Chapter 30, Part 1: Muscle Memory

First of all, this chapter was a bitch to coordinate. I wanted a scene where three characters were in the same location seeing the same action from three different perspectives. White wine told me this was “totally doable” and would work out fine. White wine was wrong, it required a level of mental gymnastics that I was not prepared for.

Also, I was raising money for the Philadelphia Bail Fund but they are encouraging donations to orgs that fight long term systemic racism so I’m donating here instead: Black Lives Matter Philly

Also of note in my little area of the world: Academia is staging a Strike for Black Lives on June 10. The goal is “to hit pause, to give Black academics a break and to give others an opportunity to reflect on their own complicity in anti-Black racism in academia and their local and global communities.” The physicists are bringing it.

Windenburg Village

Morgyn

Magic made its own way. It was unformed and wild, raw and restless, until it built itself, molecule by molecule, into some kind of structure. Morgyn was not old or young, had not been born early or late, Morgyn had just always been. 

In this way, the Sage of Untamed Magic wasn’t anything like the gods. Gods directed magic’s natural state at a scale well beyond the average supernatural. But Morgyn…Morgyn did not wield magic…

…Morgyn was magic

When a Sage cast a spell, a little bit of their fundamental structure was spun out and broken down. Mostly, this was not a problem. Magic couldn’t die, it just returned to magic. There would be a cooling off period, of course, which was why there were always Sages, just not always an L. Faba or a Morgyn.

Crypto Magic scored a spot as Sage in 875. Morgyn blamed L. Faba and her experimental season as a llama. Sure, she got an entire society to worship the damn things, but Crypto Magic was unbearable. Morgyn burned out their form creating a planet just to escape him. 

After that, the Sages of Untamed and Mischief Magic agreed: they would try to keep the position for as long as possible. Thus, Simeon, the Sage in name only—witches were excellent power sources when you were conserving magic.1

Activity on the street was beginning to pick up. Morgyn’s notebook confirmed that this was the right location. The Sage kept fastidious notes. There was no other way to remember what had happened in a time loop that had run 999 times, except to write it down.2

As a result, the Sage of Untamed Magic was quite clear on what chaos should unfold—and in the event that certain actors made different choices—what improvisation would be required to get the same result. 

It was almost disappointing to know that it was all coming to an end. Time loops had been one of the Sage’s more grand adventures. 

It did have to, though. End. Not that Morgyn wasn’t grateful to Miko. Without time loops, Morgyn would have never had the chance to fall in love with Aurelius.3 Time loops had sealed the emotion in like muscle memory and now there was nothing, up to and including the mortal realm itself, that the Sage wasn’t willing to sacrifice. 


“With a perfectly articulated wish, we can keep these forms permanently, Morgyn, what do you think?” Morgyn sneered, imitating L. Faba’s voice.

Morgyn thought it was complete nonsense, which was why they encouraged her to do it. What she didn’t know—what no one knew—was that millennia ago, Morgyn was part of the untamed magic that formed The Owl…and just like Morgyn, it had secrets.

Arguing broke out right next to where they were standing. Sims began wrestling and punching each other. A bespectacled man who smelled of bread wove through tables and chairs, desperate to avoid the fight.

“Showtime!” Morgyn whispered with a gleeful clap. And then shoved the young man into the fray. 

That job finished, the Sage of Untamed Magic strolled into the cafe and ordered an Americano and a latte. The barista looked so charming in her little black apron. Morgyn smiled as she handed over the drinks.

“I’m trying to choose a place to sit. Would you say the sunlight hits me better on my left side or on my right?” 

The In Between Inn

Miko

Miko was lying about Alice—to Penny, to Mikel, to herself. Some time over the last few days, Alice had disappeared and Miko could not wind back time to stop it. For one, she had no idea when exactly it happened, she didn’t know what variables were involved, and she was terrified that if she started this loop over without understanding why it happened, she wouldn’t be able to prevent it from taking place again.

So she lied. Made up stories about passing Alice in the hall, or how Alice told her she’d be out late. She lied to cover up the panic, to keep the panic from happening, to buy herself time. The cracks were beginning to show. Sixteen hours from now when she was at her funeral, she didn’t even notice she’d made it on time.4

Why was everything falling apart? At its core, Miko’s plan was simple…well…not simple simple but simple enough. Vlad and Alice always fell in love, in fact that got easier each time. He always protected her but some enemies always got the jump on them and they always died which meant Miko never had a chance to tri—convince Alice to hand over The Owl. All she needed was one chance to whisper her perfectly articulated wish and she could undo every circumstance that led to this happening in the first place. 

But not if Alice couldn’t be found.

“You okay? Want to grab—” Penny started.

“Absolutely great! So busy. Can’t talk. Headed out to meet Alice for breakfast…so…I gotta go!” Miko answered, hoping her voice only sounded panicked and loud in her head. 

Windenburg Village

She headed to the shopping district in Windenburg Village, making a beeline for her favorite coffee shop. Her mind was so focused on bacon and cheese croissants that she didn’t even notice Akira until he was standing directly behind her.

“You’re a real difficult pixie,” he smirked, the curve of his mouth nearly bringing her to her knees.

He held a rose, which only gave a delicious contrast to his scar and he was wearing her favorite armor. A sharp pang of desire ran through her. 

Damn it! I will not be distracted by sex when I’m trying to save the world! She turned away, reminding herself of his every betrayal as she summoned up the lesson on graceful exits Grandma Ojo had taught her three days from now thirteen years ago.

Straightening her spine, head held high, she turned on her heel. “Akira, might I suggest you take that rose and stick it where the sun don’t shine.”

    7 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    June 12, 2020

    Oh wow—when I wasn’t absorbed in this chapter, I was in a state of “how the heck did you get all that coordinated.” Akira alone had multiple prop changes… during the scene? Ooooof. But I’m digging everyone’s motivations that they’re not entirely revealing and little everyday things that they’re doing in between time-loop-defining events. This is the deconstruction I want: for someone who can’t watch superhero movies because they find the socioeconomic and environmental impact of collateral damage during a fight more interesting than the fight itself, Miko interrupting her own time-loop pontificating with “mmm, croissants—oh my god is that my asshole ex again” was just perfection. Waiting (or maybe you already did it? there are a lot of moving parts) for the scene where the person with fascinating time powers wrecks everything because they didn’t want to get out of bed and were groggily lying on their pillow looking at /r/birdswitharms instead.

    Oh, so it’s not just Alice. Everyone’s normal-people powers are just as relevant as their magic powers. At least that’s what I got out of people who are pure magic or can fly trying to seduce major players at a coffeeshop.

    Keeping my eyes open for hints about how the time loop affects people who aren’t aware of it. I can certainly see this becoming relevant in Vlad and Alice’s future, and maybe that’s why they’ve fallen for each other so quickly, because they’ve done so 999 times before. At least there’s the romance-is-epic-because-the-time-loop-is-centered-around-it feeling but there’s probably deeper levels to catch.

    Deacon is giving me Josh Chan vibes and I will always treasure that class of vibe (for the uninitiated: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3_NELleDYc). I’m naming Caleb’s college look “Daddy’s Porsche.” And WHO PUT VLAD IN THAT JACKET. How hard were you laughing when you put him in that jacket? Was falling out of the chair involved? Because it almost was for me, dammit.

    And I see that “like” inserted in the middle of a sentence with no commas.

    • feroshgirl
      June 13, 2020

      Ugh I wrote such a good reply to this and wordpress betrayed me. Let me see what I can replicate:

      -Oh you saw that “like”? ::laughs maniacally::

      -Have never seen My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but OMG if Deacon was a person this would be it. Daddy’s Porsche LOLOOLOLOL yes.

      -Burning down Vlad’s house and forcing him to dress like a college student is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as an author. I have many more outfits planned. I would like to stretch this torture out for as long as I can!

      -How does a time loop affect people who aren’t aware of it, Miko?” ::stares directly into the camera:: Yeah, Alice/Vlad definitely have some fated-epic-love stuff because of the time loop, even if they don’t remember what happened, the emotional tracks are still there. Miko’s problem is that while the time loops sear in positive emotions (Alice and Vlad fall in love faster and faster with no problem) so do the negative emotions. Bloodvein, who might’ve been mildly threatening and capable of some small betrayal in time loop #1 becomes a psychopath bent on destroying his enemies at any cost by time loop #999. She’s isn’t solving problems by looping, she’s creating new ones.

      – Yes! love that you caught the “supernatural powers are not the only tool” thing. Part of this is the limitation of the Sims (how may times can you really use the “cast spell” animation?) but the other part of it is that I think it’s way more interesting if supernatural power is not the first thing they reach for. Also, I’m trying REAL HARD not to write myself into a corner by making such overpowered characters that it’s unbelievable that they could ever lose.

      -Coordinating the scene was a beast. An attach on myself, perpetrated by myself. I actually had to write to sketch it out to figure out where everyone needed to be standing. It was insane.

      – Ummm I had something so smart about your superhero movies comment! But yes! Like I love a fight scene, but that’s not always the most interesting thing. Plus, all the characters in this story are long-lived and hard to kill, actually trying to deal with everyday life is way more challenging for them.

      • feroshgirl
        June 13, 2020

        Oh P.S. – only pure magic itself is good enough for my William.

  • theplumbob
    July 9, 2020

    Ok, from the top:

    Morgyn – So I haven’t mentioned, but the untamed magic sage is basically my ultimate sim crush so I find it difficult to comment on anything that happens in an unbiased way. I shall reserve judgement 😆(Sidenote – so many people do things in this universe do things “for love” – if only they weren’t so desperately at odds woth each other. All those misunderstandings alone can blow up the world with beings this powerful!)

    Ok, this is where my organised commentary reached the not so organise WTF is going on 😂 I sure did not expect Miko’s commotion and Morgyn apoearing at the same time. I have to say, while we only get a tiny sliver of Miko and Akira I feel like their love story is even beyond Vlad and Alice (gasp). I’m not sure why I feel that way. Like I said I don’t normally even like them as townies, but you’ve turned them into something else. Maybe I like the doomed ones.

    And lol for the ending! Miko tries so hard to be in control. It gives me the vibes of trying so hard to actually manage to do a job that you totally lied on your resume to get 😆

  • Yimiki
    February 19, 2021

    “White wine told me this was “totally doable” and would work out fine. White wine was wrong”
    Bwahaha isn’t it always 😂 Sleep deprivation and rum told me that using 40+ sims in the same screenshots was totally okay and not at all problematic, too. The things we do for our stories 🤣

    Ooooh, I like the little bit of insight we get into Morgyn and how they were one of the ones that created the owl. So Morgyn and Miko can both mess with time at will. That must be a real headache to deal with in the long term – so many variables and things that can change because of very small actions. Oops, and Miko lost track of Alice. I want to feel bad for her, but so far everyone has been trying to use Alice for their own gain like some go-to marionette. At least Vlad feels conflicted about it.

    Bwahaha, yes William, go make some moves on someone 😂 clearly preparing for one hell of a fight, infiltrating a basilisk lair, making Vlad sign paperwork and finding someone to get laid with are all equally crucially important 🤣

    • feroshgirl
      February 20, 2021

      THANK YOU FOR FEELING MY PAIN! HAHAAHHA. Okay I gotta see this 40+ sims in the same screenshots. Tales of Camelot is on my list.

      :: edit :: I already started reading it an omfg it’s good.

      Ummm, you’ve got good insight! People treat Alice like she is a tool they can use for their own means. Vlad feels conflicted about it because they think of him in much the same way.

      Ooohh boy, these characters all delude themselves about their motives. William is no exception…

      • Yimiki
        February 21, 2021

        Naww, thank you <3 I made it to season 3 of chaotic bakie, woo! (I mean Baking By Death, lol) We're playing D&D this weekend but with a bit of luck next week is slow at work, and I can get caught up fully! 😁

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