Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chapter 64: Phoenix Is A Peculiar Philosopher

Mon November 30, 2074 1:33 pm- Lothario Hall, Rawling Hills, Pleasantview


Dina crossed and uncrossed her legs, her expression going increasingly sour. Phoenix tried to focus on something other than bristle of her skirt lining as it glided across her stockinged thighs, supposing that there was a special circle of hell reserved just for men who had the odd thought about women related to them by marriage. He cast his eyes to the ceiling. To the floor. To Troy’s polished loafers. At length, Dina broke her silence though it seemed to pain her to do so.

“You’re dreadfully tedious boys and I never liked either one of you,” she said.

Troy leaned forward on the sofa and Dina’s posture relaxed. It was extraordinary the way people responded to his every gesture as though lured in by bait on invisible wires. Not even Dina was immune to Troy’s mysterious powers of influence.


“I have here seated beside me the very honorable young man that you yourself have hired to advise you on your finances. He has combed through your personal income and expenditures, your portfolio of assets and even your company’s financial forecasts. He has provided you with his professional analysis of these documents and prescribed a budget that will keep your head above water. You are in trouble, Deen. And though it may be a bitter pill to swallow, I am strongly recommending that you take his advice.” Troy’s rapid speech was punctuated by a gentle click of his tongue, just as a machine might register a task with an auditory cue. Dina scoffed, plunking back into the chair.


“Are these billable hours, Mr. Caliente?” she sighed. Troy narrowed his eyes, poised for defense.

“Of course they aren't.”

“Then you’re not here as my solicitor. You’re here as my nephew. And as my nephew, I am disinclined to take your recommendation, however articulate," Dina drawled. Troy drummed his slender fingers on the armrest.

“I could of course send you a bill if that’s what it takes to make you see reason."

“Troy, don’t you have a skirt to lift?”


There was a knock at the door. Phoenix was grateful for the interruption, having long since learned to keep out of Dina and Troy's squabbles. Even now, the two of them made him feel as superfluous to their conversations as an intruding child. Dina turned to the door, exasperation etched into the creases between her brow.

"Come in!"


Dina's Townie maid kicked the rug from under the jamb with little ceremony and wiped her free hand on the wall to clean it of some unseen substance. She was a witless-looking creature with simultaneously deep and bulging eyes. Francesca drooled onto the breast of her apron, leaving little plumes of baby spit all over her front.

"Dr. and Mrs. Hadit Davenport here to see you, ma'am," the maid announced, patting the baby somewhat forcefully on the rear. Dina leapt from her seat, her expression transfigured from tart to delighted.

"Haddie!" An older fae man stepped into the room at the sound of his name. He clasped Dina's waist and kissed her on either cheek, mumbling Phoenix knew not what while Dina tilted her head up to listen. There was something uncanny about Dina prancing and giggling, her dour severity lost in a sea of smiles. Troy tapped Phoenix on the arm.


"We'll continue this conversation later," Troy said under his breath.

"How have you been, my girl? You are keeping well, yes?" Hadit trilled, stroking Dina's cheek.

"Oh absolutely not. This past month has been dreadful but I am happy to see you. This is my grandson, Phoenix Goth. He's Cassandra's eldest. And Troy you know," Dina said, guiding Hadit to where Phoenix sat with a gentle tug of his sleeve.

Phoenix offered his hand for the fae to shake and their palms clasped, Hadit said airily, "Your mother was the smartest woman I ever knew. Never do I have a problem but I think, 'Ah, Sandy would know how to fix it.'"

Phoenix's stomach lurched. Unnerved, he retracted his hand slowly, his stare fixed on the supernatural green of Hadit's eyes.

"I never knew my mother," he said.


"Please Haddie, have a seat. Can I offer you a drink?" Dina's face was so close that Phoenix half expected her to kiss him again. Hadit turned and pinched the tip of her nose, making Phoenix's skin prickle. To see a man look so fondly on Dina was to see Don's corpse exhumed and parading around like some kind of pointy-eared escape artist.

"First, I introduce you to my consort. She was behind me one second ago. Nephele! She must be playing with your little granddaughter." Dina hit Hadit playfully on the arm.

"You old rake! Why didn't you tell me that you married?"

"Well, it was sudden decision so I tell you now." The hard clacking of a pair of high heels turned everyone's attention to the door. Phoenix was not sure about what he expected to see emerging from the hallway just then but whatever he had expected, it was not this.


Hadit's wife was so beautiful that Phoenix scarcely knew how he would be able to think on anything else ever again. He traced the swell of her ample hips as she passed by. And though he could not claim to have had the inclination before, Phoenix's thoughts raced with the possibility of spending a few weeks on the shining riverbanks of Veronaville.


"I introduce to you my consort, Nephele Capp-Davenport. She is recent graduate of Royal Academy of Theological Sciences. Summa cum laude in cursu honorum." Dina cocked her head to the side, her gaze traveling ambivalently downward. Phoenix braced himself for one of her backhanded compliments or strained pleasantries. But instead, Dina merely extended her hand to the girl.

"Dina Goth-Lothario. It is a pleasure to meet you, Nephele. And what cursu honorum did you study in school?"

"Ontological Inquiry. Discourses into the nature of existence. It is nice to meet you also. Hadit speaks very highly of you."

"Yes, well Hadit likes his women conventionally pretty and frigid to the point of inertia."

Phoenix could not see her face from where he was seated but Nephele's tone did not betray the least offense when she responded, "Does he indeed, Mrs. Lothario?"

Troy stood at this point, discreetly pulling Phoenix's jacket while he did so. Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck, feeling awkward and childish in the sway of his gangling body. Part of him wanted to mutter a few poorly constructed excuses and run from the room rather than having to converse with a woman so intimidating. But Nephele, in a flutter of hair and gold brocade, turned her attention directly past Phoenix. As if sensing the alpha male in the room, she extended her hand to Troy.


"Nephele Imine Kent Capp-Davenport. Et ihora?" Troy took her hand and kissed it.

"Troy Tellerman-Caliente. Tsu hem Ashkay non-ir shün mah."

Phoenix hadn't understood a word of it beyond the name but Dina evidently had. She rolled her eyes and droned, "Don't let him fool you. His Ashkay is fluent."

Nephele smiled prettily at him, tilting her head upward in a gesture that gave Phoenix the full view of her long neck. He wondered how accomplished, how witty, how handsome or rich or simply lucky a man would have to be for the opportunity to run his lips down the cool length of her throat.

"It is a pleasure, Mr. Caliente. We met with your brother earlier today. He was very charming."

"Not the word that I would use to describe J.L. but thank you just the same."


"Troy, if you're done cradling my guest's hand, I should like to introduce her to Phoenix so that we can all sit." Troy dropped Nephele's fingers as though they had been on fire.

"Of course. My apologies, Dina."

"Good. Phoenix Goth, Nephele Davenport. Hadit, if you would." Dina swept her skirt taut and gave Hadit her arm. Clasping her by the elbow, he helped her into her seat. Dina lowered her body slowly, age having made her brittle.

"There is nothing I would not do for such a pretty and inert girl."

"Be careful. I don't know what your wedding vows were but I'm liable to help you break them."


Watching her pull her hair from her neck, Phoenix briefly considered whether he should help Nephele into her chair. But the action would seem to imply something about feminine weakness and in any case, the moment passed while Phoenix pondered.

"So what brings you to Pleasantview? Vacationing amongst the salt of the earth?" Troy sat with his arm propped jauntily along the backrest. Hadit shook his head.

"Oh goodness, no. We're here on business." At the sound of Dina's second favorite word, her joyful little smile returned.

"Really? What sort of business?"

"Ethanol! I am thinking about expanding into the production of natural gases."

"And why would a conservative old codger like you want make ethanol of all things?"

"I do anything where I see simoleon signs. Riverblossom does not yet have the corner on this market."


"That's because the production costs outweigh the profits. No one buys alternative fuels in this part of the world," Dina said, waving her hand dismissively. Hadit leaned in towards her.

"They would if cars with flex-fuel engines were more... What is the word I want here? Ah, sportier. But I make a digression. This ethanol would mainly be for export to some smaller countries." Dina snorted in disbelief.

"I wish I had your balls," she said. Hadit's eyebrows rose.

"Why settle for the wishing?"

"I didn't mean that literally."


Hadit smiled wickedly as though his English were not the problem and Dina shook her head. Racked with unfortunate mental images, Phoenix involuntarily cleared his throat. Hadit turned and parted his mouth to speak but was cut-off before he began.

"In my culture, Mr. Caliente, a man does not stare at a woman so," Nephele scolded.


Phoenix shot a cursory glance in Troy's direction. He was blinking innocently and shifting his weight to correct a posture that had grown too relaxed.

"Is there a particular way that you would prefer me to stare at you?" His voice was placid but the midnight blue of his eyes threatened danger. It occurred to Phoenix that maybe he was missing something from this conversation.

"Not at all, if you would. I am a wife and a daughter. Maybe someday a mother. These are sacred offices, you understand. And as such, our men show a certain amount of deference. On what side of your family are you fae, Mr. Caliente?"

Phoenix's head snapped in Troy's direction. He had been acquainted with Troy from early childhood and never had this detail of his ancestry come up. Troy eased back into the chair and crossed his legs at the ankle.

"On my father's side. His great-great-grandfather was a Davenport, incidentally."


Nephele clicked her tongue disapprovingly.

"Well... Even so far removed, certain rudimentary practices should have been passed on to you. Did you at least receive magical instruction growing up?" Troy's eyes widened in derision.

"Oh absolutely not. My father could hardly be bothered to teach me softball, let alone whatever it is you people get up to," he said. Nephele knitted her brow and pressed her lips nearly into a pout.

"Well that is a shame. Your magic is your birthright, Mr. Caliente."


Phoenix thought to cut into the conversation here but could not imagine what he would say. Dina smirked in a sinister, Dina-like way and Phoenix could feel the sharp prongs of her personal amusement aching to lead the conversation into more treacherous territory.

"You have to understand, my dear. Troy is a skeptic and a heathen," Dina chimed. Troy shook his head.

"I think the word you're looking for, Dina, is atheist," he said.

"Oh?" Nephele's expression contorted into one of naive curiosity. Phoenix noted her eyes which were brightly colored but fully human in their construction. They drank Troy in with a wonderment usually reserved for children watching circus animals preform tricks. Troy smiled uncomfortably.


"And now Mrs. Davenport, it is my turn to ask you not to look at me that way," he said. Nephele did not break her stare.

"I've never met an atheist before," she said. Troy shrugged in response and Nephele plowed on. "Why are we here if there is no God?"

"It is an irrational jump to look at the world around you and assume that there is a why."

"Then how do you explain the fact that we exist at all?"


"Don't you find that to be an unsatisfying answer?"


"On the contrary. If I placed a tooth under my pillow tonight and found a simoleon there in the morning and you told me that a fairy who collects teeth left the money, that would be an unsatisfying answer. There is no knowledge to be had of fairies so your explanation is no information at all. On the other hand, if you told me that my wife took the tooth and switched it for the cash, that would be satisfying. Puzzling and a little intriguing but still satisfying. There is plenty of knowledge to be had about my wife and based upon that knowledge, I can deduce that it is possible though rather improbable that she would exchange my tooth with money. First we determine that a) a switch was made and that my wife exists, then b) that she made the switch. Only then can we c) ask why there was a switch at all. There are far too many assumptions being made when you start off with a why."


"And fae magic?"

"Psychokinetic abilities that result from a genetic mutation. Faes are evolutionary anomalies, Mrs. Davenport."

"And Proximus Deus?"

"Partlings like you and me, shrouded in myth and superstition."

"Troy, this conversation is getting to be rather inflammatory and insulting," Dina interjected. There was something about the look on her face that told Phoenix she was more entertained than insulted. Nephele shook her head, never daring to glance away from Troy.


"I'm not insulted. I find you interesting as a specimen and symptomatic of our increasingly secular society but I think that my faith would have to be shaken on some basic level for me to feel insulted." Troy gave her a stiff smirk.

"That was never my goal, Mrs. Davenport. Only telling you what I know and only because you asked."


Phoenix, who had all the while felt like an outside observer to the proceedings, must have done something to draw attention to himself because Nephele turned her entire body towards him, clasping her hands in her lap.

"And what do you think, Mr. Goth, as a human brought up to lead a purely secular existence?"


Phoenix almost choked. In all of his twenty-one years, never had anyone asked him such a question.

"Well I- I'm an accountant, Mrs. Davenport. All I know is numbers. I- Well I did have religious studies in school but I was about a straight C student so I can't claim to know anything about anything. I sort of vaguely remember being taught something about simultaneity and infinity that made perfect sense to me at the time and seemed to explain things but I really don't know. Now I just tell my kids that if infinity is a mathematical certitude, then we have to accept that every ascertainable truth is true for all values of 'true', that every possible occurrence will happen once."


"So if there is a God, there both wasn't and won't be?"

"I don't know. I guess it depends on how you define possibility." Nephele inclined her head towards him.

"Being an accountant makes you an peculiar sort of philosopher, Mr. Goth."


Phoenix opened his mouth and closed it again, finding only more of nothing to say.

"I have been called worse, Mrs. Davenport."


  1. Disclaimer: I would not lead you all the way to this point in the story only to discover that Troy is right, thereby decimating the entire plot. :D

  2. BLOGGER KEEPS DELETING MY COMMENT!!! And everytime I retype it, it gets shorter. And there is but so much longer that I can sit in a warehouse, surrounded by cockrings, and retype it!!


    HAHAHAAHAHAHAHA, your disclaimer is excellent. But I was certainly waiting for the arguement of a disbeliever and Troy plays the role perfectly. I did, however, snort when Dina called him a heathen. Oh, Dina. Is she also affected by pretty people? She was almost CIVIL.

    Nephele is a hottie though. Although why is she about the Davenport? The Capps were high-falutin, weren't they? And she's educated. AND she's proper. Is she really with Hadit for old fogie love?

    And Phoenix is struck. I love it.

  3. Blogger is so craptacular that I have gotten into the habit of copying everything before I hit the "post comment" button.

    *looks around, afraid that blogger will smite me*

    *giggles at the thought of you hiding behind a mountain of cockrings*

    A person has to meet with Dina's approval rubric before he/she can get a semi-civil Dina:

    1) Breeding. Nephele passed this one with flying colors. Her father was a Capp. Her mother was a fae (last name of Hummel- a fairly high-ranking family amongst other faes).

    2) Accomplishment. Nephele graduated from the best theological institution in the country with the highest degree that it could possibly bestow.

    3) Who You Know. Nephele married an extremely rich old fart who also happened to be one of Dina's oldest friends.

    4) Appearance/Demeanor. Dina is especially hard on women with this one. And well, you saw Nephele.

    5) Money. EXTREMELY rich old fart.

    The Davenport name is on par with the Capp name. The Davenports are a much smaller family but they are also pretty influential. There are two Davenports with seats in the House of Lords, one of them being Hadit's twin brother.

    And Nephele is in love with her husband. She chose him, by the way (as it always is with fae couples). After she graduated, she told her mother, "Get me that man!" and her mother skipped off to make the arrangements with Hadit's two daughters. Hadit's daughters are in their 40's (and haven't made it to the family tree yet). When they asked Hadit if that marriage would suit him, he couldn't quite believe that a 19-year-old knockout would really want to spend her early adult years banging some old guy but she did.

    Also, Nephele doesn't know it, but she is about two weeks pregnant. They've been married for less than a month.

  4. Hmmm. This brings me to wonder about how atheism is regarded in this world. Obviously it would be a hugely blasphemous thing in Veronaville, but what about in Pleasantview or anywhere else? Are there many other atheists besides Troy, or are they few and far between? I totally hate religious conflicts and arguments in real life (I subscribe to the faith of "Why can't we all just get along?!"), but I must admit they're fascinating in fiction.

    Poor Phoenix was really a fish out of water here, wasn't he? He thinks differently than Troy and Nephele. Not saying he isn't a smart guy, but he's smart in a different sort of way. Hence the title, I suppose. Plus he's hot :P

    Dude. You're going to have to get Nephele's kids into your main gene pool.

  5. Why does Blogger suck so hard? I can't even paste a quote into this stupid textbox.

    "That pretty and inertia thing that Dina said" -- that made my day right there. *can't even use the cursor keys in this box* *kicks*

    All that to say I love Dina more and more every time I see her.

    And Phoenix and Troy! OMG! What a dynamic. That is me and Mr. Lothere right there. He's talking away, and I'm that dog in the Far Side cartoon hearing nothing but "Blah blah Kant blah blah Hegel blah blah Fellini..." and meanwhile I'm thinking his friend is pretty hot. And then his friend asks me a question and I blink a few times and open my mouth and something vaguely intelligent-sounding falls out. MAYBE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU TOO.

    Oh, Phoenix, you and I would hit it off so well. We could engage in an entire subconversation of our own while the others are eschatologizing and ontologicalating. You like math? WELL ME TOO!

    If only he weren't 21! And a fictional character! He looks so dapper in his white pants.

    Troy is hot stuff as usual but he is so out of my league.

    Maybe I am paying extra attention to this lately, but I thought your description of the body language and facial expressions and so on was fabulous. I never come up with details like that. I need to get out and talk to people more!

  6. In Pleasantview, the reaction to atheism depends on socioeconomic status. Mid Caste and up, people just pretty much roll their eyes and change the subject when someone like Troy goes on an atheistic rant. But any lower than that and the reaction is usually shock followed by anger. And amongst the characters we know, there aren't many atheists. There's Troy. And uhhhh... Uhhh... Oh! Felicity. Her atheism is kind of a secret though. Her parents would hit the roof.

    Phoenix is a fish out of water wherever he goes. He has never felt comfortable in social situations no matter who he is with or what is being discussed. In this case, Phoenix had more than enough reason to feel awkward. There was a debate about religion going on and you know what they say about sex, religion and politics as conversational topics. Phoenix was sitting five feet away from the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Hadit introduced himself by bringing up Cassandra to Phoenix in Don's house (although, Hadit could not have known that this was a serious faux pas). It was just a doomed conversation. Dina had lots of fun though.

    And I am curious about what this baby will look like. Their faces are so different...

  7. Oh. OH! I have that problem with Blogger sometimes too. Are you in Firefox? I think that's the browser where Blogger gives me woe.

    Dina is such a sour bitch. Every time I feature her in a chapter, I giggle the whole way through the writing.

    And your Farside analogy is hilarious. I actually hate riding around in a car with the boyfriend and his friends for the exact same reason. I can deal with it in some stationary and sizable space. You know, somewhere that I can walk out of at my leisure. The thing about it is, even if they start talking about theory and it's interesting and I have some thoughts, it's impossible to jump into the conversation. Impossible. I've met less chatty 16-year-old girls. And it's worse in some ways when they talk about politics because then I'm completely stranded. Their conversations are just peppered with names of people that I have no idea who they are or what makes them worthy of discussion. And then I start thinking about something else.

    *hehe* Well... If you like the following things, then Phoenix just might be the guy for you:

    1. math
    2. breakfast cereal
    3. etymology
    4. cartoons
    5. being asocial
    6. clutter

    You know actually Lothere, you two would probably be pretty good buddies. :D Phoenix is a tenderoni though. I wonder what he'll be like in ten years. Sadly, I think he will be bald by 35 so you might want to strike while the iron is hot. Or curly. Or something. Heh, and he kinda dresses like a man four times his age.

    Troy is the kind of guy that I would feel a lot of pressure to impress and depending on the situation, I would either really lay on the charm and the wit and the flirty or I would shrink back into my shell because he's just too intimidating. He turned Nephele's head far enough to give her neck trouble though.

    Oh, thanks Lothere! I always wonder if it's enough. I know the pictures are right there and you can see what the characters are doing and I don't want to bog people down with too much information... Eh, it's a tough balance.

  8. Ohhhhh, Phoenix. My LOLCats, let me show you them.

    I know, sometimes I think it must be easier to write without pictures. Then there's only one source of information, and that's YOU. I sometimes have the problem -- and I sometimes sense other Sims writers slipping into this too -- where I feel obliged to give blow-by-blow descriptions of what's happening in each picture. I'm talking details that I *wouldn't even write* if the pictures weren't there begging some sort of caption. OTOH I don't want to let the pictures tell the story to the point that the text couldn't stand alone.

    But as I said, you did a brilliant job of walking the line here. Reporting details that aren't obvious from the picture, but more importantly using them to characterize the characters, and to set up a good rhythm within a chapter that would otherwise be nothing but dialog and an occasional stray thought from Phoenix. Proof that there is just as much action in an upper class drawing room as in a barfight scene, if you know where to find it. ;-)

  9. It is MUCH easier to write without pictures (although if you try to write without pictures after just writing with pictures, you do kind of need to force yourself to actually describe the appearances of the characters and setting when writing without, but it doesn't take too long to get back into the grove there).

    "Sadly, I think he will be bald by 35"

    Okay, here's my good deed for the day. I am here to save Phoenix from baldness--or perhaps more accurately, to save all of us from the loss of Phoenix's hair--through the power of GENETICS.

    *clears throat* Baldness is a sex-linked recessive condition. This means that it is found on the X chromosome, and therefore, males can only recieve it from their mothers, as they would have recieved a Y chromosome from their fathers instead. The fact that it is a recessive condition is the reason that so few women actually go bald--they can only go bald if they are homozygous for the baldness gene, as the non-baldness gene will mask the baldness gene.

    Anyway, as women recieve an X chromosome from each parent, the general rule of thumb is this: if the woman's father is bald, then chances are at least half of her sons will go bald. HOWEVER, as we saw in Isabella's flashback chapter, Cassandra's father, Mortimer Goth, still had all of his hair, despite the fact that he was rather old. Therefore--unless Cassandra got a bald X chromosome from Bella, in which case I would probably CRY--Phoenix will not go bald.

    Sorry for totally spamming your comments thread, Pen. I felt that it was my civic duty to go to bat for those curls *scurries back to next THIV prompt*

  10. LOL, Van! I thought that someone might bring that up. But who's to say that my Mortimer didn't go bald at the very very end of his life? *hehe* I just feel like Phoenix has the soul of a bald man. But I have heard your plea for Phoenix's curls and will add it to the list of things that might make readers sad.

  11. That's a pretty good observation about sim writing actually. It happens to me too but I never thought about it before, that feeling the need to explain the images could lead to over explanation of the action. Much of the chapter writing, I try to do without looking at the images but I do need to take at least the occasional glance in order to semi-match what we're viewing to what we're reading. More often than not, my issue is that something will happen that there really should be an image for but alas, I will not have an image.

    And now I want to write a bar fight! I bet Jack has seen a few of those in his day.

  12. Nephele is stunning! I'm a hetero human woman & I can't stop staring at her. How could Troy ever resist? Oh & she has brains as well as beauty. Such a turn on.

  13. You know Lisa, in my original notes on the way that this conversation was supposed to play out, Troy was smitten, Nephele was way more feisty (though still extremely proper) and Phoenix wasn't even there. Phoenix came back due to popular demand.

    My intent with the first version of this chapter was to have Nephele be a foil to Dina. I wanted this to be a chapter about Dina meeting her match and somewhat getting her comeuppance for all of the misery she inflicts on other people. But alas, Dina will live to bitch another day. :p

    So how DID Troy resist flirting? He started off by flirting, kissing her hand and telling her that his Ashkay was no good (when in fact, the opposite is true). Then she did something that made him uncomfortable and that no one else in the room could have known about. This is why he was kind of holding her hand and looking at her stupidly for so long. He was aghast. She transferred energy to him through her hands. It would have felt a bit like a strong static shock to Troy but he knew exactly what it was and it would have been less personal if she had just shoved her tongue down his throat. People with magical abilities can't always control this. Sometimes the pull between life-forces takes place beyond the conscious will of the pair holding hands.

    *COUGH*Laurie and Cully*COUGH*

    However, Nephele was perfectly in control or else she would have been mortified. And the worst part is, when this happens, you can't always tell whether you did it, the other person did it or if you both did. So Troy was standing there for a hot moment wondering if it had mistakenly been him.

  14. ....were we supposed to pick up on that? I guess Phoenix couldn't possibly have let us on in that, but it seems a shame to have missed that little tidbit. Heheh, reminds me of Paul, always lifting the skirts of people's psyches and examining their natures up close. >8) I did wonder how Troy resisted.

    I for one am glad Dina kept on keeping on. She has got to be in my list of top 5 favorite DBL characters. Maybe top 3.

  15. Oh no, there would have been no way for you to have known that. Phoenix thought briefly that he had missed something but that's all we get from his perspective. It is a shame that I had to omit that detail but Troy is not the kind of guy to just call Nephele out in the middle of the living room. And that would have been the only way for Phoenix to know. Even then, he probably wouldn't have quite understood what had happened.

    Heh, I'm not sure there's a force in the universe that could permanently reform Dina (Caliente-Bachelor) Goth-Lothario. Her rancor is safe.

  16. I am so glad I read the comments before leaving my own. The comments here are almost as interesting as the story itself! And a lot of my questions were answered, not the least of which was what went down between Troy and Nephele. I wondered why he was staring and my first reaction was that he was pondering skirt lifting and Nephele in the same moment. Now I see it was something quite different.

    I have to agree that you keep an incredible balance between descriptive writing and the images. At one point I think I felt compelled to have a screen shot with every single detail and thankfully got over it. But I like to focus more on the writing than the images so I personally like to add descriptions or action especially when there is purpose behind it. It adds to the understanding of the character, the situation, etc.

    And I could not keep my eyes off Nephele either! Her looks, demeanor and personality were in complete harmony. Man I can't wait to see the offspring from those two.

    *copying and pasting my comment into a Word doc before hitting button*

  17. I second Gayl on the whole "reading the comments befor posting" business :)

    You can tell a woman is hot when all the readers (who just happen to be heterosexual women) tell you they couldn't keep their eyes off her. That's the case with me too.

    And oooh! That's what the MaCully energy moment was! I should have picked up on that. I can't wait to see how it plays out.

    Mm, regarding the religious aspect of the conversation and the comments, I too subscribe to the "Can't we just get along faith?" like Van ;)

    With that being said, it's very interesting to see how atheists are frowned upon by society. Obviously when you have supernatural creatures walking around and doing things you can't explain, it's only natural people believe in a God and so on. Very interesting to watch.

    I suppose there's more than religious faith (or lack thereof) to Troy's dislike for his Fae ancestry, right?

    Also, Dina is pure love. And so are Phoenix's curls. <3

  18. Gayl:

    Ha! Yeah, Troy must have been well scandalized because curvy redheads are his kryptonite. Now I have to wonder what made Nephele do that. She must not be as much of a good girl as she puts on.

    Thanks Gayl! And I agree. I don't have a horror of large chunks of uninterrupted text but I do wonder if there are readers who have that issue.

    Nephele is due in August. I am going with the first girl that she gives birth to, regardless of what the baby ends up looking like.

    Blogger is such crap. :D

  19. Maruutsu:

    WOOT! You're caught up! *confetti*

    *hehehehehe* MaCully! I love that. It is so something that Laurie would call him.

    Troy's rejection of his Fae ancestry has a lot to do with his rejection of his father's family. Troy's father was disowned by his upper class Veronaville family for moving to Pleasantview (which Veronavillers consider to be a bit of a hick town), settling down with a Townie woman, having a child with said Townie woman and then proceeding to fight for civil rights in government. Troy has always had a bit of distaste for that side of his family.

  20. Yay! Confetti!

    Can't really blame him, then. Does Laurie know about the Fae side of his lineage, though?

  21. Oh yeah, all of Troy's children know but I don't know that Laurie ever thinks about it. He certainly doesn't identify culturally with Veronaville or the Faes.

  22. There is something about Hadit and Nephele. Something I can't quite articulate. She is extraordinarily composed. And removed, distant. Troy lifting her skirt sounds like despoiling a temple priestess. And about as unlikely. Although I'm probably reading something into this that isn't there.

    You're going with the first girl regardless? Good for you! Doesn't always mean much because they change, they change radically.

    You find a nice balance between using text to describe what you can't or don't want to illustrate and writing a chapter of text with nothing to illustrate it.

  23. Nephele treats social interaction the way that an archeologist might treat an excavation. She does some digging, observes, records and leaves the site the way she found it, minus a few artifacts. She isn't quite like Dina or Troy who are typically very front and center as objects of inquiry. More often than not, Nephele is the inquirer.

    And you're absolutely right-- Nephele is not the sort of girl who would accept Troy's cell phone number by way of her bra. I don't know how typical it is for her to swap energy with a stranger the way that she did (and by Fae standards, that does count as cheating) but I would venture to say that there are Magi looser than she is, for sure. Maybe being married and finally interacting romantically with a man have brought her out of her shell? Dunno. She is still a very new character. :)

    Oh! I know that they change. Arnaud, for instance, is cute now but he grows up to have a head like something between Frankenstein's monster and a brick. Anyway, we've all seen Enoch and Horace. I'm not afeared of ugly offspring. I have yet to have a hideous girl though. Haven and Cathy are a little funny looking but not quite hideous. Enoch's little sister is showing some future potential. That might be fun.

    Thanks, Beth!

  24. Beautiful and cerebral and taking notes and maybe picking up an artifact here or there fits her. Is that a shell? She could be romantically and physically involved with a man and still be who she is. Sometimes the people who can watch and wait are labeled, the shell thing, but it's just who they are. And curiosity is part of that so I can definitely see her going where it leads her, whether it involves 'cheating' by swapping energy or not.

    Physical beauty is such an issue in itself. It's like winning the genetic lottery.

  25. Well, we have to evaluate Nephele within the context of her culture. Keep in mind that she comes from a world where men and women are kept pretty separate, where gender roles are heavily enforced and where you can find yourself maritally bound just by hanging out in public with someone of the opposite sex too often. This is hard to grasp from the standpoint of our culture where marriage constitutes a legal, social and often religious contract with very specific ceremonial rites but Fae marriage is by definition purely social. The instant that Kvornan and Tara arrived to temple holding hands, they were married (nearly giving Tara's poor mother a heart attack). They even compounded it by sitting in the end chairs with only the isle between them.

    Er, where was I? That was a total rant.

    It may just be that Nephele is by nature romantically conservative but there seems to be something of a spark of adventurousness there that would indicate that maybe if she had been fully human, she would be less austere. I'm not saying that she would be in a hotel room with Troy somewhere right now but that she might have spent her youth playing the field. Still might have ended up with Hadit though.

  26. I caught up with this a little while ago but don't think I ever got around to commenting and gushing over the incredible awesomeness that it is!

    This is another wonderful chapter, and is especially evident of what I love of this work. Your complex world of religion and socio-economics adds such depth and I admire the characterisation especially. You convey so much with their actions and words. Your pictures too are equally spectacular!

    Okay, enough gushing for now, but I'm looking forward to the next chapter as always.

  27. Hi Katee, welcome to the story!

    *confetti burst*

    And thank you so much! It is always awesome to hear that someone is enjoying the story. :D

    Also, maybe this will help prompt me to get my ass into gear and finish the next chapter. It's so close to being done but I've hit a rut. I blame Kvornan.

  28. Ooh, confetti, pretty :)

    If it does helps you in finishing the next chapter, then my services to the community are done. But seriously, Kvornan causing a problem, can't see that at all (*rolls eyes*). That will teach you create such extraordinarily deep and complex characters :)

    Good luck!

  29. *hehehehe*

    Oh, that chapter is so very close, Katee! So very close.