the antics of their Prince. They all knew he would not hurt a hair on the head of an innocent wolf but he was fully capable of shredding a wolf who had failed in his duty to his Clan and Lord.
Jeremiah personally visited every court that a teen wolf had been charged. Those judges who could not find it in them to dismiss the charges were suddenly persuaded to change their minds.
Those teen wolves who were actually guilty found themselves fulfilling their punishment within the confines of Wolf Manufacturing! Some actually wished they could perform their penance in the humans' jail.
Lord Prince Jeremiah seemed to be everywhere, those managers who were not capable of managing their divisions, suddenly found themselves counting boxes in the warehouse. In less than a month, all the divisions of the Inland Clan businesses were up and running, most were turning a profit.
Jeremiah asked Robert Bagwell if he would act as Regent for the young, underage wolf Prince.
Robert said he would, and to make it formal, Jeremiah called Conclave, which required every adult wolf to attend. To keep costs down, it was held in the main warehouse of Wolf Manufacturing.
The Saturday of the opening of the two day Conclave, Chub acted as Proxy for Jeremiah, "Chub pounded the Clan staff on the meeting stone, "All come forth in Conclave, let none speak in anger nor offend another. This Conclave is now open. The Lord Prince Alpha of the South Eastern Clan presides."
Jeremiah stood and announced, "I, JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE, LORD PRINCE ALPHA OF THE SOUTH EASTERN CLAN STAND STEAD FOR WOLF PRINCE BENJIMAN FELIX BARNES. HEAR ALL PRESENT, WOLF PRINCE BARNES IS A MINOR AMONG US AND HE SHALL BE TREATED AS MYSELF. LET NO WOLF PRESUME UPON WOLF PRINCE BARNES LEST HE FACE ME. HEAR ME, THIS IS MY ORDER, SO SHALL IT BE."
He continued, "STAND BEFORE ME WARRIOR WOLF ROBERT BAGWELL. THOU SHALL STAND FOR THE HEIR AND PRINCE, BENJIMAN FELIX BARNES AS REGENT. KNOW THAT THOU SHALT ANSWER TO ME ANY MALFEASANCE IN YOUR DUTIES. BEWARE MY ANGER, LORD REGENT, IT IS FIERCE AND FINAL. THIS I HAVE SAID, THIS SHALL BE."
Jeremiah turned and said, "COME FORTH WOLF PRINCE BENJIMAN AND BE RECOGNIZED." The young wolf walked out and stood before Jeremiah as he had been instructed.
Jeremiah continued, "I SEE YOU PRINCE OF THE INLAND CLAN. I KNOW YOU PRINCE BENJIMAN FELIX BARNES. KNOW YOU, ALL WOLVES OF THE INLAND CLAN, THIS IS YOUR LEIGE. SUCCOR HIM. TEACH HIM. LOVE HIM. IN THIS THOU SHALT HAVE A WORTHY PRINCE AND A SOUND ALPHA LEADER. THIS I HAVE SAID, THUS IT SHALL BE."
The young wolf Princeling was frightened and he clung to Jeremiah like a leech. Jeremiah leaned down and whispered into the boy's ear, "This is all show and ceremony, Robert Bagwell will rule for you until you are 16, then, if you survive change, you will be Lord Prince Alpha. If you have any questions that Robert cannot answer, all you have to do is contact me and I will come to you.
The boy was in emotional overload, but he put a smile on his face and showed his folk that he agreed with what Jeremiah had done and that he would work hard to be the Prince they needed.
The finances of the Inland Clan were in a shambles, it took Jeremiah and his Circle two months to straighten out the accounts and get the Clan right with the tax department. In that time, the youngsters who had gone afoul with the law paid for their crimes and most vowed never to see the inside of a jail cell again.
The Inland Clan was all young wolves, but they were eager to prove to Jeremiah that they could make their clan work.
With the Inland Clan back on a sound footing, those from the South Eastern Clan began to look for a return to their homes. It was turning winter and the passes through the mountains were no longer safe, they would be forced to go around through Atlanta.
Their journey was made longer as every Sept wanted to meet and greet the Lord Prince Alpha.
In Atlanta, there were two Septs, both wanted to host the young Wolf Prince, the only way he could keep the peace was to stay with both.
Jeremiah was learning the art of politics.
In each of the Atlanta Septs, he made a formal presentation. Chub would proceed him with the Prince Alpha Staff, and formally announce his entrance. He would march in, followed by his Circle, and formally recognize the Sept Alpha and, if there was one, the Sept Princeling.
He recognized that he was establishing his own credibility as well as that of the Sept Alpha and his heir.
He longed for the freedom of his mountain forest, but he knew that duty took precedence. There were cases where he gave judgment in the name of his Father and punishment as well.
The wolves were generally a well organized folk, disciplined and not likely to cause trouble. That is how they had remained under the radar of the humans for so long.
As they crossed into South Carolina, a messenger was waiting for them. There was a problem with the Myrtle Beach Sept. It was only a short way out of their planned trip, so Jeremiah thought little about it.
That is, until he got there.
A church group that called themselves God's Holy River, had discovered the local Sept. They were raising almighty hell with the local authorities and were holding marches, saying they were going to burn the monsters of hell out!
Jeremiah put on his most innocent school boy clothes and pled their case before the County Council.
He was a Senior at Cashiers High School and was down visiting his uncle and aunt. As a prop, he took a wolf couple's 4 year old daughter and passed her off as his young cousin. He smiled sweetly at the County Commissioners, why he was just a high school senior looking forward to going on to the University. He played soccer and was on the debating team and always got good grades.
It was all Chub could do to not break out laughing at his Prince's performance.
The other members of the Wolf Prince's Circle stayed in the car, chewing on their fists to keep from laughing.
By the time Jeremiah got done, the church group was completely discredited and he was being hailed as a "fine young man".
They stayed a few days with the local Sept and he counseled them to maintain a lower profile. They didn't need that kind of publicity.
They were a young group and they had little experience in handling such problems. The young Alpha was grateful for the help Jeremiah gave them.
They continued towards home, stopping in Florence and Simpsonville to visit with local Septs.
They stopped in Greenville to find the local Sept in total disarray. The Alpha and all his Circle had moved over to the Mystics, leaving the Sept without leadership.
Jeremiah contacted his Father and Franklin told him to "handle it".
Greenville was in the heart of the "southeastern bible belt", he was going to have to move quietly and carefully so as to not raise problems with the local bigots.
Jeremiah's first move was to consolidate all the Sept's businesses under one management team. There was no Alpha so he directed that an election be held immediately to choose a new Alpha from among them.
Fortunately, there were no young wolves who had been arrested, but there were several who were very vocal about how bad things had been.
Those, he appointed to be in charge of the businesses. They were soon so busy, they had no time nor energy to complain!
Jeremiah had to insert an infusion of money, the Sept's bank balance was near zero.
One of their businesses, a laundry was so far in the hole and its machinery almost non-functional, he sold the property to a developer and used the funds from the sale to invest in farmland.
One of the most vocal of the complainers, he asked to head up the farm effort. The young wolf looked at him as if he had suddenly sprouted horns, "Yuuu yu you want me. You want me to run the farm?"
Jeremiah laughed, "Sure, you are young and strong and intelligent, how difficult can it be to grow soybeans?"
The young wolf dropped to his knee and said, "LORD PRINCE ALPHA OF MY CLAN, AS THOU HAST COMMANDED ME, SO SHALT I DO. THOU HAST TRUSTED ME, KNOW THY TRUST SHALT GUIDE ME." He gathered young wolves and in less than two weeks, 3,000 acres of soybeans had been planted.
The elections were held and a young wolf, John Hastings, was elected Sept Alpha. John gathered a small team about him and they worked day and night putting the Sept back on track.
By the end of the month, the Greenville Sept was again a functioning part of the South Eastern Clan and they all thought that Jeremiah "walked on water"!
Jeremiah and his Circle were getting homesick, and they had missed graduation and were worried about their diplomas. Especially Jeremiah, as he wanted to go on to the University.
It was a tired group that finally herded four Ford Expeditions into Helen's yard in Cashiers.
Helen and the Clan Alpha, Lord Alpha Wolf Franklin Jeremiah Tate, were standing on the front porch as they drove up.
They decided to leave their belongings in the vehicles and clean them out in the morning. What they wanted most was a quick meal, a hot shower and their own beds.
As Jeremiah stumbled into his home, his Father hugged him and handed him a large envelope.
His Mother had supper ready and they all sat down to their first home cooked meal in many months. They had all lost weight and their faces showed their haggard exhaustion.
As his Mother began to put food in front of them, Jeremiah looked in the envelope his Father had given him. The first paper was his Diploma from Cashiers High School. Shaken, Jeremiah fumbled for the second paper, it was his Acceptance as a Freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill!
All he could do is look at his Father and ask, "How?"
Franklin smiled at his heir and replied, "You had sufficient credits and your grades impressed the Freshman Entrance Committee that you were selected on the first round.
You are entered in the School of Management Science.
He turned to Jeremiah's Circle and said, "You all will be going with him, so make your plans accordingly."
The next day, Franklin took Jeremiah aside and told him of his great pride in all that he had accomplished. He said, "Jeremiah, Prince Alpha and my Heir, you have accomplished more in the last six months than most Prince Alphas accomplish in their lifetimes. I am astounded and pleased beyond measure that you are my Heir. Now, there is someone who wants to see you, COME FORTH DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE CHEROKEE AND BE RECOGNIZED."
Running Deer walked slowly out of the bedroom and bowed to both Franklin and Jeremiah with a huge smile on his face.
The next book of our story will describe our young Prince Alpha Wolf as a University student as well as a trouble shooter for his Father. Troubled Septs within the South Eastern Clan will be guided and helped to succeed and prosper.