Dark stories, tales of whimsy and random brain droppings.

The Sentinel

My name is Gracie and I am the Sentinel. I sit on the back of the Alpha’s throne and keep watch. His territory is vast and I must be vigilant. The rear courtyard is fenced by a metal and wire palisade, yet I patrol it regularly, leaving my scent as warning. This is the Alpha’s kingdom. None shall cross without heeding my cry: ‘Who goes there?’

The front yard remains unfortified despite my protests. The Alpha trusts me to stand guard and watch through the large glass window of the Great Hall. This I do willingly, for I love the Alpha.

My pack mates hold the post when I’m indisposed. Often I’ll sit with them. I am their mentor. They must learn the routines of the Court. Which invaders are familiar and which need to be ushered along? Much is to be taught. Lives are on the line.

Pansy and I will work as a pair. An approach brings an alarm from us. A knock and we announce. The Alpha or his Mate will throw open the gate and invite the strangers and not-so-strange. No matter. We already know. We greet. We inspect. Not all are welcome. The Masters heel us but we’ve done our duty. To serve. To protect.

The third Guardian is problematic. She will climb the guard post and slumber, shirking her duty. Tia isn’t like us; she smells alien. The Alpha tolerates her insolence for reasons beyond my understanding.

The window is my responsibility. The other two are but poor shadows. Only I know the Court. Every gust of wind and every bird song. Nothing escapes scrutiny.

I worry when either Master leaves the safety of the Hold. The Alpha leaves at dawn and returns at dusk, his battles keeping him away for the long day. We look for him and announce his arrival. I inspect him for injury and am gladdened. His Mate’s forays are less predictable, yet we fret her absence as much. The Alpha would be displeased if harm befell her.

At night, the inner curtains are closed, sealing us in for the duration of the Long Dark. I am released from my post and enjoy the comforts of the Realm. But my hearing is acute and never far from its duty. Sounds from the Court draw my attention. I peer between the curtains and take stewardship of the window once more. More visitors to the Hold. I raise the alarm. It is what I do. It is who I am.

Eventually, I sleep in the Masters’ bedchamber and guard their repose. My dreams are of my duty and my post at the window.

I am the Sentinel.

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