Ewg skin deep

Natural Beauty

2010.09.23 20:12 Haven Natural Beauty


2019.06.05 16:31 live_wire_ happy pride, fellow queers!

Examples of shoehorning the inclusion in.

2014.01.29 19:13 itschvy also known as acute vesiculobullous hand eczema, dyshidrotic eczema pompholyx

Dyshidrosis is a skin condition that is characterized by small blisters on the hands or feet. It is an acute, chronic, or recurrent dermatosis of the fingers, palms, and soles, characterized by a sudden onset of many deep-seated pruritic, clear vesicles; later, scaling, fissures and lichenification occur. Recurrence is common and for many can be chronic.

2023.05.30 06:49 dlschindler Terror Of Leaving The Rude World Behind

Lies are so polite. Honest people have no friends. Nobody wants the truth, not when the lies are what make them happy.
And when the truth, the rude truth, dispels those safe and happy lies, there is a very special kind of horror. I experienced it as terror, as I was forced to learn all about the truth of the real world.
I've spent years as a therapist, delving into the depths of the human psyche and trying to help those burdened by their own demons. My practice has seen its fair share of troubled individuals, but none quite like the three patients I currently attend to. Each one possesses a unique darkness that sets them apart from the rest of my clientele.
First, there's Thomas, a middle-aged man whose words cut through the air like a razor-sharp blade. His brutally honest nature spares no one, as he revels in frankness. He spews forth his bitterness, never holding back his cruel rudeness. It's as if he derives pleasure from watching others squirm under the weight of his words.
Then there's Emily, a woman of few filters and even fewer boundaries. Her honesty is a double-edged sword, slicing through the facade of social niceties with surgical precision, with scathing candor. She has no qualms about revealing uncomfortable truths, making every session a tense dance of revelations and discomfort.
Lastly, there's Jacob, whose coldness could freeze the warmest of hearts. His icy demeanor and calculated words chill the room whenever he speaks. He thrives on manipulation, using his intellect to exploit vulnerabilities and leave emotional wreckage in his wake.
These three patients have tested the limits of my own resilience, forcing me to confront the darkest corners of the human psyche. Little did I know that soon I would encounter a terror beyond anything I had encountered within the confines of my therapy office.
In the dimly lit room of my therapy office, I listen to the unsettling confessions of my three patients. As their therapist, I've grown accustomed to their brutality, their unfiltered honesty. But it's in the aftermath of my aunt's funeral, on that fateful night when my car stalled in the desolate darkness, that I would come face to face with a horror beyond comprehension.
The funeral of my beloved aunt weighed heavily on my heart as I made my way back home, the clock ticking past midnight. Exhausted and emotionally drained, I navigated the winding roads that cut through the barren countryside. The night wrapped around me like a suffocating shroud, and a sense of unease settled deep within.
Suddenly, my car sputtered and came to a halt. Panic coursed through my veins as I desperately tried to restart the engine, but to no avail. With a sinking feeling, I realized there was no cell signal in this desolate stretch of road, leaving me stranded in the oppressive darkness.
I stepped out of the car, the chill of the night embracing me like an unwelcome companion. The moon cast an eerie glow on the silent landscape, emphasizing the desolation that surrounded me. I had no choice but to abandon the safety of my vehicle and venture forth on foot in search of help.
As I walked, the world around me transformed. The familiar countryside gave way to an unfamiliar path, lined with gnarled trees that seemed to whisper secrets in the wind. The air grew heavy, laden with an otherworldly presence that sent shivers cascading down my spine.
After what felt like an eternity, I stumbled upon an exit sign, its rusty metal gleaming faintly in the moonlight. With a mix of trepidation and hope, I followed the arrow, hoping it would lead me to some semblance of civilization.
As I passed through the exit, a peculiar town emerged from the shadows, shrouded in an unsettling silence. The streets, devoid of life, stretched out before me like a labyrinth of forgotten dreams. Inky pools of darkness clung to the corners, stubbornly resisting the feeble rays of the rising sun. It was as if the town itself had been tainted by a sinister force, refusing to surrender to the light.
I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a cracked storefront window, and a shiver shot down my spine. The glass distorted my features, twisting them into a grotesque mockery of myself. Before I could fully comprehend the sight, whispers reached my ears—inhuman voices murmuring in the shadows.
Words like "truth" and "bringer" slithered through the air, chilling me to the bone. It was as if unseen entities were aware of my presence, aware of my role as a dispenser of truth in my profession. The weight of their attention pressed heavily upon me, filling me with a sense of foreboding.
As I cautiously explored the desolate streets, I encountered a townsperson—a perfect mirror image of one of my patients. Seeking assistance, I approached a townsperson who bore an uncanny resemblance to Thomas, my patient known for his brutal honesty.
With a polite smile adorning his face, the townsperson greeted me. "Good day, sir. How may I assist you?" His words dripped with an unsettling charm, a stark contrast to Thomas's usual abrasive nature.
"I'm in need of help. My car broke down, and I require a tow truck or a mechanic," I explained, trying to maintain my composure despite the growing unease within me.
The townsperson's smile remained unwavering as he replied, "I'm terribly sorry to hear about your predicament, but unfortunately, our town is quite isolated, and the services you seek are not readily available. You see, there's no mechanic around, and our tow truck is currently out of commission."
His response sent a chill down my spine, for I knew that Thomas would never shy away from speaking the unfiltered truth. The stark contrast between the patient's brutal honesty and the townsperson's polished lies made the conversation all the more disturbing.
Undeterred, I pressed on, determined to find a solution. "Is there a place nearby where I can make a phone call to seek assistance?"
The townsperson's expression remained placid as he nodded. "Of course, we have a public phone booth just around the corner. However, I must warn you, the line seems to be down at the moment. Perhaps you can try later."
A sense of unease gnawed at me. The deception in his words was palpable. I couldn't help but wonder if this facade of politeness was merely a thin veil concealing something far more sinister.
Growing hungrier by the minute, I decided to inquire about a place to grab a bite to eat. "Is there a restaurant or a café nearby where I can find some food?"
The townsperson's smile widened, his eyes gleaming with an unsettling glimmer. "Ah, I'm afraid all our dining establishments are currently closed for renovations. You won't find anything open at this hour. I apologize for the inconvenience."
Every word he spoke felt like a twist of the knife, the pleasant tone mocking my desperation. It was as if the entire town conspired to deny me even the most basic assistance.
As I ventured deeper into the enigmatic town, my desperation intensified. Seeking aid for my stranded car, I approached a townsperson who bore an uncanny resemblance to Emily, my patient known for her scathing candor.
She greeted me with a disarming smile, her eyes glinting with a deceptive warmth. "Hello there, stranger. What brings you to our humble town?"
Feeling a sense of unease, I mustered the courage to explain my predicament. "My car broke down, and I'm in need of assistance. Is there a mechanic or a service station nearby?"
Emily's smile remained fixed, her voice dripping with saccharine sweetness. "Oh, how unfortunate. I'm afraid our town is quite secluded, and we don't have any mechanics or service stations here. It's such a pity, isn't it?"
Her response sent a shiver down my spine, for I knew all too well the biting honesty that usually emanated from Emily's words. The stark contrast between her usual cruel rudeness and the townsperson's polite deceit heightened the unnerving atmosphere.
Undeterred, I decided to probe further. "Is there a place nearby where I can make a phone call to seek help?"
Emily's eyes gleamed with a chilling delight as she nodded. "Why, yes, there is a phone booth just around the corner. However, I must warn you, the line has been acting up lately. It seems luck is not on your side today."
A knot tightened in my stomach, the realization of their collective deception growing clearer. This town had woven an intricate web of lies, and each encounter served to deepen my unease.
Growing weary and famished, I sought information about a place to satisfy my hunger. "Are there any restaurants or cafés where I can find something to eat?"
Emily's smile widened, revealing a hint of something unsettling beneath the surface. "Ah, I'm afraid all our dining establishments are closed for a private event. They won't be open to the public for quite some time. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."
Her words sent a chill coursing through my veins. The townsperson's demeanor was an unsettling reflection of Emily's uncensored honesty, twisted into a sickening semblance of pleasantness. It was as if the town reveled in tormenting me, taunting my helplessness with their deceptive charm.
As I continued my journey through the mysterious town, a sense of foreboding weighed heavily upon me. Seeking aid for my broken-down car, I approached a townsperson who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jacob, my patient known for his cruel rudeness.
A twisted smile spread across the townsperson's face as our eyes met. "Well, well, what do we have here? Another lost soul in need of help?"
My heart skipped a beat, for the malicious glint in their eyes mirrored Jacob's usual sadistic pleasure in causing pain. The contrast between his usual brutal demeanor and the townsperson's chilling charm sent a shiver down my spine.
Summoning my courage, I explained my predicament. "My car has stalled, and I require assistance. Is there a mechanic or a service station nearby?"
The townsperson's smile grew wider, revealing rows of unnaturally sharp teeth. Their voice took on a sinister tone as they replied, "Oh, dear traveler, how unfortunate. Our town is quite isolated, you see, and the mechanics here have a penchant for breaking more than they fix. It's best to avoid their services, if you value your life."
A surge of unease swept through me, the words sinking deep into my core. The townsperson's perverse enjoyment in my misfortune left no doubt that they relished in the suffering of others.
Refusing to succumb to fear, I pressed on. "Is there a place nearby where I can make a phone call to seek help?"
Their laughter, low and menacing, echoed through the empty streets. "Ah, a phone call, you say? How quaint. Our town isn't one for modern conveniences. The phones here... well, let's just say they have a mind of their own. They tend to connect you to places you never wished to reach."
A chill ran down my spine, the revelation leaving me trembling. It was as if the town itself conspired to keep me trapped, severed from any means of outside assistance.
Growing increasingly desperate, I inquired about a place to find sustenance. "Are there any restaurants or cafés where I can find something to eat?"
The townsperson's eyes gleamed with a sinister delight, their voice dripping with malice. "Ah, food... sustenance for the weak. I must warn you, stranger, our town's cuisine is... unique. It caters to more peculiar tastes, if you catch my drift. But fear not, for we have delicacies that will make your skin crawl."
My stomach churned at their words, the realization that this town reveled in the macabre sinking in. The contrast between Jacob's cruel rudeness and the townsperson's wicked charm only served to heighten the pervading sense of horror.
With every interaction, I could feel the town's grip on reality loosening, and the true nature of its inhabitants unveiling itself in unsettling ways.
With a sinking feeling, I realized that the veneer of politeness in this town concealed something far more malevolent. The contrast between my patients' cruel candor and the townspeople's twisted facades served only to deepen the sense of dread that hung heavy in the air.
Questions burned within me, demanding answers. I demanded honesty from these townspeople who insisted on politely lying about their inability to help me. Their deceit extended beyond the realm of car repairs and basic necessities—it seeped into every corner of this enigmatic place, where even the simplest requests were met with pleasant but false assurances.
Driven by my thirst for truth and growing frustration with the townspeople's deceptive façades, I delved deeper into the heart of this enigmatic place. With every step, the atmosphere grew heavier, and an air of impending doom seemed to hang in the murky shadows.
Unbeknownst to me, my relentless pursuit of honesty had begun to unravel something dark and ancient. Ominous portents manifested in the form of flickering streetlights and whispers that danced on the edge of my consciousness. The town itself seemed to pulsate with an unseen energy, as if it were a living entity responding to my unsettling inquiries.
As I caught glimpses of my reflection in broken glass and shattered mirrors, my own visage twisted and contorted. It was as if the very act of seeking truth had tainted my soul, leaving visible scars on the surface. Each crack in the glass seemed to mirror the fractures within my own psyche.
The inhuman voices that had whispered before grew louder, their words filling my mind with their sinister presence. They spoke of a bringer of truth, a harbinger of revelations that could shatter the delicate equilibrium of this town and unleash untold horrors upon its unsuspecting inhabitants.
I was drawn to confront the townspeople once more, hoping to break through their veneer of politeness and unearth the hidden truths they guarded so fervently. However, as I ventured deeper into their midst, a chilling realization took hold—an entity lurked within the shadows, feeding off the collective denial and deception of this town.
As the day wore on, the sun began its descent, casting elongated shadows that danced upon the desolate streets of the eerie town. Doubt and unease gnawed at the edges of my sanity, but I refused to succumb. Determined to find a way out, I continued my search for assistance, unaware of the horrors that awaited me.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a figure approaching. As they drew nearer, a cold sweat broke out across my brow. The person who stood before me bore an uncanny resemblance, mirroring my own visage. It was as if I were looking into a grotesque reflection of myself.
I stammered, my voice trembling with disbelief. "Who... who are you?"
The doppelgänger grinned, their eyes gleaming with an otherworldly light. "Ah, my dear visitor, it seems we share more than just an appearance. I am but a fragment of the truth you seek."
Confusion gripped me as I struggled to comprehend their cryptic words. "What truth? What do you mean?"
They leaned closer, their breath chilling against my skin. "This town, this facade, it is a sanctuary. A sanctuary that hides a truth so abhorrent, so unspeakable, that the collective acknowledgment of it would grant it unimaginable power."
My mind reeled, the fabric of reality fraying at the edges. Was this some twisted delusion or a glimpse into a sinister reality?
Refusing to believe their words, I clung to the remnants of my sanity. "No, this cannot be true. You're just trying to deceive me, to keep me trapped here!"
The doppelgänger's grin widened, their eyes devoid of empathy. "Believe what you will, but know this: by revealing the truth, you risk damning not only yourself but all who inhabit this wretched place."
A chill wind swept through the town, whispering haunting melodies that seemed to echo the doppelgänger's words. Shadows swirled, tendrils of darkness creeping closer.
Fear and desperation mingled within me, tearing at the fragile threads of my sanity. I had ventured too far, dared to seek answers that were better left unspoken.
Before I could react, the doppelgänger was engulfed by the encroaching darkness. Their form contorted and twisted, morphing into a grotesque, malevolent version of myself. The horrors I had encountered in this town had taken physical shape, manifesting as a twisted caricature of who I once was.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting the town into a suffocating gloom, the other townsfolk emerged from the shadows, their distorted visages revealing the true extent of their malevolence.
Driven by their anger at my disruption of their carefully constructed facade, they advanced toward me, their polite words of harmlessness contrasting grotesquely with the weapons they brandished.
Terrified, I turned and fled, the haunting cries of the mirror versions of my patients echoing behind me. The town had rejected me, casting me out into the night, a lone survivor grappling with the lingering doubts of my own sanity.
Days later, when a kind soul finally stopped to help me on the desolate road, I searched for the town on maps and GPS, but it had vanished without a trace. A chilling realization settled upon me: the town existed beyond the realms of conventional reality, a dark pocket where truth and sanity intertwined, forever questioning the limits of human comprehension.
As I drove away, the memories of that nightmarish encounter etched deep within my mind, I vowed never to speak of the town again, burying the chilling secret deep within the recesses of my soul.
submitted by dlschindler to joinmeatthecampfire [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:49 Adam-best Deep Moisturizing & Exfoliating Feet Peel Mask (1 Pair Set) Allow your feet to exfoliate naturally leaving them highly moisturized by these unique formulae of 17 types of natural extracts. This effective and gentle process removes the unwanted dead skin cells that have built up layer after layer.

submitted by Adam-best to BestDealsOfTheDay_ [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:40 knowledge_dragon 24 NB4F/NB Georgia/Anywhere Looking for new friends and romantic connections!

Hi! I'm Dylan (they/them). I turned 24 a few months ago and am primarily looking to meet new friends and something that could develop into a long-term relationship. I currently live in Georgia, but am actively looking to move out of the south. I'm demi, like taking things slow, and am primarily aesthetically attracted to femininity or androgyny regardless of gender.
A little bit more about me:
  • Physically, I'm 6'1", shaved head, pale skin, blue eyes, and a fairly slim build (albeit I gained and am currently losing some fall/winter weight). Presentation-wise I'd say I'm more "soft-masculine" I guess? My fashion is minimalist with lots of natural colors but I like to throw in more feminine accessories/earrings or painting my nails. I've tried more feminine fashion and I like it, but not all the time and not enough to wear regularly. I love colder weather since I get to wear all my favorite sweaters and scarves! I used to be a gym rat in college and I'm getting back to my old gym habits, which is really exciting.
  • I'm looking into developing a more androgynous style since I think that'd be cool as fuck.
  • I work as software engineer and I love programming and messing with computers. From the moment I was exposed to programming I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. I use Arch btw.
  • I love cats and sharing pictures of my sweet furry friend.
  • I've been described by others as sensitive, empathetic, and thoughtful. I'm pretty introverted and shy in group situations but love having thoughtful conversations and learning about people and what they are passionate about and why. I'm very affectionate and cuddly towards people I'm close to, while being cognizant of their boundaries of course.
  • My greatest passion is competitive fighting games, mainly the Guilty Gear series. Playing and studying the game, going to tournaments both local and afar, and interacting with the community bring me immense joy. Starting in late 2022 I've been traveling and taking weekend trips to bigger tournaments, and I'm always training for the next event!
  • I deeply love music and play a few instruments, but I've mainly been focusing on classical guitar. Neutral Milk Hotel is my favorite band of all time, but I'm constantly exploring lots of music across pretty much every genre. I have soft spots for jazz, folk, prog/math rock, some alt rock, and psych rock though. In the classical world I tend to be drawn to the Romantic period composers. I also collect vinyl!
  • Running, longboarding, or skateboarding through local parks is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors. I also enjoy hiking, but never really go unless it's with others.
  • Huge coffee nerd and night owl. Those are probably related. Figuring out people's coffee tastes and brewing them a cup they love is really fulfilling.
  • I'm vegan for the animals and I'll gladly cook badass vegan meals for people.
  • I read a little bit every day. Right now I'm reading Thinking, Fast and Slow and the Dune series (really excited for the new movie!). My favorite novel is definitely The Catcher in the Rye, and I'm also a massive Tolkien nerd and read lots of philosophy and psychology, although I'm definitely a novice in the latter two fields. I'm attempting to learn Japanese as of a few days ago, too!
  • Some of the non-fighting games I'm playing right now include Tears of the Kingdom, Dwarf Fortress, and Pokemon. My favorite singleplayer game is Morrowind!
  • I hate cars and one of my big goals is to move out of the south and to a city where I can be car-independent.
  • My favorite movie is The Big Lebowski and watching it never fails to make me smile. My favorite anime is a toss-up between Cowboy Bebop and Ping Pong the Animation. Naruto gets on the honorable mention list for how many times it's made me cry.
What I'm looking for in a romantic partner:
  • Someone in roughly my age range (20-30-ish) who is passionate and caring and enjoys absurdist/dry/goofy humor interspersed with deep conversations. I tend towards identifying as sapiosexual.
  • Someone who is also affectionate!
  • Someone okay with monogamy. Polyamory is really cool, but not for me personally. I'm kink-friendly and a sub-leaning switch. Don't really like discussing sexual tastes in public forums otherwise.
  • Someone who would be fine with long-distance if circumstances dictate that.
  • Someone who is a child-free leftist.
  • Someone who is alright with me being an introvert who can get overstimulated easily.
  • Tobacco use is a deal-breaker for me in romantic contexts. I don't drink alcohol for physical health reasons but I have nothing against alcohol use in non-addiction contexts.
If you're interested in reaching out then I'd love to hear more about you in a message or chat!
submitted by knowledge_dragon to dateademi [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:35 magicsgram Korean Fair Trade Commision approves MS/ABK deal unconditionally

Korean Fair Trade Commision approves MS/ABK deal unconditionally
KFTC has approved the deal unconditionally.

It's funny how in South Korea, the full name of Activision-Blizzard Inc is shortened as 'Blizzard', not "Activision.

The full PDF file is in Korean and can be accessed from the official link.
If you want to read the full doc, just run DeepL on the file (sample below)
submitted by magicsgram to XboxSeriesX [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:34 DDoubleBlinDD Everyone's a Catgirl! Ch. 216: Magnificent Trio

First Previous Next Volume 1 Volume 2 Patreon
A/N: 4 days left to pre-order Volume 1!
The return trip to Madhyam somehow felt a great deal faster than the initial voyage to Rājadhānī. Tristan chalked it up to a combination of things—Encroachers seemed to stay out of their way, the winds and sands moving in their favor, and everyone received at least one full night’s rest. With so many bodies, it was easier to split the night watch between all of them.
Tristan shared his gigashank with Zahra, and they filled the time with idle chatter. His thoughts were consumed by the immense amount of work that lay before him, not allowing for anything deeper than brief observations and inquiries.
Cailu had asked him to essentially resolve the same issues on San Island that plagued San Francisco; homelessness and orphaned kittens. Battling Encroachers and Defiled were one thing, but resurrecting a broken economy? That was a task that could take years of designing and implementing. Just how long did Cailu want him to stay on San?
When they did reach Madhyam, the group made a point to visit Ishani at Tristan’s suggestion. It was the least he could do for Zahra after all of her help. They were welcomed just as warmly as their first visit with Zahra’s mother.
“Three men in my house! What an honor!” Ishani fussed between them, her eyes glittering with wonder. “Please, allow me to serve you a small meal before you continue on.” She rested her hands over her stomach and performed the traditional bow.
Tristan returned it, and Cailu was nearly in sync with his movements. Tristan cleared his throat to catch Matt’s attention and was glad when he followed suit.
“It would be our pleasure,” Cailu replied. “Your daughter has been a tremendous help.”
Ishani straightened her back and clutched her hands to her chest. “You bless us both. Sands walk with you, sir.”
There was an unspoken rule on Ichi when someone invited you to stay. The guests were meant to relax and let the members of the household do all the work. But even with Zahra’s help, preparing anything for thirteen people would be no easy feat.
“Ishani, if you’d permit me to, I’d love to help you prepare everything.” Tristan smiled. “I know there are a lot of us.”
“Oh! Me, too!” Cannoli said. She’d been far more chipper during their journey back than Tristan had seen her in a long time. He hoped it was a good sign.
Ishani studied them for a time, eyes flickering to the full group as her tail rocked back and forth in thought. At last, she nodded. “Yes, I would be glad to have your assistance.”
“And mine, of course,” Zahra chimed in. “It is still my house after all.”
Ishani swept an arm over Zahra’s shoulders and hugged her daughter close. “Of course, my sweet. This will always be your home.”
They moved to the modest kitchen while the rest of the group made their way outside. Cannoli set to work on passing out drinks and preparing small plates while Ishani gave Tristan and Zahra instructions for cutting and seasoning meats. While they worked, Ishani’s questions began to roll in like the tide.
“We heard of Magni’s death a little over two days after it happened,” Ishani began. “An Ejderha arrived begging for Sanctuary. How did it happen?”
Zahra pursed her lips. “The Ejderha didn’t say?”
“It is best to hear a tale from a tongue you trust,” Ishani replied.
“Cailu challenged Magni to a sanctioned duel and won,” Tristan said. “He left the throne to Naeemah.”
“Then it is true. That is wonderful news!” Ishani stoked the flames at the stove, hooking a large pot over the coal. “And what of Sanrai?”
Tristan looked up from his diced onyans and over at Zahra.
Zahra’s expression softened. “Sanrai returned to the sands, Mother,” she said softly. “She refused to see reason.”
Ishani froze, her hand hovering over a ladle. A string of expressions passed over her face, her eyes searching into an abyss they could not see.
Even after the hell Sanrai had put them through, Tristan’s heart broke for her mother. He couldn’t imagine how receiving news like that felt, and he desperately searched for the right thing to say. Sanrai was powerful, intense, calculating. She’d driven them out of the city not once, but twice, and very nearly killed Ceres.
“Zahra did everything she could to bring her sister home.” Tristan was careful to keep his words even. “You raised two incredible daughters, Ishani.”
Ishani’s lower lip quivered, and a string of tears trickled from the corners of her eyes.
Zahra stepped forward and embraced her mother in a tight hug.
Tristan quietly set the knife down beside the cutting board and stepped into the hallway. He was surprised to find Cannoli on the other side of the threshold, hugging the doorframe and peeking inside.
Cannoli’s cheeks pinked, and she rapidly blinked her bright ruby eyes. “I-I just didn’t want to interrupt anything,” she whispered.
“I know. You’re not the type to eavesdrop.” Tristan grinned.
“Tristan… how do you do that?”
He blinked. “Do what?”
“You always know just what to say to make someone feel better,” Cannoli murmured. She looked into the kitchen and back at him. “Not just to me, but what you said to Ishani about Sanrai was so kind. Even though Sanrai was never nice to us. Not once.”
It was Tristan’s turn to blush. He ran a hand through his hair and crossed his arms, realizing only a second later that it was a gesture he’d picked up from Matt. He sighed and shook his head. “I just try to put myself in their shoes.”
Cannoli cocked her head to the side and touched her chin. “Why would you want to wear their shoes?”
“No, not actually wear their shoes.” Tristan covered a laugh behind his hand. “What I mean is, I think about what I would want to hear in their situation. Like finding you here. You wouldn’t want me to call you a spy, right?”
“No. I would have felt awful if you thought that.”
“Exactly. It’s important to see things from the other person’s perspective, I think. No real magic to it.”
Cannoli rocked on the balls of her feet. “You make it sound so easy.”
“It takes a lot of practice.” He leaned to the side, seeing if he could catch Zahra’s eye.
Zahra locked his gaze and waved him into the kitchen. Ishani dabbed at her eyes with a cloth and inhaled a deep breath.
“Back to work, then?” Tristan asked Cannoli.
“Yes.” She touched his shoulder and flashed him a brilliant smile. “Thank you, Tristan. For the advice.”
“You’re welcome.” He cupped a hand over hers. “Though, a smile like that will make anyone feel better, Cannoli.”
Cannoli giggled and ducked into the kitchen.
“Apologies for my poor manners, Tristan,” Ishani said as he returned.
“Please, you have nothing to apologize for.” He shook his head. “Besides, cutting onyans makes everyone cry, right?”
Ishani laughed, her mood brightened, and they continued to prepare the afternoon meal.
They were able to serve it in good time, and the conversation was light-hearted and cordial. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits and laughed easily. Tristan was happy to enjoy a meal outside of the citadel. The experience was a lot closer to an intimate family gathering rather than the battle strategy style meetings that every meal in Rājadhānī brought with it.
Tristan finished eating before the others and procured his sketchbook from his [Cat Pack]. With the enchanted pen, he sketched a smiling Zahra. Something about her had changed since they first met. She now carried herself with a grace Tristan recognized in Naeemah, and the determined spark in her eyes had changed to one of excitement. She’d succeeded in her mission, and it showed.
Flipping the page, he made one more drawing. A piercing, ruthless gaze. Lips slanted in a dry, knowing smile. Dark tattoos carved into umber skin. Sanrai looked as alive in his sketch as she did in the shadow of the citadel.
As the others readied to leave, he handed the sketches to Ishani. “These are for you.”
Ishani accepted both pieces of parchment, her lips parting in a silent ‘o.’ Eyes wide, she looked at Tristan. “You protected my daughter, and now you grant me such beautiful gifts. Tristan, I have no way of repaying you.”
“You already have, Ishani.” Tristan touched her wrist. “May the wind carry your desires—”
“And the sun warm your back,” she finished for him, clutching the drawings to her chest. “You are truly Saoirse’s gift to this world, child.”
As they departed Madhyam, Tristan let himself believe Ishani’s words, just a little. He knew he’d need them in the coming weeks.

Zahra Pro Tip: Thank you, Tristan, for all you have done for my mother and for me. I will pay your kindness forward.
First Previous Next Volume 1 Volume 2 Patreon
Thank you for reading!
Advance chapters, Side Quest voting, exclusive NSFW chapters, full-res art (SFW & NSFW), WIPs, and more on Patreon!
Everyone's a Catgirl! Volume One and Volume Two are available for Kindle pre-order now!
EaC! is also available on Royal Road!
Let's hang on Discord!
submitted by DDoubleBlinDD to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:15 Theeaglestrikes Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

The fear of long words.
Yes, whoever coined such a long name for this phobia was cruel. I’ve heard that joke a thousand times. But do you know what isn’t funny? The story of why I fear long words. And it’s a story that I’m going to tell here in the hope that it makes people think twice before being callous. I can’t speak for others with this phobia, of course, but I can tell you how it began for me.
It was 2005, and I was 10 years old. My friends and I were watching Mary Poppins. Amy, Stephanie, Brandon, my little brother, and me.
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” I proudly said, pointing at the piece of paper on which I’d just written the word.
Amy beamed. “You’re so smart, James!”
I caught Brandon eyeing her coldly, but I pretended not to notice. I just thought him to be troubled. Unloved at home by his drunken dad. Envious of my relationship with Amy. Angry at the world. All of the above.
But there was more to Brandon than that. Or less, depending on how you look at it. And however you look at it, what happened next was a horror beyond words. In fact, after all of this time, I’ve finally decided that there isn’t a word for what happened next. And I know plenty of words. That’s what started everything.
“James,” Brandon said as we were walking out of school. “What would you say to a Spelling Bee at my house?”
I shrugged. “Sure. I guess.”
He was quiet for the duration of the walk home. As I said, he was always an unusual, unnerving boy, but I have to admit that he seemed particularly unhinged on this particular evening. I noticed that his driveway was empty as we approached the front door.
“Do your parents know I’m coming over?” I asked.
“Let’s go up to the den,” He said, averting my question and guiding me upstairs.
“Are we allowed, Brandon?” I asked, as he pulled on the string to the attic door. “Where are your parents?”
“They’re away,” Brandon said, beginning to climb the ladder. “Come on. It’s time for the Spelling Bee.”
He turned on the light in the attic, and I followed him into what I can only describe as the first of many traumatic memories. Chained to plastic chairs – yes, chained by a 10-year-old – were my friends and my brother. Stephanie, Amy, and Tom. They were all crying.
“What have you done?” I squealed. “Let them go!”
“Did you not wonder where everyone had gone during our lunch break, James?” Brandon asked. “I thought you were smart.”
“James,” Tom bawled. “I want to go home.”
“I’m gonna untie you,” I said, striding towards his chair. “One second.”
But Brandon lunged at me, pinning me to the rickety floorboards of the attic and wafting a multi-buttoned remote before my eyes.
“That isn’t how the Spelling Bee works, James,” Brandon hissed, dark eyes burrowing into my soul. “If you step out of line again, I press this button and… You don’t want to know what it does to your friends and poor little Tom.”
“I… I’m not little…” Tom whimpered.
Brandon leaned towards my ear and whispered quietly. “By the time we’re finished, he’ll be the littlest thing you’ve ever seen.”
“Just tell me what to do,” I cried.
Brandon smiled wickedly. “Three words. That’s it, James. The world’s easiest Spelling Bee. A word for each of them – Stephanie, Amy, and Tom. Spell each word correctly, and I set them free.”
“And if I fail?” I asked.
“It’s not a pass or fail situation, James. You’ll spell each word, letter by letter. As soon as you get a letter incorrect – sorry, if you get a letter incorrect – I’ll tell you the correct letter and repeat the word so you can continue.”
“But what’s the catch?” I asked quietly.
“Well, there’s a price for my assistance,” He said thoughtfully. “It’s like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. You’d be using a lifeline. I’d have to… creatively… write the correct letter on the whiteboard for you. You lose if… well, we’ll get to that.”
Brandon gestured to a whiteboard stand to the side of my three loved ones. I couldn’t see a marker pen.
“Right, shall we start with Stephanie?” Brandon asked.
“Wait…” I whispered.
“The word is Pulchritudinous.”
I inhaled deeply, preparing to best Brandon at his demented idea of a prank, but I had no idea as to how deep his insanity ran. I was about to find out.
“P… U… L… C… H… R… I… D–”
“– T, not D,” Brandon said.
Then something horrifying happened. Brandon produced a pair of hedge trimmers from a small duffel bag on the floor and took long strides towards Stephanie. He clipped, clipped, clipped, clipped, and clipped.
She wailed as five fingers were severed, one by one, from her left hand. I screamed, as did Amy and Tom. A fountain of blood gushed from the stubs on Stephanie’s hand, and Brandon sinisterly shaped each of the five fingers into various formations.
He was spelling the word with her body parts. Sellotaping P, U, L, C, and H to the whiteboard, much to my horror.
“Need more,” Brandon hissed, a deranged glint in his eyes.
Stephanie was too weakened by blood loss to resist Brandon as he clipped away at her right hand, severing those fingers and moulding them into letters too. Our cries of horror must’ve carried a good mile, but Brandon’s family lived on an isolated plot of land.
“There we go. R, I, and T. T, James, not D. Pulchritudinous. Go on.”
“P… U… L… C… H… R… I… T… U… D… I… N… O… U… S.”
“Wow, James. Just wow. Second try? You really are a genius. And I’m a man of my word!”
Brandon pressed a smaller button beneath the big red one on the remote, and Stephanie’s chains loosened. Bawling, she fell to her knees and began to crawl across the attic floor, holding her stumped, fingerless, bloodied hands before her. But it was already too late – she didn’t even make it to the attic door before crumpling lifelessly and staring at me with unblinking eyes.
“Most unfortunate. Anyway, moving on to Amy. The word is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” Brandon said.
Still unwilling to grapple with the terror of Stephanie’s death, I found myself collapsing to my knees and spelling Amy’s word before my brain had even caught up – I was in shock.
“P… N… E… U… M… O… N… O… U… L… T… R… A… M… I… C… R… O… L–”
“– L? What?” Brandon sighed. “The correct letter, after O, is S. This is going to be a long one, James…”
I could only observe from my knelt position on the floor as Brandon spelled out the eighteen letters I’d done correctly, plus the nineteenth that he revealed. Eighteen body parts. You can’t imagine my horror as I watched Brandon inflict the same terror upon Amy that he inflicted upon Stephanie. And when he had ten fingers on his whiteboard, what did he use next?
Not toes, as one might have hoped, to give Amy a fighting chance at surviving. No. He clipped her arms. I screeched at the top of my lungs, eyes swimming with terrified tears as Amy’s head swiftly lulled forwards, blood gushing from the open wounds on her torso. And yet Brandon continued to hack up her dismembered body parts, contorting them into each letter of the word and sellotaping them to the whiteboard.
“P… N… E… U… M… O… N… O… U… L… T… R… A… M… I… C… R… O… S... Well, I would say to continue, James, but… it appears you’ve failed. I don’t think poor Amy is moving, is she? That’s how you lose, James,” Brandon faux-sniffled, walking over to her limp corpse and puppeteering her lips. “You’re oh-so-smart, James. Why couldn’t you spell the word properly?”
I wailed inconsolably, horrified by the unfathomably and graphically gruesome spectacle before me. As I collapsed into a ball on the ground, my tormentor continued.
“Now, according to the Oxford Dictionary, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word in the English language,” Brandon said, unfazed by my hyperventilation. “But did you know that there exists another word – a far longer word?”
I sobbed, unable to breathe properly – nostrils clogged with snot bubbles, and cheeks strewn with tears.
“The Titin protein is the largest protein in the human body, which is why its full name is such an obscenely long word. 189,819 letters, to be exact. So, that brings us to Tom. And the third word is...”
I would include it here, but it’s far too long for a Reddit post.
You can imagine how many times I failed to spell a 189,819-letter-long word correctly. And though I’d accepted that I couldn’t save my baby brother, I hadn’t expected Brandon to make Tom’s end so horribly drawn-out.
The monster plucked minuscule strips of flesh from my little brother’s body to form the letters of the 189,819-letter word. I kept trying to spell it, watching as Tom bled out hauntingly slowly. He sobbed for the first hour or so, before uttering little more than the occasional hoarse grunt or inaudible whisper. Letter-shaped wounds formed where my brother’s skin had been, and Brandon continued to spell the word along the floor after he’d run out of room on the whiteboard.
It took hours for my brother to finally fall still, but Brandon didn’t stop, even after Tom’s death – after I lost. He made me finish the word.
We used up every last piece of my brother’s body to spell out the full word – limbs, eyes, innards, and bones. I don’t know why I kept spelling. There was nothing that Brandon held over me. My only explanation is that sheer shock drove me onwards. Horror at what I’d witnessed. A disconnect from reality.
When the word was finished, Brandon silently left the attic.
I eventually returned to the real world, in a sense, and called the police. It’s hard to explain what followed. I know that Brandon’s parents were found in their bed, throats slit. Their cars were in the garage.
The demented boy has been missing for eighteen years, and my town has never been the same. I’ve never been the same. As I type this post now, I don’t see letters. Not really.
I see body parts.
submitted by Theeaglestrikes to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:04 wannabesuperdaddy Baby Dove Sensitive Skin Care Baby Lotion

Baby Dove Sensitive Skin Care Baby Lotion

Caution: It's important to remember that these evaluations are guides to potential health concerns and not definitive measures of a product's safety or efficacy. They are based on individual ingredients rather than any negative effects the final product may have. The way ingredients interact in a formulation can influence their potential impact, and the presence of a specific ingredient does not automatically equate to harm when used in a product. It's always crucial to do your own research, consider the product as a whole, and keep in mind that personal reactions can vary greatly. When making decisions about personal care products, it is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals.

Brief: This product has been rated as a level 3 on the Environmental Working Group's hazard scale, indicating its wide acceptance among consumers. It does not contain any ingredients classified as high hazard, however, it does include four components deemed as moderate hazards. Two ingredients, Triethanolamine and Phenoxyethanol, may warrant further consideration. Some concerns have been raised regarding the long-term safety of Triethanolamine due to its propensity to interact with other substances, potentially forming nitrosamines, recognized carcinogens. In addition, Phenoxyethanol has been associated with potential neurological effects. Parents who express reservations about these components may wish to exercise discretion when using this product.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Glycol Stearate, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Isostearate, Triethanolamine, Tapioca Starch, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Stearate, Fragrance (Parfum), Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Stearamide AMP.

Typical ingredients description and side effects

  • Dimethicone
    • Dimethicone is a type of silicone used in many skin and hair care products, including baby lotion, due to its smoothing properties and ability to form a barrier on the skin, which can help keep it hydrated.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Skin Irritation: While rare, some individuals may experience a skin reaction or allergy to dimethicone. Symptoms could include redness, itching, or swelling.
      • Environmental Impact: Some critics of dimethicone point to potential environmental impacts since silicones do not biodegrade well.
      • Pore Clogging: There's some debate as to whether or not dimethicone can clog pores and cause acne, but this generally seems to be a larger concern for adults with acne-prone skin than for babies.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 4

  • Petrolatum
    • Petrolatum, commonly known as petroleum jelly, is often used in baby care products including lotions due to its excellent moisturizing properties. It forms a barrier on the skin, preventing moisture loss and protecting the skin from external irritants. This makes it particularly beneficial for treating dry or chapped skin.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Skin Irritation: Some babies might experience minor skin irritation from products containing petrolatum. This could present as redness, rash, or a slight stinging sensation.
      • Potential for Breakouts: Petrolatum forms a barrier on the skin that could potentially trap dirt and oils. While breakouts are less common in babies than in teenagers and adults, this could potentially lead to minor skin issues.
      • Potential Contaminants: There has been some concern about impurities present in petrolatum, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to health issues. However, the petrolatum used in cosmetics and personal care products is highly refined and must meet strict safety standards.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 4

  • Triethanolamine
    • Triethanolamine (often abbreviated as TEA) is a compound used in a variety of cosmetic and skincare products, including lotions, as a pH balancer. It's used to neutralize acids and keep the product's pH within an acceptable range for skin use. While it is generally considered safe in the small amounts typically found in cosmetic products, there are potential side effects that can occur with higher concentrations or prolonged use.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Skin Irritation: Some people may experience skin irritation from products containing triethanolamine. This could present as redness, itching, or a rash. Babies have sensitive skin, so they may be more susceptible to such irritation.
      • Allergic Reactions: While not common, some people may have an allergic reaction to triethanolamine, which could result in symptoms such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
      • Eye Irritation: If a product containing triethanolamine gets into the eyes, it can cause irritation and discomfort.
      • There have been some concerns about the long-term safety of triethanolamine, particularly its potential to react with other ingredients to form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. However, the risk is believed to be very low, particularly with the small amounts used in cosmetic products.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 6

  • Phenoxyethanol
    • Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative in cosmetic products and also as a stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. Exposure to phenoxyethanol has been linked to reactions ranging from eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. Infant oral exposure to phenoxyethanol can acutely affect nervous system function.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Skin Irritation: In some cases, phenoxyethanol can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction, presenting as redness, itching, or a rash. Babies have sensitive skin and may be more susceptible to such reactions.
      • Allergic Reactions: Though less common, some people may experience an allergic reaction to phenoxyethanol, which could result in symptoms like hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
      • Eczema: It is also a common allergic reaction to skin exposure of products containing one percent or more phenoxyethanol. Reactions only occur in the area of application and eczema subsides after avoidance of the product causing irritation.
      • Acute nervous system effects (infants): In 2008, the FDA warned consumers not to purchase Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream. Phenoxyethanol, found in the cream, was depressing the central nervous system and causing vomiting and diarrhea in breast feeding infants. Symptoms of a depressed nervous system include a decrease in infant’s appetite, difficulty waking the infant, limpness of extremities and change in skin color. There is no known health risk to the mother.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 4

The grading system used by EWG in the Skin Deep database is as follows:
1 to 2: Low hazard
3 to 6: Moderate hazard
7 to 10: High hazard
submitted by wannabesuperdaddy to ChoosyParents [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:57 Natural-Original5322 35 [M4F] #Ontario / Toronto GTA - Sexy, Nasty, & Dominant. BBC Dom seeks sexy submissive slut to play with.

Looking for a fun gal that likes to fuck. I need a nasty, naughty, slut to play with. Not looking for a good girl or someone that wants love making / vanilla sex.
Need someone that likes to kick a vibe, smoke some weed, share a few drinks, and get played with, talked to dirty. Need a gal that loves getting her wet pussy licked and being a pillow princess, someone that enjoys getting face fucked and showing off her cock sucking skills. I want to tell you what a good slut you are, call you my whore, and let you know I own you. I will fuck you doggy while slapping your ass, like to choke and kiss, fuck hard and slow missionary while talking shit in your ears, and want to make you bounce on my cock while I suck on them titties, choke you, and thrust upwards in you telling you to take dick like a like a good slut. I want to make you squirt, cream all over my throbbing cock, wet tongue, and finger you until I make you taste yourself before sliding in you making you tell me how good it tastes and how much you love taking cock. Hopefully you like looking up with your mouth open to swallow a load or take a facial and bonus points if you are down to have your pussy filled deep with my nut.
I am real straight forward, don't play games, know how to have a good time, and love to fuck and get nasty. Kinky and fetish friendly. Into things like CNC, breeding, Bondage, using collars and toys, and I would even enjoy fucking you good with another friend or sharing you with another nasty girl.
Here looking for a good time. No drama or bs. Down to fuck and can meet a few times a month. I drive, can host, come to you, or get a hotel for us. Be 420 friendly, enjoy a drink, good vibes, and love taking dick and being a nasty gal with no judgement.
I am 180cm tall, 90kg, Chocolate skin. Uncut with a thick cock perfect to stretch all your holes, clean, dress well, and always smell fresh. I am a flirt, tease, love to touch, and like to get nasty in private.
Hit me up baby.
submitted by Natural-Original5322 to AgeGapPersonals [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:57 Daniele86 Gold Retinols Face Deep Nourishment And Rejuvenations Glowing Skin Care Products

Gold Retinols Face Deep Nourishment And Rejuvenations Glowing Skin Care Products submitted by Daniele86 to u/Daniele86 [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:42 MatchaDoAboutNothing When they come knocking in the morning

By Tony Mosher
 I got out of bed Tuesday morning with an overwhelming sense of dread. It was then that the alarms sounded. Those old school air raid sirens. Funny enough, I didn't even know that my town had those. Soon after I received an emergency alert on my phone. “Disaster alert warning. All residents are advised to stay in their houses. Keep clear of all windows. Minimize noise.” God that's weird. I'd never seen an alert like that before. I decided that I'd better call my boss. I probably shouldn't go into work with that alert and all. There's a problem though. No cell signal. I have to say, that's not normal. But why would it be? Air raid sirens, emergency alerts, and no phone. Perfect. Curiously, I make my way to my living room and peak out the blinds. I see a bright and sunny day. I guess it's not a weather alert. But then why did it say to stay away from windows? That's, like, tornado advice. Maybe the person in charge of these alerts messed up or something. But it it was a mess up, why is the cell reception out? I guess I could go to work; nothing seems especially dangerous outside. Oh but everyone else probably got the alert; what if I'm the only one who shows up? No, something might be going on anyway. I'll just call my boss when the reception comes back up. Besides, I hate that stupid job. All I do is answer phones all day. If I get fired it's not the end of the world. Mind made up I closed the blinds and got on my computer, thinking I'd check the local news. That aught to clear up the current state of things. Oh. No wifi. Alright, something is definitely up. This is getting really weird. Why would the wifi be out too? I don't have cable, but maybe I can find something on the free broadcast channels. I flipped on the tv and my blood ran cold. All I found on every channel that comes in was a visual counterpart to the emergency alert I'd gotten on my phone earlier. No answers for me I guess. What the heck do I do? No info, and no entertainment. I sat down on my couch. I guess I was there for a while, deep in thought. A while later I realized maybe I should check in with my neighbor. Ted lived next door, and not very far either. He probably didn't know any more than me, but damn, at least I wouldn't be alone in....whatever it was that was happening. I never made it over there. As I grabbed my jacket, keys, and phone (just out of habit of course), and approached my front door, a loud pounding rang out through the first floor of my house. Someone was at the door, and seemingly REALLY wanted in. I went to answer it, as one does, but stopped. Something felt very wrong about this. None of my neighbors would knock like that. Maybe one of them was freaked out about everything that was going on? No. This didn't feel right. “Let me in, hurry!” came a booming bass voice rang out. That definitely wasn't anyone I knew, and who else but my neighbors would be anywhere around here after the alert? Slowly I crept to the side window to peak out. When I saw who was there, my heart just about stopped. An elderly woman stood at my door. With that voice?! She turned to walk away my stomach turned and I nearly threw up. The way she moved was just not right. Not for someone of her age. Not for anyone ever. She moved in quick, limber strides, punctuated by jerking spastic motions that my eyes almost couldn't process. I know this sounds nuts, god help me, but I don't think she was human. And she was headed to my neighbor's house. She pounded on his door. I prayed he wouldn't answer. I wanted to help him, but what could I do? Of course he answered. Good old dependable Ted; he would never turn away someone in need of his help. That turned out to be his downfall. As he opened the door, she lunged in. I heard a horrible scream. I had an unobstructed view through his front windows, but I didn't want to see this. I let the curtain fall and backed away. Just then another pounding came from my door. This time it sounded like a little girl crying for help. I knew better. This one stayed for a while. At least I think it was the same one. A different voice came every few minutes. But I assume it was the same one. Some time later it left. I heard it walking away. These are not quiet things. I rushed through the house making sure all the lights were off, and all the doors and windows were locked. I grabbed what water and food I could, and shut myself in my hall closet. That was the best place I could think of to hide. No basement in my house, and upstairs was a bad option. If worst came to worst I'd either be trapped, or jumping from a second story window. At least on the ground floor I might be able to make a run for it. Not that I think I'd be successful. I hadn't seen one of these things try to run, but I have no reason to believe they aren't fast. I was in that closet for some time. I don't know exactly how long, but it was at least a couple days. I barely touched my food and water. I was terrified to make any noise. Every few minutes the pounding at the door came back. All sorts of different voices. Honestly I thought I was going to die in that closet. Eventually I knew they would break in. How could they not? They must know I'm here. Why else would they keep coming back? Coming back to the same empty house over and over again would be an awful waste of time. Although, I didn't really know anything about their intelligence. How stupid could they be though, if they were trapping up? They never did break in. I don't know if it was just dumb luck, or if maybe there are rules they have to follow. Either way, I didn't take the bait. Sometime later the sirens sounded again. Like I said I'm not really sure how long, but it was at least a couple of days. I got another notification on my phone. Look at that, I guess the cell reception was back. I barely had time to read the all clear alert before my phone died. I suppose days in a closet will do that, even if I hadn't used it. I disregarded the alert. No way was I coming out of that closet. I'd rather starve to death or die of thirst than to face whatever those things would do to me. I didn't trust the alerts. I may have stayed in that closet forever. The pounding started back up again, and I was glad that I had been skeptical. But then, I heard the sounds of my door being broken down. I really thought that was it. The alert was wrong, and they had finally decided to just force their way in to get me. Imagine my surprise when I found myself being pulled from my closet by personnel dressed in what looked to me like space suits. I found myself being directed out of my house and into a tent. There I was assaulted by a heavy spray of something cold and noxious. Some sort of decontamination shower. It burned my eyes and skin. Afterward I was given a pair of scrubs to wear and was sent off to the hospital for observation. It was at the hospital that I was given an explanation. After my intake a doctor came to talk to me. Apparently there had been an issue at the nearby power plant. The doctor said it was radiation. I had been exposed. I told the doctor that couldn't be, and recounted my experience. He dismissed me and told me that hallucinations were a common symptom of radiation sickness, but I was lucky to have only been minimally exposed. He said that my house must have lead in the walls, because most of the people in my town had gotten much sicker than me. Most of them had died, or were expected to soon. He then informed me that although I had been given a mostly full bill of health, I would need to stay for a few days just in case. I would also need to be monitored periodically throughout my life, as my chance of developing cancer was much higher than the average person. I also wouldn't be able to return home for a while. Disaster personnel would need to clear the area and make sure I wouldn't be at risk of further contamination. Radiation can stick around apparently? I'm not really too sure about all that. But the doctor said the Red Cross would be giving out vouchers to survivors for temporary accommodations and personal needs, once we were released. Everything I had been through in the last couple of days, the explanation laid out for me should have put me at ease. I should be feeling lucky right now. But I wasn't. There was one big problem. As far as I knew, my town did not, or had ever had a nuclear power plant anywhere near it. I would know. I'm a receptionist at the hydro-electric plant about an hour out of town. And as the doctor walked away, I caught a hint of the same spastic movement that the old woman thing had made at the beginning of all this. He was smoother though. Like they learned we could tell that they were different from us. Here's what I think: we're being invaded. I don't know by what, but they're getting better at blending in. If you get an emergency alert, don't go outside. Don't let anyone in. Just hide any pray. I think they might have to follow rules. I think if you don't let them in, they can't just come in. But that's just a guess. Good luck out there. 
submitted by MatchaDoAboutNothing to ChillingApp [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:36 skeriphus On the Nature of Sorcery: Chapter 0.2 — Tea Time.

Motivation — A Close Reading of Tea Time

"I'm six feet from the edge and I'm thinking: maybe six feet ain't so far down?"
Nimander Golit
Chapter V of Weathered
2002 BS
Click Here for the Introduction to the essay series.

Prelude to the Close Reading

Why, hello there, again. It’s been a few weeks but I promise that this endeavor is still moving forward. For those that don’t know, this essay is a part of a collection I’ll be putting together which investigates the Eleint, their blood, and sorcery within the Malazan shared secondary universe. We’re still laying down our foundations, and today we’ll be covering a sequence of scenes in Chapter 8 of Toll the Hounds.
My intentions were to cover all of the scenes in a single post, but that has proven itself to be difficult. As such, I’ll cover the first scene in this sequence in this post. There’ll be one or two follow-up posts.
There are ten scenes that are in this sequence:
  1. Nimander 1
  2. Desra 1
  3. Desra 2
  4. Skintick 1
  5. Desra 3
  6. Nimander 2
  7. Desra 4
  8. Kedeviss 1
  9. Nimander 3
  10. Kedeviss 2
I’ll be approaching these scenes (including the one discussed today) through a few lenses.

A ringing of bells.

In his musings on writing, Erikson discusses the notion of a bell. I’ll let him speak for himself.
In the scenes we’ll be looking at, some of the bells that I believe are used are (and not all of these are represented in this first particular scene):


Particularly the genealogy of continental philosophy that led to Sartre’s existentialism and the shared/adapted/bifurcated philosophies of his contemporaries (such as de Beauvoir, Camus, and Merleau-Ponty). This wasn’t my initial intention when I decided to use this sequence of scenes as a launch pad into my collection of essays. However, the beauty of close-reading is that you go into a text with a hypothesis seeking evidence and support, and then end up with new insights.
Some of the concepts that will be brought up are:

Genre conventions as grammar.

Particularly, we’ll look at Erikson’s use of genre conventions from the likes of Gothic literature and Weird Fiction — namely the Sublime, cosmic horror, and the Weird — as the subtle language used to convey tension that is congruent with some of the other subtexts. If these grammars are subverted, we’ll try to point that out too.
We will later delve more into Malazan’s literary genealogy in other essays, but I want this lens to be present during the reading to see how Erikson aligns or subverts these genre conventions.
We’ll be using Professor Michael Moir’s YouTube lectures on Weird Fiction as reference.

What the fuck is happening?

This is a question about plot that I will answer at the end of all of the scenes, but keep it in mind as we go through. It has less to do with existentialism and Gothic literature and more on what Gothos was trying to do during these scenes.

Pre-TtH Context

We first meet Nimander and his siblings (unnamed) in House of Chains on Drift Avalii. By Bonehunters, they had left Drift Avalii and ended up at Malaz City, where they then joined Tavore Paran’s fleet while fleeing Malaz City. In Reaper’s Gale, we find the siblings had been ‘adopted’ by Sandalath while they traveled to Lether with the Malazans. Phaed wanted to kill Sandalath. Nimander stopped Phaed from killing Sandalath. Withal (Sandalath’s husband) throws Phaed out a window. The murder is taken as a suicide. The siblings intern Phaed and then meet Clip, who offers to lead them to Anomander in Black Coral via Kurald Galain.
This gets us to Toll the Hounds, where Nimander is being haunted by Phaed. They’ve left Kurald Galain and are now on Genabackis (but not yet to Black Coral). Nimander fears the future meeting his father and the rest of the Tiste Andii. The siblings and Clip ‘stumble’ on Morsko, where Clip is curious about its cult of the Dying God. A ritual takes place there. Nimander and Skintick are nearly enthralled, but are saved by Aranatha (and thus Mother Dark herself). The group then find Clip, who is in a coma. They collect him, and set off in a wagon to follow the Dying God’s priests to Bastion. Along that journey, the siblings stumble upon the High King, Kallor, who reluctantly chooses to not kill them and instead travels with them.
The sequence of scenes in Chapter 8 that we’ll be discussing follows some time after Kallor joins the siblings.
Now that the administrative stuff is out of the way, let’s dive into the first scene.

Nimander 1

Rum-induced memories.

We start this sequence thrust into Nimander’s introspection on ‘rage’ as a breaking of a vessel, impossible to fix. He recalls Deadsmell’s musings that ‘rage in battle’ was a gift while the two drank rum. Rum that awakened memories once ignored by Nimander.
(Note: in Scene 2, we’ll see Desra’s view of Nimander, and we’ll see that Nimander’s ruminations on rage here are what inform Desra’s view of him, and not in the way that Nimander’s doubt imagines.)
In the previous post, we discussed memories and their decay. So much of this series and the lore surrounding it is driven by the memories of ancient beings. Nimander is younger with respect to ancient beings (but ancient nonetheless), and even he struggles with his memories. Perhaps this is a result of the traumas he’s experienced with respect to his being in diaspora and perceived abandonment by his father (a symmetry itself with Rake’s — and the Tiste Andii as a whole — relationship with Mother Dark).
He recalls the rum lighting “a fire in [his] brain, casting red light on a host of memories gathered ghostly round the unwelcoming heart.” He reminisces on the time after Kurald Galain (but before Drift Avalii) and his father’s emotional indifference. He recalls the pranks him and his kin would pull on Endest Silann; the arrival of Andarist and his arguments with Anomander. It is unclear what the arguments were — if you’ve read Forge of Darkness, you might be able to infer what’s likely, but I’m curious if the argument is Andarist asking to take the siblings and Anomander refusing, or Anomander asking Andarist to take the children and Andarist was reluctant? Was the argument about Anomander thrusting the Hust blade, T’an Aros/K’orladis (i.e., Vengeance / Grief), onto Andarist or did Andarist already possess the blade? We don’t know exactly to my knowledge, but it’s fun to speculate.
Regardless, Nimander recalls, like a certain inscribed hearthstone, there was peace. Andarist was to take them all through a threshold, a portal elsewhere (as mentioned, portals end up being a rung bell, so pay attention). Nimander remembers Endest’s weeping as the children were pulled through a “portalway into an unknown, mysterious new world where anything was possible.”
Andarist raised the Tiste Andii children on that portal’s other side, on Drift Avalii. We know (or can infer) that this was a task to protect the Throne of Shadow, but Nimander and his kin didn’t understand this as children. But Andarist led them with his pragmatism, he ensured they learned how the world was. With our knowledge of Kharkanas, this is so powerful. We know Anomander’s hubris was abused as a motivating factor for Hunn Raal’s despicable acts. We know that Andarist likely lacks children of his own in response to this, and so his taking on guardianship over the children of his brother — that very same brother that rejected Andarist’s grief in favour of vengeance (and materialised in the T’an Aros/K’orladis dichotomy) — is a stark, challenging, and ultimately selfless decision.
But this pragmatism created child soldiers. The collision of reality’s necessity to survive and carry out the duty of protecting the Throne of Shadow came at the expense of what little remaining childhood innocence Rake’s brood still had (even as a people on the run, exiled from their home due to a sociopolitical schism). Andarist became a stern teacher, juxtaposed to the echoes of Endest’s gentleness. “The games ended. The world turned suddenly serious.” Nonetheless, the Tiste Andii siblings grew to love Andarist.
Nimander continues his introspection:
See a bored child with a stick — and see how every beast nearby flees, understanding well what is now possible and, indeed, probable.
This reminds me of a general rule of advice: ‘never fuck around when a child has gun.’ Tiste Andii or not, children can be cruel especially when mixed with unknown doses of trauma and violence. Regardless, I want to call attention here that this notion of children and beasts are each bells rung. To Nimander, Andarist “unleash[ed] them, these children with avid eyes.” He “had made them good soldiers,” ones that know rage.
Vessels broken.
As such, from his own experience, Nimander suspects that the Dying God is a child. He speaks to the dialectic between gods and their worshippers (another bell rung):
The mad priests poured him full, knowing the vessel leaked, and then drank of that puerile seepage. Because he was a child, the Dying God’s thirst and need were without end, never satiated.
The group stumbles on desiccated bodies staked among fields: dried up, tapped of their libations. This speaks to a particular exploitation between mortal and god, symbolised literally as worshippers feeding a god to then become the harvested. This perpetuates the Dying God’s power to accumulate more worshippers via addictive kelyk. The language here shows that the Dying God has stumbled upon a sort of cheat code, an exploitation of the god-mortal dialectic that allows him and his priests to arbitrage power. Like a cancer that, via the law of large numbers, is equipped with the mechanisms to divert a body’s resources to it while it slowly destroys the body.
The scarecrows being in fields is such a perfect choice of this analogy: things to be harvested. A product, a commodity — a thing with both use-value and exchange-value, for our Marxians out there. I believe Erikson has said that he was thinking of oil here, and that is fine by itself, but I do like the mirroring to Eucharistic transubstantiation in Catholicism (due to my being a very-very-lapsed Catholic). Especially with wine, an extremely addictive substance, transcending into God’s blood to cleanse us as cannibalistic sacrament.

Dal Honese burial practices.

Nimander sees these fields as “bizarre cemeteries, where some local aberration of belief insisted that the dead be staked upright, that they ever stand ready for whatever may come." This makes him recall some shipwrecked Dal Honese on Drift Avalii. He thinks on the ancestor cult and burial practices of Dal Hon: literally constructing their homes with their dead in the walls as both material and essence, the building stretching out with additional rooms as time moved on and kin died.
This reminds me of the Neolithic proto-city, Çatalhöyük, found in Anatolia within modern-day Türkiye where ancestors have been found to be buried beneath platforms in living quarters. See: Chapter 6 of The Dawn of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow.
With or without intention, I like to view this ritual via an existentialist lens, particularly Sartre’s notion of the Look. To Sartre — in contrast to other phenomenologies — being is in flux, some path of a given chaotic double-pendulum switching to and from poles of being-in-itself***\**1* and being-for-itself***\**2*. The Look, to Sartre, is a sort of symmetry breaking — a realisation by being-for-itselves that decentralises it, the sudden awareness of its being an object, an Other, to Other consciousnesses.
A heuristic often used to showcase Sartre’s notion of the Look (or Gaze) is that of a voyeur peeping through a keyhole into someone’s room that hears a noise down the hall. Regardless if that noise is from another person (another being-for-itself) or not (say, the house settling), the subjective voyeur suddenly objectifies themselves, collapsing the chaotic pendulum from being-for-itself (nothingness as "no thing-ness") to their facticity — their being-in-itself, their thing-ness — whose meaning to Other being-for-themselves is relative to a separate centre than the voyeur’s own.
To Sartre, the resulting anxiety experienced snapping from subject to object is a proof against any nihilistic approach to solipsism. The fact that we can Other our own being-for-itself means that we can also recognise being-for-itself external to us since those we Other too can Other us as we Other ourselves. The reflexivity as a result of the Look is evidence against solipsism to Sartre.
As a result, this Dal Honese practice is a cultural self-burdening via Sartre’s Look by literally having your ancestors clay-filled bodies decentralise your subjectivity and externalise you as an object that can be judged by its facticity. This results in a sort of collective Dal Honese being-for-others, Sartre would argue. This isn’t inherently good or bad to existentialists, but it does necessitate a calculus that discerns if the living descendants are authentically expressing their freedom with each moment they accept this practice, or if they are living in bad faith.
Regardless, though, this is a haunting of the Past. This haunting isn’t something that is only important to existentialism or other philosophical traditions (such as post-structuralism — see: Derrida’s hauntology), but to the genre conventions and tropes of Gothic horror and its descendants (such as cosmic horror, weird fiction, and their influences on sword and sorcery, etc.).
There are mappings (some more subtle than others) between the Sublime and the existential anxiety and dread experienced in phenomena similar to the Look. The experience of looking upon the vastness of the sea, of stumbling upon an ancient statue, of learning of the size of the universe — which are described as the Sublime, the Weird, or Eldritch in some literary traditions (e.g., Romantic, Gothic, Horror, the Weird, etc.) — are the same experiences that are often analysed in continental philosophies using words such as angst/anxiety/despaiabsurdity/alienation.
Nimander goes on to further expose the relationship between this Dal Honese ancestor cult and inter-tribal conflicts that lead to deaths and stolen bodies that leave physical voids in Dal Honese architecture. He muses how this physical representation of wounds begets a cycle of vengeance (a cultural tradition, a product of facticity and bad faith): “blood back and forth,” he says. He mentions that this cycle is what pushed the shipwrecked Dal Honese from their homes, an act of revolt and perhaps even authenticity to Sartre. Eventually the Dal Honese recovered and “paddled away — not back home, but to some unknown place, a place devoid of unblinking ghosts staring out from every wall.
I love that Erikson has this whole little short story in this scene, especially in the contrast of its being some rum-induced reflection by Nimander on his own past’s haunting of him and his siblings. Moreover, these Tiste Andii are travelling with Kallor, the Undying Unascendant: a being-for-itself that literally manifests the past’s haunting on the present — a man cursed, jaded, who carries the past with him wherever he travels. All of these together show that one’s freedom can have one flee (even be redeemed — which balances with other plotlines in TtH), but that doesn’t necessarily — nor sufficiently so — annihilate the past.

Finding a tower.

After this, Nimander’s reminiscing is interrupted by his hearing Kallor nearby (like a footstep in a hallway). Kallor comments on the use of the corpses and notes that the flora “[is] not even native to this world, after all.” Nimander replies that the corpses are being used for saemankelyk. The mention of the plants not being native to this world should orient the reader back to the Weird, especially since it brings upon a sense of unease, an Othering — the house settling that again serves to reduce both Nimander and the readers to our thing-ness
‘The past’ versus ‘the present’ versus ‘the future’ (and their hauntings of one another) bubble up again with some banter between Skintick and Kallor about the state of things. Kallor states ‘nothing changes.’ Skintick counters ‘it keeps getting worse,’ to which Kallor claims is but an illusion.
I find this dialogue to be a comical little conflict between Kallor’s perceived-postmodern, nihilistic judgement of the state of things being inert versus Skintick’s pseudo-Rousseauian, inverted-Hegalian, modernist grand narrative of things getting worse.
Again, it alludes to a haunting of the past on the current generation. Interestingly, this is a trend within the Book of the Fallen in general: not as an espousing of the ‘old vs. young’, but Erikson’s decentering/challenging/deconstruction of that binary. Think of Raest in GotM; Menandore, Sukul and Sheltatha in RG; Karsa in HoC; the Witness trilogy. He does this via a sort of Ancient's Hubris colliding with its differences to the Present’s Ingenuity, and this being dual to the Present’s Naivety colliding with the Ancient Wisdom.
Kallor eventually hits a sore spot with the Tiste: he brings up Rake. Unlike the Dal Honese whose freedom had them flee the cultural practices of letting their ancestors haunt both literally and figuratively, Nimander and his siblings were pulled/pushed away from their father (and people) as children — by what very well could be their father’s request. The Tiste siblings are haunted by Anomander’s active absence. Their continued distance from their father isn’t an act of expressing their freedom against an Ancestor’s Gaze — it isn’t an act of revolution — it is their facticity and a source for their Othering of themselves. We often see this from Nimander’s POVs up to and including this sequence.
Kallor sniffs out this weakness and presses upon the wound. Nimander gets flustered and retorts. To which Kallor responds:
'Anomander Rake is a genius at beginning things. It’s finishing them he has trouble with.'
Damn, Kallor.
Also, I didn’t need my ADHD called out so harshly, dude. What the fuck.
Without diving into what Erikson was dealing with while writing this book, this hits hard for Nimander, and is an interesting commentary nonetheless. His father, Anomander, is the leader of a diasporic people who’ve been without home, without a centre, for 400,000 years. I think Kallor’s words hurt Nimander so much because the Tiste siblings don’t know Anomander’s current plans nor have they experienced the "settling-down" from the unveiling of Kurald Galain in what is now Black Coral. They are unaware of Rake’s teleology for his people, for himself even. Regardless, we see again and again that Kallor isn’t just a strong skirmisher, his words cut nearly as well as his blades.
Kallor goes on to confirm that he knows Rake before the group notices a ruined tower among the alien plants and scarecrows. Kallor says its Jaghut. Kallor trudges forth indifferently, pushing corpses out of his way as he bee-lines it to the ruined tower. I don’t think such a sequence of action has ever described Kallor’s whole raison d’être and modus operandi so well: just a man seemingly indifferent to the corpses in his path as his will pulls him forward.
We get a small interaction between Skintick and Nimander that reveals Skintick’s acuity in reading Kallor’s take on Rake. Kallor sees their father as an equal (it isn’t just the readers that need to be keen to subtext, characters do too).
Skintick offers the idea of sicking Kallor on the Dying God, hoping he “decid[es] to do something for his own reasons, but something that ends up solving our problem.” I like the use of “deciding to do something for his own reasons,” as this aligns so well with authenticity in existentialism (and the absence of some absolute morality for authenticity).
As Nimander approaches the tower behind Kallor, both Nimander and the readers get a great sense of horror, the weird, the uncanny, and the sublime with how Erikson describes the scenery:
Drawing closer to the ruin, they fell silent. Decrepit as it was, the tower was imposing. The air around it seemed grainy, somehow brittle, ominously cold despite the sun’s fierce heat.
The highest of the walls revealed a section of ceiling just below the uppermost set of stones, projecting without any other obvious support to cast a deep shadow upon the ground floor beneath it. The facing wall reached only high enough to encompass a narrow, steeply arched doorway. Just outside this entrance and to one side was a belly-shaped pot in which grew a few straggly plants with drooping flowers, so incongruous amid the air of abandonment that Nimander simply stared down at them, disbelieving.
Nimander notes an incongruity of this place — its aesthetic of abandonment juxtaposed with a curated garden. “The cold despite the sun’s fierce heat.” This evokes a certain unsettledness to Nimander (and thus, the reader). These genre conventions are sources of tension and anxiety, similar to non-diegetic violins building up to a real or false jump-scare in a slasher flick.
Arrogantly, Kallor chooses to go out of his way and insult the presumed Jaghut within the tower. Classic Kallor. The Jaghut replies “nothing changes,” resulting in Kallor shooting Skintick and Nimander a “pleased smirk.”

Tea time, but before falling into a rabbit-hole and not after.

Before Kallor can announce himself, the Jaghut lists off Kallor’s titles, his facticity. Kallor’s reputation precedes him and there’s an asymmetry here in which the Jaghut knows who Kallor is but Kallor doesn’t yet know who the Jaghut is. This is our first hint that this meeting isn’t serendipitous, and is instead an intentional interaction with regards to the plot. And if this Jaghut knows of Kallor, does he know those who Kallor travels with? Who is this Jaghut’s intended audience among those options?
I also like the play here with facticity: the Jaghut lists out things about Kallor, but is Kallor some sum of those thing-nesses? How many are true, how many are manufactured myths? It’s an act by this Jaghut to Gaze upon Kallor, to show to Kallor that he’s being seen. It’s a deliberate tactic to destabilise and decenter Kallor: an offensive.
We as readers are informed of Kallor’s limitations from the Azathanai curses via Draconus, K’rul and Nightchill, but these limitations on Kallor don’t necessarily restrict his freedom until Kallor allows them.
We get a flash of Jaghut humour and guest rites — this ancient dismisses Kallor while inviting everyone in for tea. Interestingly, Erikson has this Jaghut use the proper noun of ‘Others’ which lends me to think that an existentialist lens hasn’t been the worst pick (not that ‘Othering’ is strictly existentialist by any means).
So, we’ve had corpses drained dry for kelyk, alien plant-life, a ruined tower of an unknown age stumbled upon beyond the urban, a preternatural creature to Nimander and his kin (something they’ve maybe only witnessed a handful of times) and then we get this description:
The air of the two-walled chamber was frigid, the stones sheathed in amber-streaked hoarfrost. Where the other two walls should have been rose black, glimmering barriers of some unknown substance, and to look upon them too long was to feel vertiginous — Nimander almost pitched forward, drawn up only by Skintick’s sudden grip, and his friend whispered, ‘Never mind the ice, cousin.’
Ice, yes, it was just that. Astonishingly transparent ice–
I love this. First: “it was just that” screams “no it isn’t” to anyone paying attention to the words Erikson is using to make the reader uncomfortable. We know: Jaghut + Ice = Omtose Phellack. The atmospheric setting here is directly being called out in not just a sublime way, but his description has an added layer of horror to Omtose Phellack.
Erikson uses “vertiginous,” giving both Nimander and us a sense of vertigo, being decentred and unoriented. This isn’t too different from descriptions found in works like Vandermeer’s Annihilation or other New Weird authors. This ice wall calls to Nimander, draws from him feelings of unknown when he’s caught himself staring for too long — emphasis on staring.
For all intents and purposes, this ice wall is a thing, a being-in-itself, neither active nor passive. But its effect on Nimander is similar to the Dal Honese ancestors’ Gaze — this ice wall objectifies him, calls to him, evokes his being-for-others, and emotionally alienates him. The pull Nimander feels is his submitting his being-for-itself with the freedom of those that Gaze upon him. A justification of his facticity, his bad faith. This will be important later.
Eventually we get this awesome line from the Jaghut host:
’Once, long ago, a wolf god came before me. Tell me, Kallor, do you understand the nature of beast gods? Of course not. You are only a beast in the unfairly pejorative sense — unfair to beasts, that is. How is it, then, that the most ancient gods of this world were, one and all, beasts?’
There’s so much going on to unpack in this paragraph.
Later, again, we get this Jaghut saying Others as a proper noun, and then the Others are called Tiste Andii.
‘Ah, and what of the Others with you? Might not they be interested?’
Clearing his throat, Skintick said, ‘Venerable one, we possess nothing of worth to one such as you.’
‘You are too modest, Tiste Andii.’
‘I am?’
'Each creature is born from one not its kind. This is a wonder, a miracle forged in the fires of chaos, for chaos indeed whispers in our blood, no matter its particular hue. If I but scrape your skin, so lightly as to leave but a momentary streak, that which I take from you beneath my nail contains every truth of you, your life, even your death, assuming violence does not claim you. A code, if you will, seemingly precise and so very ordered. Yet chaos churns. For all your similarities to your father, neither you nor the one named Nimander — nor any of your brothers and sisters — is identical to Anomander Dragnipurake. Do you refute this?’
Above, the Jaghut goes on to describe genetics, but also calls out the fact that they are children of Anomander — dude definitely knows more than he’s leading on, that’s for sure, and is winking directly to us readers, seemingly going over the heads of both Kallor and the Tiste. Also, the bit about chaos in blood will come up again and again in later scenes and later essays.
Moreover, we see that the Jaghut says that which he scrapes "contains every truth of you, your life, even your death" — our genetics are facticities, among our thing-nesses. "Yet chaos churns," the Jaghut rebuts. That chaos in our blood is a source of our "no thing-ness," from which we may express our freedom against the determinism of genetics — of facticities — and transcend.
For each kind of beast there is a first such beast, more different from its parents than the rest of its kin, from which a new breed in due course emerges. Is this firstborn then a god?’
I love this for two reasons. One, it speaks to a criticism of the assumption that a prime-mover is necessarily divine. But, through the existentialist lens, it’s a challenge and criticism of the presumed Authority of Genealogy. Jumping back to the early musings on ancestry: if ancestors haunt us and dictate our facticity as a result of suppressing our being-for-itself, then where does that chain of dictating/suppressing end? And is that terminus also an Authority above all generations below it just due to its being something new, something sufficiently different from its own genealogy, its ancestors ‘behind’ it?
I also like the subtext of trauma as hereditary here with the double entendre behind ‘beast’, we can think of this Jaghut as asking if the primordial source of generational trauma has authority over its descendants? What does this dialogue mean for Nimander and his siblings and their place with respect to their father and the rest of the Tiste Andii people? Does this inform an analysis of Nimander’s chaotic double-pendulum between being-in-itself, being-for-itself, and his being-for-others?
A huge thing I would like to point out here, too, is that neither Skintick, Nimander, nor Kallor have used the Tiste Andii’s names, yet this Jaghut knows them by name. Kallor could deduce they were Rake’s children, but he didn’t know their names. Even though Skintick showcased an acuity to subtext when considering Kallor’s opinions of Rake, he doesn’t catch onto this subtlety. This Jaghut not only knows of Kallor, he knows of Nimander and his siblings. The evidence that this meeting isn’t serendipity continues to build.
‘You spoke of a wolf god,’ Skintick said. ‘You began to tell us a story.’
‘So I did. But you must be made to understand. It is a question of essences. To see a wolf and know it as pure, one must possess an image in oneself of a pure wolf, a perfect wolf.’
‘Ridiculous,’ Kallor grunted. ‘See a strange beast and someone tells you it is a wolf — and from this one memory, and perhaps a few more to follow, you have fashioned your image of a wolf. In my empires, philosophers spewed such rubbish for centuries, until, of course, I grew tired of them and had them tortured and executed.’
This sequence of dialogue is fantastic and reminds me of arguments foagainst the strong/weak Sapir-Whorf hypothesis/es. We see the Jaghut musing on a seemingly prescriptive Platonic idealism that Kallor interrupts with a more descriptive, pragmatic, empirical framework in which he follows with a jest of torturing and executing philosophers (remind me to never live in the Kallorian Empire).
Kallor speaks as if his words contradict the Jaghut and show the assumed idealism to be wrong. But, by Kallor’s own argument, the Jaghut’s words of ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ are just as empirically contingent to one’s memories as ‘wolf’ is. The combinations of signs and symbols language users use give flesh to those signs’ and symbols’ own meaning — but bury that meaning beneath the flesh by doing so. The concept of a ‘perfect wolf’ (i.e., ‘perfect’ + ‘wolf’) emerging from one’s own contingency with the notion of ‘perfect’ and ‘wolf’ is entirely possible without that imagined ‘perfect wolf’ being actually some idealisation, i.e., some Platonic Perfect Wolf.
The Jaghut responds with laughter to Kallor’s absurdity: both in his misinterpretation of the Jaghut’s musings as well as the nature of Kallor’s brutal reaction to those that question things he finds to be rubbish. This pairs well with Skintick’s future POV in this sequence, but the contrast between Kallor and this Jaghut is entertaining nonetheless. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish when Kallor is telling the truth about his brutality or if his mutterings are just words congruent to his reputation.
The two then have a pissing contest. We find out the Jaghut was in disguise — I don’t have the evidence or time here to say, but there are ideas that this particular Jaghut is a d'ivers and it is fucking awesome even if untrue. The discussion here points to some T’lan Imass’ Jaghut War. It being the Kron, I’m inclined to wonder if there is a relationship with the bones Karsa stumbles upon in HoC (where he and his war party find Calm).
Skintick squatted to pick up two of the cups, straightening to hand one to Nimander. The steam rising from the tea was heady, hinting of mint and cloves and something else. The taste numbed his tongue.
Don’t take candy from strangers tea from Jaghut, people.
We find out that Raest is this Jaghut’s child. We find out that this Jaghut took on 43 T’lan Imass and a Bonecaster, killing them all. This is a threat rallied back against Kallor’s assertion that he’s killed Jaghut.
Teeth bared, Kallor bent down to retrieve his cup.
The Jaghut’s left hand shot out, closing about Kallor’s wrist. ‘You wounded that wolf god,’ he said.
Oh shit. What follows is one of the first times I can recall that Kallor is scared. Contrast with his earlier treatment of Rake as equal.
'Oh, be quiet, Kallor. This tower was an Azath once. Shall I awaken it for you?’
Wondering, Nimander watched as Kallor backed towards the entrance, eyes wide in that weathered, pallid face, the look of raw recognition dawning. ‘Gothos, what are you doing here?’
‘Where else should I be? Now remain outside — these two Tiste Andii must go away for a while.’
The revelation: the Jaghut is none other than the Lord of Hate himself, Gothos. You can understand why Kallor, always so arrogant, submits to Gothos and listens to his instruction.
Immediately after the reveal, Skintick and Nimander succumb to the effects of whatever extra ingredient Gothos had slipped into their tea. We get this final sequence:
Nimander’s eyes were drawn once more to the walls of ice. Black depths, shapes moving within.
He staggered, reached out his hands–
‘Oh, don’t step in there–’
And then he was falling forward, his hands passing into the wall before him, no resistance at all.
‘Nimander, do not–’
Again, the readers eyes are drawn along with Nimander's to the icy, abyss-like, objectifying, Gazing threshold. Here's where the sublime and the weird really flavour the setting in this scene.
There's a bell’s echo here from the start of this scene: this sequence starts with Nimander discussing the uncertainty related to moving through a portal with Andarist away from the rest of his kin, a breaching. During these final lines of this first scene, we get a tension between us and the unknown, between what has happened and that-which-is-to-come, between what we’ve imagined about Malazan’s cosmos and some contorting of those assumptions. What’s beyond the veil decentres not only Nimander in its draw and pushing him to being-for-others, but it decentres the readers too. Hic sunt dracones, terra incognita, the sublime, the enigmatic, the terror. We’re made to feel small and inconsequential by this icy threshold.
It isn’t mysterious because it evades our Gaze like other fantastical things (e.g., many renditions of some archetypal tricksters found within various folklores), instead it invites our Gaze eventually since It Gazes back (almost Nietzschean).


Calling back to the genre conventions, this extended scene is one that definitely plays with the established conventions of Gothic literature and its descendants. Constantly, Erikson hits us with tension sewn into his choice of words in Nimander’s ruminations, his angst associated to diaspora, the notion of Dal Honese ancestors gazing upon their descendants from clay walls, absent ancestors that too haunt the same, the fields of scarecrows as desiccated (and harvested) bodies of worshippers, the alien plant-life, the ancient Jaghut tower, the ice threshold. Each of these (and those unmentioned) add onto to the dissociation (de-centering) of both Nimander and us, the readers. Each of us seem small and inconsequential to the dynamism of the cosmos: everything we know, including that of what we already know about the Malazan universe (and our own) can be challenged. We’re each just travellers who have stumbled upon a shattered visage in the desert that reads: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
This stands in contrast to — almost a revolution against — the modalities one can garnish from the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment that favour an almost religious rationalism and positivism. This is why I believe (and hope I have shown) that the existentialist (and those schools of thought peripheral to it) lens is apt. The genealogy of Gothic literature serves as a grammatical sandbox that gives way to exploring the things that existentialism tries to frame in its study, such as the dread and anxieties — the nothingness (no thing-ness) — of being.
Not only are the Dal Honese clay-filled ancestors present to alienate the reader by entertaining a certain ‘exoticism’ (by the readers’ juxtaposing such practices against what we consider ‘normal’ — here's where Sartre is applied to White or Male Gazes), but they are there as conduits for understanding how Nimander is affected by Others, by their Looks — his siblings, his absent father, his dead uncle, Kallor, Gothos, and the icy threshold — even if this ‘othering’ is one done only by Nimander onto himself (the house settling perceived as a footfall). This becomes more important in the scenes that follow.
So, how does this relate to the Eleint, dragonblood or sorcery? If you want to know now, please read ahead in the text — i.e., he future scenes in this sequence in Chapter 8 of TtH — you’ll find out. Otherwise, I’ll attempt to provide more clarity in the follow-up post(s). Until then, I just want put forth some questions:
Beyond those questions (which align with my grander narrative shared in this collection of essays) — in regards to the plot, I think it is smart to continue asking, ‘why has Gothos ensured that Anomander’s children and Kallor would stumble upon his tower?’
1 the facticity of what can be understood as objective states ascribed to things, including social constructions — thing-ness — e.g., how things are thrown into the world, a mode of existence that simply is, the contingent being of ordinary things, such the language(s) one speaks, one’s occupation, etc.
2 the mode of existence of consciousness that stands in contrast to being-in-itself, “no thing-ness”, that which negates being-in-itself
submitted by skeriphus to Malazan [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:44 Slight-Appeal7297 Questions about possible benefits of a service dog for myself.

I just finished my Junior year of high school, and the fact that I will be moving out and going to college in a year has really started to come to mind. I was diagnosed with Autism in April this year, and it has really helped me to understand myself better and to unmask more. However it is also another thing to add to my list of things that I struggle with. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia in 1st grade, major depressive disordegeneralized anxiety in 5th grade, slow processing skills in 6th (we now know is due to autism), and a PTSD diagnosis almost two years ago due to a car accident I was in when I was 6. I was also diagnosed with sleep onset insomnia (I don’t stop thinking) PLMD (periodic limb movement disorder) in a sleep study in January. Put simply, my legs and arms randomly jerk in my sleep causing me to not get very solid sleep.
I first started looking into benefits of a service dog when I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was researching ways that help with PTSD from car accidents and read about deep pressure therapy and that having a dog do it in the car can help relieve anxiety. We didn’t really see the benefit of this because its one task, and there were other more affordable options. We ended up trying EMDR therapy and it has helped tremendously, I still am anxious and have a hard time driving by myself, but I am still seeing consistent progress.
In my reading about service dogs for autism I have found multiple tasks that I think would be beneficial for me. I am just going to list them. • laying down in front/behind you in crowded areas allowing for you to have more space. • I remember seeing something about them circling you in crowds to prevent people touching and rubbing against you (I went to my first Indy 500 yesterday and almost had a breakdown due to this) •post breakdown comfort? (I dont know what this involves but I saw it when reading about specific tasks for autism) • blood sugar detection. When my sugar is getting low I could see this helping, especially when I am sitting down and don’t notice until I stand up and my vision goes black
Anyway I feel like I got a little off topic, I have a tendency to go too much into detail and just write whatever pops into my head sorry. 😅
My questions!!!
• what other things could a service dog do to help with my autism and especially when I move out and am on my own in college? • would a service dog be able to help me to remember to do things like brush my teeth and take my pills? • would a service dog be beneficial enough for me to bother, or would it be too much to handle? (This seems to be a major concern to my mom. She is worried that the benefits may be outweighed by the stress and responsibility of caring for a dog) • if I were to feel it may be beneficial for me, how should I go about talking to my parents about it? (I like to make slides with visuals to help people understand my thinking better, but I am not sure if this would be the best way to go about it.)
I can’t think of anything else right now but I probably forgot some stuff (I always do lol). Anyway I’m sorry if this is long and if I said things that didn’t necessarily need to be there, I tend to try and over-explain. Thank you for reading this though. I greatly appreciate any sort of advice or anything.
I already thought of something I forgot lol.
Would an ESA be better for me? My main concern with an ESA is just access to public places, but if it would be better, I would want to do what is best for me.
Another thing that I thought of!
I have major issues with picking at my skin, I have heard that there are tasks they can do to help you to recognize when you are doing something potentially harmful to yourself, would it include this?
submitted by Slight-Appeal7297 to service_dogs [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:43 Front-Strike-8690 Human Nature 2[OC]

Twindyl of the Reg Mages, Silvastan
Tartalus fields
I crested the ridge, and our target came into view. A small human outpost, only 30 soldiers strong. We began our descent down the hill. At a signal from our leader - my teacher Erika - we held our position, maintaining our cloaking spell on the normal soldiers continuing down the hill.
We set our positions, archers behind foot soldiers, with us in the back to have the best view for spell casting. We stood still and quiet as the archers drew their bows.
I was getting nervous because of the deafening silence from the lack of wildlife noises. As a result of my jumpiness I panicked and almost struck out blindly when Erika tapped my shoulder.
She looked at me in concern before saying, “How are you feeling today.”
I drew in a shaky breath then said, “Fine, just a bit nervous, this is my first engagement ever you know.”
“I know, don’t worry, you’ll be fine, we outnumber them and are better than them. Remember your betterment lessons.”
“But won’t the humans notice the birds have gone quiet, I wish the birds didn’t sense us.”
Erika smirked and whispered back, “Really Twindyl, the humans are nowhere near as in tune with nature as us. I’d be surprised if their primitive ears can even notice the difference.”
She smiled and moved on to the next person in line.
I remembered my betterment lessons, they were mandatory for all elf students. I honestly didn’t think it was true. Many of the statements my teacher made were derogatory towards all other races. He said he thought the other races were little more than animals. I still find that impossible to believe, because if that were true, how would the other races be able to function or build society?
His answer, they simply imitate the elves’. How could this be, when humans make civilization and great works of art of a completely different design than ours? They make weapons of their own and worship gods of their own, even if they are false.
That doesn’t affect what's about to happen in front of me. I paused as I saw another new soldier loosen his bow. I panicked and reached out with an ice spell freezing the bow. I sighed in relief, our position wasn’t revealed yet. Then I heard a shout from the wall, I released my focus to look at the person shouting, this released the spell and the arrow sped away slamming into a soldier on the wall.
The rest of the soldiers began to move forward and I started to uncloak myself when Erika stopped me.
“We must maintain our position,” she said.
“But we need to support our troops.”
“Right now they don’t know we have mages, that's our advantage. Besides we outnumber them too, we might not even be needed. Remember we’re leaving space for the humans to retreat, their cowardly they’ll take the escape like any sane person would.”
I sighed and turned to watch the battle. I watched as our soldiers approached the wall and thought about all who would soon be dead and dying. It was important I do this so that I never grew calloused to the death I caused either directly or through my orders. Then I looked confused as soldiers began to fall, but how? They hadn’t even reached the wall yet. I looked more closely at the wall, then my gaze went lower. Those clever humans! They’d build firing platforms under the wall.
Erika approached angrily, “Those stupid humans, they fight without honor, they built traps, TRAPS! They’re like weasels, hiding and waiting for an opportunity to strike!”
I watched her closely and thought about how her arrogance had gotten so many men killed before responding, “Let's drop our cloaking and blind the crossbowmen.”
Erika raged on, “NO, THAT'S TOO EASY ON THEM.”
She turned and gathered all the mages around her with a wave of her hand.
“Prepare to launch a combination fireball at the fort.”
Gasps went all around, that was a very complicated spell that drained the energy from multiple mages at once to create a fireball capable of leveling a small town. Yet still we all gathered into a line and began chanting the incantations for the spell. We sang like the elves of old, gathering our souls into one, feeling what all others felt, pain, guilt, rage, sadness.
We felt our power soar, then, then nothing. I turned and saw Erika fall an arrow in her head. I turned in a blind rage and hurled a gigantic fireball at the archer responsible for this murder. I saw it smash into the wall, eviscerating the entire section of the wall. I turned and fell to my knees at the feet of my mentor’s body, sobbing in heart-ripping grief. Then I felt my sadness change to anger, I thought back on when I’d first been introduced to my mentor.”
* “She’s not your typical elf Twindyl.”
“I know Father, I’ll do my best to make you proud.”
“I know you will Twin.”
She entered and bowed.
“Hello, your Highnesses. It will be my honor to teach your daughter.”
From that day on we train, night and day. She was kind but stern. She said she was a very emotional elf, and to not disturb her during one of her moods. When she had her mood, she was wrath but still had enough self-control to teach me. And if she ever snapped at me she would apologize and give me a nice iced juice to make up for it.*
I felt my mind being made up as I gave her one final look. *I will find who did this to you and avenge you, my teacher.* I looked at the other, equally furious mages and we came to an unspoken consensus. Fireballs began to fly into the human fort, we avoided our own people but were ruthless, burning humans and throwing fireballs left and right. Then I realized there should be no structure left standing and threw a fireball into the barracks, destroying the corner room on the second floor.
I dropped into the middle of the camp in a flurry of dust. I launched a wave of fire at two soldiers attempting to charge me. As I looked around the camp my sharp eyes came to focus on a small bird, a pigeon, as it flew from a tower in the far end of the camp. I began to approach the tower, ignoring the battle raging around me as humans desperately fought to the end, *were they stupid? We were leaving room for them to retreat, we wanted the fort with minimal casualties, why weren’t they running?* Two soldiers stood in front of the tower and as I watched another joined them. I sighed but stiffened when I saw the insignia of a captain on the uniform of the new soldier.
I attempted to unleash another fireball at them, but I realized just how drained I really was, as I struggled to conjure even a medium-sized fireball. So I settled for a small fireball and felt myself begin to fade as I sapped the last of my body’s strength, so I threw the fireball and saw it smash into the captain, before blacking out I saw the other two soldiers rushing the captain’s limp body away towards the stables.
When I awoke next I stared up at Tuilë as she smiled at me through gritted teeth. I sat up and looked around at all the injured soldiers around me. There were nurses and healers going through using life magic to resuscitate the wounded.
I groaned as I held my head and asked, “How many of ours?”
Tuilë grimaced and said, “Forty-Six dead, another thirty wounded.”
I stared down at my hands and thought. The humans had proved to be far more cunning than any would have given them credit for. They had well-planned defenses and traps which had defeated our understanding of their complexity by themselves. They had fought savagely with a blood rage the orcs would have envied - if they knew how to do that - as well as with skill. They had fought to the last man, never giving a foot of ground even as their comrades fell around them and fire melted their armor and skin together, all throughout screaming a horrible warcry from their dying lips.
I exited the infirmary to escape the smell of death and the sound of the wounded and dying. I stepped outside, took a deep breath, and was assaulted by a riot of smells, blood, dust, dirt, and steel. It was everywhere, I looked at the human corpses that lay mutilated and destroyed. Some had clearly been cut down multiple times only to stand back up, others looked like they’d been ripped to pieces by fireballs. These humans had fought to the death, all the way down to the last man.
I shuddered as I thought about it and began to think to myself that maybe we’d made a huge mistake. We’d already clearly underestimated humans. They had defended the ill with their last breath. They were clearly compassionate, but they were also terrible, fighting with their teeth and nails when their weapons shattered and their quivers ran empty. That was human nature. Compassionate and loving, but it appeared they were also cunning and viscous to a level we could have never predicted. I fear our biggest fault is not a physical or mental weakness, but one of our mindset.
submitted by Front-Strike-8690 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:42 Darmanarya Hunting Party chapter 5

((Time for feels! Discussion of identity and trauma ahead as pretty much standard with anything involving u/SpacePaladin15’s Nature of Predators series and its fanfics. Credit goes to them for the aforementioned story this is based on! And yup, double upload today!))


Memory transcript subject: Arxur exchange participant Syle
Date [standardized human time]: October 20, 2136
“You thought I was a male!? Do you not see my curves, my face, my EVERYTHING!?” I roared at the venlil shit brained human.
“Hey hey hey I didn’t expect to be this lu- I mean- I didn’t expect this.” He quickly called out as he lifted up his hands. “I just had thought you were a very effeminite male.”
“Men are NOT this feminine.” I hissed out as I once more motioned to my small, slender, FEMALE body!
“Well, some human men are, and you are one of the first Arxur I have ever seen.” he pointed out as he grabbed his data pad and started typing prophet knows what.
“Krakotl shit. There is no way ANY man can look thi-”
By the prophet that was a girl in a cute pink dress.
“Okay, that is a girl.” I hissed at Jack.
“No its not.” He calmly replied then pointed at the username. It was masculine, but no gnashing way that thing was male.
“You are lying. Do not lie to me.”
“I am not!” he then pointed at a part of the picture. I leaned in close as my tail lashed side to side.
By the prophet it WAS a male. What? Why? HOW?!
I straightened up as I looked at Jack, then the picture, then back at Jack. “But… Why?” I asked motioning to the picture. “It serves no purpose! Why bother showing yourself in such a way? He clearly put in all the work to look female and he is not even identifying as female?
“Because he wants to look pretty, show off, and its what he finds fun.” Jack explained. “This one isn’t even gay.” He then put his pad down before sitting in the long-chair of comfy. “Humans love to express things with what they wear all the time. Its how we show our identity, what we like, and how we want to be seen. He wants to be seen as pretty and make people feel good. Some girls dress like men because they want pockets. Some men dress like girls to get guys. Some, like me, dress simply because we do not care that much about it.”
My head spun at all the various ways that humans dressed. “So… its… like camouflage?” I slowly asked before sitting down. Why would you want to wear things like that? It would just make you stand out! Isn’t that bad?
“Yes, but no.” He rubbed the back of his head and let out a long groan. “Why did the first thing have to be clothing? I have no fashion sense!” He grumbled. That F-word had no translation at all for me so I just kept staring as he talked more. “So, humans use their clothing to express themselves for the most part. They use what they wear to show things. How they feel, how they want to look, to make a statement, to draw attention, and more. Some wear camo even in public to show their identity even.”
Wait, the humans can stand out? “Wouldn’t that get you labeled as defective? I mean, it seems like such a waste of time and more. Plus, it serves no real point to hunting or anything.”
“We don’t see it as a waste, and some people deliberately dress to show themselves as, as you would put it, defective. Different and against the norm is in fact an identity some people WANT to show.” He explained before motioning to his body. “The fact I wear pretty much ONLY jeans and nerdy t-shirts in public is my way of saying I am defective and do not care for fashion. Ironically enough its a fairly popular statement.”
My head swam. Wanting to be SEEN and KNOWN as defective!? “You… you don’t kill defects?” I slowly asked staring right into those eyes. Please. Tell me I am safe. Please let me be defective. Please let me. Please.
He stared back at me with wide eyes. “Oh… oh shit.” he looked around and took a deep breath. “Well fuck this is above my pay grade. No. No we do not. In fact we don’t even correct most things that some consider “defective” anymore. In fact, its usually seen as a good thing these days.”My brain just seemed to… stop.
Defective? Good? Safe? No correct? No betterment? No kill?
“Hey, Syle, you- oh no you are not.”
Can’t stop.
What? The human held me close. His skin was soft, his body was not hard. Warm. Very warm. Safe. I leaned into him and closed my eyes as I curled up next to him.
“I… hated eating sentients. I… didn’t want to. No choice. If they knew they would have killed me.” I gasped out. “If you didn’t take me in they would have killed me for losing to you.” I finally admitted. It felt… good. Very good. I never got to talk to someone like this.”
His hand rubbed my head softly. It felt wonderful. His hand was the softest I had ever felt in my life. I wanted more of these head rubs.
“I… I want to be defective. Is that ok? Is that really ok?” I asked over and over again. This was too good to be true! This human won me fair and square, but he won a proud Arxur hunter. Not a defective freak like me.
“Yes. Yes it is. I promise no eating anything sentient.” His voice was softer, gentler than normal. Soft like his belly, his hand, this long-chair. I like soft. Soft is good. Need more soft. “You also don’t have to act tough all the time. You don’t have to be angry.”
Less anger? But anger keep me alive. Anger keep me fed. Anger help me hunt?
More tears. More warm.
“Its okay Syle. Let it out. You are safe here. I promise.” He cooed down to me.
I cried for prop- no. No more prophet, no more betterment. They want me dead now, so they can go- gnash I don’t even know. Rot?
I just cried into this man’s shirt. Every time I felt like they were going to stop, I realized that I was still safe, that nobody hit me for it, nobody yelled at me, nobody was watching me to see if I was “broken” and more came out. I don’t know how long I cried, and I don’t care. I was safe.
Finally I managed to stop, but I was not going to leave him. Being held felt… good. Plus, even though it was safe I didn’t want this human, no, Jack to see me all broken like this. I took slow, deep breaths like I used to on the ship, trying to calm down. His hand rubbing my head helped too.
“Can you help me pick out new clothes Jack? I don’t… I really don’t want to wear Arxur armor anymore.” My words were quiet. At first I thought he couldn’t hear them, but I could feel his body move a bit. “Sure. I will help you order some. Until then you can wear some of mine. I buy some baggy clothes that should fit.” He calmly said as he rubbed my head. “No rush though. Just relax. In fact, I will give you a nice comfy pair of pajamas like mine for tonight to sleep in.”
I nodded and we just sat there awhile. The room was dark now as night had come, but the fire gave us light and warmth. I wanted to sleep on this long chair in the arms of this human. I was safe. I was fed. I was warm. No yelling. No pain.
We stayed that way for awhile before I sat up and took a deep breath. He rubbed my back a bit before he got up and went into a different room leaving me alone. I looked around again. There were some pretty pictures on the wall, a few nice things on tables, but it felt empty. Normally I would be packed in with at least two others since our ships were tiny, but here?
He finally returned and put some soft clothes on my lap. “You can change in the bathroom.” He said pointing to a different room. I nodded and soon was wrapped in the warmest, softest clothing I have ever felt in my life! It had long sleeves that wrapped my arms and long pants legs that even covered my claws! Every move I made caused the soft fabric to brush against me like wearing a nice blanket!
I walked out and Jack gave me a warm smile. My tail curled up as I stretched a bit, shuddering as my joints popped. “Alright. Lets get some sleep.” he then patted my shoulder and led me to a hallway. “I think you need it.” I did. I so gnashing did.
He took me to a HUGE bedroom with a bed big enough for two arxur! My tail curled in the air, was he-
“This is your private room.” He motioned across it with an open hand. “All yours. You can even lock the door if you want. I will be just across the hall. Any questions?” I shook my head. My own private room. Like I was a chief hunter. I slowly walked to the bed and put a hand on it enjoying how soft EVERYTHING was! I could hear him close the door as I slid onto the bed and under the covers.
It was so quiet. I had always slept in a crowded bunk room, even as a hatchling. I rolled over and over looking around for someone, listening for something, but the world was quiet. I stared at the ceiling forever, unable to sleep. My mind kept drifting to how warm and soft Jack was. How I needed somebody in the room with me. Finally I let out a hiss knowing what I had to do.
I slid out of bed and calmly went across the hall. There was jack, laid on his side in an even bigger bed than mine. Alone as well. “Hrmf? Wh- Oh. Syle? What’s up?” He asked clearly having been drifting off asleep.
“I… am not used to sleeping alone.” I confessed. My words soft as my tail swayed side to side.
“Oh. uh….” He looked at me in surprise before giving a small nod. “Alright. Its… not normal for humans to sleep together like this, but uh. Sure.”
With that I slid into his bed and pressed my back against his warm, soft belly. A happy chirp left my traitorous lips, but he was making odd, strange noises before he let out a long breath and put an arm around me.
submitted by Darmanarya to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:38 slparker09 Mad Gross Gobo Bust (printed) WIP

Mad Gross Gobo Bust (printed) WIP
Finally had a minute to paint. Thought I would print and start the Mad Gross Gobbo I backed on KS.
Just initial work on the skin.
I’m unsure of what color I want to do the vest in. Rough/aged black leather seems obvious, but overdone.
What about a deep black red, something like Dr. Martins oxblood?
Or, maybe a warm brown leather.
Thoughts and C&C always welcome.
submitted by slparker09 to minipainting [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:35 wannabesuperdaddy Earth's Best Organic Baby Formula for Babies 0-12 Months

Earth's Best Organic Baby Formula for Babies 0-12 Months
Caution: It's important to remember that these evaluations are guides to potential health concerns and not definitive measures of a product's safety or efficacy. They are based on individual ingredients rather than any negative effects the final product may have. The way ingredients interact in a formulation can influence their potential impact, and the presence of a specific ingredient does not automatically equate to harm when used in a product. It's always crucial to do your own research, consider the product as a whole, and keep in mind that personal reactions can vary greatly. When making decisions about personal care products, it is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals.

Brief: This product, comprised mostly of organic ingredients, has garnered popularity among parents who prefer organic options. However, not all organic ingredients necessarily imply safety. This product contains seven ingredients with moderate hazard ratings and one with a high hazard rating. Furthermore, some babies sensitive to vitamin D3 may experience discomfort or vomiting due to the cholecalciferol ingredient. However, generally, the amount of cholecalciferol present in baby formula is well-regulated and falls within safe limits. If you have any concerns about your baby's formula, it is always best to consult with a pediatrician or healthcare provider. They can provide guidance based on the latest research and your baby's specific needs.

Ingredients: Organic Lactose, Organic Nonfat Milk, Organic Oils (Organic Palm or Palm Olein, Organic Soy, Organic Coconut, Organic High Oleic Safflower or Sunflower Oil), Organic Whey Protein Concentrate, Less than 1%: Mortierella Alpina Oil (a Source of Arachidonic Acid (ARA), DHA Algal Oil (Schizochytrium (a Source of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)), Fructooligosaccharide, Lutein, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene, Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol),Vitamin E (DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Mixed Tocopherol Concentrate, Vitamin K (Phytonadione), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cyanocobalamin, Niacinamide, Folic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Ascorbic Acid, Choline Bitartrate, Inositol, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Hydroxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Cupric Sulfate, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Selenite, Sodium Citrate, Taurine, Organic, Soy Lecithin, Nucleotides (Cytidine-5'-Monophosphate, Adenosine-5’-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine-5-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine-5’-Monophosphate, Disodium Inosine-5-Monophosphate).

Typical ingredients description and side effects

  • Potassium Hydroxide
    • Potassium Hydroxide is commonly used in the food industry as a pH regulator or a food stabilizer. It helps to maintain the acidity or alkalinity of food, which is important for flavor, preservation, and food safety. In baby formula, Potassium Hydroxide is used to adjust the pH to make it as close to human milk as possible, to ensure optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Irritation: Potassium hydroxide is known to be caustic, meaning it can cause irritation or burns if it comes into direct contact with the skin or eyes in its pure form. However, in food products like baby formula, it's used in very diluted quantities that are safe for consumption.
      • Digestive Issues: If consumed in large amounts, potassium hydroxide could potentially cause digestive issues such as nausea or vomiting. However, the small amounts used in food products are unlikely to cause such effects.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 5

  • Zinc Sulfate
    • Zinc sulfate is a mineral that is frequently used in dietary supplements and baby formulas. Zinc is an essential nutrient that supports various body functions, including immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. It's particularly important for babies as they grow and develop.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Gastrointestinal Issues: Excessive intake of zinc can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
      • Zinc Toxicity: While rare, severe overconsumption can lead to zinc toxicity, with symptoms including loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. Long-term excessive intake could potentially interfere with the body's absorption of other essential minerals like copper and iron.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 6

  • Ferrous Sulfate
    • Ferrous sulfate is a type of iron supplement that's often added to baby formulas. Iron is an essential nutrient that's necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It's also worth noting that some infants may have difficulty absorbing iron from supplements like ferrous sulfate, which can potentially lead to issues such as iron deficiency anemia. However, most infants can absorb and utilize the iron in baby formula without issue.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Gastrointestinal Issues: These can include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or stomach upset.
      • Iron Toxicity: Though very rare and typically associated with accidental ingestion of iron supplements, iron toxicity can be serious, causing symptoms like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, fever, and in severe cases, can lead to organ damage.
      • Interference with Nutrient Absorption: Excessive iron can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients, such as zinc.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 4

  • Manganese Sulfate
    • Manganese sulfate is a mineral that's often used in dietary supplements and food products, including baby formula. Manganese is an essential nutrient that supports many body functions, including bone development, metabolism, and brain function. As of my knowledge, manganese sulfate is generally considered safe in the quantities typically found in food and formula, but excessive intake can lead to adverse effects
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Neurological Effects: High levels of manganese exposure have been associated with neurological issues, but this is generally associated with environmental exposure (like inhaling manganese dust), not dietary intake.
      • Interference with Iron Absorption: Manganese can interfere with the absorption of iron. This is generally not a problem with the levels of manganese found in baby formula, but it could potentially be an issue with very high levels of intake.
      • Digestive Issues: As with any mineral, consuming excessive amounts could potentially cause digestive issues like nausea or diarrhea.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 3

  • Tocopheryl Acetate
    • Tocopheryl Acetate is a form of vitamin E that is often added to baby formula, skincare products, and various other products. Vitamin E is an essential nutrient known for its antioxidant properties. It plays a crucial role in protecting cells from damage, supporting immune function, and promoting healthy skin and eyes. In the context of baby formula, tocopheryl acetate is generally safe and unlikely to cause side effects when consumed at levels that are within the recommended dietary allowances for infants. However, like any nutrient, it could potentially cause side effects if consumed excessively.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Bleeding: Vitamin E has mild anticoagulant properties, meaning it can prevent blood clots. While this is typically a good thing, in large amounts, it could potentially increase the risk of bleeding.
      • Nausea, Diarrhea, Stomach Cramps: Some people may experience digestive upset from consuming too much vitamin E.
      • Rash: Some individuals may have a skin reaction to topical use of tocopheryl acetate, though this is less relevant for its presence in baby formula
    • EWG Skin Grade: 3

  • Sodium Selenite
    • Sodium selenite is a form of selenium, an essential mineral required for a variety of biological functions. It is sometimes used in infant formula to ensure that babies get an appropriate amount of this nutrient. Selenium plays several important roles in the body. It's a key component of various enzymes and proteins, many of which are involved in protecting cells from damage. It also supports a healthy immune system, aids in DNA production, and is involved in thyroid hormone metabolism. However, like all nutrients, selenium needs to be consumed in appropriate amounts. Both too much and too little selenium can be harmful.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Selenium Toxicity (Selenosis): Although it's rare, consuming too much selenium over time can lead to selenosis. Symptoms might include gastrointestinal upset, hair loss, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage.
      • Interference with Other Nutrients: High levels of selenium can interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients, like zinc.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 10

  • Cholecalciferol
    • Cholecalciferol, also known as Vitamin D3, is a crucial nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health. It is often included in baby formulas to ensure infants receive an adequate supply, particularly as breast milk alone is usually insufficient in providing the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D. While generally safe and necessary, consuming excessive amounts of cholecalciferol can have side effects.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Hypercalcemia: This is a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, frequent urination, excessive thirst, bone pain, muscle weakness, confusion, and fatigue.
      • Hypercalciuria: This condition is characterized by high levels of calcium in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones.
      • Nausea or Vomiting: High levels of Vitamin D can sometimes lead to a loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 5

  • Phytonadione
    • Phytonadione is a form of vitamin K1, which plays a critical role in helping the blood clot and preventing excessive bleeding. It's commonly added to baby formula to ensure infants receive adequate nutrition. Generally, phytonadione is safe and necessary for infants, but like any nutrient, it could potentially cause side effects if taken in excess.
    • Potential Side Effects:
      • Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, phytonadione could cause allergic reactions, which could manifest as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.
      • Unusual Taste: Some people have reported a strange or unpleasant taste in their mouth after taking supplements containing phytonadione.
      • Flushing or Sweating: These side effects are less common and are more often associated with injectable forms of the vitamin rather than oral intake through food or formula.
    • EWG Skin Grade: 4

The grading system used by EWG in the Skin Deep database is as follows:
1 to 2: Low hazard
3 to 6: Moderate hazard
7 to 10: High hazard
submitted by wannabesuperdaddy to ChoosyParents [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:25 Dragon_Rot79 Life or Damnation

There was only darkness. I could not see or hear my surroundings. I tried to feel around, but to no avail, then a blinding flash of light followed by an ominous cackling engulfed my senses. I opened my eyes, still blinded by the light, and they adjusted slowly. I looked around, appalled by what I was seeing. Fire was on the ground, the walls, the ceiling, not covering every speck of the room I was in, but enough to send waves of heat on top of me, like I was being baked in my own skin. It seemed like I was sweating all the fluids out of my body. Then that cackling starts again.
"Not used to the heat yet?" said a deep voice behind me.
I turned around and saw a what could only be described as the Devil. Tall and dark, yet charm emanated off him like the most fragrant of perfumes. I didn't need to hear him speak to know he had a silver tongue. He was wearing a formal looking business suit and had a generic evil goatee, yet he pulled it off remarkably well.
"Am I dead?" I asked, dreading the answer.
"No, of course not." the Devil said, dripping with sarcasm. "We are just having a ball at an ice cream parlor."
"I wanted a serious answer."
"Then don't ask stupid questions." he said in a dry tone of voice. "We might as well take a tour, you'll want to be familiar with Hell if you're going to be here for all eternity."
"HELL!?" I exclaimed. "I don't belong here. I have a family!"
"Everybody says they don't belong here." the Devil said, sounding bored and uninterested. He looked me in the eyes and I felt like my soul was being invaded. "Tell me, my new friend, what do you do for a living?"
"I work at an insurance company." I replied meekly. "But I don't see how that has anything to do with my eternal damnation. I don't hurt anyone, I don't sin, I'm a devoted religious man. I haven't done anything wrong."
"What EXACTLY do you do at this company?" the Devil asked me sternly.
"I...I approve or deny heath insurance claims." I muttered.
"Wrong. You deny claims. You've only ever approved of 2% of them over the course of your career."
"What does that have to do with anything. I was only trying to do my job!" I screamed at him.
"How many people do you think died because they couldn't afford treatment. Because you denied them the only chance they had at life." he said to me with an icy voice. "You may not have wielded the knife, but you are responsible for their deaths."
"That's not fair!" I yelled. "I did my job! I provided for my family! How is that a sin! I deserve to go back to my family!"
"You really think that's best?" the Devil asked. I angrily nodded my head, faced contorted in rage. "Well, follow me then. I want to show you something."
The Devil snapped his fingers and the wall behind him erupted in flames. they died down after a moment and a door appeared that wasn't there before. He walked towards it and opened the door, gesturing me to follow. He lead the way down a corridor, with jail cells lining the walls. The bars were made of bones and sinew. The floors were covered in guts and entrails and they occasionally burst into flames and disappeared. All the occupants were screaming from the various types of torture inflicted upon them.
"This is your new abode." the Devil said as he stopped at the only empty cell in the corridor. "It is empty because you belong in here, yet that only applies if you choose so."
"What do you mean?" I asked him.
"Time flows differently in Hell. Your soul traveled here across space and time, to a point after all life has perished. Every sinner that has ever existed shall suffer together, be it the past, present, or future." he told me.
"I still don't follow."
The Devil snapped his fingers again and the room rippled with a wave of intense energy. I felt my knees buckle under its pressure. The empty cell contorted and the space within it shifted and eventually settled. There was now a woman in the cell who looked vaguely familiar. She was screaming as a small demon impaled her with a hot iron. I knew her, felt it in my soul, and recognized her.
"Is....that my daughter?" I meekly asked.
"Yes. You died when she was an infant. I told you that time works differently here." he replied.
"Why is she here?"
"If I return you to the world of the living, you leave you current job and start redeeming yourself for your work denying people the help they needed. Your soul is saved. However, in the process, you focus solely on work and neglect your family. You daughter doesn't feel loved by her father, who never has time for her. In time, she starts injuring herself to get your attention, but it doesn't work and she commits suicide." the Devil said. He glanced me over and continued. "Of course, if you die as intended, then your wife marries another man after a few years. He is a good man and your daughter grows up into a wonderful person. Either you or your daughter stays here for eternity, the choice is yours."
I think for a minute, contemplating the information I've just been given. I have essentially been told how the future will play out. I know I can fulfil my daughters needs and save my soul if I work hard enough. It may take decades to do, but I now know exactly what I must do.
"Send me back to my family." I said. "That is my decision."
"As you wish." the Devil said. He snapped his fingers for a final time and darkness once again filled my senses.
I woke up in a jolt in my bed, seeping in sweat. My head felt like someone had banged a rock against it and my mind was all murky. I couldn't think properly. I went to the bathroom and took some pills for my headache. I heard my daughter crying in the next room and went to check on her. She was the light of my life and a strange feeling overcame me. Was my job something to be proud of? Denying people in need of medical help? I wanted to be a better example for my daughter and this was not the way.
I went back to bed and thought about why I woke up they way I did. I felt like I had an important dream, yet couldn't remember what it was about. I gave it no more thought, as it didn't seem that important if I couldn't remember what it was.
submitted by Dragon_Rot79 to scarystories [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:41 Vinley026 [Online][SLiM][EST] The Living Peaks: A World of Mountainous Gods and Primordial Ooze

Adrift in the cold, endless void is the Ooze: a primordial being that has existed for time immemorial. It is a bottomless ocean of mystery and wonder to the mortals that walk on the surface above.
On the crust surrounding the liquid core of the planet are the Living Peaks: the self-proclaimed masters of the world.
Below the Peaks are the humans, or Ungrots as the Peaks refer to them as, who go about their daily lives mostly unaware of the massive game of cosmic chess they take part in.
Long ago, the Ungrots struck out from under the Peaks' direct influence, and with the leadership of Ahualt the Warrior King headed east to find a land in which they could be free.
This led them to the Dorshan Plateau, where humans would found successful cities to push them into a new age of technology.
While the Dorshans strode the line between Peakish influence and their own free will, other Ungrots were not so lucky,
The Hanugali hordes of the Swaying Steppe fell squarely under the influence of the Boulderian Monks, and were staunch followers of the Peakish teachings.
The Kirioy of the jungled valley in the east rested in the low, Ooze-rich soil. Their relationship with the Deep Heaven they called El-Tra was close indeed.
Some Ungrots ceased to be so at all, shedding their mortal skin for strong, Peakish stone. These rocky beings were called the Petrifundi, and their immortal voices preached the sermons of the Living Peaks.
What may await you on the continent of Pikeya?
Important Information:
The Living Peaks is run in SLiM, a new RPG system that many of you may not have encountered before. It is in alpha, so I recommend that those who are looking for a heavily refined experience should look elsewhere. We run into "bugs" and new situations every session, so prepare to be an instrumental part of this new game's development. (Your feedback is cherished greatly.)
One last note: I give a trigger warning to any and all that approach us. We are a rough bunch who don't take everything so seriously all the time. Join at your own peril, and prepare to have fun if you don't feel deterred by this warning.
[Wednesdays at 8 PM EST]
[Campaign starts June 7th]
-> Vinely26#1487 <- Contact me here
submitted by Vinley026 to LFGno5e [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:24 FaithlessnessJust884 [M4F] 31. Lodi, NJ

Hey, Im looking for someone to share physical affection with. Im searching for non sexual cuddles but I if you would like to take it further we can explore that. I’m going to a breakup and I deeply miss the physical affection we had. I love having deep, open, and reflective conversations as well as goofy and silly conversations as well. I also like to sit in silence and just enjoy the moment too.
I can host, I like to cook and take care of people so foot and back rubs can be given if that’s cool. We can play video games, chat, watch movies, or whatever comes to mind. 420 friendly, drinking is fine too. I’m light skin black man, 5’8”, 185, athletic build.
submitted by FaithlessnessJust884 to cuddlebuddies [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:12 strangelyving The fanfiction I have yet to name

For clearity the oc is from a fanfiction based on Sicario/sicario: Day of the Soldado and takes place after the movie ends
It has been a few years since Alejandro’s death, and I was doing my best to cope with it, as I couldn’t waste away because of it. The government wouldn’t let me even if I wanted to. Instead, I went into the FBI as a new field agent wannabe. I had special treatment due to my ‘ability’ and field history, so I was placed in a different room than the others.
I sat at the center table, straight and unwavering as any agent should be, awaiting further instruction. It was only when I heard the doorknob turn that I allowed my attention to waver. “Ah, you chose the table instead of the couch in the corner.” Said a deep male voice as he closed the door behind him. “As an agent you are to keep on your guard at all times. Comfort too easily allows your guard to drop unconsciously.” I said.
“Very true, but we haven’t even begun.” He said. “No matter. My name is Harold Cooper I am the Assistant director for counter terrorism in the FBI.” he said, extending his hand towards mine. I took it, and gave a firm handshake in return. “My name is Adeline Smith.” I replied. “Pleasure.” Harold said as he sat across from me, opening a thick file folder in front of him.
He took his time reading some parts and turned past many pages. “You have quite the...history with working on the field. A lot more than we came to expect. Good for you.” He said as he was still reading further. “Thank you.” I said curtly. I watched his expression shift and his eyes briefly dart towards me in curiosity before turning them back to the page. “I find some of this...a little disbelieving.” He said.
“Lemme guess, the whole “I can shapeshift” part?” I said, sighing. Harold sat up again, and thought for a moment, his hands under his chin. “Give me a reason to believe it.” He said. I sighed under my breath. “Seeing as I didn’t write my own file, is there any reason for another person of high authority to lie on it?” I offered. “You make a valid point, and one, if I wasn’t so interested to see it I would have accepted. But seeing as I am now curious, I would like to see a demonstration.” He said as he motioned towards the open space in the room. “Don’t worry, there are no windows or cameras in this room so no one else will see.”
That came with little comfort as I got up and shook myself out in preparation. I kneeled down and slowly felt movement under my skin. After many years of having to do this transformation, it became painless and I could hardly feel any of it. Silence filled the room, safe for the cracking and forming of bones and teeth and fur. Once the transformation was complete, I turned to look at the bewildered expression of Harold who looked like a child seeing anything for the first time.
“Y-y-you can still understand me right?” He asked, as he changed his seated position to talk down to me. I rolled my eyes slightly and nodded my large canine head. “Good…” He said, before regaining his former status. “You will begin as the FBI’s...guard dog. I don’t usually say this but you will be working with a Blacklisted criminal and for reasons that should come as no surprise, we need extra...protection so to speak. Feel free to listen in on everything as well. You are apart of this team after all. You do not have to stay in… this form forever, but I request that you stay in this form as long as you are present to the criminal...for now.” He explained.
I nodded and stood there, waiting for my next task as he finished up with the file. “I know you are wondering and it is just that your young appearance would most likely prompt unwanted banter between you and him, and, not knowing how you deal with that sort of thing yet, I would rather stick with safe than sorry.” He explained as he stood up. “I think you are trained well enough that I don’t need to buy a dog leash for you.” He chuckled.
I let out a rough growl and he dropped it. “We will need to place a leash on you whilst we are in public though, no matter how uncomfortable it is.” He said which I fully expected. I nodded as I followed him out of the door. In the hallway he began to brief me on the situation at hand.
“Recently, Raymond has asked to see a specific person who we didn’t even know yet. Agent Keen. She is scheduled to interview so to speak raymond. I want you to be there with her. Listen to them talk, watch body language, that type of thing. Any hostility from him, remind him that you are dangerous. Remember, he can’t physically do anything to you, he is heavily and securely restrained, but you won’t be. He is a well-trained manipulator, keep that in mind.” Harold said as he walked us into another room, where another woman was sitting patiently waiting.
There were other agents seated in the room as well, but the room was silent. All eyes went from Harold, then to me. But I sat next to Harold’s desk and listened. It was like my interview a bit, a little deeper though. And after a handshake and congratulations, she was in as well. She glanced at me many times. “Sir, why is there a canine unit here if I may ask? Is there some sort of...Bomb threat or something?” She asked.
“No, she is here for overall protection, as are the guns. She will be going in with you when you talk with Raymond. She is an excellent judge for body language and can detect hostility from a mile away when some people cannot.” Harold said, giving me a look that told me that he had set the bar for me to reach and surpass.
“Of course, I have a dog of my own. They sense things we cannot.” Agent Keen said as she smiled down at me. “Alright, if you are settled, two agents will also accompany you there. Good luck.” Harold said as he opened the secured door and we were led out into the wide open space.
I walked closely behind Agent Keen and smelled around. Nervousness was coming from almost every agent except one person. Oddly, I was getting no nervousness from the criminal himself. I was getting Excitement. The encagement around Raymond was getting removed as Agent Keen and I were walking up and I could feel the look of the criminal on me.
“Ah, I’m touched. I warrant a K-9 unit. What is it? A german shepard mix of some sort?” He asked, before making a kissy sound, attempting to grab my attention. “What she is, is not important. You asked for me, I am here.”
“Agent Keen, what a pleasure.” Raymond said, with a smirk playing on his lips. I could tell Agent Keen was not accustomed to this sort of job and she was doing a good job of hiding her anxiety. Raymond continued on with ‘proving he knew her’ by commenting on physical changes to her looks. I let out a deep growl to get him back on track.
To my surprise, he didn’t seem startled or taken aback, but his attention switched and his mouth paused long enough for Agent keen to ask a question. “Tell me about Zamani.” She said,
With a deep sigh, Raymond opened his mouth again. “Within the hour, Ranko Zamani will abduct the daughter of U.S. General Daniel Ryker. There'll be some kind of diversion, communications will be scrambled, then he'll grab the girl. He wants to be out of the country within 36 hours. If you don't move quickly, she will die. That's what I know.” When he finished, silence came into the room. We were afraid of how serious to take this, despite how detailed his tale was.
“How do you know this?” Agent keen asked, afraid of the answer. And for good reason. “Because I am the one who got him in the country.” For a while, there was silence. Agent Keen looked from me then back to Redington. “And we are supposed to believe you?” She asked incredulously. I flattened my ears in caution. Despite how forward he was being, I didn’t think this was a matter to take lightly.
“Of course not! I am a criminal. We criminals are notorious liars. Everything about me is a lie. We only lie, until it is strategic for us not to.” He said. “I know so much more about you than anyone else in this facility. I mean, you’re an open book. Abandoned by a father who was a career criminal, a mother who died of weakness and shame. And yet here you are, about to make a name for yourself, about to capture Ranko Zamani. I am going to make you famous, Lizzy.” He said with the widest, smuggest smile.
I let out a growl and pulled on the leash to say, “we are done”. And agent Keen soon followed as Raymond was being locked up once again. I could feel the anxiety dripping off of her as I rushed her inside, closely followed by pairs of armed guards. “How did he know those things?” She cried hysterically.
Harold looked confused to say the least. But she pushed her point that they needed to take the threat as it was. A threat. Before she left the room, on the verge of tears. I looked to harold and, seeing as he had no orders for me right then, I went to follow. By the time I got out there, she was already on the phone, so I silently sat beside her as she seemed to be discussing...adoption?
“Put on a great show there. You better pull yourself together because you just called in the cavalry.” Agent Ressler said as he walked swiftly around. Jealousy and attitude lacing his tone. I let out a shrill bark and a growl, flattening my tail. He jumped and seemed to slow down. “Can I just have one minute?”
“We don’t have a minute. Come on.” Ressler said. I left Agent Keen to finish her phone call up and hurried up to Ressler. “Don’t you growl at me.” He said, looming over me, trying to intimidate me. My hackles rose and I bared my teeth and growled. He raised his hand to give me a swat when Harold grabbed his arm. “You will not lay a hand on her.”
Douglas gave me a glare that said all that was necessary, but he left to board the car. Harold also gave me a stern glance as he pointed to the car as well. Luckily, Douglas was in a different car and I watched Agent Keen sit next to me. The ride was silent and swift as we made it to a ballet school of dance. “Gotta be on your best behavior, bud.” Agent Keen said as she looked down at me and patted my head. “Don’t want to frighten the children.”
I followed close behind as Agent Keen and the rest of the guards and agents walked towards the practice space. Agent Keen told me to stay with Douglas while she went to fetch the kid. It didn’t take long, to no surprise, but as soon as she saw me, she screamed. “Puppy!” And ran towards me.
I stayed perfectly still as she rushed over to me and wrapped her arms around my neck. “Puppy is going to come with us! Let’s go for a car ride.” Agent Ressler said, patting my head. I sighed. He better not get used to this.
I laid in the back with the girls on the floor, getting gently petted by the little girl. Elizabeth was gently talking to the girl. “What’s the doggie’s name?” The girl asked.
Elizabeth looked to me and then back at the girl. “I don’t know, they never told me.” she responded by patting my head. Just then the cars were called to a stop. I raised my head. “Construction, we have to reroute.” Douglas radioed in.
We started pulling around when out of nowhere, a truck plowed directly into our side door. I covered the child as I leapt up and put my body in between the car and the girl, just as gunfire began. This was the diversion Reddington was talking about. I leapt out of the broken window to assess the situation.
It was a gongshow. Trucks everywhere, disguised as dirt loaders carrying men with guns instead. They were pouring gasoline on the road as men in yellow hazmat suits shot at the vehicles. From the voices I could hear, they were speaking russian. These were definitely Zamani’s men.
I lunged at the men, taking their attention away only briefly getting kicked away shortly. That only made me angry. As I got up, a shot ran through my shoulder and I got knocked out. When my consciousness came back, the child was gone and so were the men.
When I fully came to, Agent Keen was running her hands down my back and telling me it was gonna be okay. I was no longer on the bridge, I was back at headquarters being rushed to the infirmary.
Harold was there of course. “I’ll take it from here, you need to pry Reddington’s mind for more information. There is something he’s not telling us.”
I looked at Harold as Agent Keen left. Once the people in the infirmary got the bullet out, he brought me to a secure office. “I need you to tell me what happened.”
I took a deep breath as I began shifting back to my original form. “They gassed the car but gave the child a gas mask.” I began.
“Then they’re not planning on killing her. Not yet at least. Which means we got time. This was just a diversion just like Reddington said.” Harold said, thinking. “What does he want?”
Just then, Douglas knocked on the door before walking right in. We both looked to the door. “I think the meaning of knocking is to wait until you are given permission, Agent Ressler.”
“I’m sorry sir but Reddington wants to look at the evidence… to help. Who’s she?” He said, looking at me briefly.
“An agent, you don’t know everyone on the force” He said briefly. Douglas dropped it and walked back out, giving me one last look.
“We will properly introduce you soon, but in the meantime, come out once you’re, well… a dog.” He said.
I felt relieved this wasn’t going to be too permanent and began the transformation once more. Harold placed a sling around my injured leg and we walked out. He gave the order to release Reddington into standard handcuffs as he was being led into the evidence room.
When I got there he was already getting touchy with the evidence photograph. No one was happy with this but we were making progress so they let him. I was listening, understanding even less of it but I was sure I was going to be enlightened soon enough.
They soon figured out the motive. Revenge for a bombing with another bomb in D.C. Reddington finally caved and told us about the chemist and such, only after getting a deal to be released under supervision.
“You will be watching Reddington closely.” Harold told me. I cocked my head. “You will act as his dog. We can't put an agent in here, but we can bring you. Listen to everything he says, especially when he meets Zamani.”
I couldn’t say I didn’t see this coming. “Come, we have to drop you both off.”
We went back to Reddington. “Reddington, this k-9 unit will accompany you, and to anyone outside of the FBI, she is your dog.” Harold said, giving my leash to him.
“Lovely, it's been years since I had one. I’ll be sure to take good care of her.” He said, looking down at me with a smile. I averted my gaze but my hackles were raised.
“Play nice you two.” Agent Ressler said.
I rolled my eyes and my few days as Reddington’s dog was rather uneventful. Of course they put cameras in his hotel room and were practically right there if need be. However, this wasn’t exactly what I signed up for. Over the course of the day, he would randomly feed me table scraps, and make me food which was… more than I expected him to do, but maybe he was just holding up his part of the deal.
In fact they were right next door. They gave me a break as I needed one rather badly and I went with Agent Keen to get fresh air. She was going home to see her husband and she told me to play nice with her other dog. The drive wasn’t long and Agent Keen spoke to me about the adoption and her husband along the way.
When we arrived, I had a sense that something was wrong. I could smell someone else. Someone I hadn’t met yet. I slid my way in before Keen and sniffed. There were balloons on the ceiling and a baby basket. She had come in moments after and began celebrating, and I sculked around the house, smelling the trail of the stranger.
“You’re probably smelling my husband, it’s alright.”
That's when I wandered down the hall and walked straight into a man. Not just any man. Zamani. “How many dogs does she have?” He said before grabbing me and shoving me into a room and closing the door behind him. Inside the room there was another dog. I growled and barked at the door to no avail. I could smell blood, and soon the shriek of Keen led me to believe she found the source, no doubt her husband.
I was fighting against transforming and going out but remembered that Keen was an Agent herself and should know the protocol. I could barely hear their conversation so I sat and waited at the door, growling every once in a while. Keen’s original dog came to sniff but overall did nothing.
I heard more screaming, and then I heard footsteps. Agent keen was talking but the man had seemingly left. She was on the phone. “Agnes! Where are you?” That's when I noticed, the dog’s name. I barked along with her behind the closed door and she rushed to open it.
“You probably smelt him…” She sighed, rubbing my shoulders. “And then bumped into him while searching huh, girl?”
I whined, looking at the mess he made of her husband. I couldn’t do anything about it. Emergency vehicles were pulling up, and I watched as they took him into the ambulance. I went with keen to much dismay of the doctors who normally wouldn’t allow dogs inside. I placed my head on Keen’s lap as she stroked Tom’s hand while sedated and in a coma.
“We got to make a visit to Reddington.” She said before we both left the hospital.
Once back at the hotel, I followed Keen as she stormed into Reddington’s room and began demanding answers. As she was yelling, she began attacking Raymond as she punctured his carotid artery. Angrily she walked away and took me with her back home.
Once the FBI were done taking crime scene photos, she was told she was allowed to begin cleaning the mess that had just taken place. She cleaned a little but passed out on the floor. I slept beside her, keeping her company. In the morning she continued cleaning to little or no avail.
Agent keen gave up on cleaning for the time being and told me we had to go to the hospital once again but this time, to talk to reddington who was thankful for the investigation, was still alive and in stable condition. I was not allowed in the hospital this time, and with that came the play of a lifetime.
I saw Reddington scaling the wall and began running after him. “Oh, you’re here…I thought you were still with Agent Keen. No matter, come. I have to meet with an old friend.”
I had an inkling of who he meant and got a little nervous but I felt that Reddington wouldn’t let anything happen to me. I followed him to the Lincoln memorial where he sat next to Zamani.
“That dog… was at Keen’s place. Are you a double agent, my friend?” he said, looking at me briefly.
“Ah no matter, my dog must have followed her home.” He said as if it was nothing. “If I was with the FBI do you think I’d be walking around without a chaperone?” He said.
Zamani gave me a look then returned his focus to his friend. “It is only a dog, I guess. Dog’s cannot speak.”
I followed them as they walked by normal civilians who were none the wiser of the criminal’s true identity. I tried to listen as best I could but they spoke softly in hushed voices. Once Zamani and Reddington split ways, reddington called Agent keen.
They spoke for a few minutes before he turned to me. “Now, I need you to go to the zoo and meet Agent Keen. It isn’t far from here, just up there and turn right. She’s gonna need your sense of smell to find the girl.”
The girl was alive, so before I could question taking orders from him, I rushed using the directions he gave me. Sure enough I caught up with Agent Keen. “There you are. Now,” she said, taking off the bracelet the little girl gave her. “It might be faint but it should still be there. Find her.” She said.
She and I rushed into the zoo, my nose to the grindstone as I found it surprisingly enough. She recognized me clearly. “Puppy!” She cried as she knelt down to hug me. I barked and howled to try and alert Keen. I kept the child distracted as agent keen looked at the backpack the child was wearing.
Keen backed away and called Reddington. Apparently he already knew of this and had alerted his bomb friend to stop it. He came about 45 seconds later. Agent keen instructed the girl to keep focusing on me, and I played a good sport as she hugged me tightly around the collar.
A russian exclamation was all we heard when the bomb was dismantled safely as the man left and took off with the now dismantled bomb. “I see you found the girl in the nick of time” Reddington said as he soon joined us.
That was all he could utter before several agents; FBI and others started running into the park.
“Daddy!” the little girl cried as she ran off to her father who had joined swiftly after hearing his daughter had been located. “The doggy helped find me!” She said, gesturing. The General for that was his ranking, came over and shook Keen’s hand, thanking her for helping his daughter before bending down and pinned his badge of bravery on my collar. I was shocked and went to lick his face.
“She’s a brave one. If she hadn’t followed her scent we wouldn’t have found her in time.” Keen said, rubbing my ears.
“If only we all had the scent of a dog. I can’t believe how relieved and thankful I am to you two.” He said, patting my head and shaking my paw.
We cleaned up and went back to headquarters, discussing Reddington’s own list of criminals. Essentially he was planning on revealing them one by one for an ever growing immunity deal. I laid down at Harold’s feet, still wearing the General’s metal on my collar.
Once we were done there, Harold told me to go home with Elizabeth as we were going to be working together a lot from now on. I happily got into her car as she drove home. She almost seemed to forget the mess that was still half cleaned in her dinning room.
I continued smelling around, the reak of blood still roominating. Until i smelt something else… underneath. I began digging at the carpet, lifting it up and Elizabeth and I both saw a little hatch on the floor.
Upon opening it, there was a small wooden box. Elizabeth looked confused as she slowly opened it, revealing bundles of 10,000 dollars, passports, and a gun… all seeming to belong to her husband.
She furrowed her brow and sighed. “What is happening?”
This is a work in progress
submitted by strangelyving to TheBlackList [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 03:03 paintlikepicasso Should I crotched or give these locs time to thicken and how long can two strand twists be kept in?

Should I crotched or give these locs time to thicken and how long can two strand twists be kept in?
My has been growing well, however after my last retwist I noticed thinning a little past my root and have been wondering if I should two strand twist and leave them in for a month to grow hair at the root that I can use to crotchet or if I should crotchet now.
I usually get retwisted every 2 months and have gone at most four months. I like the look of two strands but I believe me keeping them in for over a month before my last retwist may have caused the thinning.
Also at this length, what would be the best way to cover my hair? Durags have been pushing my locs down into my skin making a deep imprint when I wake up that takes a good hr to disappear.
submitted by paintlikepicasso to Dreadlocks [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 02:54 horrorwhore444 My dogs eyes glow

Every night before bed Sara and I take our dog, Hamilton for a small walk. We like to take him for walks not only for his enjoyment but ours as well, it’s nice to have a moment to ourselves to unwind before bed, and get our last bit of energy out. The walk typically takes about twenty minutes and isn’t too much of a hike seeing as it’s through a path around the neighborhood. We’ve been going for walks like these for about four years and it’s become all of our routine, Hamilton knows at 7:30 pm he gets dinner, then at 8 pm he gets his walk. We often see our neighbors in passing with their dogs or kids and it’s nice, but the other day our neighbors told us something disturbing. Henry and his wife Tanya were telling us their son Michael had unfortunately passed the night before and they had to put down their dog because of it. They wanted to give him a final good night, before they put him down the following day. Tanya was extremely distraught, and Henry was quite depressed, although he expressed his feelings as though they should’ve known it would happen sooner or later due to the weird behavior of Sam, their dog. Sam had ran off a few nights before and returned home injured, and from there his entire behavior had changed to be more aggressive. It was quite sad, we weren’t close with the family but we often would invite each other to cook outs and dinners here and there so losing Michael was hard on us a bit too.
Sara and I continued on our walk further discussing what we had heard, Sam had always been super sweet and it raised concerns for our Hamilton. Hamilton never ran off so we felt some relief from that, but we still had worries. We ended up ending our walk sooner than normal and went home not sure of what animal attacked Sam, we didn’t want the same to happen to Hamilton. The following day went as normal until we noticed a police car in Tanya and Henry’s drive way, growing concern we paid slight attention but not enough to draw attention to ourselves. We heard a gunshot and scream sobbing, as well as a dog whimpering and becoming more distant. The gunshot, and Sam running to the woods caused Hamilton to also run off, we all chased the dogs and couldn’t find Sam. Hamilton eventually came back seemingly fine besides blood on his jaw which we chalked down to him trying to comfort Sam. Later that night Hamilton seemed off, at 7:25 he didn’t start getting excited for dinner, he didn’t even eat dinner. When it became 8 and we tried to get him to walk he seemed like he didn’t want to. We had been concerned but figured he was upset about Sam and let him be for the night. Around 1 am I was woken up to his barking and low growl, I went to see what had been going on but there wasn’t anything outside, I let him out thinking he had to use the bathroom but he didn’t return until 3. At this point Sara also came out to wait for Hamilton and once he returned I noticed his eyes seemed to glow yellow. Sara tried saying it was the way the porch light hit them and I shrugged it off.
He ended up hiding in another room until 3:10 then began growling again, I went to comfort him but I think he didn’t see me because as I slowly walked into the room I saw him slowly growing taller, his bones snapping and cracking becoming disfigured, his fur shedding and peeling off his bones, now covered in a pale grey skin, I could see every bone, his face structure resembled a dog, his body more human. I was frozen in fear, I held my breath not knowing what to do before slowly and quietly sneaking out to my wife. “Sara, we need to leave and call the police. That is not Hamilton.” I stated quietly and sternly to show how serious I was as I began moving things to block the door, I continued to explain what I saw. She seemed confused but still called the police reporting a man breaking in. Around 3:30 we heard a deep male voice talking and scratching at the door. The words weren’t really words it seemed like it was trying to form words and sentences but didn’t know how. It began slamming into the door trying to break it down as the police got there, I went to let them in and heard the door break down and Sara let out a blood curdling scream. We all ran to her Hamilton now acting normal and whimpering covered in blood and Sara holding a large kitchen knife crying.
The police didn’t believe my story or hers and just helped us get Hamiltons body outside, then they left. After that things seemed fine until my wife walked into the room, it dark and her eyes were glowing yellow. My eyes widened as her face slowly grew to a smile, as her bones began to break.
submitted by horrorwhore444 to Horror_stories [link] [comments]