Chapter 27: Bring a Hammer

Vlad’s House



Alice didn’t expect Latimer to still be up when she padded downstairs.

“Some argument,” he remarked as he set two steaming mugs of tea on the counter. “Where’s his Highness? The hot toddies are for you and me; I have a bottle of Prarie Grass Nectar chilling in the fridge for him.”

Alice flinched. “Vlad is sleeping.”

Voluntarily?” If Latimer’s eyebrows lifted any higher, they’d be in space.

“I don’t think so.” Alice had put a towel under his head in case he started bleeding again, and he didn’t even react. “He’s exhausted, and I’m such a shitty partner I didn’t notice until it was too late.”

“Please,” Latimer snorted, “He is immortal. It ain’t never too late. And also, he’s stubborn as a mule. Do you know how many decades I’ve been trying to get him to even take a nap? You are an excellent partner. Vlad is just cranky.”

A knot formed in her throat as she tried to answer. “He is,” she sniffed, with a smile she couldn’t quite pull off, “It’s like his baseline vibe.”

“You alright?” Latimer asked, brow furrowed in concern.

“No,” One tiny sob became two, and then the floodgates opened. Haltingly, she told Latimer everything that happened, unloading all of her guilt and fear. Halfway through, she started to make her way back upstairs, determined to wake Vlad up and apologize, but Latimer stopped her.

“No, no, come on,” he soothed, “You’re not gonna interrupt the first sleep he’s had in seventy years. Just hang down here with me, and we’ll sort this out.”

“Thank you,” Alice hiccuped, hugging him tightly. 

Morygn & William’s House



“Just the creature I wish to see,” Sulis slurred when Morgyn walked out onto the terrace. 

“Why? Do you also think I’m trying to poison our baby?”

She squinted, “No. I’ve been talking with B’Ollithiranon and the Grim Reaper. I have updates.” She rattled the table as she got to her feet, “We need to go to Oasis Springs.”

Morgyn sighed. They weren’t sure if they had the patience to deal with a drunk goddess. “Please don’t make me sit through another round of speculation from those two idiots. I am not concerned about Alice; she is not a god. Let Vladislaus be happy in the one universe where his trauma is long past, and the love of his life is merely an anomaly.”

Sulis narrowed her eyes, “I could have sworn I said I was the one with updates.”

Morgyn waved a hand for her to continue, though they were only half-listening. Was it just a few months ago that their little family sat up here, planning to relocate? It was supposed to be the beauty of their arrangement—three immortal parents to ensure no one got burned out. “Why haven’t we looked at real estate?” they interrupted. “I’ll compromise on Sulani. We’ll baby-proof the villa, and you can go be worshipped by the mermaids or whatever it is you want, and William can study marine biology, and I will take our son to the beach.”

“On the eve of an apocalypse?” Sulis frowned, “Are you addled?”

“No, because there won’t be an apocalypse here. Didn’t you hear me? Alice is not a god.” Morgyn tilted their head back, trying not to whine, “Come on, Sulis, we agreed we’d stop after this time. We left to start over.”

“We left because my siblings and your siblings would have used their combined power to destroy or imprison us.”

Semantics. And also, Faba is here, so not all of my siblings want to destroy me,” Morgyn scoffed. “Is this why you’re going on about Oasis Springs? You’re bored?”

“I’m a goddess,” Sulis sniffed, “I don’t get bored. I’m not sticking my head in the sand like you are.”

“You are not,” Morgyn growled, “Not anymore.” At the flash of pain in her eyes, they softened, “It’s painful to destroy your magic, like killing a part of yourself. I know. It haunts me, too, even after all this time.”

They rarely spoke of it anymore, the horror of fleeing from the God of Death, tossing themselves through the swirling red of the last gateway the Fates left open before they retired. When the three sisters stepped down, they took with them the ability to manipulate time and space, effectively severing the ties between a multitude of universes. It was for the best. A nearly endless supply of worlds meant that gods treated apocalypses with little to no respect.

“We had to do it. We left the gateway open longer than was sane. That’s how Miko got in, that’s how Vladislaus…” Morgyn swallowed, surprised they could still feel the sharpness of sorrow after so many centuries. “We suffered, Sulis, I’m not saying we haven’t. But if the threads binding the universe dissolved with the magic we sacrificed, then it was worth it.”

“That’s why we need to go to Oasis Springs,” she insisted. “Did you know Alice’s mother is an expert in momentum conversion? We were meant to find her. Science could open and close that gateway for us, and we wouldn’t need to give up our magic.”

“Wouldn’t need to…? It’s already gone!” Morgyn cried. “We can either spend eternity whining about it or get the hell on with it!” Sulis’s expression was stricken, but they didn’t stop. “Aren’t you tired of lying? I am. I want to live. I want William and our son to know what we are and how we sacrificed to have them. I’m not the Fates. I don’t intend to spend all my days watching, nudging, and playing 18-dimensional chess. The worlds are closed, there are no gods here, and I, for one, am delighted.”

“Obviously, you’re not the Fates. You don’t even listen,” Sulis scowled. “Now that we’ve applied some pressure to replicate what created the God of Death—”

“What pressure? B’Ollithiranon and Grim were given strict instructions. Hijack the nanny’s reaping; grab a quick peek at Alice and confirm whether or not she carried all of B’Ollithiranon’s former powers. They shouldn’t even still be here!”  

“B’Ollithiranon and I decided it would be best to do a test. She was never in any real danger,” Sulis snorted, “Vladislaus hovers like a vulture. She didn’t even spend the night in jail.”

“Excuse me?” Morgyn did a double-take. “Is this a joke?”

“Why would I be joking? Don’t chastise me because you did a half-assed job.”

“Unfuckingbelievable!” Morgyn shouted, “Why are you like this? Why must you bring your desperate need for drama and plotting to everything? If the situation requires a hammer, you bring a fucking steamroller and then act like the outcome was inevitable.”

“I do not. Next, I’ll be forced to listen to your whining about formula too.”

William was being crazy about giving the baby formula, but that wasn’t the point. “You are picking a fight with me over pumping?”

“No, but since you mentioned it, let me remind you, Untamed, I am the Goddess of Reason. I don’t need some supernatural telling me the best way to feed our child. Last time I checked, William had not sprung a set of tits, so I don’t know what makes him an expert.”

“Don’t be petty, ‘goddess;’ it doesn’t suit you.”

Sulis’s eyes flashed. “Neither do apocalypses. Unlike you and the rest of my siblings, I’ve never caused one. Maybe that’s why you haven’t found your brother yet. You still haven’t figured out how to make Janus needlessly suffer and break my heart. After all, what could be more dramatic than a sibling rivalry turned world-ending event? Oops, I forgot, you already did that.”

Morgyn went still, but they could hear their plasma pounding in their ears. They were old enough to remember the founding of the universe. Old enough to have regrets. Generations of regrets. 

“You miscounted. I have crushed many worlds, some for far pettier reasons than a fight with my brother. We gods and magics are selfish creatures. We never thought twice about dooming a world after we took what we wanted. But then came B’Ollithiranon and the Owl of Undoing, and suddenly, all that loss we’d visited upon others came back to us.” They flashed Sulis a grim smile, “I haven’t seen Janus in ages despite scouring this world, and do you know why, Goddess? Because he is not here. He is not anywhere. The Owl took from us just like it took from everyone else.”

Vlad’s House



“How did you avoid the sniper?” Latimer asked after he topped off their drinks.

“A ghost. Would you believe that?” Alice barked a laugh. “He looked strange though, all see-through and glowing.”

“That ain’t how ghosts look?”

“Not to me. He was dressed like a pirate and dripping wet. I half-expected him to float back up to a ship. He told me to run, and he was right alongside me, but by the time I got to the tree line, he was gone.” She snorted, “And then Vlad came through like a fucking wrecking ball.”

Latimer smiled. “That’s his gift.”

“It is,” Alice took a huge gulp, hoping the burn would fortify her nerves. “Jail and Lilith threw me for a loop, and I fell apart. Vlad kept filling in, and I kept letting him. Then, when I was ready to take things on, I just expected him to stop and make room for me. But Vlad doesn’t do well with shifting gears.”

“No,” Latimer agreed, “It’s not in his nature to stop once he’s set his mind to a thing. It is his best and worst quality.” He gave her a sad smile. “We both owe him an apology. Life with him is also good. Better than good. Lovely,” the old man sighed, “Sometimes I forget that.” 

“So, about Vlad’s list. I don’t understand half the stuff on there. How does he know Clive Beeden? And he talked to Caleb?”

“When you were sick, yeah.” Latimer caught Alice up on Vlad’s promise to Caleb and Lilith, as well as their time in the military under Clive. When he was finished, he rubbed his eyes. “Good llamas, this is a lot. We’re gonna need help.”

“Yeah. I tried to call my friend Penny. She’s good in a crisis. But her phone keeps going straight to voicemail.” 

“Well, unless your friend Penny is a member of the occult, we can’t use her help no how.” He scratched his head, “Did you call your parents?”

“No. My mom is the world’s foremost expert on momentum conversion, which is great for science, but no help to us.” Alice cringed. “We’re not close. And my dad…”

The old man gave her a sympathetic nod. “I know you don’t want to think your father might be trying to kill you.”

“But we can’t be too careful,” Alice replied hollowly. “We used to have Sunday dinner at the Beedens. Clive’s son Jerry tried to date me, but I said no. My dad was pissed; he thought Jerry was a catch—a ‘nice guy’ who would keep me on the straight and narrow.”

“At the end of his fist,” Latimer’s eyes darkened. “You’d have spent your life cowering in the corner, spinnin’ tales about being too clumsy and falling down the stairs, just like—”

“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.”

“An asshole and a problem,” Latimer replied. “Clive is vain enough that he’d want to keep his failure to catch you a secret. But he’ll be back, and we are gonna need to get gone. Add to that your suspicious babysitters and this damn wand, and we got way too much heat.”

Alice agreed. She wasn’t so worried about what her babysitters were—she had no idea what she was. But the lying was suspicious, and she had no intention of putting Gwendolyn in danger.

“I’ll get help with the bodies,” Latimer announced, “You talk to Lilith about Ben and Eyepatch McGee.”

Alice nearly choked. “But Lilith hates me. The last time she was here, she threatened me.”

Latimer smiled, “Oh, Alice, you’ve got a lot to learn about vampires.”

  • 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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