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 7: They all went to Cashiers to visit family and, while they were there, Tosco made his formal change before witnesses that included his Grandfather and Lord, Alpha Franklin Jeremiah Tate. The young wolf had just passed his eleventh summer when he was announced Lord Prince Wolf of the South Eastern Clan and Junior Heir to the Most Ancient Line.
A CALL FROM THE WILDS
Tosco and Jeremiah were enjoying a run in mountains and forest near Jeremiah's childhood home in Cashiers. They had both just returned to their humans and were lying in the leaves beneath an ancient oak.
They both became uneasy, something was "tickling" their minds. Jeremiah reached out with all his power and asked, "Who calls for me?"
They both heard, "Hel…… hurt, can … la… lon…."
Tosco grasped his Father's hand, adding his own power to that of Jeremiah and, again, Jeremiah reached out asking, "Who calls me, what is your need?"
They both heard the same mind reply, "I am Joseph, we are the last and are hiding from hunters at Great Slave Lake."
Jeremiah asked, "Of what clan are you?"
The Mind replied, "There is no clan here, we are the last of our kind and the hunters come for us."
Tosco immediately sent, "Brother, we are the same as you and WE come for you!"
Father and son raced back to Jeremiah's boyhood home and Jeremiah called his Chief Pilot on the telephone, "Find a landing place at Great Slave Lake up in the Northwest Territories of Canada, we are returning to Charlotte and go on rescue."
Jeremiah and Tosco quickly redressed, before Jeremiah's Mother, Helen, found them standing naked in her house.
Chub and Jeremiah's Council of Advisors were all visiting family members locally, Jeremiah sent out a mindcall that brought them all running.
He quickly told them all they knew of frightened young wolves at Great Slave Lake. They jumped into the SUVs and headed for Charlotte as fast as they dared.
Jeremiah sent ahead for all his Warriors to be ready to fly into the far north as soon as he got to the airport.
Chub brought the heavy SUV to a skidding stop in the parking slot next to their private hanger, Wolf Chief Pilot Harley Myers had already checked the plane out and Jeremiah's Warriors were standing at the boarding ladder waiting for their Leader. Each Warrior bowed to his Prince Alpha Wolf and the young Prince Tosco as the two mounted the ladder and entered the plane, with the Warriors on their heels.
The pilot started winding up the turbines as soon as the door was closed and the plane rolled out to the runway, awaiting clearance for takeoff.
As soon as clearance was received, they were in the air and Jeremiah gave orders to make all possible speed.
He sat next to his son and, together, they attempted to reach the frightened boys at Great Slave Lake. Jeremiah let Tosco send, one boy to another, "I am Tosco, Wolf Prince and my Father is bringing me to your rescue."
He heard a reply, "errrah, you are shape-shifter, like us?"
Tosco sent, "Yes, there are many of us and my Father sends you welcome, you are welcome to join our Family and be one with us. He is the Clan Prince Alpha Wolf and we will protect you. Hide now, we are on our way to rescue you all. How many are you?"
The sender replied, "We are sixteen boys I am oldest at 14 years old. The hunters killed our families and we have been running from them for three days now. Please hurry!"
Jeremiah told Wolf Pilot Harley Myers to "cram" the throttles, there were wolf boys in dire trouble!
They landed in Toronto to refuel and took off again immediately. Jeremiah used his Power of Persuasion to turn aside the inquiries of the Canadian authorities.
Eleven hours after they had departed Charlotte, Great Slave Lake came into view and the gravel landing strip at Sandy Creek was lit up as they had requested.
As they were landing, Tosco tried mind-calling the Wolf Boys and their leader, who told Tosco his name was Joseph, answered immediately.
Tosco asked, "Where are you hiding?" The boy replied, "Is your airplane the one that is blue and white, with a red Wolf's Head painted on the side?"
Tosco answered, "You are close enough to see us?" The boy replied, "We are hiding behind the big rocks just above you on the hill."
Jeremiah over heard the conversation and sent, "This is Jeremiah, Prince Alpha Wolf, Joseph, stay where you are, it will be dark soon and I will bring my Warriors to protect you. Can you hang on a little bit longer, we have food for you on the airplane."
The boy could be felt sobbing, "SssSS sir Prince, some of us are hurt and will have to be carried."
Jeremiah screamed, "ENOUGH! WE COME NOW, WATCH FOR US!"
Chub had been listening, and the Warriors were already lined up on the ground, ready to rescue the Wolf Boys.
The Warriors were heavily armed and very angry, Chub had been relaying to them what the boys had sent to Jeremiah and Tosco. When the two Princes emerged from the plane, they were confronted with eighteen heavily armed Warriors, with enough firepower to begin a revolution.
The pilots went over to the office to arrange refueling the plane and to distract those in the small office while the Wolf Warriors and Princes hurried up the hill to the rocks above them.
A wolf can move at amazing speeds and these were all very powerful wolves, in hardly more than a blink of the eye, they were among the rocks on the hillside.
As Chub watched his friend and Prince, Jeremiah, and his warriors disappeared from sight and reappeared among the rocks up on the hillside.
Chub thought to himself, "Lord of All Wolves, Above Us All, he has reclaimed the Power of Invisibility, thought lost since the Age of the Ancients. What more is Jere going to rediscover?"
The boys were all crowded behind a large rock, they were dirty and easily smelled, the Warriors knew exactly where they were hiding. Tosco had the boy, Joseph in his arms, comforting him and Jeremiah had his arms around them both.
Joseph was shaking so badly, he was unable to walk and Jeremiah picked up both boys and followed his Warriors back down the hill. All the Warriors but three were carrying injured boys, the three who had their hands free, covered the others with the weapons, almost hoping that someone would challenge them.
They could see the damage and hurt inflicted on the youngsters and an angry wolf is something fearsome to behold, an enraged wolf is worse by orders of magnitude. Their eyes were glowing bright red and their canine fangs were protruding beyond their lips. Those of their kind could see the Warrior's wolves shimmering to come forth. These wolves were beyond angry, they were volcanic!
They got all the boy wolves on board the airplane and hidden while the ground crew refueled the plane. The moment the runway was clear, they began preparation to take off, none wanted to remain in that dreadful place with folk who hunted boys.
They patched up the hurt boys as best they could from the first aid cabinet and heated the food they had brought. The boys gobbled everything in sight and looked for more.
Jeremiah saw how thin they were when they had undressed them to tend their hurts. Joseph told them that they had been a small Family Clan and had lived there "forever". He was not aware of any others, however, his Papa had told them all what they were and he had told him many of the legends of the Ancients.
He saw the ring upon Jeremiah's finger and looked at it closely. He pulled a leather thong from around his neck and opened a small leather bag. Inside was another ring, similar to Jeremiah's.
He said, "This was my Papa's ring, I took it from his dead fingers after the men had killed him. They have been chasing us ever since.
Jeremiah asked the boy, "Have you made your change?"
Joseph looked at him, not understanding.
Tosco said, "He means like this" and he brought forth his wolf. The smaller boys jumped back in fear, but Joseph got red in the face and hung his head, "Yes sir, that is what caused our troubles, someone saw me and reported it to the hunters."
Jeremiah drew the boy to him and held him tight, "Son, I cannot bring back your family but I ask you all to become part of mine."
Joseph dropped to his knee and replied, "WOLF PRINCE, COMMAND ME" All his companions had also dropped to their knee and repeated the oath that every wolf was born with.
Jeremiah accepted their oath, "WOLF BOYS OF THE NORTH, I SEE THEE ALL AND KNOW THEE. THOU ART ONE AMONG US TO CARE FOR AND LOVE."
Jeremiah slipped the ring Joseph had shown them on Joseph's finger and it began to glow immediately. All those in Companionship with Jeremiah, knew instantly that they had yet another direct descendent of the Ancients among them.
They returned to Charlotte and installed the boys in bedrooms in the guest wing of the manor. The staff took the boys into their hearts and nursed them back to health.
Several Warriors knelt before Jeremiah, asking his permission to adopt one of the boys. Jeremiah took Joseph as his second son and soon, all sixteen of the boys had families.
Lord Alpha Franklin came to visit and meet the boys his own son, Jeremiah, had rescued. The boys were frightened to meet a "Real Lord" but Chub and Jeremiah calmed them and instructed them on how to meet the Alpha Wolf.
Joseph had a quiet dignity about him that all saw as soon as they met him, he was wearing his Papa's ring when he knelt in submission to Lord Alpha Franklin and it started pulsing from its yellow sapphire in the face of the ring.
Franklin drew the boy to him and looked closely at his ring. He exclaimed, "The House of Jep!"
Joseph looked at him in question and Franklin explained, "There were six ancient houses, we are of Ced (sometimes referred to as Zed), the oldest of the houses, next came Jep, then Tor, Met, Gal and Lep."
Jeremiah spoke up, "Then the Houses of Ced and Jep are joined, for I have adopted Joseph as my son."
Franklin replied, "Then, all the more important that I do that which I came here to do, JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE AND TOSCO JEREMIAH MIRANDA TATE OF THE HOUSE OF CED, STAND BEFORE ME. JOSEPH DANIEL SALAZAR TATE OF THE HOUSE OF JEP, ALSO STAND BEFORE ME."
When Jeremiah and his sons Joseph and Tosco were standing before the Lord Alpha, he continued, "PRINCES WOLF OF THE FAMILY TATE, HOUSES OF CED AND JEP, BY MY AUTHORITY I CREATE THEE AND ALL THY KINE TO BE THE SEPT OF GREYSTONE. THY ALLEGIANCE IS MINE, BUT THOU SHALL ALSO REVERE THE HOUSE OF JEP."
The Alpha ordered that certain properties and business be turned over to the direct control of Jeremiah and the Sept of Greystone came into being.
The first thing Jeremiah did was arrange schooling for Joseph and his followers. New birth certificates and documents were arranged for all of them and they quickly became American boys.
Joseph became adept at bringing forth his wolf and enjoyed the forest and mountains around Cashiers every bit as much as did his Brother and Father.
The other boys showed their wolves simmering below the surface, but none had yet emerged. The boys healed quickly, as the wolves they were and were soon driving their tutors to early graves trying to keep up with them.
Chub and Jeremiah sat down with Joseph, or as he now called himself, Joe, and questioned him closely hoping to find any clue of their folk still hiding out in the wilds of Canada. Joe remembered his Father speaking of other groups at McCabe Creek in the Yukon and a cousin at Tundra Rock, Ontario.
Jeremiah and Tosco spent many nights ranging their minds northward in search of lost wolves. They pulled out maps and studied the terrain, looking for clues. Several times, they both felt a fleeting response to their call but neither were sure.
Jeremiah spoke several times to his Father, asking advice and the Alpha would always say, "This is your search, follow your heart Prince Alpha."
By the next summer, Jeremiah had made his decision and told his staff to locate a plane that could land on the lakes of the far north, could carry his Warriors and any they rescued.
FAR NORTH RESCUE
They finally decided upon another Bombardier made especially for them. It was to have oversized fuel tanks, both landing wheels and pontoons and a small sickbay, where the injured could be treated.
Jeremiah also ordered food lockers where large amounts of food could be stored as well as a preparation area that could feed his Warriors and any refugees they rescued.
The manufacturer was delighted to get the order, business had been off and they were struggling. They promised delivery well before the summer solstice, the time when it would be the warmest in the far north.
Chub began training Tosco and Joe in fighting techniques and building up their strength. While Jeremiah labored over building his Sept, Chub drove the two boys almost unmercifully, running with them for days in the forests and mountains near Cashiers.
Both young wolves filled out and grew muscles they did not know they had. When Chub brought them back to their Father, Jeremiah hardly recognized them.
They were no longer boys, they had become powerful young men and their wolves were terrifying, paws as large as dinner plates and each stood nearly five feet at their massive shoulders.
Tosco's features had darkened and his classic Mayan face was pure Indian.
As Warriors, the two had become the most powerful of those who served Jeremiah. Chub had not allowed them to slack off on their studies, both had superior intellects and were well beyond their age groups scholastically.
They would have made any father proud and their Father took great pride in them both.
As departure day approached, both Tosco and Joe joined in meld with Jeremiah, searching for the lost wolves of the north. Each time the thought they had made contact, the connection was lost.
In desperation, they sent, hoping the wolves would receive their message, "WE COME FOR YOU, WATCH FOR A BLUE AND WHITE AIRPLANE WITH A RED WOLF'S HEAD PAINTED ON EACH SIDE."
They took off from Charlotte, loaded with twenty-five of Jeremiah's Warriors, his Sept Prime Minister, Chub and his two sons.
Joe's companions from The North Lands were left behind, much to their dissatisfaction. They had hoped to assist in the rescue of their fellow wolves of the Far North.
The new plane cruised faster and had a greater range than their first plane from Bombardier and they reached Toronto in three hours.
Again, Jeremiah used his power of coercion to deflect any inquiry from the Canadian Government. They refueled and headed for McCabe Creek in the Yukon. It was a long flight and Jeremiah and his two sons joined in attempts to contact anyone.
As they came closer to McCabe Creek, they began hearing mental whispers and finally an individual was able to remain in contact, "I am Paul and I am sixteen years old. We are ten boys and two girls, all who are left our folk. I feel you are of our kind, I am the only one who has made change, the hunters killed our parents and they search for us. Come quickly, the hunters have no mercy."
Tosco stuck his head in the door to the pilot's deck, "Lords Pilot, we must hurry, the hunters are searching for the children."
Chief Wolf Pilot Harley Myers pushed the throttles to their safety stops to gain a bit more speed. He then unlocked the emergency throttle positions and moved the throttles even further!
As they neared McCabe Creek, a large area of open tundra came into view and they could see people waving a white flag against the grey green frozen tundra.
Jeremiah contacted the young wolf, Paul, and asked him the condition of the tundra to land the airplane.
The boy sent, "My Lord, the top few inches are squishy but there is solid ice below. Please hurry, the hunters have located us!"
Jeremiah shared the last with his companions and Harley Meyers fought to keep his own wolf in check as he began a rapid decent to land the aircraft.
Without instructions, the Warriors armed themselves with every weapon they had with them.
As Harley touched the plane down, he reversed the propellers to slow the plane down faster.
As the plane rolled to a stop, Warriors were leaping from the plane, their weapons held at the ready. Twelve children came running in their direction from a small clump of willows.
Shots were heard as another group of men came racing towards them.
They were no match for the angry Wolf Warriors, none survived.
As the children gathered at the ladder to the plane, an older teen said, "I am Paul, we must hurry, there are more hunters following the ones here who found us."
He started lifting children up the ladder as they mounted the airplane, Jeremiah's Warriors formed a defensive circle around the aircraft while the children were being loaded.
When all the children and their leader, Paul, had been safely loaded into the plane, the Warriors leaped into the cabin and pulled in the boarding ladder behind them.
The Pilots had the turbines rolling and they threw the throttles forward as they turned away from a group of men running towards them. They all could hear the rattle of gunfire as the plane lifted into the sky.
When they finally returned home, they would find a few bullet holes in the fuselage! It was a lumbering trip into the air, they were approaching being overloaded.
They headed towards their second stop, Tundra Rock in Ontario.
The Warriors held the children in their arms as Joseph and Tosco treated their wounds. The Warriors could be seen wiping their eyes of tears as small children were treated for wounds that would have stopped a grown adult, even of their own kind.
One little girl had been blinded and two boys were missing a hand. Yet, another boy had been beaten, it was a miracle he was still alive. Joseph stood beside Paul, the two would become lifelong friends.
Joseph said, "Paul, let me take you to the Lord Prince Alpha Jeremiah, Leader of our Sept." Joseph brought Paul to Jeremiah, who held both boys in a tight embrace.
Paul finally broke down and cried in Jeremiah's arms. He told a tale of what had happened to them and their families that would have made even the stones weep.
Finally, the boy could stand no more and he fell asleep in Jeremiah's arms.
Jeremiah gently laid the exhausted teen Wolf on a cot and covered him with a blanket. Tosco and Joe sat beside him all thru his sleep.
Jeremiah had already decided to offer Paul a place in his Family and he could see his Warriors coming close to the other children. There would be no orphans at Greystone Manor.
They flew through the night in their eastward race to locate those who were fleeing the hunters at Tundra Rock.
As they came closer, Jeremiah was able to contact a young wolf, John. He reported he had rescued thirteen boys and six girls from a flaming building. He had watched as the hunters had chased the children into the barn and then set it afire!
Jeremiah's eyes lit up the entire cabin in his anger, what animals burned children to death? He told John to watch for their plane and asked him if there was a lake or open field nearby.
John told him there was a small lake next to where they were hiding and he sent the landmarks to Jeremiah.
The pilots were forcing the plane as much as they dared, they already had a precious cargo onboard that could not be endangered and they were already heavily loaded!
As they sped eastwards, the coming dawn began to light up the area where John and the children were hiding. They could hear the hunters moving around in the distance and John pleaded with Jeremiah to hurry, before they were discovered.
As the plane began to lose altitude, they could see the line of hunters beating the bushes for the children.
The Wolf Warriors gathered at the cabin door, ready to jump out and go to war with devils who would burn children alive! As soon as the plane stopped at the lake's shoreline, twenty-five enraged Warriors leaped from the plane, shooting as they landed on the marshy lake shore.
The hunters were completely unprepared for their prey to shoot back at them and, in their hesitation, all but two died.
While the children were being loaded, the angry Wolf Warriors saw to it the remainder of the hunters would spend the rest of eternity frozen in the wilds of Northern Ontario. None survived their encounter with Adult Warrior Wolves!
The condition of the children was horrific; the plane cabin was more like an emergency ward at a train wreck. Paul and Joseph went through the cabin comforting the children of their folk. Tosco sat with John as his wounds were treated, then John insisted on visiting with each of the children he had brought to safety.
Many tears were shed as the children told of their ordeal and Jeremiah saw his family growing even more, John also, would become his son.
John had also made the change and they could see the teen's wolf struggling to come forth.
Tosco hugged his new friend and brought him over to the table that had been set up so that he could eat and relax. John had been leading the children, dodging the hunters for five days without sleep or rest, and he was exhausted.
They landed briefly in Toronto to refuel, Jeremiah saw to it there was no record of them having been there.
When they had, at last, reached Charlotte, Chub had arranged for a fleet of limousines to carry the injured children to Greystone Manor. A dozen Wolf Doctors waited there to treat the youngsters' injuries.
As hardened as those wolves were, not a dry eye remained among them. By the time they had gotten the two groups of children cleaned up, treated and some more food into them, the doctors were near collapse and their emotions had been off the scale for hours!
The Senior Wolf Surgeon looked at Jeremiah and asked, "Lord Prince Alpha, how do you stand there, not in tears?"
Jeremiah replied to the distraught physician, "I have already shed my tears, now I labor to contain my anger against those who have done this awful thing and those who allowed it to happen!"
The doctor looked into Jeremiah's eyes and shuddered at what he saw, he could almost feel sympathy for those who had hurt these children.
An angry Shapeshifter is something to be feared, even by those of his own kind.
Jeremiah did indeed adopt both John and Paul, bringing his boy pack to four teens. They had all gone through their change and when he and Chub took their pack on a run in the mountains, folks would call the Forest Service about a pack of wolves in the area. The calls usually went no further than the desk of Chief Ranger Wild Ox.
Jeremiah knew the time was fast approaching that he would have to take Tosco back to his people, the young man had gained the stature of a man and was already a leader of wolves.
Several times, Jeremiah had observed Tosco practicing with a tree limb as his staff, the young man was well over six feet tall and had the shoulders of an ox. He would be a leader his clan could look up to. He had demonstrated a rare insight in handling others and was fast becoming a leader of the boys they had rescued from the north.
The summer equinox had arrived when Tosco asked Chub to make an appointment for him to speak formally to Jeremiah.
Chub grinned when he relayed the request to Jeremiah, "The boy is now a man and wishes to be about a man's business!"
The young Lord Prince Alpha, now an Alpha of his own Sept, will continuing uniting those of his kind who have lost their way and help them to succeed.