Chapter 33, Part 1: Into the Belly of the Beast

Notes

Myself: Is this…is this smut?

Me: [distracted] uh…what?

Myself: This chapter. Is this smut I see in this chapter?

Me: Oh….that. Well, yes. But its like a joke inside of a joke that will make good on another joke.

Myself:

Me: And plot stuff. Very…umm…plot things.

Myself: [disappointed grumbling]

Windenburg Wash ‘n Fold

Caleb

A whisper of black hair caught his attention, but Caleb Vatore resisted tracking it down. In the early days, he had followed every black strand, certain Lilith would be at the other end. Eventually, he learned to temper his impulses and think of his sister like a ghost. 

You may choose to be angry or you may choose to move on, but I will not be moved. Lilith Vatore is weak. She lacks constitution.

It had been 90 years since Vladislaus uttered those words and while Caleb had moved on, his anger never cooled. It was only the violent, demanding nature of his work that kept him calm.

In that way, the King of the Windenburg Vampires was both the cause of his misery and the cure. 

He paused just outside of the laundromat to adjust his cuffs.

Deacon stopped short, “Uh, bro, you’re telling me that we’re really gonna to do laundry?” he pulled at his shirt collar, “And I have to wear all these clothes?”

“Quit your crying. I really do need to pick up some dry cleaning and clothing will not kill you.”

“I know,” Deacon grumbled, “But it makes me feel like my whole body’s in prison.”

Evergreen Harbor, Grimm’s Quarry

William

Grimm’s Quarry was founded by a prospector who, to this day, William regretted sleeping with. In some ways, it was the inciting incident of his 100 -year dry spell. To anyone who asked, William would say that Arnold Grimm was insufferable. But the truth?

Arnold Grimm was not Tobias.

William had loved hard and he had loved once. In the subsequent centuries, no one had been able to replace Tobias in his heart.

Walking up on the property, he saw a large historical marker in the priory’s front garden. 

St. Tellamyr Priory was established in 1399 and was home to an order of scholarly monks dedicated to preserving the history of the Windenburg. Under the guidance of 15th century King, Josef Straud, the priory saw great expansion and was eventually combined with the Good Order Monks. This original building was abandoned when the Order grew too large. It is maintained by the Neighborhood Council and its founders.

William snorted. More like the St. Tellamyr monks were driven out by anyone who didn’t agree with Josef’s hand-selected band of heretics. Still, it was strange to see the Good Order Monks even mentioned by name or be associated with Josef. Aside from them being long dead, quelling any knowledge of their existence had been Vladislaus’s one defining commitment. He attended to it with brutal efficiency and surprising little fanfare, given his love of bloodshed.

I do not intend to make them martyrs, he once said.

Mortals had no memory of the monks. The witches were so ashamed that a group with such weak bloodlines had seized power that they were all too happy to forget. Only a few old creatures could recall the reference and mad or not, they were unlikely to cross Vladislaus. So where had the marker come from?

He crossed to the giant entry doors taking great care not to put his fist through wood as he knocked. Though he’d lived in Windenburg for over five hundred years, the buildings and locations from his mortal life were mostly ruins. The memories that assaulted him were soft, misty things that could disappear on a squint.

But this place…

It had been preserved, cared for beyond even Caleb’s diligence, and the memories that came were bright and crisp.

He watched with more interest than he was willing to admit as Morgyn strolled barefoot along the walkway. They froze when they saw William, the look on their face quickly morphing from shock into smug indifference.

William savored that look, locked it into his mind. Do you see, self? This is who Morgyn really is. You cannot be enamored of so cruel a creature.

“Hello Sage,” William glowered, “Fancy seeing you here. May I come in?” 

Windenburg Countryside, Dryad Territory

Vlad

“Everyone is gone and I have a list of very filthy things I am going to distract you with while you practice,” Vlad explained, his fingers playing across the lace underwear he both wanted feel rough against his skin and take off of her immediately.

“Okay, but—”

“Very. Filthy. Things,” he reminded her, emphasizing his point with a kiss. She moaned, grabbing his shoulder, and he let his fangs sink gently into her bottom lip. Two small beads of plasma formed.

His eyes nearly rolled into the back of his head.

“The car is—”

“A mile down the road,” he promised, his hand moving to her neck—“As we discussed,” he murmured, giving her a moment before applying just the slightest bit of pressure. 

She arched into it before tapping his knee. He removed his hand, releasing her immediately. “Too much?” 

“No,” she panted. “Are we going to talk about it?”

“What?” he asked, still puzzling over why she had given him the signal.

“The control thing,” she whispered, biting her lip.

Oh.

Ohhh.

Vlad had forgotten that sex could be fun. As he rediscovered the side of himself that enjoyed teasing, he also stumbled upon the side that was playful, filled with humor.

“Of course,” he winked—winked! When had he last done that? “Lie back, and I’ll tell you what I want.” 

She started to comply but froze. “No,” she said, shaking her head, “I mean me controlling you.”

Also enjoyable. He licked his lips. “I await your command…”

“What?” her eyes widened, “I don’t want to command you! I’m talking about the thing Grim said when—”

“Must we discuss the Grim Reaper?”

“Yes!”

He raised an eyebrow.

“No, not like that. I’m talking about the other day when…when…” she blew a curl out of her face in frustration. “Can you put on a shirt? I can’t think when you’re like…this, and we need to talk.”

    8 comments
  • theplumbob
    September 7, 2020

    Fooh. Right. Where do I start.

    Caleb & Deacon: I forgot what was the last time we saw Caleb in his butler getup. It’s good for him to have Deacon there to provide some fresh outsider perspective with no personal gain or interest. It is a pretty crap gig Caleb’s got going, yes. And of course he doesn’t get payed lol. Loved that Deacon was just unapologetic about his observations, bit not judgemntal either. And lmao of course the laundromat was a front for a magic blackmarket place bhahaha. The things your mind comes up with, I can’t…

    Sidenote – the shot with that black haired girl (was she whatsherface from that Oasis Springs BFF household? The new gorl tribute household haha) was very pretty.

    Alice and Vlad: Turbulent is the name of the game in their relationship, isn’t it. Talk about a lovers’ quarrel lol. It’s an especially unique take on arguing about control in a relationship haha, can’t imagine many couples face their particular predicament haha. But the contrast between how intense their whole part got and the quiet peaceful ending of them snuggled up in bed and actually telling each other they’re in love… perhaps they can make it all work, in spite of their insane trans-realm problems.

    I saved my favourite for last of course.

    Morgyn and William: Glkfntrgtzhs!!!! Right, try something coherent. You know, I actually reread their swordfight scene the other day to remind myself and try to understand their past relationship because I felt so befumbled about how it’s possible they were involved yet William doesn’t remember, and my theory was that maybe it had something to do with Miko’s timeline mumbo jumbo, that got rewired or changed or deleted but Morgyn somehow remembers through their status as sage. Not so sure now. Everything seems to be pointing to Morgyn being Tobias somehow, but how would that be possible? Cause personality wise, every time William lovingly describes Tobias he speaks of this quiet introspective bookish bloke, while Morgyn is… you know, flashy and loud and showy. So the personality doesn’t seem to add up. And then there’s the whole aspect of Morgyn and L Faba being pure magic, but if that’s the case, then how would have Morgyn been a mortal once? How do beings that are pure magic get a physical body, exactly? Is this some kind of a parallel or Alice and Vlad? Are William and Morgyn what Alice and Vlad might be in a thousand years? Does this mean Alice’s personality as god will change as wildly as Tobias’s has, but the love for Vlad will stay, as Tobias’s has? Hm… my head. Obviously this is all wild speculation.

    So I’ll settle for what is certain, which is that Morgyn was of course fabulous in this chapter, dazzling as usual with just a tiny sliver of vulnerable. Loved it of course. Though my brain is now bursting with questions haha.

    Oh, I forgot to mention Alice’s sweet call with her dad. That was quite lovely. I do like that he reassured her about who is is and her identity, she desperately needs that now. Even though he has no idea of the scope of what she’s dealing with, heh.

    • feroshgirl
      September 7, 2020

      LOL this chapter was a doozy (both to read and to write I think lol). Let me see here…

      Caleb & Deacon – I’m so glad this conflict is coming through! Caleb does have a pretty crap gig, but like, as Deacon points out: is it a job? Caleb and William’s relationship with Vlad is sort of like the dynamic one might have with a family member who is an addict and then goes into recovery. On the one hand, they are exhausted from taking care of him all these years (centuries) and can’t wait to build their own lives. On the other hand, they’ve also been enabling him all these years. They have zero boundaries. Caleb more so than William. Caleb doesn’t have a good sense of his identity if it’s not taking care of Vlad. He’s martyred himself. Deacon has no ego and he is self-sufficient, so he’s kind of the right person (er…zombie) to point this stuff out.

      AH I AM SO GLAD YOU LOVE LAUNDRO-BLACK MARKET AS MUCH AS I DO. lol. oh man. Wait until next chapter. I had way too much fun dreaming up this part of the world.

      Oh and yes to your side note! Thank you! I love me some premades to use as extras 🙂

      Mmmm, Alice and Vlad. Yeah, turbulent is a good word. But also, probably perfect for each other because no one else would put up with them? Lol. I think they are about to turn the corner, though, really. One of the things I’ve been trying to do is set their relationship up in contrast to the one between Vlad/William/Caleb and the one between Alice/Ben. In both cases, their relationship with other people is pretty co-dependent. But with each other, well, Alice doesn’t put up with any of Vlad’s shit. And he doesn’t put up with hers either. They are both required to do something they are wholly unfamiliar with: communicate their needs, self-soothe, be responsible for their own behavior (double this for Alice, who is learning very quickly that she can’t blame everything on Ben or her magic).

      Aw man, glad you enjoyed the convo between her and her dad 🙂 Her parents are really something special lol. I’ve got some fun stuff planned for them.

      Okay, NOW ONTO THE MAIN EVENT:

      You are so close on the time loops. I want to answer so badly but it will be addressed in future chapters. Things are cruising towards a BIG implosion.

      I will say this, because its from the chapters that have already been written: Ben has a moment of deja vu that he decides not to dismiss and that grants him an awareness of the time loops, even if he can’t stop them. Morgyn also has a moment of deja vu that gives them the same awareness. They start writing down everything that happens in a secret notebook (they are literally carrying the love story between them and William around in their pocket).
      Vlad just had a memory of something that happened in a past time loop and its sort of beginning to bother him too.

      Morgyn is pure magic. Phobos is pure magic too. Alice and Ben wield pure magic.

      Morgyn is definitely not Tobias.

      That’s all I can say!!

      But man, I can’t wait for them to set off on their adventure with William. You thought they were fabulous now, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  • Dolly Llama
    September 10, 2020

    Ah, there’s Caleb’s therapist mention! Brain no work so I’m seeing the words Good Order Monks, and there was like an action fight or something that doubtless took forever, and I want the woodworking instructor to be my dad, and lord I hate to admit this but if there’s a second simmer who is 100% ambivalent towards Morgyn can someone please introduce me to them, and lmao you found a way to bring Laundry Day into this, so this comment is just going to be pointless non-sequitur trash instead of speculation or insight into the characters.

    “Shopping, for example, which was a torture save for the benefit of no longer wearing the cast-offs of Britechester undergrads.”

    (MOSCHINO)

    (MOSCHINO)

    But I do like the insight into Caleb, that boy is… ooh is Lilith the thing the sages are keeping in the basement?

    • feroshgirl
      September 11, 2020

      I’m going at these backwards but lololololol yes, Caleb LOVES to talk about how he is in therapy. Oh gosh, Caleb is…welp…like I said from the beginning: immortality DOES NOT help you get over your issues.

      Lilith in the basement? Is she? ::looks interestedly up at the ceiling:: Hmm, who would do that?

      The Moschino jacket is my greatest Vlad achievement. He’s been punished enough. He can go back to wearing black.

      The woodworking instructor was 100% random generator in CAS and now he is precious to me and I’m trying to figure out how to keep him in the story. Also, he’s so chill when this tall pale weirdo walks into the class with no shoes.

      I do not know of these ambivalent simmers or whom you speak LOL. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to contain it. Morgyn is just all the things.

      I am the worst because Laundry Day is one of my favorite packs hahahaha. I just want more supernatural/occult game packs and more domestic life game packs so I can achieve my playing dreams: a whole bunch of supernatural creatures fighting duels but also doing laundry and repairing the hot water heater.

      • Dolly Llama
        September 11, 2020

        …wait a minute…

        …Penny and Mikel are…

        DAMN IT VLAD STEAL THAT FUCKIN’ KID BEFORE PENNY DOES

      • feroshgirl
        September 11, 2020

        THE RACE IS ON DOLLY, THE RACE IS ONNNNNNNNNNNNNN

  • lonecat82
    October 15, 2020

    Oh man, I have let a bunch of chapters pile up and now I am so far behind. 🙁 I hope to get all caught up here in the next few days. I feel like I have forgotten a lot of what was happening in the individual character stories, so if I write something really weird, then feel free to correct me. 🙂

    I really like that Alice and Vlad are trying to work on things by talking it out, but then Vlad goes full Phobos and Alice goes all God mode, but it’s good to know that they can reign in their powers for one another and not destroy each other or the entire world. They definitely have an interesting relationship dynamic going on, in that Alice is sort of Vlad’s boss or holds some power over him. But then she’s also very vulnerable because she has godlike power in a mortal body. I can’t quite remember, but I thought way back in one of the chapters Ben (I think) talked about how all the mortals that could see him couldn’t handle his power and died. Is this the same fate for Alice? And the owl of undoing will help prevent this? I think I am going to have to re-read some of the previous chapters.

    I love Deacon and Caleb. Deacon is so good for Caleb, imo, and probably is better than his therapist. I love how he just casually points out that Caleb isn’t getting paid, and Caleb has a moment of self-realization of wait… he’s right, I’m not getting paid. Of course, he tries to justify it and explain it away. Vlad, William and Caleb have a really weird living arrangement and it doesn’t seem to be doing Caleb any favors. I also love that the laundromat is a black market for Supernatural creatures and they just randomly walk in.

    Your above comment answers one of my questions. Morgyn isn’t Tobias (I was also thinking this), and is basically just pure magic in a human form. I can’t remember why William is looking for this Book of Longings and what its significance is, or even if it was mentioned before. But I’m wondering why Morgyn is willing to help? It sounds like the time loops have something to do with it.

    • feroshgirl
      October 16, 2020

      Haha! You are really on it for someone who has forgotten the individual stories! You remember Ben talking about all the previous conduits who died and yes, it’s a problem! Hopefully, Alice gets The Owl and it prevents her mortal body from giving out because it can undo her mortality, but yeah, a mortal can’t contain the powers of a God forever. You’re right, Vlad and Alice are vulnerable in different ways. Her physically so, but he is vulnerable emotionally. She is pretty much his boss, she has a lot of power over him and she could abuse it if she wanted. She won’t but they’ve got to navigate that.

      I agree, its progress that they did not, in fact, burn down the whole world.

      AH! Thank you for loving Deacon and Caleb!!! Yesssss another convert!!!! Yeah, Caleb will never admit it but Deacon is really his true friend and will 100% call him out on his shit. Oh man, you are really hitting on something about that living arrangement. You’re right, Caleb struggles to be his own person. He’s got some real co-dependency issues going on. LOL I’m glad you loved the supernatural black market, I don’t know why I put it in a laundromat but it’s canon now!

      William is looking for the Book of Longings because Morgyn, who is in love with him, told him to look for it. They said it would give them the answers they needed about the God War and oh my, it just so happens that Morgyn is the only one who can take them to it. ::wink, wink::

      Oh time “loops,” hehe.

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