Sunday, December 2, 2012
Overlord Legacy - Chapter Forty-Four - Mended and Broken
Amaranth: "Why don't you go tell them they have five minutes and if they miss the bus, they're grounded until they graduate? No computer usage, no going out, and Severin gets his toilet-exploding privileges removed."
Obliging, Gator gets up and trots up the stairs to get the lazy teenage lugs out of bed. Amaranth smiles after her husband. He's such a good boy. Then she clicks on a website on her computer dedicated to weather. An interesting article on the website notes a new "season." It won't be blazing hot and stickily humid any longer. Instead, the temperature will get cooler and the entire world will begin to change color. It should be starting today. Amaranth can't imagine what that will look like. The world changing color? What does that mean? She's always known the world to be mostly green, with the grass and the trees.
This new season, one that Vorticae's other prophecies calls 'autumn,' is also a season of things dying. Amaranth isn't sure what to think about that. Regardless, it will be a gloomy season to experience. The weather forecast predicts a lot of rain for the next few days.
HONK HONNNNK! Amaranth glances out the window to see the school bus parked on the corner by the castle. She's sure the bus driver hates her household because the boys are frequently running out the door at the last minute. Silently Amaranth counts down: "Five...four...three...two..."
Suddenly footsteps begin slamming down the stairs. Tobie sails through the air as he jumps off the fourth step from the bottom and charges toward the door, Severin following closely behind him. Much to Tobie's dismay, it's raining outside. He's grown to completely hate this stupid thing called rain. All it ever does is show up when he doesn't want it and soak him to the bone.
Severin stops and stares at Tobie in surprise for a couple of seconds. It's the first words Tobie has said to him since a couple nights ago. Severin's not sure what's up with Tobie, only that Tobie appears to be really angry with him. Severin's tried talking to him a couple of times, but Tobie completely ignores him. It bothers Severin quite a bit. Tobie's his best buddy, one that he takes with him on almost all his adventures, the one he has fun with. Now Tobie doesn't want to do anything with him.
Severin walks forward, hoping Tobie picked a spot on the bench with an open seat next to him so Severin can sit with him, but before he boards the bus, he notices a puddle in the yard next to him. He ponders for a moment whether he has the time, but his impulses take over and Severin gleefully bounds over to the puddle.
A bit surprised, Severin wanders back to the bus. Tobie doesn't normally call him names. What's gotten into him? Shaking off a bit of the water before boarding the bus, Severin notices that Tobie has purposely squeezed into the back row of the bus, where all the "cool" kids sit. Severin and Tobie had had many talks about how stupid the "cool" kids actually were and how they'd never stoop to sitting in the back of the bus. Trying not to look like a wounded puppy, Severin plops down in the front seat next to some kid obsessed with picking his zits. Severin's a strong young man. He's going to assist his legacy in taking over the world in just a few days. He can do anything by himself. But with Tobie snubbing him, Severin realizes how much he likes hanging out with his buddy. What did Severin do to make him this mad and why won't Tobie talk to him about it?
There's hardly any chores to do at home, so Gator and Amaranth decide to go out and do something, despite the rain. Much to Amaranth's surprise, the world has indeed changed colors, or at least the trees mostly have. They're different shades of red and orange and brown. It's quite beautiful, actually. The leaves have also been falling off the trees and onto the ground, crunching under their feet. This must be the "season of dying" that Vorticae was talking about. Things are starting to wither. Amaranth certainly hopes there will be a season of life later on that will restore everything.
Gator and Amaranth start by heading to the gym - Amaranth has never really exercised in her life and Gator needs to do his work out to prepare for the upcoming games at the stadium.
Gator: "Nah, it's...not on the...highest setting..."
Amaranth: "I'm clearly not designed for these machines. I feel like I'm going to slip off at any time."
Gator: "You're doing...fine, honey..."
Amaranth: "...Uncle Phantom? What are you doing?"
Amaranth: "Wouldn't that burn your legs or anything?"
Phantom: "It's worth it."
Amaranth: "I'll let you enjoy that, Uncle Phantom."
Phantom: "It's like a roller coaster that doesn't go up or down!"
After completing their workouts (Gator finishes his early so his wife won't be bored sitting around waiting for him) and taking showers, Gator and Amaranth decide to brave the weather and head to the new autumn festival. Amaranth wonders how it's been done up for autumn and if it will be as impressive as the summer festival. She had enjoyed roller skating so much.
Amaranth stares until finally Gator glances back at her. Amaranth blushes, looking away. Then she shyly peers back at her husband. An amused smile slowly forms on his face. Amaranth giggles and looks away again. Look at her, giggling like a teenager again. As old as she is, she still feels young around her husband. Perhaps death isn't such a frightening concept. Whenever the Reaper comes for her, she will still be feeling young, pretty, and very loved. Who could ask for more?
They arrive at the festival and pull out their umbrellas. Gator quickly notices his own umbrella is useless. Apparently he'd left it outside the night before and lightning had zapped it.
Gator: "It looks so different from summer, but so interesting in its own right."
Amaranth: "It looks like it'd be a really cozy place to hang out, if it weren't raining."
Gator: "Yeah, remind me to buy a new umbrella later today. The only thing this thing is doing is tiring my arm out."
Amaranth: "Oh! Gator, look at this!"
Gator follows an excited Amaranth over to a long tub full of apples. Gator picks one up and examines it. It looks more crisp, fresh, and beautiful than any apple he'd ever seen before. Amaranth looks it over too - she's only seen apples like this come from Phantom's garden.
Gator: "Do you think the changing seasons help these apples grow better?"
Amaranth: "It seems that way. I wonder how they taste."
Then, before taking a bite, Amaranth notices a sign in front of the tub. She reads it over.
Gator: "A what?"
Amaranth: "You're supposed to hold your hands behind your back, and in one minute you're supposed to fish out as many apples as you can with your mouth. Whoever has the most apples wins."
Gator: "So we're putting our hands behind our backs and stuffing apples in our mouths in front of everyone? Sounds, uh...kind of kinky."
Amaranth: "Oh, Gator, come on. I'm sure it's an innocent activity. I bet children even do it."
Gator: "Well, the rain is going to make this a bit more challenging, certainly. Do you want to try it?"
Amaranth: "I'd like to. I hope you're not too scared of getting beat!"
Gator: "Oh, it's on now!"
Grinning at each other, Amaranth and Gator lock their hands behind their backs, bend over, and after taking a big breath, they plunge their faces into the chilly water to fetch their apples.
Amaranth: "Come on, sweetie, you've got to use your big werewolf teeth!"
Momentarily bringing his face out of the water to glance at his wife, Gator returns the smirk to his wife.
Gator: "It appears my mouth isn't nearly as large as yours, dear."
Amaranth: "Ha! I told you it'd be good for something one day!"
After enough rummaging, Gator finally manages to sink his teeth into an apple and bring it out of the tub.
Amaranth ends up winning by a mile. She has four apples in her basket to Gator's one. Laughing at each other, they give each other a tight victory hug.
Amaranth: "Haha! That's me - Amaranth Overlord, professional apple-bobber."
Gator: "I'm proud of you, honey."
As they pull apart, several fat raindrops plop on Gator's face. Curious, Gator sticks out his tongue to catch a few water droplets on it. There's no particular taste to it, but it's a bit fun.
Gator: "Jealous of the ra--...oh, because I'm sticking my tongue out into it?"
Amaranth smirks at her husband, then trots away to explore the rest of the festival. Gator doesn't let her get very far before gently swiping her behind a haystack and letting the rain be jealous of where his tongue ends up.
Before heading back home so Gator can get ready for work, they stop by a pumpkin farm.
Amaranth: "Sounds good to me. I'm open to trying anything."
Gator: "...You know? These things are about the perfect size for creativity. Like...we could carve a face into it."
Amaranth: "Carve a face into the pumpkins?"
Gator: "Think about it. People have done it with watermelon before. Think we can try it with pumpkins?"
Amaranth: "That would be interesting. I'll go harvest one as well. Oh, and we should get a couple more for Sev and Tobie. I'm sure they'll want to try their hand at it."
Before leaving for work, Gator tries his hand at carving his pumpkin. After enjoying his creation, Gator takes on Amaranth's request to carve a cat face into her pumpkin, and he finishes up with enough time to wash his hands and hop out to his carpool.
Amaranth: "Your dad and I brought them in from the fall festival today."
Severin: "What kind of face are you making on yours, Tobe?"
Tobie: "That's cool, mom. We can decorate the front with them."
Severin: "...What kind of face are you making on yours, Tobe?"
Tobie: "Where's the newspaper, mom? I don't want to get the floor messy."
Amaranth gets some newspaper for Tobie, then goes upstairs to switch over the laundry. The kitchen is filled with awkward silence as the boys start carving their pumpkins.
Severin: "I know it's rainy, but it won't be that bad. I want to go see it. Want to come?"
Severin: "Or you can stay home and stuff your face in the toilet because you're too much of a wimp to come see a festival in the rain."
Severin: "Have you ever played in a puddle before? It's actually really fun. You can kick the water and pretend you're kicking over cities."
Tobie still doesn't answer. Frustrated and a bit hurt, Severin scoops out the last of the gunk inside his pumpkin and throws it at Tobie, smacking him right in the side of the face with it. Tobie slowly turns his head and gives Severin a furious glare before scraping the pumpkin off his face and flicking it onto the newspaper below his pumpkin. Before Severin can get up and kick over Tobie's pumpkin in a rage, Amaranth returns back downstairs and examines Severin's finished creation.
Severin: "That's what I was going for."
Amaranth: "I suppose it was too much for me to expect you to carve something normal."
Severin: "I've heard that word thrown around quite a bit, but I still don't really know what it means."
Amaranth: "I doubt you ever will, Severin."
As Tobie finishes his, he places all four pumpkins in the front yard. First Gator's, then Amaranth's, then Severin's, and finally Tobie's own pumpkin.
The first things Severin notices are the leaves littering the ground. They crunch under his feet. Severin imagines himself crunching and crushing the souls of his enemies beneath his feet. It's quite fun to think about.
Then he notices him. There's a celebrity, sitting right on that park bench! What's his name? David? Eagerly, Severin sets up camp nearby, hoping to impress the celebrity with his musical ability.
Severin: "Right. I'm Severin Overlord."
Severin: "You'll know my name soon enough. I was playing the guitar--"
David: "Oh, that. Yeah, you were pretty decent. Now if you'll excuse me..."
Severin: "My birthday will be here before long. I plan on getting a job at the theater, and before long I'll be performing. So I wanted to get to know you--"
David: "Listen, kid. Dream all you want, but I've got things to do. I don't have time to listen to some teenage dreamer try to impress me. Why don't you go back to playing your guitar and leave me to my business."
Severin watches as the celebrity exits the restroom and briskly walks away. Narrowing his eyes, Severin determines that, as soon as he's a celebrity, David Pollock will be the first one he forcefully demands an apology from. Deciding there's nothing else to do, Severin heads home.
The next morning before school, Tobie heads outside to reset the pumpkins, which had blown over from the wind last night. Severin follows him outside. Tobie keeps his back to him while he puts the pumpkins upright, clenching his jaw and wishing Severin would just go away. That idiot keeps pretending he doesn't know what he did. He keeps pretending everything's alright and nothing's wrong. He keeps pretending he didn't just trash their relationship and betray his best friend and his brother.
As Tobie starts to walk away from the pumpkins and head back inside without looking at his inconsiderate brother, Severin looks over the pumpkins and mentions, "You set them up wrong. Mine was second from the right, not yours."
Severin: "What are you talking about?"
Severin: "I'm sorry, I must have missed my gibberish lessons in school. Am I supposed to try and make sense of what you're saying? Because I'm not getting it."
Severin: "I knew that."
Tobie: "So, knowing that I have deep feelings for Jackie and you don't, you went and asked her to the prom. Of all the girls in the school you could have asked, you asked her, even though you knew I liked her and you knew I wanted to go to the prom with her! You couldn't have asked any other girl in school?! The only thing you wanted out of Jackie was her body. You can't deny that because you and I both know it's true. I wanted a relationship with her, but did you think of that? Did you ever consider asking me how I felt about you asking out Jackie? No! You went right ahead, only thinking about yourself and how to satisfy your own lusts!"
Severin: "You're being silly right now, Tobie."
Tobie's had enough. Lunging for his brother, Tobie grabs Severin's jacket with one hand and his hair with the other and shoves him to the ground. Severin loudly growls at him, but Tobie doesn't care and climbs on top to start punching. The boys smack and claw and kick until a shrill voice screams, "Boys! That's enough!!" Tobie quickly jumps off and Severin slowly pulls himself to his feet.
Severin: "Tobie started yelling at me and then he started a fight."
Tobie: "You deserved it!"
Severin: "I didn't do anything wrong!"
Tobie: "You're inconsiderate and selfish!"
Severin: "That's only partly true."
Tobie: "It's completely true, Severin. Do I need to add 'stupid' to the list too?"
Severin: "I'm a genius."
Tobie: "My life would be so much better without you, Severin."
Severin: "I wish I could say the same about you."
Tobie: "I....wait, what?"
Before Amaranth can step in and address the boys, Severin storms off, leaving Tobie alone to think about his last statement. What did he say? He wishes he could say the same thing? That's almost a...considerate statement. Not wanting to think about it too much right now, Tobie heads upstairs to get ready for school. The bus will be here in about ten minutes.
Amaranth walks back inside to see her husband.
Amaranth: "I think they just had a huge argument outside. I don't know what it was about, but I noticed Tobie and Severin weren't talking to each other for a couple days. Tobie called Severin selfish and inconsiderate and seemed so mad that he didn't want to even be in Severin's life anymore. I don't think Severin knew how to handle it. I...I don't know what to do about it."
Amaranth: "But...Tobie just told Severin he basically didn't want to talk to him ever again."
Gator: "You've told me Tobie and Sev were buddies ever since they were young, right?"
Amaranth: "Well, yes..."
Gator: "They'll work it out. Trust me. Severin can aggravate the most patient person in the world to the point where they hate him, but he always finds a way to worm back into their heart, and Tobie's too good of a kid to let himself be angry at his brother for life. They'll work it out."
Amaranth: "But what if they don't?"
Gator: "They will, Am, probably sooner rather than later. Trust me on this."
Remarkably, Gator's words ring true later that afternoon. Although the boys spend most of school apart from each other, Tobie decides to sit down next to Severin on the bus on the return trip back. Their ride is silent, but when they get to the front lawn, Severin gives the closest thing Tobie's ever heard to an apology ("I really don't like saying I'm sorry for anything, but if I'm sorry about not talking to you before asking Jackie to the prom, will you talk to me again?"). Tobie realizes he doesn't want to stay angry at Severin - the bitterness inside has been too exhausting and miserable for him to put up with. Although a bit reluctantly at first, Tobie forgives his puppy-eyed brother, just in time for Severin to drag him into a taxi and tell him all about the haunted house they're going to see.
Tobie: "I know that look, Sev. She's too old for you."
Severin: "Don't be ridiculous. Besides, tomorrow we'll be spending most of the day getting ready for the prom. You have to look nice if I'm taking you as my date, you know."
Tobie: "We're not going together, Severin. I was going to hire another driver to take--"
Severin: "Now, now, don't be modest. Make sure you break your shoes in. We don't want your feet to start hurting when we're dancing together."
The boys head inside the haunted house for their adventure. They both end up enjoying it, although Tobie admits the live actors scared him several times. Sev and Tobie were almost kicked out of the attraction after Severin purposely scouted out rooms to find the actors and scream like a banshee right behind them.
Severin: "This has simply ignited my desire. My castle will be just as horrific as this haunted house when I run it."
Tobie: "Oh boy..."
Severin is definitely still in his maniacal mood when he gets back home. Tobie watches him with a wary eye.
Severin: "Not a good idea? Why, it was a brilliant idea! I've gotten so many ideas to employ. The world will tremble just to see my castle."
Tobie: "This isn't good..."
Severin: "Of course it isn't good, you nitwit. It's perfectly evil."
Severin: "I'm a genius! BAH HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!!"
Tobie: "We definitely shouldn't have gone in that haunted house."
Eagerly, Severin dashes outside to figure out what he'll need to place around the castle to make it even more fearsome. Everyone in Moonlight Falls has heard of the Overlord Castle...but he will make it legendary! People the world over will know of the Overlord Castle. Maybe in the future, people will even pay him to visit it as a tourist trap, and he'll make even more money. Brilliant! First he'll need some graves. He can have them made, of course, but he could also host parties, invite lots of vampires, and then decorate his lots with the poor souls that perish from thirst. Vampires are awfully stupid that way. (He makes a mental note to make sure Uncle Oliver is not invited.) Then he needs some cobwebs. But not fake cobwebs, no, he needs genuine ones. Perhaps if he orders some spiders over the internet...
"Severin! You little wretch!"
A sharp female voice snaps him out of his daydream. Irritated, he turns around to see who could have bothered him in his moment of exalted meditation. His stomach drops all the way to his feet when he sees who it is.
Tracey: "Remember me, wolf boy? You see what you did?"
Tracey: "Shirking responsibility already, are you? You Overlords are all the same."
Severin: "I don't...listen, this is surely some sort of misunderstanding."
Severin doesn't even know how to answer. He doesn't know what to think, what to believe. That rounded belly surely can't be the result of his actions. Teenagers don't get other people pregnant. That's something young adults do. Something other young adults do. Severin doesn't need children. He doesn't want children. Therefore he can't create children. This is absurd. Tracey must be lying. It's probably Ralph's, or whoever else she's slept with besides him.
Much to Severin's horror, Tracey marches to the front door of the castle, barking, "Do your parents know about this? Do they know what you like to do when they're not home?" Severin chases after her, pleading with her to talk it out on the lawn. But he can't stop Tracey before she barges through the front door, right in front of Amaranth and Tobie.
Severin: "Tracey, come on, let's just go outside and--"
Tracey: "Why? You afraid mommy will see what you did?"
Severin: "How is this entirely my fault?"
Severin: "Listen, it's...it's probably not mine. You're dating Ralph, right?"
Tracey: "Ralph and I haven't slept together in weeks!"
Amaranth: "Well, I'm glad that worked--...who is this?"
Severin: "It's just a friend, mom."
Tracey: "Just a friend, huh? Is that what you would've called me on Wednesday? Is that what you would've called me when we went to the shower together?"
Severin: "Tracey, this isn't the place for this--"
Tracey: "Why? Embarrassed that you knocked me up? Should've thought about that a little more on Wednesday!"
Tracey's voice grows louder and louder, attracting Gator's attention from upstairs. Severin's heart is caught in his throat and he feels completely out of control. He doesn't know what to do now. Tracey was only a one-time fling. He hadn't expected to see her again. Now she's pregnant and she's saying he's the father. He still can't quite believe that's possible.This isn't supposed to happen. Not to him, not after everything he's planning for.
Gator: "Who is this?"
Severin: "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't realize--"
Tracey: "Didn't realize?! I thought you would be smart enough to use protection!"
Severin: "You didn't say anything about it!"
Tracey: "You have to be the dumbest teenager I've ever come across!"
Amaranth: "Oh my..."
Severin: "But you went along with everything! I didn't force anything or push anything. You agreed to it all!"
Gator: "Would someone explain what's going on?"
Tracey: "Ask your kid. It's about time for him to take some responsibility and stop thinking he can get away with everything. I'm done talking to you. I just came to let you know what you did. I don't want the baby. As soon as it's born, you can raise the wretched thing in your fancy castle. Thank you for ruining my life."
Tracey won't hear another word of it. Waddling as fast as she can, she slams the front door shut, leaving Severin in the middle of the room, the eyes of his family all boring into him. The shame and humiliation reaches suffocating levels for Severin. Being defeated by his father in that werewolf fight was nothing compared to this. It just won't sink in. He's the father of that baby Tracey's carrying? His one brief morning of pleasure caused this? He hadn't thought about this at all. This kind of stuff doesn't happen to teenagers. Why is this all his fault? He didn't push Tracey into anything. She willingly went along with everything. Why is she acting she doesn't have a part in any of this?
There have been times in Severin's life when he knew he'd made some dumb decisions. There have been times when he hasn't quite liked himself for making such decisions. Now, for the first time ever, Severin feels choked by his pure hatred for himself. What an idiot. What a complete and total idiot. Who needs a hero to ruin his future plans when he can just do it for himself?
Severin: "She...she was a friend. She's...pregnant."
Gator: "Is there a reason she was yelling at you about this pregnancy?"
Gator: "Do not play games with me, Severin. I have no patience for that right now."
Severin: "She thinks it's my baby."
Severin can feel himself trembling, his stomach looping and looping. It takes a bunch of swallowing to keep himself from throwing up. He's always been one to go his own way and do his own thing, but deep down in his heart, Severin has never, ever wanted to truly disappoint his parents. His father is also his alpha wolf, and he's wanted to become as powerful and respectable a werewolf as possible so his father would be proud of him. And his mother is the one passing down the Overlord legacy to him. He wants to make her proud too - not just for her, but for his grandmother and his great-grandfather. Now it's evident that he's sorely disappointed them both. His father will never respect him now. His ancestors will never be proud of him now. And he's just broken his mother's heart. Severin's never felt so low in his life.
He decides the best policy right now is honesty. There's no hiding or trying to tone down what he's done. He might as well tell all.
Gator: "This was while the rest of us were at the festival?"
Severin: "Yeah. She came over and we started flirting and then we started kissing and then it just progressed from there and...and we had sex. I wasn't thinking about it. She left right after, and I haven't seen her since. Until tonight, I mean. I didn't know...I mean, I wasn't trying..."
Gator: "...Is this the only girl we need to be concerned about?"
Severin: "I haven't slept with anyone else, if that's what you mean."
Gator: "You told me on Wednesday that you hadn't slept with anyone. I take it that you meant that as a technicality and weren't being completely honest with me."
Gator: "Are you using technicalities on me now?"
Severin: "No. Tracey is the only one I've ever had sex with. I truly mean it, dad. I'm not lying to you."
Severin feels his throat close up tight as his father stares at him. He can't tell if his dad believes him or not. He has no right to, after all. Severin had been less than truthful when his dad had asked him before about his sex life. He feels like stabbing a knife into his stomach when he sees a couple of tears escape from his mom's eyes and flee down her cheeks.
Without warning, Severin feels tears well up in his own eyes. Severin hates himself even worse. He's never cried before. Crying is stupid. Crying is pointless. Crying is weak. Yet he can't stop the tears. Guess that says a lot about himself.
After a long pause, Gator finally speaks up.
Severin: "I'm....I'm so sorry, dad..."
Gator: "I know you are, and I'm glad for that. You're going to have to grow up fast to handle your new responsibilities."
Severin: "...A-and you'll help?"
Gator: "I won't do your job for you. But I will help."
Severin: "So...you're not mad anymore?"
Gator: "You'll have to give me a day or two to get over it, Sev. This is a big shock to the family and it's a mistake I really wish you wouldn't have made. But I'm not going to hold it against you forever. I'm your father, I love you, and I want to see you get back on your feet again, because I know you can."
Walking past him, Gator gently squeezes his son's shoulder, then retreats to the bedroom. It's getting late at night and the whole ordeal has made him more exhausted than he originally was. Amaranth looks at her son for a couple of moments, remember not long ago when Severin himself was just a baby. Her baby's about to have a baby now. Swallowing, she pulls Severin into a hug.
Amaranth: "I know, Severin. I'm so sorry I blew up on you. I wish you would have listened to me and obeyed my advice, but like your father said, we have to move on now. I made it through my difficult times, and you will too. Your father and I will help you as much as we can, as long as you take your responsibility seriously."
After a few more minutes, Severin heads upstairs to go to bed, and Amaranth decides it's time for her to retire as well. Quietly entering the bedroom, she notices her husband is asleep already.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: What?! Generation Four hasn't even taken over yet and now Generation Five is about to be born?? Yeah, I told you Severin's generation had to start moving fast in order to produce four children in a shortened lifespan. No matter how the child turns out to be, I doubt I'll be making it the heir, simply because if I did, Severin's generation would be way too short.
I anticipated this chapter to be long (I had to cut down from 70 screenshots to about 55), but it literally took me a good five hours to write this thing. Wow.
Heads up - next chapter is the LAST CHAPTER of Amaranth's generation (I feel like I've taken forever on it). That means two chapters from now, Severin's generation officially starts. I'm quite excited!