Paulette Callender protests with her vampire grandmother January in the kind of outfit that only a sim could love.
I fixed her. As a romantic prospect of Winston’s, it seemed like she deserved that much.
Xia dances the Smustle. She’s a party animal, even in death.
This chick got STYLE.
And Victoria, being the water lover that she is, goes swimming in the Art Gallery.
Yes, you heard me right.
That is the most awesome glitch I have seen in a while. It turns out that the art gallery, which I downloaded a long time ago and love, has a faux basement — the kind made by lowering the landscape, building the first floor, and then raising the land up around it. This was done to get a cool open air atrium in the basement lit by sun falling through the skylights.
Apparently, the post-Island Paradise game cannot handle this. Despite there being no actual water animated, anyone who walks down the stairs stars swimming.
I’ve screwed around with this quite a bit. I really like this lot, but I am starting to doubt that the bottom level can be preserved. Without the basement, though, it’s hard to figure out where one would put restrooms. So sad.
Avalon Gossip Column
Not a whole lot going on in town, or maybe I just am not recording much?
Sam Pistachio keeps the very best company.
I finally went digging in family trees to figure out who Gina Sample-Baerwyn’s baby daddy is. The father of Gina’s daughter appears to be none other than Ignacio Bookabet, who was the widower of Alice Bookabet. He apparently fathered Gina’s daughter at a quite advanced age. Now I’m sorry I didn’t look up who his parents were. I care about this crap way too much.
ETA: Ignacio the adopted son of February Callender’s brother Martin Luther and husband Tam.
Springtime is the season of growing things. Andria, as a plant fae, felt Avalon’s rebirth in a special way.
She knew exactly what to do with all her extra energy.
“I’ve barely seen you leave your books for days,” Victoria said. “Are you all right?”
“Hush,” Edmund said. “I think I’m finally getting someplace.”
Victoria went to bed late, but was up early with a lonely old dog.
“This is what I get for all the love I give you? All right, then, have some more. Maybe you’ll bark loud enough to wake up the rest of the family.”
Before she could work Connery into a frenzy, her phone rang.
“Aunt Abby? No! You can’t be! Well, I guess if I can’t talk you out of it. At least I can do something about the rain.”
Great-grandmother Veronica’s weather machine was the perfect solution to two weeks of rain.
“You want me to go to a party?” Gamora demanded. “For an aunt I never see? I have research to do!”
“You can’t live on science alone!” Sawyer shouted. Then he stopped. “What am I saying? Of course you can. You can stay home if you like.”
By the time Victoria arrived at Little Cottage Park, the sun had already dried the grass.
The guests began to arrive.
Emily was first, though she was mostly just interested in some time with Sawyer.
Rosie Winter, Sawyer’s half-sister, surprised everyone by accepting her invitation.
Cousins Ash and Gina Sample-Baerwyn.
Abby’s half-brother Stanley Marmalade.
Along with his husband Jody Ursine-Sample and two older sons Chancey
and another kid whose name nobody caught.
Everyone gathered near the picnic benches
Where the guest of honor arrived.
“I’m so glad all of you are here to help me celebrate my retirement!” Abby said.
“Excuse me, Ms. Sample,” The festival vendor interrupted. “Do you mind if I take your picture?”
Abby gave her an ironic smile. “You realize that I’m now an ex-actress?”
“You’ll always be a celebrity to me!”
After she’d given Aunt Abby the applause and congratulations she deserved, Victoria had a wonderful time hunting for Easter eggs.
And so did Cousin Ash.
But she couldn’t resist the lure of the kissing booth.
“Five simoleons? This better be an amazing kiss!”
“Trust me, miss. You’ve never had one like it.”
“You’re a great salesman. Now I have to know!”
Afterward, the kissing vendor looked as if he’d lost his breath. “I should have paid you!” he gasped.
Victoria laughed. “That’s all part of the service, isn’t it?”
“Kisses!” called the cute girl at the booth next door. “Everyone welcome! Come and get a Love Day kiss!”
Chaim Sample-Erickson stopped by the kissing stall to think about it. “You think Abby would mind?” he mused.
“Come on,” girl said. “The wife has to let you have a little fun!”
Chaim chuckled. “You’re right. I think I’ll have that kiss.”
“Wait!” said the girl. “That wasn’t how this was supposed to go.”
“Oooh! Two hot men together!” Abby said. “Can I join in?”
“Eww!” Victoria cried. “I really didn’t need to hear that, Aunt Abby!”
“I heard sims only use 10% of their brain,” Jody Ursine-Sample told Sawyer. “Do you have any idea what might happen if we unlocked the other 90%? I have so many ideas!”
Sawyer scowled at him. “Do I even have to answer that? This is why you leave neuroscience to the experts.”
“You tell him, Sawyer!” Emily cheered.
“Like minds should stick together,” Sawyer told her.
“You seem to have found right mate at last,” Abby said. “Come have a snowcone with me.”
Sawyer nodded. “Emily’s intellect is second only to mine, though she’s had a difficult time convincing her colleagues at the hospital of her brilliance. I don’t have that sort of problem.”
Abby chuckled. “If she’s so much like you, little brother, I can just imagine.”
“I’ve been wanting to offer you personal congratulations, but it seems we’re so busy these days,” Sawyer said. “We used to spend so much more time together when we were younger.”
“I expect to have a lot more time on my hands now,” Abby pointed out. “Have you considered retirement yourself?”
Sawyer was aghast. “Never!”
Abby grinned. “All right. Let’s do lunch at the hospital then.”
It was time for a good old-fashioned pie eating contest!
“Ready! Set! Go!”
And up for air!
“This always seems like a good idea until I do it!”
A photographer from the Avalon Times was there to catch everyone at their most embarrassing.
“I won!” Victoria exclaimed. “What’s my prize? Oh…. more pie. Thanks.”
“Please!” Andria wailed. “No more pie!”
“You’re looking at Avalon’s reigning pie-eating champ!” Victoria crowed to Danial. “I’m not even sick to my stomach!”
Danial laughed. “Congratulations. The best sim won. I didn’t know you had such an iron stomach.”
“I didn’t expect you here at Aunt Abby’s retirement party,” Victoria said.
“Abby’s practically an aunt to me too,” Danial said. “You know my mom, Aminali, and your aunt were best friends, don’t you?”
“I guess I did sort of forget,” Victoria said. “I could never forget Aminali Ibari. I just sort of forgot you were her son.”
“She was an amazing woman,” Daniel said. “I’m lucky to be her son. I guess I’m kind of here to represent her spirit.”
Elsewhere, Abby was still gracious to her fans, though it was clear celebrity had lost a lot of its luster over time.
“Perhaps Abby can settle down now for a dignified retirement,” Dylan mused.
Jody waylaid him on his way to the dance floor. “Your brother is a bit of an arrogant prig, you know?”
Dylan nodded sagely. “True. That’s not news.”
“Wait! Did you just eat dirt??”
“Ha!” Jody chortled. “It’s all part of my act! Have you seen my magic show?”
“I think I will avoid it now,” Dylan said.
“I think it’s time to dance!” Danial shooted. “Woo! Vickie, have you tried the Smustle?”
“I know it, but I’m not very good at it,” Victoria said dubiously.
Danial grinned at her. “Come on. Dance like there’s nobody watching.”
“There better be nobody watching,” Victoria said.
“Doesn’t this hurt your back?”
“Maybe your trying too hard,” Danial suggested.
Then Victoria’s eyes caught someone across the lawn. “I’ll be back, guys. I just want to say ‘hi’ to someone.”
“Hey, Rod! What are you doing here?”
“Vickie! Oh, I’m supposed to meet my sisters at Camelot to fill out some inheritance paperwork. They’re late, so I thought I’d kill some time here.”
Victoria looked at the Love Meter gave Roderick a teasing look. “So, what does the Meter think of your romantic prospects? Is there a hot girl right around the corner?”
Roderick smirked. “I have a better idea. Let’s see what it thinks of us.”
Victoria hesitated. “Oh, I don’t know.”
“Aw, Vickie. It’s just a game. I won’t hold you to it.”
“All right! Let’s see!”
Victoria felt him place his hand over hers, firm but not too tight. What do I feel? she wondered. What should I feel?
The Love Meter lit up.
“Ha!” Roderick exclaimed in triumph. “I’ve never seen a reading that high!”
“Clearly, we’re the two hottest people at this party,” Victoria said.
“I can’t argue with that,” Roderick agreed. “Our hotness must have overwhelmed the poor thing.”
“Well, I gotta go,” he said abruptly. “My sisters have to be waiting for me by now. Call me!”
Victoria found herself both disappointed and relieved to see him go. At least he’d gotten her out of the Smustle.
The sun began to sink, and the party was still going strong. Even Gamora decided to make an appearance near the end.
“These old muscles just don’t dance the way they used to,” Dylan complained.
“Here,” Andria said brightly. “Let me help you with that.”
“You two are so adorable!” Gina cooed. “I hope I’m that cute when I’m your age!”
“You’re not that much younger than I am,” Andria pointed out.
Abby bade everyone goodbye at dusk, and they headed home feeling tired and happy.
Though Victoria felt extra preoccupied. Flirting was guys was so much fun, but she was starting to want a whole lot more fun than that.
So. Much. Party. For a sim without the Party Animal trait, Victoria sure acts like it. OTOH, she does seem to have a real preference for the swinging single lifestyle, and her Irresistible trait feeds into it.
Finally remembered to turn on Dylan’s can in southern gentleman walk style. I can’t think of a character better suited to it.
Ha! I guess Chaim is bi. It was funny to see him go kiss the male kissing vendor just as Abby walked by. Guess they’re very secure in their relationship.
I was a bit disappointed that sims dancing the smustle on the same dance floor don’t synchronize. That would have been an awesome feature.
At last Avalon began to warm up. It had been a long hard winter. Never had rain been so uplifting. It certainly brought out the romantic in Winston.
It was a good thing that the rain was welcome because it rained nonstop for a week.
Gamora celebrated by testing for her green belt in Sim Fu.
Then going back inside to play video games with her father.
As soon as she was safe from hypothermia, Victoria returned to the dive site she had scouted during the winter.
She couldn’t wait to get beneath the water and discover what might be hidden there.
It was nothing like diving at Isla Paradiso. It was cloudy and raining above, so the light was dim. Visibility was further reduced by debris from the ocean floor that were stirred up by recent rainstorms.
The low visibility led to a close encounter of terrifying proportions. It was all Victoria could do to control her breathing as the enormous shark swam by close enough to brush its fin against her leg.
But at last she found her way through underwater boulders to a place of clearer water.
At last. This place looked promising. She was able to collect a few rare shells, but there was so much more to explore.
She returned from her dive to a secluded beach. The rain had not let up.
She took a few moments, standing in the chilling rain, to watch the beautiful herd of wild horses on the beach.
They weren’t terribly happy to see her, though.
Then it started to hail, and both human and animal ran for cover.
She hadn’t found much on her first exploratory dive, but Manu was pleased. Exotic shells weren’t as valuable as antiquities, but he had a market for them.
As she stepped out of the Arcane Institute, she heard a sort of roaring, chanting sound. She followed it toward the fortress of Camelot down the street.
It turned out there was some sort of protest going on.
A protest about jellyfish?
Curious, Victoria drifted through the palace gate, where she saw a familiar face.
“Roderick?” she said. “What are you doing here?”
“Vickie! Oh, hi!” Roderick set his sign down against the wall. “Fancy meeting you here!”
“What is all this?” Victoria said.
“You didn’t know?” Roderick said in surprise. “I was sure I told you. I’m the president of the local chapter of Avalon Tree Huggers. We march every month. This month is about invasive Pirate Jellyfish destroying our reefs.”
Victoria was aghast. “There are jellyfish destroying our reefs?”
“We’re almost completely sure Angelina saw one at the beach last Thursday.”
“Wow,” Victoria said. “I didn’t know you were such an activist.”
Roderick shrugged. “I don’t like to sit around waiting for things to happen. If I care about something, I get involved.”
“I’d never thought about it that way,” Victoria admitted. Was she just waiting around for life to happen to her?
Her thoughts were cut short by the sound of keyboard music. “Rod, I think your protest is over,” she said.
Celebrity songwriter Mickie Jameson had started an impromptu concert in the Camelot courtyard. Everyone clustered around him. There wasn’t a sign in sight.
“Wow,” Roderick said. “I guess that’s it for today’s protest.”
Victoria held out her hand. “Well, at least it stopped raining.”
Roderick was staring at her.
Victoria flushed. “What??”
“Come with me to dinner,” Roderick said.
Victoria’s eyes widened. “Are you asking me out on a date?”
Roderick’s lips twisted tauntingly. “Does it matter? Will you come?”
“All right! I will!”
“Follow me!” he cried and set off at a run.
“Hey!” she called from behind. “No fair!”
“Are you done killing that boss?” Gamora asked Sawyer. “I have an idea.”
“Don’t distract me!” Sawyer snapped. “10 more damage!”
“I finished reading the time traveling guidebook,” Gamora said. “I’ve planned my first time, and I’m ready to leave.”
“What?” Sawyer said, looking away from the screen for a moment. “Noo! He killed me! This is your fault!”
Sawyer stood up. “You’re planning to travel in time?” he demanded. “That is incredibly dangerous. You’re still a minor and should not be taking that sort of risk.”
“This is my project,” Gamora reminded him. “I have the guidebook. I’m pretty sure you can’t stop me.”
“Besides, there’s the possibility to study exotic future lifeforms and possibly aliens!”
“You make a persuasive argument,” Sawyer said. “But I’m coming with you.”
“Are you kidding?” Gamora said. “Of course you’re coming with me.”
“Wow,” Victoria said. “All of a sudden the weather is gorgeous. I never thought the rain would clear.”
“See what I mean?” Roderick said. “You have to seize the moment.”
“And this is delicious!”
“So long as you don’t order what he’s having!”
“Oh, there’s Uncle Chaim!” Victoria said.
“He looks like he’s on duty, so we can’t chat. But you should really meet him. He’s a wonderful guy. I think he’s going to be Chief of Police someday.”
“You have a pretty amazing family,” Roderick said. “I like watching you talk about them.”
“You mean listen to me, right?” Victoria said.
“No, I meant watch. Your face just lights up.”
“Oh, see that lady?” Roderick said.
“She’s Sam Pistachio. You wouldn’t believe it to look at her, but she plays a mean guitar. I’ve heard her play down at the park.”
“She’s also insane, I think.”
They lingered over their meal and talked about their new life after high school. At last, Victoria stood up. “I have to get home,” she said. “It’s late, and I think we’re both tired.”
“Thank you for a wonderful evening, Rod.”
“Anytime,” Roderick said. “I mean anytime. You can call me any time.”
“Maybe I will,” Victoria said. “You’re so spontaneous. I like that.”
And she blew him a kiss.
“Wow, Vickie,” Roderick said. “If you could bottle that up and sell it, you’d make millions. I’m serious. Call me.”
They said farewell. Victoria watched him walk away and wondered.
Here we finally see how Roderick grew up. He turned out hot!
Note: Wow, the writer’s block has been really difficult to shake off, but here I go…
Victoria had to return to reality. As much as she might wish otherwise, tropical vacations were not a direction in life.
“But what do I do now?” she complained to Mom after dinner one evening. All I want is the ocean, but ‘beach bum’ isn’t exactly a profession.”
Andria gave her a sly smile. “I have so much water fae in you,” she said. “You’re practically a naiad. Maybe you don’t need a traditional profession.”
“I don’t think I’m made for a life of leisure either,” Victoria protested. “I don’t want to be useless!”
“Hmm,” Andria said. “Why don’t you go talk to my friend Manu at the Arcane Institute? I think he will have some ideas. Don’t assume there’s nothing you can do with your life’s passion.”
That, at least, was advice Victoria could act on.
Manu did have ideas. Lots of ideas. The first thing he did explain to her just how valuable the ocean antiquities were that she had collected on her vacation. Museums were desperate for these relics.
It had never occurred to Victoria that her that her hobby might have that kind of value.
That afternoon, she rented a boat to scout the deeper oceans around Avalon Island.
The island was a frosty wonderland, far too cold for swimming or diving, at least with a wetsuit. The sun sparkled off the ice coating the branches of the winter trees.
Victoria was in luck. There were signs of a promising dive site within sight of Camelot. She would return in the Spring to see what there was to see.
At home, Edmund was developing new spells.
And experimenting on his family.
Gamora turned out to be especially vulnerable to his Animale enchantment.
She was not at all happy about it.
Edmund, on the other hand, was thrilled. He would have to watch his back, though, in case his cousin took the whole thing too personally.
Victoria made sure that Connery got proper affection when he trotted across the street from Aunt Abby and Uncle Chaim’s house. He was an old dog and deserved all the cherishing he could get.
One of Victoria’s high school friends, Roderick Winter, called her up one day. “The gang is having a mixer at Shady’s tonight. You totally want to go.”
Victoria didn’t need a whole lot of persuading. A night out dancing was just the sort of thing she wanted to get her mind off being an adult.
“You should come with me!” she told Edmund.
Edmund scowled. “Dancing and drinking aren’t really my thing.”
Victoria grabbed his arm and offered him one of her disarming smiles. “Come on, big brother!
And that’s how they both found themselves on the dance floor of Shady’s Nightclub.
Danial Ibari-Saunders found his way to Victoria while she was ordering a drink at the bar.
“Heeeey, Vickie Baaaaby!” He exclaimed. The slur in his voice told her he’d already had a few drinks.
“Hi Danial,” she said.
“You’re looking hot tonight!” he said. “Come dance with me!”
“I’m sorry, but I have other plans for this party,” he said cooly.
“I’m being an ass, aren’t I?” Danial asked a bit more soberly.
Victoria relented a little. “A little bit, anyway,” she admitted.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I just get carried away. I don’t mean to be insulting or anything.”
“Ooooh!” Jake Pradis cooed over Danial’s shoulder. “You two look so cute together!”
“Do I know you?” Victoria demanded.
“Hey, barkeep!” Java Weaver shouted. “Get some hot wing for my roommate before he makes a bigger ass of himself!”
This conversation looked like it was about to get really annoying. “Hey,” Victoria said quickly. “I see Roderick. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Hey!” she called. “Great party, huh?”
Roderick laughed. “I don’t know. I just got here. I was reading for an audition, and it just ran later and later. I hope that’s a good sign.”
“Oh! I didn’t know you were going into acting! My aunt is an actress.”
“Believe me, I know!” Roderick said. “It’s not like there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of Abby Sample. In fact, if you ever have a chance to put in a good word with me, I’d really appreciate it. This field is all about who you know.”
“Yeah, Aunt Abby says the same thing,” Victoria agreed. “She says you have to be very careful. There are so many people who can take advantage of new actors.”
Roderick looked embarrassed. “Yeah,” he said. “I noticed.”
Sensing that she was treading in territory not suitable for a dance party, Victoria guided the conversation back to safer topics about who was doing what after graduation.
When Roderick turned in for an early audition, Victoria found herself back on the dance floor. She’d had a few drinks and was ready to dance!
So was Danial.
“Ha! You’re really good at this!” she had to admit.
“Dancing is life! Life is dancing!” Danial replied.
“Yeah!” Vickie agreed.
Danial tried a bit too hard to be the life of the party, Victoria decided. When he relaxed more, he was more fun. He was even kind of attractive, though it wasn’t terribly appropriate to think that about a married man.
Where WAS his wife, anyway?
Meanwhile, Edmund ran into Joy, who looked equally uncomfortable with the loud music and the press of people.
“Would you like to dance?” Edmund asked awkwardly. She smiled at him. They both remembered prom.
“How is this supposed to go, anyway?” Joy asked.
“Like this, maybe?” Edmund suggested.
The both laughed at how stupid that looked.
“Let’s get a drink and get out of here,” Joy suggested. And that’s what they did.
After Joy left, Edmund found himself outside the dance club, waiting for Victoria to finish up whatever it was she did at parties like this.
Edmund’s eye caught a familiar figure lurking in the shadows.
“You,” he said. “Marisela Flynn. I’ve been trying to find you again.”
“Why would you want to see me again?” Marisela asked. “I’m not exactly a safe companion.”
“I’ve been doing research,” he said. “I know what you are.”
She gave him a half smile, and the moonlight glinted off her unnatural teeth. “So, what do you think now?”
“I want to know what your life is like,” Edmund said earnestly. “I’m also a create of magic, though I’m very different from you. There’s a lot we could learn together… don’t you think?”
Marisela sighed. “Life,” she said. “I’m not sure if you can call what I do life. Your magic is a happier sort than mine.”
“You sound like you don’t want to be what you are,” Edmund said.
“You’re very perceptive,” Marisela said, though it was hard to tell if she was serious or not.
“Hey Edmund!” Victoria called. “It’s dying out in here! You want to go home?”
It was well after midnight when Edmund and Victoria returned home.
She looked around at her brightly-colored, nautical-themed room. She’d converted the nursery into her own bedroom long ago, and she kept another bed in case Gamora wanted to sleep over.
For the first time in her life, she could see how…. young it looked. Some day, she might want to bring a guy home. How would that even work?
Andria noticed her daughter’s lost look. “Not really your thing is it?” she said.
“I guess it’s time to think about redecorating,” Victoria said thoughtfully. But what, exactly, did she want to represent her as grown woman?
It was too late to think about it now. Now she needed to sleep off the party.
Andria should have gone to sleep once she knew her children were safe in bed, but age hadn’t made her more practical.
There was romance to be had under the stars instead.
I’ve been staring at this collection of pictures for over a month. Gah. I hope I have kick started myself back to writing.
The bring drink to sim interaction is a total lag failure. I kept trying to buy drinks for other sims so that we could walk around drinking and talking together, but my sim kept struggling to find a place to put down the !@#$ drink platter, so she was never drinking at the same time as her conversational companion.
Roderick is three days younger than Victoria, and his birthday was on this party. I tried to age him up before the party so that everyone could be an adult, but the game would just not do it. So we have to wait to see his adult look and get a sense of his final trait.
Sadly, Manu seems to have disappeared. This has me highly annoyed, since he’s been Andria’s best friend outside of the family for quite a while. I’m not sure what happened to him, since I have NRaas homeless management turned off.
Got a respiratory virus that took me out for nearly a week. I could barely get out of bed for three days. I can’t remember when I was last that sick. Doc says it might’ve been the flu, despite my flu shot, though it wasn’t as bad as the 7-day flu that I got in my 20s. That stuff killed the soldiers in WWI, oh yeah. Anyways, I couldn’t play or post.
Then we went on a week’s vacation. I was barely recovered and had a residual cough the whole time, but otherwise had a great vacation!
Came home and got another respiratory virus. Not as bad as the first, but I’ve done a lot of sleeping.
I’m mostly healthy now and hoping to post Real Soon Now.
“Actually,” Edmund pointed out. “Winston is still a minor. I don’t believe he can rent a room on his own.”
Winston scowled. “Thanks, big brother. Like would have even checked if you didn’t say anything.”
“He can share a room with me,” Victoria said quickly. “It won’t be so bad.”
So they rented two rooms instead.
“Wow, I guess I thought they’d be larger,” Victoria said when she got her first look at their room.
“The point isn’t to spend a lot of time in the room anyway,” Winston pointed out. “I think we’ll be all right.”
Edmund, on the other hand, found his lodgings to be just to his taste.
On the first day, Victoria eased herself into life on a tropical beach.
The turquoise water stretched as far as the eye could see. It was heady.
Winston preferred to look at the beauty through the picture windows of the resort gym.
During the entire vacation, he didn’t once leave the resort grounds. Instead, he milked it for every bit of pleasure and relaxation he could find.
It took Edmund the longest time to find his stride. He wasn’t really used to relaxing. Spending a lot of time doing nothing except enjoy himself seemed sort of like…. well, cheating.
But he did eventually come around.
On the second day, Victoria took an introductory scuba class.
A whole new world opened before her.
Deep beneath the waves was an alien place that she had never imagined existed.
She was struck by a sense of belonging stronger than she’d ever known. When her tank of air was empty, all she wanted was to go back.
The required delay between dives was hard to take, but she was enthusiastic, not self-destructive.
Winston, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so clear on whether he was self-destructive or not. High from a great workout, he decided to take on the fire walk.
Ha! He turned out to be a natural at it! He walked off without the slightest hint of a burn.
Edmund took in the local art.
And discovered that he was a bit of an attraction himself.
“I’m sorry if I’m forward,” the ghost said. “I just have never seen an Avalonian before. You’re such a beautiful people!”
“I’m not sure how to respond to that,” Edmund said. “I don’t think I have ever spoken to a sentient ghost before either.”
She grinned “Let’s discuss it over lunch.”
They did, and other than their supernatural nature, didn’t turn out to have much in common.
Winston was right about one thing. The size of the room wasn’t much of a problem. Each night, he and Victoria dropped into bed and slept soundly.
They fell into a routine for the rest of the week.
Victoria rose early and reserved a boat to take out diving.
Sometimes she made it to the beach by sunrise and could watch the wildlife in the morning stillness.
Then it was on the boat and out to a dive site.
There was so much to explore.
And, it turned out, diving was absurdly profitable as well. Collectors paid high fees for exotic fish. And there was the occasional valuable relic.
Edmund discovered that extended relaxation stimulated all sorts of new ideas for spells to attempt.
Winston balanced hard exercise
With hard relaxation.
One morning, Victoria made an amazing acquaintance.
She wiped her hand over her face mask to try to clear her vision. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
But the figure didn’t resolve into a pair of legs. She really did have a tail.
Victoria tried to communicated.
And to her surprise, the woman seemed to understand her.
And then her air ran out. She had to leave or suffocate. Victoria had never been so frustrated by the fact that she needed a bunch of equipment to explore under the sea.
She met up with her brothers at dinner that evening.
“You would believe it!” she told Edmund. “She was part fish and part human, and she was completely at home in the ocean. It was amazing.”
“I don’t have any trouble believing you,” Edmund said. “Did I mention that I had lunch with a ghost?”
Later: “Have you ever considered the propriety of the way you dress? You show so much skin, it’s inappropriate!”
“Edmund, you’re positive medieval. It’s hot here. I don’t see anyone wearing as many clothes as you do.”
“I cover myself for propriety, not comfort.”
“You go with that.”
She was still haunted by the experience at bedtime. “Have you ever heard of a living, breathing mermaid?” she asked Winston.
“No, but we’ve seen wilder things by now,” Winston agreed. “In fact, I think they’re attracted to us.”
On their last day on Isla Paradise, Victoria took a day off from diving to just enjoy the beach.
And there she was again, rising out of the water.
Victoria jumped to her feet. “You!” she cried. “You have legs now! Who are you?”
“I had to find you again where we could understand each other,” she said. “My name is Maya. I’m one of a colony of Merfolk living in the reef of Isla Paradiso.”
“Why did you come to me?” Victoria asked. “Does everyone know you’re here?” She looked around to see that they were already attracting a crowd of astonished observers.
“We’re not exactly trying to keep ourselves secret, but we don’t talk with humans often,” Maya said. “You’re different. We’re not exactly sure why yet.”
“It might have something to do with magic,” Victoria said. “You see, I’m not exactly human either…”
They talked for hours. Victoria could feel a fast friendship forming.
Then they cut loose and had a little fun.
Eventually the sun began to set. Victoria’s flight was in a few hours.
“I’m sorry I have to leave,” she said.
“Come back and see us again,” Maya said. She pressed a conch shell into Victoria’s hands. “This will help you find me when you return.”
She returned to Sparkling Sands after dark.
This was her last chance to give it a try. Now or never!
“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
“I don’t know how Winston DOES that!”
And then, to everyone’s regret, it was time to return to frigid Avalon.
Not my most inspired piece of fiction, but enjoy the picspam! OMG, scuba diving is gorgeous. The scenery and the fish are so detailed and colorful!
As I mentioned earlier, I was hoping that Vickie would meet a Merman, since she’s quite straight, but no such luck. The only Mermaid she met was female. They became great friends. Maybe she’ll meet a male on a future trip.
I added a couple of dive sites to Avalon. It took a lot of reading and a few tries, but they work all right. I wish more people put dive sites up for download, but it got around that it was impossible to install them in other worlds. That’s not true. You just have to use constrainfloorelevation with a large negative number (maybe -15 to -20 to lower the sea floor deep enough. I can totally help folks if they want to try it. I’m considering installing a couple of custom worlds with dive lots just so that I can copy the lots onto Avalon.
I just wanted to drop a note that my ISBI challenge, We’re All Mad Here, is out of hiatus again. While I didn’t feel like posting on the Samples, I played quite a bit ahead, so now I’m playing over there. And posting on an ISBI takes much less effort, so I’ll be posting in parallel :).
Then, right before the ceremony, the clouds opened up, turning the melting snow into slush.
The graduation ceremony was mercifully inside.
At least both of the graduates had a lot to brag about.
Joy Reacher walked alongside Edmund. He had to admit that he enjoyed the company. They both had a wry appreciation for the pomp and circumstance that Victoria didn’t share.
Her favorite part was the end. Free at last!
By evening, the rain had abated. Aunt Abby took time out of her busy promotion schedule for her latest moving to meet the new graduates at The Round Table for a dinner celebration.
“I’m not as young as I used to be,” Abby admitted, “but there are some interesting roles for old ladies!”
Everyone brought their orders outside and shuffled to find places to sit down.
Edmund asked Joy to join them. “Mom has something planned at home,” she admitted, but she couldn’t help but smile at Edmund’s disappointment. “I can drop by for a little while, at least.”
Edmund at down, and his family immediately crowded in around him. “This didn’t work out quite the way I intended,” he told Joy apologetically.
Joy laughed. “It’s all right. I have to leave anyway.”
Edmund watched her back as she left.
“I can’t believe my kids are adults already!” Andria exclaimed.
“I am so proud of you,” Dylan told Victoria. “You’ve grown up into an amazing young woman. I am proud to be your father.”
“Wow, Dad,” Victoria said. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Feel the burn!” Winston interrupted.
“Firecracker shrimp, just the way I like it!”
Sawyer ate alone.
As they finished their meal, the chef sidled nervously up to Andria. “Are you Andria Sword Sample? The fae activist?” she asked. “You’ve done so much for us. Could I have your autograph?”
“I’ve done so much?” Andria said. “Really?”
“Because of you, the Fae Council is letting us come out of hiding. Thank you so much.”
The chef wasn’t the only fae who showed up at the restaurant.
“Are you… are you a fairy?” Edmund whispered.
The winged woman laughed “Some people call us that,” she agreed. “It’s as good a name as any.”
“I’d love to get some pointers on how to make people do your bidding,” Gamora said to Aunt Abby.
“Why do you think I can help you with that?” Abby asked.
“Well, you ARE a successful actress,” Gamora said.
“I don’t think acting works the way you think it does….”
“Oh, my stomach!” moaned one of the restaurant guests. “Is there a doctor in the house?”
Sawyer sighed. “I never get a day off of this job.”
“Here, hold still. This won’t hurt a bit.”
“Hey man, are you sure? Oh, wait that does feel better!” He grabbed Sawyer’s hand and shook it vigorously. “Thank you! Thank you!”
Sawyer cooly extracted his hand and shook off the other man’s sweat. “You’re lucky I was here. Gutbusteritis can have serious consequences.”
“This is for making amazing babies,” Andria said, and she swept Dylan off his feet.
“I think it’s time to go home, Dylan murmured.
So they did.
It snowed in the night, and in the morning it was clear that Spring would be pushed off again.
“This winter just goes on and on,” Victoria complained to Edmund. “It’s even too cold for safe diving.”
“This last cold snap doesn’t seem fair,” Edmund admitted. “Even the family weather manipulator can’t handle something like this.”
“Wait, I just had an amazing idea!” Victoria cried. “Let’s get out of Avalon and go someplace warmer! We’re adults now. We can make our own airline reservations. Let’s just go!”
“Take a vacation?” Edmund said thoughtfully. “I admit it never occurred to me.”
“Will you come with me?” Victoria asked.
“I would love to see a tropical climate myself,” Edmund admitted. “Of course. And you know Winston will never forgive you if he can’t come too.”
“I’ll talk to him. He’s going to a culinary magnet school. I’m sure we can make some kind of arrangement.”
Within hours, she was on the computer, making airline reservations.
Off to sunny Isla Paradiso!
I was pretty sure that Victoria’s birthday was on the first or second day of spring, just when the snow had all melted. Then there was some gap in time before I played the game again, and we were back to snow covered landscapes. Not sure what was up with that. It’s likely that some of the Options settings for season length got tinkered while I was messing around with game mods, but usually the game keeps you in the season you already have.
So, the result is that Avalon gets an unseasonably long winter, and I get to try out NRaas Traveler!
Joy Reacher was included in the group that I sent to The Round Table to have dinner, but for some reason she didn’t actually stay to eat. Sigh.
The game created a fairy paparazzo, which kind of fed into Andria’s storyline, so I went with it. She did kind of get hit with the ugly stick, though. Then again, I really really enjoy all the different kinds of faces my gene pool produces.
Oh, and Andria and Dylan are all over each other autonomously, as you’ll notice. I only take shots of half of their shenanigans. It’s so adorable.