I have been teaching myself to make poses because I need this hobby to somehow become more time-consuming lol. You’ll see my labors in this chapter (Akira on the floor, Alice in the tub). All I can say is that I would not have gotten through these first attempts without the tutorials posted by the very awesome Katverse!
Somewhere along the outskirts of Windenburg
When he and Gwendolyn finally rematerialized, everyone else was already there. Traveling with her was different. As a mist, he could float effortlessly through the air, but Gwendolyn’s light had been a force. It took everything to steer her out of the sky and she was terrified when they began to reform, clutching his hand so tightly she fractured two of his fingers.
But that fear wore off as soon as she saw Alice. Then she was exuberant, chattering about her newfound ability.
There was a tightness in Vlad’s chest at the sight of it. They were safe. This time he listened. Maybe there was no great catastrophe coming, and they could have stayed, but he was not willing to risk it.
That they ended up here seeking protection was an irony that was not lost on him.
The past was present sometimes.
“What is this place?” Cyrus asked, running a finger through the dust on the table.
“Windenburg Keep,” Vlad said softly, the words sharp and painful. He didn’t strike out; he was getting used to his pain being dragged to the surface. To feel it without needing to destroy something. But it wasn’t easy.
It would never be easy.
“My father had three castles built: The summer palace by the bluffs, the main palace in town, and this—a fortified location on the outskirts of Windenburg.”
“Because he was a king?” Valeria asked, a note of wonder in her voice as she gazed around.
“Because so many sims wanted to kill him,” Caleb quipped. “And he was a king.”
Alice’s father stared at Vlad like some critical pieces of information were finally shifting into place. “You’re that ‘Vladislaus.’ Deceased son of the Villain King. We studied him in the Academy, he was—”
“Impressive,” Vlad finished. It wasn’t an unexpected response. From a distance, Josef Straud was an incredible strategist. In fact, he was an incredible strategist up close too. That he was a monster mattered approximately zero percent.
“I was going to say a ‘cautionary tale,'” Cyrus clarified gently, “We covered him in the unit on pyrrhic victories.”
That pulled Vlad up short, and some of the tightness in his chest eased. “Oh,” he coughed, “I should show you the rooms, so you can get settled.”
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
“We’re not going to do anything?” William demanded. “What about that green-haired creature? We should—”
“No,” Morgyn replied, dragging a hand through their hair. They could sense strong magic around, but they couldn’t figure out the signature. “You don’t know the Queen of the Fae. She is a force, and if she wants to kill her husband, then we don’t need to get in the middle of it.”
“We do if it means she has the book!” William cried. “You said we needed it, and now you’re willing to let it go?”
They weren’t willing; they were panicking. The Book of Longings wasn’t in any of the other timelines, which was how Morgyn knew it was important. The Fates were playing at some sort of endgame; what was it?
William gritted his teeth, “After all of this, I’m returning empty-handed and—”
“You are not coming back empty-handed. You are coming back with the knowledge of the gods’ identities.”
“Knowledge you could have told me without the trip! Do you mean to make a fool of me?”
Why had they thought getting Aurelius into bed would solve everything? Last night, they let the vampire lay his head on their chest and listen to their heartbeat. Today, the walls were up, and Universe help them; Morgyn wanted to tear them down.
“You are nothing but demands now, vampire, but before you brought me into your bed, you believed me an enemy. Do you think anything would have grown between us if I told you I knew who the gods were? If I laid out how L. Faba and I sought to use Phobos to get our hands on The Owl? Would you have kissed me?”
William reared back. “You’ve lost your ever-loving mind,” he breathed, “This is not about only you. A crush on me? That’s what matters to you?”
It is all that matters to me, Morgyn thought automatically, but found they could not say it out loud.
“And what did you want with The Owl?”
“What does anyone want with The Owl?” Morgyn snarled, pushing past him.
Don’t do this, a small voice told them, don’t punish him. For Morgyn, it had been a thousand times, but not for this Aurelius. Of course, he had not yet learned to love them.
The hint of magic whistled past them again, and they surveyed the yard, trying to determine if it was a welcome or a warning.
Poses!! And machinima! Lol, that multiple screens trick reminded me of timelines, even though I know—think?—this is scene is only happening in one timeline.
(On the use of poses here: I don’t think that was originally a “God of Death stabs herself and holds up her own hand to show the healing” pose, but very resourceful, and when Mr. Alice Martin materializes in, Valeria’s shocked face with Alice’s “not this shit again” pose is great.)
You know I love meta and OH MY GOD, THE TWIST WITH THE BOOK OF LONGINGS, YES. I feel like I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t, and it hit me hard. Again, YES.
Man, character-developed Vlad is actually threatening to overtake Deacon in my book. I’ll admit a soft spot for characters whose default emotion is scrunchy face, who are on a hair trigger for rants, who look like wet blankets on first glance but can and will out-crazy the crazy people, who have huge stores of wealth and mostly use it to impulse-buy random shit, who are estranged from their parents, and who have poor impulse control and every opinion on everything ever. That is to say, Xiyuan’s getting a new best friend after they get past the being-in-separate-universes block. And “I’m used to pain being dragged to the surface”? That’s something I’d say to the nice lady at the DMV who does not get paid enough to put up with me saying that type of thing unprompted.
And the pièce de résistance:
Hoooh, boy, Mr. Alice Martin, you’ve won a hype woman for life.
Alice’s developing godhood does make sense as a reason she wouldn’t realize she was pregnant. I’ll take that excuse. And I hope Valeria’s declaration of support for Alice is just the beginning. If this ends with everyone, even people she didn’t know were on her side, rallying behind Alice, I will cry. That, and maybe also because this is BBD, I’m expecting her reality TV expertise to become crucial in the God War again.
Speaking of believing in Alice, you know I’m down if Underworld Summer Vacation starts off with an abortion storyline (brrap brrap, pew pew). That was heavy so I’ll also point that Titania’s lipstick is working for her.
(Let me know if you can get on SFS, ’cause I haven’t been able to yet)
This scene* dammit.
– OVERTAKING DEACON?!?!?!?!?!?! I consider that to be the highest praise.
– Oh man, I do think he and Xiyuan would be besties. Insufferable besties, but besties all the same. I try to write Vlad as if I could somehow combine Lucille Bluth, Snape, and Dexter into one person.
– Pain dragged to the surface — yeah Vlad is still a hot fucking mess on the inside. So far, his character growth is learning that you can’t indiscriminately murder every time you experience emotional pain. I feel like the lady at the DMV can relate? It is the DMV.
– Okay, fine, he’s also learned that everything doesn’t revolve around his pain. Credit where credit is due lol.
– This is my imaginary universe, goddamn it, I can write the masculinity with out the toxic part if I want to lol! Seriously though, if anyone understands/respects bodily autonomy, weirdly, it’s Vlad. He didn’t ask to be made a vampire and when he was made into Fear, he did not think he would survive it. That experience has made him be very “my body, my choice” despite being 600 years old which is why while he cherishes Gwendolyn, he is consumed by guilt over making her (and by making Caleb and Lilith).
– Speaking of deep things to explore in Underworld Summer Vacation: I can honestly say I don’t know which side Alice is going to come down on! Whether she decides to go through with the pregnancy or not, both choices are valid and I’m interested in exploring that process/conversation. The game sort of created this situation for me and now I’m hoping BBD can do it justice (you know…no pressure lol)
– Titania’s lipstick = DOPE. OMFG yes thank you for loving the meta Book of Longings and my Beyonce-inspired machinima. I have a big one planned for the end of the story but I just needed Titania and Akira to have a lil moment.
– Oh, your suspicions are right.
– We shall see who is on Alice’s side and who is not! I am enjoying setting things up for the “Alice coming into her own as a god” arc in Underworld Summer Vacation 🙂
Ugh, they have SO MANY shared topics that they could spend hours ranting to each other about. SO MANY. The event that we need to plan will probably end in a Victorian cemetery where Yuan is holding a half-full bottle of vodka and ranting with Vlad about “Boléro,” and Alice and Bernard are digging up Bernard’s grave. On the walk there all four of them discussed whether the houses they passed were haunted.
(Vlad’s a way better parent than Lucille Bluth, though, so far.)
Ah, pantsing because random shit happened! It seems like “either constructing a huge flowchart of interconnected plots years in advance or pantsing because random shit happened” is the equilibrium for SimLit that isn’t entirely game-based or story-based. And now Alice has plenty of time to figure out what’s best for her.
I’m so ready for the reality TV twist. Or for people’s shoes to become even more important than they already are.
(The Fates: ok, everyone in this timeline is wearing the correct shoes, especially Vlad and Grim, let’s roll)
This Bolero scene is cannon now. Vlad spends half of it trying to recall whether he drained the creator of his blood at a fancy dinner party in 1925 (full confession do not remember which ravel it was or when they died and was too lazy to Google)
It was the shoes all along.
(I am ready to unleash the twist if I can actually finish $&?ing writing and editing the damn thing. The world is ::gestures at Atlanta:: a mess)
Oh, that’s got to evoke all kinds of memories in Vlad! Both the part he references about not having packed up and escaped way back with his wife, but obviously the actual refuge location they are in now. At least it’s been centuries since then.
Heh, Morgyn and William in casually matching outfits. What *does* anyone want with the owl? At this point, it doesn’t seem like anybody really needs the owl for the “owlness” – obviously Alice and Vlad do want to keep Gwendolyn, but that would be the case even if she wasn’t the owl. Neither of them really seems to need the owl for their original purposes. Miko and Akira never needed the owl in the first place. We don’t know much about the other gods and why they might want it, but something tells me it’s not something that will actually resolve anything for them.
“For Morgyn, it had been a thousand times, but not for this Aurelius. Of course, he had not yet learned to love them.” That’s an interesting way to word it. Learn to love them? Was it a feat in every timeline, to get Aurelius to fall in love with Morgyn? Maybe I’m overthinking it.
Oh wow, I love Titania’s house, that’s so beautiful! “An Oberon, not THE Oberon.” Ooh, this is interesting. There’s quite a contrast between Titania and Morgyn here. So is Titania saying she only cares about Oberon from her particular timeline? Are they distinct enough to no longer class as the same person. Isn’t our self from a different timeline still very much ourselves, but just someone who had slightly different circumstances to react to? Then again, once circumstances change too many times, their impact will alter us beyond recognition, since so much of who we are IS circumstantial. Hm. I have no way of answering my own question. But in any case, it appears Morgyn views this differently from Titania, since they see it as worthwhile to be with any version of William, in any timeline, since it’s all still William to them – or Aurelius, as they’d say.
(Side note – Did you ever watch Sliders?)
Actually, the more I read about Titania’s thoughts on her “cheating husband” and his variants from different timelines… maybe that’s why Miko rubs her the wrong way. They’re more alike than Titania would ever admit. But Titania does not want that kind of mirror being held up to her. Poor, his sister who’s taking his side basically has the same mindset as his ex when it comes to her own husband. Oh dear.
Aww, Alice’s talk with her mum was sweet. Lol, the Bella protocol, nice touch! Ooh, so Alice *is* pregnant? At least according to Valeria? But how would Valeria know? I mean, you could say motherly instinct and all, but still…
I think Morgyn is their own worst enemy when it comes to their relationship with William (I guess this seems to be the case for many of the BBD characters, haha), they spend half the time proclaiming that William is the only thing that matters and they’d do anything in a thousand timelines to be with them, but then the other half they’re obsessed with having power and cunning at all times… those two things are not compatible. It’s impossible to have the kind of relationship they’re hoping for while focusing on always having power in every situation. Worse yet, they don’t really reveal either of these conflicting streams of thought to William, so no wonder he’s bamboozled and has no idea what Morgyn’s deal is. Morgyn themself doesn’t seem to know what their deal is, lol. At least they admit their lie is poor.
The thing about them mourning their god is interesting. Obviously on a personal level that’s understandable, but they will never technically be godless, right? Since there must always be a god of XYZ. Alice is the new god of fertility, soo… Also, doesn’t their former god still exist somewhere, since we know that gods can’t die, only become lesser things? (Also, there’s a good chance I wrote dog instead of god somewhere in this, since my dog is distracting me, don’t mind that 😀 )
Hmm, I still think it’s a bit presumptuous of Alice’s mum to assume she’s pregnant based on the fact she has morning sickness alone. People get nauseous for all sorts of reasons, stress definitely being one of them, and Alice is under a lot of stress. It reminds me of how people kept looking for pregnancy symptoms in me all the time right after I got married, and all of my coworkers kept making “bright” remarks every time someone announced they were pregnant “o-ho, you’re next.” She may well be pregnant, sure. But don’t jump into conclusions, mum.
The conversation between Alice and Vlad, well, utter meltdown on Alice’s part, haha, feels very realistic, jumping from one thing to another as she freaks out. Hey, consuming a beating heart is basically a dinner date for Vlad, isn’t it? Marriage… Imean, who would even be able to officiate? They’re a god and an embodiment of fear who are on the run and about to head into the Underworld. That would not be a straightforward wedding to plan, haha.
Ooh, so that’s what the book is. Here’s a theory on why the fates aren’t bothered to divide it up into separate books, as demonstrated by Titania and Akira and themselves – the book has information on everything that has happened and will happen in this timeline, and are they looking at it all? Nope. They’re only interested in the stuff that directly relates to their lives; Miko, Oberon, Oberon’s lover. Had the book been collected by Morgyn and William, would those be the passages they’d be looking at? Nope. They’d be doing much of the same as Akira and Titania are doing.
Now, what I’m curious is; if they go to a certain place based on the book, effectively trying to change the “fate,” will the book change, or become invalid? Or will it become a self-fulfilling prophecy and them going to intervene with events will be what puts them into motion? If we’re going by how this story has been going so far, it’s definitely the latter. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. Because nobody learns. Queue Battlestar Galactica music.
THIS COMMENT MADE MY DAY. It’s been hella hectic, so it’s taken me literally all day to get back to my computer so I could actually write a response.
:: takes a deep breath::
You are the penultimate Akira/Titania/Miko scholar. Yes, while Titania is definitely avoiding the mirror, it’s still there, and Miko is being reflected right back. All my fave simlits have beautifully complex, morally gray characters and I didn’t want BBD to be an exception. It’s easy to dislike Miko and make her the bad guy because, well, she did a bad thing. She is toxic, no bones about it. But if you shift the perspective a little bit and find yourself rooting for Titania, well, why is that? And what about Akira? He loves his sister and is firmly on her side but will that change the way he looks at Miko? Or himself? We’ll have to see…
For the record, Titania is a genius (lol, at least according to her sim traits), but she doesn’t have the gift of foresight. She is firmly convinced that there are multiple Oberons because there are multiple timelines. And she wasn’t wrong to think that it. It was true. There were multiple Oberons and multiple timelines until the Fates started closing them down. Do they need Oberon so badly that they’ll bring another one forward? Well, that remains to be seen…
HAHAHA, I love your theory on the book. Powerful supernatural beings and gods are petty and self-absorbed, just like us! The Fates are definitely aware of this and use it to their advantage all the time. I, too, find it hilarious that they were like: yeah, this has all the information we technically need to win the god war, but what about that chick my husband was sleeping with?
Will the book change or “will it become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and them going to intervene with events will be what puts them into motion?”
:: looks directly into the camera:: You are a very dangerous reader <3 <3 <3
(side note, battlestar Galactica is how I met my husband. totally wooed him with the "Cylons look like us now" line because I am soooo cool, lol)
Okay, looping back around!
– Vlad has definitely come full circle. At least he is standing in this place full of relief instead of regret.
– I am just going to go ahead and confess right now, I spend way too much time in CAS dressing Morgyn and William, and I don't think I'll ever be able to stop.
– What is The Owl? The answer is coming very soon, but I will say this, Morgyn knows EXACTLY what The Owl is capable of, and so do the other Gods. Now, whether it will actually solve their problems or just be a tool that they inadvertently use to destroy themselves in their obsessive quest to control everything well…*spoilers*
– I don't think you're overthinking Morgyn's line. Though they have ostensibly been through this a thousand times, there are some fundamental truths about Aurelius that Morgyn just doesn't understand. Will they figure it out this time? Will the Fates give Morgyn what they promised—the key to Aurelius's heart? Hmmmm….
– Okay, people assuming you're pregnant right after you get married is so universally annoying. You're totally right! And it's completely reasonable that Alice believed she was under a lot of stress because it does give you a lot of the same "symptoms."
– That said, Alice is definitely pregnant. Like…glaringly obviously pregnant to literally everyone except her because sims. lol.
– But I do think she handled discovering she was pregnant about as well as she could given the circumstances. Vlad 100% agrees with you. Consuming a beating heart = dinner date. You have 100% described why a BBD Vlad/Alice wedding would be completely bonkers and totally insane to write/plan. Gah, but why does that make me want to do it more? All I'll say is that for now, Alice is firmly in the "no" camp on marriage. Just the thought of it makes her break out in hives.
"It’s impossible to have the kind of relationship they’re hoping for while focusing on always having power in every situation."
Whew. Hold onto that thought.
Okay, excuse me while I continue to desperately try to stick the landing for the first book of this story. ::hyperventilates::
Serves me right for writing essays 😀
Yay, my research paid off haha! I’m a big fan of morally grey characters – did you know? 😀 For sure, perspective is everything. We’re all villains in someone’s story.
Genius without foresight… that explains the spiral staircases 😀 Will definitely be interesting to see her reaction when she realises the “pool of Oberons” is much more limited than she thought.
Haha, that’s understandable, who wouldn’t be wooed by that line? 😀 Yay for fellow Battlerstar Galactica fans 🙂
I suppose Morgyn getting the key to Aurelius’s heart if they fulfill the fates’ condition of giving up some of their magic does make sense, because of the side effects that would come with – giving up some control, being vulnerable, taking a risk for Aurelius without knowing if they’ll get anything in return… Whether Morgyn will do that remains to be seen, though.
Oh definitely, Alice definitely handled the pregnancy news as well as anyone in her position could have, for sure. The timing for expanding their family, err… could be better, LMAO. I wonder why Alice is so anti-marriage – her parents don’t seem to have an unhappy one as far as we can tell. Then again, at the start of this, Alice was adamant on not even pursuing romantic relationships, full stop. Also, the premise of marriage becomes something else entirely when you’re both technically immortal. I’m not sure if that’s something I’d sign up for either.
Definitely seems like Book 1 will end with a bang. So exciting!
Aw, I can imagine Vlad feeling more comfortable in the areas that aren’t so similar to how they used to be anymore. Anything to keep his mind off the bad memories of the past helps now, no matter how much he dislikes technology.
I really like the heart-to-heart that Alice and her mother had – they’ve been butting heads constantly since their reunion, and they really do seem alike. Had to giggle at the “Bella protocol”, hehe. I agree with Valeria that Alice needs all the help she can get, even as (maybe especially as) a god. Woops, looks like the pregnancy cat is out of the bag 😅
“Never again would the Sage allow something to be taken from them.”
Ah fudge, this is about Marshala, isn’t it? Yup, seems like it is.
Morgyn going down every time they use a lot of magic is so sad to see. I wonder what would happen if they were just honest with William, instead of continuously spinning him around in circles like that. I wonder if, out of all the times they were with William/Aurelius, Morgyn tried the simple truth even once.
Thank the gods that Vlad knows Alice well enough by now that he knows how to diffuse her temper. His “You would like to yell about it, which is your way, but you haven’t actually thought about it” is so spot-on.
Oh geeze that ye olde simlish way of writing 😂😂🤣 Somehow that obnoxious way of writing it is so perfect. Was it Rory? I bet it was Rory. Oh ffs – Akira noooo, don’t have Miko be the first place your mind goes t- oh. Okay. Way to go, though there’s something to be said about going to murder your cheating spouse’s lover, too 😂 What will actually happen if they change what’s written in that book? Will the book change, or will they no longer be able to use it anymore? If that’s the case, then they can reliably alter… 1 thing. And then nothing is certain anymore.
Oh my god. I’m all caught up. Now what do I do with my life 😶