Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chapter 39: Ancient Chinese Tradition

As soon as Sage got back from Champs les Sims, Joffrey wanted to meet her at the Remington Hotel in in Appaloosa Plains. An old Victorian mansion, the Remington once belonged to an eccentric wealthy family. After the last of the Remingtons died, the house was turned into a hotel. Not many visitors come to Appaloosa Plains, but the hotel's lounge is the place for native Appaloosers to go when they want to dress up and pretend to be elegant.

Joffrey's eye light up when she when walks in, and she blushes under his stare.

"Dance with me," he says, his lips brushing over her ear, his fingers lightly caressing her shoulder. His breath against her neck makes her knees go weak.

"I don't dance," she sighs.

"Just put your arms around me and move with me," he says, taking her out onto the dance floor. The lounge is empty tonight, so she can't make too much of a fool of herself. Holding him close, her hips moving against his, Sage thinks she might like dancing after all.

But lovely at is to be romanced by Joffrey Landgraab, Sage remains unsure if his intentions. "You didn't ask me here just to dance," she says, "You must want to talk about the documents I found." She had those sent directly to him in Redwood Harbor before she left France. "Or maybe you have a job for me?"

"Business before pleasure, is it?" he says, flashing her his charming smile, "Let me buy you a drink, and we'll talk."

"Did you look at the documents you retrieved for me?" Joffrey asks as he hands her an Aristocratic Gimlet.

"Of course not. That wasn't the job."

Joffrey laughs, "And you weren't in the least bit curious about what I sent you to break into the Landgrab Chateau to retrieve?"

"I was curious," she admits, "But if I needed to know, you would have told me. What I don't need to know could be dangerous to me if I found out."

"Very true, in this business," Joffrey agrees, "But in this case, I think you'd be interested. The documents were about Wane McMottder."

"Wane McMottder?" the name immediately lights a smile on her face. She never specifically told Joffrey that McMottder is her hero, but it would be any easy guess that she's read his many books about adventuring and tomb raiding before embarking on her career. "Why does MorcuCorp keep files on Wane McMottder?"

"Wane McMottder is a pseudonym, an anagram of Ewan McDermott. And before he was a McDermott, Ewan was  Landgraab. His father, a younger brother of the main Landgraab branch, changed his name and left town, hoping to leave the stain of being a Landgraab behind him. MorcuCorp of course kept an eye on him. Ewan grew up, married a McDermott, and then started adventuring. He caught MorcuCorp's attention when he infiltrated the chateau in Champs les Sims. They used that knowledge to make him work for them in Al Simhara, but, unlike you, when the resistance approached him, he joined them. MorcuCorp knew he turned on them, and they let him know that they knew. So Ewan packed up his family and relocated, hoping to hide from MorcuCorp. He had to give up traveling, and he took up writing how to guides under his assumed name. MorcuCorp always knew where he'd gone, and they kept a close watch on him. They even planted spies in the local pizza delivery service. But they never moved on him."

"So these documents you have are what? Detailed accounts of how McDermott spent his days?"

"Yes, for the most part," Joffrey sighs, "It's incredibly dull."

"Why did you want these documents, then?" Sage asks.

"Because Ewan McDermott crossed MorcuCorp and fled. They knew where he was, but they never struck. I want to find out why they left him alone."

"You want to follow his example and flee MorcuCorp yourself," Sage says, getting it, "You think if you can discover why MorcuCorp let McDermott go, you'd find a way to make them let you go."

"That's my hope," Joffrey says, "But I'm afraid it won't be that easy. McDermott was the son of a younger son. If it weren't for the actions he took against MorcuCorp, he'd be nothing to them. But I'm...something else."

"What? The heir?"

"That was the plan. I've been told I don't measure up. They're already grooming a new heir."

"So they need you because...?" He obviously hasn't told her everything yet, and Sage intends to get it out of them.

Joffrey looks her in the eyes, "This is the kind of information it could be dangerous for you to know. Do you still want me to tell you?"

Sage nods, "Please, tell me."

"You know Harris Landgraab?" he asks. Sage nods; even people with no interest in history or politics would remember the controversial former president who tried to turn his elected position in a permanent dictatorship. "His son Harrison was actually his clone. And ever since, MorcuCorp has continued to create new clones from Harris' DNA, grooming them to run the company."

"And you're one of these clones?" Sage gasps. "That's....that must be weird for you."

"To be raised by a corporation rather than loving parents? I suppose it was much like that for Landgraabs even before the cloning started. But despite my directed upbringing and my DNA, I'm not up to the Harris Landgraab standard. We may be genetically identical, but we have our own personalities, you see. I've been told I take after Harris' mother, Lucy. They say she was the reason Adrien Landgraab never rose higher than mayor of Brooklyn Heights, that she softened him, gave him a conscience."

"So even though you aren't good enough, or rather, evil enough, to be the Landgraab heir, MorcuCorp doesn't want Harris' genes just running round free?"

"Not to mention the things I know about how they operate," Joffrey says with a grim nod, "Now that you know, do you still want to help me?"

"More than ever," Sage says confidently.

"I knew I'd be able to count on you," he says with a smile, "Will you come up to my room?"

Whatever doubts Sage had about his intentions have begun to dissipate after hearing his story, and she follows him to his room.

"Listen, I want to test MorcuCorp, to see what they'd do if I left the country without notice. Will you run away with me?" Joffrey asks while his hand are busy unzipping her dress.

"I have a house in China. We could stay there," Sage answers.

"That's perfect. Your zipper is stuck. Care to help me out of your dress?"

They manage to get her dress off, along with his suit.

"I didn't think you'd be the type to have a tattoo," Sage remarks as they fall into the bed.

"I'm physically and genetically identical to several other Landgraabs. I have to express my individuality somewhere," he laughs.

After spending a day making love in his hotel bedroom, the couple fly off to her house in Shang Simla.

And make immediate use of her bed there.

Local legends told of a great axe hidden beneath the Temple of Heaven, and Sage means to retrieve it for her personal use. Joffrey wants to come along, even after her warnings about the perils of these kinds of adventures. But he insists, and says he wants to take pictures. Even Wane McMottder never had his own personal photographer along with him.

So far the lower regions on the Temple of Heaven haven't proved to be very photo worthy.

"I'm afraid your photo album is going to be nothing but pictures of my ass," Sage remarks.

"I've taken a few pictures of your ass," Joffrey admits.

"That's a dive well," Sage explains, "You'll have to follow me closely. There will more than likely be a tunnel leading to another chamber."

"I don't suppose we could just find a door to this other chamber?" Joffrey asks.

"No, that's what the dive wells are for," Sage laughs, "You don't have to go through with this, you know."

Joffrey want to continue on, despite the slimy horror of the dive well.

Sage obtains Pangu's Axe, imbued with awesome boulder-smashing powers.

The next day, Sage wants to smash a boulder that blocks a dive well that she believes accesses hidden chambers beneath the hot springs. This time, Joffrey decides to stay dry and above ground while Sage does her thing. They part with a long passionate kiss. "Meet me at Camp Peony tonight," she says before she dives into the well.

Joffrey spends the day fishing at the hot springs.

At night, Sage joins him at the campsite.

"Let's get you out of these wet clothes," he says. Sage had encountered several dive wells in her explorations, and is soaked to the bone.

Joffrey helps her warm her up in their tent.

"You're hitting the toilet with a hammer bcause...?"

"I'm making it a self-cleaning toilet," Sage explains. Besides adventuring, Sage has a lot of work she wants to do on her house. And she doesn't want to make the same mistake with Joffrey as she did with Jeremy, so she's made sure to keep a lot of free time on her schedule.

"The sink is acting strange," Joffrey says, "Is the water supposed to shoot up like that?"

"It's broken," Sage says, trying to imagine what it must have been like to live such a sheltered life. "I can fix it."

Joffrey is intent on making up for all the simple things in life he was never exposed to. Cooking is a whole new experience for him, and he finds it both fascinating and nerve wracking. What if it burns?

Sage has been practicing martial arts, and has set up a board breaker in the yard. Joffrey watches in horror and admiration as she breaks the boards wit her bare hands.

"I want to learn how to do that," he says.

So she takes him to the Academy to teach him some moves.

"You know, it's not every guy who wants a girlfriend who can kick his ass," Sage remarks after trouncing him in a sparring match.

"You are the sexiest bodyguard I've ever had."

The locals have noticed Sage's growing collection of jewels and relics, and a burglar attempts to make off with some of her booty. The local police react quickly, catching her before she even gets through the door.

Wong Man Ling has brought great shame on her family.

"I don't want this to ever end," Joffrey says when he slips the ring on her finger.

All the wealth and power in the world cannot compare to the happiness of moments like these.

Their engagement quickly became the talk of the town, and their neighbors insisted on throwing a traditional Chinese engagement party for the couple.

Lu Zhi-Louie sprays nectar on the bride to be, for good luck. "It's an ancient Chinese tradition," she explains.

There's an obvious sexual connotation to this ancient ritual, probably a rite of fertility.

Joffrey nearly doubles over in laughter as the traditional Chinese cowboy dancers arrive on the scene.

Sage decides to spray her fiance with nectar.

"You're going to lick that off me later, right?"

The party carries on until late into the night.

And when the guest are all gone, the couple, sticky with nectar, retreat to their bed.

Challenge Notes:
In the thread at MTS, I mentioned that one of the changes I made to Appaloos Plaind before I moved my legacy there was to take the Remington's Ruse house from Riverview, change it to an exclusive lounge and 'hotel', and put it in the place of the enormous cat park. (I bulldozed both the cat and dog parks. The dog park I subdivided into three lots, to make a 20x30 dog park and cat park, and one space for the Red Cow Barn dive bar I downloaded from MTS).
So I was really happy to finally use the Remington in my story.

I've never thrown a bacherlor/ette party since Gen came out. And I rejected the offer the first time Sage got the call. But the second time she got a party call, I decided what the hell, why not. And since I never had one in my legacy, it amused me greatly to play it as an ancient Chinese tradition.

Sage has  a level 3 visa in China, plus the partnership with China and the Prepared Traveler LTR, so she has 18 day vacation in China. That gives me a lot of time to goof around, especially since they can't skill anything except the specific WA skills like martial arts and photography.

Joffrey's LTW is to max painting and photography. He can't work on the painting skill here, but is taking lots of pictures. And it's true, while exploring with Sage, it's a lot of pictures of Sage's backside while she disarms traps etc.
Also, while I was going to have Sage do the tattoo addict requirement herself, I've decided to put it on Joff instead.
Joffrey's traits are: Good, Artistic, Perfectionist, Charismatic, Hopeless Romantic. The Hopeless Romantic he actually shares with Harris Landgraab, which I always found funny.


  1. D'aaaaw. I'm so happy that they're together! And I love Joffrey's personality. He's pretty adorable. I just hope MoruCorp leaves them more or less alone.

    Seriously though, how is Joffrey so hot? I swear there must be a cheat file in your game somewhere. It shouldn't be possible.

  2. Aw... I'm glad Sage found someone (I don't want to say better), but has similar world views than she did with Jeremy.

    Ancient Chinese tradition, eh? :D That was seriously hilarious.

  3. "They even planted spies in the local pizza delivery service."


    J being the tattoo addict makes sense.

    Chayton and Kelsey will be in for a surprise when Sage brings this guy home, eh?

  4. LOL, Becky, I wrote that as a private joke, and I thought to myself, if anyone gets that, it will be Becky. =D

    And about the homecoming surprise....yes. I have some interesting (I hope) plans for that.

  5. I wonder why they never made any move on Ewan and only watched him though.

    I'm glad Sage has found someone more suited to her than Jeremy and that she's learned from the mistakes she made with him

  6. Yay :D i made it to the last chapter :D

    i love your family :D it's so great :D and seriously, i almost fell down my chair when i read your impressions of the "chinese rituals" :D Marvelous!

    And you're very good at making mysteries :D *ponders about Ewan as well*

  7. Awesome chapter Melissa! Really, really awesome. =)

    I love how you tied in Ewan and your McDermott legacy. Now I want to go back and read it all the way through! Also, I could not stop laughing at the "rite of fertility" photograph. Lol, classic.

    Your third picture, of Joffrey and Sage slow dancing, makes me wistful for TS2. I miss that interaction.

  8. I know! I miss slow dancing as well. It sucks to have to use the embrace interaction for pics to fake a slow dance.
    I especially loved the interactions that opened up while slow dancing. Sims 2 was so awesome for romance interactions.

  9. Ooh, the plot thickens!!

    Loved the party pics! I really miss China, actually. I can't wait to get back into my game!

    That green dress from the hotel scene is gorgeous! Where did it come from??

  10. Red, that dress was from a free T Mobile promotion. I don't know if it's still running, but if you check the stickied Freebies thread at the MTS forums, you can find the link and the code.
    The pattern I used on the the dress is a tie dye custom pattern by gangreless at MTS. Originally the dress is black with silver sequins.