From Above the Forest

Lost Family, Lovers, and New Friends

Some minor changes. Aesthetic of course, nothing major :)

"You're...brother?" Xen asked, shocked. His hands faltered for a moment.

"You never told me you had family..." He said. Luna looked up.

"We haven't seen each other in almost ten years..." She said, looking off into the distance.

Xen leaned against the wall.

"Tell me about him." He said, gently.

She sighed. Luna shifted herself against the wall.

"He left when I was 7. He was 14, and kept getting in trouble. It started out with little things, just being framed for stealing small trinkets, but it escalated and ended up getting caught with some kids that weren't good company, then killed a guard that had been bullying the both of us over the past week." She took a shaky breath. " A few days later, the council banished him. They said 'He was a danger to the town and its peace.'". "It was a lie, of course. The council has always hated us." She recounted with venom in her voice.

She still remembered the day he'd come home,from the first time he'd been accused of taking something. His black eye and broken ribs were evident of the true events that had transpired.

He noticed that her face had become angry. She shook her head, raising her chin.

"He left without even saying goodbye. For a few years I asked around, but...I just lost hope. And now..." She left the sentence hanging, her eyes staring into nothing.

"And now, here he is." Xen finished. Luna sighed, nodding shortly in agreement.

"I'm just...I'm just not sure how to react. How to greet him. How to look him in the eye." Her voice choked. She took a deep breath, resting her head against the wall.

Xen looked down, feeling slightly guilty.

"Let's go find Misty and Tarack, alright?" Luna asked, changing the subject.

Xen sighed and nodded as the two walked out of the alley, and into the street.

/**

Tarack and Misty walked side by side, observing the people closing up shop. Misty shifted her bag closer to her, keeping a tight grip on it. Being in a town meant for mercenaries and thieves to stop by meant keeping your valuables safe and close. Tarack noticed Misty looking around warily.

"You know no one is going to try and pickpocket us, right? Xen and I are known rather well around these parts. They know not to mess with us." Misty met his eyes, curious as to what they had done to earn the respect of the hardened people here.

"Trust me, you don't want to know" He said, amusement in his voice.

Misty smiled, then spotted the final stop, a small store selling various goods such as clothes, boots, weapons, food, and maps.

They stepped inside the store, walking over to a counter.

"So Tarack, where's Xen?" A stout man from the behind a desk asked, stepping out from nowhere.

"Hello to you too, Tom. He's finding us some lodging." Tarack said, leaning forward, resting his elbows on the counter.

"So do you have what we need?" Tarack asked.

"I'm more interested in your lady friend there...didn't see her last time you and Xen came in." The man said, winking.

Misty's jaw dropped, unsure what to say. Tarack rolled his eyes. "She's...a friend. Do you have it?" He asked, slightly irritated.

The man nodded, reaching for something under the counter. "I have some of it. I had quite a large order come in earlier this evening. I'm going to have to wait to get some more supplies from another town. They needed quite a lot." He deadpanned. "Back to your friend here, where's she from, what kind of 'friend' are you?" He grinned mischievously at the both of them. Misty backed up, the color of a tomato.

"Uh...Tarack.." She warned.

He glared at Tom. "What group is this?" He asked.

Tom shifted his feet. He looked around, nervously. "I'm not supposed to. That leader..he sure was intense." Tarack reached one gloved hand into his cloak, pulling out a few gold coins. He slipped them onto the table, making a scraping noise. "Will this jog your memory?"

A gleam appeared in Tom's eyes.

He sighed, defeated. "They're a group'a mercenaries. About 20 of'em." He handed Tarack a piece of paper. "This is for a friend of mine in Funa. Bring it to him, and he should give you anything you want!" Tom shoved the note in his hands. He turned quickly heading into the back of his shop. Tarack sighed. He took Misty's arm, leading her out the door with him.

"So what do we do now?" she asked.

"You can answer why you're so curious about my group and I." Came a deep voice from behind.

They whirled around ,seeing an tall, broad shouldered elf. He had shoulder length, deep auburn hair, his braids hanging from the side of his face. He stared at them with dark eyes.

"So how can I help you? I've heard of a small group asking around. I'm a little curious as to who you are." The elf crossed his arms, raising his chin. "It'd be best for you to tell me."

Tarack took a deep breath. He could tell just by his aura, this man was powerful.

"Look we wer-" "Rhys?!" a voice sounded. Tarack looked behind him, seeing Luna and Xen.

Luna's face was the color of paper , her jaw slack.

Rhys' eyes narrowed. "How do you know my name?" He growled. Luna opened her mouth, shocked.

"Rhys...you know me!" she pleaded, stepping closer to him. His eyes locked on her face, then widened.

"L-Luna? Is that you?" He walked over, grabbing her arm. "Rhys..what are doing?" He lifted her sleeve, revealing a small scar. "It is you.." He lowered her arm.

Luna smiled, hugging him. He appeared to be taken back, taking a few moments to wrap his arms around her.

A few snickers came from behind Rhys, as the group noticed a few men loaded with weapons.

"So this is yer sister, eh Rhys? She looks..erm..older than you said." the man said, laughing with his comrades.

Rhys chuckled. "Yes, Luna, these morons are Aldin, Beorn, and Dalston." He gestured to the group.

"Aye, and the rest of us are back at the inn. Speakin'a which, we need to get back to. It's dark'an I don't prefer getting robbed in a street."

Rhys nodded, agreeing. "Do you have rooms?"

Luna looked at Xen. "Ah...no. The innkeeper told us that the rooms are all full."

"I can give up a room if I can convince my men." He smiled fondly at her.

Luna grinned. "Thank you!" She hugged him again.

Rhys smiled slightly, then whispered in her ear, "Luna, we need to talk. Meet me later tonight."

After the group returned to the inn, Rhys led them to a room upstairs. "There's only one, so you'll all have to make do. Night." The grown man said, almost cheerfully.

"So...who gets the only bed?"

/**

Luna quietly snuck out of the room, making sure not to wake up anyone. She lightly stepped down the stairs, taking care to not step on the creaky ones.

She stood in front of the inn, waiting for Rhys. She turned the corner, feeling a hand wrap around her mouth. Her hand went for her dagger, only find it already gone.

"Shhh...Luna, it's me." She heard Rhys' voice. She relaxed as his hand slipped back to his side.

"What did you want to talk to me about?" Her voice curious, hushed.

Rhys stared into her eyes. "You know...you really did turn out like her. You've grown up so much I barely recognized you." He held her shoulders. "Too bad I inherited all of father-" "Don' talk like that." Luna chastised.

Rhys lowered his eyes, hugging her close. "Luna, I know you're still angry, but if you plan on traveling around Obili...he will hear about it, and he will find you." Rhys sighed. "I'm not sure who your friends are, I do remember Misty, though. I'm curious, who's your lover?" Luna took a step back. "My...what?!" Rhys' lips turned upward. "Oh..I just assumed, seeing the way he got awfully protective of you. He practically glared at me the whole time." Luna stood, frozen.

"Xen and I...we've only known each other for a few weeks. You seriously think something...could have happened in that short amount of time?" Rhys stared at the ground, still smirking. "Well...things have happened in shorter time.." Luna was taken back.

'Nope, it's been ten years..and he still hasn't grown up.' She rolled her eyes.

"By the way," He started, changing the subject. "What's your plan for traveling?"

She crossed her arms, thinking. "I don't know yet..why?"

Rhys smiled. "I'm sure I could convince my men to come with you to a few towns. We were heading south, anyway."

Luna was about to reply, when a strong gust of wind blew through, shaking the bells in the tavern next door.

"Let's get back inside. We can continue this discussion tomorrow." He said calmly, putting his arm around her shoulders. She smiled.

Luna snuck back in the room, slipping into her bag. She pulled her blanket up tightly around her shoulders. Xen turned over in his own bag.

"So, your father is searching for you?" She heard him quietly whisper. She stayed silent, pretending to be asleep.

"I also wasn't aware we were 'lovers' now." His grin obvious in his words.

"Xen."

"What?"

"Go to sleep."

/**

Hakan stood up, taking his place next to Jafar beside a large map.

"Have you located them?" He asked, irritated.

"Yes, almost. Give it a day, and we will have them, and the eggs."

He smiled devilishly.

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