Chapter 11: Fifty-Eight Minutes

Downtown San Myshuno

Alice

Alice made her way down the street, pushing the stroller while Gwendolyn babbled nonsense. It wasn’t that the tiny terror lacked a good vocabulary, she just chose to speak mostly in demands and not at all when the topic didn’t interest her. For example, she loved owls, or a particular owl—Alice couldn’t figure out which—and would gab about it for hours. But when Alice tried to get her excited about preschool? Silence.

She sighed. “Just because mommy is crazy doesn’t mean you are. You can talk to sims, you know.”

Gwendolyn blew a raspberry.

Ugh. She was going to have to lead by example, wasn’t she?

Alice took a cautious look around, carefully observing who other sims were waving and making eye contact with. There was a woman dressed like an extra from an apocalyptic film—bad. But she plowed through a group of sims who gave her outraged looks and yelled to watch where she was going—good! 

“Let’s wave to the nice lady! Nothing to be scared of!” 

Of course, Gwendolyn did not wave, she scowled, which reminded Alice so much of Vlad she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. She still felt guilty about yoga, and giving him a hard time about “half-truths” when she was keeping so much from him. Soon, she promised herself, soon you’ll tell him. 

“She’s adorable. How old is she?”

“Almost three,” Alice gazed down warily at her toddler, who could not look more disinterested if she tried. “She’s uh, a little scared of strangers.”

The woman smiled and knelt. “Well, it’s good to be aware of your surroundings. Enemies are everywhere.”  

“What’s your name, sweetie?”

Dead silence. And more scowling. It got awkward, but the woman seemed unfazed. “Yes, you’re right. I wouldn’t give me a name either.”

She rose and smiled in a way that was vaguely unsettling. “Good job, she’s very strong.”

Don’t antagonize the obviously crazy lady. “Uh…thanks…” Alice gave the fake cheerful laugh she reserved for customers, “Hope you have a nice day!”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll see me around,” she waved, walking back in the direction she came.

At least she was real, Alice thought. It was low bar, but you had to take the wins wherever you could find them. “Alright Gwendolyn, let’s go find the library so we can send your daddy a really passive aggressive email asking where his child support payment is.”


NEXT TIME, ON THE STRAUDS:


Credits

In addition to the  CC I regularly use in the game and buildings from the Fleuralia Save File, I also used the following builds and custom content:

POSES & ANIMATIONS

CREDITS

Male Stand Poses 6 by Natalia-Auditore

Male Stand Poses 7 by Natalia-Auditore

Not Feeling Good by Natalia-Auditore

Last Summer Collection Posepack by Dearkim

Together with Him by KaTPurpura

Love & Clovers Pose Pack by StarrySimsie

Water Tower Talks by StarrySimsie

Water Tower – Percy’s Spot by Storybrooke Poses

Halloween Poses Random Pack by Helgatisha

Halloween Poses Vampire Victim by Helgatisha

Aristocrat Outfit II by Moriel

Aristocrat Outfit by Moriel

Medieval Male Clothing (Medieval, Tudor, and Renaissance Sims 4 CC Finds tumblr)

Champion Sims 4 Medieval Outfit Conversion by Valhallan

Heartless by Natalia-Auditore

Gallavich Pose Pack by slowpika

Pose Request #156 by Sciophobis

Pose Request #163 by Sciophobis

Pose Request #151 by Sciophobis

BUILDS & SIMS 4 GALLERY

Newcrest Yoga Studio by LIvia24x

Police by bethowen111

Vampire Crypt & Cemetery by babybackribs0131 

Kork wine bar by T0nksyo

    8 comments
  • Snow ~
    August 9, 2022

    How dare you take time off from Strauds! I won’t allow it! *joking*

    MORGYN WHY ARE YOU SO FUCKING GORGEOUS

    Ohhh goodness, Morgyn as a parent. Best or worst thing I wonder? We’ll soon find out…Sulis’s rant oh my gosh had me laughing out loud. Darn, William, let a girl cut a worshipper’s throat once in a while, bloody spoilsport! I laughed at the description of Alice with the peeing when she laughed, but hey, Vlad wants Alice for Alice and that’s a good thing because Alice is great < 3

    Who expected Vlad to be so good at yoga? I guess over that long a life you'd amass a whole load of experience in loads of different hobbies though. I absolutely loved Alice letting the sprinklers off on the yoga class XD I really need to see Ethren come into this now…one, because he's so-say the only person who seemingly could understand and 'tame' Vlad. Two, the sheer drama that would ensue. Back to Alice it was nice to see her take him out of the stressful situation to somewhere quiet. Wish everyone was like that instead of 'WHY DID YOU SHOW ME UP' and 'WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE THAT' ugh. Geez, that's not 'dramatics' Vlad, that my dear man is trauma…I hope he can realise that soon. Having lived hundreds of years before anyone gave a sliver of a shit about mental health doesn't help him in that regard. Seems neither of them want to give their pasts away, though I very much Vlad would judge : P

    Yeah, waking up from vampiric slumber for that long would really throw you…especially how quickly things have changed over the last century. It'd feel like waking up in a whole other dimension. As always your machinimas are amazing < 3 OOH I notice Ethren and William there…Still can't wait to see more of Ethren. I already said this earlier but I loooove that puppet master shot. so much Morgyn energy there < 333 I love your Morgyn SO MUCH AAAAAAAAAAAA also I love sulis's snake headband! I'm really excited to see the gods, the 'old ones' and also God of Death will eventually rear his head again, I'm glad you decided to keep all of that stuff in hehehehhe

    OHHH Gwen and her owls, eh? ; ) Ohh my gosh I'm so excited now. Woah, and miss Mad Max comes out of nowhere XD She creeped me out. And that final machinima ;o; did I see a zombie Vlad? And worlds collide…I wonder if Morgyn's mention of multiverse comes in there. Not unless…BBD is actually a literal alternate universe in this story? HMMMMMM I am looking forward to next chapter!

    • feroshgirl
      September 2, 2022

      AHHH After ten thousand years I’ve replied! I’m sorry! I’ve been way behind during this hiatus.

      Sighh, Morgyn truly is gorgeous. And terrifying. I think they’ll make an amazing parent and woe be unto anyone trying to bring harm to their child.

      I love how bloodthirsty this story has made everyone. Like yeah! Why can’t Sulis just drink the blood of her worshippers like nature intended?

      Alice is great! I continue to be delighted by how much we all love her in all her vulnerable, hot mess, relatable glory.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed their yoga trip. I wanted to be clear that Alice is just as unhinged as Vlad is, so they are perfect for each other.

      Rest assured, you are not the only one who wants more Ehtren. And I promise I will deliver very soon!

      Thank you for your compliments about the puppet master shot. It took so stupidly long and I gave up several times lol, but got it to work and I’m so happy with it!

      (squeee yes, many of our old favorite gods are back! I couldn’t stay away. I don’t know what I was thinking)

      Oh you picked up on Gwendolyn and the owls, huh?

      Yes, BBD is a literal alternate universe. So basically hang onto your butt.

  • Dragoncat
    August 23, 2022

    Oooh, very interesting.

    Come on, Vlad, you’ll have to tell her eventually. They’re both hiding secrets from one another and I bet the secrets will all come tumbling down.

    And The Strauds is literally an alternate universe from BBD? I didn’t expect that.

    I wonder if Alice is a normal sim or what.

    • feroshgirl
      September 16, 2022

      I cannot believe I am replying to this comment so late. I’ve been on hiatus and taking a break but trying to check in for comments!

      Lol, Vlad and Alice both seem determined to delay the inevitable. Hehe, “tumbling down” indeed.

      Yes! The Strauds is literally an AU as in, one of the thousand universes Miko ended up creating in her desperation to “fix” the BBD timeline.

      Is Alice a normal sim? ::cue maniacal laughter:: why, I wouldn’t worry about that at all 😈

  • Yimiki
    August 30, 2022

    Hoo boy. Alice and Vlad have reached the stage where being dodgy about questions is no longer intriguing and mysterious, but is starting to bother the other. They’re both holding back and they’re both wishing the other didn’t hold back, though Alice is much more vocal and angry about it than Vlad is. I hope they’ll realise and open up before the relationship blows up in their faces.

    Their family is so dysfunctional but the fact that every single one of them is working on making sure Lilith wouldn’t have to leave her home is really heartwarming. In a weird, stalkery, hush-hush kind of way. Aaaaaand there come the secrets again. Morgyn lying through their teeth even when they know exactly what Lilith is talking about.

    Ooooooh, is that a… what is that? Fifth wall-break? Waaaiiiiit is that Morgyn the previous Morgyn? Our previous Morgyn? From the whatsit?! 😮 I was wondering if Sulis was still a goddess in this story and if not, what she’d be, but oh my, is this what I think it is? It is, isn’t it? It is! That is wild on all kinds of levels. Gah, my head. There’s all kinds of connections here but there’s so much that my brain can’t keep up. Next chapter!

    • feroshgirl
      September 2, 2022

      Wooohoo! Sorry this took so long. I’ve been a hiatus gremlin and way behind on my comments (and reading and everything else but what else is new, eh?).

      Yes! Our two lovesick dummies are tired of secrets which is a problem they could 100% fix if they just opened their mouths and told each other. And I’m sure they’ll do that in a completely calm and mature and reasonable way and not before the whole thing blows up in the face ::evil laughter::

      Jk Jk!

      Yes, The Strauds might be completely dysfunctional and total menaces but they love each other and will fight anyone who threatens their family. Including universities seeking lucrative development deals.

      But yeah, they are are also lying liars who lie to each other all the time.

      THE FIFTH WALL COMES DOWN BABY! Yes, this is the previous Morgyn. You know, the one who traveled through many universes and timelines in BBD. And yes, Sulis is still a goddess and she has also crossed over from BBD.

      The Strauds is a fully alternate universe, but I’m sure its fine so long as they don’t import all the problems of the previous Universe that they couldn’t solve in the last one

      oh…what was that? You can’t just leave all your problems behind in an alternate universe and hope they disappear? Oh well…

      ::cue evil laughter::

  • Dolly Llama
    September 22, 2022

    SULIS: SUUUULLIIIIISSSSSSS!!!! SULIS!!!! SUUULLLIISSSSS. She’s offended by the existence of cheese?! Sulis YES! That’s based as fuck! No! No, don’t backpedal on that!

    Alright, new standard. The first person with the cojones to call cheese “fermented rape juice” is my favorite character.

    Continuing in Sulis’s section to keep the Morgyn ambivalence strong, ahhhh damn, it came full circle. Like always, I have so many questions. Why would Sulis need Morgyn’s help to escape, and what happened to Alice, and the other gods, and why is Gwendolyn de-aged, and—alright. Going back into patient waiting mode. I will be here standing in the doorway watching you write waiting patiently.

    WILLIAM: Has he had that accent the entire time?! Also, I feel like I should be able to tell what’s going on in that 1950s Army picture at the end of page 2, if I weren’t faceblind. Do we know those characters? That’s Vlad, right?

    VLAD: Vlad will not get the pants with ‘sun salutation’ written on the butt. No. Uh-uh. No way. Instead, he directs Alice toward the pants with ‘[surya namaskara]’ written on the butt. In the original Sanskrit. His keister will not tolerate translations or transliterations.

    And the man was wearing socks!

    Welp, there’s your flaw. What kind of serial killer does utthita hasta padangusthasana with socks on?! Put this man in jail for yoga crimes. (In his defense, the reason you don’t ave socks on during that pose is that the proper alignment is wrapping two fingers around your big toe, and he’s a sim, so he doesn’t have a big toe, just a foot blob with five sets of markings on it.)

    How hard were you laughing putting Vlad in that denim vest and flannel? Be specific. Actually—you know what, with all the clues dropped about Vlad’s sensory processing troubles, I’m going to start paying attention to his clothing choices. Less restrictive, breathable fabrics, no tags?

    THE YOGA TEACHER: Sucks. Her instincts do, at least. If a student is having trouble with savasana, of all things, you don’t try to explain it again. You listen! You figure out what adjustments they need and help them feel comfortable! I’m aware this is the point and I’m just ranting. Still.

    MOOD OF THE DAY: “He was just taking advantage of the fact that they were planning ritual suicide, and Vlad was tired of being on his best behavior.”

    NEVER GOING TO BE THE MOOD OF THE DAY: “I will just buy the damn university. Someone find out how much it costs.”

    IKEA ZOOM: y are they in Ikea Zoom

    SALIM: “Salim was perfect when they first got together… [d]espite that, Alice couldn’t just be chill. She pushed and pushed until their relationship broke.” Ooh. A clue that we aren’t getting the full picture on Salim. (Also, I see that shot where we can’t see Vlad’s reflection in the mirror right after Alice casts her ‘I Wish’ spell that he’s at least crazier than her.)

    ETHREN: Getting more and more suspicious that he’s not around.

    GWENDOLYN: SHE UNDERSTANDS WHAT’S GOING ON BETTER THAN ALICE DOES. OF COURSE. OF COURSE. I LOVE IT.

    ALICE: Was she always throwing this many spectrum vibes or is that just me?! Vlad, too?

    ELMYRA: That. That right there is my role model for talking to children.

    • feroshgirl
      September 24, 2022

      There is no story I’m willing write where Sulis does not come back as a mad, deranged, powerful goddess, okay? All of your questions are SO GOOD. I wish I could answer them right now but…spoilers. Also this line kicked my butt back into high gear. I’m writing, I swear it!

      Thank you fo noticing William’s accent. I worked hard this time around to make it clear. Why yes I can make my black fantasy characters into ye olde Scottish knights with hot non-binary spouses, what of it? LOL

      So, William is kissing someone who isn’t Morgyn in the 1950s with Vlad standing in the background. The man and Vlad are in military uniforms and we know Vlad served in the military in the 50s because that’s how we meant Latimer. That man is not Latimer but we do see him cuddling with William in Vlad’s flashback when he thinks about waking up from his vampiric slumber.

      But again, I’m sure he’s *fine* and totally not important and won’t show up later in the story to wreak havoc <3

      Vlad obviously has to go to jail for yoga crimes. Now, did I shoot that entire scene and forget about his socks until I was making edits? Yes. But is it now plot relevant? Absolutely. Would Deacon ever do yoga with socks on? NEVER. The blob-like construction of sims' feet is not burned into my brain.

      Not only did I laugh hysterically at putting Vlad in denim, I put him in a hoochie daddy venon shorts for a machinima flashback AND I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE.

      (okay listen, yes, you know I am a 100% about this Vlad clothing thing. I got a personal shopper once because I was so overwhelmed by choosing clothing and my instructions were: all parts of my body want to feel like they are in leggings. I AM A NORMAL AMOUNT OF CHILL ABOUT THE FEELING OF FABRICS ON MY BODY. Anyway, I digress - It's a plot point in chapter 14 and throughout the story its important to note when Vlad is wearing clothing that makes him uncomfortable and why)

      That yoga teacher was the worst and I literally wrote a scene where Vlad hunted her down because I was so mad, but it went too far afield from the plot so I deleted it. I really wanted this to be a moment where Alice takes care of him bc literally eff this teacher.

      Hehe, no don't pay attention to Vlad's reflection! nothing to see here...

      Salim, Salim, Salim - how do I love my plans for this character? Too much. Way too much.

      Everyone wants more Ethren. Will they regret it? Only time will tell 😉 (I have made that man entirely too much of a brunch daddy thirst trap not to bring him back)

      Gwendolyn remains the best and wisest character.

      OOOHHHH V INTERESTING OBSERVATION OF ALICE.

      Elmyra for the win.

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