Chapter 10: Roll to Investigate a Mystery

1/29/2020 edit: Hot dang! See how far I’ve come? I originally wrote this as a bonus chapter but after cleaning up my blog for 2020 and working on “Season 2” of the story, I realized future chapters treat this as canon so it really should have its own chapter. Plus, I’ve grown in my writing over the last year. I’ve been able to incorporate the perspectives of other characters in way that I think (HOPE?) actually works 🙂

11/27/19 Original Post: What’s up? Here’s a little bonus chapter from William’s perspective. It’s a peek at what they got down to while Vlad was busy being terrorized by a girl scout. I am going to try to do a bonus chapter from the point of view of all the big secondary characters (I’ve got big plans for their stories…and love lives, in the future). I’ll sprinkle them throughout the story.

This one has a few fun easter eggs for future chapters so you know…spoilers 😉

WILLIAM

“So you’re saying what exactly? Pretend I’m a fool who has never heard of ye olde simlish before,” William coaxed, giving the professor his best smile. 

Caleb snorted from across the room, but William expressly ignored him. Patience was the key to charm. William could force information out of anyone, if the need arose. But most information could be gathered with a smile. 

“Like an undergrad?” the professor said with an almost high-pitched giggle.

“Like an undergrad,” William purred. He leaned in closer, encouraging the professor to relax.

They had been at these interviews for a few weeks now. Neither he nor Vladislaus could make hide nor hair of the entry contained in the Elder-most Manuscript of Myths and Creatures. They had a vague sense of the story, and remembered bits of it from when they were young, but their olde simlish was rusty. Of all the old traditions that Vladislaus mourned and complained about losing, William had to admit he was actually right about this one. 

Damn. 

Speaking of Vladislaus, how had he even gotten the book? If memory served, it had been the Windenburg monks’ most prized possession. William had just assumed they lost everything in the fire. Though, knowing his old friend, he should have also assumed Vladislaus had set that fire. 

Regardless of how the book had come into Vladislaus’s possession, they needed help if they were going to make sense of the translation. Vladislaus, to achieve his misguided goal of ridding himself of a conscience. William and Caleb, to find the trick of the words that would help them force Vladislaus into his new state permanently

Though, knowing his old friend, he should have also assumed Vladislaus had set that fire. 

Change was necessary and Vladislaus Straud had long had problem with things being different.

“What I mean is that ze Owl is not an object. It may manifest like that, I suppose, but from everything I’m reading, ze Owl was a real creature. Or at least, real as far as ze myth was concerned. You understand, no? It belonged to ze Goddess Elmira and she betrayed her lover, ze God of Death, in order to see the bird’s feathers restored. She was ze one who discovered that it could only undo states, not create them,” he explained.

William scowled, “So the threads of fate were sewn backwards? That’s a mighty trick.”

“Exactly! Yes! In ze ancient myths, ze Fates were almost always depicted as tricksters.”

“So what about these warnings here, in ye olde simlish? I’m pretty rusty…” William ventured with a wink.

“Yes, right, give me a moment!” The professor dashed over to his computer and began typing.

Caleb groaned and scrubbed a hand over his face.

Caleb Vatore was not an “ask questions first” sort of creature. He was a “stab them between the shoulder blades with a knife dipped in paralyzing poison first, ask questions second” sort of creature. If Vladislaus was a monster, he had made Caleb in his own image. That made it all the more alarming that even Caleb, bloodthirsty as he was, thought that it was necessary for Vladislaus to change. 

Though his reasons were undoubtedly his own, Caleb was wise enough to realize that Vladislaus was on a path towards self-destruction. A “self-destruction” that put all of the Windbernburg vampires in danger, given what Vlad truly was.

If Vladislaus was a monster, he had made Caleb in his own image.

And while Caleb talked with William about a new order among vampires and agreed with William’s goals of clearing out the toxic leadership like Bloodvein and Miss Hell, there was something else underneath his revolutionary streak.

He wanted to go home.

Caleb had a deep longing to find his sister Lilith and return to Magnolia Promenade. But like William, he found it difficult to abandon their friend in his hour of greatest need.

Yes, Vladislaus referred to them like staff, but they knew better. They were, all of them, friends. Or at least, as complicated and messy a form of friendship as one could have among long-lived creatures and royal egos. 

William leaned against the wall and continued to wait patiently, glancing at the professor’s computer screen.

He smothered a laugh when Caleb threw up his arms and stalked from the room.

Tobias had been like that. He found William’s laid-back nature infuriating. In between making love and fighting King Josef’s never-ending batch of wars, bookish Tobias would take William to task for every inaction.

Tobias had plans.

William had learned to coast on the sea of whatever nonsense the day brought. It had been like since the day Josef Straud rode into the village and plucked him from his home. 

After a few more minutes Caleb returned. He was antsy, so it was clearly time to wrap this up.

“Anything?” he prompted, now taking a moment to appreciate the professor’s firm build underneath his cardigan. 

The time for flirting is not now, he reminded himself. 

“Vell, I can say this. Ze Owl of Undoing must be earned or freely given. Ze Sages released it into the world at ze behest of ze Fates. It’s for ze God of Death’s supposed heir to earn, though, technically, it’s open to anyone who can get their hands on it. Fate’s trickery at work!” he exclaimed.

Anyone could get their hands on it?

William sucked in a breath. This was a huge problem. It meant they weren’t just trying to ensure Vladislaus failed at retrieving it, but they were trying to keep it out of everyone else’s hands too. And who knew what kind of vile creature would be heir to the God of Death? 

“I see. This is so helpful. Is there any way you could get a printed translation for us, doc? We’d sure appreciate it. For the journal, of course,” William replied, using the cover story that he had concocted on their way to the university.

“Absolutely, let me just fire up ze printer.” The professor crossed to his computer, tapped a button and then slipped out of the office to retrieve the papers from the printer down the hall.

Caleb’s smile was wide, “So good ole Vlad-y will have to earn it. Well, we all know that won’t happen. Get the papers and we can break the news to him after I have a talk with the dryads.”

William stopped him. “It’s not just Vladislaus we have to worry about. Didn’t you hear him? Anyone could get their hands on this…we’ll be up to our eyeballs in surveillance and tracking…w-wait…I thought you were after the gnomes?”

“I’ve already confirmed the gnomes were just covering for someone,” Caleb cracked his neck, “They broke easily. It’s the dryads who are keeping secrets.”

William shook his head. “It’s no matter. Can you imagine if Bloodvein, or Miss Hell or any of their ilk got their hands on it?”

A flash of worry crossed over Caleb’s face. “But no one else even knows it exists!”

Now, it was William’s turn to snort. “You’re as big a fool as he is if you think there is no one else in the world with a television and knowledge about ancient myths and magical objects. And you’re both a set of cabbages for thinking the world ends and begins with supernaturals.”

“So the Gods are real?” Caleb asked. “I had always been under the impression that they were a myth. Something sims made up to explain the Sages and the magic realm.”

To be fair, William had thought the same thing for a long time. But he had spent a few decades in Selvadorada when Vlad first took up with Miss Hell and wandering through those ancient caves and temples had made him reconsider. 

“We’re real, aren’t we? There’s a whole other realm containing witches and Sages, and other creatures. Dryads grow from trees! The Fae have a kingdom in the lost lands beyond the sea! Why couldn’t there be gods? Why couldn’t there be scores of other realms that we’ve never even heard of?”

Caleb looked like he was about to respond but clamped his mouth shut when the professor returned. He handed them a piece of paper. William thanked him with a long handshake and a smoldering look. Then he and Caleb took their leave.

    12 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    November 27, 2019

    *This* worldbuilding beast is the bonus chapter? I’m starting to love this world. And hot damn, there’s a lot riding on that baking show; I’d bet actual money that we’ll see other supernaturals in the competition.

    • feroshgirl
      December 1, 2019

      Thank you! Yeah. It seemed shorter in my head but when I actually wrote it and shot it, I realized it was a bit of a beast haha! BTW you have a shout out in tonight’s chapter. A joke that you inspired 🙂 linked your blog in the credits!

  • […] Old Barn was not supposed to be the sort of place that gave up secrets easily. In 1862, when Old Man Fyres […]

  • lonecat82
    May 1, 2020

    Your worldbuilding is awesome! And I’m loving the glimpses into Caleb and William’s viewpoints, they’re cool characters and I love the dynamic between the two of them.

    • feroshgirl
      May 3, 2020

      thank you! this was the first time i started experimenting with bringing in other characters pov. in later chapters i start doing it more, but i wanted them to feel like real people (well…real vampires lol)

  • theplumbob
    July 5, 2020

    Woah! Yes we definitely need to add aliens to the mix! I am loving this so much. Oh boy…

    The boys sure knew how to frak out the dryat with their conflicting messages 😂

    I know you said this was meant to show William off a bit more, but I already liked him so we’re on safe territory there. What this did for me was make me much more partial to Caleb than I originally was. I must admit he’s not normally my cup of tea, but I’m loving the spin you’ve put on him, you’ve definitely managed to make him much more likeable in my eyes!

    • feroshgirl
      July 5, 2020

      Thank you! Caleb is an interesting character. We get more of his perspective in later chapters but suffice it to say, he is in a really dysfunctional dynamic with Vlad. But he is working on it…

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    August 31, 2022

    Wow that Professor got pretty specific. Oh you want ME to roleplay my job and you roleplay you’re an undergrad. BOING. Ze penis is ready!

    Okay their flirting ended abruptly, and I am going to guess it was because when ze professor said “anyone can get their hands on it” and William DIDN’T automatically say or do something sexually suggestive after that line… the Professor was smart enough to realize it was never gonna happen with him and William. Like he HANDED William that line and William swatted it away like yarn to a kitten.

    Plantsims = Dryads is pretty creative! I like that angle.

    My new theory is William is playing the role of Fox Mulder and Caleb is playing the role of Dana Scully. Yummy. I swear if one of them gets pregnant I’m going to be GREATLY amused.

    • feroshgirl
      September 2, 2022

      “BOING. Ze penis is ready!” is now just living in my head rent free whenever I think about William LOL.

      God, I was so much restrained when I wrote this story (covers face in shame!). But also, William is good with words. He’s a diplomat and used to pretending to be and feel all sorts of things to get the answers he wants. If you get lured in, he’s doing his job.

      Thank you! Plantsims = dryads is my D&D nerdery coming to the fore!

      HAHAHA okay I gotta keep the Mulder/Skully thing in mind for Halloween…

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        September 2, 2022

        LMAO it’s like the “ding! fries are done” song but with William. And peen. And professors with glasses. Or just any dude with glasses. It’s beautiful.

        OOOOH! I can’t wait to see what happens with Halloween

  • sirianasims
    September 26, 2022

    AHHH TELL ME WHAT DIE TO ROLL FOR INVESTIGATION I DON’T KNOW THE RULES. Where is my character sheet? Can I take a look at the Player’s Handbook? Does anyone have an eraser?

    I love this detail of the owl having to be earned or freely given, otherwise the whole thing could be solved with a quick little heist. Which I would also love, but then we’d miss out on the sheer ridiculousness of supernatural beings in a baking contest, and I am so on board for that!

    You realise that I need a James Bond-esque Caleb spy spin-off now, right? And if you won’t write it, I swear I will. (Our dear cop Caleb in The Strauds doesn’t count unless he becomes a little less tortured emo brat and a little more Austin Powers!)

    … Fuck, now I HAVE to write it, don’t I?

    • feroshgirl
      September 27, 2022

      OH YOU 100% DO! HAHAHAHA! Caleb is more…hard-boiled detective who needs therapy and less suave secret agent. And I want this.

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