Chapter 7.25 – Vigil

Amber enjoys the warm sea breeze while relaxing on the beach below the Barimen Estate.   She signs the letter she has written to Julian, both to thank him for guiding Wendell, and to tell him of her decision to return his portrait back to the museum from where it went missing many years ago. Possessing no more substance than brittle wood and worn canvas, Julian had somehow stood between her, Brand, and death. It is the least she can do for his trouble.   Amber corks the bottle containing her letter and casts it into the sea.   This place … Continue reading Chapter 7.25 – Vigil

Chapter 7.24 – Life

Being a widow to the Logrus Estate’s sole heir would normally command a terrifying air of fear, power, and control.   But not this time. There are many sims in the Baltic Sea crime syndicate who have intimidated, threatened, bribed, sweet-talked, and even attempted to kill Amber Barimen; to dissuade her from divesting the Logrus fortune from its interests. But she survived Brand. And there is nothing any of them can do to approach the scope of what he had done to her. With their base of power, and now their money, gone, the organization dissolves into chaos and infighting. Amber takes some satisfaction in knowing that by … Continue reading Chapter 7.24 – Life

Chapter 7.23 – Iniquity

Had there been any doubts the stakes were high, and this was for real, they have been soberly dispelled by evidence of two dispatched thugs across the room.   This is not simply a matter of some fictional sleuth awaiting the outcome of her fate at the hands of an omnipotent author. It is survival; kill or be killed. When bullets started flying, Ricky was prepared, focused, accurate, and deadly. And it was over before Wendell even knew what had happened. Ricky grabs Wendell by the shirt collar in anger and warns him again to focus. Had those thugs been good shots, he’d already … Continue reading Chapter 7.23 – Iniquity

Chapter 7.22 – Petition

Ricky knew he should have come here alone.   Wendell’s unnerving limp has slowed down their pace, and aggravated Ricky to the point of wanting to go ahead by himself. Wendell apologizes profusely and does his best to keep the pace with a skip/hop/jog motion. Unfortunately, it not only looks ridiculous, but is attracting attention from the locals. The most frustrating bit about this whole thing, is that he actually needs Wendell. He knows Amber better than anybody, her parents included.   Having reached his limit, Ricky decides that something has to change. They sit down together to eat at a nondescript deli. Pointing to … Continue reading Chapter 7.22 – Petition

Chapter 7.21 – Dire

Author’s Note: Events of this post take place after 7.19 but before 7.20 Sunset Valley mourns as the news spreads that one of its most beloved celebrities, Hope Barimen, has died.   Faith and Jimmy remember Hope with a small family gathering at their house. Normally, such an event would have taken place at the estate. It was built when Hope was just a teen to symbolize the Barimen’s stewardship of the land. The building still stands, but it is now a vacant reminder of how quickly reversals of fortune can happen.   Hope’s story represents its own reversal of fortune, but not of … Continue reading Chapter 7.21 – Dire

Chapter 7.20 – Mistake

Many years ago, Corwin Barimen vanished from his hometown on the Baltic Sea (Author’s Note: see Chapter 1.21 – Guardian).   None of his rivals were saddened by the loss. And, not surprisingly, neither were any of his beneficiaries. Nothing was ever done to find out what happened to him for fear that he might actually be found alive.   As time went on, the name Barimen became better known for the good deeds being done in Sunset Valley. With their reputation of fear and power at stake, one of Corwin’s female heiresses made the decision to assume the name Logrus; the surname of her soon to … Continue reading Chapter 7.20 – Mistake

Chapter 7.19 – Ancestor

Cold fog has settled over a nondescript port town nestled into the Baltic seaside. This is where Amber Barimen can be found, doing what she does best.   Blending invisibly into the general population can be difficult and tricky under any circumstances. Attempting to do so in a foreign country, where the surreptitious sim does not look, act, or speak like the locals, is nearly impossible. With the  notable exception, perhaps, of a sim whose ability far exceeds normal sims. Amber Barimen would be one of these uncanny few.   Though she does not realize it, hers is not a learned skill; but … Continue reading Chapter 7.19 – Ancestor

Chapter 7.18 – Obtuse

Excited about her new idea for a new book, Amber immediately calls Wendell and asks if he will be able to meet her somewhere before leaving on her overseas trip.   Wendell sounds happy to hear from her, and insists that he has no other plans, outside of reading new manuscripts at the library. There must not be much going in his social life outside of work, if he has nothing else to do on a Friday night but proofread manuscripts. Actually, it seems kind of sad and a little bit pathetic. Surely, a good looking guy like Wendell has … Continue reading Chapter 7.18 – Obtuse

Chapter 7.17 – Tools

Word of Amber’s beat-down on Billy Jones quickly spreads through the murky, criminal underground in the months following his murder conviction.   Brand capitalized on the power vacuum left by the Joneses, establishing himself as the undisputed “boss” of the warehouse. Since then, the rumor mill has painted Amber as being Brand’s elite and deadly bodyguard/plaything. Obviously, there is absolutely no real truth to the rumors. All the same, there is not much to gain by dispelling the illusion.   It has afforded her the intimidation factor needed to bring an end to the blatantly criminal activity conducted at the warehouse. Along with … Continue reading Chapter 7.17 – Tools

Chapter 7.16 – Revenge

Police swarm the warehouse with such numbers, that a passerby could easily liken them to angry hornets who’d just had their nest poked with a stick.   The packet of papers Amber lifted off of Judge Arlington contained falsified court documents. But they were not just any documents. Based upon her examination of these papers, Amber has discovered that, for the past few years, the Jones’ have been buying up small businesses and using them as fronts to sue the Barimen family. Normally, such frivolous cases would never see the light of day. However handwritten notes attached to each document contained instructions … Continue reading Chapter 7.16 – Revenge

Chapter 7.15 – Judge

An impending sense of danger had seized Amber’s chest as though it were a massive boa constrictor, soon after Billy answered her question regarding marriage.   And during that moment, she could almost feel somebody else speaking through her when she berated him; demanding a proper and elegant proposal in place of his woefully deficient effort. The glare he shot at her seethed with murderous indignation, and he retreated wordlessly from the estate wearing that same expression.   She could not get over her profound sense of fear that night, and slept at the foot of Peter’s bed in the sleeping bag … Continue reading Chapter 7.15 – Judge

Chapter 7.14 – Loyalty

Amber’s experience with Billy that afternoon rekindles their romance in much the same manner a bucket of water rekindles a campfire.   Her conscience steers her to visit a place normally reserved for Sunday mornings. She has never been very active in the church, but has always enjoyed the weekly sermon. Maybe guilt motivated her her to come here after the deed, or maybe not. Regardless, she has made this her destination almost every day after school since then. Talking to Billy about her feelings has proved frustrating. He has made pretty clear he’s not interested in her crazy beliefs. In his eyes, she’s … Continue reading Chapter 7.14 – Loyalty

Chapter 7.13 – Comforting

Amber watches in disbelief as workers remove everything of value from the Barimen estate.   If the building itself were able to be sold and moved off the land, they would do it. She had hidden the portrait of Julian under a floorboard in the now-empty wine cellar just in time. It remains hidden with the box of old newspaper clippings and journals for now. Other than the property itself, the painting is the only thing of value she has remaining.   The family is broke. Paul, her younger brother, does not handle the realization well. He shouts at Ben, who seems … Continue reading Chapter 7.13 – Comforting

Chapter 7.12 – Anger

Billy fails every sparring match with Amber the afternoon he finally decides to visit the estate.   Amber shouts at him out of frustration over his lack of effort. But Billy just stares at her with an unimpressed expression, and states he did not come over for any flower-power training. But if she can show him how to break a sim’s neck, then he’ll be impressed. Amber grimaces at the morbid comment; and frets over the smile he wears on his face as he makes it.   Exasperated, Amber takes him on a walk around the estate. She shows him … Continue reading Chapter 7.12 – Anger

Chapter 7.11 – Publisher

Confusion and fear win out over sadness and grief in the emotional gambit that plays out in Amber’s conscious after Mr. Dworkin’s unexpected death.   The timing of his death, coupled with the unusual circumstances of the accident that killed him, leave her with a dreadful feeling that Brand is somehow responsible. Mr. Dworkin’s chilling warning that night has left her feeling nervous and edgy.   He had mentioned that his role had been played out. Was it a foretelling of his own death? And what did he mean when he said that she was a prize?   Her second mystery novel … Continue reading Chapter 7.11 – Publisher