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2009.09.27 19:23 Yelly Dreadlocks

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2010.05.15 10:50 superbear Metroid

Everything about the iconic Metroid series from Nintendo!

2012.07.26 12:53 prone855 /r/blackhair - Reddit's Home For Black Hair Admiration and Care

/blackhair - Reddit's Home For Black Hair Admiration and Care. For anyone and everyone! All hair types, all techniques, all levels of processing no matter the gender.

2023.05.29 00:34 Cocatriz [Online][5E] Looking for players for "Death Holds no Terror", an Eberron weird west adventure.

Schedule: Weekly ( 23:00 GMT -3 on Wednesday or Sundays )
Planned Duration: If the group works out I'd like the game to continue indefinitely
Platform: Online with Discord mostly, with Roll 20 for maps
Number of Players: 6 total, looking for 3 more
Themes & Style: Weird west, with elements of noir fantasy and lite horror ranging from folk to gothic to lovecraftian. Confront the shadow in people's hearts and things mortal mem were not meant to know on the open plains of the frontier using only sword, wand and witt!
The year is 998, and the air is filled with both excitement and dread.
After almost a hundred years of bitter fighting, the Last War has come to a sudden end. Cyre is no more. The Blood of Vol is no longer the state religion of Karrnath. On the southern frontier, would-be Barons engage in cutthroat contests to decide who gets the best piece of land from the states of now extinct noble lines, while the Houses play around where the Code of Kaius can't reach them. The Tairnadel have taken Valenar and now push north on hope of starting a new war while the Talenta halflings fell the spirits become restless and ill-tempered. And through it all, the dead refuse to stay dead.
Chose your sides! Save your hides!
Something wicked this way rides.
Death Holds No Terror is a Karrnath and Talenta Plains centered weird west campaign with focus on undeath on it's various forms and inspired by the likes of Deadlands, Nomad of Nowhere, CliffSide, and TAZ: Dust.
To apply, send a private message to me on reddit.
submitted by Cocatriz to lfg [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 23:06 Delli_Boy_Roy 29 [M4F] #Massachusetts/Anywhere - Check Ouy My Resume

Are you as tired of dating apps and awkward 1st dates as I am? 500 characters aren't enough to describe who I am or what I’m looking for. Please feel free to review my resume and tell me what you think.
Handsome, introverted, dorky, nurse who seeking to leverage my skills and life experience to provide a positive loving experience that will last you a lifetime. I’m deeply committed to caring for and supporting the people I love.
Name: Delroy
About Me:
I have a warm personality and it's in my nature to always be kind. I value personal growth, and creating goals and I aspire to do new things - unless it involves jumping out of planes or off cliffs.
I’m extremely family-oriented it's a big part of who I am. I have a close-knit family, I grew up with aunts who were basically 2nd and 3rd mothers. I understand I’m blessed and not everyone has the same experience as mine that being said I'm looking for a partner who’s either close with their family and/or ready to be welcomed into mine. Speaking of family I “live with/rent from” mine in Leominster. I never expected to be living at home at 29 but I’m comfortable, I have my privacy and I’ve come to the realization what I contribute to the mortgage will end up back in my pocket someday. Occasionally I feel like moving out but then I ask myself “Where are you going to find a house with a pool and off-street parking for what you're paying now?’
So fair warning, I'm a big guy - 6'1" and 240 lbs with broad shoulders and some decent muscle tone. I'm also dark-skinned with black eyes and hair, which I'm currently growing out into dreads. Usually, though, you'll catch me rocking an afro with a fade or starter twist. I'm all about prioritizing self-care, I stay on top of my hygiene, follow a skincare routine, and put effort into being fashionable. My style is a mix of streetwear, athleisure, and scrubs (I know, what a combo!), and I'm always collecting hats and sneakers - my friends joke that the reason I'm broke is all those hats. But hey, what's a guy to do when he's got a passion for fashion?
Hobbies/Interests: I'm a lover of all things literature, from manga to taboo romance novels and how-to books. I'm also an avid gamer and anime enthusiast, with a particular passion for Elder Scrolls, Pokemon, and Fire Emblem, as well as series like Gundam, One Piece, GATE, Nozoki Ana, and Nisekoi.
When I'm not immersed in my hobbies, I enjoy tinkering with technology and electrical projects, and I'm always on the lookout for ways to incorporate smart home tech into my life.
Deal Breakers:
I can't tolerate cigarette smoke, violence, and an overly manipulative partner
What I'm looking for:
I'm passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest tech and gadgets. When I'm not at work, you'll find me tinkering with gadgets, playing video games, or getting lost in a good book. I'm looking for a smart, kind-hearted woman who shares some of my interests and who values personal growth and open communication. Someone with similar interests who’s not afraid to geek out with me over my latest obsession. If you're looking for a partner who can challenge you intellectually, make you laugh, and share in some of your passions, then let's chat!"
submitted by Delli_Boy_Roy to ForeverAloneDating [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 22:35 bergandberg Wrapped up my coming-out tour by finally telling my parents this past weekend

It required a great deal of preparation, support, and, of course, wine.
My parents fall under the conservative category, although not the stereotypical "American" style often portrayed on Reddit. Just regular "old school" conservatives.
Back in high school I thought I could life with this secret forever, however it became clear that this was not the life I wanted. I told myself that once I am successful I would tell them (mainly out of fear that my parents might disown me before I could support myself).
The plan was to first tell my brother, then my friends, and finally my parents.
I told my brother nearly two years ago, and he was super excited (he always wanted a gay friend, and now he had a gay brother as well 😅). Over the past few months, I told my friends, which was good practice.
Now, 27 and fairly successful, I decided it was time to approach my parents. To cover all my bases, I did a few therapy sessions. Big takeaways was: 1. Stop feeding the “monster”; by constantly fixating on it, I was allowing it to overshadow other aspects of my life. 2. When telling my parents, I should present it as something positive to share with them, rather than a burden I needed to unload.
After dinner on Friday night, I told them. I was worried about my dad's reaction, given his history of being somewhat homophobic. He said he already knew and "If you're happy, I'm happy." I was overwhelmed by this. My mom was surprised, had a few questions but seemed content overall. We had more wine and chatted late into the night.
A day I had dreaded my entire life turned out better than I could have imagined.
While I thought they might surprise me and have an “ok” response - and I had obviously prepared myself for the worst-case scenario -I never expected such a good outcome. The stress was unreal. But now, it's all behind me, and I can finally smile and be happy.
I share my experience to provide support to those who may find themselves in a similar situation, and also because I'm freakin happy.
submitted by bergandberg to gaybros [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 21:58 Unable_Principle_124 I've just read A Clash of Kings for the first time and I thought I'd share my thoughts!

(I'm still unsure if I'm using the right flair but I've only read the first two books and I would greatly appreciate no spoilers for the remaining books!)
That is A Clash of Kings done!
Another fantastic read! Aaaahhh! I’m loving this story! The drama! The scheming! The politics! The absolute TERROR you face at the beginning of every chapter because anything could happen and if there is one thing I’ve learned so far, good things very rarely happen in this world! And even on the rare occasion something good does happen and you feel safe and happy, BANG! Something worse happens! My stress levels increase tenfold and my short-lived happiness becomes a distant memory! Which is a very new sensation for me. Because, call me crazy, but up until now, I’ve enjoyed stories were nice things could actually happen! Do you remember that concept? Nice things happening? Yeah, the memory is growing faint for me too….
Anyway, my blood pressure is hitting all time records but other than that, I can’t wait to continue this series! I’m sure I’ll be fine...…HAHAHAHAHA……
Now, let’s get into this! The prologue!
We finally meet Stannis Baratheon and wow! George really went out of his way to make him appear as unpleasant and dry as humanly possible! But I think I’ll leave my evaluation of him until I get to Davos. Instead, much like the prologue itself, I think I’ll focus my attentions on Cressen and the pussy-shadow maker herself, Melisandre.
I’m intrigued and terrified of her in equal measures. I think she has to be one of the most dangerously mysterious characters in this book because both her actions and motivations remain largely unknown to the reader, of course, you could say the same for Varys and Littlefinger, but, idk about you, but I find an all powerful zealot much more menacing!
Being a religious fanatic, I knew she wasn’t going to bring anything remotely positive to the picture, so I completely sympathised with Cressen and believed, (and continue to believe) he was justified in his concerns but this is ASOIAF, I knew things weren’t going to run smoothly but it’s incredibly unfortunate the poor man had to lose his life to try to protect the man he raised.
I remember being so disgusted with Stannis in his treatment of Cressen, this man raised you and loved you when apparently nobody else did, and you couldn’t even treat him with common decency! Ooooohhhh boy was I annoyed. Especially because I was so looking forward to finally meeting Roberts formidable brother, thinking this is the Baratheon I could root for and then had such a negative introduction to him! My opinion of him has certainly improved, but my initial impression was decidedly negative. Props again to George! He has a gift for understanding and portraying how subjective a characters perception can be, leaving the reader, to a certain extent, take the information we are given with a pinch of salt.
We also get a glimpse of Dragonstone! I must say, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so, grim. Of course, the occupants are definitely a factor, looking at you Selyse, but the castle and island itself, it does not sound pleasant. It got me thinking about what Daenerys would think of it? I don’t really see this blending well with the beautiful, flowery aesthetic she is dreaming of. But then again, it’s built on a volcano, being the blood of the dragon and her fondness for heat, this could be the Valyrian equivalent of a cosy little cottage for her, who knows?
Also, that jester, Patchface creeps me the hell out! Why would you allow this crazy person near your child, Stannis??? Didn’t Cressen say he was the sole survivor of the wreck? So they really have no idea who this crazy person was? Yeah, that’s comforting…..
Now, lets get to the characters! Like before, I think I’ll just go in no particular order:
CATELYN: Remember when I said I had high hopes for this motheson team? Yeah, now I am extremely worried about this motheson team! I’m optimistic they will triumph in the long term but, presently, I’m certain more hurdles are going to be thrust in their direction! But, at the same time, what else could possibly go wrong for them at this point? Granted, Robb has won every battle, but everything outside of the battlefield has gone completely pear shaped! It’s extremely unfortunate that they’re doing everything right but that circumstance is getting in the way of their success!
It frustrated me in AGOT and continues to frustrate me in this book, that the Lannisters seem to have an unlimited supply of luck! Seriously! How tf are they succeeding??? Aaaahhhhh! Don’t get me wrong, I love Tyrion, and I continue to root for him, but the rest of this family needs to be taken out, immediately! Uuuuuggghhhh! I’m praying their rapid rise will soon come crashing down! We saw with Daenerys, George likes to strip his characters of everything before building them back up and I believe this is what he is doing with the Starks!
In the case of the Starks, however, it’s believing they’ve lost everything, in regards to Bran and Rickon, at least. But poor Catelyn! Discovering your children have been killed is horrendous enough, but believing their heads have been mounted on your castle walls? I just can’t even comprehend the levels of emotions she must be feeling!
I must say, I was not expecting the way Catelyns storyline played out in this book but I enjoyed it nonetheless! I thought she would become more of a leading figure in Robbs court but she seems to have taken a back seat and I’m very uncomfortable with that. I truly believe Robb will become a great ruler but age is not on his side. He needs the guidance and counsel only a parent can give their child, not that of a subject to their sovereign. There are things a ruler needs to be told that their followers wouldn’t be as forthcoming with as I believe Catelyn would be! Of course, I can understand, from Robbs perspective, asserting his leadership is challenge enough, given his young age, without his mother by his side, so I can understand his reluctance to have Catelyn close to him, but still, it frustrates me!
That reminds me, don’t ask me how, but I forgot to talk about Robb in my first post, it goes without saying, I love him and am rooting for him! But what I wanted to talk about was him being proclaimed King in the North! I’ll admit, it was a powerful, goosebump inducing scene but omg how tf did the Northerners and Rivermen/Riverlanders? think that was a good idea? Talk about adding fuel to the fire! But anyway, I just wanted to mention that before getting back to Catelyn.
I really admired her attempts at forming a truce between the Baratheon brothers, alas, to no avail, but still, good effort! I really don’t understand Renlys thought process though? Seriously, what sort of precedent are you setting here? Do you expect the realm to bleed after the death of every King? Each claimant fighting for their right to rule? He is/was, the embodiment of style over substance. Like Cressen mentions, it’s just a childs game to him and like a child, I don’t imagine him playing too long before growing bored and then Westeros would’ve been left with a Robert 2.0.!
I also have to talk about Brienne of Tarth! What a character! Of course she couldn’t be a badass knight, she had to be accused of murder and treason! She is a kind hearted character after all! Imagine nice things happening for her? If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry! Honestly! But at least her circumstances led her to Catelyn! I am fully on board for this partnership and I look forward to seeing where they go from here.
I should talk about where they left off. They didn’t kill Jaime. I know that because that’s what I would want them to do and since when do I get what I want in this series? But why ask for Briennes sword if not? Didn’t Brienne pick up Renlys sword when they fled the camp? Does this sword have some magical element from Renlys death or something? I’m definitely overthinking it. Most likely it was used to whack him with the handle or something haha.
TYRION: If AGOT was Neds book, ACOK certainly has to be Tyrions. What a journey we’ve had with Tyrion. Beginning as Hand of the King and ending as…..what is he now? Tywin has resumed his position as Hand, is Tyrion going to be shipped back to Casterly Rock? I can’t see that happening. Ooooohhhh, wait, maybe that’s how he could reunite with Catelyn? If he is left with nothing after everything he has done, perhaps this is the tipping point for him to finally abandon this screwed up family and join with the Starks? Perhaps turning the tide in the war? Yeah, now that I’ve written it out, it sounds too convenient for this series but I’m hoping some variation of the above isn’t beyond the realms of possibility?
I was extremely impressed with Tyrion in many ways in this book and extremely disappointed in him in others. Of course, on the politic side of events, he was in his element! Oh those chapters were a beauty to behold! Watching him outmanoeuvre Cersei and putting the little toad Joffrey (screw you) in his place! Beautiful! Puts a smile on my face even thinking about it.
Let’s start with Janos Slyntt, I think that’s how you spell it but I’m not taking the time to check because he deserves no such attention! Ha! Coy Tyrion. Very coy. Although I wish he had just gone on and killed him, rather than burdening the watch with him! But alas, I can’t have my cake and expect to eat it all, now can I? I’ll take the wins when I can!
Then the deception to lure Cerseis informant out in the open. I had no idea who it could’ve been but once it was revealed as Pycelle, I was not at all surprised! I’m guessing Tyrion already knew and used the ploy to confirm his suspicions, seeing as he went ahead with sending Myrcella to Dorne?
I really enjoyed Tyrion and Varys’…..I want to say friendship? But I think partnership would be more fitting, as I don’t think either would blink an eye at turning on each other. It truly was beautiful to read though, their interactions I mean. The dialogue! A constant duel of words, equally matched and equally prodding for weaknesses. Both walking on a continuous line of thin ice but boy did they glid through! Ah, I loved it!
I do agree with Cersei though, and I shudder at that, but Tyrion did rely heavily on Varys. In my first post I think I said Varys could be trustworthy, but now, I don’t think so. He was certainly helpful, but he is playing his own game and so far, I have no idea what that could be, but I feel like Varys is helpful because he wants to be but could very easily switch sides should he ever choose to do so. That said, he is certainly not as ruthless as he must outwardly appear. We’ve seen after all, his efforts to protect Ned, Roberts bastards, etc. So, despite public opinion, he's really quite a softy. Well, maybe not a softy, but has a certain level of humanity, which, imo, classifies as a softy in this world!
Tyrions relationship with Baelish was much more confusing for me. He knows Petyr was behind his arrest and seemingly does nothing? I understand, in uncertain times, maintaining the treasury is an essential service, but I expected more from Tyrion than, “haha, you thought you were getting Harrenhal, you’ll think twice about backstabbing me now!.” It’s even more frustrating that he actually acquired the castle regardless! Again, I must begrudgingly give props to Littlefinger for playing the game flawlessly, but man, is it annoying!
Tyrions relationship with Cersei, aside from the political intrigue, must have been one of the more intriguing aspects of his chapters. Clearly, they’re not close, at all, but there is a certain, idk, its not affection but perhaps there was a certain level of respect between them. I think I must have been as shocked as Tyrion when Cersei hugged him when they received the news of Stannis marching on Storms End. But I was just as shocked when Tyrion poisoned his sister. I legit thought he just killed Cersei for a second. Turns out it was just diarrhoea, lol.
I don’t understand why he antagonised her so much though? I don’t understand why it was necessary for him to kidnap Tommen, unless I missed something? I feel like that was just unnecessarily hostile. Then threaten her with Tommens safety, idk, I just don’t think it was necessary. I felt it would have been more beneficial for him to reassure Cersei rather than threaten her. I get that his authority was being challenged but I can’t help but think he shot himself in the foot with that. I really don’t see their relationship recovering from this. Obviously, they didn’t have much of a bond before, but I feel like, before, there was at least a small glimpse of comradery between them but with this, I think he cut all ties with her and that troubles me. Cersei doesn’t hold back when it comes to her enemies. Especially those who threaten her children!
Don’t get me wrong, I want Tyrion to abandon this family, so I know it sounds hypocritical of me to say he should be nice to his sister but that’s so long as they’re playing on the same team but I really am hoping Tyrion eventually abandons Team Lannister! I’m feeling less sure of this outcome than I did at the end of AGOT but I’m still optimistic it’s going to happen, ideally sooner rather than later!
I should also mention Shae. It’s clear she only wants his gold but for whatever reason, Tyrion has fallen in love with his own made up version of her and I don’t see this relationship ending well, for either of them…..
ARYA: There were three characters I was immensely nervous for, going into this book, Jon, Sansa and Arya. I KNEW Arya wasn’t going to reach the North but I was hoping she would at least reach Riverrun! I knew that was an optimistic belief but I wanted to dream!
On the flip side I was terrified she was going to be captured by the Lannisters. My fears came somewhat true as she was captured, fortunately the Lannisters captured Weasel rather than Arya Stark!
I swear, my heart was in my mouth going into each of her early chapters, as they were travelling up the Kingsroad, each chapter more unnerving than the last because nothing bad had happened but I KNEW that wasn’t going to last! RIP Yoren btw, you smelled sour but your heart was sweet!
Arya was really our eyes on the ground with the ongoing conflict in the Riverlands and boy was it gruesome! George really didn’t hold back with the brutality of war! Her chapters were an interesting study on the morality of the conflict. I understand that it’s the Lannisters sacking and pillaging the Riverlands, but Robb fought fire with fire and I don’t believe his actions caused any less destruction in the Westerlands. The commons suffer, regardless of how honourable the intent may be!
Despite the ordeals she went through, I’m somewhat relieved she got through it relatively unscathed. But can we please sign this girl up for some therapy sessions? Seriously! I’m really starting to worry for Aryas mental health. It is not healthy for a 9/10 year old to have a list of people they wish to kill and repeat it obsessively each night, just saying….
Also, What THE ACTUAL F is going on with Jaqen H’Aghar? What’s the significance of the coin? And wtf does “Valar Morghulis” mean? Soooo many questions! I’m conflicted. On one hand, I’m slightly disappointed Arya didn’t go off with whoever that was. Of course, I understand her wanting to return to her family but imagine returning as a badass magical face changing assassin? That would’ve been epic! But I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing Jaqen again!
Yet, on the other hand, I’m not sure that’s really what Arya needs right now, given her current thirst for vengeance. I think she’s approaching a slippery slope. Of course, I want Arya to become a badass knight, but her progressively cavalier attitude towards killing is certainly unsettling, to say the least!
Also, Arya. YOU HAD THREE LIVES IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND. THREE. WHHHHHYYYYYYY????? GEORGE. SERIOUSLY???? Granted, she’s 10 but come on Arya! Bigger picture and all! Tywin. The Mountain. Joffrey. You could have ended it all!!!!! O.M.G!!!!!
I want to scream at somebody.
Now that I’ve come to the end, I leave this book feeling no less anxious for her safety than I did at the end of AGOT! From the little we’ve seen of Lord Bolton, he doesn’t seem like the forgiving type and I dread to think what would happen should they get caught! So she enters the next book, on the run. Again. Arya, what are you doing to my blood pressure???
JON: I am shocked! Shocked, people! Shocked that the Watch hasn’t been completely annihilated by the dead people roaming about! Not that I don’t believe that is still a valid concern, but I’m honestly amazed they’ve gotten this far without so much as a glimpse of them! I don’t think we’ve seen them at all in this novel? That in itself came as a huge surprise!
But my god, that march sounded absolutely miserable! It would’ve been horrible putting up with the cold, but constant rain on top of that? Hell to the no! Grim. Just kill me now. I could never!
We are introduced to the charming Craster in this book. What a delight he is! Honestly, I gagged. He marries his daughters and they give him more daughters. What? Wtf is it with incest in this series? No more. Please. We have sufficient incest George. Enough!
I am baffled as to Mormonts cavalier attitude towards Craster “sacrificing” his sons, though. He’s offering them to the gods, aka the ice zombies? What do they do with the sons? Wouldn’t that be an important question to ask? Do they eat them or recruit them? Can dead babies grow? Hahaha, I’m sorry, I just got an image in my head of what Dolorous Edd would say about getting taken out by a dead baby. Ha! Sorry. I love that man with all my heart btw.
I have a feeling though that Crasters daughter, Gilly, managed to sneak away and followed the Nights Watch, I feel like we’ll be seeing her again, why single her out otherwise?
I’m curious what the significance of Ghosts little discovery will be. Dragonglass? Is this used against the dead? Oooooohhhhh. I’m so f**king stupid. Dragons. Daenerys is going to play a big role in the fight against the dead isn’t she? Well that’s embarrassing that it took me this long to realise that. Lets draw a veil over that embarrassingly late epiphany, shall we?
Anyway, dragonglass, aka obsidian, a real world property, I understand the usefulness of fire breathing dragons but I’m not sure what makes dragonglass more powerful than normal steel? Unless this obsidian was formed by dragon fire? Perhaps. I shall wait and see!
So Jon has now become a double agent. Interesting indeed. I’m nervous for him. It’ll be interesting to see how he can convince Mance and the rest of the wildlings of his loyalty. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume, as a son of Eddard Stark, forsaking his sworn word to the Nights Watch isn’t going to be an easy task for him…..
I honestly have no idea how he is going to come back from this, especially with nobody left to corroborate his story. Not to mention he was the one to kill the Halfhand. I feel like Mormont will believe him, but with this series? I can’t be too sure! I guess I’ll just have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Again. I’m leaving Jon in another stressful position!
SANSA: How tf has nobody slaughtered Joffrey yet? Seriously. This is book two and he is still King? What the actual F**K??? SCREW YOU TO THE EXTREME, YOU LITTLE TOAD! FFS, I just want him to die slowly, screaming in agony. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for?! Oh, it was a beauty to behold when the little toad cut himself on the Iron Throne, crying for his mommy in front of the entire court, HA! Loved it. Peak literature, George! Thank you!
Unsurprisingly, Sansas position remains just as, if not more, precarious, as it did at the end of AGOT, now that her betrothal has been annulled.
I’m honestly surprised the marriage didn’t go ahead tbh. Going in to this book, I was certain I was going to watch Sansa being forced to marry this little c**t and I’m a little disappointed this didn’t happen. OK. OK. Let me explain. Obviously it would’ve put Sansa in a horrific position as Joffreys wife but she would have been Queen and a decent one at that, I’d bet! Playing her cards right, she could have amassed a certain level of influence.
I know that was a highly ambitious dream, as I doubt Cersei or Tyrion would have allowed her the opportunity and it certainly didn’t take into account the level of abuse she would have been forced to endure with Joffrey, but I wanted to dream.
So now she is no longer destined to be Queen, I’m really anxious for her future in Kings Landing, and I’m really hoping Dontos will finally get his act together and GET HER TF OUT OF THIS GODFORSAKEN CITY!
Also, can I just take a moment here to vent?
Dontos? Seriously? All the knights in the city and we’re given Dontos? Don’t get me wrong, I admire him for wanting to help Sansa but come on, Dontos??? His intent may be honourable but his capabilities are….lacking. He’s more likely to get her killed than rescued and as someone who wants to see Sansa safe, this stresses me tf out!
I have to say, I was very impressed with Sansa in this book. Saving Dontos being a prime example. Deftly done, I must say. This is what I’m saying when I think she would’ve been a good Queen, soothing the brutality of the King where she could.
I don’t think I mentioned it when discussing Tyrion, but the Blackwater battle was so well written! That entire sequence of chapters were my all time favourites of the series thus far! The back and forth between the battle outside and those seeking refuge within the castle walls, it made for gripping reading! I loved it! Which is quite surprising, as I’m usually not a fan of reading battle sequences, idk, my eyes just start glazing over when I’m reading pages of “my sword hit hard, I stumbled back, I raise another arm, I get hit in the back of the head, I lunge at my opponent, etc”, idk, it just never appealed to me before and I’d usually skip through all that to reach the outcome, but I was hooked!
I’m conflicted on how I feel about the Hound leaving without Sansa. Because I know for a fact her situation isn’t going to remotely improve until she gets the hell away from the Lannisters and the sooner, the better! But I don’t trust the Hound around her. I also think he would be too conspicuous for her to make a successful escape. I have no doubt he would die to protect her, but there is only so many opponents one man could take on before ultimately falling and then Sansa would be left to face untold misery.
That being said, I’m deeply troubled that with the Hound gone, Sansa has lost a valuable, if not somewhat unstable, ally. Aaaahhhhhh! Again, my blood pressure cannot handle this stress!
Theon: Serves me right for trying to give someone the benefit of the doubt! I think I described Theon as “a dick but somewhat good intentioned”. Yeah. He’s just a dick. What an utter idiot.
I can’t even be angry with him, now, that is. I was furious with him when he captured Winterfell, but in the end, I only felt pity for him. It’s never a nice thing, to realise what you are is so far removed from what you thought you could be, but add that on top of your imminent demise, it left Theons final days full of shame and melancholy.
I do feel a certain level of empathy for him. It couldn’t have been easy, growing up not really belonging and to return to what he considered his home, only to find it just as alien and void of any affection. I can certainly see the conflict of loyalty he felt between his foster family and his true family but omfg he made the absolute worst decision ever!
The Starks raised him, taught him everything he knows, he even pledged himself to Robb but of course, his inferior complex took over, blinding him and look where it got him!
I honestly don’t understand what his plan was though? In what world did he imagine he could hold Winterfell, regardless of how many men his sister left him? Did he honestly think Robb would just bend over and allow the Ironborn to keep the North? Aaaaaahhhhh!!!! The stupidity! I just can’t fathom it! I honestly can’t!
Can I just take this opportunity to shit talk the Ironborn? Because how tf have Westeros put up with these people for so long? Do they have any redeeming qualities? As far as I can tell, they’re Westeros’ equivalent of the Dothraki. Lawless pirates who have, for some reason or other, been allowed to rape, raid and pillage to their hearts content. Yuck.
I will say though, putting the whole, allowing her brother to feel her up part aside, I quite enjoyed Asha, and not only because she knew exactly how to push Theons buttons, ha! She’s everything Theon believed himself to be, and more! If she wasn’t so loyal to her father and undermining the Starks, I think I could like her!
Something I’m confused by however, Roose Boltons bastard is Ramsey Snow, but who was Reek and why did they think Ramsey was him to begin with? I’ll have to go back and reread because I either missed or forgot the explanation, but nevertheless, I hate him. He sounds disgusting, and I don’t mean the smell. It broke my heart to find out Lady Hornwood died such a tragic death, she seemed so sweet! Omg there is so much added misery in this series, we have enough sorrow going on with the main characters George, I don’t need to cry over the minors too!
Ramsey appears to be insane but tactful and that my friends is what I call a terrifying combination! I’m honestly unsure of what his goal is? Everyone believes him to be dead, why return to Winterfell once Theon freed him and kill the besieging army, only to then betray Theon in turn? Why tf does every single character have a scheme up their sleeves? Enough!
BRAN: I’m conflicted. I’m happy to see Bran finally getting the chance to head out into the wild in search for answers but it stinks that Winterfell had to be wiped out in order for this to be achievable. I honestly can’t see a scenario where Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrick etc would have allowed Bran the opportunity had Winterfell remained strong.
So, while I detest the actions of Theon and Ramsey as it significantly damaged Robbs position and led to untold misery for the castles inhabitants, it appears as though they actually inadvertently aided Brans progression in “How to Warg 101”. That’s if they actually succeed in their mission though! I’m still confused as to what exactly they will find or how they will manage to find it but I’m certain this will be significant, not just for Bran but for the Starks in general.
We finally find out the significance of Brans wolf “dreams”! Bran is actually a warg! But apparently Jon is too? And there are suggestions so is Robb? Perhaps even Rickon? Interesting. Very interesting. And very cool too! Damn, imagine how awesome it would be to be able to possess the body of a wolf!
It's deeply upsetting to me though that Sansa and Arya apparently are left out of this beyond incredible magical family trait! I’m assuming it’s because they have lost their wolfs? Another thing I can thank the f**king Lannisters for! Aaaahhhhh!
I’m curious though, Aryas direwolf is still alive and apparently leading an army of common wolfs in the Riverlands? Which is utterly badass in and of itself but if they’re reunited, does this mean Arya could potentially control an army of wolves? Or has their connection been broken? Oh, I hope not! I refuse to believe Nymeria is out there amassing a large force of wolfs only for it to lead nowhere! Oooohhhh, wait, will they be reunited now that Arya has fled Harrenhal? Oh that would be incredible! Imagine her rocking up to Riverrun with an army of wolves at her back!
On a sad note, does that leave Sansa as the only Stark sibling without magical abilities? Boo! I hate that!
I must say, after all they’ve been through, I feel for Rickon the most. Poor baby! He just wants his family back and I have no idea how he is going to process the loss of his last remaining family member. He wasn’t handling the situation too well to begin with, but now? That child is gonna need a hell of a lot of therapy and can we please sign Shaggydog up for some anger management classes too? That wolf troubles me!
I’m very intrigued to learn more about the Reeds! As crannogmen, they appear to be somewhat disconnected from the rest of the North, with their own unique traits and customs. Seemingly more in touch with the environment around them, there are claims they are descended from the children of the forest. I have a feeling they will prove invaluable on the expedition North!
I should probably be concerned that they’re essentially a small group of children on a journey through a divided and hostile land but I’m feeling naively optimistic of their chances. I know that this has backfired on me in the past but I can’t give up hope! I refuse!
DAENERYS (DAY-EN-AIR-E-US?): I must say, the pace of Daenerys’ chapters took quite a slow turn in this book, didn’t they? Perhaps there were times I felt the story moved a little too slow for my liking but I knew going into this book, things weren’t going to fall onto her lap overnight
Although her dragons hatched, when we left Daenerys in AGOT, she was pretty much sitting at rock bottom, her husband and child dead, the vast majority of her people gone, along with all of Drogos wealth I imagine too! I knew it would take time for her to get back on her feet and that was essentially what her ACOK journey was.
We start off the book with the red comet and, although every character appears to take it as a sign of their coming, I feel like Daenerys was the obvious recipient. Heralding in the new era of dragons! They sounded adorable btw! “Who’s going to grow up to be big weapons of mass destruction? You are! Yes you are! Yes you are!!!” Cute but they’re gonna do some damage! I can’t wait to see Joffreys face when he gets burned to a crisp! Hehe, I can’t wait!
I’m surprised by the names she chose for them though. Drogon makes sense, he was her moon and stars after all, but I’m surprised she named the other two after her brothers, both of which don’t really have the greatest of reputations?
Sent by the comet, Daenerys spent most of her time in Qarth seeking out its leaders to fund her conquest of Westeros, frustratingly, to no avail. Even more frustratingly is that she had to sell all of her newly acquired wealth to fund her ultimately worthless bribes.
The only thing of note was her trip to the House of the Undying and it instantly humbled me of any belief that I was in any way wise because there is no way in hell I would’ve made it out of that maze alive!
I’m assuming these were hallucinations brought on by whatever it was she drank but obviously with some element of magic?
There were a lot of visions but the two that stood out to me were:
The wolf head with the Iron crown is obviously Robb. The feast with corpses, I’m guessing this is depicting the savagery of the war? Perhaps it signifies the walking dead? From my earlier embarrassingly late realisation, I’m guessing this references the need for Daenerys’ help against the dead?
Secondly, what Daenerys made out to be her brother Rhaegar with his wife and newborn son, “his is the song of ice and fire”, “there must be one more……the dragon has three heads”, Daenerys has three dragons, I’m assuming Rhaegar believed his son to be “the Prince that was promised”, but I’m guessing instead it’s Daenerys? My brain hurts trying to process this! In reality, I have absolutely no idea what the hell was going on but those are the only takes I could come up with! Like Daenerys, this sequence has left me with far more questions than answers!
My blood pressure is not having a good time with all of this, which is not helped with the knowledge that Daenerys has made a powerful enemy with regards to the warlocks! Especially now that their powers are getting stronger! That’s just perfect!
I’m glad to see her leaving Qarth, the further away the better, I say! But I’m honestly surprised Illyrio found her so quickly! Hopefully once she reaches Pentos she can gather forces and enhance her position while waiting for her dragons to grow bigger and stronger! Thinking about it, I’m pretty sure Daenerys is the only character leaving this book on a high lol!
DAVOS We have new players entering the game ladies and gents! I really liked Davos and I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of him? I don’t think we have but I’m not sure how the man could possibly survive!
I really felt for him! To watch the man you serve fall into the arms (figuratively or perhaps literally) of a religious fanatic! I mean, come on George, zealots are bad enough without giving them magical powers!
Davos himself is an interesting character. He appears to be a decent, kind hearted man which took me a while to get used to as we’ve met so few of them in this series so far! Turning from a smuggler to a knight and right hand man to Stannis Baratheon, he is in quite a unique position within Westeros, as well as Stannis’ Court. I can’t imagine many commoners are given such a meteoric rise in fortunes! Stannis himself sees his true worth but he must endure the snobbery of his Lords bannermen, God forbid they had to listen to wisdom from a commoner! Gasp! The horror!
We got a glimpse of his backstory, apparently he smuggled onions into Storms End during Roberts Rebellion, making all the difference to the besieged, but it’s unclear as to how he was put in that position to begin with? I imagine he had some sort of relationship with Stannis beforehand in order for him to take such a risk? Especially when he allowed Stannis to mutilate him in return for his service? I get he was granted a keep and lands and everything, but my god, no wonder nobody ran to fight for Stannis!
Let’s actually talk about Stannis. I’m not sure how I feel about him. There are instances, mainly his interactions with Davos and his relationship with Devan, that I really like him and I can certainly see why a man like Davos supports him, but then there are aspects of his personality that I find grating. The grinding teeth habit aside, I just can’t get past the sulkiness. I swear, he remembers every single slight given it him since he was born and refuses to forgot or forgive! Perhaps I could overlook this aspect of his personality, had he not aligned himself with such a fanatic. I mean, from as far as I can tell, he has more or less sold his soul to the devil.
I can’t help but make the comparison here to Macbeth. They share many similarities and I can very well see them sharing the same fate because there is no way in hell Stannis is this "Azor Ahai”! I mean, it was a cool little trick and sounds like an amazing sword but that whole spectacle of retrieving it from the flames was an absolute farce!
Besides, Stannis has already been defeated. Alive, but backed into a corner! I don’t see him giving up, though! That man will fight until the bitter end! I admire him for that but allowing himself to so overtly ingratiate himself with this religious cult, I can’t say I’ll be sad to see him lose, which I believe, ultimately, he will, but with Melisandre by his side, I can see him causing a lot of damage before he falls. So long as that damage is contained solely towards the Lannisters though, I’ll be satisfied.
I will say, his assault on Kings Landing made for an unsettling array of emotions. Who tf was I supposed to root for??? Its no secret that I want Joffrey and Cersei to die, ideally painfully, but I was rooting for Tyrion to succeed!
At the same time, I really like Davos and I wouldn’t have an issue with Stannis as ruler but for Melisandre! In the end I gave up on choosing a side and just prayed my favourite characters survived!
I’m curious to see, should he survive, where Davos’ story goes from here. I have a feeling he has become a Lannister prisoner!
As for Stannis? “Double, double, toil and trouble.”
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2023.05.28 19:44 benjaminbutton_ Might quit after 1 week

Want to preface this with appreciation for all the positivity and support in this sub. There’s a lot of people on here really helping others and I don’t want my negative post to take away from that.
I’m one week into my first system and objectively there is nothing wrong with it. Density, style, maintenance, hairline, cost, etc is all perfectly fine. I’ve been out in public a few times now and have already noticed getting more attention and have even been complemented on my hair on numerous occasions. It feels amazing to have confidence back. I’ve spent the last 7 years wearing a hat every single day of my life, avoiding all formal occasions, shaping my life around not having hair. It completely wrecked my social life and mental health. I’m only 27 and it was incredibly rough experiencing this through my early to mid 20s.
So why quit? I just feel like such a fraud. Like it’s a total charade that I’m putting on. I dread getting out of the shower because I know I have to style the hair and make it as believable as possible. Stressing over how each piece of hair falls and in what direction. The system looks great and I really don’t need to stress but I still do. I started seeing this girl shortly after getting the system installed and that’s probably added to and exacerbated the feeling of being a fraud. Am I really going to start a serious relationship on the premise of sticking fake hair on my head?
I absolutely despised myself and my life being bald and wearing a hat. But the system just doesn’t feel like the best way for me going forward.
Again sorry for the negativity and trauma dumping, I just don’t have anywhere else to go with these thoughts.
submitted by benjaminbutton_ to HairSystem [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 17:54 Quinlov What are the main differences between CPTSD and BPD?

I thought I had a relatively good understanding of this but am questioning it. I have BPD and my best friend has CPTSD (both diagnosed by mental health professionals). I understand that misdiagnosis between these two is common, as is comorbidity (although I don't have CPTSD and, to my knowledge, my friend does not have BPD) and that in some senses (probably not all) the question is largely academic as treatment protocols are similar and have to account for the high rates of comorbidity anyway. But my original understanding of the difference was as follows:
However, a couple of things I've read recently, as well as a deep conversation with my friend (which I won't go into) have me questioning these assumptions, as it seems that my initial conceptualisation as BPD as more emotional-developmental and CPTSD as representing a developmental "backslide" is not accurate. I also had the understanding that the fear of abandonment was much more pronounced in BPD, with safety concerns being more of a priority in CPTSD - I am unsure to what extent this is correct. Evidently there is some back-and-forth-ness in close relationships present in both disorders although I had always assumed that when someone with BPD has a particularly strong "pushing away" component, that they also had comorbid CPTSD. This is also obviously hard to evaluate externally: I know that I've been accused of pushing people away when my anger has reared its (very) ugly head, when at least the subjective experience is one of wishing to move towards (not against) the other but also having a sense of total dyscontrol.
Oh, and I appreciate that there is not going to be a single definite answer here as this is still hotly debated in the professional community. But I would like to hear people's insights into the differences and shared aspects between these disorders, and to what extent my info is good vs being my own extrapolated intuition gone haywire
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2023.05.28 17:34 Gargus-SCP Related Works - Wesley Dodds as The Sandman (Jan-Jul 1941): Troubled Sleep

After a 1940 defined by gathering strengths and refinement across the feature, the early months of 1941 bring a few troubling portents behind-the-scenes for Fox's affectionately termed Grainy Gladiator. Nothing ruinous in itself, but signs of an upcoming radical shift away from what the character represented to start.
For one, the April issue of Adventure Comics (#61) brings with it a new cover feature, Ted Knight AKA Starman, courtesy writer-artist Jack Burnley. Already the second lengthiest entry in the book at nine pages, Starman quickly managed what neither Sandman nor Hourman could during their respective years as star attractions and upgraded to a full thirteen pages by his third appearance in #63. For context, Sandman only went from six pages to ten with its upgrade, while Hourman has remained rockstaedy at eight pages, and neither took down another non-superhero supporting feature to justify the page increase like Starman did Barry O'Neil and Mark Lansing. Moreover, from Starman's second appearance on, he is only drawn by Burnley; writing duties now belong to the Sandman's own Gardner Fox.
Which loops in with two other issues at play over Wesley's tossing, turning figure. Starting with issue #61, available online sources no longer fully agree who wrote what for the Sandman feature. You must understand, outside superstar figures with major pull like the creators of Superman or Batman, very few creative teams are properly credited in these Golden Age comics - my credits the last few posts have all been crossreferenced across numerous wikis and databases who owe their credits to investigative work by fans like Jerry Bails back in the 1960s. Such work was sadly not exhaustive, and while a few places (like DC Continuity Project and Wikipedia) state or else imply Fox stayed on as writer for the next few issues, from June to November there is no consensus as to who penned the stories.
I shouldn't be surprised if Fox's involvement terminated with the March issue, for April also saw All-Star Comics shift its format slightly, with Fox writing all nine interior stories for the 64 page mag in addition to his duties on the longer Starman feature. Man would have to work double time to keep pace, even if Sandman didn't drop to eight pages with #62 in May. Either way, Fox is certainly gone following #64 in July, as that issue features the final story drawn by regular artist and co-creator Creig Flessel, who departs to work on Shining Knight later in the year. As I say, things are changing fast for Sandman, and not all changes seem necessarily for the better. Best, however, to take the stories on their own level before drawing any final conclusions!
Coverage note: This entry goes to July rather than June for the sake of my sanity. If I stopped midway through the year, I'd only need cover seven features here, but the back half of '41 would require coverage of eleven. A nine-nine split feels much more feasible.
Orchids of Doom - Gardner Fox, Creig Flessel, Chad Grothkopf
Once again, a socialite friend to Wes and Dian is at the center of a minor mystery with big implications - namely, how can Pedro Nogades, father to Carla, rightly claim he breeds otherwise purely wild orchids in captivity? Investigating as the Sandman, Wes and Dian find a dead man in the Nogades greenhouse with his head stripped to the bone, and in following another fellow who sniffed an orchid before promising a shipment of such to some ruffians on the bad side of town, see his own face dissolve to bare skull. A visit to the police chemist reveals the orchids on the dead men's persons were laced to release a deadly flesh-eating gas on exposure to natural air, which is enough probably cause for Wesley to enlist Carla's boyfriend Bill in staging a raid on the Nogades manor. Some close shaves and fisticuffs end with the group discovering a diorama of the local coast, laid out to assist enemy agents in an invasion. Pedro is put away and the orchids revealed as concealing microfilm copies of the coastal plans, but how do we square the mystery that started it all? Simple: Nogades was no botanist, and called the flower by the wrong name when concocting his cover story!
An alright yarn to kick of the calendar year. As per usual when Fox tries for a somewhat complicated mystery, he's no adequate means of tying off loose ends other than large blocks of text, but it's lively and keeps the situation evolving with decent justifications for mid-story action and dragging Bill along for further fisticuffs. Hooking the entire mystery on, "Oh, the bad guy misspoke," is a tad lame, if understandable in the context of Fox's passion for slipping general knowledge flexes into his stories. Flessel and Grothkopf get some good mileage out've the skull imagery that crops up whenever the flower kills, and I rather like the brief bout of fisticuffs towards the end. The minor social awkwardness when Bill gets in the car with Wes and Dian is pretty good too, and I'm sorry to report I can't add this story to the "Wesley getting shot" count, as the bad guy only plugs his hat. Kinda funny having a Golden Age Sandman story involving orchids given Neil's own pre-Sandman work with Black Orchid, innit?
The Story of the Flaming Ruby - Fox, Flessel, Grothkopf
There exists a ruby of blazing red, which has driven men to rage and madness wherever it appears, and today it sits in the hand of a young man in the local jeweler's shop, who flashes it cross Dian's vision. Later in the evening, she wakes in a trance consumed with the urge to kill her father, stopped only by Sandman as he rushes in from investigating a similarly queer case. A bank teller friend from his private life has found himself driven to steal from the vault and deliver it to some crooks on a lonely road every night, all after one of those men flashed him the ruby. Wes and Dian are unable to stop this night's transaction (on account of the ruby briefly turning Dian against Sandman), but seeing the gem in action gives Wes an idea on how to counteract its effects, and go into battle during the next drop armed with blue cobalt glasses. A brawl puts down all the blackmailers except one, but Wes opts instead to go after the head of the operation, knocking him out and lurking in the dark to catch the last as he reports in, revealing the bank teller! Turns out the ruby DOES have hypnotic properties and was used to assist their robberies, but the teller - hoping by playing at the victim to lure Sandman into his cohorts' midst and rub him out - spoke as if he remembered the whole experience, where Dian forgot herself on every exposure. Oops!
Same basic mystery structure and resolution type here as last month, complete with overly-wordy explanation, although I find the hook of pitting Dian and Wesley against one another gives it a minor leg up, as does the relatively straightforward nature of the criminal operation compared to planting microfilm in deadly flowers. There's a more even balance between the rush in bust 'em up style of crime-fighting the feature has developed and the stealthy skullduggery I think suits the character best, with nice action art to match each. Dian has some silly faces whenever she wakes from her hypnosis, and the four panel sequence of Wes halting her murder attempt works pretty well. This is, unfortunately, the final pencil-inking collaboration between Flessel and Grothkopf, and much as I've kvetched over the second man's solo work, I'm sorry to see the back of him in this capacity. When the two were in proper tune, they were the best artistic team Sandman enjoyed yet.
(Stop dodging bullets, I want to see you gunshot.)
Mystery at Malay Mac's - Fox, Grothkopf
Hey, a rare post-Hourman, pre-redesign cover appearance! That's always nice. "Hello, officer? Yeah, coupla chucklefucks right here, the alley off Fourth, can't miss 'em."
What's this? Dian breaking into a notorious criminal slumlord's safe in the bad part of town? A safe, as Wes discovers after he scares the lady off, filled to the brim with poison gas! Evidently not, as Dian is sound asleep when Wes arrives at Belmont manor to investigate, and a subsequent visit to Mister Mac reveals the only person who'd know the safe was booby-trapped is a local kidnapping organizer. Some blind, flailing fists turns up the girl, Dian's perfect duplicate, snatched from out of state to replace Dian and gain leverage over the cops. Too bad the kidnapper's made of strong stuff, knocking out Sandman and taking both woman for a ride to get back at Mac. Fortunately, Dian leaves Wes a trail of jewelry out the window, enabling him to follow and take down all the crooks with one throw of his gas pistol, revealing in the process 'twas Mac himself who tipped Dian's duplicate to his safe, in hopes of spoiling his rival's big plot.
Art-wise, this is probably Grothkopf's best work for Sandman to date. His tendency to exaggerate is translated into some properly goonish faces for the villains and really, really strong action poses, with some properly atmospheric shots sprinkled in for good measure. He cannot draw the gasmask for piss, but there's such an improvement I almost thought this was a Flessel joint before checking the wiki credits. Makes me wish we could see what he'd do if he kept on as a solo artist - free from the impulse to treat the feature as a cartoon, he produces damn fine work. As a story, this makes good time to mention my misgivings with Wesley's tendency to burst through windows and start swinging long before he thinks to use his sleeping gas. While it's great fun to describe and hype up as the mark of a madman who's even cooler as the badass normal than Batman, it also encourages a faster degradation in the character's identity. I'm sure you'll notice it's been yonks since lurking in the shadows and thinning the ranks by knocking them out in advance has factored into the stories. That Wes handles the bad guy by literally clonking him over the head with the gas gun rather than pulling the trigger speaks to the influence other, punchier superhero features have exerted over the strip.
The Menace of the Metal Gun - Fox?, Flessel
From aboard a mysterious aircraft, a madman fires upon the city with a metal-melting ray that dissolves the skyscrapers into slag! Alerted to Doctor Borloff's activities, Wesley meets with swift defeat when the rogue scientist melts his gas gun and escapes in his cylindercraft to terrorize afresh. There IS a bright side, as seeing the ray firsthand gives Wesley some idea how to counteract its effects, and he sends Dian and her father warning for the local airforce to coat their planes in sand as a silicate buffer against the ray. Alas, only one officer heeds his message, leaving Sandman alone to get aboard the machine via his new wirepoon gun and defeat Borloff from within. For his brawling process, a good midflight fight is nothing if the hero gets tossed out an open door, but fortunately he can grapple onto the lone surviving plane, recover his bearings, zip back up, and put a stop to Borloff's dreams of world conquest once and for all!
Action is the name of the game here, and even without Grothkopf's inking enhancements, I think Flessel does a fine job on his own. I'm wary of the wirepoon in the future, as by year's end it will completely replace the gas gun as Sandman's sidearm of choice in further drift from the original Christman concept, but taken as a neutral in its debut, giving Sandman greater aerial mobility does lead to some cool shots and enhance the sense Wes goes stark bananas in the mask by pulling some stunts that would almost certainly pull his arms from their sockets in real life. There are, however, some particularly stiff action shots, and in one panel Flessel cocks up the design on the mask worse than Grothkopf last ish. Based on the opening vignette, Borloff decimated millions of innocent lives in addition to all the planes he melted out of the sky, making him easily the deadliest foe Wes has faced to date, and in turn making the "We did it, gang, everything is bright and peachy again!" ending sorta offputting. They'll have to organize mass funerals tomorrow, Wes. Show a little respect.
For America and Democracy: The Grey Shirts - Fox, Grothkopf
In the top-level story, the JSA learn of their mission for the FBI: a group of Nazi insurgents known as the Grey Shirts are plotting subversive and destructive activities all across America, and are now posed to badly destabilize the nation in a series of disruptive attacks. Each is assigned a mission at critical points cross the nation, though given the widely-ranging disparity in their powers, their usefulness to the cause varies equally wildly. The Atom humiliates some goons spreading Nazi ideology at a single college, Hawkman barely prevents the destruction of an aviation plant in California, and Hourman's defense of an Oklahoma oil field ends with him toppling one of the oil towers to stop his quarry. Meanwhile, Green Lantern detonates a zeppelin secretly jamming radio transmissions nationwide, the Spectre casually annihilates some otherworldly vampiric globes sympathetic to Hitler's cause, and Doctor Fate uses his magic to out every single spy on the eastern seaboard. Uneven efforts or not, the group converge on the Grey Shirts' ringleader, and with a little help from Johnny Thunder, turn him over to good ol' J. Edgar Hoover's custody. Alas, Wesley does not get the blood he's thirsting after.
(Also Doctor Fate alerts Wesley to the identity and location of the ringleader before his mission starts rather than letting him figure it out on his own like everyone else. Prick.)
For his six-page leg of the assignment, the Sandman is off to El Paso, Texas to assist a local newspaper under threat from the Grey Shirts for printing pro-democracy and anti-Hitler editorials. Of course, this being Wesley Dodds on the job, he gets this information by roughing his way into the newspaper offices, then acts on it by beating on the guard at the Grey Shirts' camp and pounding down a band of brainwashed young men to prove he's a better American than them. After sending the wannabe Nazis for a whirl by running their bomb shipment off the road, Wesley doubles back to completely break the recruits' spirits, daring them to prove their hard enough by shooting an unarmed man in Hitler's name, chiefly himself. When none can cut the mustard, he marches them back into town with collars strapped to his car, and inspires the lot to join the Army to a few shirtless bars of "God Bless America."
Cripes but jingoism produces some heady results, doesn't it? I'm not sure I can rightly condone the ridiculous levels of patriotism on display here, even against such classically anti-American enemies as Nazis, yet at the same time, look at this and tell me it isn't the hardest shit you'll see all week. Again, though I've my misgivings about Wes as a brawler no matter how entertaining the results prove, there's something endearing about him being so raring for a fight his first move is to altercate the receptionist at the place he's assigned to defend. On the whole, Grothkopf's final Sandman contribution also shows refinement from his earlier works, the broader, thicker elements of his linework now tempers on a somewhat more grounded approach. Certainly the Sandman himself keeps a consistent look better than he does in any other issue published thus far this year. I DO notice he reused Flessel's design for the District Attorney wholesale on the newspaper publisher. Since he's going and heading out on a job well done, let's not hold it against him, eh?
The Purple Death Ray - Fox?, Flessel
At the nightly planetarium show, a member of the audience screams and falls down dead, stricken by a litany of strange symptoms with no obvious cause. Wesley, believing the man was killed by a death ray, examines the auditorium's projector, only to find no obvious alterations or fault. Undeterred, he purchases himself a seat next to the murdered man's for the next show, which is now occupied by another fellow who received a last-second courtesy invitation. Acting quickly, the Sandman reexamines the projector from the shadows and finds a replacement bulb screwed into the socket pointed directly at the man's chair. With assistance from his wirepoon, Sandman swings down and wrenches the man from his seat just as the show starts, the bulb bathing his seat in deadly radiation. On learning the man is a former judge and the deceased a former DA, it's not long before Wes ferrets out the killer; it's the cashier, a former scientist sent to jail for misappropriating university funds years ago, out for revenge and now stopped cold.
See, while I'm skeptical about the growing presence of science-fiction elements in the series, they make fine fodder when they play to Sandman's strengths. Lurking high above a crowd of people seeking the answer to some deadly mystery is exactly Wes' bag, and plus or minus some strange mask drawings, Flessel captures that thrill of closely examining a big deadly machine in secret before it fires. I'd submit the page where Sandman saves the judge from the beam as an easy contender for best of the year thus far, and the shot where Wes pushes Dian away from the killer's bullet is another fine piece of work. My memories of this one before sitting down to reread and write were a lot chillier, probably because I wish the series remained in crime pulp rather than raygun pulp, but a good outcome is a good outcome. Seriously, though, why is the mask going so bobble-eyed of late?
The Voodoo Sorcerer - ???, Flessel
As Dian and Wesley tiff over his interest in an exotic dancer they know through a mutual friend, the woman's tail-lashing dance is interrupted when she sees a great glowing triangle materialize before her eyes. With the shock straining her bad heart, the Sandman brings her to boyfriend's house, where he reveals the triangle is a voodoo witch doctor's means of accusing someone of murder - just as news comes over the wire that the man the woman lashed with her costume tail has died! Smelling a rat, Wes rushes to the scene of the crime to find the taile barbed with poison quills, only for the titular sorcerer to bumrush him out the window. It's a big misunderstanding, thankfully: he's as shocked by the murder as Sandman, and only summoned the triangle on suggestion from an acquaintance, forgetting the dancer would know its significance through her partner. By happiest coincidence, this provides Wesley the solution to the mystery right quick, for only his friend's chauffeur would have motive, opportunity, and knowledge to frame his employers and their associates for the murder of a stock broker who owed them money.
Hmm, ah, see, on the one hand, it IS nice that the voodoo guy is innocent of everything except a lapse in judgement and the real twist is an unassuming little man exploiting the mystery and fears around the craft to cast suspicion off his person. On the other hand, eek, yike, zoinks! None good. Bad, even. Outside unfortunate depictions of non-white persons from the 1940s, the story's pretty weak for a murder mystery, as numerous elements are evidently known to the characters well in advance, yet only made clear to the reader right before they become relevant, like the exact identity of the murdered man. It's only eight pages, so there's little opportunity to piece information together on your own time, and as such it is heavily reliant on narrative cheats to generate cheap surprise. About the best thing here is the big page-dominating panel of Wesley swinging through the city on his wirepoon, unconscious woman tucked under arm. Kinda hard to convincingly raise my dander about what it means for the character and his feature when it's successfully operating on the long-standing principle of "masked mystery men swinging on a wire through skyscrapers looks really cool." S'like a solid fifth of the formula behind why Spider-Man is so enduringly popular.
(Also not a big fan of how Wes dismisses Dian from participating in the case without any adequate reason why. She calls him out over it, even, and nothing in the story justifies his decision to fly solo on this one.)
The Unseen Man - ???, Flessel
Dian's purchase of paints from a local hobby shop includes quite the unusual accidental item: a paint that turns anything and everything invisible on contact. Determined to solve this mystery on her own, Dian investigates the shop with the dealer's cooperation, only for the dread Unseen Man to get the drop on her. Fortunately, Sandman is there to save her because he won't let Dian do anything on her own; unfortunately, Dian doesn't know Wes can see her attacker through his blue cobalt lenses and pulls him away, thinking him mad and letting the Unseen Man go free. As reward for her screw up, she's targeted in her home the next night, only for Wes to barge in again, having anticipated the only possible secret identity for the crook would make him likely to strike back at Dian. It is, unsurprisingly, the hobby shop owner, who Wes turns over to the police before heading out to patent his invisibility paint with the United States Army.
Alright, it's definitely not Gardner Fox writing anymore, because I cannot imagine Fox treating Dian so poorly. I gave her some dignity in summary, but this story is plain dumping all over her as a fussy, incompetent tryhard who fails at investigating on her own on account her womanly ways. Just look at the sheer antagonism between her and Wes; you two are partners, she's saved Sandman's skin like a dozen times, worn his costume and wielded his gas gun to do it once, even! Don't try to BS me into thinking Wes would run this paternalist "let me handle it, Dian, I wear the pants in this relationship" crap on her. You're only alive because she's worn your fucking pants. Otherwise, 'nother instance where the story and art alike don't give me much of note. I reckon Flessel was about done with the series with Fox gone and sorta phoned in his last few assignments. They're nowhere near the standard of his early solo artistic duties on the title. There IS another good wirepoon swinging shot, if one counterbalanced by a crummier instance with yet another weirdly-proportioned mask.
The Mysterious Mr. X: The Kidnapper's Union - Fox, Cliff Young
The Justice Society are bored. Bored, bored, bored. Why are they bored? There is no crime. Not a single ruffian or scoundrel or roughneck lawbreaker anywhere in the city! Where did crime go? Crime has taken an enforced vacation, courtesy the plans of big crime boss Mister X (hats off), as prelude to his scheme for taking out the JSA and putting all his criminal enterprises back on easy street. It's quite the collection of rackets out against the superheroes - an arsonist ring for Flash, a jewel snatching gang for Hawkman, leader of the phony fortune teller underworld against Doctor Fate, even hard-pressing gym membership shakedowns for the Atom! Naturally our heroes triumph, though every one also encounters a strange little man idly strolling through their battlegrounds. He's so omnipresent despite his mousiness, he's even there when they convene at the police station to organize Mister X's (hats off) arrest. Except this unassuming slip of a man? He IS Mister X (hats off), and with the Justice Society having taken all the fun out've crime, he's turning himself in to live comfortably on the state's dollar in jail. WHOOPSY-DOODLE!
For his six-page part in the game, Sandman must contend against the kidnapper's union, who naturally enough have abducted Dian to get his attention. Not only have these lowlives taken Dian hostage (though she doesn't particularly mind), they've taken out phony accident insurance claims against themselves should the hero injure any of them en route to his untimely death! Nobody quite expects Wes to avoid the sniper-guarded roads to their remote hilltop hideout, though, and a quick wirepoon swing over the canyon (complete with Mister X - hats off - sighting) puts him right in the criminal den. From there, it's a simple biff wham boom to take down the punks and disarm their supporting fire. Alas, Sandman is once again only in the loop on the true nature of the threat against the JSA because someone notifies him from their own investigation, this time Flash via telegram. Let him do his own detective work, you pricks!
Right. You see these panels? You see Dian being calm and collected in the midst of a kidnapping operation? You see Wes trusting her with a submachine gun to keep watch on the fools who mean them harm? Yeah, THAT'S Fox writing Dian. Whoever's writing the Adventure feature at this time ought've taken notes. Artistically, Young makes a fine replacement for Grothkopf and Flessel in Adventure - he can match the first for goons, the second for action, manages a nice turnaround effect before Wes swings on his wirepoon, and even gives us a by-now all-too-rare heavy shadow shot on Wes and Dian. I'm a big fan of the lead kidnapper who calls the JSA the "Justiss Sassiety," and find this instance of Mister X (hats off) the second best in the book, behind only his appearance in the Hourman story, which I think speaks for itself. Probably the only time I'll express preference for something Hourman related over Sandman.
The loss of all three major contributors to the Sandman feature across early 1941 and the crunch down to eight pages has certainly made the Adventure Comics side of the Sandman line a rockier experience. It's still possible to derive enjoyment from the wonky mysteries and higher-concept criminals, but one must accept atmosphere and and particularity have been near-entirely sacrificed for generalized bombast and louder appeal. Don't misunderstand, I've become a fan of Wesley Dodds, Fist-Swinging Bullet Sponge, and my past praises for him aren't diminished by the realization of what this has done to his integrity as a character circa today's stopping point. The trouble is, while I enjoy this half-mad, impossibly reckless read on the character, it simply no longer bears any resemblance to the early days' lurking and creeping through the seedier parts of town. There's a great series of justifications running through the Sandman concept - he's no powers, so he uses the gas gun, so he needs the gas mask, which hides his identity so perfectly it frees him to wear the ordinary business suit, which highlights his vulnerability. Fling him around like a ragdoll who knows no fear of injury or death, although I'll clap for the bravado of it all, I must object if it means any notion he should be sneaky or cautious degrades.
Especially if it means the gas gun vanishes from the character. It hasn't met its final end just yet, but for this seven month block it's proven a very perfunctory aspect of the strip, hung by his side and occasionally brandished without acting as an integral part of the action or storytelling. The wirepoon has subsumed its function as the sidearm, and while I must stress there are plenty aces shots of Wes swinging that fully justify its prominence, taking precedence over the thing that makes him the Sandman, Crimefighter What Fights Crime By Putting The Criminals To Sleep plain rubs me the wrong way. Be awful nice i we could have both without the new toy putting the old out to pasture, y'know? It's not led to anything I'd full-throatedly object over just yet, but... ach, you'll see next time. Speaking of...
Next time! 1941 comes to a close as Wesley picks up another feature to his name, and also a stupid, ugly new costume!
(Previous write-ups: 1939, 1940 pt 1, 1940 pt 2)
submitted by Gargus-SCP to Sandman [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 15:07 SwiftChallengerNomad The Sims 2 City Building Challenge: A Work In Progress

I've played a couple of city building challenges and not managed to complete them, either through lack of interest or the difficulty being too high, so I thought I'd have a crack at playing/writing my own variation.
The general rules were that I could only buy the basics from the catalog, anything else had to come from a Sim-owned business, that professions and rewards would only become available when it made sense for my little town's economy, and that I wanted to build up to experiencing everything The Sims 2 and its expansion packs has to offer. I'd play each household for a Sim week to keep all the playable Sims' ages consistent, and I'd make it a little more difficult by playing only the starting neighbourhood families and whoever they marry/move in, no CAS Sims.
Initially there wouldn't be a food store or grocery deliveries so all the Sims have to farm, then whoever can afford a lot first could sell farmed goods. At Business Level 5, wholesale freezers are unlocked and at 10 the Grocery Delivery interaction is unlocked. Other businesses have similar rules.
Here's the story so far (I really should've been making notes from the start):
The Gavigans moved into 1 Beach Crescent, Driftwood, where Nathan took a job as an Adventurer and Mary stayed home to raise Isaiah, write a newspaper column about cleaning, and grow produce. They had a daughter, Amelia. Isaiah is now an adult with the Romance aspiration and wants to WooHoo with 20 different Sims. He owns a small fresh flower shop in the business district. Amelia is a teen with the Fortune aspiration who wants to become a World-Class Ballet Dancer
The Picaso family moved into 2 Beach Crescent, Driftwood, where Jessica briefly worked in Education before being fired for poor performance. Matthew tended the family vegetable plot and wrote a Mechanical column for the local newspaper. They had three children: Alina, James, and Linda. James and Linda are twins. Alina has just grown into an adult with the Family aspiration and wants to Raise 20 Puppies or Kittens. She recently bought a business in the business district where she sells her paintings. James is a Knowledge Sim and wants to become a Criminal Mastermind. Linda is a Romance Sim and wants to become a Celebrity Chef.
The Traveller family moved into 3 Beach Crescent, Driftwood where they farmed. Tina writes editorial pieces for the local newspaper, and Trent has a cooking column. Trent and Trisha had Sabrina together, and then Trent was abducted by aliens and had Rebecca and Zack with Pollintation Technician. Tina is an adult with the Knowledge aspiration and wants to become a Criminal Mastermind, she owns a toy shop in the business district where she started off selling handmade toys but now also sells items from the catalog. Sabrina is a teen with the Pleasure aspiration who wants to become a Celebrity Chef. Rebecca and Zack are children.
The Ramaswami family moved into 4 Beach Crescent, Driftwood, where they farmed and wrote for the local newspaper. Sanjay wrote short stories for the paper, while Priya wrote about styles and fashions. They had two daughters, Cadence and Annabeth, who have taken over their parents' columns in the newspaper. Sanjay got a job in the Science career and is currently a Theorist. His next promotion will make him a Mad Scientist, opening up the Medical career path. Cadence is a Pleasure teen with the desire to become a Game Designer. Since the Gamer career won't be unlocked until someone makes a level 5 Arcade, she's already investing in arcade games for when she leaves school so that she can start her own business. Annabeth is a Fortune teen with the aspiration to become a Prestidigitator.
The Ottomas family moved into 5 Beach Crescent, Driftwood. Grandma Dora supported Peter and Samantha by looking after the children while they worked as teachers. Samantha eventually became the Education Minister, opening up the possibility of going to University for future generations of Sims. Dora is now buried at the Beach Crescent Graveyard after dying of old age.
David finished school and got a job in Oceanography, eventually leaving home and marrying Michelle Tse. They now live at 1, Sand Road and have twin babies Rhett and Link. David reached the top of the Oceanography career, unlocking it for future Sims. He's a Popularity Sim and wants to become a Rock God, something he's unlikely to achieve because there's still no music school. Michelle is a Fortune Sim who wants to become a Business Tycoon. Unfortunately, this career track won't be available until there's a successful business of each of the types required for the challenge: a grocery store, a restaurant, an art gallery, a music school, a dance school, a gym, a disco or nightclub, and an arcade. Michelle currently works as an employee at Isaiah Gavigan's flower shop.
Sharla married Gavin Newson.
Tommy still lives at home with his parents. He's a Pleasure Sim and aspires to become a Celebrity Chef. He started by founding Zippy Eats, a fast food restaurant in the business district. When that reached Level 5, he was able to find a job in the Culinary career track. He's currently a Sous Chef.
Keri and Ray moved to University
The Goodie family moved into 6 Beach Crescent, Driftwood, and adopted the Newson family. After the death of the Goodies from old age and the other siblings moving out, Georgia Newson inherited the large house. She's a Romance Sim with the aspiration to become a Hall of Famer. She owns a gym in the business district and is waiting for it to reach Level 5 before she can enter the Athletic career now that the town's population is high enough to have its own sports team. Herbert and Faith are buried at Beach Crescent Graveyard.
Gavin Newson moved to 1 Beach Lane, where he started growing produce to sell in the Farmer's Market in the business district. He married Sharla Ottomas. Gavin has the Fortune aspiration and wants to become a Business Tycoon. Sharla has the Pleasure aspiration and wants to have 50 Dream Dates, an aspiration she'll have to reconsider now that she's married.
Ginger Newson initially moved with Gavin to 1 Beach Lane, and made toys for him to sell alongside the produce at his grocery store. Eventually, she moved out and started a business selling electronics. She married Weylon Menon and they've had their first child, Norman. Ginger has the Family aspiration and wants to reach her Golden Anniversary. Waylon has a Fortune aspiration and wants to become a Business Tycoon.
Gallagher moved to 5 Beach Lane, opened a fast food restaurant in the business district, and married Ivy Copur. Gallagher's business reached Level 5, allowing him to enter the Culinary career track, he is currently a Restauranteur and wants to be a Celebrity Chef to complete his Romance aspiration. Ivy is a Knowledge Sim who wants to become a Space Pirate, she's nearly there, currently a Dread Pirate. They are preparing for their first baby together.
Garrett moved to 4 Beach Lane and married Sophie. Once the town's population was high enough, Garrett went into the Politics career despite his lifelong dream to become a ballet dancer, hopefully he can still satisfy his Fortune aspirations. Sophie, also a Fortune Sim, has an aspiration to become a Criminal Mastermind. She's currently working as a Con Artist.
Gabriella moved to 6 Beach Lane and founded a dance school in the business district. The dance school is currently Level 5, meaning that one Sim can enter the Dance career. She's a Fortune Sim who wants to become The Law. She's currently working as a Law Firm Receptionist. She's engaged to Orlando Centowski, who has moved in. Orlando is a Family Sim who wants to Marry Off 6 Children.
When the University opened up, the city gained some new playable families:
The Sharpe family: Roxy and Edwin and Roxy's boyfriend Jonah Powers. Since Roxy and Jonah both wanted to pursue more romantic relationships elsewhere, they moved into separate dorms. After getting a bit of life experience, Jonah Powers changed his Romance aspiration from having 20 simultaneous lovers to the Fortune aspiration of becoming a Space Pirate. He now lives at 2, Sand Road with a mortgage to pay off.
Edwin graduated and moved into 3, Sand Road, with a mortgage to pay off. He is a Knowledge Sim who wants to become Head of SCIA. During his studies, he allowed his romantic relationship with Delilah O'Feefe to wane.
Roxy graduated and moved into 4, Sand Road, with a mortgage to pay off. She is a Romance Sim with the lifetime aspiration to WooHoo with 20 different Sims. During her time at University she managed to WooHoo with Kennedy Cox, Victor Copur, Peter Sims, Ocean Huerta, Cristopher Roennigke, Jason Centowski, Jeremy Bui, Luc Grove and Jonah Powers, so she's nearly halfway there!
When Edwin Sharpe decided to focus on his studies, Delilah O'Feefe began a relationship with Mitch Indie. She graduated from University and moved into 5, Sand Road with a mortgage to pay off. She has a Knowledge aspiration to become a Media Magnate, a career path that's open to her since there are correspondents writing for the paper in each of the 7 topics and they all have the maximum skill in their chosen subject. She's waiting for Mitch to graduate.
The Friends household Mitch Indie and Max Flexor.
The Students household Emily Lee and Tom Freshe.
Marla Biggs
The First Year household.
submitted by SwiftChallengerNomad to u/SwiftChallengerNomad [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 13:58 IrreliventPerogi GotM - A First Time Reader's Experience, Thoughts, and Predictions - Book 6: The City of Blue Fire Pt. 1

Book 6: The City of Blue Fire

So the final buildup to the climax begins! We seem to be more solidly in the payoff section of the novel, with only a few revelations and theories this time around. Additionally, most of the cast we follow seem to be hitting their point of no return, we're on this roller-coaster and cant get off until it stops. That the dread didn't set in until it began clicking its way to the top is more your fault. The title is plenty evocative too, and if I had to guess, we'll be seeing more of the Darujhistan cast this time around.


Another issue of Rumor Born that seems to be recapping the events of the last few books in Darujhistan. What's interesting is it's final mention of the fête to end off.
For fun:
First came the Eel "or not one but a thousand" Is that literal, or merely a reference to their reach? I'll speak more to the Eel during the chapter breakdown below. What's also interesting is that the poem mentions they came "under a jagged moon that might be dead" We see from this that Rumor Born or Fisher in general is not authoritative. The work is literally recounting what rumors there are on the street, and whether or not there's anyone left living in Moon's Spawn is one of those. What this seems to indicate is that the Eel's influence couldn't be popularly felt until after Rake arrived.
"a claw scraped slow//on the city's cobbles" Kalam mistaken for a Claw (easy mistake) Rake is the "dragon... seen sailing high silver and black in the night sky" descending onto Pearl, who gave out the "demon's death cry"
The Tiste Andii were responsible for when "a master's hundred hands lost//a hundred daggers to the dark"
Which are all things that have happened in the past, the fête, ominously, has yet to occur, yet its mere invitation is counted among these City shaking events.

Chapter 17

Book 6's introduction. Overall, there isn't yet much to differentiate this from Book 5 other than setting, but we'll see how that develops. So without further ado...


[Edit: Uhh, this whole section I definitely never forgot]
Another excerpt from Silverfox, one describing a vision of the innards of Dragnipur and its relationship to Anomander Rake. Fairly straightforward, with two primary questions.
1) Why is this an excerpt of Silverfox? I assume our Adept-lett is running some reconnaissance on Rake? Feeling the effects of the slaying of the Hounds? I suppose I'll have to wait on that one.
2) Who is Outrider Hurlochel? Is he Malazan, or Tiste Andii? Or just Genebakin? That he's in the 6th implies Malazan, but the 6th never fought Caladan Brood to my recollection, he primarily fought the 5th. Additionally, when would a Malazan outrider get the opportunity to hear a conversation between Kallor and Brood? If he's Tiste Andii, then that means eventually Moon's Spawn will become aware of Silverfox, which has some fairly large implications. Beyond that, it makes sense that someone in Brood's, uhh... brood, would get access to the Rhivi. I guess it'd be Brood's 6th then? Something doesn't mesh, but I'll RAFO that for now.

The Chapter Itself -

- begins following Rallick Nom into the Phoenix Inn. Before entering, he is stopped by Meese who, after flirting with RN, for a moment, warns the assassin of someone asking after him. Someone who knew to sit at Kruppe's table, no less. He enters and notes, amused, for the first time how crowds part before him. He sits down, and the man (whom we are later told is Circle Breaker) warns him, on behalf of the Eel, of a contract sealed by Councilman Turban Orr with the Assassins' Guild against Lord Coll. The Assassin, Ocelot, merely waits for the Lord to return to the city. The Eel also applauds RN and Murillio's attempts to avenge Coll, and offers any assistance they would require. Rallick turns him down, and thanks him for the warning, after a quick drink with Iralta and Meese, he leaves the Inn to act on the information.
So, I had considered bringing this up before, but was on shakier ground then specualtion-wise. But now, its Speculation Time. Kruppe is the Eel, in my mind. We find out latter that Meese and Iralta are also in on the whole thing, so that's already ties to the Phoenix Inn. Kruppe obviously has no fear that the Eel would contradict him when lying to Baruk, and is able to mimic the Eel's method of cryptic hints perfectly. It fits his style of appearing far less than he is, in this case, he's a masquerading as a political lackey. Both the Eel and Kruppe were able to find out about the scheme against Coll without any slip-ups on the part of our conspirators. I believe this to be because of the poisoned bolt. Turban Orr was investigating it, and only someone who knew Rallick's MO could trace that back to him, and only someone who knew Rallick personally could understand that the bolt was initially meant for Lady Simtal rather than Councilman Lim. After all, the death of Orr's majority is too convenient to assume anything besides a political motive. The Eel heard wind of investigations regarding a poisoned bolt, and understood that his friend was behind it and why.* There were other things that had tipped me off, but those were the big ones that I can remember at present.
*Additionally, given that both Baruk and Crone felt Oppon's interference, and the uncharachteristic nature of the plan, it is highly probable that Kruppe felt the interference as well and later recognized what that interference was, hence his coy hint last chapter.
Baruk, meanwhile, is sulking alongside Anomander Rake, wondering why the Tiste Andii would ever allow the Imass and the Adjunct into the barrow. The tension between the two grows, as their diametrically opposed views on the world continue to breakdown communication and raise conflict between the two. In conflict, the Lord of Moon's Spawn excels. He explains to the High Alchemist that Laseen will have her fight, and capture Darujhistan whole if at all possible. Eliminating the Jaghut Tyrant and Rake are merely two additional tasks to maintain the long-term sustainability of the Empire. Rake hasn't nuked the city and left, because he wants to beat Laseen directly, a total victory where she losses what she desires without the world losing it as well. Baruk notes that Anomander Rake could always betray Darujhistan, but Rake notes that becoming himself a traitor would legitimize any treason against him. He even notes several individual who could defeat him under certain circumstances.
Baruk uses Rake's "Son of Darkness" moniker, and Rake rejects it as a title used by those who would worship him. Interesting. Being the child of a god would net you that, I suppose. He maintains the honest (if brutal) route in life not out of fear but duty. Duty to the ever-dwindling population of Tiste Andii, who merely run down the clocks of their lives dispassionately, obeying orders yes, but merely as a function of enduring their existence. He could run and hide, saving his people's lives, but they would be living in body only, so he follows cause after cause, attempting to revive their spirits. (Also of note, he mentioned that the Tiste Andi live roughly 20 thousand years, so I'm not sure where I'd gotten my deep time understanding of them, unless Rake's lifespan is extended the same relative amount as a human mage's would be)
Baruk is unsure how to respond, the plight of the Tiste is so incomprehensible that he can only muster the most abstract pity. So he returns the conversation to the Jaghut Tyrant. Will Rake be able to defeat it? Who knows, but killing him would render the Tyrant greatly reduced, possibly even to a level where the Cabal can eliminate him. Alternatively, killing the Tyrant would reduce AR, so that the Malazans may someday eliminate him. Two birds, one and a half stones. It is the Cabal that scares the Empress, an unknown, which is why our malazans seek out Vorcan. Beyond this, Oppon's meddling continually draws attention from the gods of the world, interested to see if immoral blood would be spilled. This began with Rake's killing of the two Hounds.
They finish the conversation by assessing the condition of Mammot, trapped in a slumber, his mind/soul stuck in his D'riss warren, rulled by the Worm of Autumn, D'rek, of whom Mammot is a High Preist. D'riss is evidently the Warren of earth magic, so I wonder if Caladan Brood will have or has had any interactions with the scholar. Mammot went off to investigate the barrow at Baruk's request, and wound up in this state. All of the Elder magic and Otataral present have messed with him somehow, and he cannot be freed until the Jaghut is. In which case, there will be a narrow window to save him before the High Preist, and his goddess, are subsumed by the Tyrant.
Crokus and Apsalar return to Darujhistan, despite wanting to be rid of the woman as soon as possible, Crokus is disappointed when the City does not impress her. They enter Mammot's study, finding a mess rather than the man himself. When wondering whether Rallick would know anything of this, Apsalar reacts strongly, likely prompted by her time under the Rope. For the first time since Book 2, we enter the PoV of Circle Breaker. After receiving a sign from an old woman, he delivers an additional sign to Meese. Internally, however, he cannot help but assume his days are numbered. He's acting in public, and how long until Turban Orr adds together that the same guard present at all of his leaked meetings is himself a mole? He expects to die soon, but is resolved to maintain his course until the last, heading for one final contact he considers redundant. Meese acts on the signal, approaching the building Mammot stays in, and knocking on the door. Crokus answers, disappointed that she is not his Uncle, and confused as to why she would be there. Crokus catches her up with Aps' amnesia, and notes they have not spoken to anyone but one stabler. Meese informs them of the death of the guard at the D'Arle estate, and Crokus takes this to be a betrayal on Chalice's part. That's... not a betrayal buddy. Aps' mention of Chalice clues Meese in on the situation surrounding the death, and despite the boy's protestations, she takes the situation at face value.
As they prepare to leave, Serrat stalks them, resolving to kill another watcher in the shadows, (I assume Irilta, given that she's backup) and replace her. She's been hunting the Coin Bearer on Rake's orders and we learn that she was one of the individuals hunting Crokus along the rooftops in Ch. 5. There's not much more to this scene, other than a couple odd details I'll note.
Kruppe and Murillio reach the Phoenix Inn, not finding their friends. Kruppe strangely waves aside the news of Rallick Nom meeting someone here earlier, and instead of reporting to Baruk right away, instead opts to enjoy a tankard of beer. This, coincidently opens a window for Circle Breaker to approach him with a message.
Rallick Nom, meanwhile, prepares to take on Ocelot. The clan leader will have all the advantages, and RN will have one shot at best, assuming he can even find him and get close enough. He does, however, posses an anti-magic powder (supplied by Baruk) which could potentially even the battle field. Moments after recalling the warning from the High Alchemist against applying it to bare skin, Rallick, knowing his chances are slim, fearing that Coll's death would remove the last claim on humanity he has left, he rubs the dust into his bare skin, all over. What sort of changes will this effect onto our assassin? Who knows! The chapter ends with RN swearing he will find and kill Ocelot undetected.
And there we go! Book 6 is starting off with a banger, once again tying ever more threads together tighter and tighter, promising one heck of a payoff. I, for one, cannot wait to see how it all unfolds!
submitted by IrreliventPerogi to Malazan [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 06:50 Outrageous_Thing_996 OC Character Idea

In the spirit of Demon Slayer season and the upcoming episode. I have tinkered with an original character that I think can fit in the story. Tell me what you think. (If anyone can create an oc art that would be great)
Hoshimi Taikyo
Birthday: January 1
Gender: Female
Age: 23
Height: 5’8
Partner: Single
Rank: Hashira
Star Breathing Technique- Star Hashira
Generation- Taisho period
Appearance: She’s somewhat tall, slender, and lean. She has an oval-shaped face, fair skin, dark hair with two side buns and ponytails at each side, a long neck and
She wears a black standard demon slayer uniform and wears dark purple star-shaped petals hairpin on each bun. She also wears a dark purple haori with golden traditional Japanese star patterns. She wears gold straps around her calves and a zori with dark purple stips.
History: A daughter of a prominent physicist and astronomer, her father who was personally mentored by Albert Einstein himself, and painter, her mother, she wished to be like her father when she grows up. However, at the age of 16, her life turns upside down when a demon, a former customer of her mother who was in love with her, kills her father. She was saved by Gyomei. She then decided to join the corps out of gratitude and passed the selection after 8 months of training she picked up star breathing after trying Flame breathing but could not master it preferring to make wide swings around her and beheading demons while not getting so close to them. She was informed about the first breath and its forms but could not replicate but after stargazing, she came up with star breathing.
She's friends with Shinobu, Mitsuri, Uzui, Kyojuro, Muichiro, Kanae( when she was alive), and Gyomei but not close with Giyu, Sanemi, and Obanai ( though they respect each other).
Weapon: It is an Odachi. Her katana is an Odachi nichirin blade measuring at 274.32 (9 feet). It is incredibly sharp even at the tip. The color of the blade is Dark Purple and the handguard is a series of Dark Purple petals forming a shining star with the brim encased in gold while the hilt is Dark Purple with Black crisscrossing stripes overlapping it. The scabbard is long and black and has to be carried across her back. She also has to untie the scabbard and then unsheath the sword before attacking.
Star Breathing
This breathing style mimics the stars and relies on the user’s strength, speed, enhanced reflexes, agility, locomotion, and expert swordsmanship. This is only used by Hoshimi but she has a tsuguko.
Visualization guide: The user visual herself creating and manipulating dark space with colorful stars sprinkled across it.
1st form to 5th form –Dark Blue Space
6th to 10th form-Dark Purple Space
11th form and up-Dark Space * all have colorful stars sprinkled across them*
submitted by Outrageous_Thing_996 to KimetsuNoYaiba [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 00:27 Air_Pie Super Best Friends elite list feedback!

++ Pitched Battle GHB 2021 2,000 (Death - Ossiarch Bonereapers) [1,980pts] ++
Core Battalion: Battle Regiment
Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament [370pts]
Katakros, Mortarch of the Necropolis [440pts]: Battle Regiment - 1 Commander
Mortisan Ossifector [120pts]: Battle Regiment - 0-2 Sub-Commander, Diversionary Tactics, Empower Nadirite Weapons, General, Gothizzar Cartouche
Immortis Guard [200pts]: 3 Immortis Guard, Battle Regiment - 2-5 Troops
Kavalos Deathriders [170pts]: 5 Kavalos Deathriders, Battle Regiment - 2-5 Troops, Nadirite Blade
Morghast Harbingers [240pts]: 2 Morghast Harbingers, Battle Regiment - 2-5 Troops, Spirit Halberd
Necropolis Stalkers [220pts]: 3 Necropolis Stalkers, Battle Regiment - 2-5 Troops, Dread Falchions
Necropolis Stalkers [220pts]: 3 Necropolis Stalkers, Battle Regiment - 2-5 Troops, Dread Falchions
Bone-Tithe Nexus
Allegiance: The Ossiarch Empire: Legion: Petrifex Elite
Game Type: 2000 Points - Battlehost
Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
++ Total: [1,980pts] ++
Im running this list tomorrow vs a Ironjaws double mawcrusher list, The idea is they are all battle line so as long as one unit is alive at the end i should hit my grand strat, i have the units needed to try and score the Trample the Defiant and The Sculptors Entourage battle tactics and maybe The Edge of Obliteration tactic aswell.
My questions with this list
note: These are the models i have and want to avoid bringing any mortek/harvester combo for this game which is why ive gone for this elite style to begin with.
submitted by Air_Pie to ossiarchbonereapers [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 00:24 Yout_kitchen_sink I have 2 questions about my hair

I have 2 questions about my hair
(Please excuse the the text on the photos I just got out of the shower so my mirror was foggy but these photos are less then a week old) A. What is the fastest way to dry Long hair? I dread showering cause I have to take so long to dry it (I still shower daily don’t worry) B. Do you guys think my hair is long enough to do Ellie’s hair style from the last of us part 2? (I can put a picture in comments if enough of you need it)
submitted by Yout_kitchen_sink to Hair [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 00:08 isjobareal Should I give up on a Tacoma?

was hellbent on a truck for the longest time... but would want access cab and sloped hood because am short. seems like all the ones i can find are upwards of 150k odo and still will cost me $25k, or are so spankin' new that i could fry an egg flat on the hood. i get that's the style nowadays, but i am uninterested. am i better off looking for a Frontier? advice?
just looking for something sporty without being a wagon-type... willing to chase a few rabbits but feeling major burnout chasing the access cab tacoma dream... i guess i have more life to live and can get one of those once i retire in a dreadful 42 years
what would you direct me towards?
tldr: budget 30k, looking for sporty truck/car
submitted by isjobareal to whatcarshouldIbuy [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 22:51 dear_remnant [CAN-ON] [H]PS1-5,3/DS,GC,GBA,NSW,amiibo,misc [W] lists

Here's what I can offer for trades. CIB unless noted otherwise. List may get updated after initial posting.


Breath of Fire 3 Manual damaged. Missing first page. Disc plays okay.
Breath of Fire 4
Parasite Eve Small crack in the case
Tactics Ogre
Alundra missing map
Dragon Warrior 7
Legend of Legaia
Metal Gear Solid missing manual
Lunar Silver Star Story Complete some damage in outer box
Suikoden small rip in first page of manual
Wild Arms 2 loose disc only
Final Fantasy Tactics
Revelations: Persona box only
Star Ocean: The Second Story
Gran Turismo Brand new. Plastic wrap is gone but seal at the top is still intact.
A bug's life
Black Dawn
Formula1 98
Small soldiers
The next tetris
Star wars: Episode 1 The phantom menace
Twisted metal III
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
Playstation Underground Jampack
NHL FaceOff 99
NFL Xtreme
NFL GameDay 2001 Sealed. Small rip in the plastic wrap
NFL GameDay 2000
MLB 2000
Jampack Summer 99
Jampack Winter 98
Interactive CD Sampler Pack Volume 3
Bust A Groove

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 [Limited Edition] outer box showing some wear
.Hack Quarantine Missing anime DVD, Case may not be original
Front mission 4
Katamari Damacy
Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill 4
Suikoden 3
Final Fantasy XII Limited Edition (steelbook)
Xenosaga Episode 1
Xenosaga Episode 3
Guitar Hero
Guitar Hero Metallica
Guitar Hero III Legend of Rock
Rockband AC/DC Track Pack
Grandia II
Grandia III
Yakuza 2
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
Kingdom Hearts GH
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3

Untold Legends Brotherhood Of The Blade
Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Legend Of Heroes III Song Of The Ocean loose umd only
Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories GH
Robots UMD Movie

Killzone Mercenary loose

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection [Artbook Bundle] Sealed with artbook
Dante's Inferno Divine Edition with slipcover, missing manual
Yakuza 3
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
Batman: Arkham City
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
Disney Infinity starter pack Sealed
Record of Agarest War 2 Sealed, One corner of box is dinged
Dead Island Riptide [Rigor Mortis Edition] Sealed
Dead Space 3 Dev-team Edition Sealed, 4004/5000
Battlefield 3
Battlefield 4
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 4
Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2010
Heavy Fire: Afghanistan
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas
Little Big Planet Karting
Batman: Arkham Asylum - GoTY edition
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
Need for Speed: The Run LE
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit LE
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit loose, GH
Need for Speed: Rivals missing manual
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
Duke Nukem Forever
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes GH
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens loose
Lost Planet 3 Sealed
God of War Collection GH

Fallout 4 Pipboy edition Sealed
Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited Imperial Edition Sealed
Wolfenstein II: The new Colossus Collector's Edition Sealed
Final fantasy vii remake
Final fantasy vii remake deluxe edition Sealed
Neptunia x SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars digital code
Sekiro: Shadows die twice
Kingdom Hearts All-in-one sealed
Fifa 14
Battlefield 4
INSIDE / LIMBO double pack
WWE 2K15 Hulkamania Edition sealed
Dying Light
Fallout 4
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

Tales of Arise Sealed
Elden Ring Collector's Edition Sealed
Elden Ring preorder code x3 Willing to throw this in free with any trade
Elden Ring with steelbook bundle Bundle seems to be Bestbuy Canada exclusive
Scarlet Nexus Sealed
Evil Dead digital code
Horizon Forbidden West Collector's Edition Sealed

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines gamestop sticker on manual

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Fallout 3
Halo 4 LE Sealed
Lost Odyssey
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Otomedius Excellent

Resident Evil
Donkey Konga 2 Sealed

Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition Sealed
The Last Story LE
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor Sealed

Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna the Golden Country Sealed
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Sealed
Metroid Dread Special Edition Sealed
Shin Megami Tensei V Fall of Men Premium Edition Sealed
Hoa Sealed
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Premium Edition Sealed
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1 [Deluxe Edition] Sealed
AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES – nirvanA Initiative Collectors Edition Sealed
Legend of Zelda the tears of the kingdom Collector's edition Sealed

Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage loose
Avatar: The Last Airbender loose
SpongeBob SquarePants Movie loose
American Dragon Jake Long Rise Of The Huntsclan loose
Ty The Tasmanian Tiger 3 loose
Pokemon LeafGreen loose
Pokemon Sapphire loose, dry battery replaced
Chronicles Of Narnia Lion Witch And The Wardrobe loose
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 loose
Tales of Phantasia loose
Shining Soul 2 loose
Kirby and the Amazing Mirror loose
Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland loose

Coral Pink DS Lite Excellent cosmetic condition, charger included
White DSi no charger, stylus
Lego Harry Potter Year 1-4
Phantasy Star 0 missing manual
Flash Focus
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia loose
Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume loose
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light loose
Pokemon HeartGold loose, small damage on label
Pokemon HeartGold Complete minus Pokewalker
Pokemon SoulSilver box only
Pokemon Diamond
Pokemon Diamond loose
Pokemon Platinum loose
Pokemon Black
Pokemon Black missing manual
Pokemon Black box only
Hoppie no manual, some water damage in cover arts
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Metroid Prime: Hunters - First Hunt loose
Diddy Kong Racing
Fossil Fighters
Professor Layton And The Curious Village

3DS XL Black+Red CIB, Cave Story digital installed
New 3DS XL Galaxy loose. Charger included. Missing stylus, Dual IPS screen
Pokemon X
Rune Factory 4
Bravely Second: End Layer Warning booklet missing
Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance LE Missing AR cards
Pokemon Sun loose
Pokemon Ultra Sun loose
Pokemon X loose, have 2
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire loose
Kirby Triple Deluxe loose
LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens Case in rough shape. Missing manual
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond The Myth [Launch Edition] sealed
Sonic: Lost World
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Mario Kart 7
Kirby: Triple Deluxe Nintendo Selects
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Nintendo Selects
Tales of the Abyss sealed
Fantasy Life

Amiibo (all SSB except noted otherwise) All sealed in original box
Peach (Super Mario) 025W1
Yoshi (Super Mario) 524W2
Mario 434W2
Bowser 464S1
Diddy Kong 424S1
Luigi 434S1
Pikachu 474W2
Squirtle 279W5
Ivysaur 299W5
Snake 2559G1
Sonic 494W2
Peach 444W3
Link (Link's awakening) 2079G1
Link 524S1
Link (Majora's mask) 187S1

Tales of Vesperia BradyGames
Dark Souls FuturePress, Sealed
Dark Souls II CE FuturePress, Sealed
Dragon Warrior VII Prima
Breath of Fire IV Prima
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Prima, Hard Cover
Wild Arms 4 Prima
God of War III BradyGames
Resident Evil 6 BradyGames, Hard Cover, Sealed
Legend of Zelda Collector's Box Set Prima, sealed

https://imgur.com/a/DLa5yM4 Too many to list. Some 360/PS3 ones may be in French. Please ask. Harvest Moon (GC) is traded.

Steelbooks G1 size unless noted. No games included.
Assassin's Creed 3 in shrink wrap
Assassin's Creed Collection
Batman Arkham City Armored Edition
Batman Arkham City G2
Call of Duty Black Ops II
Dead Space 3 in shrink wrap
Devil May Cry G2
Duke Nukem Forever in shrink wrap
Epic Mickey 2
Farcry 3 in shrink wrap
FF XIII Lightning Returns in shrink wrap
Hitman Absolution
Injustice Gods Among Us
Medal of Honor Warfighter G2
New Super Mario Bros U
NHL 12
Prototype 2 in shrink wrap
Sleeping Dogs
World of Warcraft Mist of Pandara

FF X Play Arts Tidus Still in original box, never displayed out of box
FF X Play Arts Yuna Still in original box, never displayed out of box
FF X Play Arts Auron Still in original box, never displayed out of box
FFVII Advent Children Play Arts Sephiroth Still in original box, never displayed out of box
FFVII Advent Children Play Arts Vincent Still in original box, never displayed out of box
FFVII Advent Children Play Arts Cloud with Fenrir Still in original box, never displayed out of box
Steer 'n win jr racing wheel/pedal compatible with PS1/N64
Diablo III Collector's Edition PC Sealed
Diablo III Reaper of Souls Collector's Edition PC Sealed
Homeworld Collector's Edition PC Sealed


Mostly interested in JRPGs and horrors. Working design, Enix, Falcom, NIS, Atlus, etc. Must be CIB unless noted otherwise.

Adventures of Lomax
Deception III: Dark Delusion
Echo Night
King's Field (Long box)
King's Field II
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Misadventures of Tron Bonne
RayCrisis: Series Termination
Shadow Tower
Tail Concerto
Thunder Force V
Torneko: The Last Hope
Resident evil survivor

Blood Will Tell
Echo Night: Beyond
Forever Kingdom
Haunting Ground
Shadow Heart
Silent Hill 2 (Greatest Hits)
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Tsugunai: Atonement

Atelier Ryza LE
Atelier Sophie LE
Tales of Berseria CE

The Last of us Part 1 Firefly edition (sealed)

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Brith 1 LE

Dragon Warrior Monsters
Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi's Journey
Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Tara's Adventure
Dragon Warrior I & II
Revelations: The Demon Slayer

Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament
Klonoa: Empire of Dreams
Lunar Legend

Star Fox: Assault Manual only
Jet Black GameCube box and cardboard inserts
Indigo wired OEM controller low want

Dragon quest xi sealed preferred

Commando: Steel Disaster
Dragon Quest V
Dragon Quest IV Box and manual only
Etrian Odyssey
Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja
Lunar: Dragon Song Manual only
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
Sands of Destruction
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga Endless Frontier

Corpse Party: Back to School Edition
Dragon Quest VII
Dragon Quest VIII
Etrian Mystery Dungeon (Launch soundtrack bundle preferred)
Etrian Odyssey Nexus (launch edition)
Fire Emblem Fates SE
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (launch edition)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers (with soundtrack)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (launch edition)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse Launch Edition

Turbografx-16 Console (CIB) and CIB games
Dragon Quest Slime controller for Switch
All Uncharted Waters games (SNES and Genesis, CIB)
submitted by dear_remnant to gameswap [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 16:52 Turbulent-Result-844 M24 F22 Disrespectful or am i just reading too much into it?

Hey people of Reddit, im having a difficult processing an event that happened last night and am just looking to hear some different ideas, perspectives and experiences from other people, so here goes.
I met this girl from a group of friends and we hit it off quite well. A lot of common interests and also good amount of differences to keep it interesting. One night we went out and had a really good time, lots of flirting, touching, cuddling, deep conversations going till late in the morning and towards the end of it we kissed before she left.
Then there was a brief week where I tried a couple times to ask her out to a day date or evening date and she rejected my offer but didn’t make any effort or alternate days or times she could possibly make it work.
Then one night I was going out with some friends and I thought hell I’ll invite her out again. She said yes and we met at the club, we danced the night away, touching, holding each other, laughing. By the time we returned back to my neighborhood we were both sober and had another deep convo till 6am before she departed and that kiss (at least I felt) was much more passionate and I started feeling a connection, the dreaded phrase “Catching feelings” (not that that’s bad).
The following week I tried inviting her out to a day date again and still was meet with the same resistance but this time it was met with a new job she had just started and wanted to take her first week time to adjust to the new hours and style of work (I thought that made sense tbh).
Then comes last night, our friend group split up and I went to another venue and she another and when I came back to our neighborhood she was flirting with another guy while occasionally looking at me or side eyeing me to see if I was looking or something (when I say flirting, she would lean on the guy, rest her head on his shoulder or his lap, things that she would do with me but I never saw them kissing.)
This is getting long and I’ve heard many mixed opinions from, she’s just tryna me make jealous to get me chase more or that she may like the idea of having someone to connect with romantically but isn’t willing to do it with me or she doesn’t want to commit, etc.
I would appreciate any insight/perspective/ of experience
submitted by Turbulent-Result-844 to relationship_advice [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 12:50 oof-oofs summer clothes for someone who hates summer clothes?

hi all - we're fast approaching summer in my country, and I am feeling a lot of dread. I have like five tshirts, one jacket and one pair of wide leg, floaty trousers that are suitable for summer (though the trousers aren't really suitable for hotter weather, like 25C+). last summer it was very hot and I essentially had nothing to wear, it wasn't great - an added complication to this is that this year, I will need some 'smart casual' summer clothing
I'm quite pale (very prone to sunburn and have a family history of skin cancer, so I want to cover up most of my skin) and fairly tall (177cm/5'9.5ish - the length of shorts has often been very uncomfortable/made me self conscious). extra life context: early 20s, often running late (= walking super fast and getting sweaty), here's a fantasy autumn/winter capsule I made and here's a moodboard. I've thought about getting some second hand linen pieces before, but I just don't really have the required space or time to properly care for it so it's not a wrinkled mess
I also think I just hate how most summer clothing looks - I almost always buy clothing second hand, and it seems like summer clothes are either really revealing or really shapeless and boring, with no real middle ground. I guess I want something fun or interesting that covers most of my skin whilst still being breathable (maybe an impossible task?
submitted by oof-oofs to capsulewardrobe [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 07:11 reverthelp BASICS OF ISLAM : Reflections on the Qur’an

Sūrah Al ‘Imrān [The Family of ‘Imrān] : (3:21)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَيَقْتُلُونَ الَّذِينَ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْقِسْطِ مِنَ النَّاسِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
Those who disbelieve in the Revelations and signs of God, and frequently kill the Prophets (sent to them) against all right, and who kill those who advocate and try to establish equity and justice—give them the glad tidings of a painful punishment. {(Al ‘Imrān 3:21)
▪Those who had not believed in any revealed religion before the Age of Bliss and those who had accepted some aspects of religion without believing in God, as well as those who do not see the clear signs, verses, and proofs of the existence and Unity of God and thus go astray and make others deviate into unbelief—all of those groups are referred to as “those who disbelieve in the Revelations and signs of God.”
▪Also, those who rebelled against the “means of their salvation” (i.e., the Prophets) and killed some of them although they were honored with the revelation of the Book and with Prophets, received the evil reputation of “those who frequently kill the Prophets against all right.”And those who oppose the advocates of justice and righteousness and slay them are condemned and reviled as “those who kill those who advocate and try to establish equity and justice.” There is a common end for all those groups: “a painful punishment.”
▪Those people have been able neither to stop time and prevent the earth from turning in order to live longer nor to succeed in not going into another realm, for which they have had no preparations.
As Bediüzzaman Said Nursi stated,
“They have never been able to kill death and close the door of the grave;”
therefore they have suffered from the pain of death even before they have died. They have expended this world and sacrificed their afterlife for their desires, lusts, and fancies. As a result, they are so unfortunate that they have lost in this world and have been condemned to loss in the other.
In addition, if we pay attention to the conclusion of the verse, we see an unusual style:
“the glad tidings of a painful punishment.”
Normally, glad tidings mean good, joyful, and cheerful things—not unfortunate and sad situations. For instance, one cannot say to a man whose father died: “Glad tidings! Your father died.” Or “Congratulations! You have gone bankrupt.” Nonetheless, the Qur’ān uses this kind of expression for the unbelievers. So there must certainly be important wisdom in that phrase.
That wisdom—and God knows the best—must be the following:
There is a meaningful sarcasm (tahakkum in Arabic) about the unbelievers in that sentence. Those people who have closed themselves off to belief and are full of hate, malevolence, anger, and fury against the Qur’ān become rabid when they hear such words.
▪If this last part of the verse is considered in the context of the entire verse, a fine point reveals itself:
God has shown these people the ways to belief, sent them Prophets, and appointed among them intellectual and spiritual guides and advocates of justice and equity after the Prophets. Nevertheless, those people have always responded God’s bounties with denial and ingratitude. Namely, they have not believed in God. They killed the Prophets; they have killed the representatives of justice and equity. The expression of “give them the glad tidings of a painful punishment” both informs of their dreadful end and reminds them that they have missed the opportunity to receive the tidings that are really glad.
submitted by reverthelp to u/reverthelp [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 06:50 AutoModerator Kade & Tye Ruotolo - Upper Body Submission Assault

Kade & Tye Ruotolo - Upper Body Submission Assault
Get the course here: https://bit.ly/Kade_Tye_Ruotolo_Upper_Body_Submission_Assault
Kade & Tye Ruotolo - Upper Body Submission Assault
Attack The Upper Body With Aggressive Upper Body Submissions From ADCC Medalists Kade & Tye Ruotolo As They Teach The Armlocks & Chokes They Use To Dominate The Competition
  • Learn the submission holds that have worked for these two brothers at the highest levels of submission grappling, including their dreaded buggy choke and darce combos
  • See some of their signature holds like the scorpio armlock, the throw by rear naked, and more on this 4-part series
  • Kade & Tye are both ADCC medalists, and did it with their aggressive style that emphasizes action and submission offense that they teach here
  • Find ways to go for submission locks from common positions like the open guard, passing from top, recovering guard, and more
  • Master innovative ways to secure the strangle as the Ruotolos show you side naked chokes, same side arm guillotines, and more
submitted by AutoModerator to CourseSharing [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 23:00 Due-Guard8639 Thinking of quitting

I am a trainee at the moment but am thinking of leaving. My training experience did not start off the best and it has really set me back. After the academy I didn’t have a TO for almost 2 weeks so I just spent my time sitting in with dispatchers on the radio. Prior to applying as a dispatcher I have dreamt of being a cop but talked myself out of it because my family wanted me to be safe. But now through my training I’ve really regretted not doing it. I did a ride along and fell in love. Although nothing interesting happened the environment just felt right for me. I have switched TO’s throughout my process because it just wasn’t working and I’ve been struggling because of the inconsistent training and toxic work environment. I have had more than 7 different TO’s due to my main TO going on vacation or being out sick or having other things going on. Each with different styles so I feel like I am constantly starting over. I dread going into work not because of the job itself but how the environment makes me feel and I feel like I’m not thriving in the environment. I decided a few weeks ago that I would just go ahead and put my application in to go sworn and am trying to be patient but I’m not so sure this environment is doing me any good with how I feel everyday that I go into work. I’ve never been this depressed over a work environment or felt this way before. I feel like I’m not getting the learning experience I deserve. I have the option of transferring to another job in the department but don’t want it to affect my process or going sworn. Any advice? I’m feeling really lost. I know deep down going sworn is where I want to be.
submitted by Due-Guard8639 to 911dispatchers [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 21:19 TheAceCard18 Movies set on/around Halloween?

Been in very Halloween mood lately, and thusly I've been watching a lot of Halloween movies.
I've watch Halloween (1978), Trick 'r Treat, Tales of Halloween, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hocus Pocus. Any GOOD suggestions?
I've found a number of movies that just can't keep my focus and/or aren't my style.
Nothing too horribly gory or dreadfully serious, unless it's really good.
submitted by TheAceCard18 to halloween [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 20:21 VeryUnluckyDice Playing By Ear - Ch11 (NoP Fanfic)

First / Prev / Next
Memory transcription subject: Mezil, Venlil Music Student (First Year) White Hill University
Date [standardized human time]: September 6, 2136
“You look…whipped.”
Brad’s choice of words would’ve no doubt been flagged by the predatory language bot but I found that such a description was painfully accurate. It had been a couple of Human days since I had last communicated with him but I'd finally landed myself back in a video call with my favorite predator. Unfortunately, I forwent some much-needed sleep to do so. My transcription of the piece that I’d tentatively decided to refer to as Hidden Constellation had taken most of my attention for the last however many claws. I'd lost track of the time and, as such, had to rush through my assignments without any regard for rest.
Still, I was hellbent on making time to speak with Brad again.
“Yeah, uh. I've just been busy.”
“Been there. Make sure to take care of yourself though. I don't know much about Venlil hygiene but I don't think I've seen any of you look that…scraggly.”
I hardly had the energy for a witty response. I just gave my attempt at a Human nod and rifled through my schoolwork, double-checking to make sure everything was done for upcoming deadlines.
At least I could take solace in the fact that I didn't have a negative reaction to Brad’s visage. Not even a flinch. I supposed that the consecutive shocks and recent discovery had shaken me out of any preconceived notions about predators. Granted, maybe it was just because I was used to him specifically.
Wasn't worth worrying about it really.
After a few moments of silence, Brad decided to fill the gap.
“Look, dude. I know we've only known each other for a few days and I might not be completely confident in Venlil body-language. But, I’d wager that something is bothering you. You look like you did the first time we did a video call when…Well, you remember.”
Brad was right, of course. I was confident that I wouldn't break down sniveling and panicked like that first call. I felt a lot less pressure confiding in him this time.
Actually, he’s one of the only people I feel confident talking to about this.
“After you sent me those notes, I was surprised by the extent of information you had on hand. It was incredible just how far back your recorded musical history goes.”
Brad’s eyes circled around in a motion I didn't recognize.
“Look, I know we’re predators and all that but it doesn't mean we record our history any less than a prey species. Honestly, I thought that was well established at this point.”
He thinks I'm surprised that they're capable?
“N-no, that's not what I meant. Our records don't go back nearly that far. Honestly, I didn't think anything of it until seeing your notes. But, now that I'm looking at it, your records are much more in-depth.”
“Oh. Sorry, I shouldn't have assumed your implications. I've been online too much. It just seems like Venlil expectations for our cultural values are…insultingly low.”
Are they? Hell, I guess mine were low too. It would make sense since most of the public aren't part of the program.
“That's predator-shit. I mean…uh…shit I guess? Not sure what to use in place of that.”
“We usually say bullshit.”
“Big, bovine prey species.”
“Why bullshit, specifically?”
“Hell if I know.”
I’d come to expect that kind of answer from the Human. Nothing about their culture was as homogenous as ours. Whereas Venlil could trace just about anything back to the predatoprey dynamic, Humans were all over the place.
I wonder if it would have been the same with us if the Federation didn’t tamper with history.
“It's bullshit then. Humans are just as socially developed, if not more.”
Brad eyed me with suspicion.
“You seem awfully defensive about Humans today. I can’t complain about you being supportive but I have to ask, did something happen recently?”
To say something had happened would be a hell of an understatement. It had only been a few paws since undertaking this project and I felt like a different person. Everything I'd known as fact about the world and the Federation was being challenged.
Now that I'm thinking of it, this has gotten pretty out of hand for a music assignment.
“I went looking for Venlil records as old as what you sent me relative to the time period. I could barely find anything. The most worrying part was that it seemed like there were records at one point but historical documents had been directly removed or destroyed.”
“Destroyed? By who?”
“According to the librarian, it was likely the Federation during first contact.”
Brad’s eyes turned off to the side, seemingly lost in thought.
“I could maybe understand there being some corrections for starkly objective misunderstandings like academic assumptions that could be proven false but cultural works? Those have no good reason to be touched. Even some of the most problematic Human works tend to be kept as historical examples. Erasure is usually a sign of indoctrination.”
My claws were clinched, hidden under the desk.
“That’s what I was thinking too. It feels like I don’t know anything. One day predators are brutal, savage devils and the next I can hold a conversation with one and I think the government that has protected my planet for my whole life erased massive swaths of our history for unknown reasons.”
Brad stayed silent. It seemed that he didn’t know what to make of it either. Honestly, I couldn’t expect anyone to have advice for a situation like this.
“It sounds pretty rotten. But, there's not much you can do about it,” he finally replied with a sigh. “If it’s lost or it’s been destroyed, you can only salvage whatever is left.”
At last, a chance to feel optimistic about something.
“That’s what I’ve been doing,” I stated as I rummaged through my papers again. “We have a really old library. Pre-Federation. I noticed something in the architecture. It was laid out a little strangely, but I realized there was music notation designed into the ceiling.”
Brad’s eyes went wide.
“Dude, that’s fucking cool.”
“Right? And, most importantly, it’s not something I found in any of our texts. So, it’s likely something that was hidden during any removal efforts.”
“Well shit, man, let’s take a look.”
I propped the pad up so the camera pointed down onto the desk and laid out the sheets beneath it, making sure to get it all in the shot.
“It’s not perfect. Since it was in a spiral, I had to use intuition to decide which part came first. On top of that, there’s some elements that were distinctly missing since it was built into the structure. Things like tempo markings and dynamics are completely absent.”
“So, that’s what Venlil music notation looks like,” Brad contemplated the work in front of him.
“Oh! That’s right. I never actually showed you. I guess I could give a quick breakdown. As you can see, it’s all divided into a continuous grid of boxes. The boxes have different markings in them that specify different tones. You can tell where it lands depending on if it’s in the center or corner of the box. Different corners are for different tones as well. The ‘octaves’ as you call them are notated by these little ticks next to the initial marks.”
Brad took it all in, reading over the script.
“And those ticks on the outside of the grid. Are those denoting note length?”
“Wow. That seems like it’d be cluttered to read.”
“That’s what other Federation species usually say. But, it’s compact and efficient in my opinion.”
Brad nodded in tentative agreement before responding.
“I feel like Venlil music puts a lot of trust in the musician. Between the glide system and your compact notation, sight reading must be a huge challenge. It’s impressive.”
I wagged my tail slightly at Brad’s praise but my ears drooped as I considered how incomplete the piece was. Really, this was missing plenty of elements.
“I just wish we had an original copy. This one handles…kind of weirdly as I’ve played it thus far.”
“What’s weird about it?”
“Well, I guess it’s not that weird. Rather it just uses some odd progressions or lack thereof. I’m not really sure what to make of it. It has recognizable elements but it's not exactly conventional.
Brad flashed me a toothy happy snarl.
Smile. Not snarl.
“It’s probably going to sound strange if it’s so detached from known history that you had to pull it out of the ceiling of an old-ass building. Why don’t you play it for me? Maybe it’s something we can work with.”
“You want to hear me play?”
“Sure, dude. Take a crack at it. Sounds fun.”
“Suppose I’ll use a plehr then. I don't think I've introduced you to it yet.”
“Kila described it to me, actually. She said she used to play it as well. I haven't seen one yet, though.”
I'd nearly forgotten that Kila had some experience with the instrument. It wasn't surprising that she'd already mentioned it to Brad.
I stood from my desk and walked to the corner of my room where the plehr stood leaning against the wall. It wasn't very professional but I didn't have a stand for it and I used it often enough to not want to have to repeatedly take it in and out of the case.
I worked the mechanism at the bottom of the body, plucking strings in between each adjustment to make sure it was relatively in tune.
Satisfied with my efforts, I moved back to the desk, moving the camera to once again face me in my seat. I held the plehr at a diagonal, making sure my paws had full range of motion.
“Ah, so that's what it looks like,” Brad spoke, binocular eyes searching up and down the instrument in a way that would probably make some Venlil uncomfortable. “The stand below the body is a little longer than I expected. The body itself sits pretty high.”
“You seem awfully surprised about a small detail like that. Is there a similar Human instrument you were basing your expectations on?”
“Yeah, there's several actually. I have a guitar here. Let me grab it.”
Typical that they have several variations on the design. Seems to be common for Humans to subdivide everything over and over again.
Brad had moved out of the frame but after a few moments he returned with a stringed instrument of his own.
“I already gave Kila a breakdown of this,” he began. “But I suppose you're still out of the loop. This is an electric guitar. Typically, I'd hook it up to an amp but for now I'll just leave it as is.”
He propped the instrument up at a slightly shallower angle than mine and strummed across the six strings while his other hand pressed down along the neck. A simple chord emanated outward in response.
The guitar sounded very warm and rich. The plehr sounded brighter by comparison. I placed my own paws along the instrument and attempted to match his tone, though I only had five strings to work with in comparison to his six.
“Damn, that sounds nice,” Brad remarked. “It reminds me of another Human instrument but I can't think of which one. Honestly though, I don’t think we have anything that sounds exactly like that. The carvings along the body are especially interesting. It looks like it's only partly hollow?”
“That's right,” I replied. “The carvings are very meticulously done to create some particular acoustic properties. Yours doesn't seem hollow at all.”
“Yeah, electrics often aren't. There are acoustic guitars that are hollowed out pretty considerably. Sometimes it's hybridized like the plehr. Did I pronounce that right?”
“Probably about as well as I'm pronouncing guitar.”
“Can't be too bad then. Let's hear your mystery tune. Maybe it'll summon an ancient evil spirit or something.”
“Do Humans think that way?”
Brad laughed. “Nah, it's just a joke. I guess it's kind of a trope in media that ancient knowledge can summon dangerous things beyond our comprehension. It's a ‘that was sealed away for a reason’ kind of thing.”
“Sounds morbid.”
“Yeah, usually the protagonists tamper with something they don't have knowledge of and it ends poorly for them.”
“We'll, now you're making me nervous!”
“Relax, dude. They're just stories. Come on, I wanna hear.”
Shaking the thoughts of a giant beast manifesting out of thin air and ripping me apart, I readied myself to play. Looking at the music, I tried to release myself from the expectations of common convention.
This was probably meant to be destroyed. It won't sound like what you're used to.
My claws found purchase upon the neck and I slid the shapes around while plucking each string at the body below. It didn't sound bad but I felt like something was…missing. No. Not missing. Lacking. Like everything was there but it just wasn't working right. The chord progressions were simple. Almost too simple. It all seemed dreadfully, terribly…
The circumstances surrounding the tune had set the bar rather high for something that seemed almost mediocre by comparison. For all of music’s subjectivity, there are elements that set great pieces apart from the rest. They need to have direction, something this song seemed to lack.
Maybe our ancestors were just shitty musicians. It'd be embarrassing if the Federation erased all our traditional music because it just sucked.
The piece had a tendency to drift between simple repeating tones. There wasn't much motion and even fewer glides. It just seemed repetitive.
However, Brad seemed oddly intrigued. Perhaps even more so than he was during his initial stint with Venlil music. Did he notice something I didn't?
As I continued to play, I saw a small smile for mom across his lips.
“Bump that tempo up, dude. Trust me.”
I did as he asked, playing faster than the average tempo I'd elected to use since I couldn't discern one from the markings in the ceiling. Still, it felt lacking.
“Faster than that. Hell, fast as you can manage it.”
Was he crazy? I had told him before that high tempo portrayed anxiety in our music. But, then again, that was just one more belief being challenged. Was it really true? Had it always been that way?
My claws moved with as much speed as I could muster. Venlil claws weren't so dexterous at high speeds but the simplistic nature of the piece worked in my favor. I pressed the tempo higher and higher. My heart rate rose along with it. I could feel the chase.
It's too fast. This is too fast. The fear instincts…
I'd done well to bury my instincts when interacting with Brad, but the music was bringing them out. I could feel my anxieties taking over.
It's just music. Why do I feel so scared? Fuck, am I shaking?
“Listen to me, Mezil,” Brad’s voice broke through my internal struggle, anchoring me in his deep bass tones. “You're not being chased. You're not doing the chasing. The thrill, the speed…none of it has anything on you. Don't shrink under it. Own it. Move with the speed, not against it.”
My breathing slowed bit by bit. I focused only on playing.
It's fine. You're not in control but that's alright. It's like Naima. You need to be alright with the discomfort. Work through it and it'll go away. Treat the piece like Brad. It’s only shocking at first.
As my heart rate decreased and my muscles relaxed, my playing actually became faster. Finally I landed at the peak of my ability. By this point I was blazing through the excerpt rather quickly, having to repeatedly jump back to the beginning of the excerpt.
“Dude, that's perfect. Keep going. I'm gonna try something.”
I saw him exit the frame once again and heard something heavy being set down outside of the camera’s vision. When he returned to the screen, a cable was leaving his guitar, dropping down where I could no longer see it.
He quietly plucked a few notes and I heard a difference in the sound or, rather, an addition. Something else was mirroring his playing off-screen but it had a different timbre. Was that the amp he'd mentioned?
“I'm going to regret this later but screw it.”
He was carefully adjusting the knobs at the end of the neck, tuning the strings. I realized that he was tuning it to match the plehr.
“I'm not sure how well this will work,” he continued. “This guitar only has twelve tones to the octave. But, I think I've got the gist of the piece.”
As I wrapped back to the beginning of the piece again, Brad joined in. This time, at full volume. The guitar almost seemed to sing. He weaved his part in through mine, occasionally landing on an awkward interval where he'd shake his head, punctuate it with whispered cursing, and trudge onwards.
After a couple passes he seemed to find his footing. The two parts complimented each other as we wound through the chords at breakneck speed.
“Oh yeah, dude. This shreds.”
“Like, it rocks!”
“What about rocks?”
Brad laughed at my response but I just felt lost in a daze. The reality of the situation was, the piece sounded good. It was exhilarating in a way that, while nerve-wracking, felt…empowering?
“I don't think it was supposed to be played as a rock song like this but it goes hard as hell!”
“You keep saying that. What do you mean by rock?”
Brad shook his head while smiling and stopped playing. After a moment I followed suit, letting my paws relax. He placed the guitar down out of sight and turned back to the camera.
“Mezil, soon I'm gonna show you rock and roll and it's going to blow your mind.”
“Figure of speech! Sorry! I mean it's going to surprise you. Look, point is that fast music doesn't have to be scary. It can be empowering too.”
“Would that be considered…a predatory desire?”
“I don't know. Maybe? I'm not a psychologist. But, I know for a fact that the piece you found was made to be played fast. It sounded almost celebratory, right? Lots of restful chords. High register. Definitely bright by nature.”
Brad was right. It sounded pleasant even at that speed. It wasn't filled with the dark, anxiety-inducing sounds that typically accompanied such high tempos.
“Yeah,” was all I managed to say, my mind still racing.
I looked down at the plehr in my hands, in disbelief at what I'd just played.
Was that why they purged all of that music? Was it too intense? I guess that could affect other prey species negatively but it's not much of a reason for erasure. I got over it pretty quickly. Maybe I'm diseased?
Snapping out of my thoughts, I turned my eye squarely to the screen.
“Brad, is rock a type of music? If it is, I wanna hear it.”
Brad pumped a fist quickly into the air, making me jump slightly. An apologetic look flashed across his face.
“Sorry! Didn’t mean to startle you. That's just something Humans sometimes do to celebrate.”
“Punch the air?”
“Yeah, I know. Predatory or whatever.”
“I think I'm beyond the point of caring about that. It just surprised me.”
“Good because rock and roll might be a tad bit intense for you. Like more than what we just played. That was like…baby’s first rock song. If you can even call it that. No drums or anything.”
Brad was projecting a much more bombastic energy than his baseline. It wasn't malicious but it was still worrying as I wasn't sure I could match it.
“It isn’t going to leave me hyperventilating on the floor is it?”
“I doubt that. Not after what you just played. I'll tell you what. I'll start you off easy. We’ll do some old-fashioned early rock. This is back when it was still branching off from the blues.”
“Another topic for another day.”
Once again Brad alluded to another style of music I'd yet to hear.
I'm never getting through all of the Humans’ musical history. It just goes on and on.
Brad paused as he was setting up the music. A frown suddenly formed on his face.
“I don't know how this is going to work with the translator though. It's a lyrical piece. It’ll ruin the rhyme scheme if it's translated directly. But, if you turn the translator off, it'll just be gibberish with no meaning.”
“I can set it to subtitle mode. Our translators are brain implants so we can project translated words to our vision instead of doing straight audio translation.”
“Seriously? That's cool as hell. Yeah, do that. It'll be perfect.”
I complied with his request, turning a switch at the controller in my ear.
“Say something as a test.”
“Testing. Testing.”
His words sounded completely foreign to me but I could visualize their meaning. I hadn't realized just how unusual Human speech sounded. Their odd mouth structures made for some interesting syllables.
I nodded my head in confirmation that it was working. He took note of it and hovered a hand over what I assumed was the off-screen play button.
“This one is a real classic. You ready? Last chance to back out.”
“Ready as I'm going to get, I guess.”
“Alright. This one is called Johnny B. Goode.”
As he hit play, the guitar burst forth in full force, slamming itself right to the front of the piece. Shortly after, the rest of the band joined in with rugged vocals in tow.
Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a-ringin' a bell
Go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Johnny B. Goode
The percussion kept the racing tempo consistent behind the pair as what I recognized as a piano joined the fray. However, it made the piano part in Naima seem tame by comparison. All the parts were wild and energetic, feeding off of each others’ intensity.
He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track
Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made
The people passing by they would stop and say
"Oh my what that little country boy could play"
Go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Go Johnny, go, go
Johnny B. Goode
It took me a moment to notice it but there was another part hidden there too. A deep, plucked sound was supporting the arrangement. It sounded like another string instrument. Perhaps a lower counterpart to the guitar?
What I noticed more than anything was that, beyond my analytical thoughts, I found my claw tapping out the beat on the desk in front of me as I bobbed up and down with it in my chair.
Brad, what in the Stars are you doing to me?
The guitar tore into the riff from the opening, barreling into a short solo. The energy was as high as it could get. It was having an effect on me but I couldn't pin down what it was. It was overwhelming but positive. Those two things were historically in opposition of each other. Yet, the Human song seemed to have them working together seamlessly.
I decided to myself, if this was predatory, they might as well throw me in a facility.
His mother told him "someday you will be a man
And you will be the leader of a big old band
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying "Johnny B. Goode tonight"
Go, go
Go Johnny, go
Go, go, go Johnny, go
Go, go, go Johnny, go
Go, go, go Johnny, go
Johnny B. Goode
And with a few more punctuations from the band, the song was over just like that.
“Well, what do you think?”
Oh, it's fine. You just challenged a major musical concept that I've been taught all my life.
“What the hell was that?!”
“You don't like it?”
“I do like it! That's why it's confusing! It's just like Naima! Everything makes sense but it's just so…unconventional. There are hundreds of Federation species and yet all of them have certain common practices. Human music disregards these entirely. Yet, despite that fact, it all just works!”
Brad ran a hand through the hair on his face.
“I don’t think any of these songs were made specifically to defy convention. Any new musical styles were created just to form a sound the artist wanted.”
That answer was something I'd already assumed but still couldn't bring myself to believe.
“Weren't these people afraid? Afraid that it'd be too far from normal? What if everyone just shunned them? What if they lost all their credibility? What if they got tossed in a facility?”
“I suppose that did happen. Some musicians were only truly recognized after a lot of time passed. Don't think anyone was detained just for their stylistic choices though. If they were, it was for other reasons.”
“How could anyone innovate under that threat? Weren't they scared of being ostracized for that?”
Weren't they afraid of being thought of as predatory?
It was the thought that I didn't say. Humans were predators. I'd only just recently learned that it didn't make them evil. And, I'd seen what being controlled by fear did to our history. Torn pages. Empty shelves.
I already knew the answer but Brad brought it home with his own question.
“Weren't you scared when you entered this program?”
“But you did it anyway.”
“I had to.”
Brad shook his head.
“But now? You asked to hear intense music knowing that it would challenge you. You've grown on account of curiosity and passion.”
“That’s what drives people to face their fears. Passion and courage.”
“We've never been encouraged to face our fears. It's always been ‘stick to the herd’...‘avoid danger’...”
Brad’s eyes pierced right through me. But, I found that they grounded me.
“Mezil, be honest. Why did you want to study music?”
The reason? It had been many claws since I'd truly considered it. The short answer was simple: I liked music. I liked to play it. I liked to hear it. But, why did I want to create it? There was tons of music to listen to from all over the Federation. I'd never manage to get through it all. Why did I want to make more?
That's right. It was my most selfish, most predatory desire.
“I wanted to do something great. I wanted to write music that would inspire people. I wanted to be recognized for it and remembered.”
I wanted to do something new. It was the deep desire I'd tried to suppress.
Brad’s smile returned.
“Then do it.”
“It doesn't matter what the rest of the galaxy says. Humans will listen. To hell with the conventions. You have your own sauce. You just gotta find it!”
My confusion was mounting but I understood his optimism. Could I really do that? It felt like the world was changing. Maybe this was an opportunity.
“No matter what,” Brad continued. “Don't let fear of failure prevent you from following your dreams. Everyone fails but it's not the end of the world. You just gotta get back up and keep going. Remember what I told you about perseverance. That's the Human way.”
The Human way.
I thought back to the first video call, scrambling on the floor but determined to face the predatory visage again and again.
I thought back to Kila, encouraging me to push my limits and battle my fear.
I thought back to Haeli and Lanyd as they were surprised but excited to hear about my progress.
I thought about home. It'd been so hard to leave. But, it would have been harder if I'd stayed.
I didn't even realize the tears forming in my eyes until my vision was blurred.
“Damn it. I can't get through one conversation with you without crying,” I chuckled lightly. “You must be doing this on purpose you asshole. But, thank you, Brad. How is it you always know just what to tell me?”
“I have experience helping people with anxiety. It's alright.”
Under most cases, I would have left it at that. But, something tugged at my mind.
Do I even know anything about Brad really?
“Could you…tell me about it?”
The request took him by surprise. I'd never really asked about his own struggles. I'd been afraid of what a predator’s life might entail. But, that wasn't fair. Brad was my friend and I needed to know.
“Hmm? Yeah, sure, but it's not a very pleasant story. See, I had a cousin that grew up in an abusive home. The UN wouldn't want me telling you this but Humans can definitely be straight up evil.”
That wasn't so surprising to me. I knew the UN wanted the Human record to look spotless for the sake of convincing us that they weren't inherently monstrous. But, every species had dangerous individuals.
“There are Venlil that do terrible things, too. We usually say they have predator disease. But, that descriptor seems pretty lousy now that I'm speaking to you.”
Brad nodded along.
“Her father was absent. Her mother was as kind as a witch. Berated my cousin for everything. Couldn't be a single slip-up or it was yelling and beating. It was heartless and cruel. One day, the mother died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Maybe it's wrong to say this, but I was glad when I got the news. Everyone knew what was happening but social services couldn't get enough dirt to get my cousin under different custody. When her mother died, she was finally free of that. My parents offered to take her in when we were both just teenagers. I guess we were the best-equipped out of all the family.”
I thought back to my own cousin that stayed with us back home, having lost his parents to an Arxur raid. He hadn't been abused. Rather, he’d lost his family. It felt like commonplace for prey like us.
Would it be worse to have family and lose it or to never have true family to begin with?
Brad paused for a moment, eyes still trained on nothing. I didn't need to know Human body language to know what he was feeling.
He sighed before continuing.
“She was always pretty jumpy. Kind of like a Venlil in that regard. She kept it together pretty well but I could tell that she was never truly relaxed, even back then. I remember one day, she accidentally dropped a glass bowl and it broke. It was no big deal, really. We had like ten of them. But, she broke down on the spot, apologizing up and down, begging us not to beat her.”
My eyes were wide in horror. What kind of cruelty had caused someone to act that way?
“It took us a week to convince her that it was alright,” Brad continued. “It took even longer for her to start to trust us for real. She had deep-seated trauma. But, despite it all, she grew up to be a capable person and a good friend. Now she’s got a partner. And, even though that trauma will always stay with her, she learned how to cope with it and manage it. That's why no matter how scared you might be, I know you can get through it. I've seen the worst of fear and I've seen it beaten.”
The silence hung in the air for a few moments. I took in Brad’s story with awe. How can such a bad experience create such a hopeful outlook?
“How did you handle it all?” I asked. “You were just a teenager, right?”
For the first time, I saw anger flash in Brad’s eyes. It sent chills down my spine.
“I was fucking pissed! How can someone torture their own daughter? How could her mom be such a heartless bitch?! I'm still mad about it to this day!”
His expression softened.
“But that's why I feel joy every time I see someone conquer their fear. It's like a jab to every sick bastard that ever used it to control someone.”
Anger…as inspiration?
“I don't usually think of spite as being a positive thing.”
“You should try it sometime. It's a hell of a motivator.”
“I don't think I have any naysayers right now.”
“If you really want to make music that's different, you’ll have some in due time. But I know you’ll handle it. You're getting more confident every day.”
I wagged my tail at his compliment.
He's right. It's only been a few paws but I'm not the cowardly Venlil that first started this program. I've had a lot thrown at me but I've taken it in stride.
“I'm glad you think so highly of me. Without you and Kila, I'd have given up already.”
“I'll encourage you however much you'd like, dude. You're my friend.”
I flicked my ears in agreement.
I'm gonna finish this damned assignment. Whatever it takes.
Looking at Brad, I felt for the first time that I truly understood him. I hadn't really thought of it before but subconsciously I’d wondered why he went so far for me. And, most of all, I was beginning to understand the essence of a Human.
For him, understanding was a necessity. It was his own form of perseverance, being patient for those that needed it.
Strength in kindness; the antithesis of Federation teaching. Do prey truly need to be weak to be good-natured?
I felt that I already knew the answer.
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2023.05.26 19:32 MajnaBunny Legion of monster: Sanguine ... 31

Down the rabbit hole of the Bureau we go to see what horrors and wonders lie hidden upon and within the earth unearthed by an alien invasion...
Story connects My Moral Grey Area and useSilent_Technology540 and his Legion of monsters stories.
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Legion of monsters: Sanguine … 31 the House of Dealan
Pilotpriest, Future is dead
Arthur and his wives had been informed of the dress and … armament requirements that would be needed for their foray below and when he saw what the girls unveiled, he visibly winced.
Of course, there was some confusion in his disdain for their armour but Arthur insisted and within the hour they had travelled out to a place almost literally round the corner from the houses of parliament.
As he approached the old stone arch with its thick wrought iron door Arthur suddenly remembered the particulars of mixing Shil’vati and confined spaces.
“Um, I'm sorry but it slipped my mind that this place is underground.” He said, chuckling as his wives all gave him a cold disapproving look.
Arthur knew that just banging on the door would not open it so he pursed his lips and whistled the tune of the nursery rhyme pop goes the weasel while resting his hand on a very specific glassy green stone beside the doorway.
The clunk of a door deeper down the passage opening made him smile to his wives to reassure them that everything was okay.
As the chains rattled on the other side of the door, he heard the guard’s deep breath and several deep sniffs at the air, there was a deep animal growl, Arthur without meaning to swallowed dryly at what he knew was about to emerge.
The door swung open showing it to be a literal foot thick slab of metal, but from behind it stepped a man who emerged from his stoop in the hall to stare down at Arthur and look level eyed at his wives.
The man appeared Jamaican by descent by his predominant skin colour and hairstyle of dreadlocks, his face was mottled with vitiligo across his cheeks and brow speckling his brown skin with splotches of white, those eyes were brown but tinged yellow around the iris and his nails were thick and pointed claws.
This was a werewolf in human form, one that was not too shy about its inhuman traits being plain to see.
“Is master Ancetto in?” asked Arthur politely.
The doorman leaned over to be eye level with Arthur looking him in the eyes then looking past him to the four shil’vati behind him.
“Sebastian, they are my wives and I am looking to ensure they are well protected.” Stated Arthur.
Standing up straight the wolf in a man’s form smiled broadly displaying his fanged teeth as he then said in a deep Jamaican accent.
“Sooooh, da boy aboot town haz finally found someone’s dey is confortable with… doh-nah stress he is in, shall ah call da gent as well?” he asked smiling down at him.
Arthur nodded, and the guard looking over him to the four shil’vati women he smiled wider saying.
“Ladies, Welcome mahster Ancetto the artifaycer is down deez stairs mind your eads, dis tunnel wah made by shortah people dan us.”
As the guard turned Arthur let out the breath he was holding.
Gly’nrie and Imizael cast him an odd look.
“It’s okay I was just worried that he might turn us away is all, they are very particular about who they allow in past the doors.” Said Arthur as he followed the giant guard down the well-lit old stone stairs.
As they reached the bottom, they entered a room with much taller ceilings panelled with wood but also lined with hooks to take the coats of guests, the guard went back upstairs and could be heard locking the door behind them.
Coming back down he bowed slightly saying.
“You be da first sheel-vahti’s ever to be in-vye-ted to this place lay-deez we strictly insist that only trusted wehl known customah’s can introduce uthars to dis place, Arthur noh dah mahsters wohk very well, he wearin one of our suits right now he is.”
Another door opened and out came a well-dressed thinly built gentleman who looked almost totally albino, paper white skin and hair on a balding head, his eyes were only the faintest grey as only his glasses sharp red metallic frames applied any colour to his strictly monotone black and white attire.
“Master Gwydion, I trust that these people are both the ones you contacted me about and that they are well within the rules I insist upon?” asked the well-dressed man as he narrowed his gaze at Arthur.
“Master Ancetto, these are my wives!” said Arthur with a hint of sharpness in his voice but he held out a hand gesturing to each in turn.
“From left to right Viscountess Shal’endra Isilynor, Baroness Gly’nrie Xyrcaryn, Duchess Imizael Balcyne, and Marquess Miralana Umegwyn … we are expected to perform a diplomatic duty somewhere very, very dangerous and were told that it would be considered unseemly to arrive at said event in anything less than full battle armour.” Said Arthur politely.
The last time he had been here was being fitted for several suit’s both business and otherwise with armoured enhancement by Sir Philip and even then, it had been made plain that this was not a bureau establishment and that it served the needs of very special elite clientele of all types and strived for absolute neutrality.
“Battle armour for a diplomatic duty?” said Master Ancetto with a hint of a smile.
Arthur sighed, rubbing his brow.
“We have been invited to the investiture of a kind of lord before a council of similar lords in a very strange place I only recently learned existed, the lord in question is a former bureau agent called Sanguine.” said a blushing Arthur.
Master Ancetto smiled for the first time in front of Arthur, the corners of his mouth drew back very wide exposing fangs, his eyes, once milky grey, turned a startling sky blue as he rose a foot from the ground floating mid-air.
“You are attending the investiture of a lord of the depths?” said the now floating master Ancetto before a shocked Arthur.
“Yes.” Arthur replied nervously realising very quickly the signs of a grey stood before him.
“Then it is good that YOU came here to me, I was born of the depths and until recently I was exiled… recent changes have altered this… I have to say you are going to see wonders I long to see again, I am jealous but my duties tie me to this place a while longer.” Said the grinning telepathic vampire in front of them.
Leading them through another door they found themselves in an armourer’s workshop equal to any in imperial space they had seen with both power armour and lighter armoured garments being worked upon by a plethora of people both grey and rather obviously cyborgs.
The man performing servo maintenance on the power armour had multiple mechanical limbs extending spider-like from his back and even a multi-lensed prosthetic eye on his right-side which swivelled all three mechanical eyes to look at these new arrivals.
“As you can see, we create all manner of attire from heavy powered armour,” remarked master Ancetto as he gestured to the spider mechanic as he resumed his work, “to the finer and more flexible protection.” He said gesturing to a suit not unlike Arthurs which was having flexible polymer armour inserts applied.
“But this is all what one would consider as commonplace for the surface world.” He said as a black cube floated up beside him then, morphed into a suit of insectile armour around the body of master Ancetto… “You will be needing finer attire in the depths.”
Ixion OST, Across the void
Bellaluna watched as one of the Sanguine’s sparred with Zilyana.
One of the older one’s was sat beside her at her table sipping tea as they perused the options available from master Ancetto’s armourer’s.
They were sat within a glass roofed garden, the environment inside was absolutely not one you would ever see on the surface of earth, the dark red barked trees throbbed with bioluminescence between their scaled bark as their shimmering jewel like obsidian crystal leaves tingled and rang like crystal glass windchimes as they swayed in the breeze created by the room’s climate controls.
This was what the Ancetto clan called their hidden jewel, a garden made of depth’s native plants and a few insects in its center was a sparring ground for customers to acquaint themselves with their armour’s properties.
Bellaluna examined the possibilities available and found that many options were familiar to her thanks to the prevalence for noble families to outfit their daughters with Exo armour.
Only these suits were not the nine to ten feet tall armoured behemoth suits she knew, these were skin tight suits of biopolymer synthetic muscle synchronized directly to the user’s nervous systems through either telepathic or cybernetic means.
They self-repaired and maintained themselves and acted as a combination of life support system and power armoured combat body glove amplifying the wearers speed endurance and reaction times by a factor of two while allowing Exo levels of raw strength and physical power.
All while incorporating multiple strange biological systems requiring specialised “bio-ports” to be installed to allow the suit to interact symbiotically with its wearer's anatomy allowing it to sustain the host without water or food in the depths for months by recycling their sweat and waste.
Setting everything to its most basic Bellaluna took stock of what she could estimate to be the bare bones of a basic depths soldier.
It was an army of five-to-six-foot bio-armoured soldiers able to live for months without food water or resupply all while being able to jog at speeds near to that of Terran cheetahs, go toe to toe against Exo’s in hand to hand while being faster and smaller, and be able to self-triage when wounded, as the suit was designed if a limb was severed to seal the wound and assist its host in growing a new limb?
And that was the basic model.
“Sanguine?” she asked getting the attention of both the fully grown man beside her and the boy sparring with Zilyana.
“Got you!” exclaimed Zilyana proudly as she held the blade near Sanguine 1898’s neck.
Chink ! ….. That sound made Zilyana’s eyes drop to find a blade poised to do something drastic to her crotch.
“Shit.” Was all she could say to that.
Then the boy did something that made her freeze in shock, he leaned his cheek against her blade and without a single sign of pain opened an inch deep gash up on his cheek.
Then moving away from the blade, he pressed his fingers to the side of the wound pulling it open so she could see into it as with a mental effort he made the flesh seal and mend, the sight making her shudder in revulsion.
1898 nodded, sighing before he said.
“Flesh sculptors and their ilk are infamously capable of surviving decapitation, for next time if you are poised to cleave one open young Zilyana, have something like an incendiary grenade ready to shove deep inside the wound when you do as in their haste to heal, they will seal the flesh around it creating a much worse wound when the grenade detonates.” Said the boy clone in an aloof tone.
Zilyana snarled in offense but a faint growl from the older Sanguine beside Bellaluna caught her attention, and reminded her that yes this was but a boy in front of her, but it was also the weakest part of Sanguine and as such the least challenging one for Zilyana to fight.
“What did you want Bellaluna?” asked the older clone 818 beside her returning his focus to the interior mistress as the two in the ring resumed their practice.
Handing him her omni-slate she asked.
“Is this a good approximation of the basic depths soldier?”
Sanguine perused the screen with his eyes, the faint smirk on his face and the raising of an eyebrow told her that he had found her assumption amusing.
“For scav teams and tunnel runners yeah, proper city patrol wear,” he tapped several options then showed her the screen again, “this.” He said, showing a much heavier suit.
Bellaluna took back her slate and looked over the selections that Sanguine had put in, several options were highlighted as needing special licenses to acquire but the resulting armour was closer to power armour to her eyes with heavy plate armour requiring extensive mechanical articulation and amplified muscular systems bringing it closer to being something between an Exo and the baseline bio armour she had chosen.
“This is for the police?” she said with some incredulity.
“That bio-suit you showed me in terms of ease of acquisition akin to a basic Kevlar vest,” he said then handed her his slate, “For proper military assaults you would want the depths call a nomad suit which is what’s on that slate.”
Looking down at what was on her slate the resulting suit was much sleeker than the heavily plated police suit but the price was close to ten times more and resulted in a matte black suit heavier than the basic bio-suit but the list of extras said a lot.
Full NBC countermeasures rated for minimum two years survival time in contaminated environments under a mixture of biological toxic and radiological hazards.
In-built bio-support allows the suit to digest inedible substances to sustain its host, including the extraction of oxygen from ingested materials and water to allow the host to survive in environments with minimal to no atmosphere for extended periods.
In-built suit support mind and thus also its own barriers to allow it to shield itself, which required either the host be psychic or the installation of a neural symbiote on the hosts spine to ensure the suit can always remain in contact with the host.
Integrated pig plasma pulse guns in the bracers, retractable monofilament blades and claws and reinforced synth muscle and armour allowing for nearly four times the power of a police suit.
Bellaluna could feel her eyebrows going higher and higher, you could almost say she suspected them of trying to emigrate over her scalp to flee down her neck.
“How fucking dangerous is it down there?” said Bellaluna with a noticeable squeak in her voice at the shocking details of this virtual Exo that the depths considered a standard line solider.
Sanguine again smiled but it quickly faded away as he said.
“You sent salvage expeditions to Mars, full marine detachments, all manner of advanced digging equipment even tried to use some orbital fire to blast your way down below the surface.” He stated staring at her intently, this was not a question, this was a statement.
“Tiamat’s children are nothing if not tireless, so I will only say on that matter that they are not cruel, any trespasser would have died quickly, cruelty is a trait only found in the more human breeds of tyrant bio-forms.” He remarked with a melancholy smirk.
“Most if not all of them are a misguided bureau attempt to domesticate and weaponize things commonly found in the various bio-domes residing below, there are all manner of different environments across the universe preserved down there.”
He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a packet of settock nuts judging by the picture on the packet, which were something native to the shil’vati home-world, only these were in a packet daubed in a language she did not recognise.
“You call them settock nuts, I grew up calling them Kalzee and eating them as part a traditional meal in the depths called Ahrical,” the look of confusion on Bellaluna’s face spurred him into expanding his description, “The basic sauce is kind of a sweet red gravy like what you would expect of the human sweet and sour chicken, like a lot of grey cooking it has finely ground up iron rust powder mixed in the sauce but you can get it without.” Bellaluna’s face became more confused.
“The meat and nuts are simmered in this sauce on a low heat over several hours till cooked, then the sauce left to cool overnight, the next day sliced fresh fruit and vegetables are added and mixed with the cold sauce, its eaten with Sahsan a kind of salty cone shaped biscuit bread about cob or bun size that I would describe as halfway between naan bread and a tortilla with a soft inner side and a crispy outside that’s like a tortilla,” he remarked.
“You use the bread like a spoon to scoop up the Ahrical eating both as you go, it’s only the non-psychics down there that use cutlery.” He said smiling as he pointed to one of the Ancetto armourers sat eating his evening meal in the garden, a chunky reddish soup using small cones telekinetically to scoop up the bowls contents.
“Ahrical?” she asked Sanguine.
“No, that's something more common up here, beef bolognaise with pasta shells, but the bread is Sahsan.” He replied.
It was at this point that the small packet of settock nuts leapt off the table and an old man in a finely crafted suit of chitinous armour snaffled half the bag greedily.
“Kalzee,” he said with a blissful voice through a half full mouth as he savoured the nuts, “Can we have more of these brought up with the armour material shipments, I would pay their weight in gold for more of these.” Said an uncharacteristically uncouth Master Ancetto as his escorting cadre of four shil’vati and a single male human customer looked at him oddly.
Sanguine laughed before pointing to Bellaluna and saying.
“Sahngah those nuts grow on the shil homeworld,” he said to the old grey armourer, “they’re a common snack food, they sell in the vending machines on their bases.” He said with a toothy grin.
Master ‘Sahngah’ Ancetto looked to Bellaluna expectantly saying.
“You have Kalzee on your world?” he said with an odd intensity.
“Settock nuts,” said a bemused Bellaluna, “commonly roasted and put in bags with salt and spices.” She said seeing the old man’s eyes light up during her explanation.
Then the master looked at Sanguine and said rather excitedly.
“Mahak-sa Sanguine, do you know of any other foods they have that I might recognise?” he asked the seated clone 818.
“Mahak-sa?” said the lone confused human that had been accompanying the old master armourer.
Sanguine rose from his seat and approached the human smiling, he was well aware of this human, and what he really was under his genteel appearance.
“You must be Arthur Gwydion,” he stated crossing his arms and staring oddly intensely into the human’s eyes, “Mahak-sa is an honorific, a title it means that I am in essence I am a king, khan or emperor of one of the cities or domains of the depths, at least I will be officially soon.”
Arthur to his credit caught on quickly.
“So, you’re that Sanguine, the one who we are to escort down there as part of the delegation.” He said, taking a slight step back with what looked to be a nervous smile.
Sanguine 818 all six foot eight of him stared down at Arthur, his red on blue eyes glinting from his ashen white face, his grin framed by his white beard.
The dragon’s boon had brought more of the wolf out in him resulting in him being taller and more muscular with snow white hair on cream white skin… that this also caused slight grey speckling on the roots of his changed black horns was a little odd.
“Mahak-sa Sanguine Nah’gratha Mourdin, Grandson of the Ancient of Ahrama’geidahn Aihbael Nah’gratha Mourdin who is brother to the Gorr Mah’kjan,” he said seeing the evident confusion.
“Gorr Mah’kjan means the god king of the depths Kain Reish Mouridin, the one who swept the dead sea crater clean with a wave of reanimated dead.” Said Sanguine with a little hint of a smirk.
The way all five of them froze in apparent fright like a deer in headlights at that detail summoned a chuckle out of Sanguine.
Still for all his amusement his mind’s full attention was elsewhere, dealing with more important matters than this.
Darktide OST, Main theme
Tanis was a male Exo pilot in the shil’vati military which was a rarity but also, he was a single male pilot without a wife bound to him which was even rarer and his team were part of the support Exo’s of the local insurgent suppression unit tasked with keeping Massachusetts relatively calm and maintain it as a yellow zone.
It had begun as a raid of a suspected insurgent base at a mansion in a small town called Innsmouth, the brief had mentioned something about a cult, add in the area according to the marines muttered rumors being oddly infamous for lots of sightings of strange mutant fish monsters apparently, sightings which the incumbent regional government apparently had suppressed prior to the empire’s arrival for reasons unknown.
As they struck the marines storming in it quickly became apparent to her that more was going on, her unit commander Searsa kept switching comms channels, obviously their noble captain had been keeping details from them as shortly after the marines stormed in the shrill screams and shouts of ghastly horror filled the open coms as echoing the las-fire took up a cadence only heard during moments of sheer extremes, frantic fully automatic the fall back of the desperate and terrified.
The sounds of Las-Fire rattled out from inside the mansion punctuated by screams and strange gurgling roars as the unit commander started shouting into her coms, the words muffled and unintelligible under her Exo Armour's closed visor.
“What the fuck is making that noise?” Tanis asked and the commander whirled on him, a rebuke plainly mere moments from utterance.
Only for the screams and las-fire to stop, this shifted everyone's attention to the mansion’s doors.
Whispered chants oozed out of the air hissing and uttered in barely pronounceable mantras, the very shadows around them seemed to move with odd sinister momentum.
Then the mansion's doors slid open and a sea of darkness lay within, Tanis could feel something writhing within that inky depth but his ears alerted him to an odd silence.
Turning he beheld a true nightmare, monstrous things half fish half human assailed the marines in total silence, their screams and las-fire completely silent all sound lacking as marines were eviscerated and monsters devoured them alive.
Turning Tanis opened fire and in an instant all the riotous noise of the world came back.
“WHAT THE FUCK!” bellowed his commander in shock as the sudden return of sound snapped her out of whatever fugue had gripped her.
The rest of the unit took moments longer to regain their senses, moments enough for one of the monsters to grab a hold of a team mate called Kaunt, the monsters skin rippled under shredding las repeater fire but still it heaved and tore open her armour to thrust its maw inside to get at the pilot.
Tanis acted stepping forth he drove his armour’s fist flat like a blade into its ribs and with a sucking squelch tore out its insides before pushing it off Kaunt, but she was already dead.
Turning he hosed down a mass of swirling something that moved out of the corner of his eye and bellowed to his commander.
“We need to move!” but she stood visor open staring at him like she was drunk as a swirling tendril of shadows curled round her and touched her face, Searsa a woman barely a year older than himself let out a strangled groan as before Tanis’s horrified eyes the years passed in seconds and she withered away inside her armour.
The other women were similarly dumbstruck and barely moving, snaking shadows binding their feet as they stood immobile and insensate.
“DEMON!” roared a man’s voice and a blast of blinding white light rocked the mansion's doorway.
Around them had appeared soldiers clad in silver armour carrying blades that crackled with eldritch energy and guns that spat globs of blinding light that left after images in Tanis’s vision.
Thanks to Tanis’s cursory examination of this world’s history, he recognised something of these warrior’s armour and stylings, these were knights? And if their armour and cruciform symbology was anything to go by these were some forms of paladins.
There in the doorway one of them struggled with a figure that was as much a shadow as it was possibly a human being, snapping lightning exposed their struggles amidst that living darkness inside the house.
Tanis did the only thing that seemed to make sense after all of this he levelled his repeater on that shadow and fired.
Pulsed laser fire was swallowed by the darkness but a hissing roar of anger emerged, its attention shifted to Tanis and he felt something horrifying reaching for him but the paladin was on it fast cleaving down through its skull with one blade while another was driven into its chest.
In one lurching moment the shadows dispersed leaving the paladin stood blades pinning a withered old corpse.
Across the battlefield that had been the mansion's lawn the monsters broke and fled running back towards the mansion as the marines and what little of the Exo’s snapped from their fugue and opened fire on their fleeing assailants.
But then the ground heaved and rumbled, the paladins leapt back as the mansion collapsed into a chasm that had apparently been below it?
A shuddering growl rumbled in the air and ripples of that same unnatural darkness oozed out from the pit now exposed as up from it rose what to Tanis’s shocked eyes was a miniature black hole.
An orb of utter darkness as a big as a small ship tore free of the ground swirling mist like shadows cloaked it as the monsters hurled themselves towards its surface their flesh as they got close liquifying and becoming an orbiting ring of wailing meat around the orb which spat jets of steaming ichor out towards them.
One jet swallowed up a group of marines near Tanis and in moments their armour and flesh just dissolved leaving behind steaming bones.
“EVADE! … PULL BACK … EVADE!” roared Tanis and what little of his fellows not still gripped in fugue obeyed and fled, but the paladins stood their ground.
He saw some carrying large egg-shaped things tangled in roots towards the orb, his ponderings answered as he saw one hurled at the ominous thing, it crackled with energy as it drew close sticking to its surface there was a howling shriek as more were hurled onto its surface.
Finally, as it orbited with dozens of these things stuck to its surface the blasted orb just dropped back into its hole whatever dark power once animating it spent.
Still the paladins did not rest, more of those egg-like things were brought forth as well as lengths of massive chains as big as those you would anchor a ship with their surfaces etched with symbols that seemed to make Tanis’s eyes itch as he looked at them.
As they swarmed into the chasm Tanis could hear shrieking wails and screams that shook him to his core, moving to the chasms edge he stared down to see that they were chaining up and binding this thing lashing it to a frame they were building around it with the kind of haste one expects only with plentiful practice.
“All units form up and arrest those men!” bellowed the voice of their noble captain across the comms, turning Tanis surveyed the remnants of their force, barely a handful remained, many were horribly mauled by either the monsters or being caught by the acidic sprays, many more were simply catatonic in shock and were either stood or sat staring into empty space as if still entranced by the dispersing fugue.
The rest were rushing about trying to tend to the wounded or take stock of what the hell had just happened, even the Exo’s pride of the shil’vati military were stumbling broken and still in shock.
“I said Arrest those men!” bellowed the captain now outside of her mobile command unit pointing to the nearest paladin.
Tanis coughed as he stifled a laugh at the looks of incredulity passing across the marines, they knew that they had just been saved by these knights and the look of hesitation was evident everywhere Tanis looked.
“I SAID!” she roared, only for a bolt of lightning to snap out and reduce her in an instant to just a greasy smear of cooked meat and tattered armour.
One of the paladins was floating towards the MCU, his armour crackling with electricity as his eyes glowed like small suns through the slits of his visor.
The armoured vehicle peeled open under invisible forces and her command staff were plucked out and thrown to the ground beside the still steaming remains of the captain.
“Your captain was commanded by her own betters to stand aside and leave this matter to us, and she ignored this, her officers knew what they were facing and thought themselves prepared.”
As one of the captain’s lieutenants snapped off several bolts of las-fire at the floating paladin from her side arm they impacted a bubble of energy around him, the shots fizzling to nothing.
In a flash he hurled towards them the first he touched his fingers to her brow and she just evaporated in a spray of blue, ducking and twirling out of the way of the seconds wild firing she erupted into flames with a gesture.
The third tried to shoot herself, the pistol aimed up at her own skull swatted out of her hand in the last moment telekinetically the paladin clapped his hands together and the woman officer simply imploded.
Number four the one who had shot at him when he had been floating dropped her pistol.
“You were her sister trusted by the generals and admirals to keep your hot-headed sister in line.” Snarled the paladin as he produced an omni-slate from his armour.
“This is a warrant of execution for this woman, signed by six of this world’s ruling nobles… In ancient times when warriors failed so severely on this world they were made into a severe example, some were even given the honour to hurl themselves on their own swords to answer for their shame.” Said the paladin.
He removed his helm revealing a snow-white face with luminous blue eyes and black curved horns on his brow, as a long mane of startling white hair whipped about in an eldritch breeze.
“I am not as merciful to those who defy me!” he hissed as his mouth opened far too wide for a human revealing a set of very sharp canine teeth more akin to the mouth of a dog or very large cat.
He shot forward driving his fist into her guts folding the officer in half as she shot off her feet showing the force of the blow.
She begged, she pleaded but no one tried to help her as this supernaturally empowered man beat her savagely finally ending her by driving his thumbs into her eye sockets.
Tanis had been inching closer by the minute as he and everyone else watched this sentence be passed, the warrant and its signatures visible on their head up displays for every marine around them.
Finally, as Tanis drew close enough, he popped open his visor and simply asked.
“Who the fuck are you, and what in the deep minders barnacle ridden salty clam hole is going on?”
The paladin turned to him revealing a youthful if angularly gaunt face which smiled.
“I am Sanguine 984 hunter of demons and monsters,” he said with obvious mirth, “to you this will be one of the most confounding and horrible days of your life…… to me it’s just another FUCKING Tuesday doing my job.” He said as the other paladins pulled that dark orb out of the chasm by the chains, that faint agonised whine now a faint whisper, the very sight of that thing made Tanis’s eyes twitch.
“HEY!” barked the one calling himself Sanguine, to focus their attention on him, “not a good idea to stare at it like that, just try and ignore it until the transport arrives, staring at it will fry your brain cells and make you a mindless shell.” He said gesturing to one of the catatonic marines.
With that the paladin took a rag from his pocket and started to wipe the blood and viscera from his gauntlets saying.
“Stare too long causes brain burn, hollows you out, nothing left of your memories or mind, just a still breathing corpse with enough brain not turned to mush to keep the organs ticking but little else.”
Tanis looked to the many catatonic marines staring blankly into space, a cold horrified dread welling up inside at the sight of the living dead around them.
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