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The Alpha

The Andarian tavern was busy as it usually was on a colder evening; people bustled in and out to try and warm themselves with drink to battle the frost that always seemed to hang thick due to the nearby icy mountains. The men were loud with songs of old filling the tavern with joy as a young boy, barely ten years old, cleared mugs and empty plate of patrons who had either left or were passed out on the tables they sat at.

"Aiden!" a woman behind the bar shouted at the boy, causing him to turn to face her, startled. "Hurry and bring those dishes here, boy! We're running out!"

The boy, Aiden, made his way sheepishly to her, having to avoid the sway of drunken men until he was able to reach the bar and set the dirty dishes upon it. "Thorry, Helga," he said, nervous, his lisp being ever more present due to that anxiety.

"It's alright, boy," she replied, rubbing his shaved head roughly but lovingly. He smiled at the gesture while she collected the dishes. Helga wasn't Aiden's mother; she wasn't even a guardian for him, just a woman who saw a starving boy and decided to help him months prior.

As the night grew darker and patrons fewer, Helga motioned for Aiden to begin helping in cleaning up to close up for the night. He worked hard scrubbing dishes clean, sweeping floors, as well as other laboring duties for a ten year old. It was the arrangement he had made with Helga when she rescued him off of the streets. She never knew what happened to his parents and he either was too sad to ever tell her or perhaps even too scared. It made no difference to her as she couldn't let him die of starvation, or worse, those months ago.

"Aiden," Helga motioned for him, "I need you to do me a favor."

"What ith it, Mith Helga?" he replied, eager to make her proud of him.

"I know it's late," she sighed, "but I forgot to do something and I have to finish closing up. I have a small crate of fine whisky that needs to go to someone at the inn."

"The inn?" he repeated.

"Yes," she nodded, going for a small crate behind the bar and placing it atop the counter space. "You're a strong boy. I need you to bring it there. You can leave it with the innkeeper and just tell him it's from me."

Aiden looked at the front door then nervously back at Helga. "It can't be tomorrow, Mith Helga?" he asked.

"It was supposed to be earlier but I got caught up with things, Aiden. You'll be fine."

"The threets are thcary at night, though."

"Aiden, damn it," Helga snapped, frustrated which caused Aiden to flinch. She calmed herself and smiled. "Please just do this. The streets only seem scary because it's dark. I'm going to give you a lantern attached to the crate so you have light. You'll be fine."

The boy looked to the ground, anxious and fearful, but then took the crate. Helga fixed a lantern to it as she promised and got it lit so Aiden could go out into the cold and deliver it to the inn. She patted him on the shoulder and he smiled to her even though it was clear he was scared.

Outside, there was a chill in the air which made Aiden shiver but he slowly made his way to the inn. He heard footsteps behind him and would only glance back once or twice to see no one. He turned down streets and alleyways, hearing more footsteps and soon he found himself turning a corner to see a dirty looking bearded man with a knife. Aiden dropped the crate and could hear glass break inside as liquid seeped out.

"Oh no," he looked at it, upset at what he had done but soon he was more scared of the man wielding the knife.

"Late night for a boy to be wandering around," he grinned. "Empty your pockets, boy."

"Thir, pleathe," Aiden cried. "Mith Helga will be angry with me."

The man held the knife up as he took a step forward which caused Aiden to cower in fear. He squatted down, fearful as the man approached. "Give me your money, boy," the man repeated. "Don't make me do something I don't want to have to do."

"Thir, don't do thith, pleathe," Aiden begged. "I don't want you to be hurt."

The man chuckled to himself. "Hurt?" he mocked. "You think you're going to hurt me, boy?"

"No," Aiden whimpered, through tears.

"That's what I thought."

"But Alpha will," Aiden whispered, scared.


Suddenly Aiden convulsed and let out a cry in pain. He fell over onto his hands and knees. "Pleathe thir!" he shouted. "He'th coming!"

The man took a couple of steps back, not understanding what was happening before him. Aiden convulsed again, his small cry becoming deeper, switching from fear to a growl. The mugger took another step back. Soon Aiden's body began to change; he began to grow. His clothes began to rip and tear as they could no longer fit his muscled physique. His growls became roars and soon he stood, shirtless, with shredded pants, nearly six foot seven inches tall down at a cowering man with a knife.

"What is this?" the man asked, terrified.

"The boy is my kin," the large Aiden stood, hulking over, veins bulging all over his chest and arms. "You will regret your attempt here to harm him!"

The mugger tried desperately to stab the monstrous figure but as the blade hit his midsection the knife broke apart as if it were made of paper. The mugger stared in horror as the large Aiden sneered, grabbing the man's neck and squeezing tightly. The mugger gasped for air as he struggled to free himself to no avail. The large Aiden then quickly, and viciously, bit into the mugger's throat and tore it out with his teeth.

He let the mugger drop to the alley floor, gasping and struggling for life as blood spurted out. As he lay dying he looked up at the hulking Aiden standing over him, breathing heavily. "Alpha," he told the man dying below him. "They will call me Alpha." He then stomped down with all his might and obliterated the mugger's head into a heaping mess of what used to be his skull and brain.

Alpha then backed up against the wall of a building and calmed himself. "The bottles were not your fault, Aiden," he said out loud. "Now go tell Helga you escaped this man and did as you were told."

Shortly after Alpha finished he convulsed and began shrinking; his roar and growl became more a cry of a young child and, soon, Alpha had transformed back into Aiden. The boy stood, without a shirt, with shredded pants, in the cold alleyway with a dead man who has tried to rob him.

Fearful, the only thing he could think to do was simply make his way back to the tavern.

Aiden carries a dark secret; a secret that many would soon know as simply Alpha.