Malcolm stood stone still on the balcony of his family home. He overlooked the pre-dawn ocean which stretched endlessly before him. As he breathed in the cool, salty air he closed his eyes and willed himself to relax. His hands gripped the railing, turning his knuckles white. He was beyond edgy, full of anticipation for the days ahead. He had been waiting so many years for her to arrive and tomorrow she would finally be here.
He shoved himself away from the railing and paced back and forth, mirroring the beast caged within. She would be here in just a few more hours. Malcolm Drew was the last in his family’s branch of the Eagle Clan. His family was one of ten animal Clans among the Amoveo; a powerful ancient race of magical shape shifters. Malcolm was a Golden Eagle and more than anything he wanted to keep his Clan’s bloodline running but he could only do that with his mate. Without her he was doomed to a painful solitary existence; and eventually death.
Malcolm had heard stories about those that went unmated. He shuddered at the images those nightmarish tales conjured up.Finding female company was not a problem. He’d had many women before, but they were merely a momentary amusement that left him unsatisfied and lonely. Like all Amoveo, his uncommonly large eyes were his most striking feature. The women he dallied with always seemed to comment on them. His were an unusually light brown, and in the right light gleamed bright yellow. He never worried himself too much with his appearance; he considered clothing an annoying necessity and barely ran a brush through his long, shaggy hair.
He was feeling anxious, not just for her arrival, but for her safety. For generations his people had been hunted by the Caedo family; a fanatical group of humans that had discovered their existence. They had not lost anyone to a hunter in many years, but the threat always loomed. He shook his head in frustration and stood with his arms crossed tightly over his chest. So many obstacles lay before them. What if she refused him? Malcolm had heard that occasionally, a female would refuse the match. He shook his head and smiled wryly at the futility of refusing. Why refuse what was embedded in their souls?
He felt so restless. He needed to fly. He stretched his arms wide, lifted his face to the twilight sky and visualized his Eagle form. Silently he uttered the ancient language ‘verto’ and shifted. In an instant he was soaring high over the ocean. He loved the feel of the salt air along his feathered body. His binocular vision spotted schools of fish as they moved through the sea below. The cool, early morning air caressed him and carried him along. He had only flown for a few minutes and could already feel the energy slipping from him. He felt the shift coming on beyond his control and immediately turned back toward his house. He shifted just before he got to the deck and landed with an audible thud on the wooden planks. He found himself naked on the pile of clothes he shed when he shifted earlier. Nice, very dignified, he thought.
Malcolm stood and quickly dressed himself, thinking how nice it would be to have all of his abilities back. When he was at full strength he could shift back and forth fully clothed, none of this landing in a pile of clothes nonsense. He had recently passed his 32nd birthday and was losing strength by the day. There was only one thing that could help him rejuvenate; being with her. His mate. He had known who she was for many years. He’d dreamt of her since his adolescence. Under normal mating circumstances she would’ve dreamt of him as well. Their mate connection was always made in the dream plane first. If she had been a typical Amoveo female, she would’ve been looking for him as well. She would’ve recognized him the instant their dreams connected. His mate, however, was anything but ordinary. She was a hybrid and the first of her kind. Her Mother had been a human. Her Father had been the last of the Grey Wolf Clan; they had been almost completely exterminated. Now that he was gone, she was the last. The most difficult part was that she didn’t know it.