Tag Archive | hunter

5.18 Murphy’s Law

Enigma had been spending a lot of time with her pack lately, and she seemed to be out of sorts. This culminated in a rather unexpected mess on the foyer floor.

Hunter named the puppies, both male, Mystery (in front) and Riddle (in back). It seemed appropriate. Nobody had even realized she was pregnant.

Dylan’s first word was,”Exercise!” Wasn’t he a bit of a prodigy? Well, he got most of the syllables at least.

Surrounded by family, Dylan never had to feel lonely. Maybe he was just a little bit spoiled. But, really, how could so much love be a bad thing?

One evening, Forest stepped out of a satellite office and found red and blue lights waiting for him.

He didn’t bother to run, and it wouldn’t have helped anyway.

“Forest Sample?” the young female police officer bellowed from the car. “Please come down to the precinct. We have a few questions to ask you.”

Avalon’s Finest was run out of the old medieval debtor’s prison, which made it a terribly imposing place to conduct interrogations.

“Police Chief William Pierce is waiting for you,” the officer reported.

Forest steepled his fingers and smiled. “Good. I have a few questions for him, too.”

And that is how Avalon Law Enforcement gained a paid informant who worked closely with the Emperor of Evil.

Veronica was still struggling, though she wasn’t about to complain about it. She kept herself busy with her inventions.

Hunter spent a lot of time with Enigma and the puppies.

Eliana wasn’t returning his calls, and he was trying not to worry.

Sky was hanging on Leah’s every word. She was even cleaning around the house.

She also spent a lot of time with Dylan. 

For all that Sky worked harder than she ever had to make Leah comfortable, she seemed to stiffen at Leah’s advances. Something was clearly wrong, but Leah assumed it was related to Sky’s grief for her father and tried to give her space.

Then in the middle of the night, Sky was up with vicious nausea.

It couldn’t possibly be. Fate wouldn’t be that cruel.

Of course it would.


Show of hands: Who saw that coming? Poor Sky.

I really wanted to name one of the puppies Puzzle. It would fit with the naming theme. But we have enough pet/sim confusion in this town already!

I’m back to playing the Samples and am maybe 6 posts behind. The puppies haven’t grown up yet, and I am dying to see what they will look like. I bred Enigma to MacDuff Voss, who is a big fluffy simbin dog. I can’t resist playing with how the genetics of the carefully crafted sims and pets pass down.

Oh yeah, and I finally updated the Story So Far page to include Charles’s life. I need to start a section for Sky, but I need to get a good pic for it, and I foolishly used the portraits generated by uploading to the Exchange.

5.17 Crashing

With Charles gone, Veronica tossed and turned in her empty bed. She would wander half-awake in the wee hours of the morning as if looking for something.

It wasn’t long before she realized she couldn’t continue on as if Charles were there. She needed to change her surroundings. So she packed up a few of her bedroom necessities and assembled their adventuring yurt in the yard. It was warm and comfortable in all weather, and she had often slept alone while they traveled. Waking up alone in the yurt wouldn’t carry that sense of wrongness that caused panic and confusion her her bedroom.

Enigma knocked down snowmen in the yard.

Hunter went to visit Eliana, who had been withdrawn since she was fired by Sean Flynn.

Eliana answered the door, but he could hear her father talking in the background.

“Thanks for coming over,” Eliana sniffled. “I know I’m not very good company.”

“I don’t understand,” Hunter said honestly. “Is this really all about being laid off? It wasn’t even that great a job. You can do better. I know it.”

“You’re such a great friend,” Eliana said. Hunter noticed the word ‘friend’ immediately. “It’s rough to be fired and not know why, you know? But really it’s that my dad is so upset about the whole thing. He keeps asking me what I did to make Mr. Flynn angry, and I just don’t know!”

Hunter felt a twinge of guilt. He knew he’d set the events in motion that led her to be fired, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell her that yet. “Eliana,” he said. “I’m worried about you. Would you ever consider moving out? You’d be welcome to crash at my place until you get on your feet.”

Eliana’s eyes widened. “Wow, that’s so kind,” she said. “But I couldn’t consider it. I know Dad wants me to stay here. Moving out would make him even angrier!”

There was something seriously wrong with this household. Hunter needed to know more before he took action.

Forest spent most of his time in his room these days, researching something in musty old tomes.

He didn’t talk to his family much, but it was clear he was very concerned about something.

Sky was inconsolable.

Her father was gone, and she had never felt so alone. Not only had Charles been the quiet support that held her up during times of stress, he was the only other being she knew with their curious… condition.

Leah tried to be supportive, but Dylan was the light of her life and required constant attention.

Leah had always liked Charles, but he was not her father. She and Sky struggled to talk about Sky’s grief.

Sky had never felt so isolated from her family. They were a loud group with intricately tangled lives, but somehow they were all grieving separately.
Without her to promote Ghostwriter, business for the band waned. She took to soliciting solo gigs in some of the local bars to get out of the house.

On this night, she provided live entertainment at The Garden Gnome pub.

The place wasn’t exactly packed, but business was good enough. They liked her at the Garden Gnome.

As she headed to the bathroom after her last set, she ran into an old classmate from high school, Xia Wu.

Xia had been a bit of an ugly duckling in school, but she had certainly grown up well. And confident.

She and Sky stood for a moment and watched each other. The moment dragged a bit longer than was really polite.

Sky struggled to find a way to recover from the awkwardness. “Hey,” she said. “We ought to catch up on our lives since graduation! Come on. I’ll buy you a drink.”

Xia smiled warmly. “If you’re buying? Absolutely!”

The conversation ran long, from one drink to two.

Shy had never paid much attention to Xia at school, but it appeared that Xia had been paying attention to her. Xia knew everything about Ghostwriter, too.

“I just love to dance,” Xia said as she set her empty glass on the bar. “Do you have to head home now, or would you — ah — like to dance with me?”

Sky followed her to the dance floor

At home, Leah began to tidy up Charles and Veronica’s unused bedroom.

She found the ballerina music box that had been Charles’s first gift to Veronica and wound it up.

She’d heard the story of how Charles had found it in France and brought it home to give to his true love. Leah loved it. Her parents-in-law were such soulmates.

The music was a haunting love song that made Leah fantasize of fairytales and magical romance. She and Sky had that kind of connection, didn’t they? Perhaps not quite so perfect, but they had the rest of their lives to make it that way.


Xia was a great dancer, and she was starting to give Sky a look that made her heart pound. Sky was pretty sure she was looking back, and she knew she wasn’t supposed to. She needed to say goodbye and walk away.

Instead, the next song was slow and sultry. She and Xia stepped together and touched each other for the first time.

“It’s not too much?” Xia asked.

“No,” Sky whispered softly.

She wasn’t sure she had never felt this way, and she knew she shouldn’t be feeling it now.

“You know,” Xia whispered as they danced cheek to cheek, “I had the biggest crush on you in high school. I used to write you love letters and then never send them.”

“Really?” Sky was shocked. “You felt that way about me?”

Leah had been the only girl she’d ever realized noticed her. Some part of her was still the lonely, ostracized ghost girl from Sunset Valley.

“Of course!” Xia said. “You were so confident and beautiful. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.”

And then Sky completely lost control of the situation.

She had no idea who kissed whom. The moment just felt right, and they fit together as if made to hold each other.

Once it began, it seemed as if there were no way to stop.

When they were finished, all they could do was hold each other breathlessly. Xia was glowing.

Sky felt light, as if some great weight were lifted from her shoulders. All the tension and grief seemed like something she could live with.

And then the weight came crashing back down on her.

What had she done?


Back from a long hiatus!

Don’t be too hard on Sky. We all saw her traits, much less her LTW. She’s been thrust much too quickly into a stable home life she wasn’t ready for.

I loved the Sultan’s Tabernacle adventure gear, but the !@#$ thing is two stories tall, which makes it impossible to use as an adventuring tent. Good going, EA. I liked the idea of Veronica sleeping in it now. Plus it gives great sleep moodlets.

5.16 Sweet Chariot

“Forest.” Hunter slid into the seat next to his brother, looking troubled.

“I’m here,” Forest said.

“I just got off the phone with Eliana,” Hunter said. “She says her boss called her up right before work and laid her off with no explanation. Her dad is furious, and she’s really upset.”

So at least part of his plan had worked. “That sounds about right,” Forest said.

“You did that, didn’t you?” Hunter asked.

“I might have had something to do with it,” Forest admitted.

Hunter looked earnestly at his brother. “Was she in danger? I hate seeing her so upset, but if it was for her own good….”

“I think it is better for her to get as far away from that job as possible,” Forest said. “I don’t know what was going on, but I’m sure it wasn’t good for her.”

Hunter sighed. “Thanks, big brother.”

“I’d say it was no big deal,” Forest said bleakly, “but the whole thing was actually a pain in the ass.”

Hunter turned and really looked at Forest for the first time and was suddenly worried. “Are you all right? You look like you might be getting sick.”

Forest was suddenly torn. Hunter was such a simple spirit, and he needed to be protected from Forest’s life. But for the first time, Forest wasn’t even sure he could protect himself, much less Hunter. He had never asked anyone for help, not even his family, but now he really needed it.

Forest looked down at his empty plate. He thought of Ali, who might not be gone if he had confided in her even a little bit. He took a deep breath to try to explain.

Only a gurgling sound came out.

What had Flynn done to him?

He couldn’t describe what had happened last night. He couldn’t ask Hunter for help.

“I think I need to lie down,” he finally managed. He slipped off the barstool and fled downstairs to his bedroom.

Later that afternoon, Charles’s beloved cat Ghost said his final goodbye.

And little Dylan had his first birthday.

All that emotion was enough to make Charles restless, and he persuaded Veronica to go with him on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Egypt.

They got some much-needed time together.

And some even more needed peace and quiet.

And the spare time to focus on some important hobbies they hadn’t been getting enough of.

Then Veronica sent Charles off to satisfy his explorer blood.

While he was gone, Veronica discovered that news of her work in spiritism had spread all over the globe. Travelers from their camp were asking for her autograph.

Of of her admirers, a local named Tahiya, ended up becoming a pretty good friend.

They spent a lot of time playing games and talking.

And of course, she had enough pictures of Dylan to show everyone in town.

Charles’s adventures were a lot of work, sometimes grueling work.

And he never told Veronica the just how much danger he found there.

She would only have worried.

He might have felt his age in France, but not here. Here he was ready to take on the world.

Charles reached the end of his vacation feeling that he had at last found what he was looking for. He hadn’t even realized he was looking for something in particular before now. It was hard to put into words, but the best way he could describe it was that he had uncovered secret beauty that had been lost for thousands of years, and he would keep it with him wherever he went next. That granted these lost places another lease on immortality.

He returned from the tombs in high spirits, and for their last night in Egypt, he organized the explorers in the camp for a rousing battle of water balloons.

The laughter and companionship seemed like just the right way to say goodbye.

While Charles and Veronica were gone, Dylan learned his first word, “dumbbell.” Leah didn’t know what he meant by that either.

Forest spent most of his time in his room working tirelessly on some project he wouldn’t talk to his family about.

Eliana took Hunter home to introduce to her family.

The morning after Charles and Veronica returned, Dylan was up howling in the wee hours of the morning.

Sky and Leah held each other tight, longing for just a little bit more sleep.

So Charles slipped downstairs to give his little man some attention.

He felt so delighted with everything, he was floating off the ground the way he used to do when he was a teenager — before he’d gotten better at passing for a normal human.

Before the sun game up was the best time to fish, so he left Dylan with his toys where he could check on him through the window and slipped out to see what he could catch in the icy water.

He’d done this a thousand times before in dozens of different places, but he couldn’t recall ever feeling so content before.

Then he just knew it was time. He packed up his fishing rod.

And wandered into the house. It was suddenly very important that he see Veronica, and he knew he didn’t have much time.

He wasn’t quite fast enough. As he stood at the foot of the stairs on his way to their bedroom, the Netherworld called to him.

And this time he had to go.

Veronica slept on and dreamed sweet dreams.

When she woke up, Charles wasn’t there. It was strange but not unheard of.

So the Samples carried on their routine through the morning before Veronica decided to go looking for her husband.

It didn’t take her long to find him.

The buried Charles’s ashes in the family cemetery with his ancestors.

He may have been one of the most successful members of his family, but he hated fancy monuments. His marker was small and modest, nestled in the earth.

The Samples would never be the same without him.

Goodbye, old friend.


Sob. Well, we knew it had to happen sometime.

Charles got sucked back to the Netherworld at the age of 92 with Lifetime Happiness of 370,000. Yes, my friends, that’s THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THOUSAND.

He almost didn’t finish his lifetime wish. I got tired of going on vacation, and he had one more trip to finish to get the Visa 3 in Egypt. He needed an extra trip there because he didn’t get some Visa points that he should have gotten when he was a teenager traveling with Lance.

This trip was filled with entirely unnecessary drama. I sent him for 8 days, since that should have been more than enough for him to get the points he needed. He spent four of them in one really fun enormous tomb. Then he got to the end of the tomb, and the OPPORTUNITY GLITCHED OUT. He couldn’t return the relic to the townie to collect the enormous pile of Visa points it was worth. Apparently, there is a glitch where if a townie gives you an adventure and then dies before it’s completed, the game doesn’t always assign the opportunity to a new townie. This tomb was the end of a fairly long quest chain that started on Charles’s last trip to Egypt. Apparently EA StoryProgression killed the relevant townie in the interval. I tried everything, and there didn’t seem to be any way to fix it. I still have the stupid relic (Relic of Eternity I think), and you can’t even sell it for money. Argh.

So now he had four days left to get the points he needed, and time was very tight. I sent him on the Adventure chain for the Tomb of Queen Hapshepsut, which is supposed to be pretty cool. But before he even got into the tomb, he was given a task to take a portrait of a townie, and I couldn’t get it to register as a portrait. He had a camera, and he’d ask the girl to pose, but when he took the picture it was listed as being something near her — the fountain, the shopping area, a group of people standing in the background, whatever. I read up on Photography and couldn’t figure THAT out. Maybe he needed to have the skill??

Now we had MORE time lost. I gave up exploring tombs and sent him on the dumb adventures to pick up minerals and deliver messages to people. He can do that very fast because he can teleport. It still looked like he might not get enough Visa points, and while I’d had a fantastic time exploring that tomb for the glitched Adventure, I am really done with World Adventures and REALLY didn’t want to take another trip. Besides that, Charles was 90, and I didn’t want to assume he’d get another chance.

He got to the Visa point total halfway through his last day in Egypt. His Lifetime Wish was complete. I heaved a huge sigh of relief and sent him to base camp for a water balloon fight he’d been wishing for.

And then he really did die before he was eligible to travel again.

92 is the exact age I have my Sim lifetime set to. I had to use Twallan’s SP to set Charles to age again because EA in its infinite wisdom decided that playable ghosts should be immortal. Apparently SP sends ghosts back to the Netherworld the *instant* the lifespan runs out rather than just giving them a chance of death every day like mortal sims.

Whatever the case, he might have died “young,” but I think he doubled his actual life lived with all the travel, so he doesn’t have much complaints. The Seasoned Traveler LTW is one of the highest-point ones in the game — 60k — so I was going to try to see if I could get him to 300k points. Then he spent his last two trips rolling absolutely insanely high-point wishes. He had at least 4 1500-point wishes to defeat mummies who were attacking him anyway. Something like *12k* to reach Visa Level 3, which he had to do anyway. Etc. So he was over 300k before he even reached his lifetime wish.

Charles has been my favorite sim so far. I guess it seems only right that he died the happiest.

However, playable ghosts carry their gravestones with them, so they get the gravestone of someone with 0 happiness points. I think Charles would have appreciated the modesty.

5.14 What Price

Hunter took a deep breath. “Forest, I need to ask you something.”

Forest was dragged out of a complicated calculation about the expected return and feasibility of moving into a new method of black market distribution. “Huh? Sure.”

“I don’t know how to say this,” Hunter began awkwardly, “but I’ve been doing some reading at the spiritualist shop. I know you’re into some serious stuff.”

Forest started to think of how he could deny any accusation of wrongdoing. Better to let Hunter play his hand. He shrugged and smiled. “I try to keep my hands in a lot of stuff.”

“You might be the only person who can help,” Hunter said.

Forest was stunned. Help? This wasn’t where he expected the conversation to go at all. “Tell me,” he said.

“There’s this girl. Eliana. She was behind us in high school. I went over to see her last night, and…”

Out poured the description of the frightening stranger and Eliana’s contradictory behavior. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sure it’s something supernatural. I can’t describe what it was like to be around this guy, and his eyes–“

Forest knew those eyes. Hunter didn’t need to describe them. “I’ll do what I can,” Forest said quickly.

“Thank you,” Hunter said breathlessly. “I know you’re involved in some stuff you don’t want to talk about, but do you have any idea what happened there? Is Eliana in any danger?”

Forest offered up his best comforting smile. “I’ll see what I can find out,” he said, “but you shouldn’t let yourself worry too much. She’s probably OK.”

Hunter nodded. “Let me know if you learn anything.”

“Sure,” Forest said. “Thanks.”

“For what?” Hunter asked, perplexed.

Forest kept his face unreadable. “For coming to me.”

“You’re my brother, Forest,” Hunter replied. “I trust you.”

When Hunter had gone, Forest sat back to think.

So Hunter was sweet on Eliana Baerwyn, Sean Flynn’s new personal assistant.

Flynn had hired Eliana last month, and it was obvious there was some kind of back room dealing going on, though Forest didn’t know what it was. Eliana’s father, Robbin Baerwyn, had turned up on business expenses on a regular basis. He and Flynn had some kind of pay-for-favors thing going on. But whatever deal had involved Eliana was much bigger. Now Valerie Ursine-Mentary, one of Flynn’s high-ranked minions, was meeting with Robbin regularly.

All of this would be none of Forest’s business, except for Hunter.

If there was one guy who really believed that blood was thicker than water, it was Hunter. He wasn’t stupid, but he trusted Forest anyway, and he chose not to ask uncomfortable questions. 
Forest set his coffee mug down on the table so gently that it made no sound. Being too interested in someone Flynn found interesting was dangerous. Hunter was the kind of white knight who just might try to ride in and get himself badly hurt. Forest would have to find some way to direct his brother’s attention someplace safer.

The next day was Snowflake Day. With a hungry baby living with them, half the household was up at dawn to the sun rise over the glittering snow. Not a bad day for a holiday.

Enigma was up with the sun to attend to her newly-built pack of local dogs.

There were citizens to protect, small creatures to hunt, and newspapers to destroy.

The whole Sample family, human and canine, packed themselves up for a day at Avalon Festival Grounds. Ghostwriter planned a holiday performance that was not to be missed.

Charles was eager to show his baby grandson the celebration. Veronica had some kind of tournament she wanted to compete in.

Everyone had their own kind of fun in mind for the afternoon, even Enigma.

Adam was late, so Sky and Leah got started on duo music without him.

Forest listened with half an ear. He was still mulling the problem of Hunter over in his mind.
So when he looked up from his phone, he was caught completely by surprise.
“Uh, hi. I didn’t mean to surprise you. I was just trying to get to… the concessions…”
There had to be something he could say that would evoke some tenderness from her. “It’s good to see you,” he managed.
There was pity in Ali’s eyes. “Forest….”
But her attention had already left him.

“Adam!” she said. “I heard you were going to perform today. I can’t wait to hear you play!”

Oh. That’s why she was here. Forest should have guessed.

Forest stepped back silently as his rival drew near.

“I haven’t seen you since high school,” Adam said. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“I took a job as an assistant at Mighty Pen Monastery,” Ali said. “The hours were really long. I have more time now. I was thinking maybe we could take some time to, you know, talk again.”

“You want to talk?” Adam demanded. “After I called you every night for weeks, and you refused to answer?”
“I’m sorry, Adam,” Ali begged. “I never meant to hurt you. It was complicated.”

“If it was complicated, YOU made it that way!” Adam shouted. “You were everything to me, and I never even got to find out what drove you away. If you wanted to talk, you missed your chance!”

“Adam, I…” Ali almost whispered.

“I came here to make music,” Adam said. “Maybe you should go home.”

Ali hung her head, and Forest could see the tears drip twinkle as the fell into the snow.

Adam turned and walked away. He didn’t even look in her direction as he set up his drums.
Ali stayed for the whole performance. She watched Adam, and Forest watched her. 

It gave him a lot of time to think, mostly about love — the joy and pain and ecstasy that it caused, the sacrifices one felt compelled to make for it.

When he looked at Ali, he felt like his heart would explode. If he never had her again, at least she had once belonged to him, and he would never forget.

And Adam. It was for this imperceptive fool that Ali had broken Forest’s spell. If Adam continued to fail to appreciate Ali now that she was free, did Forest have an opening to lure her back of her own free will? So many variables.

At the other end of the festival grounds, there was more for Forest to consider.

For Hunter and Eliana, the rest of the world might as well not exist. They were so unconsciously beautiful together. And they might not know it themselves, but they were already deeply in love.

Forest shoved his hands into his pockets. He knew what he had to do. He made quick goodbyes to his family and headed home to prepare.


Wow, when Adam walked onto the lot, Ali tried to talk to him, and he immediately started shouting at her. He even slapped her! I was so taken by surprise that I was only able to get a snap of the head-spinny aftermath.

That is one raw, heartbroken boy.

5.13 Entanglement

Forest’s next date with Ali went wrong before it even started.

As he reached to give her a hug hello, she stepped back. “Forest, I don’t know how to say this, but I think we should break up.”

Not again. “What do you mean, break up? We’re doing great!” he said. There was an edge of frustration in his voice.

“If you think everything is great, then you haven’t been paying attention,” Ali said. Her voice sounded tired rather than angry. “I’ve been unhappy for a long time, and I’ve told you so.”

How could this happen? Her sun was supposed to rise and set in his eyes. The magic should have worked, and yet no matter what he did, he couldn’t seem to hold her.

He tried again. “Can’t we talk about this? I’m sure we can work it out.”

She shook her head sadly. “I already tried to talk about it. I can’t get through to you, and I’m done trying.”

Forest started to reach into his pocket for the doll, then froze. He had to face facts — the spell had stopped working. Every time he reapplied it, it was weaker than before. If he couldn’t persuade her to stay of her own accord, he couldn’t have her.

Please don’t let this happen. “I know I haven’t been the best boyfriend, but I make you happy. You know it. I make you a lot happier than–” He stopped. That was probably a bad strategic move.

Pain flashed in Ali’s eyes. “Don’t you DARE talk about Adam like that!” she cried.

Adam. This was still about Adam. Maybe he’d underestimated just how powerful her attachment to Adam was. Maybe those feelings were a flaw in his magic he could never smooth away.

“No, no!” Forest said desperately. “I didn’t mean it like that. Look, Ali, I love you. You know I love you. I’d do anything to persuade you to stay. Anything. Just ask.”

She’d ask him about his job. He’d tell her everything, even underworld secrets. Ali was more important than they were anyway, and with her he had nothing left to lose.

But Ali shook her head. “We’re past that now. Please, Forest, don’t make this any harder for both of us than it had to be.”

Forest stared at her, struggling to accept that it was over. There was certainly another spell… but no. Anything stronger than what he was already using would bend her personality. He might be able to keep Ali with him, but she wouldn’t really be Ali anymore. If there was one thought Forest could bare less than living without Ali, it was a world without the true Ali in it.

This was it. Really it. Forest tried to open his mouth to finish the conversation, but his throat closed. He was horrified to realize that he might cry. Nobody, especially not Ali, would ever see that.

Glad that he could hide behind his glasses, he looked down without another word and brushed past her as he walked away.

It took a little while for Hunter to work up his nerve to go see Eliana after her graduation. Sure, they’d had this wonderful correspondence, but that didn’t mean it was going to turn into anything magical once they could go on a face-to-face date.

Eventually, and with much advice from Sky, he suggested that he drop by one afternoon before she headed off to work. Her father had referred her to some kind of clerical job, but it was at night.

Enigma went with Hunter for more support. Eliana was enthusiastic to see him, but when he showed up at her house, she was not alone.

The man who stood with her on her front porch immediately gave Hunter chills.

Both of them saw Hunter approach at the same time, and the man stepped away from her. He had the sudden uncomfortable sense that he’d been interrupting something.

“Uh, hello?” Hunter said uncertainly. “You said it was all right to come over?”

Eliana’s face lit up. “Hunter! I’m so glad to see you! Have you met my new boss, Sean Flynn? He just dropped by a little early to take me to work.”

Hunter turned uncertainly to Flynn. “Hello, sir.”

Flynn’s strange eyes seemed to flash. He didn’t answer, but he nodded his head in a sort of greeting.

Then he looked up and met Eliana’s eyes. The two of them stood transfixed for a moment. Hunter watched, feeling a confusing mix of embarrassment at walking in a personal moment between two lovers and the heartache of walking in on a personal moment between his lover and someone else.

Hunter was totally unprepared for what Eliana did next.

She screamed.

The scream was bloodcurdling and long. Then she turned and ran, stumbling through the snow, as if she were terrified for her life.

Hunter called her name and ran after her.

He caught up with her at the corner of the house. “Eliana! Are you all right?”

“Sure,” she said breathlessly. “No big deal. It’s just a big cold out, that’s all.”

“It’s what?” Hunter demanded, dumbfounded. “What did that guy do to you?”

“Do to me?” she asked. “You mean Mr. Flynn? I don’t know what you saw, but you must have misinterpreted it. Mr. Flynn is a very nice boss. Did I tell you he even picks me up for work?”

She abruptly glanced over Hunter’s shoulder and shuddered. He looked up to see Flynn strolling casually away into the snow-filled night.

Eliana shook off her air of dread again. “Oh dear!” she said. “I must have taken too long. Now I’ll have to find my own way to work!”

Hunter took her hand and studied her face.

“What?” Eliana said.

“I hope you won’t take this the wrong way,” Hunter said carefully, “But I think you might be coming down with something. If Flynn’s such a nice boss, I’m sure he won’t mind if you call in sick.”

Eliana sighed. “Maybe you’re right,” she said. “I have been feeling kind of weak for the last few days.”


And now our spare plots get a little bit tangled up.

It turns out that the voodoo doll loses against the betrayal moodlet that Ali got pretty much the first moment that Flynn and Forest made overtures toward each other, so Forest finds himself kicked to the curb. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about Ali’s ensorcelment, but it turns out that she broke free all on her own.

5.11 Anticipation

Veronica was inventing again. That made for plenty of adventures for the family.

“I call in the Routine Machine!” Veronica explained after she roped Sky into helping her test. “It uses advanced levitation and teleportation technology to get you fed, lighten your bladder, and zap you to your chosen location!”

Testing it was certainly exciting.

But the teleportation part turned out to need some work.

Hunter’s production was down for the winter, as expected.

But he could hardly spend a lot of time fretting. In addition to emails, he was exchanging letters with Eliana Baerwyn every other day.

She would be graduating soon, and he was terribly nervous. He wanted to visit her and tell her how he felt, but what if turned him down?

After the failure of his last date, Forest paid a lot more attention to Ali. One evening, he invited her out to the new western-themed club to watch a Simfest.

“I know things haven’t been great between us,” he said to Ali sincerely. “I’m hoping we can have some fun together and get past our troubles.”

Ali looked troubled, but she nodded. “I’m willing to try if you are.”

They watched a couple of performers and then made it upstairs to the lounge to get away from the noise and heat for a little while.

“How was your presentation?” Forest asked.

“It went very well!” Ali said. “I think they’re putting me up for a promotion.”

“That’s wonderful. I’m bringing in some great profits as well. We could make a good team.”

Ali gave him a hard look. “You never told me what you do,” she said.

“It’s really boring,” Forest said quickly. “You wouldn’t want to hear about it. Here, why don’t I help you relax –“

“Don’t you do that again!” Ali shouted.

She jumped to her feet and out of his reach. “I’m sick of you treated me like I’m some kind of gullible innocent! You’re involved in something you think I won’t like. I’m done with being patient. Tell me now, and we’ll see what it does to our relationship.”

Forest was suddenly terrified. “I–” he began.

Then he reached into his pocket and brought out the one thing that could end this conversation.

“Hey,” he said. “Let’s go back down and watch the rest of the performance.”

“Yeah,” Ali replied, sounding dazed. “Sure thing.”

Sky spent the tail end of her pregnancy bumming around the house. She felt too tired and too much like a whale to do any promotional work for Ghostwriter. Leah had decorated the nursery. Veronica was so eager to share intimate advice that Sky had started avoiding her. Charles was always asking her if she was warm enough or had had enough to eat.

Just to defy all of them, she took to practicing guitar on the front porch.

She also returned to painting, something she hadn’t touched since her band became a reality. First on her list was a portrait of Leah.

“I’ll start with your eyes. They’re so captivating.”

Leah enjoyed the attention, at least.

When the contractions came, Sky was more than ready for them. Childbirth couldn’t be as bad as continuing to be pregnant.


Sorry to end on a cliffhanger! The second half will be posted shortly.

It turns out that the Not So Routine Machine teleportation feature conflicts with Sky and Charles’s innate teleporting, so it’ll be a while before you see it used again.

5.10 Homestead

It didn’t take much deciding. If Sky and Leah were going to raise this child together, Leah would move in with Sky and not the other way round. Leah was from a large family herself. In addition to her parents Arthrit and Mazuki and her younger sister Miyuki, she had a teenage brother Raen and kid brother just starting elementary school. Her parents had started their family young and weren’t even sure they were done yet. The Samples, on the other hand, were all adult. Baby-on-the-way would never want for care. In fact, if anything, there was a danger the poor kid would suffocate under too much affection.

But as winter descended on Avalon with a vengeance, it became clear that the newer, larger household just couldn’t stay where they were. Charles and Veronica were already sleeping on a bedroll in the basement. Sky’s room fit a single bed with no room for expansion. And let’s just forget about a nursery.
No one wanted to bring the idea up to Veronica that they abandon the home she had designed and worked on herself. In the end, Veronica had to call the issue. “I have a lot more years of creation ahead of me,” she said. “You just see what I do with the next place.” So they started looking for a place to live that was a bit more scalable.
“We have quite a lot of money, really,” Sky suggested. “Why don’t we get a much bigger, nicer place? Not that this place isn’t nice, Mom.”
“I’d like someplace a little more rural,” Hunter said. “I need to be able to raise more produce if I’m going to expand this business.”
“Just so long as there’s a good dark basement for my research,” Forest said.
With those parameters, they cast about the island until they happened in Windemere Cottage, an agricultural estate in a less-developed area that had laid vacant for some years.
Sky was still barely showing by the time they were packing up to leave.
If Veronica felt badly about leaving her biggest creation behind, she never said anything. She did stand on the step of their new home for a while to look out at the tip of the top tower that you could see in the distance. But even then, she didn’t seem sad. More… admiring, perhaps. 
They had found a buyer for the place. Some couple named Sean and Cynthia Flynn.
“This is the master bedroom?” Leah gasped when Sky showed her the space. “It’s so elegant and cozy. And so much velvet!”
“And the bed is so soft!”
Sky beamed. “I’m so glad you like it!”
“Shall we give it a whirl?”
In light of the fact that they’d have to move their bedroom back indoors, Veronica did extra work on her bedroom.
Charles was very appreciative.
The boys set up their bedrooms in the large, comfortable basement.
Hunter began to set up his winter greenhouse in the barn.
To his surprise, Leah followed him there.
“Could you use any help?” she asked brightly. 
Hunter scuffed his foot. “Well, I can’t pay you,” he said sheepishly. “I’m barely breaking even right now.”
Leah shrugged. “I don’t need money,” she said. “I just love to work with plants.”
“Well, sure then!”
They worked together in near silence for hours. Hunter couldn’t remember when he last felt so comfortable with someone.
Sky hadn’t done too badly on her choice of baby mama.
Since there was a baby on the way, Leah bowed to Sky’s hopeful pressure and quit her job at the police academy. It was a grueling job with long hours that didn’t pay very much, and it seemed more important to have the time to spend with the baby when it arrived.

Since there was no child just yet, she found herself with a lot of spare time. When she wasn’t helping Hunter in the garden, she decorated the nursery.
“Wow,” Sky said. “It’s so pink.”
Leah clapped her handes and squealed. “I knew you’d like it!”
“But what if it’s not a girl?”
“Sky!” Leah said. “I’m surprised at you. It’s terribly sexist to think that a boy can’t appreciate pink. Pink is such a nice color.”
“Yeah,” Forest piped up. “What’s wrong with pink? It’s a great color for anyone.” That pretty much ended the discussion. Who was going to argue with Forest about manliness?

Hunter didn’t say anything. He just looked.
But he was grateful that when he stumbled over the pink mermaid doll, Enigma was there to catch his fall.
There was even something for feline family.
And canine.
And avian.
The pond had fish in it, to Charles’s delight.
All he had to do was cut a hole in the ice.

It seemed like just the right place for the Samples.
While Veronica was full of more pregnancy advice and horror stories than Sky could handle, Charles took it upon himself to take care of her. He was always near to make sure she was warm, fed, and comfortable.
Their new home was wood heated, so this often meant he trailed his daughter around and stoked the fire wherever she was.
The prospect of a grandchild was clearly on his mind a lot. On one hand, how could he not be delighted? On the other, it was a solid reminder that they were growing older. He sometimes had trouble believing he was old enough to have a child, much less a grandchild.
It turned out that the place was not quite as perfect as it first appeared. Some of it was in disrepair, and not always in obvious ways.
They discovered too late that the living room fireplace was not vented properly.
Leah was terrified when she saw the flames. She shrieked and cried.
The Samples were largely annoyed.
Charles and Forest dealt with the immediate problem.
Though the aftermath would take a lot more time for a lot less reward. 

Nobody was hurt, though, and the Samples knew better than to take that for granted.
Veronica immediately got out her tools. “All right, then,” she said. “You’re going to be harmless as a kitten when my grandbaby gets here!”
Leah threw herself into Sky’s arms, choking on tears. “I was terrified for you and the baby! I’m so glad you’re all right!”
“It’s all right, love,” Sky said. “It’s all right. We took care of it. Don’t cry.”
“I don’t want to be jerk,” Hunter said. “But could you two please go to your room?”
Leah is an Artistic, Hopeless Romantic, Green Thumb, Schmoozer who Loves the Outdoors. She is quite seriously the Sample dream-in-law. I’m a bit perplexed as to why Story Progression assigned her to law enforcement, though. 
This is mostly slice of life transitional stuff to show off the new lot. I loved this place and wish it could have worked out better. But as you’ll see, not so much. Primarily, the problem was that the landscaping was so elaborate that there was almost no place you could do anything outdoors. No flat places. Too bad.
The nursery came with the lot, but Leah’s favorite color turns out to the spiceberry, which is essentially pink. I guess spiceberry would be the “bashful” in “blush and bashful.” (You foreigners can look that up :). )
Tangentially, I don’t think I ever mentioned it, but you might have noticed anyway. Forest’s favorite color is pink. I find this very entertaining and always make sure he’s wearing the color someplace.
Oh, yeah, and the Mai family is in fact large and still growing. I created the family from four anime sims I downloaded from ModtheSims, who I assembled into parents and two teenagers. The child Raen is actually the genetic product of his parents. (And he turned out very nice — I’ve seen him around town.) Then I forgot and left both parents as YA. They’re madly in love and still cranking out kids.

5.5 Natural Magic

Enigma was most restless in the evening, and Hunter often found himself taking long walks with her starting at dusk. Now that he was in business for himself, he could set his own schedule as long as the work got done.

Avalon was a beautiful place at night. It seemed to have its own peculiar magic that never came out during the day.

Sometimes Enigma would smell something that would revert her to her wild nature, and in the blink of an eye, she’d disappear after some prey or another. She was always home by morning. Hunter hoped none of the neighbors had any missing pets.

This turned out to be one of those nights. He heard Enigma whuff, and when he turned to look at her, she was already gone. Hunter sighed quietly and started to turn home, but he heard an odd muffled clattering noise and turned toward the ocean instead.

A herd of wild horses had made its way onto the deserted beach behind old Tintagel Fortress. Hunter stepped out of the trees to the edge of the sand and stood watching them silently. They were beautiful.

Then amidst the horses, something glittering caught his eye.

Hunter gasped. Could that possibly be a horse?

It tossed his head as if to laugh at him. No, it couldn’t possibly be anything mortal.

Hunter just stood there, breathless and mesmerized, barely able to think. The creature watched him too, unafraid but keeping its distance.

The wild horses finished frolicking in the sand and moved on to better grazing land. The beach was now empty except for the two of them.

Hunter moved closer. The creature took a couple of hesitant steps in kind. And after a long moment, they were staring eye-to-eye.

It snorted. Hunter could feel its breath on his hand.

Then, without warning, it leaned down to nuzzle his outstretched hand.

Its nose felt like silk crossed with baby chick down crossed with daydreams and rainbows.

“Hello, Your Majesty,” Hunter said, keeping his voice soft and even. “It’s so nice to meet you.” He reached out a trembling hand and buried his fingers in the creature’s mane.

First, it let him stroke its neck. Then, suddenly, it threw its head in the air and let out a whinny like bells ringing.

Then it was gone.

Not like it ran away into the woods. Not like it disappeared in a poof of fairy dust. It was just gone, as if it had never existed. Even the footprints it had left in the sand were gone.

Hunter was left wondering what the heck had just happened.

After he remembered how to walk, he headed home and arrived long after midnight. Enigma was waiting for him with a quizzical look in her honey eyes. Hunter gave her a tired smile. “Sometimes I find something to chase too, you know?” he said. Then they settled down to sleep… or try. Every time Hunter closed his eyes, he saw the supernatural sparkle of that fairy tale beast.

Certainly Avalon had its own kind of magic, but this?

The next morning, he made his way to one of Forest’s old haunts, the Arcane Institute for Lore Preservation. It was a strange and kind of creepy place, but it wasn’t like you could go to the municipal library to check out books on local fantasy sightings.

He sifted through the old tomes, looking for sketches or keywords. And it actually didn’t take time to find it.

Unicorn: Old French, ‘unicorne’. Latin, ‘unicornis’. Literally, one horned: ‘unus’, one, and ‘cornu’, a horn. A fabulous animal resembling a horse with one horn. Visible only to those who search and trust, and generally mistaken for a white mare. Unicorn.

Sightings reported on clear nights on Avalon island, usually by the kind of folks people don’t take seriously.

Could he really have seen a unicorn? Touched a unicorn?

He knew he had to find it again and be sure.

Then he glanced down the page and saw something else.

“Hey,” he mused to himself. “Isn’t that the creepy doll that Forest has been carrying around?”


Hey all. I’m REALLY trying to get back into the rhythm of posting.

You’ll notice that I fixed my exterior shot problem by pulling one of the promo pictures for the lot I’m using off of ModtheSims. That’s the Arcane Institute by Ye Merrye Makers, and it’s a really spiffy supernatural consignment store.

There’s been a lot going on, but there’s always a lot going on it seems. I’ve been playing like crazy, but it’s been hard to pick the story back up even though I have all sorts of things I’m eager to tell.

I’ve played WAY ahead — through the birth of the second member of Generation 6, and I’m going to call a hiatus on the Samples for a while. I’m going to call a week hiatus on simming, I think, then come back with the Wonderlands.

Of course, I also have this NIF challenge that’s poking around in my head, waiting for Island Paradise to be released. I am a sad, sad person.

5.4 Open Doors

Things only seemed to get more intense for Sky and Leah.

They liked to keep things adventurous, and they were always sneaking away to woohoo in strange and exciting locations.

When Leah wasn’t around, Sky was usually thinking about her.

Hunter was also in a pretty good mood, though he didn’t talk much about details.

Forecasts warned that this would be a record-breaking winter in Avalon. Hunter stored most of his seeds and moved a few important plants into a makeshift greenhouse to last out the cold.

But the thing that his family noticed most was that he was suddenly spending a lot of time sending email on the computer. Sky thought she heard him say something about Eliana Baerwyn. She still had another term left in high school, so email seemed like a good place to talk.

Meanwhile, time passed for the Samples. Veronica and Forest bonded over chess — it was a good thing to fall back on when they couldn’t find much to talk about.

Charles took care of Ghost.

And one day Veronica’s phone rang. When she answered, it was the Mayor of Avalon on the line. They wanted to give her the key to the city as a tribute to all her work with the supernatural.

It took a lot to floor Veronica Krane Sample, but this definitely was it.

On the day of the ceremony, the old Motive Mobile pulled up at the gates of Camelot.

Sky took the chance to entertain the crowd before the ceremony began. If nothing else, it was a good way to increase her visibility.

Shanni made it to the ceremony. “I’m getting too old for this sort of thing,” she admitted. “But then again, I’m getting too old for a lot of things these days.” It was hard to take her seriously when she said that while she was holding her toddler daughter Holly.

Jeannette was there, along with Shanni’s elder daughter with Jeanna, Renee.

Jeanna and Shanni had shared a long and loving marriage after all, which was more than Shanni thought she was offering when they got married. They took every day as a gift.

It was a gift that couldn’t keep giving forever, unfortunately. This was the last time Shanni spent time with her extended family. She died quietly in her sleep not long after. Since she and Jeanna were married, she’d been saying, “If I die in bed with a hot younger woman, I’ll consider myself lucky.” And that’s exactly how it worked out.

As the clock struck 4pm, Veronica stepped into the Great Hall and accepted the award from the major, who she’d never met before. He shook her hand warmly and thanked her for everything she’d done for supernatural understanding within Avalon and throughout the simworld.

Veronica, who had been thinking for a long time about how she would respond, grinned and said, “Yes. About that.”

She walked out of the hall onto the lawn, held up a flask filled with colored liquid. “This is my latest invention, and I think it might help with supernatural understanding.” Then she threw it at her feet. The crowd gasped as Veronica was enveloped in glowing smoke.

When the smoke cleared, Veronica was a ghost.

“I wanted to know what it’s like,” she declared in a voice that echoed like Charles’s. Then she floated over to her bemused husband.

He seemed awfully human and solid by comparison. But neither of them was really paying attention any longer.

“You always surprise me,” Charles said breathlessly when they returned home.

Veronica chuckled. “Well, I try.”

Then she was suddenly solid again. “Oh, that’s not fair!” Veronica exclaimed. “I was hoping it would at least last long enough for me to take you to bed. Now I’ll have to make another one!”

But in the meantime, they headed to bed anyway.

[I had a picture of the key, but I can’t seem to find it. I’ll put it in a post at some point.]


This was a really cute end-of-career award opportunity that got totally borked in some later expansion. I ran it about five times, and the Mayor disappeared every time without giving Veronica the key. I assumed this had something to do with the Jynx rabbithole rug I was using for City Hall, but no — when I looked it up online, this opportunity has been borked for ages. So I built a story out of it and gave Veronica the key using buydebug. 🙂

And, once again, how the heck did Hunter get to be so hot??

This is where I finally had to kill Shanni manually. She was caught in some kind of in-between glitch where half the system thought she was dead and the other half did not. I felt bed doing it; she’s a favorite of mine. But she’d already lived an unnaturally long life, so it was way past time. I didn’t even know that Renee existed until this sequence. I was only aware of Holly, who was an adoptee I replaced with a genetic child by both of them — I couldn’t figure out why Jeanna was adopting, and when I went into MasterController to fix it, I discovered Shanni listed under dead sims. Renee certainly looks like she’s a genetic child of Shanni’s though.

5.2 Work Your Way Up

The Charles Sample Martial Arts Academy barely needed Charles’s time anymore. Sometimes he felt like his biggest contribution these days was to hang his name on the door.

Charles was now a Grand Master, and he had blessed several Masters in the Sample Spirit branch of Sim Fu. They were doing most of the teaching now.

That was really how it should be. He didn’t want to be indispensable. He wanted to build something that would live on after he was gone. It looked like that was already happening. It made him feel good, though sometimes just a little bit lonely.

Of course, if he needed a bit of an ego boost, there were always students who desperately wanted to take lessons from him and him alone. Ariel Hodgins was that kind of student.

“Do you mind if I take a picture?” Ariel asked one day after their lesson. “I’ve always wanted a record of my hero doing, you know, every day stuff.”

“Uh, sure,” Charles said. “I was just going to send some email.”

“Thank you!” Ariel cried! “I’ll keep this on my phone forever!”

Her enthusiasm was good and cute until she started calling him up at home, hoping to get him to go out on a date.

Boundaries. Charles needed to set clearer ones, obviously.

Hunter was now pretty sure what he wanted to do when he grew up. Using his classes in sustainable food production from the Round Table Academy, he’d taken over the garden started by his great-grandmother Layla and made it thrive.

And it didn’t hurt that he knew exactly what to do with the food he produced. The Sample family was eating in style these days.

But it did take something of a sales pitch. “I was thinking I could turn this isn’t a business,” he told his parents. “Locally grown, sustainable food, and maybe some guidelines on how to prepare it. It’s just that, um, I can’t really afford the kind of land it would take to do this on my own yet. If I could continue to live with you guys while I get on my feet, I’m sure I could make it worth your while.”

“Just keep cooking!” Veronica declared between mouthfuls.

Charles watched Hunter with his gentle smile, but his eyes were alight with pride. “You didn’t fall far from the tree, did you?” he said quietly. “I think your mother agrees with me that you can stay as long as you like. It’s not like we’re so eager to kick you out.

Hunter beamed. “Thanks Dad, Mom! You won’t regret it, I swear.”

“We couldn’t possibly regret helping you follow your dreams,” Charles said.

So with some advice from his father on self-employment, Hunter headed down to Avalon’s Great Hall to fill out a lot of very tedious paperwork.

He was now a certified organic farmer! Well, he would be once the inspections and certification process were done.

After that, it was just a matter of finding customers! No big deal, right? Well, seeing as he hated talking to people he didn’t know, that would be the hardest part. But he was going to give it his best try.

Sky and Leah were seeing a lot of each other, and that meant really a lot.

“The thing is,” Sky said, “If we practice really hard, I think we could make a living with our music. You’re a great jazz pianist. I think we have a shot at this.”

Leah was more skeptical. “Most garage bands never make it out of the garage,” she said. “I don’t think I’m ready to give up a day job.”

Leah was in training to be a police officer, and her work hours were only going to get longer once she got out of the police academy. Sky figured that she had until Leah graduated to persuade her to quit.

So they spent most of their time practicing. And practicing. And practicing.

Enigma appreciated the music the most. Sometimes she came down to join in.

“She isn’t half bad,” Leah pointed out. “I’m not sure if that says good things about our music, though.”

Actually, they were starting to sound pretty good. Charles sometimes came down to the basement just to groove.

“You really shouldn’t ever dance where I can see you, Dad,” Sky pointed out.

Charles rolled his eyes. “You think you can make me self-conscious just because you’re my daughter? In my day, I creeped out more hipsters than you before breakfast. Just shut up and play.”

“I think we can do this!” Sky said as they were wrapping up one evening.

“I think you’re right!” Leah squealed. They threw themselves into each other’s arms.

“Do you think you’d consider it?” Sky said for the dozenth time. “Just consider making a living as a musician? With me?”

Leah took a deep breath. “I’m thinking about it. It’s just such a big leap of faith. I’m not sure I’m ready.” Then she looked deep into Sky’s eyes. “But I think I know one thing I AM ready for.”

Sky gulped. “Really? With me?” She was exhilarated and terrified all at the same time.

Leah giggled. “Who else do you think I’d want to do it with? I only have eyes for you.”

“You’re amazing,” Sky breathed. “And beautiful. And sexy. And a whole bunch of adjectives I can’t think of right now.” And she lost herself in Leah’s kisses.

Then, abruptly, she pulled back, looking embarrassed. “Um,” she said. “There’s this problem of where. My bedroom is so tiny.”

Leah pulled her close. “Then let’s get creative.”

And they did.

“Oh, hey,” Charles said when he came downstairs the next morning. “I thought you’d gone home.”

“Ah,” Leah said, casting about for where Sky had gone. “No, I, um, didn’t”

Charles raised his eyebrows. “Ah, I see. Well, I hope you and Sky had a very nice time.”

Well THAT was awkward.


Sky and Leah really are very cute together :).