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.
From Book 12; The return home was anti-climatic, everyone was tired and war weary. With grateful eyes, they saw Charlotte come over the horizon and Chub was waiting for them as they landed. He hugged them all, but especially, Jeremiah and Peter. They were all whisked away to Greystone Manor before any Customs or Immigration authorities could become inquisitive. It would be several weeks before Jeremiah could dig his desk clear and he could relax. Clearly, a trip to Cashiers and Magee Valley was on the horizon.
HOME AT LAST
Jeremiah was tired, he had spent the last 5 years at war and he was weary. As soon as he had cleared his desk of the most important items, he notified his Alpha Father that he was going to Cashiers for a while to hide among his beloved mountains of North Carolina.
His Father, Franklin Tate agreed and said, somewhat cryptically, "In two months, my son, we must meet." Chub agreed to stay at Greystone Manor as Proxy on the condition that Peter attend Jeremiah in the same capacity.
Peter agreed and they made up their caravan.
Chub had insisted that 12 Warriors go as guards, with all their belongings and attendants, it made a caravan of 6 huge Ford Expeditions. They had warned Jeremiah's Mother they were coming, she was delighted that she was going to see her son and his Circle. She would have food ready for them and she looked forward to the stories that would be passed around about her son.
They left the next morning and took a leisurely drive into the mountains that Jeremiah loved and had spent his youth. Every mile could be seen as his grin became wider. His companions could see the signs of tension and worry being shed from his face. They arrived at Jeremiah's boyhood home shortly after lunch, his Mother, Helen, had set out a buffet for everyone, including Peter.
They were all almost as tired as Jeremiah, so everyone napped after having been stuffed like sausages by Jeremiah's Mother. Although she has lost the ability to call forth her wolf when she bore the Prince Alpha, she remained wolf and knew how to feed young Warriors of the Wolf Kind.
As evening drew near, the Wolves became restless and when Jeremiah shifted to his wolf, it was like an avalanche, so did all the rest of them. Helen looked out her window and saw 26 wolves in her yard, she smiled and knew her son would get the relaxation he so sorely needed. She admired the handsome wolf that was her only son, Jeremiah had attained his full growth. His human stood 6'8", with broad shoulders and weighed in at 290 pounds. His wolf was simply enormous, paws as big as pie plates and muscles that rippled as he walked. His fur shone with a reddish luster that marked him as a Royal Wolf.
She smiled, he was a magnificent beast that knew who and what he was.
He strode across her yard with the confidence of one who owned all he could see and in perfect harmony with his surroundings. "Yes," she thought, "He is the perfect wolf. I will have grandbabies to cuddle and play with!" Jeremiah and his group took off for the backcountry, the woods rang with their joyful howls.
Chief Wild Ox had retired from the Forestry Service and lived at the edge of Magee Valley with his people. He heard the calls and smiled. He stood and made ready to walk to Skunk Cabbage Meadow, where he knew he would meet his friends. He was no longer a young man, but the walk was an easy one and he reached the meadow at mid-afternoon. He called out, "I WOULD SEE THEE LORD PRINCE ALPHA WOLF JEREMIAH TATE, THEE AND THY COMPANIONS."
He sat on a rock at the edge of the meadow, knowing without fail, that he had been heard. A few minutes later, he heard in his mind, "I WOULD SEE THEE ALSO, OLD FRIEND" Suddenly, the old Indian felt a presence beside him, without looking down, he said, "GOOD FRIEND JEREMIAH, PATRON AND SUPPORTER OF MY PEOPLE, I WELCOME THEE WITH ALL MY HEART."
There was suddenly a wolf standing beside the old man, his cold nose on his hands. He heard, "How does my friend do and all his folk?" Wild Ox replied, "We do well, Lord Prince, the Youth Lodge is full and their furniture business has many orders yet to fill. My people are happy and our youth satisfied to remain with us."
Jeremiah replied, "I would come for a visit soon, I have need to be with your young and see them for myself. I will come in 7 days to be with my friends, The Cherokee Nation." The wolf ambled off, looking back once at his old friend, before disappearing into the forest once more.
For the next several nights, the forest rang with the happy song of wolves at play, when complaints reached the Rangers of the Forest Service, they laughed and told the callers, "That is what wolves do!" Unlike Retired Chief Ranger Wild Ox, they did not know what the wolves really were, but wolves, ANY wolves in a forest did not seem unnatural to the Rangers. One Ranger among them, Tree Bent, knew both what the Wolves were and who led them. On his day off, he hurried down to the Village in Magee Valley, Prince Jeremiah was coming for a visit!
After they had worked all the kinks out of their bodies, Jeremiah knew it was time for them to return to the Human World and resume the business of the Clan and Family. He needed to make two stops before he returned to Charlotte, one to his friends in Magee Valley and one to his Father.
They swung through Magee Valley first and visited with the Cherokee. As usual, they were delighted to see him. They had been warned by old Chief Wild Ox and Tree Bent of the visit and Running Deer was at the Youth Lodge, waiting for him. It was with great pride that Running Deer showed him all the activities that were going on for the young of the tribe. There were remedial classes, homework classes and study sessions so that the Indian Youth could excel in school.
There were groups involved in various native crafts and arts, two small girls shyly presented Jeremiah with a beautiful, hand woven blanket in a wolf motif. He promised the girls it would go on display at Greystone Manor in Charlotte. The boys presented him with a magnificent chair of truly regal design.
Little did Jeremiah know that, within days, those two presents would be put to a totally different use than he supposed. Had he probed their minds, he would have been forewarned, but, unless it was an emergency such an act was completely against his folk's moral codes.
His next stop was to visit his Lord and Father, Franklin Jeremiah Tate. When he was ushered in to see his Father, Jeremiah was shocked. Suddenly, his Father looked old and worn. He rushed to him and threw his arms around Franklin. The older wolf reached out to embrace his son and Heir with shaky hands. Jeremiah stood back, tears in his eyes and asked, "Papa, are you ill?"
Jeremiah knew there were few illnesses that afflicted their kind, but his Father's drawn and pinched face frightened him. Franklin replied, "No my son I suffer only from age. I have ruled this Family for more than 1,500 years and I am tired; tired and weary. I fear your time is upon us. My Son, I have called Conclave, Daniel Gill Tate is in the next room, your circle and Warriors have already been notified. I am sorry son, you ARE the next Lord Alpha Wolf and The Lord of Family Ced."
The door to the next room opened and Chub rushed out to hold his friend and cousin, Jeremiah. Peter came bounding in to stand by his brother and the Warriors, who had accompanied Jeremiah in the mountains, stood at attention, their right fist held rigid across their chests in salute. A salute reserved for only the King of their kind! That symbol of Royal Fealty would become apparent in the near future.
All of a sudden, Jeremiah knew the purpose of the gifts the Cherokee youths had given him.
The Great Conclave of Wolves was set for the next day, Alphas or their Sons, many clans sent both, there were representatives from all the Clans of the Americas were to attend.
The next day, Jeremiah sat beside his Father on the raised platform of the Conclave Hall at Flat Rock as the Most Ancient Family of Ced assembled.
After the Folk of Family Ced were seated, Chub, acting as Proxy for both Father and Son pounded his staff, "ALL RISE, LORD ALPHA WOLF JOSEPH TATE OF FAMILY JED ARRIVES. LORD PRINCE WOLF TOSCO TATE OF FAMILY CED ARRIVES. LORD ALPHA WOLF BALAP TATE OF FAMILY TOR ARRIVES, LORD ALPHA WOLF TECITO TATE OF FAMILY GAL ARRIVES. GREETINGS GREAT ALPHAS JOIN AS WE CELEBRATE THE ASCENSION OF LORD PRINCE ALPHA WOLF JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE TO THE THRONE OF FAMILY CED. BE WELCOME HONORED SONS OF LORD PRINCE ALPHA WOLF JEREMIAH – PRINCE WOLF TOSCO, PRINCE WOLF JOHN, LORD PROTECTOR OF WOLVES CARLOS, PRINCE ALPHA WOLF PAUL TATE, AND PRINCE ALPHA WOLF GORLU TATE. ALL HONOR TO LORD PETER TATE, BROTHER TO LORD JEREMIAH AND ALSO WELCOME LORD OF ALL WOLF WARRIORS, WOLF PRINCE JONAL"
Chub pounded his staff three time and announced, "BE SEATED, THE ASCENSION OF LORD JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE BEGINS!"** **The ceremony began, rooted in more than 15,000 years of Wolf history. As the great clock began to boom midnight, the ceremony was completed.
Chub stood in front of Jeremiah and his Father, who were standing side by side, he banged his staff 12 times on the stone floor and intoned, "ALL HAIL LORD JEREMIAH FRANKLIN TATE, ALPHA WOLF OF FAMILY JED, TRADITIONAL LEADER OF THE FAMILIES OF WOLVES, ALPHA WOLF OF THE PRINCIPAL CLAN OF THE AMERICAS, ALPHA WOLF OF THE SENIOR FAMILY OF WOLVES, FRIEND AND PATRON OF ALL WOLVES IN NEED, PATRON OF THE CHEROKEE NATION. HEAR ALL PRESENT LORD JEREMIAH RULES FROM THIS MOMENT FORWARD!"
All the attending dignitaries lined up to shake Jeremiah's hand and to congratulate him on his ascension. His sons pushed his hand away and hugged him tightly. The only person there who was totally Human was Honorary Chief Wild Ox. He had the blanket the Cherokee Children had woven for Jeremiah and he draped over the new Alpha Wolf's shoulders and pointed to the chair on the platform. It was the chair they had made for him. Wild Ox said, "Lord of Wolves, I give you one more honor. He held up his hand and Cherokee Chief Red Tail and Youth Chief Running Deer came forward.
They both clasped Jeremiah on the shoulder and pronounced him Honorary Chieftain of the Cherokee Nation.
Jeremiah was shaking, he knew his people's history as well as anyone, it was the first time since the dark had fallen on Wolfdom that an Ascension had been held with another Family Alpha present, let alone three and a Family Alpha Presumptive attending! In all the years since their kind had fled Europe and migrated across the land bridge from Asia with the folk who became the Cherokee, no wolf had ever been so honored by them.
Jeremiah was exhausted, physically and emotionally, but he insisted on hosting an early breakfast for all the guests. There, although most knew of his brother Peter, few had ever met him, so he presented Peter to the assembled dignitaries and publically proclaimed him as his brother. He appointed Chub as his Family Ced and Clan Proxy and Jonal as his Chief Warrior Leader.
Franklin went immediately into seclusion at his summer home on Sand Island and Jeremiah decided to move the Ced Family Headquarters to Charlotte. He would temporarily keep the Conclave at Flat Rock, but would look for a new location closer to Greystone Manor.
He began a whirlwind trip to visit all the Clans within Family Ced, it seemed he was never home. Fortunately, he had a Brother and a Cousin who could handle almost anything. Neither The Family nor the Clan suffered from his travels, only an exhausted Jeremiah.
He had just returned from Seattle when the accountants paid him a visit with an up to date accounting of the CED finances. It was a good thing Jeremiah was sitting down, the net worth of Family Ced, which was legally Jeremiah himself, was $387 Billion! That was separate and different from The Southeastern Clan!
While his head was still swimming, Peter padded in and sat beside him, "Brother, we have a problem." Jeremiah looked at him in question, so Peter continued, "Balap has sent information about some wolves in Brazil who are in trouble and he does not have the resources to go help them."
Jeremiah looked at his brother, "We have the resources, do I dare take the time?" Peter responded, "No Brother you do not, but I will go with Jonal with 100 Warriors and, maybe John?"
Jeremiah agreed and said. "That will work, also, take Tosco with you, he needs the experience because he is going to be the next Ambassador Plenipotentiary." Peter nodded his head, he agreed wholeheartedly with that appointment.
Jeremiah went to the airport to see them all off. He was a bit envious, but he had so much on his plate at that moment, his getting away was simply not possible. He was getting tired already of having to settle every dispute within the Family Ced. That included every Clan in North America, Mexico, South America and, for some reason, those in Japan, Korea and Northern China. The most "ticklish" was the single clan in North Korea. Even his Father had not known what to do with it after 1945, yet they paid their assessment regularly and on time and only irregularly did they have questions or need something.
He was going to have to think hard on the subject to come up with a solution. Abandoning them was NOT an option.
While Jonal had the Red Wolf in Brazil, Jeremiah had his staff research another, larger plane and they recommended a Boeing 757 Custom. They brought him layouts of the craft and Boeing salesmen showed him slick pictures of possible custom configurations. He really preferred the Bombardier, but they did not make a plane in the size he felt they needed. He was not impressed with the European Aerospatiale and the Russian Manufacturer, Tupalov, had too many planes that had crashed. So, he figured Boeing was the best bet.
The plane was to have 4 bedrooms, a conference room, a seating area, an infirmary and a bunkroom for his bodyguard. He ordered the cargo area to be custom fitted with lockers and cabinets and a small tool room. When he was presented with the proposal and bid, he didn't bat an eye and wrote a check for the binder and handed it to a stunned sales manager!
As the man was walking out, he asked his guide, "What is it Mr. Tate does for a living?" His guide, Wolf Warrior Jac looked at the man and replied, "He is the Boss."
He left the man at the front door of Greystone Manor with a check for $15 million in his hand and a stunned look on his face. He looked at the check, it said CED Corporation. He called his boss and was told, "That check is better than a bag of gold, put it in the First National Bank there in Charlotte and come on home, we have an airplane to build."
INTERVENTION IN BRAZIL
Jonal planned that the Red Wolf would land at Recife, Tosco assured him he could handle the officials. The best information they had was the wolves were holed up a short distance from the small town of Carpina, a place called Bairro Novo.
After refueling in Puerto Rico, they headed for Recife. They landed late at night and Tosco managed the officials, he came back with a fist full of paper that allowed them multiple entry and exits from the country for an atmospheric research mission. Jonal looked at Tosco, "What in the name of all Hells is an atmospheric research mission?" Tosco giggled, "Beats me, but it's all legal and above board. We can come and go as we please for the next two years!"
Jonal laughed at his young companion, "I'm gonna tell your Uncle Jere on you!" Tosco got a serious look on his face, "eeer ah Maybe I had oughta stay here in Brazil for a while?" Jonal laughed, "Oh no you don't, you are gonna face the music along with me!"
Peter snorted and told them the only music they had to face was his!
John watched and listened to all their conversations, he wondered if he would ever have the nerve that Tosco displayed.
They slipped out of Recife at first light and headed for a small landing strip outside the town of Carpina in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. The strip appeared to be only a few miles from their objective of Bairro Novo. It was a short hop and they landed before lunch time. Jonal and Tosco went into the village to look around and get a feel for the place with Peter at their side acting like a well behaved dog. The people there were suspicious of strangers, even if they did speak a sister language, Portuguese.
It was here that Tosco demonstrated one of his gifts; he could read minds that were not in his sight or speaking to him. Jonal shivered a bit and Tosco put an innocent look on his face and said that he would never do that to him. They both heard John giggling and they suddenly realized that he could "tune in" on them both! Jonal was not so sure about plans being made and executed by Tosco and, when Tosco again giggled, making Jonal even more nervous.
Tosco looked at Peter, who sent, "Don't even think about it!"
The four finally found a trace of what they were looking for and they went to a large farm just outside Bairro Novo. They were sure when they saw a wolf's head engraved on the medallion of the front gate. They mind called Warrior Blas, their most proficient Warrior Portuguese speaker and told him to bring the warriors to the farm.
Jonal and Tosco rang the bell at the gate while John hung back a bit. A gruff man came out to tell them to go away. Tosco held up the Golden Wolf's Head that Tecito had made for him. He kept it on a gold chain around his neck.
The man's eyes flew open and he said, "Os lobos del Norte Americanos?" Tosco replied, "Sim, nos estamos lobos Americanos para assistancer os lobos Brasilieros" The man screamed in joy and called those in the house to come to the gate. They flung the gate open just as Blas brought the 100 warriors to Jonal.
Tosco said, in his very poor Portuguese, "El es un Lobo Jefe Jonal"
A tall, dignified man came out and bowed to them. In stilted English, he said, "I am Jorge Domingo, mi hermano was Alpha of Clan Domingo. I am afraid you find us poor hosts as we have much problemas." Jonal said, "Sir, you do not understand, we have come to help you, to assist you." He continued, "Lord Alpha Wolf Jeremiah Tate, Alpha Wolf of Family Ced sends us to help you in your troubles." Tosco said to Jonal, "Let me try." Tosco sent to the man's mind directly, "We mean to help you and set your problems right. The Lord of Ced sends us"
Jorge's eyes went wide, "Madre Minha, not since the time of os antigos have we had such! Com, Com, inside you all! Imediante!" They were rushed inside the large home, it was furnished in rich leathers and woods, much like a colonial era home.
Young girls brought iced drinks and snacks for the visitors. Jorge invited Tosco and Jonal to come into the office, where they could talk, "Senhors, mi hermano, er my brother was Alpha Wolf of Clan Domingo. He was murdered while in Recife and we could not even reclaim his corpo, er, body. Several more of us have been murdered and I have brought all our people here to the casa for safety. We get no protection from the authorities."
Tosco asked, "Is there a Prince Alpha Wolf?"
Jorge replied, "Sim, mi hermano tiene un hijo, Alfonso. Ele tiene, er has Nuevo anos, he is nine years of age." Jonal asked, "Why are you having this trouble?" Jorge replied, "Porque, nos refusadamos, er refused to permitar os banditos para cocaine usar nos pesoas, ahh people levitar, ahh carry drugs on their backs."
Peter was walking among the folk of Clan Domingo with John at his side, getting a feel for them. He sent to Tosco, "These people are afraid, very afraid." Tosco shouted, "ENOUGH questions, Warrior Leader Prince Jonal – Post our warriors around this place, bring any who would attempt entry to me!" Jonal saluted Tosco and replied, "At Once My Lord Prince Tosco!"
Jorge looked at Tosco and asked, "You are boy and Prince?" Tosco smiled, "My Papa is Lord Alpha Wolf of Ced!" Jorge dropped to his knees and said, "Beg I you pardon, we not honors pay you." Tosco smiled at the man, "We need no honors, please ask your Warrior Leader to join us."
Jorge jumped up and called out the door for Warrior Tomas. A fit young Warrior Wolf responded, he and Jonal were two of a kind and they were soon in deep discussion. Jonal learned that the drug bandits had carried off 12 of the Clan's men to carry drugs and had stolen 20 children for no known purpose. Jonal asked Tomas where was the headquarters of the drug bandits and Tomas told him,"Bairro Tres Marias, about 20 kilometers west of here."
Tomas had much better English than did Jorge and, together, they made a plan to reconnoiter the area of Bairro Tres Marias that same night. Peter told them he would remain at the house and see what was happening there while they were gone.
DESTRUCTION AND RESCUE
Tomas had 40 warriors and, when Jonal inspected them, he had to reject 10 of them as they were elderly and would not be able to keep up. The rejected Warriors were downcast until Jonal told them that they were to guard the home and all those within it. He picked half of his own troops and sat down with the combined force to discuss the operation and ask for suggestions. Tomas was astounded, "You ask our opinion Prince Warrior Jonal?"
Jonal replied, "Of course, your opinion is important, this is your country, from whom else would I get information on local conditions?" Tomas and his Warriors had never been asked to input information before an operation, but, they were eagerly injecting their own knowledge and offering suggestions to put down the drug traffickers.
Jonal and Tomas led the Warriors out just as it got dark, they shifted to their wolf and loped through the forested land like silent shadows in the moonlight. Their pace gobbled up the distance and they arrived at the narcotics compound at 2 am.
The place was dark and silent, the wolves explored the area and buildings, waking no one. Local dogs ran and hid as soon as the Wolves appeared. After they had seen all there was to see and counted noses of the folk that had been stolen from Clan Domingo as slaves, they retreated and ran silently back to the Clan's Headquarters in Bairro Novo.
They napped after returning and gathered again just after the noon meal. Jorge had given them a barracks and a large shed in which they could meet unobserved to formulate their plans. Jonal observed, "The narcotics traffickers do not have knowledge of what we are or of the folk they have stolen. Peter told them that there were spies nearby in the pay of the narcotics traffickers. That was how the criminals kept track of the Clan Domingo.
They all agreed that it was good the traffickers had no knowledge of the true nature of those at Clan Domingo, it would make for complete surprise on their part. They planned to rest for the remainder of the day and the next night before starting out to destroy the place and its slave masters.
The American Warriors played with the clan's children and showed the teen wolves how to handle weapons and make war silently. The older teens were developing a case of hero worship, this huge wolf, Prince Jonal, who stood head and shoulders over any of their own and was a Prince to boot, was spending time with them and teaching them his secrets of making war! That was unheard of; they hung on his every word and act.
As they made ready the next day, Alberto, the most outspoken of the teens came to Jonal, "Lord Prince Warrior Jonal, we beg of you to allow us to come with you. Please sir, we will stay out of your way, but you make war like none of us have ever heard of. We must learn these new ways." Jonal replied, "So you wish to learn our ways?" Alberto shook his head vigorously to the affirmative. Jonal continued, "OK, but you shall not be merely observers. You shall serve in my squad and follow me in battle."
The teens were excited and each saluted the Warrior Prince by clenching his fist held rigid against his chest. Tosco was watching and said to Jonal, you have started in rebuilding their Warriors." Jonal smiled as replied, "Yes, and you shall come also." He turned to John and told him that he, also, would be in his squad.
John was excited, this was his first ever war party. Peter knew his place would be staying behind and guarding their home front.
Just after dark, the force departed from Bairro Novo and retraced their path to the hidden narcotics factory. Again, it was 2 am when they arrived. Jonal placed the 130 seasoned Warriors around the compound and told the teens, Alberto, John and Tosco to stay with him.
He had Tosco scan those inside, there were none awake. When they were all in place, Tosco sent, "CHARGE" and they rushed the compound from all directions, Jonal sent the teens to collect those who had been captured as slaves and pull them back out of the way.
They rounded up the bandits and Jonal asked, "Who is in charge here?" None would answer him, so he snatched a bandit at random and asked him the same question. The bandit sneered and spat in Jonal's face, in a single swipe Jonal extended his claws and tore the bandit's throat out.
He walked over to the next bandit and asked, "Who is next?" The man was jibbering in fear and pointed to a fat man almost hidden in the center of the crowd. Jonal strode through the crowd of bandits and snatched the fat man. He again asked, "Who is in charge here?"
The man told Jonal what he could do to his own Mother, the fat man died by drowning in his own blood. One by one the bandits were disposed of and then hung by their heels from the surrounding trees like ornaments, held up by their own belts looped around the tree limbs.
The teen leader, Alberto, turned to his fellow wolf teens and said, "THIS IS THE WAY TO MAKE WAR; quick and permanent!"
They collected 28 children and 20 men who had been held in captivity. Not all were from Bairro Novo but they were all eager to be rid of the narcotics factory. Some of the children had to be carried as they had been violated and abused. Jonal called out, "Get angry later, we must get these folk back to Bairro Novo." As they left, Jonal and Tosco set torches to the place, making sure it burned to the ground.
It was slow travel to get back to their home, the men had been weakened from overwork and lack of food. The children were a case for horror and their Wolf Rescuers were barely containing both their anger and their wolves. Small children, hardly more than babies, violated and bleeding were carried in their arms. The Lord of Wolves, Above Us All, help the unfortunate Human who crossed one of them before they had worked off their anger.
The children did not cry, they looked at their deliverers with wide eyes and arms clasped around their necks. How can a Wolf love a Human child, it was easy.
John was carrying a small boy who had been sexually abused. John was crying more than was the small child. John smelled "wolf" on the boy, he realized the child was am immature wolf of his own kind. He vowed that boy would return to America with him and he would ask Lord Jeremiah to make the boy his, John's, son.
As soon as they arrived at Bairro Novo, the Wolf Warriors gave their burdens into the hands of the servants and they ran off into the surrounding woods howling in anger and frustration. One little girl asked Tosco in a very broken English, "Why he run me from, he me hate?"
Tosco held the small child and caressed her back, "No child, he runs because he does not want you to see him cry."
It was hours before all the Warriors had returned, their emotions still tortured. It would be many days before any of them would sleep peacefully the night through, but they spent their days playing with the children and seeing them through their own torments.
The force of wolves must put an end to the drug trafficking in the area and put to rights Clan Domingo. A Clan Regency will be established until the Child Alpha Wolf comes of age.