Saturday, July 19, 2008

Prologue: Pleasantview

Fri, October 16, 2074 7:08 am: Lothario Hall- Rawling Hills, Pleasantview


Adelaide stuffed the yellowing letter back into the top drawer of her father's bureau. She completed the gesture hastily, unceremoniously slamming the drawer shut. Why would he keep something so incriminating all of these years? And now that he was gone, what was she supposed to do with it? Destroy it for the sake of his memory? Preserve it for the sake of history? It might have given Alex a sense of closure on the matter but he had been so young at the time... Adelaide tried to assemble her thoughts as they scattered downwards to her fingers, forcing them to tremble. She had trusted him.

"Oh God," she choked, bringing her hands to her mouth. The sound emerged from somewhere intensely private; somewhere that stoic Adelaide thought had either atrophied or never existed at all. People always whispered their suspicions but nothing was ever proven and her faith in her father never wavered. Her father. Her father who didn't go fishing because he thought it cruel. Her father who used to slip jokes into her school lunches. Her father who had loved her generally unlovable mother. More than loved, he worshipped her. But lest Adelaide forget, he was also her father who had been born into the worst sort of poverty and who was subjected to abuses that he never spoke to anyone about. He was her father who drank and smoked and cursed and laughed with all the abandon of a hyena. But Adelaide could have never imagined this to be true of him. He was a murderer. Maybe she was over-thinking but all of the disparate parts of her knowledge were pieced together by this letter. She knew that he had done it.

Adelaide was startled out of her thoughts when she heard her mother calling from the stairs, "I'm still waiting for those cufflinks!" Adelaide wiped her face and clenched her teeth in supreme annoyance. How could she see that woman in her state? She grabbed the cufflinks that she had tossed onto the bed just before discovering the letter. Adelaide had given those cufflinks to her father for his forty-seventh birthday and he had worn them everyday since. Adelaide and her mother decided that he should have liked to be buried in them.

"I'm coming," she shouted back. Adelaide's father was dead and now there was no one to stand up for Adelaide when her fire-breathing mother lashed her reptilian tongue. Adelaide stepped out into the corridor. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of her mother ascending the staircase. Dina Goth-Lothario. Dina of the Three Rings would marry again. It was a habit that her advanced age probably hadn't cured. Adelaide didn't know whether her mother knew about her father's involvement in Bella Bachelor-Goth's disappearance but she had her vague suspicions. She outstretched her hand to Dina and as Dina reached for the cufflinks therein, a crumpled letter unfolded in Adelaide's photographic memory, carefully scrawled in pale blue ink:

My Dearest Don,

I am writing to thank you for the sympathy that you have shown me in this difficult time. You cannot know how your concern has helped me to cope with my mother's disappearance. You will be aggrieved to learn that she has been pronounced dead. Her car still has not been found. They are dragging the lake as I write this. Please understand that I am not certain how I could have gotten through this without your support and affection.

Aunt Dina is pregnant. Dad is already planning their wedding. It's absolutely sickening. She wants her husband's money and between you and me, I think she has every right to it. Dad doesn't care what she wants. He's just looking to replace his old trophy wife with a new one. He's talking about shipping Alex off to the Academy in the fall. Alex is too little to leave home. I'm whining now, I know but somehow you've become a sounding board for me. I really didn't mean for this letter to turn out like this.

Since I am getting personal, I might as well tell you that I know what went on between you and Mom. We fought over it. I was dreadful to her that night. I'm the reason she ran out and I blame myself for her disappearance. I've never told anyone that before. Not even the police. And what's worse- I understand how she felt now. I think she might have killed herself. I need you more than ever. See me soon if this letter hasn't scared you off. I miss you terribly, Don.


Fri, October 16, 2074 7:25 am: 88 Wilkins Ave.- Camden, Pleasantview


Elise Mindelsohn had a recurring dream. In it, she was the queen of a rural country where time ran backwards. She saw the sun rise in the west and set in the east. She saw raindrops slipping from the grass, rising weightlessly into to sky. She saw a peasant returning stalks of grain to the earth with great, backwards strokes of the scythe. Elise walked backwards along the coast, pulling pebbles from the air that had been regurgitated by the sea. She laid each stone individually on the ground at the mouth of the forest. She skipped backwards along the forest trail until she landed at the castle gates. Ordinarily, Elise's dream ended there but this time, invisible guards opened the gates to her. Elise skipped backwards along the cobblestones and up a pale green staircase. Her father was calling to her from inside the castle.

"You're going to be late, Elise," he said. His voice was not backwards. Elise had some dim perception that she was no longer dreaming. The world faded. Her father shook her gently. "Elise," he whispered. "Arnaud is in the shower now and as soon as he comes out, I want you in there." Elise was awake enough now to feel the coolness of the cotton sheets beneath her. Sweat trickled from her forehead down onto her eyes. Her mouth was dry. Her nose was stuffed. Her fingers tingled as though she had not moved her hands all night. She groaned. A cold gust of air hit her legs as her father pulled the sheets away from her body. She wanted to request ten more minutes but couldn't find the words. And then with a jolt, Elise remembered that her father had been dead for three years. She shot upright in bed, blinking against the light and startling the figure looming above her.

"You ok? I didn't mean to scare you but it's getting late," he said. It was Vince. Elise groaned a second time, though this groan was pointed and prolonged. She fell heavily back onto the bed and smothered herself with the nearest pillow. She didn't want to go to school. She could make up something about being sick since she was sweating but she didn't want to worry her brother, who already had so much thrust upon his shoulders. Elise tossed the pillow aside and with a Herculean effort, threw her legs over the edge of the bed. Vince smiled gently. He patted her hair and kissed her moist forehead. "I'm going to go make some breakfast," he said. As he left the room, Elise rubbed her eyes. Her sister's bed stretched out before her, pillows and covers littering the floor around it. Elise wondered how she could have slept through the tantrum that must have accompanied the mess.

This was the first day back to school for the Mindelsohn children since the death of their mother, three weeks prior. Vince, who was fourteen, filed for legal guardianship over his younger siblings. Their mother had not left them much money so the house had to be sold in order to liquidate some funds. The Mindelsohns were now living in a two-bedroom rancher near the highway.

Elise looked down at her still tingling fingers, perched lightly on her knobby little knees. She sat up for Vince's benefit but she wasn't quite sure what it would take to make her place her feet on the floor, take a shower, eat breakfast, board the school bus, go to class, meet another hour, another day.

Fri, October 16, 2074 4:11 pm: Dreamer Estate- Middlebourne, Pleasantview


Maybe Daphne Dreamer was simply too old. She sat on the edge of the toilet clutching the pregnancy meter and staring intently as though she could will it into changing. She raked her fingers painfully through her tangled hair. No, age couldn't have had anything to do with it- Her stepmother had children well into her forties. Cassandra had been Daphne's age when she gave birth to Daphne's husband Ripp. Daphne had been so certain this time... Maybe it wasn't her at all, maybe it was Ripp. Either way, what good was she, what did she contribute if she couldn't get pregnant? He would divorce her and find someone else. Daphne would move back in with Lilith and Dirk, dying a dried-up wreck of an old woman.

Daphne paused. She was over-reacting. After all, did she really want a child? She wasn't exactly the mothering type. Having children was all Ripp talked about day in and day out. She should have never married. But what else was she going to do? She didn't have any special talents or skills. She couldn't very well have spent her life at Pleasant Cottage doing fuck-all. Maybe she could have moved in with her Dad and Ginny but she thought that she might have been more of a burden than a help to them.

Daphne stood up from the toilet and chucked the pregnancy test in the waste bin. Still, they had only been married for eight months. She would get dressed and head over to Lothario Hall, make herself useful. She wasn't terribly close to the Lotharios but Ian was her half-brother, Dina was Ripp's step-grandmother and Adelaide was best friends with Daphne's cousin, Sabina. The Pleasantview upper class was a very small community. Daphne had a responsibility to the Lotharios. She had yet to even express her condolences. She could make them a pasta or something. Siren Caliente had been there all day watching the baby. The only thing that Daphne could do for them was cook. Daphne hoped they liked pasta because she didn't know how to make anything else.

Fri, October 16, 2074 5:36 pm: Arbormoor Manor- Arbormoor, Pleasantview

"Where the hell have you been?" Jorge was drunk. It was nothing new but it irked Lavinia all the same.

"What do you care?" Lavinia often favored this type of retort. It was frank, brief and most importantly, rhetorical. She could walk away, ignoring whatever he had to say next. Lavinia headed for the steps without even glancing at Jorge.

He growled, "That insufferable child of yours has been wailing all afternoon. If you were any kind of mother-" Jorge was arrested in mid sentence when Lavinia made an unexpected about-face. Lavinia strode towards him, livid. She trusted him with her child for two measly hours, he got piss drunk and then dared to accuse her of neglect? This she could not walk away from. This she could not ignore. Her eyes narrowed and her lips curled into the rather fearsome snarl that she had learned from Jorge himself. She pulled back her fist and delivered the whole of her weight behind a blow that failed to land.

Despite his apparent intoxication, Lavinia did not catch Jorge off his guard. He tossed her against the wall in a manner so artless and facile that any onlooker would have known this scene to be typical of the two of them. Lavinia's back hit first, then her head. The pain shot up her spine, rang in her skull, sent her vision reeling.

Jorge flattened his palms against the wall on either side of her head, trapping her there. They stared at one another for a time, both seething. Lavinia's head throbbed but it was nothing compared to the sharp pains that she knew awaited her when she would inevitably pull away from the wall. Jorge's nostrils flared like those of a mad bull. His breath was heavily garnished with fine brandy. Lavinia smirked defiantly at him and his rage. Recently, everything that passed between them vibrated to the timbre of a raw nerve. Jorge sensed that Lavinia was leaving. She knew. Jorge released the wall and backed away slightly. He must have been feeling charitable. Any other day, he'd have hit her.

"I have nothing to say to you," he spat.

"It's just as well. I only came back for Hunter," Lavinia said. The anger wiped clean from Jorge's face to be replaced by something that looked like surprise and regret. So this was it. The eight years they'd spent shackled together in that frightening, drafty old house were drawing to a close. She couldn't bear another moment with him. Jorge's gaze dropped pitifully. A lock of hair fell across his face. For an instant, Lavinia was reminded of how handsome he was. Carefully peeling her body away from the wall, Lavinia felt the back of her head. After satisfying herself that she was not bleeding, Lavinia reached into her purse and produced a small envelope. She handed it over to Jorge. "This is my address," she said. Then she added in a rush, "It's for Macaulay." Jorge sighed heavily. He seemed to be at a loss.

"Will I ever see you again?" He avoided her stare.

"I certainly hope not." Lavinia's tone was flat. Jorge winced. Lavinia had not sought to hurt him with those words but she was glad that she did. She felt drained. Jorge had managed to tax every ounce of physical and emotional strength she possessed.

"You won't even stay to say goodbye to Macaulay?" Jorge's feet shifted.

"No. I don't have the willpower to stay here any longer than absolutely necessary. I think he'll understand," Lavinia said.

"I'm not sure that he will," Jorge grumbled. Though he had softened some, Jorge still seemed to be on edge. He would be unpredictable this way. Lavinia had to get her son and go as quickly as possible before Jorge did something appalling on a whim. She wished she could take Macaulay with her too. Lavinia pushed past Jorge and began her ascent for a second time. "Lavinia," Jorge called out to her. She paused on the staircase.

"What now," she snapped. He hesitated before speaking. Lavinia could have stood on that staircase for a thousand years and never anticipated what he said then.

"Thank you," he murmured. "For everything." The audacity and the eloquence of it nearly took her breath away. There was attachment in that voice much thicker than hatred, much thicker than love.

Fri, October 16, 2074 7:24 pm: Lucky Shack Cards and Drink- Downtown, Pleasantview


It was Friday night, the weekly meeting of what these four jokingly referred to as "The Gardening Club". There was Peter Sims, the head of the Pleasantview Agricultural Coalition. His organization acted as a liaison between the growers and distributors of all of Pleasantview's produce. There was Jean-Luc Tellerman, owner of Tellerman Farm, which was by far the largest piece of acreage in Pleasantview. There was Addison London who was, amongst other things, CEO of Pleasantview Grocery Delivery Services. And finally, there was Jack Dalton, whom London carried around with him like some sort of recherché fashion accessory.

Never having had a son and never having been one, London could not have claimed to know much about them. But sitting across from Jack Dalton, London thought with perfect clarity that the boy was everything he would have wanted his son to be. The kid was lucky enough to have been born with certain talents. Jack shuffled a deck of cards with the same mixture of assertive confidence and attentive precision that he paid to everything he did. He was dexterous and methodical. Reliable. He thought on his feet. He kept his mouth shut. He completed tasks before London even understood the necessity. He was a concealed weapon, a snake in the grass.

Addison London never had a son. He had an empire. And he had to be sure that it was left in the right hands. Jack's hands were capable, loyal and deserving. When he dealt the deck, those hands utilized a muscle memory that knew the exact amount of torque to land the cards neatly stacked in front of each player. London sometimes wondered what else such hands knew. Even though Jack was only a kid, even though he'd proven himself time and again, any man with Jack's particular talents was someone to be watchful of. But of everyone who worked for London, only the kid stood out as being the natural choice. London had come to a decision.

London inspected his hand. A royal flush. He looked up to Jack, catching the boy's stare. Jack's dark brown eyes were stony, fixed. London didn't know how he knew, but Jack had orchestrated that hand. He also knew that Jack knew that he knew. What did either of them have to gain? Pete placed his bet and Jack quietly folded. Jack ran his fingers through his hair and leaned back in his seat. Jack's cheating had nothing to do with the game or the little bit of money on the table. It had been a demonstration. Jack was not talented. He was skilled. Jack was not lucky. He controlled fate.

Sat October 17, 2074 12:05 pm: Dewilliker Preparatory Academy- Rawling Hills, Pleasantview


Troy Tellerman-Caliente paced the grounds of the Dewilliker Academy, clutching his arms to his chest to shield himself from the cold. During the day, the colored leaves paired with the autumn flowers gave the front garden of the campus a surreal shimmer that forced passers-by to pause not in admiration but in disbelief. The ground swam like a pointillist painting. The very air around the place was thick with the implausible. Troy shook his head and smirked. Never would he have pictured himself back on this unnaturally green lawn, in the middle of the night, waiting for a girl. And a Pleasant, no less.

On his arrival he greeted the iron fence like an old friend. He hoisted himself over it with one arm just as easily as he had twenty years ago. It felt like a triumph over time. Troy checked his watch. He would wait an additional five minutes before heading home. No sooner had he thought this than a tiny pair of hands closed over his eyes. A warm body pressed firmly against his back. Troy eased against it, barely perceptibly, in an unspoken display of relief. He leaned his head back to feel her feathered hair against his cheek. She was drenched in some kind of fruity smelling shampoo or alcohol-based spray. Whatever it was, he hated it. It wasn't that the scent in its self was off-putting but that it smelled insufferably juvenile.

Troy straightened his posture, leaning away from the girl. He felt like the worst sort of pervert. Sabina kept her hands clamped tightly around his eyes and followed his body with hers. She climbed to the tips of her toes and leaned her head in close to his. He felt her warm breath against his neck and he shivered. His apprehensions were not forgotten but temporarily swept away.

"Do you want me to guess," he asked. Sabina forced his head into a nod. He took her hands down from his eyes and brought them to his mouth, kissing her fingers. He sighed euphorically. "But I know your touch better than I know my own skin, Headmistress." Sabina shrieked in mock outrage, throttling Troy's shoulders with her open palms. Troy spun around and grabbed the girl by her wrists. He whispered urgently, "Shut-up, are you crazy?" He shot a furtive glance up at the window where his own son slept. Sabina smiled at him wickedly. Unlike himself, she wasn't reckless but fearless and he admired her for it. Troy lived for the moments that he spent almost cowering beneath the savage look in her eyes. Maybe it was a look that she reserved for Troy alone but by that look, he was reduced to nothing. And he had a feeling that she knew it.

"I'm sorry I'm late. The old bat was up much longer than usual," she said. Her voice was breathless. She was trembling with what seemed to be more than cold. Troy noted the graceful arch of her back, how her torso was thrust towards him. It was all he could do not to draw her closer, pull her long black hair, kiss her gently blushing lips, make certain she was real. "How did you get over the gate? I hope you didn't spear anything too valuable." Troy tilted his head to the side, giving Sabina the same smirk that he administered to his children when they asked how he knew or did something seemingly unlikely.

"I learned to clear that fence before you were born," he clucked. The words left his mouth before he'd had time to weigh them. Troy had never told anyone about his nocturnal visits to the Academy. But it was ancient history and he didn't expect Sabina to repeat any part of their cloak-and-dagger conversations. His only worry was that this was not his secret alone.

"Oh?" Sabina closed the distance between them. Her chest was now against his. Her head was upturned only inches from his own. Troy momentarily forgot what they were talking about.

"Yes... I was trying to coax your aunt Angela out of her engagement. But you see how successful I was." He wanted to leave it at that. Sabina eased away from him a bit. Her eyes fell and her mouth went slack. Though he recognized this as obvious discontent, it occurred to him that he would never know all of the subtle shades of her moods. Their relationship (if it could be called that) would not last long enough. The morality of the situation was questionable for more reasons than even Sabina knew and they could not hazard discovery forever. They'd have no proof that they had never actually done anything. Siren would take his children away without even batting an eyelid. Part of Troy felt that she would be right to do it, regardless of what he had or had not done with this seventeen-year-old girl.

The sheer risk he ran just to get her alone, the thrill of her proximity, the thoughts he trusted her with, the ache he got in his chest when he couldn't see her... Troy deserved whatever punishment befell him because at forty-six years old, he was in love for the first time. Troy wondered if Sabina knew how old he was. He hadn't a single line or wrinkle. He didn't really look a day over thirty-five. Perhaps that was what her expression meant- She was coming to the realization that he was at least as old as her aunt, therefore at least as old as her mother. No, that wasn't it.

"You sound bitter about it," she said. Troy chuckled. So that was all. Sabina thought he was still pining for a girl he hadn't really cared about in the first place. And twenty years ago! Troy stroked Sabina's cheek.

"I promise you, I'm not," he said. They stared at one another in silence for a moment. He had never told her how he felt and wondered whether it was self-evident. His fear was that if he ever said aloud that he loved her, he would never be able to stop. He thought back to the last time they had been together, 24 hours earlier. They sat in his car, parked in the woods along Valleymoor Road. He had just found out about the death of his good friend, Donald Lothario and needed her to make him laugh. But somehow the conversation turned to Siren and he found himself digging up old emotions that he had thought long since extinguished. He broke down in a way that he had never allowed himself to do in front of another person. Not even in front of Siren when his parents died. Sabina couldn't possibly have understood the complex ins and outs of his relationship with his wife but she tried to comfort him nonetheless.

In that moment, he realized a lot of things that had little to do with Siren. He told Sabina that they could not continue anymore. That it was dangerous, impossible, generally wrong and unfair to her. He told her that she was young and though it might seem cruel for him to say so now, she would get over him. What he neglected to say was that he was old and would die with the scent of fruity body spray in his nostrils. It was selfish but Troy changed his mind rather quickly. And so they found themselves shivering in the dark together again.

"This really must be the last time." Troy shocked himself with those words. He was even more shocked by her response.

"I know," Sabina murmured. Behind her, a light in the kitchen window flickered on. Troy saw the lithe figure of Shane, his second to eldest son, digging in the pantry. Troy was reminded that there were things much more important to him than his own happiness. He turned back to Sabina. A soft drizzle began to fall. By the light that flooded the lawn from the kitchen, Troy saw tears swimming in Sabina's eyes. Sabina turned away from him, embarrassed. "We can still be friends." She seemed to be talking more to herself than to him. Troy shook his head.

"No one would understand. People are already beginning to talk," he said. A sob escaped from Sabina's throat. She covered her eyes with her hands. She wasn't quite crying and to Troy, that made the gesture all the more tragic. "I'm sorry. I should have never let it go this far," he said. He'd tried to sound gentle but he knew that he was coming off frigid, even a little patronizing.

"Leave before Shane catches you out here," she moaned. Troy recognized the obvious wisdom in this but he was rooted to the spot. He leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek but she suddenly turned vicious.

"Don't touch me," she snapped. "I'll die if you touch me." Troy's lungs collapsed in on themselves. It was the same pain he felt when he went too long without seeing her. It was the pain of drowning. "Just go." Sabina turned her attention to the ground. She was pleading. A strong gust of wind blew her long black hair into her face. He wondered whether she managed to gather it away from her eyes just in time to see him, as stealthily as a cat, jumping over the Academy's wrought iron fence for the last time.


  1. *Phew* If you got through my lengthy prologue, then I commend you heartily. But it had to be done. The story opens 24 years after where the Maxis story left off and one day after the death of Don Lothario. I've liberally bent and broken the original Maxis plot. The resulting story (hopefully) has a life of its own.

    Starting with the first chapter, the format will be just like other sim stories with many pictures and less prose. It won't be nearly as long-winded as the prologue, I promise!

  2. OMG, I am so totally hooked. I hope you update soon!

  3. Thanks! The first chapter will be up between today and tomorrow.

  4. I'm definitely liking the start of the story! Pleasantview is my favourite Maxis-made 'hood, so I can't wait to see what you did with it.

    I'll be off playing catch-up now. :P

  5. Thanks for stopping by! As the story progresses, you will see some familiar faces, most notably Dina (Caliente-Bachelor) Goth-Lothario. But most of the characters are original- Children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of the Maxis set.

  6. I forgot to mention (and this is semi-important) Daphne Dreamer=Lucy Burb. "Daphne" to distinguish her from another minor character called Lucy, "Dreamer" after she married Agrippa Dreamer, Darren and Cassandra's youngest son.

  7. Wow Penelope! That was some beginning. So much intrigue already. It was kind of cool to have the ties to maxis characters but then take it in your own direction. I am definitely hooked :) Off to read the next chapter.

  8. Hey, Verity! *Greets Verity with a bunny dance* Thanks for reading. :)

  9. Great start! It'll be fun to get out of the medieval Lothere setting and into modern Pleasantview.

  10. Hey, thanks Carmen!

    The beauty of writing about Pleasantview is that it isn't a real place so the time period is likewise not a real time period. I can have people driving home from work to houses lit by candlelight. I can have an usual mixture of historical dress. I can make-up laws and class structure and whatever the heck else.

    Also, I'm a total Lothere junkie. Can't get enough of that story.

  11. Yeah I made it! Now I'm off to read more...good prologue!

  12. Awesome! Hey Tiana! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story too. :)

  13. This is really stunning. Wonderful evocative writing! I'm glad you decided to "promote" yourself!

    Liberally bend it all!

  14. Hey, thanks Beth! Welcome to the story! *Sprinkles magical fairy dust*

  15. Seriously? Did I write "dragging the river" in Cassandra's note???


    There is a river but it's in Veronaville. I believe that it empties out into the sea. And in any case, they didn't look there.

  16. Wow, I came over here from a link from Phoenix's Ravensworth - didn't expect this - you got some writing chops girl!

    I think my next assignment is try to read the rest of your chapters... I'm playing Pleasantview now, so it's fun to see this alternate universe in the future.

  17. Hey, thank you kindly! :) And I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. I should be updating again on Sunday.

  18. Was just sneaking a peek before reading (curious how much I have to catch up on!) and I had a question, how in the world did you get the tab button to work to indent the paragraphs and not have the double space after hitting enter? That drives me nuts to not be able to write like it's done in an actual book! Will come back later to read, I promise! I have a feeling there are serious good things to come after seeing ch. 50 pics!

  19. Oh Emily, you've hit upon one of my pet peeves with Blogger! What I used to do was to copy and paste my text from MS Word (with tags) into the "edit html" tab. Then I would go to the "compose" tab and make indents with the space bar. Eventually, I decided that it wasn't worth the hassle and I stopped doing it-- Particularly since Blogger would just eat my indents on certain chapters anyway. :(

  20. Yeah, that doesn't seem worth it! I thought about doing something similar like that a while ago but it's too much work for me! :D

  21. Back at last! Whew, that was lengthy but good! You remind me how well I need to push myself to write, you don't even need pictures to read this. I love it when the pics are just a bonus, you can't beat plain good writing! Loved the intro to these characters, a lot is going on in Pleasantview! Great prologue, can't wait to read more!

  22. For me personally, when I'm reading a sim story, the images are secondary. So I try to keep that in mind while I'm writing. I would like to have something that doesn't rely on the images as a crutch. I want the pictures to inhance the action, not completely sustain it!*

    *With the exception of the one chapter I did that was almost entirely done in images. :p

  23. Hi Penelope! *does the bunny dance*

    My, this is quite the start! I'm already hooked. I really like that you've done something different than the usual modern soap-opera, tampering with time and all. It's very original and cool. I can't wait to read more!

    Though, I must say that the families have me a bit confused, with all the surnames like Tellerman-Caliente or Goth-Caliente and stuff. I looked at the family tree but it confused me even more :S

  24. Maruutsu!! *waves* Welcome! And thank you. :)

    There are so many characters and most of them are related some way or another so I can see where it would get confusing! It's kind of like when you're just starting Lothere and you end up confusing Sigefrith with Alred because of the beards. But as you read further, the chaos unravels into very distinct patterns. Or maybe I was the only person who had that experience. :p

    Ach, there are over 200 names on the family tree and some of my most important characters aren't even there! I need to update that thing. I know I have readers that like a good family tree surfing session. Anyway, glad you're enjoying it! :bunny:

  25. Oh yeah, I remember those days when I thought Alred and Sigefrith looked the same to me, LOL.

    Yeah, I figured everyone was related somhow (is there incest to some degree? Is that why it's so confusing?), but I guess I'll get the relations. Someday.

  26. Ah! To date, the most incestuous couple in Pleasantview is Troy (who visits Sabina at the Academy in the last section of the prologue) and his wife, who is also his step-sister.

    However, if you ask the members of Veronaville's elite, Pleasantview's elite are a bunch of inbred, half-Townie yokels. :p

  27. (Maruutsu here)

    Mmm. I'm glad Veronaville's elite is featured as well. I love that neighbourhood, but not that many storytellers use it for some reason.

  28. Van and I talk about that every now and then. No one seems to see the dramatic potential in Veronaville that they see in the other two neighborhoods. I've always felt inexplicably drawn to Pleasantview but I feel like Strangetown has more interesting plots. And this story has yet to go to Strangetown! I don't even have any plans in that direction. But there could easily be flashbacks there.

  29. OK now you're back I decided to read your story and


    Seriously I'm hooked. I can't go any further than that. Consider yourself another reader up.

  30. Thank you, Joseph!! Working on the next update right now. :)

  31. Wow, you really are an amazing writer. I got swept up in this from the very beginning, and each of your characters seem very complex yet relatable in their own way. I don't know how I'm going to manage, but somehow I'm going to read all of these posts until I catch up. It's too interesting not to.
    I noticed the way you write, is very simple and straight-forward, with lots of short sentences to get the message across. I'm in awe of this, because I tend to overdo everything in my writing, trying to get what is in my head onto the paper (or screen) is the hardest thing I've had to cope with. But as well as those simple sentences, you use so many brilliant analogies and describing techniques, I'm jealous! You're so talented!

  32. Hi EkhoGirl! Welcome to DBL, I'm so glad you enjoyed the prologue!

    I think of myself as an over-writer too. I suspect that you are your own harshest critic. ;) Thank you so much, though! I'm a little afraid to re-read chapters this old since I've written a lot in the interim and (I hope) progressed in my writing style. You reassure me.

    This story is currently on an unannounced hiatus while I get reorganized after a complete implosion of my game that took place a while back, and while I work on launching my newest project. So you really have all the time in the world to catch up to the present. In fact, if you stick with it for that long, that would motivate me to get off my butt and get back to work writing this.

    1. I've seen your new project, it looks amazing, you're obviously putting so much work into it! I'm excited :P But, do you have comments enabled yet? Or are you going to soon? I don't think I could stand it if I couldn't talk about it/give you feedback!!

  33. I have not enabled the comments yet! I am taking some time to think about how I'm going to field comments/questions so that I don't run the risk of over-explaining things in the comments section. :S