1.51 Generation 1 Finale: Magick and Blood

Dustin awoke to sunlight streaming through the foliage surrounding his camp. Although his camp was near the center of the village, he’d chosen the spot for its perimeter of stones and shrubs for the additional screen of privacy they provided, which most other camps didn’t afford.

Throwing an arm out, he discovered Ayala was no longer beside him. When he rolled onto his side, he saw her stirring the fire and then cutting fruit into bowls. With a quiet, happy sigh, he watched her move about his camp. This is a sight I will never get enough of, he thought, smiling.

Just then, she looked up to catch him watching her, and returned his smile. “You’re awake,” she said, putting down the bowl in her hand. “Did you sleep well?” She came to kneel beside him, sweetly brushing the hair off his forehead.



Weaving his fingers through her hair, he drew her down to him. “I always sleep well with you.” And that was true. Something about Ayala put his very soul at ease. He slept deeper, his dreams were more vivid, and his days were brighter with her. He ran a hand up her thigh, slipping his fingers under her nightshirt. “I could get used to that.” The taste of apples flooded his mouth when she kissed him. “Mm, breakfast in bed.” Tangling his hand in her hair, he kissed her more deeply.

Ayala giggled when his other hand inched further up her thigh. “I was making you breakfast.” She wriggled away from his fingers, but he held her fast.

Deftly, he rolled her onto her back, propping himself on his elbows above her. “You are breakfast.”



Some time later, they finished eating before the warm fire. Setting his bowl to the side, Dustin scooted closer and draped his arm around Ayala’s shoulders. Looking sideways at her, he silently admired the flush on her cheeks and the little smile on her lips. It made him happy, and little proud, to know that he’d had a hand in putting that smile there. Well, ok, maybe more than just a hand.

“I need to check on Mother and see what I can do to help today,” Ayala said, leaning her head into the crook of his shoulder. Over the past several months, Ayala had been spending more time at Dustin’s camp, often spending the night, but still she made time to be with her family.

“I know,” Dustin said, stroking her arm. “I’ll go with you, I’m sure Jace could use some help with things.”

“You’re so sweet, to help us like you are. It’s almost like you’re a part of the family.”



Dustin shrugged in an attempt at nonchalance, but her remark veered the course of his thoughts to something that had been on his mind a lot lately. “Jace is a good kid, I think of him like another brother. That’s what family does. Besides, I want to help while I can, since I’ll be taking over the grade school soon.” After a pause, Dustin cleared his throat. “Have you thought about…” His voice trailed off.

Ayala turned to look at him quizzically, cocking her head to the side. “Have I thought about what?”

“Um. What you’re going to do after school? When you graduate?” Ayala’s graduation loomed only months away.

“I thought about taking over the dance class someday. Why?”

“I mean…family-wise? Will you stay there, or…make your own camp? …or have you thought about… getting married?”



Ayala raised her eyebrows. He was altogether too earnest for these to be casual questions, and her heart skipped a beat. Have I thought about it? Only every day. “Ye-es. I want that.” Her eyes unfocused as she got lost in the thought. She pictured going to sleep with Dustin every night, waking up with him every day. Making love, making babies, making a life together. “My own camp, someday, my own family.”

He picked an apple out of a basket, rolling it on his palm, from his wrist to his fingertips, and back again. He stole a glance at her. “Have you thought about us getting married?” Dropping the apple back into the basket, he reached for her hand. “Because I have.” He captured the image of this morning in his mind, of waking up to find her preparing their breakfast.

A flush crept across Ayala’s cheeks, and she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “You have?”



His thumb stroked across her knuckles, his breath catching in his throat as he looked into her eyes. This isn’t how you propose, Swift, he berated himself. But still, he wanted to know what she thought about it. Looking at her, he could almost picture what their children would look like. How it would feel to hold their baby in his arms. What it would be like curled up with her around their campfire every night. The scent of her filling his nostrils each night as she fell into dreams on his shoulder, warming each other against the coming winter.

“Yes, I have. I love you,” he said earnestly, anxiously touching his hand to his chest to underscore the words.

“But, how can you be sure that’s what you want? Everyone says your dad sowed a lot of wild oats before he settled down. How can you be sure you don’t want those experiences too?”



Dustin laughed. “My dad is a tough act to follow, and yes I suppose he did some sowing before he married my step-mom–I’m walking proof of that. But I’m not my dad. Besides, when he knew he’d found the woman he’d love for the rest of his life, he never regretted it, and I don’t either.”

This was true. Ayala remembered what a happy husband and father old Daniel had seemed. “But how can you be sure if you’ve never been with anyone but me?”

“But that’s just it. I’m sure I’ve never wanted anyone but you. Even when you were a bratty little girl,” he teased, lightening the moment.

Ayala smiled, leaning into him when he kissed her. She had been a brat. When she was a little girl, she’d gotten so mad at him for calling her a little girl, that she’d borne a grudge against him for years. Dustin had always evoked strong feelings in her, she mused. Strong feelings that had turned into an attraction that she tried to deny as she got older, but you can’t stop love. She wanted to believe him. She certainly believed it for herself. Even her relationship with Jake hadn’t touched her as Dustin did, and always had.



I know he loves me. It’s written in his eyes. I feel it when he touches me, how he pours himself into me when we make love. The way he’s looking at me now. But what if he changed his mind? How can he be sure?

“C’mon.” Dustin stood, pulling her up with him. “Let’s go see what the family is up to today.”

He’d raised the issue, and could hear her doubt. It hurt that her uncertainty was about his ability to commit to her, but that, at least, was something he could overcome. It was something to think about.



Dustin slung his arm around her for a kiss, then headed down to the orchard to find Jace, leaving her in the courtyard of her mother’s house. Mother’s house. When had she started thinking of home that way? Because in your heart, you already know that your home is with Dustin. After helping Mother clean the rooms of what the villagers had come to call Meadowstone Manor, they hung the laundry out to dry, then sat amiably by the fire as her little sisters played and argued and chased each other around.



Watching her mother smile at the antics of her sisters, Ayala was happy that Mother could still find something to smile about in life. She’d been devastated after Daddy’s death, and although she was only a shadow of herself since he died, here she was, smiling. Ayala wondered what it would be like to have children who could make her smile through her grief.



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“Are you going to marry Uncle Dustin?”

Ayala was caught off guard, by both the question, and her sister calling Dustin ‘uncle’. She opened her mouth, then closed it. Then, aware that Annika was watching her, smiled. “I don’t know Annie.” She reached over and mussed Annika’s gleaming hair. “Would you like that?”

“Sure,” Annika replied with a dismissive shrug of her small shoulder.

“And who do you think you’ll marry someday?”

“Oh I haven’t decided yet.” Annika turned, and expertly cast her reel into the water. The little girl sure loved to fish.



Ayala smiled again at her little sister’s notion of marriage being a one-sided decision. “You’ll know for sure when you fall in love.” Her words seemed like ironic advice to herself. “Maybe Abel? Or what about Jessie?” The two boys seemed to be among Annika’s most frequent companions.

Annie wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like Jessie like that.”

Ayala kept her chuckle to herself. She quite remembered her ill-tempered feelings about Dustin when she herself had been Annika’s age. “Abel, then?”

“Maybe. He says I’m his girlfriend and tries to kiss me all the time. But I can take care of myself.” As if to prove her point, her line suddenly strummed taut, and with a determined look on her little face, she reeled in a huge, flopping trout, holding it up for Ayala’s inspection. “See? I just caught us all dinner, I don’t need a stupid boy to take care of me! Now be quiet, you’ll scare the fish away.”



Looking out across the water, Ayala’s thoughts drifted away. Uncle Dustin, Annie had called him. Even her sister claimed him as family. Although he’d technically be her brother-in-law, if we… Her mind slipped further into the past. Even when she was Annika’s age, Dustin had stirred her emotions. The older boy calling her a ‘little girl’ had made her angry. Was it because she’d wanted his approval, even then? It had bothered her to think he disdained her, and she’d turned that into a grudge that lasted for years. She’d hated him! Wanted him gone, even. What if he’d left, as she’d claimed she wanted? That was a painful thought now.



When she’d grown older, Dustin’s confrontation of her about her dislike of him had embarrassed her. She’d been silly to hate him so. Then later, they’d become friends. Close friends. When she’d thought he’d slept with the woman from the boat, she’d again pushed him away. Again, because she thought he was rejecting her. But he hadn’t been, as she knew now. She’d been wrong. And now they were in love. And once again, she was doubting his feelings toward her, wasn’t she? Scared that he didn’t feel the same? She’d been so afraid of that in the past, that she’d pushed him away.

She shuddered at the thought of being without him again.

He was, she realized, everything to her.  Everything. Her past, most definitely her present, and it physically hurt her chest to think of a future without him. But was she everything to him?



Dustin’s breath swirled in the cold early evening air, ghosting in little puffs before skittering away into the moonlight. A light snow had begun to fall. He was glad he’d worn his boots today. Icy footprints trailed behind him as he trudged up the small hill to the graveyard, some distance from the village. Here, they buried their dead.

He came to a stop before his father’s grave, wishing he could talk to him now.

“Hey Dad,” he said quietly. The silent graveyard gave no response. He sighed. “I wish you were here now, so I could talk to you.” He toed a clump of frozen grass with his booted foot. “If anyone could give me woman advice, it would have been you.” His crooked smile flashed at Daniel’s gravestone. The grave of his step-mother Daniela nestled serenely next to Daniel’s. After sharing so many years of love and laughter together, here they were still, side by side.



“I want that with Ayala. I want to marry her.” Although it had been a few months since he’d broached the idea of marriage to her, it had remained fixed in his mind, strengthened each and every day as they loved each other.

She knows that her heart belongs to you, son. Show her that your heart is hers.” The whispery voice whisked about Dustin’s ears, and he turned his head, looking for its source.




A phantasmal breeze curled before him, eddying into the shimmering features of his father, the glowing, wand-weilding form taking shape before his widened eyes. “Her name, make it yours.”

Dustin was confused. When couples pledged their lives to each other, a woman either took a man’s family name, or they blended their family names. This is what he wanted of Ayala. Why would his father’s spirit tell him what he already knew? These cryptic words must mean something else. Dustin shook his head.

Ayala had been on the edge of his consciousness for years before they even fell in love. There had never been room for another woman. There never would be, of this he was sure. And he knew, too, that she loved him. Maybe even for as long as he’d loved her. Hadn’t her actions always shown that she was afraid he didn’t feel the same? That even now, she was afraid he might someday want a woman other than her? How can I show her?



Daniel touched Dustin’s chest with a ghostly fingertip. “Her name. Your heart. Show her.” Dustin watched in fascination as his father’s spirit teased the air with his wand, much as he’d done in life. The ghost winked at him. “Already you are linked with her, by magick and blood.” The wand seemed to twirl in thin air as Daniel’s ghost began to fade. “And many times more you will be.”



“Wait! Linked by magick and blood? What does that mean?”

“…your blood, her blood…” And the ghost was gone.

“…go home to your wife…” A final whisper sing-songed through nearby icicles like chimes.



Since, of course, he had no wife to go home to, Dustin opted to stop by the bar for some nectar to brood over.

Her name, make it yours. Show her. What exactly did that mean? How could he show her that his heart was hers? Maybe she just needed more time. He shook his head. His father’s ghost had told him to go home to his wife, that they were already linked. His wife. He smiled broadly at the thought. Sipping the nectar Joel placed before him, Dustin’s eyes lowered as he looked out across the landscape. Snow was still falling, and he saw campfires stoked all across the village, warding off the cold as families drew together around them.



“What brings you here today, Dustin?” Joel’s melodic accent and metered voice brought his attention back to the bar.

“Why does any man come to drink at a bar? To figure things out.” He smiled, showing that everything was fine. And everything was fine. He was in love, and he knew Ayala loved him too. Never mind that he’d seen a ghost that spoke in riddles today.

“Lady troubles, my man?” Joel set down the glass he’d been swapping dry.

“Only the best kind,” Dustin laughed. Joel gave him a knowing smile. He fell into good-natured conversation with the big bartender. Joel had a lot of stories to tell, having traveled all around the world’s oceans before coming to settle on Ouroboros. He’d been here for several years now, and had married Dustin’s younger half-sister not long ago.



Dustin recognized some of the symbols tattooed down Joel’s huge arms. “You have many spirit and protection tattoos.” Dustin pointed to the runes running down one exposed forearm. Suddenly, he recalled his father’s ghostly finger tapping his chest over his heart. Her name. Your heart. “Hey, you gave Shane Meadowstone his ouroboric dragon tattoo, didn’t you?”

“Many years ago, yes I did.”

“Do you have the tools still?”

“Indeed I do. Are you wanting some ink?”

Dustin smiled. “Yes, I believe I do.”



A few evenings later, Dustin returned to his camp after another of his forays about the island. Ayala would be out of her dance class by now, and he planned to go to Meadowstone Manor to spend time with her and her family, after dropping off the items he’d collected. When he walked into camp, though, he found Ayala taking a pot of stew off the fire.

Standing, she rushed into his arms for a kiss. Go home to your wife. He tightened his arms around her, expelling a happy sigh into her hair. Coming home to her felt so good, and so right. “I was going to come see you after I dropped my things off,” he explained, dropping the ruck sack onto the ground beside them and shrugging off his jacket.



“I decided to surprise you with dinner. You’re hungry aren’t you? Everything’s taken care of for the day at Mother’s house, so I thought I’d spend the evening here with you.” She slid her hands under his shirt, hugging him. “I wish it wasn’t so cold all the time now. I liked it better when you didn’t wear a shirt,” she giggled, her hands sliding up his chest. Catching her wrists, he laughed with her.

Mother’s house? Not ‘home’? “And what a wonderful surprise it is. I’m hungry, but maybe not for food,” he winked at her, and then laughed at her look of mock surprise. “What? You just said you wanted my shirt off, I only want to make you happy!” He began unbuttoning his shirt. It was the perfect moment to show her.

Looking down at her, he got lost in her violet eyes for a moment. Your blood, her bloodAlready you are linked with her, by magick and blood. Dustin’s expression turned suddenly serious, and a shock rocketed down his spine. Wonderingly, he ran his hands down her arms, touching a finger to her belly. Your blood, her blood.

She carries our child.



“Dustin what is it? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost!”

Dustin shook his head, dispelling the haze. “I did see a ghost.” He finished unbuttoning his shirt as she watched, both amused and confused. “Ayala.” He loosed the last button and slid his shirt off of his arms, revealing his bare chest, and Joel’s handiwork. “You have my heart. You are my heart. I am yours.”



Ayala gasped when she saw the tattoo. He’d branded himself with her name. Over his heart. The significance was not lost on her. Her fingers reached to touch the tattoo, then her fingers splayed across it, and he held her hand there for a moment. She could feel his heart racing beneath her fingers.

“I love you,” he said softly, touching her cheek. “Please say you’ll marry me.”



Ayala’s mind suddenly flashed back to a day, 5 years before, when Dustin’s twin sisters had left Ouroboros for Moonlight Falls.

I wish you weren’t leaving.” Ayala spontaneously hugged Natalia. “But I do wish you’d take that brother of yours with you.”

“Dustin? Psh. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you liked him.”

“Gross.” An indelicate snort came from Ayala as she tossed her strawberry hair.

“Whatever. You’ll probably marry him.”

Suddenly, Ayala started laughing, and Dustin’s eyes widened, not sure what to make of it. At the look on his face, she only laughed harder. “Natalia was right!” she gasped, catching her breath.




“The day she left, she said I would marry you. And she was right, I’m going to marry you.” She jumped into his arms, knowing without a doubt that he would catch her, and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Yes. I say yes.”


daisy_flowersStory and Challenge notes:

The love story of Dustin and Ayala was the only remaining storyline of generation 1. Now that they have found each other, this concludes the Generation 1 story!

The only remaining roll to fulfill for generation 1 is Perfect Children. Carrick and Ayala have both achieved that, Jace is very close, and the quads have begun the last phase of their development in that regard as well. As the storyline doesn’t include things like stoves and cars, as children, they all had to spend extra time skilling–fishing, in their case. And the teens had to take a second after-school activity, as well as further expand their skills.

Although the “rules” state that essentially you “lose” if a roll is not completed before the founder/heir dies, I play this Random Legacy Challenge and tell its story for fun, so I’m not going to scrap an entire generation because the founder died before her children aged into young adults (Lilith has now passed on in the legacy save). In the spirit of the challenge, however, Jace and the quads will all complete the Perfect Children goal, even though we are now shifting to Annika’s story.

I hope you’ve loved Lilith and Shane and their family as much as I have! And thank you Sunny for Dustin’s tattoo! You can find more of her work on her blog, under downloads.

An epilogue will follow in a couple days, which will tie up any loose ends and set the stage for Annika’s story.

Thanks for reading! If you’re a lurker out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts!