Saturday, July 16, 2016
Chapter 46: Where Are You When You're Not There?
Reggie is summoned to city hall to receive a medal. His hard work crafting toys for the community is recognized as having some value, or something. As he leaves the mayor's office with his new shiny medal, an unrelated(?) protest erupts outside.
Some people just make their own problems...
Speaking of which, Perenna is having a midlife crisis.
Her pups are half grown, her husband nears the elder stage, and her career is stagnating. Maybe a fresh new look is what she needs to get her boss to take her more seriously.
She may have been right, because a promotion to storyboardist comes the following simday.
She rolls a wish to show her husband she's as frisky in bed as ever.
Lucida is working out when she notices her prank trap on the sink, to make it spray water everywhere, sprang on the wrong victim. Poor Mech shorts out in the living room.
"Aw, man. Dad's going to flip out."
As predicted, Lucida's father is not pleased.
"You have to think before you act! You never think!"
"Yikes, Dad! Calm down! I didn't mean to hurt anyone! It was supposed to be a harmless prank!"
"Please be more careful."
Ummm... not sure who to blame here....
...You alright, Layla?
Luis is freaking out over this painting. The subject matter is totally meaningless, yet he's pretty sure he's seen it in past lives... over and over again... as if the creator of the universe is reusing assets.
Dominoes on a rainy day.
"Did you happen to get any past reality fragments off of anyone else?" Cayenne asks, referring to her brother's bizarre ability to imprint tiny pieces of information onto people's very souls.
"Off of Rain and Izalee, yeah," he says, dismissively. "I had a vision as soon as we saw them."
"From Izzy, the location of a mage haven called Firelight."
"Maybe we should go there."
"When we're grown up," he agrees. "We'll try to find it."
He found information about Lethe on Perenna, but it was only a start. They have yet to find, much less weaponize the mythical waters of forgetfulness... the cleanse so deep, not even a vengeful fairy or a heartbroken djinni could recover.
"Maybe we should tell the Goldbeards to go there?" Cayenne ponders. "Wouldn't they be safe?"
"No." Luis frowns intensely at his right-hand fingers, resting over the double three domino. "We shouldn't. I know we shouldn't. Something bad happens if we bring them."
According to Luis, there is a brief time period in which a magical gnome is nowhere. It has vanished from its original place, and not yet appeared somewhere new.
Rain wonders about that lost time, when she is nowhere.
Luis can't sleep. His dreams are a mess, a spattering of different realities.
Being awake is no better. Sitting in this room, on these sheets, near all of these objects other people owned, he's picking up unwanted details about their lives. Their hopes and dreams and dramas and aspirations and fears... arguments, regrets... his thoughts swirl in a tangential spiral, desperate to find context. Then the house isn't even here; it's a forest, it's an ocean, it's in the path of a volcanic eruption... Italia, what is this word from a lost time? What does it mean?
Cayenne worries about her brother, and tries to talk him to sleep, but when he's like this it can be very hard to pull him out of seeing "the past". He just sits up there rocking back and forth, whimpering incomprehensibly...
Eventually she gives up, and, stifling her tears, tries to get some sleep herself.
Moonlit Stroll Park is as beautiful and popular as ever.
Lucida likes to go here to jog.
Today, classmate Benino Rossi steps into her way on the path.
Look at this clown.
"Uhh... hey, Slim!" Lucida greets him politely.
"Benino Rossi," he reminds her, as he presents her with a gorgeous bouquet of white roses.
"What's this for?" Lucida stammers.
"For you! I was hoping to ask you for a date."
Lucida is startled by the theatrics and the bluntness. "Uh... Ben... that's right... okay..." He's a little bit older than her, not old enough to be part of Izzy's graduating class, but not young enough that Lucida has shared his age stage too much.
Benino smiles. "Is that a yes?"
He's admired the Goldbeard girl's beauty from afar since she entered high school, though nursing a broken heart from when Edward GilsCarbo-Bianchi dumped him in favor of Benino's own cousin, Tami Costa-Modena, has kept him out of the game until this daring moment.
"Sure, okay," Lucida says, dazed. "Um, I'm a Sagittarius."
She's not used to this flirting thing. She doesn't even know if that's what is expected of her right now.
"How about we meet at Danza, tonight at seven?"
"Okay!" Lucida squeaks. She feels like her face is on fire. She has never felt so lost and helpless.
In the background, Daphne Stefani menaces a squirrel.
Benino and Lucida meet up at Danza that night, as planned.
The historic building had fallen so far that it was classified as a Dive Bar back in the days of Scarlett Goldbeard's gigs with Cookie Damage, but it has since been cleaned up and is now classified as some type of upscale club.
The mixologist tonight is Goopy's wife, Marta.
She is super used to this place being empty.
The club is a ghost town. Ouch. Benino worries about his date not having any fun, but the lack of a crowd has no impact on her extreme dance moves.
Determined to make a good impression, Benino orders two Vera's Glass of Sasses.
It's just an energy drink, probably no peppier than a Sweet Hijinks, but dang is it ever expensive.
The teens dine on some overpriced snacks, giggling to themselves about how pretentious all the food menu items sound. Lucida has a good sense of humor, so she's very easy to get along with as long as there is something to joke about.
She learns Benino is planning to go into politics, like his grandfather Costanzo Rossi. Costanzo served for a long time as Monte Vista's mayor.
"Did you really date that failface Edward GilsCarbo-Bianchi?" Lucida hopes it's not insensitive to ask about prior love interests. At least Benino doesn't know about that time she beat the shit out of Ed; there's no way he'd look at her the same way if he thought she was a violent, short-tempered freak.
"Ed's this kind of shy, bookish genius type," Ben replies. "Or that's what I thought at first. Turns out his bad traits vastly outweigh the cute ones. Oh well! I was new to high school, he was about to leave. It was doomed from the start. And now he's with my cousin Tami."
"Is that awkward?"
"Not really. I'm not that close to my mother's side of the family."
"Yeah, I don't even know my mother's side of the family," Lucida says.
Lucida hastily steers the conversation back towards future careers. She doesn't think a desk could possibly contain her awesomeness, and is looking into maybe a career in sports.
"I just have so much energy," she says. "If I'm not always doing stuff, I feel like I'll just scream."
Lucida's first date can't have gone too badly; Ben suggests a second one.
Lucida seconds that motion, and seals the deal with a kiss.
Reggie's evening is less fun. Polka needed a flea bath.
Rain follows Luis when he goes looking for someone named Eris.
This place is Seafood Hideaway, a beautiful but quiet fishing park next to Vista Studios. Rain feels a little giddy, thinking she might see hot foreign actors wandering around on the other side of that fence.
"I was here before, and I saw her afterimage then, but I didn't know what to make of it exactly," Luis explains. "I have to see it again. Now that I know who she is. And Desdemona stopped me before I'd seen the end of the confrontation."
"Confrontation?" Cayenne inquires.
"She was trying to murder Uncle Scarlett."
"W-well I guess she succeeded..." Cayenne mumbles. They didn't have an Uncle Scarlett. Not one that she knew, anyway. It took a moment to place the name as their grandmother's brother, the one who left town and mysteriously stopped writing.
"No," Luis corrects. "It was impossible for her to succeed. It would break the entire equation. It would be preventing his descendants from existing. That's why it was insane, she should have known it was impossible for him to die at that point in time."
"Whoa, whoa," Rain stops them. "WHAT are you guys talking about?"
"Nothing. Just... Eris." Cayenne shrugs. "Goddess of chaos."
Luis shoots his sister an annoyed look.
"Scarlett Goldbeard was my grandfather, and probably the only guy to ever be named Scarlett," Rain says.
"Oooh." Cayenne blinks. She remembers the photos of Mittens and Scarlett together. Scarlett had a very memorable appearance, to say the least. "Of course it makes perfect sense we're related. You have my brother's translocation powers, and they affected us... of all people... and you're blue! And we kind of look alike. And Lucida says we smell kind of the same, and apparently we knew you before... ohh, this makes all the sense."
There were also rumors of Percival Archer, Cayenne's father, being a secret Goldbeard heir. The Goldbeards were a very important, very rich family back in Barnacle Bay. Cayenne hadn't wanted to pry by bringing it up before.
"So we're related? Genetically?" Rain tilts her head. "How's that?"
"Our grandmother and your grandfather were sister and brother," Cayenne explains. "Our grandfather and your grandmother were brother and sister too, actually. Your magic is inherited through... um... pretty complex hybridism. You're going to find a lot of it hard to believe."
Luis has stopped listening to their chatter, instead watching a scene from the past play out before him.
"I can't stop her," Greta's whisper comes to him through a deep, dark haze. "But I can misdirect her."
Desperate to live, Greta casts a spell to make Eris forget her purpose... forget why she wanted to hurt them, forget why she's here at all. But Greta is little more than a hedge mage, and the spell's area of affect is too large. Greta and Scarlett forget their quest as well.
Luis sits down on the stonework. His eyes drop closed. Defeat.
"Eris lost her memory," he says.
Etc.: Gotta be careful with those AoEs.
Challenge note... Luis and Cayenne are houseguests in the game, that stay over every night, even though in the story I'm treating them as if they've moved in. I briefly take control of them to stage certain events, but they don't contribute anything to the household. I just need them around for a little bit longer, as inserting scenes that happen in gameplay (such as Lucida going on a date, which wasn't planned until Ben there got up in her face) has stretched out the pre-written material I had involving Cayenne and Luis.
Glitch note... Layla and the rocking chair. The whole nursery was cursed. Sims were stretching through walls, feeding fish from across the house, routing errors left and right... you don't even wanna hear the whole story, it was bad. I had to bin, bulldoze and replace the whole lot before things were normal again. Took me days to fix. /embarrassed
Lucida / Benino 2016!!!???