Friday, February 10, 2012

Chapter 8: Tear off your own head (It's a doll revolution)

Tamlin goes to the Summerdream house to visit his friend Sylvie, who just became a teen a few days after him.

"Let me give you a makeover," he says when she greets him in the old mansion's huge, empty entrance, "I can completely transform you."

Sylvie isn't so sure she's up for being completely transformed, but she'd rather go along with Tam than turn him down, so she brings him up to her room.

"There," he says when he's satisfied with his work, "You look amazing, Syl. The other girls will be jealous."

"Okay, I guess," Sylvie murmurs.

"Okay?" Tam sputters, "What's wrong, Syl? Don't you like the dress? Or is it the hair?"

"No, it looks great," Sylvie sighs, "But does it look like me?" Sylvie glances in the mirror beside her, not recognizing the girl in the reflection, "Tam, my whole life, I've had to live up to my mother's expectations, be what she wants me to be. I don't want to be a doll for you to dress up on top of that."

"It's not like that, Syl," Tamlin protests, "I mean, I do like to play dress up. And I did kind of have this image in my head, of you and me, being the coolest looking couple in Edgewater. But I only want that if it makes you happy, too. You don't need clothes at all, I'd still want to be with you, even without them."

Tam blushes at his own words, "Uh, I mean..." he stammers.

"What other images of me do you have in your head?" Sylvie laughs.

"I'd better not say..."

Sylvie pulls him into her arms, "Better just kiss me, then."

Sylvie decides she loves her new look, and she does rather like the idea of being one half of the coolest looking couple in Edgewater. They decide to show themselves off at The Octopus's Garden.

It turns out though that the club is dead tonight, and there's no one around to se how cool they look together. But Tam and Sylvie are too wrapped in each other to notice.

Brynne tries not impose too much on Raymundo. As a teacher, he really does have to be careful about the out of school time he spends with students. But they do keep in frequent contact by phone.

Meri overhears his daughter's conversation with the young teacher, and shares his concerns with Allyn.

Allyn decides it's time for a mother-daughter chat.  "I know how overwhelming it can be," she says, "All these hormones putting pressure on you. It's hard enough just being a teen, but add to that our needs as fox spirits..."

"Mom!" Brynne protests, horrified, "I'm not even dating anyone!"

"But there is something going on between you and Raymundo Hawksquill, though. You're always on the phone with him. I've heard your tone when you talk with him."

"There's nothing going on with me and Ray!" Brynne denies vehemently. Allyn gives her a hard stare, and Brynne relents, "I did got to prom with him, and we did kiss. And stuff. But not, you know, 'stuff'. And, yes, I'm still attracted to him. But I do have self-control, you know. And so does he. I barely see him outside of school. He's free to date if he wants, and so am I. But that hasn't happened. For either of us."

Allyn smiles, "You're a lot more responsible than I was at your age," she says, "I'm proud of you. Just, remember to be careful, when you decide you are ready..."

Brynne rolls her eyes at her mother. "Ray loves being a teacher. I wouldn't jeopardize that for him. And I'm not completely at the mercy of my hormones, you know."

It doesn't take much to set Keira off. All Jasmine did was ask her daughter to get ready for her first day of school, and she was met with a tide of anger.

"I'm not going to stupid school!" Keira rages, "I hate you!"

It's been like this since before Keira could even talk. As a toddler, she'd throw her toys and break them, and she bite and scratch her parents when they'd try to calm her. Jasmine and Dennis hoped it was a phase she'd grow out of, but Keira reached childhood with the same temper.

"Sweetheart, school will be fun. You'll make new friends..." Jasmine cringes at the thought of her daughter's temper encountering other children. If it doesn't work out, Jasmine might have to give up her new job and home school Keira.

"You're a terrible mother," Keira sneers in disgust.

Dennis comes downstairs and hears the exchange.

"Don't ever talk to your mother that way!" Dennis shouts.

"Honey, please, shouting doesn't help," Jasmine soothes.

"Nothing helps," Dennis sighs in defeat, "What are we going to do with her?"

"I wish I knew," Jasmine says softly. They had talked about having more children, but that won't happen until they can figure out how to parent the one they have.

Keira listens in silent outrage as her parents discuss her like she's not even there.

Jasmine almost expected the call from school, asking her to come in for a conference with Keira's teacher. Keira got into several fights with other children right from the start of the school day. Melusine Dayspring, her boss, was kind enough to let her out of work early, and when Jasmine arrives at the school, she find's her husband, the school's coach, already in discussion with Raymundo Hawksquill.

Before Keira Bowman even entered his classroom, Raymundo had known what she was. Aymeri himself had come to the young teacher and tasked him with the job of revealing the truth to her parents. "In the world they come from, it's pretty common for teachers to inform parents of issues with their children," the dragon had explained. The glamour Summerdream had laid on the couple had been slowly lifted in the days prior to Keira starting school, so by now, they would be full of questions for their child's teacher. Ray had been preparing for this day.

"Keira is a very special little girl," he starts.

"She's not 'special'" Dennis seethes defensively, "She has a temper, but she's not slow."

Ray chides himself inwardly for his word choice. Of course, out there, 'special' has connotations beyond what he meant to express. "Of course," Ray says, "She's very bright, actually. But her temper would be not be normal for your typical human child. Keira is not a typical human child." Ray pauses to let his words sink in.

"Are you saying Keira isn't human?" Jasmine gasps, picking up his meaning.

"None of us are, here," Ray answers, "Edgewater exists as a haven for people with...magical...heritage. Elves, fairies, gnomes...but your daughter is rare even amongst our kind. She's a dragon. A true dragon."

"You aren't serious," Jasmine answers. "Elves? Fairies? And Keira is a dragon?"

"I'm quite serious. Surely you've seen people here with what you'd think of as peculiar skin or hair color, pointed ears..."

Jasmine glances at her husband, they'd just been talking the other day about how odd some of their new friends were. They hadn't noticed when they first came to town, maybe because they were used to seeing strange hair and general weirdness in L.A., but lately it had started coming to their attention, that their new home was bizarre even by L.A. standards. It never occurred to either of them that their neighbors were elves or fairies, though. Jasmine can't believe she's even entertaining that thought now.

"Okay, so let's for a moment say I believe that there are elves and fairies here in Edgewater. How can Keira possibly be a dragon, when they are lizards, and she's obviously a little girl?"

"Dragon's can take many forms, not just the great lizards you are thinking of. Many generations ago, a dragon named Aymeri married one of your husband's ancestors, a human woman, who had some fae ancestry. Most of his descendants took after his mother, and were halflings, mortals with fae ancestry. But your daughter was born a true dragon, which is very rare."

"My grandma Becky used to talk about her grandfather, he was, uh, a criminal, I guess," Dennis says,  "She said he'd use 'elfin magic' to avoid detection and escape from difficult situations. She told me a story about him doing a job with grandfather, who was a dragon."

"And you believed it?" Jasmine asks.

Dennis blushes, "Not at the time, no. I thought she was senile, or pulling my leg. But now..."

"Becky Bowman's grandfather was Rory Bowan, the grandson of the dragon Aymeri," Ray tells them. "Her husband Kaiden was from the same line, the grandson of Rory's sister, Kelsey."

"Eww, your grandparents were cousins," Jasmine says, "But how do you know so much about Dennis' family?"

"Hawksquills keep the genealogies of everyone in town. It is our job to know these things. You also have magic in your ancestry, though it goes so far back it was nearly impossible to find it. One of your ancestors bore a child to an ifrit. That makes you the first of your kind in Edgewater. Though I've heard that Moth has tagged an ifrit halfling not too long ago, and we may see him come to Edgewater yet."

Jasmine decides not ask what an ifrit is, or who Moth might be. "So, what does this mean for Keira, being a 'dragon'?" She refrains from actually making air quotes around the word, but they are clear in her inflection.

"Young dragons have terrible tempers, as you've seen. I've been preparing myself to be able to help guide her through this difficult time, to show her how to control the rages. And I can help you understand, as well. More importantly, Aymeri will also be involved, though he hasn't lived in physical form for a few generations now. But, it really takes a dragon to parent a dragon, so he'll be with us here in school everyday, and he'll spend time with you at home, as well."

Dennis glares sharply at the teacher, "You've known about this since we came here? And you're only telling us now?"

"Would you have believed it if we told you before your daughter's temper manifested?" Ray asks.

The couple turn to each other for support. It's a relief to have an explanation for Keira's out of control temper, and a plan to keep it check, but it's a hard explanation to accept all the same.

"What do you think?" Dennis asks his wife in a whisper, "Are they all crazy? Do we stay here and trust these people, or do we run screaming from this town?"

"It just seems so impossible," Jasmine answers, "But if it's true, it's Keira's best hope. If it's not...well, where would we run to? Any other school system would put her on drugs, or kick her out. I say we stay, and try to believe in magic."

Chapter title is a song by Elvis Costello

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chapter 7: Hot for Teacher

Allyn visits the new neighbors, the first family to move in since she came to town with Meri. The Bowman's are from L.A., and Allyn and Jasmine share a wry sense of humor, which helps break the ice.

"How are you handling the change?" Allyn asks her new friend. "Coming from the real world to Edgewater can be quite an adjustment."

"Everything is wonderful here," Jasmine says with a smile, the merry sparkle in her eyes dimming, "Everything is perfect."

"It was creepy," Allyn tells Meri later, "They were perfectly normal, and then Jasmine got all Stepford wifey. Like her personality just disappeared."

"It's the glamour," Meri explains.

"You actually glamour people to get them to live here?" Allyn is aghast. "You told me people come here of their own free will."

"I don't like it, either," Meri admits, "But the Bowmans are a special case. Aymeri says their daughter is a true dragon, which means growing up out there, without guidance from people who understand her, would be difficult for her. More than difficult, as they are prone to violence and extreme mood swings. So, they had to be brought in for the child's sake. The glamour Summerdream put on them is very mild, it just makes them not question anything."

"It's still wrong to do that to them."

Meri nods, "I agree with you. But Summerdream does what she thinks is best. Once the Bowmans have settled in and met everyone, the glamor will be lifted. By then they'll be used to green and blue skin, and magic, and all this will be normal to them."

Tamlin went to visit his cousin Aubrey after school, but Aubrey couldn't be pried away from his computer game. So Tam was left with Sylvie Summerdream, who also came to visit Aubrey and was left out in the cold. Together, they make fun of their mutual cousin.

Brynne's prom come up before she's had time to find a date. But she gets a last minute offer on the day of the prom from Raymundo Hawksquill, who had recently broken up with his long time girlfriend Tenanye Summerdream. 

Brynne expected the date to be as just friends, but over the course of the evening, she and Raymundo developed a romance, and she even had her first kiss with him.

The day after prom, she visit Raymundo after school. "I'm graduating tomorrow, you know," he says with deep regret, "I didn't mean for this...for us..."

"You haven't graduated yet," Brynne says, grabbing him before he can back away, "Don't waste our last chance worrying about tomorrow."

Raymundo graduates the next day, becoming an adult. A true Hawksquill, he can always be found with his nose in a book. All the Hawksquills either work in the Landgraab Institute as doctors or researchers, or they are teachers. Raymundo, named for the Raymundo of the famous and beloved series of children's books, chooses to go into education. 

Tamlin soends his last few hours of childhood beating on his brother Kalen with a pillow.

When his father gets home from his work at the restaurant, the family has a cake. Their cousin Avery is there because he followed Brynne home from school.

Tamlin becomes a teen.

Brynne visits Raymundo at his new house. When he invites her in, she throws her arms around him.

"Brynne, this is...awkward," Raymund says as he pulls out of her embrace, "I'm a teacher now. And you're still in school."

"You're a grade school teacher," Brynne points out, "And I'm in high school. It's not like you're my teacher."

"It's still...inappropriate," Raymundo answers, choosing his words carefully. He's always careful about words; they have their own magic, and the wrong ones can cause irreparable damage.

"I'm not going to do anything to tarnish your reputation at school," Brynne says, leading him to the couch, "We're just hanging out."

She gestures as she speaks, and Raymundo watches her words form clouds in the air above her head, always meaning more than their simple definitions.

"I'm concerned about more than my reputation, Brynne," he tells her, "You've just started high school, you should be out with kids your own age. Going on dates."

"Well, Heath Bramble is kind of cute," Brynne teases, enjoying the red flush on his cheeks.

"Heath is going steady with Maurelle Summerdream, isn't he?"

"For a grown up, you're awfully informed on high school gossip," Brynne laughs. "Anyway, I'm not interested in Heath Bramble, or in your cousin Grant, or anyone else. I'm not going to go on dates just because it's what I'm supposed to do."

"I'm not trying to set you up with anyone," Raymundo says, his blush spreading further, "I just want...You should be free. Not waiting on me."

"I am free, Ray," Brynne says, "I don't expect you to wait on me, either. But, you know, if when I graduate, we're still both free..."

"Of course," Raymundo answers, "But in the meantime, for you and I to be hanging out..."

"Tutor me," she says, "If you're helping me with school, we aren't just hanging out."

"You don't need help," Raymundo protests, but he sits beside her and looks over her homework just the same.

Raymundo Hawksquill is the son of Gysael (Goldbeard) and Ariel Hawksquill. He really did ask Brynne to prom at the last minute, she got his call just as the limo had arrived to pick her up. And atthe prom, they had their first kiss and he asked her to go steady. And then he aged up and became a teacher. Awkward. 

To report on my challenge goals: Meri only has one skill challenge in Cooking left to complete Perfectionist, to make 75 meals. He's up to 65 now.
Pretty soon I'm gong to have to build a proper legacy house. The one they are in was the best they could afford at the time, and it's been good so far. But it's a 20x20 with no room to grow. I will need an in-law suite and more rooms for hobbying and also a dedicated nursery.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chapter 6: The Fortune Teller

Meri and Allyn throw a birthday party for Kalen.

All their close relatives and friends come to celebrate.

Only Erys is noticeably absent. Melusine explains that her husband has become introspective of late, sometimes disappearing altogether, the way the pure blooded fairies do.

"He's depressed about my aging," Melusine confides in her brother, "And he's been trying to get Tania to work some kind of magic on us, to make us all fae. I'm afraid that while he's gone...wherever they go when they leave their bodies, he's working on learning his mother's magic."

Kalen becomes a child.

For one brief evening, all three Dayspring children share the same age group.

The next day is Brynne's birthday.

Brynne becomes a teen.

Erys has returned to his physical state, and the transformation has left him vulnerable to his emotions. He breaks down in tears when his wife approaches.

"Stay with me, Erys," Melusine whispers, "Stop trying to change what I am, and just be with me."

After his siblings have their birthdays, Tamlin decides he needs a transformation of his own, and gives himself a makeover.


Dennis Bowman had a bright future ahead of him; like his grandfather Kaiden, he was on track to be a superstar athlete. And in one afternoon, all his dreams and prospects were destroyed by an injury to his back that made him ineligible for professional sports.

Jasmine turns to embrace him after setting their daughter Keira into her swing. "Give her a bottle in two hours," she says quietly, "The sitter should be here a half hour before your shift. I left a note on the fridge for her."

Dennis promises to take care of Keira while she's gone, but his words feel hollow. He'd promised her lots of things he wasn't going to be able to deliver now. When she got pregnant right out of high school, he promised she'd have as much time as she wanted to raise their daughter before she had to go out and work, and now instead of taking her time to find the perfect career, she's been reduced to taking a part time job at the grocery just to help pay the bills. The money he's bringing in as a bartender just isn't cutting it.

"I wish you didn't have to this," he says.

"It's all right, Dennis," she reassures him, "We'll be fine. We have each other."

On her way home from work that afternoon, Jasmine sees a fortune teller's sign in a nearby shop, and wonders that she never noticed it before. She doesn't believe in this sort of thing, but something draws her into the open door.

"I am Madame Ico," the fortune teller announces, "How can I help you, child?"

"I was just looking," Jasmine says, feeling a little silly for being here. Both the room and the woman are completely overdone, like some cartoon carnival. There's no way anyone could ever take this seriously.

"Come," Madame Ico gestures, "Let's see what my crystal has to show you."

"Oh, I really can't afford..." Jasmine fumbles, wishing she hadn't stepped through the door, "I should really go."

"Madame Ico has no need of your money," Madame Ico insists, "Sit down, sit down."

Jasmine sits across  from the fortune teller, and tries not to be amazed when the crystal ball lifts from it's pedestal. There must be some trick to it, she tells herself, none of this is real.

"I see, I see things have not been going well for you. Your husband has suffered an injury. You are not making enough money to support yourselves, and your little girl."

How does she know all that? Jasmine wonders, still not truly believing. These people have their ways of convincing the gullible, and Jasmine has no intention of being taken in.

"But do not fret, child," Madame Ico continues, "I see great changes ahead for you. Your husband will be offered a job in a different town. There, you will be happy, and prosper."

For a moment, Jasmine sees an idyllic little town in her mind's eye, and feels an indescribable feeling of peace, like she's come home after a long journey. When the image fades, she's left with a sense of loss, and the conviction that if she could just find this town, all would be right again, the way it was meant to be.

"I see these changes coming for you soon, child. Before this week is done, you will be living a new life," Madame Ico finishes her reading with a dramatic flourish.

Jasmine leaves the fortune teller's shop buoyed in spirit, feeling like all her problems have disappeared and nothing could possibly go wrong for her family now. She can't quite explain this new confidence to herself, because she doesn't believe in fate or fortune tellers.

Las Bebidas is pretty dead this afternoon, which means Dennis won't be bringing in many tips. He kills time wiping down the tables that no patrons have yet come in to dirty. 

"Dennis Bowman," the lone customer surprises Dennis by calling him by name as he takes his hand, "My name is Merle Waters, I represent Edgewater Academy."

Dennis smiles dully, not sure if he should know the man's name or this Edgewater Academy.

"We're looking for someone like you to head our sports department," Waters explains.

Dennis balks; did this guy actually walk into his bar to offer him a job? He can't be for real. Fearing some kind of scam, Dennis questions the man, and learns that Edgewater Academy is a small town school, in desperate need of a sports department. 

"Why me?" Dennis asks.

"We vetted several candidates, and you're the best fit for Edgewater," Waters explains, though it doesn't really explain anything.

"I have to discuss this with my wife," Dennis, "Moving out of L.A. is a big decision."

"Of course," Waters smiles amiably, handing him a business card. "Take as much time as you need, and call me when you've decided. Edgewater will assist with your relocation and help find housing for you and your family in town, should you decide to join us."

"Baby, the strangest thing happened today," Dennis tells his wife as soon as he gets home, "This guy walked into the bar and offered me a job. Heading the sports department at Edgewater Academy."

"What's Edgewater Academy?" Jasmine asks, holding in the strange thrill of having the fortune teller's prophecy come true so suddenly.

"It's a small town school. Somewhere east of here. The salary they're offering, Jas, it's hard to turn down. And they're even offering to help with the relocation. But, we'd have to leave L.A."

The image of the small town she envisioned at the fortune teller's place come to mind, calling to Jasmine. "It sounds wonderful," she sighs, speaking as much about her vision as she is about his job offer.

"But what if it isn't?" Dennis worries, "We know nothing about this town, we have no idea what we'd be walking in to."

"We don't know what's there," Jasmine admits, though inside she feels like she knows this Edgewater better than any place in the world, "But we do know what's here. Neither one of has been able to get more than part time work, and we're barely making rent. If things don't look up, we'll have to move to a smaller place. We can't raise Keira like that. This sounds like a real chance for us, Dennis. I think we should take it."

Dennis smiles. "As long as you think you'll be happy," he says.

"I know we'll be happy," she assures him, "We have each other."

Dennis Bowman was made by playing with genetics of Kaiden and Becky Bowman (the Gen 6 heir and first spouse of my Roman legacy). Dennis is Kaiden's grandson in the story, and is a descendant of Tearney Bowman (nee Roman), Aymeri's daughter. FWIW, Becky was also descended from the Bowman line, being Rory Bowman's granddaughter. I didn't mention the family connection in the legacy when Kaiden and Becky got married.
Dennis and Jasmine's scenes were shot in Los Aniegos.

As for my legacy, it's going along. Meri is still working on his Perfectionist goal. He spends a lot of time cooking. Luckily he has the culinary carer reward fridge, so all these extra meals he makes don't go to waste.
While Tamlin's 'fashion diva' requirement doesn't officially kick in until he reaches YA, he's already doing it. He'll be a teen in 5 days or so.