I stare angrily at Caine’s coffin as it is lowered into his grave.
Sebastian was unwilling to give Caine a proper Moon Warrior Ceremony because he didn’t die in battle and no matter how much I threatened him, he refused.
He was smart enough to coax my own dirty secrets out of me when we married so that he didn’t ever have to be afraid of me revealing his.
As my anger burns and festers knowing my son is never coming home, a group of scouts return from a mission with urgent news, Sebastian taking off to his office while I am left to bury our son on my own.
Something inside me cracks as I watch my husband disrespect his own son on the night of his funeral and I decide to take matters into my own hands.
I turn to my brother, Richard, who also seems infuriated by Sebastian’s actions, opening up our mind-link to discuss my plan.
“What do you need, Sara?” He asks.
“Get me everything you can on Zane’s mate.”
“This better be important enough for you to interrupt me as I bury my son,” I snarl, leading Beta Earl and the scouts back to my office.
“Apologies Alpha, but the news we bring is urgent,” the scout replies, a large manila envelope in his hand.
I open the door to my office, and take a seat at my desk, Beta Earl standing next to me while the three scouts exchange nervous looks amongst themselves.
“Spit it out now!” I snarl, barely restraining my anger.
The scout holding the manila envelope extracts two photographs from it, his voice trembling as he speaks.
“We set up the cameras at Ravenstone as requested and captured several images of the Ravenstone Luna leaving with Toran Ravenstone out of the pack a few days ago.Upon reviewing the footage, we made a discovery we think might be of interest to you…”
He places the photos one on top of the other on my desk and slides them over to me.
I stare at the first picture of a blonde woman wearing stylish dress trousers, a blouse and a blazer standing beside a car, Toran to her left and the Ravenstone Gamma on her right.
She has her hand outstretched towards the Gamma with a stone sitting in her palm.
I don’t recognize the blonde, but as I push it aside to reveal the second photo, the blood drains from my face.
Mate? Arden gasps when we see the unmistakable image of the Gamma is about to hand it to her.it can’t be!
I buried her…
I think to myself, while staring blankly at the picture.
In shock, I look closely at the picture and recognize the features of her face, tracing my fingers along her pointed chin and her thin nose.
After all these years, she’s still the same, still my beautiful Ellie, just with a few more wrinkles and graying hair on her head.
Beta Earl takes the images and examines them closely, his eyes wide with disbelief.
“It appears our former Luna, Elenore, is still alive, Alpha.Somehow, she survived the attack on Crescent Moon all those years ago.We extracted information from a Ravenstone pack guard and were only able to verify this information earlier today,” the scout explains.
“Luna Elenore has been living as the Luna of the Ravenstone Pack for the past 20 years,” the scout adds timidly, choosing his words very carefully.
“According to the guard, they got their hands on a Fae cloaking stone to hide Luna Elenore in plain sight.She goes by the name Rionna now.”
He places the envelope on the table and slides it to me, my shock turning to pure rage when I pull out multiple photographs of the transformed Elenore kissing Toran and stepping into the car with him.
This can’t be…
I snarlto myself as I look at picture after picture of my mate smiling contently in Toran’s arms.
This can’t I feel myself on the brink of losing control and in my vulnerable state, Arden takes command of my body.
My breaths grow heavier as the weight of all my grief collapses on top of me and the anger in my heart breaks through the surface.
“Where is she?” I say with a low growl once I regain control of my feelings.
“Where is she now? “We can’t seem to locate her,” the scout replies in a weak voice, his knees trembling slightly in fear.
“It seems Toran and his Luna-“
I walk around the desk at inhuman speed and wrap my fingers around the scout’s throat, squeezing tightly as I lift him off the ground until his face is bright red and the veins on his temples bulge out awkwardly.
He claws desperately at my arm, seeking to escape my wrath.
“She is MY Luna,” I correct him through gritted teeth, the scout wheezing out a meek
“Yes, Alpha.” I let him fall to the ground, the scout coughing and gasping for air.
“Only the Beta and Gamma remain in Ravenstone to protect the pack,” the scout continues.
“Their Alpha, heir, and …Elenore …have been gone for the past few days.We have increased surveillance for the time be-“
“Get a team ready,”
I interrupt, thinking of the gold hair brush tucked away safely in my desk drawer.
“We attack Ravenstone at dawn.” heads and it infuriates me.
Beta Earl interjects.
“She’s not even there right now.Would it not be best to wait until we can confirm Elenore’s location?”
“Are you Alpha?” I warn, Earl backing down and lowering his head in submission.
“No, sir.You are,” Earl replies with a nervous gulp.
“Then I suggest you take your orders and gather a team,” I snarl, Beta Earl nodding obediently.
“Now is the perfect time to attack.They won’t see it coming and by the time it’s over, there will be nothing left of that worthless pack.I’ll make Toran pay for ever touching what is MINE!”
“Move everyone to the bunkers.Those in the infirmary, women and children are to be moved first.Have any healthy, strong men join the fight.Alert our allies now.I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I order my Beta over the phone.
As I hang up, Tylen comes running in, his face stone cold but nonetheless flushed as he glares at me .
“What do you want? I was in the middle of something,” he snaps.within my son.
He has every right to be angry and, right now, I need his anger for war.
I pay little attention to him and begin texting my men waiting outside Rivermoon to get a jet ready for take-off within the next hour.
Tylen’s anger seems to grow but still I ignore him until I’m finished.
“Get your things.We take off in an hour,” I say as I grab my luggage.
“Why should I leave with you?” Tylen asks, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Fine.Don’t.Stay here with your mate,” I reply with a shrug, Tylen’s cold demeanor shifting “How did you -“
“Years of war have taught me to notice things most people would brush off,” I answer.
“I see everything, Tylen.Whether I respond to it or not is a different story.Agnes comes with a lot of baggage on her shoulders so I would tread carefully if I were you.”
“I don’t believe I asked for your opinion and you are the last person I would take advice from,” he retorts, his jaw clenching as he swallows back his hatred and attempts to regain his composure.
“I will deal with my mate as I see fit.”
“As you wish,” I sigh, grabbing a large envelope from my suitcase and turning to face my son.
“Please hand these to your mother after I leave.” envelope in my hand.
“Give it to her yourself.”
My jaw clenches at his insubordination, “Give these to your mother after I leave,”
I command with my Alpha voice, Tylen taking the envelope begrudgingly.
“What’s in it?” Tylen asks through gritted teeth.
When I don’t respond, he pulls out the documents himself and reads them.
I feel the pinch in my heart again, the pain a comfortable feeling, like the hug of an old friend.I welcome the agony, knowing it is for the best I build my walls now before Rionna destroys me completely.
“I had them prepared before we came here.They’re already signed by me,” I say, zipping up my luggage and placing it on the floor.
“Have her sign and send them to the lawyer when she’s ready.”
“You’re…you’re giving up on her?”
My face remains neutral as I watch his features contort with disgust towards me, but on the inside, my entire world is collapsing on me.
He does not truly understand how dangerous it is to show your true feelings to anyone.War is cruel and you must never give your enemies a weapon against you.
“I should have never had her,” I reply coldly, pushing the door open and wheeling my luggage out.
“Sebastian knows Elenore is alive.He’s launched an attack on Ravenstone and I want Rionna here.It appears he does not yet know our location but I have to mother or accompany me.Either way, I leave tonight.”
I don’t give him a chance to respond and stroll out of the guest room and down the hall, Tylen following me and bombarding me with questions I have no time to answer.
I find Evan pacing back and forth in front of the Queen’s office, cold chills running down my spine.
“I need to speak with Her Majesty.It’s urgent,” I say, Evan shaking his head at me.
“She’s on the phone with the European Wolf Council right now,” he replies.
“You’ll have to wait.”
“What’s the European Wolf Council?” Tylen asks.
“European wolves operate differently than North American wolves.The European Council is a leadership committee for Mother Packs across Europe.They form alliances, manage laws, deliberate conflicts between packs, and declare war or establish peace,” I reply.
“To be summoned by the European Council is a serious matter.”
“Yup, and unfortunately Lune de Minuit does not plan on backing down any time soon and they are well within their rights to take Aurora to the Council,” Evan adds, rubbing his temples tiredly.
“She has established a Kingdom within an existing Mother pack alliance and that alone is grounds for reprimand.Even though River Moon and Lune de Minuit were on the road to separation, River Moon is still technically under the rule of those The door clicks open and Aurora calls out from within her office that we may enter.She sits at her desk, her head thrown back in exhaustion and her eyes closed as she takes slow deep breaths.Beside her, Alpha Oliver is barking orders on the phone while Beta Carter storms past us to execute his tasks “So what’s the verdict?”
Evan sighs, knowing well the answer will not be good.
“The Council wishes to speak with Oliver and I,” Aurora groans.
“It seems Lune de Minuit is determined to take River Moon back under the guise that Oliver and I are unfit for our roles.”
“But they can’t do that!” Evan growls, Oliver giving him a warning look to back off.
“Of course they can’t,”
“That’s why we are traveling to France in the morning to meet with the council and lay out our arguments.Lune de Minuit established River Moon 60 years ago and placed my family in the Alpha position.They have trained and prepared every single Artaud Alpha, myself included but they do not own us.We have proof that I have been deliberating separation since I first took over and that Jacque’s own daughter started a war against us without us ever seeking repercussions against him.This summons is just a way for Jacque to question our power and cast doubt in the minds of any potential allies we seek.It’s a political move and nothing more.”
“I am confident our meeting with the council will go well so appears there are bigger fish to fry here on the domestic front.”
“Yes,” I nod, knowing she likely already knows my predicament.
“My sources tell me Sebastian knows Elenore is still alive.He’s planning an attack at dawn and I must get back to my pack at once,” I sigh tiredly.
“I would like to ask for protection on Rionna and Tylen’s behalf.”
“No,” Tylen interjects.
“I’m coming with you.”
I raise an eyebrow at him and he rolls his eyes at me, a gesture that boils my blood and I scowl menacingly at him to watch what he does in my presence.
“I hate you with every fiber in my body, but Ravenstone is my home and I will protect it, even if it means I have to follow your orders,” Tylen says through gritted teeth.
I do not care for his tone, but that is the least of my worries.
“I need to know if Zane has made his decision.I leave in an hour,” I say, turning back to the Queen.
The Queen opens a portal to the guest house.
“On it,” the Gamma replies to his Queen as he runs through it.
Within a minute, Zane and Talia, Kota, and Rionna appear through the portal with Evan.
“What’s the urgency?” Talia asks, cradling her son in her arms.
I waste no time in explaining the situation.
“Sebastian knows an hour so I’ll need your decision now.
Are you fighting with me or staying out of this war?”