Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chapter 22: Curses and Blessings

The Brannon's bought a large old Victorian house in Drake's hollow with more than enough room for all of them. Elliot and his three children took the room on the second floor, and Farrel, Aouregan and their twins took the third floor.

Aouregan has a lot to adjust to in the world she was woken up into, but gardening has changed little since the time she came from, and it has become her solace and her retreat. While she's working in her new garden, a small, gray visitor appears.

"Mist?" she asks in surprise. Her cat was left behind when the Landgraabs took her, and she assumed she'd never see him again. "How did you get here?" she asks him, but the cat cannot answer.

Elliot explores his new surroundings by taking his kids out to the nearby playground.

While the kids play, Elliot meets and greets with his new neighbors. Nathaniel Hawthorne has a daughter, Julia, about the same age as Kyle, as well as two teenagers.

"No wife, huh?" Nathaniel asks with a slightly envious smile as he shakes Elliot hand. Everyone in town knows without openly acknowledging that Nathaniel is the father of Scarlet Prynne's daughter, Jewel. Everyone except these newcomers, Nathaniel thinks, wondering how long it will be before they, too, are in on his personal business. Small towns are bad places for secrets.

Claire Charming is also pleased to meet the newcomer who has no preconceptions about her. Not that she has any secrets to hide; rather the opposite. Though she's moved out of her family's mansion to a small cabin by the edge of the river, the town will always see her as the privileged daughter of Caterina Charming, and it's a great pleasure for her to for once be seen as just the regular girl she's tried so hard to present herself as.

Elliot tries not to think of Shelly, not to miss her, but she's still a part of him, the mother of his children, even if she rejected that role. He looks around at the nursery he decorated for his girls, and wonders if he did it to please Shelly as much as for Delaney and Cassidy.

His thoughts are interrupted by a phone call from Claire. She asks how he's settling in and offers any assistance he might need. It's just a friendly call, but there's a light flirtatiousness in her voice, which Elliot does his best to deflect. It's flattering, but he's in no way ready for anything like that yet.

"The kids have been adjusting well," Farrell comments as he sits on the edge of the bed next to Aouregan.

"It's been easier for them than for me," Aouregan sighs, "They suddenly have a mother, but they're young enough to accept that, accept me..." She leaves unsaid the difficulty she had recognizing the toddlers as her own while she had to meet them like strangers.

"When my mother brought them to me and told me they were mine, it was hard for me to accept, too," Farrell admits, "I know it must be harder for gave birth to them and never got to see them. And then you wake up to discover they were already walking and talking."

"At least you rescued me before they were any more grown up than that," Aouregan says with a comforting smile. She knows Farrell puts a lot of unfair blame on himself for what happened to her. "MorcuCorp wanted you to find me, wanted our children...but why?"

"I still don't know what they were after, exactly," Farrell sighs, "They knew I was descended from Ametair and Trifine, so I assume they were interested in whatever traces of werewolf genes I carry. You must have something special in your line as well, something they want..."

"But my brother married a Landgraab, didn't he?" Aouregan asks, "Surely whatever they wanted from me, they could have gotten from him. Quite willingly," she finishes with a bitter tone, still stung by her brother's betrayal.

"I've asked my mother, but she doesn't know. She was part of their plan, but they never told her anything beyond her orders to seduce my father. Ariel Hawksquill seems to know a lot of obscure history, maybe he can shed some light on your ancestry," Farrell suggests.

"It's worth asking, at least," Aouregan agrees, "We'll pay them a visit tomorrow evening."

"We need to know about my ancestry," Aouregan explains when they are seated with Ariel Hawksquill and his wife in their parlor, "Why would MorcuCorp go to such lengths to get Farrell and me together?" 

"Your ancestry..." Ariel says, his voice taking on the intonation of a chant, "Yes, yes, I see it."

"Your line goes back to the dawn of humanity. One of your ancestors was beloved of a very powerful fae. He gave her his heart, and that gave her great power, a magic that passed on to her children, and their children, through many thousands of years, right up to you and your brother. But you were the last of your kind; that magic disappears after you."

"Until now," Noelle chimes in, "Your children carry that power."

"But my brother's children?" Aouregan asks.

"His descendants live on in the Landgraab line, but they didn't inherit his magic. Perhaps it was because he worked so hard to hide the power he was born with, or perhaps it was because he turned from the goddess to the new religion. I cannot say how it was lost, but your brother's children did not carry the magic of your family's line. And with your disappearance, that magic was gone from our world," Ariel says.

"Until now," Noelle repeats, "When MorcuCorp brought you here, to this time, they brought back a magic that had been lost to us for centuries."

"My mother always taught us to treat our power with respect, to use it carefully in the service of the Lady, but she never said we had fae ancestry," Aouregan says.

"You don't," Ariel says, "Your magic comes from a gift a fae gave one of your ancestors, but your line is all human."

"Your children, however, do carry the fae blood, from him," Noelle adds, nodding at Farrell.

"But it's been latent for so long in your ancestry, I can't help but wonder what use MorcuCorp intended to make of it," Ariel finishes for his wife.

"How do you know so much about us?" Farrell asks. He'd researched every source he could find in the annals of history for his ancestry and had found only the remotest traces, while Ariel speaks like he has first hand knowledge of human history going back to the dawn of time.

"Ah, that," Ariel says with a slight hum, "I, too, carry a gift bestowed on one of my ancestors which has passed down to all his descendants. He angered a fae who cursed him with knowledge, the ability to see a person, or thing, and know its origins, its history."

"That's a curse?" Farrell asks, bewildered.

Ariel laughs, "In some languages, the word for curse is the same word for blessing. The spell that twas put on you," he nods in Aouregan's direction, "Was meant to protect you from harm until you could be rescued. But that same spell has been used by many a fae as a curse. The magic is the same, the only difference is the intent of the caster. The fae who cursed my ancestor meant to hurt him, but I look on my gift as a blessing. most of the time. There are days, I suppose, when I think it might be better to live in the ignorance most people enjoy, touching things without seeing their history, meeting people without meeting their entire ancestry at the same time...but in truth, I would miss my gift were it taken from me."

Before he goes to bed, Elliot stops to look at his prom photo, which he'd placed on his dresser. Maybe he shouldn't have brought it, he thinks. Dwelling in the past isn't going to help, whatever he and Shelly had didn't long outlive their brief tenure as the king and queen of the prom. Still, he can't help but wonder if things might have been different if he'd gone into professional sports like she'd wanted, if there were more he could have done to save their marriage.

Another call from Claire disturbs his reflections on his failed marriage, and this time, he joins in with subtle flirting, but he still resists taking her up on the suggestion that they get together.

He goes to bed alone, and his doubts and worries about his choices, his marriage, haunt his dreams.

The next morning is dark and cloudy, reflecting Elliot's mood. Today is his girls' birthday, and when Kyle gets home from school, they will have cake. And their mother won't be here to see it. Does Shelly even remember their children's birthdays? Elliot has his doubts. Trying to clear his head, he takes a jog around the neighborhood.

He passes by the bistro down the street at the same time as Kyle and his schoolmates are heading in for their field trip with their teacher.

There are a lot of girls in Kyle's class, Elliot notes, and soon they'll be in high school. Elliot's nostalgia for his own high school days is bittersweet; everything was perfect then, and he had so much he was looking forward to. He thought it had all come true when he married Shelly, when he made a successful career for himself, bought the house she wanted and had their family. Why wasn't it good enough for her?

Kyle smiles and waves back at his father before the kids all file into the bistro. Elliot smiles, too, happy that his children have moved on, that they don't seem to miss their mother now that she's out of their lives. As he jogs past the grocery store, it occurs to him to turn around and go in, and buy a bouquet of flowers.

Claire's cabin is just another few blocks outside of town, and Elliot keeps on jogging until he gets there,  and is pleased to see her out on her porch.

"I was just about to run out and do some errands," she says, "You almost missed me."

"I got here just in time then," Elliot smiles, and gives her the flowers.

"It's really unexpected," Claire sighs, hugging him, "But very sweet."

"We're having birthday cake for my girls this afternoon," Elliot says, "Not a party, really, since we  don't know many people yet. But if you'd like to come by..."

"Oh," Claire says, pulling back, "I've been hoping you'd ask me out since we met, but I'm not sure I'm ready for family time with your kids yet..."

"Yeah, I guess that is a bit much for a first date," Elliot laughs, "I'm really out of practice, I never dated anyone except my ex, and we married right out of high school."

"Another time then?" she asks hopefully.

"Sure, whenever you want. My schedule is wide open," Elliot agrees, getting a quick kiss from her before he goes.

As soon as Kyle gets home from school, they round the girls up for their birthday cake.

Delaney is first to blow out the candles.

She doesn't wait for her sister's turn before grabbing her first slice of birthday cake.

Next up is Cassidy.

After the excitement of the cake dies down, Farrell finds Cassidy up in her room, reading his copy of White River Haikus.

"I took your book, Uncle Farrell," she says, not really apologizing, "I hope that's okay. All the kids books we have in our bookshelf are just so...juvenile."

"That's fine, Cass," Farrell laughs, "You can take my books any time." He pulls a package from behind hi back, "I got this one especially for you." Cassidy looks just like mother, but the resemblance is only skin deep, and while Farrell would never say this to his brother, he's glad she got away from Shelly's influence so young. Her mother would not be pleased with her bookish leanings and would have likely prevented her from reading as much as she liked.

"Plan 8 from Lunar Lakes! Wow, thanks, Uncle Farrell."

"I signed you up for the book club as well. You'll get a new title in the mail every week."

Cassidy has no words to express her gratitude, and just squeals in happiness.

Delaney takes after her father in looks and interests. Like Elliot, she'll do anything on a dare. And her most prized possessions are her toys, so Farrell's gift to her is another bear for her collection of plush toys.

Left alone in their room full of the toys and gifts they got for their birthday, the twins celebrate ignoring them all to pummel each other with their pillows.

Claire shows up shortly after they kids have all retreated to their rooms to play.

"I didn't think you were coming," Elliot says, "I think there's still some cake left..."

"I'm not here for cake," Claire laughs, "Is there somewhere quiet where we can talk?" 

Elliot leads her out onto one of the porches; even with the kids shut up in their rooms and Farrell's toddlers upstairs in their nursery, their shouts and laughter can be heard in every room of the house. He's used to the chaos, but for a single girl like Claire, it must seem like bedlam.

"I felt bad about turning down your invitation," she says as they sit together on the balcony, looking out at the stars.

"It's okay, Claire," he assures her, "I got way ahead of myself there, anyway. We should get to know each other more before I get my kids involved."

"I want to get to know you, too," Claire says, "But, I'm a little scared of what getting involved with you would mean."

"Because being with me would mean being with my kids. If it got serious..."

"I'd have to be ready to be like a mother to them, right? I'm not sure I'm ready for that."

"Having kids is a huge commitment," Elliot agrees, "And being part of my life would mean being part of my kids' lives too. But not right away, Claire. We can take this slow, and see where it goes. When you're ready to go the next step, if that ever happens, then we can talk about how you'll fit in to my family. But for now, it's just you and me, getting to know each other."

"I can handle that," Claire says.


  1. Another Mist! It's a great cat name.

    The girls are very cute, and I hope everything turns out great for Elliot this time. Claire seems nice.

    1. Thanks, Tsuki. My Mist first showed up in Chapter 14, back in the middle ages with Aouregan. It is a great cat name. =D

  2. It's so lovely to come back and see all the updates! Woot! :D

    Shelly might have been a terrible mother, but she sure had some great genetics! The girls are really lovely! I am glad they are lovely inside and out! And it seems Elliot has the promise of new love---I hope she doesn't break his heart like Shelly did. Elliot is a neat guy, he deserves some happiness!

    I absolutely loved the picture of the cat sleeping on the bed with Elliot, that was too cute! I also like the updated picture of Generation Two. :)

    1. Thanks, Nirar. It's great to see you back!
      Elliot does deserve some happiness, I agree.

  3. That is one terrifying playground. O.O

    It was heartwarming to see Farrell gives his nieces their presents. :) Great chapter!

    1. Ah, yeah, I'm kind of a sicko, I picked the creepiest spring riders for my playground.

      I need to get some heartwarming scenes of Farrell with his own kids, lol. It's been such chaos in that family, I didn't realize I hadn't gotten any pics of him or Aouregan with their toddlers since they moved in.

  4. The girls are adorable and I agree with Farrell, it's a good thing they're away from their mother's influence. I'm glad Elliot's starting to move on from Shelly too.

    1. Yeah, I agree, Ali. Shelly would have done some serious damage to her kids if she were left to raise them. And Elliot will ultimately be happier without her, too.

  5. It was a little surprising to see Elliot moving on so quickly after all the work he put into making his marriage work, but I'm still very happy that he's moving on at all. Hopefully Claire is better news than Shelly was.

    I'm glad Auregon seems to be adjusting well, and I just hope she begins to feel an attachment to her kids soon.

    1. Poor Elliot wants to get married already, lol. He rolled that wish the first time he flirted with Claire. So I guess he's ready to forget Shelly and try again.

  6. Nathaniel Hawthorne.... *sigh* Liked how you twisted that little bit of a story in there. heh

    Elliot seems to be an easy guy to get along with everyone. Shelly was a fool. Happy for him that he is getting over the divorce, but I do hope he goes about things a little more slowly. But who knows? Maybe this girl is "the one". :)

    The twins seem inseparable, despite all of their differences. All those toys and they play with pillows - cute.

    Farrell and Auregon have a lot to make up for, and a lot to learn. I hope she does not sink into depression with all of the loss, the change and her regrets about the children. I know Farrell will be supportive, he's such a teddy bear.

    1. Yay, I'm so glad someone got the Hawthorne reference. =D

      Elliot probably should slow down. He got attached to shelly too fast without really finding out who she was inside, and he could make the same mistake with Claire.

      Aouregan will need Farrell's support as she acclimates to this new world she's found herself in.

  7. Ah what a lovely settling-in chapter for everyone! I love the gloomy look of the house and the surrounding scenery... what town is Drake's Hollow, a town you created or an already existing one? I like it a lot.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne? Hmm... that is starting to make me wonder if this isn't a time-traveler's hideaway! Next we'll be seeing the Doctor visit with TARDIS... because of course, I suspect EA gave a nod to that with the Supernatural LLAMA teleporters anyways!

    I think its cute Elliott's already looking for love despite his own misgivings about the loss of Shelley. Raising the girls on his own will be difficult and he is a very trusting guy so I hope he finds the right one! Claire is such a polar opposite of Shelley, wow... if she's the one, I think she's cute and would be a welcome addition to the variety in their family.

    Poor Aouregan, she seems depressed as she adjusts, I hope it doesn't have longterm negative effects on her because she seemed so vital and alive before the stupid morcucorp abduction! Her children with Farrell will be key in helping her bond and adapt I think.

    The twins are lovely, even if they look a bit too much like their Mother haha.

    1. Thanks, Envie!
      Drake's Hollow is actually Moonlight Falls. I depopulated it and added my own characters, and made some changes to the community lots and stuff.

      Nathaniel Hawthorne is meant to be the 'real' Nathaniel Hawthorne, but I do enjoy inserting little references like that in my game. I actually wanted to make a world in CAW calles Sleepy Hollow that would include families based on some of of those early American authors and their stories, but I never got around to learning CAW to start ths project. But I had all these plans for it, a House of Usher that would have a secret dungeon with a walled off room containing nothing b ut a skeleton and a cask of nectar, a House of Seven Gables inhabited by the Hawthorne family.I even was going to include Lizzie Borden's family, though she's not fictional. She is part of our folklore, though, in New England, which is where I'm from originally. Anyway, never did all that, but I did throw Hawthorne family in here and a Scarlet Prynne, lol.

      I think Elliot is the type that needs to have someone, so though he's still hurt about Shelly, he's already out there looking for a replacement.

      Aouregan is having a hard time adjusting, but she does have Farrell to help her, and their children, if she can over the strangeness of meeting them for the first time so long after their birth.

      Cassidy is like the image of her mother. Delaney has a lot of her looks as well, but she has Elliot's eyes. But they don't have her personality, at least. Though, they do favor pink, lol.

    2. Uh, I wish I could edit my comment..Nathaniel Hawthorne is NOT meant to be the real one, lol.

    3. Ah ok, I gotcha. It's a very appropriate cool name anyways. I guess I obviously have not played Moonlight Falls enough and need to again, I like the feel of it. I thought I recognized the big rambling victorian from that one family with a lot of kids, I played them awhile - they reminded me of the Weasely family a bit... a lot of boys and eccentric wizards / witches.

      I think I will eventually do a Moonlight falls generation and introduce magic down the road and I would rather use a repopulated version too. Now that I've repopulated St. Claire with genetic mixes from my bin on autopilot immigration thanks to twallan magic, its very very diverse and full of interesting sims.

    4. This town is full of rambling Victorian houses, it was hard to pick one for my family.
      I don't recognize the majority of pop culture references in the original population, but I gather there are a lot of them. So, I just wanted a clean slate and wiped them all out. I do like my Sims better than anything EA can come up with, that's for sure.

  8. I'm so happy with how the children turned out. And even happier that they seem to be growing up just fine without Shelly's influence. Even if Cassidy looks just like her. I hope it doesn't affect how Elliot treats her. But he's such a good I doubt that would happen.

    1. Yeah, I don't think Elliot would ever hold Cassidy's resemblance to her mother against her. He can already see how different both his girls are from her personality wise.

  9. The kids are growing up beautifully. It was nice to see them enjoying being a family. I hope Elliot can move on from Shelly soon. He has too much guilt that he doesn't deserve.

    I lol'ed at Claire. Her hair isn't quite as red as I remember it being. Does she still have Luna the dog?

    1. LOL, you win the cookie for recognizing Claire Charming! She does still have Luna, though I made Luna a large dog (in Sims 1 they only had the one size of dog, iirc)

  10. I loved the Hawthorne/Prynne reference. Does that come with the neighborhood?

    1. Thanks! I agot rid of all the premades and populated the town myself, including the Hawthorne family and Scarlet Prynne. =D

  11. Aww Elliot is such an awesome guy!!! I adore him!

    I also adore how genuine your characters always feel to me! It make so much sense that Clair would be nervous about becoming a mother by dating Elliot, and that sort of thing is often missed by Sim-writers!

    1. Thank you so much, Mandy! I really do like my characters to feel real, so it makes me happy when someone says that. =D

  12. It's nice to see Aouregan adjusting to modern day life, and the info about her ancestry was very interesting. The girls' birthday party turned out really great. They're both beautiful! I especially enjoyed Farrell's scenes with them. I like that Elliot is moving on! Hopefully Claire will be better for him and his kids, unlike his bitch ex wife. =D

    1. Aouregan's ancestry is a big part of what MorcuCorp was after, as well as the Brannons.
      Elliot's daughters are really beautiful,and hopefully will be better off growing up without their mother's influence. I was happy for Elliot when he met claire and got on with her so well. He needs to move on and be happy.