"I heard you and Mom shouting upstairs. Were you guys fighting?"
That's exactly what Jack was afraid was going to happen, Jace overhearing their fight. "Yeah, Buddy, sometimes Moms and Dads get into arguments," he tells his son.
"But you still love each other, right?" Jace asks.
"Yeah, we do," Jack answers, hugging his son, "And we love you, too. We always will." Simple assurances are easy enough, but actually living up his son's expectations, making their broken family actually work, that's another thing altogether.
Delaney's answers to Jace's questions are no better. "Your Dad and I jut need sometime to work some stuff out. But no matter what, he'll always be there for you."
During Iola's pregnancy, Shadow's been working at home instead of in the shop. The recipes in Kvornan's ancient grimoire are difficult, sometimes impossible to decode, but Shadow thinks he's got this one figured out.
The writing is obscured in metaphor, so it's not ever clear what the potion will do, but after much study on it, Shadow expected this potion to be an elixir of transcendent joy.
When the foul green cloud dissipates, however, he feels not joy, but a heavy melancholy.
The lethargy being more than he can deal with, Shadow heads down to his bedroom to nap it off. Iola gets one look at him and bursts into hysterical tears.
"What's wrong?" he asks gently, trying to embrace her.
"Get away from me!" she shrieks, running to cower in the corner, muttering about clowns.
Shadow tries to follow her, but stops when he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. "Oh, fuck me," he groans. Normally he's not one for for swearing, but he just transformed himself into his pregnant wife's worst nightmare, so he can be forgiven the lapse.
Luckily, he had a batch of cure elixirs prepared that he was planning to bring into the shop tomorrow. Using one of those set him back to rights again.
"It's okay, it's just me," Shadow reassures Iola, lifting her from the corner into his arms, "I swear I will never, ever make that potion again."
Iola gets another scare later that day when her mother-in-law comes in and starts casting a spell on her.
But her fears were, as usual, unfounded, as the spell was just a sunlight charm.
"It should make things easier for you," Aouregan promises.
"It's certainly very warm," Iola says graciously, thinking she could have at least warned her first.
In the evening, the Grim Reaper comes for Mist.
This day has just been too much for Iola to handle
She faints dead away onto the floor next to Mist's urn.
When Shadow lifts her up, all she can do is cry in his arms, and hope tomorrow is not as terrifying.
Jace takes his first encounter with death in stride. It's always a plus to have someone new to pillow fight.
Shadow is an early riser, and makes breakfast for the family while they all still sleep. Delaney, on the other hand, works until near dawn, and comes in just in time to talk with her cousin alone before the whole house is awake.
"What do you know about dragons?" she asks, "I mean, dragons in our family." She would hesitate to bring this subject up with anyone else, but Shadow is into some pretty bizarre shit and might even understand half of what Cole has told her.
"Not much, actually," Shadow answers, as though it was the most normal topic in the world, "Iola told me we do have a dragon for an ancestor, somewhere really far back in time. I've been more focused on my shamanic ancestors, so I haven't looked into that side of the family at all. But I bet Iola could tell you whatever you need to know, Laney."
Besides the more esoteric information that Delaney has been having trouble absorbing, Cole also stressed the importance of learning self-discipline, and suggested she take up the practice of martial arts before delving deeper into awakening her dragon.
A tuxedo tomcat arrives at the front door as Shadow is on his way out to drop a few new potions off at the shop. "You've come to take Mist's place," Shadow says, "We need a new familiar. Come inside, make yourself at home. You can hunt any insects you find in the yard, but stay away from the ones I have displayed in the house. I need those."
The tom accepts the position offered and the name Arawn, and goes inside to investigate his new territory.
"I was hoping we had something in stock I could give my wife as a gift," Shadow says to his shop manager, Charlie Glover, after he's unloaded his new batch of potions. Shadow is in charge of supplying the shop with elixirs and stocking the bookshelves with arcane and occult titles, but the rest of the inventory, the trinkets, gems, wands and other paraphenalia, fall to Charlie's care.
"We did get a rare item in yesterday, a moonstone cut into a crescent shape," Charlie offers.
Shadow takes a look at the stone, and decides it's perfect.
"I know you had a bad day yesterday," Shadow says, finding Iola up in their room working on her writing, "And that was at least partly my fault. So I got you something to cheer you up."
"You didn't have to do that," she says, but opens the gift eagerly and squeals when she sees the pretty new stone.
"I wanted to see you smile," Shadow says.
After a good day's sleep, Delaney gets up a few hours before work and takes on some board breaking. Well, it's just foam to start with, but she'll be moving up to actual wood in no time.
But she takes a break when she sees Iola come out onto the porch.
"Shadow told me you wanted to know about your dragon ancestors?" she asks.
"He said you told him a story once?" Delaney replies hesitantly, still having a hard time accepting that she's being taken seriously.
"I did, about one of your dragon ancestors, who fell in love with a fairy. You also have an---Oh!" Iola ends with a gasp as she goes into labor mid-sentence.
Shadow and Iola rush over to the hospital, where Ariel and Aurora are waiting for them.
They'd discussed several names for their son from the time Shadow realized they were having a boy, but Iola made a last minute decision to name him Ryan. "After one of your ancestors," she explains, the memory of that story fresh in her mind from the interrupted conversation she was having with Delaney.
"He has my magic," Shadow says, playing with Ryan before resting him in his crib, "Do you think he'll inherit the Hawksquill gift as well? Or your clairvoyance?"
"Only time will tell," Iola answers, "We won't know until he says something that indicates he's seeing a past or future event. Your name was actually my first word, but that was before your family moved here, so no one understood at the time that I was saying a name and not some random word."
"Look, we should talk," Jack says, sitting heavily on a leather couch across from Ian.
"If you can do it without punching me," Ian says.
"I'd like to kill you, but the boss wouldn't be too happy with me if I did. So, it's just talk."
"Yeah, I get that. I mean, I guess I deserved it, screwing your girl and all. But you know how it is after a job, you're all pumped up. And there I was stuck in my apartment with this totally hot chick. When she took off her clothes, it was over."
"You know, I don't think I want any more details," Jack says, "This was a bad idea." He starts to get up.
"Wait, I have something to tell you," Ian stops him, "We're not going to be partners much longer. I'm getting married."
"You? Who would marry you?" Jack asks.
Ian laughs, "One horny cougar with too much money and no sense," he answers, "Madison Charming."
"I went to school with her son," Jack remembers, "Her husband died at the pie eating contest. That was, like, a huge deal, the mayor's son biting it at the festival."
"Total MILF, amirite?"
"I thought she was kind of sad, actually. After her husband died, she stayed in mourning for ages."
"Yeah, she told me she had to do that, since her mother-in-law is the mayor. As long as her son was a minor, she had stay on the down low, you know. But once he grew up, BAM! she unleashed her inner cougar. And I'm, like, the only single guy in this town. Except for you, Pie Man. She's crazy rich, and still totally hot, and she's giving it all to me."
"Well, sounds great," Jack says, completely insincere, "But does Cole know you're thinking of retiring?"
"Oh, hell yeah, I wouldn't cross the boss man. He's cool with it because I get to be his liaison to the mayor. Since I'll be moving in that circle now. He's already setting up a replacement for me, you'll be showing him the ropes next time you're in the city."
"One of our operatives tailed Bowman and some of his cohorts into one of seedier establishments in the city. He didn't overhear as much as we'd like, but did get the name of one of his underlings."
"Jack Horner," Peridot reads the name out for Geoffrey. "I could find surprisingly little on him; no birth record, nothing from the education system, no parents...almost as though he doesn't exist."
"Perfect," Geoffrey says, "That means he's from an area that falls under occult protection. Any records that might get out mysteriously disappear. This could be our man, our way in."
"I did find one thing," Peridot continues, "Apparently he's been flagged as a sexual predator in the national database."
Geoffrey grimaces in disgust, "I'd have thought better of Bowman. Criminal he may be, but really, that's the bottom of the barrel."
"Hmm, well, this report does say Horner was a minor himself when his son was born. The girl in question testified that in the brief time between his becoming an adult and hers, they had no contact. It does look like a case of an angry father's revenge. But, this is odd, the girl's name is listed as something different each time it comes up." Peridot reads it all over again thoroughly to make sure there's only the one girl, "Yes, it's the same girl, but the report can't settle on one name. Much too different from each other to be misspellings."
"Read the names," Geoffrey orders.
"Brandy O'Nnealen, Yolannde Banner and Annelyn Debaron. These spellings are unusual, too many Ns."
"They're anagrams, for Delaney Brannon," Geoffrey says. "Dragon wards work by causing confusion and forgetfulness. When you try to focus on something or someone a dragon has put wards on, your mind slips. Whoever wrote this report could not hold onto Delaney's name long enough to type it out. But, anagrams...that kind of cleverness speaks to fairy influence. There are places in the world that are still under the influence of ancient and forgotten dragon wards...a fairy could easily use those a base for their own wards if they needed to protect someone from detection. Aouregan did have that fairy, Moth, protecting her."
"I should follow Horner back to his hometown then, and find out where the Brannons are hiding," Peridot suggests.
"No, I won't send you in blind like that, The twins were infants when Pearl stole them away from us. They'd be adults now, and probably trained in magic by their mother. Get to Horner, get his trust, and get information out of him. We'll make our plans when we know more about what we're dealing with."
Shadow is doing Live Your Trait as his goal, with Bookworm as his dominant trait. As seems to be usual when I get this goal, my Sim will roll less trait related wishes than they roll when not playing this rule, as if to spite me. Shadow goes most days without a single book related wish. But, during Iola's pregnancy, he rolled the wish to read a baby book every day, twice a day sometimes. Luckily, since there are only two in existence, it counts to reread the same book over and over again. Shadow must know Totally Preggers by heart.
I mentioned in the MTS thread that SP married Ian off to Madison Charming, the widow of the guy who died in the pie eating contest. That happened awhile ago, I just got around to putting it in the story. Ian has Commitment Issues, so we'll see how long that lasts.
I was sad that Iola did not faint at the sight of Shadow as Tragic Clown. I mean, I didn't expect it, really, but it would have been neat if seeing a clown would trigger a faint in Coward Sims. She did faint 3 times when Grim showed up.
The new cat, Arawn, was named after a Celtic god of the underworld. Also, it's such a cat sounding name. Like, a cat could pronounce it.
I stole the anagram idea from you, Becky. *looks shifty*