Welcome back to another chapter of Random Branches! In the last chapter Atton, Carth, Kreia, Bailey, and Pip went on a trip to Shang Simla to get Atton away from Alexandra. Atton did relax and enjoy himself, returning to more of his normal self. If you can call it normal. While Atton had made the connection, the others knew not to push it too hard. When they returned home, something was off. And now on to the story.
It had been a couple of years since the trip to Shang Simla. And Atton once again found himself in a bar drinking. He had started drinking while with Alexandra. Social drinking was what it started as, but now that Atton had put some distance between himself and Alexandra, he realized it was drinking to get over the depression of what she was doing to him.
And now he was drinking yet again because of what she did to him. They had returned home from vacation to a very distraught Mira Rand and even Sinbad Rand was visibly worried.
“She’s gone. She went into labor, went to the hospital and had her mother come collect her things. Said our family was too unsafe for a child. The child will live with Alexandra. All we know is she isn’t in Moonlight Falls. We contacted Matias and he said there was nothing legally we could do. While she did put Atton on the birth certificate, since the pair wasn’t even engaged Alexandra has full custody,” Sinbad had said when he had seen Atton enter, “And considering your quirks and the job I hold, the courts won’t rule in your favor if you try to do it that way.”
The world had come crashing down on Atton that night. He was a father, but he didn’t even get a chance to meet his child before, before she ripped his heart out. He remembered openning and closing his mouth several times.
“You’d have made a wonderful father. I know. I just don’t think Alexandra was ready to go further in the relationship and didn’t trust us with Canderous. We got it out of Alexandra’s mother. She said he had my eyes, which means your eyes as well, Atton, but he has her hair,” Sinbad said, pulling Atton in for a hug.
For a while Atton did nothing beyond eat and sleep. Due to Sinbad’s work place being an office space behind the theater, Sinbad explained the situation to Atton’s boss and Atton had a week to be off from work. The week came and went and Atton was forced to go into work. “It will be good for you to get out of the house and go do something,” Kreia had said, “Plus, you’ll see Pip. You haven’t seen Pip since we got back from Shang Simla.”
And then all Atton did was eat, sleep, and go to work. And bathe. Pip and Bailey started just showing up. Trying to get Atton to interact with others. Eventually they took him out on the town to maybe meet someone who would get him out of this funk. And that’s when the drinking began.
Alistair Mathiasen needed a drink. And tons of them. And he didn’t want to be alone while he got drunk. So bar it was. It was 30 years to the day that he had become the last of his family. And as the Council was still trying to finish him off, things weren’t exactly where it was easy to forget them again.
When he got to the bar he saw someone he never expected to ever see in a bar looking like Alistair was going to look later that night if things still went to plan. Alistair would never have guessed that Atton Rand would ever be at a bar alone and appearing to want to get drunk.
He approached his younger friend. “Spill. What’s got you drinking tonight? Bartender, a cup of your strongest stuff.”
He saw Atton blink at him as he recognized who he was. “I’ve never met my son.”
Alistair blinked. He didn’t realize Atton had had a son. “Son? Back up a bit there, pup.”
Atton sighed, “I had gotten into a relationship with this girl. She tried to change me and well, she explained away her reasons and with my quirks at the time for all I knew her reasons were valid.” Atton then stopped for some reason.
“Then she got pregnant.”
“Yea. And she wasn’t wanting to go any further than just a romantic interest. She had no interest in us actually being boyfriend and girlfriend. Kreia then aged to young adult and her graduation present from Pip was a trip for five to Shang Simla. Kreia asked me to go and I said yes. Looking back the trip had a secondary purpose. To get me away from Alexandra.”
Alistair couldn’t help but notice the trembling lip after he explained the trip. “She left you didn’t she. With your child, either unborn or just an infant. While you were on vacation.” Alistair had to watch himself. The full moon was close and he could feel his anger rising towards Alexandra.
Atton nodded. He swallowed and said, “You said you had a reason. Is it the same reason you were reluctant to protect my family and didn’t want us to reside in Moonlight Falls?”
Alistair nodded, “I know from sources that Kreia’s been graduated for some time. You’re wallowing now. It’s time to sober up and pick up the pieces. Your son might one day want to reconnect with you and seek you out. You don’t want to be a drunk when that day comes, Atton.”
“How can I move on? It feels like my heart’s been ripped out!”
“Let’s go for a walk.”
“How’s a walk going to help?”
“The walk itself won’t. I’m not going to open up and spill my guts in a crowded bar. Now come,” Alistair said, unintentionally growling at the end in frustration.
“Thirty years ago, I was in the same profession as your father is. High ranking thief with dreams of conquering the world. Or at least the underground portions if you get my drift. I could smell out the best finds due to being a werewolf. At the time I lived in Sim City. Sim City is like Bridgeport in that it has a lot of immortals. However, Sim City is the mortal city that werewolves go to. I was as good at planning as your father is. The Master Thief of Sim City at the time wanted to take over Bridgeport. To show the vampires who’s the king of the immortals. My task was to come up with a plan.”
“I soon got wind of the leader of the group’s family making a trip to Sim City without him. Something business related had come up and Darius Myst couldn’t come. It was perfect. By then everyone knew of how Darius got his followers to behave. Turning it on Darius would be appropriate. I orchestrated a plan to kidnap the entire family. His wife and two young adult children. Who were fully aware of and supported Darius in his endeavors. Both children were in the family business and I know the wife didn’t mind one bit at all. Not like your mother.”
“They were easily kidnapped as they thought they were safe from anyone and anything. And I watched as my underlings killed them. I then took something from each of the three and mailed it to Darius and told him that him and his followers are next. And that surrendering was the best option for all.” Alistair went quiet for several moments.
“The next thing I know, my grandmother’s on the line worrying because my dad who stuck to a routine schedule no matter what didn’t show up for Sunday dinner. The next day I got wind that my 8 year old cousin had been snatched from the playground at school. It got bad enough that the patriarch of our family left the safety of Moonlight Falls. Wolfgang Adams. Founding member of the Immortal Council. And Lucian Dracule’s best friend. And it’s saying something when a vampire and werewolf consider each other best friends. Somehow he got kidnapped as well. Then I was kidnapped.”
A few tears ran down Alistair’s cheeks. “Darius brought me to a room that he obviously used to torture his followers who had disobeyed him severely. The sheer amount of blood in the room showed that. He told me he was going to show me what it felt like to have your entire family erased from the planet. And then he called on his guard to start. My sister came into the room. She was pregnant, not showing yet, but she had seen a doctor and had it confirmed. And apparently Darius knew. Because they shot her in the womb first before shooting her in the head. And one by one, my family members came in. Some I’d never seen before in my life. Others I knew very well.”
Alistair took several minutes to get his animals instincts under control. He wasn’t sure he wouldn’t hurt Atton in the grief and guilt that was welling up again like it did every year. “It took days to get through my family. Werewolves aren’t known for small families so I wasn’t expecting things to go quickly. The last one he decided to kill was Wolfgang Adams. But he didn’t just kill him right away. He told the guards to leave us alone.”
Wolfgang Adams just looked at his decedent for ages. When he saw the young man begin to speak he raised his hand, “Don’t apologize for this. I did my research before coming out here. His wife and kids are not the last of his family. He told us what you did and why he was going to do what he was going to do. And his wife and kids were in cahoots. You did not murder innocents. And from what I could gather of you, you wouldn’t have. If his kids had been little you would have spared them. He is not sparing the innocents. You’re the only guilty party in our family to this mess. And I don’t think in the time I have left that I’ll ever forgive you for it. Your actions got your pack slaughtered. But I don’t hate you.”
“Now I could have stayed in Moonlight Falls, giving Darius enough caution to not do what he’s doing. But both of us know if it’s not your family, it would be someone else’s family sooner rather than later. Something needs to light a fire under Lucian’s ass. Lucian Dracule. To get him to deal with his former best friend. Lucian Dracule is a founding member of the Immortal Council and still sits on that council.” He took off a pendant and gave it to Alistair. “Take this. When you get free go to Moonlight Falls. Grieve there. Grieve where you’ll be free of him doing anything to you. You know where I live. You can stay there. The house is yours. Not that it could go to anyone else.” He gave a small smile.
“My personal phone book that I’ve written in has Lucian’s number. Call him when you’re ready to face him. But he’ll show up eventually trying to figure out why I’m yet again being a recluse. And he has a key and an open invitation to show up unannounced. Like you’re about to have, I have my demons and I have an unhealthy way of dealing with them that occasionally needs me being rescued.” He gave Alistair a stern look and said, “Lucian and I are best friends. We go back a very long ways. And you know just how strong a relationship is when a vampire and werewolf can call each other best friends.”
“So. You’re doing this to stop Darius?” Alistair said quietly.
“Yes. Be strong. I always heard you had a good head on your shoulders when you weren’t out breaking the law. Refocus your purpose to something good. And open up that heart of yours a lot more than it is.”
Alistair sighed, “At that point, Wolfgang called the other vampires back in. Apparently, Darius had enough respect for the old werewolf to give him one last request. And then Wolfgang was shot. And Darius told me that now I knew what he felt when he realized his family was all gone from the world. I took comfort in knowing that that was a lie.”
Alistair then stopped in front of Atton and said, “So believe me when I say that the pain from the loss eventually dies down to a tolerable level. But the more you wallow in it, the longer the pain will be unbearable. Grieve for the proverbial loss properly. And maybe when the kid is older you’ll get to meet him and make a good first impression.”
Atton went pale when he began to think of that.
“Atton, are you alright?” Alistair said, worried.
“I… I just remembered something. Something Alexandra said years ago that I had forgotten about until just now.”
“She wanted to move to Bridgeport.”
And that’s where the chapter ends. Will Darius realize a Rand is outside of the city of limits of Moonlight Falls? Is there anything that can be done to fix that legally? Will Atton stop wallowing? Find out in chapters to come.
Progress towards Atton’s goals:
- Master an instrument – Piano at level 5
- Get married – He has a romantic interest
- Join Music Career – Achieved Chapter 1.8 when Alistair got Atton a job.
- Learn all songs – He knows all his skill level gives him
- Become Hit Movie Composer – He’s level 2 – Roadie
- Know all co-workers – Achieved Chapter 1.8 when Alistair got Atton a job (a mod from Twallan)
- Befriend 1 co-worker – Achieved Chapter 2.0. Pip Goodfellow and Atton are already Best Friends.
- Level 5 Logic – He’s got none.
Progress toward’s Mira’s goals:
- Grow a garden with every plant from the store (She’s gotten everything from the store except what requires 7 or higher gardening skill)
- Master gardening skill (Still at level 7.)
- 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 toward’s LTW’s
- Mira – Illustrious Author: Level 2 Painting, Level 6 Writing
- Sinbad – Master Thief: Cat Burglar – Level 9
- Atton – Hit Movie Composer: Stagehand – Level 3
Author’s Note: I hadn’t gone into this chapter going this is where Alistair’s going to spill more of his past or even let me know that Lucian and Darius used to be best friends. But Alistair wanted to give Atton something to make him realize that he’s just not saying it will get better to make Atton feel better. He’s saying it because he knows it’s true.
I forgot to mention Sion’s namesake when he was born. Sion is the name of one of the enemies in KOTOR II. Unlike the other enemies he looks the most different. Hence why I named the alien kid Sion. Because he looks so different. So he’s from the same game that Mira’s namesake is from.
Canderous’s namesake is Canderous Ordo. He’s a Mandalorian and is in both KOTOR I and KOTOR II. Though in KOTOR II he goes by Mandalore. So he’s from the same game as Mira’s namesake is as well. And Canderous marks the start of generation 3.