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 4; "I KNOW THEE PETER TATE, I KNOW THEE JEREMIAH TATE, PRINCES OF MY OWN LOINS!" The wolf whimpered and sent, "ahhh u Papa, You love I". Jeremiah just clung to his Father while he wrapped an arm around his wolf brother. Peter was still unable to bring forth his human but Jeremiah told him that he would care for him for so long as they both shall live. Peter attached himself to his brother and was his companion wherever Jeremiah went. With his power of Coercion, Jeremiah made it possible for Peter to stay with him forever, to those not part of the Family or Jeremiah's Circle, Peter was just an unusually large dog, loyal and protective of his master. With time and use, Peter's mind speech improved and they discovered he had a quick wit and wry sense of humor. At close to 700 pounds, he was a mighty protector of the Lord Prince Alpha Wolf, none would dare his teeth or claws. They spent the remainder of summer break in Cashiers, Tim and Bart asked permission of their Alphas to remain part of Jeremiah's Circle. Both were given permission as Ambassadors to Prince Alpha Wolf Jeremiah Tate.
THE COLLEGE YEARS
Their sophomore year opened with a full schedule of classes. Jeremiah added the Debating Team to his activities, a skill he had learned in high school. As a matter of honor, he refused to use his power of coercion to assist him, but he still proved himself a skilled debater, quick of wit and a "steel trap" mind.
He was elected President of the Sophomore Class and it was not long that the Student Council learned he could not be cowed by upperclassmen.
His Uncle Gerry followed his activities closely and gave glowing, if unofficial, reports to his brother, Franklin, on Jeremiah's prowess as an orator and politician. The school year passed slowly and Jeremiah's brother Peter became a cherished part of the Circle. The two brothers were frequently seen walking the campus, other students were sure that the dog understood every word said in his presence.
Peter's mind speech improved rapidly, as did his power and range. Whenever Peter had been left at the Manor, Jeremiah knew of everything that was taking place there as it occurred. It was that skill which first let Jeremiah know there were prowlers on the property.
Jeremiah asked his brother to watch silently and do nothing. He mind called for his Circle and they headed for the Manor. They found the electronic lock on the gate disabled and the alarm wire had been cut. Chub parked the Excursion across the drive, blocking the exit. Peter told them where the prowlers were and three of the Circle changed to their wolves and circled around behind the intruders.
Peter met them and they stalked the five men who were attempting to find a way into the house. The intruders found themselves facing four angry wolves, each weighing in at over 600 pounds. Jeremiah and Chub walked up as humans and confronted the men from behind the wolves. Every time one of the intruders even flinched, he was met with a mouth full of fearsome teeth and glowing red eyes.
Jeremiah used his power of coercion to confuse their identities, what the intruders saw were huge men with awful faces and claws for hands. All five of the intruders lost control of their bladders and held each other in blubbering fright!
They stepped aside to let the intruders escape, then, the Fiends of Hell chased them out the entrance and down the street. They never came back for their car, Jeremiah had it towed to a junkyard and sold for scrap.
When Franklin heard of the incident, it was Peter relating what had happened and, with Peter's wry wit, the Lord Alpha Wolf had to sit down, he was laughing too hard to remain standing.
Word circulated through the criminal community that Greystone Manor was not a good place to burgle.
Winter break was enjoyed by all, the young wolves played and raced each other in the snowy forest that surrounded Cashiers and just before the break ended, Lord Alpha Wolf Franklin Jeremiah Tate called Conclave.
It was held at their Retreat in Table Rock. Peter accompanied Jeremiah to Conclave and stood beside him as he performed for the first time as Proxy to his Father. Jeremiah "banged" his staff three times upon the meeting stone, "All come forth in Conclave, let none speak in anger nor offend another. This Conclave is now open."
He bowed to Franklin and announced, "Lord Alpha Leader Franklin Jeremiah Tate. I PRESENT TO THEE, LORD ALPHA WOLF, YOUR SON AND MY BROTHER, LORD WOLF PRINCE PETER FRANKLIN TATE. LET NONE DENY HIM."
Franklin replied formally, "I SEE MY SON, LORD WOLF PRINCE PETER FRANKLIN TATE AND RECOGNIZE HIM. NONE SHALL DENY HIM. THIS IS MY ORDER, SO SHALL IT BE!"
Peter stayed close to Jeremiah, acting as his guardian. It was a relationship cemented in friendship as well as brotherhood and would last their lifetimes.
The business of the Clan was discussed and orders issued to cover the next year. All could see that their Alpha had been strongly affected by Jeremiah's action of introducing Peter in Conclave. There was an aura of energy that surrounded the three that could not be denied.
After the Conclave, the young wolves paid a short visit to their friends, the Cherokee, and they introduced Peter to the Shaman, Wild Ox, and also to the leader of the Cherokee Youths, Running Deer.
Both were respectful of the huge wolf and Running Deer's eyes went squirrely when he heard in his mind, "I AM PETER TATE. TO YOU I REVEAL MYSELF. YOU ARE A LEADER OF YOUTHS, DO NOT LET THEM STRAY. HARD TIMES ARE COMING AND WITHOUT YOUR YOUTHS, YOU SHALL NOT SURVIVE."
Running Deer stammered, "Yu Yu, YOU are the Lost Prince of our legends!" The wolf nuzzled the young man's hand in reply.
It was nearing time to return to the University, classes would resume soon and they needed to get back and get settled.
Peter began taking a more active part in the Family and the Circle and he frequently accompanied Jeremiah when he went to his classes. Peter would patiently lay outside the door to the classroom waiting for his brother. To the other students, he was a well behaved dog, only the Circle knew his true status. The Circle had come to accept him as an equal and they found themselves discussing items with the wolf as they had discovered his quick wit and intelligence.
The spring term flashed by and almost before they knew it, they all were headed back to Cashiers for the summer.
Jeremiah was a rising Junior and had again been elected class president.
They were all looking forward to the freedom of the forest after their final push for grades in the classroom. As they were unloading the cars at Jeremiah's home, they heard a call, it was Wild Ox, begging them to come immediately, there was trouble in the Youth Group! It would dawn on them later that The Shaman had sent a mental call!
They piled their belongings in Jeremiah's room and told his Mother, Helen, that they were headed to Magee Valley, the Shaman had called for assistance. Chub was driving and Jeremiah was on the front seat with Peter in between them.
The wolf was shivering and they both heard, "It hurts, it hurts, help me!"
Jeremiah hugged his brother and asked, "What hurts?"
The wolf sent, "Boys, boys are hurt, hurry!"
Chub tromped on the gas pedal and the large vehicle lunged faster on its journey to the land of the Cherokee. They were taking the turns on squealing tires as they raced along the mountain roads.
It took several hours to get there, but to them it seemed an eternity before they drove up to the Cherokee Youth Center. Wild Ox and Running Deer were waiting for them.
Running Deer said, "The Junior Boys went on Manhood Trial and they have not returned. We can hear their cries, but none of us can locate them. Please, find our boys and help them!"
Peter leaped from the car and called for them to follow him.
Jeremiah and his Circle changed to their wolf and raced after him.
Running Deer and Wild Ox knew they could not keep up, so they remained at the Youth Center and gathered blankets and food for the boys.
The wolves raced silently through the forest, there was no joy in their race to save injured boys, with Peter in the lead. As it was nearing dark, Peter led them down the side of a cliff, there at the base were the missing boys found.
There were 15 boys and 6 of them were hurt.
The six largest wolves, Peter, Jeremiah, Chub, Donny, Tim and Bart allowed the hurt boys to ride their backs. They made their slow way back to the reservation, stopping frequently so the hurt boys could rest and ease their hurts.
Dawn was breaking when the wolf pack arrived at the Reservation Medical Clinic. As the parents of the boys watched watched in anxious worry, the wolves shifted to their human except for Peter, and carried the hurt boys into the clinic.
While the boys were being treated, Jeremiah came out, with a towel wrapped around him to preserve what was left of his modesty and hugged his brother, "This is Peter, Prince of Wolves and my natural brother. He led us to your sons and helped us rescue them."
If a wolf could blush, Peter would have been scarlet faced, as it was, he hid his muzzle between his paws.
Jeremiah cornered Wild Ox and demanded an explanation of his mental call for help. The older man looked sheepish and replied, "Lord Prince of Wolves, our need was great and the Great Spirit assisted me. Now, I can hear you all plainly and speak with my mind."
The next time they visited Magee Valley there was a new totem in front of the Youth Center, a Standing Wolf carrying a child across his paws. Visitors might not understand the Totem, but all the Cherokee knew of Peter, Wolf Prince!
The rest of their summer was not so eventful as they roamed the woodlands and visited with Wild Ox at the Ranger Station until it was time to return to the University. It was their Junior Year and they were going to have to scramble to keep their grades up.
They returned to Chapel Hill a couple of days early to get their affairs in order and scout for any potential problems. They were hoping for a quiet year so that they could concentrate on their studies.
Chub's Father, Gerald Tate stopped by their house one afternoon, just before classes resumed. He had a worried look on his face and he asked Jeremiah and Chub to come into the den, where they could speak privately.
He began, "We have a new President, Dr. David Leslie Evans. He is a rigid applier of the rules and he has been listening to some of the fire and brimstone preachers around here. There are rumors going around about you boys and also about Peter. Anyway, Dr. Evans is making it a priority to flush out the Minions of the Devil from our school. He specifically mentioned you, Jeremiah, and he is investigating your wealth and ability to live here at Greystone Manor." He continued, "I have already let the Alpha know about this, so you will probably be hearing from your Father soon."
Jeremiah sat as he digested what his Uncle had told them, then he replied, "There is not much we can do unless he acts against us. I can always Coerce him but that would only be a last resort. Let us see what transpires, maybe we can slip under the wire without having to do anything."
They asked Gerald to stay for lunch, which he readily agreed to, Madeline Bell was famous for her gourmet meals and he wasn't about to turn one down.
He wasn't disappointed.
Classes began and there was tenseness about the entire student body that was noticeable. Jeremiah was a popular student and several fellow students stopped him to tell him of questions being asked about him and his friends who lived at Greystone Manor.
Jeremiah was determined to carry on as if there was no problem; Peter continued to accompany him around the school and would wait patiently outside the door of the classroom for him to come out. None but Jeremiah's Circle and the wolf staff at the Manor knew of Peter's true nature, so he could listen to conversations while he was waiting for his "master".
Peter reported that professors were being asked questions about Jeremiah and those around him, their social activities and source of income were particularly being asked about.
Since none knew of Jeremiah's affairs save those who surrounded him, the questioners were not getting much information. They did find out that Jeremiah's father was a wealthy businessman who owned large tracts of land in both South and North Carolina. They also discovered he had important contacts in both state governments and also the National Government in Washington and was highly thought of throughout the business community.
The Governor of North Carolina quietly suggested that University President Evans stick to running the University and leave Mr. Jeremiah Tate alone. All this did was to make Dr. Evans try to dig deeper and expose the mysterious Jeremiah Tate. He never once spoke with Jeremiah nor even observed him in class.
There were several attempted break-ins at the Manor, in each case, the perpetrators were cornered by a snarling dog of huge proportions that threatened to take large bites out of them if they moved before help arrived. Those who had attempted breaking in told police of glowing red eyes and saliva dripping from exposed fangs. They were only laughed at and told they were trying to shift the blame onto the victims of their breaking in.
There were attempts to tap their telephone lines, but, somehow, it was always discovered and several of those hired by the University President ended up doing time in the state prison system.
Between Peter and Felicia Jones, the President's private secretary and also a wolf, they were able to keep several steps ahead of the man's efforts.
Most of Jeremiah's Professors would have nothing to do with President Evan's investigation and flatly told him they had nothing to say about Mr. Jeremiah Tate.
Franklin had already told Jeremiah that steps were being taken to correct the problem, just hang in there for a little while longer.
Two weeks later, the Charlotte Observer Morning newspaper headlines screamed, "University President Arrested On Child Pornography Charges. Explicit Photographs Found In His Office."
The state police led a protesting Dr. Evans off the University grounds and booked him on Felony Child Pornography charges. His wife and children had to leave town and he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in the state penitentiary. Jeremiah almost felt sorry for the man until he considered how many other people's lives he may have ruined by his poking around.
The religious group behind him was also exposed and several of its members joined the ex-President in accepting the prison's hospitality.
Jeremiah and his friends laid low for the rest of the school year, not wanting any further publicity. As usual, they all had top grades, in fact, Jeremiah and Chub were number One and number two in the rising senior class.
They were all looking forward to their summer in the mountains, none of them really enjoyed town life. Their arrival in Cashiers was unremarkable, Helen, of course, was happy to see them, especially Jeremiah and she was waiting at the door to see how much her son had grown while he had been away.
They caught up on the local happenings, Helen had no sympathy for the now ex-president of the University, she thought he got exactly what he deserved.
Franklin asked Jeremiah to represent him in Mexico, the Mexican Clan was going to hold a first ever Conclave. Of course, Jeremiah said he would be happy to go and Chub and Peter were not going to let him go alone.
Franklin gave Jeremiah use of his private plane and crew, he had a twin turbo-prop plane fitted out for business and he told Jeremiah it was his for as long as he needed it. Jeremiah learned later that his Father meant that as permanently!
They had a couple of good runs in the forest before they had to leave for Puerto Vallarta, the closest city with an airport to where the Conclave was to be held. Jeremiah spent the last several days in Cashiers selecting those he would take with him to Mexico and Chub was laying out the clothing Jeremiah would require for the ceremonies that were going to be held.
They departed from Charlotte on a Monday morning, the two pilots and the steward were all wolves and didn't even blink when Peter hopped on board, even had they not known who he was, they would have recognized him for what he was.
Jeremiah and Chub enjoyed the luxury of the ALPHA'S plane, the steward had loaded breakfast and lunch on board, they would pick up the evening meal in El Paso, where they would refuel before they headed into Mexico.
It was convenience only to pick up their meal in El Paso, there were few diseases that affected wolves, so there was little chance they would be afflicted with "Montezuma's Revenge".
It was an easy flight, their schedule was loose enough, the pilots did not need to push the plane, although it was a "specially constructed" airplane and capable of greater than 500 miles per hour, there was no need, so the ride was comfortable with little turbulence or vibration. They all enjoyed the landscape that was passing beneath them, it was so very different from their heavily forested mountains of North Carolina.
They worked it out among themselves, Peter would stand beside Jeremiah and Chub was to function as Proxy. Jeremiah had brought his silver and ebony Prince Alpha Staff of Office and Chub would use that to introduce him to the Mexican Clan Alpha and the Conclave.
Peter told Jeremiah to be sure and keep his hand on his, Peter's, head as he was being introduced to the Conclave. When Jeremiah asked him why, Peter sent an image of a stately Indian Warrior standing before his people, with his hand on the head of a jungle cat.
Jeremiah got the inference.
They landed in the early evening at Puerto Vallarta International Airport, the locals ran them through Immigration and bypassed Customs altogether. They were whisked away in a luxurious Mercedes Limousine with the local Lord Prince Alpha acting as guide and interpreter. The Local Prince Alpha, who was named Carlos, was much younger than Jeremiah and there had never been a conclave held in their Pack since the time of their arrival some twelve thousand years earlier.
Carlos was a pleasant young wolf, somewhat younger than Jeremiah. Both he and Chub liked the young wolf immediately and they became friends. They sensed however, that Carlos' Papa was a weak leader and that Carlos had fears for his father's life. They were uncertain, however just why Carlos felt that way. That friendship would stand them in good stead in the events that followed.
The car climbed into the mountains to the east of the city, where the elevation made it much cooler and very pleasant. The compound of the Alpha was a small city in itself and the young Wolf Prince escorted them to their rooms to rest and clean up from their trip.
He bowed to Jeremiah, as Jeremiah was the older of the two and thereby senior. He told them that a light supper would be served in their room and that he would come to collect them at the appointed time for the Conclave.
The young wolf prince spoke excellent English, with only a slight accent.
Chub did not tell him that he was fluent in Spanish. Peter just stood there with a wolfish grin on his muzzle, their hosts had not detected what he was.
They had showered and cleaned up, Jeremiah was wearing a tuxedo, as suggested by his Father. Chub was wearing a Seville Row, dark silk suit and a solid gold wolf head in the lapel. Jeremiah was wearing for the first time, the Prince Alpha ring of his Family, it had a diamond cluster surrounding an emerald cut in the shape of a wolf head, on one side was engraved, "PAX", and on the other, "LUPUS". It was a slightly smaller version of the Clan Ring that his father, Franklin wore and they had already discovered that it had the same properties and powers as the Clan Alpha's ring.
Chub' eyes bugged out when he saw Jeremiah's ring and he whispered, "That ring is over 12,000 years old! It came from the old country when we immigrated to the new world. It has not accepted a wearer in almost two thousand years!"
Just then, the local Prince Alpha arrived. When he saw the ring that Jeremiah was wearing, he dropped to his knees and said, "Wolf Prince of the Most Ancient Line, I honor thee and welcome thee to our land."
Chub nodded, "He did it correctly."
Jeremiah wanted to ask questions, but there was no time. He heard Peter, "Brother, you ARE the Prince and Heir to the most ancient line on the planet, I will guide you."
Now, Jeremiah knew why he was to hold his hand on Peter's head. The ring would stand out against the dark fur of his brother! Peter just replied, "Yep"
They were led to an audience chamber and Chub stepped into the room, he banged Jeremiah's staff three times on The Clan Stone and said, "ALL RISE, THE LORD PRINCE ALPHA OF THE MOST ANCIENT LINE ENTERS."
Jeremiah followed Chub across the room, holding his ring hand on top of Peter's head. The Emerald Wolf Head was glowing a brilliant green, throwing greenish shadows on all the walls of the large room
Again, Chub pounded Jeremiah's staff on the floor three times, "LORD ALPHA OF THE MEXICAN CLAN, I PRESENT TO YOU LORD PRINCE ALPHA JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE, HEIR TO THE MOST ANCIENT LINE OF OUR KIND. HAIL PRINCE JEREMIAH."
The Clan Alpha pounded his chest three times and replied, "I GREET THEE, PRINCE ALPHA JEREMIAH OF THE MOST ANCIENT LINE OF OUR KIND. BE WELCOME HERE AS WE TAKE JOY IN YOUR PRESENCE."
Jeremiah turned and faced all those gathered, "I TAKE JOY IN YOUR GREETING, WOLF FOLK OF MEXICO. KNOW MY CLAN AND YOUR CLAN ARE BROTHERS AND WE ARE OF THE SAME FAMILY. I BRING MY FATHER'S GREETINGS TO YOU THAT YOU WILL KNOW OF OUR BROTHERHOOD."
Peter sent to him, "Brother, you did that exactly right, you do not need me with you."
Jeremiah replied, "Stay brother, you are my guide and my staff."
Jeremiah was seated beside the Lord Alpha, who leaned over and said, "Lord Prince, I expected a school boy as is my own son, what came to me is a Master Negotiator dressed as a young Prince. Your Father is indeed wise to have sent you."
The Conclave began, Jeremiah sensed rebellion coming from a group of older wolves, seated on the floor of the hall. As the evening wore on, that group made every effort to embarrass and shame the Alpha and they made pointed remarks that he was incompetent and a fool. Jeremiah was becoming angry and he wondered why the Alpha did not put a stop to it.
Finally, he could stand it no more, he motioned to Chub to use the staff, he stood as Chub was pounding the Prince Alpha Staff against the floor, "I, PRINCE ALPHA JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE, HEIR TO THE MOST ANCIENT LINE, DECLARE THIS CONCLAVE CLOSED."
Pointing to the obnoxious group, he continued, "ON MINE OWN AUTHORITY, WOLVES, CONFINE AND ARREST THOSE WOLVES BEFORE ME. THEY ARE TO BE HELD FOR MINE OWN JUDGEMENT ON THE MORROW. I, HEIR TO THE MOST ANCIENT LINE CLAIM JUDGEMENT OVER THEM, DEFY ME AT YOUR PERIL."
He then took the Lord Alpha Wolf in his free hand and the three of them, Jeremiah, the Lord Alpha and Peter followed Chub out of the room.
When they arrived at the Alpha's private quarters, the Mexican Alpha collapsed at Jeremiah's feet, "Lord Prince, you saved my life and that of my son, Carlos. They were going to assassinate us both and you also.
Jeremiah leaned over and lifted the frightened man to his feet, "Lord Alpha, between you and I, we shall put this matter to rights. I speak with the voice of my Father, this shall not continue!
He turned to the young Prince Alpha and said, "Carlos, come with me, we shall talk."
The two Prince Alphas walked the halls of the Alpha's home, talking of many things, none of which either would ever reveal.
When Carlos returned to his Father, there was steel in his voice and his eyes glowed with power. His own anger had sent his eyes to glowing red and his fangs could be seen between his parted lips. Each fang was dripping saliva, hungering for action!
The next morning, Jeremiah ordered the rebelling wolves hung, without trial, without mercy. The shock on the rebels' faces was tremendous, the shock on their families' faces showed only terror and horror!
Young Carlos began taking an active role in his Father's rule, no longer did he have to go it alone. He knew his friend and peer, Jeremiah had his back and would support him in anything he needed to do.
Just before they left to return home, Jeremiah called all the wolves back into Conclave. Without warning or preamble, Jeremiah, Chub and Peter marched in with the Alpha and Prince Carlos. Jeremiah was still angry, his eyes were blazing red and his ring shone like a green searchlight.
Chub pounded Jeremiah's staff on the floor three times and Jeremiah stepped forward to speak, "I, JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE, HEIR TO THE MOST ANCIENT LINE OF OUR FOLK GIVE YOU THIS ONE WARNING, HONOR YOUR ALPHA, PROTECT HIS HEIR, MAKE THIS CLAN WORK. IF I MUST COME BACK BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT DONE THESE THINGS, NONE OF YOU WILL SURVIVE MY VISIT! SO I HAVE SPOKEN, SO SHALL IT BE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.THERE SHALL BE NO FURTHER WARNINGS ONLY THE HANGMAN'S ROPE!"
He turned and walked from the Conclave, his arm in the Prince Alpha's. He and Prince Carlos would be lifelong friends and the two of them would reestablish the Clans of Central and South America.
They returned home to spend the rest of summer break relaxing in the cool forests of their home, enjoying wolf runs. Shaman Wild Ox would sit in his Ranger Cabin, listening to the wolves at play, their howls reverberating from the rocky crags of the Appalachian Mountains as music in his old ears. He hoped and prayed the Wolves would finally forgive his people.
At last, they were in their Senior Year, they had left Cashiers directly after the visit of the Lord Alpha. Franklin was so proud of how Jeremiah had handled the "Mexican problem", he could hardly contain himself.
When Jeremiah had attempted to return the heirloom ring to his Father for safe keeping, Franklin refused, "Son, that ring is yours, wear it proudly and at all times, your ARE the heir of the most ancient line."
Jeremiah knew the ring would be safe on his finger, it could not be removed by anyone other than himself or his Father. Only his own death would sever the connection between his ring and his soul.
It was good to get back to Greystone Manor, it was going to be Jeremiah's Official Residence after they had graduated. It would be from here that he would assume those duties assigned to him by his Father. He knew, from hints that Franklin had given, he was not going to be a showpiece prince. He had, however, no idea at just what his Father had planned nor did he have even an inkling that he was soon destined to be the most powerful leader in all Wolfdom!
Excavation was already begun for construction of barracks to house Warrior Wolves in the service of the Prince Alpha. It would become the headquarters for Jeremiah and all his activities. Any lessor being would have run and hid at what Jeremiah was beginning to suspect of his own Father!
Classes began and none studied harder than Jeremiah and his companions. There were still whispers that there was "something" strange about Jeremiah Tate, but they were only curiosity, not vicious or threatening. It was more than one schoolmate, Human AND Wolf, who Jeremiah had stepped in with funds to help when the University was forced to raise its fees.
The winter break came, almost before they were ready for it, they longed to return to their mountains, but the construction project around the Manor required they stay and supervise the crews. The Warrior Barracks would be inhabited by the First of February! There were already twelve Warrior Wolves assigned to Jeremiah's Protection Detail and when construction was completed, that number would rise to fifty.
They had not known that the vacant land behind Greystone Manor was part of the property, but when the contractor started surveying it, they realized they had nearly 25 acres. Another wing was being added to the Manor itself to provide for Jeremiah's offices and a place for ceremonial duties. A Conclave Hall was added and mini-conclaves would be held there in the near future.
Franklin had already spoken to him about his duties with the other New World Clans and his hope the South American Clans could be restored.
As their final semester began, Franklin and his staff came down and held a ceremony, installing Daniel Terrence Tate (Chub) as First Counselor to the Prince Alpha. It was a ceremony full of pomp and history, dating back to ancient times. Chub's face showed that he had no idea that he was to be appointed that post and he looked at Jeremiah with the eyes of a true brother! The two men would go through their entire adult lives as Brothers of The Blood!
Jeremiah was invested with the authority of the Prince Alpha of the Most Ancient Line. His words were to be considered as those of his Father. He spoke with his Father's Voice.
By the time it was completed, Jeremiah was the second most powerful wolf on the planet. His Circle was now known as his Council of Advisors. Peter Franklin Tate, Wolf, was named Privy Counselor to Jeremiah.
Between their official duties and final classes, the remainder of the school year raced by. Jeremiah was named Valedictorian of the Graduating Class and Chub was Salutatorian.
There was a whirlwind of parties and activities surrounding their graduation and, by the time it was finished, they all were exhausted.
Jeremiah insisted upon a short vacation and they all took off for Cashiers and then to Magee Valley. Times were becoming hard for the Cherokee, tourism was off and their businesses were not doing well. Jeremiah took the young braves, newly made since their Manhood Trial, and told them that they would need to help, otherwise the tribe would founder. He helped the young men as they started projects and small businesses to help support the tribe. They were not flush with money, but they kept starvation from their door. Without their help, the Tribe would have collapsed.
Jeremiah provided funds to begin a custom furniture business, operated by the young men of the tribe. Their own designs became quite popular and that, also, helped carry the tribe through the hard times.
Jeremiah and his Circle, now called his Counselors, ranged through the woods and forests of North Carolina, their joyful sounds could be heard on a quiet night, when the wind was still. Ranger Wild Ox would stop whatever he was doing, so that he could enjoy the sound of Wolves at play!
The young Prince Alpha Wolf will begin his life as his Father's Representative in the shadow world of the Wolf Clans. His diplomacy and iron self-discipline will assist him in helping their ancient race and aid in restoring what had been lost in Central and South America.