Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
Alice felt her heart leap into her throat as she ran into the living room. “Deacon! Stop! You can’t just let anyone—” She skidded to a halt and blinked in disbelief at her parents and her younger sister, the latter of whom was currently trying to kick a confused Deacon in the chest. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Black mist filled the space in front of her.
Vlad’s wings were folded back, but their presence alone ratcheted up the level of drama. That and the fact that her parents were holding guns.
“Alice quit acting like you have no home training and get out of the line of fire!” her mother hissed.
Caleb growled, ready to pounce, and Amisyia began a haunting siren’s lullaby accompanied by an ominous roll of thunder.
“Stop it! They’re my family, and I really don’t need you calling killer fish or whatever is you’re about to do. Stand down.”
Alice heard the click of a trigger and turned around just in time to see her mother aiming for Vlad’s kneecaps and her sister beating the living daylights out of Deacon.
“Guys, please! Do you know how hard it is to reattach a limb?” She gestured angrily at Mayra, “Dad, can you pull her off of him? This is—”
“What’s happening?” Gwendolyn shrieked, running out from the kitchen. She took up her fighting stance, screwing her small face into a warrior’s grimace. “They won’t take me!” she shrieked.
“They will not,” Vlad roared, taking a swipe, his claws missing her father’s face by mere inches.
Alice tugged on his wings and then snapped her fingers angrily to get his attention. “Are you fucking kidding me right now? That’s my family. I know you heard me because you have excellent hearing. So hear this: take it down ten notches so Gwendolyn can stop freaking out!”
“Now?” Vlad exploded. “After a coven of evil witches was sent to kill her? After we nearly lost her? You think now is when I should respond to threats calmly?”
Gwendolyn whimpered and her father lowered the gun. “Don’t be scared, sweetie; no one will hurt you. Alice, who is this small child? Where are her parents?”
Alice ignored her dad and focused on Vlad. The Magic HQ events had left them all raw, but Gwendolyn and Phobos were having a tough time adjusting. “Okay, I hear you, but she is absorbing all this tension and she will not chill until you chill.” Alice gently cupped his face, “Everyone is safe. Okay? We’re all fine.”
“Is there a threat?” Gwendolyn asked in a small voice, “Am I in trouble?”
“What? No!” Alice said brightly, quickly turning to face her. “You’re not in trouble at all. We’re just making a ‘No Fighting in the House Unless There Are Evil Witches’ rule…” she paused, thinking about all the other supernatural creatures vying for The Owl and trying to kill them, “…or basilisks, or wraiths, or basically just any bad monster that means us harm.”
“Alice Levitica Martin!”
Full name. Shit.
Alice whirled around and plastered on a smile. “Mom, listen, you don’t know what’s going on, so I need you to take a breath.”
“Levitica?” Vlad repeated, and she could tell by the tone of his voice that she would never hear the end of this.
“Don’t you ‘mom’ me, Alice. You might be grown, but I’m still your mother, and I won’t be dismissed as if—”
“Do you want to tell us what’s going on?” her father asked, putting a calming hand on her mother’s back. Her father, who it should be noted was also still holding a gun, was trying to defuse the situation.
For the love of llamas.
“Everything is fine!” Alice lied, throwing out her arms in a gesture meant to inspire trust.
Her sister smirked.
“I know it looks crazy, but this isn’t at all what it—”
Gwendolyn tugged on her sweater, “Okay, I’m not scared anymore but now I’m hungry and Deacon said I could try some of his brains because I’m tired of eating hikers.”
Vlad smiled, “Finally!”
Alice dropped her arms and blew out a breath. “—seems,” she finished lamely.
William groaned, refusing to admit how rusty he had become in hand-to-hand combat. The last time was months ago, and even then, it was a rare experience. As the skeletons came at him, he punched and dodged, pulling an aerial flip-kick that he hadn’t bothered with since 1683.
Panting for effect and gesturing ever so slightly at the skeletons littered around him, William waited for some kind of response. But if the Sage noticed any of his moves, they gave no indication.
“Finished!” Morgyn shouted with a glee that seemed to stem more from their problem-solving and less from William’s physical altercation. “I should have know it was leaves.”
He didn’t share Vladislaus’s exact definition of courtship, but William could not help but be disappointed Morgyn made no mention of the creatures he’d slain.
“Any more surprises?” William huffed as they made their way down another set of stairs.
Magic, they were close to too much magic.
“Oh, nothing big, Just the wall of infinite smoke, and then we’re in!”
“The wall of—” but William didn’t have a chance to finish his sentence before Morgyn grabbed his hand and pulled him through.
“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!