Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chapter 43: Your Name Was My First Word

"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*


  1. Stealing ideas is the highest form of flattery. Really! It is! : D (Keep that in mind for when I finally slip up).

    I'm kinda scared to see what Geoffrey and and Peridot are up to, but I'm also really excited! Oh woe is me!

    ... You should update again. Like immediately. Please. (And why can't you just leave Jack be and give him a happy life? T_T I don't want Peridot to use her clone charm on him!)

    1. I can't update again until I play more and get some pictures...
      I know, I just can't seem to leave poor Jack alone.

  2. Oh. My. God. I practically died when Iola freaked out at clown Shadow. Poor, poor woman and her day did not get any better. Those two grow on me. Shadow is a wonderful husband and I melted when Iola told him that his name was her first word. Wonder what Ryan will be like.

    I really can't wait to find out what happens with the Landgraabs and Peridot and Jack. And damn Geoffrey for being so clever. It would have taken me awhile to figure out Delaney Brannon even if I had figured out they were anagrams that fast.

    So, we have 3 babies to go still, yes? Heaven wants more Shadow/Iola babies.

    1. I'd been making Shadow skill fishing just so he could get the clownfish to make that potion. I did kind of figure EA wouldn't give a specal reaction to it from Coward Sims, but I just had to try. Poor Iola, lol.
      And poor Shadow, he really didn't mean to scare her like that.
      I'm looking forward to seeing how Ryan turns out too. I haven't peeked in CAS yet, though I certainly will.

      I've got lots of plot lined up for MorcuCorp and Jack. I wouldn't have figured out the anagram, either, but I'm not a super-genius like Geoffrey Landraab.
      Yes, we've got three more babies to go, and I can promise you more Shadow/Iola babies in the near future.

  3. LMFAO @ Shadow turning himself into his pregnant wife's worst nightmare!! Poor Iola, what a day

    Still sad about Jack and Delaney *sigh*

    1. I know, I had to do it, as soon as I knew there was a tragic clown potion.
      I'm sad about Jack and Delaney too.

  4. I'm really excited to know what MorcuCorp wants with the twins. They went through all that trouble to create them.

    LOLZ the clown.

    You always find ways to make Geoff look so menacing. o.o

    1. MorcuCorp is seriously creepy.
      This season, Geoff is is sporting the evil wears a white hat trope to the extreme. Though, it's more of a bland beige hat. And I think that very clean, bland look to his wardrobe and set do add to that menacing vibe. Nothing is scarier than corporate conformity.

    2. I think it's just how you did a good job with the poses. His eyes right here, are scary.

      ALSO. "You also have an--"


    3. Ah. maybe it's just me that thinks beige is menacing, lol.
      That pose is actually pretty neutral in expression, but I used the 'look at' function from misu's add on. and instead of moving his head, it drew his eyes down so he's kind of looking down his nose.

      Ah, you picked that up there, did you? Iola got interrupted before she give spoilers, lol.

  5. Okay, the clown thing was hysterical. Am I one of the few human beings that isn't actually afraid of clowns...?

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this chapter. I'm interested in seeing what will happen now with the organization and the new member. And where Delaney and Jack are going.

    I also can't wait to see Ryan grow up. I bet he's going to be quite handsome. And I'm also looking forward to the future babies as well since there's three more!

    1. I'm not afraid of clowns as much as find them disturbing. I actually dated a clown once, come to think of it, that summer I worked at an amusement park. Wow, I almost forgot about that.
      I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter.
      There is a new member to Cole's organization, he's actually some who's been in the criminal career with Jack and Delaney since he aged up, but I'm finally going to introduce him as the new guy. He probably won't be playing huge role, he's more of a plot device. But you will get to see him soon enough.

      I'm looking forward to seeing how Rya turns out, and more children from Shadow and Iola.

  6. Oh, poor Iola! That was an awful day to have. Hopefully Shadow gets all of his potions right from now on!
    And I hope that Jack doesn't get hurt too badly by Peridot in the latest Landgraab scheme.

    1. Yeah, that was a bad day for Iola. But Shadow promised never to touch that potion again, so hopefully that will be the last clown sighting for her.

      Poor Jack is now in the Landgraab cross hairs, and it's not looking good for him.

  7. Ok, the clown thing, leading into the death of Mist I was in hysterics so bad I had to go out side to get some air. My neighbour was out there and he looked very confused as to why I suddenly burst out the front door, eyes streaming with tears and gasping for breath. This made me laugh more and also made him laugh a little. He asked why I was laughing and I couldn't work out what to tell him. (Lucky for me I know my neighbour quite well)
    Thanks for an hilariously awkward moment.

    YAYYY Shadow/Iola baby!!! :D Grow quick, please.
    Oh, Jack :( I hope the evil clones aren't gonna hurt him! And I have this awful feeling that they'll tell him he's led them to the Brannons, and he'll feel awful.
    Will this new criminal be someone we know? Or is it just a townie?
    I loved the anagrams! And also 'Arawn' being something a cat would say - lol!!

    1. Ha ha, thanks for telling me that! Your poor neighbor.

      Jack would feel awful about being the one that leads the evil clones to the Brannons. Sadly for him, that's his new part to play in this mess.
      The new criminal isn't anyone we've seen in the story. I don't want to build that up as a big mystery, so far as I know he'll never be a major player in this story, he's just something that will keep Jack occupied in the city. where the evil clones can get to him.

      That cat originally came with the name Jake, and with one Jack and one Jace in the story...yeah, I didn't need another. So, I looked up cool Celtic god names for cats and got Arawn.

  8. I'm beginning to think I need to reread everything and take notes. My ADD doesn't help at all sometimes. Yes, it makes me creative, but also forgetful. arg.

    I love the cat name. LOL I have a cousin who (she's 21 now) named a cat Arwen without ever having even heard about LOTR or anything. (That IS where the name is from right, I'm not mixing things up again am I?) Her mother was baffled at how a three year old could pick that name for a cat. She named all her dolls strange names too. Cursoff being one of them. (female doll, and I'm not positive on the spelling. I went phonetically.)

    Loved it as always.

    1. Yes, take note because it will ll be on the exam. j/k. lol/
      The cat is named Arawn, which is the named of a Celtic god of the Underworld. But I believe Tolkien was heavily influenced by Celtic languages for his Elvish, so the similarity make sense.
      Thanks, mypal!

  9. Poor Iola. And Delaney. And Mist. And Jack. Ugh...this chapter had me seriously concerned for the future!!

    1. But on the bright side, things are looking up for MorcuCorp!

  10. I'm sad :( I don't want MorcuCorp to find them and I especially don't want Jack to lead them to everyone...

    I do like the new cat's name and I'm looking forward to seeing Ryan grow up (and more Shadow/Iola babies)

    1. Having MorcuCorp back on their trail is not a good thing, and it certainly won't be good news for Jack to be the agent of that happening.

      I was pretty pleased with myself for that cat name, lol. I can't wait to see who Ryan takes after. And I'm probably not going to wait on more babies either. I was planning on spacing them out, but I also like having them close in age so I ca pick my heir more easily.

  11. A new guy? I'm interested to see who it is and what he'll be like.

    I like Geoffrey/MorcuCorp's look! The white and light colors are very clean, making them look like insane perfectionists.

    Yay baby Ryan!

    1. Yipes, I really didn't mean to build the new guy up into anything, because really, he's not a big deal and we'll hardly see him.
      The Landgraabs have always been insane perfectionists in my world...well they have the perfectionist trait, anyway, lol.

  12. I don't have much to add to what everyone else already said, but I did *love* seeing Ian again! I know he's a total jerk or whatever, but he makes me laugh. I'd forgotten that you mentioned him getting married, so I was quite surprised when he announced his engagement to the "cougar". Lol. All of your characters are so vivid and realistic. Love it.

    Shadow is awesome. I love people who reason with/negotiate with their animals. "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." I talk to my cat like that too, but I'm afraid to say it never works that well. ;)

    Great update! I can't wait for your next chapter. =D

    1. Thanks, Colleen!
      I originally intended for Ian tobe more suave, but when I started writing him, he just turned out more comedic. And I'm glad, it works for him.

      Yeah, my cat doesn't listen to anything I have to say, either. But Shadow is a witch, maybe the whole 'familiar' thing works for him. Or he's just nuts...I kind of wish there were more to the witch/familiar relationship in the game than just the moodlet. Maybe it's something I should explore more myself, since I'm interested in that sort of thing.

  13. Shadow turning into a clown was priceless! Poor Iola, what a day she had! I've never been scared of clowns, but I could see how some would find them scary after I watched Killer Clowns from Outerspace as a teen. The plotline was really lame---but the clowns! Yikes!

    Yay for little Ryan. I can't wait to see what he looks like, with his genetics, he is bound to be a little cutie! I'm hoping to see more Shadow/Iola babies.

    I like how you have Geoffrey Landgraab himself and his surroundings all in white. He's a civilized predator, lol. Scarier than the clowns! And Geoffrey is closing in quick! *nervously chews fingernails*

    1. I put Shadow to work to get his fishing skills up to catching a clown fish, just to make that potion. Iola's fear of clowns...him turning into a clown. Yeah, had to do it. Lots of people are scared of clowns...I find them vaguely creepy and don't get the humor.
      There will be more Shadow and Iola babies, I can promise that.

      LOL, Geoffrey Landgraab is scarier than clowns, yes. I do like to put the bad guys in white, and make their surroundings very cold and clean, clinical even. To me, that's a more menacing look than dark, scary gothic.

  14. Oh man, that was a really crappy day for Iola. That was one unfortunate spell...I've never been afraid of clowns, but I never found them funny. Just bizarre.

    I hope Jack is on his toes...he's in a vulnerable place right now, and that means he's an easier target. Dratted Landgraab clones and their schemes. You'd think they'd get tired of this Wile E. Coyote racket.

    1. I have almost no use for any of the potions Shadow makes, but I had to use the tragic clown potion.

      Landgraabs, muchlike Wile E. Coyote, will never give up on their schemes. They will catch that Road Runner one day!

  15. Tragic clown :} You have a great way of inserting amusing anecdotes at just the right time to keep it from being too heavy.

    1. Thanks! I do like to keep a sense of humor in their. And the Tragic clown thing had to be done. I just wish there was a freak out reaction to that from Coward Sims, since they are so afraid of clowns.

  16. Shadow's monster moment was a riot. Then everything else went wonky on poor Iola. I hope there are no aftereffects stuck on baby Ryan. ;)

    I really didn't want to see Geoffrey get any clues. This isn't good. Maybe Jack will play a big role in what's to come. I hope they are all safe.

    1. LOL, poor Iola had a tough day there.

      Jack does play a huge role in what's coming. Geoffrey's got him in his cluthches.