The Moon Baby

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Chapter 1 - Keeping You Safe

My memories up to this point are filled with filled with love. The love of my brother, my parents, even my pack. Although I’m young, I know what it feels like to be loved. But I also know what fear is. I have so many good memories, but I also have bad ones. My entire life, at least what I can remember, everyone in my pack has fought, because of me. Tonight is just another fight, another example.

More blood. More dead warriors. It’s always the same. My brother told me that before I was born, he had never seen war, battles, needless death. He was young when he started training with my father. Most of the boys his age now in some type of training, even if they didn’t fight. They didn’t used to. Train so young I mean. But everything changed, all because of me.

Our pack was no longer surrounded by peace. Just after I was born, the rogues came. And came and came. I’ve never known a time without fighting. I know I’m loved, but I know I’m also the one that all these wolves are fighting over.

Who would think that such a tiny little blonde girl would be worth so much. I didn’t exactly understand. I mean, I know I’m awesome, but I didn’t really get why. They keep me away from all the dangerous things too. I sneak around because I’m nothing if not curious. My hazel eyes are always open, watching, wanting to learn.

“How many died today?” I hear my brother, Aaron, ask my father. His tone stoic, as if he was a seasoned warrior and not a 12-year-old boy. At his age, he should have just started training, so that he could eventually take over for my father. But he started long before now. He has seen more than he should at his age. I know, because I watch him, I watch the other kids. Even those that are his age and train with him, do not train as hard or as long.

“Only 3, but several more were heavily wounded.” My father answers, just as stoic.

My father, Adam Havenson, Alpha of the Moonlight pack, is a strong man and a good Alpha. He is respected by his pack, and by his fellow Alphas. I may be little swayed in my thinking, but oh well. He is always serious around others. Leading by example, being strong. At home though, he’s my teddy bear. A big teddy bear, but mine.

My brother is good to me, even with his hard training. He never lies to me, but he isn’t mean about anything either. He told me that the attacks that we see are because bad people want me. Because I’m special. He tried to explain, but I still really didn’t get it. He doesn’t get mad at me when I don’t keep up with what he’s saying, but he still tries to teach me. Even when our parents tell him that it’s enough. He always tells me that they will keep me safe. No matter what.

“We have to think of something Alpha.” My father’s Beta, David, says as he walks up to him. “Many of the warriors are concerned about their families.” David is such a nice man. He’s always smiling at me and bringing me things. Last time he came to see my father, he bought me a book. I know how to read better than most my age and I love all the stories they bring.

“I understand. I’ve talked to a few of our allies and they have concerns about getting mixed up in this too.” I’ve heard Dad say that before. I heard him say to my mother before, that he didn’t want to involve others in this, but that he had to.

“In the meantime, I’ll talk to Alfred and we’ll work on some more defensive measures.” Beta David says back. Alfred is my father’s Gamma. He’s funny and plays with me all the time but Aaron says that he’s really tough. I know he’s strong, I’ve watched him work with pack members during training. I am not supposed to be near our training grounds, but again, I’m curious. Even with how strong he is though, he’s always willing to come and play with me. He’s fun at tea parties.

“Thank you, David. I’ll let you know as soon as I have a plan.” David then walks away and only my father and brother are left. They still haven’t realized I am hiding and snooping in on their conversation. I do it a lot, snooping. Even though my brother tells me things, tries to explain to me, he doesn’t tell me everything. I know he doesn’t. So I snoop around. I still don’t always understand what I hear, but I like knowing. It’s my fun game.

“I thought you already had a plan? I heard you tell mom that you found a way to protect her and end the attacks.” My brother says. He sounds sad about it, but curious to. I am as well, just because of the question.

“I have.” My father deadpans. “DO NOT tell anyone else what you’ve heard son. My plan isn’t one that anyone else can know of.”

The slight lowering and snip in his voice startled me and I backed up a step, bumping into the wall and creating a small thud. I’m usually more careful. Usually, no one ever knows when I’m hiding about. Mom says that I’m inexplicably quiet and sneaky. I don’t know what inexplicably means exactly, but I guess it must mean really good.

“Illyria, I know you’re there.” Dang it! I think to myself. He’s the only one that ever catches me. It has to be because he’s an Alpha, or maybe because he’s my father. “Papa, I’m sorry, I wanted to see what was happening.” I try to sound smaller than I am but I know he sees through me. He always does. He told me once that I’m too smart for my own good. That my ability to hide myself or even just my true intentions was a gift, but also one that I needed to use carefully. I had to be a good girl.

He comes over to where I’m hiding and hold his hand out to me. I of course take it and he pulls me out of my hiding space. He’s so big compared to me. If he wasn’t my father, I’d surely be intimidated. But since that’s not the case, I’m just happy to jump out at him.

“Come with me honey, we all need to talk.” I follow my father and my brother up the stairs of our pack house and to his office. My brother told me that no one could hear what happens in his office once the door is shut. I tried, a few times, to listen to what was happening, but nothing. That’s how I know that the really big stuff only happens inside this office. My mother, Luna Catherine, is already sitting on one of the couches as I walk in.

She looks so sad but is still smiling at me. I learned to tell the difference a while ago. She always smiles at everyone, tries to keep people happy. I figured out how to tell when she was hiding something by the look in her eyes. When she was really happy, there was a sparkle in them. When she was masking for something, there was a shadow. Or that’s what it seemed to be to me. Tonight, I saw the shadow.

“What’s wrong papa?” I ask, a bit scared of what’s happening after seeing my mother’s face. She almost always looks at me with that sparkle. The shadow I see when she’s dealing with stuff that I’m not supposed to know about. Again, as she looks to me, there’s no sparkle.

“Do you remember how mommy and I told you that you were special?” I nod. “Well, there are bad people out there that want to take you from us. These are the people who have been attacking us, but we finally found a way to stop it.”

I see a tear roll down my mother’s face and start to get really scared. I’ve never seen her cry. She doesn’t cry. She’s always happy when she’s with me and she never lets anyone see anything but her seeming happy. “Wha-what are you going to do?” I ask, about to cry myself. I’m scared. I feel like I should be really scared.

“Shhhhhh. Don’t cry honey. Everything is going to be fine. We are going to send you to stay with a friend of mine until you are old enough to find your mate.” My father is trying to stay strong, steady. But I can hear the tremble in his voice.

I don’t know what I should be doing right now. I don’t know what to say. I’ve watched when my mother and father have delivered bad news before, but I didn’t think I’d ever hear it directed at me.

“You’re sending me away?” The pretending to seem small earlier isn’t false anymore. I was sniffling as I said it and more so after. My mother starts really crying now, gathering me into her arms as her tears land on my nightgown. She’s crushing me to her.

Everyone always says I look so much like her, same blonde hair, same hazel eyes. Like I’m her replica doll. Being hugged, snug against her chest the way I am, I feel like a doll. I don’t want her to let me go either. I want to stay her little doll for forever.

“There isn’t any other way to keep you safe honey. We have tried to fight off these bad people, but they aren’t giving up.” My mother hasn’t let me go, even as my father tries to explain. I turn my head and I can see his eyes begin to water, but the tears don’t fall as he finishes his explanation. He always stays so strong.

“It’s the only way you can grow up without the constant attacks and fear. It’s the only way that we can keep you and everyone in the pack safe. We will have a visitor coming soon, they will be here until the next attack, and they will take you with them. Since you haven’t gotten your wolf yet, no one will know that you’re gone, and your mother and I will tell everyone that you died during the attack.” I see the tear finally fall from his face and I feel like my work has shattered.

I might be small, but I know that pups are important. I don’t know how exactly I’m more important than anyone else, but I know that we always keep all the pups safe. No one my age is allowed to train with the big kids or our parents. We’re all shoved into bunkers when these attacks happen. My school and the day care are right next to our pack house too. We’re always protected.

“No one besides us, the Alpha and Luna of the other pack, and their Beta, who is coming to get you, will know if this. You cannot tell anyone who you really are. Do you understand?” I was still thinking about how they were going to tell people that I had died and how bad that would make everyone feel. I don’t understand any of this.

“Why do I have to go, why do we have to tell people lies?”

“Baby. You’re special. Not just to your father and I. Not just to your brother. To everyone.” My mother has let me go long enough to look at me as she speaks, brushing my hair back from my face. Strands still sticking because of my, or her, tears.

“But I’m not!”

“Darling, you are. You might not want to be, but you still are. You know how you do so good in school? How you have classes with kids older than you? Or how all of those puzzles that we bring you, you’re always good at? That’s because you’re special. That isn’t the only thing that is special about you though. As you grow up, more things about you will be special. Those are the things that other wolves want.” I know she is trying to explain this to me, but I still don’t get it. I don’t really want to know either.

“You need to be a big girl for us. I know this is hard, but I know you can do this. You can be my big girl, right?” My father is kneeling in front of me, looking me in the eye. He knows I always want to please them.

“Yes.” I don’t know what else to do or say. I see my brother start to cry and that’s when my tears really start to fall. He is always strong too, never cries. He runs to me and hugs me tight along with my mother. “W-we will see you again. D-don’t think that we won’t.” He says between sobs.

We stay in my father’s office for a long time, just hugging each other. My mother tells me a lot of things about the people that I’m going to be staying with. How they have kids my age in their pack and how their Alpha and Luna will be teaching me all sorts of things so that I learn to be a good leader.

My mother has told me before and says it again. She knows I’ll be a strong Luna, like her, one day. I want that, to be just like her.

They told me that I can’t bring anything with me. I cried some more because I wanted to bring some of the stuffies that everyone’s given me. They make me happy. My father explains that all of my things have the pack’s scent on them in some way. And I can’t have that. I won’t even bring my clothes.

I don’t understand any of it. Over the next few days, my mother tries to explain a few things to me. I know that she knows that I don’t understand, but she tries to explain things to me anyway.

This visitor they told me about, comes a few days later, or so I’m told. I never see him but my father told me he was there. I don’t understand how we can hide a wolf not from our pack, but I guess they must have found a way. I’m not old enough yet, but I know that the adults can smell the differences in other wolves.

They can usually smell the pups around too, but not me. That special thing, I guess. The adults would know if there was a wolf on our territory by the smell. I think my mother and father must be hiding him somehow. They told me that no one, absolutely no one, will know what actually happens.

At least I know my parents are just as sneaky as I am.

Just as my father predicted, another attack happened. It was within a few weeks of them telling me I would be leaving. the night of the attack, my father quickly takes me to the woods far behind the pack house, where this stranger has been waiting. I’ve never been this deep into the woods.

“That happened sooner than I thought”. The stranger says. “I figured I’d be waiting at least another few weeks.”

“The attacks have been more frequent. I knew it wouldn’t be long.” My father says to the man. They both shake hands. The stranger is nowhere near as tall as my dad, but very few are.

“Illyria, this is Beta Luke from the MeadowEdge pack. He is going to take you with him back to the Alpha and Luna. Do you remember what we talked about?”

“Yes papa. I won’t say anything about where I came from or who I am. I’m supposed to pretend that I was abandoned and that I don’t remember anything about the pack that left me. I’m supposed to act like I don’t even know who my parents were. I’ll be good and I won’t say anything, I promise.” I get that all out without crying, but I don’t know how. I think it’s because I’ve practiced this for days.

Aaron told me that the easiest way to get through this was to stay strong. He said I shouldn’t dwell on the things that we can’t change but work hard so that we can all see each other again. Don’t keep thinking about the sadness, don’t let it sit inside. I wish it was that easy.

“Beta Luke, take care of my daughter. I trust that no harm will come to her in any way while in your care.” I heard that tone of voice only once before, when I was watching my father yell at one of his wolves. They had ignored an order and someone got hurt during training. He was mad and I watched as the wolf basically shrunk within himself.

“I’ll protect her with my life, Alpha.” I gave my father one last hug, and then we left. The Beta picked me up and started running fast. Since I didn’t bring anything with me, there was nothing but me to carry. The nightgown I had worn, we disposed of after a few hours. He had brought another with me, a bit tattered. He said it was intentional so that my story would be an easier one to believe.

Up till now, all of my memories of my family were loving ones. The last memory I have of my father was watching his face, full of obvious pain, as this man took me away from him. I watched as his heart broke and knew that both his and my mother’s would break even more when they lied to our pack, said I was dead.

Illyria Havenson was gone.

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