Chapter 13: Academic Blues

University of Foxbury, Oasis Springs


They sat at the lunch table doing their usual round of banter, but Vlad found himself more irritated than aroused. Ethren had already taken him to task over their divorce settlement—as if ten acres, fourteen pigs, eight hens, a house cat, and all the drinking vessels wasn’t enough—and now he’d started harassing Vlad about his “theatrics.”

“No, please, I’d love to hear which bizarre idiosyncrasy has you wanting to murder everyone at this conference,” his ex purred.

“I am quite capable of being in large groups without murdering everyone.” Vlad pursed his lips, “And the conference is fine.” 

It wasn’t. He could hear everything—the AV coordinator arguing with the next presenter about their slides, two tenured faculty complaining about the quality of the food, which Vlad agreed, smelled sub-par, and the hustle and bustle of students. Not to mention it was torture sitting in those plastic chairs for hours on end.

He hadn’t been able to explain to Alice at yoga, but it wasn’t just playing dead that rattled him. He’d been carved out. On the inside, he was just—

You can beg, little vampire, but I have plans for you. Fate has plans for you…

“Are you even listening to me?” Ethren snapped his fingers.

“Yes.” A lie.

“You look antsy,” his ex observed, “What’s wrong with you?”

The list was long. A shattered hip that never healed right, nerve damage so severe that at times he dropped things, blindness in one of his eyes that came and went like the wind—all of it appearing in a constant cycle because it had been decades since he’d truly eaten.

“Nothing,” Vlad bit out, “Continue.”

The opportunity to lecture proved too alluring, Ethren did continue, railing about how the Sages pretended to bring order but really only set spellcasters at the top of the heap.

Vlad was desperate to end the conversation. He smirked, “Sitting atop the heap is endlessly fascinating for those with short lifespans.” 

“That is bullshit!” Ethren pounded his fist on the table but annoyingly, did not leave. “Vampires had the council, so don’t pretend quests for power are beneath you. And you are not hearing me. Any fool can see that the Sages haven’t brought true stability. That means someone will be looking for an opportunity to unseat them.”

“Then I wish them luck.” Vlad shook his leg, trying to get the pins and needles to stop. “What do I care if witches want to kill each other?”

“You should care. The last time witches wanted to kill each other, they made werewolves, and in response to that, they created vampires, and in response that, nearly tore the Magic Realm apart.”

“Magic created vampires and werewolves,” Vlad spat. “Witches were merely the conduits.”

Aw. Does it hurt your feelings to hear that natural-born vampires had witches as makers?”

Ethren’s mocking tone irritated Vlad, ratcheting up what was already a simmering pot of agitation. “Why are you here? It’s certainly not to play stepfather. You never liked that role.”

“You think you’re gonna offend me, carissime?” his ex crossed his arms and gave Vlad a satisfied look, “I said it 800 years ago, and I’m saying it now. I don’t have any interest in raising a batch of screaming brats with you. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.” 

There was no time to do this dance with his former lover; Vlad’s body had about all it could take of being seated. He stood, the pain radiating from his hip so viciously that he swayed. “Go to hell,” he growled, words almost slurring.

He didn’t see Ethren’s right hook coming. Couldn’t. It rocked his jaw, the bones cracking. He stumbled back as the half-vampire hissed.

“Come now, Vladislaus, have you grown tired of foreplay already?”

Despite the pain, Vlad swung wildly, clawing the side of Ethren’s face. Meanwhile, his dark form pulsed under his skin like a living thing—the effort to subdue it agonizing.

—I’ll place a fire inside of you. A hunger

“Fuck you,” Vlad roared. 

“I have been trying, but you don’t return my calls.” Ethren rubbed his hands together, one eyebrow cocked, “Come on, I’ll buy you a glass of nectar, and you can lick my wounds. I know making up is your favorite part.”

Vlad looked at him with absolute loathing, hunger gnawing at his belly. He was supposed to keep this side locked up, but oil slick and tempestuous, it sometimes slipped through. 

Devour, it whispered. 

“Hey,” Ethren took a tentative step towards him, “What’s wrong? Is it getting harder to control?”

Vlad turned so his ex-husband couldn’t see his face. “No,” he lied, as his jaw began to heal. “Lunchtime is over.”

  • Yimiki
    Nov 15, 2022

    Welcome back! 😄

    Freelancing business 😆 So far, Alice seems to be the better improvisor in a pinch. Or is it the better liar in a pinch? Eh. They don’t seem to be mutually exclusive with those two. To be fair, Alice, even the most stone-cold of bosses are no match for Tiny Toddler Terror.

    BEN! I weirdly missed him, infuriating as he was the first time around. Hm, he does look significantly less… healthy? Is that the word? And Grim downright knows the “previous” world to, it seems. Curious. Why are they specifically there for Gwendolyn, I wonder.

    Oh! Ethren the ex! My gods he does have a lot of… err, appeal. Did we learn why they split up in the first place? We haven’t yet, right? Wha- is that Miko? 😧 Nah, surely I didn’t see that right. Interesting bit of lore about the origins of werewolves and vampires there…

    With all the trouble that seeing dead people could bring, having someone get increasingly mad because they’re not getting a drink they can’t enjoy had not crossed my mind. Maybe they’ll realise it when someone sits down in their seat… though pearl lady doesn’t seem aware enough for that either.

    I should probably feel bad for the poor sod who’s about to get torn limb from limb by Vlad there. He’s hiding some pretty mysoginistic views under his “research” but that doesn’t warrant whatever brutal death is about to… well. If that helps calm Vlad down, then it helps calm Vlad down, doesn’t it? And the guy is still alive! I think! Maybe!

    Oh dear. Snapped a shot and then sent it over without thinking, and now he’s seen Gwendolyn. Let’s see how that plays out. Something tells me Vlad won’t mind nearly as much as Alice thinks he will. Bwahaha small boobies 😆 Gwen is adorable.

    • feroshgirl
      Nov 15, 2022

      Thank you! I am slowly returning to life and getting back into simlit again! I took a few weeks just to play the game without any worries of producing anything and it was glorious. I was admittedly burnt out. I hear there has been some Tales of Camelot in my absence so I am eager to catch up. Onto your comment!

      Ha! Alice is definitely smoother than Vlad, though I think he’s just exhausted by pretending with her. I think they are both exhausted by pretending with each other, which is why they need that kick in the butt to just be honest with each other.

      Mommy has small boobies is the best toddler line I’ve ever written LOL.

      And you’re right, Gwendolyn is not for the faint of heart. I don’t know anyone who could handle her, Vlad included.

      Haha, I do think if you saw the dead everywhere they’d be more annoying that scary. At this point, Alice is just like: can you all please stop talking at once and don’t bother me!

      I love that you “almost” felt bad, but couldn’t quite summon it up. I mean, I wrote it and SAME.

      I think if anything, Vlad is more enamored. We know he loves kids LOL

      • Yimiki
        Nov 18, 2022

        Just playing the sims with no screenshotting responsibilities is wonderful sometimes. I do that every once in a while, too. Glad to hear you’ve recharged a bit 😄 Haha, there has been, but it’ll still be there whenever 😗

        And now I want to see a filler episode with all of your cast just trying to handle Gwendolyn’s toddlerness, lol. Morgyn, Lilith, Caleb, Bella, Anastasia, Penny…. and they have to do it without harming the kid. I wonder how long they’d last before they go (even more) mental 😂 Mortimer, William and Vlad seem like they could actually pull it off, so they’re not allowed to participate. 🤣

  • Snow ~
    Nov 19, 2022

    Sorry I’m so late to these chapters ;-;
    I love Gwen constantly interrupting Alice when she’s trying to pee. Toddlers never need something when you’re not busy XD Ah yes, the joys of the toddler ‘why?’ BECAUSE I SAID SO KID! Ah yes the return of B’ollithranon! And now all of the wondrous crazy stuff from BBD is gonna bleed right into Strauds and I’m here for it. Ohh gosh I don’t even want to THINK about Olive Specter as a babysitter XD So much I can’t say cuz I don’t wanna spoil BB for other readers but yeah maybe Ben is not the best person to have as a babysitter. Then again…possibly a better option than Olive Specter!

    Even someone with as much life knowledge as Vlad seems so out of place in one of those pretentious-ass conventions.
    ‘No, I have not read this obscure-ass paper and could not give less of a fuck.’
    ‘No please! Discuss it with me! You HAVE to know how much smarter I am than you! I got full marks in a spelling test in Year Four!’

    Yes here he is, glorious Ethren Reyes! I love that he’s half-vampire, so damn much. And that flirty edge. Kinda like when Penny’s traumatic experiences slipped in during convo and now we’re seeing it with Vlad as well…I love how you tied in the Werewolves pack lore with the Magic Realm lore so much aaaa! Now that I think about it it makes the spellcasters seem a lot more terrifying to know that witches created werewolves and vampires. Sort of like their own little murderous Frankenstein’s monsters.
    Yess Vlad, go feral > : )

    Ohhhh I wonder what that energy was? Has the uhh…powers / senses she had before in another universe come back in some way? I like the tie of magic and logic as well, since often magic there is not really anything sort of logic-wise or explainable about it, it just…is. I wonder if trying to apply a ‘definite answers’ mathematical edge to magic would help Lilith understand it better, or if it’s misplaced effort. For me magic isn’t supposed to be wholly understood, but then that would come with vampirism wouldn’t it? You have all the time in the world, why wouldn’t you make an effort to try and understand every little thing and boil it all down to some kind of formula?

    I really love the vampire / patriarchal energy thing as well from the vampire tome, since that’s something that ties in with my own vampire lore and that will come up in a soon-later chapter- that privileged men make good vampires and are less regretful of vampirism because in reality, it’s little new to them. Because they have never had to hide their chaos, they’ve never had to tone themselves down, their violence is almost always justified on the grand scale. It’s no different to before the turning other than the immortality and the drinking blood.

    I love that they’ve both had fucked-up days and they’re both like ‘yeah it was alright honey!’ XD ‘100 Kinky Things You Might Be Into With Convenient Product Placement From Our Sponsors’ list’ made me laugh so fucking hard XD Right alongside ‘You Are Perfect The Way You Are Queen! Now Buy This £4k Dress Or Men Won’t Want To Fuck You.’ GWEN! TIMING! Ohhh my gosh XD And the ‘mommy has small boobies!’ I’m gone XD

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