CW: Strong language, adult situations, strong sexual content, trauma, and character experiencing PTSD
Hey, y’all! Just a heads up that Chapter 12 (coming August 21st) will be our “mid-season” finale. After that, I’ll take a few weeks off to refill the creative tank and do some site maintenance and game admin. I’ll return at the end of September for the second half of the season (Chapters 13 – 24).
Don’t despair, though! I’ve got a little something to celebrate the high school pack release on July 28th, and I’ll be back with more crazy adventures before you know it!
Bella set down her coffee and stared at the photos on the phone. “It’s the same thing…” she announced, tone astonished.
Her lips parted; she seemed to do that a lot when thinking. Caleb always told himself he’d avoid being his parents—two lovesick idiots fused by their mutual narcissism. He was single. Happily so. Bella and her bright green eyes and stubborn determination and keen—
“Oof,” Caleb coughed as Akira elbowed him. “What was that for?”
“She said the park where they found her first victim had the same ritual set-up as the graves in the woods. She asked us what it’s for.”
If he could, Caleb would have blushed. It hadn’t occurred to him that the ritual might be something other than the standard Beltane fare.
“Why don’t you call those creepy crime scene witches?” Bella suggested.
Inwardly, Caleb cringed. The supernatural world was new to her; she didn’t mean the things she said. Still, it was like nails on a chalkboard whenever she made a thoughtless comment.
Akira scoffed, his pointed ears twitching with agitation. “Those creepy crime scene witches could peel open your skull and empty every thought in your head, so maybe, just maybe, try their title: Acolytes.”
“I didn’t mean—”
“We know,” Caleb said quickly, “Anything else you can think of that connects to your crime scene?”
“Eliza and Johnny both had werewolf tooth necklaces. That’s how I ended up tracking down Nina. We also found shoeprints: male, Spencer-Kims, which makes them pretty damn expensive. Deacon and I were hoping a local bubble blower dealer might help us track them down, but does that mean anything to you?”
“I’m not sure,” Caleb lied. He stood, dropping a few simoleons down on the table. “Let me walk you to your car, and we’ll talk about it later.”
Bella stopped when they got to her vehicle, nervously tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “I didn’t mean to offend you. Sometimes my mouth gets ahead of me.”
“It’s fine,” Caleb assured her. “You’re adjusting to all of this. Just try to be thoughtful.” He paused, listening. “And avoid taking the highway; there’s a pile-up. I can hear the honking.”
She laughed. “You know, of all the things I thought vampires would be concerned about. Traffic was not one of them.”
Caleb smiled as she climbed into her car and drove away. He was still smiling when Akira came to stand next to him.
“I don’t like her,” he grumbled.
“You weren’t asked.”
“You’re not sure about her either. You didn’t say shit about us having an identical shoeprint belonging to a vampire.”
“The details of that are unconfirmed.”
Akira cocked an eyebrow.
“What? Only a werewolf could track a specific identity, and even then, they’d need to have smelled it before. My ego doesn’t need any false attribution; the most I can tell you is what kind of creature was in the area. Which reminds me, we have another problem.”
“More problem than you not trusting any werewolf for fear this might be one of your psychotic family members?” Akira held his hands in mock surrender when Caleb growled, “Don’t get all worked up. I’d do the same fucking thing.”
He would. Akira always made it clear that he believed the world operated in shades of gray. He had such a laissez-faire attitude towards supernatural law that Caleb often wondered why he did this job at all. “Johnny Zest smelled like a werewolf but he never turned, I could tell from his bone structure. He also smelled like a spellcaster, but the Landgraabs aren’t witches.”
The fae cracked his knuckles, “So, werewolf teeth, rituals, and a little family tree mystery. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Lilith and Matilda,” Caleb felt a wave of exhaustion wash over him. “One guess as to which one will be easier.”
The Omar Golf and Country Club
“You’re doing it wrong,” Anastasia called out, her golf club slung casually over her shoulder.
Penny focused on the ball, trying to ignore her. “Do you usually spend your first few dates pointing out all of your love interest’s flaws?”
“As a matter of fact, yes.”
With a resigned sigh, Penny switched sides, but she was not going to give Ana the satisfaction of begging for help. She intended to do a moderate swing, but something went wrong, and the ball sailed clean over the fence.
It had been Anastasia’s insane idea to go golfing. Penny only agreed because she wanted to know the second the vampire returned to her condo so she could figure out some sort of explanation…
Did she even need an explanation?
She thought she saw Jimena and another maid when she high-tailed out of the building, but to be honest, it was a blur. Maybe no one saw anything…
“I could show you,” the vampire offered, drawing Penny out of her thoughts.
The way she was holding that club should be illegal. It made Penny think irrational thoughts.
Ones she wasn’t even sure were sexy.
“Get thee back, devil.” Penny plucked another ball from the bucket and lined it up. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Ana palming her golf club. “Why are you hovering?” she snapped when she meant, “Who in the hell wears spiked heels on a golf course, and must you look so incredible in them?”
Turning her attention back to the ball, Penny found it absurdly hard not to hit the thing with all her might. She failed again, watching as it pinged off the side of a table and crashed through a window.
“Relax,” Ana slid her arms around Penny’s waist, “Let me teach you how to make a hole in one.”
Every part of Penny clenched deliciously, and her heart rate began to speed up. Predator, her adrenaline whispered, but llamas, how she craved that word.
“You just need to grip it gently,” Ana whispered, pressing a kiss to Penny’s shoulder.
“Then you hold it steady like you’re in control,” she angled their bodies towards the hole. “And swing.” Anastasia held tight, and they watched the golf ball sail directly into the hole. “Am I an excellent teacher, or what?”
“Y-yeah…” Penny stumbled back, light-headed, her whole body burning up.
Hold it in.
“Penny!” Ana’s voice sounded like it was coming from down a long tunnel.
I can hear you, Penny wanted to say. But what came out was, “Am I on fire?”
Poor old Caleb, already torn between ‘ooh pretty girl’ and ‘I don’t want to be like Mum and Dad’ XD I like where this is going with Bella. One of my favourite character storylines is a character with little knowledge/belief of the supernatural slowly becoming involved in that world and being more or less out of their depth. Having a Fae along for the ride is interesting here, now I think of it it’d make sense to me as to why the morals of the combined supernatural world likely are looser and more grey than they are for others. And even if Caleb wonders why someone like that would want anything to do with law, on occasion it helps to have someone with a more neutral stance depending on the situation. The banter between Anastasia and Penny is always amazing! Ohh, misjudging newfound strength with that golf swing are we? I can just hear a distant ‘clunk’ and an ‘OW, YOU PRICK!’
OHHH MY GOSH THE ‘let me show you how to putt’ scene oh my gosh oh my fosh ogg my gosHHH 🥵🥵🥵🥵 In my head the werewolf form is only brought on through anger (or full moon), but now I wonder if it could also be bought on by any kind of heightened powerful emotion… No, the Fae don’t work like that. Piss Akira off and he’ll hide your shoes and your glasses in a random part of your house every morning as a ‘fuck you’. XD Ohhh no no, the denial of the woof-side and she said something kinda hurtful to Ana as a result. It’s a difficult thing to accept, but maybe Ana can help her come to terms with things. Probably a fair bit vamps and woofers have in common, but one thing is the loss of control in the early days, likely causing fear or maybe injury, and the resulting guilt. I love the pic of Lil surrounded by the sparkles!
I’m excited to see what you do with Ethren, and the inclusion that a homunculus is a possible thing in this universe makes me now wonder who might be a homunculus : P Your version of magic in the story is much different to a lot of what I’ve read, much more focused on exacts- the comparison to maths works well. As opposed to something largely decided by intent, with multiple ways to come to one ‘conclusion’ there’s a very specific art to it all.
WOOFER CREW IS HERE! TBH I think it’s fine with switching to in-game werewolves from the N-A costume; I think it fits canon in an interesting way cuz I now imagine werewolves come in all varieties of differing man-to-wolf ratios, some more feral than others. Casual Ana holding on to bloodied limbs, it’d be shocking on anyone else but I’m just ‘yep, Ana would do that’ XD Ooooof, looks like Matilda struck a past chord, not a good idea with someone like Ana… ‘Good.
Anastasia had always believed it was better to be feared than loved.’ NOOOO MY WEAKNESS, CHARACTERS THAT NEED TO TRY AND LEARN TO LET OTHERS LOVE THEM ;-; Still, I expected a sort of altercation between Ana and Matilda even after ripping one of the others to shreds. After all, even if mooncasters and spellcasters are no longer enemies, individuals will often carry bloody histories with them wherever they go sometimes- whether out of intergenerational trauma, or out of prejudice.
I wonder if that forum user is just a joke name thrown in to parody general forum users, or if the person under that user might be someone we already know in the story? Hmm….
Caleb is torn! But really, how long do we think he is going to hold out?
Ahh yes! I’m having so much fun with Bella as the normal foil, especially since so much of her lore in the game is supernatural in nature. Or, well, alien in nature, but still.
Hmm, so you’re on Akira’s side huh? Gray is good? You might have to explain that to Caleb. He is struggling with that. I think right now he doesn’t see Akira as neutral (ooohhh what an interesting way of putting that, I like it!), he sees him on a slippery slope towards becoming the bad guy.
Hehehe Ana and Penny banter has been so fun to write. I have to admit I’ve taken Penny’s werewolf triggers from the game lore. You can hop into a rage based on strong emotions, even getting flirty.
Must. Not. Comment. On. Vampires. And werewolves. Having. Things. In. Common.
Okay, I move on!
Ethren!!! You inspired me bc I had so much fun and fell in love with him in your story. I just knew he had to show up here.
You immediately jumped to “who” might be a homonculus and I am internally screaming.
IT IS MY GOAL TO MAKE EVERYONE LOVE ANA!!!! Hahahah ::cue evil laughter::
Yes! The things we carry—Aka trauma—is a huge theme in this story. But how much are these characters and do they even know? (I maintain my theory that Aine is carrying more trauma than she even realizes at this point in your story)
Who is dopeguy69 indeed? 😈😈😈🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂
Caleb noticing Bella’s mannerisms is quite suggestive of his romantic feelings for her, but I also wonder, since he has powers that make him more aware, and coupled with being alive for so long, he probably notices things that others would typically gloss over, I wonder if he pays *this level* attention to others in casual settings.
I don’t know what to say about the golf scene that I haven’t said already, but those photos are magical, even The Acolytes aren’t on that level. The heart bubbles just had me in awe. That was extra guac at Chipotle amaze-balls! LMAO at Penny with her legs on the ground. HAHAHAHAHA. If ever there was a perfect photo THAT WINS THE AWARD. However…. and you know this is a big HOWEVER, this tease was MUCH. I mean, I get it, there aren’t a whole lot of romantic spots on a golf course to take a new relationship to the next-level, and Ana has been extra good about keeping paparazzi away. UGH. Why do they have to be PRACTICAL lovers?!?!? But also, Penny nearly turning….
That photo of her trying to keep herself contained kinda has this Canydman vibe with a bunch of bees. I know that it’s not bees in the photo, but it reminds me of a swarm of *something* or even in Lost there was this *thing* that floated. Either way, it is BAD. And I love how you captured it and translated it on photo.
It was an acknowledgment of boundaries, which meant not a single member of the Straud family could be bothered to follow it.
LMAO. Obvs. At least Caleb seems the boundary-respecting sort. Which means ANOTHER drawn out TEASE of a romance *cough* Ferosh you tease *cough*
I really enjoy Lilith. She seems to be the voice of reason in this story series, despite making a meal out of Acolytes at one point. But you know, maybe that was done rationally. The exchange between Caleb and Litlith is just so sweet, and how he brings her a toy from their centuries-old childhood (lol at Vlad being a hoarder. Maybe at some point Marie Kondo can intervene). I just loved this scene so much. And then MIC DROP the Vampire Tome makes its beautifully mysterious way back into this story.
I love that Lilith doesn’t disappear into mist. She’s a glam-goth!
The scene with Ana and Penny at the hospital …. Poor Penny, vulnerable (and not making this sexual) physically and emotionally. And then it got porn-y (FINALLY) but then it got deadly (which okay I’m on board, tear Ana’s throat, she’s into this shit… WHY ARE WE STOPPING… oh, oh no) and then it was just all that PTSD and denile morphed into THE BIGGEST cock-blocking moment in simlit history. But… understandable.
“When I fuck you, it won’t be some rushed thing with your mind miles away and panic in your eyes. You’ll beg. You’ll look at me with longing. And if I am so inclined, I’ll give you what you want.”
WELP. Ana has a pretty way with words. That’s all I can say.
Ana is not one to fuck around and I respect that, and good on her for seeking out a werewolf pack for Penny. There really should be a better intervention between the two worlds, and I like how you address the lack of community and resources available to newly-turned supes, and how that parallels others displaced (LGBTQ+, refugees, etc.).
UM HELLO PREVIEW VIDEO.
A BRUSH WITH DEATH? Oh fuck is Grimmy coming into the story OR is some coffin woohoo is about to get poppin? Either way, popcorn grabbed.
Well I am living for what’s next 😀 😀 😀
CALEB: What’s standing out to me in this chapter is Caleb’s sensitivity toward Bella’s wording. Yes, it’s been established that part of his sensitivity is to language and word choice, but this has to do with a conversation we had earlier about acclimation. How has Caleb not heard all the crap Bella is saying before? Has he really had that little contact with mortals? Contrast w/ Ana, who has clearly been handling mortals for hundreds of years due to the film industry. Everything Penny says is just sliding off her back; she’s contextualizing and processing like a pro.
LILITH: “Ok, make a character. Giver her Dolly’s haircut, Dolly’s fashion sense, Dolly’s academic streak, Dolly’s shitty boundary-stomping family, Dolly’s coping mechanisms. Make her talk about math just to rub it in. Now there’s no way she’ll be Dolly’s favorite character. Not while Penny walks this earth. Hahahaha. I’ve done it again. Husband!! Prepare my cloud of evil. I wish to reward myself by floating to the wine store.”
SHOEPRINTS: Oh, ok, male shoeprints. I’ll level with you, I kinda lost too many of the details to say something clever about this.
GOLF: IT’S! THE! SCENE! WE! HAVE! ALL! BEEN! WAITING! FOR!
Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to stop before I pee myself.
Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to stop before Penny pees herself.
SEX SCENE: Yay for stopping the sex scene! 100% on board with that. Penny’s in a really weird place. Also. Not with that manicure.
IMPECCABLY DRESSED CARROTS: Would a carrot wear orange? If I were a carrot, I’d wear something neutral that played off my skin tone. Maybe white. I hate that this is a topic Trump has more expertise on than I do.
ETHREN: What. Happened. To Ethren. What did you do to Ethren.
What did you do.
VICTORIAN-ERA PHOTO: Can we talk about the people on the edges? The lady on the left whose main concern seems to be what to do with her arms and the man on the right who is already done with this shit? (I’m assuming this is the play, btw)
DoPEguy69: I’m just the teeniest bit peeved that this isn’t Deacon. Then again, I’m sure you’re the type to know what your characters’ usernames are, and what songs they’ve listened to most recently, and what’s in their fridge, and have all that info in a spreadsheet somewhere. Because that’s also my type. Heed these words, we are over here sitting on “why is ‘artful’ talking to ‘tastycock420’?”/”they’re married.”
Lilith: I am sorry that I made lilith a direct attack. I have glanced at my plans for the rest of the story, and honestly, I can only report more attacks. All I have to give you is more Snoop Wine.
Caleb: Oh Caleb, you sweet summer child. So Caleb has spent most of his time dealing with the magic realm. Unlike his parents and the rest of his family, his world is deeply grounded in the supernatural community. So its been a long time since he’s had dealings with a mortal, especially one he likes and wants to spend time with. That said, I appreciate that you saw what I was trying to do in that scene <3
:: 17 PARAGRAPHS OF APPRECIATION FOR THE JOKE "Ma'am I'm going to ask you to stop before Penny pees herself ::
Yeah, Penny is not in the right headspace for sex and Ana is a lot of things, but moving forward without enthusiastic consent is not one of those things. It's interesting because she is so grounded in herself, so unapologetic for who and what she is. Penny is not that way. And I'm sorry to say this won't be resolved immediately. Even when they do finally have sex. All I can say is that Penny comes into her own it will be glorious.
::35 chapters of my Penny obsession::
You are right about Carrot color coordination, but also, wouldn't it be sort of bold to just roll up in head-to-toe orange. Like I am the most carrot to ever carrot.
LOL "oh my god I just saw a fucking vampire, it bit me right in the neck" I am dying.
I do know a lot. (Vlad's is just his name. It was his name with numbers after it, but then he got rid of all the other contenders). I love that you think this isn't Deacon.
Artful and tastycock420 had the most beautiful wedding. There was not a peony in sight, thank god.