Writer Notes: I’ve had a lot of questions/complaints of late about AU posts becoming infrequent, like the The Gang before its hiatus. Most of these complaints stem from Sims 2 Bustin Out seemingly “favored.” Away from the computer, I do work a fulltime job that is very demanding and stressful. Sometimes I just have no muse for sim stories. I also write in prose and have completed a manuscript (AUB1 actually) that I’m working to get published. So don’t think I’m just giving S2BO all my attention.
S2BO is my not-so-super-serious story, which might make it easier to write. That doesn’t mean AU is going on hiatus like The Gang. I stalled The Gang because after neighborhood crashes and computer death/switch from Vivian to Clarice, I had to rebuild everything again. I still don’t have the sets built for the aside Hell High School. There were other projects I worked on, like DOTY, and custom content projects that may have gotten in the way of storytelling. However, guys, don’t worry. Alternate Universe is not going anywhere. In fact, I’ve already outlined the plot for Book 3.
Warnings: magic! shy Gabriel is shy, pixelated blood, side boob, mutual plane, blasts from the past, pain, awkwardness, and panic!
at the disco.
“He’s going to be OK. He’s going to be OK.” Lacarra repeated over and over again, hoping her words would come true. Her brother, Latimere, endured so much adversity in the last few thousand years, but never had someone threatened his life like Julianna Fairchild.
With his heart split open, would Latimere survive? If it were any other vampire, Lacarra knew they would have already died. Latimere was different. He had always been specially gifted with magic and abilities far past normal capabilities of even master vampires. But was this the final straw?
Lacarra thought for a moment not to answer.
“It’s Gabriel,” he said. “I…just wanted to check on you, to see how you’re holding up.”
“Come in,” she finally replied.
“I…OH! I’m sorry…I…” She thought his shyness adorable.
“Come now, Mr. Steel, surely you’ve seen the flesh of a woman.” she thought about it. “You do have children, three in fact.”
He made a sound that was half chuckle, half whimper. “Yes,” he managed. “My wife and I were each other’s only.”
“You must miss her greatly.”
“I do,” he looked away.
She felt terrible for teasing him. He was a grieving man. She knew his wife had been dead for a decade, but the loss still affected him greatly.
“Why don’t I get dressed?” she offered.
“Tell me, Mr. Steel, has Gregoral come up with some clever scheme to use this opportunity to heal my brother or study him for his research?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” Gabriel asked. “What research?”
“Do you not know? Necromancers can control vampires, as we are undead. Yet, Gregoral, one of the most powerful necromancers I’ve ever met, powers are ineffective against my brother.”
“It’s the reason Gregoral hates him.” she continued. “It goes against nature, he says. Vampires must submit to undead handlers, like him. My brother explained to him before it could be because we are natural born or perhaps Latimere’s power and will are just too great to control.”
“Makes sense.” Gabriel said. “Latimere is definitely powerful, considering he’s still alive after everything with Julianna.”
Julianna, Julia, whoever they were. Lacarra hoped the witch suffered in damnation forever.
“Better?” she asked.
He laughed and resorted to nodding, instead of replying. Perhaps he didn’t want to say the wrong thing? Not that Lacarra would have cared if he said no. She might had even encouraged it.
“They’re about to start the ritual.” Gabriel announced. “I thought you would want to be there. Since Vaiden can’t be anywhere near High Elf magic, or it won’t work, I’ll be babysitting him with the prisoners.” he paused then added. “If you need me.”
“Thank you.” she said and meant it. Perhaps it was cruel to lead him on. He was too innocent, too nice. For once, she didn’t want to corrupt that.
“We’ll figure it out together.” Elan said. “I’m sure between our cleverness will figure out what happened to you, but, I can’t be fretted with that now, Yolanda. You’re alive.”
“Oh sugar, I’m so sorry.” Yolanda sniffled. “What happened? Where is Dahlila? Siren? And…Penelope?”
“Children, I have news. I…”
“It’s OK. It’s Yolanda.” Delania interrupted. “The vine, we think. Lacarra said it was possessed before, but I don’t know.”
“It matters not right now.” Zarah shook her head. “I have…terrible news, but you need to know, we are safe. Julianna has been defeated.”
“What’s the bad news?” Elan asked.
It should actually be said: Life giveth and Death taketh away. There is no Lord in Hell.
“This is just a protection spell.”
“To keep his heart together so his own vampirical powers will heal him on its own.” Gregoral explained.
“And that will work?”
“That’s up to him.”
“I haven’t been here in such a long time.” Latimere said. “Nightmares, do they ever truly go away?”
“But I suppose when the nightmare is a part of your life, it has no choice, but to remain.”
“And where exactly is this place in your memory?” Dahlila asked. “Maybe if we retrace how you broke out of here, we can leave.”
“No, that won’t work.” he sighed. “The gate is already gone and yet we remain. It’s a mutual plane in my mind. Why you are here is…interesting, but I suppose in the whole grand scheme of things, not so important.”
“What does that mean?” she asked.
“I’m asleep. Probably in a coma, thanks to your grandmother, until they figure out what to do with me.” he replied. “My power transferred to you, most likely for survival purposes. So, I am here. My power inside you recognized it and now you are here…well, our subconscious are.”
“So we are in mutual plane, like Paradise? Where my parents meet in their sleep?” she asked.
“Sort of.” he answered. “But this is no paradise.”
“It’s his internal Hell.” a voice said. Dahlila turned to the woman. When had she arrived? And why did she look so familiar.
“Felicia?” The girl from the painting. Queen Julia’s niece.
Latimere shook his head. “No, you are not really here, are you? You’re just another memory to haunt me.”
“Or perhaps a vengeful spirit.” Felicia offered.
“No, no, no, ghosts looking for revenge go after the one that killed them.” he countered. “I did not kill you.”
“You are the reason I am dead.” she said. “I am another prime example of those who love you and perish because of your foolish ways and strive to keep power. This girl will be another victim one day.”
“You are only a victim if you submit to being victimized.” Dahlila returned.
“I warn you, girl. Don’t fall for his clever tricks. Don’t fall in love with him.”
“You’ve got the wrong girl, I assure you.”
“And what if it is the love he has for you, that dooms you?” another voice asked.
“Hey, Felicia’s gone.”
Latimere opened and closed his mouth, obviously perplexed by her presence. He could only muster one word. “Why?”
“We are prisoners held by your choices.” Lizabeth LaBelle said. “It is time for you to decide, shall you be free of the past? Or punished for it?”
“Latimere, what’s happening?” Dahlila asked. “I feel funny. Electricity is dancing across my skin and my heart feels like it’s going to pound out of my chest.”
“Now Coastal! Take the knife out quickly.” Gregory urged.
Dahlila sat up. “Latimere!”
“Did it work?” Coastal asked.
“I don’t know.” Gregory admitted. “He’s still alive, it seems.”
Tatiana rushed forward. “Dahlila! Are you OK, sweetie. Let me look at you.”
“Your…eyes…what happened to them?”
“What happened to you?” Dahlila asked. “You look…different…younger, even?”
“It’s a side effect from absorbing Julianna’s power.” Tatiana frowned. “I didn’t mean to…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are OK.”
“She was necromancy power, a form of it at least.” Gregoral intervened. “It’s why her eyes are like that.”
“Necromancy?” Tatiana shook her head. “How is that possible?”
“Because I am a necromancer.” he answered. “And I am her grandfather.”
Coastal hissed as Julianna’s blade’s magic burst in her hand.
“Are you all right, priestess?” Gregoral asked.
“Oh brother, please, please be OK.”
Coastal embraced her granddaughter and sighed. “Close your eyes, relax.” she said. “Concentrate on your breathing.”
“Is Latimere going to be OK?” Dahlila asked.
“Don’t worry about that.” Coastal replied. “Just concentrate on you.”
Dahlila did as she said. When her eyes opened, they returned to normal.
But nothing would ever be the same, she knew. She had magic, at least something like it. Even after all the testing her parents and grandparents went through to see if either her or her sister had magic, their tests proved false-negatives.
“You are awful chatty now that you’ve lost.” Vaiden growled.
“We have nothing to hide,” Victoria scowled.
“No, what you want is mercy.” The Shade countered.
“Vaiden,” Gabriel sighed. “Their plan doesn’t matter anymore. Julianna is dead. Honey is on the run. Their power structure is gone. Using the Marshals to take over the human government won’t work now without Julianna. She was the only one that could control them with the blood magic.”
“At least that’s what her own son says.”
“That’s the problem.” Vaiden gritted his teeth. “Is he lying?”
“I have no reason to lie.” Seamus frowned. “I’m sure you or that bloodsucking vampire is going to kill me. I have nothing to live for any how.”
“What about your sister?”
“How about her?” Seamus scowled. “She fled, like a coward, and left me defenseless. I hate her more than any of you.”
Vaiden took it into consideration. Honey Fairchild was still out there. He made a mental note to talk to Rista, his boss, later about searching for the rogue sorceress. They couldn’t let someone as dangerous as the blood mage loose on the public. Not while Vaiden was still on the job.
“It was weird,” Dahlila confessed. “Like a dungeon plane or something. Latimere said it was in his mind, like a memory.”
“Your mother and father can visit planes in each other’s minds.” Coastal said. “It might very well be possible for you to have that power, by your mother, since Vaiden has no magic. He is only able to visit your mother because of their bind. Latimere has tremendous capability in magic as well.”
“Our Dahlila is special after all.” Siren purred. “Aren’t you happy? You always wanted to have magic?”
“Does that mean Delania has this magic too?”
Gregoral shrugged. “It’s possible, especially since you’re twins. We’ll have to test her.”
“They were already tested and both came up negative.”
“Perhaps they are late bloomers?” the high elf offered. “I could test them for different magic that you and Coastal do not have. So could Latimere. He has even more experience with this sort of thing than me.”
“When he wakes and is strong again.” Lacarra said. “We will talk about it.”
“His only job is to rest.” Tatiana said.
“Thank you for killing that witch,” Lacarra sniffled. “She plagued my loved ones for far too long.”
“Don’t mention it.” Tatiana replied. “We protect each other. That’s what families do.”
Gregoral cleared his throat. He opened his mouth to say something then thought better of it.
“What is it Gregoral?” Coastal asked.
“The witch was his family.” Siren pointed out. “Just because he’s helped, doesn’t make him trustworthy.”
Coastal shook her head. “We give time to those worthy of it. Without Gregoral…I would not have been able to save Latimere. It does not mean, he is not at fault for what he did alongside Julianna.”
“Then what does it mean?” Gregory asked.
“It means we are giving you the chance to change and prove you want to be a part of this family.” Coastal said. “Julianna kept you locked away from us. She didn’t share information about us. She led you on to believe Latimere and Tatiana were the only ones affected by her quest.”
“How can you not know about your own family though?” Dahlila pointed out. “He never tried to get in contact with us or visit. This is the first time I’ve ever met him.”
“In time, we shall all learn the truth.” Coastal answered.
Latimere woke to sharp pain in his chest. It tightened when he moved and felt like lava just beneath the surface.
His breath came quick and panicked. He wasn’t meant to be awake now. That’s when his body recognized he was in danger. Foreign magic was in his body. His defensive mechanisms reacted the only way they knew how. Destroy.
“Gregory, what do we do?”
He’d made a contract with Vaiden. If Latimere died, so did Gregoral.
“We must find that other book!”