Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chapter 4: The Ballad of Tam Lin

Ariel Hawksquill, the town's doctor, has confirmed their second child will be a boy, and Meri and Allyn discuss names.

"I'd like to call him Tamlin," Allyn says, a blush spreading over her cheeks.

"I like it," Meri says, but noticing her color, asks, "Does that name have a special meaning for you?"

"You don't know it?" she asked, surprised.

"Should I?" Meri asks, shaking his head.

"Tamlin was a fairy, there are several stories and ballads about him. He was once a mortal man, taken by the Queen of the Fairies and turned into one of them. A young maiden encounters him in an enchanted wood and falls in love with him, gets pregnant, and then rescues him, turning him back into a human. Do you think any of that was true?" Allyn asks, a little disappointed that it's not common knowledge here.

"Mortals tell a lot of fairy stories, most of them probably have some bit of truth to them. The whole turning from human to fairy and back again sounds impossible," Meri says, "But it is true that Tania Summerdream used to take humans. She was trying to understand them, I think, trying to find some way to coexist. Of course kidnapping them, especially the children, didn't really help relations between the fae and humans. Why do you want to name our son after Tamlin?"

Allyn blushes again, deeper red, "I used to have this fantasy about meeting a handsome fairy in an enchanted forest and running away with him."

"Enchanted forests are hard to come by these days," Meri says, taking her hands.

"But I got my handsome fairy to run away with," Allyn laughs.

When their son is born, they name him Tamlin.

The young parents find their time filled by caring for their children.

Meri, a hopeless romantic at heart, teaches Brynne about the important things in life.

 Nothing could make Meri any happier than he is right now.  Except maybe another child.

 Allyn agrees to his plan, and soon a third child is on the way.

Tamlin becomes a toddler.

Brynne is happy to have a playmate in the nursery, rather than just a crying baby.

But Brynne's day in the nursery are coming to end.

Brynne becomes a child.

Allyn goes into labor a little earlier than expected, and Brynne birthday cake is interrupted.

Meri rushes Allyn off to the hospital, leaving their party guests behind. The Summerdreams have seven children between them, but are still utterly at a loss when dealing with labor. Brynne, however, is not going to let childbirth interrupt her cake time.

The party carries on while Meri and Allyn are gone. Casey, Erys and Melusine's oldest, now a teen, chats with her aunt Tansy, while Brynne gets to know her aunt.

"I'm your fairy godmother!" Tansy exclaims, tickling little Tamlin. Allyn had introduced her to the fairy godmother concept and decided to take on that role herself.

When it grows late, Erys tucks his nephew into his crib. He and Melusine recently had a third child, a boy named Aubrey, after hos own father, Auberon.

Meri and Allyn come home with their new son, Kalen, while Erys is in the nursery with Tamlin.

"I really need a shower," Allyn sighs as she tucks Kalen into his crib, "Can you take care of the cake plates?" She doesn't wait for answer, knowing her husband will clean up before bed.

Before he heads down to clean up, Meri takes a second to talk to his brother-in-law. They've both been so busy with their jobs and babies, they haven't had a chance to hang out like they used to. After boasting for awhile about their kids' looks, intelligence and cute antics, Meri asks Erys about the story Allyn told him about Tamlin.

"My mother never talked much about the old days," Erys says, admitting that he'd never heard of this Tamlin character, either. "But do you think it could be true, that my mother was able to turn a mortal fae?" 

"It's doesn't seem possible. But only your mother would know."

Erys' eyes brighten, and he smiles, "I'll ask her, then. Maybe she could..."

Superstitious, afraid of jinxing himself, Erys doesn't finish the thought. Instead, her pulls his brother-in-law into a warm embrace. "Thank you," he whispers.

Brynne wakes up early, hours before her first day of school, to get some time with her birthday gift, a new easel.

As the sun rises, Erys meets with his mother on the roof of the Summerdream house.

It has been a long time since Tania took a physical form, and she embraces her son fondly.

"I have three children," he tells her, "With Melusine Dayspring. We're married now." And he tells her about his sisters, their husbands and children.

"It is wonderful you are all doing so well, and Edgewater prospers so," Tania says, "You are all so fertile! But you called me here to speak of other things, I assume?"

"I want to know about Tamlin," Erys answers. Tania's expression shows confusion, and for a moment Erys' hopes are dashed, he should have known the story was some mortal fantasy. Not willing to let it go so quickly, Erys presses on, "It's a human tale. You took a mortal man and made him fae?"

"You are speaking of Tam Lin," Tania says, "Why do you ask about him?"

"It was true then?" Erys can barely contain his excitement, "You turned a mortal? You could do this for Melusine, and our children, so they won't have to die?"

"I did turn Tam Lin," Tania admits, "But what he was, and what he became...it was not as simple as your tale tells. After I changed him, Tam Lin prowled the woods, using the gifts I bestowed to seduce and prey on mortal girls. He was of us, but not. He was human, but not truly of them any longer, either."

"But Melusine is already part fae," Erys protests, "And our children...that won't happen to them."

"Maybe not the same way it happened to Tam Lin, but you cannot change from one state to another without changing in more fundamental ways. I will not do as you ask. Not to Bricelle's daughter, not to my own grandchildren."

"Then teach me how to do it."

"This is not some simple enchantment. The power I used to change Tam Lin was not solely my own. You have not spent the time engaging your magic that I had done when I set myself on that course. You are fae, my son, but you live like a mortal. If you truly wish to learn from me, you will need to work for it."

"I will do anything to keep Melusine and our children alive," Erys swears, determined.

"So you say," Tania answers, "But you have not even spoken to her of your plan, have you? Mortals, even those with fae blood, are surprisingly unwilling to give up their mortality. Only the foolish ones who don't understand what they are seeking actually pursue immortality. You have lived only the length of two human lifetimes, you have yet to feel the weight of time. When the centuries pass, you will begin to understand what the mortals know instinctively. It will take that long before you are ready to practice the kind of magic I could teach you, if you are determined to learn."

"But by then, Melusine will be..." Erys can't say it out loud.

"As long as you think like a mortal, son, true magic will elude you. Your goals are short-sighted and personal. To use your power, you must become your power. And to become your power, you must let go of your attachment to your life, be willing to leave your physical form and exist as pure spirit. When you are ready to do that, then come to me, and I will teach you."

Tam Lin (aka, Tamlin or Tamlane) is a real character from folklore. There are several versions of the tale, and ballads about him. I've changed some of the details of his story to fit my lore.
In case it wasn't obvious, folklore, fairy tales and world religion/mythology is an obsession of mine. So nice to be able to use it for something!

So, for the challenge, I've got the 3 required kids. I will have a hard time choosing an heir. All three have the artistic trait (to fit the Stylist career). Brynne also has Loves the Outdoors and Party Animal. Tamlin has Friendly and Kalen has Brave.
Meri's Misc. Fun is live your trait, and I've chosen Hopeless Romantic for that. So everyday, he makes time to romance Allyn, and also he fulfills every roll to amorous hug and kiss her. He gets those daily.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chapter 3: To sow the seeds of our own rebirth

Meri's family and friends gathered in the park for his wedding to Allyn. 

They vow to love one another forever, while their audience sighs and weeps.

"I wish I had words to tell you how happy I am right now,: he says, to soft for anyone else to hear.

"You don't have to say," she replies, "I feel the same."

The kiss is an obligatory part of the rite, but for that moment they are truly alone with each other, unaware of the applauding, sobbing audience.

After the ceremony comes cake and dancing under the gazebo.

Erys, still thwarted in his desire to marry Meri's sister, accuses Bricelle of influencing Melusine. Completely unfairly, as all Bricelle has ever wanted was for her children to be happy.

After the public party breaks up, they return to the Dayspring house for a family gathering. Bricelle is overjoyed to see her son settled down, but she worries about her daughter's relationship. Bricelle doesn't speak of her mother, who would have been immortal if she hadn't to chosen to die along with her mortal husband, but it's obvious she's been much on her mind

"I've never seen my brother happier," Melusine admits to Allyn. It was hard for her to come to trust a fox spirit with Meri's heart, but Melusine can't deny the obvious joy her new sister-in-law has brought her brother. "Welcome to the family."

Allyn hugs her gratefully. A family was all she ever wanted.

Meri tucks his niece into her crib before they leave. Her tiny hand clings to his as he sets her down, and she looks up at him with such innocent affection, he hates to let her go.

Meri brings up his desire to have children to Allyn, and she admits that she was hoping to get started on a family right away. But before they can expand their family, they need a bigger house. They buy a larger house on the other end of the street with plenty of extra bedrooms for children.

As soon as they are settled in, they put their plans in motion.

While she's upgrading the new toilet, Allyn suffers a bout of nausea, a sure sign of pregnancy.

Melusine has invited her to visit the nectary together, and Allyn excitedly tells her about her pregnancy. "Meri doesn't know yet. Well, he knows we were trying," Allyn laughs, "But I just got my first symptoms today. I'm not positive that I'm pregnant, but I'm mostly pretty sure. I can't wait to tell him."

"That's great," Melusine says, but her voice doesn't convey any happiness.

"Is something wrong?" Allyn asks.

"I'm sorry, I really am overjoyed for you and Meri. It's just, I'm having the same symptoms as you."

"You think we caught some bug, and I'm not really pregnant?" Allyn asks, deflated. She's never been pregnant, and was just going by what she's read about it.

"No," Melusine laughs, "I think we're both pregnant."

"Oh!" Allyn beams happily, then frowns, But you and Erys...I mean, is it...?" 

"Yes, it's Erys, there's no one else," Melusine says, smiling despite herself, "His parents were unable to have children for thousands of years, but Erys manages to get me pregnant without even trying."

"Are you...okay?" Allyn asks, not knowing how to put it.

Melusine grabs Allyn into a friendly embrace, "I really am happy for you and Meri. It's great our kids will grow up together. Don't worry about me, I'll figure out what I want to do about Erys eventually."

Allyn's pregnancy is soon confirmed.

"Do you mind if I watch TV?" Allyn asks, not wanting to disturb Meri while he studies his cooking books. He's hoping to be promoted to executive chef.

"Go ahead," he answers, not looking up from the page.

After a few minutes he puts the book down and leans over to put an arm around her. "Do you think it's a girl or a boy?" he asks, stroking her growing belly.

"Girl," she answers, "But don't let me interrupt your reading."

"Nothing is more important than you," Meri assures her, "I can read later."

Later he gets a call from Melusine; their mother has passed away.

The next morning, their daughter Brynne is born.

Meri wears his happiest face as they settle Brynne into her nursery.

His grief overcomes him while he's alone, working in his garden.

Somewhere in her past, Allyn parents abandoned her to the system. As she holds her daughter close, Allyn can't imagine ever letting her go.

After giving birth to a son, Avery, Melusine decided to marry Erys. The couple have a small ceremony at their house for family only.  

"I'm glad you finally deciided to do it," Meri congratulates his sister.

"Life is too short," Melusine answers, "For us mortals, anyway. Erys will be the one suffer, living on past after me, and our children. I wanted to spare him that, but he was right, he's going to suffer that now no matter what I do, and all I was doing was making him suffer now, and me along with him."

She doesn't say it, but their mother's death clearly inspired her decision.

Meri visits his new nephew, Avery Dayspring-Summerdream.

Jacelyn dressed up for the wedding, but stayed upstairs playing with the toys in Meri's childhood bedroom. Since Bricelle died, he's become withdrawn and unresponsive, retreating into his memories.

Melusine calls Meri later when they are back home, worried about their father. "I don't think he'll be staying around much longer," she says sadly.

His sister was right; Jacelyn died the next night.

Meri visits his parents' graves after work to mourn, doubly sad that his children will never know their grandparents.

Brynne is growing quickly, and it is her innocent joy that brings Meri out of his grief.

"We still have empty rooms," Meris suggests when they go to bed that night.

"Let's fill them," Allyn answers.

Soon after, Allyn and Meri are expecting their second child.

I'm using a mod that allows non-vegetarian Sims to make vegetarian meals, because that's always been a pet peeve of mine. However, the double recipes kind of screws with the Culinary Librarian LTW and the Menu Maven cooking skill challenge, in that these double recipes count against the total. So, Meri has achieved his LTW way too early, and has completed the Menu Maven portion of the cooking skill.
The LTW doesn't matter to the challenge, but he is going for the Perfectionist goal in the Cooking skill. Even though the game acknowledges as the menu maven as complete, I won't consider the goal complete until he's actually learned 28 recipes not including the veggie doubles.
Also, I think the new Pets recipes for gourmet pet food are skewing this LTW and the skill challenge, as they count as regular recipes in the skill tab. *rolleyes at EA*

Roll for Gen 2 is: Couple, 2 kids. Primary career is Stylist, secondary is Political. The goal is Social Bunny and the Misc fun is Fashion Diva.
Meri and Allyn need to have 3 children, I won't pick an heir until I've seen them all.

All the elders I started this town with have died, except Scarlett Goldbeard, who lives with his now YA son Rezi and his wife Liara. Like Scarlett and his sister, Mittens, Scarlett's children have married siblings, Ariel and Liara Hawksquill.

This chapter title is a line from the song 'A Passage in Time' by Dead Can Dance.
I forgot to mention that the title of the Prologue is a line from 'Pissing in a River' by Patti Smith.