“This is my family home,” Nash said. “It burned down when I was a kid and took my parents with it.”
Emmaline gaped at the cottage. “This is beautiful,” she said. “Where could the fire have been?”
“Oh, right,” Nash said, as if he had just remembered. “I spent the last few years rebuilding the house when work in town was thin,” he said. “I hope you won’t mind living here. It was a farm, but the fields are all grown over. We’ll have to start with almost nothing.”
“By the Watcher, I am truly blessed,” Emmaline said.
Nash caught her legs and knocked her off balance. “What are you doing?” she cried out.
“I’m carrying you over the threshold, my lady Harlond,” Nash said.
“I’m too heavy for this!” she said.
“Nonsense!” Nash retorted. “You’re light as a… ungh… feather… urgh.”
He plopped her on the floor in the main room and took her hand, drawing her upstairs to the loft. Emmaline realized that the bed would be there and froze. “I… I don’t know if I…”
Nash squeezed her hand. “One great thing about having nothing is that nobody wants to prove anything about what we did or didn’t do on our wedding night. I’ve never done this either. I figure we’ll just try what we like and see what happens.”
“You haven’t… ?” Emmaline stared at him with wide eyes. She’d heard all about boys and wild oats and the loose women who helped sew them. Nash had seemed, well, like one of those boys.
Nash scowled. “No matter what the girls told you, men aren’t born experts at woohoo.”
They took their time, and everything worked out fine.
Their first morning as a married couple began early and worked them hard. Nash’s trade, in as much as he had one, was as a fisherman.
The fish he brought home weren’t much, but they would have to make do.
Emmaline set herself to sorting what they might be able to glean from the farm to feed themselves that season.
A couple of apple trees remained on the property and still bore fruit. That was a start, at least.
The garden itself took far more work before she could even begin planting. Summer had already begun. They had no time to waste if they were going to have any harvest at all to tide them through the winter.
She was caught unprepared for the coughing fit when it tore through her body.
For minutes afterward, she could only stand and gasp for breath. Something was very wrong.
At the fishing hole, Nash began to feel it too.
The fever hit that night. And the nausea.
Emmaline felt as if her body were burning from the inside out.
Nash could barely keep down water.
They held each other in bed, shivering and sweating by turns, and wondered if they were already looking at the end of their lives.
“Could this be vengeance of the Watcher?” Emmaline whispered to him when they were both lucid. “Did our wedding displease it?” She did not say anything directly about Nash’s blasphemy, but they both knew what she meant.
“Nonsense,” Nash retorted. “If the Watcher watches at all, it cares nothing for the likes of us.”
Sure enough, slowly the waves of heat and chill eased. Their heads began to clear.
At last, Nash was able to make it to the fishing hole and bring back dinner to roast over the fire. After days of sustaining themselves with apples and water, it tasted like heaven.
“See?” Nash said. “Nobody watches the lives of peasants like us. We are the only ones who can build our destiny.”
His impiousness made Emmaline nervous, and she whispered a prayer to the Watcher for both their sakes.
They later learned that the illness had swept through Marhlberg, starting around the time of their wedding. There had been no deaths, thank the Watcher, but there were many stories of death’s shadow barely passing by. Emmaline was grateful that it hadn’t been worse and didn’t mention to Nash her worries about the timing of the disease. He would only tell her that she was talking nonsense.
She returned to her work in the garden. Emmaline had gardened with her mother before everything changed. Making things grow made her feel close to her lost family. She had a knack for it. Soon the garden with filled with sprouts and cheerful budding leaves.
The first day she was able to serve them a meal she had grown herself, she felt that she had proved her worth in an important way. Nash brought home fish, but she could feed them too and the family they hoped to build.
The family they hoped for had not yet begun, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“Could there be… more we should be doing?” Emmaline fretted.
Nash rolled his eyes. “If so, we’ll have to get used to being childless. There’s no reason to give up hope. We’re young, and the trying is too much fun to stop.”
Emmaline flushed at the way he looked at her. She knew that woohoo was for making children. It unsettled to admit how much she liked it for raw pleasure it brought. Even now that her marriage was comfortable and familiar, Nash could make her heart beat faster just by touching her hand.
And Nash… well, Nash was shameless. The thought that his zeal for woohoo might be inappropriate only made him enjoy it more.
She doubled her secret prayers to the Watcher, just in case. And she resolved to ask Aunt Ruby if there was anything, an infusion of herbs perhaps, that might help to bring on a baby. Not that children had easy to come by for her aunt and uncle either.
There was no end to the work, and the days were long. Emmaline couldn’t bear to imagine them living in filth, and she made time to scrub their home clean when she could spare time from the garden.
Sometimes she found herself scrubbing their laundry as night fell because there was no other time to do it.
One night Emmaline awoke to a clattering sound downstairs. Nash still slept soundly. She tried to convince herself that it was an animal or her imagination.
The clattering continued. She crept to the stairwell and glimpsed a dark man moving in the floor below.
She managed a scream before fainting dead away.
Her cry brought Nash surging out of bed, but the man escaped before he could catch it.
The damage was substantial. The burglar had looted most of their food supplies. Worst of all, their stove had been destroyed.
They were left with only the fire outside to to cook their food until they could find a way to make enough to money for the supplies to build a new one.
While gardening in a sudden thunderstorm, Emmaline was struck by lightning.
Nash returned home to find her curled on the bed, scorched and weak. She was feeling much better by the next morning. Nash met her inevitable worry about the anger of the Watcher with a scowl. She had survived, he said. Perhaps it was a sign of the Watcher’s favor.
Just when it seemed they could take no more hardship, things began to improve.
The fish were biting. Nash began to bring home enormous, plump catches, far more than they could eat.
The farm was flourishing under Emmaline’s adept hands and yielding crops in abundance.
At last, they had enough to bring to the market in town.
While selling her produce, Emmaline ran into Aunt Ruby. There hadn’t been much opportunity to visit since her marriage, but she hadn’t tried to make any either. She couldn’t face telling her family the news and giving Uncle Gerbald a reason to think he had been right about Nash.
Now, however, she had plenty of good things to report. Aunt Ruby was delighted to hear it. She also reported that she was expecting a child. Emmaline knew they had been hoping for a baby for a long time without success, but she still hid a small flame of jealousy.
The proceeds from the market were enough to replace their oven.
While working in the garden, Emmaline was struck by a pang of nausea. Her first thought was fear that another malaise would fall on the household.
Not this time. At long last, she was expecting her first child.
So that’s the summer season and the first three years of Nash and Emmaline Howland’s life together. I currently have seasons set to 10 day at 3 sim days per calendar year. Seasons were never going to line up with the calendar.
Some notes on gameplay: Something is not working with Woohooer. I have it set to treat woohoo and TFB as Risky and Risky’s success rate at 25%. After most of the summer and more than a dozen woohoos, she was still not pregnant. I gave up and started rolling a die for every woohoo and pollinating with MasterController. The townies are breeding happily, so the problem shouldn’t be anything involving the StoryProgression settings or the connection between SP and Woohooer. I’m fiddling more with the settings, and if she gets pregnant without a manual roll, I’ll stop rolling manually. I’d rather like to be surprised by a pregnancy :).
Regarding their illness: They both came down with the Germy moodlet at their wedding. I’ve always been bugged by the fact that Seasons introduced an illness and allergies with great mechanics except for the fact that the moodlets themselves are so forgettable that you don’t even realize you have them. I tried giving my sims the Pestilence Plague moodlet. I’ve seen in the code that it has symptoms, but I’d never seen in in action because my witches don’t generally curse people, especially with deadly curses. Wow, it is BRUTAL. I knew it had the coughing fit animation, but it also brings nausea and vomiting, drops hygiene, and has a disgust broadcaster to make everyone nearby gross out. It’s also wickedly contagious. Since Pestilence Plague is deadly unless the sim receives a magical charm, I removed it manually when the Germy moodlet completed and then had to search and remove it from several townies.
This has me contemplating a mod that would provide symptoms to the Germy and Allergy Haze moodlets. Then you could care about getting a flu vaccine or allergy shot and whatnot. But I have GOT to get Pet Fighting released first.
I’d love to stick a mechanic into my challenge where the Germy moodlet could be deadly because, y’know, medieval. If I introduce another way to die, though, I’d want to make the death rolls at age-up more generous.
They really were living hand-to-mouth until the very end of summer. The burglar and the lightning strike really added insult to injury. I don’t think I’ve ever had a sim struck by lightning. Fortunately, Emmaline was well-rested. Calling the police on a burglar isn’t very helpful in a world with no roads where the cop has to run to the house. That oven was §400 to replace when they had §25 and were living on Nash’s minnows roasted on the campfire.
I decided that I’d throw a party at the church every Sunday to simulate services, but a destination party on that lot costs §400. I thought about that and decided that this isn’t a bad simulation of tithe to the church. However, they didn’t have anywhere near that amount of money on their first Sunday together so I allowed them to skip it.
I wanted a challenge, and so far this has been it. Woot.