Myself: I thought we were done with this.
Me: Done with what?
Myself: Smut! Some of this is…::lowers voice:: some of this is downright gratuitous.
Me: ::blinks slowly in confusion:: But they don’t even bone in this chapter.
Myself: ::makes angry gestures::
Me: I really don’t understand what you’re talking about. ::picks up remote::
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
The living room was in such a state that Caleb despaired of ever getting his deposit back. The furniture shoved out of place, the piles of toys and clothing, the plasma dripping from Vlad’s rapidly regenerating fingers—they were all markers of chaos. Expensive chaos. Non-refundable chaos.
“You’ve brought a friend,” Vlad observed.
“And Gwendolyn bit off three of your fingers,” Caleb retorted.
“Four,” Alice corrected. “But we’re working on it.”
Vladislaus did not appear to be working on anything. In fact, the beast had the nerve to look downright delighted. “Her teeth are rather sharp, aren’t they?” he mused, pride coloring his voice.
“Yes,” Caleb drawled, “We all know you believe that few situations could not be improved by someone losing a finger.”
Vlad smirked. “Given your feelings about me, Caleb, I would’ve thought you’d applaud such an act.”
It did endear Gwendolyn to him, but encouraging Vladislaus was never a good idea. “Don’t you think part of raising her is controlling this sort of behavior?” He gestured around the room, “You mean to tell me, this is you working on it?”
“Okay, stow your pearls,” Alice interjected, giving him the finger, “We are like five days into this. Step one: stop her from throwing furniture and get to bed at a decent hour in the morning. Step two through, I don’t know, a million is working on her PTSD. And way, way, way down on the priority list, partially because he brings it on himself,”—she glared at Vlad—“is Phobos keeping his fingers.”
Amisyia failed to stifle a laugh. “What?” she shrugged, “They are funny.”
“They are not,” Caleb ground out, shooting her a look of censure.
“They are,” she insisted, “You said we were meeting the God of Death and Fear Itself, but you made them sound so dreadful.”
“Dreadful?” Vlad repeated, sounding offended but clearly anything but, “Oh, do tell.”
“There is nothing to tell,” Caleb snapped, suddenly feeling hot. He pulled at his collar. “Amisyia misspoke. I merely explained your background.”
Vlad grinned, a mephistophelian sort of energy pouring off of him. “Hmmm. It is wise to make sure your friend knows exactly what she’s dealing with.” He arched an eyebrow at Amisyia, “Do you have any questions about Caleb?”
“Don’t answer that,” Caleb told her, keeping the look of censure on his face. “She’s not a friend; she’s a trusted business associate.”
“I’m paying her!”
“Well, that’s an interesting arrangement.”
Amisyia coughed delicately while Alice bowed her head, presumably to hide her laughter.
Vlad placed his hands casually in his pockets. “I simply wish to understand. We are talking about sexual arrangement, no? Did you want to hide it because you’re running low on funds or because you believe us to be prudes?”
Amisyia’s cough broke off into a strangled laugh, Alice’s shoulders shook and Caleb prayed for a hole to open up and swallow him whole.
“You can’t possibly think your arrangement would shock us. Recently, we’ve begun to—”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Alice cut in, “We are not so committed to this joke that we need to give up details about our sex life.”
“Why don’t we talk in the den?” she continued, motioning at the doorway.
Caleb’s brain was still stuck on the fact that Vlad, who had literally sent him to voicemail because he was too busy breaking somebody’s bones, was joking with him.
William had just finished hacking through a copse of heavy vegetation when he heard the Sage squealing.
“The Omiscan Royal Baths! Finally!”
He sighed and watched as Morgyn began to strip down. He knew the baths were here, but William had been hoping to avoid them. “What is the name of Sages are you doing?”
“Sages?” Morgyn scoffed, undeterred, “Is that really a saying? You all curse and exclaim in our name?”
“Don’t try to change the subject,” William grumbled, “What is going on?”
“Well, I’m taking a bath, of course,” the look on Morgyn’s face was downright wicked. “You could stand one too. We’ve been making our way through the jungle for hours. A little rest won’t hurt. Besides,” he purred, “I don’t have a vampire’s constitution.”
William cursed his body’s traitorous response to that purr. Don’t get distracted. Diffuse the situation.
“You may be a former knight, but you love a lounge and a bath. I can tell.”
Damn it, if a bath did not sound good. “You don’t know anything about me,” William snapped, “We’ve already lost time treating your wee bee stings.”
Morgyn pulled their shirt over their head and tossed it aside. “One quick stop for a bath, and in return, I’ll give you a bit of useful information.”
This was by far the most disingenuous negotiation William had ever been engaged in. It was also the most arousing. “The information better be very useful, and there won’t be any naked bathing, so get that out of your head.”
“Then it’s not really a bath, is it?”
William growled, but Morgyn just winked and jumped into the water. Peeling off some of his clothing as quickly as possible, William followed suit.
They swam for a while, discussing various subjects.
Morgyn stretched themselves out, sunning on the edge of the bath, despite it being a cloudy day. “Do you believe in the Fates?”
“What are you on about?” William laughed, leaning against the edge of the pool. He had stolen a few glances at Morgyn’s lounging form and was now trying to force himself to play it cool.
“The idea that there are powerful beings that determine the path of our destinies. For example, why do you care about the Owl of Undoing or the God War? Perhaps they just exist to help you achieve your destiny, and they aren’t really all that important.”
“Well, unless my destiny is to be stuck with the world’s most irritating magic user, I don’t think so.” William cracked his neck. There was no need to give away what he knew about Alice, at least not to Morgyn, who was still an enemy for all intents and purposes. “The gods are real enough, but what do I know of the Fates? If they are real, they strike me as a bunch of bloody bastards.”
“They can be real and still be bastards,” Morgyn sighed. “You were married when you became a vampire. Your husband, Tobias, why didn’t you turn him?”
William drew back, but Morgyn’s eyes were guileless. This was a real question, not a trap.
“He said no,” William croaked out, surprised by how much it still hurt all these centuries later. “I tried every which way to convince him, but he would not agree. ‘I’m meant for the dirt,’ he told me.”
“And what were you meant for?”
“Bigger things,” William replied, bitterness infusing his words. He looked away from the Sage, not wanting to see something smug and uncaring on their face. “Vladislaus was…he was out of control, a complete and utter terror who could not make peace with this world. It was Tobias who believed in gods and fates. There was a reason I became this, as far as he was concerned.”
“You’re angry. Why?”
William ignored the question at first, swimming away from the edge of the pool. The distance allowed him to regain some of his bravado, “Och. Why did I not take kindly to the love of my life saying we weren’t meant to be?”
Morgyn dove into the water and surfaced next to him. They laid their hand gently on his chest. “I’m sorry. That was rude of me.”
“It’s your nature,” William chided, but his voice came out breathless. What would it be like to throw caution to the wind and explore the line of Morgyn’s lips with his tongue?
“It’s not,” they said quietly, searching his eyes, “Why did you wish to turn him? Was his mortal form too weak?”
William shook his head, still unwilling to push the Sage away, “Too weak? Are you mad? No, I wanted him with me always. Physical strength is overrated. Tobias’s mind was sharper than I’ll ever have. I’ve spent centuries trying to match it. Should I live another 600 years, I’m not likely to get close. And I’m weaker for it.”
His response seemed to draw Morgyn up short. They pulled away, floating back apace, looking so bereft that William took pity on them. “I’ll take a rain check on that piece of useful information. But I’ve a long memory, Sage, so don’t go thinking I’ll forget.”
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
“Now that we’re all finished having a laugh at my expense,” Caleb began. His foot crushed a small backpack, and he jumped out of the way, “It’s been a week! I thought this room would be in better shape.”
“We are stewards of a small unholy terror,” Vlad quipped, “You’re lucky this house is still standing.”
Alice nodded, “Yeah, you’d be surprised what it takes to keep a nine-year-old vampire busy. We just sent Grim out for more supplies.”
The Grim Reaper. Caleb could hardly imagine a less suitable babysitter. Though he supposed the Reaper was infinitely better than Deacon, who a) believed that Voidcritters was a nature documentary and b) immediately declared himself Gwendolyn’s older brother and was subsequently manipulated into teaching her to ride a bike indoors.
“Sorry for fucking with you guys earlier,” Alice laughed, “We expected Deacon, but we didn’t know Caleb was bringing his girlfriend.”
Caleb rocked back on his heels and choked, “What are you talking about?”
“Amisyia… she’s your… isn’t that why…” Alice looked around, confused, “Did we miss something?” She elbowed Vlad, “You told me Amisyia was his girlfriend.”
“I said lover, but yes, he’s been courting her years.”
“I…what?” Caleb sputtered, “I’ve been doing no such thing! She’s not my anything!”
Now Vlad looked genuinely perplexed. “Of course you have—slaying her enemies, handling violent business negotiations on her behalf, getting rescued by her in various states of undress. I don’t know that you ever delivered anyone’s head on a platter, though I suppose it is good to hold something back for your anniversary.”
Caleb was dumbfounded. He tried multiple times to say something, but no words came out.
“I mean, not everyone thinks that a beheading is a romantic gesture,” Alice said quickly, “But yeah, we kind of thought that’s why you brought her.”
Amisyia, who had been silently observing with all the watchfulness of a cat, finally spoke. “Why did you bring me, Caleb?”
Caleb tried to swallow, but his mouth felt dry. “I…”
She leaned forward, tapping a finger to her lips. “And do you want to tell them what you pay me for, or shall I?”
“It’s…I mean to say that…” He took a panicked breath, “It’s business. I pay her for information, and I’m not…”
He wanted to say that he wasn’t courting her, that the things Vlad suggested were utterly insane. But a small voice in his head pointed out that he didn’t just save her life and bring her here, to the family he on many occasions hated but also trusted, because she didn’t mean anything to him.
Thirty years of therapy would not allow him to wallow that deeply in denial.
He was saved from having to answer by the sound of Deacon opening the front door.
“I thought you said there was a spell on the house!” Vlad hissed.
“There is,” Caleb confirmed as he reached for one of the swords he kept strapped underneath the couch.
They stood at the mouth of the Temple. He knew from experience that what he was looking at didn’t matter. The entrance to the Library was merely a portal they could take if they got through the traps.
“Look alive, my vampire friend! Here there be magic,” the Sage announced, their tone conspiratorial.
Even sweating and covered in dirt again, Morgyn had maintained a chirpy mood since the Baths. Meanwhile, the closer he got to dealing with magic, the more uncomfortable William became. He did not feel well-suited to take on a threat he couldn’t beat with a sword.
As they strolled through the Temple, William sensed more things dead than alive. Even the rain pounding on the roof felt ominous. Morgyn was unconcerned, working through a series of puzzle rooms with ease after consulting a small notebook. They reached the sixth room, and suddenly, the Sage was all business.
“So now we come to it,” they said. Reaching into their pocket, Morgyn pulled out the notebook, only this time they appeared to make as many notes as they reviewed.
“Are ye not concerned about the attention we’ve recently attracted?” William asked, taking note of the skeletons breaking off from the wall to attack.
“Keep them busy, please; I need to concentrate,” Morgyn said calmly as if they were being approached by a bunch of puppies or toddlers.
“With what weapon?” William hissed, still furious that he’d lost his machete coming through the final stretch to the Temple.
“I’m disappointed,” Morgyn teased as they rapped a pen against their lips, “And here I thought a vampire’s whole body was a weapon.”
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
Alice felt her heart leap into her throat as she ran into the living room. “Deacon! Stop! You can’t just let anyone—” She skidded to a halt and blinked in disbelief at her parents and her younger sister, the latter of whom was currently trying to kick a confused Deacon in the chest. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Black mist filled the space in front of her.
Vlad’s wings were folded back, but their presence alone ratcheted up the level of drama. That and the fact that her parents were holding guns.
“Alice quit acting like you have no home training and get out of the line of fire!” her mother hissed.
Caleb growled, ready to pounce, and Amisyia began a haunting siren’s lullaby accompanied by an ominous roll of thunder.
“Stop it! They’re my family, and I really don’t need you calling killer fish or whatever is you’re about to do. Stand down.”
Alice heard the click of a trigger and turned around just in time to see her mother aiming for Vlad’s kneecaps and her sister beating the living daylights out of Deacon.
“Guys, please! Do you know how hard it is to reattach a limb?” She gestured angrily at Mayra, “Dad, can you pull her off of him? This is—”
“What’s happening?” Gwendolyn shrieked, running out from the kitchen. She took up her fighting stance, screwing her small face into a warrior’s grimace. “They won’t take me!” she shrieked.
“They will not,” Vlad roared, taking a swipe, his claws missing her father’s face by mere inches.
Alice tugged on his wings and then snapped her fingers angrily to get his attention. “Are you fucking kidding me right now? That’s my family. I know you heard me because you have excellent hearing. So hear this: take it down ten notches so Gwendolyn can stop freaking out!”
“Now?” Vlad exploded. “After a coven of evil witches was sent to kill her? After we nearly lost her? You think now is when I should respond to threats calmly?”
Gwendolyn whimpered and her father lowered the gun. “Don’t be scared, sweetie; no one will hurt you. Alice, who is this small child? Where are her parents?”
Alice ignored her dad and focused on Vlad. The Magic HQ events had left them all raw, but Gwendolyn and Phobos were having a tough time adjusting. “Okay, I hear you, but she is absorbing all this tension and she will not chill until you chill.” Alice gently cupped his face, “Everyone is safe. Okay? We’re all fine.”
“Is there a threat?” Gwendolyn asked in a small voice, “Am I in trouble?”
“What? No!” Alice said brightly, quickly turning to face her. “You’re not in trouble at all. We’re just making a ‘No Fighting in the House Unless There Are Evil Witches’ rule…” she paused, thinking about all the other supernatural creatures vying for The Owl and trying to kill them, “…or basilisks, or wraiths, or basically just any bad monster that means us harm.”
“Alice Levitica Martin!”
Full name. Shit.
Alice whirled around and plastered on a smile. “Mom, listen, you don’t know what’s going on, so I need you to take a breath.”
“Levitica?” Vlad repeated, and she could tell by the tone of his voice that she would never hear the end of this.
“Don’t you ‘mom’ me, Alice. You might be grown, but I’m still your mother, and I won’t be dismissed as if—”
“Do you want to tell us what’s going on?” her father asked, putting a calming hand on her mother’s back. Her father, who it should be noted was also still holding a gun, was trying to defuse the situation.
For the love of llamas.
“Everything is fine!” Alice lied, throwing out her arms in a gesture meant to inspire trust.
Her sister smirked.
“I know it looks crazy, but this isn’t at all what it—”
Gwendolyn tugged on her sweater, “Okay, I’m not scared anymore but now I’m hungry and Deacon said I could try some of his brains because I’m tired of eating hikers.”
Vlad smiled, “Finally!”
Alice dropped her arms and blew out a breath. “—seems,” she finished lamely.
William groaned, refusing to admit how rusty he had become in hand-to-hand combat. The last time was months ago, and even then, it was a rare experience. As the skeletons came at him, he punched and dodged, pulling an aerial flip-kick that he hadn’t bothered with since 1683.
Panting for effect and gesturing ever so slightly at the skeletons littered around him, William waited for some kind of response. But if the Sage noticed any of his moves, they gave no indication.
“Finished!” Morgyn shouted with a glee that seemed to stem more from their problem-solving and less from William’s physical altercation. “I should have know it was leaves.”
He didn’t share Vladislaus’s exact definition of courtship, but William could not help but be disappointed Morgyn made no mention of the creatures he’d slain.
“Any more surprises?” William huffed as they made their way down another set of stairs.
Magic, they were close to too much magic.
“Oh, nothing big, Just the wall of infinite smoke, and then we’re in!”
“The wall of—” but William didn’t have a chance to finish his sentence before Morgyn grabbed his hand and pulled him through.
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
He watched her fidgeting nervously as her family told their story. She winced when they explained how Mayra and Maverick had joined their parents in working for SimNation’s government on secret projects.
“You didn’t seem to be interested,” her father ventured. “It wasn’t because we wanted to leave you out.”
“Yeah,” her sister added. “Plus, you have a record.”
“Don’t try to twist this!” Alice shouted, “You fought off a bunch of vampires with a robot!”
“You’re damn right we did!” her mother snapped, and Vlad knew instantly where Alice got her fire. “And while we’re on the subject, I count at least three other vampires—”
“Oh, you are mistaken. I am a siren,” Amisyia interrupted, “Evil mermaid. Friend of the family.”
Valeria gave the mermaid a serious once-over, “Later, I’ll have questions, but for now, I’m hoping my daughter can use this time to explain herself. Who is this man with you?”
Alice’s mouth clamped shut. Vlad could sense her anxiety. “You may be concerned about Alice’s safety around me,” he began.
“Yeah,” her sister huffed, “Because you tried to kill us.”
Caleb laughed, “Don’t take it personally. It seems to be a requirement for joining this family.”
Valeria’s eyebrows rose, and Vlad hurried through the rest of his sentence, “I may have…misread the situation, but I assure you I am no threat to Alice.”
“Aren’t you a vampire?” Cyrus pointed out.
“Not exactly,” Caleb answered.
Vlad narrowed his eyes.
“What does he mean by not exactly? You met Alice while competing in the baking contest? At least, that’s what she said.”
Alice bit her lip. “Well…see…”
“He did,” Caleb jumped in, clearly enjoying himself, “After he used Alice to gain access to the contest so that he could seduce her castmate, Jimena, and win the prize.”
Valeria stared at Alice, “So you let him seduce you instead? You’re with a man who wants to use you to win money.”
“No, mom, he didn’t—”
“I have money,” Vlad scoffed.
“That I can confirm,” Caleb said, “He has enough wealth to rival that of a small country. Mainly because he spent the last six hundred years pillaging, manipulating, and stealing. Ever heard of Princess Cordelia?”
Vlad growled, “Caleb.”
Alice looked desperate, “I know about the Princess Cordelia thing.”
“Okay, so what is it?” her sister asked.
“It’s nothing, it’s…its…”
“It’s the story of how Vlad seduced her, stole her treasure, and left her at the alter after wiping all memory of himself. After which, she wandered around in a state of clouded confusion, unable to stave off the Sloth Invasion, which he also profited from because he bet against her.”
Alice looked mortified.
“So I state again, Vladislaus seduced you,” her mother said.
“I courted her.”
“He thinks courtship involves a beheading,” Caleb supplied helpfully. “And the prize is not money; it’s The Owl of Undoing, which when it comes to powerful magic, is worth much more.”
Vlad growled again. “I decided very early on to abandon the route of seducing Jimena.”
Mayra gave him a dubious look, “Right, because you linked up with Alice instead, so you can still get The Owl, which you would…” she turned to Caleb.
“Do literally anything to obtain,” he finished.
Vlad gave him a dark look.
“What?” Caleb blinked innocently, “I’m just trying to help you be honest with Alice’s family so that they know exactly what they’re dealing with.”
“Fine, you’ve made your point,” Vlad ground out, “Are we even?”
“285 years ago, he murdered me and my younger sister and bonded us to him through a shared supernatural curse, and though I’ve been working for him ever since, he’s never once bothered to technically pay me a salary.” Caleb flashed a smile, “Now we’re even.”
Alice’s parents gasped.
“You can’t possibly think this is a healthy relationship,” her mother began.
“Pumpkin, maybe it’s worth slowing down a little to get to know each other,” her father suggested. Valeria elbowed him and he cleared his throat, “Or also just take some time getting yourself together without a relationship.”
“Yeah, I thought the drunks and drug dealers were bad, but this is…I mean, you’re basically dating a supernatural warlord!” Mayra added.
Alice’s posture stiffened. It had been months since Vlad had seen her scan the room for exits, but here she was again, looking like she wanted to crawl out of her own skin. He hated it.
“I mean, I know this is your MO, but even for you this is level ten irresponsible,” Mayra continued, “I mean, mom and dad let you blow your college savings on relocating for this contest and now you’re caught up in some sort of shitty supernatural relationship? I know your self-confidence is low but come on!”
“Mayra,” Cyrus warned.
“What?” she shrieked, “No dad, you guys made me get a fucking scholarship and save my own money! Maverick had to go in through the cadets. And Alice gets to do whatever she wants? What does she even know about him?”
“She knows I have killed countless beings, waged centuries of war, and sought revenge and power in alarming and terrifying ways. And yet,” Vlad said crisply, “her response when I made the mistake of underestimating her was to tell me to go fuck myself. Your sister does not lack for confidence.”
“She accepts me even as I am incapable—” he paused, determined to be truthful—”disinterested in caring for most other creatures. But those I do care about mean everything to me.” He looked at Caleb, “Even if they hate me, and have very good reasons for it, there is no act I would not commit for them.”
For the first time, Vlad saw Caleb’s expression actually soften. He nodded once.
Save for Alice’s father, the look on her family’s faces was only slightly less hostile, which in comparison to court life in the 15th century or Josef Straud, was only mildly concerning. Ignoring them for the moment, he pulled Alice in close, tilting up her chin, so she was forced to look in his eyes. “You are not a fuck-up.”
“I thought you said we were both fuck-ups,” she replied, finally smiling.
“No, I am a fuckboy, remember?”
She laughed just as he saw Gwendolyn peeking her head into the room. “Yes, hellion?”
“I’m not eavesdropping,” she declared, “but I don’t hear a lot about me.”
Vlad chuckled and beckoned her over. Scooping her up, he turned back to Alice’s family. “What I am to your daughter, there is no word for it, but I belong to her. She and this tiny terror hold what is left of my heart. Caleb is right, I am not just a vampire. I am Fear Itself, the thing the old myths call Phobos, though ‘Supernatural warlord’ is certainly growing on me.”
Mayra folded her arms, and looked away.
Valeria shook her head, “I’m sorry, are you saying—”
“That for creatures who mean my family harm I will be the last thing they see in the dark? Yes.”
Alice pinched him and scowled, “I love you, but why are you so extra? That is not what she’s asking.” She stepped forward, “She’s asking if by ‘family’ you mean we are together and Gwendolyn is our kid. And the answer is yes.”
“Are you high?” Valeria asked.
“Nope,” Alice smiled, “Not high and not a sim. I’m your daughter and Mayra’s and Maverick’s sister and also the God of Death.”
“A god?” Cyrus and Valeria exclaimed.
“A parent?” Mayra shouted at the same time.
Male Stand Poses 5 by Natalia-Auditore
Male Stand Poses 4 by Natalia-Auditore
Vlad’s wings by Natalia-Auditore
Emotions 1-10 by Simmerberlin
Daddy and Child Posepack by Natalia-Auditore
Emotions for Couples by Simmerberlin
Gun by RJSims
Combat Poses by JoanneBernice
Under Your Spell Eye Set by Pyxis
Talk and Chill by Wonderscotts
Just Us Posepack by Katverse
WTF? Talking by Steven Studios
Action Movie Animation Pack by FlowersSimsFactory
The Sims 4 Mega Talking Animation Pack by FlowersSimsFactory
Living Chair Poses 02 by Katverse
Unlocked Jungle Adventure Skeleton Outfit by blueshreveport
Pose Pack 20 by Katverse
Living Chair Poses 01 by Katverse
Swimming Poses by SakuraiJ
Stand Male Poses by Natalia-Auditore
Simple Sitting Poses Remix by Atashi77
Talking Emotions by Steven Studios
Supernatural Animation Pack by GamingTweety
Acting Expressions Part 1 by FlowersSimFactory
Acting Expressions Part 2 by FlowersSimFactory
From the Sims 4 Gallery
Modern Eco Family Home by ashbatch16