Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chapter 52: Can't Hide Forever

Jace was a little disappointed that his father couldn't make it home for his birthday, but he understands that Jack's job keeps him from being able to be there. And he does have the rest of his very large and loving family to celebrate with him.

Jace becomes an adult.

As much as loves his very large and loving family, Jace wants to start one of his own as soon as Kirsten ages up, so he moves out to large farmhouse with enough rooms for all the children he plans to have. He gets a job at City Hall, hoping to get into politics, and gets everything ready for his upcoming wedding.

"You certainly didn't waste any time dismantling a criminal empire I spent decades building," Cole says, joining Delaney at the coffeeshop that used to be his warehouse. His wry smile tells her that he's not as angry about that as one might think.

"You left me in charge," she answers, as though that explains everything, "I did what I felt I had to do."

"You're still acting almost entirely on impulse, Laney," he chides her, but he's still got that little smile on his face, like he's amused at the antics of a child.

"It wasn't an impulse," Delaney protests, "I thought about this move. A lot. Getting involved in the business in the first place was a stupid impulse. I did it for thrills, like it was an extension of some of my high school pranks. It seemed so sexy and exciting," she frowns as her words make her remember Ian, and her betrayal of Jack, "Well, it's not sexy or exciting, and even if it was, I'm trying to make something of my family. I had another kid, you know, a daughter. I don't want to be out all night like I was with Jace. But I couldn't just drop the responsibility you dumped on me when you took off for ages," she casts an accusing glance at him, "So I did something that would still pull in a profit for you."

"So you're ready to settle down?" Cole asks, something verging on awe in his voice, "It's taken me so long to get there, and I've sacrificed so much on the way. I had the worst time with relationships, and I've got s list of ex-wives I can't even name, descendants I have no contact with...But you're committed to Jack. True love forever and all that?"

"I don't know about 'true love'," she says with a shrug, "That's the kind of thing my son gets on about, like life is some kind of fairy tale. But I do love Jack, and I fucked shit up between us. I've got a chance to make that right, and I'm going for it."

"Fairy tale," Cole chuckles under his breath, "For the longest time, I thought I was completely alone in the world. Unique. And then there you were."

"A dragon," Delaney says, her voice low and serious.

"No," Cole says, "Well, that's part of it. But the whole blended heritage of our families. You and I both have got the dragon-dominant side of our genes, but there's so much more. I wanted to find out what you couldn't tell me about your family, who your ancestors were, so I went to visit an old...friend...of mine. Time moves differently there, I didn't realize how long I'd been gone."

"I wasn't sure if I should worry about you," Delaney admits, "I thought about hiring a P.I. to look for you, but I figured that would just needlessly endanger anyone who took that job."

Cole laughs in acknowledgment, "Yeah, that wouldn't have gone well. But, anyway, where I was, no normal human could find me. Aren't you at all curious about what I found?"

Delaney shrugs, "There was a time when I was interested in knowing about my heritage. But, really, if it isn't going to help me in the here and now, why should I care about old history?"

Cole nods, "All right then, I won't bore you with old history, except to say, you and I come from the same place. That's not the reason I wanted to talk to you, anyway. My fairy friend asked me to do something for her. To prove myself worthy...long story, that. But, I have a job and I need you. What's more, I need someone with the kind of magic that MorcuCorp's metal can't weaken, and I need the very unique skill set of a Hawksquill."

"You mean Shadow and Iola?" Delaney asks, her eyebrows raised, "I don't think I could convince them to help on a heist."

"This isn't just any heist. We'd be infiltrating Landgraab territory, to take back something they should never have had in the first place. The tooth of a dragon."

Delaney brings Cole to Shadow's shop so he can ask the couple for their help in person. "This is my former, ah, employer, Cole King," she introduces them.

Iola smiles, "Is that what you're going by?" she asks, looking Cole directly in the eye.

"For the last few decades," Cole says, "But I didn't expect to get a pseudonym past a Hawksquill. And since I'm coming to you all for help, then I guess it's best to use my own name again. Rory Bowman," he introduces himself.

"And what is you want my help with?" Shadow asks, "We're not unaware of what kind of business Laney was involved in," he continues, "I'm assuming she wouldn't bring you to us if you were going to ask us for something outside the law."

Rory smiles, "Well, there are laws, and there are laws," he says, "What I want your help with is most definitely illegal. But while what I want to steal is technically and legally Landgraab property, by the laws of the human world, in the law of dragons, they are holding something that they acquired through murder, a tooth of a dragon, which should be returned to his family."

"The Landgraabs have a long history of dragon slaying, " Iola says, "And they took the teeth as trophies. You are only interested in one of them?"

Rory nods, "That's where you come in. I've been tasked with finding one particular tooth, which belonged to a dragon very dear to the heart of a fairy friend of mine. The Landgraabs have them scattered in several storehouses throughout the world, but the tooth I'm looking for belonged to a dragon killed by Reinier Landgraab, and the family keeps the bulk of his relics in a museum in Aurora Skies. I've narrowed the search down to one location, but the Landgraabs don't exactly label the teeth by name. Only a Hawksquill could tell whose mouth a particular tooth was torn from."

Shadow and Iola trade glances at the mention of the name Reinier Landgraab. "What you're asking of us is dangerous," Shadow says,"We'll have to discuss this, first."

"Of course," Rory says, "Take as much time as you need. That tooth has been in Landgraab hands for centuries."

Adan, the shop clerk, stands back at a respectful distance. He can just barely hear their conversation. He thinks about the inventory he could be taking during this down time, but a strange compulsion roots him to this spot, watching, listening, though he has no idea what his employers are talking about, nor does he particularly care. When the conversation is over, Adan gets back to work, forgetting the whole incident.

"Walking right into Landgraab territory," Iola whispers, her hand trembling as she caresses Shadow's face, "It could be a trap, you know. They tried to trap your father that way."

"But he got away," Shadow points out.

"This isn't our problem," Iola says, "This dragon' tooth has been in Landgraab hands for centuries. What does it matter if it stays with them?"

"Because it's wrong," Shadow says, "It's a wrong and we've been asked to help right it. I can't turn a request like that down. But it's you they need, more than me."

Iola shakes her head, "No, they need you, just as much as me. Rory has considerable power as a dragon, but it's useless in the face of that metal the Landgraabs have. But your magic, that's something else. It's not affected by the metal's radiation."

"It can't be a coincidence, that we're being asked to steal something once stolen by Reinier Landgraab himself. We have to do this."

"I'm frightened, Shadow," Iola whispers, near tears, "I've never seen this future, I don't know what will happen..."

"I'm frightened, too. But we have to do this. I'll protect you, you know that, Iola, I will never let anything harm you."

"And who will protect you?" she whimpers, "MorcuCorp never wanted me. It's you. They'll take you from me..."

"Sssh, sweetheart, don't cry," Shadow soothes her, "They had me once, and my family has been in hiding ever since. Our children live in hiding, but we can't hide forever. Sooner or later, we must face MorcuCorp down. We can't just sit by, Iola, we have to act. The universe has put out the call, and I must answer it."

"I know," Iola sighs, "I know you, Shadow. There was never any doubt what your answer would be. And I will go with you."

Kirsten Foster, Jace's teenage fiancee, asked Iola to tell her fortune. "Will Jace and I be happy together?" the girl wants to know.

It's not a question Iola has to delve into very deeply, there is such a high probability of the young couple's future happiness. But she's no charlatan, so Iola uses her gift to peer into the near future before giving an answer.

There's nothing surprising about Jace and Kirsten's future; marriage, children, a steady and happy life. But that simple vision she sought is followed by a bombardment of images, too many and too fast for Iola to sort through, to comprehend. One image stands out clearly from the jumble, her son, Fergus, as a young man, the head of MorcuCorp. 

"You know it's never a straight line," Ariel says after Iola shares her vision with him, and the plan to steal back the tooth of a dragon.

"We get involved in a plan to infiltrate a Landgraab holding, and then I sudden;y get a vision of my son at the head or MorcuCorp. How can I not believe that doing the one might not be the cause of the other?" Iola asks.

"Because you know better than to believe correlation equals causation," Ariel replies, "I taught you better than that, Iola. I think Shadow's magical thinking is rubbing off on you," he continues with a serious frown.

"Magic is real, father. You know that."

"She has a point, Dad," Max interjects, "There are places where even logic can't go. Once magic gets involved, logic flies out the window."

"No," Ariel insists, "Even magic obeys the laws of physics. And that's not even the issue here. Events always have a cause, but real life events are never as simple as billiard balls being pushed around a table. You see visions of possible futures, but what events might cause them to take place is not clear. And you know this, daughter. What you saw could be the result of you refusing to take part in this venture."

"That doesn't seem likely. I did agree to go," Iola says.

"But you haven't gone yet, and are still looking for ways to get out of it," Ariel says.

Iola pouts at him, like she did as child when she didn't like the lesson he was teaching her.

"And, anyway, you don't know that your vision is a bad thing," Max says softly.

"But, MorcuCorp..." Iola says.

"Is the big bad, I know," Max interrupts, "But if Fergus takes control of it, maybe that's a good outcome. You didn't see him locked in one of their labs, after all."

"There you are," Shadow says, finding Delaney in Jilly's room, playing with the mirror. "We've decided, we're going to do this with you."

"Great!" Delaney says, then pauses. "But, I, uh, used up all your Dad's stock of ghost potions and the like. We're going to have to ask him to whip us up a batch."

"I'll go with you, but you have to explain to him why his stockpile is gone," Shadow answers.

"What if he's mad at me?" Delaney says.

Shadow laughs, "Have you ever seen my father get mad at anyone about anything? Don't worry, Laney. He'll make whatever we need. He's infiltrated MorcuCorp bases before."

"He has?" This is news to Delaney. "Did he steal stuff?"

"Yes. My Mother. C'mon, let's go talk to him."

At Shadow's urging, Delaney comes clean to Farrell, telling him that's she used his potions up in her life as a master thief, and now they need more to infiltrate and steal something from the Landgraabs.

"I knew what you were up to," Farrell says with a smile, "You fooled me the first time, when you said you wanted to visit Jack in jail. But after that, well, I knew."

"Really?" Delaney gasps, "And you didn't mind?"

Farrell shrugs, "As long as you were safe," he mumbles, "But, infiltrating a Landgraab base, that's not the same as robbing a bank, you know. Security is much tighter."

"But you've done it," Shadow says.

"Because I had to," Farrell answers.

"We have to do this, Dad," Shadow says.

"Then you'll need more of my potions."

Shadow reports back to Iola at the shop. "We're on. My father is making us a batch of his potions. We'll be set to go after Fergus' birthday."

Iola's fears, about this plan, about what she's seen in Fergus' future, are nowhere near settled.


I decided to change my eye defaults. I loved the old ones, but as pretty as they were, the multi-foiled effect was actually sort of restrictive, as they added so much color. So I ended up always making very neutral eye colors that got brightened and enhanced by the defaults. So now that I've changed, all my blue eyed Sims have grey eyes, lol. In some cases I'm editing in CAS to give them the colors I think they should have. 

Next up, infiltrating a MorcuCorp base, woot! We haven't done that in awhile.

Also, poor Delaney, three of her wish slots are filled with 'Get Married', 'Get Married to Jack' and 'Propose to Jack' because I'm evil and locked them in.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chapter 51: Celebrate the Way Our Ancestors Did

Guests start arriving for Weylin and Jillyan's birthday party.

Jilly goes first.

She grows into the image of her mother at that age.

Weylin's turn is next.

His brothers Ryan and Fergus favor their mother, but Weylin takes after Shadow.

In just a few days, Jace will be graduating, and he's still planning to start his family right away. He gets Kirsten alone in the kitchen to propose to her.

Delaney is still having a hard time accepting that her son is almost an adult, let alone dealing with the fact that he's now engaged, too.

"I love Jace more than anything," Kirsten assures her future mother-in-law, "We're going to be very happy together."

Delaney doesn't doubt that, she just can't help but feel her son is too young to take on the responsibility of marriage and children. Then again, she has two kids of her own and still doesn't feel like she's ready to be a parent. "I'm happy for both of you," she finally says, knowing the she needs to keep whatever doubts she has to herself, and support her son's choice, or else end up estranged from him like she is from her own father.

Now that there are no more babies or toddlers in the house, the nursery is no longer needed, so the room is converted to a bedroom for Jillyan.  An extra bed is put in Jace's room for Weylin, as there are no more spare rooms in the house. When Jace graduates and moves out, Weylin will have the room to himself.

Random party snapshots:

Aurora takes her last chance to snuggle her nephew before he ages up.

Elliot and Claire's daughter, Corrine. Claire did show up to the party but left early. She agd up to elder later that night.

Elliot and Cassidy.

Iola's younger brother, Max Hawksquill. He's a doctor, like his father.

Laurie Horner, Jesse and Cassidy's daughter. She looks just like Cass.

Danica, Elliot and Claire's other daughter.

Jack actually was at the party, but just didn't make it into any pics except this one.

Shadow and Cass. Shadow goes around hugging everyone all the time.

End random party shots.

The day after the birthday party is Love Day, so the kids have no school. Jack spends some quality time with Jilly after breakfast.

She must have learned this trick from her mother.

The whole town comes out to the festival for Love Day.

The Brannon children arrive only to discover that the promised egg hunt has failed to appear, and there aren't many other interesting activities for kids. Kissing booths (yuck!), dance floor,  playground equipment that's not even as good as the playground right next to the park...

Love Day is a day for lovers, not surprisingly. Jace dances with his fiancee.

Jack dances with Delaney.

Hey, Kyle.

Shadow and Iola drink a toast on the new hot air balloon attraction.

"You aren't afraid?" Shadow asks gently, knowing how easily his wife is frightened.

"We're not very high off the ground," Iola answers, "I'm a little nervous, but I'll be okay."

"You know why we call the vernal equinox 'Love Day'?" Shadow asks.

"Because in ancient times, it was a fertility festival," Iola answers, "And you like to celebrate the way our ancestors did," she adds with a smile.

Iola came prepared for this, and stands to draw a blanket over them for privacy.

And the couple have their Love Day celebration.

There's so little for the kids to do, Jilly and Fergus end up doing schoolwork together.

"We should go somewhere else," Jilly sighs.

To the Le Cirque park, where there's always something to do.

Now this is fun!

Souvenir of the day.

When she's not playing with the boys, Jillyan is in her room painting. She's very intent on improving her talent as an artist.

"I'm casting a fireball spell," Fergus announces, "Watch out for friendly fire!" A little behind the times, the Brannons just got their first game console.

Ryan gets up from the game suddenly as the family remembers it's his birthday.

Ryan becomes a teen, pretty much a male version of his mother.


So, no real drama this chapter, just birthday chaos and a holiday. I know I promised to get into what Cole/Rory Bowman has been up to since he left the criminal operation in Delaney's hands, and I will get to that. It requires some set building and stuff, and I'm still hammering out the details. But it will come. And of course we'll hear from MorcuCorp again. But for these few days, the Brannons just got to celebrate without a bunch of drama.

I did set up the warehouse into a rebel hangout/coffeeshop, but I haven't gotten around to taking Delaney there yet for pictures. It seems we can't buy that lot type, though.

My festival grounds are totally broken. When the spring festival started, there was almost nothing there; no stalls, no dance floor, no decor, no eggs. I wasn't up to redecorating it myself, so I bulldozed it and replaced it with a fresh copy, and swapped the broom riding thing with the hot air balloon. There were still no eggs though. At least not on Love day. Some spawned the next day, but all off lot, so when the kids tried to collect them, they reset.

Jace did roll a wish to propose to Kirsten, and I finally let him do it at the birthday party. His birthday is coming up very soon.

All the boys this generation have brown or green as their favorite colors, Jilly has Hot Pink. I'm kind of tired of brown, green and hot pink, lol.

Some out takes:

Bunny gnome gazes longingly at picture of shirtless Jack. So dreamy!

Jack plays with Arawn.

Smustlin' Kyle.