Friday, September 26, 2008

Chapter 19: Isabella Is Left to the Fog

Mon, November 2, 2074 5:10 pm: The House of Fallen Trees- Gothier, Pleasantview

Isabella's husband had reworked their new home from top to bottom- Oak paneling, marble arches, gilt ceilings, mosaic tiles. He imported period pieces from Veronaville. He had the original furniture fully restored. This was once again the handsomest house of its kind. So naturally, Isabella's mother had chosen to linger in the unfinished backyard. Isabella picked up her stride to give herself an air of confidence. Even the worst of Dina's sneers was best met head-on.


Dina shifted her weight from one foot to the next as though she thought the scenery might look better with her body tilted just so. She did not bother to glance back at her daughter.

"Strange gift for a man to buy his wife and children," Dina announced. "Granted, I am happy that you are finally living some place civilized, Isabella, but honestly- The Tricou murder house?"

"J.L. thought that I might appreciate a manor with a little history." Isabella raised her chin when she spoke, hoping that it might add a certain level of haughtiness to her demeanor. But then again, she had never been very good at haughtiness. Dina snorted.

"This manor could do with a little less history. And the garden is an absolute disgrace. Why wasn't this taken care of before you moved in?" Dina spun about to face Isabella, who had not been anticipating the effect that it would have on her. Isabella often tried to convince herself that her mother's criticisms no longer determined her sense of self-worth but this simply was not true. Dina's scrutiny was a threat as imposing now as it had ever been. Isabella stood, gaping stupidly at her mother who in turn met her gaze with apathy.


It didn't make sense to clean up the garden until certain things were sorted out," Isabella said quietly. Dina crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes.

"What things?"

"The burial plot over by that willow." Isabella had tried to broach the subject casually but from the sudden arch of Dina's eyebrows, she knew that she had failed. Dina's arms fell limp at her sides.

"Excuse me?"


Isabella took a deep breath to keep herself from stuttering when she spoke.

"It was discovered by the gardener just before we moved in. Two of the graves belong to Tricous. The rest are a little more ambiguous. All of them will be relocated before the end of the month."

"I don't see any graves."

"They're unmarked and overgrown. All but the Tricou children, that is."


"Well, I can't say that I'm overly surprised. Jennicor Tricou was an infamous madame. Your backyard is probably filled to the brim with the bastard offspring of whores."

"I seriously doubt that the Tricous would bury their children alongside a lot of euthanized babies."

"The Tricous were a very peculiar family. There's really no telling what they may or may not have done."


"You sound like you knew them personally."

"Don't be absurd. They all died long before I was born. Your father, however, was rather intimate with this family. He apprenticed under Jon Smith-Tricou for several years. Don's grandparents, the Fiorellos, were very close to the Tricous as well. "

"I didn't know that." Dina nodded silently.

"The Fiorellos' best-selling wine, Arbormoor Merlot, was believed to have certain medicinal properties and thus the vineyard became an object worthy of scientific inquiry for Jon Smith. He and Primo Fiorello had a friendship built on work."

"Whatever happened to that vineyard?" Dina smirked at Isabella's question, her eyes narrowed to thin slits.


"Production was shutdown after Don's mother, Adriana, ran away with a field hand by the name of Nicolo Lothario. The Fiorellos were too distraught over losing their only child to continue running a business. So they locked themselves in Arbormoor Manor, uprooted the grapes and planted trees. When Primo died, his will stipulated that his money should go towards the founding of an institution that would help to ensure that high-caste children only interacted with their own kind- The Fiorello Academy for Priviledged Youth or as it is known today, the Dewilliker Preparatory Academy. Adriana never spoke to her parents again nor did she receive a cent of her family's money. But you see this is what was done in those days. If your child married someone that you didn't approve of, then that child was disowned without a second thought. Sometimes I regret not having threatened you with that myself."


A brisk and chilling wind blew. Isabella pulled her arms up over her chest to generate some semblance of warmth. Dina did not seem to have felt it at all.

"How can you even say something so dreadful?"

"It's easy. My precious grandsons are half Townie." Dina's voice was not her own. It was deep and scratched like record spinning too slowly. It pierced Isabella to the core.

"So what are you suggesting, Mom? That I should have married someone I don't love?"

"Yes! That's exactly what I'm suggesting," Dina bellowed. "And why not? I did it for you! I spent five years lying beside the most detestable man I've ever met, all for you. The only thing that mattered to me was you and your upbringing and your future. Why you couldn't have extended the same courtesy to your own children quite frankly baffles the mind!"


"We obviously have different notions about what constitutes the best possible future for our children. There's a lot more to life than all of this," Isabella said, making a broad, swooping gesture towards her surroundings.

"Well tell me this, Isabella- What would you do? Hm? If fifteen years down the road Donnie or Mort introduces you to his fiancée the day maid? Some little tart that grew-up in a squat tenement on the wrong side of town with more siblings than brain cells? What then?"


Isabella couldn't rightfully picture herself in that situation. She was Mortimer Goth's daughter. Her sons would never take an interest in a day maid even if their father's parents were both Townie-born. It wasn't even worth her consideration.

"To be honest, I don't know what I would do."

"Then you have no right to judge me. Good evening, Isabella."


Dina walked off, leaving her daughter to the fog that stole over the garden. Isabella shuddered, thinking of the children buried under the willow. She hoped that Dina was wrong about them but Dina was rarely wrong. Isabella's mother gave voice to all harsh realities without apology.


But by the same token, Dina was very good at twisting any truth to fit her own warped world view. Who, for instance, was judging whom in this situation?


The faint, sickly smell of swap gas was creeping over the hills. A mouse scurried in the undergrowth. The last crickets of the season were chirping. Isabella would find it difficult to sleep that night.


  1. Oooh, prejudice!
    Talk about needed your mind opened.

  2. Dina is, as Adelaide once said, "generally unlovable".

  3. Whoa, Murder House! That was rather chilling!

  4. Keep reading, Beverly. :)

    Also, I know everyone is having a hard time keeping up with how the characters are all related. Isabella is obviously Dina and Mortimer Goth's daughter but she is also the wife of J.L. Tellerman, Troy's half brother:

  5. High caste is a term that shouldn't be applied to Dina Calliente - I'm glad she's back to the Dina I remember.

    What I meant before that she'd changed was her interaction with Adelaide. Now this is the Dina that I know!

  6. Dina married in. Twice. First to Michael Bachelor-- Who, in the story, was quite wealthy-- Then to Mortimer. She was born mid-caste.

    Dina isn't %100 a cold-hearted, unapproachable so-and-so. Dina has feelings too!

    But yeah, she's probably about 75% cold-hearted so-and-so, 15% caring person and 10% hot gas.

  7. Yeah, those who social climb are usually more prejudiced than those born to it - which is why they were social climbing in the first place.

    I get it now - that dream was this place, right? And those kids were the Tricous - which is why the whole thing was so sinister.

    I went through the Tricous memories via sim pe and that was so sad - all those murders of the children... I was shocked that EA added that in - they prob weren't counting on someone inventing simpe!

  8. Bingo! You are the first person to make that connection before I spelled it out in a future chapter. Elise was dreaming about this house and the children were the Tricous.

    You're also absolutely right about Dina's prejudice. Though, I must say that Dina's first marriage wasn't the result of social climbing. It was more just to spite her sister, who had always loved Michael. But that's a story for another day.

    I don't have SimPe unfortunately (I'm a Mac user) so I don't have access to Maxis's details. But I have read what other people have written about the House of Fallen Trees on various forums and checked out the lot.

    Here is my recent behind-the-scenes on the House of Fallen Trees.

  9. That is so interesting. I didn`t know about the maxis secret dead children. Creepy. I need to do a bit more maxis neighbourhood research it seems, I never play the maxis created neighbourhoods so I havenät discovered any interesting things like that.

    It is a very beautiful garden nonetheless. And an interesting dynamic going on there.

  10. hehe Verity! That's just what Lothere said! Yeah there are a lot of interesting, open-ended Maxis plots. The House of Fallen Trees really kind of stumped me when I first ran across it.

    Thanks! That was my attempt at overgrown. But this chapter would have been photographed very differently if I had done it today as opposed to 10ish months ago. It's funny how much a sim story can change in that amount of time.

  11. Where's the House of the Fallen Trees? I've never seen it in the game o_O

    I did realize that the kids in Elise's dream were the Tricous, but I wonder how Elise is connected to them?

  12. The House of Fallen Trees is Downtown, directly across the street from Gothier Green Lawns. My House(s) of Fallen Trees are in the main Pleasantview neighborhood though, so you'll be seeing mountains in the background.

    Here is one way that Elise is connected to the Tricous. The more important connection is still to come.

  13. Sadly I don't have any Downtowns, as I don't have Nightlife/University/OfB. Boo :(

    Mmm, I thought so (about Elise.)

  14. Yeah I only have NL, Uni and Seasons. Oh the woes of not having many expansions!