Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chapter 54: Vanguard of Change

"The entrance to the vault is through this passage," Rory says. 

"I'll use the ghost potion to get through the wall. Then I'll turn off the security and let you in," Delaney finishes.

"What about the book in the main hall of the museum?" Shadow asks, "We want to pick that up too."

"Rory and I have discussed this. We don't think it's such a good idea."

"They don't check the vaults very often, so they won't notice a missing dragon tooth until they rotate their displays. Which usually happens a couple of times a year. But you saw how the docent was drooling over this recent acquisition in his tour yesterday. We take that book and it will be missed immediately."

"We'll be gone before morning," Shadow says, "And we've covered our tracks, haven't we?"

"We have," Delaney says, "But this business always comes with a certain amount of risk. I don't think we should push our luck."

"Maybe she's right," Iola says quietly, "Maybe we should just take the tooth and leave the book be."

Peridot jumps up, taken by surprise as Geoffrey whispers her name. He wasn't supposed to be here. But then, neither was she.

"Your orders were to return home right after delivering the book to the museum," Geoffrey says, his voice low so as not to be heard by the thieves discussing their plans below.

"I couldn't let this opportunity just pass us by," Peridot answers, "Shadow is right there for the taking. I decided to take the initiative and bring him to you."

"We're going to have a long talk about how I expect my orders to be followed, Agent Shinji," he says, speaking to her as an employee rather than as a lover or even a confidant, "But right now I have guests to entertain. Follow me. And keep quiet."

"Good evening," Geoffrey says, and they all turn to face him, "Welcome to the Landgraab museum."

"Shadow! Zap him or something," Delaney hisses under her breath.

Geoffrey chuckles and steps closer to the group, showing no fear, "I don't think your cousin's magic works quite like that. And there's no need for confrontation. I've come to greet you in person, and give you what is rightfully yours."

"You expect us to just trust you?" Rory laughs harshly.

"As I trust you not to blow up my family's museum, Mr. Bowman," Geoff responds with a light smile, acknowledging Rory's role in the destruction of a secret MorcuCorp cloning facility long ago, "You all have a history with my family's company. There's been much bad blood between MorcuCorp and your families. And I've come to put an end to that. Come, I'll let you into the museum."

 Geoffrey flips on the lights as they enter the main hall. "You know what this book is," he says, nodding in Iola's direction, "You should take it, Shadow, it belongs in your family."

"My family?" Shadow asks, surprised, "It's a Landgraab heirloom, isn't it?"

"It's a journal kept by one of my distant ancestors. One that happens to be your grandfather," Geoffrey answers, "Our families, our history, is intertwined, Shadow. You are a Landgraab as much as you are a Brannon. Or an Avendale."

Behind him, Peridot and Rory face off, each watching the other, ready to strike if either of them makes a move.

"I don't know, Shadow," Iola whispers, "Why is he offering us this book? I don't like it."

"It's knowledge, Iola," Shadow answers, "Knowledge can be dangerous. But I think we should take it, all the same."

The whole situation feels wrong to her, but Iola can't argue with Shadow's reasoning. The book contains, history, knowledge, and nothing more.

From the main hall Geoffrey leads them down into the vaults in what was once the dungeon.

"My research says all the teeth they have on record as taken by Reinier Landgraab are stored. So, unless, they kept bad records, Talfryn's tooth should be here," Rory says, standing next to Iola in front of shelves of dragon's teeth. One by one, Iola touchs them, feeling the death of each dragon, learning his name and history, until she finds the one they were looking for.

Shadow is drawn to an ancient statue of a woman, worn and broken with time. Like many of the objects stored here, it emanates a magical energy.

"There were thousands of these across the continent," Geoffrey explains, "One of the earlier images of the Lady to be venerated by humankind. This particular sculpture belonged to the Avendales. Your own mother would have seen it, touched it as a child growing up. When my family conquered her town, they removed such images from display, replacing them with their own religious iconography."

"And those images are stored away in basements now along with the Lady," Shadow observes, nodding toward the row of altars to the Watcher lined up in the cage behind him.

"Indeed," Geoffrey says, "Religion was a useful tool for my family, once. But we've advanced along with world. Or, we've made the world advance along with us. Landgraabs have always been the vanguard of change. Every innovation, every new discovery, has our name on it."

"What did you want with us?" Shadow asks, "My sister and I, we were born in your labs. You imprisoned my mother..."

"I'm no older than you are, Shadow," Geoffrey lies, "Had your grandmother not stolen you away from the labs, you and I would have been raised together like brothers. I am only the latest scion of my family. I am no more my father than you are yours, and I have no intention of trying to carry out old plans hatched before I was born."

"But you would still know what those plans were," Shadow insists.

Geoffrey shrugs, letting his eyes wander to the two beautiful blondes standing watch over him, one ready to leap to his defense, he other ready to attack him. Dangerous beauty is always the most attractive. "Genetic engineering," he finally answers Shadow, "MorcuCorp has a long history of toying with DNA. I am myself a product of such experimentation, as is my lovely assistant," he nods toward Peridot.

"I recognize her," Shadow says. His grandmother, Pearl was an elder when he knew her, but her features are unmistakable on Geoffrey's young companion's face. "And that's it? You kidnapped us with no greater plan than just experimenting with our DNA?"

"That's all I know," Geoffrey lies, "When I took over, I scrapped all the old agendas. I mean to keep MorcuCorp on the cutting edge, be the vanguard of change we Landgraabs have always been, not stay mired in plans from the last century. And that is why I came to meet you here, when museum security alerted me to your visit. To bury the hatchet, as it were."

"I don't think we're going to be able to just trust you, after what our history has been," Shadow says.

"No, of course not," Geoffrey agrees, "But this is the first step in earning your trust. We're family, Shadow. Landgraabs have always valued family." 

"It's good to see you home safe, son" Aouregan sighs as she embraces Shadow in welcome. She hadn't been able to sleep properly since they left the safety of Drake's Hollow.

Shadow waits to get his father in his shop, away from his mother, to give him the details of their trip, and most importantly, their meeting with Geoffrey Landgraab himself, and the truce he offered between their families. "He gave Reinier Landgraab's ancient journal, because he was mother's real father, and he did seem sincere about acknowledging our family ties," Shadow concludes.

Farrell sits quietly, taking all this in, learning for the first time something his son has known for awhile, that Aouregan's real father was a Landgraab. "Son, not everyone feels the same way about family as you do," he cautions, "Taking any Landgraab at his word is foolhardy."

"I understand," Shadow nods, "But, I am a Landgraab, by blood at least. That must mean something to them..."

"I'm sure it means something, son," Farrell answer, "But bear in mind, they took your mother captive and brought her out of her own time, despite being a Landgraab's secret daughter. And this Geoffrey told you he was himself a product of their genetic experimentation. Being a Landgraab seems more dangerous than not being one, in terms of what they'll do to their own."

"Well, it's not like I've invited him for dinner," Shadow says, "Or even told him where we are. Don't worry, Dad. I'm not going to endanger my family."

"You may not have given him your complete trust, but it's in your nature to think the best of people. Even the worst people. Be careful in how you deal with any Landgraab," Farrell gives a final warning to his son.

"Are you going to tell Mom?" Shadow asks, "About her father?"

Farrell's lips press together as he considers. He hates lying to the woman he loves. "It would only upset her to know. And the knowledge would do her no good, I think," he says with a grim sigh.

"Dad is suspicious," Shadow tells Iola later.

"I don't blame him," she answers, "I don't think we should believe anything the Landgraab said."

"He did give us the journal..."

"And we don't know why," Iola adds.

"Have you sensed anything in it that could arm us?"

Iola shakes her head. "I've spent some time with. As much as I can handle," she says, "The emotions he invested into his writings are powerful. It's hard to sort through it all."

"Then leave it alone for awhile," Shadow suggests, "Let's go out tonight, and forget about everything."

"A date?" Iola asks, smiling.

"A date."

"We haven't done anything like this, just the two of us, since high school," Iola says, swaying against him as they slow dance to the songs on the Toadstool's jukebox.

"We should make time for ourselves more often."

While his parents are out, Fergus slips into their bedroom. Normally, he and his brothers don't come in here. Not that they've ever been expressly forbidden entry, it's just, there's never much of reason to be in here if one of their parents hasn't called them. But tonight, Fergus is drawn into the room, like he's being beckoned by some unknown power. When he sees the old tome on their desk, he understands. His mother, his brothers, all share the same gift, can read the same history just by touching the cracked leather binding, but none of them can get from it what Fergus can. He can't quite explain why, but this book is his, he feels it.

Fergus sits, not touching it right away, knowing the flood of images, the wash of emotions, that will follow when he does.


  1. No Fergus! No touching! Don't touch it! Oh, man, did Geoffrey know about how Fergus would react to the book? And if so, how?

    Oooh, Peridot going rogue to get Geoffrey's praise again was kind of scary. And his stern attitude toward her as a rebuke was just as chilling. She's one icy..... hmm.

    And I'm really really surprised Rory would put any kind of trust in Geoffrey at any point in that meeting. Shocked really.

    Oh, that book better not totally unleash the inner Dragon Slayer in Fergus. Then I worry about Delaney. Really really worry about Delaney.

    1. What Geoffrey knows is that Shadow and Iola's sons are both Reinier's descendants and have the Hawksqull abilities. So, he doesn't know that Fergus was going to have that specific reaction to the book. He does have a hunch that the book might awaken the inner Landgraab in one of the Brannon-Hawksquill children.
      I wouldn't worry about Delaney. I mean, Reinier was a dragon slayer, but it's not like it was some weird compulsion to slay dragons. He did what he did for his own personal glory.

  2. At least Delaney's criminal misadventures have given her good sense when it comes to that book. It would be missed right away. And since it was placed there as bait, it might confound Geoffrey a bit if it's not taken, and confounding Geoffrey is fun--but not so easily done, since of course he knew why they were there to begin with. I should've known he'd come to the vault. What murky plot has Geoffrey hatched?

    Oh no Fergus......

    1. Geoffrey's plots are murky, yes.
      If they'd actually left the book there, I wonder if he would have found a way o get it to them, anyway. Having him Fed Ex it would have been kind of funny.

  3. O.O
    "Chapter 55: Get out!
    Iola and Shadow return home from their date, more in love than ever. The burst into their room, only to have the mood ruined by Fergus sitting at their desk.
    "Get out, Fergus!" Shadow pants, and he does."
    Yeah? I think so.

    So, Fergus is gunna be a naughty boy, and then he's going to murder his... *gets confused over relationship* father's cousin. I hope he doesn't :|

    LOL Peridot got told off. HAHA!
    And Geoffrey was reeeeally creepy here. It's freaky how good he is at acting. I wish everyone would trust Iola and how she feels about situations. She's always right and Shadow especially should know that!
    I'm surprised Rory trusted Geoffrey, too.

    Shadows new shirt made me LOL so hard. I don't know why, because it suits him. It's just funny.
    Geoffrey really was more beige than ever! Peridot too.
    Is Farrells hair working again?!

    Next one should be quicker, right? No set building and CC searching needed anymore? *angelic smile*

    1. No, Fergus isn't going to murder Delaney.
      The relationships are confusing, And at this point, Shadow's kids and Delaney's don't show up as related. I'm hoping there's no weirdness when Jilly ages up because of that. Because, ew.

      Geoffrey was kind of creepy, wasn't he? He's very good at lying and manipulating. Shadow should trust Iola's instincts, and she should trustthem more as wel, instead of being talked out of them.

      Rory didn't exactly trust Geoff, he just took a wait and see attitude. I guess I should have written that better. He was watching Peridot and ready to make a move if anything went wrong.

      I loved that shirt on Shadow. I DLed it just for him. But it is funny.
      Geoffrey did manage to achieve a new level of beige.
      Farrell's hair is still broken, that's a different hair. It is a braid, but it's longer. Actually, it's the male version of the hair Erin is wearing right now in SWNT.

      I don't need to any set building for the next chapter, but I do need to think it out some. I probably should have thought this one out more, since Rory turned into a fifth wheel and didn't get used as much as I had planned. Geoffrey deciding to show up did kind of throw me a little.

    2. Yeah, blame Sunny for me assuming Delaney was about to get murdered.
      This quote from your comment to her was HILARIOUS! "Reinier was a dragon slayer, but it's not like it was some weird compulsion to slay dragons"

      I hate how short the relationships things are! I have a HUGE family, and my second cousins are not people I'd even consider dating! (lets ignore the fact that they're all 15-20 years older than me...)

      Yes, Iola must have self-esteem issues or something, because Shadow is the least pushy person ever and she just bends to whatever he suggests.

      Ah, the hair is very similar, though! I always get sad when you put Farrell in a chapter, even if it's a small part. I might cry when he dies, and he isn't even my own sim...

      So, you're saying Geoffrey wasn't supposed to be in this? He just showed up? :| Crazy man has his own agenda.

    3. I hope in Sims 4 they extend the relationships things out further. Though I do get that in small Sim towns, you will have to allow some third cousin inbreeding so the town doesn't die out in a few generations.

      Iola is a Coward, and Brooding, so for me, putting those together means she's naturally afraid of stuff, and she knows this and broods about it, and when Shadow is not as concerned/afraid about something as she is, she thinks she's overreacting and goes with what he decides. So, yeah, it is sort of a self esteem issue.
      I'm going to be so sad when Farrell dies. He's age bar is full so it could be any day now.

      Ah, no, I did put Geoffrey here. What I meant was I didn't originally plan for him to show up here. But I'm setting up stuff that will happen in the next gen, and things will make more sense if Geoffrey has directly connected with Shadow and the family first. So I decided to do this scene this way instead of them stealing the stuff as I originally planned. But that left me with Delaney and Rory kind of hanging as this became about Shadow and Geoffrey, and I didn't quite make their role work here. Which makes me sad, but oh well, I'm moving on.
      I even had Laney all stocked up with potions that she didn't get to use.

    4. I think third cousin is fine (in game. Not sure about real life), I doubt they'll add more in for 4, but it'd be nice if they did.

      NOOOO! Farrell :'(

      Ah, I get it now! I thought you meant he just showed up and you decided to run with it!
      Maybe Laney and Rory could do one last job together and use those potions?

    5. I think 3 had more family relations that 2, iirc. I don't remember2 specifying cousins, etc. But it's been a long time since I've played 2.
      But, yeah, I don't see 4 extending family relationships much farther than 3 does.

      I am so sad at the thought of losing Farrell. I keep telling myself that as long as Elliot is still around, Farrell won't go, but I know that it doesn't always work that way.

      Hmmm....I do have this plan for Laney coming up. An opportunity that came up that I'm actually going to take, even though it's going to make this generation even longer than it is already. (it seems like forever, lol. I'm ready for gen 4 already). So maybe there will be a chance to use some potions. I'll have to let that one stew in the plot pot for awhile. =D

  4. Oh, no no no, Fergus get away from the bad book!

    I don't trust Geoffrey in the slightest and I'm sure he's up to something

    1. Geoffrey is always up to something. Trusting him is always a bad idea.

  5. Oh, Shadow. I know you're trusting, but shouldn't you trust your wife before Geoffrey? The knowledge is just too tempting, I guess.

    I'm surprised neither Delaney nor Rory protested the book though. Or the trusting. Or the lovey dovey happy families talk.

    Maybe they'd sprayed something through the sprinkler system so they all believed Geoffrey, despite all logic and intelligence to the contrary.

    1. Yeah, Shadow doesn't see how a book could be dangerous. And he's too willing to trust other people, and his own abilities to protect himself and his family against the MorcuCorp menace.

      Rory's main concern was getting the tooth. He and Delaney both kept their eyes open for any physical threats, but they didn't really catch that the book might be dangerous. But, yeah, I didn't do such a great job expressing that in this chapter, I was too focused on Geoffrey and Shadow's interaction.

  6. Yes, Fergus, you're attracted to that book because the spirit of your great-grandfather resides inside you. Don't try to convince me otherwise. And the second you touch it, Reinier will be almost reborn inside of you, ready to seek his vengeance. Now, exactly HOW he's going to seek out his vengeance hasn't hit me yet because it doesn't make any sense.

    Indeed, they SHOULD listen to Iola, but if they did, the story wouldn't be as interesting. :)

    1. The Reinier is strong in this one...Well, it's not going to be a full on possession, but there is this influence Fergus is under.
      It's true, if everyone listened to Iola, they be safer, but there'd be no story.

  7. No touchy Fergus!! No touchy! Doubtful he'll listen, lol Hmmm, might cause his inner Landgraab to come out, that could be interesting! (Here is where I confess I secretly like the Landgraabs, lol They are very decisive, know what they want, and they go for it. Gotta admire that, there are no wussies in their family tree! Plus all that genius plotting, and they NEVER give up, not even in death!)

    Sneaky Peridot! Even sneakier Geoffrey! He definitely showed his Landgraab side there, as soon as she crossed the line and did her own thing, he was all icy and you're nothing but an employee. I bet he wouldn't hesitate to have her killed if he had to, no matter how much he may like her!

    Shadow is a sweetheart---always ready to believe the best in everyone. <3 Being that Geoffrey is a Landgraab who has plots within his plots, it's probably not the safest idea that Shadow has had. I hope Iola listens to her gut feelings before anything *bad* does happen.

    Rory is never a fifth wheel, lol I thought it worked great showing their awkwardness at Geoffrey just showing up like that, he threw them off as well. Come into my parlor...

    1. Thanks, Nirar!
      I love my Landgraabs. That's why they show up in nearly every story I write. =D
      So it will be fun to see Fergus getting in touch with his inner Landgraab.

      Peridot did cross a line with Geoff. Their relationship was always a little unbalanced, with him being more than her boss. I mean, she was created by him, and yeah, he would have her killed if he thought it was necessary.

      Shadow is too trusting for his own good.

      That's an interesting perspective. I agree, I think Geoff did really throw thm off by showing up like that.

  8. Fergus! Don't do it! Everything terrible could happen! I am fraught with concern. I can barely even sort through my thoughts! I just want everything to be okay lol

    1. Thanks, sparkle!
      Fergis is going to touch the bok, but don't worry, the world won't explode. =D

  9. Fergus! Don't be stupid! :(

    Shadow is way too trusting, I agree. But some people are just like that. I hope it won't hurt him too much, in the end.

    1. Thanks, tigger. Shadow is one of those too trusting types.

  10. Oh boy. Like I trust that Geoffrey any. I don't trust anyone named after a giraffe.
    All that magic and no one can read minds? Ugh. :(
    This is going to be bad for Fergus, unless he can control the rage that I think will try to consume him.
    I can't think that the ancient Reinier will sit back mildly. I think he will jump into Fergus full force and the real Fergus will be huddled in a corner of his own mind, lost. :(

    1. LOL, I had to think about what giraffe was named Geoffrey. Then I remembered, Ha!

      Yeah, not a single mind reader in the bunch here.
      Fergus will taking a lot in when he opens himself up to the full force of Reinier's memories, and it will put his young mind in danger.