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The Gestalt Legacy 2.2
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The Gestalt Legacy 2.2

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  • 1.
  • 2. Here’s part II of Generation Two’s college years! I recommend you read the previous chapters to understand what’s going on, but if you don’t, here’s a recap:
    Nicholas, Aaron, Samuel, and Samuel’s girlfriend Tessa Ramirez are in their 3rd year of college. Between their first and second years, the group took a fateful vacation to Elsewhere Island, where Nicholas fell in love at first sight, and Aaron opened up about his insecurities concerning his place in the family. When they returned, Nicholas and the rest formed the AnnyaNagardVar Greek house, and the lovely couple you see above you got engaged.
    On to part II!
  • 3. “So I’m guessing you heard the news?” Nicholas asked as he sat down for his day-old hot dog breakfast.
    “How could you tell?”Aaron scoffed in response.
    “I’m not sure how it’s possible, but you look even more intense than normal.”
  • 4. Nicholas glanced at his cold hot dog in disgust before turning his full attention to his brother. “Look, I know you don’t like Tessa, but she and Samuel have been together since high school. It was only a matter of time before one of them proposed.”
    “The fact that you’ve settled into a relationship isn’t a good enough reason to commit to a relationship for the rest of your life,” Aaron replied without taking his eyes off of his plate.
    Nicholas sighed and leaned back into his chair. “Spoken like a true Romance sim.”
  • 5. Aaron’s head turned sharply at his brother’s accusation. “What the Hell is that supposed to mean?”
    “Tessa and Samuel aren’t “settling.” They’ve been together for so long because they work well together. You might not be able to figure out what Samuel sees in her, but that doesn’t change anything between them.” Nicholas swiftly rose to his feet. “I hope one day you’ll realize that not everything
    Aaron sat in silence for a while after Nicholas left the table.
  • 6. That night, Aaron met Professor Gretchen downtown for an early dinner after class. As they met up, Gretchen eschewed a more traditional greeting in favor of some heavy tickling, eliciting one of Aaron’s rare smiles in the process.
  • 7. Without thinking, Aaron pulled Gretchen into a quick kiss.
    “What was that for?” Once they came up for air, Gretchen laughed. “Not that I’m complaining, but you don’t strike me as the PDA sort.”
    “It just feels like I haven’t seen you in a while, that’s all,” Aaron replied.
    “Well…alright then,” Gretchen faltered. “It’s good to see you too.”
  • 8. Though RistoranteItalianowas one of the more exclusive restaurants in town, Aaron managed to finagle a private table within minutes.
    “Let me guess, you’ll have the lime-seared prawns?” Gretchen’s mild teasing was met with silence. “Aaron? You there?”
    “Hmm? Oh, right, that sounds fine.”
    “You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?”
    “No, I did,” Aaron assured her. “I mean…sorry, I’m a little out of it tonight.”
  • 9. “Sir, are you ready to order?” Aaron jumped at the waitress’ question.
    “Yes, I’ll have the prawns, and Gretchen will have the baked macaroni, right?”
    Gretchen gave her dinner partner a suspicious glance. “That sounds great sweetie…are you going to tell me what’s up?”
    “There’s nothing up, what makes you say that?”
    “You’ve been distracted since we got here…this isn’t a break-up dinner, is it? But then, we were never exclusive so I guess we can’t exactly break up, strictly speaking. Wow, I’ll shut up now.” Gretchen quickly handed her menu to the waitress and folded her hands in her lap.
  • 10. Seeing the sad look on Gretchen’s face was finally enough to shake Aaron out of his reprieve. “Trust me, it’s nothing like that.” Aaron reached under the table and gently placed her hand under his. “Gretchen, I…my brother got engaged last night.”
    “Oh.” Gretchen hesitated. “That’s wonderful…right? If you invited me out just to celebrate, then you two must be very close.”
    “Oh no, that’s not it. I mean, we are close, but that’s not why I asked you out tonight.”
  • 11. Gretchen narrowed her eyes as she reached for her drink. “You know, I didn’t take you for the type to play games with people Aaron.”
    Aaron’s eyes widened in shock. Games? But I’m not…God, I’m making such a mess of this, aren’t I? Aaron took a deep breath to steady himself before he continued. “Gretchen, I know I sound like a jackass right now, but I promise—I’m not trying to mess with you.” Gretchen focused on Aaron over the rim of her glass. Hoping that was a good sign, he continued. “My brother asked his girlfriend to marry him last night. I got so angry when I heard about it, like I couldn’t understand why someone would want to give up control of their life just because it’s what they’re “supposed” to do.” Gretchen raised an eyebrow at that last part.
  • 12. “But I’ve been thinking,” Aaron continued. “And maybe that’s not how marriage has to be. There’s a lot I want to accomplish in my life,” Aaron paused as he pulled out a small box. “But somehow or another, whenever I think about the future, there’s always one thing I can’t picture living without…
    “Gretchen, will you marry me?”
  • 13. Aaron watched in anguish as Gretchen quietly picked up the ring. Throughout his entire life, Aaron had never been one to do things spontaneously—like his mother, he prided himself on careful deliberation in nearly all aspects of his life. But, though he had no way of knowing, Aaron took after his mother in other ways as well. When it came to love, honest, actual love, all of his plans and doubts seemed to go out of the window.
  • 14. Gretchen stared at the ring for several seconds, still silent to Aaron’s dismay. He was about to blurt out…anything, just to break the silence, when Gretchen slipped the ring onto her finger. With a wide smile, she returned her hand to his.
  • 15. “Yes, I will.”
  • 16. After the AnnyaNagardVar house finished celebrating the engagement of 3/4ths of it’s members, things seemed to settle down for a while. Nicholas and Aaron continued to excel in their classes, while Samuel and Tessa managed to keep on top of theirs, if nothing else. Nicholas decided the relative lull was the perfect time to entertain a house guest, and the guest agreed.
    “Nicholas!” Ashley exclaimed as she ran to and hugged her long distance boyfriend. “It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve seen you!”
    “If you don’t count web camera chats, it has been about a year,” Nicholas replied, slightly muffled by Ashley’s enthusiastic hug.
  • 17. “So where is everyone?” Ashley wondered. “I thought this was supposed to be a Greek House?”
    “Everyone is in class, as far as I know. It is 10:00am, you know,” Nicholas teased.
    “Everyone but you, skipper,” Ashley replied with a wry grin. “Now, you said something on the phone about a fantastic bookstore nearby?”
    “Alright, let me just get dressed and we’ll head next door.”
  • 18. After browsing the stacks of the Plato’s Cave bookstore, Ashley spotted the poker table set up in the corner. After Ashley immediately challenged Nicholas to a game, the pair were joined by Kim Erickson* and another dormie, and the game begun.
    *Kim is the guy Aaron asked to pledge, I could have sworn I had more pictures of him, but I guess I don’t.
  • 19. “Looks like we’re 1 for 1,” Ashley cheerfully jeered as she swept a mound of chips to her side of the table.
    “Yeah, well…” Nicholas hung his head in embarrassment. “Let’s head to the bar.”
    “Are you sure? We could keep playing, I don’t mind,” Ashley laughed.
  • 20. As they waited for their drinks, Nicholas and Ashley got to talking. Though they had kept very much in touch since they met on Elsewhere Island, neither minded the occasional repeated story. Or, for that matter, a bit of silliness.
    “Hey good lookin’, where’ve you been all my life?” Nicholas jokingly leered from across the bar.
    “Nicholas, you are such a nerd.”
    “You know it, baby.”
  • 21. Ashley chuckled to herself as the bartender discretely took their mostly empty drinks aside. “I hate to tell you this, but you’re kind of a lightweight when it comes to juice.”
    Nicholas slightly wobbled on his stool before steadying himself. “I wouldn’t know, I hardly touch the stuff.”
    Ashley widened her eyes in pretend shock. “I never would have guessed.”
  • 22. “Ashley?” Nicholas asked once they successfully made their way to a nearby couch.
    Ashley replied with an indistinct sound, still sleepy from her long bus ride to Academie Le Tour.
    “I’m really glad you were able to visit.”
    Through half closed eyes, Ashley turned and smiled. “Me too.”
  • 23. In one fluid motion, Nicholas scooped Ashley into his lap. “Woah!” Ashley cried. “If you wanted my full attention, you could have just shook me awake or something!”
    “I think we should throw a party, to celebrate you being here I mean,” Nicholas grinned.
    Ashley laughed as the couple snuggled closer together. “A party sounds fantastic. But I think about now would be the time to head back to your place.”
  • 24. “Agreed.”
  • 25. While Nicholas ran into town for supplies, Ashley found herself entertained by two other members of the house…though perhaps interrogated would be a more appropriate term.
    “So what are your intentions with Nicholas? I know you guys have kept in touch since we visited the island, but that’s a long time to go without a guy, if you know what I mean.” Tessa ended her statement with an entirely serious look, while Samuel hid his smile against his shoulder.
    Unsure of whether or not Tessa was joking, Ashley decided to respond seriously. “It might seem weird, but I’ve always been more focused on school and work than boys.”
    Hoping he could keep a straight face, Samuel turned back to his brother’s girlfriend. “I love him, but Nick’s not the most experienced guy when it comes to girls. We just want to make sure he’s…” Samuel paused.
  • 26. “He’s not being taken advantage of?” Ashley offered. When Samuel responded with an embarrassed smile, she continued. “Look, I get it. It seems like we barely know each other, and I get that your Mom’s this famous singer while I’m from poor family from the middle of nowhere.” Tessa attempted to jump in, but Ashley lifted her hand in protest. “I know this sounds super cliché, but I’ve never met anyone like Nicholas. I like him, a lot, and I hope our relationship will go further than it has. So…hmmm.” Ashley hesitated. “I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but I promise, you don’t need to worry about me.”
    The earnestness of Ashley’s words caused Samuel and Tessa to feel a little guilty about teasing her, but when she looked at them and grinned, their guilt dissolved into laughter.
  • 27. “Did I miss something here?”
  • 28. After Nicholas managed to procure a juice keg on extremely short notice, Samuel made sure there were plenty of people to enjoy it. By the time he was through, both student and professor alike ended up at the ANV house. Between the juice, the music, and the company, Ashley’s impromptu welcoming party had something for everyone.
  • 29. Some only had eyes for their dates.
  • 30. Others simply let themselves enjoy the atmosphere.
  • 31. And a not-so-surprising number of guests chose to make use of some old liquid courage.
  • 32. “Heeyyy *hic* Aaron! We really mish you at the dorm!” Heather swayed slightly on her feet, too drunk to notice Aaron’s scowling fiancé next to them.
    “Heather! It’s, ah, good to see you!” Aaron responded with a tint of nervous cheer. “This is Gretchen, my fiancé.” Aaron quickly turned to Gretchen with a look that screamed “I was a freshman, don’t hate me.”
    Gretchen’s harsh expression melted as she greeted Aaron’s guest.
  • 33. “Oh *hic* my gosh! That’s aweshum! You know, I wash engaged too, for about 5 minutes. He *hic* was a creep though, I’m shooooglad I left him!”
  • 34. With all the excitement and distraction in the house, no one noticed any one particular party crasher—even one carrying a gun.
    “There she is, of course she’s hanging all over some guy, big surprise. This’ll teach Heather to mess with me!” the stranger muttered under his breath.
  • 35. “So then Old Bill started chasing us across the dock, and we…Nicholas, are you listening to me?”
    Nicholas rocked backwards and shook his head. “Yeah, I mean, I’m trying to. I just feel a little dizzy—”
  • 36.
  • 37.
  • 38.
  • 39. As quick as they begun, the images that flashed through Nicholas’ mind ceased, leaving him in shock. “What the hell was that? Ashley, did you see that? Ashley?”
    When Nicholas turned to his girlfriend, her silent and frozen expression turned his surprise into fear.
  • 40. Indeed, it seemed as though the entire party had, somehow or another, been frozen in place.
    “Guys? This isn’t funny…Guys?” Nicholas’ voice rose in fear. “Guys?!”
  • 41. “Ok, this is weird…” Nicholas took a deep breath as he walked around the courtyard. “There’s got to be a reasonable explanation for this, so I’ll just retrace my steps. I had a drink, then Ashley and I talked. I saw…something? And when I opened my eyes, no one was moving.” Nicholas paused, trying to make sense of the last five minutes.
    “The drink! Did someone spike it with something when I wasn’t looking?” After Nicholas silently congratulated himself for figuring it out, he managed to get a good luck at the people in front of him and gasped.
  • 42. “What the hell is that guy doing with a gun?! Was that…?” After a moment, the images burned into Nicholas’ mind became clearer. As he replayed what he saw in his mind, an intense feeling of rage overcame Nicholas’ senses. “You bastard! You shot Heather! I’ll…wait a minute.” Nicholas turned to see Heather’s very much alive body.
  • 43. “So, Heather’s not…?”Once he realized Heather was fine, Nicholas walked over to the man with the gun.
    “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not going to let you hurt anyone.”
  • 44.
  • 45. After a particularly nasty right hook left the attacker out cold, Nicholas made sure to kick the gun into the bushes. But once he finished with the scumbag, Nicholas was dismayed to find that the party was still frozen in place. With a sigh of resignation, Nicholas began to run through any possible way to try and wake everyone up.
  • 46. But before Nicholas could try, a white, almost translucent curtain of light surrounded him. As the light filled his vision, it almost seemed to penetrate his skin, leaving him with a peculiarly odd sense of contentment.
  • 47. In fact, the light left Nicholas so calm that he failed to notice the noise and movement around him.
  • 48. The group closest to Nicholas was the first to react. While Gretchen simply stared in surprise at the man who suddenly appeared on the ground in front of them, Heather failed to articulate anything more than a few frightened sounds and gestures.
    “Nick, what happened? And why is there a stranger lying on the ground?” Aaron asked his older brother.
  • 49. “Hold on a minute!” Tessa cried as she and Samuel swiftly ended their dance. “A second ago, I thought I saw…whoever that is with a gun, but then I blinked and now he’s unconscious!”
    “Oh man,” Samuel worried in response. “Is everyone ok?”
  • 50. While Heather finally managed to find her voice and explain that the stranger was her former fiancé, Ashley ran across the courtyard. “Nicholas!” she called as ran. “You were standing right next to me a second ago, how the hell did you get all the way over here? And what,” Ashley paused as she caught her breath, “did you do to that psycho with the gun?”
  • 51. When Ashley reached Nicholas, he swept her in an embrace and quietly asked her to trust him. Once she nodded her head, Nicholas turned to the crowd. “Everyone? I think the party’s over for tonight. See you all later, alright?”
  • 52. With all of the understandably shaken guests out of the way, Nicholas asked Aaron to call the police with a solemn look. When he attempted to check on the unconscious man at his feet, Ashley stepped in front of him.
    “He’s out cold, hero. Now, I said I’d trust you, and I do, but I think it’s time you told me what’s going on.”
    Nicholas gave a nervous sigh as he scratched the back of his neck. “I promise I will, but I want to make sure this guy is taken away before I do, if that’s ok.”
    Ashley took a deep breath. “I guess that makes sense, but you better not hold out on me!”
  • 53. Fortunately, the police arrived within minutes, though certain aspects of Nicholas’ story seemed a little suspicious—as theyrightly should, considering he left out any mention of frozen guests. Once the police had left, Nicholas collapsed onto a nearby bench with a sigh, pulling Ashley along with him.
    “Well?” Ashley asked with a smile.
    “Alright, alright! But I’m warning you, this probably isn’t going to make much sense…”
  • 54. “…And then I snapped out of it.”
    “You’re right, someone drugging your drink really doesn’t make much sense,” Ashley laughed. “But I don’t know the first thing about designer drugs, so I guess it’s possible that one could make you hallucinate like that.” Ashley’s smile faltered a bit. “I’m just glad you’re ok.”
    Nicholas carefully brushed a strand of hair out of Ashley’s eyes. “Would it be weird if I asked you to come home with me tomorrow? I want you to meet my parents, if that’s ok.”
  • 55. “That sounds perfect...”
  • 56. “Thanks to you, I do seem to be getting back bits and pieces of what I’m missing, but I still don’t see how you and your friends could think I’m a…that I’m a witch,” Amarante insisted.
    “It’s a Mage dear, not a witch,” Amarante’s exotically dressed companion drawled. “And we’ve already been over this—the colors of your aura are surrounded by particularly vibrant sparks, which only occur with Mages. Now, granted, your powers aren’t exactly forthcoming, but I’m sure that once we…”
  • 57. Eyes unfocused, Kimberly glanced pointedly at the door. “Hold on, someone’s coming.”
  • 58. “I think it’s another mage, but not one that I know. This could be bad.”
  • 59. Before Kimberly could warn Amarante to hide, Nicholas and Ashley strolled into the house.
    “Mom? Dad? There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”
    “Nicholas!” Amarante grinned as she jumped out of her seat and gave her son a hug. “It’s been ages! And I’m guessing this young lady is the *someone* I’m supposed to meet?”
    “Yup.” Nicholas turned back to Ashley with a smile. “This is Ashley George, my girlfriend.”
  • 60. Ashley waved with a nervous grin. “Mrs. Gestalt, it’s great to finally meet you!”
    “Well hello!” Amarante smiled. “I wish my husband could be here to meet you, but he’s been stuck at work so much recently.”
  • 61. Once Amarante finished fawning over Nicholas and his girlfriend, she blushed as she remembered her guest. “Oh, I’m so sorry! Nicholas, Ashley, I’d like you to meet my good friend Kimberly Cordial.”
  • 62. “It’s nice to meet you, Kimberly,” Nicholas replied, somewhat cautious at the strange look on the woman’s face. “I haven’t met most of Mom’s friends, so it’s a pleasure.”
    Kimberly’s expression instantly changed from one of concentration to satisfaction. “It’s a pleasure for me as well, Nicholas. Your mother speaks of you and your brothers often, though she never told me you were a Mage as well.”
    “A what?” Nicholas’ eyes widened in confusion.
  • 63. “He…no, he can’t be!” Amarante cried. “Here, Nicholas, Ashley, sit down,” Amarante insisted as she pulled Nicholas to the chair next to hers.
    “Oh, I assure you, he is,” Kimberly purred. “The sparks in his aura are as clear as day;I could even spot them through the walls. Amarante,” Kimberly directed without taking her eyes off of Nicholas, “I think it’s time you told your son what you know.”
    After a brief moment of hesitation, Amarante began. Though she meant to keep some things private, she ended up pouring everything she knew about Mages, the Seers, and the danger a group of strangers were to their family.
  • 64. By the end of Amarante’s speech, Nicholas sat confounded. A thousand questions raced through his mind, but above all else, he worried about Ashley’s reaction to his mother’s (admittedly insane sounding) revelation. “Ash, I…I don’t really know what to say.”
    “You know,” Ashley searched for the correct words. “What you’re saying makes a lot of sense.”
  • 65. “I…what? It does?”
  • 66. “Well, yeah.” Ashley paused. “I mean, before now I can’t say that I believed in things like magic or Mages, but the more I think about it…Nicholas, you know how small of a town I grew up in, and on the island, one person’s business was everyone’s business. I’d always hear rumors about people, and every year some pretty odd people would rent out one of the private beaches and do all sorts of weird stuff. Plus, as you said so yourself, last night was pretty strange. So…yeah. Magic’s a good enough explanation as any.”
    Nicholas was overjoyed that Ashley didn’t run out of the door screaming, but he was still a little surprised at her blasé attitude. “You’re taking this really well.”
    Ashley reached over and held Nicholas’ hand. “You’re not a freak, Nick. No matter what.”
  • 67. “Last night? What happened last night?”
    For the second time, Nicholas explained the events surrounding his hallucinations. Kimberly’s smile grew wider once Nicholas described the glowing light that appeared right before they ended, and explained that the light most likely signified Nicholas’ awakening into his powers.
    Amarante gave Nicholas a worried look. “Kimberly, is there anything you can, I don’t know, do for him?”
    Kimberly laughed. “Of course! Nicholas, will you come upstairs with me? I think I know a way to convince you of what you are.”
    After Ashley nodded her head in encouragement, Nicholas followed Kimberly up the stairs.
  • 68. “Alright,” Kimberly announced once they reached the second floor. “The one power that comes naturally to any mage is what we call ‘Mage Sight’. It’s a method of reading an individual’s aura, or the energy their body produces. Granted, some types of Mages are better at Seeing than others, but if you’re the type I think you are, you should be fine.”
    “And what type of Mage am I?” Nicholas asked in an uncharacteristically snappish tone.
    “Ah, ah ah,” Kimberly teased. “First things first.”
  • 69. “I want you to close your eyes and focus,” Ashley instructed. “Try to use every one of your senses except your sight, and get a feel for your surroundings.”
    “But I thought it was called Mage Sight” Nicholas responded sarcastically.
  • 70. “More than your dignity is at stake, brat! Now focus!”
    “Alright, alright!” Nicholas backed off.
  • 71. “This will sound strange, but try and reach out to me with your energy. Open yourself to the flow of time, engaging all things, leaving no object unturned and unchanged.”
    Before today, following Kimberly’s instructions would have led Nicholas nowhere. But today, after a potentially deadly circumstance unlocked the greater potential within Nicholas since birth, Nicholas opened his eyes and saw something, for lack of a better term, magical.
  • 72. “Well?”
  • 73. In an instant, Nicholas lost his focus and Kimberly’s aura vanished. “What the hell was that?!” he cried.
    “That, dear boy, was my aura. Now tell me what you saw.”
    Nicholas shook his head in an attempt to come out of shock. “Uh, I saw a cloud of red light surrounding you. There were some little sparks of light too, and I think the light closest to you was purple.”
    “Purple?” Kimberly asked in a calculated tone.
    “Is that bad?”
  • 74. Kimberly burst into laughter. “No, no. At least, I don’t think so. If nothing else, it means that you’ve got a talent for reading auras, which is a little unexpected.”
    “Why is that?”
    “Because your aura shines blue, which means you are of the Acanthus Watchtower, the type of Mage that excels in fate and time magic. The red that you saw signifies me as a part of the Mastigos Watchtower, which is the breed best suited to manipulating space, reading minds, and reading auras.”
    “Time?” Nicholas considered her words carefully. “So I really did stop time last night?”
    “And you subconsciously used your power to see a disaster in the near future. Very impressive, I must say.”
  • 75. “So this is only the second time you two have spent time together in person?”
    Ashley smiled. “Technically, yes. But we’ve spoken almost every day since we met.”
    “Well I’m glad for you both,” Amarante assured. “Nicholas has always been such a remarkable boy, and I’ve worried that he wouldn’t be able to find a partner who could appreciate that. I wish you both the best of luck.”
  • 76. “Hey Mom, Ash?” Nicholas called with a still shaky voice. “I think I’m done. For now anyway.”
  • 77. Ashley practically jumped up from her chair and ambushed Nicholas before he could reach the table. “Are you ok? How did it go?”
    Nicholas held Ashley tighter as he answered. “It went…I don’t really know. All I can say is, I think I believe Kimberly now.”
  • 78. “I hate to break you two up, but there’s one more issue to discuss before I go,” Kimberly interrupted with a slight smirk. “Nicholas, you have two brothers, don’t you? For now, I would advise keeping your awakening to yourself.”
    “Are you sure that’s necessary?” Amarante wondered. “Now that Nicholas knows our situation, it feels wrong to keep things from the rest of the boys.”
    “Marissa and her cabal are still looking for you Amarante, and I doubt they’re pleased it’s taking so long to do so. You are free to do as you wish, of course, but I’m of the opinion that, for now, it would be safer to keep your family’s involvement somewhat low-key.”
  • 79. “In any case, it was lovely seeing you again,” Kimberly smiled. “And it was a pleasure meeting you two as well. I hope to you’ll agree to work with our group in the future, Nicholas.”
  • 80. When it was obvious that Nicholas was in no condition to catch up with his mother, Amarante insisted he and Ashley make their way home—but not before promising he’d call more often, and insist his brothers do so as well. She put on a brave face, but as soon as everyone was gone, Amarante let out a wistful sigh.
    What have I gotten my family in to?
  • 81. “You really didn’t have to carry me home from the bus station, you know,” Ashley joked through a series of yawns.
    “If you hadn’t fallen asleep so quickly, I wouldn’t have had to,” Nicholas retorted as he gently lowered Ashley to her feet.
    “Ugh…I think I’m still jetlagged. It’s your own fault for living so far away.”
  • 82. “Well maybe someday you won’t have to travel so far to see me,” Nicholas teased.
    “Maybe not,” Ashley responded with a sleepy grin.
    “Ash…” Nicholas shifted to a more serious tone. “I won’t blame you if you’re freaked out over today. If you want to slow things down, give yourself some time to think, or whatever, I’ll understand.”
  • 83. Ashley stared at Nicholas incredulously. “Slow down? Nicholas, have I given you any reason to think I want to tone down our relationship?”
    “Not really, but I wanted to make sure and leave you an out, however clumsy,” Nicholas replied with an embarrassed chuckle.
  • 84. “Get over here, you nerd.”
  • 85. For Nicholas and Ashley, the next morning came much too soon. As much as they both would have enjoyed much more time together, time and school wait for no man.
  • 86. And while Nicholas had initially planned on sending Ashley off on his own, his brothers insisted on making their presences known.
  • 87. “I’m going to kill them,” Nicholas whispered in Ashley’s ear.
    “Aw, poor baby. I think it’s cute.”
    “I think you’re cute.”
    Ashley tried to stifle her laughter as she leaned her head onto Nicholas’.
  • 88. Ashley blinked quickly to hold back her tears. “Well, this is goodbye.”
    Nicholas tightened his jaw. “For now,” he insisted.
    “For now.”
  • 89. Back in Pleasantview, the PVPD Swat Team Captain responded to an urgent call from the Police Chief.
    “You’re late, Jeremy,” Ms. Boyle warned in a half-serious tone.
    “Considering I only found out about this meeting an hour ago, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. If it wasn’t for your message, I probably wouldn’t have made it at all.”
    “Hmph. You’re going to have to learn to check your voicemail more often Jeremy; I won’t be around here much longer.”
  • 90. Before he could ask why, Jeremy heard his name from within the nearby office. “Chief, Cara isn’t retiring, is she?” he asked as he closed the door behind him. “I don’t know what we’re going to do without her if she does.”
    Chief Boyle didn’t turn from the window. “She is. So am I, I’m afraid. And I want you to replace me.”
  • 91. Jeremy was instantly taken aback. “Me? Chief, I was only just promoted to Captain as it is, there’s no way I’m qualified to take over the department!”
    “Jeremy, please. Since Detective Verr disappeared, you’re the best man I’ve got. Cara and I aren’t getting any younger, and I’d like to enjoy the time I have left with my wife. And besides…” Boyle paused with a heavy sigh. “Things aren’t too good right now.”
  • 92. Jeremy narrowed his eyes as the Chief unlocked the bottom drawer of his desk and took out a file. “Is there something I don’t know about?”
    In response, Boyle let out a particularly cynical sounding laugh. “My boy, you have no idea.”
  • 93. But as quickly as his laughter died down, the Chief adopted an implacable expression. “Jeremy, you’re taking the job, and there’s nothing else to it.” When Jeremy attempted to voice a complaint, he was silenced by a very stern look. “And as the new Chief of the Pleasantview Police Department, there’s a lot you need to learn.”
  • 94. Boyle pressed the file into Jeremy’s arms, smiled, and walked towards the door. When he reached it, he paused. “I’d wish you good luck, but if I thought you needed it, you wouldn’t be sitting at my desk. So all I’ll say is, trust your instincts. You’ll need them.”
  • 95. “With that said…good luck.”
  • 96. And the 2-part chapter from hell is over! I had a positively awful time with 2.1 and 2.2 as a set, so here’s a picture of Jeremy eating out of the trash. Gotta love that one neat point. As always, if you have any comments (which I greatly love and appreciate), my thread at boolprop and my livejournal are always open!
    On the next page, I’ve outlined some of the mechanics of how mages work in my story. I freely admit, it’s a little dense, and I’m hoping you won’t need it to *get* what’s going to happen in the story. But if you’re the type that wants to know everything about a setting, this will help (I hope!).
  • 97. It’s time for some sloppy storytelling! After reading the last two chapters, I’ve realized that I haven’t done a great job explaining the different type of Mages. I still plan on discussing this within the context of the story, but I thought I would include a basic primer here. This is taken, for the most part, from the Mage: The Awakening series, though I’ve made a few changes. I’m also including the Mages whose Watchtower has already been revealed, though by no means every Mage in the story.
    Also, I’m using the term “Watchtower” to signify a group or classification, though in the series I’m basing it on, it means a lot more—more than I want to go into in this story.
    Schools of Magic:
    • Death: Control of Ghosts, the Dead, Destruction
    • 98. Fate: Blessings, Curses, Luck
    • 99. Forces: Nature, Energy, Gravity
    • 100. Life: Healing, Disease, Evolution
    • 101. Matter: Alchemy, Shaping, Transformation
    • 102. Mind: Telepathy, Hallucinations, Mind Control
    • 103. Prime: Magic itself, Strengthening/Weakening Spells
    • 104. Space:Scrying, Teleportation, Protection
    • 105. Spirit: Exorcism, Spirits, Souls
    • 106. Time: Prophecy, Stopping/Accelerating Time
    • 107. Acanthus (The Fool)
    • 108. Color: Blue, Element: Air
    • 109. Magical Strengths: Fate/Time, Weakness: Forces
    • 110. Nicholas is this type of Mage
    • 111. Mastigos (The Devil)
    • 112. Color: Red, Element: Void
    • 113. Magical Strengths: Space/Mind, Weakness: Matter
    • 114. Kimberly Cordial is this type of Mage
    • 115. Moros (Death)
    • 116. Color: Grey, Element: Earth
    • 117. Magical Strengths: Matter/Death, Weakness: Spirit
    • 118. Marissa Cleveland is this type of Mage
    • 119. Obrimos (Strength)
    • 120. Color: Yellow, Element: Fire
    • 121. Magical Strengths: Forces/Prime, Weakness: Death
    • 122. Thyrsus (The Moon)
    • 123. Color: Brown, Element: Water
    • 124. Magical Strengths: Life/Spirit, Weakness: Mind
    • 125. Samantha Cordial is this type of Mage