Of Love and Monsters

Chapter 21, Part 2: King’s Gambit

Content Warning: Although it’s not explicit, there are references to domestic violence and child abuse. Basically, this chapter gets a little dark, but the comedy returns soon, I promise!

Windenburg Woods



“Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep…”

John Milton, Paradise Lost

Vlad stared at the stranger standing outside of his house. His…ears…

“Whoa there, not here to cause you any harm,” the man said, holding up his hands to show he had no weapons. 

“My home does not receive visitors. What brings you?” Vlad snarled, but a small voice in his head urged him to let the stranger inside. 

“Aren’t you the Prince of Windenburg?” the man replied, and for a moment his smile looked almost mocking. 

Vlad, who had not thought of himself as a prince in eight long years, felt panic crawling up his throat at the idea of sending the stranger on his way. He readjusted his grip and struggled to make his voice a warning. “Call upon my mother or sister if its royal favors you seek.”

The man spread his arms wide again, emphasizing that there was nothing to fear, even as Vlad’s pulse beat out a jagged rhythm. 

“Listen here, Prince, my name is Akira Kibo and I didn’t not come here to barter with you. I came to warn you.” 

Straud Castle, April 1507



I have come to be your salvation. 

Kaylnn and Atorn weren’t dead, Vlad could at least be happy about that. If they were, his father would be gloating. 

“How was your visit with William? Full of sage advice I hope,” Josef wondered aloud, tone disinterested. 

“William gave me wise counsel,” Vlad replied flatly. 

“You must be starving,”Josef continued, his voice honeyed and dangerous. “And you need your wounds treated, is that not true?” 

The monk on the left cleared his throat and whispered in Josef’s ear. Vlad strained to make out the words.

His father nodded. “Food or treatment. Pick one.”

Vlad choked down a laugh. Nothing was ever freely given, not when his father took orders from a bunch of heretical monks who thought they had the power to call on the God of Death. His eye, the one that wasn’t swollen shut, darted back and forth between the two monks as he considered his options. 

His shoulder was dislocated, the gash across his eye was almost certainly infected and he had three broken fingers that would heal crooked if they weren’t set. Pain tore through his chest whenever he breathed so he must have a broken rib…or four. 

But the food.

Oh, the food.

Vlad tilted his head, signaling to the monk with bowl of stew who merely smiled as he set it on the ground and watched Vlad struggle to pick it up. 

Once it was in his hands, Vlad fell upon the bowl, gulping down the stew in ravenous bites, shoveling the meat and vegetables into his mouth with his fingers. He glanced up to see his father’s look of disgust and paid it no mind. Starving, Vlad had discovered, reordered your priorities. Pride was useless. You couldn’t eat pride.

With the small weight of food in his belly, Vladislaus could make better sense of the situation. 

“May we discuss them now?” he paused at his father’s raised eyebrow, forming his mouth around that painful word. “Please.”

Windenburg Woods, March 1507



Akira pulled back on his bow, the one he had conjured out of nowhere. “The King is mad as a Hatter. He won’t stop for nothing. You must—” 

“If you’re looking for permission to assassinate my father I grant it. But there is nothing that I must do,” Vlad growled.

With a cruel smile, Akira lowered his weapon. “I told them this was a waste of time. You can’t even be glamoured because of your—”

“Strength,” Vlad dared.

Stubbornness,” Akira finished. 

Vlad pulled his sword back, “You have no place here. This is not your world. Creatures like you are…”—he cast about for the right word—“…myths and superstition.”

Akira narrowed his eyes, studying Vlad, before letting out a dry laugh. “Well fuck me. You don’t know, do you? His plans for you? What you’re to become?”

Vlad seethed but didn’t answer. Instead, he brandished his sword.

Akira laughed again. “Don’t get so cocky, prince. I didn’t shoot you, but it damn sure wasn’t because you were fast enough.”

Straud Castle, April 1507


Dungeon, April 1507

Vlad waited in earnest while his father solicited approval from the monks before saying anything more.

Finally, Josef spoke. “Atorn calls out for you, you know. Small boy. Weak boy. You were already holding a sword at his age, but your son, knows of nothing but toys and sketching. He would need training to become useful to me. You remember your training, yes?”

Vlad did not blink, even as his muscles seized and the cell felt as if it were growing smaller. He made a fist, his broken fingers giving him the exact right amount of pain to focus. Safe. Keep them safe. 

He bit down on his anger, suffocating it until his face was wiped clean of any emotion. 

Play dead.

Josef examined him and appearing satisfied, continued his speech. “The land I seek in Forgotten Hollow is overrun. You will be given weapons, a small force, and you will do what you have always excelled at and go and make my war. Conquer Forgotten Hollow in exchange for your wife and son. To raise your son as you see fit. That’s the deal, Vladislaus. What say you?”

He will offer you the moon, the sun, and the stars. 

He will promise you everything. 

But do not take it. 

Do not let him break you. 

But those fine words meant nothing. Vladislaus Straud was already broken.

“Yes,” he replied numbly.

Josef wore a serpent’s smile as he motioned for the other monk to begin treating Vlad’s wounds. 

Windenburg Woods, March 1507



Later that night, after Akira had departed and Atorn was already tucked safely into bed Kaylnn voiced her concerns. “If the fae are real then my feelings are not superstition.” 

She held up her hand to stave off Vlad’s interruption. “There’s a change in the air, Vladislaus. We should go now.” 

She was right. Even as he looked around the small cottage and despaired of the things they would leave behind, he knew their peaceful hideaway was no more.

She started to cross the room but Vlad grabbed her arm and forced her to turn around. “You are right, my love, and I was wrong. I’m sorry. But Atorn is sleeping. We should let him rest. We’ll pack tonight and go tomorrow.”

She hesitated, but he stepped forward and gently cupped her cheek. “I will keep you both safe. I promise.”


Engagement Photoshoot Poses by Atashi77

Male Crown 1 (Original mesh) by Colores Urbanos

Jailbird Poses by JoanneBernice

Elf Ears by Sikoi

Potables (wine glasses) by Quiddity

Poses & CC by Natalia-Auditore

from the Sims 4 Gallery

Lost in the Woods 16K by lluispire (Sims 4 Gallery)

Many thanks to Lila_Lynn_919 for posting a copy of the Sages in the Sims 4 Gallery. It made my life 1000 times easier. 

The castle is a screenshot leftover from my last story. I cannot for the life of me find the original download to credit it. If this is yours, let me know! 

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