Chapter 8.6 – Bounty

An endearing role reversal emerges within the Barimen household after Faith’s unexpected death.
 
The extended family sometimes jokes with Amber about her guard-dog mentality, but there is no kidding around now. There are times when even a stoic pillar of strength must grieve. Wendell and Luke shield and comfort Amber while she does so. In many ways, Faith had been more like a mother to Amber than a grandmother. And Ironically, it is the conspicuous absence of both Lisa and Ben that further fuels Amber’s pain. Stating their belief that her memorial service should be kept a reverent affair, the megastar couple (and lifeblood of Grayswandir) opted to send flowers rather than introduce the frenzy of media and paparazzi that would surely accompany their presence.
 
And to make matters worse, an apology sent by Aunt Sara to Tina and Tanya, further widens the family rift that has festered, rather than healed, over time. In her letter, Sarah states that attending one funeral with Amber present was enough to last her a lifetime; and that she would prefer to remember her mother during a private service at her own church overseas. Whether perceived or overt, these slights against his mother has cause Luke to smoulder in anger; an emotion he is not well acclimated to. Still, it seems petty and selfish that the sims closest to his mother would abandon her at such a time of need. What could she have possibly done to deserve such vitriol?
 
Faith is put to rest in the private family cemetery on the beach below the estate. She joins Jimmy and the previous generations who have come to rest here as well. As the service progresses, the wind shifts and delivers an unusually cold gale from the sea. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to bother Luke at all, but he can see how uncomfortable everybody else has become. The sudden change keeps the outdoor ceremony short. Afterwards, everybody meets up again at the house Aunt Tanya has inherited from her parents. Everybody, that is, except Luke.
 
Telling his father that he needs time to reflect, he asks to be excused from the reception. Wendell knows that given the choice, Luke would always prefer to be alone over joining a large group of people. He agrees, but reminds his teen-aged son to be home before dark. And with that, Luke wanders and contemplates alone for quite some time within the cemetery confines, oblivious to the bitter, blowing cold that has swept in from the sea.
 
At a time when his mind should be focused on remembering Grandma Faith, he finds that he has become stuck on the ghostly vision he experienced just before her death. He scolds himself for not sharing the same sadness and grief shown by his family. He sincerely wants to feel it, but he cannot.
 
 —
A light snow begins to fall as Luke searches his mind for meaning behind everything he has been shown. He stops wandering the grounds when he locates the headstones for Julian and Bebe. Her words still echo in his mind as though she had just spoken them. Unfortunately, he still does not understand what she had been trying to tell him. Was it something about alien creatures? Some kind of war? The whole thing sounds too ridiculous to be true.
 
He wanders again to the freshly packed earth where Faith has been buried. Did she know her time had come? Was the eerie sensation he felt throughout that day some kind of premonition? And what about the ring Grandma Faith had given him? Who was this silver-haired Kacey girl? Is he supposed to go find her and propose marriage? That seems kind of crazy.
 
As though it were responding to his silent questions, the freezing wind gusts around him and seems to whisper …the ring is not meant for you. Luke clenches his jaw impatiently when he “hears” a presence invading his thoughts again. He would very much like for them to stop doing that.
 
Luke turns his head slightly to regard the ghostly man standing only a few steps behind him. Luke’s annoyance turns instantly into a flutter of fear. Without understanding where this knowledge comes from, he understands, nonetheless, that he has every right to be afraid. During his lifetime, this man had possessed more money and power than some small countries. He had been equally respected and reviled as a world-class criminal and cutthroat. His name was Corwin Barimen, and even in death (or perhaps because of it) Corwin carries an unmistakable air of arrogance and authority that commands some level of precaution.
 
Luke’s eyes narrow as he sizes up the ghostly figure in front of him. He has no fancy soliloquies or pertinent insights to share; just a threat veiled by a boast. Corwin grumbles that he normally makes a point of avoiding funerals, having caused so many of them to occur over his lifetime. Luke takes this as a warning and swallows his urge to unload after a day full of emotional turmoil. Instead, he simply grumbles in return, asking the ghost what he meant by saying the ring was not meant for him.
 
The vile remnants of a man who was far more vile in life, scoffs, observing that his acute intelligence appears to not have been passed down among his descendants. In a overt display of disrespect, Luke returns the scoff, verbalizing the word “whatever” while waving the ghost off with his hand and turning his back. Luke knows there is a reason for this visit, however. No matter how tempting it might be to just ditch this goon, he senses that doing so would be unwise.
 
Luke clears his throat and suggests that if all he came here to do was chuck insults around, then he might as well just go back to rotting in his cozy, little hole. Whether or not his bravado achieved the desired effect remains unclear. The cold wind blowing from the sea, however, seems to drop another few degrees. It gusts in unison with the seething message thrust into Luke’s mind.
 
There are only a few sims ever to have lived, possessing the necessary intelligence to grasp the cosmic importance of Luke’s ancestral home. Corwin was one of those sims.  But his failure to capitalize on this insight had cost him dearly. Having nothing to do with the better part of a century, other than analyze his own failure, Corwin has identified three critical flaws in his logic. Each of them involves the woman he had wed for the sole purpose of wresting the land from her. His first failure was underestimating her ability to deceive him. The second was the deception itself, and his failure to recognise it. The third was a piece of knowledge she possessed that he did not; an advantage she wielded rather proficiently.
 
There are sims, such as Corwin, who crave the lust of power, wealth, and decadence over all other things. More importantly, they lack the fear of consequences and dismiss any authority that might stand in the way of their own self promotion. Some time during his youth, Corwin came to know an entity whose ideals aligned with his. He also came to know about a lucrative opportunity presented by this entity. There had once been a race of beings despised for their misguided sense of faith and goodness. Eventually, it became necessary to use them as an example to demonstrate that such ideals were no longer tolerated in the universe. With little regard for the wrath it might incur, a bounty was placed upon the heads of these beings. Within short order, there were no heads remaining to be collected. But the offer of reward continues to stand to this day.
 
Corwin refuses to disclose how he discovered that his wife’s family harbored such a being. But he does tell Luke about the piece of knowledge that had been used against him. The Barimen home provides his family with an impregnable security barrier. And as long as Luke stays close to it, he will continue to be protected from those who hunt.
 
Luke shivers, but not as a result of the freezing wind now blasting ice and snow. Suspecting that he already knows the answer, Luke cautiously asks Corwin’s spirit why he is sharing this information. The low chuckle strikes a chord of fear somewhere deep inside the teen, as Corwin maliciously informs him that it is a simple matter of conservation.
 
A century is a long time to analyze something; long enough to find weakness in even the most impenetrable defense. There are those who have recently joined the hunt. Some of them are good enough to get the job done if Luke wanders too far away from home. And that simply cannot be allowed to happen.
 
Because when the time does finally come for him to act, Corwin still intends to be the one who reaps the bounty of the kill.
 
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11 thoughts on “Chapter 8.6 – Bounty

    • Thanks! This was one of the most technically challenging posts I’ve done to date. The snow didn’t look right with the bright, “sunshiny” Sunset Valley weather. So I actually made my very first .package mod to change the weather to 90% chance of stormy clouds.
      Even with that, there was only about a in-game hour of time between day and night where the lighting I wanted was available. So I saved at 7pm (game time), took a bunch of shots until it got too dark, then re-loaded the game to take more screen shots. I did this probably a dozen times until I got all the shots I wanted.

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  1. All the work you put into this posts really paid off. I love the snow effect as well. I’m really curios when it comes down to Corwin. Intriguing character we have here…

    auburn
    haven’t posted anything new yet, but i’m working on it!

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  2. Corwin…hmm..the man (even in ghost form) gives me chills. I cant wait to read what he has been up to. Although he does give Luke some very important pieces of information.
    I cant believe that Sarah did not come..it was her mother. I guess I can understand her hatred for Amber. Maybe she needs a lot more time to really forgive.

    On another note, YES!! Im all caught up now!! :] It feels so good to be in loop and awaiting a new chapter. :]

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  3. Corwin, Corwin, Corwin. So selfish. Even in death he still manages to be one creepily evil dude. I can’t believe Sarah would be that selfish as to not go to her own mother’s funeral because Amber was there. She should at least put her grudge aside for one day to pay her respects.

    Also, I don’t know if you read Conrad’s first chapter, but his second chapter is up now, maube you could check it out?

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  4. Alexandria x3 says:

    Ah, I have finally caught up. Just took a bit of time and intense reading late at night.

    Anyways, I never liked Corwin (I suppose we’re not really supposed to, now are we), but he might be a major character in this legacy. We’ll just have to see.

    And I hope Brand’s ghost doesn’t come back to haunt Amber & Wendell.

    Wendell has made my official list of all time favourite characters.

    I shall keep reading.

    And Happy Holidays to you all [:

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