Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Slice of Godhood

Tiando's efforts to uplift the auboriginals landed her a rare audience with a Nephalim!
Chandell's face showed the strain of recalling the specifics of her time as the fabled medicine-woman Tiando of the Bright-Moon. She managed to make it look very convincing though Iofe didn't buy it for a second. Already her early draft of the true history of Sim-Earth and the confirmation that the auboriginals were truly the very first civilization instead of the scientific consensus that the honor lies with the people that now make out China read like a novel for young-adults. To break Chandell's act, Iofe said sighingly; 'Do you people have any idea how outlandish all of this is? The only way I can possibly make this stick in the academic society is if I can actually present a live vunecan who's on top of that willing to have it medically proven of the fact.'
Xoxxor let go of a dismissive grunt and remarked; 'All the proof that you need is that you exist. Without us meddling in Nephalim Luna's garden like we did, the three of us would now be talking to a velociraptor. Yet, there's ample proof of us existing and being the real deal because we're not exactly coy when we go on abduction drives to procreate.' Iofe leaned to her right to see past her computerscreen so that she could look at Xoxxor; 'I always wondered why the vunecans do that. Is it some sort of weird research or something?' Chandell chuckled; 'Or something, kid. Nephalim Vuneca needed one hundred servants, not a people with hopes and dreams. You remember that I told earlier about those of disillusioned leaving Vuneca-Plane and not many coming back? We want to be a people, but we lack the tools to be such. Vunecans can't conceive, but by some weird design we can impregnate. Amongst ourselves though, woohoo is merely of value as a means of seeking pleasure. We speak of the Original One Hundred, but of those merely a handful remain on Vuneca-Plane. By pollinating Sims, we add to our number. We of the Original One Hundred form the government of Vuneca-Plane and the pollinated are our workforce.'
Iofe started to ask another question, but Thanatha raised a hand; 'Let's return to the telling of the true history, people. Especially you, Chandell. You're aware that Chronox isn't here, so time flows normally. I grow weary of having to remind you that Xoxxor and I have an agenda of our own to observe.' Chandell shrugged as her face became snarkily lopsided; 'An agenda that you carry out on my furniture, I might note.' Chandell's snark uncharacteristically brought a smile on Xoxxor's face which he quickly hid from Thanatha by adding; 'Nevertheless. This is about the history of the auboriginal people of Isla Paradiso, not about the anthropology of the vunecan people. We should stay on topic a bit more strict so as to expedite matters more efficiently.'

Thinking that Tiando is an exceptional specimen of her own creating, Nephalim Luna changed the world for the worse!
'Point taken.', Iofe sussed and turning to Chandell she asked, 'So, you usurped the tribal girl's body and mind and assumed her life.., how in Peter's name did you proceed? Am I right to assume that you were no longer immortal?' Chandell nodded, 'I became Tiando and as you already figured out, a mortal. But I mentioned earlier that I, during my exploring of the islands, had studied the flora and had learned their different properties. Staying alive and more importantly, young and able-bodied, wasn't that much of a tall order. Add to that the fact that I still retained command of my vunecan abilities and you'll understand that other than realising my dream of becoming a real girl, nothing much changed.
'The decades following I filled with uplifting the auboriginals. I start with giving them language by replacing grunts with words. I thought them nephalimic of course, but Luna's creations were smarter than I gave them credit for. As I taught them nephalimic, they took the language and made it their own. They molded it into what's known today as paradiso-jo, the only language in the world that can't be taught. If you're not a native paradisoan, you can safely forget about ever learning to speak paradiso-jo. Maybe you'll learn a word or two, but then your pronunciation will merely offend the listener. The only non-native people that can use paradiso-jo are the nephalim, but they are the nephalim. There's nothing alien to them.
'As I moved between the tribes, I introduced mathematics, currency and economics, clothes, fabrication, architecture, infra-structure. All in rudimentary concepts of course, but again the auboriginals took to it like fish in water. A few hundred years later the auboriginals had fostered a culture based on what I've taught them while never losing themselves as a people.
'All the while I took on apprentices to teach them the medicine-craft I had developed from the flora and fauna of the islands. I selected them on talent and aptitude at the start, but as I came to understand myself as a girl and discovered that men didn't interest me as much as the girl who's body and mind I had takenhad done, I also invited girls I was attracted to. Those girls became more than just apprentices, you understand.' Iofe smirked, 'Oh, I understand alright. Leggings are a no-no when you're around.'
'Right, moving on.', Chandell reacted as Thanatha casted his eyes towards the ceiling and Xoxxor facepalmed, 'It caused a shift in how the auboriginals did things. The medicine-women became the policy-makers and that led to it that the tribes no longer used women as a commodity. But in order to maintain genetic diversity in the tribes, the tradition of the seasonal festivals came to be to allow girls to find partners without either of the two being thrown up for grabs. The tradition spread allover the world eventually and today the festivals are still being held, though in Simnation, the original intent has been lost.
'It's an understanding on the islands that nothing happens without a medicine-women approving it first, even if the men make out the Tribal Council. It's no secret that the medicine-women to this day are the shadow-government of Isla Paradiso.'
'Do they still answer to you, or see you as their chief?', wanted Iofe to know. Chandell nodded; 'They never did. They saw me as their teacher, not as their leader. It's purely to themselves that they lay the groundwork for the later social ladder as we know it today. I only became a revered figure in the history when Nephalim Luna, whom the auboriginals instinctively feel compelled to worship, descended from the moon and blessed me with a special visit. Unawares that I in actuality was a vunecan, she believed that I was an especially gifted auboriginal. I knew then that my plan had worked!
'Luna was of course particularly self-congratulatory over her success with me and it took me no effort at all to massage that feeling to such an extent that she agreed to bestow a part of her nephalimic powers onto me and to declare me Tiando of the Bright-Moon.
'Touched by Nephalim Luna as I was, the tribes vied for my graces and I decided to to move to the largest island where the largest tribe on the islands was all to happy to adopt me. That tribe became the Bright-Moon Tribe, responsible for keeping the colonial war alive and the auboriginals' eventual emancipation from colonial rule. That last event is also my latest victory over the Nephalim. It took three hundred years to get rid of Nephalim Jupiter's hold over Isla Paradiso and to break his control over the Alto family. And in stride Nephalim Mars, probably known to you as Mr. Nielsen, the man who meddled with the Masters in Isla Paradiso. But we're getting ahead of ourselves once again.'
Chandell paused to make a show out of sneezing and after accepting blessings she spoke up again; 'Finally having nephalimic power was a shock to my system. At first I couldn't talk to a person without outright killing that person. I couldn't pick an item up without it turning to so much dust in my hands. That also happened with food and when I tried to drink water, it would be boiling hot by the time I succeeded to even raise a cup to my lips. But I wasn't immortal anymore and needed to eat and drink. The necessity to feed myself spurred me on to master my new-found powers very quickly. As a former vunecan, feeling the need to exercise haste is not really my thing. What's time to an immortal? Yet, I managed and I quickly gained a firm grasp on my powers. Even if I only had a little nephalimic power, combined with my vunecan powers the mix is extremely potent.
'The day arrived where I was ready to return to Vuneca-Plane and ready to claim my destiny as Nephalim in Nephalim Vuneca's stead.'
Thanatha let go of a sigh that had locked in it all the regret in the universe; 'Everything changed that day.'
'Everything.', Xoxxor agreed in an unstable voice.
'It was glorious!', enthused Chandell, her eyes on fire as she relived the memory. Iofe decided not to chime in with her two cents, seeing as the trio of vunecans gave eachother awkward looks over the fact that their opinions on Chandell's return to Vuneca-Planed didn't exactly align. Iofe realised that the trio had never really discussed that particular obstacle in their past and she came up with a quick question to move past the awkward impasse, 'So, uhm, Chandell.., what happened when you returned to Vuneca-Plane?

Next Time: Power Unforgiving.

(Sorry for only two screenshots. I needed a new world to represent Vuneca-Plane and I need to do a lot of work to make changes to it and to build Nephalim Vuneca's boudoir. That's for the next chapter. Had I combined the two chapters, the wait would've been too long.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In a god's image.

In her image, Nephalim Luna created the Auboriginal.
Iofe shook her head lightly as she made a working-save of her paper so far. The realisation that the truth of the world's history was even more fantastical than myths and legends told had given her the feeling that she had lost her anchor. Iofe felt so disconnected that the room she was in and the people that she was with seemed unreal, as unfathomable as constantly shifting images in a dream. Thanatha picked up on Iofe's confusion, 'I see that your primitive sim-brain is about to shut down due to the breadth of the information it is receiving. Disappointing, as your kind is integrated into Nephalim Luna's evolution-spell. You might consider evolution a good thing in your species' case though, on Vuneca-Plane, where evolution-magic doesn't exist, you would still be nothing more than an ape with a relatively rudimentary ability to use simple tools.' Chandell nodded, but it was a nod of resignation, 'True, but the Sims were never meant to survive this long. You see, I was planning on removing the Sims after a while, but when we had our fun and set up the Sims' extinction cycle we had a nasty surprise.' Xoxxor grunted. It was a sound that reflected so much annoyance that Iofe was scared that she wouldn't leave Cold Harbor alive. 'Chandell is a compulsive perfectionist. If anything, I think that this is his redeeming quality. One can't expect anything less from a person who's aspect is pestilence. Chandell's input makes our efforts better, stronger or more devastating. I bet that you can find many examples of that in history. Perfectionism on Chandell's level does have it's drawbacks and in the case of the Sims, it backfired spectacularly. Your species can't go extinct. No matter what we do, the Sims always bounce back and innately work to counter our efforts. When Chandell introduced the Bubonic Plague into your species, we thought that we finally were seeing success. But alas.., the Sims overcame, like they overcame anything before and everything since.'
'I don't know if I want to hear anything more...', Iofe hesitantly spoke with an almost whispering voice, '.., when I think of all the suffering that you vunecans are causing and have caused. It makes me angry. At first, I was counting myself lucky as I met Chandell. She, he, could tell me the history from the pagan point of view. I knew who I was meeting in a sense, and I wanted to get to know Chandell. But right now I feel as if I have opened Pandora's box.'
At hearing Iofe mention Pandora, the venucan trio lost their collective composure. Thanatha grasped the armrests of his chair in such a tight grip that Iofe could hear the sound of the wood cracking under Thanatha's hands. Xoxxor quickly rose from his chair and rushed to Thanatha's side to calm him down. Chandell was waving cool air into her face and after a while was able to speak, 'Don't ever mention Nephalim Pandora again, kid. Even for vunecans there are things that are too much to contemplate. You just can't use that name idle. By the old gods...'

Spying is not the same as voyeurism. At least, that's the consensus...
'I-I had no idea...', Iofe stammered as Xoxxor calmed his boyfriend down. Once everything had more or less normalized, Chandell continued, 'Well anyway, this isn't what I wanted to talk about at any rate. After Nephalim Vuneca renounced us in the Nephalim Council over the Sims, I abandoned Vuneca-Plane, disappointed and angry. I discovered on the other side of Simearth a lush and verdant island-group, unknown to everyone. Yet untouched by the meddling of Nephalim Luna's peers or vunecans, the islands with jungle overgrown were a wondrous place. I discovered strange plants and flowers and learned their properties, saw the most fear-inspiring insects, reptiles and carnivorous animals. For years I explored the islands, not only curious to see what else that I would discover but also to plot against the Nephalim that had told us that we vunecans were her most loved. I decided that I would overthrow Nephalim Vuneca and become Nephalim instead of her, but the how of it all escaped me. I'm but a vunecan and I have no hope to stand up to a Nephalim. Even though I helped my friends when they called on me, I didn't tell them of my plans and they on their end didn't tell me of the unrest on Vuneca-Plane.', Chandell paused to scratch the tip of her nose, obviously deciding on what to tell next. After a while, long enough for Xoxxor to become restless, Chandell picked up, 'Then I discovered the auboriginals. Nephalim Luna, inspired by my creation of the Sims, had herself created a people in her image. The auboriginals, dark-skinned and raven like Nephalim Luna were different from the Sims. They lived with the land and were one with flora and fauna. They gathered what they needed, they hunted only what they could consume, build weirdly advanced shelters against the rain. They lived in tribes that had a patriarchal social structure. Women were traded between the tribes as a commodity and expected to do all the work as the men adorned and surrounded themselves with the riches brought to them by their women. But there was also a girl who wore jewelry herself and seemingly held a high status amongst the tribes. Men and women alike treated her with afeared respect and I learned that she was able to tend wounds and cure sickness. She traded with the men for needful things and even collected valuable trinkets if she was willing to woohoo. As I observed her movements between the tribes I learned that the men who were able to buy her affections gained such status that they could make decisions for the tribe and they would do their best to not anger the girl as to lose their position.
'She was the first ever medicine-woman on the islands, I guess. I didn't find another girl like her at least. I was fascinated by this girl. Not only because of my desire to be a girl myself, but also because I came to realise that through this girl I had found lay hidden the key to defeating Nephalim Vuneca!'
Iofe's fingers flew over the keyboard of her workstation as Chandell recounted the discovery of the island-group that would later become Isla Paradiso. After re-reading the last few lines, Iofe raised her head up to look at Chandell, who was looking down on the seated Sim. Because of the difference in height between the two, Chandell's demeanor seemed to be twice as calculatingly arrogant it normally was. Iofe didn't know if the presence of the two other vunecans had something to do with Chandell's gains in general unpleasantness, or if the recounting of the world's history and the vunecans' place in it was just coloring her perception of the people present, 'How did you figure that a primitive would be key in overthrowing Nephalim Vuneca?' At that question, Thanatha reacted with irritation over Iofe's apparent slowness, 'You're looking at the girl.'

Even after months of trying to secure the tribal girl's trust, she remained weary and skittish...
Iofe's eyes darted from Thanatha to Chandell, 'I..,-'. Chandell calmly raised a hand to signal Iofe to fall silent, who at the sight of the gesture gave up on trying to formulate her thoughts. Iofe focused back on what she had entered in her word-processor. Maybe she could claw back some understanding on what was going on if she backed up a little, Iofe felt. Chandell watched Iofe's struggle with her familair little smile ever present as she obviously enjoyed Iofe's confusion. Xoxxor and Thanatha were facing eachother, exchanging nods or shaking their heads as they were seemingly communicating telepathically. After a short spell of silence Chandell spoke up again, 'The tribal girl was obviously more cunning, more self-aware and more intelligent than her peers. At the time, the auboriginals had no language, no overt form of mathematics, no clear rules of societal engagement. Their dealings were largely stemming from a base of sophisticated instinct. Yet, this girl was moving amongst the tribes engaging in bartering of goods and favors. Men deferred to her guidance, women sought to be taught by her in many things, even including mundanities like adding herbs to meat.
'The girl was payed great respect by the communities she moved between and I realised that I could use this to my advantage. I began to leave little tokens of respect by her camps, items of jewelry for example, but also pebbles with a random word carved in them or a simple math problem like two times two equals four.', Chandell paused as a fleeting memory caused her to smile fondly, 'The best gift I gave her was a small vanity. The girl would spend hours checking herself out.
'It took months before I felt sure enough to appear at her camp, bearing the same kind of gifts that I had been leaving behind in the weeks before, hoping that she would understand that the gifts could only have come from me. It took another few months before she eventually stop running away if I stepped too far into her camp. From there on, it took too long to establish worthwhile communication. The girl could only communicate with grunts and gesturing and I realised that my plan with the pebbles hadn't worked. The girl cherished the pebbles because she saw the words and digits I had carved unto them as "art" maybe. It hadn't occurred to her that the pebbles were the first step to elevating the auboriginal society into the beginnings of true civilization. The girl was clearly a white raven in a murder of crows, but I had mistaken her intellect for genius. I had falsely seen her intellect on par with at least the most stupid vunecan. Yet, the girl was able to teach others the things that she had learned, aided by her status as traveling wise woman. People sought her wisdom, bartering whatever they could to better themselves. The solution lay right infront of me.'

Farewell innocent tribal girl, welcome Chandell as we know and love her.
'You snatched the girl's body.', Iofe deduced and she quickly returned to adding to her paper as the dark looks that the trio of vunecans were rewarding her with felt like a velvet whipping. The personal computer was at least a shield that blocked her vision on Xoxxor and Thanatha. The fully black eyes of the duo in which no pupil nor iris could be spotted were already unsettling to Iofe's senses. Yet, the range of emotions and intent that those eyes were able to convey was broad and the scorn that the eyes were radiating at that moment made Iofe wish that she didn't exist. A harsh feeling of fear those eyes beget her. Chandell's eyes, recognizable and relatable as eyes coming across as eyes, were however showing deep amusement at Iofe's expense after losing their earlier scornful look.
'If you're insisting on being unfeeling about it, ', Chandell mockingly continued, '.., then yes, I "snatched" the girl's body. I had planned to be the shadow behind the throne, able to pull the wool over Nephalim Luna's eyes through uplifting the auboriginals by way of the girl. But it would never have been successful. I'm immortal, the girl wasn't. The task before me was simply to much a thing of the long term for it. Her failure to grasp simple concepts in speech even would eventually lead to my discovery by Nephalim Luna as I would be wasting too much time overcoming simple hurdles.
'To this day I'm convinced that the auboriginals would've come to develop linguistics and mathematics all by themselves, but I didn't feel like sitting around for several millions of years letting Nephalim Luna's evolution-malarky do the work. The problem was screaming for a quick and dirty fix.'
'So, unbeknowst to us, Xatiandol became Tiando.', Xoxxor took over, 'We didn't realise it for the longest time and when we discovered what had transpired we were powerless to act. We weren't even aware that the islands existed until shortly before Chandell lit the wicker on the powderkeg that was the civil-unrest amongst the vunecans.
'In hindsight we should've taken Nephalim Luna's happiness as a warning-sign, but we weren't aware that Chandell's uplifting of the auboriginal people was the reason for it.'
Thanata ducked a little bit deeper into her club-fauteuil and nodded, 'If you've studied Nephalim Luna's evolution experiments, then you know that a process of thousands of years can't happen in a mere few hundred of them. But we had free hand in the continent because Nephalim Luna was over the moon with the progress of the people that she had created in her image. We even were callous enough to believe that Chandell had taken off to explore the universe as so many of our number had done before.' Thanata fell silent and both Xoxxor and Chandell weren't showing signs of filling the pause. Iofe finished up her writing and made a save of her work sofar, 'So Chandell, if you're the tribal girl named Tiando, what happened to the girl's mind and what happened to your vunecan body?'
Chandell shrugged almost dismissively, 'The process assimilated the girl's psyche into my own and left my vunecan body dead on the floor. The girl's psyche is still present within me. It helped me out a lot with finally being a woman. I burned my vunecan body and went on to teach the auboriginals language, mathematics, art, trade.., anything that requires a people to become organized and through that lift eachother further up and so the auboriginals formed the first true civilization on Sim-Earth.
'Nephalim Luna noticed me eventually and when the time was finally right, I seized the chance.'

Next time:
A slice of godhood.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Of Dinosaurs and apes.

"I didn't expect that, in the form of Chandell Scott, a warm and exotic vision of feminine beauty would await me."
Iofe was impressed by what Chandell had off-handedly called a "study". She could only imagine the information that stored in the obviously antique books lining the walls, neatly ordered in bookcases that shared space with a fireplace. A red mohagony-desk was placed as the centerpiece and even though it showed signs of centuries of use, it hadn't lost any of it's luster. Iofe could only guess at what an antiquarian would be prepared to pay for the desk if Chandell would put it up for sale. Over the years furniture was added or removed, which gave the study a distinct time-capsule vibe. One would think that furniture from different time-periods would clash when put together in one room, but somehow all the different items from different eras mashed very well together. History was written in this room, Iofe realised. When she stated that thought out loud, she added, 'I believe that I would like to add to that tradition and make a start on my paper while things are still fresh in my head. I have my work on a thumbdrive so I can work anywhere. Would you mind if used your PC, Chandell?'
'Not at all. As I remember it, all I ever did on it was playing some Simbook-games. We Vunecans have little use for PCs. Those of us who hide in plain sight own stuff like that only to present a recognizable home to visitors. Go ahead, kid.' Thanatha and Xoxxor seated themselves in front of the desk as Chandell took up a spot next to where Xoxxor sat down. Thanatha and Xoxxor exchanged some words in a language that Iofe didn't understand, but she got the gist of what was said by Chandell's reaction, who sighed and rolled her eyes in mock disapproval. Iofe had not forgotten that she and Chandell had interrupted a personal and intimate moment between Thanatha and Xoxxor and decided that she shouldn't impose on the couple for longer than necessary. 'Mr Thanatha, you were telling me that Nephalim Vuneca created you because Nephalim Mars and Jupiter were dismissive of Vuneca-Plane?'

Thanatha retains fond memories about his birth.
'I admire your sense of diplomacy, kid.', Thanatha remarked using Chandell's name for Iofe, 'But no, Vuneca-Plane just was a part of Nephalim Vuneca's need for enforcers. She was, and still is, an agent-provocateur through and through. Even in a society like the Nephalim have, where come uppance is not only expected but encouraged, too much of a good thing leads to gaining enemies. Its not unheard of that enemies of a Nephalim form an ad-hoc alliance to rid themselves of the offender. Alone, one Nephalim can only plot against another Nephalim. As a group, they can pool their power and so combined they can disperse a Nephalim's essence. That's the only known way to "kill" a Nephalim. So you understand why Nephalim Vuneca needed a powerful and loyal protector.'
Thanatha paused to consider what to tell and what not. Suddenly, a fond smile came over him, what made his face eerily likable, 'At first, I didn't understand what or who I was, much less why I was. But all around me there was Nephalim Vuneca's voice. As I gained awareness and came to understand the loving voice talking to me, I felt a deep gratitude for the being that had given me life. I learned that her name was Vuneca and that she had enemies. Naturally, I was filled with rage! The enemies of my creator became my enemies at that very moment. Vuneca smiled lovingly upon me. She said that my name was Thanatha and that I was perfect. Filled with pride, I had purpose.', Thanatha realised that during his recounting of his moment of birth that he had become excited and overly animated. He took a moment to restore his composure and continued, 'With me at hand, Nephalim Vuneca was able to gain political control in the Nephalimic Council as I twarthed the plans of her enemies. I saw it as my responsibility, my solemn duty, to protect the one that created and loved me. The one that needed me. I performed my duty well as I didn't wish to let Nephalim Vuneca down. It would be betrayal of the worst kind to do so! As pure energy, undetectable even to Nephalim, I was able to come close to anyone Nephalim Vuneca wished and to sabotage them fully and efficiently.'
Thanatha face grew dark as he involuntarily ducked deeper into his chair with a deep sigh, 'When Nephalim Vuneca went after Mars and Jupiter over Vuneca-Plane, she overplayed her hand. Mars and Jupiter managed to form a coalition of convenience with several Nephalim from the Nephalimic Council and I faltered. I fled back to Vuneca-Plane hoping, as I feared against hope, that my creator's essence hadn't been dispersed yet. To my relief, Nephalim Vuneca had not come to harm, but she also knew that the events were developing for the worst quick. She set to creating an army of Vunecans from which she choose three to aid me in sabotaging our creator's enemies.'

Xoxxor gave millions of his years to freeing Vuneca from emprisonment, only to see his creator forced into exile.
'We were created to compliment Thanatha with abilities that Nephalim Vuneca didn't give him.', Xoxxor took over, 'Working as a team, the four of us managed to turn Nephalim Vuneca's enemies away. The Vunecans spread over Vuneca-Plane and eventually formed a society with laws, structure and the beginnings of our own culture, but since we were created to have a purpose, we grew restless. Some of us left to explore the universe and many didn't return. Those who returned had incredible stories to tell and we started to nurse fantasies of being our own people, free from being compelled to toil in servitude. Nephalim Vuneca grew discontent with us, of course. When the ground under her feet had cooled down enough to return to her schemes and spiels, Thanatha, Xantippe, Xatiandol and I were called back into service to start sabotaging Nephalim Luna's garden.', Xoxxor was interrupted by Chandell's chuckling at that point, but Xoxxor shot her an irritated look instead of chuckling along, 'At first we altered little things in Luna's garden. We altered plants and trees and transferred animals to regions where they were out of place. Nephalim Luna had no idea that we were behind it all and over time she became irate. Nephalim Vuneca's plan was soon complete; Nephalim Vuneca's mental condition would become so bad that Sol would have to be abandoned and Luna's garden left to fall into ruin. But no matter how irate Nephalim Luna became, she kept working on her garden, restoring what we sabotaged. In a bid to push Nephalim Luna over the edge, Chandell introduced a virus into the animals that roamed the garden at the time. The animals, dinosaurs, were Nephalim Luna's pet-project and we were sure that the loss of the dinosaurs would be the end of the garden.
'Nephalim Luna was very distressed about the dinosaurs going extinct before her eyes, but she wrote it all off to this crazy theory that she was trying to prove. A theory that she called "evolution". Believing that she had made fatal errors with the dinosaurs, Nephalim Luna selected an insignificant minor species of animals, called apes, to uplift as to take the place as dominant species in her garden instead of the dinosaurs.'
Iofe was furiously working. Her hands flew over the keyboard as she recorded the history of Sim-Earth as told by Thanatha and Xoxxor. The story became more and more unbelievable to her ears. Thanatha and Xoxxor might not be able to tell untruths, but it seemed to Iofe that a fine line was being thightroped, 'I'm sorry, sirs, but this is all a bit much to take in.', Iofe admitted while she reread some passages that she had logged sofar. The doubt in Iofe's voice was tangible, 'Chandell is responsible for the dinosaurs going extinct?'

Chandell responsible? Ha, I can tell you stories! Oh, wait...
Chandell's pride for being at the heart of the dinosaur extinction wasn't hard to miss. She obviously regarded the event as a major personal achievement. A job well done that she looked back on with no shame and nothing but good memories. 'Well, I didn't manage it on my own, of course.', Chandell modestly admitted, 'It's impossible to introduce a viral agent and hide specimen-zero effectively without a concerted effort from accomplishes in cohort. But if you're looking for the main protagonist in this story, it would be me.'
'Please, Chandell, don't set off on one of your long-winded self-complimenting monologues.', Xoxxor interjected, 'Some of us have further plans for this day.' Chandell took Xoxxor's comment graciously in stride, 'As I was saying.., I was still Xatiandol in those days and like the rest of us, doubting our place in the universe but still very much loyal to Nephalim Vuneca. When Nephalim Luna uplifted the apes, concentrating on chimpansees as her main, I got an idea. I got inspired by the form that the Nephalim take when they need to manifest themselves as solids and realised that with a little tinkering at the basis of a chimpansee, I could create a facsimile of a Nephalim. And so I did, to honor my mistress I created the Sim in the image of the Nephalim. This being, of which you're descendant, kid, of course wasn't part of Nephalim Luna's convoluted "evolution" malarky, which led to the hilarious "missing link" talk Sim scientists love to engage in.
'The truth is that my show of loyalty to the Nephalim was at the same time the most perfect prank we have played on Nephalim Luna. She couldn't understand where all these Nephalim-like beings were coming from. It drove her crazy, but before Luna went critical mass Nephalim Jupiter discovered the truth and informed Luna.
'Vuneca was called to order and she threw us, me, under the bus. I was devastated. But I also had little time to deal with my discontent because the Sims were multiplying like nothing else and over the years that followed Thanatha, Xoxxor, Xantippe and I had to go on culling-trips, We used whatever we could to curb the number of Sims, natural disasters, epidemics, long and bloody wars. Overtime, the Sims warned eachother about the Four Riders of the Apocalypse. Those Four Riders, of course, were we.'
Iofe's hands trembled as she recorded the last of Chandell's words, 'I can't believe how proud you sound over all of this, Chandell! How proud the three of you are of what you did! Culling-trips? Seriously? Are you even listening to yourself, Chandell?' Chandell remained unperturbed under Iofe's outburst and calmly she replied, 'Pipe down, kid. Even to this day, Vunecans regulate the number of Sims in the world as part of the independence-covenant with Nephalim Luna. The same methods are still used. Just a few days ago, Mount Jacobi in Simduras erupted violently and that claimed hundreds of lives. Mount Jacobi has been dormant for two million years, I might add. You may think that your anger is righteous, but if we don't keep a close eye on your numbers Sim-Earth is done for.'
Stroking his chin and inspecting Iofe more intently, Thanatha concluded, 'The kid has spunk. She meets three omni-potent beings and talks us down as if we are beneath her. Color me impressed.' Xoxxor merely shrugged and added, 'She's a Masters, afterall. Not all of them are or were as sharp as this one, true. She might go places. Fitting, fitting. It started with a Masters, it comes full circle with a Masters. The more I turn it around in my head, the more I find the idea very appealing.'
'Let's not get ahead of ourselves.', Chandell forewarned her friends, 'This is foremost about getting the truth written down and you two can't tell untruths, so... But talking about getting ahead, I need to back up as well, because well before we realised that our prank was running away from us, Nephalim Luna had a moment of clarity and took a page from our book...'

Next time:
In a god's image.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dream of the Nephalim.

Chandell: 'You have no idea how many on-line scams I have to pull to pay for all this!'
'It feels as if Xoxxor and Thanatha don't care much for you, Chandell', Iofe noted when the couple had retired out of earshot. Chandell shrugged, but it wasn't a dismissive shrug. Iofe could tell that there was lot of regret in the way Chandell responded, but before Iofe could make her observation go away by quickly talking about something else, Chandell started, 'There are millions of years between us and none of us see loyalty the same way, kid. We're very good at carrying grudges forward too. All of it harkens back to the Nephalim and we Vunecans realising that we deserve to be a free people, instead of being created merely to be indentured servants to beings that are never to be satisfied. That display overthere I think is  a good entry into the history of Simearth and how that ties in to Isla Paradiso and your extended family.' Iofe turned to the display Chandell had pointed out. The installation showed a statue of a woman hewn out of red-streaked marble, flanked on both sides by two dragons, 'How could I not see it? It's beautiful.'
'It's a warning.', Chandell corrected ruefully, 'But we were so caught up in our egos back then, that we believed it was a confirmation of our rightful place amongst the Nephalim.', Chandell paused and sighed, 'Mistakes were made.'

I know of warnings that are a lot easier to grasp.
'The statue shows Nephalim Vuneca, the embodiment of Venus, and her four Vunecan enforcers metaphorically envisioned as guardian-dragons.', Chandell explained, 'The dragons are from the left to the right Death, which is Thanata, Conquest, which is Xantippe, Pestilence, which is me and War, which is Xoxxor.' Iofe's eyes grew large in shock, 'But those are the Four Riders of the Apocalypse!'
'In the flesh.', Chandell chuckled, '.., You just met three of them.' Iofe took a moment to collect her thoughts and her face suddenly brightened as she realised something, 'You're playing a prank on me, Chandell, There's no "x" in your name. Nor in Thanatha's.' Iofe crossed her arms in a 'I got you good'-pose what caused Chandell to laugh heartily. After Chandell collected herself and managed to give her face a serious look, she spoke up, 'My name is Xatiandol, or Tiando, or Tiando of the Bright Moon, or Mama Sjandel,  or Chandell. It more or less depends on where in time that you meet me. Thani is the exception here. Just then he told you that he was created to be the first Vunecan. Nephalim Vuneca needed someone who could do her dirty work in the Pantheon without ever being spotted or found out. So she created Thani to be a being of pure energy. Much later Nephalim Vuneca was of course found out and the need to have more enforcers arose. Thus ninety-nine others were created, with the first three joining Thani to become Nephalim Vuneca's most favorite and trusted servants. The need to have a small army of loyal servants quickly caused Nephalim Vuneca to take a few short-cuts and so we were made to be tangible, but not any less powerful. Of course, a Nephalim wouldn't be a Nephalim if nothing was done to sow strife, jalousy and avarice and so we were all given names with an "x" in it to show that no matter what we did to please Nephalim Vuneca, we would never be as favorite or trusted as Thani.'
Iofe rested her hands on the warding surrounding the installation and shook her head lightly, 'All of this.., you know, its already way over my head, Chandell. According to high profile and renowned scientists, the Nephalim and the Four Riders of the Apocalypse don't exist. Some even go as far as to say that they can't exist as singular entities because of the fact that in pagan-legends retold by Auboriginal medicine-women, the Nephalimic Pantheon and their servants occur time and time again since the dawn of time. The concensus is that the characters in the pagan-legends are merely subject to pictorial narratives.' As Iofe fell silent, Chandell was initially happy to wait her out. But Iofe merely looked at the statue of Nephalim Vuneca and seemed to be lost in her thoughts. After a while Chandell chipped in, 'When I was created, Simearth was nothing but a ball of plasma. You believe in the Watcher, right?' Iofe nodded, 'Yes, I'm Peterian.' Chandell made a dismissive gesture at Iofe's words and continued, 'Tell me, what's the Watcher's creed?' Iofe's face darkened at Chandell's dismissive stance over Peterianism, but remembered that she was talking to a being that far superseded even the founding of her religion. Even though Iofe was perfectly aware that Chandell very well knew the Watcher's Creed, Iofe nevertheless recited, 'There's life because I want it, it ends because I will it.'
Chandell smiled in a way that made Iofe uneasy to her bones, 'Well done, you just repeated Nephalim Luna's motto, kid.'

Nephalim Luna. She gave veloceraptors sim-like intelligence.
'H-how? I mean, is Nephalim Luna the Watcher?', Iofe confusedly wondered, 'Are you asking me to ignore the Peterian teachings through the telling of auboriginal allegory?' Chandell shook her head and patted Iofe on the shoulder, who fought the impulse to back away. 'I'm going too fast, I fear.', Chandell noted, 'I underestimated the impact it would have on a base-organism like you are. Let's go to my study and ask Thani and Xoxxor to join us there. I guess that with them present to affirm my retelling of the world's history will go down a bit smoother. Thani and Xoxxor can't tell lies, because their aspects are pure.'
Deep in thought, Iofe automatically followed Chandell. To Iofe, who felt that she had come to know Chandell at least a little, she was following an entity that had become a complete unknown. A Vunecan, created to do the bidding of a god, the third Rider of the Apocalypse, alive before the world was even formed and shaped into how it was today. Chandell was the anti-thesis of everything Iofe had known to be true. It was too much to take in and in Iofe's mind the boundaries of what made her existence comprehensible had become fluid to such an extent that she feared to lose grip on reality altogether. Chandell, walking a little ahead of Iofe was trying to keep the subject matter simple as to not overwhelm Iofe further, 'When the world was still a ball of plasma, a group of ancient celestial explorers found it's star-system. These explorers are Nephalim and the phalanx of an entire people roaming the stars looking for planets to exploit. They were quickly done with the system they had dubbed 'Sol' because Sol was a very young system. It still is very young, for that matter. Amongst the group they counted Nephalim Luna, a sickly and mentally unstable entity the other Nephalim see and treat as their beloved little sister. Probably because of Luna's broken psyche, she lacks most of the interests that keeps the other Nephalim ticking. Intrigue, mutual sabotage, slander, romantic liasons to create political alliances, character assassination.., name it and the Nephalim do it passionately. Benevolence is not their defining trait.
'Luna convinced her dearest friends in the phalanx, Nephalim Mars, Jupiter and Vuneca to remain for a little while. As you might imagine, the Nephalim have no concept of time as you know it. Luna had grown tired of trailing her friends allover the universe and to witness them stripping entire star-systems bare, harvesting anything they deemed valuable and leaving behind nothing but devastation. Luna's heart died a little with each star-system her friends destroyed and she wanted to build. Nothing big, mind you. Just a little garden where she could grow flora and fauna, inspired by her sometimes psychotic dreams.
'Her friends agreed, glad that they could make their fragile little sister happy. The four Nephalim claimed Sol to be off limits to Nephalimic enterprise and said their good-byes to the phalanx. Luna was beside herself with joy. Finally she wouldn't have to suffer more destruction and devastation. She could finally build and recreate the things that she had seen in her dreams. From the ball of plasma she separated a little mass that she made to orbit the ball of plasma and called it after herself, "Luna". From this moon, she looks down on her garden and makes adjustments to this day. She experiments with flora and fauna alike. Sims discover new species everyday and record species going extinct also day by day.
'Of course, the happiness couldn't last. Her friends weren't mentally ill afterall and one Nephalim in particular was jealous not only of Luna's joy, but also in the fact that Mars and Jupiter were genuinely impressed with the garden that Luna had created. When Vuneca created a dimensional plane, which she called 'Vuneca-Plane' and filled to her best ability with flora and fauna, Mars and Jupiter merely shrugged for they saw Vuneca-Plane for what it was. There was no inspiration behind it, no weird theories like "Evolution" and 'Generational Intelligence". Vuneca-Plane was a product of avarice, nothing more.'
So walking and talking and with Iofe in tow, Chandell entered her study, where she found Thanatha and Xoxxor already present, wearing attire more suited to the situation. Thanatha, who had gone the extra mile and appeared as a solid being, invited Iofe to take a seat with a friendly smile and an elegant wave of her left hand, '.., and in reaction to that, Nephalim Vuneca created me.', Thanatha added. Now that Thanatha was solid, the otherworldly echo had gone from her voice. But Iofe heard an undercurrent at the far reaches of Thanatha's voice, much like the sensation of hearing drums that are feverishly beaten as was locked away in Chandell's voice, but as Thanatha spoke Iofe sensed metal on metal. A coldness that left a chill on Iofe's skin, no matter how warm and friendly Thanatha's face was. Iofe began to feel as if all of this was a huge mistake. She realised that these beings, older than dirt, never would do something without it furthering some agenda of a signifcance that wouldn't become acute today, but of which the ramifications would be felt decennia from now.
Iofe feared that something was set in motion, something that might well affect all of Sim-Earth and maybe even Nephalimic society. Fear had taken hold of Iofe's heart, but also a fascination of a depth that she had not experienced before in her studies.
Iofe had indeed struck the motherlode, but the cost at which it would come she could impossibly oversee.

Next time:
Of Dinosaurs and apes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Stepping through the door.

Either Iofe is underdressed or Chandell is overdressed. Pick one.
Iofe filled the rest of the day, after Chandell left in search of woolies, reading up on her studies. From what Chandell had already shared, Iofe estimated that much of the information she had assimiliated regarding the history of Isla Paradiso had either been false or falsely represented. Chandell had more or less stated that the paradisoan Masters' have played an important part in the Auboriginals' struggle for independence, but from the feeling that Iofe had gotten from listening to the charismatic woman it felt as if the auboriginal emancipation was somewhat of a side-effect of what really had come to pass. An unexpected, but welcome, consequence of something much bigger.
Later when Iofe tried to catch sleep in the ACC's dormitory, she found herself thinking about Chandell's attraction to her. At first Iofe wasn't sure if Chandell was mocking her or not, but at the same time Iofe realised that she was pleasantly flattered too. Each time Chandell spoke, there was this faint sensation of drums beating, drums hidden deep in the paradisoan jungle, almost tangible, sounding like both a warning and an invitation. It was fascinating on an abstract level Iofe had not experienced before. Yet, Iofe wondered if Chandell's attention for her person was because she was a spitting image of this mysterious ancestor called Topanga Masters? Chandell's demeanor tangibly changed when she recalled Topanga Masters. The woman had obviously been much more to Chandell than just a friend. A heart's confidante, or maybe even a lover.
Iofe, nineteen going on twenty, let her mind explore the image of Topanga and Chandell as lovers and eventually arrived at herself and Chandell in acts of mutual tenderness. Iofe chuckled at her silliness. It was clear to her that the fantasy, surprisingly nice and ultimately rewarding it might've been, was a result of jet-lag and staying in an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar envrionment. Anyone would daydream about finding protection in the arms of a caring person under these cicrumstances! So re-assured, Iofe fell asleep. It was dreamless.
Waking refreshed and weirdly energized the following morning, Iofe decided to wear less distracting fashion. While she had settled on Chandell's attention as flattery, Iofe had sternly told herself that she wasn't here to find love, or to present herself as a lust-object. She traveled half the world over to spent her summer-vacation learning the true history of Isla Paradiso and with the person of Chandell Scott, Iofe believed that she had struck the motherlode. Iofe decided against make-up as she dressed notably more demure than her outfit of yesterday. Chandell had called her make-up 'warpaint' and that stung. Iofe always took great care to keep her make-up subdued, believing that accentuating with make-up unlocked an extra hidden layer of beauty. To have it dismissed like Chandell had done.., Iofe decided to forego going through the trouble of tapping into her hidden beauty.
Stepping into the foyer Iofe found Chandell already waiting on her. Chandell was wearing some thick and warm clothes, an ear-warming headband and gloves. 'Watcher's grace, Chandell!', Iofe exclaimed as she discovered Chandell's appearance, 'It's summer in Moonlight Falls! Aren't you a bit too warmly dressed?' Chandell shrugged, 'The last time I visited Moonlight Falls in the summer, I was miserably cold, contracted a bladder infection and ended up hospitalized with pneumonia. Suffice it to say that I'm not taking any chances. Just to underscore, when it is summer in Moonlight Falls then it's winter here in Isla Paradiso. By the by, kid, if you tried to be less cute today than you were yesterday, you failed. Without your warpaint too, you're to die for.'
'T-thanks, I guess...', Iofe timidly started as Chandell's flattery rushed blood to her cheeks. But then Iofe got irritated with the situation, 'No. Look Chandell, I'm old enough for your attention to not be creepy as fuck, but I'm not here to be seduced. I'm here to learn about the true history of Isla Paradiso and I realised that you're the one person who really knows what transpired. The truth instead of the humbug that gets lectored back home. This is what I want, to crown my studies with a Phd in history and to specialize in Isla Paradiso's history as my focus.' Chandell's face didn't reveal a negative or positive emotion as Iofe fell silent until a little smile crept on her lips. A gauntlet was thown and the challenge was accepted. Silently Iofe cursed herself out for having done it as she hadn't missed that little smile.
'Well then...', Chandell said chipper while breaking the impasse, '.., let's step through the door.' 

Cold Harbor is the first ever house build in Moonlight Falls.
At the instant Chandell finished her sentence, the world around Iofe ever so briefly blinked out of existence and when it returned, Iofe found herself standing next to a warmly dressed Chandell in the grand entry to Cold Harbor. As far as Iofe could tell, she hadn't physically moved as she hadn't experienced momentum of any kind. 'T-that some very powerful magic...', Iofe observed with respect, which rewarded her with a 'pfft' from Chandell who followed that with; 'First of all, Nephalimic powers aren't "magic", kid. This aren't parlor-tricks. Magic is what you do, a genetic flaw that allows you to manipulate the energies around you. We were pressed for time back then, otherwise we would never have overlooked this black spot in the global DNA.'
'Wait, back up!', Iofe interjected quickly, 'Genetic flaw? How do you mean, you were pressed for time? Are you saying that you created us Sims?' Chandell made a dismissive gesture, as if she was throwing something unwanted away from herself and answered, 'No, there were four of us and we created the Sims. SIMulated Nephalim. It was meant as joke to mess with Nephalim Luna. But we're getting way too far ahead ourselves. This is Cold Harbor. Willed into existence by Nephalim Vuneca to hide from me after I had defeated her, at what's now known as Mount Vuneca, but failed to finish the job. Now it's my property, Welcome.'
'You know that I ride my bike past Cold Harbor everyday when I go to class? I knew it's the first house to have ever been build here and that a society of misfits sprung up around it that utlimatley culminated in Moonlight Falls proper. I thought that the story of Cold Harbor appearing out of nowhere was nothing more but a legend, though. You're not pulling my leg, right? This Nephalim did actually will Cold Harbor into reality?' Nodding calmly to affirm Iofe's questions, Chandell stamped her feet to stay warm. It was an odd spectacle, 'Let's go inside. I'll introduce you to Thanatha, the oldest friend that I have, who lives here and does the mansion's upkeep in return.'
'I know that Cold Harbor is lived in.', Iofe said as they moved over closer to the mansion, 'But no one has ever seen the caretaker. But wait, isn't Cold Harbor a part of the Corsimmious clan of vampires?'
Chandell shook her head, 'Clan Corsimmious tried to wrestle control of Cold Harbor because in their religion, their god reigns from dark plane called "Cold Harbor". They believe that the mansion is a portal from within they can commune directly with their god. But the Auboriginals maintain a million year's old friendship with Lusimian and his Lycan-people. Fending off Corsimmious was a snap and with the Lycans' help I was able to gain almost full ownership of the mansion. Five procent is in the hands of the Mages' Council. Judge-Magistrate Eleanor Wasimton, to be precise. I'm sure you have heard of that woman.' Iofe shuddered at hearing the name Eleanor Wasimton, 'Are you kidding? Learning about Judge Magistrate Wasimton is mandatory in High School here. Her where-abouts are a mystery now, though the Council maintains that she still is in power. Do you and the Judge-Magistrate have a history?' Chandell laughed freely. Once clamed down, she answered, 'You... could call it that. She lived in Isla Paradiso for a while when she suffered from 100kids Syndrome. I felt for Eleanor back then and befriended her. The friendship ended when she wasn't prepared to sell me her 5% ownership of Cold Harbor. Let's go inside.'

Walking in on a hot and bothered ghost is not something that you do daily.
As Iofe and Chandell stepped into the grand hall of the mansion, Iofe had little time to gawk at the splendor inside. A ghost, obviously disturbed and janked away from an activity that had rendered her hot and bothered, floated over to them at high speed and set off on Chandell right then and there with a shrieking voice, 'Chandell! We had an agreement, you vapid carton-box eater! You call when you visit! You never honor any agreement and then you whine that I dumped you three million years ago and make me out to be the villain to everyone willing to listen. Ha! I can tell by the look on your face that you figured I wouldn't find out about how you spread lies about me? Xantippe tells me everything, boyfriend!', the frontally nude and raging ghost paused for a moment and noticed Iofe standing there, 'And here you go, disrespecting another rule that we all agreed upon. Only Vunecans from the Original One Hundred can be here. You were even the one proposing and insisting on that rule, you Nephalim-licker! That thing overthere isn't even a Vunecan! A lowly Sim is what he is, a construct! A golem!'
'Calm down, Thani.', Chandell returned evenly when she was finally able to get a word in, 'I know I had forgotten something. That's just me being insensitive. But will you please look at the Sim again and tell me what you see? Come on, guy, humor me.'
The ghost, addressed by Chandell as Thani which was short for Thanatha, shook her head in mock-defeat as she calmed down from being enraged. Even Thani's voice became pleasant, even though it didn't lose it's 'from beyond the grave' echo, 'I guess that's the closest to an apology that I'll get out of you, huh? I saw it immediately, boyfriend. She looks like specimen-zero, uhm, Topa-something Masters. Abducted from her family as an infant and made a carrier of Nephalim Vuneca's genetic code. Then Lusimian, the first Lycan in Moonlight Falls, returned the babe to her family. This Sim is obviously realted to specimen-zero on some level.', Thani paused to scratch her left eyebrow and continued, 'That's still no reason to bring her here.'
'Iofe here is studying the history of Isla Paradiso and discovered that what they're taught in the courses is total bullshit. So she contacted the ACC and got me on the phone. I decided to tell her the exact history not because of that, but because she wanted to know how her family fits into it. And on a lesser extend, after all these centuries I need to tell the story too. A part of me is also curious to the shitstorm that's going to happen in the academic world when Iofe defends her finished Phd-project. You have to admit that it'll be funny to see all those Peterians and Jacobians going apeshit when it happens.' Thani didn't react immediately as she intendly studied Chandell's face to see if Chandell was pulling a fast one on her, 'I see... You're actually serious about it. Nephalim Mars, Jupiter and Luna will intervene once they learn that the truth is about to get out. I like it! Why did you decide to do it just now though, right as I was about to woohoo my new boyfriend. You're interrupting something good here, boyo.'
Chandell's face brightened at Thani's words, 'Here I am thinking that you were having some quality alone time, Thani! I'm happy that you're back in the saddle again and are moving on! Come on, show us the lucky guy, huh? It isn't a secret anymore anyway.' Thani sighed in a resigned manner, 'Its still a secret within the One Hundred though, okay? We'll tell everyone when we're good and ready so keep your lips sealed.' Chandell nodded frantically, 'Yeah, yeah! Don't keep me in suspense! I know all the brothers in the One Hundred who're into guys, so I'm dying to see who it is that you fell in love with!' Chandell was practically bouncing from the walls as she talked, what left Iofe flabbergasted as she watched both Chandell and Thani more or less turn into teenagers sharing hearts' secrets with eachother.
Thani turned towards the guest restrooms in the far back of the grand hall and shouted, 'Come on out and join us, loverboy! We might as well get it over with!'

Vunecans have needs too, you know! Show some empathy!
From the restroom emerged a flawless specimen of the Vunecan species, dressed in a pleasure-heightening outfit of red leather mixed with red latex accessories, tastefully finished with goldplated buckles. The whole appearance of the sexy Vunecan bore evidence of the care that he had taken to ensure that his partner would have a mindblowing experience. Iofe, who was already blown away by the mere fact that she for the first time in her life met a Vunecan in his true form, was doubly stunned because of the man's spectacular and erotic presence.
Chandell however clapsed her right hand over her mouth and still managed to shriek, 'Xoxxor?! Thani! You and Soxxor? Since when is Soxxor into boys?' Chandell fell silent under a hurted look from Thani, but her eyes were huge from the core-shattering shock that she just had experienced. Xoxxor joined the group and turned to Chandell, 'Yes, old friend. I too never expected to develop romantic feelings for a man. Yet, I realised that over the course of my social visits to Thanatha's, I grew to being unable to put him out of my mind. I was distraught, of course. When I confessed to Thanatha my feelings for him, it all came together. I have never been so happy in my life, Chandell, more so when Thanatha expressed to be open to exploring domi-play as a submissive partner. I'm positively on another plane of existence ever since! Please, be happy for us, okay?'
Chandell's only course of action left was to lean against a wall in an overly dramatic pose as her eyes kept darting between Xoxxor and Thanatha. Chandell was clearly trying to come up with something to say that wouldn't alienate the odd couple straight away, 'I-I.., I, uhm.., happy! Yes! I'm happy for the both of you of course! Xoxxor, you rescued Thani from his three million year funk and helped him to move on from our break-up! Just.., you were always the one to denounce these friendships in the One Hundred and you weren't kind about it too. I mean, you even tried to forcefully match-make us to girls. You'll have to allow me some time to put myself past this revelation. It's honestly as if my entire life is a lie right now!' And Thani? Submissive? By the old gods, I have scars on my back from when we still woohood! I need some time to make sense of this, brothers...'
As the three Vunecans fell silent, Iofe seized the moment to ask a question, 'If I may, I notice that you all address eachother as if you were men?' Thani smiled at the question and made a waving gesture as he answered Iofe, 'We are the males of our species. The gender that you would call male, we call female. It'll make sense when you consider that when we go on abduction drives, the 'male'-sims that we release are pregnant with one Vunecan or another.' Iofe started to feel like Chandell did in manner of speaking. She decided to ask a question that didn't had anything to do with gender or sexuality. The Vunecans were just too weird for Iofe to wrap her head around easily. 'I don't wish to offend, uhm, sir.', Iofe said to Thani, '.., but your ghastly state.., aren't Vunecans true immortals?' Thani nodded, 'I'm glad that you're not a total ignoramus of our species. Yes, Vunecans are true immortals, with the exception of Chandell, who shed his Vunecan body for a nephalimic replica like yours in order to realise his fondest wish to be, what you would call, a girl. We never acknowledged that fact though, and make sure to stubbornly address him as if he were a man still. Then there's me. I'm the first Vunecan, created by Nephalim Vuneca to be a being of pure energy. As pure energy, I'm invisible to the eye. The use of that is somewhat situational however, so I appear like this to allow people to talk with me more comfortably.', Thani paused and seemed to think about something. Then he continued, 'I can also appear in a pure solid form, indistinguishable from a Sim like you, or a Vunecan like my love. I'm just too lazy to do it most of the time.' Iofe stiffled a laugh because she wasn't sure if Thani was serious or was joking. When she started to ask another question, Xoxxor stepped in resolute as he was presented to be earlier, 'I think we need to take a break here. I see that Chandell has picked up his pieces from the floor and has put himself together again. Thani and I need to dress more suited to the situation. I propose that Thani and I help Chandell to explain the history of Isla Paradiso once we have made ourselves presentable. The quicker this business is done, the sooner Chandell can take you back to Isla Paradiso and the sooner Thani and I can return to what's really important.'
Chandell agreed, looking her old self again though her voice was still shakey when she spoke, 'I think that's fair. While you guys do that, I'll make a start with the explaining of how it all begun.'

Next time:
Dream of the Nephalim.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Once upon a future...

The Auboriginal Cultural Center is a replica of a tribal longhouse.
It was, as is custom in the former colonies of Isla Paradiso, an oppressive heat that lay as a blanket over the islands. Many things had changed dramatically on the islands when the Auboriginals, the indigenous people of Isla Paradiso, won independence from Simnation and promptly decreed that all non-indigenous people had to abandon the islands. The only thing that didn't change, as any Auboriginal will tell you, is the heat.
In the decades that followed the independence the Auboriginals followed an isolationist course while still maintaining a successful tourist-industry and exporting exotic fruits and lumber from eco woodfarms.
But for other businesses, like the Auboriginal Cultural Center (ACC in short.), interest had dwindled to the point where many of those like-minded initiatives were forced to close up shop. The ACC was spared that fate however. The building, a replica of a tribal longhouse with a spire that signals it's a Chief's Court, was originally an olive-branch extended to the Auboriginals by the Colonial Viceroy Harrison Alto. For many years the ACC educated people on the history of Isla Paradiso and it did so with integrity, but the Auboriginals didn't accept the Viceroy's gift, sneeringly calling it the 'Ebenezer Alto Memorial'.
When the Auboriginals won independence, the ACC fell into neglect until the Bright Moon Tribe bought it from the Council of Elders for the symbolic sum of one llama and three chickens. A medicine-woman of great renown, rumored to be as old as the world and an agent of the Nephalim, took up management and turned the ACC into a youth-center providing after-school activities, assignment tutoring and entertainment.

Iofe Masters obviously doesn't belong on the islands!
It was still early morning as a freshman college-student braved the mounting heat to pay a visit to the ACC. The girl showed all the signs of having studied the travel-brochures for Isla Paradiso as she had armored herself with closed boots and a pair of skintight leggings to twarth the much fabled Paradisoan Grass Recluse, a poisonous spider that jumps up from the grass to attack unprotected feet and legs. There isn't an Auboriginal of course, who would tell a visitor to the islands that the Paradisoan Grass Recluse is only encountered deep in the paradisoan jungle. Auboriginal kids, who are called Aubies for short, love to catch Brown Spinners, who look deceptively like the Paradisoan Grass Recluse, and to set the innocent spiders free close to tourists to great amusement under the local witnesses of the ensuing panic.

Stairs in this heat? Barbarians!
Iofe, as was the girl's given name, studied history at the Moonlight Falls College majoring in Simnation's colonial history. At first Iofe's studies went well, until she hit somewhat of a mystery as the information in the different sources that she had available to her didn't add up. Shady people with names like Soxxor, Xantippe, Xatiandol, Thanata, Mars, Luna, Jupiter and Vuneca regularly popped up over the course of millions of years. Even for Sims, who have access to many ways to longevity, millions of years is very much extreme, but Iofe reckoned that any Sim motivated enough to do it could keep themself alive for that long.
It was the lack of context between those appearances in the historical timeline of certain names in the textbooks that threw a stick in the gears of Iofe's study. Iofe's professors weren't much helpful either as they rejected most of Isla Paradiso's history as pure echoing of paradisoan tribal legends. Matters weren't helped also by the fact that Simnation is divided into Peterians and Jacobians with both religions rejecting the Nephalim Pantheon worshipped by the Auboriginals as mere fantasy maintained by the medicine-women to rule the tribes with fear.
To make it worse, Iofe's familyname, Masters, started to show up as important too, with the first truly influential person being one Wednesday Jerry Masters. Even though Iofe did the best she could, it proved impossible to link the Masters' of Isla Paradiso to the Masters' in Moonlight Falls, but her gut told her that the paradisoan Masters' had to be an off-shoot of her family. The only people that could tell her the truth had to be those who safeguarded the true history of Isla Paradiso as it was locked away in the Auboriginal Cultural Center.

One step further and it is home-invasion!
'Hello, miss Bright Moon?', Iofe called with a raised voice as she landed in the foyer of the ACC, 'I'm Iofe Masters, we talked by phone two weeks ago? I would meet with you today.' Iofe didn't get an immediate answer to her calling and she halted a respectable ways into the foyer while taking care not to overstep common courtesy. She realised that she knew next to nothing about paradisoan custom and thought it wise to err on the side of Moonlight Falls custom; You politely wait a little over the treshold until you're invited further in.
Iofe inspected the foyer from her vantage point. The large space still breathed the stench of governmental thinking even after all these years as it was exactly like the old ACC photo-brochures had shown her the place to be. It struck Iofe as a bit odd that the Bright Moon Tribe had kept the colonial furniture, or even the entire decoration, in the state the Colonial Government had left it behind during the evacuation of the colonial populace and repatriation of their Auboriginal collaborators. Was it out of a sense of convenience, or was it some sort of ironic reminder of the Auboriginal's former oppression? Iofe decided silently to not ask after it. It wouldn't do to ask a question out of ignorance and to make an enemy out of her host before she could learn anything worthwhile.
'Well, what will it be, kid?', it sounded from deeper in the ACC in a pleasant voice that almost sounded as if the speaker was singing instead of talking, 'If you're set on remaining overthere we could've done all this over Simskype. On the islands, a door is merely to keep the critters out. A friend walks in, makes their presence known and joins the family. So make with the speed and join me.'
Iofe shook her head. 'Strike one.', she muttered under her breath as she set herself in motion to where miss Bright Moon had called from. 'Yes, ma'am!', Iofe returned as she did so.

The lady behind the bar is millions of years old, so don't quip about it being early morning!
'By the old gods!', miss Bright Moon exclaimed as Iofe entered the cantina of the ACC, '"Masters" indeed! You're spitting image of white girl. Only white girl didn't ruin her face with warpaint. On the other hand, she always wore a life-vest and bikini-bottoms. You've read the travel brochures, I see. I commend you for your choice in sheer leggings and your firm grasp on undies-fashion. If you wanted to get on my good side from the start, you just succeeded.'
Iofe was a bit thrown off by miss Bright Moon's welcome, as she couldn't make out if the woman had just belittled her, or had just complimented her. Miss Bright Moon's voice was too melodious to Iofe's ears to catch the nuances. There was also this weird sensation that when miss Bright Moon spoke, somewhere deeply buried in her voice there was the sound of drums beating a feverish rhythm. It drew Iofe's attention, but each time she wanted to concentrate on the drums, the beating sound somehow remained just out of reach.
'My 'colonial' name is Scott. Chandell Scott. Don't bother with trying to be tribal, kid, and just call me Chandell. You're a strange one though. What kid is going to spend summer-holiday learning paradisoan history? I would be painting Simjuana red with my sorority-sisters instead. I mean, if you still want to go through with this, you'll be stuck in here for a week or two. You can claim a bed in the dorm upstairs. The tribe wanted to make this place into a boarding-school, but the permits are stuck in bureaucracy. So the dorm is done, but the papers not. You might as well make use of the facilities while you're here. If you promise to wash that grime off your face. The 300year war is over. We won.'
'Y-yes.., o-of course.', Iofe stammered, 'Thanks for the kind offer, miss Scott. But who's "white girl" if you don't mind me asking?'
Chandell took a juicetin from the bar while giving Iofe a scoffing look, 'I mind if you don't start to call me Chandell, kid. Paradisoans only observe protocol in politics and then to a fault. But everywhere else we're "Sqóìñdöy", family.', Chandell concentrated on pouring two glasses of paradisoan passionfruit juice before continuing. Something in her voice changed the mood in the cantina as she spoke again, 'White girl is the nickname I gave Topanga Masters, many decades ago. That's as far as I'm willing to go without white girl being here to tell her side of the story. Let's take a seat and get to know eachother a little better before kicking this study of yours off.'

I hope that Iofe dared to tell Chandell that she doesn't speak paradiso-jo!
Both Iofe and Chandell drank their juice in a somewhat awkward silence. Iofe couldn't help to have become very self-aware about the qualities of her leggings that kept commanding Chandell's eye and feeling the need to keep a conversation going, any conversation, Iofe asked after something that Chandell had said that was surprising to her, 'You said earler that you didn't want to talk about Topanga Masters unless she was here to tell her side of the story. I.., I don't follow, Chandell.'
'All in due time, kid.', Chandell returned as if what she had said earlier was quite daily fare on the islands, 'For now, all you need to know is that Topanga and her descendants were in their own way responsible for the eventual independence of Isla Paradiso from Simnation. That is to say, it couldn't have happened like it did without them. If you're wondering if you're related to white girl.., well, only one look at you takes away all doubt. The likeliness is distressingly uncanny. I don't believe that DNA-proofing is necessary in this case. We don't need to have white girl exhumed, which is a good thing. I rather call on spirits than on their remains. You can even with the deceased overstep boundaries, you know.', Chandell paused to let her words sink in and continued when Iofe nodded, 'To start it all off, we need to go back to the beginning. Which means that you and I firstly return to Moonlight Falls.'
That took Iofe as an offense, 'What? I just traveled half the world over to meet you here and the next thing we do is go back to where I came from?' Chandell remained non-plussed under Iofe's raised voice and on a light tone she returned, 'Don't stress out, kid. I'm a Vunecan with stolen Nephalimic powers. It will just be like stepping through a door. Traveling by air is, uhm, below me. But if you want to understand the history of Isla Paradiso and how your ancestors and I fit in to all of that, we have to pay a visit to Cold Harbor. I'm sure that you know the place. It's my property. Cold Harbor itself is where the 'Masters' bloodline originated. It will be for tomorrow though. I have a profound dislike for Moonlight Falls' climate so I need to secure some woolies.'
Iofe merely nodded while not really listening to Chandell's chatter. So many questions were racing to the fore inside her head. What is a Vunecan? Nephalimic powers? Why hadn't she been aware that a piece of the puzzle, the Cold Harbor mansion right there in Moonlight Falls, had been practically right under her nose the whole time? But how does a mansion on the other side of  the world bear any importance to a freedom struggle overhere? Iofe couldn't begin to guess at the answers. But she knew one thing for sure; she would finally get to learn the true history of Isla Paradiso. Her future papers would surely have a meteor's impact on the academic society!

Next time:
Will Iofe learn the truth in Cold Harbor, or is Chandell untrustworthy?