Westfall Witch's Cottage - NO CC

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Uploaded: 21st Jul 2021 at 5:55 AM
Updated: 28th Jul 2021 at 2:36 AM
Here’s my submission for the current theme! When I saw “cottage” I figured it just had to be a witch’s cottage, right? Plus it lets me give voice to a bit more of the fantasy world I’m gradually building for my more fantasy-inspired creations, so I can start filling in some of the blanks in the Westfall Kingdoms and Stormwall to the north, and you can start imaging what the threatening Iron Circle and the distant Three Emperors are before I actually have any creations for them!

This is also probably the most straightforward lot that I’ve created under this fantasy umbrella, since it really is just a reasonably-sized single house for once! There’s not really anything complicated or all that strange about the layout- I suppose the exterior kitchen is probably the most unusual, and of course the witch’s workshop hidden behind the revolving bookcase in the basement. Aside from that everything is pretty much as it appears, so figuring out how best to use the space should be a cakewalk!

The general outline of the exterior was inspired by an image that, so far as I can tell, originates from user Paul Bold on ArtStation.com, who seems to have in turn drawn inspiration from an image by user G xy, so credit to them for the initial shape of the building- I just adapted it to work in TS2 and added an interior that seemed appropriate for what I was imaging from that starting point!

I used a clone for my screenshots and playtesting, and pretty much everything should work as intended. The uploaded file has never been occupied. There are always a few strange routing decisions my tester Sims seem to make regardless of layout, but since this lot is pretty straightforward, even those shouldn’t be too apparent or problematic.

It is a pricy lot despite its rustic charm and somewhat aged appearance, with a total cost of $156,053 (though that still puts it as one of the smaller and cheaper lots I’ve created!), with four playable levels.

As with everything I’ve uploaded, there is no CC included or required in this lot, so as long as you have all the expansion packs and stuff packs (or the UC), you should have no trouble with just plopping this lot right into your fantasy neighborhood and moving in a friendly neighborhood witch! If you do run into trouble though, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do to fix it!

One of the many things the old woman liked about living so far from town and the royal road was that she seldom had random passers-by coming to her door. If anyone took the time to follow the stream far enough to see her cottage tucked into a bend in the waterway, they were coming there for a reason. Usually it was some village herbalist or healer looking for insight on where to find certain herbs on the edges of the forest, but over the last few seasons, more and more threatening visitors had come to call as well. "Witch!" they would call her, and threaten to burn her cottage or even herself if she did not renounce her 'evil' ways. These men would often come bearing writs of passage from the Iron Circle, yet never seemed able to prove that this arm of the forest actually fell within the Circle's jurisdiction, and always seemed too afraid to take any action when they were actually face-to-face with their foe.

This bit of woods almost certainly wasn't subject to the Iron Circle, but the old woman didn't care either way, she would have asked the same questions of a group claiming authority from the Kingdoms of Westfall, or from the snowy peaks of Stormwall, or all the way from the Thrones of the Three Emperors, thousands of leagues distant... the men would bluster and threaten and leave, and then the next day their daughters or sons would come seeking treatment for any number of ailments. It had been that way ever since she had taken up residence in the little streamside cottage, and despite the growing threats of the Iron Circle, she knew it would stay that way until long after she had left it behind.

That misty spring morning, she was tending to the latest growth in her small stone-walled garden when she saw an unfamiliar young woman crossing the old wooden bridge over the creek below. This newcomer clearly seemed uncertain of whether or not she had made the right decision in coming, but still, she had made it this far, which made it seem likely that she had at least been sure of her decision when she first turned off the royal road. The old woman finished pruning a particularly gregarious eggplant and slowly walked over to the garden gate.

"A good morning to you!" she called out. The stranger leapt in surprise, clearly not having seen anyone outside the cottage as she approached, but the old woman was used to some of her guests being frightened when they first met, and was practiced at putting them at ease and calming frayed nerves before dealing with whatever issue had driven them to her small corner of the woods. "Would you care to come in out of the damp? The stove should still be warm enough to be more comfortable than we are out here, and I've still got the last of a loaf of lavender bread from two days past."

"Um, yes please ma'am, that sounds lovely" The young woman was clearly still nervous, but no longer seemed to be debating whether or not to run back down the forest path to the road, so it was a start. The two of them stepped inside the cottage and once they'd cut two more slices of lavender bread (and a generous pat of butter), the pair sat before the smoldering stove in the sitting room.

After they had eaten, the old woman cautiously began to try to riddle out what it was that had drawn this stranger to her cottage. It was too early in the season for a blight to have taken her family's crops, she didn't have the aura of someone who had been unlucky in love, and the spring sicknesses that appeared every few years had been mild this year. Still, the old woman knew all too well that illnesses were an ever-present threat throughout all the kingdoms, and so she began asking after the health of the newcomer's family.

When the young woman began to cry, it seemed as though there must have been an early illness that had befallen them, until she raised her eyes and the would-be-healer was surprised to see a flash of anger rather than sadness behind them.

"They threw me out!" she cried through the tears. "They threw me out and cursed me, just because the rain started when I called it! My sisters said the other farmers was talking about needing rain soon and my ma and da looked so worried, so I went out into the field and called for the rain, and it came! I thought- I thought they'd be happy, but..." and she started crying into her hands again.

The old woman sighed. It wasn't common that she had someone come to her cottage because of a sad story like this, but she'd seen it before. Especially in the smaller hamlets throughout the kingdoms, any hint of magic was almost sure to be met with hostility and fear. Depending on the village she'd once called home, the young woman might have been lucky to escape without further harm. Still, damage enough had clearly been done, and obviously this poor woman hadn't come looking for any tonic or poultice like most of her callers did.

The reason seemed obvious enough, but still, the old woman put down her plate and asked, gently, "Why did you come to me?"

"I don't... I mean, I've lived here my whole life and I remember stories from when I was growing up... and I know what people say about you... I just..." and her voice trailed off. The old woman smiled kindly and laid a hand on the crying girl's arm.

"Some of those stories are true."

The two women walked out into the garden, now clear as much of the morning's fog had burned away in the midday sun.

"These plants are truly where most of my abilities come from. I grow a little bit just to eat for myself, but once you know their secrets, plants can do so much more than just fill your belly. Those farmers in your village are so used to just looking at them as food that they can't conceive of anything else though, so they curse at anyone who can make a tonic to treat illness or a poultice to clean a wound as a witch. I'd wager even your ma's kitchen herb garden has plants in it that could do a lot more than just flavor broth if she had a mind to." The pair circled around the front of the cottage and down the rickety wooden staircase built into the rocky stream bank.

"There's plenty that comes from the rivers too, and not just this stream. Anytime a wagon caravan passes through I try to take a look at their food stores to see what I might be able to trade for. Some of the fish in rivers up near Stormwall can be frozen solid for months at a time, and they can be used to create compounds that slow damage from wounds or illnesses, and there's algae from some of the streams that flow out of the forest east of the Iron Circle that can somehow keep foods from spoiling for years... almost like magic."

The two of them entered into the small workshop built into the hillside, and the younger woman looked around, puzzled. While it was obviously a crowded space, there was nothing that immediately set it apart from any village herbalist's shop, and certainly nothing to match up with the outlandish stories she had heard.

"Expecting more? Watch this," said the old woman, and then pulled at a book on the dusty bookcase leaning against the wall. Rather than pulling it off the shelf though, she pushed it back and the whole shelf spun, revealing another small room dug even further into the riverbank. It still had the feeling of a workspace, but a dancing golden light from the bubbling cauldron in one corner gave a distinctly different aura to the room.

"I told you some of the stories were true child. Yes, I can do more with just herbs and flowers gathered from the woods than most people in the kingdoms, but that's just research and learning. Some things go beyond that though, and there's not one child born in ten thousand with the blood to do it. Seems you're one of them though." She walked over to a large leather-bound book on a stand beneath a small ivy-covered window and opened it, revealing pages covered in shifting black script.

"This is more than poultices and tonics- this is real magic, the same as you did when you called down the rain on your ma and da's fields. You're luckier than some, you managed to steer it to what you wanted to see happen, but without knowing how it works, you're like to run into trouble. You've heard the stories about me which means you know they've called me 'witch' and tried to drive me away for years, and that all just for curing blights and dousing fires when the wells ran dry... think what they'd do if magic started to actually cause pain to the village... to burn crops or sicken their animals..." The young woman shrank back in fear. "...What can I do?"

The old woman smiled kindly. "I can teach you."