Chapter 42, Part 1: The Owl of Ascension

Notes:

I don’t have to tell you what a beast finishing this story is. It’s been a month! I’m a bit rusty, but I’m back in the game. There are only two more chapters left in BBD Book 1! That means we should wrap things up by the end of the month.

::GASPS::

Have I said thank you already? Thank you for reading and going on this wild journey with me. Enjoy the story. And don’t worry, I’m sure it’s all gonna be *fine.*

::cue maniacal laughter::

StrangerVille Military Base

MISS HELL

“No empty-handed man can lure a bird.”

the wife of bath’s tale, Geoffrey chaucer

Miss Hell shifted in her seat. She had elected to wear something demure and conservative—it was part of her strategy—but it still rankled that she had to make herself small to suit the egos in the room. Most sims did not know enough about the law to understand whether a degree was obtained sixty-four years or sixty-four seconds ago. The two high-ranking officers in the room certainly did not. 

Miss Hell had passed the bar, twice in fact, though she never actually had a chance to practice. There was the problem of being a woman and Somnus’s plans for Vladislaus, which most definitely did not include her JD. She didn’t understand the god’s obsession with Windenburg’s vampire king. So Vladislaus was rumored to have a few skills other vampires did not? Why would that warrant the God of Sleep’s attention to say nothing of his visceral hate?

Men. They were all idiots. 

“I’ll have my firm forward you particulars once I’ve concluded meeting with my client,” she replied, forcing her expression into something resembling gracious. 

The officers nodded their agreement and instructed Maverick to escort her back to the holding cells.

Once outside the door, he stopped her. “Your plan is going to fail,” he said flatly.

“Excuse me?”

I said: your plan is going to fail. I don’t know what it is, but you’ve only been here a few days, and you’re by yourself, so I can’t imagine it’s that good.”

Miss Hell narrowed her eyes. “And yet you led me back here instead of alerting your superiors.”

“We are in a military facility, ma’am. I can alert my superiors at any time, and you’ll be surrounded in five seconds flat.”

Ma’am? She almost didn’t care whose brother he was; Maverick was skating on thin ice. “Do I look like the kind of creature who is concerned about a few soldiers?”

She was concerned. Mortals were weak, but they bred like rabbits and had numbers on their side.

“I don’t think being a vampire will help you in this situation.”

“How did you—”

He smirked, “It’s not that hard to figure out. We’ve got that other vampire in holding, and your ‘client’ definitely isn’t a sim. Dr. Cordenali knows that, and once your little delay tactic is over, she’ll deliver her report to my superiors, and they’ll know too.”

“And you care because…?”

“Because you are obviously here to break her out,” Maverick explained as if she were somehow dense. His expression softened, “And I’m not trying to hold you back. In fact, I want to help you.”

Clearly, Jimena had been a busy bee even behind bars. Miss Hell didn’t know whether to celebrate the fact that everyone was so easily seduced by the demigod or give into the jealousy that threatened to eat her alive.

“How could you possibly help me?” she sneered.

Maverick was not cowed. “Well, for one, I can tell you that in addition to cameras in that holding room, there’s also now a guard on duty. Whatever distraction you create won’t work because the first thing they do is check the cells and, security for civilians is tighter on the way out, so even if you did escape, they’d detain you at the exit.”

Her lips parted, “Shit.” 

Fuck. She hadn’t meant to say that out loud. Now the little jerk was standing there looking smug, and she was going to be forced to accept his help. He was supposed to be her captive, not her partner in crime! 

Remember your goals, she told herself. With effort, she managed to arrange her face into a pleasant if flirtatious mask. “I’m sorry, what I meant to say was just what did you have in mind?”

The Elder Realms

MORGYN

2500 Years Ago

“He could nearly recall the story without reading it—something about a petty feud between gods and goddesses leading to the Fates constructing the feathers for the Owl of Undoing out of the same threads they used to weave the outcomes and probabilities of the world.”

Chapter Six: The Owl of undoing

“I would have never invited half the creatures on this list,” Morgyn huffed.

“Then it is good, Untamed Magic, that this is not your party,” Marshala replied. The Goddess of Fertility gave a small laugh as she adjusted her dress. “My son compromised. If it were up to B’Ollithiranon, we’d be on the streets of the Elder Realms with every level of creature.”

Morgyn rolled their eyes, “He is foolish.”

“He is an idealist.”

Same difference.”

Marshala did not disagree. Tensions were high in the land of the Gods. Just the other week, Omar had announced a trip to one of the far-off planets—Sixam or Sixsim, or some other such name. They had something called the Great Games, and the God of the Sun was enamored of their brutal methods for maintaining their hierarchy. Though Morgyn was sure his fascination was due in no small part to his desire to punish B’Ollithiranon. 

Becoming a God was one thing. Becoming a God and throwing Omar over for his sister was quite another.  

Sighing, Untamed Magic made their way to the chocolate fountain only to be intercepted by L. Faba.

“Say yes, Morgyn. I will not accept another answer.”

“Then you will not have an answer,” they replied, arching an eyebrow. “I have no interest in going to the mortal world. I am quite busy here.”

“Yes, I can see how needed you are,” Faba quipped, her gaze flicking to Marshala and Pinot canoodling in the corner.

Morgyn refused to the take bait, “I don’t expect you to understand.”

Untamed Magic was not like the other magics. None of them seemed to take having a god very seriously. Even if Marshala didn’t need them this exact second, they should still be close by.

“Don’t be cruel,” Janus warned, putting a hand on Faba’s shoulder. Transmutation Magic smiled warmly at Morgyn before giving Solis a heated look.

The Goddess of Reason’s decision to take up with her Magic was at best gauche and at worst…well…Morgyn heard the way the other Gods talked about her, and they agreed. Transmutation Magic belonged to her, there was an order to things. Blurring all these lines was how B’Ollithiranon ended up sleeping with Omar in the first place. 

“You’re going to be a Sage?” they looked Janus up and down.

“Sage of Transmutation,” he laughed. “Eamus is supposed to be the third Sage but that’s not written in stone. Come with us.”

They rolled their eyes. Being trapped in the mortal realm alongside Eamus—Abjuration Magic—sounded like a special kind of torture. “There are only three Sages at a time,” they sniffed, “That’s how the Universe intended it. Who am I to question her?”

“Come on, Morgyn. She’s not opposed to change,” Janus insisted, “We talk about it all the time.”

Untamed Magic suppressed a snort. Janus was just as frivolous as Faba. When he wasn’t lying with Solis, he traveled the realms checking on his beloved projects. That was something he and the Universe had in common. Sims were her “special” experiment. The demands she made on other, stronger creatures to care for them were beyond ridiculous.

Still, Morgyn kept their mouth shut. They knew when to keep their own counsel. “I’ll think about it,” they lied. “If you’ll excuse me, I believe the festivities are starting.” 


They had practiced B’Ollithiranon’s entrance multiple times. And yet, candles extinguished at random, green smoke filled the air, and rather than the intricate throne of bones Morgyn spent weeks sourcing, there was a coalition of zombies who were, alarmingly, beginning to rot in the summer heat. 

The only benefit was that Omar stopped his side conversation with the Titans to look both intrigued and disgusted. 

And who could blame him? B’Ollithiranon was striking, even as he bumbled around the platform. 

Discreetly, Morgyn relit the candles with a flick of their hand. They worried about Omar and the Titans. The Rushlight had made it clear he did not agree with Omar’s plans and that spelled trouble. Shaking their head, they tried to refocus on B’Ollithiranon’s speech but he had already veered off course.

“…I am not the only demigod worthy of being granted godhood. Should the rest remain locked out simply because they cannot gain enough power to achieve great works?”

If B’Ollithiranon ever gave a care about what anyone else thought, he’d realize that the gasps filling the courtyard were of insult and horror. Morgyn covered their eyes. 

The newly minted God of Death continued, “That’s why I’ve created something to ensure that I am not the last to be added to the pantheon of great gods,”—he paused to pull Elmyra up—”I know it’s not traditional, this being my ascension, but my love shares my vision….”

Marshala and Pinot beamed and Morgyn was reminded that they were the only one who saw the danger in B’Ollithiranon falling in love. Again.

Just then, a giant purple owl flew through the air towards the stage and landed on a perch. Elmyra blushed as the God of Death pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Everyone, this is The Owl of Ascension. With it, Elmyra and I plan to make lots of gods, from all levels of houses…”

Morgyn didn’t hear the rest of what B’Ollithiranon said. They were too distracted by the rage on Omar’s face.

    10 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    May 3, 2021

    have you ever been so disaster that you fell in love and it ended up taking down an entire pantheon for thousands of years and you had to go hide in a conduit & hold a sneaker once

    Okay, this is a REAL problem in that while I do have many, many observations on everyone’s outfits, and am processing the information we got about character relationships, and am worried about Contessa, and am wondering where Maverick is going with this—is he living up to his name?—and am bouncing at the sepia tones because sepia tones scream BERNARD to me even though this is bad Bernard (fuck you ColdChip&Truth!Bernard), I want to get other stuff done today, so this comment is going to be big-picture speculation that you probably can’t respond to. Mostly because this chapter has sent me reeling.

    There are so many answers to questions I should have asked about the Owl but just… didn’t. Even though the big reveal is its true purpose, and that it wasn’t even initially the Owl of Undoing, the more troubling part for me is that it isn’t single-use like I assumed. So that’s a couple lies the gods told us. Now both Alice and Vlad can get what they want, but I’m getting the message that Vlad can be emotionally healthy and whole and dismantle the patriarchy even though a death cult infused him with the essence of fear itself, which is one I’m Obama-nodding at. The concerning part for me is that it’s not clear how the Owl is used, and in particular whether the Owl can access its own abilities, and I absolutely do not trust Gwendolyn with that kind of power. Yes, it would be awesome for the God of Winning Arcade Games and the God of Vampire-Safe Ice Cream to casually ascend and descend every week or so, but I only think it’s awesome because I don’t live in that universe.

    I’m still not buying that Marjorie is dead, and am now questioning whether Alice transferred the Owl’s consciousness or created a new one. But that’s a long shot, given how B’Olliebacksideoneeighty is describing the hoops he jumped through to make it. On the other hand, if he can access magic controlled by other gods behind their backs, I’m not ready to rule that out entirely. And there might be clues related to who was at Gwendolyn’s transformation.

    This is another wild guess, but if my suspicious are correct, Orbalis is the spitting image of his father. Well, crap. Now I have to go back in the archives and check again how B’Ollieollieoxenfree responds to seeing him. Oh, oh, and Jimena! If my assumptions are correct. I’m faceblind enough to not recognize Miss Hell in her low-key getup, and had to figure it out from context. That being said, I do recognize the Titans, don’t recognize Janus—but don’t sleep with your students, Solis, holy cow.

    Is Solis… controlling Sims? Experiment with them? What a monster! Some Goddess of Calculus she’s turning out to be.

    Lastly, either Morgyn is being a really good sport about having worn the same dress as Marshala to the party or they’re silently dying inside and plotting revenge.

    • Dolly Llama
      May 3, 2021

      Experimenting* dammit

  • feroshgirl
    May 3, 2021

    I have died, ascended, and then been undone in reading this comment, all while laughing until my sides hurt.

    Oh, you know how I like to do, casually drop a bunch of secrets to send everything careening out of control just I promise to wrap up in two chapters. Actually, this is my method with BBD. Throw out so much insanity with one hand that you can’t see what the other hand is doing. Your eyes are on The Owl, not on Miss Hell’s real name being Anastasia Barrister. Like…Gwendolyn Barrister, which I’m sure is *fine* and won’t result in any kind of conflict with Vlad at all.

    :: whistles a little tune ::

    I love how suspicious you are! I also love how changing a character’s perspective in one chapter can completely throw a wrench in things. I mean, Janus/Transmutation is Solis’s magic—he belongs to her. Not so different from Vlad/Phobos, who technically belongs to Alice. Vlad and Janus are both sleeping with the boss.

    Okay, TIME FOR CLOTHES, AND THIS GONNA BE SO MUCH BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS PEEP MY COSTUMING CHOICES, AND IT FILLS ME WITH GLEE:

    Morgyn is actually wearing the same outfit as Marshala in every scene they are in together. Untamed Magic belongs to the Goddess of Fertility. In Morgyn’s view, they are supposed to act as a support and an extension of her. They see Janus/Faba’s galavanting around the worlds, having relationships with their gods, and pursuing their own interests as selfish and frivolous. They are horrified by the idea that Transmutation might see himself as a separate entity with a life outside of his god. To them, that is not love or devotion.

    Fast forward 2500 years, and Morgyn (who has lost their god) is willing to do anything to keep that separate form. In Chapter 29: Life After Death, they ponder outfits at the end of their meeting with Miss Hell. The chapter isn’t just “life after death” because Alice brings Deacon back. It’s life after death for Morgyn, too—the life they live after the death of their God. Choosing their outfits based on their desires and goals has become commonplace for them, unlike Faba, who has a god (Nyx) and always wears some form of purple/pink.

    Meanwhile, B’Ollithiranon (every time you spell his name, I crack up) starts out in rags when he is young and hopeful and makes The Owl of Ascension. A few centuries in, at the height of his power and using The Owl to make Somnus a God, they are dressed to the nines—Hair: on point. Nails: on point. Everything: on point.

    Yes, chew on that. Somnus’s motivations just got a lot murkier. I mean, the God who made you a god suddenly falls, and they intend to hand the job over to a 30-year-old convenience store clerk from the worst desert town in Simnation (stunning, but holy hell is StrangerVille a tiny world)? Who wouldn’t be pissed?

    Anyways, when B’Ollithirnanon hits the place in the timeline right before they are about to lose their godhood, he is back in rags. And he looks much closer to the version of “Ben” that Alice comes to know.

    And this has been Outfit Choices with Ferosh LOLOL.

    I love Vlad’s future, becoming emotionally mature and dismantling the patriarchy. Though he lacks empathy and a moral compass, and it’s hard to imagine his way of “dismantling” would not be a bloody coup. But, ya know, semantics.

    You are 100% right that Gwendolyn should not be trusted with that kind of power, and it would be irresponsible of me as an author to give that to her. :: looks directly into the camera ::

    Who else was at Gwendolyn’s ascension? MY GOD, THAT IS A GOOD QUESTION. :: looks at notes, grins :: Yup, great question.

    “have you ever been so disaster that you fell in love, and it ended up taking down an entire pantheon for thousands of years, and you had to go hide in a conduit & hold a sneaker once.” — This is the most beautiful distillation of BBD ever, and when I get around to updating my site, I may beg you to use it, lol.

  • feroshgirl
    May 3, 2021

    Solis is THE BEST Goddess of Calculus damn it.

    hahahhaha.

    Yeah, the Universe is the one who made sims, cough, I mean mortals. I wonder who she is?

  • feroshgirl
    May 3, 2021

    HOW COULD I HAVE LEFT THIS COMMENT WITHOUT MENTIONING BAD BERNARD?

    cold chip and truth bernard is officially the worst bernard.

  • ThePlumbob
    May 5, 2021

    Ooh, I wonder what Maverick’s agenda is here. Hopefully he’s not actually giving Miss Hell the real story and is more of a double (triple?) agent… though there’s probably a reason his family didn’t take him along or share more of their plans with him. Unless they did share and we just didn’t see that yet. Which could be good or bad.

    Oh wow, old timey god realm, I didn’t epect that! 2000 years ago is quite the flashback! For some weird reason I assumed pre-sage Morgyn that was pure magic didn’t have a physical form. Though that would be a nightmare to screenshot if it was all just chatting mist, lol! Oh, how interesting, so the three sage disciplines were sort of just decided at random out of the three magics that were willing to go to the mortal realm? Those could have been some interesting combinations – not that the one we ended up with a safe and easy one, haha. Oh look, it’s Titania and Akira! Back when they had a god status! Aww. OMG, and Elmyra! Oh boy. It’s all about to go tits up! At least this was thousands of years ago, I guess!

    The owl has a failsafe? Interesting! Don’t shush Ben now, Morgyn!

    That escape went very smoothly. “I loved someone like that once. They took up so much space, I didn’t even realize I was suffocating.” Must know more! Who did Maverick love? And what happened? Is that what drove a wedge between him and his family? Oh my god. He is helping them BECAUSE of Alice? Urgh…. Oh Maverick. I blame the family, they really should have included him in their road trip.

    “if you ever mention destroying The Owl again, I will show you the many things that lie between here and oblivion.” That’s definitely not going to come back in any shape again, I’m sure.

    Oh, the Contessa, I’ve forgotten all about her! I’m sure she’ll not have any ill will or dwell on some minor incidents that happened way back, right? I’ll just will all these deluusions into reality haha. I wonder if the Contessa infilitrated the police, or if this is not really the police. I suppose it might not necessarily matter as far as Miss Hell’s predicament goes. So the Contessa accepts a speculative offer of the owl, though it’s not clear if the contessa even knows what the owl is. Perhaps she doesn’t care, though, beyond it clearly being something that matters to her adversary here. I suppose the value of things is always just determined by what someone is willing to offer in return, so all it might be to Contessa is a valuable trading asset. Aaand that’s not looking great for Maverick.

    I mean, Morgyn claims that affection is a weakness Faba gained among mortals, but they clearly are no stranger to affection. In fact they’ do anything for their god and her children, and are helping out L Faba here on her quest to protect her loved one (I think? Faba and Nyx? I don’t really remember all that much about Nyx anymore, other than the general god disclaimer of “can’t be trusted” :D). Just because they express it slightly differently doesn’t mean they’re not already suffering from the same “weakness.”

    Oh, I guess the magics were not all that random after all. I think. Ok, I probably understood about 5% of that scene. I wonder how much of it present-day Morgyn understands. Probably more than me, lol. Sooo is Morgyn now intending to steal the owl and pring it to Omar? Or just flat out destroy it? Whatever it is, they are certainly not sharing with William. Which is a shame because a) it will inevitably cause their fragile relationship and any resemblence of trust between them to be irrevocably damaged and b) I need a version for dummies so it would be helpful to hear them explain it to William 😀 Lol.

    Oh shit, is Maverick dead? I wonder what Miss Hell said to the contessa, that it was him or Jimena that was more important to her. Oh man. Just as they were starting to build that connection. Although, when it comes to a change of heart, in the long term Maverick may have changed Miss Hell more by dying than if he lived. Not that that’s much of a consolation for him.

    • feroshgirl
      May 5, 2021

      I love and am terrified by how your mind works and I am so enjoying the divergent paths our Morgyns are on, even as they both make insanely terrible, self-destructive choices (I know, I know, they got reasons!). I don’t think Morgyn sees how fragile this thing with William is and they are about to enter an even more fraught situation—meeting his family, a family that now includes The Owl which (you are right) Morgyn is determined to use as a weapon and then destroy.

      When I finally wrap up book one, the first thing I’m doing with my break time is making an updated character page and a worldbuilding page that explains the magic because holy f-balls it is complicated!

      The main thing to know is that all gods have magics and all those magics, like Morgyn, can have physical forms. This is mostly because (as you pointed out) trying to do screenshots with the magics as sentient mists was a nightmare so conveniently, if a magic is present they’ll be in “human” form. Anyways, B’Ollithiranon is a bit of an anomaly. His skill and the reason why he was granted godhood, is that he can take magics from other gods and combine them together to make something new. For reasons we don’t know yet, B’Ollithiranon wanted to create The Owl of Undoing and needed help making it work, so he asked the Universe for advice. She told him which magics he would need from the other gods and everyone agreed except Omar. So B’Ollithiranon made the “smart” decision and decided to just steal some magic from his ex-boyfriend who was dangerously possessive and already furious at being dumped for his sister.

      Ah, love, so sweet and simple 🙂

      Really though, I do think as the story progresses and Morgyn and others have to actually explain the Elder Realms to Alice and crew, some of this will start to make more sense. This is my biggest struggle with creating this insanely large fantasy world—when and how do I introduce information?

      Anyways, yes, The Owl has a fail-safe! Should you be concerned about that? Hmm. Moving on, you really have Morgyn dead to rights. They can’t really see themselves clearly and their words don’t always line up with their actions. And yes, Faba is Nyx’s magic and you know, not trusting the gods is probably a safe bet in this story. They are complicated, as seen in B’Ollithiranon and the way he threatens Morgyn. No wonder people fear The God of Death.

      But I digress.

      The Maverick/Miss Hell adventure is so fun! Man, the hard thing about these chapters coming out once a week is that Contessa showed up in the story like a year ago so it’s easy to forget all about her. Her motives are…opaque. But since this already happened, I can confirm that the police job is one that Alice got her and Contessa knows all about The Owl, despite what she said to Miss Hell. The rate at which everyone in this story lies to each other is alarming.

      Speaking of lies—interesting that you immediately questioned Maverick warming to Miss Hell but are also very worried that he’s not and he’s in over his head and he might be dead. Is he dead? Should you be worried? Hmmm. Moving on…

      HAHAHAHA jk jk all I can say is that you’ll have your answer next chapter but Maverick’s family did call him during all their heist plotting and the necklace he gives Miss Hell is the same one Amisyia and Caleb retrieved and shipped to Strangerville. That doesn’t exactly confirm that he’s alive but we shall see! Either way, you’re right, it’s definitely made an impression on Miss Hell.

      • ThePlumbob
        May 6, 2021

        Haha, all the self-destructive Morgyns, I love it 😀 Oof, meeting the family should definitely be interesting…

        That helps! I think the main thing I was confused about was the reason why B’Ollithiranon decided to make the owl, but if we don’t quite know that yet maybe I’m not as confused as I thought! 🙂 I do love the nunaces of the different relationships the magics had with their gods and the different attitudes the gods had to the bond with their magic too. It’s fascinating!

        Lol yes, clearly my thoughts about Maverick are all over the place! I definitely initially thought he was playing an angle there but he kept sticking to his guns for so long that I became convinced. Or thought maybe his angle changed in the process. I’ll definitely cling on to hope that he is alive, though. Or if he’s dead that he’ll meet up with Alice in the underworld, or something 😀

  • Yimiki
    May 6, 2021

    I have written a novel-length comment on this chapter three times now, and every time I end up brain-broke and wanting to re-read the whole story so I can comment something better than complete brain-gibberish.

    Soooooooo that’s what I’m gonna do! Once I have enough free time, at least. I’ll be back later 😙 after thoroughly re-reading everything because all these reveals are just blowing me away and my perfectionist self wants to look at everything again from the beginning 😁

    • feroshgirl
      May 7, 2021

      Lol I cannot express to you how deeply I understand that impulse hahahahahaha. Hooray!

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