Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chapter 12: The Fox's Tale

"I'm Sun's grandmother, Abi Yat-Sen" the old woman introduces herself to Hawke. It's a relief to finally be meeting some of her family, for while he enjoys their isolated life together here, the complete lack of relatives and friends has been bothering him.

He invites Sun's grandmother up to the house. Where is Sun? he wonders as he chats with the old woman. She hasn't been out of his sight since he came here. He begins to sweat, fearing she's snuck out to explore the Dragon Cave, that she'll get herself infected, that's he's only delayed her death, not prevented it.

Just as he's about to excuse himself to look for her, Sun appears.

"There you are," she says, "I've been looking for you. And who's this?"

"Tsk, don't you recognize your own grandmother, child? I suppose not since you never visit," the old woman chides.

"Hawke, could you excuse us for  a minute?" Sun asks, her voices forced into sweetness.

"I broke free of the prison you locked me in," Sun hisses at her 'grandmother' as soon as they are alone, "You won't trap me again."

"How did you escape?" the old woman asks, seemingly unconcerned that her former prisoner is free.

Sun is smug, "My daughter freed me. She died of the curse you put on her, you evil witch. But her spirit entered the doll, and there wasn't room enough of for the both of us. The spell that held me was weakened, and I escaped. But, tell me, old woman, how is it that a dead human like yourself is invading my world?"

"Tsk, child, do you think you are the only spirit who can take the form of a dead human to deceive others?" the old woman says with a tinkling laugh, "I am Tania Summerdream, and there is no world that will not open to me."

Sun gasps. The fae have no rulers, no real government, but if they had a queen, it would be Summerdream, the oldest, wisest, most powerful of them all. "Why does someone like you want to visit a lowly fox like me?" Sun asks.

"I want to hear your story, child," Summerdeam says, "Tell me how you became trapped, and about your daughter and the curse the human placed on her."

"I loved a man," the fox begins her tale, "But he had a mortal wife. I took a human form to seduce him, and I became pregnant. His wife was also pregnant, and was greatly distressed that her husband loved another. So her mother, who was a wise woman and knew that I was no simple mortal seducer, devised a trap for me, and caught my spirit in a doll she'd crafted. She waited until I had given birth to my daughter, and then, she imprisoned me. My man was heartbroken, but he took our child and returned to his wife, who had just given birth to his son, as the old woman had wanted. But the wife did not live much longer, she had become ill from from the birth, and died. My man, his heart broken twice in such a short time, died a few days after her. And the old woman was left to raise the children on her own. She told the world that my daughter was the sister of her grandson, that they were twins, and she pretended to love them both as her own, but she secretly hated my daughter, and blamed her for the death of her own daughter. She put a curse on her, that like her own daughter, she would die after she gave birth to her first child."

"But she gave the doll she'd trapped you in to your daughter?" Summerdream asks, "Humans, they can be formidable foes, but they always are their own undoing."

"I've told you my story, Bright Lady," the fox says, "I have broken no laws. What would you have of me?"

"I've made a bargain with one of my kin," Summerdream says, "He wants his family protected from your deceptions, and the man you are keeping here is his uncle."

"The halfling? He's your kin?" the fox gasps, "But he is more human than fae, why do you take his side?"

"Because he's agreed to make the payment I asked of him," Summerdream says, "You are free now, you'll find other men."

"But I want this one! I love Hawke. He was miserable since my daughter died, his heart would not heal. Here, he is happy, loved."

"Child, you spend so much time among the humans, feeding on their energy, but you don't understand them. This happiness you give him is an illusion. He won't thank you for it when he discovers the truth. And they all do discover the truth eventually, don't they. And what happens to them then?"

"They die, their hearts shattered, broken," the fox whispers solemnly, "But it will be different this time. I'm giving back to him what he lost, not taking him away from another woman."

Summerdream shakes her head, "If you want him to live, you'll release him now, before he's too deep in to ever come out."

Hawke wakes from his long sleep. Reality crushes him as soon as his eyes flutter open. Crueler than the nightmares that make him experience Sun's death and his own inability to stop it over and over again, this dream gave him the love he'd lost, made him believe it was real, then yanked him back to his sad life.

"He's awake. You saved him!" Hawke hears Amelia's voice in his room. Right now, he can't face her, can't face anyone. He slips into his bathroom without turning to see who else is his room, who his niece is talking to. The water in the shower masks the sound of his sobs.

After a long cry, Hawke pulls himself together enough to talk to Amelia and her husband. They tell him he was ensorcelled by Zhenzhen, that his dream life with Sun was more than a dream, but still not real. It was Zhenzhen he was living with, in her realm of illusion.

While Summerdream is in the house, Zhenzhen cannot work her enchantments on Hawke again, so they allow him a moment alone with her.

"Tell them we were happy," Zhenzhen says, "Tell them you want to come back with me. If you are willing, they won't stop you."

"It wasn't real," Hawke says, sobbing again, "I wasn't happy, I was delusional. You've crushed me, Zhenzhen."

"I love you, Hawke," she says, "I can make you happy..."

"I don't want your happiness, or your love," Hawke says, his voice a cracked whisper, "All I wanted is Sun. She's dead, and you can't replace her. Now, leave me. Never come back."

"I don't understand. He was happy with me, and now he's miserable again, yet he doesn't wish to return to the joy I gave him."

"I told you, fox, humans will take miserable reality over an illusion of bliss every time."

"But nothing is real," Zhenzhen protests, "Even their reality is just another illusion."

"Even the rare human who recognizes that will still cling to reality rather than confront that truth," Summerdream says, "That is human nature."

Zhenzhen muses quietly for a minute. "I wish to be human," she says, "I want to understand. I want to love, without killing my lover."

"You wish to die a mortal death, too?" Summerdream asks sharply.

"I've been a fox for a very long time," Zhenzhen, "It's time for me to be something else."

"Very well," Summerdream says, frowning.

"I can't thank you enough, Thierry," Amelia says, relived to have her uncle back, mostly in one piece.

"Summerdream's help did not come without a price," Thierry answers, "I promised her I'd go with her, to live in her realm. For one hundred years."

"One hundred...but that's..." Amelia can't get any more words out, as she starts crying.

Thierry embraces her tightly, "Time passes differently in the fae realms," he whispers, "One hundred years in her realm will pass quickly here. And I will not age when I'm there. I will be back with you when the child you carry is grown."

"Child?" Amelia manages to gasp between sobs.

"You're pregnant, beloved," Thierry says, smiling, "Summerdream says I may stay until the child is born."

"And that's it, you'll just leave me to raise it on my own?"

"I am sorry, beloved. It was the only way to get Hawke back. I don't want to be away from you, but it was the price my aunt demanded. I will be able to visit, from time to time."

Amelia's tears do not subside, "You should have told me, before you called on her..."

"And put you in the position of choosing to help your uncle or let him die a slow death to keep me? I had to make this choice on my own, beloved."

Amelia nods, accepting the truth of what he says. Given the choice, she might have sacrificed Hawke, and she'd never be able to live with herself if she had.

"Beloved, I'm going to ask something very selfish of you," Thierry whispers in her ear, "I'm going to be leaving you alone for a long time. My visits will be rare. But you are my wife, my love, and I will return. I ask that you wait for me, stay faithful to me."

"Thierry, there is no one for me but you, ever. No matter how long you're gone."

"Not even Byron Goth," Thierry reminds her of her first crush.

Amelia manages a small laugh, "Not even Byron Goth. I promise, Thierry, I will wait for you. And you had better stay faithful to me while you're galavanting around the fae."

"I won't so much as look at another, I promise."

Summerdream granted Zhenzhen's wish to be human, and transformed the fox spirit, severing her connection to the fae.

Zhenzhen knows she's not wanted here, that though she meant no harm, she caused a great deal of it. She wanted to heal her daughter's husband, while at the same time satisfying her own need, but she broke him further. So she makes one final stop at her daughter's grave before heading out to begin her journey as a mortal woman.

"Zhenzhen" Hawke interrupts her meditation, "I wanted to say goodbye." It was an illusion, a cruel trick, but her had lived with her, loved her, for days, maybe weeks or years, as he had no track of time when he was trapped in her realm. She has no power over him now, but he feels connected to her, enough to regret her departure, even though she's leaving at his demand.

"Goodbye, Hawke," she says, kissing him one last time, "Don't let death claim while you still have life. Your heart is not past mending, if you would only let it."


  1. I love this chapter. Very well done. You handled both realms marvelously. Seriously... *slow clap*

    I'm sad to see Thierry go though (even though he most likely will be coming back). He is one of my favorite characters simply because he's so sweet and honest. : ( Ga'bye Thierry; you shall be missed.

  2. That was really nicely done, I feel sorry for Zhenzhen now & I hope she learns to understand humans and finds happiness somewhere

  3. D : Zhen Zhen... Hawke... Thierry... geeze go and break my heart some more why don't you.

    Seriously though, epic chapter. Summerdream is such a fascinating character, and I actually feel really sorry to see Zhen Zhen go. She went through a lot, poor girl. And damn... Sun's grandma's sort of a b****. Pardon my language.

    Can't wait to see Amelia and Thierry's child! And I'm glad we may be seeing him now and then.

  4. Awesome chapter. I love the bittersweet ending. <3

  5. Whoaaaa. Epic. Not what I expected at all. =)

    This made my bad day slightly better. Thank you, Melissa.

  6. Thanks, you guys! I really didn't know when I started this how it was going to end.
    Becky, I'm sorry you had a bad day, and I'm glad my little Sim story made it a little better. :D

  7. I usually don't enjoy more supernatural sim stories as much, but I really liked how you wrote this. I especially like how it turned out the Zhenzhen actually had good intentions, I hope we hear more about what she get's up to now that she's human.

    Also, I am very relieved to hear that 100 fae years pass faster than sim years, I'm going to miss Thierry while he's gone!

  8. That was great!! I'm a sucker for alternate realities as much as I'm a sucker for time travel, so this was very entertaining for me!

    I'm glad that Zhenzhen has some kind of remorse for what she's done and hopefully will be able to find happiness as a human! Perhaps we'll still get to see her? =)

    Great job, Melissa!!

  9. I really enjoyed the fact that you somehow redeemed that wicked fox in my eyes. I didn't think it possible.