Chapter 27: Bring a Hammer

Our Story Continues

Last time, Vlad argued with Latimer about his conflicting familial commitments. Anastasia attempted to keep herself busy by accepting an invitation to Lily Feng’s bed, siccing lawyers on Bella, and having a tense, uncomfortable coffee with her daughter. Bella was fired and decided to take an ill-advised trip to Windenburg to chase after Salim. Meanwhile, Alice did some emotional soul searching, just as a ghost appeared with a warning to duck. After avoiding a sniper bullet, she was attacked by a special-ops force. Vlad let out his inner beast to fly to her rescue, but something during the battle unlocked Alice’s true power.

Vlad’s House, Henford-on-Bagley


They stood outside of the house, both hesitating to go in. 

“I should have gone for the sniper first,” Vlad said almost apologetically.

“You did the right thing,” Alice clutched herself, brushing a hand over the dried plasma on her sweater. “You didn’t know where I was, and it was a lot of ground to cover.”

“I could sense you, but it was hard to remain myself long enough to think; I hoped you were hiding.”

“I tried. But then that woman found me.” The soldier seemed familiar, but Alice couldn’t place her. Maybe because her thoughts were too jumbled. “My dad taught me to fight. Basic hand-to-hand combat. I did what I could.”

“You did incredible.” 

She couldn’t help the small smile that slipped out. Vlad hadn’t seen her fight, and yet he was still so confident. 

“What happened out there?” he turned and cupped her face gently, searching her expression. “I felt something. I can’t describe it, but I was beside myself.”

Alice wanted to tell him the truth—that she’d heard death whisper in her ear, and it spoke with her voice. She wanted to explain the horror of what she did to those soldiers and how that horror was settling into something that felt suspiciously like satisfaction. But all she could croak out was, “I died.”

Vlad buried the flash of terror that crossed his face so quickly that Alice could have sworn she imagined it. “It didn’t stick,” he said firmly, leaning down to rest his forehead against hers.

“No,” Alice agreed, “It didn’t.”

Morygn & William’s House



The proper way to respond when your ex-sister-in-law showed up after ignoring you for 140 years was to use your magic to boil the glassy fluid that held her eyeballs until she screamed. But Morgyn didn’t want to risk the baby getting even more upset. “Anastasia, you can’t be here.”

“Why,” she tapped a finger to her lips, “Because of the baby you’re hiding?”

“There’s no baby.”

The mortal woman behind her flushed. “Uh, we heard it crying.”

Again, Morgyn found themselves infuriated by having to keep up with this charade. “She’s a bit young for you, isn’t she?” they raised an eyebrow. 

“Don’t insult me,” Ana snapped. “I don’t chase children.”

“I’m 22,” the woman insisted, but Anastasia just nodded like this proved her point.

“This is my assistant, Luna. Luna, this is Morgyn. They’re an old friend who hates me. Now, there’s a lovely bar in the center of town. Morgyn, my love, would you like to get a Blackberry Fizz and hear my proposal?”

“No,” they said, though the answer was yes. A resounding, desperate yes. “I cannot help you, Anastasia. In fact, last time we spoke, I believe your instructions were to rot in hell.”

“I don’t recall,” her tone was airy, “Either way, I never took you for a rule-follower.”

They weren’t. And they actually didn’t care what Anastasia said to them a century ago in anger. They wanted to grab their old friend and demand she tell them why she was fleeing Del Sol Valley and then unburden themselves about William and Sulis’s anxious fretting. They didn’t hate Ana; they missed her. 

But they couldn’t leave. They were a parent, a spouse, and whatever a goddess deemed the being that snatched her from another universe before her siblings murdered her. Probably a servant.

Burying the mournful sigh that bubbled up, Morgyn instead donned a scowl. “Well, clearly, you don’t know me as well as you thought. Now, get off my property.”

  • Yimiki
    Sep 10, 2023

    Oof. That little flash terror from Vlad at “I died” says it all. I have no doubt that Vlad blames himself for letting it get to that point, even though he wasn’t even anywhere near the place before and did all he could. He’s going into overdrive taking care of her, too. It’s good to be protective but overprotective would just make her feel like she can’t do anything, wouldn’t it?

    The whole scene with Anastasia and Morgyn hiding a baby is wild but I’m stuck wondering why on earth Ana is wearing a bird skull and antlers more than anything 😆

    A zombie. That’s a new one. I don’t think that’s it, Alice. She seems equal parts bothered about what she’s going through as Vlad is turned on by it 😂 I wonder if Gwendolyn always saw Alice like that and that’s why she’s unfazed. Or maybe it’s just because it’s Gwendolyn.

    Oh no, William is an overprotective dad 🤣 seems like it’s a theme in this chapter.

    [Let Vladislaus be happy in the one universe where his trauma is long past, and the love of his life is merely an anomaly] Dang, Morgyn knows exactly what is going on with everything. This is beyond fourth-wall-breaking. It’s dimension-wall-breaking. And completely in-character, too 😆 Morgyn and Sulis’s multi-dimensional talk is making my head hurt. For someone who claims he doesn’t play 18-dimensional chess, Morgyn sure is good at playing.

    [“I’m not depressed.”
    Morgyn gave her a cool look. “You came to my house wearing a bird on your head and an evening gown. You and Vladislaus are two little dysfunctional peas in a pod, wearing your hearts on your expensively tailored sleeves.”] My question has been answered. Oh, I laughed too hard at this.🤣

    Whoa! What is that red portal thing? And what happened to William and Will Jr? 😮

  • Snow ~
    Sep 11, 2023


    ‘They’re an old friend who hates me’ XD Morgyn and Ana looking cute as always < 3 smoochsmooch. Oooooh the veins and the eye thing on Alice… Yeah, this is going to be rough for a while. Don't worry Alice, the long-term 'monster' can help you get used to the 'monster-y' stuff. The guilt will bite for a long time, I guess kinda like with Penny…and they both have a lot to get used to with their new(ish)found powers. I love these two so damn much. The Operation Eternal Flame discussion was a bit yikes. That's the only problem with going out with someone who's one thousand years old. How much do you let slide as being 'in the past' and how much still stays with you as something to be very concerned about?

    Not sure if I trust the embodiment of Untamed magic with a child XD Good ol Latimer reassuring Alice < 3 Morgyn without magic is a depressing thought ;-; Though it…I want to say it would be good if they could get it back but…I'm not so sure XD Untamed and the Goddess of Reason…what an interesting combination haha.
    “Well, unless your friend Penny is a member of the occult, we can’t use her help no how.” FUNNY YOU SHOULD SAY THAT LATIMER! OH BOY! I had to laugh at the 'Latimer is the sanest person in the house' tag XD Burning humanoid flesh in a bonfire with a babbling baby on your back is so unbelievably The-Strauds-core LMAO.

    OKAY the falling into nothing freaked me the fuck out. All I saw was emptiness and then a blurred shoe and I actually shit myself because I thought I was seeing things X_X That kid is going on an adventure into…well…nothing…The portal rising out of the water was awesome, reminded me a bit of an Oblivion gate from ES.

    • feroshgirl
      Sep 12, 2023

      I love writing Morgyn and Ana together, omg they are the bffs we all deserve. They have similar parenting styles, I think lol. Although, listen, any child that has a thousand year-old vampire, the embodiment of untamed magic, and a goddess for parents is gonna be able to survive anything.

      I think Latimer is the most sane person in the house hahahaha. I mean, Vlad is not well, and we shall have to see what Alice evolves into. Her and Penny are definitely dealing with the same influx of information, but I think its gonna be interesting to see how they deal with it. We already know that Penny cannot process guilt in a healthy way AT ALL.

      I am coining Strauds-core as an official tag for chapters that are particularly unhinged lololll thank you

  • SirianaSims
    Sep 19, 2023

    Ugh, Vlad’s terror at Alice saying she died is giving me all the feelings 😭 Even though it didn’t “stick”, he will never forgive himself.

    I love Luna. Only someone who grew up in Jacques’ house could ever be this level-headed considering the things she’s seeing. I love Morgyn and Ana’s relationship, they just want to gossip over a glass of some unholy concoction and let their hair down, dammit.

    Seriously though, Vlad is like, the idea boyfriend for someone who just discovered they are some sort of monster or worse.
    But also PUMP THOSE BRAKES HOMEBOY. Still gotta work on that communication.

    I love that Gwen is unfazed by the way Alice looks. Of course she would be. Gwen was born unfazed. Except when Monster Daddy doesn’t have time to play (or refuses to buy cookies, wait, I am mixing up my universes again)

    You know Vlad has been through it when he sleeps. Damn.


    “If Latimer’s eyebrows lifted any higher, they’d be in space.” 😂😂😂
    Latimer has immaculate dad vibes though, 10/10. Definitely the only sane person around. Or at least the most sane-ish.

    OMG Sulis is a menace and I love her. In a cast of unhinged characters, she has utterly left the doorframe.

    “And then Vlad came through like a fucking wrecking ball.”
    FEROSH. GIRL. Twin, you can’t do this and not expect me to reply with THIS:

    “Justine,” Alice finished. “I know. Jerry’s mom was always perfectly polite, but at dinner, she’d be so on edge that Clive would ask her to leave the room.” Alice shivered, “What an asshole.”

    EYEPATCH MCGEE?? I DEMAND RESPECT FOR DADDY DON – except Grim is not Daddy Don and also that is fucking hilarious.

    “His son’s response was a burp and giggle. Typical of a baby to take Vladislaus’s side” lololol, To Be Named knows what’s up!

    OK so this red portal rising ominously from the water is cool as hell but all I can think of is Pink’s knife-dick Vlad rising slowly from a hot tub and I am dead 💀

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