Von Haunt Estate
Miko landed on her hands and knees with a thud. Cupcake week—it was worse than she thought.
Smoke and something else burned her nostrils as she glanced around the room. Where were the bodies? Had the Good Order Monks turned everyone into vessels?
Sims waking up with dust in their eyes, power at their finger tips, gods in their mouths…
No, no, no, she couldn’t focus on that. This did not have to happen. Somnus only worked with the Good Order Monks because he was covetous. The God of Death had Phobos and Agony and all the rest. Even The Owl chose—
She caught a glimpse of a small hand peeking out from underneath the rubble.
Gods and swords and steel and death.
No. Somnus would not get his army, Miko would make sure of it. Alice might be dead, Penny and Mikel too, but they did not have to stay that way. She could go back! She could fix this!
Gritting her teeth, Miko let her time magic surge forward. It sparked and wavered for a moment before finally ramping up. I must be getting tired, she thought, reaching for the universal mainspring and slipping into the timestream.
Caleb had started seeing his therapist in 1989. Thirty years might seem like a long time, but he had over two centuries worth of trauma to unpack. At first, he thought of it as a place to complain about the things that drove him crazy, namely Vladislaus. Vivian Spencer-Kim Lewis tolerated that for a few years before she began to, not so kindly, disabuse him of that notion.
So now, here they were, attempting to address something beyond the vampire that Caleb loved and hated in equal measure.
“He keeps acting like he’s changed. Do you know that I found him watching Dignity and Decorum the other day? On television! I installed electricity in Straud Manor in the 30s, and the night he discovered it, I awoke from my dark meditation with a hand missing. Now, Alice comes along and—”
“Have you moved into your apartment yet?” Vivian asked, cutting him off.
“Caleb, we’ve been over this. We are not talking about Vladislaus, we are talking about you.”
Caleb bristled. “Well, of course, I haven’t. I’ve been very busy dealing with Alice and the hunt for The Owl and now, William departing for the Library of Magic. This is the second safe house I’ve had to arrange in less than a month! And the prophecies about the—”
“Okay, we’ll mark that down as ‘in progress.’ What about this new friendship?”
Caleb tried to sound nonchalant. “It’s not a friendship. My job is incredibly busy, the zombie is a protege of sorts.”
“You tried to put some purposeful distance there, by not using his name.”
Caleb frowned. There was, in fact, nothing to put distance between. He and Deacon did not have a friendship.
“Caleb,” Vivian sighed. “I want you to tell me what your life is going to look like.”
“It doesn’t look like anything,”—Why was he so uncomfortable?—”The sheer number of crisis piling on top of each other make it impossible to envision right now and—”
“Despite the crisis,” she interrupted.
Caleb shook his head. “Despite the crisis? I’ve only just now made significant progress in the search for Lilith. Once I’ve located her, she’ll need help.”
He mumbled to himself, “Perhaps therapy? The trauma of her departure will be something we need to work through and—”
“Have you considered what she’s been doing all these decades? She may be different than you think,” Vivian suggested.
“Doing?” Caleb leapt to his feet, “What has she been doing? She was cast out. Violently and without recourse, and we may not be talking about Vladislaus, but he was the one who did it!”
“I’m going to suggest something,” Vivian said after a long pause, “Your whole identity is wrapped up in dealing with outside problems because it means you don’t have to think about yourself. It might feel nice now, but it’s not sustainable.”
She got up and crossed to her desk. “Mark my words, it will not help you to replace one codependent relationship with another. If you chase your sister, don’t show up planning to fix her.”
“But Vladislaus has—”
“I am a sim, Caleb; if we don’t move on from Vladislaus, I will be dead before you make any progress. Things change. You have to change too.”
She sat down at her computer and began typing notes, which was a clear sign that he’d been dismissed.