Tag Archive | lancelot

3.44 Pinnacle

Layla had been the Executive Chef of the Little Corsican Bistro for ages. As she grew older, the work became more and more familiar, and it took very little effort to keep the restaurant at the quality it had become known for. Layla began to wonder why she was even bothering to show up for work. She wasn’t getting any younger. She should have retired a long time ago. What kept her coming back?

She did something she’d never done before. She called her boss, the owner of the restaurant, out to meet her outside of work hours.

“I don’t think the bistro needs me anymore,” Layla confessed. “I was thinking of retiring.”

“Of course you can if you want to,” the director admitted, “but I see just the opposite. You have real culinary genius, and if you let yourself apply it, you could take us places we’ve never been before.”

Layla thought about those words overnight, and in the morning she’d made her decision. She sat down and designed a menu that wove the cuisine of her childhood with the bistro’s usual fare. Italian-Egyptian fusion.

Sunset Valley was bowled over. Little Corsican Bistro made national, then international reviews.

Layla was a celebrated 5-star chef.

Her boss had been right. She had more potential than she’d ever expressed. And now that it was expressed, she felt at peace. She’d really done all there was to do in the culinary arts.

She made the call and retired from the bistro.

Lancelot was delighted. He’d never had a proper job, and he’d never really understood her desire to have a career. Now that she’d set it aside, he was eager to enjoy all the extra time together.

They celebrated in proper fashion.

Fabian helped her celebrate by fixing a breakfast she had no need to help with.

Layla felt so free she could sing. There were all sorts of new skills and hobbies to explore in her retirement.

To start with, she took a writing class and sat down to write her memoirs.

All was right in the Sample household. Zahra and Fabian were reconnecting.

Charles finally made the honor roll! Being visible didn’t hurt a bit.

“Hey Granddad,” Ada called to Lancelot after school one day. “I’ve been writing some adventure fiction. Could you take a look?”

“Absolutely, my girl!” Lance crowed, his chest puffed out that his expertise was called for.

And that’s when the tingling sensation washed over him.

It was a warm, fluffy feeling, almost like flying.

Lancelot Sample’s time had finally come.

Surrounded by his family, he said his goodbyes.

“Don’t cry,” he tried to tell them. “It’s actually kind of fun!”

But he was already past speaking. They’d have to figure it out on their own.

Without regret, and proud of all he left behind, Lancelot passed into the Netherworld.


(Woo! Lancelot died at the age of 104 with ~260 happiness points. Even though Susie was the founder, I spent most of her lifetime figuring out how to play the game. Lance has been with me for a long time, and it’s hard to imagine playing the legacy without him. I looked up how long a Vegetarian can live, and it’s up to 15 days longer than normal sims, so I was starting to warm up to the idea of him getting to hold his great-grandchild. In the end, he didn’t make it nearly that far, and not even as crazy long as some Vegetarians. I read in someone else’s legacy of a Veggie who lived to be 111!

I’m gonna miss you, Lance.)

3.43 You Know It’s Time to Leave When…

Zahra wandered out of the bedroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen. She was ravenous, and it had been a long night.

Fabian relaxed on the sofa with a book on logic. “Morning dear,” she said absently to him as she passed.

“Morning, love,” Fabian said, looking up. “You don’t happen to think that something is different do you?”

“Different?” Zahra asked, flushing. “What do you think is different?”

“It’s just that we seem to have misplaced the entire kitchen.”

Zahra looked around. “Oh, it’s not that bad! It’s just a few counters… and a stove… and the coffee maker… The refrigerator’s fine!”

“Have you been playing with the space-time continuum again?”

“No! Well, maybe just a little.”

Fabian sighed, setting down his book. “I understand your dedication to science and everything. It’s great. But would you please keep the experiments a the lab?”

“It wasn’t just an experiment,” Zahra began defensively. “I needed– AIGH! Charles! Would you stop that!”

“Ha, Mom! It gets you every time.”

Fabian glanced at the science book he’d left on the sofa. “I’ve been reading up on this stuff. All the mad science is making this place unstable. I think it’s time we moved. There’s nothing about space-time damage on the disclosure form, so we shouldn’t have not declare anything dangerous when we put it on the market. If we wait until the place HAS collapsed, our homeowner’s insurance won’t cover a thing.”

Zahra deflated. “All right. Let’s go house-hunting.”

Fabian grinned. “I have a better idea. Why don’t you collect up your experimental equipment and take it back to the lab. The kids and I will go house-hunting.”

So Fabian, Ada, and Charles picked a place to live.

And soon they were all packed and on their way.

The new place was an old estate in the architecture of the English countryside. It was directly on the beach and surprisingly close to downtown. Fabian had done a pretty good job.

They arrived on the evening of Ada’s birthday, with just enough time to celebrate properly.

And after a makeover:

Ada was…. changed after that birthday. The artistic vision that had always dominated her personality now seemed to take on a life of it own. Sometimes she started talking to the furniture, or walking around outside in her underwear.

“Don’t worry,” Fabian told Zahra uneasily. “It’s a phase. She’ll grow out of it.”

(Ha! Ada rolled Insane for her teen trait! I was totally not expecting that!

And the upcoming Gen 4 has a new house! It’s English Country Estate at ModTheSims. It has a few issues. The 2×1 gothic arches used don’t seem to exist anymore, one of the upstairs beds was unroutable, and so was one half of the dining table. I tweaked the walls a bit to fix those things, and I replaced the arches with some not-as-pretty columns.

Of course, I ended up moving before I’d intended to AGAIN. This is another elaborate Simfail associated with Shanni’s wedding. Why is it that nobody can get out of this household without there being major game issues???

This time, right after Shanni and Agnes got engaged, I started having major game slowdowns. It literally took Shanni all night to get to her bureau and then to the mirror to fix her wedding dress and hair. I actually tried to do the wedding in this state, which is where the pic of bodiless Parker came from, but it was slow and messed up, and nobody came except the immediate household and Parker for some reason. And then I clicked Agnes and there was NO “GET MARRIED” OPTION.

So I downloaded a utility I read about on ModTheSims that would locate corrupted CC, and the utility flagged the entire custom kitchen from the house they were living in. I don’t know how this could have been the problem, since I’ve been playing in that house for like six months of real time, but it’s possible that there was some cumulative problem. I deleted the kitchen, and things improved immediately.

So I figured it was more fun to roll that into the story :).

I wanted to get the household out of the corrupted house as fast as possible, so I actually moved them out before the wedding and staged them in Condor Museum Lofts for the duration of Shanni’s wedding. Then I moved them to the new digs. So, for your Simantic viewing pleasure….

Here is the whole family standing around in the basement of the loft building.

Shanni was so excited that walls could not stand in her way.

And I close with a cute pic of Shanni calling to schedule her own wedding party.


3.39 Meditation and Other Adventures

Lance turned 100.

He celebrated by running 3 miles and then pumping iron for six hours straight.

Afterward, he looked… well, pretty much the same as he always looked. His days of bulging biceps and pulsating pectorals were long past, and he tried to take the truth with equanimity.

Lance couldn’t quite grasp the idea that his glory days were past. And the more he thought about it, the more he couldn’t let go of his last trip to Egypt with Charles, where they had been blocked from completing the tomb of the Sphinx.

The thing was, he knew exactly what they needed to smash those boulders. It had been hanging on the wall for ages as the prize trophy of his adventuring days.

Pangu’s Axe.

“All, right, Charles my boy, we are going back to Egypt, and this time we’re going prepared.”

Ada looked up from mixing paints. “You’re going where?”

“Charles and I, we have an unfinished date with the Sphinx,” Lance said with a twinkle in his eye.

Ada beamed. “All right! Just give me a minute to pack!”

“You want to go?” Charles asked in surprise.

“I am SO not going to let you go without me,” Ada retorted.

“But you’re just a little girl.”

“Ha! And it was OK when you were a little boy?”

It was hard to argue with that, even for Charles.

Ada was sure to make sure her mother was all right with things. Nobody mentioned how Lance had whisked Charles away without so much as a by-your-leave.

“I’m going to see the world, Mom! And learn how to ‘walk like an Egyptian’, you know.”

“Ada! You’re one quarter Egyptian! They walk just like everyone else.”

“It’s a joke Mom….”

“I don’t get it.”

“I love you anyway, Mom.”

“What about you, Layla?” Lance asked. “Come with us.”

“That’s all right. You kids have fun.”

“Don’t you miss your homeland? What about your sisters?”

Layla smiled wistfully at her husband. “Lancelot, my love,” she said. “I am an old woman. My joints ache. I hate flying. I like staying home and working in my garden, and my sisters and I do just fine with email. I keep waiting for you to notice that you’re an old man, but you don’t seem to have noticed yet.”

“Eh,” Lance said a bit awkwardly. “Maybe I’m still in denial.”

But she saw them to the airport and made sure everyone had one her amazing perfect apples to eat on the plane.

Ada gasped when they arrived. “It’s so beautiful! So amazing!”

“It’s a campsite,” Lance pointed out. “There’s a lot more than this to see.”

“I have to PAINT IT!” Ada cried.

Charles, on the other hand, was still petrified of flying. It was just unnatural to be tossed through the air in a big tin can. Lance knew to look for his jitters this time and had an idea how to fix them.

“Have I ever taught you any Sim-fu meditation?” he asked.

“No. What’s that?”

“Here, let me show you. First, get comfortable. Yes, like that. Now, let your mind expand.”

And then something amazing happened.

“I’m solid! I can’t believe it, Grandad! Thank you!”

“Ooof! You’re welcome! Who knew the power of Sim-fu?”

Ada dropped her paintbrush and dashed over.

“You don’t look like a ghost at all anymore! Well, maybe a little bit, but it’s a fabulous look. I can’t wait until I can paint your portrait!”

Charles was pleased to see that he really could have it all. He hadn’t lost any of his so-called super-powers. He could still float, pass through solid objects when he wanted to, and teleport all over town. And he could be just as scary as he was before if he choose to be.

But now he was both more visible, and more substantial.

Lance gathered the kids up into Fabian’s patrol car, which he just happened to have with him, and they headed out to the Sphinx.

Ada stayed outside to paint it, while Lance and Charles headed inside for adventure.

Charles had never felt so powerful in his life.

He and Lance made a great team.

And the final conclusion, at the center of the Sphinx, filled him with awe.

Afterward, they took some time to drink in the beauty of the place in their own ways.

On their final day, Lance cooked breakfast on the camp site’s stove.

“You two should appreciate this hot meal! Back in my day, we didn’t have the luxury of a stove at the Egyptian camp site! We had to eat cold cereal out of the refrigerator and like it!”

(Seriously. I had to install a mod just to add that stove. China and France have base camps with stoves, but not Egypt. Why? Don’t ask EA those silly questions.)

Charles got a little bit of exotic fishing in.

And Lance and Ada a little fun.

(Plus some games of tag that looked horribly inappropriate whenever I tried to photograph them. Sigh.)

And they finished their time bonding around the fire, talking of their adventures and future plans.

All too soon, it was time to catch the plane home.

(Herein, I get sick of never being able to see Charles either. What I’m actually doing is using the “Deghostify” option in EA’s testingcheats, made easier to use by Twallan’s DebugEnabler. He still floats and has sparkly ghost effects, but now he is in full color. I downloaded a metallic silver skintone for him so that he could continue to look ethereal. He would have had Cycl0n3’s pasty white skintone, so I made him very pale silver. The hair is just what looks like a ghostly hair color to me. He would have had Layla’s all-black hair. He also inherited Cycl0n3’s ice-blue eyes, which are a nice genetic touch in the Sample family.)

3.33 Adventurers!

“What catches your eye, m’boy?” Grandad asked as he caught Charles eyeing the lovely jade carvings of the Chinese zodiac that were mounted on shelves in the living room. “I can’t imaging you’re captivated by my past glories.”

“They’re very pretty,” Charles said. “But mostly I was wondering if I could borrow one.”

“Borrow?” Grandad demanded, looking alarmed. “Where? What for?”

“Just for school,” Charles said. “I have an assignment. If I can bring in a relic from somewhere, I can get extra credit. Maybe they’ll finally put me on the honor roll. It doesn’t have to be anything as nice as this. Do you have any old cheap ones lying around?”

Grandad laughed. “They’re all old, m’boy. It’s sort of the point. And, no, I got rid of the relics that weren’t worth much. It’s not worth the space to keep them.”

“Oh,” Charles said, trying to mask his disappointment.

“But let’s not let a little thing like that keep you from the honor roll,” Grandad said. There was a crazy flash in his eye. “I know just the place to go to get cheap relics…”

And before Charles knew it, Grandad had whisked him off to Egypt, chuckling to himself as he went.

The flight was stressful. Charles had never been so fast or so high, and it made his connection to the Netherworld seem all-too-appealing. (On the way out and the return, Charles arrived with a mood in the red and a huge negative stress moodlet. I haven’t seen that from any other Sim.)

“Well I’ll be damned,” Grandad said. “Let’s get you calmed down. Who would expect a ghost child to be afraid of flying?”

At least he was getting better at catch.

Soon, he was back to his usual ghostly tricks.

“What do we do now, Grandad?” Charles asked over lunch.

“We do anything you like, of course!” Grandad said.

Charles looked up from the base camp to the stone face peeking up over the horizon. “I want to go there.”

Grandad’s eyes widened. “You want to go to the Sphinx?”

Charles grinned. “Yeah.”

“All right, then, let’s do it.”

Charles was so excited, he wished himself there.

And suddenly he was.

Wow. Charles had never guessed he could teleport so far! He was at a loss for what to do. At last, he just got out a book to pass the time until Grandad could find him.

After a long time, Grandad came running up to the feet of the Sphinx, panting. “What did you do, child? You disappeared!”

“Yeah,” Charles said, grinning. “It was awesome.”

Grandad puffed up his chest. “All right then, I’ll show you awesome.”

And he did.

“This is a pretty tricky tomb,” Grandad said solemnly. “It can be dangerous. Stick beside me, and I’ll keep you safe.” As they approached, Charles could see what Grandad meant.

They were met by a wall of fire. That really was awesome.

Charles wished himself past it.

“Hey! Wow, Grandad! There are a bunch of gems over here! They look really valuable!”

“What?” Grandad cried. “Give me a minute! I have to do this the hard way!”

“What should I do?” Charles asked.

“Just don’t get in my way. I’ll be through in no time.”

“OK,” Charles said, and he settled down to wait.

Charles could teleport anywhere he could see, but he couldn’t move any of the big pillars or open the heavy stone doors. Grandad had to handle that.

When they were tired, they slept side-by-side in Grandad’s adventurer’s tent.

But they couldn’t get to the end. The way was blocked by great big boulders that even Grandad couldn’t move.

“Damn,” Grandad swore to himself. “The axe I found in China would clear these away, but I didn’t bring it. I’m sorry, Charles. I can’t take you to the end.”

“That’s OK,” Charles said. “This has been the best day of my whole life.”

And thus Lancelot Sample passed the adventurer’s bug to another generation.

(Man, children can’t do ANYTHING in World Adventures. Well, except pick up loot. But Charles’ teleportation ability was way stronger than I realized. He can teleport anywhere on a world map that you can click. When he gets old enough to open doors himself, he’s going to a lean mean tomb raiding machine.)

3.32 Odds and Ends

So, I said before that law enforcement didn’t pay, and that Fabian only brought about 1100 Simoleons into the family. But I failed to mention that he brought 1100 simoleons and a TOFUNDA WAGON. The two Sample vehicles now cancel each other out in terms of fuel efficiency.

Law enforcement does pay, apparently. It just doesn’t pay for money management classes.

So what HAS everyone been up to in the Sample house?

Zahra was still on maternity leave. She tried to stop fighting it and relax.

Then she gave up relaxing and took up inventing.

Charles asked Lance for some help on his homework, and Lance dragged him to the park instead.

“It’s evening, m’boy! That’s your best time! Let’s throw the old pigskin around!”

“Ouch! Grandad!”

“You’ll get the hang of it, kiddo! Just don’t give up!”

Fortunately, there were some things were Charles already had the upper hand.

“Stop! I call uncle! That’s a mean game of tag! You sure know how to wear an old man out.”

Fabian spent some time trying to connect with his wife’s Egyptian roots.

Which was probably a lost cause.

Layla had truly become one with her golden years. She had never felt so comfortable and fulfilled.

She had the best private garden in the city. (I totally failed to note when she achieved her Perfect Garden Lifetime Wish.)

She had a wonderful husband, successful children, and amazing grandchildren who loved her.

(The No Jealousy reward definitely helped her marriage.)

She had his and hers running NFL Madden 12

(These really were taken at the same time.)

Ada was into everything, of course.

As she grew older and could communicate better, she and Charles had more fun together every day.

Grady Elfman the maid hit on Shanni a couple of times, and she agreed to meet him in the park.

Big mistake. The guy couldn’t stop talking about his hair gel.

But there she ran into the Ursines out on a family picnic.

Including the elusive Harvey.

Family was a good excuse to get out of a date gone bad, so Shanni ditched him and spent the afternoon with them. And she was glad she did. That evening, Rachel’s precarious health took another turn for the worse, and she died the next day. She must have been over 100. RIP, Rachel.

(I’m back! Ah the Simfail I have to rant about. But first we needed some cheerful stuff after all of the relationship drama.)

3.16 Meet the Family

Fabian Branch Sample began his first day of married life by making breakfast.

Mac ‘n’ cheese. Well, it was a great breakfast when he was a bachelor.

Zahra, not the most inspired of communicators, pretty much broke the news to her family by letting them watch the new state of affairs. They were surprised but supportive.

“So, dear, it looks like you got married last night.”

“Yeah. It seemed like the thing to do.”

“He seems like a nice man, dear, but he doesn’t bring in much of a salary. Do you think we can afford it?”


(Fabian did bring in about 1100 simonleons, which I think is the lowest amount any spouse has brought into the family so far. Law enforcement clearly does not pay.)

The men were even lower key.

“You gonna make my daughter happy?”


“Thought so.”

(The men spontaneously bonding in their underwear was pretty awesome.)

Fabian and Adjo were already pals for reasons only the Sims game was tracking. I have to guess it’s mostly because they’re both people people, so they could hardly bump into each other in any context without becoming friends. Shanni didn’t have a lot of use for men that she wasn’t staking a claim on, and Fabian really wasn’t her type anyway, but they coexisted all right.

He pledged to help with Charles, but mostly what he did was take over other household responsibilities so that Zahra could spend more time with him.

He also convinced her that subtle pink accents in their bedroom was not only manly, but tasteful. Zahra, who didn’t pay much attention to aesthetics anyway, let him have his way.

(Yes, his favorite color is pink. I notice you can see him telling her this on their park date when they were teens. Fabian is such a Sensitive New Age Guy. I have vivid memories of adding pink accents to their bedroom and even photographing it, and I can neither find the photographs nor evidence of the pink in later photos. Did I do this on a version of the game that crashed on me? The world may never know. I’m at least two weeks beyond this, Sim-time, and I’ll have re-redecorate their bedroom.)

Things got back to routine in the Sample household, and in due course, Zahra and Fabian had happy news to report.

3.11 Aftermath

(Hey there! I’m trying to get past my writer’s block and get back to posting.)

You couldn’t call it death for someone who was already dead, could you? In the end, it didn’t really matter. Cycl0n3’s loss hit the Sample family like a ton of bricks. Everyone did their best to cope in their own way.

Shanni lost herself in Zahra’s best friend Fabian’s younger brother, Richard Branch.

(Yes, they’re brothers. Ida Branch has a dark skin tone, while Mr. Branch — whose name I forgot — had a light one. Here we see the non-subtlety of Sims 3 skin tone genetics.)

He was one heck of a kisser.

He also turned out to be one scary dude. There they were, making sweet nothings at each other in the hallway of the Branch house, when he suddenly started screaming at her. Something about ants. And aliens. Hoooboy. Shanni just stood there and took it, too frightened to say anything.

And he was holding his baby brother at the time.

At last, he stormed off, talking loudly to himself. Shanni got out of there right quick. She wanted comfort, but not that much.

(I failed to get the really good pictures of Richard ranting to himself. He did in fact go off at her in a dangerous-looking way in the middle of flirting. I’m guessing he’s Hotheaded, and he’s definitely Insane.)

(Also, it’s probably not obvious, but this scene happened in the old Frio house where our story began. The majority of the Branch clan has moved in here. Their father died of old age, and Fabian, the eldest, is also living elsewhere, with a roommate I think. So I think think Ida Branch and the three younger brothers Richard, Connor, and Tyrone are all living here together. Mamma Branch didn’t make no girls.)

Lance and Layla clung to each other. Life was short, and they were in their golden years. Zahra’s loss was just a grim picture of what they faced too.

(Spontaneous affection between Sims is so cute. Lance and Layla can’t get enough of each other these days.)

Everyone wanted to be there for Charles.

(This is Lance, tapping his foot, waiting for Adjo to finish playing with Charles so he can have a turn.)

And they tried to be there for Zahra, but she didn’t want to talk about it. She threw herself into her work, climbing the promotion ladder at the science center with alarming speed. After the first couple of nights, she never let any of her family see her cry.

Late at night, she whispered to Charles about his father.

Charles, as little as he was, seemed to understand.

3.10 Going Home

It was Zahra’s day off, and she and Cycl0n3 took a much-needed morning together. They slept in luxuriously late. Adjo made sure that little Charles was taken care of before the twins headed off to school.

Romance was in the air. Lance jumped up at breakfast and asked Layla out on a date. She spent such long hours working at the bistro, and she never got a chance to experience the romantic atmosphere as a customer. He wanted to fix that.

The two of them looked sharp in their formals.

The afternoon was everything they’d hoped it would be.

Cycl0n3 and Zahra rolled out of bed and quickly fell into the usual topic of conversation: their son.

But this time Cycl0n3 called a halt to it. Zahra had been working her tail off at the science lab, then coming home to work her tail off tending to Charles. She needed to take some time to herself away from both work AND family.

He kicked her out of the house to spend the afternoon at the spa getting a massage. But not before he showed her is appreciation.

It turned out to be the last wish he would have a chance to fulfil.

Alone in the house, he headed downstairs to play with Charles.

They read together from a math-for-toddlers book. Charles’ eerie ghost voice piped up against his father’s. Cycl0n3 felt completely fulfilled.

And then a strange sensation came over him. It was as if the wind blew through him, and he was the wind, and it called to him from beyond the pale.

Alone on the back deck, Charles went on reading until Mommy came home.

Zahra returned, flushed with a good massage and feeling carefree, to find her ghostly son alone in the house. At first she was furious. “Where is your father?” she demanded of little Charles.

Charles looked up at her with penetrating inhuman eyes, and she realized for the first time that he truly was something different.

“Daddy went home,” he said.

Then her eyes fell on an urn sitting on the deck. She hadn’t noticed it in the pile of Charles’ toys. Suddenly she understood.

Nobody knew exactly what the science lab had done to Cycl0n3. Somehow, in her heart, she’d always just assumed he was immortal in his half-ghost, half-human form. Apparently not. The Netherworld had called him back.

She picked up the urn and placed it in her bedroom, hoping against hope that he’d rise again, in whatever ghostly form he was permitted. But even when the other family ghosts came out to play, the urn was silent.

Goodnight, Cycl0n3.

(It turns out that Cycl0n3 was “living” on borrowed time. I knew he had a lifespan of sorts, and that he’d be called back into his gravestone eventually. However, when he married Zahra and changed his name, his gravestone got borked. Apparently EA in its infinite wisdom was using character name to attach the ghost to the gravestone, and Cycl0n3 Sample couldn’t be using Cycl0n3 Sw0rd’s gravestone. This caused some other glitches I was struggling with, since the character was now duplicated — the version of him in his gravestone and the version I was playing. When I figured this out, I had to use some of Twallan’s mods to get him to terminate gracefully, but that also ended up destroying his gravestone. I’m terribly grumpy about this; I wanted the whole family to be in the graveyard. I’m still trying to see if I can export Cycl0n3 from a previous save file and get him properly stowed in a gravestone, but I may just call myself lucky for having a functioning game file and give up.)

(ETA: Fixed the last picture. Somehow the mood was lost when instead of Zahra sleeping alone, the last pic was of Shanni taking a bubble bath. Woot.)

3.6 It Takes a Village

So…. what is a ghost’s baby? A baby ghost. Zahra’s mystery was solved.

In any other family, this would have caused a stir. Well, all right, even here there was a bit of a stir. But these were the Samples. Samples are brave. Samples love nothing more than to sit down and have a fireside chat with the ghosts of their dead relatives.

When Zahra told her father that she had married Cycl0n3, he blinked and said, “You don’t think he’s a bit old for you? Seeing how he dated your grandmother, and he’s dead and all?” One she’d convinced him that she was truly happy, he shrugged and gave her his blessing. Before that moment, he hadn’t really thought of Cycl0n3 as any different than Susie or Connor. Ghosts have a right to be happy too, after all.

That’s just a bit of context to describe why the freakout at the Sample household wasn’t particularly freaked or out.

Lance was particularly delighted with his grandson. He’d have been delighted if Charles were green with tentacles.

Adjo couldn’t stop tickling and cuddling the new arrival.

All-in-all Zahra had plenty of help. Whenever Charles whimpered, someone was there with a bottle and a diaper, and for all that nobody really had to lose much sleep.

And of all of the Samples, Cycl0n3 was the most beside himself with pride and joy. Charles was his son. He’d made a new life, if a life was what this was, and if it wasn’t who cared anyway?

He’d longingly cared for Zahra, then Adjo and Shanni as babies, always figuring that his time was past. Now he had a wife and a new son. All was right with the world

3.2 It’s Not Too Late

Time passed, and Lance started to wonder if he was being just the teeniest bit of a jerk about Layla’s flirting.

One day, while she was out working in her garden, he decided it was time to make amends.

He loved her more now than he had the day he married her, and he hoped she could see his ranting and raving for what it was — fear that he would lose her.

When Layla returned home from work that day, Lance had arranged for a surprise.

It was her birthday, and he hadn’t forgotten.

(Not a bad age transition. I left her pretty much as she was.)

He took her on a second honeymoon back to Egypt, where they rocked the campsite.

(In case you can’t tell from the picture, whoohoo in tents causes the tent to jump up and dance around :). )

It had been a very long time since they’d been able to spend so much time with each other, one-on-one.

When they returned home, Lance built one last monument to his travel days and hung up his adventuring hat. It was time to spend more time with his family. Long past time.

And of course he and Layla could rock things a little closer to home too.

(So, I hadn’t *intended* for this to be Lance’s last vacation, but this one turned out to be just too weird. When I reset the town, the vacation destinations were reset as well. Not only are all Lance’s quests reset to the beginning, but there’s a young version of Layla wandering around in Egypt. Creepy…)