The Gestalt Legacy 1.3

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Chapter 1.3 of the Gestalt Legacy

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The Gestalt Legacy 1.3

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Thanks for reading Chapter 1.3 of the Gestalt Legacy! During the last chapter, Amarante and Jeremy were married, Nicholas grew up, and some shady characters are (still) interested in Amarante. From here on out, I do highly suggest reading the previous chapters, as things will become complicated in short order. <br />
  3. 3. “Anyone?” Marissa Cleveland demanded of the group in front of her.“Or have our efforts to draw out Gestalt’s potential power amounted to nothing? Geoff, I’m looking at you in particular.”<br />
  4. 4. At the sound of his name, Geoff Rutherford broke out in a cold sweat. “I know I screwed up when I approached her, but I did get close enough to confirm your suspicions. She’s one of us, or at least that’s what her aura suggests. But she claimed that she had no idea what I was talking about when I brought it up, and her aura didn’t shift to yellow when she did so—so at least she believes she was telling the truth.” <br />
  5. 5. With a condescending glance, Marissa’s husband Jason turned towards his failure of a brother-in-law. “We know what a yellow aura signifies, Geoff,” he drawled. “But there are some in this world who are powerful enough to change their auras as they see fit. Still…there is no evidence she’s done any work in some time, if I’m correct.” <br />
  6. 6. “You are, Jason,” Marissa confirmed as she walked towards her husband. “Which brings up another issue. If she had masked her aura, it would have to leave at least some evidence—but there’s nothing to suggest any sort of willworking done outside of Belladonna Cove.”<br />
  7. 7. Though he hadn’t planned on speaking up during his parent’s meeting, Justin Cleveland couldn’t help but point out the obvious faults in his elders’ reasoning. “So let me get this straight. She is a willworker, but she’s not lying when she says she isn’t? And even though she could, possibly, trick Uncle Geoff to think she’s telling the truth, we know she didn’t?”<br />“And there’s another problem,” Isabel Baldwin piped in. “If she’s powerful enough to change her aura to make it seem like she’s not lying, wouldn’t she also be powerful enough to make herself look like a sleeper?” <br />
  8. 8. “No,” Connor Weir confirmed. “No matter what power she’s got access to, she can’t mask the essence of her being—nothing can. The hows and whys of her situation notwithstanding, we can be sure of one thing: Amarante Gestalt is a Mage.”<br />“See!” Geoff gleefully exclaimed. “I told you guys I didn’t screw up!” <br />
  9. 9. “Yes, yes. Despite letting our target know she’s being watched, and probably turning her against us in the process, you did well Geoff,” Jason seethed.<br />“To be honest,” Marissa considered, “I’m surprised our little plot in the park didn’t work. A werewolf’s true form inspires intense fear in even the strongest of creatures, but Gestalt didn’t throw up so much as a protective screen.”<br />
  10. 10. “It could be that she’s unable to do magic at the moment. Though it wouldn’t explain why she believes she isn’t a Mage, it could explain her unwillingness to deal with us,” Connor wondered aloud.<br />
  11. 11. “Wait a minute,” Isabel countered. “Why would she be unable to do magic?”<br />“Yeah,” Justin agreed. “It’s not like we can just quit being what we are.”<br />
  12. 12. Marissa considered her options carefully. As the leader of her cabal and the most powerful Mage in Sim City County, she had dedicated her life to controlling and manipulating the local Mage population, bending most to the will of her masters and disposing of the rest. Amarante Gestalt could potentially prove to be an ally—or a pest that needed eradicating.<br />“Enough speculation,” she demanded. “Until we are assured otherwise, we can still consider Gestalt a potential ally. Isabel, continue to use your husband’s resources to ensure our continued surveillance, understood?”<br />
  13. 13. “Of course.”<br />
  14. 14. Marissa turned to her husband. “I’ll put together a new course of action, but in the meantime, I’m putting you in charge of weakening her resistance.”<br />“My pleasure, dear.” <br />“As for the rest of you, we’re done here.”<br />
  15. 15. “Honey?” Amarante called to her husband across their newly blanketed lawn. “I’ve been thinking, and I’m wondering if we should renovate the house before the baby is born. Nicholas’ room is already so small, I don’t want to make him share it with a new brother or sister.”<br />
  16. 16. Jeremy turned his attention away from his new painting and considered his wife’s proposal. “Considering how well we’ve been promoted over the past few months, I think we could afford it. What do you think, Nick?”<br />
  17. 17. “I don’t mind sharing my room Daddy,” Nicholas replied, not taking his eyes off of his telescope. “But if we make the house bigger, can I get a chess table?”<br />
  18. 18. Amarante smiled to herself. What a sweetheart. But I hope he’s able to stand up for himself when he grows up. “Don’t worry sweetie, we’ll get you a set first thing.”<br />
  19. 19. After the renovations were complete, the grey walls and weathered wood that characterized 95 Woodland Drive were no more. With the addition of a second story, the foyer was considerably less crowded. <br />
  20. 20. While the kitchen remained untouched,<br />
  21. 21. The dining room was repainted and redecorated.<br />
  22. 22. At the moment, the upstairs remained slightly bare, though each member of the family welcomed a more secluded area to study, <br />
  23. 23. And to refine their skills.<br />
  24. 24. In preparation for their soon-to-be increased family, the Gestalts decided to add a new bathroom, <br />
  25. 25. Though the new nursery was the biggest sign of the new baby.<br />
  26. 26. Once the house was completed, Nicholas celebrated by inviting his two best friends over to play. “Mommy? Can Christopher and Anthony stay the night tonight? I promise we’ll be good!”<br />*I know there’s a discrepancy in some of these shots regarding the house makeover, not sure how that happened exactly<br />
  27. 27. “That’s fine with me, just be careful outside, ok? It’s still cold outside.”<br />
  28. 28. “Yes Ma’am,” the twins answered simultaneously.<br />
  29. 29. The boys played for hours outside, moving from snowmen to snowball fights. Though the three were the best of friends, the fight eventually turned into twins vs. Nicholas.<br />
  30. 30. Though he put on a valiant effort, even the strongest of boys can only play for so long. After a long day, Nicholas and his friends changed into their jammies and moved inside. <br />
  31. 31. “How come we never get to play at your guys’ house Anthony?” Nicholas asked his friend as they settled down for the night. “Isn’t your house really big? I bet we could find a bunch of cool stuff in the attic and the basement and stuff. We could probably even meet some ghosts!”<br />
  32. 32. The more outgoing twin suddenly closed up at his friend’s question. “We aren’t allowed to have friends over.”<br />“But why?” Nicholas asked. <br />“….Why? Because we aren’t allowed.”<br />Nicholas was confused by Anthony’s refusal to elaborate. Normally, neither Nicholas nor Christopher could manage to get him to shut up, but now he wouldn’t even answer a question. Is he mad at me? he worried. <br />
  33. 33. “Grandpa says we aren’t allowed to have friends over, that’s all,” Christopher smiled. <br />“But didn’t your grandpa say why?” Nicholas wondered.<br />Christopher’s friendly expression faltered for a moment. “Um…yeah. I’m sure he did, I just don’t remember,” he explained, instantly regaining his nearly permanent smile. <br />
  34. 34. “We can still have fun here though, right?” Anthony asked with a hopeful glance.<br />“Of course!” Nicholas assured his friend. “Hey, do you guys wanna sleep in our tent? It’s kinda cold, but we could bring a heater with us!”<br />“Yeah! Last one there has to sleep in the dirt!” <br />
  35. 35. “Aw, man! Guys? I don’t wanna sleep in the dirt!”<br />
  36. 36. The next night, a familiar pain interrupted Amarante’s musical efforts. “Jeremy? I think you might want to get up here!”<br />
  37. 37. Within seconds, Jeremy raced upstairs to witness the birth of his second child; an impressive effort made even more so by the fact that he had been using the telescope outside when he heard his wife’s call. “Did I… miss… anything?” he asked between breaths.<br />
  38. 38. “Not at all,” Amarante answered as she gazed into the eyes of their new baby boy. “In fact…”<br />
  39. 39.
  40. 40. “You’re just in time!” <br />
  41. 41. Luckily, Amarante and Jeremy showed great foresight in specifically designing the new nursery big enough to hold more than one child. <br />“What you do think we should name them?” Jeremy asked as they looked down on their twin boys.<br />“Well,” Amarante thought carefully. “We had already planned on Samuel if we had a boy, and Arianne for a girl. So why not Samuel and…Aaron?”<br />“That sounds perfect.” <br />
  42. 42. As thrilled as his parents were at the new additions to their family, Nicholas was just as excited to meet his little brothers. “Hi little guys. My name is Nicholas, and I’m your big brother, so from now on I’m gonna take care of you, ok? So be good babies, and hurry up and grow up so we can play!”<br />
  43. 43. In both looks and temperament, Samuel Gestalt took after his father. Even more easygoing than his older brother at that age, Samuel rarely cried, even when he was hungry or ready for a diaper change. Somewhat uncommon for a baby, Samuel was rarely found without a smile on his face. <br />
  44. 44. Of the newborns, Aaron was definitely the fussier. To Amarante, it seemed like the second she finished feeding him, he would need to be changed, or held, or simply decided to cry just because he felt like it. That didn’t make either of his parents love him any less, of course. He just proved to be an…interesting contrast to his brothers. At times, Jeremy believed that Aaron inherited his nervous temperament from his mother—though he was smart enough not to bring that up. <br />
  45. 45. “I’ve been considering it a lot, and with my workload finally winding down,” Amarante brought up during lunch one afternoon. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have another baby? We could always try for another girl.” <br />
  46. 46. ……..?<br />
  47. 47. “So that’s a no?”<br />“Babe, the twins’ birthdays are tomorrow,” Jeremy pointed out. “Do you really want to try and raise two toddlers while you’re pregnant? And then, raise another toddler as soon as Sam and Aaron have grown up?” <br />“I think more brothers and sisters would be fun! Pretty soon, we could have our own soccer team with just our family, and I could be the captain!” Nicholas cheerfully disagreed.<br />“Point taken.”<br />
  48. 48. The next day, the Gestalts gathered in the dining room to celebrate two important birthdays. On the count of three, Amarante and Jeremy simultaneously blew out the candles on their sons’ cakes. <br />
  49. 49. Unsurprisingly, the twins grew to look even more like their parents as they aged up, however Amarante decided the matching outfits were a bit much. <br />
  50. 50. Unlike Nicholas, who inherited a mixture of his parent’s looks, Samuel (on the left) and Aaron (on the right), looked almost like little clones of their father and mother, respectively. Though he lacked his father’s blond hair, Samuel had his father’s blue eyes and wide, relatively thin mouth. With the exception of his gender, Aaron looked almost exactly like his mother, down to his grey eyes and fuller mouth.<br />
  51. 51. Hoping to replicate their success in teaching Nicholas all of his toddler skills in one night, Amarante and Jeremy quickly began teaching the boys to talk. Unfortunately, the twins were less cooperative.<br />“Come on, honey” Amarante pleaded with Aaron. “Say ‘Mama.’”<br />“……”<br />“Maaamaaa...you can do it Aaron, don’t be shy.”<br />“…….uh uh.” <br />
  52. 52. “Calm down, little man!” Jeremy laughed as he watched Samuel giggle endlessly. “Can you say, ‘Dada?’<br />“Hehehehe, wanna play!”<br />
  53. 53. Aaron Gestalt was not a particularly shy boy, though he did prefer to do things on his terms, even for a toddler. Aaron much preferred quiet activities such as reading and playing with blocks to more active pursuits, and did not hesitate to demand stories from his parents—at all hours, even the middle of the night, and even on nights when Mommy had to get up early the next morning. While his behavior may seem demanding (perhaps rightfully so), Aaron simply loved spending time with his family: especially his mother.<br />
  54. 54. Samuel, on the other hand, enjoyed playing alone as much as he did with his brothers. He didn’t enjoy more complex games like building castles with blocks or trying to read the books his parents bought him, but like his mother he loved making music with his xylophone.<br />
  55. 55. And as much as his twin brother was calm, Samuel constantly searched for stimulation and physical activity—involving his father, if at all possible.<br />
  56. 56. But without a doubt, both Aaron and Samuel’s best friend was their older brother.<br />
  57. 57. Although his parents naturally focused more of their attention on his younger brothers, Nicholas remained the cheerful, friendly boy he always was. Indeed, the fact that his parents couldn’t spend all their time on him forced Nicholas to discover different interests—leading him to become something of a junior renaissance sim.<br />
  58. 58. With all the commotion inherent in raising 3 children, Nicholas, Samuel, and Aaron’s shared birthday seemed to come much sooner than anyone expected.<br />I wonder what I should wish for? Nicholas considered as he prepared to blow out his candles. Just being older would be fun, cause then I’d finally catch up with Anthony and Christopher! Hmm…I guess I’ll just wish to always be able to look after my baby brothers.<br />
  59. 59. “Wow! I guess that wasn’t so bad, was it? It doesn’t really seem like anything changed!”<br />To no one’s surprise, Nicholas continued his love of learning and natural curiosity by rolling the knowledge aspiration and the Media Magnate lifetime want.<br />
  60. 60. “Ready boys?”<br />Though Samuel and Aaron weren’t entirely sure what was going on, the smiles on their parent’s faces were all the confirmation they needed.<br />“1, 2, 3…!”<br />
  61. 61. “Happy Birthday!”<br />
  62. 62. Once thebirthday boys finished aging, each party guest got down to having fun.<br />“Bam bam! You can’t hide from me, criminal!” Officer Aaron proclaimed to the noted hoodlum, Sammy the Kid.<br />“But I don’t wanna be the bad guy!”<br />
  63. 63. After joy was had and cake was eaten, Nicholas rounded up Officers Aaron and Samuel (as neither would agree to be the bad guy), and tucked them in for the night.<br />“Night, little man,” Nicholas whispered as Samuel immediately conked out. *YAWN* Oh man, I guess I gotta get to bed too.<br />Unfortunately for him, Nicholas wouldn’t get much sleep that night… <br />
  64. 64.
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  74. 74.
  75. 75. “Wha…? What the hell was that?!” Nicholas cried as he jumped out of bed. Nicholas had nightmares like everyone else, but unlike the nightmares every child dealt with at some time in their life, the intensity and lucidity of the dream that shook Nicholas awake were like nothing he had ever experienced.<br />
  76. 76. “Mom? Dad?” he cried as he ran towards his parents’ room.<br />
  77. 77. “Hmm? Nicholas? What is it?” Jeremy asked through half-closed eyes. At the sound of her son’s panicked voice, Amarante immediately sprung to her feet. <br />
  78. 78. “Nicky, what happened?” Amarante asked with an equally panicked tone.<br />“I..I don’t know. I went to sleep, and then…there was this girl. I...I don’t know what was going on, but it looked like something really horrible happened, and she was so scared…”<br />
  79. 79. “Hold on,” Amarante held up her hands in an effort to get her son’s attention. “What girl? Did someone break in?”<br />Slightly calmed down now that the vision had passed, Nicholas stared at his mother quizzically. “No, it’s not a real girl, at least there’s not a girl here. I had…a vision? Maybe? I saw a girl walk up some stairs, and then there was this big group of people that wanted to kill her with a big knife…or kill someone at least, I’m not sure.”<br />Stairs…and a knife? As she listened to her son explain his dream, Amarante couldn’t help but feel a passing sensation of…something. She couldn’t tell what.<br />
  80. 80. Jeremy placed his hand on Nicholas’ shoulder and gently turned him around. “Son, calm down. You just had a nightmare, it’s ok. You’re awake now, nothing happened.”<br />
  81. 81. “But it seemed so real,” Nicholas insisted with an uncertain frown.<br />
  82. 82. “Hey, like I said, it’s ok now,” Jeremy comforted Nicholas as he pulled his son into a hug. “You just grew up, and I bet the stress is causing some weird stuff to go on in your head. But you’re safe, so don’t worry.”<br />“…I guess you’re right. Thanks Dad.” Calmed down by his father’s encouragement, Nicholas headed back to his room.<br />
  83. 83. Amarante was less convinced. “Jeremy, Nicholas’ vision sounded awful—what could have caused him to see someone about to be murdered?”<br />Jeremy stared at his wife incredulously. “His ‘vision?’ Babe, come on: it was a nightmare. He didn’t ‘see’ anything. Like I said, he’s probably just stressed out over becoming a teenager.”<br />“Since when does Nicky get stressed out over anything? I know it sounds strange but I really do think something’s wrong.”<br />
  84. 84. Jeremy pulled his wife into a kiss. “I can see you’re worried, but even if there was anything weird about Nick’s dream, there’s not much we could do about it right now, is there?”<br />Recognizing the sense Jeremy was making, Amarante agreed.<br />
  85. 85. By the next morning, if Nicholas felt any lingering unease about the night before, he wasn’t about to show it in front of his brothers. But still…why can’t I get that nightmare out of my head? he thought to himself as he ignored his breakfast.<br />“Hey Nicholas? Could you help Aaron and me learn how to play soccer today? We want to get really good before our first day of school!” Samuel asked, jerking Nicholas out of his thoughts. “Sure thing, let me just get dressed and we’ll head out, ok?”<br />“Awesome! Come on, Aaron, let’s go get our cool new uniforms!”<br />“…ok”<br />
  86. 86. “Aw, good try! Next time, try and focus on the direction Sam’s feet are going right as he kicks the ball—that way, it’s easier to spot which part of the goal you need to move towards when he kicks.”<br />
  87. 87. Amarante smiled as she watched her boys play. Yet as much as she tried to focus on them, Amarante’s mind wandered back to Nicholas’ dream. Why am I so bothered by Nicholas’ nightmare? Jeremy’s right, there could be any number of reasons why it happened.<br />But something Nicholas said…it’s like every time I remember the way he described his dream, I feel like I’m missing something.<br />
  88. 88. As she pondered what the significance of “a girl, some stairs, a big group and a knife” could be, realization sunk in. Maybe something in the way Nicholas’ described what he saw somehow reminds me of the memories I’m missing! God, with everything’s that happened, I hadn’t even thought about why I left home in years! <br />“Hey Mom! Watch me make this goal!” Aaron yelled across the lawn.<br />“I am honey, go ahead!” Amarante replied. I think it’s time I told Jeremy about my life before we met, she assured herself. I hope he isn’t mad I’ve waited so long…<br />
  89. 89. After they managed to wrangle the twins into bed after dinner, and Amarante was sure Nicholas was busy using the telescope, she and Jeremy settled down upstairs. “You know,” Jeremy proposed in an obviously affected voice, “I think I can come up with a few ways to spend the rest of the night, if you know what I mean…”<br />“Jeremy, we need to talk.”<br />
  90. 90. “I, wait, what? What did I do?”<br />“Oh, sweetie, you didn’t do anything,” Amarante assured her husband. “No, I just wanted to talk a little about my past, if you want to listen.”<br />Relieved, Jeremy guaranteed his wife he would love to listen. “But this is a little sudden, isn’t it? You’ve never wanted to talk about your family or anything before, so what’s changed?”<br />
  91. 91. Amarante paused, reluctant even now to describe her situation. “Well, you know I spent most of my teenage years in foster care, right?”<br />Jeremy narrowed his eyes at the thought of his wife in pain. “Yeah, I do.”<br />“But I never told you why, exactly. The truth is…God, this sounds so stupid before I even say it, I know.” Amarante sighed. “The truth is, I can’t remember why I left home in the first place.”<br />
  92. 92. Jeremy’s eyes widened in shock. “You don’t remember? Like, you have amnesia?”<br />“I guess, that seems like the only explanation. But, and I know this sounds crazy, I think the reason why Nicholas’ nightmare affected me like it did was that it reminded me of what happened. I mean, I don’t remember anything specific, something in the way he spoke about his dream makes me feel like I’m trying to relive a part of my past.”<br />
  93. 93. “That sounds really dumb, doesn’t it?”<br />“No, not really.” Jeremy reflected on Amarante’s confession. “It’s a lot to take in, but it’s not like I’m an expert on the inner workings of anyone’s mind.”<br />“So you don’t think I’m crazy, or some kind of freak?”<br />
  94. 94. “Please. Now, about my ideas…”<br />
  95. 95. “Ok guys, let’s get started on some drills. Tina, you be the goalie for now, and I want the rest of you to take turns shooting. Aaron, you’re first up.”<br />Due to their brother’s excellent training, Aaron and Samuel quickly rose to the top of PleasantviewElementary’s soccer team, the Shooting Stars. Somehow or another, the boys convinced Nicholas to serve as the assistant coach on the weekends, and today was their first practice.<br />
  96. 96. “Go Aaron! I know you’ll make the shot!” Lucy Burb giggled.<br />Though not as naturally athletically gifted as Samuel, Aaron was easily the most dedicated player on the team. Dedication that, combined with his natural stoicism and natural good looks, made him quite popular among the girls at school.<br />
  97. 97. “EW!” Samuel yelled from across the field. “Mom, Dad! Don’t be so gross in public!”<br />“Focus on the game, boys!”<br />
  98. 98. “Ugh, pathetic,” Jason muttered to himself. “So wrapped up in each other they haven’t even noticed I’m here. This is the girl Marissa’s so concerned with? I could kill her right now and be done with it.”<br />
  99. 99. But if you did that, you know you’d be next, darling. Jason jumped at his wife’s sudden presence in his mind. <br />Just wishful thinking, my dear,” he replied through their psychic connection. Rolling his eyes, Jason made a slashing gesture with his right arm, and whispered a few incomprehensible words. It’s done Marissa, he confirmed as he quickly made his way out of the park. <br />
  100. 100. “Nicholas? I wanna go nex--*COUGH*”<br />Nicholas turned at the sound of his brother’s voice. “Sam, you’ve all gotta take turns, it won’t be much longer…hey, are you ok?”<br />“I can’t--*COUGH COUGH* breathe! Daddy?!”<br />
  101. 101. “Jeremy, I think there’s something wrong!”<br />
  102. 102. Amarante and Jeremy raced to the field as Samuel collapsed onto the grass. “Oh my God! Sam?” Jeremy panicked.<br />
  103. 103.
  104. 104. “We’ve got to get him to the hospital!” <br />
  105. 105. “We need a doctor, now!”<br />
  106. 106. “I’ll call one over now, one moment.”<br />
  107. 107. After 3 agonizing hours, the barrage of tests the ER doctor ordered concluded. Though his coughing had subsided, Samuel was understandably exhausted by the ordeal. Consumed with worry over Samuel’s health, no one spoke as they waited for the results to arrive. <br />
  108. 108. Consumed with worry over Samuel’s health, no one spoke as they waited for the results to arrive. Fortunately, the sound of an opening door eventually broke the uneasy silence. <br />
  109. 109. “I don’t mean to interrupt, but I have the results of your son’s tests, Mr. and Mrs. Gestalt,” Dr. Samantha Cordial cautiously offered.<br />
  110. 110. “The woman from the concert? But why are you here?” Amarante quaked.<br />“You didn’t have something to do with this, did you?” Jeremy angrily demanded.<br />
  111. 111. Samantha spoke frankly. “I’m here because I’m a resident at Mercy Hospital, and no, of course I had nothing to do with this.”<br />Ashamed by his unfounded accusation, Jeremy backed off. “I’m sorry, I had no reason to think you were. It’s just…”<br />A small smile formed on Samantha’s lips. “This must be devastating, I understand.”<br />“What can you tell us about Samuel?” Amarante insisted.<br />“The good news is, he doesn’t seem to be in any danger. But I’d like to speak to you and your husband privately, if that’s alright.”<br />
  112. 112. Amarante turned to her eldest son. “Nicholas, would you mind keeping an eye on the twins for a while?”<br />“Yeah Mom, of course.” <br />
  113. 113. Samantha led the group to a quiet corner of the hospital’s cafeteria. “Alright, we’re alone,” Jeremy pointed out. “Now what is it that’s wrong with our son?”<br />Samantha considered her words carefully. “The answer to that is complicated, and honestly a little hard to believe.”<br />“Please…” Amarante’s voice wavered. “Just tell us.”<br />
  114. 114. Samantha took a deep breath. “According to the tests, there’s nothing wrong with him. However, I have reason to believe that Samuel was the victim of an attack by someone who wanted to send you a message.”<br />Amarante and Jeremy stared at the woman across from them. “What are you talking about?” Jeremy demanded.<br />“Like I said, I know this is hard to believe, but please, bear with me. My friends and I have been observing Amarante for quite some time, and we believe she possess some sort of latent magical ability—in other words, you’re a Mage.”<br />
  115. 115. “That’s insane!” Amarante cried, earning the attention of some of the other diners. “You’re speaking nonsense.”<br />Samantha raised her hands in what was supposed to be a soothing gesture. “Please, keep your voice down!” she whispered. “I know it sounds a bit “out-there,” and this isn’t an ideal place to reveal it to you, but I promise you, I’m telling the truth.<br />
  116. 116. “Babe, let’s hear her out,” Jeremy interjected.<br />“But there’s no way I’m some kind of magician or wizard, or…whatever!”<br />“I know how it sounds, but if I remember correctly, there’s some parts of your life that sound a little unbelievable too, right? So let’s give her a chance.”<br />Amarante leaned back into her seat, a suspicious glare lingering in her eyes. “If this will help Samuel some how, then I’ll listen.”<br />
  117. 117. “Thank you.” Samantha cleared her throat before continuing. “According to our traditions, thousands of years before recorded history, humanity existed in a near utopia, and everyone possessed some sort of control over the world around them. But then, for whatever reason, some cataclysmic event occurred that not only wiped out the present civilization, but also cut off humanity’s access to that control. For the most part, humans remain cut off.<br />“However, a small part of humanity is able to regain the power our ancestors lost. We call ourselves “awakened” to the supernal world, and “normal” humans are “sleepers.” Some scholars believe that everyone possesses the potential to awaken, while others think awakening depends on any number of factors. And while each mage is unique, we all share one power: we can recognize other mages. And even though you claim you have no idea what I’m talking about, I can tell, as clear as day, that you’ve awakened.”<br />
  118. 118. “I’m not lying!” Amarante insisted.<br />“I know, and that’s the confusing part,” Samantha assured her. “Some of us can read others’ auras, and yours’ tells us that you’re telling the truth. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the Seers of the Throne from taking an interest in you.”<br />Before Amarante could respond, Jeremy butted in. “Who’s got an interest in my wife?!”<br />
  119. 119. “The Seers of the Throne,” Samantha answered with a grim smile. “Like any “supernatural” group, we Mages generally form our own societal and governmental institutions to deal with our unique concerns. The Seers of the Throne are an extremely wide-reaching cult that refuses to abide by our society’s rules. They believe that, by controlling humanity and amassing huge amounts of wealth and power, they are honoring their masters: the Exarchs, who supposedly caused the fall of the utopia.”<br />Samantha’s smile faltered. “Usually, the Seers and the Hierarchy, which is what we call our society, clash--but don’t necessarily engage in all out war. However,” Samantha continued with a sad voice, “about 15 years ago, a woman named Marissa Cleveland took control of the local Seer cabal. With power no one knew they possessed, the group proceeded to massacre every Mage who refused to join them. Now, only a few of the Hierarchy remain, and we’re forced to hide our power. Since you’re obviously new in town, we think Marissa is still trying to get a feel for you—but sooner or later, she’ll recruit you.”<br />
  120. 120. “Marissa Cleveland?...Oh my God, I know her! Or she’s introduced herself to me at least.” Amarante shuddered at the memory. “But I don’t have any power…and that doesn’t explain why she would send someone to hurt my son.”<br />A thoughtful expression crossed over Samantha’s face. “Mages typically awaken in times of great stress or anguish, so she may have ordered the attack hoping you would expose yourself. But still…I don’t know what could be blocking your powers, but considered how she’s dealt with Mages in the past, I doubt whatever it is will stop her from trying to neutralize you.”<br />“But there must be something I can do!” Amarante cried, nearly consumed with fear over the threat this group posed to her family. “How does your group stay hidden?”<br />
  121. 121. Samantha laughed. “Marissa Cleveland may be powerful, but she’s a Moros—which is one of the five types of Mages.” Samantha chuckled. “I keep forgetting you don’t know anything about us! But yeah, each Mage assumes a path at the time of their awakening, and each path is better at some kinds of magic, and worse at others. Moros’ are basically crap at spirit magic, which is the branch that allows a Mage to, among other things, read auras.” Samantha smiled proudly. “As far as we know, only a few of their group knows any spirit magic, and none of them are as good as our Mastigos—the path that’s best at Mind manipulation. She can alter their perceptions to a degree, but since they already know you, there’s not much we can do in that area.”<br />“But don’t worry!” Samantha assured the couple. “We’ve got someone on the inside, and through them we’re working on sabotaging the Seers’ plans.” A loud beeping sound interrupted their conversation.<br />
  122. 122. “Aw, crap,” Samantha grimaced. I’ve gotta go, but I’m leaving some contact information. We’re willing to help, but only if you agree to work with us on figuring out what’s keeping you from using your powers—we want to be sure you don’t accidently hurt yourself or anyone else. If you’re interested, let us know.”<br />With that, Samantha hurried towards her next patients. As she left, Amarante and Jeremy turned towards each other.<br />“Well, I’m slightly confused, what about you?” Jeremy joked to his wife.<br />“Me too. Let’s go get the boys; we can try and figure this out at home.”<br />
  123. 123. Upstairs, Aaron and Nicholas discussed their own problems. “I’m not even worried about it, Samuel’s going to be fine, so it’s not like I’m worried…or anything…” Aaron insisted, though a slight tremble in his voice betrayed his tough assertion.<br />
  124. 124. Nicholas looked into his younger brother’s eyes. Poor kid, he thought to himself. He’s taking this a lot harder than anyone else, I bet.“I know Samuel’s gonna be ok, but it’s also ok to be a little scared. I know I was before the doctor told us he was fine”<br />
  125. 125. Before Aaron could vigorously deny he was ever scared, a loud yawn interrupted him. “Hey guys,” Samuel greeted his brothers sleepily. “Where are we?”<br />
  126. 126. As Samuel climbed out of bed, Amarante and Jeremy made their way to the 5th story suite. “You ready to go home, big guy?” Jeremy asked Samuel.<br />Samuel rubbed his eyes as he tried to shake off the lingering effects of his nap. “Um, yeah. Let’s go home, ok?”<br />“Alright boys, the Doctor said we could leave, so let’s head home.”<br />
  127. 127. Though the accident put the entire Gestalt family on edge, one event gave everyone permission to let loose. While Amarante insisted that the party be a small, family affair, that didn’t stop the birthday boys from enjoying the (relatively quiet) festivities.<br />
  128. 128. “Alright!” Samuel exclaimed once the confetti and lights died down. “Me and Aaron are going out for a joyride, be back later Mom!”<br />“ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Amarante emphatically replied.<br />“Plus, we don’t even have a car, Samuel” Aaron pointed out.<br />“Pshaw…I swear, you’re so much like Mom, it’s not even funny,” Samuel muttered under his breath.<br />
  129. 129. Bolstered by Samantha’s still-hidden group’s efforts, Nicholas, Samuel, and Aaron’s teenage years were remarkable in their unremarkability*. Nicholas continued to pursue knowledge in all it’s forms.<br />*I don’t think this is a real word…<br />
  130. 130. Aaron rolled the “Become a Visionary” lifetime want, and as such spent a great deal of his time at the various museums of Sim City County. While some of his less sophisticated classmates didn’t understand Aaron’s appreciation for the arts, his mature, serious air did nothing but maintain his title of “coolest boy in school.”<br />
  131. 131. …a fact that worked to his great benefit once he rolled the Romance aspiration.<br />
  132. 132. Ironically enough, Samuel’s injury affected him the least. Whether he was spending time with friends, or refining his creative skill, Samuel rarely took a break in experiencing all aspects of life—except during the odd sick day now and then.<br />Though he followed after his big brother’s footsteps and rolled the Knowledge aspiration, Samuel took after his father yet again with the “Become Captain Hero” lifetime want. <br />
  133. 133. As interested in the opposite sex as his brothers were (or in both sexes, in Aaron’s case), Samuel was the only one with a steady girlfriend throughout high school. After a completely coincidental meeting*, he and Tessa Ramirez became inseparable.<br />*i.e, she was dropped off by the Wishing Fountain<br />
  134. 134. As time went on, the time came when not even Amarante could argue that the boys weren’t ready for the next step in their life…not that she didn’t try.<br />“But you’re all still so young, why not wait a few more years? Or maybe you could stay at home and get your degrees online?”<br />
  135. 135. Nicholas let out an exasperated sigh.“Moooom! What do you mean, ‘we’re still so young?’ If I don’t head to college soon, I’ll grow up and miss my chance! And besides,” Nicholas continued with a wide grin, “As long as I’m looking after the two runts, nothing’s gonna happen!”<br />
  136. 136. “And besides,” Nicholas jumped in. “Aren’t you the one that’s always said you wanted us to have the best education possible?<br />
  137. 137. “That’s all well and good, but I’m not going unless Tessa can go with us.” Samuel turned to his twin. “That’s not gonna be a big deal, right? I mean, it’s not like we can keep sharing a room in college, right?”<br />“What? Oh, I don’t care,” Aaron disinterestingly* remarked.<br />*Another made up word! I am such a keen wordsmith :P<br />
  138. 138. “Babe, I don’t see a reason why the boys can’t head off now, I think it’s been long enough.” Jeremy tried to assure his wife that the Seers didn’t pose much of a threat if the boys went as far as Academie Le Tour, but the best he could come up with without getting their sons’ attention as well was a pointed look.<br />“See! Dad doesn’t think it’s a big deal!”<br />
  139. 139. Nicholas put on his most convincing* grin. “Pleeaaase?”<br />*If you know what I mean<br />
  140. 140. As she looked across the table at her family, Amarante couldn’t help but marvel at the life she’d managed to build. Who would have thought I’d ever be able to make this decision—to let my, MY sons go to a college that my husband and I could easily pay for. As she grasped the message Jeremy was trying to send with his eyes, Amarante just as silently agreed.<br />“Alright, you can go. But I expect daily phone calls home, got it?”<br />“Yes!” “Thanks Mom!” “Great, I’ve gotta call Tessa and pack!”<br />
  141. 141. As the boys raced to pack their belongings, Amarante called her eldest son outside for a quick talk. “Nicky, you know I’m counting on you. Your father and I won’t be there to take care of you and your brothers, so it’s up to you now. I know you’ll take great care of Samuel and Aaron, but if ANYTHING goes wrong, you all will always have a place here.”<br />
  142. 142. “I know, Mom. I’ll take care of them, I promise.”<br />And as quickly as Amarante made her decision, a group of four teenagers found themselves, for the first time, on their own.<br />
  143. 143. “You ready, guys?”<br />
  144. 144. And that’s it for the third, and last, part of Chapter One! This one took a little longer than expected, but I hope you’ll still enjoy. I’m playing around with the layout of the story, so if you see something you like, or don’t like, please let me know by commenting on my boolprop thread or on my livejournal. And while I’m always willing to look up where I got any particular piece of custom content if anyone asks, I do want to make sure and give credit to sunni9676 at MTS2 for the AMAZING Mercy Hospital you saw in this chapter. <br />Thanks again for reading!<br />-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;-&gt;<br />
  145. 145. Before I go, introductions!<br />Aaron Gestalt<br />Romance/ Visionary - 10/9/3/1/9<br />Favorite Hobby: Science<br />Likes: Entertainment, Travel, School<br />Dislikes: Politics, Money, Environment, Culture, Food, Crim<br />*So yes, Aaron wants to be an Artist, but hates Culture. Maybe he finds the art world to be pretentious, but enjoys creating art? <br />
  146. 146. Samuel Gestalt<br />Knowledge/Captain Hero – 8/10/4/3/7<br />Favorite Hobby: Music and Dance<br />Likes: Sports, Toys<br />Dislikes: Politics, Money, Environment, Crime, Culture, Food<br />*This means that each member of Generation 2 is Neat, Outgoing, Lazy, Serious, and Nice (to slightly varying degrees), plus each has somewhat similar likes/dislikes. *sigh* I’m having to work to make them seem more different than they really are!<br />

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