Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chapter 65: Kvornan Finds A Window Reopened

Mon, November 30, 2074 8:42 pm- 88 Wilkins Ave.; Camden, Pleasantview


“Elise, could you get out here? Everything I touch turns to pornography!” Kvornan pressed the escape key hesitantly at first and then faster, more urgently. The advertisements glittered and multiplied, promising low monthly payments for services that Kvornan could not have read aloud without blushing. The fan in the machine picked up with a whir, blowing hot gusts of air across the dining room table. Startled, Kvornan pulled his hands away from the keyboard. “Elise?”

Ermengarde's stuffed giraffe peered at Kvornan from against the wall with its dark and polished eyes. He felt a sudden urge to tip the thing over.

"What are you looking at?" he spat.


“What are you moaning about?” Elise closed the hall door carefully behind her. Kvornan could feel her silently scolding him from across the room for shouting after eight o'clock. Her disapproval was enough to make his chest tighten. It was a foreign sensation that he did not have a name for and nonetheless, he was certain that he didn’t like it.

“I just want to check the weather,” he said, a defensive annoyance creeping into his voice. Again, he hit the escape button to no effect.

“Is it important?” she asked. Kvornan snickered at the absurdity of the question and the situation that prompted it.

“No, I just want to know.” He turned to look at her then.


Elise stood at the far end of the kitchen wearing the dress that he had purchased for her arrival to Veronaville. It was formal and billowing, though not quite what it should have been. She looked more like she was headed to a school dance than to meet with royalty but this was the best that Kvornan could do in a pinch. In any case, he had hidden the dress in the trunk of his car to keep Elise from doing exactly what she was doing-- Traipsing through the house without shoes so that her hem dragged across the soiled tiles and leaning her back against the filthy wall. He knew why she was wearing the dress and it wasn't just her childish vanity. She was making a point. Their connection was where his secrets went to die. Kvornan cleared his throat.

“You look nice. Now change into your pajamas and put that away before you ruin it,” he said flatly, hoping to seem unconcerned about the growing ease with which she was learning to read him. Elise rolled her eyes and began making her way towards him.

“I’m not a baby. I think I can keep a dress clean.”

“You are a baby and I know for a fact that you can’t keep a dress clean.” She stopped at the corner of the table. Kvornan stood up somewhat automatically at the approach of a woman. A little girl. A female personage, anyway.


“Please? Since it’s my birthday?” Elise whined. Kvornan shook his head resolutely.


“Please?” Elise reached up to wrap her arms around his waist and he took a step back, rejecting her advance. Her lips turned down into a pout but Kvornan held his ground. If she knew that she could wrap him around her fingers, she would. The last thing that he wanted on his conscience was her growing up to be the sort of spoiled brat that he was. Additionally, he was a little hurt that she would use his affection for her against him, no matter how petty the dispute.

“Don’t try to wheedle me.” He spoke over his shoulder at her as he turned to walk off.

Kvornan dropped down onto the sofa, careful to avoid the spot where Arnaud had spilled fruit punch earlier that afternoon. He picked up the remote control and typed in a random pair of numbers, not knowing what channel was which. Behind him, Elise shuffled her feet like a whipped dog seeking forgiveness. Part of Kvornan wanted to yell at her for that, too.

A couple on the television strolled through the park, languishing in the autumn leaves and in one another. The name of a drug to cure male impotence appeared on the screen, followed by the warning, “not to be taken while pregnant or nursing”. Kvornan squinted, certain that he had read something incorrectly. Elise settled onto the sofa beside him. She swiped the remote from his hand and turned the television off. Kvornan leaned back and turned his gaze to the ceiling.


“Either you’ve gone selectively deaf or I’m losing touch with reality. Didn’t I just tell you to get ready for bed?” he said.

“Tell me a story first.” Elise tossed the remote on the floor and sidled up next to him. Kvornan exhaled through his nostrils.

“All this from someone who claims not to be a baby.” He tried to avoid looking at her. He was angry but his anger lacked a concrete source and all that was left for him was to wish that she would simply go away. Elise lifted her body up from the seat and wrapping her arms around his neck, plopped down into his lap. Her formidable mass of tangled red hair brushed his nose and lips.

Go to bed. Perhaps if he thought it forcefully enough, the command would permeate her consciousness, drowning out her own stodgy inner monologue.


“I know you don’t want to get rid of me this early, hem tarshna,” she said. Kvornan's muscles tensed reflexively. He replayed the sentence in his head, assuring himself that he had not misheard her. Two words, common enough in his language but so sacred to him personally that hearing them aloud caused the hair on his arms to stand on end. A cursory sweep of Elise’s thoughts told him that she did not know what the words meant, only that it was some kind of term of endearment. Hem tarshna. My longing. But also, my thirst. Kvornan had only ever used those words with one person and only during a few, intensely private moments. He squeezed his eyes shut to keep the images from surfacing.

“What did you just call me? Elise?” Kvornan held back from grabbing her head and forcing her to look him in the eye. There was no way for the phrase to have accidentally crept into his thoughts. Elise must have actively sought it out, probing his memories for a particularly potent descriptor.

Kvornan brushed the hair from her face and gathered it at the base of her neck. He barricaded his thoughts from her behind a veil of gibberish, not wanting to alarm her by displaying the full extent of her trespass. Still, he did want her to know that she had set foot on hallowed ground and quickened the dead below.


Elise's eyes widened in realization. She grabbed Kvornan's waist and squeezed her apology into his flesh, hard enough to bruise. These were the same tiny hands that used to grab his collar in protest when he would stand up to go home. The same hands that woke him in the mornings by futilely searching for where he was ticklish. The same hands that had felt her mother's go slack while Kvornan himself tried to pretend that he couldn't feel her fear even from so far away.

“Tell me a story, Kvornan,” Elise whispered. And all at once, he understood. It was a plea for explanation. She wanted to know why she had access to the names that he called his lovers by. Why he had access to her dreams. Kvornan bit his lip and nodded compliantly. He knew exactly what he was going to say. He had preserved these words for her just as he should have recited them years ago, a time capsule of overdue confidences.

“In the beginning," he whispered. "There was nothing- An ever-expanding void, traveling outwards, filling spaces where no spaces had existed before. And the nothing was perfect and uniform and whole but as it expanded, it became increasingly polarized and eventually, it split."


“How can nothing split?” Elise giggled.

Shah. Do you want to hear the story or not?”

“Of course. Please continue, Mother Goose.” Kvornan pinched her side through the slick taffeta of her gown and she squawked so marvelously that he was tempted to do it again.

“Anyway, as I was saying, the nothing split. And for the first time, it looked upon its self as a man might look into his own reflection. One side admired the beauty of the other, believing that there is true perfection only through diversity; through the delineation between self and other. The second side was of the opposite opinion. There is perfection only in unity and symmetry and oneness. The separation, he thought, made them imperfect. And so the sides, with their differing opinions, fought.

When the side for unity tried to recombine with the side for diversity, the side for diversity shed his skin, thereby making a Third. This Third was of the first two and when it opened its eyes unto its Fathers, there was light. And so the side for diversity was then called Creator.

Horrified, the side for unity grabbed onto the Third, hoping to recombine with it as well. But the Creator grabbed the Third by the other end and pulled to save it. And as the two pulled, the Third splintered into three and then five. The Third, though it was one, began to regard itself as many and each of the five were named.

Closest to the Creator was the Ren and he claimed the Creator as his lord, promising his soul. Beside the Ren was the Ka and he promised his existence unto his lord, the Creator. Beside the Ka was the Ib--”


“That’s me!” Elise bounced on Kvornan’s lap and he grabbed both her wrists with one hand, forcing her to settle.

“That’s you. And the Ib claimed no lord at all since he was equidistant from both. Then beside the Ib was the Sheut, who promised his service unto the side for unity. And beside the Sheut was the Ba who promised to give his body unto the side for unity.

And even as this went on, both sides continued to pull and the Third continued to splinter. Soon, there were many Ibs and Kas and Sheuts and Bas and Rens, all separate but all one. When the Creator saw that he and his reflection were of equal strength, he ordered the Ren to break a bit of his soul into many small pieces in order to distract the other side. And these pieces were not of the trinity and they scattered, claiming no lord but behaving as they would. The trinity termed the pieces ‘daemon’ and the side for unity devoured all that he could, earning him the title of Destroyer.

The Creator was pleased with this result as the Destroyer could not devour all of the daemons without letting go of his side of the Third so he then instructed the Ren to make many more, even smaller pieces for the Ka to imbue with an existence that would be unpalatable to the Destroyer. This was done and the resulting entities were animal energies.

Infuriated, the Destroyer ordered the Ba to trap the entities within his own flesh. But spurred by the Ka, the animals continued to multiply within their confines. And so the Destroyer ordered the Sheut to collect the trapped energies, releasing them from the Ka and returning them to the nothing.

Time passed. Things became more complex and sophisticated. And the Ib, weary of the conflict, offered to be an impartial mediator between the sides. They accepted the offer in lieu of everything falling into ruin. The war in heaven continues but the Ib works to steer the universe to a place where we will all be one but still separate. As his first order of business, the Ib suggested that the Third be given domain over the corporeal and incorporeal entities that had been created as a result of the war. And so, the Creator crowned the Third king, or Deus Rex.

Deus Rex, being many, grouped its self into sets of five, each set to rule for a time and then rest for eternity. But before ruling, each King would cast his body into the flesh of the Ba, assume the existance of the Ka and live upon the Earth in order to observe and assess until the Sheut comes to collect. And so that is what we are. You and I will be seated upon the throne of heaven someday with me at your right hand and you bossing me around for five hundred years.”


Elise nuzzled up to Kvornan, her breath warming his collar. She twined her fingers through his hair at the base of his neck while his preternatural sense of hearing tracked the slowed rhythm of her heartbeat. She was falling asleep in his arms. Kvornan tried with difficulty to suppress a smile.

"How does it feel to be thirteen?" he asked. Elise's arms relaxed against his side.

"I don't know. How does it feel to be... How old are you, again?" Kvornan brushed an eyelash from her cheek with his fingertips.

"I'm twenty-seven or will be on my next birthday, just as I was on my previous seventy-seven birthdays." He didn't know what made him say it. A long-barricaded window was opened, inviting him back to an empty bar and to a man who believed that there was more poetry on the pavement than in the stars.

"I'm not so good at math," Elise admitted, yawning. Kvornan hoisted her higher onto his shoulder, preparing to carry her to bed.

"You have me to do for you what you cannot," he said.

November 18, 2050 3:04 am: The Vertigo; Sleighton, Pleasantview (Twenty-Four Years earlier)

Kvornan no longer walked but drifted. His aimless and indifferent meanderings often transported him exactly nowhere; winding through feral alleys where only drainage water ever ventured. But tonight, drawn along by a feeling, he took an uncustomary turn down Lytton Hall Street.

The feeling grew stronger as he headed away from the heart of downtown and into the industrial slums of Sleighton. Here, chain link fences rattled out their malediction and hot bursts of steam wafted from the gutter like miniature clouds, inverting the ground and sky.

He stopped at the entrance to a filthy, unmarked building. The pungent aroma of liquor told him that this was a bar. The noise level told him that it was empty. His strong and vaguely familiar feeling urged him forward. He pushed open the door.


“We’re closed. We reopen tomorrow at seven.” Kvornan stopped dead at the entrance. The lighting was less than scant. Every surface was coated in a thick layer of grime and at the back of the room was an incongruously bright figure, diligently scrubbing the sink. His hair was ashen and tussled. Nearly unmistakable. Kvornan cleared his throat.


Alexei Garrison shot him a cursory glance over his shoulder, then turned off the water and made a complete about-face.

“Oh! I- Hello.” Kvornan took a few steps forward, not bothering to respond. The last time that they had seen one another, they were both covered head to toe in sludge. Alexei made a joke that Kvornan could not remember for the life of him but that had almost made him laugh at the time. In any case, it was enough to make Kvornan wish that they had met under different circumstances.

Alexei smiled weakly while Kvornan looked him over, ever vigilant in the presence of other vampires.


Alexei’s knees were grass-stained and there was quite a bit of dirt impacted on the bottoms of his shoes. He would have to make a rather lengthy trek to get to the nearest patch of grass from Sleighton. Perhaps he played a sport. Kvornan spied something sticking out of his pocket. Magenta paper, wax-coated. Staring at it, Kvornan’s mouth tasted of corn syrup and food dye. Candy. The other pocket contained something metal and jagged. A ring of keys. Behind it was a slip of carbon paper. Kvornan focused and in his mind, he read the words, PARKING INFRACTION NOTICE: The below listed vehicle… He declined to read any further. In Alexei’s back pocket, Kvornan observed a prophylactic, used, tied off and tucked back into the foil.

“You are very easily the last person in the world I would have expected to see tonight. Here, have a seat.” Alexei pulled a barstool. Kvornan eyed it suspiciously before opting to sit down. He scanned the room, turning his attention to the dead flies and flickering overhead light.


“You work here?” Kvornan asked, running his fingers along the splintering wood of the bar’s ledge. Alexei smiled.

“Yep. Here, the dairy plant, the gasworks, June’s Bakery on Fifth. I suffer from an acute case of idle hands syndrome. Randall, isn’t it?” Kvornan shook his head in response.

“Call me Vince,” he instructed.

“Vince it is. So what brings you to this vermin-infested hole in the wall?”

“Just you.”


He was uncertain about the amount of interest that he had in the conversation but something was holding him there, forcing his plain honesty. He watched as Alexei propped his elbow on the bar and tilted his head into his hand to scratch, his body forming a triangle with the surface of the bar. From what Kvornan could tell, there was a little bit of the shameless and the eccentric in everything that this man did.

While Kvornan pondered the sort of person who would bring his head to his hand rather than bringing his hand to his head, Alexei scooted his stool closer to Kvornan, who raised an eyebrow at the strangeness of the gesture.

"Do you... Care to build upon that thought?" Alexei asked. Kvornan blinked, having momentarily forgotten the thrust of the conversation.

"I was out walking. I sensed someone familiar. I investigated. I found you," he said flatly. Alexei peered at Kvornan over his sunglasses.

"Uh hunh. I followed that story up right to the point where you were walking. And then?"

"I sensed you."

"Yes, that’s what I thought you said." Kvornan breathed heavily through his nose.


"You can smell different notes in the blood, can’t you? Genetic and spiritual information that's unique to the individual?" Alexei leaned away from Kvornan in surprise.

"Well yeah but not from a distance and through a door painted with urine, mate," he said, his tone hushed as though someone might overhear. Kvornan shrugged.

"I don’t require my sense of smell to know a person’s scent, as it were. I know it intuitively."

"That has to have its conveniences."



Alexei eyed him curiously, combing him over with his copper eyes before dropping his gaze in a very self-aware fashion. People only gave Kvornan that look under one set of circumstances.

"You know who I am," he said quietly. Alexei jerked his head up, startled.

He gaped momentarily before confessing, "I know who you were, if that’s what you mean." Kvornan cocked his head to the side.

"Does my being here make you uncomfortable?"

"No, not exceptionally. But I feel like I should warn you. You might not want to engrain yourself with too many of our kind. A lot of the others are pretty spooked by you." Kvornan choked, dangerously close to laughing.


"I think what interests me more than the information conveyed within that warning is the fact that you would feel the need to warn me," he said. Alexei smiled.

"Seemed like the right thing to do."


"Fellow feeling?" For a moment, the pair stared at one another, their confusion mirrored on the other one's face. For the life of him, Kvornan felt as though he were looking out of a window only to find someone else staring in at him. He shook his head rapidly, attempting to lose the possibility that a man could get to be a certain age and still believe in fellow feeling.

"I’m sorry- How old are you?" Kvornan asked. Alexei's eyes twinkled with mirth.

"How old am I?" he parroted, placing stress on the word old.

"It’s only that you seem a little… Naïve for one of us."


"I prefer to think of it as having the stamina for immortality. If I don’t let life kick my ass then it won’t. You might try it sometime."

"I don’t act according to philosophies. I act according to my will."

"Well can I offer your will a drink?"

"My will and I don’t drink."

"Of course you don’t. But to answer your question, I’m twenty-one. Or rather, I will be on my next birthday just as I was on my previous eighty birthdays."


Kvornan knitted his brow, trying to make sense of it. The candy. The four jobs. The purposefully saved condom. The eighty years spent pretending to still be twenty-one. But in the end, only a solitary conclusion could be drawn.

"You’re not like other people are you?" Kvornan said. Alexei laughed aloud at the question. To Kvornan, he sounded like a cartoon chipmunk.

"I don’t know," Alexei tittered. "What are other people like?"

Somehow during the course of the conversation, Alexei had drawn closer to Kvornan without him noticing. Kvornan drew his shoulders away from the other man, almost protectively.

"Not like you," he remarked.


  1. Author’s Note: I apologize for the impenetrable dark of these images. I had set the lighting in the living room for “Ermengarde Is Populated” to establish a mood and didn’t bother to change the lighting for this chapter, regardless of the fact that most of Part 1 takes place in an area of the room that is completely cast into shadow. Part 2 was supposed to be dark but it still wasn’t quite right.
    But anyway… Bald Kvornan, yes? It intrigues me how he can look as tasty as he does in that third shot and then manage to look so very extraterrestrial in every other shot. He’s a bit like The Man Who Fell To Earth.

    This was the first time that he and Alexei met properly after dragging blue lake for Bella's body. They meet again later when Alexei tracks Kvornan down but I expect we'll see that scene later.
    Also, I had a picture for this chapter where every beer tap except for the one with the label “La Mort Subite” (Sudden Death) was obscured. I don’t remember why I rejected that image in the end but just imagine it somewhere. In Part 2. With Kvornan’s head. Somewhere.

  2. Also! This chapter is dedicated to Veron whose birthday was like a month ago but I'm the slowest writer in the known universe.

  3. Yaaaay, DBL's back!! And happy very belated birthday, Veron! :D

    I think I'm going to have to read the origin story over again a few times. I'm off for exam break, and as such have been mentally sub-par :P

    LULZ at Kvornan being scared by all the porn. And The name of a drug to cure male impotence appeared on the screen, followed by the warning, "not to be taken while pregnant or nursing". That line made me laugh like a goon.

    It's amazing how crucial Alexei has become to Kvornan's story (since if I remember correctly, you made him in BodyShop and just couldn't resist putting him in the story?). It goes without saying that those two would definitely not be the same without each other. They should just get hitched at some point. Maybe have a nice little Veronaville penthouse and 2.5 kids :P

  4. This was a really well written and succint chapter especially as it covered so much. The story of the Dues Rex (et al) is so extraordinarily marvelous and complicated, it amazes me...I can't even get my head around Christmas shopping ;) I too think I reread is in order!

    I love Alexi and the eighty years spent being 21. He's immortal, what's everyone (especially some people I know) else's excuse :P

    Kvornan telling Elise that she had him to do what she couldn't made me go "aww."

  5. I'm probably going to do comments in sections, as I try to understand everything. I will start with the emphasis on age. Elise at 13. Kvornan at 27. Alexei at 21.

    Startling remark, "You know who I am" followed by "I know who you were." And Kvornan does seem naive. Or young. Very young. To be blushing at the net services.

    am I going wrong here?

    I don't see anything amiss with the lighting. It's dark, but it looks perfect to me. Your sets are always so perfect.

    and yes, there is a hint of David Bowie and The Man Who Fell to Earth. In more ways than one.

    always, always intriguing!

  6. Van:

    Exam break? Van! You're supposed to be studying! And sleeping so that you can be fresh as a daisy!

    Heh, Kvornan is having a moment. He needs some sleep. Ermengarde may be out of the woods now but he's still worried and sleeping in short spurts. Maybe the commercial did say what he thought it said but it's unlikely.

    Oh goodness, Alexei has become pivotal, not just to Kvornan's past but to his future as well. And you're right, Alec was just a random sim that I liked the look of so I slipped his character into the story. From there, he has taken on a life of his own. Not only would this have been a very different story without Alexei but Kvornan would have been a very different person.

    *hehehe* Is the Kvornan/Alexei penthouse the DBL version of the Vash/Paul cave? Well, let's see. Alexei already has a daughter and Kvornan has like .22222222222223 of a son. Maybe they're working on it.

  7. Katee:

    Thank you! I didn't actually read it all the way through before I posted it but instead in pieces. Then I looked at the length and worried that it had gotten to be rambling and cumbersome. I never expected this chapter to be this long, by the way.

    Gosh, Christmas shopping... Don't even get me started, Katee!

    *hehehehe* That made me laugh. It also made me wonder if Alexei would have clung to his youth in that way if he hadn't been immortal.

    Kvornan was pretty adorable here but I think that I'm still mad at him.

  8. "when the Creator saw that he and his reflection were of equal strength, he ordered the Ren to break a bit of his sould into many pieces in order to distract the other side."

    This bit really hit a spot. It's like I've read it somewhere else. I don't know, it could just be a deja vu kind of thing. I'm weird like that.

  9. Beth:

    You are always excellent at picking up the details! Kvornan is starting to touch upon the fact that Elise is growing and changing, nearing the end of her formative years, while he himself has permanently stagnated. Soon, he'll start to wonder what effect his 104-year-old mind will have on her 13-year-old one. But by then, he will already start to see certain differences in Elise's behavior.

    Alexei's, "I know who you were" remark is interesting in that when I wrote it, I thought that Alec was thinking, "You were Kvornan Tricou" but in retrospect, the comment does smack of Resistance Movement philosophy. Alexei might have meant something else altogether. It might have been, "You were the Sheut." He may have been something of a Dissenter at this point in his life. In fact, he may still be. I'll mull that over.

    Ah! I see your point about Kvornan but his issue had more to do with him being an old codger. He was going through a, "well, in MY day..." moment. Despite the fact that he was always a bit of a wild child, there are still parts of his very conservative up-bringing that he can't shake, even after everything that he has seen/done in his life. He still encounters things that are a culture shock to him.

    Par contra, Alexei is older than Kvornan by 21 years and if Alexei had been sitting in front of a pop-up that advertised a monthly subscription to [insert bizarre fetish here], he would thought about whipping out his credit card. Kvornan's aversion to pornography is a lot more of a cultural conditioning thing. And also a personality thing. But I'll get into that specifically in a future chapter.

    Thank you, Beth! The images looked ok on my home computer but on my work monitors, they are pretty muddled.

    Heh, and if Kvornan seemed a little alien and out of place in Part 2, it may have been because this was the longest conversation that he has had with anyone in many years.

  10. Lisa:


    This is a theme that comes up a lot in creation/origin stories. It's like Athena bursting out of Zeus's head. Or Eve being made of Adam's rib. It's that idea of taking a piece of someone else and using that piece to make others.

  11. Now I'm starting to wonder if I mentioned this somewhere else in the story.

  12. OKay, I totally lied, and I totally do need a nap because comprehension is out the window right now. I'm gonna come back and reread and clog your comments, per usual, BUT

    why is there a used tied off prophylactic in Alexie Poo's back pocket. Back story. I knoooooow there is back story. And I must have it.

    Unless, in my sleep deprived haze I missed reasoning. IF SO, SAY NOTHING, for I will be back to read in full freshly napped resplendent glory.

  13. V. Ron:

    There is a backstory to everything that Alexei collects. I still haven't decided whether the parking ticket was his (which is likely because he is a terrible driver and would have no qualms about parking absurdly in a no parking zone) or whether he swiped the parking ticket from someone else's windshield for his own inscrutable reasons.

    As for the condom, he kept it as a momento of his first trip to the top of the Pleasantview water tower.

    But the important thing to take away from this is that Alexei is a collector. He keeps things that only he knows the significance of and then he squirrels them away, sometimes never to look at them again.

    It might also be worth mentioning that he has Kvornan's wedding ring.

  14. Of all the things to collect, a used condom is so EWWWWWWWWWWWW!

  15. What really worries me is the idea that he might still have it. Imagine opening up your nightstand, finding a 24-year-old condom and thinking to yourself, "Oh yeah, that was good times."

    I think I'll tell myself that he threw it away years ago. Ok, that's cannon. He threw it away YEARS ago. :p

  16. I tried to comment when I first read this (like three weeks ago or so), but my browser was being a bitch. :/

    First, how old is Elise? Because she does *not* look thirteen at all.

    Seriously, Alexei, a USED CONDOM? It's good to know he threw it away, but still. *shudders*

    Kvornan turns into a ridiculously cute, nearly normal guy when he's with Elise. (Team Elise FTW!)

    This whole connection the two of them have is very interesting. I wonder how much they know about each other that the other doesn't even suspect.

    And their body language here also makes me question what level of intimacy they've reached. With her sitting on his lap like a child, but at the same time fully aware of how she affects Kvornan... weird dynamics going on there.

    Oh my, is Elise going to meet Tara? That should be... interesting, to say the least.

  17. Hey Maruutsu,

    Ack, yeah. That's just the perils of simming. Elise is thirteen. Her sim is in the teen stage (I age them up to teen at age twelve). She just happens to have a face that isn't terribly young-looking.

    Alexei's used condom is pretty disgusting but it doesn't freak me out nearly as much as Kelly's hair. (*blurgh*) And he does still have Kelly's hair both at home and in his wallet. There is a lot to do with the human body that would squick any normal person but that does not bother Alec in the least. However, he does draw the line somewhere.

    Oh yeah. Keep an eye on the way that Elise interacts with Kvornan in particular. She's getting a lot more of his conscious thoughts than he would ever get of hers. Kvornan is permeable, same as Ermengarde and Fricorith. The closer Elise and Kvornan become, the more she'll start to inadvertently be affected by his thoughts and personality. Elise is in for a whole world of inner conflict and outer Kvornan-ness.

    Oh, of course Elise is going to meet Tara. That's a given. I don't expect that it will be terribly awkward. Now Elise and Imina on the other hand might be pretty tense.

  18. Hi Im Jayd. I just started reading your story a few days ago and now that im finally caught up I gotta say (as eloquently as I am) It freaking rocks and shit. I think your writing still is delightful and I love those little details that make it all seem more alive. Like the maid and the towel.

    In this last scene with Kvornan and Alexei, Alexei reminded me of myself. Not that I collect used condoms or anything. Just little things I do that my bf pulls me up on. Like the head scratching thing. Lol and you should see random shit I have in my pockets/box-of-things-i-found. He seems to have an irreverent attitude to things that other people care about which endears me to him. Pity about the nasty mean crazyness, but I like him anyway.

  19. Hi Jayd!! Welcome to the story!

    *confetti* *balloons* *hot guys jumping out of cakes*

    I'm glad that you're enjoying it. And when I think about Alexei's hoarding tendancy, I wonder if this is a manifestation of my own personality in him. I mean, it was a conscious decision that I made for plot and character development reasons. (I have a little drabble planned where we will learn a more about his hoarding.) But when I was a child, I used to stuff my pockets with rocks and perfume samples. With the rocks, I was very descriminating about what I wanted and why I would keep it. But with the perfume, it was everything from every perfume counter I ever wandered over to while my mother was shopping. Maybe there's a part of me that remembered this habit and in wanting to make Alexei sort of childlike, the hoarding occurred to me? I don't know.

    And you're absolutely right! Things that other people take seriously, he doesn't. Not at all. Life used to be one big slumber party for that man. And for a time, that was exactly what Kvornan needed. Unfortunately though, any interpersonal relationship with Kvornan is bound to turn ugly if given enough time and opportunity to fester. Even, potentially, his relationship with Elise.