Author Topic: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale  (Read 24238 times)

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E18: The Cabin in the Woods
« Reply #285 on: September 05, 2018, 02:47:46 PM »
Divine Deception
"The Cabin in the Woods"


To be the best destroyer, one must know their own strengths and weaknesses. Control has always been my hardest factor to overcome, and control is one of the toughest things for anybody to keep intact. It builds like the pressure of performance, the anxiety to be perfect and then it blows. But for others, the only way to regain control is to relinquish it. We believe we can save the ones we love by doing such a thing. But in reality, control is as simple as "1, 2, 3." Let it go and go with the flow. Unfortunately, sometimes when we believe we have the control of the world, life reminds us that we are but a pawn in a powerful game of chess.

It's been a day since our wedding and we've been driving for hours. Miles are behind us, towns we've driven through. We even had the opportunity to grab breakfast in one of the busiest venues in Roaring Heights without a reservation. But still, Matt refuses to tell me where we are going. "You're going to love it," he says, and "You mentioned it when we first met. Just wait, you'll see!"

Well, I've waited and I am beginning to get impatient. I can't say we haven't seen some magnificent things. From the stunning waterfalls in Aurora Skies and the mountains in Lucky Palms, everything's been beyond breathtaking. But nothing can overcome my butt as it falls asleep.

What I am happy with is that we both agreed to turn off our phones during our time away. While this doesn't include my burner phone I still use to call home to Whitman and Jackie—and Nathan if he ever wants to talk to me again—it does include everything else. Meaning Samantha Hamming's phone is off and so is Matt's. Probably for the best anyway. Both of our phones had been going off like mad since we left yesterday, messages and voicemails congratulating us on our special day. I can only imagine how many have stacked up from Eadie.

I am about to bring it up when the car stops off the beaten path.

***

"Okay, close your eyes," Matt tells me eight hours later. "We're getting close."

I do as I am told and I feel as the car begins to slow down. The smell of salt water hits me and I know we are so close to the lake that I can almost taste it. That and I can hear the waves crashing into what I can only assume is a bed of rocks. Seagulls chatter above.

Matt brings the car to a complete stop. "Open your eyes."

I'd be lying if I didn't expect to see water, though, for some reason, I thought it would be a beach. Crusty old vacationers piling on the limited space on the sand while children screamed and caused scenes. I am thrilled I am wrong there. We are secluded from civilization, or at least it seems so. Thick trees surround the property, hiding it from street view and I feel as if I have stepped into solitude.

"A cabin in the woods," Matt says as if reciting it. "Isn't that what you said?"

I smirk. Actually, it is. During one of our first dates, I mentioned how I never liked all the big and powerful that the everyman desired. And being around Matt all day every day, the man who enforces attention whether it is from his overpowering family or the paparazzi every day he steps out of the house, Matt's line of work hardly lets him off the hook. Going to some big fancy resort just seemed too much for a honeymoon. I always wanted something small and quaint. I glance around the lot again, my gaze slowly studying the house. This is exactly what I wanted.

The day goes by pretty slow and not in a bad way. The morning is spent doing what newlyweds do, but by the time lunch rolls around, we head out to the town to admire its simple life. I'll hand it to Matt, he's really outdone himself. It's one thing to experience a little home I can imagine Snow White and her seven dwarfs living in, but a whole town? And every piece of land feels as if there is a fairy tale hidden inside of it. Like the bakeries with apple pies cooling in the windows or the wishing wells that play music when the water ripples. The roads that are made up of bricks and stone. I haven't seen one that's pavement.

By the time we return home, we're exhausted. We change into our swimsuits and take two mattresses out to the water. Matt has the idea to bring a piece of rope with us and we tie our floaties together so that we are always at an arm's length away. We sit and look up at the sky and drift side to side softly in the water's smooth current. Watching the clouds, we spot the different shapes we think we see. One looks like a camel with four humps, two look like dogs and I swear the third one looks like Matt's mother. He doesn't agree. He says clouds can't look angry all the time.

We do this for a few hours. Well, that and snooze here and there. I haven't taken much time to think about it, but I'm actually quite tired.

I stay on my mattress while Matt grabs a fishing rod and attempts doing that. He's not very good (Sorry Matt) though I can't blame him. He's never done it before and still he is much more patient that I think I could ever be. I find fishing is like Volvos. You either love it or hate it.

"It's because of you," he says, chuckling. "You gotta keep your floaty more still. You're scaring all the fish away."

"I'm sure that's exactly it, hun."

As we laugh, my phone rumbles in the cup holder of my mattress. I peek over my shoulder at Matt just to make sure he's not looking. He's not. I check the name of the caller. Jackie Collins. I bring the mattress back to land.

"What are you doing?" Matt asks me as I am throwing on my overdress. As I make eye contact with him, I can see the devilish grin on his lips. He sees the phone in my hand.

"I have to take it."

"But we agreed to turn off both our phones for this trip."

"I know—"

"Do you know how many times my mother's called? Neither do I because I haven't checked and here we are."

"You have checked, you liar," I joke with him and from the way he looks away it's as if he knows that I'm right. Lucky guesses. "Anyway, it's one of my charities that I've been waiting forever from."

Matt shakes his head. "Fine, go."

I am just about to go into the house when I realize what a bad idea it is. If Matt ends up coming in... So I head for the back of the cabin with the thickest of trees. From where I stand, I can still see Matt, but I doubt very much that he can hear me. I look down at the phone again at Jackie's name, my thumb hovering over the accept button. I know what this phone call is about. Still, I am hesitant. Finally, after hearing it buzz for another five seconds, I answer it.

"Hello?" I say as if I don't know who it is on the other end. I don't know why I do it. There is just a hope in me that it's not the person I know it is.

"Delilah, it's Jackie Collins."

Of course it is, I think, taking a deep breath as my insides burn. "Yes, how are you?"

"I'm quite well, thank you, but I am more interested in you. How are you?"

"I've been better." The tone in my voice isn't uplifting, I know. There's a part of me that wants Jackie to know that I am having second thoughts, that being away from everything and just relaxing has given me time to think. But I know how much is riding on this, how much I have sacrificed to get here.

"I can only imagine."

My lips form a straight line. I wonder if she knows about what's all gone on. I haven't told her, or anybody for that matter about how Nathan left or where he's gone. I expect they all know, but I can't be exactly sure. Everytime anybody speaks, it's all business these days. But they have to notice that Nathan's not around. They're in his house. Sure, they might believe he's at the flat... I take a deep breath on the inside. At least Jackie agreed to take care of everything on that end. She told me before I left that during this stressful time, being so close to the end result, that I shouldn't worry about anything. At least I can rely on that, because if I couldn't, I don't know what I would do. There is so much on my plate lately that stuff is falling off.

"I know how difficult this must be for you, but you need to know how great you are doing," Jackie says. "Your mother would be so proud."

I roll my eyes. The "Sadie would be so proud speech."

"She wouldn't," I say with a shake of my head. "This is the furthest thing she would be proud of."

"I don't believe that. Sadie would be one of the few people to understand why you're doing what you're doing. From avenging her death to slipping that wedding band on your finger. She'd understand it all."

Glancing down at my wedding ring, I spin it around using my thumb. The motion is comparable to the knot that continues to tighten in my gut.

"I know what happened between you and Nathan, dear, and I know how hard this is to take those final steps. But just think of it this way: if you don't, Nathan will always be gone. He'll never come back and you won't be able to move on from this. End it so that you can be with your family again."

The phone goes dead and I look back at the cabin where Matt's just gone inside. I know what she means by "end it." All that's left for me to do is get entry into Paragon using Matt's laptop and then they are free to take on the company as a whole.

I lower my phone and turn it off. "I'm almost there," I whisper to myself and head back inside.

"What should we do for dinner?" Matt asks me right as I close the door behind me. I don't bother even thinking about an answer to his question. Instead I kiss him—hard—passionately. His hands around my arms, my fingers in his hair. And for a fleeting moment, I open my eyes and spy the laptop in the corner.

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E19: Memory Lane
« Reply #286 on: September 06, 2018, 02:53:33 PM »
Divine Deception
"Memory Lane"


They say that people are only capable of seeing what they are prepared to confront. Monsters, horrors and deception are all but figments of the imagination, covered up as fluffy white creations only seen in movies or books. But it is when the truth hits you straight in the face that those terrors become reality. The truth is like a battlefield, a terrible and violent path filled with the people who were your friends, hindered by your enemies and your hatred and sometimes even yourself. When you can finally open your eyes and see that the truth is out, sometimes the monsters have a way of getting in.

I stare out the open window as I listen to Matt's breathing, waiting for a steady pattern that informs me that he's left this world for the land of sleep. By the time it's two in the morning, I decide that time is now. Just for safe measures, I speak to him, ask him if he's awake and get a snore in response. Good. I get out of bed, grabbing his shirt in the process and head out to the living room.

The nights are rather chilly here in Dragon Valley. For how warm to the point of being humid it can be during the day, this has a way of surprising me. It doesn't help that both Matt and I decided that leaving every window open overnight was a good idea. I don't bother closing any. Instead I start a fire and stare into the flames, trying to urge myself to take the next step forward.

Since coming here, I can't say I haven't been reluctant about my mission process. There's just something not right and like a jackhammer it's nettles at the back of my brain, constantly jabbing at something I've overseen. I've run over it countless times, but for the life of me, I can't find this hole I know is opening minute by minute.

"It's just cold feet," I mumble to myself, giving my hands a good shake. I force myself to get a hold of Matt's computer and bring it over to the sofa and start it up. There's an app on the desktop with a halo icon. When I press it, a login page appears. I know Matt doesn't use this for Paragon purposes. I'd be surprised if he knew what this app did when he pressed it. From what I could gather from what Jackie said weeks ago, Arthur put this app on all of his devices at home in case he needed to check into the company urgently.

Hacking into it is as easy as inserting a thumb drive Whitman sent with me into the side of the laptop. This gets past Matt's security and into Paragon in three easy steps.

I bite my lip as Paragon's main system opens up to me. Everything is at my fingertips. Everything they've done. I get so excited my hands begin to shake. I curl them around the edge of the sofa to stop myself. Then I begin copying the files to the thumb drive. It's not until I am watching file by file get copied that I notice a name that catches my attention.

SADIE LAWRENCE
PROFILE AND MISSION REPORT
OBJECTIVE: KILL NICK ALTO | DESTROY VITA ALTO


I open it.

Water, waves and the thumping of his feet as he walks across the hardwood flooring upstairs. It's all I can focus on as I dig my nails into the cushion I sit on. I keep a smile on my face, not because of happiness or content, but for the reason if I don't, I may very well scream at the top of my lungs for the bumbling fool upstairs to hurry it up.

His name is Gobias Koffi. My report says that he is a single sim who just hasn't met the right woman, probably one of the reasons why "The Powers That Be" aka, my contacts, decided that he would be beneficial to our task, a task that I still haven't been completely informed about. I was just shipped out like some mail-order bride to his doorstep to ask him if he wanted a roommate. It's a good thing he isn't the brightest bulb on the tree or else my hasty arrival would have seemed a little suspicious. Maybe he will be beneficial after all.

My eyebrows knit together. This was my mother? I just can't hear her saying this. I flip through more pages and come across a photo of my father.

After a bit, I've lost track of where Nick is. I've experienced my meltdown and I know what I need to do for the rest of the day. Every time something goes off the rails as a Destroyer, I need to take some time to go with the flow and clear my head or else I know how much it is going to consume me. I find him standing over a pile of snow. With a closer look, I realize it was Nick's attempt at a snowman.

I put a hand on his shoulder. "Build one with me."

It doesn't take long. I learn that Nick is great at decorating so I allow him to make the snowman look all pretty. When it's done, I can't help but laugh.

"What?" Nick asks so innocently.

"It looks like you."

We both laugh and make our way to the car.


When I open my eyes, I am in the back of a police car. My hands are cuffed behind me and an older woman sits in the front, driving. She doesn't seem to be one to talk and to be completely honest, I don't even know what I would say. I'm not innocent. It wasn't Vita who killed Nick and gradually I am forced to accept who I am. I am a Destroyer, sent on a mission to ruin the Alto family. I befriended a woman who would later despise me. I seduced a man from his wife. I stole a child from her family and married into it just to hurt Vita. I set everything up all the way to the point of conceiving a child with a man who was targeted for death. I scorned and swindled everybody within a ten-mile radius and it led to blood on my hands.

That's all I can take. Tears pool in my eyes, blurring my vision so much that I feel as if I am looking at the bed of an underwater cavern. I turn off the computer and drop it on the sofa in one quick swoop before hurrying to the washroom.

I splash my face with water, wiping away the streaks that continue down my cheeks.

I spoke about all of this with my mother long ago. But to hear it again, read Sadie's actual words took me to a completely different place. It's reignited my hatred for Paragon, sure. They screwed my mother royally, hiring her to do their dirty work and when she needed them most, they tossed her to the wolves. How typical. But I'm not just angry. I don't know what I am. Seeing that photograph of my mother and father together... They really did love each other. My mother loved him and then was forced to end his life.

I splash my face with water again and pat it dry. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I look like a little girl again, back with Vita in Sunset...

"I have played this game for a long time, Delilah, and I have hurt a lot of people, but what I've learned is that the only people who get hurt are the players." She takes a deep breath. "I don't want to play anymore, and you want to know why? Because everything has changed. You came into my life when your mother went to prison and you changed everything. I hated your mother for a long time, but after seeing you and Alicia sitting at the table today it made me realize differently. My end with your father was inevitable and I just wanted somebody to blame, to point a finger at. Sadie's choices weren't right, but I have to forgive her because if it wasn't for her, you and I would never have been joined. I would never have been happy. I would have just continued to hurt myself and others."

The memories keep coming.

"Do you have a problem with me staying here?"

"Of course not." Nathan takes a seat in the chair next to mine. "I'd just like to know who is staying is all. You come here with barely any belongs, telling some stupid story about how you missed your bus and are trying to make it to Twinbrook. You haven't said much about where you're from and when I ask a simple question about your last name, your full name, you don't dare answer it."

I shake my head in irritation and look away. "I am just trying to get to Twinbrook--"

"And you're getting twisted up in your own story. I thought you were going to Bridgeport." He smirks. "See, you may be fooling the two in there but not me. I know I know you from somewhere and everything you've said since you stepped foot in this house I know has been a lie."

"You seem to know a lot," I retort.

"While I may not know who you are right now, I can guarantee you that I will figure it out. I will know who you are!"


“Delilah, listen to me. We need to go. I know you have a lot of questions, but it’s not safe here.”

I pull back. This woman knows what I want? She knows what I think? More questions begin to stir inside of me like why she has a gun and how did she know that I would be here? Was she connected to this man? Surely. They spoke as if they’d known one another for some time. The man that shot Nathan and almost shot me as well. “You don’t know the first thing about me.”

Sadie’s eyebrows come together. “But I do. I know your first breath, your first sound. Delilah, I’m your mother.”

I don’t know if this was supposed to bring us closer, if it was what Sadie hoped or believed, but I don’t fall into the trap. I still don’t know what I think of this woman, whether she’s my mother or not, and with all that’s gone on, I can’t make any rational decisions.

I feel a sudden need to appear on top of things, disregard her words and continue on with my questioning. “You led him here, didn’t you?” Looking up, I examine Sadie’s face. It’s bright red from the cold. Her eyes are watery, I’m sure from the cold as well, yet there’s a familiarity in her eyes. Something the two of us share. While we both have the same eyes, we also have the same concerned look in them as if we both know she did exactly that. Sadie Lawrence brought that man here whether she wanted to or not.

Sadie doesn’t answer so I decide to continue. “I’m not leaving Nathan.” I’ve gotten back to his side and pulled him to a sitting position. He’s still breathing and he has a pulse, although for how long, I can’t say for sure.


"You two were really close, weren't you?"

My mother nods. "It's funny, I think about that whole moment all the time... How I met Vita, how she welcomed me into her home, asked me to her parties..." She chuckles and pulls her arms close to herself. "Told me I could live with her when Gobias kicked me out. She was always there and even if she did bad things, deep down she really was a good person. She was a good friend..." Sadie brings her eyes up to meet mine. "And I destroyed it."

I see in my mother's eyes how much this affects her. Everything that happened the moment she'd been asked to travel to Sunset Valley, dropped off at Gobias's house and asked to destroy Vita and Nick...

"How do you get past it?" I ask her. I watch her consider the question and she turns her body towards me, like she'd ready to open up and that's when I hear the loud alarm go off. Across the path from us a hotdog eating contest is about to begin. They're just waiting for somebody to fill the final spot.

"That brings back memories," she says to me as she gets to her feet. She's already started walking towards the table before I grab her arm.

"No, wait, how did you get past it?" I repeat, but she's not listening. She'd actually dragging me with her to the table, going on and on about some person named Marlie and how they had met each other during one of these contests.


"So, Delilah, you want to embark in the path of the destroyer?"

I want to smile, it sounds so silly, but I remind myself of what my mother mentioned earlier. That we only have one chance at this. I straighten my face. "Yes. I want those who have hurt me to pay."

Master Lee leers at me. "Somebody take those stilettos you really wanted from Holt Renfrew before you could get your hands on them?" He tosses his head back with a chuckle. "You're Delilah Alto, one of the wealthiest girls in Sunset Valley and you want payback? If my students had a fraction of your life..."

His tone begins to catch me off guard. It's not like a slap across my face. It's slow, it lingers, and I don't know what to say or do as it moves past me.

"My daughter has been through hell and back, Master Lee," Sadie steps in.

"Your daughter is a selfish girl who always gets what she wants." He raises his hand to stop both me and my mother from defending ourselves. "I have students who are train wrecks when they arrive at my doorstep, people who have been screwed by a higher hierarchy and have been broken into tiny fractures. Look at her. Delilah Alto looks to be doing quite well if you ask me."


“Now, before I get you out of there, I want to know everything. Tell me who these people are and why.”

“You have to–” Daniel gasps, still trying to breathe as the waves he’s made himself slap him and threaten to choke him. While my hand is keeping him from dropping to the bottom, it’s still up to him to keep above the water’s surface. “You have to get me out of here!”

“I said I would once you start talking.”

“I promised them that I would do as they asked–“

“Who, Daniel? Who did you promise?”

He says who, but he’s coughing and sputtering that I can’t comprehend what he’s said. So I ask him again and he tells me.

“Paragon?” This time it is I who is sputtering. I had almost completely forgotten about the organization that my mother had been hired by to destroy the Altos. For I had believed that they’d been so quiet for so long because they were slowly withering away into nothingness, when in reality they were nothing but puppeteers dragging us all along for there little ride. The thought sickens me and it takes a lot for me not to rage on. No, I need to be smart. I need to think smart.

“I promised them that I would bring you in, convince you to work with them. Deli, we were going to work together, we were going to do great things.”

“No,” I say with a shake of the head. “Paragon doesn’t do great things. They are terrible people.”

“But I couldn’t do it,” he steamrolls on. “I couldn’t bring you back with me. They’d separate us and your life would turn into mine. A lie.”

“And what are we supposed to do now?” I ask him.

“Run, keep off the grid, whatever we can, Deli. They’ll look for us, but it won’t be hard to stay out of sight. We can do it.”

But the thing is, I know we can’t do it. My mother had been running from them since the moment she’d been betrayed by Paragon. She tried to distract them, keep out of their view so to speak and look where it got her. No, as easy as it sounds to keep off of Paragon’s radar, somehow, one way or another, the slimy organization finds a way, a hole, back to our feet. You can’t truly run away from Paragon. All one can do is delay them.

I pull Daniel in a bit closer to me. I let go of his hand and cup the jaw of his that goes on for days. I lean in closer again to him, put my mouth up to his ear and whisper, “Go to hell.”

I let him go completely as he splashes upon the surface of the water, the weight of the ball now heavier than ever, dragging his sorry body to the bottom of the pool. With Nathan by my side, I watch as Daniel fights for life, but he’s struggling more so than ever now. Our eyes connect, Daniel’s and mine. Where once was a shade of arrogance has been replaced with the look of bewilderment, betrayal and fear. Especially fear. Real fear because now there is no out.

“Yo-You promised you’d save me!” He coughs as he’s being pulled down, down, down.

I shrug. “I lied. Goodbye, Daniel.”


"You forced it?"

I look over my shoulder. Connie has stopped midstride on her way to the kitchen and glares at me. I try to ask her what she means, but she's beaten me to the punch.

"You destroyed a child's relationship with her parents, her family? Why?"

I give her a look of uncertainty. "Because we needed to get Matt out of the spotlight. By dragging him out and forcing her in, Matt's become yesterday's news."

"And you couldn't have found a different way? Deli, you tore a hole in a family's tapestry, you hurt a young girl!"

I can see from where I sit that Connie's emotions are stirring closer to the surface. I know she's been dealing with a lot lately. She's been uncertain about a lot that's happened especially after Sean's death, and yet her ability to question me rubs me the wrong way. I get up from my seat as she continues.

"Deli, I thought we were trying to gain access to into Paragon, not this... this... cruelty."

"We are, but this way I have nailed two birds with one stone. I'm closer than ever to the Hammings—chasing their daughter to the ends of the earth to make sure she's okay means something—and they have less reason to question my love for their son."

"And the other bird?"

I sigh. "She deserved to know."

I watch as Connie's eyes round in both confusion and sadness.

"What?"

"Chloe deserved to know the truth. There should never have been a secret to break free in the first place. Something like that would hurt a girl if it came out at a time her parents believed was right. The sooner the better."

"You don't think she's hurt now?"

"Oh she's devastated," I say matter-of-factly, "on the edge of her breaking point. But she's not nearly as hurt as she would be when Edie and Arthur finally gathered the courage to break it to her. If anything, I did them all a favour."

"I can't believe I'm hearing this from you," Connie mutters as she looks me up and down. I spot rage, real rage in her eyes and I think I spot maybe even pity. "SHE'S NOT YOU AND EDIE'S NOT VITA!"


The floor has started to swoop back and forth below me as I step out of the washroom and back into the living room. I grab onto the back of the sofa to stabilize myself in case I go down. I didn't realize it until now how much had happened since this all began. To think earlier today I was hesitant about going forward with my mission. But now... It is exactly what I said to Daniel a year ago. We can never truly run away from Paragon. All we can do is delay them. I just wish all of them could be at my side when I do it. Nathan, Connie... My mother.

This is the beginning of the end and it all starts now.



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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E20: Little Red Lines
« Reply #287 on: October 10, 2018, 10:55:07 AM »
Divine Deception
"Little Red Lines"


To believe that fate is already etched in stone from the moment of birth, one must come to terms with the fact that life itself is but a gathering of predetermined events, strung together by little red lines. In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, one could believe there was nothing Caesar could have done to avoid his death even if his arrogance blinded him to the possibility of it. But can a belief in this path we call life be as unyielding as it is eternal? Or can one's true fate only be revealed once they come to the end of their journey and meet their end?

"We'll be there will bells on, Mother," Matt says on the other side of the bed, phone to his ear. Like he's been there for the last twenty minutes. I can guess what Eadie is saying on the other end of the line. That she's been worried sick since we went on our honeymoon and that she hasn't seen him since the wedding a few weeks ago. Eadie must have just invited us for dinner, I can tell. Just by how Matt's eyes dance around as his mother babbles on and on about how she misses him. Me? She couldn't care less. Just another day.

"She's excited to see you," Matt tells me enthusiastically after he's ended the call. A little too enthusiastically if you ask me and from the look in his eyes, I can tell Eadie didn't say one word about me. I listen to him though, let him go on as he gets up from the bed and begins getting dressed. The funny part is if Eadie and I do end up seeing each other tonight, it's going to be one hell of a time.

Even if I nod my head and make it seem like I am excited for this gathering of theirs, I don't plan on being there for any of it. Tonight is the night I have been waiting for an extremely long time. Tonight is when I break into Paragon.

I'll admit, I didn't see this day ever coming. Breaking into Paragon? Sure, I've fantasized about it back a year ago when I first stepped onto the tarmac of that horrible Grind bar scene. But to actually know deep down that in less than a day, less than half a day, I will be walking in and ruining everything like the destroyer they created themselves.

I kiss Matt goodbye and watch him leave the house.

I make it to the other side of the city in a little less than six hours. It's not all travelling, though. I've stopped at my house, went over everything with Jackie and Whitman. I gathered my weapons, my intel, my everything. I checked over all our files just to make sure we haven't missed anything. Nope. This is it. Jackie and Whitman both offer their suggestions, hand me a map and get me into my car.

"Remember that construction site," Jackie had mentioned to me through my car's open window and now I stand right there. From everything I was able to gather from Matt's laptop, I learned that Paragon's headquarters are floors beneath the Grind. Same land, same building, just many feet beneath the water's surface. It's funny. When I walked into the club many months ago, the last thing I would have suspected was that I was actually standing on top of the very place I looked to destroy. Yet here I am again, all set.

And about the construction site: it's my main entry to those bottom floors. Going through the front doors of the Grind and fighting past hordes of guards, security or whatever Paragon has in line for me just isn't ideal, not now anyway. Whitman mentioned going through the tunnels only accessible through the depths of the lake. Time seems to be working for us rather than against us lately. Back many years ago, the water tunnels had been blocked by rocks and the lake's natural seal. But because of a new power plant being put in on the other side of the lake, workers have gone under water and begun clearing everything for safety measures. And as it seems today, for my convenience!

I make it across the construction site in no time at all, climb over crates and past barricades. On the other side, I check my surroundings. I can see the Grind far on the other side of the lake, flashing neon spotlights swimming into the night sky. But other than that, the area is pretty much lifeless. No boats on the water, nobody on the road. There's not even a working light in the construction zone that I need to keep away from.

I slip my fist-sized rebreather into my mouth and dive into the water. The temperature of the water makes my body flinch. I wasn't expecting it to be so cold for the beginning of April, especially with my wetsuit. But as I swim more, deeper into the depths of the lake darkened by what seemed like the jaws of hell itself, water surrounds my body and heats up and the warmer I get. Twenty minutes into my work and it's like I've been gifted heated waters.

The farther I go, I am tempted to turn on my dive light. I can't see anything in front of me and where I have come from could be anywhere. The only thing I can make out is the moon way above my head. Because of this, I decide against it. A dive light will be much too bright for the dead of night. I don't need anybody catching sight of a random beam, not now. Instead, I bring my arm forward. Velcroed to it is a waterproof GPS. Its interface is dim but enough to light some of my way.

I finally make contact with one of the tunnels Whitman referenced earlier. By now I have somewhat gotten accustomed to travelling by my GPS only and almost collide with the wall with a thud. Thankfully, I keep my hands out in front of me and they save me from such injury. I make my way inside.

The tunnels tighten around me like the coils of a python. Even with a rebreather, I struggle to catch my breath. I've been in tight spaces before, but this... It's different somehow... Like my lungs are being squeezed by unseen hands. Before long, the passage is expanding again and I make it to the surface.

But even as I get out, I feel that something is off. The air smells like algae mixed with chlorine. That's not so surprising. I am in a water treatment room it looks like. Big machines making sloshing noises is something to be expected. Yet it's not that that feels wrong.

"It's nothing," I tell myself, pulling the rebreather from my mouth and straightening up. It's probably my excitement. This has been what I've been going after for so long and what I've lost so much going after. I'd be off myself if I wasn't beginning to feel slightly overwhelmed.

There's a door on the other side of the room—only one. I don't bother trying to open the door. It will be locked and the only reason I know is because of the weird mechanism beside it. Next to it is a square plaque with a hole in its middle. This is the old-style lock Jackie had told me about and the reason why I ran around the museum back in the winter. In my back pocket, I pull out the blue gem I stole. It clicks into place and I hear the lock actually click open. Putting the gem back, I walk through the door.

The hallways are bare for the most part as I keep silent, moving forward. Even for how tight they are, there's an airy quality about them to the point where they seem cold and distant. I check a few doors as I pass them. They are all locked. I've come prepared, though. I've brought a screwdriver with me as well as a hand-sized crowbar. Down near the floor, I crouch to the nearest vent and begin taking it apart. It doesn't take long and I'm inside it without any complications, sliding past sheet metal to the other end. Getting the vent on the other end off takes a bit more work, but I make do. With a few well-placed shots from my foot, the vent comes away easily and I pull myself out.

I can't say the lighting is much better here. I can barely see a set of elevator doors on my right and the stairs straight across from me. A blossom of light catches my attention, however. In the gloom of the room, it's like a fiery beacon, summoning me toward it. A board is on the other end, spotlights igniting it in a cone of blue. I stand without question, my steps towards the light long and steady. And I stop in front of it.

The first thing I see is my mother. It's a photograph of her, it looks like a mugshot but much more delicate. A piece of tape keeps the photo to the board. A photo of my father is next to her, a red piece of string connecting the two of them. But it's not only the two of them. The board is filled with other photos too! Vita, Nathan, even Grady is there. And then there are countless photos of me. I'm in the centre, strings connecting to and from me to everybody I've ever known.

"What is this?" I say, my hands shaking and for the life of me I can't put any of it together. My eyes just follow string to string, from person to person and photo to photo. Me as a baby, my mother going to jail, me going to Master Lee's.

I have to put a hand on the board. I have to make sure that it is real because there is no way I can actually be witnessing something so bizarre. My mind has to have created this on its own. The chlorine from the water treatment, something has to be the reason I am seeing this.

Yet my hand touches the surface of the board, my nails smoothly sinking into the cork. It's as real as the air I'm breathing. It's not in my head at all.

And then a ding comes out of nowhere and the elevator doors open.

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E21: Ambush
« Reply #288 on: October 18, 2018, 04:10:17 PM »
Divine Deception
"Ambush"



((Because of a weapons mod and strong language, this episode of Divine Deception can be found HERE !))

Like, comment, enjoy!

Remember: There are only three episodes left, so if you haven't caught up on all of your Divine Deception needs, tune in. Read and see how the series ends!


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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E22: Afterlife
« Reply #289 on: November 08, 2018, 11:58:14 AM »
Divine Deception
"Afterlife"



((Because of a weapons mod, this episode of Divine Deception can be found HERE !))

Like, comment, enjoy!

Remember: There are only two episodes left, so if you haven't caught up on all of your Divine Deception needs, tune in. Read and see how the series ends!

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E23: Hellfire
« Reply #290 on: November 16, 2018, 09:45:38 AM »
Divine Deception
"Hellfire"



It's one of the biggest moments in Divine Deception—the ultimate destruction!

((Because of a weapons mod, language and violence, this episode of Divine Deception can be found HERE !))

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #291 on: November 23, 2018, 09:33:35 AM »
Divine Deception
"Mercy"


For those who believe that life ends when one's death is met, resurrection is more of a fairytale than a reality. Death is consequential, a tally of all the good things and how much bad was delivered while on the earth's ground. But for the few who believe otherwise, death is not an ending, but rather a new beginning. I never believed in anything after life. I thought it would just end in an emptiness of repetitive motions, cycling through until the end of time. But it wasn't until today that I realized I had been dead for a very long time and those motions had been cycling for years now in what I once believed was me living life. I spent many days in the fiery depths of hell and would never have thought that to stop fighting would bring me to the light. Today the dead shall live. Today, I am alive. Today I rose from the dead.

The moist ground cools the bottom of my legs while the sun, high above, feels like it could burn my skin in seconds. It is easily one of the hottest days Riverview has seen in years. I disregard it and place my hand on the surface of the gravestone in front of me, my fingers tracing the name engraved in its front. Sadie Lawrence.

"I'm sorry it took me so long," I whisper.

Footprints have flattened the ground nearby. Flowers rest on both the top of the stone as well as the surface in front of it. A dozen tulips are from me, wrapped in white lace. But there are more than a couple roses here and there as if somebody has come by daily to drop them off. I can think of nobody other than Vic. I hope I am right.

I look back up at the stone again. "I always did have trouble facing what stands in front of me—come to terms with the truth some could say... For more than a year I thought I had found my way, that I had clear goals and everything made sense, but no. The truth is, I think I was more lost than ever.

"I thought if I could just keep pushing, everything would balance out. Instead I pushed everybody away. I couldn't blame them—nobody understood what I was feeling. But you did. And I hope more than anything that I did you proud."

The shuffling of grass behind me perks my ears and I spot a long, stretchy shadow slither into view. I look behind me and see Connie. She puts her hand on my shoulder, gives it a reassuring squeeze and then says, "It's time to go." She says it so softly, like if she speaks too loudly that she may wake the dead.

I pat her hand back and nod. Kissing my fingers, I then press them against the stone. "I love you," I say. I press harder for a few seconds and then release. Connie doesn't push. She just waits for me to be ready and then I am on my feet and following her back to the car.

The rest of the morning flies by in a flash. I am wanted here, there and everywhere. Makeup, hair, here get into your dress! I have great people around me, friends, true friends, men and women I can count on. When we are ready, we leave the house and head to our destination.

Before I can even think about opening my door, Whitman is right there, hands gloved in white, opening it for me. He's wearing a frilly suit I expect to be stuffed in an antique mall.

I meet his gaze. The day I went out for Paragon, I had left him with Jackie. Poor guy had been gagged and tied up the moment I drove off. For a split moment during my confrontation with Jackie, I thought maybe Whitman had been working with them. But when I returned to the house and found him completely bundled together with ropes and handcuffs, I knew better than to assume certain things, especially when he had fought to get across the room and use only his tongue and nose to log in to Paragon's servers and delete everything. Everything Jackie had threatened me with was gone in a snap of the fingers.

I get out of the car and he leads me to the cruise ship. Through the portholes, I can see countless guests. Something snaps to my side. I quickly look down and see William.

"Mommy, you look beautiful!"

I crouch down to his level. "And don't you look handsome." His collar is sticking up and I fold it down for him.

"I'm the ring baron! See?" He lifts the poofy, silk pillow in his hands up to my face.

"The ring baron, huh?" I ask and he just laughs.

"We're just about ready," Connie says. She is directly in front of us now and waves at the pianist and everything begins. I give William a kiss on the cheek and he wipes it like I have just slobbered all over him.

"Mom!"

I can't suppress a giggle. Connie whispers where he needs to go into Willaim's ear and then gives him a nice nudge through the doors. Through the porthole I watch my son strut down the aisle like he's done this a million times before. When he makes it to the end, Connie already has her bouquet and starts down it as well.

My gaze wanders up the aisle, across the decorations. They are simple yet elegant. Compared to the overabundance of the decor at my wedding with Matt, this is perfect. There are no flashy lights or streamers going every which way.

Matthew...

With everything that has gone on, I hope most of all he can move on from this. I can only assume he's at home, trying my other phone, trying to get Samantha Millens to pick up. He's probably worried sick, thinking the worst. That is after wondering what happened to his father. Who knows if he managed to make it out of the Grind before all hell broke loose. If there is one thing I can rely on, it's that Eadie will be there to tarnish Samantha Millen's name and make her son feel better by forgetting that girl next door. I never would have imagined I would feel comfort from that woman, yet here I am.

Whitman squeezes my hand and pulls me back out of my thoughts.

"Are you ready to do this?" he asks, his other hand on the door, ready to lead me out.

I have to smile. Am I ready for this? I've never been ready for anything more in my whole life. I've been waiting ages to be in this very spot.

Whitman pushes open the doors to lead me through and I see Nathan for the first time today. I think my heart skips a beat, it even flutters and as cheesy as it sounds, I can't describe it any other way. Excitement, happiness, safety. I don't know what it is, I just know that I like it. Honestly, I never thought I would ever see him again after that horrible night when we last spoke.

For how short the aisle way is, it feels like the lengths of multiple dump trucks and I don't want to walk anymore, I actually want to run. But as I do, Whitman's grip on my hand holds me back, squeezing to slow me down. It feels like forever when I am finally standing in front of Nathan.

"Hi," he says to me, beaming. There are tears in his eyes.

"Hi," I say back with a giggle. There are tears in my eyes too.

The service begins and I am going through the motions. For once it doesn't feel difficult. As destroyers we are taught to go with the flow when things begin to fall off the rails. But nothing is falling now and nothing is hinting at the possibility that imminent doom is just beyond the horizon. And for once it feels good. I remember what my mother wrote down in her file on Paragon's server. What she said about her wedding day with my father. That it was a commitment to each other, but one that wouldn't lead to an ending full of happily ever afters. That instead it would lead to a battlefield. How was it she put it?

"One that I must fully commit to my enemies on until death do us part."

I don't feel that at all. And when I am asked, "Do you take Nathan to be your lawfully wedded husband?" I don't hesitate for a moment. My mother was uncertain about her marriage to my father like I was with Matt. But here, with Nathan just an arm's length away, there is nothing in me that wants to say anything other than, "I do!"

"Then I pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."

I almost jump into his arms, grabbing his head, kissing him. I peek through my closed eyes. The men and women around us begin to clap. Some hoot and holler. Some toss confetti and others ball their eyes out. Yet, in the back, through the many people, somebody else grabs my attention. I can't tell if it is who I think it is or if my eyes are playing tricks on me because in an instant, in the time it takes me to blink, the visitors are all up on their feet and that woman is lost in the crowd.

Nathan pulls my attention back on him as he turns and looks at the crowd. Bubbles are blown into the air, the pianist begins his melody again and we are ushered down the aisle. This time while I am allowed to move at a faster pace, I don't want to. I try to slow a bit, try to get a better look at where the woman had been previously, but I am just pulled more forward, pressed to go, go, go! Nathan and I are out the doors at the end, led up a set of stairs and to the deck above.

The day continues at an alarming rate. We need to cut the cake, it's the first dance as husband and wife, speech, speech, speech! Oh and of course, tink, tink, tink on the wine glasses to get us to kiss, kiss, kiss! I can't remember the night I was married to Matt very well, but for some reason I don't think it was as pushy as it is here. Maybe I was worried too much about getting from point A to point B to really take anything in. Whereas here I am taking in everything because I have nothing to keep my mind off of it. And even if I wanted to get from point A to point B here, I can't. The ship has left the dock and unless I want to take a long swim back to shore...

When it is time to throw the bouquet, it is suggested that we do it downstairs. Nobody wants to have it accidentally get chucked over the edge of the boat and we all know many of the women here will actually take a leap for the precious bundle of flowers.

As everybody makes their way back to where the ceremony was held, I catch sight of a woman at a table in the far corner of the deck. Connie tries to lead me back to stairs, but I tell her to go on ahead without me.

"I just need some fresh air," I say and when she asks if I am sure, I add, "Yes, I'll be there in a minute, promise."

"Okay, but don't wait too long. That bouquet is mine!"

I laugh and watch her take the stairs and it is only me and the other woman. I walk over to her.

"I thought I saw you earlier," I say and take a seat next to her.

My mother stares out into the open waters, eyes sparkling with tears. "Delilah..." she says and I can hear the struggle in her voice as if her throat is closing up on her. "I'm so sorry."

My eyes narrow. "For what?"

"Your father... I took him away from you."

"Mom..."

"You have to believe me when I say I never wanted to go through with it. When Peters... after you were born... I didn't think there was any other way."

I lean forward—she's still looking out into the distance at the horizon or maybe, probably something even more far away—and clasp her hands in mine. "I don't doubt it for a second. I never knew who he was and maybe I never wanted to know him. I guess the hardest part was coming to terms with that."

"That?" she asks me and finally she is looking at me in the eyes.

"Years ago I thought maybe he was hiding out, trying to keep away from me, that maybe he would show up somewhere so that I could understand him, maybe even understand myself." I shrug my shoulders. "But now I know that was never the case."

My mother recoils a bit. "Can you ever forgive me for not being a good mother?" Even as she asks it, she tries to pull her hands away. I don't let her.

"There is nothing to forgive, Mom. I know how much I put you through. I blamed you for so much and as much as I used to want to keep blaming you for not being there for me, you've always been there for me. You saved me more times than I can count.  From the day you chose me over Paragon when I was a baby to the other night when you tried to choose me over Paragon again—you saved my life and I owe you everything. I'm just sorry you had to carry everything all by yourself for all these years."

My mother breaks down sobbing and I hurry to her side, my arms around her. I am crying too.

It takes almost ten minutes to regain both of ourselves. We wipe each other's tears and hug.

"You have no idea how proud I am of you," my mother says, getting to her feet. She kisses me and tells me she loves me. Every time I think I have recomposed myself, I break down again, which then leads her to break down too.

"Honey?" somebody says behind me. I turn around, wiping my face even if it is no use. Makeup running, face red. Just coming up the stairs is Nathan alone. I don't know if he—or anybody for that matter—can see my mother, but I am about to say thank you to her and as I turn, she's no longer there. I stand still as anything, my eyes scanning the deck back and forth until I realize that it's over.

"Connie's getting impatient down there," Nathan says as he closes the space between us. "Who knows what that girl's gonna' do for a bouquet—is something wrong?"

I'm standing at the railing, looking at that same spot my mother was just minutes ago, out past the horizon, past the clouds, back at the past. I feel Nathan slip his arms around me.

"Deli?"

I was told when I opened a book for the first time, I would be given three sections of importance: a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning was to do its part to transform my imagination to reality. It would introduce the people I would be tethered to throughout the journey, paved out to an ending of happily ever after. For a long time I didn't believe that this story could be like that. That a happily ever after could never work. Lust, heartache and destruction were but simple stepping stones to get me to an end goal.

I should consider myself lucky. Life rarely gives second chances to people like myself. Deeply etched wounds come with the path of a destroyer and while I expected to die with Jackie alone and unloved, somebody saved me from myself. Somehow I managed to win life back, convinced it to spare me as well as the people I forcefully pushed away.

I lean back into Nathan's arms and nuzzle against his neck. Did he really ask me if something was wrong?

"Absolutely nothing."



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Offline Agathon

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #292 on: November 24, 2018, 04:56:35 AM »
Great story, exp! Lovely pictures, as always (I've learned a lot (or at least something (I hope)) from how you do it). Hope Nathan isn't working for someone (how's Alicia doing, btw...?). Part of me hoped Delilah would end up going all-out destroyer, leaving Nathan and William behind for a far darker existence, but maybe she deserved a happy ending. I'll miss her adventures!
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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #293 on: November 26, 2018, 08:49:04 AM »
Thanks for the comment @Agathon! This finale was the first thing that came to my mind when I was putting together the finale almost a year ago and I went with it. But I can't say I haven't thought about an alternative ending. Depending on how my time goes, maybe I will write a darker, alternative ending and post it.  :o

Regarding Alicia: I started from scratch at the beginning of season 3 when I got my new computer so everything before that was lost so I have no idea what happened to Alicia or Nathan's family (other than Nathan's brother getting married to Hunter Cotteneye and adopting  :P ) or any of the other characters from season 1 and 2.   :-\ :-\

And thank you for the compliment on the pictures. The best thing I learned was the camera button aka the tab key. It takes the pictures from "meh" to "much better" haha.

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #294 on: November 27, 2018, 01:04:01 PM »
I had never used the tab key myself until after I started writing. Using it helps, but it won't make good pictures by itself. I remember seeing your opening picture for "Collateral Damage", and I just sat staring at it, blown away. The colors of the house and the gate combine perfectly with the sky, while Deli really stands out against it. Seeing her from low-down, through the gate, provides the necessary perspective to see both the house and the sky, but it also turns the gate into some sort of combination of a drapery and a frame. The perspective also emphasizes the pattern of the tiles on the ground, and where they lead the eyes: To the door, visible through the next set of bars in the gate, and to the garage doors (as if hinting at entrance and exit), with Deli in the middle, framed by the two "beams" formed by the patterned tiles.

It's hard to get tired of Deli. Though she (mostly) looks a bit sweet and innocent, and her hair always lights up the screen, a rather cynical mind seemed to develop inside that head of hers. It would have been interesting to see her tumble all the way down the rabbithole of cynicism.

I think you got Sean perfectly. The moment I saw him, I felt filthy sleaze oozing out his every pore. I can understand why you didn't keep him around for very long.

How many posepacks do you use? Do you load/unload them for shooting a specific sequence?

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #295 on: November 28, 2018, 09:13:16 AM »
Quote
I had never used the tab key myself until after I started writing. Using it helps, but it won't make good pictures by itself. I remember seeing your opening picture for "Collateral Damage", and I just sat staring at it, blown away. The colors of the house and the gate combine perfectly with the sky, while Deli really stands out against it. Seeing her from low-down, through the gate, provides the necessary perspective to see both the house and the sky, but it also turns the gate into some sort of combination of a drapery and a frame. The perspective also emphasizes the pattern of the tiles on the ground, and where they lead the eyes: To the door, visible through the next set of bars in the gate, and to the garage doors (as if hinting at entrance and exit), with Deli in the middle, framed by the two "beams" formed by the patterned tiles.

Wow... I never thought of any of that. I am so happy you enjoyed that picture. I liked it, one of the reasons why I used it as my opening shot, but you seem to have this perspective on picture taking. Did you go to school for photography? I mean, I wish I could stick my hand up and go "Yup, I did that and this is why and how I got it, etc." but I honestly I just keep pressing that C button. But that really is an amazing compliment @Agathon and I can't thank you enough for it. Thank you.
Quote
It's hard to get tired of Deli. Though she (mostly) looks a bit sweet and innocent, and her hair always lights up the screen, a rather cynical mind seemed to develop inside that head of hers. It would have been interesting to see her tumble all the way down the rabbithole of cynicism.

It's funny, it did cross my mind many times--do I go for a happy ending or do I go for the unhappy ending. The first idea I came up with was what I ended up using: the happy ending. But while writing everything, especially after The Blackest Day when all she's done is push everybody away, I wondered if destroying her along with Paragon was the way to go. Now, with the story complete, I feel a want to go back to Deli and see what I can do with her in an alternate ending. I've been playing as her mainly for almost four years now (with aging off lol) and I am having a difficult time creating new sims to play as and be happy with. So maybe I shouldn't push her away so soon. I do see myself playing as her in an alternate plotline even if it is only one episode length.

Quote
I think you got Sean perfectly. The moment I saw him, I felt filthy sleaze oozing out his every pore. I can understand why you didn't keep him around for very long.
Oh good! While creating him I couldn't figure out how to show that side of him so I kind of just tossed it out there. But I will say that wasn't the reason I wanted to get rid of him so early on. I wanted something that was a bit shocking to the audience. I mean, a sim tumbling off the edge of a roof isn't something this story has seen before. But we also needed something that made Deli want more than anything to begin her descent into misery. And what better way than to have Deli blame herself for her source's death.

Quote
How many posepacks do you use? Do you load/unload them for shooting a specific sequence?
I have a nice size collection. There are certain ones that I keep on all the time. They are mainly general poses like standing, walking, sitting poses that I can use if something sparks inside of me. Unless I have something specific in mind that happens in an episode (Sean going over the roof, attacking Paragon at HQ, breaking into the museum, etc.) I usually let the sims do their thing and take photos when I see fit. With this mentality, having those general poses loaded all the time can be extremely helpful if something gets inspirational. Everything is right there if I need it.

But the other posepacks that are very distinct like sword stances, fighting packs, weapon mods, etc. Those I upload when I know what I am going to need them or if I am going into a play which is going to be more staged like Hellfire, Ambush or Afterlife. There is no need to upload them to my game if I am not going to use them--waste of space.

If you want to know of any poses that I do use, let me know which ones and I can post the names below.



Offline Agathon

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #296 on: November 28, 2018, 03:59:24 PM »
I have some camera equipment, but I haven't taken any lessons, and when I take pictures, I lack the talent and speed of mind to see if the result will work or not. When a picture catches my eye, I do like to stop and get analytical about why I think it "works". I think some of the things you do well, is keeping in mind the option to get down low, getting close, being aware of what's in the frame, and narrowing your focus to the most important part of the scene.

I'd love to see more of Deli. Having played her for so long, I'd guess you're attached to her. With that in mind, maybe you'll have to weigh how loyal you are to her as a character, and whether any alternative escapades conflicts with who you feel she is?

So, Sean was born (and killed) from having to fulfill a story function. How often do you find that the story dictates the characters, and vice-versa? Do you sometimes find yourself creating a character you didn't plan to include in the story, and adapting the story to fit that character in?

I'd be interesting in some walking poses, I'm still lacking those. Having fallen prone to over-creating, I've downloaded a bunch of posepacks (around 120 or something), and I'm having some trouble keeping them organized. I find myself loading and unloading 8-14 packs for every set of scenes, and I can't remember what it's in all of them (idiotically, I deleted some of the pics that came with the poses, thinking I wouldn't need them).

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #297 on: December 01, 2018, 10:51:29 AM »
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I have some camera equipment, but I haven't taken any lessons, and when I take pictures, I lack the talent and speed of mind to see if the result will work or not. When a picture catches my eye, I do like to stop and get analytical about why I think it "works". I think some of the things you do well, is keeping in mind the option to get down low, getting close, being aware of what's in the frame, and narrowing your focus to the most important part of the scene.

That is something I tried differently this time. My previous story (The Man Under My Bed) was an experiment of sorts lol, but I struggled to get close with the camera or low because of the way the camera likes to "bump" when it gets too close to sims or other objects. Thankfully the camera button fixes most of these issues, although highrises are still a struggle most of the time. When I started Divine Deception, I wanted to do something different with the pictures to make them stand out a bit more, make them look a bit better. I decided unless I needed a specific picture, I wouldn't use an isometric angle--it looks too much like I just took a picture ingame. Also, unless it was for a specific purpose, I wouldn't try to centre my subjects either.



Take this photo for example. If I had Sadie in the middle, it wouldn't have looked as right as it does with her off centre. There is an actual thing it is called and I can't remember what it is, but if we added five vertical guidelines to the photo (two at the very edges, one in the middle and two in between them ((one between middle and left edge, and one between middle and right edge))), we would place the subject on lines 2 or 4. Maybe it makes it more dynamic, I don't know, but I always kept that in mind. There is probably a reason this works  :D :D

Also, getting close allowed me to make some depth. I think of it like Little Big Planet where there are three layers on the stage: front, middle, back.



Here we have our subjects (Connie and Whitman) in the middle, the background and we have people in front of them. I could honestly be speaking out my own rear end here, but to me this creates both atmosphere (it feels more crowded, almost claustrophobic) and it also gives some depth. If the people in the front hadn't been there, it would have just been a picture of them sitting there. But with the extra people, to me at least, we're looking through the crowd as Deli.

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I'd love to see more of Deli. Having played her for so long, I'd guess you're attached to her. With that in mind, maybe you'll have to weigh how loyal you are to her as a character, and whether any alternative escapades conflicts with who you feel she is?

I love playing as Deli and writing as her now. When she was first introduced in season 2 aka her valley girl phase ::) ::) I struggled a lot. But now, I don't really want to let her go. I have played as a few other families here and there, but it is almost boring. I mean, I even created a gigolo sim and I even found him boring. How could that be boring?!!

At least with an alternate ending, I can do what I want with her and it is up to the reader which ending they prefer.

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So, Sean was born (and killed) from having to fulfill a story function. How often do you find that the story dictates the characters, and vice-versa? Do you sometimes find yourself creating a character you didn't plan to include in the story, and adapting the story to fit that character in?

Usually, all the characters I need in a season are already created before any "filming" takes place and those characters are limited. I think that is why the first season reads so smoothly in comparison to the others. Season 1 was based in Sunset Valley, and everybody knows Sunset in and out. Everybody knows the Altos, everybody knows Gobias, everybody knows Alto Manor. And yes, I introduced a lot of sims I created, but the story never revolved around them and I think that was such a good thing. I kind of wish that I could have spent more time to get to know the sims of the other worlds so that the same could have grown in seasons 2, 3 and 4, but time is time lol.

And, yes, Sean was born to die so to move the story forward, just like the twins in s1 were created to add some humour to the story (something I missed in s2), like Daniel was created to create a bit of a love triangle and test Deli and Nathan's (and evidently Deli and Sadie's) relationship in s3, and Matt's family was created to simply create conflict for Deli in s4--especially Eadie.

What those characters do, however, is usually dictated by Story Progression. I never intended for Vita to get pregnant in the first season--prime example. But there she was in the third episode looking a little bigger than usual :o  Yet I couldn't be happier that it happened. One of my favourite episodes of s1 is One and Only where Sadie gets Alicia taken away from the household. I don't think I would ever have thought of something like that on my own. Yes, it was my idea to get rid of the kid, but that idea would never have happened had Story Progression not made her preggo. It was the perfect opportunity to show some progression in Sadie as well. It showed that she isn't some wannabe Destroyer. This took her to a whole other level.

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I'd be interesting in some walking poses, I'm still lacking those. Having fallen prone to over-creating, I've downloaded a bunch of posepacks (around 120 or something), and I'm having some trouble keeping them organized. I find myself loading and unloading 8-14 packs for every set of scenes, and I can't remember what it's in all of them (idiotically, I deleted some of the pics that came with the poses, thinking I wouldn't need them).

@Agathon I don't have a lot of walking poses, BUT the ones I do have are all in one pack. You'll see them used quite a bit in my photos if you look closely.  Anyway, THIS is where I get them.

I know how both time-consuming and taxing it can be to upload and unload. That's why I don't use a lot of poses in my stuff. Unless it is for a specific shot that can't be created using the animations already in the game. Creating a whole scene oi! The series finale was probably the most staged and it was exhausting to put together. Then you have to get everybody there if you want other townies not just your own household. Gah! But it is worth it. 

Offline Agathon

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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #298 on: December 04, 2018, 04:33:28 PM »
That is something I tried differently this time. My previous story (The Man Under My Bed) was an experiment of sorts lol, but I struggled to get close with the camera or low because of the way the camera likes to "bump" when it gets too close to sims or other objects. Thankfully the camera button fixes most of these issues, although highrises are still a struggle most of the time. When I started Divine Deception, I wanted to do something different with the pictures to make them stand out a bit more, make them look a bit better. I decided unless I needed a specific picture, I wouldn't use an isometric angle--it looks too much like I just took a picture ingame. Also, unless it was for a specific purpose, I wouldn't try to centre my subjects either.

They stand out, and rarely feel like ingame pictures, so you certainly succeeded there!

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Take this photo for example. If I had Sadie in the middle, it wouldn't have looked as right as it does with her off centre. There is an actual thing it is called and I can't remember what it is, but if we added five vertical guidelines to the photo (two at the very edges, one in the middle and two in between them ((one between middle and left edge, and one between middle and right edge))), we would place the subject on lines 2 or 4. Maybe it makes it more dynamic, I don't know, but I always kept that in mind. There is probably a reason this works  :D :D

The rule of thirds. I try to be aware of it too, but it feels like I often have too much stuffed into the frame for it to take precedence. Here, with the lighthouse where both the horizontal and vertical 4's meet, and Sadie lower in the frame, it also aligns the two subjects on a diagonal, which looks great.

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Also, getting close allowed me to make some depth. I think of it like Little Big Planet where there are three layers on the stage: front, middle, back.

Here we have our subjects (Connie and Whitman) in the middle, the background and we have people in front of them. I could honestly be speaking out my own rear end here, but to me this creates both atmosphere (it feels more crowded, almost claustrophobic) and it also gives some depth. If the people in the front hadn't been there, it would have just been a picture of them sitting there. But with the extra people, to me at least, we're looking through the crowd as Deli.

See, you don't just press C. You move that camera left, right, up and down, in and out, and think about what you see. That can be clearly seen in picture after picture. I know it isn't a coincidence when some leaves, candles, or a flower appears in the foreground of your pictures. It creates depth, and can frame the subject. With what is happening in that chapter, it can't be a coincidence that we don't see Deli's face in the mirror in the opening shot of "The Blackest Day" (another brilliant shot).

I completely agree with you about the effect this picture creates, and I think there's another bonus too, provided by the fact that the two bystanders aren't standing still (the woman on the left could be standing still, but she's moving her hands): Dynamism. I'd be too squeamish to take that shot, because I'm still trying to get comfortable with cropping subjects off (one, maybe, but two?!), something you do (sometimes aggressively) to good effect. I'd be liable to zoom in or out, and lose the effect.

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I love playing as Deli and writing as her now. When she was first introduced in season 2 aka her valley girl phase ::) ::) I struggled a lot. But now, I don't really want to let her go. I have played as a few other families here and there, but it is almost boring. I mean, I even created a gigolo sim and I even found him boring. How could that be boring?!!

What's his background? Who were his parents? What was his greatest mistake? What are his habits? What are his short-term and long-term goals? What does he fear? In short: Does he have a story?

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At least with an alternate ending, I can do what I want with her and it is up to the reader which ending they prefer.

If you do what you want with her, will you like her as much as you do now when you're done? That would be my worry if I were you, but I'm not, so... Go ahead :)

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Usually, all the characters I need in a season are already created before any "filming" takes place and those characters are limited. I think that is why the first season reads so smoothly in comparison to the others. Season 1 was based in Sunset Valley, and everybody knows Sunset in and out. Everybody knows the Altos, everybody knows Gobias, everybody knows Alto Manor. And yes, I introduced a lot of sims I created, but the story never revolved around them and I think that was such a good thing. I kind of wish that I could have spent more time to get to know the sims of the other worlds so that the same could have grown in seasons 2, 3 and 4, but time is time lol.

And, yes, Sean was born to die so to move the story forward, just like the twins in s1 were created to add some humour to the story (something I missed in s2), like Daniel was created to create a bit of a love triangle and test Deli and Nathan's (and evidently Deli and Sadie's) relationship in s3, and Matt's family was created to simply create conflict for Deli in s4--especially Eadie.

What those characters do, however, is usually dictated by Story Progression. I never intended for Vita to get pregnant in the first season--prime example. But there she was in the third episode looking a little bigger than usual :o  Yet I couldn't be happier that it happened. One of my favourite episodes of s1 is One and Only where Sadie gets Alicia taken away from the household. I don't think I would ever have thought of something like that on my own. Yes, it was my idea to get rid of the kid, but that idea would never have happened had Story Progression not made her preggo. It was the perfect opportunity to show some progression in Sadie as well. It showed that she isn't some wannabe Destroyer. This took her to a whole other level.

I'm impressed by you having all the characters in place before you start shooting. I'm not that organized, but then again, my story is a bit more all over the place. I see the merit of not letting a story revolve around characters that just pop up, and I don't do that either (I think), but and now then I find myself playing aimlessly around in CAS, and coming up with a character that makes me say: "Who are you then? Really? That sounds fun. OK, I think we can tweak it a bit and find a purpose for you, to fit you in for an episode or two...".

Cool that you can let SP set up some plots for the characters you're not playing. I'm too scared of the thing to let it do that to them, unless they're extremely peripheral in the story. Most of my characters don't have much of a life outside the story, I'm afraid.

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I don't have a lot of walking poses, BUT the ones I do have are all in one pack. You'll see them used quite a bit in my photos if you look closely.  Anyway, THIS is where I get them.

Ah, that one. I remember thinking the scene with Arthur and Deli in the hallway was that pose, but I couldn't remember what pack it was in. I haven't tried those walking poses, I was a bit sceptical about how it'd look without the bag, but I'll try them out. Good posepacks on that site.

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I know how both time-consuming and taxing it can be to upload and unload. That's why I don't use a lot of poses in my stuff. Unless it is for a specific shot that can't be created using the animations already in the game. Creating a whole scene oi! The series finale was probably the most staged and it was exhausting to put together. Then you have to get everybody there if you want other townies not just your own household. Gah! But it is worth it.

Exhausting is the right word... The finale turned out great, in a cool location, and with a great picture to finish it off.
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Re: Divine Deception -- S4E24: Series Finale
« Reply #299 on: December 15, 2018, 09:42:36 AM »
Sorry @Agathon that it took me so long to reply.

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See, you don't just press C. You move that camera left, right, up and down, in and out, and think about what you see. That can be clearly seen in picture after picture. I know it isn't a coincidence when some leaves, candles, or a flower appears in the foreground of your pictures. It creates depth, and can frame the subject. With what is happening in that chapter, it can't be a coincidence that we don't see Deli's face in the mirror in the opening shot of "The Blackest Day" (another brilliant shot)... Dynamism. I'd be too squeamish to take that shot, because I'm still trying to get comfortable with cropping subjects off (one, maybe, but two?!), something you do (sometimes aggressively) to good effect.

Honestly, most of the time it's all mistakes  :P :P :P Although, the photo at the beginning of The Blackest Day was supposed to be a nod towards Slipping Between Knots opening where you only see half of Sadie's face aka the fake half of who she is.

But if you are saying you are uncomfortable about taking a shot, I say just take it. I mean, if it all goes south you can just delete it. But try it, take a risk and step outside your comfort zone. You'd be amazed at what wonderful things you could create.

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What's his background? Who were his parents? What was his greatest mistake? What are his habits? What are his short-term and long-term goals? What does he fear? In short: Does he have a story?

You may have just hit the nail on the head there. There is no backstory, there is no family. He's rather two dimensional, actually, and those are the worst of characters. I never really thought about that before. Sadie had a backstory because for Divine Deception she had to have one. She needed a reason to go after the Altos and she needed a reason to be dropped off on Gobias's doorstep. Even if it's something simple--Sadie's history with the Alto wasn't created until episode four!--there needs to be something. My Gosh, I think you just helped me so much! Thank you!

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Cool that you can let SP set up some plots for the characters you're not playing. I'm too scared of the thing to let it do that to them, unless they're extremely peripheral in the story. Most of my characters don't have much of a life outside the story, I'm afraid.

Well sometimes it comes and slaps me up the side of the head lol. While I was playing Deli and Nathan's family in season 2 (without Sadie and Vic), Sadie and Vic had broken up after Sadie cheated on him with some old guy and gave birth to another baby girl. So, yeah, SP sometimes doesn't work in my favour. Getting those two back together for the rest of the season was a lot of work haha. SP (the mod) has a way of either working for you or against you when trying to write a story. Do you use any mods?


I'll get back to you once I have created something on him.