Nostalgia for Innocence

Sandra had no idea what she had been hoping for as she hurried through the heavy wooden doors of the abbey, but whatever it was, she must not have found it, for her shoulders slumped and the breath left her in a soft sigh.

“Mama?” asked Coralie, as she did twenty times an hour ever since she had mastered the word.

Sandra stroked the little one’s silky black hair. “Well! Here we are, Coralie!” she answered in that merry tone that it was so necessary to use with little ones. Why this was, no one had ever told her, but the understanding was instinctual. She was grateful for that, as she had been grateful for so many other instincts that helped her cope through these first two years with Coralie. “Let’s have a look around, shall we?”

Coralie obediently looked around, her big blue eyes — Sandra’s own — drinking in the abbey and all its sights.

Sandra stepped forward, though she did not really know where she wanted to go. Then she stopped. Something — something was wrong.

“Mama?” Coralie asked again, her voice pitching just right for the stones to call as well, “Mama? Mama? Mama?” And Sandra realized what it was that had startled her so.

The echoes. There shouldn’t have been echoes. Even if the stones were naturally inclined to play that children’s game of copying everything one said, their voices should have been too soft and muted to be heard, lost in the din.

“Let’s go look around,” Sandra continued, forcing herself forward.

But where to go? Perhaps the abbey chapel? Surely the good monks  and nuns wouldn’t begrudge her appearance there, nor Coralie’s. But who could begrudge Coralie? Such a good little girl, the first few times she and Chris had brought her to their chapel back home, when she was truly was too little to behave herself, she’d been quiet as a little mouse and every bit as good as gold.

Even as Sandra made her way to the chapel, something else caught her eye. She veered to the right.

Her shoulders slumped again, but this time it was in relief, not disappointment.

“You see, Coralie?” she asked, as if her daughter was the one who had needed reassurance. “This is an abbey of St. Coral’s. You see the playground and the slide?” Sandra gestured, Coralie’s gaze following her hand. “That means there are children here!”

Coralie gasped and looked around.

“Er … somewhere,” Sandra added. The silence certainly seemed indicate that if children there were, they were nowhere nearby. “Maybe we’ll see them later,” she continued before Coralie could look too crestfallen.

“Big ones, Mama? Little ones?”

How was she supposed to answer that? First there was the ever-shifting status of Coralie herself — big girl or little girl? And how could she reply when she herself had no idea of the answer?

“I don’t know, baby,” she decided to answer, shifting Coralie on her hip and looking around. “Maybe we’ll find somebody, and ask.”

Coralie looked again at the playground. “Mama, slide?”

“Oh, no, baby. That slide’s too big for you.”

“Maybe Mama come down, too?”

“No, no, baby. Mama has to be very careful now, remember?”

“Baby Pork Chop!”

“Yes, yes, because of Baby –”

“Can I help you?”

Sandra gasped, clutching her older baby to her breast, while the littler one jumped inside her. She spun around, the hand on Coralie’s head crushing the little one to her —

And breathed out a sigh of relief. It was only a Sister! No — Sandra saw the white sash — the Mother Superior. She relaxed her grip on Coralie, and Coralie gave her not even a moment before squirming in her arms to see. “Hi!” she called out.

“Well, hello to you too,” the Mother said, smiling. Not that Sandra would expect anything less out of a Sister of St. Coral. Even the ones who were strict loved children, and who wouldn’t love as sweet a baby as her Coralie?

“Mother Superior,” Sandra said, nodding her head. “For-forgive me for intruding, but I …”

“Mama! Mama, down,” Coralie bounced.

A quick, stricken glance at the Mother Superior, who nodded. Sandra set Coralie down. “But you be careful about those flowers!” she added as Coralie toddled off — right toward the flowers, but she did nothing more damaging than bend her heavy head down to inhale their sweet scent.

“I still have no idea what Father Hugh was thinking,” the Mother Superior sighed. “All these flowers around an orphanage! Not that orphans don’t deserve to see flowers as much as the next children, of course, but no matter who their parents are, children aren’t often very considerate of the local flora.”

Sandra only smiled, and did her best, as she always did, to look unmoved whenever somebody disparaged orphans, or remarked how natural it would for someone else disparaged them.

All these years, though, and she still wasn’t much good at it. “Is something wrong, daughter?” the Mother Superior asked.

“I …” Sandra twisted her hands together. “I don’t know where to start.”

“Begin at the beginning, as I always tell my girls.”

Sandra could only smile in reply.

The Mother Superior’s brows knit. “Are you in need of counsel?” She gestured to the chapel. “Or confession?”

“I …” To buy herself time, Sandra glanced around for Coralie. She was still smelling the flowers, one by one. “I suppose I probably should have confession,” she admitted with a sigh.

“How long has it been since your last?”

She’d last had confession right before they had left Glasonland. “About six weeks ago.”

“Two months? That’s not so long.”

“Perhaps, but …” She caught her lip between her teeth. “Isn’t ingratitude a sin?”

The Mother Superior shrugged. “It depends. We should all be grateful to the Lord Wright for the blessings He bestows on us. And we should be grateful to others for the good they do us, and show it to them. However, I don’t think despising the ugly wall hanging your mother-in-law bought and insisted you hang in the front room is particularly sinful.”

Sandra blinked, not sure what was more surprising — this strange gradation of sin, or the fact that a Mother Superior was making a mother-in-law joke.

Then the Mother Superior tilted her head a little to one side. “Daughter, you do seem very troubled. Why don’t we go into the chapel and talk about whatever is disturbing the quiet of your mind?”

“Oh, thank you, Mother!” Sandra gasped. “I — I would like to talk, I mean,” she murmured. Then she looked around. “Coralie! Coralie, come to Mama. We’re going into the chapel.”

She would not have been a Sim, and certainly not a woman, Sandra thought, if she hadn’t glanced up through her lashes to see how the good Mother took to hearing that name. Sandra was rewarded by seeing the good Mother blink.

And when Coralie ran on her chubby little legs to collapse against Sandra’s skirts and be picked up, Sandra was further rewarded when the Mother remarked, “A pretty name for a pretty little girl.”

Big girl!” Coralie replied.

“Oh, I’m sorry! How silly of me,” the Mother laughed. She stroked Coralie’s cheek. “A big girl. How did I not see?” The Mother glanced at Sandra. “Shall we?” she gestured to the chapel.

“Of course.”

The Mother led the way, short as it was. “You can put her down and let her run, if you like,” the Mother remarked as they stepped inside. “If the chapel isn’t pretty well childproofed by now, I doubt if it ever will be.”

“Oh, no, Mother, Coralie is always very good in church.” Sandra kissed Coralie’s forehead. “Besides … wouldn’t that be disrespectful?”

“For you or I to run about? Aye. For children a bit older than Miss Coralie? Aye. For Coralie to run around during services? Aye. But to let the little one explore while her mother has a quiet conversation? I don’t think that’s disrespectful.” The Mother sat herself on one of the nearest pews, patting the seat beside her to invite Sandra to join her. “I can’t imagine that the Lord Wright wouldn’t like to see little ones being themselves in His own House.”

She had never thought about it like that. Back where she had grown up, little ones were not allowed in the chapel — except for their own baptism, of course — until they could be relied upon to sit still and be quiet. Then, the bigger ones were not allowed into the chapel, either, unless for services or their religious instruction.

Sandra sat herself down and tried to get comfortable, if not physically — for pews were never made for comfort — then mentally. Coralie’s familiar weight on her lap helped that. But beyond that …

The sights were familiar — wood, stone, cut glass in a thousand colors painting both in an ever-changing mosaic. So, too, was the sound, or lack thereof. There was no quiet quite like a chapel’s quiet. Only in a chapel did one get the impression that angels had been whispering just before one walked inside. The coolness, too, welcomed her like an old friend. But something still was off.

Sandra took a deep breath — and then she had it. Beneath the customary smells of incense and perfumes there was the faintest hint of new-hewn lumber. It was the same smell that chased her from room to room in her new home. It was the smell that never seemed to fade. Thus, this chapel, unlike the ones back home — which all seemed so ancient, they must have been grandsires when St. Robert himself first came to Glasonland — was new, like so many other things in this strange land.

“And where are my manners?” the Mother added, jolting Sandra back to the presence. “Goodness. You seem to recognize who I am — my station, at any rate, my name is Mother Julian — but I don’t know your name. Have we met?”

“No, no, Mother. I’m Sandra — Alexandra — Alexandra Tower. And this is Coralie.”

“Hmm,” Mother Julian murmured, and Sandra’s mouth opened, as it often did, to apologize for her name and mention that the nun whose turn it had been to name the newest baby left on the doorstep was rather fanciful.

An inquiry about “Alexandra,” however, was not forthcoming. “Tower,” Mother Julian murmured. “Would you be Master Tower’s wife, then? The prison’s new governor?”

“Yes, yes, ma’am.”

“Ah. Your husband has said so much about you,” she nodded.

Sandra gasped, unable to quite comprehend the relief that flooded through her at this, at any hint of familiarity. “You know my husband?”

“Aye. Father Hugh and I flipped for it, and I’ve had the prison ministries added to my docket,” Mother Julian chuckled. “I apologize for not having sought you out sooner, my dear. Your husband did ask me to speak with you, but generally, by the time I’m done with the prisoners, I need to get back here.” Probably observing Sandra’s crestfallen face, she added, “Oh, I am sorry, though. Was there something you really needed to talk about? Master Tower should have said so; I’d have made time for you when I was there, instead of making you come all the way here with a little one.”

“No, no! That is …” She bit her lip. “I didn’t ask Christopher to speak with you, or anything like that.”

Mother Julian said nothing; she only raised her eyebrows.

“I … I didn’t think he knew I was unhappy,” she whispered.

“Now, why would you think your husband wouldn’t know that? He seems very fond of you, and rather worried about you. He would notice if you were sad.”

Sandra gasped — no scolding, no demands as to why she was unhappy! She pinched the skin on the inside of her arm, to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. Mother Mary-Sue, back home, would have surely scolded her. She had no right to be unhappy when she was so blessed.

She swallowed. “I didn’t want him to know. I was trying to hide it.”

“Why is that?”

“I don’t want to seem ungrateful …”

Mother Julian only raised her eyebrows, inviting Sandra to continue.

“He — he didn’t have to marry me, you know,” she said. “When — when he first met me. When he began courting me. I was only an orphan girl hired out to him as a maid in the daytimes. If he’d wanted me, he could have had me, willing or unwilling, and nobody would have thought the worse of him for it.”

“Other than the Lord Wright,” Mother Julian remarked in a tone that, had she not been a nun, Sandra would have called sarcastic.

“Well, of course …” Sandra made the sign of the plumbbob over herself out of habit. “But — but socially, I mean. He didn’t have to do that. He was the Warden of Tower Prison! That’s — that’s practically nobility! Me, I’m a nobody.”

“I should hardly say that you are nobody — or even were nobody, before your marriage. You are a Sim, with thoughts and feelings and what is most important, an immortal soul. If he got to know you and wanted to marry you, what wrong is there in that? And why should you be unduly grateful? You’ve certainly done your duty by him,” she nodded to Coralie, “and from everything I’ve heard about you from him, you make him very happy.”

“I — I hope I do,” Sandra murmured, staring at Coralie’s head.

“And you clearly care enough about him not to want to trouble him overmuch with your burdens.”

“Oh, I don’t, Mother Julian! I truly don’t! He has enough to worry about. And it’s not as if this is his — his fault.”

“Fault?”

Sandra winced. “It isn’t.”

“Yet, by your tone, you seem to put some blame on him all the same.”

“I don’t mean to! I truly don’t!”

“Hush, hush, child,” Mother Julian patted her shoulder, “it’s all right. We must give ourselves leave to feel what we feel. Trust me, the more we admit to ourselves the thoughts we feel are unworthy, or ungrateful, or wrong, the more we bring them into the light of day, the easier it will be for us to conquer them and move on.”

Sandra had never thought of it that way before. She took a deep breath. “Well … perhaps.”

“So what is it that is making you unhappy?”

Sandra bent her head. “Did — did Christopher tell you why we had to leave Glasonland?”

“I didn’t ask. Our conversation did not tend along those lines.”

“Oh.” Sandra swallowed. “Has he — has he told you who he is?”

Mother Julian’s face was a bit blank. “I’m afraid I don’t follow?”

Sandra flushed. “You — you won’t tell anyone?”

“Certainly not.”

“Chris … Christopher is King Vortigern’s son. One — one of many,” Sandra flushed.

“Ah,” Mother Julian replied, then, “Oh! Oh, dear. I’ve heard rumors …”

“He was so afraid, after what happened to Brother James of the Order of St. Robert — and this after the mission Sir Dustin of Pleasant led to help free Simspain … they said that Sir Dustin was one of King Vortigern’s by-blows, you know, and …”

“And?” Mother Julian prodded.

“They all died,” Coralie murmured. “At least, all the officers and men of rank. Earl Constantine of Caernavon led a rescue mission, and he was able to save some of the common troops, but the noblemen were all dead. And now some people are saying that it was a setup — that Sir Dustin was meant to die — and Chris, he wasn’t sure, but he said he wasn’t taking any chances. Especially not with Coralie …” Sandra rubbed her baby’s shoulder, doing her best to soothe away the fear that had leapt into her throat when Chris told of her this, and then his eyes had gone to Coralie’s crib …

“And so you came here.”

Sandra nodded.

“And you’re not happy?”

Sandra flushed and looked away. “I know why we had to …”

“But that does not mean you are happy about the necessity.”

“No, ma’am.”

“I see,” Mother Julian murmured. “How long have you been here?”

“Almost a month.”

“A month! Well, that’s hardly enough of a trial period for Albion, don’t you think?” Mother Julian asked. She pursed her lips together. “Mistress Tower … have you met any other young women near your age and station?”

Sandra shook her head. “I’ve been so busy since coming here …”

“I understand. Well, on Sunday, when you come to services — will you be coming to the cathedral for services?”

“I … Chris and I usually go to the prison chapel, but perhaps I can ask him to take me to the cathedral.”

“Ask him, then. And afterward, come find me. I can introduce you to some young women near your age. Mistress Danielle Wesleyan, for one. She was just married a few weeks ago, and is … well, she always likes newcomers.”

“Oh! Oh, that would be wonderful, Mother Julian!”

“Good. Does that make you feel any better?”

“Yes, it does. It would make feel so much less … homesick …”

Mother Julian’s eyebrow rose. “Is there something else?”

Sandra bit her lip. “Mother Julian … I was raised at an orphanage of St. Coral.”

“Ah!” Mother Julian murmured, casting a quick glance at Coralie.

“Yes, and — and, well, for all the girls who got married, the sisters used to — when we were expecting, they’d do a special blessing … and when I was expecting Coralie, it made me feel so special, and loved, and — safe.”

Mother Julian smiled and patted her hand. “Well, if you should find yourself expecting a baby –”

“Baby Pork Chop!” Coralie giggled.

Mother Julian glanced at Coralie, then at Sandra’s flush. “Ah. I take it you have a …” She glanced sidelong at Coralie. “Pork chop in the oven already?”

She was still blushing, but she managed to nod.

“Well then! I suppose there’s no time like the present for a blessing!” Mother Julian remarked. “If you wouldn’t mind …” She shooed Sandra out of the way so she could scoot along the bench. Sandra scrambled to her feet and rested Coralie on her hip.

“Oh, Mother, you don’t have to do this now! I just — I would come back when you have more time –”

“Nonsense, this is my calling. Why not do it now?” She beckoned Sandra forward. “You stand there, and I’ll do the prayer.”

Mother Julian knelt before the image of St. Robert crucified, and Sandra bowed her head. Coralie did too — she was only two years old, but she already had learned this much about her faith.

“Holy St. Robert, Blessed St. Brandi, and our own Good St. Coral,” Mother Julian began. “We humbly beseech you to look on this daughter of all of ours, Alexandra Tower, and the new life she has growing within her. We ask you to guide and help them both through the trials and travails of the next few months. And when this new life comes safe into the world, and its mother is strong and healthy again — and we pray that both will occur — we pray that you guide and strengthen both parents, the better to raise this child.” Mother Julian glanced up sidelong past her wimple. “We pray, too, that you give young Coralie the patience to be a good big sister, and the understanding, once her new little brother or sister is born, to not call the child ‘Pork Chop,’ unless it is so named by its parents.”

Sandra giggled, and Coralie called out, “Pork Chop!”

“Pork Chop,” Mother Julian agreed, “and amen.”

“Amen,” Sandra murmured belatedly, while Coralie echoed, “Amen!”

Mother Julian got slowly to her feet. “Oof,” she murmured. “One of these days, I need to remember to swipe the pillow off the prie-dieu before I do this.”

“Mother, are you –”

“I’m fine, I’m fine — just getting old, alas!” Mother Julian rubbed her back and managed a rueful smile. Then the smile dropped away, her face becoming solemn.

“In the name of our Lord Wright,” Mother Julian touched Sandra’s forehead, “all of his angels,” she touched Sandra’s right shoulder, “our holy St. Robert,” she touched Sandra’s chest, “and all the other saints,” Sandra’s right shoulders, “but always our Lord Wright,” her forehead again, the sign of the plumbbob, “we bless you, and pray for your happiness and health — both of your happiness and health.” Mother Julian made another sign of the plumbbob in the air over Sandra’s womb.

Mother Julian glanced at Coralie, smiled, and made another sign of the plumbbob. “All three of your happiness and health.”

“Thank you — thank you, Mother Julian.”

“No trouble at all, Mistress Tower. Now — do you feel any better?”

Sandra brought her daughter up for a hug, and smiled, a real smile. “Yes. Yes, Mother, I do.”

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15 thoughts on “Nostalgia for Innocence

  1. It’s so nice to see Mother Julian doing the good things and a little less of the shrewish stuff. I’m glad she’ll be doing what she can to help Sandra adjust.

    Coralie is very cute, with the whole baby pork chop thing.

    I’m glad that Mother Julian pointed out to Sandra that she’s a sim too with all the thoughts and feelings there in. I hate people who say you “shouldn’t” feel some way. I tend to retort back with “Yeah, maybe, but I do.”

    And I’m sure that Christopher is glad to be out of Glasonland if they really are exterminating bastards of Vortigern’s there. *shakes head* But I can see that Sandra’s a bit thrown by the upheaval. Well, hopefully they’ll be safe enough in Albion.

    • Well, that’s the kind of person Mother Julian is. She will help if she can — and fixing Dannie up with Sandra, as well as being a willing ear, is something she can do. Plus, I’m pretty sure she wishes more people came to her with problems like Sandra’s.

      Tee hee, the baby pork chop thing was shamelessly stolen from my cousin — that was her name for her little brother while in utero. (Though I think she only called him that once, as opposed to it being a running joke like with Coralie.)

      Somehow, I don’t see Mother Julian being the type to be all, “But you shouldn’t feel that way.” She’s not one for banging her head against a brick wall, and telling people not to feel the way they do is a great way to get a concussion, so to speak. Saying, “I’m sorry even if I understand why you feel that way. Now, is there anything we can do to make you feel better?”

      And yes, Christopher is thrilled to be away from people who may or may not want him dead. (Sir Dustin and Brother James could be coincidences, after all …) I think Sandra will be much happier once she’s had a chance to adjust. She was just starting to put down real roots, and they had to get torn up, poor thing.

  2. …does anyone else kind of hope they actually name the baby “Pork Chop”? 😆

    I hope Sandra and Dannie can be friends. Sounds like Sandra’s pretty lonely, and since most of Dannie’s friends are noblewomen, she probably doesn’t see much of them (unless maybe she’s the Heloise Whisperer? Although she’s at Camford anyway, so moot point there). And they’re both pregnant, and probably due within a few weeks of each other 🙂

    The more I see of Mother Julian, the more I like her. I hope she has a good long life ahead of her.

    • LOL! @ the baby name.

      Heloise Whisperer? I like it! Though, alas, I think Isabel was the Heloise whisperer. Heloise really liked her, even if she was too prickly to admit it most of the time. Dannie and Heloise … I think they’re too alike in some ways and not alike in other ways to really be able to get along.

      As for Mother Julian, she’ll definitely be around for the next few rounds! I have need of her. 😉 Beyond that … well, who knows?

  3. I hope the baby at least keeps Pork Chop as a nickname, probably something Coralie will call him or her, though she shouldn’t. *laugh* And why not? Older siblings should always have embarrassing nicknames for their younger sibs. I still fondly call my little brother “farty fish”. 🙂

    I, too, very much like seeing Mother Julian in a role that she seems much better suited for. She’s such a wonderful person that it was kind of hurting me several updates ago when she was manipulating things behind the scenes, though she obviously did so as gently as she possibly could. It just… felt wrong, you know? She’s the kind of woman who should be playing with babies and blessing their mothers, not tweaking the strings and jumping into politics, for all that she’s good at it.

    I’m also very glad that we finally got to meet Sandra and Coralie. 🙂 Christopher seems so incredibly devoted to them that I nearly bounced off the chair in excitement. *laugh* I will admit, though, that I had forgotten their names and had no idea who they were at the beginning of the chapter. I thought that maybe Sandra was a refugee from Glaslonland (hey, I was partially right!) who had been attacked or was seeking the refuge of the church for her children. I thought maybe she might be a new whore that Marigold sought out and Sandra was trying to protect her children by surrendering them before they were taken from her. I am slightly ashamed that I had these thoughts. 😦

    • Haha, I must admit that I had the same kind of thoughts 😉
      Alas, I think it’s a good chapter, it’s very sweet, and I think it’s okay for Sandra to be a little homesick – I would be too 🙂

      Pork Chop made me laugh, which was a little bad since I’m in school at the moment, but I couldn’t miss an update 😀 Fortunatly, my teacher wasn’t there.

      I like Mother Julian in this – I was never sure what to think about her, but she’s much like Margery in this 🙂

    • My brother, once upon a time, was Weasel Breath. *giggles* Though he got that nickname only once he deserved it, which is to say, after he was born and had been annoying me for a good few years.

      I think I agree with you, Naomi, on what Mother Julian should be doing with her time (playing politics vs. taking care of people, essentially). To her credit, I think she enjoys helping people like Sandra out a lot more than she enjoys playing chess, so to speak, against the likes of Brother Tuck. Then again … if she didn’t care so much for people like Sandra, she probably wouldn’t be going toe-to-toe with Brother Tuck.

      Don’t be ashamed! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting people to know who Sandra and Coralie were right away. I thought about dispelling that doubt in the first couple paragraphs of the post, but it felt more right to introduce Sandra and Coralie on their own terms, so to speak, and explain who they were in connection to everybody else later. If you’re curious, I put their stats (and Christopher’s) up on the “Merchants” page, though no picture yet. I need to be brave enough to enter the prison lot before I do that! 😆

      Camille, I agree that there’s no problem with Sandra being homesick. She did have to move rather strangely and suddenly, and it’s not like she’s living in a place with modern transportation and communication. There’s every chance that she may never see or even hear from people again who prior to this made up her whole life. So I imagine it’s going to be homesickness x 1000 for her, at least until she settles in.

      I have people slacking off to read my updates! *jumps for joy* Sweet! I have finally arrived! 😉

      I like how you think she’s like Margery in this! 😀 It’s great, because I mostly think of those two in terms of their differences. But you’re right how there’s a sort of … core of caring that goes with both of them. And it’s a good thing, too, that it’s there.

  4. Glad Sandra seems happier now :). I too had no idea who she was at the beginning, but I did manage to figure it out about a quarter of the way down. Hope she and Dani become good friends, as well – it does seems like Dannie would be a bit lonely otherwise. I mean she’s still going to be friends with Jess and Lynn, but they’re unlikely to be in the same circles and although Dannie isn’t exactly one to be put off by that, I don’t think she’s going to be marching up to the castle to speak to the new Crown Princess. And to some extent the same applies to Rob, although as a man he’s got more freedom from social constraints, hasn’t he?

    Emma x

    • I don’t know if even Dannie has the gumption to just drop in on the Crown Princess. However, I think and hope that visits will nonetheless be frequent, even if Lynn (and to a lesser extent Jessie) has to issue an invitation first. Plus, I have some plans for Dannie that will involve a fair amount of communication with the noblewomen. 🙂

      The same does to an extent apply to Rob, although he’s lucky, so to speak, in that Tommy is his friend and he’s not one to get too hung up on social distinctions. If he needs/feels like he ought to be talking to Rob, he’d have no problem with dropping by for a chat, or inviting Rob up to the castle or to a pub for drinks or something. (We saw that at Tommy & Will’s joint bachelor party.) I could easily see him becoming a frequent enough guest that Dannie might, at times, be sorely tempted to chase him out with a broomstick. “Go home and bother your own wife!”

      And of course, as a man Rob is just plain more mobile. He’s expected and encouraged to leave the house whenever he feels like it, as opposed to being expected and encouraged to stay home and mind the home front. Plus, he’ll never worry about pregnancy slowing him down and restricting his travel.

      Well … not unless the faeries knock him up, too.* 😉

      *This does not connote plans to actually have Rob knocked up by the faeries anytime soon. I’m just leaving the possibility open.

  5. Have you changed defaults? The eyes look different… which I might not have noticed if I hadn’t noticed how drop-dead gorgeous Sandra is. Coralie’s gonna grow up and break hearts just by smiling.

    It’s good to see that Mother Julian is as good at this as she is at arranging lives and playing the political game. They’re all pretty necessary skills for what she does.

    • Lol! I was wondering how long it would be before someone noticed or at least commented on it. (I knew she was doing it, cause I was the one who created the eye set she’s using and sent it to her when she was looking for a new one. Also it was the eyes I was using on a sim I sculpted for her game that gave her the idea of changing over. Plus she had some questions about what exactly some of the colors were when changing over.)

      So, yeah, she did, although she didn’t just change her defaults, she actually went in and changed the eye colors on everybody playable and the change happened between the pictures for Dannie and Rob’s wedding reception and the post with Billy and his nephews.

      I just have to laugh, though, it’s one of the things I noticed on like the first or second picture she sent to me, and if anyone else noticed they didn’t comment on it until you just now. 😉

      • Shoot, I wouldn’t have noticed it until one of the nobles or something turned up, myself, if it weren’t for those two shots of Coralie’s big blue eyes picked up by her Flash Powder hair. I went back and skimmed the last couple chapters, and while there are a few shots where I should’ve noticed (one closeup of Marigold, one of Mark, a couple profile pics of the boys), in my defense the eyes either don’t stand out or are kind of hidden (lots of squinty anger and long shots for body language and little boys with their hair in their faces). … Although from a distance or while half-hidden, you shouldn’t really be noticing the color of people’s eyes, so that’s probably a good thing, right?

        I like the new ones! They do seem richer than the old ones.

    • The new ones are much more made of WIN than the old ones, and for that I have to thank Andavri! 😀 Even if she can’t very much thank my picture-taking skills, since it took this long for people to start to notice them. 😆

      Slowly, I’m going to get all the nonplayables switched over, too. (Slowly, slowly.) Then I can remove the old eyes and just have this set, which, since it’s over 100 different shades, should logically be all I ever need. (Not including the fae eyes, of course, which are luckily kept someplace entirely different and thus are unlikely to be accidentally deleted.) I can promise, though, that townies who are or are about to become playable will get re-eyed at the earliest opportunity. Matteo got re-eyed before his one-off appearance, for crying out loud!

      Yeah, I agree that taking care of people is a great skill for Mother Julian to have. 🙂 There is or ought to be a reason why she’s “Mother” Julian, after all!

      Thanks, everybody! 😀

      • Hey, in my defense, when I made your old eye set, it was between Uni and Nightlife, I believe and then just a continuation of a set I had made when TS2 first came out. People hadn’t experimented so much with realistic whites and shading so I couldn’t draw from that. Plus I have like 6-7 more years of photoshop experience.

  6. I hope Sandra will be able to make friends soon. I know how bad homesickness can be (still get homesick after 4.5 years of living here). But the blessing was nice and surely helped to ease her mind. And Coralie is such a beautiful little girl. I bet she’ll be gorgeous when she grows up. 🙂

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