Welcome back to another chapter of Random Branches! In the last chapter Sinbad learned that his old mentor, Darius Myst, had taken over Twinbrook’s crime family. And Darius had told Sinbad to permanently distance himself from his family or watch as Darius kills them. Sinbad chose neither option and has put into motion a plan to run to Moonlight Falls. And now on with the story.
After enrolling the kids in homeschooling, Sinbad went home. There wasn’t much time to lose if they wanted any shot of getting out of Twinbrook before Darius caught on. It wasn’t quite time for the oldest to be home or for Kreia for that matter. He found his wife cleaning up in the dining area. He hugged Mira tightly.
“What’s wrong, Sinbad?” Mira asked, catching on to Sinbad’s worry.
Sinbad just remained silent for several minutes before saying, “Did I ever tell you about my mentor when I was in Bridgeport?”
“Only that he helped you develop your thieving skills, but not much else. Why?”
Sinbad sighed, “His favorite way of getting a lackey in line was to go after their weakness. And obliterate it. In the cruelest fashion he could think of. He just took over Twinbrook’s crime organization.”
“And?” Mira said when Sinbad stopped.
“He’s decided he needs to teach me a lesson. Get me back in line. My weakness is you. And the kids. He told me that I needed to permanently distance myself from you in such a way that none of you guys want anything to do with me. By tomorrow night when I’m scheduled to go into work.”
“So you’re going to have me and the kids leave and never return?” Mira asked.
“No. It wouldn’t work and you know it. Atton wouldn’t quite get it and the moment one of you guys tried to get in touch with me it would spell disaster for all of you. We’re all going to run.”
“To where though? If he’s as powerful as I’m sensing, I don’t know where we could go.”
“Miles away. It’s the one place Darius and his most trusted minion won’t go and the town doesn’t take kindly to those who follow Darius.” They don’t take kindly to criminals period, but I don’t need to tell Mira that. Or that the only way to get in is to admit to the fact that I am a criminal. Sinbad thought to himself.
The two talked for a while until the kids returned home from school. They then had a family meeting to discuss things.
“We’re going to be moving,” Mira said when the three had all sat down.
“Why?” Atton asked.
“Some people have decided that it would be best to have us killed so that your father will be more apt to follow the leader’s orders to the best of his ability.” Mira answered.
“That doesn’t make sense,” Atton said.
“No, but that’s how the leader deals with things. He’s incredibly mentally unstable and has no empathy at all.” Sinbad explained.
“Empathy? What’s empathy?” Kreia asked, not knowing what the word meant.
“Empathy allows you to care about others. Emotionally connect with people.” Carth said.
“Oh so something Kreia doesn’t have?” Atton said.
“I do too have it!” Kreia yelled, glaring at her brother, “Just because I don’t show it doesn’t mean I don’t care about people. I might be a touch evil but I’m not uncaring!”
“Just for your family,” Atton said.
“That’s all I need!” Kreia said.
“Enough you two,” Sinbad said, “Atton, your sister is a bit like me in that respect. There will be that one special someone out there in the world that will melt her heart. As for right now, we need to stick together if we’re going to get to where we’re moving to.”
“Why don’t you just overthrow the leader, Dad?” Carth asked.
“Because he’s a vampire. He’s much stronger than I am. It would be suicide,” Sinbad said.
“Ah. So we’re running then?” Carth asked, “That means we’d have to severe all ties here. Anyone who could tell the leader where we headed would be in danger.”
“They’re already in danger for simply knowing us. Darius, the leader, has done his homework. He’ll know of your relationships. Luckily, the Knacks have been on vacation for the last month. Darius will have known of Atton’s quirks and his relationship with Shellie. I’ll leave them a letter to explain the situation. Darius is probably still too wrapped up in getting full control here to have someone already watching us tonight so I’ll write a letter explaining things to them.”
“So how are we going to do this? We can’t take a car for that’s too traceable, but we can’t carry much if we don’t go by car.” Carth said.
“We’re going by foot for a least a good long while and yea, that means we’re leaving most of our stuff behind. I’ll deal with that once we’re in the safety of Moonlight Falls. So go pack your things, we’re leaving within an hour. Oh, one more thing, everyone, give me your cell phones.”
Everyone handed Sinbad their cell phones. Sinbad stuck them in his pocket for now after turning all but his off. The family then split off to go pack. They packed in silence. Mira had tears going down her cheek as she packed.
Once they had all packed, Sinbad locked up the house and they headed off for Moonlight Falls. Sinbad slipped the letter to the Knacks under their front door as they passed by their house. They went for hours until Kreia could go no further. They checked into a cheap hotel and bunkered down for the night. Mira was too exhausted to change into the one pair of pajamas she had grabbed and Sinbad was still too wired to sleep. So he comforted his wife as she slept and watched his kids try to get some sleep.
Sinbad did eventually fall asleep still in the awkward position he had put himself in to comfort his wife. Soon morning came and the family ate a quick breakfast at a local diner before continuing their trek towards Moonlight Falls.
The next few years went on the same way. Darius had caught on quicker than Sinbad had thought and they were constantly having to back track and run away from Moonlight Falls. It was a few weeks after Kreia aged to a teenager when they found themselves on the outskirts of Moonlight Falls.
Sinbad heard some words whispered in the distance and looked around. He panicked as he saw his wife and kids suddenly collapse to the ground. He rushed to his wife’s side and tried to wake.
“Don’t worry, they’re just sleeping very soundly,” a male’s voice sounded.
“Who are you and what have you done to my family!” Sinbad yelled.
“I am a resident here. You are not. We’re very wary of strangers here,” the male said.
Sinbad then realized that they must have finally reached Moonlight Falls. “I know of the existence of non-humans.”
“We’re on the run. Darius Myst and Rosalind Baines are chasing us. Or at least their minions are.”
“What species are they?”
“Darius is a vampire. Rosalind is a fairy.”
“Very well, follow me.” the male began to walk away.
“I’m not about to leave my family here unprotected.”
“They’re protected. I’m not the only one out here in the woods.”
“Alright.” Sinbad said as he began to follow the male.
Several minutes passed when they arrived at what appeared to be an office building.
“Your family is completely human. Why should we grant you residency here?” a fairy asked.
Sinbad noticed the others took interest in the fairy’s question. “Because if you do not, you doom my family to death.”
“That’s believable.” a werewolf growled.
“Quiet Alistair, I said the truth spell in the woods. He said Darius Myst and Rosalind Baines are after him and his family. We all know what those two are capable of.” the wizard said. Alistair glared at the wizard but quieted down.
“Do we dare risk him getting the nerve to come into Moonlight Falls over a human family?” a ghost said. The werewolf nodded, but Sinbad got a feeling there were some swayed by the fact that Darius was after him and his family.
“Can we send them away knowing they’ll be killed?” the genie said.
“If he knows Darius and Rosalind the chances are high he’s a criminal. It’s one thing to give asylum to those he turns his attention to and are completely innocent. He’s not innocent.” Alistair countered.
“What did you do to get him focused on you,” the wizard said to Sinbad.
“At one point I had a fairly nasty superior. Not the head of the organization or anything, but higher than me. He figured out my address, my phone number, and figured out that my wife’s parents lived in Bridgeport and where in Bridgeport they lived. He called my wife and threatened her, our kids, and her parents if I didn’t shape up. So I worked by butt off and got him thrown in jail. That’s why Darius decided to turn his attention to me. Because if I can get rid of a thorn in his side, he viewed me as a risk.”
“Step outside and we’ll discuss this.” the wizard said.
Sinbad stepped outside and waited for ages while he heard the group arguing. Hours passed before they called him back in.
“We’ve decided,” the vampire said, “For the sake of your wife and kids we’re granting you residency. However, we reserve the right to kick you and your family out should we feel the safety of the town be threatened by your actions or the actions of your kids.”
Sinbad nodded, “I understand and I thank you for allowing me and my family to stay.”
“Forgive us for none of us have introduced ourselves and permit us to ask you for your name,” the genie said.
“Apology accepted. I am Sinbad Rand.”
The group then introduced themselves. Alistair Mathiasen was the werewolf. Iris Baines was the fairy and she admitted to unfortunately being the twin of Rosalind Baines. Nicholai Tritten was the wizard and he apologized for the scare in the forest. Lucian Dracule was the vampire and possibly the leader of the group. Eleanor Stevens was the ghost. And Matias Wisherton was the genie who admitted that genies normally don’t have last names.
“I’ll escort them back to the forest, Nicholai,” Matias said, “You don’t need to come along and babysit me.”
“Behave Matias, you’re only allowed to do what we agreed upon,” Lucian said.
“You wished it very specifically this time, Lucian. I have no choice but to behave,” Matias said.
“Sinbad, you know he’s a genie and you can let your family know. However, beyond what Matias will tell you he’s going to do, he can do nothing else to aide your transition to Moonlight Falls.” Lucian said.
Sinbad nodded and Matias beckoned him to follow.
The pair walked and after a while Sinbad said, “Are they always that uptight?”
Matias laughed and said, “Yea, but they have to be. And I am when it matters. You’ve studied history have you not?” Matias waited for Sinbad to nod before continuing, “Well, you know humans have a tendency to hate those who are different. So hundreds of years ago, we all came together and decided to make a sanctuary…”
“You’re hundreds of years old?” Sinbad interrupted, “Not even Darius is immortal.”
“There are potions and spells that counteract aging, Sinbad,” Matias stated, “Anyways, Moonlight Falls was established as a place for those who aren’t human to thrive. Obviously some choose to venture outside of Moonlight Falls. Vampires are notorious for that and thrive in Bridgeport. But those outside of Moonlight Falls tend to forget about their own species’ traditions and customs. They become more human like in culture. To fit in. Here we don’t blend with each others’ customs and traditions. And to protect that we can’t just let any old human in. And to keep the peace, we have to be strict. Vampires and werewolves don’t normally exist in the same town peacefully. Werewolves despise Bridgeport simply because vampires live there in high numbers.”
“Ah, I understand. Lucian mentioned something about you doing some things for me and my family.”
Matias smiled. “Ah yes, that. They made a wish very specifically to cover it. I’m allowed to make you and your wife as if you just became adults. But only if you desire it. Some research of your family let us in on the fact that your eldest is not quite right. I’m allowed to fix that should whoever gets to make decisions for him agree with it. And I can do something about your daughter’s lack of empathy. And we can give your middle child some maturity.”
Sinbad thought for a minute. Atton without his quirks. Would he be Atton without them? Kreia didn’t seem to be psychopathic. Just didn’t care about those who weren’t related to her. Like he did.
Soon they were a the forest and Matias snapped his fingers and said, “Awaken.”
It didn’t take long for the spell to wear off and Mira, Atton, Carth, and Kreia to stand up. “What happened?” Mira asked. She stepped closer to her husband and the teens moved around to shake off the spell before standing by their parents.
“We’ve made it. To Moonlight Falls. They’ve got some security measures to keep unwanted humans out but we’ve been granted permission to reside here. Matias here is a genie and has been given permission to do a few things should we agree. For Mira and I he is allowed to make us young again. Like we just graduated high school. For Atton, he can get rid of the quirks. He can give Carth some maturity. And empathy for Kreia.”
“But I like me how I am,” Atton said, “Quirks and all.”
“Yea, I can contain my childish behavior. You’ve seen me do it!”
“I don’t think my lack of empathy is a big deal. I’m fine the way I am and I’m not lonely.”
“More time in this world sounds nice, but I don’t want to do it if you don’t, Sinbad,” Mira said.
“Then I’ll do it. Anything to make you happy after what I’ve caused,” Sinbad said.
“You do not wish to overrule your childrens’ desires?” Matias asked, confused.
“Nope, Atton’s quirks, Carth’s childish ways, and Kreia’s lack of empathy is, well, just who they are. If you changed that, they wouldn’t be who they are.” Sinbad said.
“Very well,” Matias said before snapping his finger and saying, “Mira Rand and Sinbad Rand, back again you just like you graduated high school. Now, if you’ll follow me, I’ll get you situated at your house.”
They approached the medium sized house before Matias turned and said, “Your stuff is at your old house isn’t it? At least a lot of it.”
“Yea, we didn’t have time to pack much and a car would have been too traceable,” Mira said.
Matias smiled, snapped, and said, “I’ll pay for this later but your stuff’s in your house now. At least anything you care about. Plus some new things based on what we learned about you from the spell scans Nicholai did. I should be off. Things to do.”
Sinbad suddenly realized something and said, “Matias, wait!”
“Yes?” Matias said, catching the worry in Sinbad’s voice.
“I remember Darius saying something years ago when I was a teen in Bridgeport. He said that one day he would have the power to storm Moonlight Falls. I can’t imagine him having dropped that desire so I suppose the rest of the council should know so they can prepare for it.”
“Oh dear, thanks for that warning,” Matias said, “Now I really do have to go.” And with that Matias left.
And that’s it for this chapter. How will the family adjust to living in Moonlight Falls? Will the kids regret turning down the offer of having their negative traits removed? Will Sinbad being in Moonlight Falls be the catalyst Darius needs to push him to storm Moonlight Falls? Find out in chapters to come.
Progress towards objectives:
- Grow a garden with every plant from the store (No progress)
- Master gardening skill (Still at level 5.)
- Get married (Accomplished Chapter 1.0 when Mira married Sinbad)
- No woohoo until married (Accomplished Chapter 1.0 as Mira never woohooed before marrying Sinbad)
- Have a boy and a girl (Accomplished Chapter 1.1 as they have 2 boys and 1 girl as of that chapter)
Progress towards LTW’s:
- Mira- Illustrious Author: Writing level 5, Painting level 2
- Sinbad- Master Thief: Safe Cracker (Level 6, finally on the thief branch)
Author’s Note: Matias was allowed to make them younger because I didn’t want to have deal with trying to figure out how old they should be. I’m going to guess for the kids, however, but that’s easier since they’re all in the same life stage.