Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chapter 10: The Long Game

The Coco Bongo Lounge was completely empty tonight, Thierry and Amelia have the whole place to themselves. It would be a perfect night for romance, but Thierry's thoughts are troubled, about the truths he hasn't revealed to his love, or the danger she may be.

"I need to tell you something," he says, his voice quiet, hesitant. She leans closer into his embrace, ready to accept whatever he has to say. Her trust is given to him unearned, he thinks, and that strengthens his resolve to tell her everything. "I'm not entirely human," he says, not the easiest words to speak.

Amelia looks up at him, smiling, like she's playing along with a joke, "What are you, then?"

"I'm not joking," Thierry says, "I'm part fae. My grandmother, Jennicor Tricou, was a fairy. She married a human man, and her daughters are half fae. My father..." Thierry hesitates here, but then continues. It's time for all the truth, "He is part fae, as well. He was a shaman once, he lived a long time ago. My mother resurrected him."

Amelia's mouth opens and closes  a few times while she thinks about what to say. "I guess it makes sense," she says, "It explains a lot about your family."

Thierry laughs, "We try to fit in, we really do. But while we can hide the truth, we can't complete disguise the fact that we're different. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before I introduced you to my mother. I wanted to get away from my heritage, I hoped that when you and I grow up and marry, I could just be fully human and pretend my family is just eccentric. But my mother is right, I can't run from who I am, and you need to know me, the real me."

"I've always known the real you, Thierry. just another detail. It doesn't change who you are."

"You still love me?"

"I will always love you," she answers. She turns her face to him, pressing her lips against his. "Does being part fae give you any special powers?" she asks.

"I can sense other fae creatures. Like you, for instance. Somewhere in your ancestry there's a flower sprite."

"My uncle says his great-greatgrandmother married a man whose mother had green skin," Amelia says, "I always thought he was making that up. But maybe that's the flower sprite?"

Thierry nods, "I would think so. There is one more thing you need to know. Zhenzhen isn't human, either. She's a fox spirit."

"She's never claimed to be a normal child," Amelia says, "She says she was a spirit inhabiting a doll Li Feng inherited from her mother. She says she was sent to by Sun to protect her daughter."

Thierry frowns, "No one sends fox spirits anywhere; they go where they will. And they don't normally take on the role of protector. They are tricksters, and they can be dangerous. Keep an eye on her, let me know what she does. I have sought aid from my fae relations, but I have not received a reply yet."

Zhenzhen spends a lot of time hovering around Hawke.

"Why don't you go play with Li Feng?" Hawke asks, not pausing his song.

"Li Feng doesn't want to play with me," Zhenzhen says bitterly, "She wants to make new friends."

Hawke smiles indulgently, "It's normal for her to want to have more friends. I'm sure she'd love it if you joined her."

"I like being with you, Hawke. I like listening to you play."

"All right, you can stay up here with me," Hawke says, "Just as long as you stay quiet."

Moth brought Thierry a return message from Summerdream. "She says she'll meet you by the standing stones, at night." So Thierry risks curfew, an alien concept to the fae, to meet with Tania Summerdream, his Grandaunt.

"You seek my aid against a fox spirit?" Summerdream says when he approaches her, "What has this fox done to you?"

"Not to me. To the family of my betrothed," Thierry explains.

Summerdream frowns, "A human family?" Thierry doesn't need to answer, she sees the truth of it in his eyes. "Is the fox breaking any laws? Fae laws?"

"She's...behaving oddly, for a fox," Thierry answers, "But no laws have been broken."

"Explain this odd behavior," Summerdream requests.

"She's taken the form of a human child, and has attached herself to a female child. She claims to have been sent by the child's deceased mother to protect her."

"That is odd," Summerdream agrees. "Tell me about the males in this family."

It would seem like an odd question, unless one knows about fox spirits, who normally take the  form of lovely young women, to seduce men, feeding on their energy. "There's only one, an adult, the father of the child the fox is attached to. He is my betrothed's uncle," Thierry adds, emphasizing his personal relation to the human, hoping that might sway Summerdream's sympathy.

"She's not feeding on the male human's energy?" Summerdream asks, "What is she up to?"

"You could ask her," Thierry suggests.

Summerdream laughs, "I'm curious, but not enough to intercede. Perhaps she seeks to gain the man's trust through a relationship to the child. It is unusual for a fox to play such a long game, but time changes us all, and we get bored of our old games.

"I don't want the fox to hurt my betrothed's family," Thierry insists, "But I cannot stop her without aid."

"You ask me to protect a human family from a fae spirit who is only doing what is in her nature?" Summerdream says, "You must know I will not side with the humans on this."

"They have fae blood as well. There is a flower sprite in their ancestry," Thierry says, playing his final card.

"It is pleasing to hear you've chosen to strengthen your fae line, rather than dilute it further," Summerdream says, "But there are many humans with a trace of fae lineage, who know nothing of us, who do nothing to support us, and who are not us. Our numbers dwindle while theirs grow. I must protect my kind."

"Perhaps if you would count those of us with diluted blood as part of the fae, your numbers would not dwindle, but grow as well."

"Do you remember what happened when I last helped a human, trusted a human?" Summerdream demands, angry, "I adopted the child Jon Smith, hoping to forge an alliance with the growing tribe of humans. And he seduced my sister, ran off with her to the human realms. Jennicor lived as a human, and died as one. Contact with their kind makes us less, not more."

"And yet here I am, your sister's grandson, asking for a place amongst the fae," Thierry says.

"If I help you, there will be at a price," Summerdream says.

"There is always a price. What would you have of me?"

"One hundred years, to learn your fae nature and truly take your place among us."

Thierry rocks back on his heels. Enbracing the fae side of heritage is one thing, but leaving behind his human life is not what he wanted. "I will pay that price, if it comes to it," Thierry agrees, "But as the fox is biding her time, then so will I. If I have need of you, will you come?"

"I will," Summerdream says, "And if I come, will you return with me, and live amongst us, for no less than one hundred years?"

"I will," Thierry says.

Li Feng becomes a teen.

And Zhenzhen grows up with her.

As the children grow older and Amelia's graduation approaches, Eleanor and Thornton make plans to be married. Not the overly romantic type, Eleanor doesn't care for a big wedding, she just wants to move in with Thornton and have a private wedding. Thornton just wants the day to arrive as soon as possible.

Zhenzhen has existed long before the invention of TV, and she hasn't adapted to the new human technologies. Frustrated by what she doesn't understand, she seeks to destroy it.

Li Feng catches her sabotaging the TV. "Why do you do stuff like that?" Li demands, "Why are you constantly trying to make trouble?"

"You'd better not tell on me," Zhenzhen says. It isn't much of a threat, but Li Feng has always been easily cowed.

When Eleanor discovers the broken TV, she knows exactly who to blame. The girl her brother took in is always making some kind of trouble. But Hawke won't heed her advice to turn Zhenzhen over to the authorities.

Zhenzhen isn't any fonder of automobiles than she is of televisions, but learning to drive is an opportunity to be with Hawke.

"I know everything about you and Sun," she reminds him, "I know how much she loved you, and I know you dream of her still."

"I don't want to talk about that, especially not with you," Hawke says.

"You forget, I'm not a child. I've taken this form, so I can protect Li Feng. But I've lived far longer than you, and I know more about love than you can imagine."

Though she's taken a younger form than she's accustomed to wearing, Zhenzhen still knows how to bend a man to her will. She's gotten close enough to Hawke to convince him to take her out for a drink. It won't be long before she has him completely under her sway.

"It's like she's not even pretending to be my friend anymore," Li Feng complains to her friend Quincy Dennis, "I think she's after my Dad. Which is is so creepy and gross, I can't even get my head around it."

"I could watch her for you," Quincy offers, "My dad's a private investigator, and I know how to do a stake out."

Li Feng is charmed by Quincy's offer of aid, but turns it down. "You don't have to waste your time spying on Zhenzhen. I live with her, I can keep tabs on her myself. I'd rather you just spend that time with me," she says, and rewards him with a kiss.

Eleanor catches Zhenzhen booby trapping the sink.

No one has ever yelled at Zhenzhen the way Eleanor does. The fox spirit has no trouble manipulating human males and deceiving children, but she's no match for this strong human woman. Zhenzhen counts the days before Eleanor will finally leave this house, then she will truly be master here.

In the meantime, Zhenzhen takes out her frustrations on Li Feng.

It's almost too easy.

Amelia grows up and graduates high school.

"You'll be all right here?" Eleanor asks, looking forward to moving in with Thornton, but apprehensive about leaving her daughter in charge of the household with two teens to take care of. Eleanor doesn't quite consider her brother a responsible adult.

"I'll be fine, Mom," Amelia insists, "It's time for you to move on. You've waited a long time to be with Thornton."

"Keep your eyes on that Zhenzhen. She's up to no good," Eleanor warns.

Amelia nods. She hasn't told anyone what Thierry told her about Zhenzhen, but whether she's trickster spirit or just a rambunctious teen, she is a troublemaker who must be kept in line. Hawke won't discipline her, so the task will fall on Amelia once Eleanor is gone.

Eleanor tries one more time to caution her brother before she takes her leave. "You need to be firmer with her," she advises, "Don't laugh off her pranks."

"You're too hard on her," Hawke says, "Everything will be fine here. Don't worry bout us."

Eleanor isn't worried, she's leaving Amelia in charge.

Thierry graduates right after Amelia, and wastes no time in making a formal proposal. Amelia wastes no time in inviting him to move inn before they take their vows.

"I'm onto you, little fox," Thierry warns Zhenzhen when he gets her alone, "Whatever your game is, I'll be here to stop you."

Zhenzhen has finally gotten rid of Eleanor, but Amelia and her halfling lover have taken her place as watchdog. This game is going on too long, and she grows tired of playing, waiting for the end game. It's time, she thinks, time to make her move before the halfling can interfere with her plans.

Challenge Notes:
Generation 2 officially starts. A reminder of the roll: Single parent, 2 kids. Military career. Opportunist (I've been doing this for Amelia since her childhood) and Live Your Trait. I'm using Amelia's Athletic trait for that. Everyday she swims, works out and/or jogs.
Her traits are Friendly, Brave, Athletic, Handy and Loves the Outdoors.
The single parent rule allows a spouse/partner before the birth of the first child, so Thierry will be living in the house for a short time. He'll be unemployed during that time.
His traits are Dramatic, Excitable, Inappropriate, Light Sleeper, I forget the fifth.
Zhenzhen has technophobe as a trait, so she is able to sabotage the TV. She came with that and Party Animal and Angler. I gave her Flirty as a teen trait, in keeping with the Fox Spirit MO.

Eleanor was moved out into Thornton's house. They got married and I moved them into his old penthouse. Then SP moved them back into the house next door. *shrug* I guess Eleanor really wants to keep an eye on her brother.


  1. Wow, Zhenzhen's traits perfectly matched up with your plan there. =D

    I loved the "scare" pics especially. Li Feng is beautiful. =)

    Can't wait to hear answers about Zhenzhen's real relationship with Sun.

  2. Can't wait to see what's going to happen with Zhenzhen and what her real plan is.

    Have a bad feeling I know why Amelia's going to be a single parent though...

  3. Li Feng and Amelia and just beautiful, and I love the story you're cooking up here. I'm so sad that thierry will be leaving... (I assume his conversation with Summerdream was not a red hearing). I'm growing attached to him. Hopefully he'll be back in the legacy one day. Keep an eye on his decedents or something like that.

    Zhen zhen is creeeeepy. But I love her. Dangit Hawke, stop attracting the jailbait.

  4. I did not expect Zhenzhen to go after Hawke. At all. I am loving this story!

    I also love how you created Summerdream. Everything about her just seems so fantastical. Great job!

  5. Thanks, guys!
    I love Thierry a lot, so I'm sad about what I have to do for this generation's single parent roll.

  6. Boy talk about falling on the sword! Single parent rolls are hard!

    I agree the Zhenzhen is certainly creepy - can't wait to see what this plan of hers is!!

  7. YAY! I was so happy to see a Dennis-spawn actually keep the red hair. And I love the name Quincy!

    Also, I'm really excited to see where this goes with Zhenzhen. I know Hawke is weary of her, so I hope he can keep his head straight enough to *remain* cautious.

  8. Mya & Robert also have a daughter, Faye, who got the red hair as well. She's currently a toddler. Both names are from SP, I didn't choose them. But they got good names.