Taint

RULES OF THE SYNDICATE:
Respect Lux
What she says, goes.
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Sometimes, there are chances for redemption, if you look in the right places. After the tragic death of her parents, leaving her and her brother orphaned, she is no longer looking for redemption - she's out for blood.

Seven years after the death of her parents, Dawn, under the alias as Lux, arrives back into the limelight to set her vengeance in motion. Dawn isn't about to let anyone destroy her family
again.

If she's going to fall, then she's going to take everyone down with her.

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3. t w o

t w o 

DAWN, I'M not really so sure about this.”

Dawn turned to Raphael, who was looking up at the tall skyscraper in front of him. She could certainly see why he seemed to attract a gaggle of girls whenever he stepped outside. Hence, the small gaggle of girls who were pointing in his direction and whispering amongst themselves.

“Yeah, I’m not so sure on those girls over there too.” Isolde muttered, rolling her eyes when one of the girls let out a high-pitched squeal when Raphael looked over.

“I wasn’t talking about them, although… I’m quite sure about four of them.” He gave them a small wave and a chorus of girls let out an annoying squeal. “Not sure about the rest, but give me a couple of drinks and I’m pretty sure I’d be okay.”

“So romantic, I now see why girls love you.” Isolde said, putting her earphones in.

Raphael turned to the group of girls, who were still squealing and whispering and giggling at him, and started to make his way towards them. Dawn didn’t think it was possible for them to squeal any louder, but apparently it was. Their squeals made her head ring, and increased the dull ache to a throbbing pain in her head.

Isolde tugged on her arm. “You’re going to just let him go to the twelve annoying pigs?”

Dawn looked at the unconscious girl on the floor, being taken care of a friend who was trying to multitask taking care of her friend and getting Raphael’s attention. Her choice was made when she rushed to the jumping crowd of girls, all vying for his attention. 

“Maybe they’ll all faint in the process and finally shut up.” She nodded to the second girl who had fainted at his touch.

Dawn and Isolde scoffed as they watched the girls literally shout and shove for his attention. His name was called out from random members in the group, and it was clear that Raphael was starting to get a bit overwhelmed. He looked back with one of those deer-caught-in-headlights looks, with him mouthing word ‘help’ over and over again.

“Is death by fangirls an actual thing?” Isolde smirked as a girl clawed at his arms.

“Is that we write on his obituary? I’m up for that.” Dawn laughed, crossing her arms.

A girl planted a sloppy wet kiss on him, and pulled him forward. The other girls threw catty insults at her, but still she marched on with Raphael firmly in her grip. He had no choice but to follow her.

“We should rescue him.” Dawn said when he desperately turned around with fear in his eyes.

“We should freak them out though.” Isolde mused, placing a finger on her chin.

They strutted over, to his delight, and made their way through the crowd. The teenage girls, eighteen year olds at the most, threw a disgusted look at them as they watched them walk past. Dawn chomped at the air in front of one of the girls, making her jump a foot into the air. Isolde chuckled as she shoved past a shoulder roughly, pushing one of the girls backwards.

“Babe! Didn’t we tell you that you couldn’t keep running away like that?” Isolde mumbled, reaching out to cup his butt.

Dawn had never seen Raphael surprised, or jumpy, but Dawn swore that his eyes bulged out for a second as he jumped away from Isolde’s hands.

“Wha-?”

Dawn winked at him. “Aw babe, don’t you remember? We might have to punish you now.” She bit her lip, in an attempt to look seductive but she was sure that her grin was ruining it.

Isolde snorted, struggling to keep her mouth expression grim. She covered up her snort with a cough, and snaked her arm around his waist. “Could you get your hands off my boyfriend please?”

“Boyfri-?”

“But you told me that you were single!” The blonde girl let go of his shirt, leaving Raphael stumbling and overwhelmed by the situation.

The girl, that was the polite word in Dawn’s mind, extended her hand and before Dawn could stop her, she slapped him hard across the cheek. Dawn watched Raphael slowly realise what had happened, clenching his jaw as he fingered the accessories’ indents on his cheeks. Raphael’s eyes flicked to black as his grin slowly grew on his face.

Dawn watched as Raphael slowly stalked towards her, his fingers still on the marks on his cheeks. The girl’s eyes were as brown as the coffee beans Dawn grinded up in the morning but that didn’t stop the fear that clouded her eyes. She took a tentative step backwards, stumbling over her own two feet as Raphael neared her.

That was enough. Dawn stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. Her hand curled around his shoulder, a comfortable grip, but she still expected him to shake her off. The little shimmy of his shoulder never came. He looked back at her, his flickering eyes as they struggled to return back to the colour of the leaves lying on the ground. Dawn kept her grip on his shoulder until Isolde walked over and managed to fit her arm through the miniscule gap between his arm and his body. She whispered aimless conversations into his ear, knowing he wasn’t listening and struggling to tread the line between reality and insanity.

Dawn looked down to the cowering girl on the floor and she was suddenly hit with nostalgia. The fear in her eyes. They reminded her of something, someone. She lifted her hand, and she remembered lifting her hand with the intention of something. She knew her intention was different this time.

She offered a hand. The girl looked from her hand to Dawn’s face, over and over again. She was confused, baffled even. Dawn didn’t blame her.

“It’s alright. I’m not going to bite.” Dawn said soothingly.

The girl raised her eyebrows as if to say, ‘You expect me to believe that?’ but took her hand anyway, after a quick once-over. Dawn pulled her to her feet, a bit too hard as the girl stumbled on her feet once she was up.

“See? No bite marks.” Dawn said with a smile, “I’m Lux.”

“Noelle.” She murmured. She was about to say more but her eyes peered over Dawn’s shoulder, making Dawn turn around to see what had stumped the barely seventeen-year-old.

A man was making his way down to the area that they were at, a worried expression cast upon his face. He was as large as tomorrow, his shadow at least stretching over the whole exterior stairs. His black beard was recently trimmed, with no random or stray hairs poking out. His complexion was dark, almost as dark as the coffee beans she drank this morning.

“Noelle? Are you okay?” His hands cupped his daughter’s face, checking her face for any sign of an altercation.

Noelle shook her face free from her dad’s hands, clearly embarrassed by her dad’s sudden affection.

“Dad, I’m fine! I just tripped a bit, Lux helped me up.” She gestured to Dawn, clearly uncomfortable with her dad’s attention on her.

Dawn smiled, realising who this doting father was. Memories rushed back to her mind but she ignored the sudden feeling of nostalgia.

“Lux, is it?” He was slow to say her name and he seemed taken aback.

Dawn wondered whether he recognised her too, wondered whether he recognised her facial scars, wondered whether she was ever on his mind all these years that she had been gone.

“Hello.” Her voice was barely audible as she firmly grasped his hand.

“Thank you for rescuing my daughter.” He smiled, ignoring the scoff coming from his daughter. “It means a lot.”

She waved it off with her hand. “It’s no problem.” She put a finger to her chin, appearing as if she was in deep thought. “Forgive me but I don’t know what to refer to you as.”

He stood proudly next to his daughter, straightening his back when he announced his title. “Alpha Morris of the Flyks.”

He hadn’t changed at all, Dawn thought to herself as she watched his daughter roll her eyes dramatically

Dawn feigned surprise, knowing how much it would please him to hear her boast of his accomplishments. She put her hand to her mouth, hiding a little gasp. “The Alpha Morris? I never thought I’d get to meet you in person!”

He laughed, the pride spilling from his lips and onto the ground they were standing on. “I bet I’m nothing like the stories you’ve heard.”

“Oh come off it! You’re the only Alpha to defeat a vicious pack of rogues by yourself!” Dawn was pushing it on the flattery, but she wanted to get on his good side.

Again.

“Fighting off twenty rogues is probably best exercise I’ve ever had!”

It happened five years ago, Dawn thought as she laughed alongside with him. She fought the urge to roll her eyes as he turned around to talk to his daughter, wondering when this man was going to let it go. Is this the only thing he had accomplished since then?

“Dad, why are we even here?” Noelle murmured, peering at her nails.

Someone tapped her on the shoulder before Dawn could hear the man’s full answer. She turned around, expecting to see another Alpha scrutinising her with every look. Relief washed over her face once she mouthed a silent ‘thank you’ to Issie. Issie nodded, keeping her face solemn.

“Alpha, you’re needed.” Issie simply said.

Dawn nodded, before turning back to Morris to say her goodbyes. The poor man had stopped in his tracks, in his conversation with his daughter when he heard those three words.

“I’ll see you inside.” Dawn said with a smile, one that almost seemed genuine.

*

“He did not look happy with you.” Issie whispered in Dawn’s ear as she pulled out her chair.

Dawn sat down and allowed Issie to push the chair in for her, wanting to roll her eyes at all of these outdated traditions. It had been over ten years since a woman had been a newcomer to the table, so she wasn’t moved by all the strange glances directed towards her.

If a couple of old misogynistic idiots thought she could be intimated into backing down and playing the role of the brainless, delicate beauty, then they had another thing coming.

She felt a presence stand beside her, and after a couple of seconds, she looked up to see a man with a jawline that probably made all the girls outside swoon. His green eyes, with no eye-bags in sight, stared her down. Dawn noticed that there were no signs of stress on his face, so it was either that he was new or Botox was his new lover.

After a couple of seconds of silence and acknowledgement, coming from Dawn’s part, he spoke up. “Darling, I don’t think you should be sitting there.”

Dawn resisted the urge to roll her eyes and forced a smile. She applied the sweetest edge to her voice as she asked, “And why’s that?”

“That seat is for leaders.” His strong aftershave and overloaded minty breath almost made her retch but she held it in. “Why don’t you run along to daddy? Let the big guys talk.”

Dawn pressed her lips together and smiled. “Sure, I’ll leave.”

Dawn motioned to the representatives of her pack as she started to walk towards the door. A frantic receptionist rushed to her side even before Dawn could press the code to exit the room. The receptionist’s hair was messy and pencils were falling out her hair as she tried to stop Dawn from leaving the room.

A pencil fell to the floor, creating an echo across the room. Eyes were starting to look towards her direction and the frantic woman’s cheeks grew red. “Excuse me, Alpha, where are you going?”

“I want to leave.”

The receptionist’s breath hitched. “Y-you can’t leave.”

“And why can’t I?” Dawn gestured around, “If any of these men wanted to leave, would you stop them?”

“N-no.” Dawn’s hand reached out to enter in the code again but the receptionist grabbed her hand. Raphael let out a low growl, which rumbled the entire room, causing conversations to cease.

“Do you mind?” Dawn addressed the frozen receptionist, specifically referring to the placement of her hand.

“S-sorry.” The woman apologised.

Dawn watched as the woman’s eyes teared up as she struggled to keep the tears in. Before the woman could snatch her hand away, Dawn noticed the fresh purple bruise on her wrist.

She changed her tone. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”

The receptionist followed Dawn’s gaze to her wrist and immediately attempted to pull her sleeve down. Dawn gave the receptionist the tiniest nod of acknowledgement.  

“Alpha Dawn, does there seem to be a problem here?” Someone asks, forcing Dawn to turn around.

A balding man with various claw marks running down his face stands proudly in front of her. “Alpha George. It’s nice to finally meet you, I’ve heard much about your heroics.”

That was a lie. Alpha George’s history was a bit of an enigma and one she couldn’t wait to solve.

“The feeling is mutual.” She knew that he was lying and the tight grin on his face told her that she was right.

“A kind gentleman showed me that my place was not here, and kindly showed me where I did belong.” Dawn gestures over to the man who was arrogantly conversing with the rest of the members, in her seat.

“Ah, I see.” He said. “I’ll escort you to your seat.”

To Dawn’s surprise, George led her back to her original seat. “Alpha Xavier, you were allocated to the seats over there so would you like to offer me an explanation of why you’re sitting here?”

The colour drained from Xavier’s face and without a word, he got up and moved to his original seat. He glared at Dawn as she sat down, to which she only responded with a smile.

As George tucked Dawn’s chair in, he bent down to whisper in her ear. “Your exploits will be watched.”

She nodded, waiting to be addressed as one of the council members.

These fools don’t know what’s coming.

*

“They called you in, just to announce some fucking warnings?” Raphael threw his hands in the air.

“Did you even listen? It’s not just some warnings. They think there’s a war brewing.” Isolde murmured, yanking Raphael’s gigantic hands down from the air before he caused a scene.

“So? A fucking phone call would’ve been better. If they wanna be even more old-fashioned, they could write us a letter. Like they did in World War Eight – they sent telegrams and shit.”

Dawn paused from her pacing. “A revolution.”

Raphael and Isolde stopped their bickering and immediately turned to Dawn. “What?”

“This isn’t the same as the World Wars. Those were organised, efficient, united. No, this is something that you hear on the underbellies on the streets. Away from the luxurious houses sitting on top of the hill, housing these people. You’ll never take notice of it until the topic keeps coming back up, until the peasants and even the homeless chatter amongst themselves. If it gains momentum – that’s enough fuel for the fire.”

“And…?” Raphael drew out the word, hoping that Dawn would be able to fill it in.

Issie looked at like him he was dumb. She grabbed the scruff of his neck and brought him down to his level, “We’re the fire, dummy.” She turned to Dawn, “What do you need us to do?”

“Get Wes to bring me that receptionist to meet me in the car.” Dawn said simply, gesturing to the struggling lady with the papers in the middle of the hallway.

“Done.”

*

“Are you sure we can’t wait for your mummy inside?”

Wesley dragged his words out, adopting the tone he used to haggle old women out of their money. “Nooo, she’s out here somewhere.” His voice breaks as he takes an exaggerated pause. “I-i-if I can’t find her then w-w-what am I going to do? I’M GOING TO BE LOST FOREVER.”

“No, no. I’m sure that’s not going to happen.”

Wesley almost felt bad for lying, the concern laced around this woman’s words felt real. He dragged her towards the black Jeep waiting on the pavement. The naivety of this woman cascaded off of her in waves. Maybe, it was because she still hoped for the good

 The car door opened, and Wesley feigned surprise. He hid behind the woman, to make sure that she didn’t run away when Dawn’s face popped out of the shadows.

“Jane, I just want to talk.” Dawn said, patting the seat beside her.

Seeing as she had no choice, the reception sighed. Wesley closed the door once she was in and sat in the front seat, behind the safety of the tinted windows.

“He’s not your son, is he?”

“Where did you get the bruise on your wrist?”

The receptionist looked sheepish. “I fell off my bed.”

“Who did it to you?” Dawn’s tone is softer than she originally intended.

“W-w-what do you mean? I did, I fell off my bed.”

Dawn placed a hand on her shoulder, and the receptionist flinched. “Not all wolves are the same, you can talk to me.”

“How did you-?” The receptionist’s eyes scan Dawn’s entire face before breaking down into erratically sobbing into the backseat of the car. “I-I-I told him to stop. S-s-said humans were lower on the food chain. S-s-s-said things could be a lot worse-”

Dawn moved over, allowing Issie to climb over to get to the backseat. “Jane, we’re going to take you to a safer place and he won’t have to hurt you ever again.”

“I-I-I can’t leave. He said he’d kill me if I left.”

Raphael piped up behind her, his voice lower than the growl he let out earlier. “We’re not going to let anyone touch you, ever again.”

“He’s right.” Dawn murmured to the blubbering figure. “He won’t ever get to touch you.” 

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