Chapter 40, Part 2: The Best Laid Plans

Magic HQ


Magic HQ was abandoned. She expected as much, but it was still jarring to see. This was a place of reverence and learning, of community. Witches were supposed to feel safe here when they were invited to study or host events.

Now all those witches were dead.

It would not be long before someone who was due home didn’t show up or a witch tried to put in a request with the Council and got no answer. Then the covens would descend on Magic HQ and whatever clues Penny hoped to find would be gone because the covenless were not welcome here.

They were an affront to the Sages and the natural order.

In school, Penny had been taught that the Sages were powerful witches, chosen from the best families to ascend and watch over supernatural affairs. Once, in sixth grade, she made the mistake of questioning that story. She was sent to the basements to sit in the darkness for days. She learned the necessity of quieting her mind, shoving down her fear, and keeping her questions to herself.

Shaking off the horrible memory, Penny made a quick survey of the building’s exterior. During their fight, the only Sage onsite had been Simeon. What happened to L. Faba or Morgyn, she didn’t know. Indoors would come last in her investigation, she decided. Instead, she headed back towards the gardens. 

Back by the greenhouse, a garter snake slithered over her boot. Penny barely suppressed a shriek before she looked around in embarrassment. Nature was reclaiming the area. The building and the surrounding garden were in shambles. She knew from old pictures in her mother’s photo albums that this space used to be pristine. In fact, it would have hosted the gala her parents attended.

And then they were gone.

Ignoring the shiver of unease that crept down her spine, she continued to the Dueling Grounds. She hadn’t been here since she was a child. Dueling was not for the covenless. 

Wicked creatures and abominations sully the purity of a magical duel. 

The thought was so automatic, Penny was instantly filled with bitterness. How could she be jealous of Gwendolyn, knowing what fate awaited her if left in the hands of witches like Bjorn? They would have seen to it that Gwendolyn grew up with the same fucked up sense of self-worth as Penny. They had already begun their work.

“She is perfect,” Vlad snarled at her one night when she tried to confront Alice about Gwendolyn’s behavior. “Even think the word monster again, witch, and I will end you.”

Penny felt sick to her stomach, but she didn’t know how to stop herself. She screamed it. Only Alice’s command kept Vlad from killing her. Penny left the house that night.

Would she ever be able to untangle the knot of loneliness and shame the witches knitted inside her? Before she could even consider the thought, a spell whistled through the air.

The magic struck her in the chest and Penny gasped for air as she crumpled to the ground.

“Interloper!” a voice called. 

It took all of Penny’s energy to crack open an eye. Don’t just lay there, she scolded herself, move!

L. Faba, the Sage of Mischief Magic, stood over her looking dirty and furious.

“You’ll find this difficult without your little friends,” she hissed. “Is that the best you can do little witch? Pathetic.”

With a whispered descurify spell, Penny removed the effects of L. Faba’s magic attack. Stumbling to her feet, she gave the Sage a determined look. “I may not be allowed to duel, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how.” 

  • Dolly Llama
    March 1, 2021

    Do the Fates… do they know more about the contents of Alice’s uterus than she does? That is some creepy-ass Santa shit. Follow-up question: what did they expect Summer to do about this?!

    Initially I thought the spiral staircases joke was because Titania didn’t want Oberon to have elevators available when she ordered him to carry her stuff, and instead wanted him to have to struggle through the most inconvenient setup possible, but now I’m guessing it also references the builders who beg for spiral staircases at every turn—either way, brava.

    So it comes down to the Fae versus the Fates! Aside from the drinking, I’m with Akira: Mikira’s not a great relationship given all the games they’re playing with each other. I’ll silently nod in agreement if the story ends with them deciding to take a break because neither of them is mature enough for marriage right now.

    I have to admit, if the hideous mustache is supposed to divert attention from the scar, it’s working. Personally, I didn’t even notice the scar. Also says a lot that the mustache doesn’t stand out in his original character design. And is—he wearing pants with one white leg and one two-toned pant leg? (I guess I’m on about people’s socks today rather than the shoes: good use of punk-rockious tights on L, and it’s really too bad about Disco Stu—I mean Baako Jang—because he is one of my favorite townies, what with the orange socks and all. More of Grim’s shoes, though! This observation is hella late, also, but Vlad has another thing coming if he thinks the Shallot-Lius are letting anyone wear shoes in their apartment, Docs or not.)

    **Scene in Von Haunt estate**
    **Dolly intensifies**
    **Alice sneaks into a back room in the Von Haunt Estate**
    **scene switches before Mr. No Hot Chip & Lie rolls in**

    On a more serious note, I’m not believing Marjorie Barr is dead until I see it for myself. That has to have been planted.

    Right in the nick of time! Damn! Guess it makes sense that Gwendolyn’s background would give her unusual powers along with the heterochromia. Mr. Alice Martin’s character development is also showing here, given that he’s not only fleeing instead of fighting, he knows exactly which past trauma to point to when justifying that decision.

    Lastly, there is a keyword that indicates it is time for RABBIT FACTS. Rabbits hate the vacuum but they like being directly in the path of the broom! This is pretty relevant because they leave hay and poop everywhere and you have to be sweeping or vacuuming pretty much continuously! Rabbit people don’t show up often in mass media, but at least we have Ego Nwodim (at least in this sketch where she is CORRECT) and Amy Sedaris! Rabbit shows are a hootenanny of body shaming and no host ever yells “every bunny is the winner because they are all sooooo cuuute” and runs off crying! Or, maybe that happened once but they never invited me back! Rabbit show jumping competitions are a little better! Some rabbits want treats, some rabbits want you to offer them the treat so they can turn it down! Sometimes the diva princess who turned down the treat you offered will turn right around and try to steal that same treat from the other bunny! Rabbits can throw you a look that says “Really?!” as young as 6 weeks old! If you image search for “Easter bunny,” every single one of the rabbits in those photos is throwing all the shade in the world!

    • feroshgirl
      March 1, 2021

      BUT THERE IS A BUNNY ON MONEY HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I have died and ascended. Welp, I guess now that we have “kits” coming to Sims 4 including vacuum cleaners, you can reenact this in-game. If only My First Pet Stuff game with actual pets.

      I kid. I’m going to complain and then buy it because vacuums figure heavily into my plans for Bonehilda in the Underworld.

      Fun fact: at 6 weeks old Gwendolyn could also through you a look that says “really?!”

      Vlad is learning! And growing! Do you know what’s wild? The version of this scene I wrote months ago had Vlad doing exactly that — fighting and murdering everyone and they all barely make it out alive. But by the time I got up to this chapter, that scene didn’t feel real anymore. I was like: no, I think the new Mr. Alice Martin would just leave because the violence would be about his ego, whereas doing the safest thing for his family involves peacing out. ::whistles, continues writing male love interests who eschew toxic masculinity::

      Marjorie Barr: HAHAHAHAHAHA I have trained you not to trust me.

      I’m so glad I finally got to use King of Disco himself, Baako Jang. Like, he is just on the list of insane NPCs to me. Speaking of insane NPCs, Diego Lobo will not give up that mustache, or those two-toned pants. He is a god, you hear? A GOD. lololololol

      Yeah, I mean Akira has some things to work on but he and Miko are definitely not good for each other right now. He’s basically made his entire life about trying to win her back and he needs to be his own person for a while. I wanted to write someone walking away from a toxic situation because sometimes, that’s just healthier. Plus, I really wanted some “love” relationships that weren’t just romantic and Titania and Akira as siblings on an adventure to do slaughters and reclaim their godhood is just chef’s kiss.

      And Miko, well, I got plans for her…

      In RE the Shallot-Lie shoe policy: I want to be clear, Vlad would be fit to be tied about not wearing shoes inside. There would be an entire scene of Alice talking to him before they leave like:

      Alice: Don’t.
      Vlad: Don’t what? Take off my shoes and stroll around like some sort of heathen?
      Alice: You are being insane. People don’t like when you wear shoes inside their house. You’re tracking gods knows what in there—
      Vlad: But you do.
      Alice: I do what?
      Vlad: Know what. I went hunting and—
      Alice: [sighs deeply] That is the point. You want to tear the mailman limb from limb for your dinner, fine. But when we go there for dinner, you take off your fucking shoes so you don’t track it into the house.
      Vlad: [glares]
      Alice: [glares]
      Vlad: What kind of floors do they have?
      Alice: [groans]

      • Dolly Llama
        March 2, 2021

        Rugs, Mr. A. Martin! Light-colored ones!

        (also, be prepared to determine whether Vlad has a favorite pop diva despite emphatically denying interest in such things, since Bernard will use any and all openings to steer the conversation toward Yuan secretly being a fan of Ava Max)

        (oh my god is it Avril Lavigne)

        Bahaha, doesn’t surprise me that Gwendolyn is precocious in that area. She can be an honorary rabbit and have her buns styled into little ears. Rabbits! The machines that convert hay into crushing disdain for everything and everyone in existence! I tried hay once and it didn’t taste very good.

        Ah, cool to know you changed it. That’s some slick storytelling. Maybe I don’t appreciate it enough, but there have been many times in BBD where I thought to myself, “man, it would be awesome if x happened” and then it happens! From the child theft to the bonding to the heist to the haircut to the breakup to the window to the wall. Even offscreen one-offs like Gwendolyn getting to eat her abusive adoptive father.

        What would they even have to accomplish by getting Alice to think Marjorie was dead? Gonna ruminate on that one.

      • feroshgirl
        March 5, 2021

        Oh my gosh, I was gonna say Taylor Swift (I just feel like those are Vlad’s vibes. And he would be particularly fond of Bad Blood, which Alice would have repeatedly explained to him was not based on the violent showdown between two warring nations but in fact, a series of passive aggressive instagram posts between two pop stars).

  • ThePlumbob
    March 5, 2021

    Interesting, William and Morgyn are getting way more on camera sexy time than Alice and Vlad ever did. Either this is because you really favour them that much… or that they won’t be any other opportunities for this particular coupling, because doom. *gulp*

    Lol I like that with all the insanity we’ve witnessed throughout the three seasons, the peak of sociopathic behaviour is apparently installing spiral staircases, LMAO!

    Oh god, Akira and Titania. She is a very good sister. Aand we’re going to war. There goes the prophecy. And it all jsut started over little personal things. Oh man. I hope Miko is happy with herself because she pretty much caused this whole thing while spamming timelines in efforts to avoid it. *facepalm* Couldn’t she just… have forgiven him in one of the damn timelines? Sigh. Allowed him to love her without interference in those timelines? Umm, yeah, I think not. How deluded is she. Oh, and now she’s counting on him to save her? Urgh. Sorry, I wish my comment was more eloquent but I’m so frustrated with her, still oblivious to the mess she caused and she somehow thinks she’s the one in the right, demanding that Akira learns a lesson from alternate timelines that he does not remember. Blargh.

    Oh fudge, I forgot about L Faba. Oh balls. Oh and Vlad is nw going on about how untrostworthy Penny is, great. Yep guys, do keep destroy all the alliances you have, fabulous idea. Just finish this self0fulfilling prophecy already. Sigh. Side note, catching that glimpse of Dylan is so different now, eek.

    That moment with Morgyn helping William shave was touching. And ah, I see Akira and his bow and arrow have seen the librarian dude.

    Holy shit! Gwen’s transition at the end there. And ermahgerd who is that looking for them, yikes!

    Sorry my comment isn’t more coherent or meaningful 😅 I am just so frustrated with everyone, but that is a credit to you 😀 Definitely feels like we’re coming towards the season finale and oh gods I’m terrified *nervous laughter*

    • feroshgirl
      March 6, 2021

      I WAS RESTRAINING MYSELF SO MUCH WITH WILLIAM AND MORGYN. Haha. I mean I love them so much and could not wait for this ship to launch. Also, I’m just way less stressed about sexy time shots or scenes than when I first started writing this.

      But Plumbob, we’re talking spiral staircases EVERYWHERE. Can you imagine? lololololol

      Okay, I am having so much fun with the Titania/Akira/Miko arc right now, it’s crazy. Even though, I guess, it’s not very fun for them because I am putting them through the ringer. Miko is so deluded. It’s funny, I started out with this idea of her and Akira having an epic love story and I’m not saying its impossible. But the more I wrote, the more I realized how toxic their arrangement is right now. So I think its best if they umm doing a little growing without each other. Miko def needs to get a grip.

      Oh the tension of her waiting for him to come save her like always…. ::laughs evilly::

      Ah yes, L. Faba, she did fade to the background for a bit. I’m sure its not because she was busy doing a bunch of nefarious stuff offscreen…

      I’m so delighted by the fact that you’ve got nervous laughter! We are coasting towards the finale! Gotta set up all sorts of terrifying things for book two 🙂

      • ThePlumbob
        March 7, 2021

        Haha, so restrained 😆 It was all very tasteful, in fairness 😊

        Ah yeah, there’s a fine line between what’s deemed traditionally romantic and toxic. Haha yes, I agree, some time apart is needed 😅

        I we may have different definitions of coasting 🤣 Because when I look down from the ship, the water below is far more volatile than I realised, there’s a storm coming, I’m pretty sure the ship is leaking, the people that were in charge of the lifeboat decided to smash the lifeboat to bits while bickering profusely and here I am clinging on for dear life as I realise I forgot to bring any kind of floatation equipment when I boarded this thing 😆 But I realise this is somewhat hypocritical of me to say, lol. I do love a bit of wreckage, haha.

      • feroshgirl
        March 7, 2021

        Coming from you this is high praise! Cut to me clinging to your boat with my torn Morgyn Fan Club T-shirt 😂😂😂👏👏

  • Yimiki
    March 30, 2021

    Hoo boy. None of what the Fates predicted is actually coming true. Woops. Looks like they dropped the ball somewhere- wait, Titans?! O.O

    “How am I punishing myself? I got divorced. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
    Oh, Akira. Everything about that line is wrong. You should have gotten divorced for yourself, not as a knee-jerk reaction to Miko to get a reaction or because Titania wants you to. Poor guy. And she doesn’t seem any happier with Oberon than Akira is with Miko. At least they have each other – even if they can’t see the fault in their own relationship, maybe they can point out the flaws in the other person’s love life until they both open their eyes. It worked that way for me and my dad back in the day.

    Oh gods, they used to be titans? So that’s what the Fates were panicking about. That can’t be good – if they go to war against the gods, that will include Alice. Oh dear. Oh no.

    Man, with every chapter that features these two I like Akira and Titania more and get angrier and angrier with Miko. It’s the fact that she was so sweet and innocent and pink and soft to everyone, playing the victim, all the while she was meddling with people to the point of destroying Akira and pushing Penny towards despair. On purpose. And she still doesn’t realize what she has done and how bad it has gotten. Or she doesn’t want to admit it and blame herself. Gah.

    “Millenia upon millennia of service and this was how the Fates repaid them?”
    You, Miko. You very specifically, for getting everyone into this mess in the first place. Because I do not believe for a second that her meddling is not the prime reason for this whole God War to be happening in the first place. 😂 Gaaaaaah even her thinking about Akira coming to save her and accepting her isn’t because she “forgives” him or wants to be with him again, but because he is a means to an end. I want to shake her so bad, but that probably won’t do anything 😫

    Oh geez the more we learn about witches, the crueler they seem. Why would anyone treat their children like that? Indoctrination I understand but my gods, shoving a child into a basement for days because they asked questions? That is just horrible. Ooooh and L Faba survived! Oh no. I hope Penny makes it out of that duel alive…

    So Valeria and Vlad both realized before Alice did, huh 😂 man, Alice is so bad at keeping track of herself.

    Oh gods, that’s Oberon, isn’t it? Looks like Titania and Akira wasted no time in getting rid of him and taking the book for themselves 😶

    Dear lord they got out of there just in time indeed. Those last few pictures are haunting! I wonder why Gwendolyn is turning to light instead of mist…

    • feroshgirl
      March 31, 2021

      Oh, did I forget to mention that Titania comes from the Titans who maybe sorta used to be gods and now they have the Book of Longings and they are ready to go to war?

      Oh jeez, slipped my mind. I mean, Liberty did say war was inevitable. I’m sure it’s gonna be totes chill…

      Uh yeah, you are honing in some key Akira/Titania dynamics! I really wanted a love story that wasn’t romantic love. The story of you and your dad is giving me warm and fuzzies! I hope you guys are happier now. Hopefully, Akira and Titania will follow suit.

      Oh it’s fun to watch the Miko transition happen. It’s all about perspectives right? She is so far wholly unable to grapple with her role in this. She loves being the victim. And I’m sorry to say, we haven’t even scratched the surface with her.

      Buckle up.

      The witches are definitely not nice in my universe. They have become awful and corrupted, though it didn’t happen without help. Speaking of which, L Faba is the living incarnation of mischief Magic. I’m sure Penny will have no problem winning.

      Oh, Gwendolyn turning into light. You caught that huh? ::nervous laughter::

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