In Breaking Dawn we read the following:
"...the most absolute of all the pack's laws was that no wolf ever kill the object of another wolf's imprinting. The pain of such a thing woud be intolerable for the whole pack. The fault, whether intended or accidental, could not be forgiven; the wolves involved would fight to the death--there was no other option. It had happened long ago, Seth told me, but only accidentally. No wolf ever intentionally destroyed a brother that way."
This is the legend of what happened long ago.
The Quileutes were once a very different tribe. We have always been good people, but our ways were different than they are now. The first time we came in contact with the outsiders, the white man, and of course the white woman, was when a ship wrecked on our shores. Our ancestors saved those they could. We could not trouble ourselves with the rest. There spirits had moved on.
Although we saved these people, we made them work for their keep. Some would call it slavery; our ancestors saw it as being logical. It was a hard time then, none of the modern conveniences that we have now were available and people had to work to live. They could not be coddled like infants.
Over time these people became friends rather than strangers and eventually it was forgotten that they had ever been different at all.
Several generations passed and we began to have trouble with the white man again. Though we were a small tribe, they were greedy and wanted to take what we had. The white man did not respect the spirit magic of the Quileutes the way that the Hohs and the Makahs had at the time of the Spirit Chiefs like Kaheleha and Taha Aki had passed.
But, we still had the pack. We still had our ability to change into the wolf.
The peace was kept with the white man through treaties, but many were still angry at them even when they once again went away and let us be…at least for a time, but that is another story.
It happened that two brothers in the pack of the time, Dichali and Helaku, had grown up together and could not have been closer if they had come from the same womb. Where one went you were sure to see the other. The other two members of the pack at the time were close to them as well, but not as close as these two brave spirits. When they ran as a pack, they thought the same, hunted the same, it was almost as if they were one. But, such closeness cannot exist where one loves and another hates.
You see, Dichali could see the good in some of the whites whereas Helaku could not. Their different views on this one subject was something that they avoided, something that the whole pack avoided, but such things can only be ignored for so long.
Soon after their first change, when the young pack had controlled themselves enough to stop the change from man to beast, when they had run through the forest in the first glory of speed and freedom from the limits of man, Dichali saw the woman that would change the packs forever.
Her name was Cocheta, and she was different from the other members of the tribe. Looking at her one could see that she had the blood of the first whites that had come in on their broken ship. She was beautiful with her raven black locks that she kept in braids and her long graceful limbs that served her well when doing tribal dances, but this was not what made her stand out…her skin was pale whereas our people's is like bronze and though she was a daughter of the Quileutes tribe, she could have easily been the daughter of a white father and mother.
Dichali had noticed Cocheta before, all the boys of the tribe had, but most of the stayed away because she was differet. When Dichali saw her again after his change, he could not stay away from her if his life depended on it. Dichali had imprinted on this pale, beautiful girl.
Now, imprinting should be the happiest of times for a member of the pack, and though Dichali was happy, he could sense the dislike and anger that his brother Helaku had for his mate. Whereas Dichali saw beauty and goodness in Cocheta's face and smiled, Helaku saw the greedy face of the white man reflected from her pale features.
As the resentment from Helaku grew and grew, so did the distance between himself and his brother. Though the other two members of the pack tried to talk to him and convince him that Chocheta was not the enemy, he still could not see her as a member of the tribe. But, Dichali and Helaku made peace for the good of their people and the pack continued to run together, though all the while, each was aware of Dichali's love and Helaku's hate.
Years passed and though the strong feelings were still there, they were buried in the background. Tribal concerns and the good of the people took precedence over everything else. Chocheta had bore Dichali two fine sons and a daughter. Helaku had never imprinted, but he too had a wife and son.
The pack was still necessary though since the threat of the cold ones was once again a problem. Several hunters that had strayed too far from the tribe had been found drained of all their blood and the pack knew that the cold ones had returned by the stench they left around the bodies. The members of the pack were forced to leave their families in the confines of the village as they ran patrols and searched out their enemies.
Their families did not see them for many moons and their wives were left to care for the children on their own. None complained, they knew that the duties their husbands performed were for the good of the tribe.
One night, Cocheta returned to her tent from checking on the other families only to discover that her youngest, her daughter, was not in her bed. Frantic and panicked she searched for her, but the girl was nowhere to be found. When she noticed the girl's blanket laying in the outskirts of the forest she was sure that the cold ones had found her and taken her. Like any mother would, she ran into the forest, ignoring the scratches and scrapes as she tried to find her daughter, too out of breath to even call her name. She did not realize that her daughter had wandered off to the neighbors and that she had left her blanket on the ground along the way.
That night, it was Helaku's turn to run the perimeter of the village while his brothers ran further out, trying to pick up the cold ones' scents. He was tired, and hungry after so many nights on patrol, this was why his pack brothers had given him the perimeter of the village. They doubted that the cold ones could get past them.
If he had been paying attention, he might have realized that there was no stench. If he had been paying attention, he might have saved the whole pack the pain he caused them that night, but…he did not.
One moment he was running and the next he saw a pale face ahead of him in the woods. It was more instincts than anything as he launched himself in the air, his teeth clamping down on the creature's neck, but the feeling as his jaw clenched shut was all wrong! There was not the stone flesh of the pale ones between his teeth, nor the sound of metal being torn asunder. No, there was only the soft give-way of human flesh and the sound of it being torn open as he felt human blood fill his mouth.
He immediately let go, but it was too late and he watched in horror as Cocheta fell mortally wounded to the forest floor beneath his paws. Her dark eyes watched him for a moment in pain as her life slipped away along with the blood that was now being soaked up by the ground beneath her.
Almost as soon as the deed was done four howls filled the night air. All the pack had seen what had happened and the rush of emotions that pounded through their minds was unbearable. There was disbelief, there was horror, but none of it could compare to the sheer pain that came from Dichali.
It was like his heart had been torn from his chest, as if someone was ripping his soul into shreds, but despite the pain he was running, racing towards the scene as if he could stop it, though he knew from Helaku's thoughts that he was too late.
The thoughts of the pack were in chaos. There was Dichali's pain, but there was also Helaku's guilt and self loathing. They were feeling every part of it and it was tearing them each apart inside. They each hated themselves for what had happened just as Helaku was, but in addition to that they also felt the unbearable suffering that Dichali was going through.
There two brothers knew that they had to intercede, if they did not, then Dichali would kill Helaku…and Helaku would let him, but, in the end, Dichali's pain was greater than his hatred.
When he reached the clearing where his beautiful wife lay dead, he ignored his brother and went to her side, nudging her with his nose as if he could wake her from a deep sleep, but her body was limp and lifeless.
He knew in his heart of heart's that this had been an accident, but he still looked at his brother, Helaku, with accusing eyes, asking if he had always hated Cocheta so. And then, the anger began to build as he continued to stare at his brother and he had attacked without thinking, teeth bared, snarling as he tried to rip his brother's throat out just as his brother had ripped out his wife's. He was fighting for the kill, even though he knew it was an accident, but he felt he had no choice…and Helaku felt he had no choice but to fight back. It was his instincts to do so.
During the fight as they continued to rip at each other with the teeth and claws, their growls of anger, yelps of pain, and snarls filling the night air, Dichali caught sight of his wife's body from the corner of his eyes and he just…gave up, giving Helaku the advantage he needed. His brothers could see into his thoughts and they saw that he didn't care anymore, that death was a welcome release because he could be with her.
The night Helaku tasted the blood of his brother and his brother's wife, but he found no glory in those kills.
That night the howls of the pack echoed through the forest. It was a sound of such complete pain and anguish that had never been heard before or since.
Helaku went on to live his life and raised the pale faced children of his brother and his wife, but he was never the same again. None of them were. It took the death of Cocheta for him to realize that he had always loved her because Dechali had…and that his brother had been forced to hate her because he had. They still shared a common spirit, a common heart…and now, part of him was lost forever. It was not only Dechali, but Cocheta as well that had been part of him and now they were both gone and he had lost part of himself.
This is the reason that our packs now protect the lives of those we imprint on as strongly as we protect each other from harm, for harming them is harming ourselves.