Welcome back to another chapter of Random Branches. In the last chapter the Rands escaped from Twinbrook and ran to Moonlight Falls. Those in charge were wary of allowing the family in, but the innocence of Mira and the kids swayed enough of the Immortal Council to allow them to reside there. And now on with the story.
Matias had called Lucian and said that he needed to talk with him. Darius Myst was eventually coming to Mystical Falls, Sinbad or not. “I can be back in my place in thirty,” Matias had said. Which both knew was a lie. Matias’s house wasn’t that far from the Rand residence. No where was and they had planned it that way.
Soon Matias heard a knock on the door, “Come in!”
Lucian walked in and said, “What’s so important you couldn’t discuss it over the phone?”
“I could have, but it’s bound to be a long conversation,” Matias said, “Sinbad had some intelligence from being in the same career as Darius Myst for some time.”
Lucian frowned and nodded for Matias to continue.
“Apparently Darius had been planning since Sinbad was a teenager to reenter Moonlight Falls. If he comes during Sinbad’s lifetime we can’t pin it all on him. I hate to say this, but maybe we should push him to come.”
Lucian raised an eyebrow.
“How many completely innocent families will be killed by him? You know damn well he goes after the families of those he wants destroyed first,” Matias looked down before adding, “We both do.”
“I miss her, too. Your mother was a good friend and an outstanding council member. I want him dead, too. I just don’t want the innocent Rands to die because we jumped at the first chance to get revenge.” Lucian said beginning to pace.
“If he gets good intelligence on where the Rands are, do you think he’s rash enough to try to get them himself? He knows we’ve got human sensors around the place and would notice if he tried to send a lackey.”
“I don’t know. In a couple of weeks, it is the anniversary of the loss of Catarina, your mother. We’ve normally pulled back from dealing with him if he’s gotten out of hand. We get it out soon that the Rands are in Moonlight Falls, he might just try then.”
“And normally this is when I object to doing missions, but I think for once she’d approve,” Matias said with a smirk.
“And you’ll actually be sober. Now we’ve got a meeting to arrange. And if the other members agree, we’ll still have to get permission from the Rands.”
Meanwhile, at the Rand residence Sinbad was apologizing yet again for causing the move.
“Sinbad, I knew marrying you that you were a bad apple,” Mira said, “I’ve known since before Atton was a teen that you were a criminal and that your line of work not only threatened you but threatened your family. I love you and have never doubted for a second that you wouldn’t move heaven and earth to keep us safe.”
“Yea, Dad, we don’t blame you for it,” Atton said, “Chase your dreams and well your dream is to be a great criminal. We know you didn’t mean for Darius to come after us and you did what you had to to save us.”
Soon, the house fell into a rhythm. They got used to the full moon glow and locked the door to the house to keep the zombies out. The kids sometimes brought friends over and they would work on homework together.
It amazed Mira at times at how resilient her kids were. They had been forced to give up a lot for something they did not cause. Yet, here they were enjoying themselves. Making new friends.
After finishing unpacking and making sure her kids got adjusted to Moonlight Falls, Mira headed out to the local grocery store to see about selling future produce to them. They said that as long as she got a permit from the local government it was fine. They had been burnt enough times selling poisonous mushrooms after a farmer claimed they were edible that they had started requiring permits that would get the people in legal trouble if they knowingly sold poisonous produce. Mira thanked them and bought some starter produce and headed to city hall to get the paperwork started on that permit.
Sinbad spent his time out on the town getting to know the residents. He met the Goodfellow family near the building that housed the crime organization of Moonlight Falls. He got tricked a few times by the members of the family as they were fairies. They knew of why the Rands were in Moonlight Falls. Apparently one of the council saw fit to blab about it. But they hadn’t promised to not tell the town of them.
Of course Sinbad bad didn’t get along with every member of the Goodfellow family. He just couldn’t stand Flora Goodfellow. They ended up physically fighting before the day was out. Luckily, Flora was sympathetic towards Sinbad’s family or she would have gone to the council about the altercation. The nerve of Sinbad attacking an elderly lady who was obviously not strong.
Sinbad hated that he couldn’t bring himself to enter a new career now that he was in Moonlight Falls. He had toyed some with joining a different career when they got here, but he couldn’t give up his dream. He also hated the fact that he was once again on an opposite sleep schedule than his wife. It had put a strain on their relationship before and Sinbad was afraid it would do it again. And this time the kids were old enough that Mira didn’t need him around to help out.
“I want to follow in your footsteps,” Kreia told Sinbad one day.
“WHAT?!” Sinbad yelled, “After what you’ve seen it do to us you want to follow in my footsteps? I won’t allow it!”
“Try and stop me, Dad!” Kreia said, “The only way to get Darius off of our backs for good is to deal with him head on. He’s a vampire. How many of our generations will have to stay in Moonlight Falls due to Darius?”
“He’s too powerful, Kreia,” Sinbad said, “Think for a moment. Even if you did climb the ranks high enough, he’s too powerful. Too many loyal followers.”
“And I’ve got plenty of time to come up with a solution. I can always find a way to become an occult if I have to. Plus, he’s bound to get careless thinking he’s too powerful to be stopped.”
Sinbad was about to respond when he heard his carpool’s horn go off. “No joining up with the criminals, Kreia. I am in enough to stop you from progressing.”
As soon as Sinbad left the house, Kreia said, “In enough here, but not in another city. If I’m careful I should be able to get away without using my birth name.”
Soon Mira’s garden was planted and growing. Due to various unpacking and getting settled, most times she ended up doing the tending in the evenings after Sinbad had gone off to work and the kids in bed. The house was too quiet for Mira’s liking then. Mira was still worried that Darius or his minions would venture into Moonlight Falls and try to kill her or her family.
Sinbad had tried numerous times to alleviate that worry but it never truly went away. The full moon was the worst. The zombies outside would constantly make Mira think that Darius had found them. She prayed that Sinbad wouldn’t be working those nights so that they stood a chance of maybe surviving.
Soon Atton grew into a young man. Sinbad didn’t see many facial features of himself in Atton, but his hair color marked him as a child of Sinbad’s. His quirks remained and he suddenly decided to take interest in Mira’s garden. Something about someone having to tend it once Mira is gone.
Meanwhile, the Immortal Council had been hard at work coming up with a plan that would mean Darius and Rosalind would fall, but wouldn’t put the Rands in too much trouble. Because they knew that unless the plan had very low chance in someone getting killed, that the Rands might not agree to it. Not after all of the running they had done.
“It’s too risky to put them in a safe house for that time.” Alistair growled, “If word gets out, they’ll be outnumbered and we’ll be farther away.”
“But do we dare risk them being at the scene of the battle? They’re human, Alistair,” Matias countered, “If we have one of us with them, they might stand a chance of lasting until the rest of us can get there.”
“Matias has a point,” Eleanor said, “If we can try to lure them to a spot where we won’t have to watch out for them as well as ourselves, we’ll stand a better chance of succeeding.”
“But who do we stick with them?” Nicholai said, “Any who could protect them, would be useful for the main event.”
“Alistair will watch them,” Lucian said.
“I will not! I will not watch the family of a criminal! You know what the criminals have done to me over the course of my life, Lucian. I will not play guardian to one or their family.”
“And if we stick you with the main unit and they buy our little scheme, smelling you would blow it,” Lucian said, “I understand how you feel about criminals and if it could work any other way, I wouldn’t stick you on babysitting duty for someone we all know is a criminal.”
“Plus, the guy’s not all bad,” Matias said, “He wouldn’t have done the things that gang did to you and your family. He cares too much about family.”
Alistair growled and said, “Whole plan is moot if they don’t agree to it. Where would we keep them anyways?”
Iris laughed, “You’re right, it is. But we needed a plan first. And what about your place? Cover up their smells more by masking it under a smell the vampire would have a hard time ignoring. And Rosalind can’t smell them out. And for the asking, which one of us should do it? Who of us has the right to ask them to put their lives on the line?”
“Alistair, Matias, and I will do it,” Lucian said, “Alistair because he’s who will be protecting them when the time comes, Matias because he has the closest bond to them, and me because I am the leader and it is my duty to ask those questions. We leave now and hope they’re all home.”
Sinbad opened the door when he heard the knock and was shocked to see three members of the Immortal Council. It was usually just Matias. This time he had Lucian and Alistair with him. “Good evening, Matias, Lucian, and Alistair. What brings you by here?” Sinbad asked.
The three looked at each other before Matias said, “We need to discuss something with you. Is everyone home and may we all come in?”
“Yes, everyone is home and you may all come in and make yourselves at home,” Sinbad said, “Guys! In the main room. Some members of the Immortal Council want to talk with us.”
The family gathered in the main room and waited for the Immortal Council members to speak their minds. “Sorry for coming unannounced, we don’t have a whole lot of time,” Lucian started, “I’ve got something to ask of you and your family, Sinbad, that I really have no business asking.”
“Then why are you here?” Sinbad interrupted.
Mira put her hand on his and said, “He’ll probably get to that if you let him continue”
Lucian nodded and continued, “I will. As Darius is a vampire he’ll live for a very long time. Meaning no one of your family would be safe leaving Moonlight Falls. Not even for a business trip or vacation. Right now, he’s probably still livid about you escaping his grasp. This also is near the time when we mourn for a lost council member who was lost to Darius in a most cruel manner. We normally do not deal with Darius around this time as it brings up too many bad memories. However, we’ve got the right conditions to get him to do something stupid. Go into a place with little back up.”
“You want to use us as bait,” Mira said.
“No,” Sinbad said, “I did not bring them here to Moonlight Falls just to have them be used as bait!”
“That’s where I come in,” Alistair said, “You’ll reside with me in my manor while the rest of this bunch hangs out here. Hopefully, Darius and Rosalind don’t get wind of this change and storm here. The rest of the council will take care of the two renegades while I keep you and your family protected. And should they catch on, you’ll have someone who can protect you to keep them busy long enough for the others to get to my place.”
“I sti…” Sinbad started.
“Sinbad, dear, do we want to force our kids and grandkids and maybe even great-grandkids to having to live here in Moonlight Falls amongst the occult or risk death? Outside of Moonlight Falls we won’t have the protection of the Immortal Council. And the Immortal Council might not get a better chance to lure him in on their terms.”
Sinbad stood up and paced around, “Can you handle both Darius and Rosalind at the same time, Alistair?”
“Yes. At least long enough for back up to arrive.”
“What if back up doesn’t arrive as fast as you’re expecting? Or it’s more than just those two? He does have vampires in his ranks of criminals.”
“Alistair, mind if I tell Sinbad?” Matias said, giving Alistair a look. Alistair glared at Matias for a minute before nodding.
“Tell me what?”
“Come walk outside with me for a bit,” Matias said, leading Sinbad outside.
Sinbad followed Matias outside before saying, “Again, tell me what?”
“About Alistair’s past. Namely how he ended up on the council in the first place and it’s not a story that I could freely give without his permission. It’s highly personal.” Matias took a few to gather his thoughts before saying, “Before Alistair was a council member he was like you. A criminal. Darius’s rival clan in Sim City. You’ve probably heard Darius’s side to the story. And you know Darius. Alistair was much like you in ways. He knows how to plan several steps ahead. He’s calculating and cold. Only lets a select few under his skin. Well, he was fairly high up in the gang that was in war with Darius’s gang. He was the leader of the mission that killed Darius’s wife and kids. In front of Darius. Alistair had heard of Darius’s means of torturing his own minions and turned it against him.”
Matias let that sink in before continuing, “Well, Darius had to get revenge. So he went and found every member of Alistair’s family that he could find. Including Wolfgang Adams. Alistair’s great-grandfather and a founding member of the Immortal Council. Wolfgang had gone out of Moonlight Falls because of Darius’s kidnapping of his distant family. The last member he kidnapped was Alistair himself. He then proceeded to slowly and painfully kill each of those he had kidnapped. In front of Alistair. Including the children and infants. He then let Alistair go. Knowing the killing him would be merciful in a way.”
Matias took a deep breath and said, “Alistair felt responsible for the death of his entire family. All because of a gang war. Because of a plan he initiated. Since that day he has been very much against criminals and those who give them shelter. He also bears immense guilt over it. So much so that it took every ounce of Lucian’s persuasive nature to get Alistair to agree to be on the council. It was Lucian’s way of saying that he didn’t blame Alistair for the loss of his close friend.”
“Damn,” Sinbad said when Matias went quiet. “So he’s risking going up against Darius again. Because of me.”
“It’s not facing Darius again that’s got him agitated about his part in the mission. It’s protecting a criminal who might do something in the future that gets an innocent killed. But trust me when I say that he’ll put a hundred and ten percent into protecting you and your family. Even if it means giving up his life to do it. He wouldn’t have agreed if he didn’t think he could keep you guys alive. We should head back inside.”
The pair headed back inside and Sinbad said, “We’ll do it. When does the plan go into motion?”
“Just as soon as we can get all the pieces in place, which shouldn’t take long,” Lucian said.
And that’s it for this chapter. Will the plan the Immortal Council has succeed? Will Alistair’s past influence what Sinbad will do once this blows over? Will Darius even fall for it? Find out in chapters to come!
Progress towards objectives:
- Grow a garden with every plant from the store (She’s gotten everything from the store except what requires 7 or higher gardening skill and the apple tree)
- Master gardening skill (Still at level 6.)
- 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 6, Painting level 2
- Sinbad- Master Thief: Bank Robber (Level 8, finally on the thief branch)
Author’s Note: I have chosen an heir. I was initially torn on who to make my heir between Atton and Kreia. Soon, their stories gave me the answer. Atton is heir. I’m not going to want to leave Sinbad and Mira to StoryProgression and Kreia’s story would require her to move away from home. We’ll still see her around. It’s evident her career choice is putting her in the same field as her father. Though, she’s smart enough to not do it in Moonlight Falls. Her mother is enough under her skin that she wouldn’t want to break her heart by joining the same career path that Sinbad is on. I know exactly where she’s going and what she’ll be doing and it totally fits her personality.
Atton’s traits are: Insane, Clumsy, Virtuoso, Hopeless Romantic, and Green Thumb. His LTW is the me a Hit Movie Composer. I’ve got one more chapter to tell that will focus on Mira and Sinbad’s story and then it’ll be more focused on Atton.
Poor Carth, though. I don’t have any idea what he’d want to do with his life. I’ll probably just choose one of the random 5 LTW’s that come up when he ages to YA and release him into the neighborhood and just let StoryProgression take over.
And poor Mira. Had it not been for the computer crash, Founding generation chapters might have actually focused more on Mira.