The Fiers’ 18th child was born at home in San Myshuno. Whereas baby #17 had been named Elmire (meaning wealthy, famous princess) by her father, baby #18 had been named Ennik (meaning sword/sword fighter) by her mother. Adelise didn’t want a violent daughter, but she’d sensed that this child would need strength, so she gave Ennik a sword as a name and hoped it would inspire her to take heart, stand strong, and recognize her abilities.
Vampires could be a touchy subject and music was a difficult one. But they were Elmire’s biggest interests, so before Ennik’s birth, Adelise wanted to converse with Elmire about these things (unlike some other people) because Adelise loved listening to her daughter’s thoughts and never meant to discourage her even though Elmire sometimes felt that her mother was very discouraging.
Elmire’s father was a vampire and some of her sisters were vampires, but Elmire was not, or at least her parents had told her that she wasn’t and that Ennik wasn’t either, but there weren’t any differences between vampires and others before adolescence, and Elmire was still a kid, so how could they know for sure? Elmire didn’t have strong opinions about being a vampire or not being one because she didn’t want to get her hopes up either way, but she also didn’t want to be unprepared if it turned out that she was one. She wanted to know as much as she could about them.
Still, her mother insisted that there were pre-adolescence differences (they were just subtle) and that Elmire wasn’t a vampire and that she wasn’t going to suddenly become one upon aging up to a teenager either. They’d done a pre-natal scan of Elmire to check. They hadn’t done such a scan for Ennik, but Asher already had 4 vampire children. Given that and that the vampire population seemed to be hard capped at a certain number and that that number had already been exceeded, the chance of Asher having another vampire child was almost negligible (less than 1/100,000,000).
Regardless, Elmire wasn’t convinced: there was a chance! And mistakes existed, signs were sometimes missed, and there were “miracles” and exceptions, and didn’t people say that Elmire was “supernaturally” talented, so… Adelise changed the subject. She brought up the piano and praised Elmire for her piano skills.
Elmire beamed, thanked her mother, and told her that she’d been seriously considering playing “Lot of the Rising Sun” for her special performance. It wasn’t a technically difficult piece, but she liked it and she wanted to see if she could give it a new interpretation inspired by Aster.
Elmire thought she didn’t have a hope of expressing her admiration for Aster verbally because her thoughts were mostly feelings and she’d already tried using words in her journal (with the help of a dictionary and a thesaurus!), but it always came out sounding too childish (“I like my sister because she’s very beneficent”). Her feelings, however, were not childish. She wanted to tell Aster thanks because she could sense that Aster was always kind and a big help to the family even though at times that had probably been extremely hard. Elmire reasoned that she was going to try to be a good older sister to Ennik, but she didn’t have endless patience like Aster and if Ennik messed with Elmire’s journal or piano eight times, the eighth time Elmire would probably get mad and say something very unkind to Ennik with the intention of making Ennik cry.
Asher approached Liliana, the butler. Liliana remained professional, but she didn’t like speaking with him because he was always telling awful jokes, asking her to quickly and covertly fix Elmire’s doll house (after he smashed it), or criticizing her work.
Asher: Liliana, you should be discreet, loyal, nimble and alert, quick, spick and span, in apple-pie order, and enlightened.
Asher: You do things that I don’t tell you to do.
Liliana: I act when I notice something that needs to be done.
She worked hard and took her job seriously, and told herself (that this time at least) she wasn’t going tolerate any unfair criticism. Still, though, she had to make sure she was right, so she took a moment to reflect.
Among many other things, she cleaned up messes without being asked and scrubbed tubs.
She also worked as instant IT support.
And gave massages…
Did it matter if she cringed a little when he released “the Sound and the Fury”? She thought he hadn’t noticed and was that such a big mistake? Honestly, some smells cannot be ignored by even the most stoic people.
She had been reflecting, not listening to her employer, and that was a mistake. Oops.
Asher: So, here’s a raise.
Liliana: Oh. Wow. 🙂 Thank you!
Had he been criticizing her or did his praise just sound like criticism?
sirianasimsJuly 19, 2022 at 4:56 pm
Poor Liliana, this is not an easy family to work for. I completely lost it at “the Sound and the Fury” 😂 She really deserved that raise!
HaneulJuly 19, 2022 at 6:18 pm
Thanks. For an NPC, she’s excellent. She does exactly what she needs to do.
Snow ~July 20, 2022 at 1:06 am
EEEEE new lil baby! I like the name. < 3 It's good Adelise is talking to her daughter about her interests. Although I said last chapter Elmire might mistake Adelise for being discouraging, I know myself that both Adelise and Asher want the best for their children and I love that. I like the lore snippet that tests can be run to check for occultism before birth. I think Asher would somehow be disheartened if Elmire wasn't a vampire- not because of any superiority reason, but because I don't think he can bear to think about eventually losing another child to old age.
I'm glad Liliana got a raise. She deserves three for having to deal with Asher's shenanigans. I imagine he's a difficult person to work for at times XD
HaneulJuly 20, 2022 at 9:20 am
Thanks. You were right about how Elmire might interpret some of her mother’s actions as criticism even though it’s not really like that. Asher, though, knows that Elmire is not a vampire unless he has the same thoughts as her that somehow somewhere maybe some sign was missed (like the scan being misread by them or honestly by a Watcher who was not paying proper attention) or someone misunderstanding how the occult population cap works or that maybe a “miracle” will just randomly happen, but that’s not a very practical hope. He definitely doesn’t want to lose another child to old age, but I think they’re both more careful about trying to have Elmire be happy regardless.
With Liliana, I was a little surprised that she seemed to be so uncomfortable talking to Asher at first because I don’t think he was doing anything particularly off at that time. He was just making small talk before offering a raise, but working for him is definitely awkward and difficult. Still, Liliana is an excellent NPC who actually does her job and stays on tasks, so she deserves all the raises.
YimikiJuly 20, 2022 at 1:22 pm
Welcome to the world, baby Ennik! I was completely convinced that it was a boy’s name until Adelise called her a daughter in the chapter. I wonder why Adelise feels like this baby in particular will need a lot of strength in the future. It’s a bit ominous for what’s to come. =O
Aw, Elmire looks up to her vampire family, does she? Interesting how her opinions seem the complete opposite of Deli’s; in her time, she couldn’t care less about the vampirism part and was even wondering if she should go through life as a vampire at all. I wonder if this is just a child admiring what’s different from her own and just wanting it because it’s new and shiny, or craving something that would bring her closer to some family members.
The Sound and the Fury 😂🤣 Asher might have been complimenting her but hoo boy did it sound like unfair criticism right until he gave her the raise. Asher’s way of doing things socially is… well it’s always like that, isn’t it? 😆 At least he’s trying. Good on him for looking after his employees and giving them raises when they deserve them. That’s leagues better than many employers in this day and age, too. 😐
HaneulJuly 20, 2022 at 8:19 pm
Thanks — You’re right that Elmire seems quite different from Deli. Deli grew up with 4 human siblings who were extremely close to her in age. When Deli was young, Asher worked longer hours than he does now, had 4 other young children to look after, and was even more socially awkward. Deli didn’t mesh that well with him and she was envious of how he seemed to view Aster. At the same time, Deli was intimidated by Aster and her 2 other vampire siblings were older and rarely visited. So it was a little lonely for her as a vampire. Perhaps ironically, as you noticed, Elmire is in an almost opposite position so maybe that’s why her feelings seem almost the opposite. The only sibling Elmire lives with (not counting Ennik who was just born) is Deli, who is a vampire, but they’re not close in age at all. Elmire likes her father a lot and spends a lot of time with him. She’s not intimidated by or envious of Aster either and even though her mother isn’t a vampire, her mother’s also not typical. Elmire probably has a lot of confidence too from having been the youngest for so long. Everyone gave her attention, and the vampires rarely sleep so they had even more time and attention to give her.
But, to be clear, Elmire is not saying that she wants to be a vampire. She just autonomously and happily brings up vampire things all the time (which perhaps means that deep-down she does want to be a vampire), but she’s a smart enough kid to know that unless you enjoy painful disappointment, it’s not good to really hope/pray for something big that your mother tells you is certain not to happen. There is a small chance that something was missed and Elmire’ll find out she’s a vampire when she turns into a teenager, so as a kid she can cling to that potential and hope she’s 1/100,000,000 or whatever odds, but… in more ways than one, growing up can be rough and steal a child’s hope/potential.
Anyway, I’m amused that you initially thought of Ennik as a boy. The name definitely sounds a bit masculine, especially given its meaning, but I think it’s mostly used for girls, so I didn’t really consider that people may feel slightly tricked reading the beginning paragraphs.