Monday, October 6, 2008

Chapter 22: Elise Meets Her Shadow

Weds, November 4, 2074 1:17 am: 88 Wilkins Ave.- Camden, Pleasantview



There was a door at the far corner of the eastern wall. Elise had not noticed it on her last visit but now it was actively reeling her in by the throat. The room flew by in waves of ochre and gold, an indistinguishable mess of past and present. The house was dead. There was not a single old man or prostitute or mute girl to be found. All that existed was the empty space that separated Elise from the door.


Outside, she found herself neatly deposited onto the veranda. The air was sweet with the fragrance of new grass. Great, misty hills towered above her head. Sparrows were making their first pitiful greeting to the morning. And below her perched a small, hedged-in garden at the center of which was a figure sitting unnaturally still.


Elise gathered her gown in her hands and nervously passed through the gate. The gentleman stood to pull a chair for her. She stopped just inches away from him, her nerves finally getting the better of her. He stared at her with the blankness of a man who was used to being cold. At length, he spoke.


"Please sit down, Elise." His voice was a crisp but slow tenor. The hard lines of his brow and mouth softened when he spoke her name. She was heartened enough to accept the chair he offered.

"What is this place," she asked, adjusting herself in the chair.

"It is a very old manor house on the outskirts of the city." There were traces of an accent in his speech that Elise could not place. It ignited her curiosity. He was a product of her dream and yet foreign from anything that she knew.


"Your hair is different," Elise remarked. The man eased her chair under the table. Passing his hair behind his ear, he leaned in over her shoulder. Their cheeks brushed just enough for her to feel the bristle of his clean-shaven face. His warm breath draped over her neck and she shivered.

"We can't possibly begin this way," he said. There was a hint of amusement in his tone. The man released her chair and took a seat across from hers. When he had settled in a position that was to his liking, he spoke again.


"You must realize by now that this is not an ordinary dream. Your body is at home in bed but you yourself are currently occupying another plane of reality- One that you and I are creating in tandem. Does that make any sense?"


Elise glanced around dubiously at her surroundings. She had been aware of controlling what she wore that night but didn't think that she possessed enough imagination to conjure up any of the rest. If what he said was true, then this must have been more his dream than hers.

"Who are you?" It felt strange to ask. His face was as familiar to her as her own.


"Fair enough," he said quietly. Elise couldn't help but feel that he had been slightly wounded by the question. She was supposed to have known. "My name is Kvornan Tricou. I am your Sheut."

"You're my what now?"

"Your Sheut. That is to say, your shadow. It will take quite a bit of explaining. Just think of us as soulmates." Elise gave Kvornan a wide-eyed stare.


"So we're each other's shadows?" Kvornan smiled at her.

"Have you ever seen a shadow cast a shadow? No, you are the heart- The seat of our will and emotions." He spoke to her with all the gentle doting of a parent. Elise crossed her legs at the ankles and slouched.

"Is this magic, what we're doing here," Elise asked, glancing down at the bright blue poppies beneath her feet.


"Of a sort." Kvornan leaned forward in his chair. By the light of the candle, Elise could make out his doll-like eyelashes and his light splattering of freckles. He seemed to her to be a grown man with the visage of a child.


"How do you say it," Elise asked.

"How do you say what? The heart? It is called the Ib." Elise glowed. She could be as vague as she wanted and he would still understand her. Maybe they could communicate without speaking at all.

"I like 'Sheut' better. It has more personality. It sounds like a sneeze," Elise said. Kvornan chuckled. Elise had the feeling that it wasn't something he did very often.


"I should probably mention that we have three other soulmates as well. It isn't just the two of us."

"Will I ever meet them?"

"Undoubtedly, but not in this life. For the moment, you're stuck with only me." Elise smiled. She didn't mind that prospect a bit.


"So why am I able to talk to you right now if I can't meet the rest until after I'm dead?"

"Well Elise, technically you and I aren't meant to be talking at all. The plan was not for us to have lived at the same time."


"So what changed?" Something flickered behind Kvornan's eyes and quickly extinguished like a dying flare. Elise decided that it was a barely perceptible cringe.

"That's a story for another day," he said quietly. "It's getting late now. Your brother will be waking you soon. It's time to say good-bye."


"Wait, when will we see each other again," Elise squeaked, her voice overflowing with a desperation that she had not intended.

"I don't know. Soon maybe. And in the real world. But before that happens, there are some things that you should probably know about me."

"Like what?"


Kvornan took a deep breath before he spoke again. Elise felt herself drawing away from him a little, preparing for the worst.

"I'm..." She held her breath. "I'm very old, Elise." That wasn't at all what he had started to say, she knew.

"Old like what, thirty?" He shook his head slowly.

"No. Not at all like thirty."

"But I'll still know you when I see you?"


"If I had a tea cozy for a head and sandwiches for hands, I think that you would still recognize me." While Elise laughed, her unease completely forgotten, Kvornan rounded the table and scooped her up into his arms. Now she could feel the solid weight of him and the undulations of his chest as he breathed without a body.

"Don't stay away too long," Elise whispered.

"Never." Elise held him tighter. No matter how many times she told herself that he did not exist, her back still felt the grip of his hands, her palms still felt the coarse wool of his sweater, her ear- the softness of his hair, her chest- the beating of his heart.


  1. Somebody has been reading up on their Egyptian metaphysics. :-D I am really interested to see where this will go.

    "I'm..." She held her breath. "I'm very old, Elise." That wasn't at all what he had started to say, she knew.

    "I'm gay!" I was so waiting for him to say that. Actually, exceptionally, I am not in love with Kvornan. He reminds me of an emo Peter Pan. And you know how those kind of guys are.

  2. LMAO! Yeah, he is a little like a Vash gone horribly wrong. Maybe a gothic-industrial Peter Pan. :D

    I'm pulling my ideas from a lot of different places in this story and scrambling their magical/spiritual/religious world into a fine paste of mythology. But of course, Egyptian metaphysics plays a big role.

  3. Cool - I like that you're also exploring the Tricou's story

    So you have Kvornan as alive - very interesting... He would be terribly terribly old though and not that handsome young man in the dream...

  4. I needed a character that remembered certain past events, which meant that I needed to choose at least one of the Tricous to survive.

    I chose Kvornan because his sim has a clear ghost, which would suggest that he died of old age even though his sim is still in the adult stage. So something was very suspicious about his death.

    And he is very old. 114 years old, to be exact.

  5. I know I've said it before but I'm still in awe at the story you've developed out of something Maxis made. :-o

  6. And yet sometimes I sit around thinking about how great it would be to have a sim story that had absolutely nothing to do with Maxis...

  7. Working within and around constraints is where creativity really blossoms though. In my case I suppose it's history.

    I sometimes fantasize about writing other stories too. I'm glad it's not just me...

  8. That is true. Having a framework forces you to think in ways that you otherwise might not have done.

    Lothere, I don't want Sigefrith to join the crusades! :'( :'(

  9. I'm more worried about Cedric joining the Crusades... half-Saracen and all. He'll have to watch out for arrows and daggers from both sides. (Not to mention the inner conflict, which seems to be his specialty anyway.)

  10. I WAS JUST THINKING THAT THIS MORNING!! Cedric is soooooo the type to go off and defend the holyland. But he's too young *whimpers*. Not only that but Ceddybear is a lover, not a fighter.

  11. Awwwww yeaahhhhh like his old man he is!

    (Ceddybear *snicker*)


    Kvornan is 104. I should really check my family tree before I give away ages.

  13. So this is the connection between Elise and the Tricous.

    Glad I wasn't the only one getting emo Peter Pan vibes from Kvornan LOL!

    Also, this whole "I'm... very old" thing reminds me of Twilight. Only I like the characters and the story is infinitely more awesome and creative. (I have to look up Egyptian metaphysics!)

    Anywho... Is Kvornan a 104-year-old virgin?

  14. Oh gosh! I am under the table! What gave you the impression that Kvornan is a virgin??? Most assuredly, Kvornan is not a virgin. He had a son, actually. More on that to come.

    I've never read Twilight or seen the movie so I can't really say what the comparison is. But thanks! Researching the belief systems that go into this story have been a lot of fun.

    *hehehe* Emo Peter Pan...

  15. Thank goodness someone has been spared of the Twilight mania. Don't read it. Not even for the lulz. It's just brain-damaging.

    The movie, on the other hand, is so bad it's hilarious.

  16. *hehehe* I read some of the reviews for the book and it didn't sound like something that I could get into. Then Veron told me that reading it put her into a murderous rage so I've managed to stay away. ;)

    People seem to be very passionate about this book, regardless of whether they liked it or hated it. No one I've spoken with has come away from it shrugging their shoulders. And it's interesting because the people who love it seem to love it for the same reasons that are the root of why the people who hate it find it to be dreadful.

  17. That's true. Twilight works like religion or politics in that sense, which is rather disturbing.

    I dunno, there are some people who reckon it's bad yet still read them. So I suppose it's about a difference of opinion on the book's main themes, as well as a knowledge of what constitutes good literature and good characterisation.

  18. I almost want to read it JUST for the controversy. But at the same time, I know I won't do it. :D