Chapter 3 - Alpha's Surrogate

2 years later

In the Ardara Moon packhouse, the first rays of sunlight broke through the thick layer of darkness as they entered the window of the last room on the second floor. The growling, painful screams, terrifying moaning, and the dreadful fighting downstairs echoed in the Ardara Moon Pack for the past five hours had come to an end as soon as the dawn had broken the horizon.

A young woman sat in the middle of the room, her eyes wide with fright. She had been up all night, praying to the Moon Goddess for the violence and chaos to end. When it finally did, she had not been able to ignore the arrival of this unusual and unexpected tranquility or the awful feeling that battered her heart.

There was a knock at her door. Lifting herself off the cold floor, she looked at the door, attempting to get a whiff of the person on the other side. Was it an enemy? As soon as she recognized the scent, the young woman let out a relieved sigh. The young woman, Kiara, was the youngest daughter of Ardara Moon Pack's Alpha Sawyer and Luna Martha. She raced to the door to greet her mother.

"Mom!" Kiara shouted, pulling her into a hug. Her mother's body felt cool against her. The older woman was in her forties. Her brown hair had been pulled up into a messy bun. She smelled of blood and dirt and had bruises on her shoulders, but her sea-blue eyes had effectively tricked her daughter into thinking she was okay. Luna Martha refused to return her daughter's hug as she dragged her into the room, closing the door behind them. "Are you hurt, Mom?" Kiara became aware of her mother's bleeding arms, which she had attempted to conceal in the ripped fabric of her sleeves.

"Such small wounds tend to occur on a werewolf. Don't be concerned about me; I'm alright." Martha attempted to act normal. She passed by Kiara before her daughter could notice her mother's injured hands. Martha stopped in front of Kiara's cabinet.

"You’re bleeding, Mom. Allow me to at least apply a bandage,” Kiara returned to her mother with a first aid kit. The cut was severe enough to alert her that her mother had lost a lot of blood. She had to take care of it.

"We don't have time for all of this." Martha drew her hand back and began collecting all of Kiara's clothing from the cupboard, packing them in a suitcase.

"What are you doing? Why are you packing my belongings?" She had never seen her mother so tense before. She was taken aback when Martha placed all of her possessions into her luggage, including her passport, ID, debit card, credit card, and cash. Her mother's actions made her feel as if she was packing her bags, handing over every single coin she had in her pocket at the moment in preparation for a trip to somewhere far away. It sent chills down her spine because it was only Kiara’s luggage that was being packed. "Tell me, Mom. Why are you packing my things?" She stood in front of her mother, who had been actively ignoring her queries. She didn't understand why her suitcase was packed without a reason.

Her mother paused for a second, regarding her daughter. "You're leaving this pack with your sister right now," she declared as she stared at her lovely daughter, who was surprised by her words.

"What?" Kiara had not caught any of what her mother had said before she was pushed aside so that her mother could return to packing her bags. "Why are you sending Adira and I away?" It did not make sense to her. She had misunderstood that Adira had been allowed to join the fight with them. Luna Martha had not dared to respond to her daughter. At times like these, Kiara couldn't think of the woman in front of her as her mother, but instead as the Luna of the pack. "Tell me why I need to leave home?" She raised her voice at this unexpected announcement made to her without her constant. It felt unfair to her.

"I am under no obligation to answer any of your inquiries. I've put all of your belongings in here, and I'm sending Adira to the back door. Both of you need to leave as quickly as possible. Don't stop until you're out of this territory."

Kiara had received an order from the Luna of her pack, not her mother. She had used her authoritative tone in an indirect instruction so that she would not question her further. “But where will we go?”

“Go to my father’s pack. I'll notify them of both of my daughters' impending arrivals,” Kiara was astonished by her mother’s statement. Was there a problem? How had all of this come to be determined so quickly? Why was her mother so desperate to get her to leave the pack? Why didn't she want her to be here any longer? She was not explaining anything to her.

"But, Mom, if you're sending me away, I need to know why," she was steadfast in her refusal to move from her spot until she was given some kind of explanation.

Luna Martha was irritated that her daughter had chosen this moment to be obstinate. "There isn't an explanation. Do as I say!" she became enraged and yelled at the top of her lungs.

Kiara pondered when she had last seen her mother in this type of agitated state. She had always been courteous and a wonderful mother, but now…she shook her head and then said, "I don't want to leave my family and pack for no reason, Mom," even though she was not her father's favorite daughter, she wanted to remain with her family.

Her father and the majority of the pack had ignored her since birth. It had nothing to do with her gender. She had an older sister who was treated better. Her father only despised her because he thought she had brought bad luck to him. Too many negative things had occurred in the past to cause him to think this way. She was her parents' youngest child, and unlike the others, she was unloved by her father. Nonetheless, she was adored by her older sister and mother, who were always there for her. Their presence in her life had encouraged her to continue breathing.

She hadn't cared if she was despised by hundreds. All she cared about was the love she had received from the most important person in her life, but she never anticipated that her mother would ask her to leave so abruptly. She never wanted to believe that her mother had given up on her. It was a nightmarish experience for her.

Luna Martha lost her patients with her daughter. She placed the suitcase in her daughter's hand as she hurriedly began dragging her out of her room. The obstinate young woman stopped in her tracks, forcing her mother to glance back at her.

"What are you doing? Just go!" Martha clenched her teeth. They were running out of time.

Kiara inquired before her mother grabbed her hand, "We have lost the war, haven't we?"

Luna Martha's shaking hands turned into balled fists at her sides when she heard the question that she never wished to answer. She wanted her youngest daughter to flee before she could learn just how pathetic her pack and parents had turned out to be after their defeat. But her daughter was intelligent enough to figure out everything even though she had been locked in her room as soon as the attack had occurred. She was not allowed to fight or help her pack. She wanted to fight, but she had been forbidden from doing so since her father feared that her poor luck would lead to their defeat. He'd told her she had to stay locked in her room. She had no choice other than to obey him.

Kiara could see the anxiety in her mother's eyes. Her mother had clearly not given up on her after all, therefore the reason for sending her away was something else entirely. The stillness that had taken over after hours of carnage was not filled with joy for her pack, but with the somber sadness of their defeat. Luna Martha's silence, her fear at not revealing the outcome of the war, and ordering her youngest daughter to leave the pack that way could only mean one thing: the Ardara Moon Pack had lost the battle.

“What about my brother?” Kiara inquired about her twin brother. Not once had Martha mentioned him. He had joined the pack in the fight. Kiara sensed a layer of hatred in her Mother’s eyes as she asked about him. She pulled her body closer to her mother, who had grown silent and stiff as she gripped her arms. “Mom, where is Lewis!” She sobbed when she realized he had died. Her brother had died. This was why Luna Martha wished to keep both of her girls safe. She had urged them to flee. They had murdered her brother, who was completely innocent. "There is no way I am running away like a coward," Kiara declared, tossing her suitcase aside and putting all of her clothing back in her cabinet.

"What in the world are you doing?" her mother attempted to dissuade her. “Yes, we lost the battle, and my son was killed! He is the one to blame for us having to fight this awful war in the first place. Our demise is now assured," the Luna admitted. Martha's comments were sufficient to describe her indignation and anguish. Her last son had become the source of their pack’s demise.

“Why are you blaming Lewis?” Kiara was confused.

"Your brother tried to steal a female's innocence. She was from the Sirius Bright pack. He ended up killing her. I still cannot believe that your brother is such a monster," Martha revealed the truth that she had been hiding from her daughter.

The Ardara Moon Pack had a long-standing feud with the Sirius Bright Pack, which the ancestors had opted to disregard for the sake of all. Despite the fact that they were still in a cold war with that pack, they were neither adversaries or allies, violence and carnage ceased. Disregarding the anger and bitterness between the two packs, Lewis and his friends had murdered an innocent female from the other pack. Lewis was terrified of his father's wrath after committing that crime. He tried to conceal his scandal from everyone, but he was caught off guard when the Sirius Bright Pack attacked them within a few hours. Lewis had been the first casualty of the attack, he died instantaneously. The conflict had been instigated by the Ardara Moon Pack, and they had been defeated by the strength of the Sirius Bright Pack.

"What?" Kiara placed her palm over her mouth, scared, after learning of her brother's horrifying dark side. Lewis had only been a few minutes older than her. During those few hours while the fighting had raged on, she had mistaken it as an attempt by the enemies to reclaim their territory, but it turned out to be a fight for honor.

"This battle was the result of that young female's father's rage. Unfortunately, the female was also the Alpha's cousin. All of the Sirius Bright Pack's reasons for attacking were legitimate. But I can't allow both of you, my daughters, to perish with us. Our fate has been sealed, but I shall secure my daughter's," her mother stated, attempting to prevent her from unpacking her clothing.

"So, Mom, what do you expect me to do? How would I live with myself if I ran away, leaving all of you to die? How would I go on living knowing that my parents and pack were no longer alive? Isn't it true that family is intended to be together no matter the situation, just like you've always taught me? So why do I need to flee? If we are dying, I want to be a part of this as well." She brushed away her mother’s tears. Martha adored her lovely daughter, who remembered everything that she had taught her. Even though they had lost the war against that mighty pack and death was closing in on them, she was not ready to abandon them. Despite the fact that she had lived her entire existence in a world of injustice.

"It was different back then, but the situation has changed, Kiara," she quietly took her hand in hers. "We may not be able to defend anyone now, but I cannot bring myself to watch any more of my children perish. You must flee before they attack this packhouse," her mother stared her in the eyes, making her realize the severity of the situation. They had been through battles before, but it had been too much for them this time. They had already lost half of the pack members.

"I am still not going," Kiara claimed.

"Why the heck aren't you listening to me? You're leaving, and that's the end of it," Luna Martha had had enough as she slapped her obstinate daughter across the face to bring her back to reality. This was not the time to get emotional and make a sacrifice for individuals who had never cared about her. They were never going to recognize her worth, no matter what she did.

"Would you have listened to me if you were in my position and I told you to leave Dad, Adira, Noah, this pack, and I and escape?" Luna Martha was surprised by her daughter's question. She had wanted her to be upset because it was her first time slapping her. No, she had not been her father's favorite daughter, but she had not been physically mistreated either. Kiara's direct inquiry had rendered the older woman speechless. "You will not run away, right? Then there is no way I am leaving you alone," Kiara announced that it was no longer necessary to hit or explain anything to her. Her mother had been soundly defeated. Then there was a loud bang that came from the main floor of the packhouse.

"Alpha Xavier Lincoln," Luna Martha had become concerned after realizing that the Alpha had forced his way into the packhouse and that the main door had been smashed. It was too late to escape; Sirius Bright Pack members must have surrounded them.

"Alpha Xavier?" Kiara repeated Alpha's name. She hadn't been told the name of the opposing pack or who the Alpha was. But she knew her brother had messed with the wrong male. She had never been permitted to attend any of the gatherings or ceremonies other packs would attend, so she had never seen his face. She'd heard a lot of rumors about him, though. In other words, saying his name was like calling the devil.

Then, out of nowhere, a weird movement and commotion began to emanate from the main floor, indicating that the fight had not yet ended. Not until the bodies of every Ardara Moon Pack member had been presented to Alpha Xavier.

"I need to go," Luna Martha said as she had decided to stand beside her mate, Alpha Sawyer.

"Wait for me, Mom," Kiara attempted to follow her mother, but the door to her room was slammed shut. She was just a second too late. "Mom, what are you doing?" she called after her mother..

"Don't try coming out. You'll be staying in this room," Kiara heard as her mother hastily walked away after locking her up. The Luna’s son had already sullied their name, leading to the pack’s annihilation. He had slain an innocent female. Luna Martha hated the fact that she had given birth to him, and was fully aware that this war had been sparked by vengeance. She worried that in the fire of retribution, the Sirius Bright Pack would do to her daughters what her son had done to that woman. She'd already imprisoned Adira in the bedroom and planned to safeguard both of them.

"Mom, open the door! Mom!" Kiara kept banging on the door, but her mother never came back. She was frightened that this was the last time she would see her mother alive. She hadn't let her eyes grow wet as she attempted to find the key that should be beneath the drawer.

She checked each drawer one by one, only to discover that the key was nowhere to be found. Had her Mother already removed the key the day before? No, that couldn't be right. If she had, there was no way she could leave this room. The window in her room was tiny, it was only large enough to allow some fresh air into her room, so crawling out of it was not an option. She kept looking until she heard the sound of a key in her door lock. Was her mother back? When she turned her gaze to the door, she saw that her older sister Adira had unlocked it for her.

"Come on.” Adira flung open the door wide. It was their secret; no one knew Adira had access to the master key. She had used it to escape from her room before coming to save her sister.

"We need to go downstairs," Kiara informed her. She was terrified when all the violence and screaming stopped. Had her parents already been killed? They upped their speed as they ran down the stairs, coming to a halt near the living room. Her noses were assaulted by the scent of fresh blood. She glanced inside the room, terrified of what she would find. There was a dead body in the living room. It was Alpha Sawyer's Gamma. They had begun to murder individual members. Her terrified gaze landed on her parents, who were still alive but not for long.

"You can't go in there," Adira said firmly, reminding her that her father was still in the room and would not approve of her presence. He avoided seeing her face most of the time, and she was not permitted to pass or remain in any room he had been using.

She had no choice but to exert control over herself. She tried to peek into the living room while hiding her body behind the wall. A unique and mysterious aroma hit her nose that was not from any of her pack members. What was the source of this odor? She couldn't ignore it. Her father was enraged, and her older brother, Noah, was shouting at someone.

Noah was the oldest child of the family, and he was going to take over Alpha Sawyer’s position in the near future. When she glanced to the other side of the room, she noticed a male with broad shoulders seated on a chair like a king. She couldn't make out his face, but she was confident he was an Alpha. The deadly Alpha who had attacked their pack and was the source of that lovely scent.

Their conversation and argument were not audible to her. But she was certain that her egotistical and stupid brother had exacerbated the situation. He had somehow refused to accept defeat or capitulation, and her father, Alpha Sawyer, had supported him in this. Her mother attempted to talk some sense into her father, but his ego was bigger than he was tall. Sawyer was prepared to die, but not in front of another Alpha.

"Kill all of them!" Alpha Xavier's rich and threatening voice resonated in Kiara's ears. She watched as his pack members charged toward the Ardara Moon Pack's remaining members. She clenched her palms in terror, preparing to witness the brutality. Most of her pack had already been killed, the remaining members were not going to last much longer. She needed to get out, but what could she do? She couldn't stop them. She watched the Alpha get up from his seat to leave the packhouse, stopping only to deliver his final order. "For the Alpha and his family…" he paused a couple of seconds before continuing, "behead them all!"

Kiara's heart fell into her stomach, as did Adira's. Her sister's hand, which had been keeping her from entering the living room, became paralyzed. They were to be beheaded in front of their eyes. Kiara watched the Alpha turn to go before she dashed inside.

"Stop!" She ran up to the towering male, breaching the rule of not appearing before her father. The Sirius Bright Pack members were shocked when they saw the young female who spoke to their Alpha as Xavier slowly turned back to see a 5’ 7” beautiful figure. Their eyes locked, Kiara's chocolaty brown eyes, with his stunning, forest green eyes.