Old & Creaky
Take Me to the Moon 7.18
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Dr. Fearghus Tesla, General Practitioner, had hoped to become an obstetrics specialist, but was content to move on to the next stage of his life and retire without reaching that goal. Moving to the Count’s castle on Windenburg Isle just made the decision of when to retire a little more straightforward, since the commute would be unreasonable. Besides, Fearghus had a feeling he was going to be needed at home, more than ever. He was not sure about this move, but was willing to support Grayson’s decision to do his best to provide for Hedy’s special needs.
Surprisingly, Kelli Pancakes was touched by Dr. Tesla’s retirement, and she impulsively threw her arms around him and said, “we’ll miss you.” Fearghus smiled, but he really couldn’t reciprocate the sentiment; retirement for him was a relief after the stress and disappointment of the hostile work environment.
The family packed up their personal items, along with most of Grayson’s ill-gotten loot, and sold all their furniture. The big day arrived, and they moved out of the city, and into a different world, a medieval-feeling world removed from roads, modern life, and removed from the view of prying neighbors.
The first night, when everyone else was asleep, Alyse found herself uncharacteristically energetic, still quite awake, and drawn into the courtyard of the castle.
She felt a little overwhelmed by the scale of her new home. No- it wasn’t just the size and scope of the old walls; there was a presence, somehow. Hurriedly, she returned inside, to fix a comforting cup of chamomile tea.
The kitchen felt cozy. Really, overall, Alyse liked the place. She really liked the big cupcake factory contraption by the fireplace, and decided to whip up a batch of strawberry fizz cupcake batter while finishing her tea.
As she stared at the dials and cranks, trying to bring the monstrous machine to life, her sister, Aubree wandered in with a stressed smile on her face.
“What do you think?” Alyse asked her. Aubree had found the crypt, darts, and even a bowling alley, all in the many levels underground, and was pretty enthusiastic. However, she was a little stressed about the general stability of the old rock walls.
“It’s creaky,” she said. “Old and creaky. Everywhere I go, I hear groaning and shifting and it makes me feel like it’s about to fall to shambles. On top of that, I felt a tremor earlier.”
Alyse couldn’t help feeling that her sister was describing Alyse’s old, worn body, although she knew Aubree really was talking about the castle. Alyse’s body seemed to betray her daily, and she was keenly aware that collapse was imminent.
“Well, I’m so glad you’re here,” Alyse told her sister, “and I hope you like it well enough to stay a while, because I missed you the last few years.”
Little Hedy didn’t seem intimidated by the castle at all, and she confidently toddled out into her nursery play room as soon as she woke up in the morning.
Then she headed out, into the chapel, and towards the stairs.
Before she could find the huge stairwell, though, her dad scooped her up, carried her down to the kitchen, and fed her breakfast.
Fearghus decided that the fireplaces, of which there were many in the old castle, were firetraps. They needed to be refitted with modernized, fire proof gas pipes. He immediately set to work, and by evening, had finished the kitchen fireplace, and almost finished upgrading the nursery fireplace.
“Ha, ha,” Alyse said, triumphantly, as she pulled out another stick without topping the llama.
“You sure are playful tonight,” Fearghus said with a grunt, from the depths of the fireplace.
Meanwhile, Grayson was putting Hedy to bed. He had decided to sleep near her and had the butler set up a bed for him in the nursery.
Grayson felt unsafe since arriving at the castle, and he felt a strong need to be close to Hedy, to protect her.
Grayson had many hopes for Hedy, especially that she would remain his sweet, angelic child as long as possible, and grow into a beautiful, happy woman with wealth and power, but without the guilt of leading a life that preyed on others. While he felt little regret or guilt for his own criminal behavior, Hedy’s innocence was like a fresh start for Grayson, and he was determined that she would not be tarnished by her mother’s cruelty. Moreover, he hoped to insulate Hedy from his own criminal ways. He believed he could protect her from the consequences of his own actions; what he truly feared was the dark powers outside his own control, and since the Count had assured Grayson that Hedy was a vampire, Grayson had to plan for the possibility that some evil force was inherent in Hedy’s nature.
Grayson believed that although it was a gamble, partnering with the Count to make sure that Hedy had what she needed to survive and control her vampiric nature, was the best bet. He hoped that he could mitigate any bad influence the Count had upon his daughter by giving her the best possible upbringing.
Grayson knew that the castle was bringing back his own traumatic memories, and hoped that his fear was not based on any actual present danger. It had seemed the best choice to move here, but was he crazy to put himself and his family within the Count’s sphere of influence?
He had asked the new butler, Reese Conroy, to tell him what she knew about the Count. She seemed calm and happy, not stressed, when the Castle’s dark lord was mentioned, but that didn’t comfort Grayson.
“But, he’s undead.” Grayson said, exasperated with her lack of concern over the obvious. “He sustains himself on…”
Ms Reese cut him off. “In my experience, the Count has always been a fair and dependable employer,” she said. “He leaves me to run this place as I see fit, and I’m content with that.”
Seeing that Grayson was not convinced, she said, “Your mother’s here in the nursery, to watch Hedy, why don’t you go explore the rooms the Count instructed me to prepare for you, upstairs? He has left information for you there about his businesses. Everything you need to begin work is prepared, on the drive in the computer.”
Realizing that work could help take his mind off his fears, Grayson checked with Alyse, and then took Ms Conroy’s advice.
He went to the uppermost part of the castle, where he found a library, and a secret bookshelf, just as she had described. Pushing it aside, he entered a narrow passageway and then found himself in a smaller, beautifully appointed, dark library overlooking the many pointed turrets of the castle’s courtyard walls.
The fire spontaneously lighted. Above the mantel was a large portrait of Hedy’s mother. Grayson stared, wondering what he wanted to do with that. The beauty of the artwork and the subject were mesmerizing, but Grayson was wary. He resolved to tell the Butler to move the painting to the crypts.
He then found the work area of the room, and began to unpack his personal photos and items. He put his remaining, unbound voodoo doll in his pocket, in case he encountered Absinthe, or another undead fiend. Hopefully the magic would have an effect on vampires; he did not know for sure, but it was worth a try.
Then he sat down and began to pore through the accounts and the correspondence prepared by Ms. Conroy and his new employer.
Meanwhile, Alyse had followed a desire to walk about under the moonlight in the courtyard. She found a well. She stood at the well, feeling a yearning to have more time with her family.
“I wish that I could have more time,” she thought.
Suddenly, bright light began to erupt from the depths of the well. Alyse felt invigorated, excited, and stronger than she had since she could remember. Someone had heard her wish, knew her heart. Someone had granted her wish.
Alyse stripped off her clothing and dove into the chilling water of the garden pool.
After working into the early hours of the morning, just as he would in a normal work night, Grayson retired to the nursery, feeling much calmer. Hedy was peacefully sleeping.
Alyse, meanwhile, stayed up all night, revelling in her new, more youthful body. When morning came, she warmed her hands at the fire in her bedroom, which Fearghus had also upgraded. “I could get used to this life,” she thought.
- The fireplace has been upgraded with Auto Light and that’s why it spontaneously lit, however, it is more fun to think of it as haunted.
- Aubree had a tense moodlet from the lot trait, Quake Zone. Also, Aubree has the insane trait, so I am curious how that will play out in a castle which will be inhabited by ghosts and vampires.
- Alyse wished for youthful vigor at the wishing well, and her wish was fulfilled! She was returned to the beginning of the elder life stage, and she had lots of energy.
- It was so weird when Kelli Pancakes hugged Fearghus at work! She is usually very mean to him.