Sim Together: Saving the Magic Realm

Save the skeleton, save the realm!

As part of the #StayandPlay initiative that EA have launched to entertain people during the coronapocalypse, several gurus and streamers teamed up to tell a story in The Sims on Twitch. Over the course of a week (or so), lilsimsie, SimGuruRad, DrGluon, SimGuruDoi and SimGuruNinja all contributed to moving the gameplay along, leaving the story on a bit of a cliffhanger for other members of the community to conclude. So here’s my contribution!

As you can see, things had been going well in this household so far…

As a bit of a recap… *takes a deep breath* …This particular household lives in a very creepy house in Forgotten Hollow. Why is this house so creepy? Well, aside from the fact that its name is Tommy and that it has an extremely spoopy voice, it also FEASTS ON THE SOULS OF IT’S INHABITANTS MWA HA HA HA HAAAAA!!! Why does it feat on the souls of its inhabitants? Well, according to that noble and trustworthy vampire overlord, Vladislaus Straud, the house needs souls in order to hold The Magic Realm together and stop it from shattering apart and dissipating into its own atmosphere. We trust Vlad right? I mean… he’s very old and wise and he wears a cravat.

Hilda Fangbone is a sweet, innocent vampire granny who lived inside Timmy (the house) with her grandson Salem. Yeah, I don’t get that either: an OLD vampire? I mean, I know vampires can be hundreds of years old but they don’t normally look it! If you’re feeling a bit suspicious about this fangtastic granny then you’d be correct! She’s actually… *hands out popcorn* …BONEHILDA! Bonehilda, the skeleton maid from previous versions of the game (or alternate timelines, if you will) and this skinless, blood-sucking contradiction of a character WAS WORKING FOR VLAD ALL ALONG!!! Helping to feed poor unsuspecting inhabitants of the house to Timmy… the house.

Salem did not wish to follow in his grandmother’s creepy footsteps and decided to walk away from the whole situation and was never seen again. *insert sad violin music here*

Another unfortunate denizen of the house or horrors is Carli Hawthorne, who sadly loss both her fathers to a series of tragic Murphy bed accidents. Carli still sleeps in the deathly bed sometimes, recklessly hoping to join her fathers, whose presence she swears she can still feel around her. Theo and Alistar think that this is a great idea! However, they would prefer her to fulfil her dreams of going to university and becoming a biochemical engineer.

The last member of this sad congregation is the reluctant spellcaster, Viktor Kain, who is mourning the loss of his wife Elysia. Viktor lost all interest in cultivating his magical abilities after Elysia’s untimely death. He also rejected the advances of Hilda Fangbone, who vengefully cursed him with a Selvadoradian plague! His sorry state allowed space for contemplation of life, the universe and everything, and Viktor eventually considered Hilda’s offer of love. But like that obscure play by some little-known author, Hilda had already partaken of her own poison and accepted her fate as a bony harbinger of doom.

‘Pow! Pow! Swish! Pop pop! Poof!’

However, Viktor was fighter! Because when you hit rock bottom, you can either lie there feeling sorry for yourself like an old bowl of mashed potatoes, or you can think ‘Feck it!’ and give life your best shot! Hilda finally confessed everything to him; about the bloodthirsty house, Vlad’s machinations and the curses she had inflicted on the remaining members of the household. Viktor knew what he had to do. He had to swallow his pride and ask the spellcaster community for help.

Unfortunately, when he had turned his back on his ancestral roots, Viktor had launched his glimmerstone into Forgotten Hollows Bog of Eternal Forgetfulness and he no longer remembered how to travel to The Magic Realm. With his tail between his legs, he skulked into his old haunt, Elixers and Brews in Glimmerbrook. He knew there was a portal to the Magic Realm here somewhere, he’d stumbled into it once after one too many margarine margaritas. Wish was lucky, because it stopped him falling over the edge of… THE WATERFALL!!!

That’s right, the portal was near a waterfall! He walked along the banks downstream until he finally saw it. Nervously, he stepped forward into the portal.

The Realm was not as he had remembered. Yes, the sky still rippled in a sensual kaleidoscope of colours, the blossom trees weaved their branches in their lazy waltz, and the water teased invitingly with its tranquil, sparkling surface.

He had met his wife on this bridge.

Yet despite the reassuring familiarity, there was a sense of chaos and destruction he had never seen before: the world was ripped apart, pieces were missing, and there were dangerous chunks of debris circling through the atmosphere. It was as though the Realm was frozen in time forever at the moment of impact, being at once thrust apart and held strenuously together. Viktor could feel the duality of forces in the air, the tension held in place by magic that was beyond his understanding.

He had barely thought these thoughts or felt these emotions before a familiar presence was at his shoulder. His faithful companion Faug had found him almost instantly!

‘I am pleased to see you, old friend,’ Viktor rued, ‘I am sorry I neglected you for so long.’

Viktor was nervous about approaching the Council of the Realm after his self-imposed exile. Yet, having Faug at his side gave him a renewed sense of determination.

As expected, his reception was frosty. The Three Sages had been offended when Viktor turned his back on the community. As he was a spellcaster of noble blood, they had been in the process of cultivating him and finessing his powers in the hopes that he would one day take a seat on the council. His rejection of his ordained path had been taken as a slight on the community he was supposed to protect.

As soon as Viktor entered the council chambers, Morgyn Ember, Simeon Silversweater and L. Faba decended on him like a wake of vultures!

‘Oh, look who came crawling back!’ L. Faba chuckled, her heels clicking on the cold stone.

‘You have quite a nerve, showing your face here after forsaking your brothers and sisters,’ Morgyn was as composed and straightforward as ever, a slight twinkle in his eye belying his austere demeanour.

‘How could you neglect your duties, Viktor?’ That was Simeon, practical-minded as ever.

‘I did not wish to come here,’ Viktor’s voice rang loud in the sterile hall, surprising even himself, ‘Yet, I find myself in perilous circumstances that are unfortunately intertwined with your own.’

The Sages paused their assault, surprised by the vigour of his words.

‘I thought my kind to be a noble race,’ Viktor admonished, ‘Yet our power comes at the cost of the blood of others!’

Other Spellcasters were spilling into the grand hall now, swarming on the balconies, drawn by the sharp, ringing voices.

‘What are you talking about, Viktor?’ Simeon growled.

‘He clearly lost his mind when he lost his wife!’ L. Faba laughed, cruelly.

Viktor snapped, ‘Shall I tell them?’ He gestured to the congregation of curious faces. ‘Shall I tell them how the Realm is held together by harvesting the souls of the living? Shall I tell them how a house called Timmy feasts on innocent people because we greedily cling to power? Shall I tell them how no soul is sacred, not even those of fellow Spellcasters? How my wife Elysia, a much loved member of this community, was sacrificed to this monstrous plan, as mine too shall be?’

With this Viktor ripped the clothes from his collar to reveal the mark of the curse that would surely claim his life in a matter of hours.

The congregation gasped but Morgyn threw his hands to the air for silence. ‘These accusations are nothing more than the ravings of a madman. They shall not be entertained or spoken of again. This I decree! Now return to your studies.’

As the throng of curious spellcasters dispersed, Morgyn leaned closer to Viktor and whispered, ‘I cannot have you causing panic.’

Simeon stepped closer, eyes heavy, and under his breath growled, ‘I may have something for your ailment. Meet me at the duelling arena.’

With that, the sages turned their back on him and left.

You would think Viktor would be shaken by such an encounter, but the vehemency only gave fuel to his passion to succeed. He strode in angry determination to the duelling arena where Simeon Silversweater was already awaiting him. Dour and practical as ever, Simeon asked Viktor for the details of the situation.

‘There is one important factor that you have not yet considered,’ he said patiently, ‘Vampires are no friends to the Realm, why would Vlad wish to save us? It would be in his interests if we were blown apart.’

‘Then why would Vlad be forcing Hilda to murder people and feed the house with souls of the dead?’ Viktor asked in confusion, the curse was weighing heavily on him now.

‘Perhaps,’ Simeon narrowed his eyes, ‘Perhaps the injustice of the act upsets the natural order of things. Perhaps this will speed up the destruction of our world. Vampires are not sentimental creatures, they would prefer to strengthen their own grip on the world than to save a whole community of people out of the good of their hearts. Spellcasters have kept vampires in check for centuries, imagine what the atrocities they would cause if there were no one to stop them.’

‘We must stop them!’ Viktor cried in anger.

‘We must,’ Simeon agreed, ‘in time. First, I will teach you a spell to lift all the curses. Then we will gather the community, explain the situation and come up with a sensible plan. In the meanwhile, you should train. Your powers are rusty from disuse.’

When Viktor returned to the house, he walked in on the usual chaos. The house was most certainly cursed, he could sense this now after awakening his mind to his innate powers. However, he felt confident that, with the support of his community, he could fight the dark powers that swarmed there. At the very least, he had learned a handy ‘repario’ spell from simeon that he used to fix all the broken objects in the home. There would be no more Murphy bed deaths on his watch! And perhaps Timmy, the house, would be less angry when his plumbing was unblocked.

Afterwards, he sought out Hilda. He pitied her situation, a conflicted character, torn between two destinies. He was determined to save her soul.

‘I must speak with you where the house can’t hear us,’ he whispered to her and gestured to a path in the woods, ‘somewhere only we know.’

Hilda understood and followed him to the outlook where an old gnarled tree still grew, its roots thick with age, its trunk solid and steadfast. It appeared dead but it grew with a dogged determination that reflected Viktor’s steely resolve.

‘Hilda, I have spoken to the Council of Spellcasters. I told them everything. The good news is that they have given me a spell to lift all of our curses. You don’t have to be Bonehilda anymore. You don’t have to feed any more souls to that evil house.’

‘Oh Viktor! That sounds wonderful, but what about the Realm? If it costs a few souls to save a whole community of people, then that is a sacrifice that must be made and I cannot ask anyone else to do such a thing. I must follow the path that has been laid for me and me alone.’

If Hilda still had eyes, Viktor was sure they would be brimming with tears.

‘Sweet Hilda,’ he sighed, ‘there is something else I must tell you, although I know it will break your heart. What if you could change your destiny? What if there are multiple paths that you could take?’

‘What do you mean?’ Hilda gasped.

Viktor paused, knowing what he was about to say would shake Hilda’s world apart. ‘I’m afraid that Vlad betrayed your trust. He lied to you. He is using your innocence and your good nature to trick you into carrying out his evil schemes. Sacrificing sould to Timmy is not keeping the Realm together. It is creating an imbalance in the energies that will cause the Realm to be torn apart!’

‘No! No, I don’t believe you’ Hilda cried, although she knew in her heart-space this was true. When she looked in Viktor’s glowing red eyes, she saw the sincerity that was there. And he did not raise his eyebrow in a wicked fashion when he spoke, like Vlad did.

‘It’s true,’ Viktor insisted, ‘but I promise you will be ok. I will protect you. I already have the spell that will lift your curse, I just need a little bit of time to refine it and be sure that it is safe. I’ll use it on myself first, so you know it is not a trick. In honour of my wife, I will undo all the evil associated with her death.’

‘Oh Viktor, you are so brave and manly and good at fixing stuff,’ Hilda simpered. As he ran back to the house to practice his rusty magic, she played her rib-cage like a xylophone happily!

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