William had just finished hacking through a copse of heavy vegetation when he heard the Sage squealing.
“The Omiscan Royal Baths! Finally!”
He sighed and watched as Morgyn began to strip down. He knew the baths were here, but William had been hoping to avoid them. “What is the name of Sages are you doing?”
“Sages?” Morgyn scoffed, undeterred, “Is that really a saying? You all curse and exclaim in our name?”
“Don’t try to change the subject,” William grumbled, “What is going on?”
“Well, I’m taking a bath, of course,” the look on Morgyn’s face was downright wicked. “You could stand one too. We’ve been making our way through the jungle for hours. A little rest won’t hurt. Besides,” he purred, “I don’t have a vampire’s constitution.”
William cursed his body’s traitorous response to that purr. Don’t get distracted. Diffuse the situation.
“You may be a former knight, but you love a lounge and a bath. I can tell.”
Damn it, if a bath did not sound good. “You don’t know anything about me,” William snapped, “We’ve already lost time treating your wee bee stings.”
Morgyn pulled their shirt over their head and tossed it aside. “One quick stop for a bath, and in return, I’ll give you a bit of useful information.”
This was by far the most disingenuous negotiation William had ever been engaged in. It was also the most arousing. “The information better be very useful, and there won’t be any naked bathing, so get that out of your head.”
“Then it’s not really a bath, is it?”
William growled, but Morgyn just winked and jumped into the water. Peeling off some of his clothing as quickly as possible, William followed suit.
They swam for a while, discussing various subjects.
Morgyn stretched themselves out, sunning on the edge of the bath, despite it being a cloudy day. “Do you believe in the Fates?”
“What are you on about?” William laughed, leaning against the edge of the pool. He had stolen a few glances at Morgyn’s lounging form and was now trying to force himself to play it cool.
“The idea that there are powerful beings that determine the path of our destinies. For example, why do you care about the Owl of Undoing or the God War? Perhaps they just exist to help you achieve your destiny, and they aren’t really all that important.”
“Well, unless my destiny is to be stuck with the world’s most irritating magic user, I don’t think so.” William cracked his neck. There was no need to give away what he knew about Alice, at least not to Morgyn, who was still an enemy for all intents and purposes. “The gods are real enough, but what do I know of the Fates? If they are real, they strike me as a bunch of bloody bastards.”
“They can be real and still be bastards,” Morgyn sighed. “You were married when you became a vampire. Your husband, Tobias, why didn’t you turn him?”
William drew back, but Morgyn’s eyes were guileless. This was a real question, not a trap.
“He said no,” William croaked out, surprised by how much it still hurt all these centuries later. “I tried every which way to convince him, but he would not agree. ‘I’m meant for the dirt,’ he told me.”
“And what were you meant for?”
“Bigger things,” William replied, bitterness infusing his words. He looked away from the Sage, not wanting to see something smug and uncaring on their face. “Vladislaus was…he was out of control, a complete and utter terror who could not make peace with this world. It was Tobias who believed in gods and fates. There was a reason I became this, as far as he was concerned.”
“You’re angry. Why?”
William ignored the question at first, swimming away from the edge of the pool. The distance allowed him to regain some of his bravado, “Och. Why did I not take kindly to the love of my life saying we weren’t meant to be?”
Morgyn dove into the water and surfaced next to him. They laid their hand gently on his chest. “I’m sorry. That was rude of me.”
“It’s your nature,” William chided, but his voice came out breathless. What would it be like to throw caution to the wind and explore the line of Morgyn’s lips with his tongue?
“It’s not,” they said quietly, searching his eyes, “Why did you wish to turn him? Was his mortal form too weak?”
William shook his head, still unwilling to push the Sage away, “Too weak? Are you mad? No, I wanted him with me always. Physical strength is overrated. Tobias’s mind was sharper than I’ll ever have. I’ve spent centuries trying to match it. Should I live another 600 years, I’m not likely to get close. And I’m weaker for it.”
His response seemed to draw Morgyn up short. They pulled away, floating back apace, looking so bereft that William took pity on them. “I’ll take a rain check on that piece of useful information. But I’ve a long memory, Sage, so don’t go thinking I’ll forget.”
“WARNING: butts” — Ferosh, 2020, paraphrased
Gosh, this has been simmering for, how long? Seems like you’ve gotten to the point where individual jokes don’t have to do the heavy lifting and you can rely on characterization and context—or setup—and it is beautiful. There are still fantastic one-liners in every chapter, but now there’s an extra layer of things you have to double-take at, like them gossiping about Amysia only to reveal she’s right there and can hear everything they’re saying, or how Zay-Deeks has any brains left to offer Gwendolyn in the first place. I love this.
Ah, dang, that end scene. It’s perfectly set up so that both sides sound reasonable, even though the reader is more likely to swing one way. Scratch that. If this weren’t a fictional universe, her family would be 100% right. It reminds me of the passage in The Gift of Fear where someone claims there was no way to predict a husband would kill his wife, when the dude in question had a history of stalking, controlling behavior, misogyny, threats, and, oh yeah, his previous wife died from injuries he gave her.
That being said, Mr. Alice Martin’s hypothetical non-toxic parents would warn him the exact same way. “S/he’s a mass murderer” loses its punch when EVERYONE is a mass murderer. But how the heck is Alice going to explain that? And that’s damn funny.
You know my headcanon is that the skeletons are telling shitty Halloween jokes they made up on the spot the whole time Aurelius is fighting them. Speaking of. Thank you for fighting those skeletons, Aurelius! Bam! Emotional labor complete.
And you know how every/almost every shot of Morticia in the recent Addams Family movies has her with a tiny sliver of light over her eyes and the rest of the scene is encapsulated in darkness? Mr. God of Death needs that. Super extra. Now that I think about it, he does have the wings to pull out when he goes full ham.
MVP in this scene, as far as I’m concerned, goes to Valeria for the glorious “mmmmmmno” vibes she’s emanating every second. Glad she’s not my PI because I would die.
Thank you! In a way, the story has become more fun to write because I’m not spending so much time trying to establish who they are or give context. I’m also trying to set up their stories/conflicts for book two while I work towards the finale.
I imagined Deacon like: oh, you don’t like hikers? Wanna try some brains? I know he’s supposed to be the “older brother” but we all know who is really in charge lol.
Ah! Yes, you are so right about Alice’s family. We’ve been in this little bubble with Alice and Vlad, but her family is like: you’ve only been gone for like 6 months, how are you almost married to a warlord and parent of a kid? We know Vlad would never hurt Alice, but nothing about his behavior or actions indicates that to her family.
Oh man, Alice and Vlad and her family is gonna be fun. VALERIA MARTIN DOES NOT TAKE ANY SHIT. She is terrifying. Definitely earns MVP title.
Those skeletons are defintely practicing their comedy set. Haha literally slaying the skeletons in your closet. I didn’t even think of that but now I love it.
I’ve been thinking about a title sequence for the next book and Mr. Alice Martin definitely deserves the Morticia Addams treatment.
OH. Deacon’s brains being the brains that are in his possession that came from other people, not Deacon’s brains being the brains that are purportedly in his head.
Your explanation makes more sense, but I’m going to stick with mine, if that’s okay.
Damn, but I like the idea of Deacon offering the brains in his head. Such a better joke hahahahahahaa
Yay, a reunion of Vlad and Alice with Caleb, and with Amisyia in the mix! And a delightfully hilarious one at that! The first page just had me in stitches. Who would have thought Vlad would be cracking sex jokes at the beginning of this… Also, Caleb squirms so well. It’s almost a skill, haha.
Ooh, sexy bathtime with Morgyn and William, and- oh, that conversation got deep fast, dang. Morgyn does not waste time. And William is actually opening up. Hoo boy. Now excuse my while I swoon for a while 😀
OMG I didn’t think I’d get my wish of Alice’s two families meeting so soon! *squeals* This is fabulous! So much madness, and I’m here for it.
Ahahaha Caleb’s enjoying this payback far too much. But he actually helped. All’s in the open now. I maintain that Alice’s family can handle this. Aww, one big happy family.
Also, can’t believe you cut away from Morgyn and William just as they were about to enter the library, tsk tsk. I guess that means we have that to look forward to in the next chapter, hopefully. Then again, who knows what they’ll find there, so it might be best not to rush towards it, haha.
Vlad making sex jokes is the character coming full circle! He has ascended!! HAHAHA.
God and Caleb is so uncomfortable. This scene was so fun to write. I just wanted to do “Meet the Parents” a million different ways.
And Caleb gets his revenge 🙂
Morgyn came to play this game and to win. They are wearing William down for sure. They are about to be center stage for a little bit, so I’m super excited. Don’t worry, you’ll find out what happens in the library…
You know, they aren’t the only ones due for a visit.
Oh yes, don’t you worry, I have not forgotten about my faves. Even though they’ve sort of been overtaken by Penny on my preferred list now. Damn. City living came with some good premades, apparently. Though who am I kidding, the credit is all yours, I never paid them any mind in my game 😊
Oh gods, that meeting between Alice & co and her family was hilarious 😂 such chaos in one scene, and somehow they made it all out unscathed. Well, almost all of them, but Deacon is a zombie, so he doesn’t really count. Aaaaah all the confusion and Alice reigning in Vlad and Valeria angry at her daughter and gah I loved it. 🤣
I’m really starting to like William and Morgyn together too. It took me a while to warm up to them, but slowly and surely I’m starting to ship it.
“Oh, you are mistaken. I am a siren. Evil mermaid. Friend of the family.”
Oh my gods Caleb, you’re making this so much worse but hilarious at the same time and I’m loving it. “Courted her.” With his finger lifted like that hahaaaa 😂
I wonder if Vlad and Alice even remember their original purpose for the owl. Vlad wanted to get rid of his feelings of morality, and Alice wanted to get rid of her godhood and cast out Ben. So much has happened since then. If they got their hands on it now.. what would they use it for, I wonder?
Man, that’s a mountain of information for her family to swallow. I wonder if they’ll believe her – if they can believe her. Then again, they’ve fought supernatural creatures like a well-oiled machine and seem to be pretty open-minded. Fingers crossed that this giant explosion does not end in a second giant explosion.
Ah squee!!!! This was such a chaotic scene to write but glad you liked it. I was just like: what if this went completely off the rails? Caleb using this exact moment to take Vlad to task? Amisyia chilling, watching them in amused silence except for the occasional one-liner? GAH. so fun. so exhausting to screenshot because anytime you’ve got multiple sims a scene it’s a problem.
WELCOME TO THE WILLIAM AND MORGYN SHIP! THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM, PLEASE WATCH YOUR STEP WHILE BOARDING THE BOAT!!!!!
You made a really good point about Alice/Vlad and The Owl. So for clarity’s sake, I will say that Gwendolyn is The Owl of Undoing. She is the one that gave Alice her immortality and turning her into The Owl is how Alice/Vlad saved her (there is a very specific reason why Alice is able to do this).
That said: YOUR POINT IS SO GOOD OMFG AND I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO THE END OF THE STORY (Okay I gotta finish writing the end of the story). But yeah, as far as Alice and Vlad are concerned, The Owl is their kid. And that’s gonna create some problems given that everyone else sees The Owl as a weapon, a tool to be used to achieve their own ends…
dannnnnggggg you are a dangerous reader!