Happy 2022! I’m back on my bullshit!
Seriously though, it’s good to be back. The mystery begins on page one. The clues are everywhere you look, and everyone is a suspect, so keep your eyes peeled. I hope you enjoy your fave BBD characters on a new adventure in an alternate universe (and I hope you like the new additions to the cast, too).
TW: Blood, gore, violence, and dysfunctional family stuff (this is the primary TW for the whole story, but I’ll also post for any chapter where it seems truly egregious)
Somewhere off the coast of Sulani, 1882…
Brindleton Bay, 1882
“Grandfather!” Samuel ran up the carriage turnaround. “Grandfather! It sank!”
He fell through the front door, shoving past the household staff.
“Sir,” the butler began, “Your grandfather asked that—”
Samuel kept running. “Grandfather, the ship! It—”
“Sank, yes, do be quiet, boy, and sit down.” Gunther Goth turned his attention back to the men gathered in the music room. Though he didn’t say it out loud, it was apparent to everyone that he believed his grandson was an idiot.
“You were describing the expedition,” one man prompted.
“Yes, yes.” Gunther cleared his throat, “As I was saying, we hired a crew of foreigners to bring our goods back to a business partner in Selvadorada. By grace, I was inspired to insure the ship.” He gave Samuel a solemn look that might have meant “let us reflect on our narrow escape from financial ruin,” or “keep your mouth shut, dimwit.”
“Well, it’s not a complete loss,” Mr. Bobridge said. He owned a salvage company that scoured the shorelines after a wreck. “My boys picked up an old trunk out of the wreckage in Sulani. You have a rare find on your hands. Inside was The Ultimate Vampire Tome. Are you familiar?”
“Not really,” Gunther replied, his Adam’s apple bobbing.
“The Ultimate Vampire Tome is a mythical work, part of Goodley Mather’s Encyclopedia Vampirica collection. A wise man, Mr. Mather. He used vampires as an allegory for the sins of sims.” Mr. Bobridge paused, stuffing another pastry tart into his mouth. “Our weaknesses, as it pertains to copulation and the intromittent apparatus, not to mention violence, are detailed quite thoroughly. He represents the path back to innate goodness in the recipe for the Ultimate Vampire Cure. In contrast, he expresses the path of further depravity via the directions for ascending to Grand Master Vampire.”
Mr. Bobridge continued to lecture, his knowledge cribbed from a recent talk at the Brindleton Men’s Club of Knowing and Knowledge. Neither Samuel nor Gunther were listening, and both wore pinched expressions.
Gunther recovered first. The men tarried while he extracted promises for delivery of the trunk and made vague noises about splitting proceeds should he sell the book.
Samuel, however, remained seated—eyes darting around, a series of odd noises coming from his throat.
As soon as the butler guided the men to their carriages, the younger Goth rounded on his grandfather. “With the payout from the policy coming, I think it only makes sense that Cordelia and I be allowed to marry.”
Gunther’s laugh was as cruel as it was loud. “Marry? You fool of a boy. That payout is hardly enough to undo your years of financial mismanagement.”
“I love her!”
“She is unsuitable.”
Cordelia bowed her head and clasped her hands together. She knew from experience that speaking would only make things worse.
“But we are going to the theater!” Samuel stamped his foot like a toddler who’d run out of patience.
Gunther’s lip curled, “Take your whore to see the show, and when you return, know that you will find a wife of suitable disposition with a dowry to match.”
“I don’t agree with this!” Samuel declared.
“You weren’t asked,” Gunther replied. He swept from the room, Samuel hot on his heels.
“But the book,” the younger Goth hissed, “The vampires will—”
“Nothing. They will do nothing. From here on out, we never heard of vampires, and we certainly never heard of any book.”
“Ma’am! P-please, a moment!” Yates O’Malley was secretary to the new Sage of Untamed Magic, and describing him as excitable was a bit of an understatement.
Liberty attempted to summon her patience before turning around. “What is it?”
“The paper. Look! Reports of a beast slaughtering a whole theater of mortals!” Yates thrust the paper into her hand, a worried look on his face.
Technically, it was not a beast. But Liberty felt fairly sure the term was an apt descriptor for Vladislaus Straud. “Has word spread?”
“Y-yes,” Yates replied, “I took the train in from the countryside; it was all anyone could talk about. That and a shipwreck. The merfolk are calling it omens. I think—”
“Good.” Liberty was only half-listening, already making adjustments to her acceptance speech. Ignoring Yates’s panicked little gasp, she stepped on stage.
“For too long, witches have sat back unwilling to use the power granted to them for the greater good.” She let an arc of magic roll off her fingertips. “But now that power is at your service. As the newly appointed Sages, we will protect all creatures!”
The Sages of Mischief Magic and Practical Magic flanked her but offered no additional commentary. Given the lack of unity in the supernatural community, they all agreed it would be best if they spoke as one. Liberty thrust out her arm, “We will keep you safe from unwanted mortal attention!”
“And protect your homes and businesses!”
She lowered her voice so that the crowd would have to lean in, even as she used one of those new-fangled microphones. “And most important of all, our power will ensure that no beast creeps through your public spaces, wreaking havoc and threatening your livelihoods. Glimmerbrook and the Magic Realm will be our haven.” She motioned at the members of the Magical Investigation Unit who joined her onstage, gleaming in their bright new uniforms. “And woe be unto those who would threaten it.”
The audience went wild. It was another ten minutes of clapping before they could step down from the podium.
“And that,” Liberty whispered to her fellow Sages, “is how you give an acceptance speech.”
Sages’ Estate, Glimmerbrook
Back at their Glimmerbrook estate, acolytes and assistants bustled around preparing for dinner. The Sages took to the parlor for a brief respite.
“Menaces and degenerates, the whole family!” Rory, the Sage of Practical Magic, shouted. “Lilith dangled a young witch out of a window and called it educational! Morgyn and William were spotted in Selvadorada, neither having aged a day, and you know what’s missing? The Balampalsoh Death Relic! And don’t even get me started on Anastasia. She’s—”
“Calm down,” Summer sighed, “We have guests this evening, and they do not need any ammunition against their new leadership. And don’t tell me you’re put out over a little immortality potion.” As the Sage of Mischief Magic, it fell to her to make light of the situation but no one missed the worried expression that flashed across her face.
Calling the Balampalsoh Death Relic an immortality potion was like calling the oceans of Sulani a swimming pool. Privately, Summer made a note to secure the other magical relics—the Wand of the Forgotten, the Orb of the Veild, basically anything that might appear tempting to the magical realm’s most troublesome spellcaster.
“Morgyn’s ambitions know no bounds! And the whole family supports it,” Rory pounded his fist on the piano. “It’s time we hauled them into account!”
Liberty rolled her eyes. Theirs was a tenuous position. The Sages could make laws and prosecute crimes so long as they didn’t violate any treaties or infringe on the traditions of any creature group. And their rule did not go beyond Glimmerbrook and the Magical Realm, the only exception being an egregious action that risked revealing the supernatural world.
Summer spent fifteen years infiltrating mortal politics just to pass the ordinances that would make such a thing possible. The promises they gave in their campaign speeches were easy. In actuality, steering this ship of a unified magical community would be next to impossible.
“Shun them,” Liberty said, motioning at Yates. “Draft an announcement. Run it in the magical press. They are not welcome in our community and to associate with them is a crime.”
Rory’s jaw dropped. “That’s not enough! And you know the vampires will hardly pay you any mind. They’ll still seek to communicate with—”
“It’s the best we can do,” Summer interrupted. “Our political victory is too new to tango with that den of vipers.” And then, because she was mischief personified, she plastered on a sweet smile, “Now, fix your face, Rory. You look like you’re about to get a wrinkle.”
She chuckled when he scrambled to a mirror. “And he thinks he’s ready to face master vampires,” she said to Liberty in a conspiratorial whisper.
“Not just master vampires. Morgyn is a witch, and then there’s whatever Lilith is,” Liberty murmured. She reviewed Yates’s announcement. Satisfied with the final wording, she snapped to get Rory’s attention. “A little help?”
“Oh sure, now you need help after you’re done playing jokes on me.” His tone was annoyed, but the Sage of Practical Magic waved his hand, casting a copypasto spell onto the paper.
“Thank you,” Liberty smiled. “Yates, get these out to the pageboys and see that it hits every supernatural household.”
With a nod to Summer, she left the room.
“Ma’am, one more thing,” Yates squeaked. He kept fidgeting with his shirt. Whatever information he had clearly made him nervous. “Uh…the son is outside. He…he wants to j-join the MIU. I’ve told him to leave but—”
“That won’t be necessary.” Liberty turned and adjusted his collar, taking care to smooth down his shirt. “I’ll deal with Caleb Vatore.”
Her secretary blanched.
“Don’t look so anxious,” she tsked. “Now, I want a bath piping hot before dinner, and I’d prefer you use the dahlia scented soap this time.”
Tossing coins in a fountain was a mortal superstition—the entire act useless unless a fairy lived there. Nevertheless, Liberty found it a soothing pastime, and after their first “state” dinner, she needed soothing. Rory had taken one of the visiting diplomats up to bed. Usually, the Sage of Mischief Magic would be keen to join in, but not tonight.
“What did you say to Caleb?” Summer didn’t bother to hide her curiosity. They’d played enough games of doublespeak for the evening.
Liberty shrugged, “That we are happy to have him join if he can survive it.”
Summer’s mouth pressed into a straight line. “You can’t believe that he’ll betray them just as you can’t believe that the rest of that insane family will retire and live quiet lives outside of the supernatural community.”
“I know. That’s why I told Yates to run a photo of our newest recruit. Let the family know he’s abandoned ship.”
The look in her fellow Sage’s eyes was wary. “You seek a war.”
Liberty couldn’t help but laugh. Maybe she should have been Sage of Mischief Magic. A simple decree was robbing Summer of all her humor. “It’s only one family, Mischief. I’d hardly call that a war.”
William Redding & Morgyn Ember
“Did you see the paper?” William asked as he strolled onto the balcony.
Morgyn sat by the flowers, enjoying a cup of tea. “Of course, my love. What do you think I do in bed while you go for your evening walk?”
The vampire smirked, “A creature such as me has to eat.”
“Yes,” Morgyn took a sip of their tea, “And you’re very good at it.”
“Flatterer,” William joked. Settling himself on the couch, he continued to read the announcement from the Magical Times. “‘The collective entity known as the Straud Family is restricted from setting foot within the boundaries of Glimmerbrook and the Magic Realm.” He chuckled, “Sort of like being thrown out of a party we never wanted to be invited to.”
“Just wait until you get to the picture on page two.”
William flipped the page and gasped. “Now that’s just low.”
“Indeed,” Morgyn lifted their teacup, “How do you think Vladislaus is taking it?”
“About as well as he takes everything else. Now Lilith—”
“—is her father’s child,” Morgyn finished. “Do you think she’ll need to stay in the guest house?”
“I think she’ll need bail,” William deadpanned.
“Assuming they can catch her.” Morgyn winked at their spouse as they added creamer. “The real question is, Anastasia. What will mommy dearest do?”
“Nothing,” William answered. “She may have threatened him occasionally, but she understands his motives far better than anyone else. Besides, she’s plenty distracted with the death of Evelyn Rose.”
After ninety-nine years of marriage, William could easily decipher the noncommittal sound Morgyn made. He put down his paper and stood. “Do not get any ideas. I’ve already told Vladislaus he can visit, and you know the two of them can’t be in the same space. They’ll kill each other. Now,” he licked his lips, “Come to bed. I’ve had a meal, and now I’ve a hankering for dessert.”
Forgotten Hollow, 1882
“‘Association with any member of the family is a crime, including employment and services,’” Lilith muttered to herself, quoting the article, “Well, fine. I always preferred teaching mortal students, anyway.”
Brindleton Bay, 1882
Glimmerbrook Academy by amitaliri
Overgrown Victorian by joeysimone252
Victorian Train Station by AleNena
CAS & ACCESSORIES
Elite Guard by Moriel
Aristocrat IV Fem Set by Moriel
Aristocrat Outfit | Dishonored 2 by Moriel
1890s Working Girl Mini Set by Vintage Simstress
Vintage Microphone by TyyAVB
Reading A Letter Pose + Accessory by Natalia-Auditore
Civilian Outfit & Hat | Dishonored 2 by Moriel
Aristocrat III fem by Moriel
1898 Bella Dress by Vintage Simstress
Jessamine Kaldwin by Moriel
Boldness Beckons Suit by HistoricalSimsLife
Authoritative Aristocrat’s Suit by HistoricalSimsLife
Count M by HistoricalSimsLife
3 Maid Outfits by HistoricalSimsLife
Doctor’s Buggy by AggressiveKitty
Aristocrat II | Dishonored by Moriel