In The Sims 4, Sims may duel each other for loot and bragging rights. But losing a duel is not without its possible repercussions. The Hex of the Duelist is a curse that can be acquired by spellcaster Sims who lose a number of duels in quick succession. The hex makes it easy to challenge people to duels but more difficult to win. One may infer that the individual in question is overcome with inexplicable rage over their recent string of bad fortune.
It’s been since March 2021 that we’ve seen PERKINS: MISTER, during which she advised BRONALD WEASLIE regarding a handwritten letter he received from the strange LENARD TRELAINE, a name with which she was passingly familiar with due to her time with the associates of the VAMPIRE VLADISLAUS STRAUD. THE DOCTOR, styling himself as a MISTER, implored the WEASLIE’s business to enter a contract with the NSR.
Soon afterward, the dognapped DEXX was recovered by his master, MANDARC, during the events of MANDARC: WARRIOR. FRIDAY PERKINS & BRONALD WEASLIE, enjoying a leisurely evening of television and Internet browsing, are interrupted by MANDARC, STRAUD, KEVIN, & CEDRIC. FRIDAY was vicious toward her former boyfriend, holding nothing back in an attempt to guard her pride, while MANDARC focused his energy on avoiding her attacks. During the duel, STRAUD tries to reason with WEASLIE, whom he regards as a former friend and ally, but the young man seems unable to muster the comprehension STRAUD expected.
STRAUD gives his apprentice MANDARC aid during the battle and the woman is bested, though STRAUD commands MANDARC to show mercy. STRAUD modifies the memory of PERKINS & WEASLIE, leaving a gap in their minds regarding the night’s skirmish.
The dog is long-gone and returned to New York City when another sunrise appears over the midwest…
// WEASLIE HOUSE //
FRIDAY PERKINS, a woman with a wavy mass of fine brown hair, wakes from the bare floor to a quiet house. Her eyes are red, a rarity even among magic-users. But in the silence of the early morning, she struggles to grasp full consciousness, no different than anyone else waking from a strange dream.
She looks up first to the large window, wired throughout in an ornate fashion. She furrows her brow, unsure if she’s to trust the sight before her.
[thinking] Wasn’t it … broken?
But her thought stands on shaky ground. The window was clearly not broken. And why should it be?
Panic sets in.
PERKINS looks around her. The fear of the shattered window lingers as she surveys the floor. She half-imagines a sea of glass shards upon the floor. But confusion grips her as no such hazard fills the living room.
Her heart calms when she finally spies WEASLIE – He’s asleep on the couch, wrapped inside a red blanket. She releases her breath unsteadily, trying to calm herself.
She brings her hand up to her forehead. A headache surges through her temple. She looks again around the room. The lights are still on.
…Had they been drinking last night…?
She considers calling out for WEASLIE, but the sight of his slumber makes her think better of it.
[thinking] If he’s resting, I might as well let him rest.
PERKINS looks around the room yet again. But nothing has changed. The window seems to laugh at her insistence.
It all seemed so surreal. Just a few short years ago, she’d graduated from MYRTLE’s academy. And here she was, sleeping on the floor in a house in Saint Louie.
The noise of birdsong trickles into the room. The trees were densely crowded outside, almost forest, affording a fair amount of privacy to the householders. Nature seems to care nothing for her mental frenzy.
Try as she might, she can’t remember cracking into a bottle of liquor, wine… Nothing. She had a bad habit of arranging cans of hard seltzer in a row next to the computer desk. And yet, there was nothing there.
WEASLIE snores gently.
But she can’t shake the feeling that something strange has happened.
The WEASLIE HOUSE is an unusual layout; the kitchen and dining room fell on the second floor. PERKINS, with some effort, crawls to her feet and walks up the stairs. She’s tired, but not the supernatural sloth that would grip the body after a night of heavy drinking. And yet, indeed, her body is tired. As if she’d been lifting. Something about it felt good.
The second floor is quiet. A window in the dining room is cracked. The air is clean and cool. She can smell the threat of autumn on the wind.
She looks in the garbage cans, half-expecting to see the forgotten remnants of a long night, but there’s nothing important there.
She reaches in, daring even to push aside other leavings, searching for anything that might have held alcohol.
NOTHING? –NOT ANYTHING?!
The garbage can holds no wisdom for the young witch. She pushes the contents around, scraping the bottom of the can. The liner is clear, allowing the color of the plastic to show through. Nothing meaningful.
She straightens her back and looks about the room, as if embarrassed at the prospect of getting caught rummaging in the garbage can.
She turns around and walks to the kitchen sink. She flips the faucet on, both hot and cold, and the water spills into the sink. Her hands are lathered up with soap when she has a sudden realization about the contents of the kitchen.
There is a plastic bowl on the floor.
Her head is twisting at the neck, craning around stiffly, not believing that such an object would be the only clue she could yet find.
She rinses her hands and turns around to face the strange finding.
It’s bright red, round, and just matte enough to suggest that it’s not straight off the shelf.
A DOG? WE DON’T HAVE A DOG…
She looks around the area. Everything else seems normal. Is this all that’s out of place?
The bowl is empty but shines dully in the light.
It’s been licked clean.
PERKINS has the bowl in her hands when she hears the sound of WEASLIE ascending the stairs.
The speech highlights a growing fear in her gut. Inside this house are two alone with only their magic to protect them.
MORNING. HOW’S IT GOING?
NOT WELL, NOT WELL.
PERKINS raises the plastic bowl in her hand without removing her tense gaze at WEASLIE.
HAVE WE EVER OWNED A DOG?
WEASLIE spies the bowl in her hand. Her question is leading but it still doesn’t answer the mystery of the dog bowl.
I FOUND THIS ON THE FLOOR. SOMEONE SNUCK INTO THE HOUSE LAST NIGHT.
WE WERE IN THE LIVING ROOM.
I KNOW, BUT–
[interrupting] WHY WOULD SOMEONE LEAVE A DOG BOWL IN OUR HOUSE?
SOME KIND OF BAD JOKE OR SOMETHING.
YEAH BUT HOW ELSE DID IT GET HERE?
A SPELL BACKFIRE?
I GUESS IT’S POSSIBLE… JUST… SEEMS WEIRD.
I DON’T THINK I WORKED ANY MAGIC LAST NIGHT.
I… HAVEN’T KNOWN…
They both look at the bowl. The working of magic often had mysterious side effects but it seemed unlikely the effect in question wouldn’t have been noticed by the wizard.
WHERE’D YOU FIND IT?
ON THE FLOOR, OVER THERE IN THE KITCHEN.
She points toward a spot on the floor not too far from the garbage can. WEASLIE walks over to the noted location and waves his hand through the area, as if inspecting for trip wire.
WHERE’S THE WATER DISH?
He is suddenly apologetic. He straightens his back and meets her eyes again.
I KNOW YOU ARE, BABE. SORRY.
I JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE THE HELL THIS CAME FROM! WHY’S IT HERE?
The room is saturated with silence tainted by PERKIN’s fear.
MAYBE ONE OF THE GUYS LEFT IT AS A PRACTICAL JOKE.
WE WERE ASLEEP IN THE LIVING ROOM!
MAYBE THEY LEFT IT A FEW DAYS AGO AND WE JUST DIDN’T NOTICE IT UNTIL TODAY.
She doesn’t like this explanation. It’s unlikely enough; she’s fastidious and obsessive.
… I KNOW WE’D HAVE PROBABLY NOTICED IT BY NOW, BUT–
WHAT KIND OF STUPID JOKE?! WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
WEASLIE shrugs. He tries to force a half-smile.
I NEVER KNOW WITH THESE GUYS.
There is nothing to say in response. PERKINS clearly doesn’t believe him but what is there to contest? With what evidence can she refute his claim?
Frozen in uncertainty, she looks from WEASLIE to the bowl and back again.
She walks over to the kitchen sink and throws the bowl in the bottom of the sink.
She stands still, looking at the bowl. The room is quiet in her discomfort.
I’LL FIND OUT WHO LEFT IT, OKAY?
He speaks toward her back, the sound echoing through the open space. It was true something felt disturbed but he was more concerned about his companion’s worry than he was with his own.
PERKINS breaks the silence without looking back toward him.
YOU GOIN’ INTO WORK TODAY?
I DON’T HAVE TO.
YOU WANT ME TO STAY IN?
… YEAH. MAYBE.
FRIDAY runs the water, washing her hands. Bubbles fall into the dog bowl, but she just leaves them where they are.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR BREAKFAST?
She tries to feign normalcy. Something flashes back to her time at the Magicademy, where she’d always kept up walls, trying to seem as cool and capable as was possible. She’d wanted there to be no possible reason for anyone to doubt her capabilities.
I’LL PICK AROUND.
DID WE DRINK LAST NIGHT?
I DON’T THINK SO.
She can’t just let it go.
She opens the refrigerator and bends down to peer inside. On the top shelf, in the back, is a large container of plain yogurt. FRIDAY removes it from the chamber and closes the door. The chill reminds her that she’s not looking forward to the winter months inching upon them.
Inside the cupboard is a jar of honey, the bottom of which is beginning to show the yellow of crystallization.
DID YOU DRINK LAST NIGHT?
FRIDAY pours a healthy dollop of honey atop the yogurt. There is so little left, it appears that she’s just going to eat it directly from the container.
NO. I JUST DON’T FEEL WELL. LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO BLAME.
She uses her finger to clean the remains of the poured honey from the screw-top jar. She licks her finger and replaces the jar into the cabinet. Guilt pushes her to rinse the offending finger with water from the sink.
WEASLIE steps forward, fully into the kitchen, and pulls open a silverware drawer. He digs around for a few seconds, aiming for a particular spoon.
He presents it to her as soon as she turns around.
THIS ONE, RIGHT? YOUR FAVORITE?
It was true. The gesture is touching and well-received.
Breakfast passes with deliberation. The pair try to make light conversation, anything to distract from the strangeness that rose with them that morning.
But the mood is somber and unresolved. WEASLIE still insists that it’s a bad joke from one of his crew. He apologizes profusely but offers to go into work in an attempt to discover the root of the joke.
In less than an hour, WEASLIE has left and coffee cups litter the bottom of the sink.
A quiet sets in after WEASLIE’s car leaves the driveway. FRIDAY had a habit of wishing people gone, then lamenting their absence.
She leaves the second floor and descends to the first floor. She checks the front door.
A peace filling her, she sits down at the computer desk.
She had been looking for work. For months after leaving New York City, she’d sat on her ass, twiddled her thumbs, enjoying the sound of silence. But nothing lasted forever.
The monitor’s glow reflects off her face, the computer taking its sweet time to load up. Impatience overwhelms her and she picks up her phone and flips through its notifications.
She has a sizeable number of emails from unwelcome senders but one name seems a little less than random.
DEAR FRIDAY PERKINS:
THE REVOLUTION IS UPON US.
YOU HAVE FETCHED THE MAIL, NOW YOU MUST GO FORTH AND RETRIEVE YOUR DESTINY.
THANK YOU FOR ENCOURAGING MR BRONALD WEASLIE TO CONNECT WITH MY FRIENDS. I AM SURE THE OPPORTUNITY WILL BENEFIT US ALL.
WE ARE NOT SO UNALIKE, YOU AND I. WE ARE BOTH ORPHANS, FOR ONE.
She looks up from the phone to try to soak in the strange letter.
HOW DOES HE KNOW THAT I’M AN ORPHAN? I SUPPOSE MOST STUDENTS AT THE MAGICADEMY WERE BUT CERTAINLY NOT ALL.
COULD IT BE WHEN HE WAS FRIENDS WITH –
But her mind draws a blank. As if she’d forgotten the name of someone she shouldn’t have. An old friend who’d be ashamed to know she was so careless with names.
An anger begins to flare in her at the inability to recall.
WE ARE BOTH ORPHANS, FOR ONE. THOUGH YOUR STORY IS MUCH MORE TRAGIC THAN MINE. I HAD A CLUSTER OF “MOTHERS” THAT BUSTLED ABOUT MY CARE AND TRAINING. WHAT DID YOU HAVE? A SINGLE ELDERLY WOMAN WHO TAUGHT YOU A FEW MAGIC TRICKS?
I CAN DO BETTER. IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU TO LEARN.
THE HEADMISTRESS OF YOUR SCHOOL HAS DIED. YOU CAN LEARN NO MORE FROM HER. BUT YOUR AMBITION REMAINS, DOES IT NOT? THE WOMAN TAUGHT CHILDREN BECAUSE THAT IS ALL WHOM SHE WAS FIT TO TEACH. SHE TURNED YOU OUT AS IF YOUR TRAINING WERE DONE BUT THAT IS FAR FROM THE CASE. YOU HAVE ONLY JUST BEGUN.
SIGNED, DR LENARD TRELAINE.
She repeats the name a few times over in her mind.
But that doesn’t seem right and she places her hand on her temples as if nursing an intense headache. No actual pain, just the irritation of… a misplaced memory.
I’VE GOT TO STOP DRINKING.
It hits her all of a sudden that MYRTLE MARSCAPONE was dead.
She hadn’t thought often of the old woman in the recent months but for a significant part of her life, the old CRONE had played the part of mother and teacher. And yet, those years seemed further away than they ever had.
Should she reach out and deliver her condolences?
But to whom? FRIDAY had made few friends at the school. And with the few with whom she’d been friendly, she hadn’t kept up. A death in the family hardly seemed a proper reason to contact estranged acquaintances. Perhaps it was for others, but she wanted no part in that.
She flips back to the email, opening up her idled phone.
Her eyes gloss over LENARD TRELAINE’s strange email.
Whatever had happened to the CRONE’s son?