Thursday, October 12, 2017

3.5 - Getting sick of these apples

Another day, another unpleasant wake-up call.

This time it is Falstad who wants food, attention or a fresh diaper while his parents would rather sleep. And of course it doesn't take long until his brother wakes up too. Life's hard.

To make it even worse the cats also join in on the crying. Nele is finally pregnant and she'd love some rest now, but it doesn't look like this household will have a quiet minute anytime soon.

"What does my big boy want, hmm?", Celestine cooes with a sleepy voice. She tries to smile at her son but she'd much rather sleep for another hour if she were honest... 

It seems like parenting comes much easier to Mauricio. The boys love him and he has the patience of a saint, no matter how often they throw a tantrum, fight, or refuse to share their toys with each other.

Which unfortunately happens just about every day... Muradin and Falstad don't go easy on their parents. They scream and fight so often that Celestine is starting to get worried when she doesn't hear anything from them.

Being a single child who was raised by another single child, Celestine doesn't really understand sibling rivalry. But it looks like she will have to get used to it very soon...

Sometimes when she watches Mauricio being so natural with the kids she wonders what she would have done without him, what if she had to raise the kids on her own, like her mother had to?

It would be a disaster, that's for sure.

Celestine's stomach growls again. She is so stressed out lately that she sometimes forgets to eat between changing diapers and warming up milk bottles. There's just no denying it: she's not the ideal stay-at-home-mom.

"Hey, Mauricio, I wanted to talk to you about -", she begins when she walks into the bedroom but Mauricio's laugh interrupts her.

He nods at the apple in her hand and laughs. "Didn't you say you had enough of apples?"

Celestine stops and looks at her hand. For real, she's holding an apple."Eh?" She couldn't remember picking it up. "I... must have picked it up without noticing. Lack of sleep, I guess...", she mumbles confused.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. What did you want to talk to me about?", Mauricio asks.

"Ah, yes. Remember when you asked me if I wanted to start working again? You offered to stay at home and look after the boys. I've been thinking about it and if that offer still stands..."

Mauricio smiles at her. "You know this is no problem for me. Go and get out a bit, I can handle these rascals", he adds with a wink.

And so it is done. Celestine picks up her work again while Maurico stays at home and becomes the fulltime dad.


A few days later Nele's first litter, the Koyangi's I litter, is born at night. It is one female and one male kitten, named Ina and Igo.

Unfortunately it is quickly decided that the kittens will be adopted out when they are old enough. Both of them inherited the stubby tail from an earlier generation, which is a trait that they were trying to breed out ever since it first showed up. 

That also means it won't be Nele's last litter, but for now the fresh mom is too tired to think about more babies.

Either way, Mauricio is looking forward to seeing the kittens grow up. Unlike Celestine he has never raised cats from birth before, so that is a very new and exciting experience for him!

Just like his own human litter! Celestine comes home late from work and sees Mauricio fast asleep on the couch with Muradin on his chest. 

She looks lovingly at them, not saying a word to not wake them up. 
You look so much alike, she thinks. The apple really doesn't fall far from the tree oh plumbob I should stop thinking about apples. I pray that I never have to lose you.

It's been a hard day at work for her. She wanted to tell Mauricio about it, but seeing him with their son made her reconsider. 
Please, promise me I never have to lose you.

The twins are identical! In fact there are my first identical twins ever since I discovered the option in Woohooer(?), I believe I have it set to 20% or so.
They have Mauricio's blue eyes which is nice. And his hair. And his nose. Honestly, I'm not too sure if they got anything from their mom haha
And I barely play the burrito stage (3 days) so they're already big babies here.

Disclaimer: any similarities to other legacies are pure coincidence :P

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

3.4 - ... and make it double!

"This is the happiest day in my life...", Mauricio says while trying to hold some manly tears back. He holds the baby blue bundle with the snowflake print tightly in his arms.

"Well, of course, because you didn't have to squeeze them out of you!", Celestine answers with a pained smile, half-serious and half-joking.

It turned out that Mauricio was wrong after all: Celestine didn't give birth to a boy... No, she had two boys instead!

Each of them chose a name for one brother. The baby in the green blanket was named Falstad by Celestine, and his twin brother in the blue blanket got the name Muradin from Mauricio.
The boys are quite big for newborn twins and healthy. Looks like the apple diet has worked!

And so it doesn't surprise Mauricio that the mother of his children feels so tired lately and uses every opportunity to take a quick nap. Having twins is hard: whenever one starts crying, the other one wakes up as well.

But Celestine thinks there might be more to her lack of energy than that. Something feels off. She felt that way before...

It was many years ago in her childhood, but around the same time of the year, just before Snowflake Day.

This night she's having vivid dreams...

Or maybe it wasn't just a dream. As she wakes up she can see some colorful lights dancing outside through the window, so she quickly puts on her coat and runs outside. Maybe it is some kind of rare astronomical phenomenon?

Celestine looks up to the sky but whatever she had seen seconds ago is gone now. She's almost about to head back home when she suddenly hears a whisper from somewhere.
... waited 20 years ...
The voice is very quiet and hard to understand.

"Hello? Did someone say something?", Celestine yells at the empty street in front of her.
... not much power ... drained your energy ... to be able ... to talk ... 
"What? Where are you? That's not funny, show yourself!"

Celestine looks around frantically. The voice sounds like it belongs to an old woman and it sounds weak, almost like someone trying to say their last words on their deathbed.

... listen ... humans gave up their magic ... in exchange for cold logic ... return to nature ... potential in every human ... 
There is no doubt. The voice comes from inside her. It becomes even weaker, impossible to understand now. And then it stops.

Celestine is shaking. What on earth was that?!


During the next weeks Celestine can't stop thinking about the incident. She is scared and worried about her mental state and gets lost in her thoughts frequently, which doesn't go unnoticed by Mauricio.

"Are you sure everything is alright? Maybe we should talk to your doctor after all, just to be on the safe side. You could have PPD. It's treatable!"

"That's sweet of you but you don't have to worry about me", Celestine assures him. "The twins are just a big change in our lives, but I'm fine."

"Fine, I take your word for it. But please do tell me if there is anything on your mind. And if it helps you to go back to your old job you can do this too of course, I will stay at home and take care of the boys.", Mauricio offers. 

But everything is not alright. Celestine needs some time for herself. How could she tell Mauricio about what happened? What if she developed schizophrenia? She heard that usually happens at around her age. That would be terrible, now that she has to take care of two newborns.

Or did she, a woman who pretends to be a fortune teller, have an actual prophecy after all, just like this one crazy professor in Harry Potter?

"I'm not losing my mind. It's just been a stressful time.", she says out loud, trying to convince herself.

There's just a little bit of snow coming down still, but most of it has melted away by now and she can tell spring is approaching quickly. Soon she will be able to work in her garden again, she will go back to work, and the old routine will surely calm her mind. 
... right?

Oblivious to Celestine's thoughts, Mauricio checks back on the babies before heading to bed himself. He really loves those little bundles.

And so does Celestine. Good night, boys!


If the names ring a bell for you, that's because Muradin (Bronzebeard) and Falstad (Wildhammer) are dwarf characters from WoW!

And that was totes a ghost encounter, not an alien encounter, ok?

Monday, August 14, 2017

3.3 - Prepare for trouble...

Celestine takes the pregnancy quite well. She isn't freaked out at all that there's a living person growing inside her; she's just admiring the little miracle and continues being the calm person she always was.

Mauricio on the other hand is ecstatic."So what should we name him? Brann would be a nice name! Or no, what about Magni? Even better!"

"Wait, wait, wait... How come you are so certain that it will be a boy? Have you joined me in the fortune telling business?"

Mauricio shrugs. "Somehow it always turned out to be a boy in our paternal family line. You know I have a brother, my father only had brothers, my grandfather... Oh and here, eat this", he grabs an apple out of the fruit bowl and hands it to Celestine, "Apples are good for pregnant women!"

"Really? I never heard of that. More family wisdom passed down from generation to generation?"

"Exactly! Three apples a day keep birth complications away, or something like that."

"If you say so!", she smiles and takes a big bite.

During the first weeks after the pregnancy announcement Celestine spends a lot of time outside studying the local wildlife. It is not quite winter yet, but frost is already creeping up on the windows early in the morning and she won't be able to watch all these critters for much longer.

"Wow, these water bugs are giants! You must like the current weather, don't you?"
Sometimes she takes a few specimen back home if she knows they can live healthily and happily in a proper terrarium, but sometimes - like in the case of this beautiful falcon - she respects that not every animal makes a good pet and simply enjoys observing them in their natural habitat.

But as her belly grows bigger and the temperatures fall she eventually has to stop exploring outside and spends her time at home with Mauricio, talking about their future or just dancing to their favourite music.

"Tell me about your adventures.", she says one day. Celestine loves exploring the outdoors around her hometown, but she never travelled much further than Appaloosa Plains.

"Hmm... have I told you about that expedition into an old celtic tomb in France yet?", Mauricio asks.

"No, you haven't! Celtic tomb, you say? I was interested in celtic druids as a child. Didn't find out a lot to be honest."

"No wonder, sources are scarce about them. They preferred oral teaching over writing, which makes work for us historians that much harder. What we do know about them is that they mainly acted as priests and teachers, they had a strong bond to nature - the word 'druid' means 'wisdom/knowledge of the oak tree' - and they studied the movement of the stars. Much like you do", he adds teasingly.

"Wow, sounds like I could have saved myself a lot of research if I had met you earlier!", Celestine laughs.

"We could explore these ruins together one day, if you want to?"

"No, thanks, that was a long time ago! I was a curious child but I'm no longer interested in - ahh!", Celestine lets go of Mauricio's hands and feels her forehead.

"Something wrong, honey?"

"No, no... just a headache, probably another pregnancy symptom. I just need some rest."
Mauricio nods and brings Celestine to their bedroom where she quickly lies down and tucks herself in. 

"Okay, good night then. If you need anything to feel better, just tell me. Or if you change your mind about exploring some ruins together", he adds with a wink.

Hmpf. Travelling is an important part of Mauricio's life but he never managed to convince her to come with him... Of course with a baby underway travelling won't be possible for a while, and he is okay with that, he always wanted to be a father! But he does want to continue travelling once the kid grows older... And Celestine simply doesn't seem very interested in that unfortunately.


Time goes by fast and soon Celestine goes from "barely showing" to a large, round baby belly.

"I never thought I'd see the day when your belly is bigger than mine", Mauricio jokes while trying to feel for any movement of his unborn son (he is still 100% sure it'll be a boy). "You think it's that bad yet?", she teases him back.

In the last weeks before the due date Celestine and Mauricio are so excited about becoming a real little family that they feel a great urge to fill their house with babies (or grown-ups) of other species: a nuthatch, a tortoise, various insects... "It is good for kids to grow up with pets", is their excuse when asked. 

Soon their house will turn into a zoo but that's okay since Mauricio doesn't have much work to do when he's not out on an expedition and Celestine is her own boss who can set her working times however she wants to.


The next morning in the kids and critters room...

"Daaang, have you seen that tasty looking bird in that cage there?", Hanzo chatters while focusing on the cage.
"Hanzo, I'm not sure if the humans approve of this., Katerchen purrs with a mouth full of toy bird. "We have enough of these training dummies, why don't you practice your hunting skills with those?"*

"Why else would they put it in there? Think about it, winter is coming and our humans now provide us with life prey inside so we don't have to get our paws wet in the snow!
Speaking of our humans, have you caught the scent of the female recently? Oh boy, is she pregnant! Her litter must be due, like, any minute or so!"

"What about your litter by the way?", Katerchen meows. "I can't wait to have great-great-great-grandchildren!"

Amy growls quietly. "Great-great...-great? Are we really that old already?"

"We will have our litter when we're ready, no pressure please!", Nele answers while Hanzo is busy climbing up the cage.

There are celtic ruins in Champs les Sims! One of the first tombs you explore there, actually. I thought that was a nice coincidence because I only found out about it after I already had the story in mind. I sent Mauricio to France because of his adventurer roll and there it was! I couldn't *not* include it here!

[*real life Katerchen would never say this. He surprised me with a panicked living bird in his mouth once. He's an indoors cat...
No birds were harmed in the making of this chapter. Well, harmed maybe, but not killed. Just a few lost feathers.]