II.IV.I Matters of the Heart


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Although love had grown in the arranged marriage between Edmund I and Eleanor I now things were different. After the discovery of Edie, the bastard child of Edmund I and that peasant sim, Mary le Peasant, Eleanor I had felt a breach growing between her and her husband. She tried to keep it to herself, pretending that everything was perfectly fine. She could play the part of a happy wife and a great queen while friends and family looked, but inside she was suffering. The betrayal, the pain and humiliation his actions had brought to her, made it impossible for her to forgive him. During their time at Champs Les Sims she could forget shortly about their problems, but back at Castle Keep she felt the coldness grow in her heart.


Eleanor I was a party animal and quite a popular sim, she threw huge parties at the Royal Castle, inviting the great celebrities of Castle Keep. All was to keep her mind occupied and stop her from thinking about how much she had grown despise her husband. Her friends made her feel alive and young. With Edie away at Smuggsworth Prep School, the incident was almost forgotten, and nobody dared to even insinuate anything about the affair. Edmund I also enjoyed the parties, being a party animal himself, but little by little he came to understand that things were not quite right between him and his wife. Maybe, they would never be right again.


When she was alone, the Queen Eleanor I played music by herself, it was some sort of consolation. During her life she had perfected the skill and her melancholic tunes filled the Royal Castle with feelings. She never played something cheerful when she was on her own. And although she never spoke of her broken heart it was not hard for those who heard her play, how she truly felt about her life.


Catherine was now engaged to Badrick d’Angerville, and although she was not fond of the idea of marrying at all, she wasn’t a sentimental or romantic sim. She always took the logical view on things and found solutions to every problem. Although the two had met very briefly on their engagement celebrations, they were not allowed to meet, specially not unchaperoned, before the wedding day. However, Catherine arranged for them to secretly meet at the library and discuss their future. Badrick was quite impressed by this bold move by his wife to be and decided to hear her out.


Catherine and Badrick talked mainly about their interests and what kind of future they saw together. For Catherine it was quite important to set some ground rules that would allow her some independence. She had been gifted an estate in Champs Les Sims by her father after their travels there, once they were married the estate would legally become Badricks, but he was to give it as a wedding gift to her. She had already drafted the documents and made him sign it right there and then. He was not to utilize it without an invitation from her. It was to be her sanctuary.

“And if I refuse to sign it?” he asked her holding the pen and with a gentle smile on his lips.

“If you refuse, I will do everything in my power to plague your heart out.”

He signed it.

II.III.IX Two Paths


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At the Fisher household, the youngest son, little Nigel, had turned into a teenager. He gained the schmoozer trait, not the most impressive trait on any sim, but supposedly it could come in handy in life. The family celebrated, as they always did, since they cared very deeply about each other and showing affection whenever there was a possibility. It was a simple celebration, of course, but when everybody pitched in, fantastic things could be accomplished. Faye, who was a natural cook, prepared a delicious cake. William, with his great musical skills, entertained the whole family.


William loved his children very much, and he was the first to praise the two boys he and Anne had raised. Still, he could not but worry about the future of the family. Anne was still young and active, but he was himself an old sim, and one of the boys would have to take over the household, care for the animals and their elderly parents. The problem was that while Nigel had the better traits, he was the least keen on taking over. If Nigel was picked, would he resent his parents for not allowing him to join the Aspen Wood Monastery and pursuit a quiet life of intellect? What about Byram, would he take over, could he really commit to the task, and more importantly, would he settle down and tie the knot? Nothing was settled yet.


With her two brothers grown up and her parents being preoccupied with the question about the next heir to the household, Faye was left to herself. Her parents did not talk much about their concerns, but she could hear them muttering about. It seemed that for now, they had forgotten about their ambition of sending her as a cook to the Royal Castle. She continued perfecting her cooking skill and climbing the ladder of the culinary career with ease. As a humble sim from a peasant home, she was very happy and thankful for it.


Then it was time for Byram to grow up into a young adult, the loving upbringing his parents had given him was not enough to compensate for the rough life of a peasant, he gained the coward trait. Most unsuitable for any sim, specially for a peasant that had to take on the hardships of a peasant life. Things looked grim for the Fisher family. Anne and William did not say it to their children, but at night, when they went to bed they agreed that they would persuade Nigel to take over the household. What was to happen to Byram, was a whole other question.


It was the right decision, William tried to convince himself. Byram had become a good for nothing sim, if he took over the Fisher household, he would most certainly bring even more hardship to the household. It was the right decision. William focused on his fishing, he had still hopes of fullfilling his life-time wish of a perfect aquarium. He felt much more at ease about the future if he kept himself busy, or at least, he didn’t think about his problems that much then.

II.III.VIII The Peasant Way


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The work had to go on, winter had come to an end and spring meant there was a lot to do at the le Peasants. The animals had to be taken care of and the vegetable garden too. The good thing about being a big family was that there were many hands to help and the le Peasants were a hard-working family who weren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty.


Mary didn’t mind the early mornings the peasant life meant, actually she rather enjoyed being the first one up and having some time to herself with the animals. A good, hard and honest day’s work let her sleep well at night. She liked taking care of the animals and tending to the vegetable garden. She still had hopes to achieve her life time wish of growing the perfect garden. Actually she was well on her way to doing so.


The two youngest le Peasants, Sedgewick and Loreena, had turned out to be quite hard-working teenagers that helped out a lot at home. Sedgewick, who was to take over the farm, loved the outdoors and ran the family stall at the farmers market. Sure, he was a bit absent minded, but as a good sim he had his heart in the right place. Loreena had taken a part-time job at the Ubiquitous Unity Day Spa, a place where the ladies and gentlemen of Castle Keep would come to recuperate from different ailments. Her neat and loner trait made her very suitable as a servant to one of the great houses of Castle Keep. The question was wheather her insane trait would be a hindrance, and then there was that scandal with her sister Edie. If there was on thing that the royal and noble families in town didn’t like, it was scandals.


Desirae, with her disparate array of traits, was a story of her own. Her family didn’t expect much of her. She had gotten it into her head to befriend and adopt a unicorn, an animal so mysterious that nobody had seen it in Castle Keep or in any of the neighboring kingdoms. Nobody believed the animal existed and dismissed Desirae as insane, even though she didn’t have such a trait. Her parents didn’t have the heart to tell her it was all a fairy tale, at least she now had a goal in life and since it meant taking care of the family horse, Pino, at least it was good for something.


While there was no hope for Desirae to get a good position as a servant, Mary was sure that Loreena could have such a chance. While the noble and merchant mothers of Castle Keep concerned themselves in getting their daughters married off well, for a peasant mother it meant securing her daughter’s future with a good job. One chilly afternoon Mary took Loreena to se the mistress of the White Castle, Lady Arabella d’Angerville. She presented the neat and hard-working teenager to the lady in the hopes that she would suit the d’Angerville household. Lady d’Angerville was a quite powerful sim in Castle Keep, something that made Mary a bit intimidated, but it seemed that the lady wasn’t displeased.

“She doesn’t seem entirely hopeless, but she needs to learn a bit more cooking,” was Lady d’Angerville’s judgement. Mary nodded.

“Come and see me again when she has improved her skills and we might arrange for a try out.”

II.III.VII A Love Marriage


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Mr. Potter had also been one of the guests at the Dark Castle when Lord Vaughan married Miss Thea de Servant. Lord Vaughan himself had come to see Mr. Potter and issue the invitation. Something that had left Mr. Potter with a great feeling of honour and respect for the Lord. At the wedding party, he had suddenly found himself alone with Lady Velma, love and happiness was in the air, and they had embraced.

“Lady Velma…” he had tried to protest, but she put his finger over his lips to quiet him and kissed him again.

Suddenly they heard steps on the landing and their arms unlocked. Lord Heathcliff appeared by the entrance.

“Brother!” Lady Velma exclaimed and approached him. “I was just telling Mr. Potter about your business.”


Back in the daily life Tilton Potter was going mad, he could certainly not deny to himself how ardently he admired and loved Lady Velma, but what could be done? Could he dare to ask her for her hand in marriage? Would she accept him? What did he mean to her? Was he just a flirt while she waited for a great lord to marry her? Or could she really share the same feelings for him, as he felt for her?

He submerged himself in work and the study of logic, but he could not get rid of all his thoughts. How was it that she, the daughter of the dark lord of Castle Keep, and he, a simple, disowned son of a merchant family, had found themselves in each others arms? Had embraced each other? Had kissed? Was it Lady Velma herself that had taken the initiative? No, how could a lady compromise herself, her virtue, in such a way.


Although Mr. Potter was a hard-working and friendly sim, he had no fortune, no position in society. He was most certainly an outcast, a black sheep in his family. However, Mr. Potter was also a brave sim and one day, he realized that there was only one thing that he could do. And that was, to follow his dreams and hopes.

In the following weeks, he had to make some really hard decisions. He sold his old friend Victoria and other posessions he had, to raise money for his future wedding. It broke his heart to part with his beloved horse, but it was something that needed to be done.

He visited the Aspen Woods Monastery and the head monk Peter, to find strength and guidance. When he felt strong and ready, he invited Lady Velma over to his house once again.


When Lady Velma arrived at 222 Black Sands Beach, Mr. Potter did not waste any time. He reasoned that he should just straight out ask her to marry him, there was no point in beating around the bush. If she would not marry him, it was better to know as soon as possible. He got down on one knee.

“Lady Velma, I’m not a man of great fortune,” he said. “I’m not a man of position in society. I have very little of material matter to offer you. What I can offer, is eternal love and devotion for you. Lady Velma, will you take my hand in marriage?”

He blurted it all out and she stood there astonished for a short moment. Then she said:

“Mr. Potter, I’ve always wanted to marry for love. And I’m most certain that this is love. So yes, I will take your hand.”


While Tilton had saved a lot of money to throw a great wedding party, Velma persuaded him to save the money and use it to make improvements to their house. Instead they had a simple wedding ceremony at the Castle Keep Cathedral, attended only by their closest friends and relatives.

And that is how Lady Velma of the Dark Castle of Castle Keep, became Mrs. Potter, a merchant wife, and very proud of it.

II.III.VI Prosperous Future


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The day had finally arrived when all the Wall children were reunited at the Wall family home. Randall had graduated from LeFromage Art School, and his twin sister, Ermengard, had graduated from the school of Peace and Love. On the day of their arrival the family threw a big party to celebrate. It was a typical Wall family celebration, with lots of music and singing and dancing.


It was a true joy for Elmer Wall to see his children thrive in life, they had truly been blessed by The Watcher. However, since the return of his eldest daughter, Bega, Elmer had sensed that something was amiss. She seemed happy enough, but at times she behaved quite secretive and mysteriously. One cold winter evening, when they were sitting in the sitting room, he approached her in the hopes that she would take him into confidence.

“I want you to know, that whatever it is that is troubling you,” he told her. “You can tell me and I will do my best to understand you and listen to you, and hopefully be able to help you.”

But it was in vain, she assured him that there was nothing wrong and that she was as happy as ever.


Randall was the heir to the Wall household, and his life looked quite prosperous. He was a handsome sim, with good traits, a fine horseman and a good enough fortune. He was artistic, dramatic, athletic and charismatic, traits that suited perfectly for following in his mother’s steps in the entertainment business. All these things made him a very eligible bachelor and soon enough the rumor in town was that he was a favourite amongst the ladies.


For Ermengard the future did not look bad either, she had been fortunate enough to gain an education, which wasn’t commong for merchant daughters, especially not second daughters. In her absence, her mother had worked out a suitable engagement for her, to the heir of the Potter family, Rudd Potter. Lecie Wall had first intended the marriage to be between Bega and Rudd, but she was not interested and insisted that she would not marry him. Mrs. Potter had arranged for Ermengard to come over for tea, so that the two young sims would meet before the engagement was settled. The meeting was a success since they both shared a keen interest in the visual arts, and everybody at the Potter household were charmed by Ermengard.


Lecie felt quite at easy with how things were turning out for her children. To think that she herself came from a very simple home, how far they had come, and how great the future looked.

II.III.V A Family of Artists


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Since the arrival of the oldest son and heir, Rudd, the Potter household had become a true artist’s guild. Rudd and Winifred would spend hours in the family atelier perfecting their skills and creating masterpieces that the family would sell, quite successfully as of late.


Rudd had joined the architectural designer career, but he soon realized that he needed to mprove his skills for his customers to be awed. He was very critical of his own work, and although his first customers said they were satisfied, Rudd needed more to feel content, he needed them to love his work and truly admire it. The feeling of being praised by others for his work, was something that filled him with happiness, but it was a feeling that rubbed off quickly and he was soon looking for the approval of others once again.


Osmond could see himself in young Rudd, even though he himself had chosen a very different line of creative work as a writer and journalist, he was also always in the constant chase for others approval. He knew it was a bitter-sweet quality, on one hand, it pushed him to excell at whatever he took on, but on the other hand, he was never happy or content with his work.


Being a grumpy sim didn’t make it easy for Winifred to socialize and get along with other sims of Castle Keep. She had always been on her own, and went seldom to parties or other invitations she got. When she did attend she seldom had anything nice to say to anybody. Soon enough the invitations ceased coming and although she hadn’t enjoyed them, it made her even grumpier. However, as of late, she realized she had to make an effort to be able to marry off her children well, so she put on the brightest smile and worked very hard to befriend the ladies of Castle Keep. It seemed she had struck a friendship with Mrs. Wall, and to her own surprise, she was enjoying herself.


Winifred was feeling quite accomplished as of late, since she had maxed out her sculpting skill and was well on her way to becoming a renaissance sim.

II.III.IV Family Life


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It was a frosty winter’s night when Lord Vaughan finally married his beloved Thea. For too long had he been lonely and without love and companionship since his late wife Lady Godiva Vaughan was taken from him. It was a day full of joy and happiness. For Thea, who had come from such simple beginnings it was a dream come true, she was now finally officially a part of the family. Her brothers had opposed the wedding and did not attend, since they found it improper for a servant to marry the family she worked for.


It was a public wedding, as was accustomed by noble families, and although everybody knew that the new Lady Vaughan had been a simple servant, everybody pretended that she was one of them. The royal family attended, even Lady d’Angerville, who had been so cold towards Thea and never invited her over for tea, had showed up and was all love and joy. Lord Harald was sure she was up to something, since he found no other reason why she should accept the invitation.


It was during his father’s wedding, that Heathcliff decided which of the d’Angerville daughters he was to marry. He knew lady d’Angerville was anxious to marry her oldest daughter, Cedrica, but during the wedding, the youngest one, Katelyn, had approached him and she had charmed him with her delicate and appealing manners. It was obvious to Heathcliff that she was a most accomplished young lady and there was something about her that really caught his eye.


There was little change in the life of the Vaughans after the wedding of Thea and Lord Harald. They had always been a devoted family that enjoyed spending time together, the marriage was a matter of formality towards the rest of Castle Keep and towards The Watcher. For them there was no question of being a family and of Thea being a part of it.


Lord Harald had taken Prairie to be bred and finally she gave birth to a cute little foal named Domino. She was an agile and quiet foal that was sure to grow up into a good mare.

II.III.III Rise Into Power


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Not much could take place in the Kingdom of Castle Keep without Lady d’Angerville having a finger in it. She was, not only very ambitious, but her wide social network and persuasive nature gave her knowledge of almost everything that was happening in town. She had long worked trying to influence the Royal Family in the means of getting access to most delicate information, and thus power. All her previous attempts had been fruitless, but stubbornness and patience were her friends. Finally she had come across a most delicate piece of information that was of much use. It was the news of the illegitimate child of the King Father and the peasant sim Mrs. le Peasant. The Royal Family had managed to keep it all very secret thus far, but this was exactly the type of information that would get Lady d’Angerville influence over the Queen Mother.

She set her plan in motion by inviting the Queen Mother for a tea-party, but really, she wanted to talk business. She offered the Queen Mother to not divulge the most incriminating secret on the condition that her own daughter, Cedrica d’Angerville, was to marry King Edmund II. Eleanor I refused and cursed Lady d’Angerville for her blackmailing and most evil ways, but she realized there wasn’t much she could do, she was in Lady d’Angerville’s power. After long talks, the two ladies fnally reached an understanding.


Lady d’Angervlle had not been able to marry off her oldest daughter to the King of Castle Keep, but the Queen Mother had had to pay a high price for this. In exchange, Princess Catherine was to marry Badrick d’Angerville, the new heir to the d’Angerville dynasty. The two young sims were officially engaged and the wedding plans started to take form. This was just the first piece of the puzzle for Lady d’Angerville.


The twins, Jamie and Katelyn returned from boarding school as most accomplished young sims. Jamie with his intelligence and good looks was a very desirable young bachelor and Katelyn had grown into a beautiful and most accomplished lady that both wrote and painted beautifully. Lord and Lady d’Angerville were very proud of their children. Jamie was to move into his own castle and create a new line of d’Angervilles, Lord Francis and Lady Arabella were sure he would be most successful.


Lady Arabella wasted no time in ensuring that all the pieces of her master plan were set in motion. Was she not to have control of the Royal Castle through marriage, then she would ensure her power over the nobility would be total, she would not rest until there was one d’Angerville in each noble house. Now that Princess Catherine was engaged to Badrick, there was no suitable partner for Heathcliff Vaughan except for one of the d’Angerville daughters. Lady d’Angerville intended to marry Cedrica to the heir of the Vaughan dynasty, but Lord Heathcliff himself had his doubts, before he could set his mind, he wanted to meet the two young ladies.


Badrick was happy to be engaged to the most desirable lady of the Kingdom of Castle Keep, he was not sure how his mother had pulled it off, but now he was the talk of town. She was a rather good looking princess, for sure, and that her intelligence was notable had been known since her childhood. After the engagement he set off to Al Simhara to continue his excavations and get some distance from the whole thing. He was smart enough to realize that his mother had done something very cunning to get his engagement set, what consequences it might have for the future of the d’Angerville house, was too early to say. But he wanted to get away before he himself was dragged into the intrigues.

II.III.II The Life of a Monk


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Winter was well on it’s way and the harsh climate meant tragedy and disaster for the sims of Castle Keep that already had it worst. The poor, who didn’t have enough food, who didn’t have proper roof and fireplaces in their homes, were in dire need of help. As their spiritual leader, it was Peter’s task to both try and help them with practical things, but also to try and explain to them why The Watcher took their children’s lives and made them suffer so. It was a hard task, and the old monk could feel that sometimes it was much too hard. He knew he was in his last simdays of his life, but he couldn’t help his feeling that his faith in The Watcher wavered.


Life at the monastery was a life of knowledge and reflection, for simple peasant sims, as Burleigh, it meant learning how to read and write. The privilege of knowledge opened a whole new world for the youngest monk. He would submerge himself in studies and read as much as possible. With all the knowledge he had suddenly gained, he realized that he was creating new thoughts and ideas himself, the world of Castle Keep looked much different for him now.


Knowing that his simdays were counted, Peter worked hard in achieving his life time wish of becoming a renaissance sim, however, he was far from reaching it. He realized that he had spent his days preoccupied by other things, thank to his beloved garden he had maxed out his gardening skill, but apart from that he knew a little of this and a little of that. Still, he did not regret that he had prioritized other things in life.


Being a dog-lover, Helena had suffered the lost of Sadie very much. Everybody at the monastery could tell she felt lonely without her companion, so after discussing it with Burleigh, Peter suggested to Helena that she should adopt a new dog. It was sure that nobody could replace Sadie, but a new dog would bring joy and happiness to her either way. And so it was that Helena adopted a new dog from the shelter, this time a larger dog, called Lulu.


Although Burleigh did not have a life time wish that entailed using his savvy sculptor trait, he did enjoy sculpting during his pass time. The combination of studying for long hours and then getting his hands dirty in sculpting and creating something beautiful gave him a sense of fulfillment that he had never felt before in his life. It seemed that the young monk had joined the Aspen Woods Monastery for all the wrong reasons but to his big surprise living as a monk gave him all that he had ever wished for.

II.III.I The Business of Marriage


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Since King Edmund II was an ambitious sim, he spent most of his awake time focused on his work and did not put much thought towards his forthcoming marriage. For he knew that he soon would have to marry, but he trusted that the Queen Mother would arrange it in the best possible way. He was not a superficial sim, and although not family-oriented either, the most important qualities he saw in a future wife and queen were those that he thought suited for a caring mother. He intended to have many children, and since he would be very busy with his work, a caring mother was important. Marriage had nothing to do with love, he was sure.


King Edmund II’s best friend, Lord Heathcliff, was often at the Royal Castle visiting. The King Father and Queen Mother were very fond of the young sim, and both hoped that the two families would become linked through marriage. The King Father, who enjoyed a good game of chess, was sure this intelligent sim would do as a great husband for his oldest daughter, princess Catherine. She was herself a very intelligent sim, and Edmund I was sure she needed someone equally intelligent as her husband. The families spoke as if the match was already made, it was only a matter of formality before the wedding was to take place.


Princess Catherine herself was not very interested in marrying at all, but she was well aware that it was her lot, and as the only princess, she was but a piece in the game that her family and all the families of the nobility were involved in. A game about power, money and connections. Whomever she married, she was determined that she would not let her husband decide over her, after all, she was a princess, and if she married someone of the nobility of Castle Keep, it meant she would be higher in rank.


One day, however, came a letter to the Royal Castle, that started a small commotion. It was an invitation from the Royal Castle of Champs Les Sims that invited the Royal Family of Castle Keep to come and spend the summer as guests in Champs Les Sims. It was an unusual invitation but the Royal Castle of Castle Keep could not but accept. It was a great adventure and the preparations for the vacation started hurriedly. Soon the family departed and was received with the greatest of luxury in Champs Les Sims. As the Queen Mother had predicted it, it was an invitation that the Royal Family of Champs Les Sims hoped would lead to a marriage between the two houses. King Edmund II and princess Catherine were introduced to the princes and princess of Champs Les Sims. Parties were held, games were played and with time the families did grow close to each other.


Edmund I and Eleanor I had not married for love, as it often was between princes and princesses, but the match had been a good one. Despite the ups and downs that the two sims had faced together, they had developed a devoted love, something that was actually of great relief for them. Although love was not the key ingredient for a successful marriage, they were sure it was important, and while they hoped that their children married well, they also hoped they would find happiness and love.