Chapter 52 – Home

Kalaya was released by the priestess around noon. There were no tragic goodbyes or glorious speeches.
“Remember what you have learned”, the old woman had simply said. Kalaya had bowed slightly. That she would.

She had pushed away the urge to thank the priestess. I did this on my own. She is not to thank for it. Still, she felt grateful for the opportunity to restore her tribe’s honor. After the other champions had admitted defeat, they had returned to their tribes baring a message that Kalaya Arayeo was a Creator of strength and honor. Not all of them had taken it well. She saw their smiles but she still felt the piercing look in their eyes that meant everything but the respect they now owed. She would have to be careful.

The way back to her tribe’s compound felt eerie and silent. She didn’t see another living soul and the sun was burning down on her mercilessly. But Kalaya didn’t care. She just wanted to go home. She had been surprised at herself when she realized how much she missed her home during the time at the temple. In her younger years the house and its lands had always seemed boring to her, a means to an end to survive, nothing more. But now that she had been away for many moons she felt eager to return. Sleep in her own bed, train on the grounds, which she had despised so much before, and play chess in the library. She didn’t like to admit it but what she missed most of all was her mother. While her presence had always seemed pressuring and supervising, she now found herself in need of her guidance and wisdom. She had to unify the tribe for what was to come. Beating the other champions might have restored her official honor but she was determined to also earn the other tribe’s respect. Real respect, not the fake one she had seen at the fight. A wave of burning shame washed over her as she thought about the things she had said and done to her mother. The dream from the temple still haunted her. Every day after she had prayed that her mother may forgive her for her faults and the damage she had caused to their legacy.

Kalaya’s pace quickened as she saw the tribal grounds loom in the distance. Every step brought her closer to home. Finally, she stepped onto the compound. Taking a deep breath she looked around. The compound was empty but it felt tranquil rather than abandoned as it had in her dream.

She wondered if the priestess had somehow notified the tribe of her coming. She nervously touched the ritual bracelet and necklace as if to reassure herself that she was actually the Creator now. Would the Tribe accept her? She wanted to be a good Creator and undo the damage her loss had caused.

Suddenly, a figure appeared at the corner of the house and walked into the garden. It was a man with gray hair, one of the slaves. As he noticed her, he turned and bowed slightly. It was Baato. So much time had passed… Kalaya took a few steps towards him.

“It’s good to see you Baato”, she said shyly. Baato’s eyes went wide for a second but he quickly regained his composure and bowed again.
“Creator”, he stated. “I shall notify your mother of your return.”
He disappeared into the house and left Kalaya wondering what she would say to her mother and to the other tribal sisters. But when the doors burst open she didn’t have any more time to think about it as Manika enclosed her in a tight hug.

Kalaya never cried but she felt a burning sensation in her cheeks that came very close. She swallowed hard to keep the tears away and finally said the words that kept repeating in her head since the day of her dream.
“I’m sorry!”
But Manika let go of her and shook her head.
“The past is in the past”, she said. Her gaze wandered over the ritual jewlery on Kalaya’s neck and wrist. “You’re back and you’re Creator now.”
Kalaya nodded. Nieva and Tahia came out of the house and silently observed the scene. Next to them stood a little girl who could only be their daughter, Prie. Kalaya took a step back and cleared her throat.

“I invite you to sit with me”, she said and gestured towards the meeting grounds. Everyone followed her request except for Baato who stood back respectfully.

“I have made a lot of mistakes in the past. For that I want to apologize. To all of you”, she announced and looked at every tribe member in turn.

“I apologize for the way I treated you” – she locked eyes with Baato for a moment who nodded –

“and for my immature behaviour. I have learned the error of my ways now. The damage I caused to the honor of this tribe was grevious” – she saw Manika wince in the corner of her eye – “but I have faught Champions of the five most powerful tribes and defeated them to restore the respect Tribe Arayeo deserves.”
The tribe members looked at each other, surprised at this news.
“You did that?”, Manika asked wide-eyed. Kalaya nodded.
“It was the only way. I have more plans to create real respect for Tribe Arayeo again. The one I have earned is fickle and forced. The other tribes will accept us again but it will still be hard. I want to do more.” Manika nodded and then said: “I am so proud of you, my daughter. The temple has made you grow. You’re a true Creator now. You have my loyalty.”
“You have my loyalty”, the other tribe members said in unison. Kalaya looked around and smiled.

“I will not disappoint you again. It’s time to rebuild this legacy.”

Next: Chapter 53 – A New Direction

Until It Breaks – Chapter 21

Not Worth It

Valerie walked aimlessly around Havencrest Campus. It was late and the park was almost empty.

But the conversation with Liam had left her restless. The fact that she was not the only one to know about Ethan and Eva shocked her. But even more so when she realised it was of no use. Her deal with Ethan was still on the table. She sighed as she sat down on a bench near the science building. Would the circle of lies ever stop? How could she break it? She found it increasingly difficult to keep her secret from everyone.

And one thought had entered her mind that she couldn’t get rid of: Maybe it was not worth it. Maybe she should just tell Ethan to go to hell and drop out of Havencrest. Imagining the disappointment of her parents was painful. Still, carrying this burden around, lying to everyone, being afraid of getting caught… And before she got her degree she would have to live with it all for five  years.

The thought made her cringe. Five years of more lies and secrecy. Maybe it wasn’t worth it. She grabbed her phone and played with it in her hand. One call. Tell Ethan the deal is off. Just do it.

Suddenly, the phone in her hand started ringing. It was Jenny. Valerie gulped and took the call.
“Val! Hey! Guess what, Ethan and I are coming to Havencrest next weekend! Ethan is taking me to shop and Dolce&Simbana as a late birthday present, isn’t that sweet?!”, she blurted out. Valerie’s insides twisted. She had an exact idea why Ethan wanted to come to Havencrest and it wasn’t about Dolce&Simbana.
“That’s great, Jenny”, she said neutrally. She didn’t even have the energy to fake enthusiasm. But Jenny didn’t even seem to notice.

“You should totally meet us in town for drinks. About 8 on Friday? Great! See you then, Val!”, Jenny babbled and then just hung up. Valerie sat there baffled. Drinks with Ethan and Jenny?

Hearing Jenny’s excited voice about going out with Ethan made Valerie’s blood boil. No, it definitely wasn’t worth it. And next Friday she would expose Ethan for what he was. In front of everyone. And it would feel so good.

Next: Chapter 22

My Drifter Challenge Slideshows & Builds

I’ve been doing the Drifter Challenge for a while now and it is so fun! While I haven’t written a story, I’ve still screenshotted a lot and made summary slideshows for each house. Every slideshow is about 10-15 mins long. Also, the Drifter Challenge requires you to build and I’ve uploaded some of the builds I made to the Gallery. All of them are available under my Origin ID Julyvee94.

So in this post I’m gonna list all the slideshows and builds I made so far and I hope you’ll check them out 🙂

House 001
with Lily McEvans

Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Gallery Link

House 002
with Summer McEvans

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
Gallery Link

House 003
with June McEvans

Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Gallery Link

House 004
with Cedric McEvans

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Gallery Link

Adding more houses as I complete them! 🙂

Until It Breaks – Chapter 19

Not Like That

Valerie was staring at the back of Liam’s head for the whole class. She hadn’t heard a word of what the professor had said. She kept thinking about how she would approach this touchy subject. Hey, Liam, did you screw over my friend and spread nasty rumors about her? – sure did – okay, glad we had this conversation. Great.

The scratching of chairs pulled Valerie from her thoughts as it signaled that the professor had dismissed the class. She gathered up her stuff and followed Liam out of the classroom. He was headed towards the campus park. She caught up with him just outside of the buildings massive doors.

“Hey, Liam. Can I talk to you for a second?”
Liam sighed and turned towards her.

“Valerie. Yeah, sure, what’s up?”, he replied. Valerie had a feeling he knew what was coming. She cleared her throat, not sure where to begin.
“So, uhm, I just … I wanted to know…”, she stuttered. I sound like a 14 year old asking her crush on a date.

“Is this about Eva?”, Liam cut her short and Valerie felt relief wash over her that she didn’t have to explain herself. She just nodded. Liam sighed and rubbed his temples.
“Of course. So what did she tell you? No, wait, it doesn’t matter. Whatever she told you, it’s a lie!”, he said his voice becoming more aggravated. Valerie was disappointed. He could have at least admitted to it. Then they could have moved past it like mature adults. He could have apologized. Instead, he was denying it.
“I don’t think she would lie about this, Liam. What would she gain?”

Liam had a pained look on his face.
“You don’t understand this, Valerie. You don’t know, Eva. I don’t know what she told you about me, but believe me, she always has an agenda. Always.”
“Eva’s been nothing but kind to me!”, Valerie countered, getting angry that her friend was being pulled through the mud. Liam sighed.
“Of course, it’s part of her plan!”
“And what plan would that be?”
“I DON’T KNOW!”, Liam yelled, but immediately calmed down and breathed deeply. “Sorry. I don’t know what she’s planning but believe me, she is planning something.”
“Why would I believe you?”
“I can’t prove it. But she’s no saint. Not at all.”

Valerie felt her insides twist. Ethan. But she wasn’t ready to admit defeat. Ethan might be playing Eva as much as he was playing Jenny.
“So what about you, then? Are you telling me you didn’t spread nasty stories about her?”
Ethan’s face flashed red.
“I did, but -”
“I can’t believe you!”, Valerie cried out. “And I thought you were one of the good guys!”
“IT’S NOT LIKE THAT”, Liam yelled back, “Just let me explain!”

But Valerie shook her head. She had enough of all the lies, intrigue, and false friends.
“Goodbye, Liam”, she simply said and walked away.

Next: Chapter 20

Until It Breaks – Chapter 18

No Idea

“Seriously. How could Richards turn into even more of a dick after the first day of class?”, Eva wondered out loud she sat down at lunch with Valerie.

The two of them had been spending every lunch together after Prof. Richards class. Valerie couldn’t help but to start liking Eva. She was friendly, funny and confident. She hadn’t asked her about Ethan and didn’t plan to. If Eva didn’t know who she was it would do no good to remind her. Or maybe Ethan hadn’t told Eva about her at all?

“I have no idea. He reminds me of our old neighbor in Windenburg. Complaining all day like it was a sport”, Valerie finally answered Eva’s question. Eva perked up.
“You’re from Windenburg? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You never asked”, Valerie was confused.
“What was it like?”, Eva askedd.

“Old. Seriously the city is ancient. At least they did build a modern bay district so that brought some more activities. The pool was pretty cool, I guess.”
“The pool?! Who cares?! What about parties?”
Valerie shrugged. She wasn’t the party type. “There were some new nightclubs in the bay district, people told me they were good.”
Eva raised an eyebrow. “You’ve never been?”
“I don’t party well.”
“Everyone can party. I’ll teach you”, Eva grinned. Valerie laughed at her crazy suggestion.

“I doubt that. I’m fine with the dorm parties, but clubs aren’t for me. Speaking of dorm parties… are you ever gonna tell me about what happened there?”
Eva avoided her gaze. “Don’t know what you mean.”
“You know, like this weird Liam-Eva-Staredown?”, Valerie rolled her eyes. It was obvious that these two had some sort of history. She hadn’t had a chance to speak to Liam since the party and Eva hadn’t let anything slip so far.
“I mean I didn’t ask Liam, but-”
“Geeze, just let it go!”, Eva burst out angrily, “Liam here, Liam there, it’s making me sick!”

Valerie sat speechless for a few seconds, shocked at Eva’s sudden anger. She always seemed so calm with a I-don’t-care-what-you-think attitude. This was different.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to set you off”, Valerie apologized. Eva sighed.
“No, I’m sorry. I’m overreacting. Might as well tell you what’s up before you find out from someone else.”
She shifted uncomfortably opening her mouth a few times then closing it again as if she didn’t know where to start.
“So Liam…?”, Valerie encouraged her.
“Yeah, Liam. We kinda used to be friends. Best friends, more like”, Eva started hesitantly.
“What happened?”

“I’m not sure. I got together with my boyfriend and I think he’s jealous. We got into a huge fight soon after, he accused me of only hanging out with my boyfriend and not him anymore, all that jazz…”
Valerie stiffened at the mention of Eva’s boyfriend. She’s talking about Ethan. But that doesn’t make sense. Why should I stay away from him just because he has a crush on her?
“And?”, Valerie pried sensing there was more to this story. Eva’s face darkened.
“Turns out he’s some sort of psychopath. He started following me around and telling all kinds of stupid stories about me to the other guys at school. I moved away because people started to bully me.”
Valerie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Liam Fitzgerald, a bully? He didn’t look the type. She felt anger rise within her. Liam had pretended to be Mr. nice guy while he spreading nasty rumors about Eva. And she had been friends with him.
“I’m so sorry, I had no idea”, she finally said to the other girl. Eva shook her head.
“How could you. I don’t blame you for being friends with him, he seems nice when you meet him. I’m just telling you to be careful. He’s not what he seems to be.”
Valerie nodded. The wish to confront Liam formed in her mind. She started imaging the conversation in her head and knew that she had to do it. Not only to get some justice for Eva but also for herself.

Next: Chapter 19