Chapter 29, Part 1: Life After Death

Windenburg Woods


He curled his hands around hers, listening to the steady sound of her breath. He didn’t sleep, didn’t need to, and so he simply closed his eyes and listened. 

“What did you mean you have feelings now?” she whispered.

“What?” His eyes flashed open. He hadn’t realized she was awake. 

“At Von Haunt,” she clarified, still staring at the ceiling. “You said you had feelings now and you liked them.” Her voice was hollow, like she was making an observation from far away. 

“Like is a strong word,” Vlad replied. But that evasiveness was a knee jerk reaction. He swallowed and forced himself to actually answer. “I do prefer them, I think. It’s hard to know. I didn’t choose to feel, I was cursed by a witch seven months ago.”


“My depravity became too much even for witches,” he quipped. 

Another dodge. He tried again, aiming for truth over flippancy. He told her about the cease and desist, the hunting of witches, the boy who went over the cliff. The more truth he poured out, the more he began to understand why the witches had risked everything to curse him. He had become a menace long before the incident on the cliffs.

“I think I was desperate for war, starved for terror and carnage,” he said, realization dawning on him. “The modern era was so quiet…I felt myself without purpose, wasting away.”

And then because one truth begets another, he told her what it was like to feel. “Painful at first. A jumble of physical signals I could neither parse nor predict. My conscience was a voice and at first, even the smallest amount of guilt was overwhelming. Before you, I longed to use The Owl to return myself to my previous state, to undo everything I found…disappointing.” 

“But you changed your mind.” It was half a question and he didn’t understand why she was asking it. Of course he changed his mind, she needed it.

“I experienced feelings I had long forgotten. The good ones: joy, desire, contentment. I suppose I’ve become addicted to them.”

To you, he thought quietly in his mind, knowing that it was a wildly inappropriate answer. It wasn’t just that he felt those things with her, she reminded him that they were possible and he wanted to do was feel them with her. But he didn’t know how to say that without sounding crazy. Obsessed.

She sat up. “If Phobos took your feelings, do you think I—”

“No,” Vlad said quickly, finally understanding her line of questioning. “Alice, it won’t be permanent. However he did it, Ben’s sacrifice gave you power, and maybe other things we don’t yet know. But you will be mad or sad or happy again. I was…I was empty long before Phobos came along.”

The bitterness of the thought almost swept him away. He had never bothered to learn what was bound inside of him. There was only hunger and nothingness and power. It made sense now, why carnage provided such sustenance, why Alice didn’t fear him, why any hint of her fear turned his stomach.

“He’s not sacrificed, he’s missing,” she fumed as she climbed out of bed. 


A little fury was good. He followed her into the main room, smiling when her stomach rumbled. “Hungry?”

She didn’t answer, only looked shell-shocked again, the fury gone almost as soon as it appeared.

The rain made a fire outside impossible, so he set about chopping vegetables from the overgrown garden and adding some fish he caught earlier into a pot for stew. Keeping his voice light, he chatted with her as he cooked. “I don’t imagine your delivery system comes this far out.” 

If she was surprised by his ability to cook, she didn’t let it show. He was gratified to see that she took a seat on the bench near the table. Ever since Alice, worry was a new old emotion that had been cropping up, he added it to the list of ones he did not prefer.

“My father used to own all these woods. This was one of his hunting cabins. I built onto it…”—he paused to survey a crooked column—“Poorly. My father did not approve of Kaylnn, or my desire to flout his rules. We lived here in secret until Atorn was nearly 8 years old.”

She didn’t say anything so he continued, occasionally stoking the fire to bring the stew to a boil. “There’s a pond not too far from here. Always full of fish, even in winter.”

Alice stared, and he kept talking, not sure if it was for him or for her. “Kaylnn did not like to cook,” he recalled with a crooked smile, the memory warm when he shared it, instead of painful. “She said she’d rather be strung up on the gallows than put a meal in a pan. But for me, it was a new skill to throw myself into learning. As you can imagine, in that day, princes did not cook.” 

He tamped the fire down and scooped out a portion of stew, pouring it into a chipped bowl before handing it to her. She swallowed a spoonful and moaned, a little expression of joy that gave Vlad hope.

As the quiet dragged on though, he found himself in the role that was usually reserved for William or Caleb. He could now appreciate what labor it must be to coax out how he felt. Should he try a joke like William? Feign disinterest like Caleb?

“Tell me about Ben,” he said, unable to find any sort of smooth transition. 

  • Dolly Llama
    May 25, 2020

    This chapter marks the first time in recent memory someone’s mentioned Magnolia Promenade. I’m also appreciating the shift from Alice having a huge secret to Alice being oblivious to everyone else’s secrets. So now it’s not even just what’s going on, it’s who knows what. Who Jimena’s master is, for example; it seems like she has some seductive abilities? Are the seven deadly sins in on this or something?

    “You could be an inanimate object without a spell.” Dang. That one hit me. How much things have changed, and still we’ve got so far to go…

    Since I have zero interest in any of the supernatural gameplay, I did have the treat of looking up Vlad Bloodvein for real and seeing what that mofo actually looks like. Hooooo boy that’s some good camp. I was like, isn’t this tame for one of these outfits? I mean if I saw someone wearing that blazer I’d elbow the shit out of my friend, but it’s tame for him. AND THEN I SAW THE SHOES.


    • feroshgirl
      May 26, 2020

      – I like to think of those shoes as some of my best work. HAHAHA. Yeah, EA Bloodvein was already bringing so much to the table, I didn’t have to do much to draw inspiration.

      – I literally forgot about Magnolia Promenade until I was like: damn it, where is a place she can be from that I haven’t already mentioned? I can’t believe that even counts as a “world.”

      – Miss Hell is 100% All For Self and chaotic neutral (goals) so she is always dropping truth bombs. I think if I don’t write her saying it so I can laugh, I’ll cry.

      – Oooohhh you are so close on Jimena’s master. There are a key set of Gods and their respective “patrons” definitely excel in the domain they rule over. Every player is on the board at this point, now I’m just in the business of reveals so you’ll have your answer by the end of this chapter.

      – I’m glad you noticed the shift and liked it! In the first part, everyone is the protagonist of their own story. The most important secret Alice was keeping was about herself. The world largely operated in a way that she understood and she was an expert at navigating it. Then shit got weird. Now she’s in this place where she’s having to consider that the world is bigger and more complex than she realized. And she ain’t the weirdest thing in it.

      • Dolly Llama
        May 28, 2020

        Alright, Beauty for Jimena’s master and that’s my final guess. And while we’re in the business of predictions, if William brings a date to the filming and Bernard flips out on him for being in a gay interracial relationship, I am going to lose my shit. Other than that, Miss Hell’s probably going to get a lot more likeable and I still have no clue what the hey Miko is up to. That’s all.

      • feroshgirl
        May 31, 2020

        Miko’s plans are going to become clear soon…like next chapter. I love Miss Hell she is…complicated. I can’t wait to get into her story arc.

        After Bernard’s debut, I think it’s safe to say that’s exactly how he’d react. Though to be clear, that’s not part of his introduction 🙂

  • theplumbob
    Jul 9, 2020

    Ah ok, that explains Ben’s absence, kind of. I adored Vlad and Alice’s moments as always, hough honestly, maybe he’s too good for her (plot twist!). There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her, while she’s attracted to him, but not all that invested, I feel like. She cares for him, sure, but she’s still subconsciously looking for excuses to cast him aside.

    Jimena is actually surprisingly composed through all of this. Is she not a regular mortal? I feel like any regular human would have pooped their pants. My theory is that she’s a double agent.

    The meeting in the restauruant, is Morgyn adopting a particular twist on things? I don’t feel like what was discussed exactly reflected the sages’ conversation… so what’s Morgyn’s game here?

  • Yimiki
    Feb 17, 2021

    You know, despite the strings being pulled behind the scenes by literally everyone, and the backstabbing, and the supernatural threats and the literal hand of fate orchestrating this grand event of getting the owl of undoing, I can’t help but laugh every time I remember that all these superpowers and monsters and spellcasters and vampires are focused around… a baking contest. 😂 It gets me every time, lol.

    • feroshgirl
      Feb 17, 2021

      HAHAHA Thank you! I mean my brain works in wacky ways so I’m glad you’re enjoying it. And listen, you’ve described my story in a nutshell: everyone is backstabbing, the hand of fate is everywhere, strings we don’t even know are being pulled are being pulled. It’s wild.

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    Nov 3, 2022

    I like how L.Faba is like, dude we’re trying to have a fancy feast in the comfort of our own magical HQ, get your shit together Simeon.

    Morgyn is absolutely terrifying in BBD, in comparison to The Strauds (even though Morgyn in The Strauds is far more powerful). Turning Jimena into a child’s source of comfort is quite hilarious. Jimena is neither comforting or cuddly, and I doubt she has a heart.

    Despite the passaging of time, Ana still holds onto memories of her former life, and they cause her distress/PTSD. It’s a very VERY different Ana from The Strauds, this one is more vulnerable and I never thought I’d see her cower. Goodness. I prefer my Ana with a backbone of steel.

    Vlad: Did she call me her BOYFRIEND??? lol he’s a plasma pack away from jumping on Oprah’s couch and claiming how lucky he is. In case that reference is too obscure:

    Ana to Jimena: You are useless. Why are we keeping you alive.
    Jimena: I am useful. Wink, wink, wink.
    Ana: Hmmmm. Let’s see where this goes…

    Muhgawd, who let the dogs out! Werewolves cause some havoc.

    • feroshgirl
      Nov 15, 2022

      God, Faba is just out here living her best life. She is a survivor and I LOVE writing her. You can see why she and Morgyn have such affection for each other.

      Speaking of Morgyn, I think I already mentioned this but since the Strauds is a BBD AU where some of the characters have crossed over, they are the same Morgyn. It may be good to keep in mind the level of ruthlessness that Strauds Morgyn is capable of hehe.

      You and me both prefer that backbone of steel! Strauds Ana is definitely an evolution of BBD Ana.

      Vlad has no chill. He would jump on that couch and also throw it through a window.

      Oh Jimena. Sigh.


      • Ninja Pink Sex
        Nov 15, 2022

        At least Penny werewolf looks fierce af!

        Yeah I’m not taking my eye off The Strauds Morgyn for one minute. The calm before the storm sounds about right for them.

        LMAO OMG VLAD THROWING THE COUCH. I’d die. Why wasn’t THAT on Oprah?!?

      • feroshgirl
        Nov 15, 2022

        God, Tom Cruise really missed an opportunity LOL

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: