I delayed this a lot. First, because I needed some time to get my head in the right place, and then (more insidiously) because I started second guess myself.
I think I’ve always known what a massive story this was, but it became glaringly apparent as I’ve tried to wrap up book one. I obsessed over whether I was delivering the goods, following my world-building rules, or evolving my characters while also staying true to their flaws. I know that the key to pulling myself out of this desperate place is to actually do the thing, but I was stuck. Pandemic Times is hard in general. It’s doubly hard if you’re non-neurotypical. I feel like I am in a constant hostage negotiation with my brain (Me: can we do the thing? My brain: No, I don’t think we can).
But then came death—a dear family member who went in with COVID and did not make it out.
Death is clarifying. It has a way of making all your prevaricating seem insane. Do the thing. It will never be perfect. The timing will never be good. Do the thing.
So I present to you the final six chapters of Baking by Death Book One.
Yes, I forgot Grim’s eyepatch. Please fill it in using your imagination.
No, that wasn’t a sex joke.
Oh, and my simself makes a guest appearance in chapter 2.23 of the incredible Almost Eternal. If you’re not reading it, what the heck are you waiting for?
Selvadorada, Library of Magic
The lobby of the Library of Magic was not at all what he expected. After running through the jungle, fighting in the temple, and jumping through a wall of infinite smoke (which still had his stomach doing flip flops), William expected something ancient and dusty.
Something with reverence and solemnity.
“More cappuccino? And we can bring you another pillow if you want to rest your neck,” the barista offered.
“N-no, thank you,” William’s tongue slipped over the words.
“You seem displeased,” Morgyn observed as he continued typing something into a datapad.
“I was expecting—” William lowered his voice when a few witches turned their heads, “I was expecting something with a bit more gravitas.”
Morgyn hummed. “I wouldn’t call this lacking in gravitas. There’s a spa and a movie theater.”
William was not one to eschew the joys of modern life. In fact, he generally availed himself of all the comforts that modernity and unending wealth had to offer. But this felt wrong.
“There! I’ve made dinner reservations. We have plenty of time to shower and visit the archives. We won’t meet with the Rare Book Curator until tomorrow.”
William growled. Tomorrow? A whole night in this place? His brain did not agree with his body’s excitement. “You’ve been typing for nearly thirty minutes, and all you did was make a reservation?”
“Well, they have delicacies from every realm; that’s a lot of menus to sort through,” Morgyn pouted. “Let’s just check into our rooms and enjoy the evening. We’ll be all about business tomorrow.”
“I cycle off the board for ten years, and this whole place goes to shit!” Titania screeched, “Look at it! It’s a dump!”
Akira snagged her arm, “Will you keep your voice down?” he glanced around the room, trying to make sure they weren’t drawing too much attention, “Why don’t you announce our presence a little louder, so the Fates know exactly where to send the assassins?”
Titania scowled, “They are not going to send someone to kill us, you idiot. Look around, we’re safe as houses. Now,” she motioned at the front desk, “Which one of these peasants is going to validate my portal permit?”
Akira rolled his eyes. Fifteen years ago, the Library of Magic was desperate for Titania to retire from the board. In fact, they drew down half their endowment paying bribes to contract killers, and when that didn’t work, they begged. In exchange for a voluntary leave of absence, Titania got all the perks of board membership—including direct portal access—without any of the work.
Which was what she wanted all along.
“Look around you, Tania. In that corner is the head of the Willow Creek witches who you lit on fire. Over there is the Centaur King, who I’m pretty sure is not happy about the time you levitated his entire summer home and dropped it off a cliff. And you’d have to be fucking blind not to notice the Sage of Untamed Magic or William Redding, neither of whom I’m eager to tango with.”
Titania raised a shoulder, “The summer home thing was just a joke. And William doesn’t have a reason to kill us. He’s probably on some errand for the God of Death.”
“Errand. Yeah. Like the Book of Longings.”
Titania put her hands on her hips and Akira groaned, “Can you just for one second take my advice?”
“Fine.” She stormed over to the counter and glared at the attendant. “Even though this place is a veritable empire of sub-par, we need three rooms and an appointment with the Rare Books Curator for tomorrow morning.”
“Three rooms?” Akira cocked his head.
“If you think I’m sleeping with Oberon, you’re even stupider than I thought.”
“Y-yes Miss…uh…Queen Titania,” the attendant squeaked, “We’ll open the Chairman’s wing. Would you like to make dinner reservations?”
“No, have it sent to the rooms,” Titania growled, “We’re keeping a low profile.”
The woman gulped and nodded.
Titania was clearly done with this interaction but Akira was not. “Tomorrow morning?” he wrinkled his forehead, “Why wait? I thought this was an in and out sort of deal.”
His sister released a long-suffering sigh. “You, nameless staff person. What’s on the new acquisitions list for the morning?”
The woman rattled off a list of titles, including the Book of Longings.
“See, dummy? It’s not here yet. Now text Oberon our room number so he can bring up the luggage.”
Akira wanted to ask why she was forcing Oberon to carry the luggage when it could easily be transportalated in, but one look at the dark glint in Titania’s eye, and he shut his mouth.
“Stop looking over your shoulder,” she snapped as they headed towards the elevators.
“Oh, stop looking for the three most powerful beings in the Universe to show up because we are fucking with their plans? Oh yeah, fine. I’ll do that post fuckin’ haste.”
Titania turned on her heel. “They aren’t going to kill us because they need this timeline.”
“What are you talking about?” Akira demanded, “We don’t know how this time bullshit works! “
“Of course we do,” Titania flapped a hand in dismissal, “I figured it out ages ago. Miko was obviously creating parallel timelines; that’s why she disappeared. The harpy didn’t step on your heart a thousand times; she stepped on the hearts of a thousand different Akiras. You just happen to be the most recent one.”
Akira winced and then sighed. “Alright, fine. Your genius is unmatched. How does that prove they won’t kill us?”
“The Fates don’t do anything by accident. The manuscript is on this week’s acquisition list because they want someone in this timeline to have it. And speaking of timelines, the only reason they let Miko create a thousand of them was that it served some purpose, and since you’re bound to her, you serve some purpose too. They might kill the other Akiras, but they aren’t going to get rid of the one in the timeline they need.”
With that, she marched up to the elevator and jammed her finger on the button. “Who the hell installed an elevator in here!” she shrieked, “I told them I wanted spiral staircases!”
First of all, I’m really sorry about you and your family’s loss, that’s heartbreaking. I don’t think there’s anything I can say that would make a difference, so I just hope you and your family are holding up as well as can be in these circumstances and that you are able to be there for each other, albeit it probably can’t be in person, which sucks. Sending virtual hugs!
Second of all, never doubt yourself, BBD is a work of art and it’s utterly brilliant. It does make my brain explode sometimes, but that’s on me and my limited mental faculties! 😀
Lastly, I did read your cameo in AE (one of my favourites 🙂 ) and you were epic. Quite a moment you witnessed there with Seth, haha. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one with a deranged simcrush on a vampire sociopath who lives in the woods LOL
Ok, now onto the actual update! Apologies in advance, it’s a mega novel as per usual.
Oooh, I was totally like William and expecting something old and dusty. I love that the library is a modern building that’s clearly had quite a few refurbishments. Makes sense that they’d invest in it, if it’s so important. Ooh, even a spa! Nice!
Argh, Titania and Akira are here too! OMG! I was hoping these two dynamic duos would run into each other in the library, though also kind of not, since you know, they’re after the same thing. I wasn’t entirely sure if they were in the same timeline or not, and now I’m not sure if them being in the same timeline is a positive thing. I think it is, because if they weren’t, one of the timelines would automatically be destined to fail. Then again, this is a magical library that you get to through a magical portal, so it may well be that it’s a location where all timelines merge… ugh, shut up, brain.
I doubt Morgyn was really just sorting out dinner reservations for half an hour. But of course they’ll not share that with William. And William, get with the programme, this is exciting!
Titania looks amazing. That hairstyle from Snowy Escape really suits her. Ooh, Titania was on the library’s board? I wonder who else is… Ack, so everybody is going to see the curator tomorrow… oh man… getting a bit angsty about this upcoming confrontation, but ok, I’ll listent to Morgyn and not worry about that for now and forcus on fun times in the hotel tonight. Ah! The book’s not here yet. Hmmm… where is it being sourced from I wonder…. and WHEN is it being sourced from? Hmm, but then that could totally support my previous theory that Morgyn nd William and Akira and Titania are not necessarily here from the same timelines, since both Morgyn and Titania clearly know that this is the precise time and place to get the book…. Argh. Right, ok, Titania clears up some of the timeline business. Same timeline then. That’s good news… I think. So why am I nervous?
The Mrtin family reunion continues, ooh boy. ““Fresh enough for me,” OOOH! Deacon and Grim pairing confirmed, yay! Love it. They are perfect for each other.
Lol lol, yes Gwen, please talk about Alice and Vlad doing it to bring this to the optimum levels of awkward LMAO. I’ll roll off the sofa here 😀 But I guess the nice message hiding in there for Alice’s parents is that this band of misfits, however weird they are, have chosen to become each other’s family, or at least to stick by each other as family if this wasn’t originally a choice (you know, like with Caleb). So that means there’s genuine love… now, whether the Martin’s are uber-open-minded enough for that to be their takeaway… I don’t know. If anyone could be, I do feel like it would be Alice’s parents somehow.
Oh dear, this comment is already way too long, I better try to be more concise with the rest of this. Oooh and then Gwen drops the bomb that she is indeed the owl of undoing. Or is she? Everybody in the room seems to think so, so maybe this is just by neverending suspiciousness, but if she was talking about herself, why would she say “my owl friend”? She could of course just be talking about that in a way Vlad sometimes distinguishes Phobos from himself though. And to top it off, she is a child, so she might not express herself in a similarly predictable way an adult would. Regardless, Vlad’s proclamation about her is a thousand percent sweet and I love it.
Oh no. Oh no. Akira’s spiralling is breaking my heart. But how can I blame him? He is not wrong that Miko did indeed choose to punish him in a thousand timelines. How would you still hang on to hope after learning something like that? But Akira, for the love of god, now is a terrible time to relapse, you need your head in the game tomorrow. Or you know, now, with this suspicious looking lady looming over you. I don’t think we’ve seen her before, but I’m going to place a wild bet that she is Jimena’s mother. Not sure why. Something about her manneurism feels similar. I’m 90% sure I’m wrong, though.
Damn, Morgyn looks fabulous in that outfit. They d have excellent legs, I’ve noticed, during, um, independent study 😀
“For one brief, bright moment, she was in control of her life.” Hahahahahaha are you sure bout that, Alice? I should not be laughing, it’s actually extremely sad that this hella shitstorm we’ve been watching her go through throughout BBD was the time when she felt the most in control of her life.I still think her parents will come around. They seem very supportive.
Oh my gods, Vlad <3 Damn. That's hella growth. He is wonderful. Alice is very lucky.
Aww, that was a really sweet moment between William and Morgyn as they were about to enter the archive. And we get to see the portraits of the gods, aaaaaargh! But this is of course where you leave us. I'm pretty confident that WIlliam is one of them, especially judging by his reaction. And we'll likely see plenty more familiar faces. But I'm not placing any more bets tonight.
Thank you <3 We are definitely hanging in. I mean, I continue to wish people would wear masks and lay low, even though its been nearly a year, even though we’re all exhausted and stressed out. It does save lives. Virtual hugs are where its at (especially in what feels like 2020 part 8,752).
Ahh! And thank you for your kind words about BBD. Haha, I sometimes make my own brain explode. I am seriously considering making myself a personal wiki before I start Book Two because I’m constantly having to go back and check myself.
Um yeah, in RE: AE we are the same kind of nerd. When they were like: do you want to be a chapter with Seth, I typed so fast I thought I’d break my keyboard. Gah, that story is soooo good. I appreciate all the ways they can mix some very dark stuff with bizarre sims 4 humor.
I AM NOT MAD ABOUT THIS MEGA NOVEL (Haha, I love that we’re constantly apologize to each other for writing such long comments because we’ve got so many thoughts!)
Haha, at first I was going to make the Library something really traditional with lots of columns and chandeliers, but then I just got caught up in the idea of like: what if it was more like a luxury hotel? They are in the same timeline, thanks to the Fates, but as for how their paths with actually cross while they are there, well, I’ll remain mum (ITS SO HARD THO).
I am also obsessed with that hairstyle from snowy escape. I will confirm that Fates are the ones who wrote the book since that happened in a previous chapter, but as for WHEN its being sourced from and WHAT it contains, well, that’s a good question. hehe.
why so nervous? I’m sure it’s gonna be *fine.*
I shipped Deacon and Grim in my own mind and then I was like: wait, I can make this happen. So I am. I have so much fun stuff planned for them in the future.
Oh man, I wanted some levity for what was definitely a tough moment for Alice. Interesting that you saw that connection ebtween how Gwendolyn talks about herself and how Vlad talks about Phobos. You are asking such good questions about her and The Owl and I want so badly to answer them. She is The Owl, but much is still to be revealed…
Yeah, Akira is having a tough time. He’s sort of been in denial up until this point, so focused on just Miko that he hasn’t had a moment to sit back and absorb all these revelations. And Miko isn’t there to explain herself.
oh Jimena’s mother…god, I can’t wait until you meet her.
Vlad and Alice had a really good moment. He has definitely grown! But also, he and Alice have fundamentally different upbringings from vastly different moments in history. A lot of time I play the centuries of age difference as a joke, but this time I wanted to acknowledge that there are some things that Vlad can adapt to easier because he was raised in the 15th century.
Morgyn’s fashion sense: 10/10, Legs: 25/10. I’m so excited for next chapter’s reveal.
Morgyn and William are finally get their sweet moments…
Is William a god? We shall see…
(I gave you a novel length answer lol)
Virtual hugs are definitely where it’s at! Ooh, a personal wiki is such a good idea! I can’t say I blame you, your mind must be bursting!
Yeah, Snuffy has a fabulous sense of humour so she can afford to go very dark without completely depressing people 😀
Ha, the way you answered my musings about Gwendolynn simultaneously makes things clearer and more muddled, haha. I shall wait 🙂
That is true, Vlad’s background does make it easier for him to distance himself in this situation. I would have never guessed that having a few centuries age difference could actually make them stronger as a couple, but it’s definitely working in their favour here!
Agreed on the Morgyn ratings. Ha, does this mean next chapter’s reveal is Morgyn’s legs? 😀 I jest. I can’t wait to see all of the portraits of the gods. And the sweet William and Morgyn moment. Yes! Bring it on! 🙂
“Does this mean next chapter’s reveal is Morgyn’s legs?” XD
(pls enjoy the least insightful comment ever)
you’re not wrong lol Morgyn’s legs are plot pivotal
What an opening… my condolences. And for everything you’ve had to deal with this year, I commend you for still pushing forward and doing the thing. Partly selfishly, because the thing is awesome and makes me laugh out loud, and also because after millions of tragedies like this one, the world needs that kind of energy. So there’s one more anonymous internet person rooting for you to make it through the pandemic with sanity intact. Virtual hugs all around.
(Checked the AE cameo, skimming so as not to spoil the story ’cause I’m way behind. Man. What. Freaking. Amazing. Thoughts. Is she on the Gallery somewhere?)
Now for the actual story: Morgyn gets A Point for speaking with semicolons. Morgyn now has 1 Point. Akira also gets A Point for correctly using “whom” in casual conversation. That is also his only Point. Deacon gets 1000 Points because everything he says is perfect. Deacon now has infinity Points. Deacon has been awarded the Josh Chan “Totally Tubular Dude” Award and he can collect it at his convenience.
Though I’m still using the divide-and-conquer strategy of following Plumbob’s lead for Miko, Akira, & co., freeing up space in my brain for shoes (FINE, Morgyn gets a second Point for the shoes), Titania’s making me rethink that. For all her grumbling at the nameless staff person who actually may be nameless, she’s got the 4D chess mindset down. Her analysis of the Fates and why she and Akira aren’t in danger has me nodding along thinking “oh… yeah… me too… totally caught that.” And then shifty eyes. But even if the Fates aren’t going to kill them, Akira’s right to be wary that the Fates might non-lethally interfere. Hm.
His breakdown and Titania’s take on their relationships is also suggesting that I’m kind of spoiled by SimLit in that there’s a relationship this thorny right under my nose and yet there’s so much else going on that I haven’t formed a proper opinion on it. Although… can one really form an opinion on whatever this is? You know what, I’ll just sit back and harshly judge them for how they handle it, from my comfortable position of not being in a crappy marriage for 1000 timelines.
Special mentions for the phrases “The actual fuck is,” “interrogate creatures,” and “wiping her nose with his shirt.” Now that is intimacy. None of that “I’ll love you forever” teenage poppycock, they’re going straight to “you are my napkin.” Oh, and “Cyrus wondered why the prize in a baking contest was a child.” This house has like 10 people in it and only one isn’t nuts.
“The Grim Reaper, at your service. Now that we are all meeting, I can see where Alice gets her great set of—” PIPES! (Actual snap association from the brainus.)
Man, from what’s shown of Alice’s relationship with her family, it’s understandable she would be sensitive to them shaming her for messing up. There’s a lot to break down about Vlad’s take. He’s totally on the money about allowing her decisions to be questioned, and he’s doing a great job of not assuming her family’s criticism is being done totally out of love and concern about her well-being. But then I get flashbacks to giving presentations in undergrad, and I get the sense that Alice didn’t need to be told it was important to take feedback from others, rather she may realize that criticism is less valuable to her if it’s coming from someone who has something negative to say about everything she does. Then again, these particular concerns are reasonable for her family to have, and the god war does make this a special case, and—woof, layers.
Lastly, Titania and Oberon aren’t sharing a room but Morgyn and William are? How many beds are there in that room?
…only one bed?!?!?
I am responding to these comments in order while cackling out lout the ENTIRE time.
– First of all, thank you for the condolences. It’s been a hell of a year (years?) but you know what? Annoymous internet friends for the win! Really, while creating physical distance, this pandemic has created some incredible online communities and I’m oh so grateful.
– LOLOLOL yeah AE is just so dope. The writing is sharp and the jokes are so on point. Pretty sure she is on the gallery, that’s how snuffybucket got ‘em. EA ID: ferosh_girl. (I fI show up at a dinner party with Bernard I will have ascended).
– I approve this point system and it makes perfect sense to me that Deacon would win.
– Listen, shoes matter in the BBD universe. Actually, Grim has a shoe shot coming up in Chapter 40 Part 2 that I think you will appreciate.
– Titania isn’t wrong about nameless attendants, the EA generated random sims all have names that just slide off my brain. Also, she is definitely playing 4D chess (with you lol). I’m excited getting a chance to dive into her character more because the Queen of the Fae is DANGEROUS.
– “THORNY” IS HIGHEST PRAISE! YES! Resident Kibo Scholar, Plumbob and new Kibo Fellow, Yimiki, both pointed out something I was writing as subtext but has now become text: there is no magic bullet (or Owl) that will “fix” their relationships, they just have to make different choices. Interestingly enough, they face the same issue as Caleb – they have no idea how to put themselves first in a relationship.
– LOL writing Grim’s dialogue is one of my favorite things. Of course he’s talking about pipes. Grim would never be so gauche as to mention Valeria’s t—
– Oh yeah, shame is such a good word. And I think you’re spot on about the way they are both coming at this. I try really hard to write conflict between Vlad and Alice where the “right” answer is almost ambigious because the truth is, in most cases everyone is a little bit right and the thing you gotta do is give a little and get a little. Also, this is just my nerd historian coming out because while I love to play Vlad’s age for laughs, in truth he would find Alice’s family conflict mystifying because our conception of what family is and what you expect from them is a pretty modern one.
– Cyrus = sane father figure for the win
– ONLY ONE BED TROPE FOR THE WIN
Seconding the anonymous internet friends thing—what are the odds there would be another SimLit author who’s attuned to 1958 Tonys drama and Faraday cage electrical charge limit drama? HOW?!?!?
For someone who’s directly addressed how easy it is for things to slip under our noses when they don’t call attention to themselves, I sure am doing a good job of not asking WHERE TF ARE OBERON AND MARJORIE. Seriously. Their names were mentioned how many times and I didn’t catch that their absence was notable?
How could I ever, ever gloss over Grim’s sneakers?! (Ohhh. Oh no. Something just came out of my brainus that is def ending up on your forum thread.)
And, uh, Valeria’s… timbre? Tessitura? Help me out here. I’m perplexed because I’m not sure when Grim heard either of them sing.
LOL listen this is how I felt when you made an entire extended joke about water sleeves.
Oh, where are Oberon and Marjorie? :: Looks down at nails :: I’m sure they are *fine*
Oh, I guess you could call them her timbres, plural.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you and your family are doing okay. You’re right – do the thing, because you never know if you’re doing to get another chance. BBD is incredibly complex and sometimes short-circuits my mind but it also never fails to make me laugh and I genuinely enjoy reading it. I hope you finish it and make book two with the same brilliance. <3
I agree with William – trekking through the jungle and fighting skeletons in an ancient crumbling ruin to finally reach a very modern-looking sanctuary with a spa and movie theater is jarring, lol. On the other hand, they have a spa and movie theater- hoooold on, is that Akira in the background there?
Oh lordy it is! And Titania too. LOL I love those two but they really have no shortage of enemies, do they? Oh my, and they have an appointment with the curator at the same time as Morgyn and William. That won’t end well.
“The actual fuck is they are only considered zombies in this realm,” Grim fumed, “The rest of the worlds don’t have so short-sighted a view of life states.”
I have no idea why but this made Grimmy actually earn some points with me. And made me laugh at his facial expression. Oh, Don Lothario as the literal Grim Reaper. Still gets me every time.
I love how with all of the supernatural monsters and gods and hybrids and even the literal personification of fear itself in the room, it’s still Alice’s father who has the last word. With his combat experience he’s actually the best person to make war plans. Oddly. It’s weirdly poetic. Also, ouch. Fatherly “I’m disappointed in you”. That stuff hurts.
Oh, Akira. I feel so bad for him. He’s getting hit with reveal after reveal and they’re all a metaphorical slap in the face. He’s been so focused on getting back with Miko that he’s shaped his whole life’s purpose around it. I wonder if she orchestrated that too.
Holy cow, Vlad is showing some amazing character growth here. Not only restraining himself and calmly handling the house like a proper king, but also making Alice see the flaws in her thinking without making her think she’s “a fuck-up” as she puts it. Alice has been dealt a tough hand all her life and is so used to being ridiculed that she now sees any negative feedback as more of that. That’s so sad. Her family actually took it pretty well in my opinion. They not only wrapped their heads around, well, everything, but focused on Alice and Gwendolyn and reached some conclusions that aren’t accurate, but are understandable. I do hope they’ll actually trust her to do her best though, like they did when they let her go to the baking contest. Granted that was a lie back then. But this time, it’s who she is, and she really is doing all she can.
Aw, thank you <3 We are working through it, and I know this year was hard for a lot of people. Hopefully, the end of 2021 brings some bright news and more joy 🙂
Whew! I’m finally starting to come down the homestretch on finishing this thing. Thank you for the encouragement! I don’t think I even knew what a massive undertaking this would be. But I’ve learned a lot and I’m hoping Book Two will benefit from that. Plus, it’s just so much easier to write once you’ve established a Universe. I feel like Book Two will give me an opportunity to just play and have fun with everyone and I won’t have start from scratch like: “okay, so there are gods and multiple worlds and so on.”
Yeah, Akira and Titania and William and Morgyn at the same place at the same time and I’m sure its gonna be *FINE*
(I just really loved the idea of the magical library being like a luxury hotel instead of some dusty place with wood paneling lol)
Sometimes Grim is really on point right??!?!?! Haha, my favorite BBD pastime if figuring out what premades I can cast as totally insane characters. Don as Grim is one of my faves.
This is a tough chapter for Akira! Also, “I wonder if she orchestrated that too,” holy bananas YOUR LASER EYES ARE TOO POWERFUL. Yeah, Miko’s other power besides weaving time is manipulating emotions so…
Yes! Vlad has definitely grown and to be fair, so has Alice. Getting back with her family has sort of knocked her off course because she’s used to inhabiting a certain kind of role with them. And you’re right, her family did take it pretty well all things told. It’s one of those things were everyone is right but everyone is also wrong too lol. They’ve got some work to do but they are gonna figure it out (fingers crossed).