Little red riding hood costume easy
AKAZUKIN - LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (赤ずきん)
2022.03.27 08:14 ArmStoragePlus AKAZUKIN - LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (赤ずきん)
Welcome to Akazukin, a subreddit dedicated to anime style arts of Little Red Riding Hood, be it fantasy themed, urban themed, sci-fi themed, military themed, and such.
2015.10.26 16:32 wykedcomputergirl The 10th Kingdom
A woman and her father get caught in a parallel world where warring trolls, giants and goblins have fragmented the kingdoms of Snow White, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.
2018.11.10 08:39 triface1 Night of the Full Moon
Night of the Full Moon is a roguelike deck-building game available on both iOS and Android. You play as Little Red Riding Hood with multiple classes available that determine the types of cards and playstyle you will have.
2023.06.02 23:56 Thelastfrontiers Solo Trip Report: May 17 - May 29 (LONG)
| || | submitted by Thelastfrontiers to VisitingIceland [link] [comments]
I will post the resources used at the end of the post but here is the full itinerary. May 17th (Arrival)
I arrived at KEF around 8 AM, I scheduled the pick up time of my van at 10:00 AM, around 9:15 AM the person from Cheap Campervans picked me up at the airport and drove us to the Happy Campers place. Van pick up was smooth and easy and headed towards Reykjavik since I scheduled a reservation at 12:30 at Sky Lagoon.
Stayed at Sky Lagoon for around 2 hours, did the ritual ( It was a nice experience, I'm not used to go to this type of places so it was a new experience for me).
Drove to the AirBnB I booked and died for a few hours there, then I walked towards Hallgrimskirkja and just walked around in that area, visited Harpa, Sun Voyager and ate some delicious hot dogs at Bæjarins. I stopped at a Bonus store on the way back to the AirBnB to grab supplies for the trip and I arrived once again at the AirBnB. May 18 (Golden Circle)
Woke up, had breakfast and drove towards Thingvellir. I parked at Parking 1
and walked around the park for a few hours, visited Öxarárfoss, Logberg, Almannagjá etc. It was windy and rainy but fortunately I was prepared and had a really great time, although it was a little bit crowded on some parts. Thingvellir
Next stop was Brúarfoss. I didn't do the whole hike due to the weather so I stayed in the new parking lot
that they have, if I'm not mistaken the price was around 750 ISK, the road is gravel but any 2WD can access it without a problem if you are careful. Place was beautiful and there were maybe 2 or 3 persons there.
Drove to Strokkur to see the Geyser
, stayed there for a bit until the Geyser "exploded" and took some pictures and then left, beware of the smell here.
Drove to Gullfoss
and I parked in the lower parking lot, I walked to the side of the waterfall and it was incredible, trully a highlight of the day but make sure to bring some really good hiking shoes/boots and some waterproof equipment.
Finally Arrived at Skjol Camping
which was pretty good, had a pizza and a beer in the restaurant they have and went to sleep. May 19 (South)
First stop of the day was Kerid Crater, you need to pay 450 ISK to enter but it's a beautiful view, walked around the crater and left.
Drove to Seljalandsfoss
, you also need to pay parking here and it was very crowded when I arrived, walked to Seljalandsfoss and went behind the waterfall. Walked to Gljufrafoss and entered the cave, make sure to bring good waterproof shoes here cause you need to walk in water to enter the cave.
Next stop was Skógafoss
, simply amazing, I stayed for a bit inside the restaurant that is in front and had something to eat in the meantime that the rain stopped a little, once it stopped I walked to the waterfall, I went up the stairs towards the Fimmvorduhals trail and walked for a mile or so and then I returned. Skógafoss
Drove to Kvernufoss
, wow, one of the hightlights of the trip. I walked down until the end where the waterfall is and just stayed there for a bit, simply amazing place and I was alone for almost the entire hike.
Drove to Dyrhólaey but unfortunately it was closed.
Drove to Reynisfjara
and stayed there for a bit.
Finally arrived at an AirBnB I booked that was just a few minutes from Vik, I was unable to find a camp that was open around that area (or maybe I just didn't do a lot of search). May 20
First stop was the Black Sand beach in Vik, really beautiful views and way less crowded than Reynisfjara.
Did the lava show at Vik and it was an amazing experience, definitely recommend doing this if you are in the area, after the show I ate an amazing lamb soup in the restaurant.
Drove to Eldhraun
, short stop but beautiful views all around.
Drove to Fjaðrárgljúfur
, road is paved all the way through and it's very easy to access, did the hike and took some amazing shots here, unfortunately mid hike there was a wind storm and I lost my lens hood of my camera and the raincoat I had for my backpack, Iceland winds are no joke! Fjaðrárgljúfur
Did a little stop at Fossálar
to take some pictures and finally arrived at Tjaldsvæðið í Svínafelli
camp, really good facilities. May 21 (South East)
Drove to Skaftafell since I booked a Glacier Hike
with Arctic Adventures, the whole tour lasted around 4 hours and it was definitely one of the things I liked the most about the trip. Once we returned I had a little bite at the restaurant that the park has and then I continued the trip. (I wanted to do the Svartifoss hike but I was a little tired). Glacier
Drove to the Múlagljúfur Canyon, unfortunately weather was pretty bad and since this was a longer hike I decided to not risk it, I was pretty disappointed cause this trail was one of my priorities but safety first!
Did a quick stop at Hofskirkja and drove to Fjallsárlón Glacier
. I stayed inside the van for a bit cause it was raining and the wind was crazy for a bit but then it calmed down and I went down to the lagoon, amazing views.
Drove to Diamond Beach but unfortunately there was no ice in the beach, after this I drove to Höfn and stayed at the camp
there. Unfortunately this was probably my least favorite camp, showers are not included in the price so that was a bummer. May 22 (East)
First stop was Mount Vestrahorn, you need to pay to enter at the Viking cafe
, I get that people sometimes get mad about paying here but I thought it was really worth it, they give you a map with the parking spots and the trails that they have, I visited the viking village which was cool even if it's fake, walked in the black sand beach and saw some wild horses roaming around, after that I grabbed a snack from the Cafe. Vestrahorn
Drove to Skútafoss. Honestly, this was probably my favorite place in the whole trip, it was simply amazing and I was probably alone for almost 1 hour until another person arrived, words can't describe this place.
Had a stop at Djúpivogur and ate at Við Voginn
, then I started the drive to the camp but I made a little stop at Nykurhylsfoss.
Arrived at Camp Egilsstadir
, If you are visiting during low season I would recommend to arrive there and then do the reservation, I made a reservation before I arrived and once I was there there was someone else at my spot, I talked with the person in recepetion and for some reason my reservation was not appearing so I had to do it once again and grab another spot. Really good facilities tho! May 23 (North)
Arrived at Hengifoss
. I didn't check my AllTrails app beforehand and the hike was much longer than I expected lol, but it was beautiful.
Drove to Fardagafoss. I was planning on going all through the end but the wind was crazy, so I decided to return mid hike.
Next stop was Stuðlagil Canyon. I recommend doing the East parking to get to the famous spot, when you cross the bridge you need to follow a road that is not paved, it is a little rough but if you are careful you can do it in a 2WD. Once you park you need to walk for a little while, can't remember but I would say it's a 1-2 mile walk to the canyon, and as I mentioned before, wind was crazy this day but I was able to complete it safely, if it was raining tho I would have returned most likely. Stuðlagil
Drove to camp in Ásbyrgi
, really beautiful but this was the most expensive camp I stayed at. May 24
Woke up a little late so I decided to skip the Ásbyrgi trails and I drove to Dettifoss, you need to be careful here cause Google Maps will have you take road 864 which was closed when I was there, make sure to always check the correct roads in road.is
, in this case I took road 862 and arrived with no problems.
Did a quick stop at Hverir, you need to pay for parking and also the smell can get very strong lol.
Drove to Mývatn and visited the Grjótagjá cave, I then drove to Hverfjall volcano, you need to pay parking here. Did the hike to the top and stayed for a bit there, the climb is a little steep but once you are up it's easy to walk. Hverfjall
Next stop was Goðafoss, parked on the East Side
and took some cool pictures, it was a short stop.
Finally started my drive to camp, I had a little scare here cause I had to drive between some mountains and that day it was snowing, I checked the road and a very tiny part of Þjóðvegur had wet snow on it, I decided to try the drive and I arrived safely at camp but it was stressful. Camping Varmahlíð
was the one I stayed that night and it was lovely, really friendly stuff and good facilities. May 25
Drove to Grafarkirkja, you need to open a little gate to access the parking so just watch out for the signals once you are close. I arrived early in the morning so I had the place for myself for like 30 minutes.
Kálfshamarsviti was the next stop, most of the drive to here is done in a gravel road so be careful, the place is very beautiful and there were just a few people when I arrived. Kálfshamarsviti
Drove to Hvitserkur, long drive but I'm used to them, also a gravel road if I recall correctly, really peaceful place, I went down to the beach, you need to be careful here not to slip.
I was initially planning on staying in Búðardalur tjaldsvæði
camping, this one is just on the side of the main road and facilities are kinda lacky and place is kinda small (I can imagine that in summer this gets full really quickly), I was walking around town and found a place called Gil Gesthouse and decided to stay there, it was a lovely stay. May 26 (Snæfellsnes / West)
First stop was Berserkjahraun, it was rainy and windy so I just made a quick stop and took some pictures.
Went to Kirkjufell
, you also need to pay parking here which I didn't know, short stay also due to the weather. Kirkjufell
Drove to Svöðufoss
but I was unable to do the hike since wind was too strong and visibility was bad, I also had to skip a stop at Lóndrangar unfortunately.
Did a little stop at Djúpalónssandur
, took some pics and left, was unable to go down to the beach.
Stopped at Arnarstapi
, rain stopped fortunately but wind was strong still but it was safe to walk around.
. I then decided to go back to Kirkjufell since weather got good and wanted to see it with good visibility, made a short stop there and walked around the lake for a bit until the wind made me return to the van.
Camped at Akranes
, wind was very strong and it blew the door for the showers. May 27 (Reykjanes)
Drove to Lake Kleifarvatn
and stayed there and walked down for a bit. Visited Krýsuvík
and then drove to Valahnúkamöl
, really nice stay here, took some good pictures and also visited the Reykjanes Lighthouse. Valahnúkamöl
I was planning on visiting Blue Lagoon but it was fully booked unfortunately so I decided to drive to Reykjavik once again and booked Sky Lagoon again. Walked around the city again and bought souvenirs for family and friends, ate dinner at Kol which was good but pricey and finally I stayed at the Reykjavik Campsite (make sure to make a reservation before hand cause it gets full). May 28
Woke up early in the morning and drove to Cheap Campervans to return the van. Return was fast and without any issues and the staff was kind enough to drop me at the AirBnB that I reserved at Reykjanesbær. I mostly stayed there the whole day to rest. May 29
Flight was scheduled for 9 am so I decided to walk to the airport and just when I was starting my walk a kind person offered me a ride to the airport. Everything went smooth and I returned home. Resources
If you have any questions please let me know!
2023.06.02 23:21 samtheman0105 Truly Human chapter 14
Well, hey friends, sorry for the delay... again. I wish I could write faster, but I think chapters will come out every 1-2 weeks for the foreseeable future. Anyway, on to the chapter!
————————————————————— Memory transcript subject: Mikhail Rykov, Human Liberation Front, Eastern American cell Standardized human time: January 10th, 2057
After the reinforcements were briefed, our force of 65 strong left and headed towards the base, leaving behind only a skeleton crew to keep the outpost running. Just as the commanders promised, I was going to be leading the team going into the building itself to rescue my friends.
“God be with me…” I muttered to myself, closing my eyes as I clutched the small cross my grandmother had given me before my first mission as a token of good luck. It felt like so long ago now, I’d have to pay her a visit once we’re done. I had no doubt that my comrades would need medical attention, so we would likely be taking them deep into the wilderness to one of our larger permanent bases. I’d see if I could get a letter out to her, or get a secure radio signal that would reach Kamchatka.
“You still pray, huh?” One of the women in the back of the truck, who I recognized as part of Borowski’s reinforcements, said after I put the cross back in my pocket. Catherine I believe was her name. “I keep what little we still have of our ancestors' culture alive” I said while making sure my rifle was ready for the fight. My old, wooden stock, bolt action hunting rifle. It would do.
“Good, I think we’ll need a god's help” she said, checking her rifle as well. “We’re coming up on it now.”
“Then let’s prepare for a fight. Everyone!” I yelled as I stood up, facing the rest of my team in the cramped vehicle. “You know what they’re likely doing to our comrades! You know what they will do to us should they find out where we hide! Let all of your righteous rage at what they’ve done to our beautiful planet and cultures boil over! Let it guide your bullets towards the skulls of those Federation bastards! For the true humanity!”
I smiled as I was met with a chorus of our rallying cry said back to me, with a few cheers thrown in. It felt good, finally being able to do something. Finally being able to rescue them from whatever hell they were going through.
“Rykov, Borowski, get ready, T minus ten seconds” Carlson's voice said over the radio. I crossed myself one final time before grabbing onto a handle on the ceiling, steadying myself as we went off road. Carlson began counting down as we got closer.
“Five.” Deep breath
“Four” They’ll pay for what they’ve done
“Three” My team will be ok
“Two” Every Fed killed is a step closer to our freedom
As Carlson finished the count down, I felt our vehicle crash through an armored wall. I could hear sirens blaring from inside the building as I pushed open the back doors, and hopped out of the truck with my team close behind me. “Bury them in lead! Leave no survivors!” I yelled as I fired at a fleeing Gojid, nailing the spiky bastard in the back of the head. It slumped to the ground, and I pulled the bolt back on my rifle before advancing forward, my team and I putting down the little disorganized resistance we faced with ease.
“This way! Come on!” I yelled, motioning for my men to follow me. I slid into cover, Catherine sliding in beside me, and looked over to see a door open. Perfect. “Right there! Light it up!” I said to her, raising my rifle and firing into the doorway. She fired as well, and we managed to take down three of the approaching reinforcements before we were forced into cover again.
“Hey Rykov” she said with a smile, reaching onto her belt and pulling out a grenade. “Would you like to do the honors?”
“I’d love to.” I said with a smile, taking it from her and pulling the pin. I threw it right in the middle of the group of federation soldiers, standing up and firing at any survivors as soon as I heard the explosion. I saw several attempting to crawl away, who I quickly put down with quick headshots. I wouldn’t have minded carrying out their deaths a bit longer, but I needed to be efficient. Maybe I’ll bring one in alive, find out what a krakotl tastes like
As I looked back at the doorway, I saw a familiar face scrambling to his feet nearby. The officer from the road, the one that shot Miles. I watched as he shot one of my men in the neck before slipping into cover. When I looked around, I saw several bodies, both ours and federation. It was a sad truth that people died fighting for freedom they’ll never see, but I knew that when I chose to fight. I knew that when organizing this mission. There would be time to mourn later.
“Give me another grenade, now!” I said to Catherine, who quickly handed it over. I pulled the pin and threw it towards the officer's cover. I saw him fly backwards and hit the ground, which took care of almost all of the enemies outside.
“Now, move! Forward!” I yelled to my team as I rushed towards the door. I stopped to make sure everybody got inside before joining them, but as I was walking through the doorway a bullet hit the wall next to me.
I turned around to see the officer, blood running down his leg as he staggered towards me with his pistol aimed. As tempting as it was to beat him to death against the wall, I refrained. Efficient, I need to be efficient.
Instead, I fired a shot at him, hitting him in the chest before pulling back the bolt and firing again into the same spot. He fell backwards onto the ground, finally out of the fight. Hope that killed him,
I thought as I advanced inside with my remaining team. Borowski and his group should be distracting them outside, while we push in towards the cells. Immediately, we were met with a firefight, forcing us into the little cover we could find behind corners and walls. A few of my team dipped into side rooms along with the techies, clearing them of anyone, even scientists and non combatants as they rushed towards the computers, nabbing whatever intel they could. The scientists were the chief architects of our cultural genocide, they deserved no more mercy then the soldiers who forced the cure down our throats.
“This way!” I yelled after we managed to clear the hallway, thanks to some of the team bringing along makeshift firebombs that we liked to call Greek fire, after the legendary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire back when we had a history. I doubt the cured had ever heard of Rome or Byzantium.
We hurried through the building, carefully rounding corners and picking off any enemies that came our way. We lost some of our own, of course, but we still had enough of a force to finish the rescue. Finally, we found them. I could see what looked like cells down the hall, guarded by a smaller force than I anticipated. We easily dispatched of them, and my heart began to race as I sprinted towards the glass doors.
What I saw in the first door drove me into a rage. Jacob was there, a large collar around his neck and a bloody bandage around the stump where his right hand once was. Blood was running down his face from his eye, and his mouth was scarred. He was being held up, one of the cured human guards using him as a shield while a Zurulian doctor coward behind them.
“St- stay back!” The guard said, aiming his pistol at me. He was clearly terrified at the sight of me and the remaining seven team members gathering behind me. “Go get the others” I said without looking away from the guard. He began to panic as I shot the lock on the door and began to approach, clutching my rifle until my knuckles were white. My team ran off, hopefully to enact the same vengeance on whatever federation monsters they find.
“Mikhail… I… I knew you’d come…” Jacob said weakly, forcing a smile, which let me see that he was missing a tooth as well. My rage finally boiled over. I lunged forward and grabbed the monster’s hand, tossing his pistol away from him before he could react. Jacob fell forward as I dragged the guard to the ground and began beating him. Over, and over, and over. No matter how much he cried, no matter how much he begged for mercy, I no longer possessed any. I beat it till it stopped making a sound, then stomped on its head until there wasn’t much left but a mess of red blood where a face used to be. The scientist had attempted to run while I was distracted, but even in his injured state, Jacob was still quick. He picked up the guard's pistol, and was keeping the terrified zurulian held at gunpoint.
When I finally got up, my hands bloody and my breath ragged, I approached him. He winced as I put a hand on his shoulder, but gave me another weak smile. “It's… good to see you again… how’d you find us?”
“A story for another day” I said, turning my eyes back to the scientist. “He’s all yours, do what you want with him.” Jacobs' bloody smile grew wider as he approached the cowering marsupial, who only attempted to run again. Jacob promptly shot it in the leg, sending it to the ground with a pained yelp.
“You fuckers put us through so much…” He said as he slowly approached, likely relishing the fear in its eyes as much as I was. The thing whimpered as he knelt down next to it, placing the barrel of the sidearm right up to the doctor's stomach. “Took my hand, took my eye, mangled my mouth, MADE ME EAT YOUR CURE!” He yelled, getting inches away from the shaking doctor. The part about the cure made my heart drop. After all we’d been through, after all we’d fought for, the federation had turned him into one of them. They’d probably turned everybody into one of them.
“Destroying who we were wasn’t enough three hundred years ago, was it?” He said, moving the pistol to one of the doctor's other knees before firing again, point blank. It cried in pain and began to whimper as Jacob got right up in its face again. “I will burn the federation to the ground… there’s nowhere you, or your species, or your entire fucking federation will be safe!” With that, he fired a shot into its gut, and left it to bleed out in agony. I went with him out of the cell, half carrying him as he leaned on me for support. The others had been rescued too, and thankfully were in better shape then Jacob. Miles had bandages around his chest and leg, but was otherwise ok. Alexandra was limping along with the help of one of the rescuers, while Emily looked completely unscathed other than a couple bruises and cuts.
“Get those collars off, now!” I said as I grabbed the pistol from Jacobs hand, firing a shot up through the large device and into the ceiling. I managed to pull it away, revealing burns from constant shocks. “Those fuckers… come on, lets go!” I began helping Jacob towards the exit while the others followed behind me. Emily fell in beside me, having grabbed a rifle from a corpse. “I can't believe what they’ve done to him, I knew it would be bad, but…” she said, taking a few steps ahead along with another partisan to make sure we would be clear to help the injured to the vehicles.
“I’m… glad to see I got it the worst…” Jacob said as we limped down the hall. “Don’t worry brother, we’ll be safe soon.” I said to him.
The techies joined us as we approached the exit, falling in behind Emily. “Find anything?” I said to them as the doorway came into sight. “Let's just say command will like what we have, this could change everything” one of them said with a smile. I recognized him as Ilich, the guard that had helped me into the cave and given me water when I first arrived at Carlson’s outpost.
“Yeah… you won’t believe why we were taken alive…” Jacob said as we made our way outside. To my dismay, the body of the officer with the glasses who I’d shot was gone, meaning he’d survived and managed to scurry away. A blood trail led around the side of the building, but I didn’t have time to chase him. Not right now.
“Tell me on the ride back” I said, calling for a medship. “Commander Carlson, Commander Borowski, we’ve got them! It's time to pull out!” I yelled into my comms as I helped Jacob onto a small dropship that had just landed outside the destroyed outer wall, one that had been converted into a medical vessel. I made sure everybody else was loaded onto ships before finally climbing into one myself. This surprise attack had gone spectacularly well. Borowski and his group had kept them completely distracted, letting us get in and out with my comrades without much resistance.
I finally began to relax as the ships lifted off with everyone inside. Carlson and Borowski would conduct a fighting retreat, and meet us back at the outpost later. Just as I let out a deep sigh, I saw Miles limping towards me. I barely had time to turn towards him before I felt his fist collide with my nose.
I stumbled backwards, wiping blood away as I stared back at the furious kid. “You left me!” He yelled, drawing the attention of anyone who wasn’t already watching this spectacle. “You ran! You left me, left us, and now look at Jacob!” He said, motioning to our mutilated friend currently being treated by a medic.
“And then I rescued you…” I said quietly, letting out a quiet sigh before I continued. “I didn’t want to run, but if I didn’t I would have been in those cells with you, and nobody would have made it out of that hell… I’d just be stuck with you.”
“Y- You… you…” Miles stammered, tears welling up in his eyes. He was clearly too angry to get any words out before he turned away and sat down, letting a medic tend to him as he glared at me.
“Here.” I heard Ilich say as I sat back down. I looked over to see him holding out a piece of cloth for me to try and stop the bleeding in my nose, at the very least wipe it off.
“Thanks…” I grumbled, taking the cloth and quickly staining it red. “So what did you find on their servers?” I asked him, turning to face the techie. A wide smile grew across his face as I asked, a smile wider and more genuine than any I’d seen in a long time. “Well… we aren’t alone, there’s another predator species. They call themselves the Arxur.”
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to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 23:19 orchidpetaldesign Don't call me Cinderella (p3)
Jesi had never been in a hotel before certainly not one as fine as the one Mr Ericson took her and Damion too. They had a suite all to themselves it had two bedrooms connected to a living room, and kitchen. The hotel room was larger then the apparent she used to share with her mama all those years ago. Damion shared a room with Mr. Ericson but for the first time in her life Jesi had a room all to herself. She thought it would feel secure, but she still slept with a knife under her pillow. Still the bed was so soft she felt like it was going to swallow her alive every night. Her nights were one thing but the days were another thing entirely, they were a whirlwind activity. First there was the image coach, a person that Mr. Ericson hired to find a way to make sure Damion and Jesi, both looked nicer then street kids but were still comfortable. Then there was the mountain of paper work and explanations of how her life would change once she signed the papers. Mr. Ecrison said that the press had heard there was an heir to the O’Connal empire but they didn’t have her name or face yet. He was hoping that meant they would have a quite arrival when their plane landed in upstate New York.
He realized he was wrong the moment they entered the airport. Mr. Ericson was shocked to see the number of reporters swarming the gate. He cursed under his breath he’d been so careful he’d even gone out of his way to ask O’Connal’s business partner Constance Karington if they could borrow her family’s private jet to fly the girl in under the radar. With a sigh he squared his shoulders and looked at the two young adults behind him. “You both need to stay quite they will snap photos, shout questions, and shove whatever kind of recording devices they have practically down your throats for a sound bite. Do not give them one.” Mr. Ericson commanded as he lead them toward the crowd. Airport security was already attempting to hold the crowd back. The instant the crowd caught sight of Jesi flashes began to blind them all while the questions started flying
“Miss Jahari is it true you never knew your father?”
“Miss Jahari are you going to sell the company?”
“Miss, Jahari how does it feel to be Cinderella?”
Jesi was proud of herself for not pulling her knife on any of the reporters at the airport. She didn’t like people in general and she certainly wasn’t used to crowds surrounding and recording her. Mr Ericson parted the crowd as best he could and then shoved both Jesi and Damion into a waiting black sedan, with a driver. A short ride later and the small black sedan pulled up to a set of iron gates in the center of a brick wall that surrounded a mansion as big as a castle. The street in front of the wall however was filled bumper to bumper with cars parked on the curb. As the black sedan they were in pulled up to the gates people mobbed the car banging on the windows shouting questions making it hard for the car to move. Mr. Ericson pushed a button on his phone and the gates swung inward admitting the car the driver moved forward slowly through the throng as the gates swung shut behind them. The car pulled up to the front of the house and an older matronly type woman, came rushing out, as Mr. Ericson opened Jesi’s door.
“Ah, let me look at you!” the woman cried out in a thick Irish accent as she looked at Jesi.
“Jesminda Jahari this is your father’s maid and cook Mrs. Mable Mcguil, she has served your father’s family since before I can remember.”
“Aye, your mother must have been a beauty. Why just look at ya! You did get yer Father’s hair though I see, and his eyes.” Mable said as she reached out to brush a strand of red hair from Jesi’s face
“You knew my father?’ Jesi asked
“Knew him? Why I helped his mother raise ‘im I did. Kindest boy you’d ever want to meet. Ack, but he did he ever have a stubborn streak.” Mable added with a laugh
“Mable, my dear, I know you want to get to know Miss Jahari but that’s better left inside I think as the wolves are snapping pictures at the gate.”
“Ack, of course where are my manners, get in here all of ye.” Mable said as she turned to lead the way into the house. Mr. Ericson handed Damion and Jesi the 2 small carry on bags worth of clothes they’d purchased a few days ago, and motioned the two of them to follow Mable inside while he took his own bag from the trunk.
Jesi stepped wide eyed into the large foyer, the floors were a black and gold marble. The walls were a pristine white, with a stair case on either side curving up to the open second floor but what drew Jesi’s eye was a large painting hanging on the wall between the stair cases. A small family of three with a rather severe looking man with blonde hair standing tall a woman beside him with red hair gave anyone who entered a warm welcoming smile. The boy in the front drew jesi in he was around 7 at the time of the painting. Red hair green eyes but the happy smile he gave didn’t quite make it to his eyes. Jesi walked toward the painting staring at the child.
“That’s your father.” Mabel said walking up beside Jesi. “I remember that day clear as a bell yer grandfather insisted on a family portrait sitting. Ah, but yer father little scamp that he was was having none of it. All he wanted was to go out and play in the yard. The artist finally got yer grandfather to agree to take a photo to make the painting off of. As soon as he was free Conner went out and rolled through the grass in that fancy suit you see ‘im wearing. Aye but yer Grandfather was in a snit for days over the grass stains.”
“This house is massive.” Jesi said looking around the foyer.”
“Ah, but we do agree on that. To the left You’ll find the kitchen, dinning room, ballroom, bathroom, den, and living room. Through the right door you’ll find the home theater, another bathroom, library, office, gym and indoor pool. Upstairs there are nine bedrooms each with their own on suite bathroom, And the master bedroom has exclusive access to it’s own balcony. The third floor contains the greenhouse conservatory and excellent views.”
“So many rooms for only three people.” Jesi marveled turning a slow circle around the foyer.
“Yes, that was yer Grandfather for ye. The man insisted on showing the world how successful he was by getting the best of everything privet jet, fancy yacht, all the cars, the house. Yer father was a much simpler type He would have been happy with a one room apparent in the city. That’s why he never replaced the privet jet after the crash. He didn’t see a need, said if he was gonna fly it could be commercially, with real people.”
Jesi stood staring at the painting tears burned the back of her throat, as waves of emotion beat at her. Her father sounded like such a good man she wished she could have known him, but right on the heels of that she was so angry, her father lived in such excess while she and her mother had scraped by on nothing. Yet according to Ericson her father had never known that she existed her grandfather had lied to her father to her mother. Jesi choked back the tears and clung to the only emotion that had kept her alive for so long. Anger. “I hate them.” she ground between clenched teeth.
Mabel’s face fell she seemed to be hoping for a more joyful reaction from Jesi, but to her credit she didn’t try to talk the girl out of her pain either. Damion walked over and placed an arm around Jesi’s shoulders. “Mrs. Mcguil, is there a room we can go to for rest and a little privacy?” Damion asked
As soon as the door to the large guest bedroom drifted shut behind them Jesminda let her real feelings be known. She broke into deep sobs and fell into Damion’s arms.
“I don’t- I can’t- How could he- How could they-” Jesi started so many sentences but the jumble of emotion stampeding through her.
“Easy Jes, take a breath.” Damion tried as he held her.
“Why am I morning a man I never met? A man who abandoned me?” Jesi started
“Because he didn’t abandon you not on purpose Jes.”
“I want to hate him. I need to hate him, Why can’t I hate him?” Jesi sobbed
“Your right Jes it’s not fair. None of this is fair. It’s a lot to take in, and neither of us have taken the time to really process this.”
“In the hotel he didn’t seem real, but now… He was my father, and I never knew his name.”
“I know, Jes, it’s not fair.”
“He was stolen from me!”
“Yes he was.”
“This whole life was stolen from me!” Jesi hiccuped
Damion just held her and let her cry. There was so much for them both to process. Jesi was now one of the richest women in the nation, and she had insisted that Damion share her home as the brother he’d been to her since the day they’d met.
Jesi spent the rest of the day in the guest room that was now her bedroom with Damion bouncing between sorrow and anger like a rubber ball. Eventually she cried herself to sleep. Damion had just eased her into the plush bed, when a soft knock sounded on the door.
“Hey, uumm.” Damion stammered he wished he could remember the maid’s name.
“Mabel deary. How is she?” Mabel asked as she tried to look past Daion towards Jesi.
“She’s sleeping.” Damion said protectivily blocking to door.
“I mean her no harm.” Mabel said gently
Damion winced and tried to force himself to relax “Sorry, I know you don’t it’s just…” He trailed off at a loss “I’ve protectd her since she was five. Its just really hard to let that go.”
“Ye love her then?” Mable asked
“Of course.” Damion stopped and then a thought occurred to him “Oh! Oh you mean! No, no we’re not like that. She’s basically the sister I -” he stopped.
“The crash that took my parents. It also killed my five year old sister Amy. Three days later I met Jesi, she looks nothing like Amy, but she was the same age and well I guess I wanted to protect her the way I couldn’t protect my family.”
“Ack, ye poor dear.” Mabel said with tears pooling in her eyes. “She’s safe here though, not a sole can get past the walls without setting off the alarms.”
Damion stiffened “Jesi, doesn’t like loud noises. Not since her mother was shot.”
“She was there?” Mable asked
“I thought Mr. Ericson would have told you?” Damion asked in confusion
“No, he told me who she was and that her mother had been killed but nothing else.”
“Yeah, she was there, her mom had to take her to work that night and, she says all she remembers is her mom stuffing her in a cabinet then she heard someone yell for the manager then the shots.”
“My God! Did she see anything?”
“No the officer on the scene worked really hard to make sure she didn’t see anything, But she’s been really jumpy ever since.”
“Ack, the poor dear. Well it seems there’s nothing more You and I can do for her til she wakes come I’ll show ye to yer room you must be tired as well.”
“I-I can’t leave her I’ll just stay here with her.”
“She’s safe here. Your safe here. You need rest too.”
“And I’ll get it right here beside her.”
“Ye’ve taken care of her for thirteen years, Ye’ve earned a rest and so has she.”
“We rest better together.”
“I’m sure ye do, and you’ll be ale to hear her through the wall if there’s trouble.” Mable encouraged
“Yer both safe. She’ll be fine.”
Damion reluctantly followed Mable from the room. Mable made a show of taking a key from her pocket and locking the door to the room she explained that she was the only one with a key to unlock the bedroom doors but that all door could be locked or unlocked from the inside.
The next morning Mable opened Jesminda’s door with a cart of food behind her. “Good moring Miss Jes-” Mable froze as Jesi lept from the bed a knife brandished in her hand it’s tip nearly rested on Mabel’s neck
“Sorry,” Jesi said as she lowered the knife. “Force of habit.”
“Well, I will say that’s a new way to get the blood runnin in the mornin.” Mabel said with a giggle “Is there a reason ye have a knife on ye?”
“I’ve slept with a knife since I was sixteen.”
“And ye haven’t cut yerself?” Mable tried to joke
“No, Sargent Mullens trained me and Damion how to defend ourselves.”
“Sargent Mullens?” Mable asked
“He was staying at the first homeless shelter we crashed at after leaving the home. I was young inexperienced in street life and so excited to have my first shower in weeks I wasn’t careful enough. After I walked into the ladies room a man grabbed me from behind. He clamped his hand over my mouth and put a knife to my throat. I tried to scream to struggle while he cut my clothes off. Sargent Mullens heard the struggle and rushed in. He pulled the man off before anything happened and called for help. The man tried to cut Mullens but he dodged the blade, disarmed him, and held him until the folks that ran the shelter arrived. He told them to bring the guy to the police for sexual assault. After he helped me and Damion disappear when the police showed up and then taught us how to survive on the streets we stayed with him for about 4 months, until he disappeared.”
“That must have been hard on ye both.” Mable said
“It’s life on the street.”
“Jesi!” Damion called out as he rushed into the room.
“Ah and that saves me the trouble of bringing breakfast to ye as well.” Mable said as she motioned to the cart behind her. “I didn’t know yer preferences, so I, well, I made yer Father’s favorites. Bacon, sausage, pancakes, as well as some fruit a selection of juices and, aspirin.”
“How did you know I have a headache?” Jesi asked
“I’ve spent more then a night or two crying meself te sleep. I know the headache ye wake with in the morin all to well. OOP!” Mable said as she pulled her phone from her pocket. “And it seems that Ericson has arrived for the day with company not far behind. Best ye eat up and prepare seems as though yer in for yoru first dose of Constance.”
“Heellloo, Constance Karington,” The tall blonde woman in her early twenties stepped up to Jesi and offered her hand “Your sister.”
“I have a sister?” Jesi asked
“No, you do not.” Ericson answered.
“Oh not a biological sister but Conner was like a second father to me.” Constance said
“That makes one of us.” Jesi griped under her breath
“Oh look at you aren’t you a vision well besides that scare on your neck but don’t you worry my step-mom knows a great plastic surgeon we’ll have that gone in days.”
Jesi rested a self conscious hand over the knife scare on her collar bone.
“I wish you had consulted with me Ms. Karington, Miss Jahri’s schedule is full today.”
“Oh, so I cleared my entire morning of running my very successful company to hang out with my new sister for nothing” Constance protested actually pouting at Ericson.
“I believe you’ll find the company belongs to both of you Ms. Karington, and as I Said if you’d checked with me I could have told you that Miss Jahari’s scheduled is full this morning.”
“Oh come on I’m sure you don’t need a stuffy old man telling you what to do Jesi. You don’t mind if I call you Jesi do you?” Constance’s words dripped with sugar.
“Actually I do mind.” Jesi wasn’t buying Constance’s act for a second. “And Ercison has a full day planned.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do with an open morning Ericson?” Constance tried again
“Since your so keen to have family time I suggest you go connect with your brother.” Ericson suggested
“I suppose I could find Skyler but I look forward to dinner tonight Jesminda.” Constance commanded
“I will contact your office and arrange for a dinner in a few weeks then.” Ericson offered.
“I look forward to it.” Constance said with a smile as she turned to go.
“Oh Ms. Karington I would like to know how our confidential flight itinerary was leaked to the press.” Ericson asked
“Oh right, I have talked to my pilot about that rest assured he’ll be disciplined for his loose lips. Ta.” Constance tossed over her shoulder as she left.
“Who was that?” Damion asked when the door closed behind Constance
“Constance Karington, she is the co CEO of O’Connal and Karington Enterprises.”
“Isn’t she kinda young to be a CEO?” Jesi asked
“She was a child prodigy she graduated high school early and earned her MBA by the time she was 20. Two years ago she convinced her father to entire and hand over his half of the company to her.”
Constance slammed the front door to her family’s home. And let out a frustrated scream.
“I take it your plan to get Cinderella to sign the papers was a bust?” her brother Skyler appeared at the top of the stairs.
“I thought you’d still be sleeping.” Constance griped
“I was until you slammed the door quite rude if I’m honest sister dear.” Skyler, said with a lazy drawl
“Well, tell whoever your current girlfriend is I’m sorry to have disturbed her.” Constance replied with a forced smile
“You can drop the loving sister routine Constance I’m alone today.”
“For once.” Constance laughed sarcastically. “What do Nora find you flirting with a waitress?”
“Her name was Ashley and no, she asked for commitment, and you know I don’t do commitment.”
“Hm. Yet another doe eyed debutante that thought she could marry New York’s most eligible bachelor?”
“Yes you’d think they’d know better by now don’t they all talk?”
“Brother this may surprise you but the world does not actually revolve around you.”
“And it doesn’t serve you sister dear. A fact it seems ‘Cinderella’ reminded you of today.” Skyer gloated
“That company is mine! Conner promised it to me! Then that worthless brainless rat shows up and takes everything from me!” Constance shouted.
“I’m not sure Cinderella showed up isn’t more like Connor hunted her down?”
“Cinderella?” Constance said as a calculating smile slid on to her face
“That look never bodes well.” Skyler observed
“Well, every Cinderella needs her Prince Charming doesn’t she.”
“As I understand it she came with hers did she not?”
“The street rat no he’s more a brother to her as I understand it, but you Brother dear are currently between lovers at the moment.”
“Ha! Don’t even try it. Your little Cinderella is no where near my type.”
“Oh please, she’s beautiful, rich, and a woman that’s exactly your type.”
“Hardly, once a street rat always a street rat!” Skyler objected
“I don’t care, you will romance her get her so infatuated with you that when you tell her it’s in her best interst to sign over the company she’ll comply.”
“And if it can’t.”
“Then you’ll keep it in your pants until you marry her! I will not let some brat swoop in and steal everything I worked my entire life to get!”
“You can’t make me do any of this.”
“Can’t I? Last I checked Brother dear I control your trust fund.”
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2023.06.02 23:17 The_Alloquist [A Lord of Death] - Chapter 54 (Aya)
[←Chapter 53] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 55→]
The day had slid by Aya like so much water off of a duck’s back. It took a particularly hard prod by Frare to dislodge her from a slurry of inattentiveness. As she looked around she realised the barricades had been almost completely disassembled, with only scraps remaining on the church floor. The pieces of broken glass and masonry were being carted outside by the villagers that remained.
Currently there was a lukewarm debate around the command table, dragged to the centre of the hall. Aya’s consciousness glossed over Sorore reprimanding her brother for bothering her, as well as the various arguments over logistics and provisions. She half-heartedly listened to discussions of various threats on various roads, and then quickly forgot about it.
Without really realising it, she found herself peaking at the parchments spread over the table. The lined scrolls held no real meaning for her, but the centre map with its pins certainly did. It was a large and fairly extensive map of the continent, with various cities illustrated with flowing script too elaborate for her to read. Slowly her eyes flitted from north to south, and found the curl of a mountain range bleeding into a peninsula where she assumed Karkos was.
“What about here?” she said, pointing to the location through the greaves of the captains before her.
Most turned to look with amused confusion, and she quickly felt a flush creeping up her neck.
“It’s a city,” she said.
The officers continued to look at her, awaiting elaboration.
“Y-you could get food there,” she offered weekly.
She almost added ‘I’ve heard the food is quite good’, though fortunately for her dignity the phrase died on her lips before it could enter the world. Naia, almost directly across from her, looked down and stroked his beard.
“It’s far from the worst option,” he said, “in fact, it’s probably one of the better ones.”
“It charges an arm and a leg, just for the usage of one ship. The cost of transporting all of us will be steep,” one soldier protested.
“The mountains are blocked off with the Alonshaze destroyed. None of the other passes can be reliably quickly traversed, even in summer,” Naia countered, “going the land route right now would be asking for trouble. The flatlands at the base of the Alonshaze have always been unstable, but ever since Ein’elen broke up it-”
“Sharaloch would be another option,” spoke up Damafelce, without much enthusiasm.
“You want to bet on a city of pirates and mercenaries for transport?” exclaimed another captain.
“Unwise, especially with such valuable persons,” Naia said, “we’ve already had enough headaches. The last thing I need is a hostage situation while sailing the strait.”
“You get what you pay for in Karkos,” yet another captain offered, with general murmurs of assent, “though with what gold we have I-”
“The gold’s not the issue,” said Naia, “if necessary, we can issue bonds in the name of Angorrah, or the paladins can in the name of the church.”
Niche, glum and surly, still nodded at the implied question.
“The general would not be happy. You know how possessive they get over money on a mission,” said Damafelce.
“We’ve been attacked multiple times, crossed half the continent, and found a long lost bequeathed, all with about a hundred men,” snorted Naia, “with all due respect to my betters, they can take their complaints and shove them-”
“If we’re going by speed and stability, Karkos is the best way,” cut in Niche through the laughter of the soldiers, “the safety of the Bequeathed should be our top priority. A good ship will get us there in under a week.”
“A ship to Espala, then Inalthia. Draskar forest is a nightmare at any time of the year,” Naia said, leaning over the map. With a subtle motion, he moved Aya’s finger northwest, and she realised with horror that she’d been pointing to the wrong end of the peninsula where some lesser settlement stood.
“Captain Deckard, I assume those that don’t want to come for pilgrimage will be returning to the fort?” he continued without giving any sign that she’d done anything wrong.
A new man, eyes blazing underneath furry dark brows nodded fervently.
“Well, I suppose we’ll have to clear out. I want everyone ready by sunset - it’ll be just under a week before we reach Karkos. Get what sleep you can - we’ll be riding out the next morning.”
There were a few finer points of debate that were bandied back and forth, but the conversation largely seemed to be settled. Niche and Damafelce both seemed to be locked in a staring match as Naia approached her.
“A good suggestion, my lady,” he said, “it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the city, but it might be just the place after this string of close calls.”
Aya tried to take what credit she could with a burning face.
“Now, there’s one other piece of business I have to attend to, I think,” he said, “where is the mage?”
“He’s on the roof,” she blurted, “I can show you.”
“No,” he said, holding up a gauntlet, “I think we’ll be just fine by ourselves. You should go and rest. It’s been a long night.”
He and Damafelce walked away from the table and vanished through the side door. Aya returned back to the altar with Niche, who was muttering some unkind things under his breath. It wasn’t more than a half hour before Naia returned with his captain, looking troubled. Before she could ask any questions, however, he quickly exited through the front of the church.
The rest of the day was largely spent on routines of amusement, the Bequeathed and the children of the village playing little games and telling stories among each other. The paladins, though they kept an eagle eye upon their charges, were not in a talkative mood that day. Lillian’s face was particularly dark, and she often muttered things that no one cared to listen to.
When evening came, any residual fears of the monsters returning were put to rest. The icy fear was no more, the villagers placed back what intact pews there were, and the flow of people from the medical bay slowed to a trickle. A simple meal, and a dreamless sleep, and Aya awoke in the early hours of the morning. Pulling herself up to one of the broken windows, she could see the summer green of the trees, their vibrancy somewhat damped by a light blue-grey fog.
Before they left, a service was held to bury those who’d been slain. The dead were laid side by side, wrapped in simple drab cloth, in a large pit just outside the doors of the church. Niche stood over the graves, eyes shut, pronouncings the blessing and peace that these brave defenders would lie with. Aya took the time to say a silent thanks as she gazed at the cloth-bound bodies.
As the remains were covered with soil, Niche shifted into a louder, older language as he sang in a husky tenor. Some kind of funeral liturgy, she guessed, though it was unfamiliar to her. The villagers cast tears into the ground with clouds of earth as they passed along the pit, then they left for the wall and the village beyond.
Aya’s concerns as she reentered the church shifted to more material things - hunger, cold, the lack of bathing over the last few days. At least some of those needs were addressed by the paladins in the next hours, with furs and food. But soon enough, they were on horses, walking in a line down to the south over open fields before the forest.
The first morning passed with very little conversation between anyone as they passed underneath the trees. That was all the better for Aya, who found herself enjoying the crisp air and the rapidly warming sunlight. It did take a bit of a turn for sorrow when she remembered that she often swam with her mother on mornings like these in the mountain lakes. Still, she was determined to extract what happiness she could on such a wretched journey. It was a resiliency that Frare seemed to share, while his sister still glanced nervously at the trees around them. Aya wondered if the girl was still seeing the creatures from last night in every shadow.
When they reached a clearing around midday, the children were made to sit before Niche as he handed out various meagre components of meals. As they began to eat, Lillian joined him, and both cleared their throats in unison.
“Right,” Niche began, “I realise the last few days have been less than smooth. Hardly a time for lessons, unfortunately.”
His dry chuckle was not reciprocated by any of the listeners, so he quickly moved on.
“But, given the nature of what happened, I think it’s advisable to speak on magic and mages, and what the scripture says about them.”
Frare, at the word ‘scripture’ audible groaned, which was followed by a hiss as his sister seized his ear.
“We have been forced into a position where we needed the help of a mage,” Niche said, picking his words with care, “it was not something we did willingly. It wasn’t a choice, but rather the product of circumstances beyond our control.”
You mean, the commander overruled you, thought Aya, though she elected not to voice such thoughts.
“If we had another choice,” Lillian chimed in, “we would’ve taken it. Survival, however, takes precedence, especially for you three. The choices were made, we might not be proud of it, but we’re all still here and that’s what matters.”
“That being said,” Niche said, fumbling in the interior of his breastplate and withdrawing a small booklet, “it would be good for you to understand what exactly underlies our choices.”
Aya’s eyes flicked over to the twins - Sorore was sitting upright and attentive, while her brother was a glum and slumped mirror. Niche thumbed through a few pages, focused in on the one he’d selected and once more, cleared his throat.
“And thus it was found, a great conspiracy, conspired against the children of Angorrah, conspired with creatures both great and small, but terrible all, in darkness and stagnant pools, where the profundity of their sin would go unnoticed by the decent and pious. Hated and proclaimed sinner, traitor, rebel against the Lost themselves. Three Boons would be taken, and three Houses be condemned to dust.”
Sorore perked up, for she clearly already knew the story and was excited to hear it yet again. Aya waited with a tempered anticipation, hoping at least there would be a half-way interesting tale, despite its lacklustre delivery. The story progressed into a broad parable, describing how three houses arose in rebellion against the church, and how three holy items had been robbed from the sepulchre of the ‘roiling cathedral’.
Apparently, they were ferried into the hands of mages, who perverted their holy functions until they burned the most sacred tree on the continent, one laid by Nafthtazia herself. For all of Aya’s doubts about the moral, she couldn’t deny the enjoyment of a good piece of history.
“Magic exists beyond the purview of the church,” Niche began, then quickly corrected his error, “rather, it is a part of the mystery of the Lost, but others can access in inappropriate ways. Some speculate that it should be left entirely to the Lost, not handled by mortal hands. Regardless, the church has taken upon a sacred duty, to ensure that what magic is used is done so sparingly, and with the utmost care.”
He closed the book with a flourish, clearly pleased at the depth of his instruction. Frare’s eyes were fluttering, which prompted a painful poke from his sister.
“So, magic is evil?” said Aya, trying to square that conclusion with all she’d seen.
Niche puffed out his chest, no doubt about to exclaim that it was in the strongest possible terms. Lillian however, had her own thoughts to add before he could.
“Not… inherently,” she said, “But it is broadly forbidden and for good reason. It is less evil, rather a great risk for evil. That is, far too easy to put it towards evil ends. That’s why mages are, as a rule, cruel, selfish, and dangerous creatures. Perhaps it is better put that magic attracts evil, even if it can be used for good.”
Aya stewed in that statement for a while - clearly the church was deeply knowledgeable, expanding and attending to her own, meagre education on the matter from the local priest. Still there were holes, obvious holes, or so she told herself.
“It might be hard to understand,” Niche said, “it might seem a little strange that the church forbids something that could be so useful. There are very good reasons both in scripture and in history that proves the point - magic is not to be used with abandon, and thus must remain under the Church’s eye.”
He patted the sigil of the church, engraved on his breastplate.
“That is one reason why the Light Lords were created in the first place,” he said, with thinly veiled pride, “we are the watchers, investigating the use of magic and capturing the perpetrator that would harm or cheat with it.”
“It was a decision made long ago,” added Lillian, “it was a sort of… half-agreement between the church and the army. We kept the peace that was broken by the mages during the Night of the Burning Tree.”
“So there are mages in Angorrah?” said Aya, drawing a strange, near insulted look by Sorore at the question.
“Well…” said Lillian, sharing a look with Niche, “a handful at most, who operate under the strictest scrutiny.”
Sorore’s face twisted at this, but whatever comment she would’ve liked to make stayed in her head.
“The point is that mages are faithless and concerned for themselves above all else. They are to be engaged on only the most necessary basis. They may be directed towards good in service to the church, but never on their own.”
The rest of the lesson served as constant reinforcements and examples of the danger of mages. There were one or two arguments between Frare and their teachers that Sorore was too slow to suppress. Before long they were off again, the leaves shaking above them as a wind blew from the south. The evening camp mercifully spared them another lecture and after a simple dinner, both twins made their excuses and retired.
Aya huddled beside the fire as the temperature dropped. Around them were a circle of waggons, some covered by a framework of canvas, others bare, all loaded with supplies. The gifts of the grateful villagers, granted to the commander who had saved them.
The paladins were busy doing maintenance, carefully laying out arms and armour, scrubbing, polishing and sharpening. Aya got up, murmured a good night to the paladins, who nodded curtly. They were so absorbed that they didn’t seem to notice Aya slipping away.
She poked her head into one of the ‘empty’ waggons, scanning the darkness for any sign of movement. Save for a handful of small crates, there lay the crumpled form of the mage just as they’d loaded him. Aya felt her breath still as she looked at Inniaylsia’s amber eyes. Even from this distance, she could see the subtle inner flames of reds and yellows softly illuminating them.
“Yes?” came the voice of the older woman, curt and snappish.
Aya started to speak, then stopped, realising that she had no real reason to be here, at least not one that she’d thought out.
“Come out with it child,” came the voice again.
Aya was put in mind of a line of children, heads bowed before a grandmother picking detritus from their scalps.
“I- I-” she said, “I was wondering if…”
“No. There’s been no change in this old bag of bones,” said Innie, her voice softening slightly, “though I’m sure he would appreciate your concern.”
Aya stood there for a moment, awkwardness rising, before setting her jaw, looking behind her, and upon seeing the paladin’s backs, clambered in as quietly as possible. The cat sat attentively and silently, regarding the young girl before her. Aya began in a hushed whisper, talking about the Night of the Burning Tree and the lessons of the paladins from the morning.
“If you want to ask a question about history,” interrupted the cat, “you best ask this sod when he wakes up. He proves irritatingly well-versed on that. Considering his age, he might've lived through it.”
“I thought you were old as well,” Aya said, trying to remember where she got the notion from.
“I am. Older than him. Old as half the company put together,” she said, “but I rarely venture outside of the forest. This is the furthest south I have been in decades, perhaps a century or two.”
Aya paused to try and get a grasp on the scale of time the creature had just casually gestured at.
“So my dear, if you’re going to ask me about the great deeds of men or the history of cities, I’m afraid you’re out of luck,” said the cat, tail bobbing this way and that.
“But that’s not exactly what I…” said Aya, taking a deep breath before continuing, “I wanted to ask about magic.”
The cat cocked its head, the speed of the tail picking up.
“What about magic, child?” she said.
“Well, I was wondering, just for a start, what is it?” Aya said.
“You should sit down,” said the cat, “this might take a while.” [←Chapter 53] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 55→]
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2023.06.02 23:15 NotPureEvil Struggling to get into DMC3
Hey, all. As the title says, I'm having a rough go of it trying to enjoy DMC3. This will almost undoubtedly spiral into unhinged ramble territory, but I will try my best to keep things a little focused. I'll go over my play history with the series for context and bring up my particular complaints; I'm hoping the community can spot what it is that I might be missing or offer me a window into the brain of a DMC fan. I want to say here, probably unnecessarily, that I am not trying to condemn the series as some doo-doo brain button-masher or anything; DMC as a concept sounds really appealing to me, and I want in, so I am very honestly asking here for any ideas on how to get my ape brain to enjoy it.
I only tried out the games this year, and I had always heard beforehand that these were the games to get into if you wanted flashy hack-and-slash fun, that even if you somehow hated everything else the combat would win you over. So I got DMC1, played about an hour and a half, and I hated it. "No biggie," I thought. "I'll skip over 2 and try out 3." After all, it does seem to be a favorite of the fanbase.
Initially, I was elated. It felt much smoother to control, I had a few more options to play around with, and I was pretty quickly given new guns and devil arms. However, as I progressed, it became very stale very fast. Even with swordmaster as my style the whole way through (I maxed it out, too), I felt like I had a bafflingly small number of things to do with each weapon, and I didn't even like one of them (Nevan).
I took a month-long break after beating Geryon, and in that time I checked out DMC4 and 5 and thoroughly enjoyed Bayonetta. I also bailed on 4 after 10 or so missions of Nero had pushed me to the brink of madness (the same issues I had with 3 but cranked up), but with the help of a character selection mod for 5 (I wanted to skip to Dante to see what the fuss was about), I actually had a pretty decent time on the first few levels. The style-swapping seems like a no-brainer, leveling up styles and getting new moves is significantly faster, and, while I haven't played enough to know for sure, those extra slots on my guns and devil arms promise a deluge of new shit to do later in the game.
This encouraged me to go back to DMC3 with a style-switcher mod. For a while, I was again having an okay go of it. But now, having finished mission 15 like a day ago, I'm all the way burnt out again. I didn't end up liking the Beowulf weapon much (again, too simple, especially compared to 5's interpretation), so I was back to the old three, and they've just become so stale. I have a lot of other gripes with enemy variety and level design, but these are tangential; my biggest grievance by far is that the combos in a vacuum just don't offer me enough variety.
And before you ask: yes, I know about jump-canceling. I've tried it out with a few of Rebellion's and A&R's air moves for 2 or 3 reps, and I don't really care for it. The usefulness is there—I just don't like how it feels to input. I also regularly use crazy combos to get easy peasy SSS when I'm thirsting for red orbs, but I hate the fact that it feels like I'm brutalizing my controller to do them, lol.
So help me out, please: what am I missing/doing wrong/etc.?
Extra context—my history with hack-and-slash and beat-em-up games: this post is probably way too long as is, but I wanted to include this in case it was helpful. Like I mentioned, I recently played and really enjoyed Bayonetta. In particular, I liked the vast array of combo options with appreciable utility differences in their enders and speed, the great variety of weapons (especially that whip, ZAMN!), and (mostly) the bosses. I didn't like how the late game's overuse of minibosses and drought of grunt crowds funneled me into playing less stylishly/more repetitively. A few months before that, I played and loved Sifu. Although I know this game plays a lot more restrained and tactically, there were a lot of tools to use and certainly ways to look flashy. I've tried Ninja Gaiden Black for less than an hour, probably. It was okay? I need more time with it. And lastly, the apple of my eye since I was a kid, God of War, particularly 1-3. I can wax poetic about how much and in which ways I adore God of War, but unless that's useful for shaping advice, I'll cut my flowery ass short.
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2023.06.02 23:01 UberShrew Feel like my head is going to explode.
I apologize if this feels a little disorganized, but there’s just so many things swirling in my head at the moment.
Short backstory: Lower class child of multiple divorces (usually due to violent physical abuse from mother’s different husbands minus my father) that alternated going to school in my southern birth state where my father lived and a western plains state my mother moved to year after year until high school where I worked my ass off in my studies and a little part time job to get just shy of a full ride to a private liberal arts university in New York where I met my current amazing fiancée, several good NYC friends, and graduated with a BA in economics in 2018. I didn’t do any internships because I’m an idiot who wanted to enjoy my college summers with my friends back home. Main goal in life at this point is having my own little not insane family like my upbringing.
Queue the dominos falling leading to my current feeling of loss of sanity. I stayed with my mother for a year working at a small construction office in an administrative capacity so I could pay off what off few loans I had before I would move to the big apple, where I have no family or nyc friends who moved to other states for grad school, to get a place with my girlfriend of 5 years at that point in 2019. Boss loved me and hated to see me go. I start at another construction company’s accounting department in NYC and quit after a few weeks since it felt like almost like a cult which sounds weird and I know I’m a fucking idiot for quitting even though I felt I had to go.
Anyways I find out about the process of joining the NYPD and how well they pay. It’s always something I had considered in the back of my mind since I’ve had family in law enforcement and the military and cops at least in my own life as a kid they had essentially acted as heroes being the ones that would stop my mother’s husbands from borderline killing her or my and my little brother in the past. I was naive and just wanted to make the world a better place thinking even if there was corruption I could be a good example to others and try to change things from within given everything I’d gone through in my life so far. So, I began the 2-3 year process and started looking for work to hold me over in the meantime. After a few months, I find a job with a tiny real estate developer as an assistant. Unfortunately, the exempt salaried pay was garbage and my boss was the biggest raging asshole I have ever had the displeasure of being stuck in a 6x10 windowless room for 3 months with. I’m talking shit on all of his employees in office and out. The one time I fuck up he screams over the phone, hangs up in rage, just to call back 30 seconds later to keep raging. I said like a complete fucking idiot fuck that shit and quit.
Surprise surprise I quit march 2020 like 2 weeks before covid went from “hmm china is having his little flu thing. Next up listen to our interview with kim kardashian!” to “HOLY FUCKING SHIT RED ALERT THE WORLD IS ON FUCKING FIRE SHUT ER DOWN PLEASE GOD SAVE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN”. I struggled to find work but thankfully my girlfriend was doing well enough to hold us over as my savings drained. After like 4 months of nothing I said fuck it and got a security license since I was seeing those jobs everywhere (trying not to think too much about the ones getting shot for enforcing masks). I was hired direct at a luxury senior living place in Manhattan a month later with a pay rate higher than I’d ever had before. It was just finishing construction (which ended up getting dragged out a year longer) so my boss had me work 3pm-midnight with the promise I’d go 8am-5pm when we opened. That was honestly the hardest year of my life until we opened in mid 2021. Imagine Covid, plus working when everyone is off and being off when everyone is sleeping, and working weekends just barely having social contact outside the first few hours of work. That shit fucks with you. I am ashamed and a little scared to say there were a few times I stared a little too long at the city streets from our 17th floor rooftop gardens during my patrols.
Anyways, things got better when we opened. My bosses, coworkers, and later residents loved me. Always came to me to shoot the shit, help them with projects like excel or other computer stuff, training new staff on building functions and safety shit. I even got bumped to $32/hr and had our IT guy showing me the ropes and helping him with some of what he did. Then the NYPD finally came knocking. It took a few months but I passed all their tests. As I got further along my girlfriend of 7 years at that point grew more and more uneasy at the prospect and all my NYC friends were totally against it bordering on pleading me not to do it since all the BLM protests (which I supported) were still pretty recent. I was still just naive thinking if I could just get in I could change it for the better and how change has to start somewhere even if it’s just one person. Didn’t matter though because it all exploded when I finally got the email telling me to report to the academy. Girlfriend lost it. Pleading/sobbing for me not to do it. I just kept telling her she would see it wasn’t so bad after I started. I just had to take the shot and she would see. Then I got the ultimatum she still claims she doesn’t remember saying. She said she wouldn’t leave but didn’t think she could have kids with me if I went through with it. That shit hit me straight in the fucking heart. I emailed them to pull my candidacy. I wasn’t going to nuke this 7 year relationship for a fucking job.
Apparently they didn’t get the memo emailing me or leaving voicemails that they could squeeze me in if I wanted every time a new academy was coming up. Anyways I left the security job in June 2022 (idiot again I know) since my security license was expiring, Covid seemed to be finally chilling out now that everyone had our shots, and there wasn’t any upward movement happening even though my executive director would promise and promise how far he said he could see me going. Went to Europe got engaged with the lady which was about time after 8 years, but then struggled for months to get any sort of admin role like I’d had in the past.
I eventually said fuck it let’s try IT since I liked working that guy at my last job and have always been good with computers, but never got into programming beyond an intro comp sci class in college. Anyways 4 months later (could’ve been faster I know) after a lot of self study I got my comptia A+, Network+, and finally Security+ in mid to late April try to get my foot in door. After a month of applying and also turning 27 I’ve got nothing to show for it. Then I get a call today and freaked out going through all the protocols and shit in my head mentally prepping for any questions an employer might ask. I answer and IT’S THE FUCKING NYPD AGAIN TELLING ME I CAN GET IN THE ACADEMY IF I COME IN FOR A FUCKING MINI MEDICAL. Completely deflated I tell the lady I had already told my investigating officer to pull my candidacy which I guess he never did and she officially took me off the list.
After she hung up I feel like something just kind of snapped. I wanted to fucking scream and felt like I’m just spitting in the face of the universe for finally shutting down this life path for good after they’ve tried to pull me in so many times while I’ve ignored them while at the same time getting rejection after rejection from company after company. I know I’m not crazy for not being willing to give up such a long lasting relationship for something I don’t even really believe in anymore, but I feel crazy turning my nose up at the one employer who will look past my only crimes of having a fucking resume gap or not staying with the same company for 40 years. Thankfully my fiancée is now making over 6 figures and can afford to take care of us while I search, but I just feel like such a fucking failure after clawing my way out of poverty and the warzone that was my mother’s household as soon as the front door closed doing what I thought I was supposed to do to achieve socioeconomic mobility and I have nothing to show for it other than being a damn leech off my future wife while I drown in this shit.
Anyways, it just feels nice to write that all down for once. I guess I hope maybe this can help someone somehow. I’m not giving up, but goddamn this shit is hard. I hope y’all are having a better day and better luck.
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2023.06.02 22:51 hodsct59 Belmont Park And Woodbine Choices For 06-03-2023
I have chosen five races at Belmont Park and 2 races at Woodbine on Saturday June 3, 2023 that I am willing to take a shot at and hopefully find my next nice score. I will not be betting the last race at Belmont individually, but it is the last race of the late P5 which I will take a couple of small shots at. I have always preferred to get as many shots as I can to hit some type of exotics in one or two races but believe spreading in any pick type sequences is not the best use of my money. Much prefer using a few dollars every race and get more opportunities every day compared to putting all my eggs in one sequence and watching them all break when one horse or race does not go as expected.
Belmont Park 4th Race: Maiden Special Weight --- Purse $75,000 --- 3 YOs & Up NY Bred Fillies & Mares --- 7 Furlongs Turf:
1)Ace Up Her Sleeve (12-1) Has 10 lifetime starts with 4 starts and 3 thirds since the beginning of this year. In her last three starts she was tried twice on the AWT in sprints against open company and then shipped back to NY to face state breds in a turf sprint, but race was moved to a muddy dirt track where she was well beaten but managed to get up for third. One slow work since at Delaware Park. Dialed In - Clearly Cheating by Broken Vow. 3x3 to Storm Cat, 4(C)x5(F)x5(F) to Mr. Prospector, 5x5 to Blushing Groom, 5(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Secretariat. As usual, most interested in her broodmare sire, Broken Vow, to figure out what distance is best for this runner, and I believe turf sprinting is the answer for this one. Broken Vow as a G2 SW on dirt but plenty of his progeny has won on grass up to a mile and he has a daughter (Broken Dreams) similar bred to this one's dam that won 3 stakes turf sprints including 2 of them G3 stakes and banked just shy of $400K. Fits with these.
6)La Chance (50-1) Has started 10 times in her career and has one second in 4 starts this year as her only board finish in her first ten starts. She will need her best effort yet but has the bloodlines to upset this field at a huge price. Her last two races and her recent works gives a clue that improvement is on the way after getting a trainer that acts like he knows what he is trying to achieve and gets her first real chance on grass. Looking At Lucky - One Wise Cowgirl by Wiseman's Ferry. 4x5 to Clever Trick. Her sire, Looking at Lucky, was a Champion 2 YO and Champion 3 YO on dirt in the U.S. and broodmare sire, Wiseman's Ferry, won a couple of G3 dirt stakes at 9 furlongs but is best remembered as sire of Wise Dan, who was good on dirt to begin his career but took his popularity to an entirely different level by winning 14 of his last 15 starts on grass with 1 second and 15 of 17 overall, with every grass start against either G1 or G2 competition. La Chance's dam, One Wise Cowgirl, has also produced a G1 sprint SW on dirt (Haveyougoneaway).
4)Cerretta (8-1) has started once this year finishing 3rd in a grass sprint but also started 7 times last year with a second and a third her other two board finishes. Has four decent to useful works since her last start which should move her forward. Midnight Lute - Lift by Pulpit. 5x4 to Mr. Prospector, 5x5 to Raise A Native & Secretariat.
7)Souffle (2-1) started twice last year, finishing second in her first start on grass as the favorite before returning as an odds-on heavy favorite and finished 4th after getting beaten to the early lead and then coming up empty late. This is her first start this year and trainer Clement is good at hiding which one of his trainees is ready to win first back or may need a race or two but normally uses Rosario when he thinks one is live and he does so here also. Will also race with lasix for the first time. Candy Ride - Portmagee by Hard Spun. 5x4 to Mr. Prospector. Both Candy Ride and Hard Spun are known for their high speed in mid-distance races especially but dam, Portmagee, won one 6 furlongs grass sprint in her career but falter both times when asked to go just slightly further.
My Risks: $4 Ex Box 1-6, $1 Ex Box 1-4-6, $1 Tri Box 1-4-6, $.10 Super Box 1-4-6-7, $.50 Super Key 4 with 1-6-7 with 1-6-7 with 1-6-7. Total Risks $25.40.
Race 6: $.50 Pick 5 ---- 6 with 8 with 7 with 2,4,5 with 3,4,5,6,8,9,10,12. Total Risk $12.00.
Race 6: $.50 Pick 5 ---- 6,9 with 8 with 7 with 2,4,5, with 3,6,9,12. Total Risk $12.00.
Race 6: Allowance --- Purse $95,000 --- 3 YOs UP F&M N/W 1x or N/W 2 Lifetime --- 6 Furlongs Turf:
6) Anna Karenine (9-2) was shipped to U.S. late last year and was given the rest of the year off. Returned in March in a G3 stakes and sat close up early behind a crawling pace and faded after a half mile on grass. Cut back to 6 furlongs in her next start, she sat just behind the two early leaders in third, was sent after a half after the front runner had put only early challenger away but could not get by and hung in deep stretch to lose 2nd nearing the wire in this class and conditions. She has 4 more works in typical Brown style but should be getting close to her best effort. Tornado - Ivory Style by Desert Style. 4(C)x5(F)x5(F)x5(F) to Northern Dancer, 5x4 to Danzig, 5x5 to Special. Anna Karenine's 4th dam, Ivory Wand, is also 2nd dam of Elusive Quality, and this dam line flows back through Frizette, an important member of family #13.
9) Redifined (5-1) has one start this year where she tracked a fast early pace but came up empty in the stretch run in an O/C allowance race. However, she broke her maiden in the first start of her career, then competed in 3 stakes races, 2 of them listed and the other a G3 stakes where she placed in all three. She has recorded 3 very good works since her last race and is the one to beat. More Than Ready - Mrs. Boss by Wild Event. 4x5 to Northern Dancer, 5x5 to Nearctic.
5) Dekanter (12-1) has started twice this year which was also her first two starts of her career and finished 3rd on dirt, then won a maiden special weight race on grass in fairly fast time but it was during a small period when Aqueduct's grass course was blistering fast. Has 4 more works since her last start, none that are eye catching but all done on a 7-day then 6-day splits which is what you (or at least I) want to see from grass runners instead of fast works. Kantharos - Morning Rush by Unbridled's Song. 4x4 to Storm Cat, 5(C)x5(C)x5(F)x5(F) to Mr Prospector.
8) Michele M. (15-1) started twice last year, both time on the AWT, breaking her maiden in her first start before finishing unplaced in a Canadian listed stake. She will be making her first start of this year, first start on grass in her career and first start for a new trainer that wins often on grass but tends to struggle with trainees first start on grass. West Coast - Juliamarie by Mizzen Mast. 4x4 to Mr. Prospector, 5x5 to Secretariat, 5(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Raise A Native. Dam line traces back to Penelope/Prunella and the most influential family #1 in bloodlines history, without a doubt.
My Risks: $5 Ex Box 6-9, $1 Tri Box 5-6-9, $5 Tri Straight 6 with 9 with 5, $1 Super Straight 5-6-9 with 5-6-9 with 5-6-9 with 8. Total Risk $27.00.
7th Race: Maiden Special Weight --- Purse $90,000 --- 3 YOs & Up --- 1 1/16 Mile Turf:
8)Redistricting (3-1) is a first-time starter. It looks like his training started under another barn, then was a private purchase by current owner (private or purchases away from sales are not reported in most cases), then has a consistent work pattern for current trainer Brown with only one small break in his training that lasted 10 days until the day after the Ky Derby (likely concentrating on runners already entered to race). None of his works are eye catching but his last 9 works have all been at 4 furlongs officially, which is the normal Brown pattern. Kingman - Cascata by Montjeu. 4x4 to Kris, 5x4 to Northern Dancer.
1)Certified Loverboy (20-1) has started once this year where he tracked the early pace for 6 furlongs, then faded near the rail as the slow early pace quicken in a maiden race at 1 1/8 mile on grass, which is likely a little further than he is bred to excel at. Now cuts back 1/16 mile, which fits his bloodlines better and has one useful work since that start and returns to jockey who likely knows him better than others. Mendelsohn - Tasha's Moon by Malibu Moon. 4x4 to Mr. Prospector. Dam family traces back to family #3 which is the family of Sister One To True Blue, a daughter of a Byerley Turk mare who, along with her full brother Young True Blue, is most responsible for the formation of the 2nd X-factor gene family.
6)Ohana Honor (8-1) has two starts this year, the first on GP speed favoring dirt track where he tried to impact the race from well off the pace but had no real opportunity to do so. Next out, he was shipped to Aqueduct and moved to grass for the first grass start of his career where he was rolling in the stretch to just miss winning but also encountered enough trouble to make him late arriving to compete. Trainer Shug has put 6 more works in him since that effort, the first 4 useful works and then 2 easy works just to let him stretch his legs until a spot could be found to race him. Has the look of a trainer who is serious about breaking this one's maiden. Honor Code - Spacy Tracy by Awesome Again. 4x5 to Mr. Prospector, 5x5 to Bold Ruler, 5(C)x5(F)x5(F) to Northern Dancer. Dam has already produced 3 stakes winners from 6 known foals to race, including this one.
7)Fly Right (6-1) is making his first start of the year after making three starts last year and drew near the rail in every start, thereby forcing jockey to send him early for the lead to avoid being trapped (at least perceived by most). He has 10 works for his return, including last 9 at Belmont Park, but his last 4 works should have him fit and ready. Also goes first-time lasix. Astern - Fly By by Johar. 4x5 to Sadler's Wells, 5x5 to Danzig. 6th dam, Where You Lead, is an important and influential broodmare.
My Risks: $5 Ex Box 1-8, $1 Tri Box 1-6-8, $1 Super 8 with 1-6-7 with 1-6-7 with 1-6-7, $3 Super Straight 8 with 1 with 6 with 7. Total Risk $25.00.
8th Race: Allowance --- Purse $80,000 --- 3 Yos & Up N/W 1x or N/W 2 lifetime NY Bred --- 1 1/16 Mile:
7) Shadow Dragon (2-1) has three starts this year, finishing 2nd in a G3 stakes in his first start then giving a half-hearted effort in his next two in G2 stakes company, races he was clearly overmatched in and thrown against them much too soon in his young career. Will find these fits his current ability much better and looks like a solid key in the pick exotics. Has 6 works since his last start and most of them shows he still has a desire to be competitive. Army Mule - Fire Assay by Medaglia D'Oro. 5x5 to Northern Dancer but also has Somethingroyal crossing in the sire line through Secretariat and in the broodmare sire line and dam line through another son Sir Gaylord(x2). Has even more crossing influence through Turn-To & Teddy through multiple sons and daughters on both sides.
6) Ormstown (5-1) broke his maiden in his last start against NY bred in the third start of his career and now tries state-bred winners for the first time. This is a fairly weak field for an allowance race and the reason I landed on this one is I feel he has an ability to rate though he went gate to wire against easier in this last (or at least his bloodlines suggest he should). Bernardini - Sandra by Bluegrass Cat. 2x4 to A.P. Indy, 4x5 to Secretariat, 5(C)x4(F)x5(F) to Mr. Prospector, 5(C)x5(F)x5(F) to Northern Dancer.
My Risks: $8 Ex Straight 7-6. Total Risk $8.00.
Race 9: Pennine Ridge Stakes(G2) --- Purse $200,000 ---- 3 YOs ---- 1 1/8 Mile Turf:
4) Silver Knott (2-1) has one start this year and was overmatched against much better than he will see here. Will be looking to make amends for such a poor showing in last. Probably a little more eager than normal as he was fresh off a break and ended up burning all his energy before the real running began on a slow grass course. Europe does not record works between races as most works on private property and normally have to rely on what trainers tells everyone. Brings a substitute jockey along as main rider stays in England for the Epsom Derby. Lope De Vega - God Given by Nathaniel. 5(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Mr. Prospector. Lope De Vega is a son of Shamardal (from 1st crop of Giant's Causeway and dam was a full sister to Street Cry). Broodmare sire, Nathaniel, is also a 2-time G1 stakes winner on grass but is more famously known as the sire of Enable (15 wins in 19 lifetime starts).
5) Congruent (10-1) has started four times this year with a win on the AWT 2 starts back his only board finish. He switches trainers since his last start and new trainer has put 7 works in him, the first 4 looks like they were leg stretching type works to let him get a good feel of Belmont dirt surface followed by 3 good solid works with two of them grass works. Tapit - Part The Seas by Stormy Atlantic. 4x4 to Seattle Slew, 4(C)x5(C)x4(F) to Mr. Prospector, 5x5 to Northern Dancer, In Reality & Secretariat.
2) Sharar (12-1) is making his U.S. debut after shipping over from Dubai, switching trainers and given plenty of time to rest and become familiar with U.S. racing. Like a typical Pletcher trainee, he put in a few non-descript works but works improved in his last two after he was switched to grass, which he had already suggested in his first two starts he did not like the feel of Dubai's dirt (possibly did not care from Belmont dirt either). Upset potential at good odds. Gun Runner - Sacre Coeur by Saint Ballado. 5x4 to Herbager.
8) Far Bridge (9-5) has three starts in his career, with all 3 coming this year and he has 2 wins and a second, losing his perfect record in his last start when beaten a nose. However, I will take a stand against him for the win as his two works are typical Pletcher works, but his last was not an improvement which is normal for one of his trainees just before a start. Could be the track switch but more likely last took a little fitness from him. Your call, as he certainly has the bloodlines to beat these. English Channel - Fitpitcher by Kitten's Joy. 5x5 to Northern Dancer.
My Risks: $5 Ex Box 2-4, $1 Tri Box 2-4-5. Total Risk $16.00.
Race 10: Maiden Claiming $40K --- Purse $45,000 ---- 3 YOs & Up New York Bred --- 1 1/16 Mile Turf:
3) War Prince (9-2) 4(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Northern Dancer.
4) Atlanta's Acuna (6-1) Complete outcross in first 5 generations.
5) Fluorescent Bay (20-1) 5x3 to Icecapade.
6) Just For Luck (12-1) 5x5 to Northern Dancer.
8) Silent Running (10-1) 5x5 to Secretariat.
9) Thethrillofvictory (5-1) Complete outcross in his first 5 generations.
10) Sea Cruise (30-1) Complete outcross in first 5 generations.
12) Bad Larry (4-1) 4(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Mr. Prospector.
No bets on this race but using these in last race of P5. Total Risk All Bets: $125.40.
Woodbine June 3,2023:
5th Race: Maiden Special Weight --- Purse $111,600 --- 2 YOs ---- 5 Furlongs:
7) Call The Question (8-1) started once and finished last but had only 3 furlongs works with one poor gate work before that start in 4 1/2 furlongs and did not try after a poor break. Now has two more good works since that start, a 4-furlongs followed by a 3-furlongs gate work that is much better and now stretches out to 5-furlongs where she should get a better break from gate. 5(C)x5(F)x5(F) to Mr Prospector.
6) That Girl Artemus (6-1) is a first-time starter. Her 4-furlongs two back is very good followed by another good
4-furlongs work from the gate. If she breaks as well as she has shown, becomes a candidate to wire the field. 4x5 to Mr. Prospector.
2) Pipit (5-2) is a first-time starter. Has a good gate work two back at 4 furlongs followed by an easy 4 furlongs work. Attracts top jockey with an above average trainer. 4x4 to Mr. Prospector, 5x5 to Secretariat & Sir Ivor, 5(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Raise A Native, 5(C)x5(F)x5(F) to Northern Dancer.
9) Miramichi (15-1) has one start on the AWT at 4 1/2 furlongs, but drew outside on a rainy track which is usually the worst place to be, and the one just inside her got better break and she chased them throughout as they pull away while closest to the rail and she lost third at the wire to a late runner. Returns in two weeks but has another good 4 furlongs work since that start.
My Risks: $5 Ex Box 6-7, $1 Tri Box 2-6-7, $.20 Super Box 2-6-7-9, $.30 Super Straight 2-7 with 2-7 with 6-9 with 6-9. Total Risk $22.00.
Race 7: Royal North S(Can-2) --- Purse $175,000 --- 4 YOs & Up F&M --- 6 1/2 Furlongs Turf:
2) Bay Storm (3-1) has three starts this year with 2 seconds and one third. She has been an ultra-consistent runner throughout her career, missing a placing once in her 14 lifetime starts. While this looks like a step up for her into G2 company, it is actually a step down in class as she has missed twice to odds-on G1 winning fillies in her last 5 starts while 2nd both times, including beaten a nose by one of them. She will be going back on lasix for the first time in a while. 4x4 to Storm Cat.
8) Baby No Worries (12-1) has started four times this year, winning her first start in an allowance race on the AWT at TP with a good late kick to get up in time, then finishing 2nd in a small stakes race at same track in her third start using a good late kick again to just miss before finishing 3rd in her last start against the probable favorite in here in a G3 stakes race at this track with another good late kick. She has the look of finally putting it all together as she gets more racing experience and is also moving back to grass. 5x5 to Hoist The Flag & My Charmer.
5) Our Flash Drive (9-5) has started once this year and made it a winning effort in a G3 stakes race on the AWT at her home track here. She switches back to turf here where if she has a weakness, it is on grass as only one of her stake wins have come on that surface. However, all her grass tries have been in the U.S. where the competition is usually much tougher and since she is back on her home turf, so she deserves to be the favorite. One useful work since her last start. Outcross in her first 5 generations but has Nasrullah influences on both sides.
6) Sweet Enough (20-1) has started 3 times this year in two G3 stakes and a listed stakes race in the U.S. and has not placed. However, in all three starts, she was beaten by horses that would be vying for favoritism in here and her last indicated she is near to regaining her best form. Trainer is one of Canada's best and he has put 5 more works in her, the last three very good and indicates this filly is still moving forward. She will be racing on lasix for the first time this year. 5(C)x5(C)x5(F) to Mr. Prospector.
My Risks: $5 Ex Box 2-8, $1 Tri Box 2-5-8, $.20 Super Box 2-5-6-8, $1 Super Key 2 with 5-6-8 with 5-6-8 with 5-6-8. Total Risks $26.80.
Total Risks Both Tracks $174.80.
submitted by hodsct59
to horseracing [link] [comments]
2023.06.02 22:34 MadelineWuntch Defending The Draft: Denver Broncos
When unfortunate sporting historians of the future look back on the Denver Broncos 5-win 2022 NFL season there will be a lot said of Mr Unlimited’s rather limited performances and Nathaniel’s inability to hack it as a head coach and rightly so.
However, I think it’s important to at least mention the Broncos strange love affair with the medical room. 21 players took a trip to IR, multiple key starters fell victim to season ending injuries including Tim Patrick, Garett Bolles and Javonte Williams.
And in spite of all of the depressing dog doo-doo the Broncos lost by a single score an astounding 8 times. So that’s something right?
Moving into 2023, General George Paton hired his alternate namesake and former Saints Head Coach Sean Payton for the princely sum of pick 29 in the 2023 NFL Draft (Denver also sent a 2nd rounder in 2024 and received a 3rd rounder in 2024).
Only a few weeks after the appointment of Sean Payton the NFL entered its Free Agency period which led to some big changes at Mile High.
15 players were let go to sign elsewhere around the league but not an awful lot in terms of quality.
Dre’Mont Jones, DE - Seattle Seahawks (3 year, $51 Million) Dre’mont grew into a solid contributor for Denver but I’m glad the Broncos didn’t re-sign him for the money Seattle has. By far the most talented to leave the team in free agency but only a very slight miss.
Calvin Anderson, T - New England Patriots (2 year, $7 Million) Not a splashy name by any means but Anderson knew his role and performed well when called upon, A solid backup with starter experience.
Andrew Beck, FB/TE - Houston Texans (2 year, $6.25 Million) Beck is another reliable contributor who seems to have joined a number of former Broncos in moving to Houston recently. A former Salute to Service Award winner.
Mike Boone, RB - Houston Texans (2 year, $3.1 Million) Boone is a fantastic option to have for Special Teams play, however he lacks real quality when running the ball. There was optimism when he initially signed in Denver but that appears to have fallen to the wayside as he moves on rather silently.
Graham Glasgow, G - Detroit Lions (1 year, $2.75 Million) The Broncos offensive line has been offensive to watch for years. Glasgow however has been one of the bright spots, especially when he played at centre at parts in 2022.
Brandon McMacus, K - Jacksonville Jaguars (1 year, $2 Million) The last member of the Super Bowl 50 winning team has left Dove Valley. In a somewhat surprising but expected move if you look at his declining performances Denver only recently moved on from McManus. It was the right time but it sure is a sad sight to see.
De’Shawn Williams, DE - Carolina Panthers (1 year, $1.75 Million) Losing both Jones and Williams is a slight concern in terms of depth. Although Williams isn’t as productive as his former teammate he’s certainly a steal for the Panthers as a rotational/back up. He’s arguably serviceable as a starter as well and knows the defensive staff in Carolina very well.
Eric Saubert, TE - Miami Dolphins (1 year, $1.68 Million) I forgot Eric was even on the team, his receiving qualities aren’t much to go crazy for with 15 recs and 148 yards on a career best 2022 season and his run blocking isn’t fantastic either albeit it is his stronger game.
Billy Turner, T - New York Jets (1 year, $1.5 Million) Billy was a sad loss back in 2018 when he first left for Green Bay. However he couldn’t really get started and spent large parts of the season on IR.
Latavius Murray, RB - Buffalo Bills (1 year, $1.3 Million) Latavius is the biggest loss for Denver in my opinion. The only member of the team who showed passion, drive and self respect throughout his short lived time in Colorado. The Bills have a solid contributor who will definitely fit the pound the rock ethos.
Chase Edmonds, RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 year, $1.1 Million) We never got to see what Chase could do in Denver and maybe that’s a good thing if his seasons with Miami are anything to go by. I’m sure he’ll do well in Tampa’s pass heavy offence as a backup catching back.
Eric Tomlinson, TE - Free Agent Most of you have probably never heard of Eric Tomlinson and there's a good reason for that. He’s also still without a team after signing with the Texans for 15 days back in March.
Darius Phillips, CB - Houston Texans (1 year, $1 Million) Darius got a few snaps on defence but spent most of his time on special teams, a rather average contributor by any metric but does have a fair amount of starting experience in the league.
Brett Rypien, QB - Los Angeles Rams (1 year, $1 Million) Broncos fans love this guy. He’s not good at football in a practical sense and he’s likely not going to help the Rams secure any wins but he’s a really smart dude and most likely a future coach. Not to mention its fun to say “Let ‘Em Ryp” if he does ever play.
Corliss Waitman, P - New England Patriots (1 year, $1 Million) There is no chance this man will be playing for the Patriots in 2023. Punting for Denver should be quite easy compared to most of the league but Waitman set out to prove us all wrong on that one. Easily the worst punter I’ve seen in Denver for a good few years.
Lamar Jackson, CB - Kansas City Chiefs (1 year, $1 Million) Lamar didn’t really get an opportunity to feature in Denver, I’m fairly sure he’ll be a camp body in KC as well so there’s not much to add on this one.
Although we let a lot of players leave, I think we managed to re-sign the most important of all the players with contracts expiring.
Alex Singleton, MLB (3 year, $18 Million) I’m telling you now, this man is elite. His season started a little slow but he came to town with 21-tackles (19 solo) against Divisional Rivals the LA Chargers. He did a similar thing in week 15 vs the Rams where he totalled another 20 tackles.
Overall I think Singleton is starting to peak and turn into a real force in this league.
Kareem Jackson, S (1 year, $1.3 Million) Kareem has far exceeded the expectations Broncos fans had for him when he joined from Houston in 2019. Initially as a corner and later taking over a strong safety Jackson has been brilliant, his heavy hitting style has made him a fan favourite and I’m pleased to see him back yet again.
Cameron Fleming, T (1 year, $2.3 Million) Fleming was a decent enough back up for the team in 2022 that unfortunately ended up starting more than everyone would have wanted. He’s a great depth addition to bring back, let's hope it remains a depth option though.
With so many departures comes a long list of new faces for the Broncos. 13 new players joined in free agency and whilst some are better than others there’s certainly been a clear direction that Sean Payton is heading in. big men, very big men.
Mike McGlinchey, RT - (5 year, $87.5 Million) I’ve been a big McGlinchey fan since the days of his nasty Notre Dame O-Line, where he lined up alongside Quenton Nelson. Mike’s play for the 49ers whilst good has had some rather concerning points with his lack of success vs speed rushers being the overwhelmingly obvious. We’re reaching a point where McGlinchey is living off of his college performances much like Jadeveon Clowney is still renowned for “the hit”. I do believe mcGlinchey will look like a hall of famer in comparison to every Broncos Right Tackle of the past 10 years and I do believe he’ll be successful in what the Broncos want to do which is run the ball down your throat. Denver has stability at both tackle positions and that’s only going to be a positive.
Ben Powers, G - (4 year, $52 Million) The quickest path to the quarterback is the straightest. It’s important Wilson is protected from the interior of his pocket and Ben certainly has powers in that department. I don’t think it would be an understatement to call Ben Powers elite in pass pro and whilst his run blocking seems to be improving it's not fantastic. Nonetheless I think this is very similar to the McGlinchey situation where we’ve slightly overpaid but the team will have a massive upgrade at Guard.
Zach Allen, DE - (3 year, $45.75 Million) I like Allen but the concern for me here is this past year was a career year for him, and with such a small sample size of good but not elite play I struggle with the idea that he will repeat his 2022 success in 2023. His contract doesn’t appear to be overly friendly either with $19 Million in 2024 cap scheduled in the books along with half of his 2025 salary guaranteed as well.
I don’t think he’ll be a bad signing, his familiarity with DC and former Broncos HC Vance Joseph will be a good thing but for the 3rd signing in a row, and perhaps the most egregious the Broncos have overpaid for their man.
Jarrett Stidham, QB (2 year, $10 Million) I like this move a lot, Stidham is a high end back up who can provide enough of a threat to Russ that he can win games in Denver if called upon. In reality he’s a backup but a back up you can certainly have confidence in.
Chris Manhertz, TE (2 year, $6 Million) I liked the Stidham signing, I love the Manhertz signing. He’s not flashy and he isn’t going to show up anywhere with big stats, however Manhertz has consistently been an elite blocking tight end for years and its players like him that make the difference on short yardage situations.
Samaje Perine, RB (2 year, $7.5 Million) This seems to be another Sean Payton inspired move. Initially Perine was never thought of as a back who could catch out of the backfield but his year spent with Cool guy Joe Burrow in Cincinnati has shown he’s more than capable of being that guy. Working in a committee alongside Javonte Williams should bring success to this lifeless Denver offense in 2023.
Michael Burton, FB (1 year, $1.3 Million) Burton has played for Sean Payton before and that will be incredibly useful for obvious reasons. Burton has been a blocking fullback for most of his career but has shown the ability to run and catch when called upon. I like this move and its a clear upgrade on Beck.
Tremon Smith, CB/Returner (2 year, $5 Million) If Smith is only going to be a returner then I think Denver have once again overpaid for a player coming off a bad year in a position declining in value. I do think Smith can rebound and have the type of year he’s been having since 2018. Not to mention there isn’t a chance Smith can be anywhere near as bad as Montrell Washington had been in 2022.
Riley Dixon, P (2 year, $3.5 Million) Riley was drafted by Denver in 2016 before being traded to the Giants a few years down the line. Despite the advantageous altitude in Denver, Dixon wasn’t a very good punter for the team in his 2 seasons. However, in a move that shows how bad this team really has been Dixon will still be a big improvement over Corliss Waitman and thus this needs to be considered an upgrade.
Marquez Callaway, WR (1 year, $1.1 Million) Former Sean Payton disciple Callaway reuniting in Denver is a good thing from my perspective. During Payton’s last season in New Orleans Callaway managed to put up 6 touchdowns in 46 receptions. The Broncos have a busy WR room but its a room that is yet to be healthy together so this move makes sense from all angles.
Kyle Fuller, C (1 year, $1.1 Million) I don’t expect Fuller to see the field unless there’s another injury disaster as he’s arguably 3rd on the depth chart. I’m glad the team have started to add some much needed depth but there’s also a solid chance that Fuller doesn’t Fill out the roster in 2023.
Following free agency most Broncos fans felt the team needed some further reinforcements but with so few picks available to start the 2023 NFL Draft many were left wondering what kind of magic George Paton could cook up to fill the team with contributing players.
#63: Marvin Mims, WR (Oklahoma) I don’t think anybody foresaw the Broncos trading up in the 2nd round to take a wide receiver. And whilst it's not a huge need, especially with the depth addition of Marquez Callaway in free agency, I do think it's a very good pick.
K.J. Hamler has failed to stay fit and this all but spells the end for his time in Denver in my opinion. It’s no wonder the Broncos front office couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a player with 4.38 speed and a 2-year college average of 20 yards per reception. I can see his ability to line up anywhere coming in very handy in a high motion Denver offense.
What I find spectacular about Mims is his ability to genuinely do everything. He can take the top off a defense, take screens in space for first downs, and generally play well in the short, medium and long game. There'll be some minor concerns over a Oklahoma running limited route trees but given Payton’s creativity and the likelihood of being moved around to capitalize on speed mismatches I don’t really feel those concerns are overly warranted.
#67: Drew Sanders, LB (Arkansas) I think Sanders has a real shot of being the best player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft when we look back in a few years time. He was a 5-star recruit at Alabama before transferring to Arkansas in 2022. Nick Saban has since said last summer that Sanders “probably would have started” for Alabama in one of the deepest pass rushing units in college. Ultimately he starred for the Razorbacks where his athletic prowess, versatility and toughness helped him notch up 9.5 Sacks (2nd in SEC) and 103 tackles.
His ability to play inside and outside will delight Vance Joseph who will end up using him very heavily in blitz packages from both the edge and middle linebacker positions. Ultimately we’re relying on a player's superior athletic abilities to give him the edge until he learns the nuances of NFL football.
His tackle consistency vs the run needs heavy improvement if he wants to be a 3-down player for Denver at either the edge or inside linebacker positions. Part of his problem so far has been a tendency to bite on fakes and misdirections and although his athleticism has managed to shine through at the College level it won’t be as successful at the NFL level.
#83: Riley Moss, CB (Iowa) Moss, in theory, has everything you would look for in an NFL corner with the exception of real top end speed. He’s tall and rangey with good tackling instincts but there are some shortcomings which will likely affect his NFL future as a cornerback. Moss typically leaves a bit too much cushion in zone coverage which can lead to explosive receivers leaving him in the dust. In man coverage he’ll often leave the underneath to compensate for his lack of top end speed; his aforementioned tackling skills at least thrive here.
His run support is likely going to make him a real runner for the slot corner position in zone packages but his shortcomings may also lead to Vance Joseph wanting to move him to safety eventually. The biggest advantage he has going forward is his versatility otherwise he may end up as a special teams contributor only.
#183: JL Skinner, S (Boise State) Drafted predominantly for his size, Skinner stands at 6’4, hits hard and plays to his strengths. Against the run Skinner performs admirably and has fantastic angles when pursuing the runner. In coverage he’s equally as solid with the ball skills to force interceptions and pass breakups.
I can only see Skinner on a trajectory to the top and I'm excited to see him in Denver. Ultimately it will be his responsibility to cover Travis Kelce, Michael Mayer and Gerald Everett twice a year.
#257: Alex Forsyth, C (Oregon) I think the Broncos wanted to draft a center, I don’t believe that man was supposed to be Alex Forsyth. Whilst he’s good value for the 7th round, I imagine they would have rather had the opportunity to take John Michael Schmitz or Joe Tippmann. I’m not sure how this pick is going to work out. On one hand I can see him being part of the same dominant force that allowed his backs ro average 5 yards per play in Oregon but on the other hand he’s a penalty machine much like Garrett Bolles was to start his career.
Overall I think the Broncos did the best they could with the selections they had. It would have been nice to see a tackle for the first time in 6 years or another running back to support Javonte and Samaje.
My concerns with the class is that although they're talented they weren't all the biggest needs this off season.
I can see all of them with the exception of Forsyth becoming a contributing level talent with Denver and over the course of their rookie contracts.
Ultimately this is how I see the roster breaking down:
QB: Russell Wilson, Jarett Stidham, Ben DiNucci HB: Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Tony Jones jr. FB: Michael Burton WR: Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims jr, Marquez Callaway TE: Greg Dulcich, Adam Trautman, Albert Okwuegbunam, Chris Manhertz OT: Garett Bolles, Mike McGlinchey, Cam Fleming, Isaiah Prince, Quinn Bailey IOL: Ben Powers, Quin Meinerz, Lloyd Cushenberry, Alex Forsyth, Luke Wattenberg, Kyle Fuller. DL: Zach Allen, Jonathan Harris, Eyioma Uwazurike, Jonathan Cooper, D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell LOLB: Randy Gregory, Baron Browning MLB: Alex Singleton, Josey Jewell, Drew Sanders, Justin Strnad, Jonas Griffith ROLB: Nik Bonnito, Aaron Patrick CB: Pat Surtain II, Damarri Mathis, Riley Moss, K’Waun Williams, Tremon Smith FS: Justin Simmons, Jamar Johnson, Caden Sterns SS: JL Skinner, Kareem Jackson
K: TBD P: Riley Dixon R: Tremon Smith LS: Mitchell Fraboni
There’s probably one big name missing here and that’s K.J. Hamler, who I think will get cut or traded before week 1.
Moving forward into 2023 and the 2024 off season there are a few positions Denver still need to worry about. There’s huge question marks over the ability of Russell Wilson and whether he still has the ability to play at the highest level.
We’ve also got question marks at running back with Javonte Williams coming off a huge injury. Our WR room has a lot of unknowns after Courtland Suttons failure to rediscover his form after his ACL injury whilst teammate Tim Patrick is also recovering from the same injury suffered this past season.
The offensive line still needs addressing as Lloyd Cushenberry often gets bullied in the trenches and Garrett Bolles may revert under another new offensive line coach, so far Mike Munchak is the only man to get a respectable tune from the former first round pick.
Moving on to defense and there’s less issues but still big weaknesses. I’d like to see us invest more in the defensive line and outside linebacker positions with Cooper, Bonnito, Browning and Gregory all relatively unknown in a Broncos uniform.
Ultimately if I had to narrow it down the focus going forward needs to be on center, defensive end and quarterback if things will russ doesn’t improve.
Ultimately there was a lot to like about the Broncos off season changes and everything seems to be pointing towards a more successful, creative team in 2023. We look to have added steel where it mattered across the offensive line and signing Sean Payton could prove to be the biggest acquisition of the all.
Ironically, this series is called defending the draft and that’s what I’ve struggled to do here the most. I like the class, I think there’s some high impact players there for sure, but I’ve come away wishing we’d filled some other key areas a little bit better. Ultimately you can’t always have the board fall as you want it and it’s a huge improvement from the classes John Elway managed to put together.
Thank you for reading my Denver Broncos draft/off season review. I filled in as a last minute replacement so hopefully this manages to hit the right spot for everyone.
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2023.06.02 22:17 ILoveSayoriMore I just failed a young fledgling and I feel awful.
After I got home today from a dentist appointment, I noticed while stepping out of my car, there was a black spotted bird on the ground, and it’s nest was fallen.
It was just… sitting there, trying to get the flies and bugs off of it.
I felt so bad. So I immediately went inside to put gloves on and put it in a small box. I immediately made a couple of calls to try to figure if I could take it somewhere safe.
Couple of googles later, I found it was a woodpecker, not sure which kind, but it was. Later, I’d learn it was a Hairy Woodpecker.
It was so active, and even pecked the walls of the box. It was cute. I eventually found a place who would help it, and made a rush to get there.
It was still active during the ride and I had a friend help drive so I could keep it comfy and awake.
When we finally arrived though, he was dead.
Apparently, the best guess was he split his head open when he fell since he had some red spots there— and more so, the bugs gave him maggots so he was suffering the whole time.
The lady who worked there told me that sometimes, when it gets that bad, they look for a place to be comfy and die. So at least I provided that.
I’m a bleeding heart in ways I didn’t think I was. I love animals, but this is the first time I’ve tried to save a bird, and along with it, the first time I failed.
I am torn up about it. I honestly feel crying over a bird. I wish he got to live and could’ve been saved. I know I did all I could, but I can’t imagine what he was feeling the whole time. Would he have just been better off if I didn’t mess with him?
Regardless, I can’t do anything about it now.
Rest well, little fella.
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2023.06.02 21:53 thecoolgooddoer The Biggoron sword doesn't do as much damage as displayed. It does slightly more
This is a repost of my own post from a few days ago, with an addendum added and some errors fixed.
TL;DR: I spent way too long testing damage against a red lynel and accidentally discovered that the Biggoron
sword actually does 2 more damage than specified. Also the second test was miscounted due to tiredness.
In botw, a red lynel has 2000 hp.
In totk, I killed a red lynel using solely the Biggoron
sword (which does 36 damage per hit) and it took 53 hits exactly (all done in flurry rushes) totalling 1908 damage.
I also separately tested when climbing on its back using the Biggoron
sword and a zonaite
bow with the "quick shot" modifier to stun it for mounting - 60 damage per headshot.
It took 10 headshots and 32 hits on its back, totalling 1752 damage.
However, the previous test suggested a lower limit on hp of 1872, 120 more damage than it took to kill it when mounting - which means that either the lynel has varied health, headshots do more than double damage, my armour was somehow affecting something or there is a slight damage increase from hitting a lynel on its back.
None of my shots with the bow weren't headshots, and every hit in the second test was either a headshot or a mounted attack. My shield was having no effect, as it was a royal shield with nothing attached and the durability up + modifier.
My armour was as follows - Hylian hood with the hood down, Champion's Leathers, Hylian trousers.
So I went back and tried both tests with no armour:
Flurry rushes - still 53 hits, again totalling 1908 damage
Shooting - 11 headshots and 36 mounted attacks, totalling 1956 damage
The last hit in the second test was mounted, meaning it should have done 36 damage, putting it at 1920 damage taken before recieving the last hit, above the upper limit established by the flurry rush tests, so clearly something is going on.
I don't think it is varied health - the consistency in the flurry rush tests disproves that theory
It seems the armour had some kind of effect, either on the bow or on the mounted attacks
It also seems that either headshots or mounted attacks have some shenanigans making them not do the expected damage
So I went back and did the armoured tests again, finding the same consistent result in flurry rushing, but requiring 11 headshots and 36 mounted attacks, just like the unarmoured test.
So unless I miscounted the first time, it seems there is some inconsistency in how much damage either headshots or mounted attacks do to a lynel, and they clearly don't do how much damage I thought they'd do. The lynel used is the first lynel in the floating coliseum, no armour was upgraded at all and it is past 11pm so i think I've had enough science for today. Thank you for reading.
Addendum with further testing when I wasn't tired:
I did some more testing, using the scimitar of the seven
with a blue horriblin horn attached, totalling 50 damage per hit (because of strong fusion
) and a rusty broadsword with a white-maned lynel saber horn
attached, totalling 49 damage exactly (it had no modifier or inherent effect)
Outside of flurry rushes:
- 40 hits with 50 damage per hit was enough to kill (totalling 2000 hp, with a lower limit of 1951)
- 39 hits with 50 damage per hit + 1 hit with 49 damage, totalling 1999 damage, was not enough to kill it. Throwing an apple finished him off from that.
With flurry rushes:
- 40 hits with 50 damage per hit to kill again, same as before.
- 39 hits with 50 damage + 1 with 49 still left him low enough to die from an apple. All damage except the apple was done within flurry rushes
I guess I was just tired when making the original post, and counting the hits. Or the Biggoron
sword does more damage than advertised. No armour, shield or bow was equipped in these tests, eliminating any potential error from that, and I had no buffs active.
This time, after some consideration, I have deduced that the Zonaite
bow may have caused some issues, as it has a charge move that increases range
. I have tested if this affects damage, by shooting a flux construct III in bullet time:
- Uncharged - 5mm off its healthbar (by gently pressing a 15cm ruler against my screen
- Charged for 1 battery's worth - still 5mm
- Charged for 4 battery's worth - still 5mm
It seems charge time has no (or negligible) effect on damage for the zonaite bow. Miniboss used was at thunderhead isles
I have now tested damage with the bow on the lynel when using just headshots and no bullet time - used a mighty zonaite shield with durability up + to open him up for easy headshots, and it took 34 headshots - 2040 damage, with a minimum of 1981 hp. This agrees with with the pure melee attacks, so it's time for the mounted part.
9 headshots, totalling 540 damage from those. 30 mounted attacks, totalling 1500 from those, for an overall damage of 2040 damage. With the last hit being melee, that puts him at a minimum of 1991 - this matches up with what we saw previously.
I have eliminated armour, mounted attacks, headshots, the bow I'm using and flurry rushes as potential sources of error. The only remaining variables are the Biggoron
sword and my own tiredness during the original test.
That leaves only one thing - test again with the Biggoron
sword now that I am not tired.
Pure, unmodified, unfused Biggoron
sword, supposedly doing 36 damage per hit, took exactly:
- 53 hits to kill using flurry rushes
- 53 hits to kill outside of flurry rushes
Well, I guess we eliminated my tiredness from it, as those are the same as I got using it during the original test, both totalling 1908 damage (supposedly).
So, what we found out from this is that the Biggoron
sword does more damage than it says on the pause screen, instead doing approximately 38 damage per hit (2000/53 = 37.7 and 38 X 52 = 1976, below the hp of the lynel).
Time to test it with a fusion!
I have now fused it with a frox fang
, to get it to 50 damage, as stated on the pause screen. Upon testing, by attempting to get 39 hits followed by 1 hit with a 49 damage weapon, as seen at the start of this addendum. This should leave it with 1 hp remaining, so that it dies from an apple.
It died on the 39th hit with the Biggoron
sword. This should have been 1950 damage. Not quite enough to kill. But, if we multiply 52 (2 more than what is stated, and how much it would do if its base damage were 38) by 39, we get 2028, over our threshold and low enough that one less hit would not kill it.
I will now test with a different fuse material, Hinox horn
. This should result in a damage of 48 per hit, but we know by now that isn't the case. After 39 hits, it still lives. 1 hit with the 49 damage sword from before after that, it still lives. 1 apple after that, it dies.
sword does 2 more damage than displayed in the pause menu. Everything in this post and comment can be recreated fairly easily yourself to prove/disprove it, but I know for certain that the game does not correctly display damage, at least not for this one weapon.
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2023.06.02 21:53 ElLechero Weekly Question and Answer Thread for: 6/2 - 6/9: Ask your Moving, Visiting, Neighborhood, and "Where Can I Find _____" questions here, instead of making a new post
Please ask any Denver-related questions here, but it would be a good idea to search the sub and read our FAQ
before doing so -- many of your questions have likely already been answered. A little research will allow you ask more detailed questions which will get you better answers. If you want a quick answer or just to chat, check out the /Denver discord server.
Here is a short list of topics frequently asked about on Denver
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Ratio of women to men e.g., "Is Denver 'Menver' " Census data
spoiler answer: no.
Covid-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus) Information:Colorado Subreddit: CoronavirusColorado
/ /denver and /CoronaVirusColorado Combined Feed Denver Area COVID-19 Resources and News Megapost IV - More Information in /CoronavirusColorado
State National Resources: Colorado.gov Information Nationwide Map by Johns Hopkins
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2023.06.02 21:50 WhiteBoxStudio Seeking feedback on first chapter of general fantasy novel. [3,667 words]
Thank you very much in advance.
At the crossroads of shattered dreams and whispered promises, Iria, the fabled port city, stood as a testament to the bittersweet allure of freedom. Like the thorny embrace of a briar, its streets intertwined with the hopes and sorrows of generations. It was here, amidst the misty twilight that caressed the cobblestones, that the Briar Thorn Tavern emerged from the depths of history, a sanctuary for weary souls seeking solace from the burdens of existence. Within its timeworn walls, the essence of Iria's foundation permeated the air, as if the tavern itself carried the weight of the city's destiny.
The Briar Thorn was more than a mere tavern—it was a haven, a hearth that welcomed the downtrodden, the restless, and the lost. Its aged beams, polished by countless hands, exuded the warmth of an ancestral embrace. The whispers of ancient tales echoed in every nook and cranny, intertwining with the hushed murmurs of patrons seeking refuge from the tempestuous world outside. Here, adventurers found respite, their journeys converging in a symphony of shared experiences.
Deep beneath the streets of Iria, a labyrinthine network of tunnels and caverns whispered secrets of a forgotten past. Legends spoke of the Nords, who sculpted these subterranean realms with a mystical glow that once illuminated the city above. Whispers carried the stories of Gillikristr, the visionary founder of Iria, whose sacrifice quelled the unearthly power that threatened to consume the city. Within this hidden realm, the House of the Red Grave stood as a poignant reminder of the struggle for emancipation. Weathered gravestones, adorned with intricate carvings, paid homage to the Caledonian and Iournenain slaves who dared to defy their chains.
As the doors of the Briar Thorn swung open, a kaleidoscope of sensations flooded the senses. Thorny roses, reminiscent of the House of the Red Grave, adorned the tavern, their crimson petals an homage to the sacrifices made for freedom. Within, the cavernous chamber unfolded like an amphitheater, its tiers of benches teeming with anticipation. Laughter mingled with the resonant notes of musicians, filling the air with a vibrant symphony of revelry.
In this enchanted realm, patrons embarked on a journey beyond the boundaries of mundane existence. The Briar Thorn embraced them, weaving their stories into the tapestry of Iria's ever-evolving narrative. It was a place where the past danced with the present, where the weight of the world momentarily lifted, and where the echoes of forgotten heroes found solace in the hearts of the living.
Adorned in her finest party attire, Isabel navigated the bustling crowd, fiery curls flowing like molten copper, half pinned up and half dancing freely in the wind. Her lute accompanied her, while she, a half-dwarf, wore a unique half-leather, half-silk bodice dress in eggshell white-yellow, adorned with red trim. A wide belt cinched her waist, with a well-maintained sword hanging at her hip. With ethereal grace, she weaved through the throng until finding solace in a quiet corner of the lively pub, fixated on an intricately engraved ledger.
Dust motes mingled with the blue-white illumination of the lamppost, as the pub owner's middle daughter opened the book and studied its contents. Her green eyes fixated on precise rows of figures. A faint murmur escaped her lips, a silent conversation with the ghosts of numbers.
Her mischievous grin curved upon porcelain features, reflecting the intrigue that stirred within her. With a single finger, she traced a curving figure on her account, a sly grin curling into an incredulous smile. The past month had been exceptional, favored patrons generously bestowing their coins. A mysterious benefactor, surely taking notice.
'Och gods...the ink's bleedin' through,' Isabel thought to herself. The accounts, usually orderly and precise, now seemed to mirror the joyful chaos surrounding her.
'Guess I'd best get this in order before folk start gettin' drunk an' cause too much a' ruckus...'
After nearly several minutes of writing she leaned back in her chair, stretched, and yawned hard. Her weary green eyes glanced over the darkening floor of the inn, and she raised a hand to rub at her jaw. She tried her her best to avoid the calls of the raucous crowd in favor of getting the ledgers out of the way.
It was to no avail. The strain of the work clearly taking its toll, she let out a determined sig and closed the ledger, setting it aside with the intention to revisit it.
Isabel's gaze shifted from the ledger book to the adorned walls. Festive decorations filled every corner, transforming the tavern into a celebration itself. The tantalizing aromas from the kitchen hinted at delightful treats prepared with extra care, each dish a tribute to the upcoming revelry. Amidst the lively crowd, vibrant decorations, and alluring scents, Isabel felt a sense of purpose and excitement. It was clear that a grand festival was approaching, and she was determined to create unforgettable memories for the attendees.
With a resigned sigh, Isabel straightened herself, her red stilettos scraping the stone floor as she prepared for her tavern rounds. Her green eyes sparkled with determination as she surveyed The Briar Thorn's lively atmosphere. Adjusting her party outfit, she ensured every detail was perfect. This was her moment to shine, to captivate the hearts of those gathered. Stepping forward as the tavern doors swung open, she embraced the spirited celebration that awaited her and the people of Iria.
"Guid evenin' tae ye all! Ye're lookin' bonnie, ye are. Micht I tempt ye wi' a warmin' ale or a cool stout? Or maybe a cider? We've a special brew fer ye tonight. Our cider's been aged in dragon fire-hardened casks."
In the midst of the vibrant tavern, all eyes converged on the resplendent figure that graced the stage of the Briar Thorn. A flame-haired maiden, adorned with an intricate tapestry of freckles, commanded attention with each movement, a testament to her practiced grace and unyielding confidence. The air crackled with anticipation as the bard's emerald eyes met those of her audience, mischief sparkling within their depths. With a playful wink, she set off a chorus of hearty laughter, an orchestration of mirth resonating through the space.
Among the sea of eager faces, a burly man, boasting a thick black beard and wielding an imposing war hammer, raised a hand, his voice booming above the fray. "I'll take two."
Suppressing a contagious burst of laughter, Isabel delicately clasped a hand over her lips, a radiant smile illuminating her features. "Two ciders, then, comin' up," she responded with a melodious lilt.
Unyielding in their desire for libations, another voice chimed in, belonging to a stern-looking woman whose scowl mirrored the sharpness of the war axe slung across her back. Leaning forward in her chair, she waved her hand, demanding attention. "We'll take two as well."
The large man, undeterred by the rising clamor, added his voice to the mix. "Three, then. And a pitcher of your best stout, if you would be so kind."
Amidst the boisterous revelry, the tavern erupted in a chorus of laughter, cascading like a waterfall of mirth. Isabel, ever the enchantress of the stage, acknowledged the uproar with a graceful bow at the waist, her every movement a testament to her showmanship. "Of course. I'll tend to that in a moment," she assured, a playful wink accentuating her words. "Now, as I was sayin', I'll get yer orders in a minute."
A burly man, his eyes twinkling with mischievous delight, directed his attention toward Isabel, a crooked smile gracing his lips as he ran a hand through his bushy beard. A war hammer nonchalantly slung over his shoulder and a massive war axe tucked in his belt added to his formidable presence. "Hey Izzie, yer gonna be performing tonight? Or do I need tae bless the dancers again?"
In response, Isabel's laughter danced through the air, a joyous melody in harmony with the crackling firelight. "Nah, I'm performin' tonight. Though ye might have tae beat my record," she teased, her voice laced with a playful challenge. A sly wink directed at her brother punctuated her words. "I think I might set a new one."
The burly man's eyes widened, their dark depths shimmering with excitement. "Aye? That's impressive! That's better than our last record. Did ye hear about that?"
Isabel's curiosity piqued, her emerald eyes narrowing as she shielded them from the flickering firelight, sweeping the room in search of answers. "No, I dinnae," she replied, her voice filled with anticipation. "Who was it?"
With a conspiratorial lean forward, the man shared his knowledge in a hushed tone, as if guarding a precious secret. "Our new patron. We're to be blessed by him tonight. We've a few others too, but the lads were talking about him earlier."
A spark of excitement ignited within Isabel, her voice taking on a hushed tone to match the weight of the revelation. "A patron? That's wonderful! Who is he? Does he have a name?"
Isabel's vibrant emerald eyes widened with eager anticipation as the burly man confirmed the identity of the mysterious patron.
A man with hazel eyes, clad in an intricately embroidered jacket and pants of fine silk, strode confidently toward the stage. The crimson-lacquered armor that adorned his form seemed to shimmer in the light, like the ruby at the end of a rosebud. A regal demeanor seemed to permeate every gesture as he surveyed the crowd, his posture betraying the confidence of his stature. With an easy grace, he settled on a chair, his eyes locking with those of Isabel's. A smile played on his lips as he motioned for her to join him, a clear command in his demeanor.
A wide smile stretched across her face, illuminating her freckled visage. "He's a bard like me?" she exclaimed, her voice laced with excitement. "I cannae wait!"
With a quizzical expression, the man raised an eyebrow, leaning in closer to share a whispered revelation. "Not exactly," he revealed, his tone tinged with intrigue. "He's quite different. I don't think you'll see many of his kind at The Briar Thorn, if you know what I mean."
Isabel nodded, her curiosity now piqued, her mind conjuring visions of the enigmatic newcomer. "I do. I've been told they're rare," she confided, a soft giggle escaping her lips. "I wonder what he looks like? I hope he's not one a' them."
In response, the man chuckled, his cheeks flushing as he met her infectious smile. "I doubt it. He should be back in a few. Left his ledger with Gerik."
The mention of the ledger prompted Isabel to stifle another burst of laughter, her hand pressed against her mouth. "Och, that was his? I was in there earlier, and it's a mess," she admitted, a mischievous glimmer in her eyes.
The man's face contorted into a perplexed grimace, his confusion evident. "Aye? You looked like it was all in order." He shook his head, puzzled. "Weird. Guess he's just new... though that doesn't explain why he speaks so... peculiarly. Claims he's from Draigfell, yet he talks like he's from a different continent."
Isabel chuckled, her voice laced with amusement. "He's from the north. Maybe he's more... formal? Aye, that sounds like it," she pondered, her eyes distant as she mulled over the possibilities.
The man shrugged, leaning back in his chair, his tone one of indifference. "Aye, that makes sense." He raised his hand and signaled to a busty lass who was weaving through the crowd toward the bar.
Eyes glued to the mysterious patron, intrigued, Isabel leaned forward with her curiosity eager to unveil the mysteries surrounding the enigmatic Micah. "Aye? What does he say?" she inquired, her tone infused with genuine interest.
With a bemused shrug, the man struggled to articulate his observations. "Ah... nothing much. Just strange," he confessed, his voice laced with a mixture of intrigue and perplexity. "Maybe he's just not used to taverns."
The burly man, his eyes glimmering with excitement, clasped Isabel's shoulder and pulled her into a warm embrace. "He's coming back here later tae join us. Maybe ye can find out why this Micah fellow left us so much gold. You'll have tae tell me later."
A smile blossomed across Isabel's features as she leaned forward and hugged her brother tightly. "I will," she promised, her eyes twinkling with joy. "But I cannae tell ye why ye're getting so much coin."
"We'll figure it out, ye'll see. Ye better get ready to perform," he insisted. "An' get that ledger in order."
Isabel nodded and turned toward the kitchen, her steps sure and graceful. "Aye, I will," she assured. "I'll be back with yer drinks soon."
With a parting smile, Isabel gracefully glided toward the kitchen, her freckled face glowing in the flickering light. The tapestry of laughter and merrymaking resonated within her as she emerged, ready to fulfill her promise of delivering three orders. The Briar Thorn Tavern thrived with the boisterous banter of adventurers, their stories and camaraderie filling every nook. Amidst the lively crowd, Isabel weaved her way, greeted by a raising mug and reciprocating with a mischievous wink. Laughter harmonized with the crackling firelight, but her focus remained on the enigmatic patron.
After deftly fulfilling the orders and sating the thirst of eager patrons, Isabel embarked on a purposeful journey toward the table where the enigmatic Micah sat. A flicker of anticipation ignited within her, a fire stoked by the allure of the unknown. Every step she took exuded a captivating showmanship, a ballet of grace and poise. As her emerald eyes met his hazel gaze, a current of intrigue surged through her veins, ensnaring her curiosity in its enigmatic grasp.
Approaching with measured elegance, Isabel bestowed upon him a subtle bow, a testament to her refined demeanor practiced countless times. Her movements, like a finely choreographed dance, exuded an air of cultivated grace. The sweep of her arm and the dip of her head were executed with precise control, each gesture crafted to convey both respect and a hint of playful intrigue. It was a performance perfected through countless repetitions, a display of practiced finesse that now played out before Micah's watchful gaze.
"It's good to see ye're 'ere," said Micah, his tone measured and confident, his Draig accent adding a sing-song lilt to his words. His hazel eyes glimmered with intrigue as he studied her, a curious smile gracing his features. "I see Gerik raised 'is children well. 'ow are ye feelin'?"
Isabel's eyes narrowed as she scrutinized his face, studying him as if she were peering into the depths of his soul. Her demeanor remained composed as she regarded the enigmatic Micah. "I'm fine. We've been talkin' about ye," she admitted as she twirled a lock of hair between her fingers.
Micah nodded, his posture betraying his composure. "I'm sure ye have," he said.
'Ah dinnae know ye," Isabelle asked, twirling a lock of hair between her fingers. "Do ye want me tae get ye somethin' tae eat?"
"I'm fine," Micah said, as he brushed off the concern with a casual flick of his hand, his grin spreading like sunlight on a dew-kissed meadow. The charm in his words danced with the musicality of a whispered melody, ensnaring Isabel's attention further into his web. "I'm Micah, a fa'miliar face 'at 'as graced these walls fer twenty-five years. The bonds o' friendship 'ave woven through the tapestry o' time, connectin' yer family and mine in a shared 'istory."
"So ye're a bard, like me," Isabel exclaimed, her eyes dancing with excitement and anticipation. "I've heard rumors of yer arrival at the tavern. Tell me, what 'appened tae yer band? Where have they gone?"
"I'm the last o' me band," Micah admitted, a tinge of melancholy seeping into his voice as he reminisced about his companions. "They were swept away by a tempest, lost to the unforgiving storm. I miss them dearly. They still visit me in dreams," he confided, a solitary tear glistening in his expressive eye.
Isabel's voice resonated with warmth and empathy as she extended her condolences. "I'm truly sorry tae hear o' yer loss," she offered sincerely. "Ye dinnae speak much 'bout yerself, but I'm eager tae know ye better. How 'bout we share a meal together? We can talk and ye can share yer story."
"That would be delightful," Micah replied, his countenance softening as he bestowed her with a genuine smile. "I would enjoy that greatly."
A genuine smile graced Isabel's freckled visage, brimming with delight. "Wonderful! I'll fetch ye a meal," she promised, her voice tinged with enthusiasm. "What tickles yer fancy?"
"Anything will suffice," Micah responded, his tone imbued with sincere interest. "I have the coin. I'll be waitin' 'ere for ye."
Isabel's smile blossomed as she nodded in agreement, his genuine tone assuring her of his welcome. She directed her attention towards the bustling kitchen, her mind ablaze with thoughts of crafting a delectable menu for her newfound companion. The tantalizing scent of freshly prepared cuisine mingled with the symphony of clinking pots and pans, captivating Isabel's senses.
'I reckon a savory meat pie or a plate of spiced vegetables would be to his likin'. I don't think he's fond of overly spicy fare.'
Isabel's imagination swirled with culinary possibilities as she surveyed the kitchen, her eyes darting between the diligent kitchen staff and the array of tantalizing ingredients. Contemplating her options, hands confidently resting on her hips, she made her way towards the bustling heart of the kitchen, her gaze lingering on the savory treasures at hand.
After careful consideration, Isabel selected the perfect meal that would both cater to Micah's palate and ignite his taste buds with delight. A sly smile played upon her lips as she emerged from the kitchen, carrying a plate brimming with culinary delights. The aroma of the freshly prepared feast permeated the air, adding to the festive ambiance of the tavern.
With a warm smile gracing her features, Isabel approached Micah, the alluring scent of the food enveloping them. "Here ye are!" she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling with anticipation. "I've got somethin' special for ye. Ye're bound tae love it."
"I have no doubt," Micah assured her, his curiosity piqued as he returned her smile. "Thank ye kindly."
Placing the plate before him, Isabel gestured towards the enticing dish, her eyes shimmering with excitement. "Go on now! Give it a try!" she encouraged eagerly. "It's one o' the tavern's finest specialties."
As his gaze fixated upon the presented meal, Micah's eyes widened in pleasant surprise. "A fine choice," he acknowledged, curiosity lacing his words. "Though dinnae ye 'ave a performance soon? Shouldn't ye be preparin'?"
"I shall," Isabel urged with a playful glimmer in her eyes. "Just try it."
With a glint of mischief in his eyes, Micah nodded, his fingers gently tracing the contours of the freshly baked crust as he studied the meal before him. "Aye, I will," he assured, his brogue adding a touch of charm. "I'm sure it'll be a feast for the senses."
Isabel's fiery waves of hair, tamed and cascading down her back, framed her face with a wild elegance. She slipped into her performance costume, the fabric embracing her like a second skin, its deep green hue accentuating her curves. The subtle reveal of skin hinted at a hidden sensuality, while the golden cuff, shaped like a wolf's mouth, added an enchanting touch. She could almost feel the spirit of Caledonia whispering through the intricate design, igniting her spirit.
A knock on the dressing room door interrupted her reverie, and the voice of Archie, the stage director, filtered through. "Isabel, are ye ready? The stage awaits."
She turned toward the door, a radiant smile illuminating her face. "Almost there, Archie. Just a few finishing touches."
Stepping out of the dressing room, Isabel found Archiewaiting, his eyes widening with awe at her transformation. His voice softened, filled with admiration. "Isabel, ye look absolutely stunning. The crowd won't ken what hit them."
Isabel's laughter danced through the air, her voice carrying a mixture of excitement and determination. "Thank ye, Archie. But it's not just about the looks. Tonight, I'll weave a tale that'll stir their hearts, ignite their spirits, and leave them yearning for more. Tonight, Caledonia will come alive on this very stage."
Archie, resonating in her words, nodded, his eyes reflecting a profound understanding of her power. "I have nae doubt, Isabel. Ye possess a gift—a voice that carries the stories of our land, the dreams of our people. They'll be captivated, enchanted by yer every note."
Isabel took a final deep breath, feeling the energy of the night pulsating through her veins.
"Together, Archie," Isabel whispered, her voice filled with determination. "Tonight, we'll create magic."
And with that, they stepped into the hallway, the sounds of anticipation and muffled conversation filling the air. The stage awaited, the audience yearned, and Isabel was ready to cast her spell, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those who would join her in this symphony of life.
The curtains drew back, revealing the expectant faces of the crowd, their eyes alight with anticipation. Isabel took her place at the center of the stage, her gaze sweeping across the sea of faces, her voice a velvety caress that cut through the silence.
"Listen closely, mah friends," she began, her voice filled with a tantalizing blend of mystery and longing, her Scottish lilt enchanting every syllable. "For tonight, I shall unveil the hidden melodies that reside within the soul of Iria. Tonight, we embark on a journey of love and loss, triumph and despair. Let yer hearts be swept away by the stories that dance upon the threads of our existence."
And so it began. The tavern exploded with applause as Isabel gracefully stepped to the side of the stage, beckoning to her audience as she sang the opening verse of the ballad. All fell silent as the rain battered the cobblestones outside, protecting the warmth of the firelight.
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2023.06.02 21:43 filt Clonking sound (more than usual)
I have a 1990 Softail Heritage Classic (FLSTC). An EVO Big Twin. I'va had it for about a year, and before that I've had a few other evos. I am fully aware that Harley's make sounds that scare some people.
That said, mine started doing a new kind of sound.
It's a metallic clonking sound, and it appears when I hold the clutch, or when Im in neutral.
It disappears when I let go of the clutch and accelerate. It doesn't come when riding on the road, but it does come when driving slow in the city.
If I stop at a red light, and hold the clutch completely, it makes a lot of noise.
If I let go a little bit of the clutch, so that the bike wants to take off, but I hold the break so it doesn't, the sound disappears. As soon as i press harder on the clutch, the sound is back.
I'm on a longer trip, and I don't have access to a garage at the moment. But I noticed that there is a small crack on the derby cover by one of the bolts, I opened the derby cover, and checked the level. It's lower than it was a week ago, but it's still within what it should be (on the lower end). I can see that there is some leakage by the derby cover.
I'm from Sweden, currently in Sevilla, Spain, heading to Lisbon, Portugal.
Yesterday there was no clonking. This morning there was SOME clonking. Today when I stopped for the evening, there is constant clonking if I drive slow, or stop with the clutch pressed.
Can I have some guesses and ideas about my problem? Could it be because low transmission oil (I'm topping up tomorrow).
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2023.06.02 21:26 Bard_of_Light [Spoilers Extended] LBJ: The Horned Demon of the Trident
Robert's Rebellion Theme Song: The Czar Mastodon
Don't stay; run away He has ordered assassination Don't stay; run away The henchmen are gathered and waiting Don't stay; run away Your role as usurper is found out
This is part of a series exploring the hidden motives and actions of the main players during Robert's Rebellion, named LBJ in reference to the influence of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Vietnam War on GRRM's views and writings on war. LBJ also indicates considerations over whether L
yanna + B
obby B = J
on Snow. Previous installments include:
Previous parts argued that Robert Baratheon was complicit in a plot to overthrow the Targaryen dynasty. This scheme used Rhaegar's mistaken crowning of Lyanna at Harrenhal to form a believable, malicious lie that the crown prince abducted her. Certain members of the infamous STAB alliance, with assistance from the Martells and Tywin Lannister, all secretly conspired together to place a pliable pawn as king, wrestling control from a dynasty that no longer had dragons to enforce their rule. Lurid evidence was given which shows Robert had Rhaegar tortured, as Cersei tortured the Blue Bard, and we also saw more subtle hints that Lyanna herself attempted to avenge her family at the Trident, with the aid of innate skinchanging abilities.
This part aims to provide additional evidence that Robert lived up to his moniker, the Demon
of the Trident, casting him as close to black as grey can get. King Robert is an avatar for all the worst flaws of Westerosi culture, a man enabled to wield massive power who yet skirted any sense of responsibility and chose to commit a mountain of moral transgressions in service to his personal desires.
Robert's face was dark with anger. "How many times must I tell you to hold your tongue, woman?" - A Game of Thrones Eddard X
Cersei's face was a study in contempt. "What a jape the gods have made of us two," she said. "By all rights, you ought to be in skirts and me in mail."
Purple with rage, the king lashed out, a vicious backhand blow to the side of the head. She stumbled against the table and fell hard, yet Cersei Lannister did not cry out. Her slender fingers brushed her cheek, where the pale smooth skin was already reddening. On the morrow the bruise would cover half her face. "I shall wear this as a badge of honor," she announced.
The Horned Demon of the Trident
Next had come King Robert himself, with Lady Stark on his arm. The king was a great disappointment to Jon. His father had talked of him often: the peerless Robert Baratheon, demon of the Trident, the fiercest warrior of the realm, a giant among princes. Jon saw only a fat man, red-faced under his beard, sweating through his silks. He walked like a man half in his cups. - A Game of Thrones Jon I tenor.com/view/gaston-antlers-gif-23720815
Robert Baratheon bears a striking resemblance to Gaston from Beauty & the Beast
, who imprisons his romantic interest and lies to incite violence against a rival. Gaston is driven by jealousy of the Beast and humiliation over Belle's rejection. Disney’s adaptation of Beauty & the Beast
was released in 1991, just five years before A Game of Thrones
was published. Video: Gaston Beauty & the Beast Video: George RR Martin on Writing for Beauty and the Beast
Martin has shown keen interest in Beauty & the Beast
; adapting the tale for TV in the late 80s was a high point of his career. He even named his bookstore in Santa Fe Beast
ly Books, and named the cinema next door for Jean Cocteau, who also adapted the tale and created an earlier version of Gaston
). This concept of kidnapping one’s romantic interest and blaming it on a rival to incite violence also crops up in The Princess Bride
, which Martin has stated is his favorite fantasy film after the Lord of the Rings series
Behaving like Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride
or Gaston from Beauty & the Beast
, driven by rage over the incident at Harrenhal and a family history of Targaryen betrayal, Robert lied about his queen of love and beauty and made Rhaegar out to be a beast, having them both kidnapped (with the help of his allies) but pretending otherwise as a pretext to win the throne. He then had to bury this secret, as he would lose support if it was known that the rebellion was built on such a malicious lie.
Martin is obviously inspired by Disney. In the last part, we showed how the torture of the Blue Bard, ordered by Cersei to extract a confession to undermine Margaery, is meant to reflect the story of Snow White, in which her vain and wicked step-mother is told by a magic mirror that the princess is more beautiful, leading her to send a huntsman to kill her. The huntsman takes Snow White into the deep of the wood but lets her flee, presenting a boar’s heart to the evil queen instead. Similarly, Robert is a huntsman who is killed by a boar, with the aid of strongwine supplied by his evil queen. Additional elements of Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
can be seen in parallels between Robert's only loss at Ashford and Dunk's trial at the Ashford Tourney in The Hedge Knight
When Dunk travels to the Ashford Tourney, he recites lyrics from the Seven Dwarf's song Heigh-ho
Off to Ashford to see the fair maid, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, Dunk thought miserably as he dug.
- The Hedge Knight
Like Snow White had Seven Dwarfs to defend her, Dunk defended himself in a Trial by Seven at the Ashford Tourney, and Rhaegar was accompanied by half a dozen companions when he went missing, enough to defend himself in a Trial by Seven. A troupe of a half dozen comic dwarfs also appear in The Mystery Knight, using pig bladders,
like Robert was piss-drunk when he was killed by a pig. Dunk was championed by Robert's grandfather, Lyonel Baratheon, who defeated Robert
Ashford during the tourney. Lord Lyonel later rebelled against the Iron Throne, after Duncan the Small betrayed the Laughing Storm by breaking off a betrothal to his daughter, similar to how Rhaegar betrayed
Robert by crowning his betrothed at the Harrenhal Tourney
. Duncan the Small's betrayal led Egg to arrange a marriage between his daughter Rhaelle and Lyonel's heir, which put Robert Baratheon in the line of succession; this family history would color
Robert's perception of Rhaegar's betrayal, driving him to improve upon his grandfather's revenge.
Steffon was the name given to Robert Baratheon's father; Dunk was betrayed by red
Fossoway at Ashford, which led his cousin Raymun to create an offshoot branch, the green
-apple Fossoways. A tender, protective Fossoway husband
is used at the Purple Wedding to demonstrate how callous it would have been for Rhaegar to intentionally crown another women with his pregnant, delicate wife Princess Elia present. A poison apple
brings down Snow White, after the evil queen discovers the huntsman replaced her heart with a boar's heart, conjuring up Robert's death scene which reminds Ned of his promise to Lyanna:
“Serve the boar at my funeral feast,” Robert rasped. “Apple in its mouth, skin seared crisp. Eat the bastard. Don’t care if you choke on him. Promise me, Ned.” - A Game of Thrones Eddard XIII "The quarrel between Green and Red Apple Fossoway in the Hedge Knight story is another example of 'discordant apples'... At a tournament of all places."
“I promise.” Promise me, Ned, Lyanna’s voice echoed.
- The Blue Rose of Discord
The reason for the Trojan War according to myth, was a beauty contest. Three contestants were seeking someone to judge their beauty; Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Aphrodite won the contest, but only after she bribed Paris with Helen wife of Menelaus. Paris the judge, votes for Aphrodite by giving her an Apple. The other goddesses were furious and the conflict escalated out of control. The Greeks rallied around Menelaus and went to war with Troy.
The Blue Rose is a metaphorical "apple of discord". Like the apple of discord, it is nothing by itself, but in the right context leads to a larger conflict. It symbolizes how small things can create huge conflicts, how things quickly spin out of control. When Rhaegar gave the crown to Lyanna, nobody was happy... Just like the Judgement of Paris right before the Trojan War.
Like Rhaegar and Lyanna are often compared to Paris and Helen, figures of the mythical Trojan War, Robert is clearly meant to be considered relative to a maiden's fantasy, such as Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
or Beauty & the Beast
Would that Ned had been able to say the same. Fifteen years past, when they had ridden forth to win a throne, the Lord of Storm’s End had been clean-shaven, clear-eyed, and muscled like a maiden’s fantasy. Six and a half feet tall, he towered over lesser men, and when he donned his armor and the great antlered helmet of his House, he became a veritable giant. He’d had a giant’s strength too, his weapon of choice a spiked iron warhammer that Ned could scarcely lift. In those days, the smell of leather and blood had clung to him like perfume. - A Game of Thrones Eddard I
In the last part, we used the evil queen's magic mirror from Snow White to provide insight into Robert through Cersei. Like he projected Lyanna onto Cersei on their wedding night, Robert projects his own actions onto Rhaegar, while caressing the cheek of Lyanna's statue and secretly lamenting to himself that he was with her sexually just once:
The king touched her cheek, his fingers brushing across the rough stone as gently as if it were living flesh. “I vowed to kill Rhaegar for what he did to her.” - A Game of Thrones Eddard I
“You did,” Ned reminded him.
“Only once,” Robert said bitterly.
This subtext is mirrored by Jon Connington's love for Rhaegar, as he laments that Rhaegar ass-ended his tower only once
. Connington then states that all the women cried to Rhaegar's music, like Lyanna cried at Harrenhal, reinforcing the link between this passage and the scene in the crypts.
Yet when they parted, Jon Connington did not go to the sept. Instead his steps led him up to the roof of the east tower, the tallest at Griffin's Roost. As he climbed he remembered past ascents—a hundred with his lord father, who liked to stand and look out over woods and crags and sea and know that all he saw belonged to House Connington, and one (only one!) with Rhaegar Targaryen. Prince Rhaegar was returning from Dorne, and he and his escort had lingered here a fortnight. He was so young then, and I was younger. Boys, the both of us. At the welcoming feast, the prince had taken up his silver-stringed harp and played for them. A song of love and doom, Jon Connington recalled, and every woman in the hall was weeping when he put down the harp. Not the men, of course. Particularly not his own father, whose only love was land. Lord Armond Connington spent the entire evening trying to win the prince to his side in his dispute with Lord Morrigen. - A Dance with Dragons The Griffon Reborn
Robert's false accusation of rape mirrors Lord Mathis Rowan's daughter's lie which landed Dareon, a singer and harpist, like Rhaegar
, on the Wall.
It made her angry to see Dareon sitting there so brazen, making eyes at Lanna as his fingers danced across the harp strings.
He is a man of the Night's Watch, she thought, as he sang about some stupid lady throwing herself off some stupid tower because her stupid prince was dead. The lady should go kill the ones who killed her prince. And the singer should be on the Wall. - A Feast for Crows Cat of the Canals
Jon Snow ends up at the Wall as an indirect consequence of Rhaegar being falsely accused of the rape of Lyanna. Jon later betrays the Watch to save (fake) Arya and is murdered as a result, like Arya murders Dareon for desertion; if she understood why Dareon took the black, maybe she'd be more forgiving of his betrayal. She might not be, because of the same conditioning that prevents Ned from showing mercy to Gared after he was chased south of the Wall by a direwolf. Likewise, if Rhaegar told Robert that he crowned Lyanna by mistake, Robert would still be unable to forgive the public humiliation he suffered as a result. And so despite Rhaegar's willingness to defend himself in a Trial by Seven, Robert went along with the rebel's plot to overthrow the Targaryen dynasty, which involved abducting both Rhaegar and Lyanna, and stashing her in a tower for the duration of the rebellion.
He found himself thinking of Robert more and more. He saw the king as he had been in the flower of his youth, tall and handsome, his great antlered helm on his head, his warhammer in hand, sitting his horse like a horned god. He heard his laughter in the dark, saw his eyes, blue and clear as mountain lakes. “Look at us, Ned,” Robert said. “Gods, how did we come to this? You here, and me killed by a pig. We won a throne together …” - A Game of Thrones Eddard XV
Horny as ever and near the tower of joy, travelling alone to maintain his secrets, Robert sought out his lady love after his only defeat at Ashford; fear of death has a way of driving men back into the womb. Robert claimed Lyanna at the tower she was imprisoned in, and she used his hunting knife, the one given to him as a gift from Jon Arryn
, to defend herself.
Remember what Ygritte told Jon Snow, outside of the tower Queenscrown
“A man can own a woman or a man can own a knife,” Ygritte told him, “but no man can own both. Every little girl learns that from her mother.” - A Storm of Swords Jon V https://preview.redd.it/eu2s4590dn3b1.jpg?width=953&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ccfb8d31abe50ef2b7c5201a7dd3addc95a2f02f
A teenage human trafficking victim who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death was sentenced Tuesday in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family.
Speaking of knives...
★ King Robert sent the Catspaw
- In this scenario, Robert’s “mad”, wine-soaked “master plan” was to arm his mercy-dealing catspaw with a Valyrian steel and dragonbone dagger for which he personally had no use but which he decided in his pie-eyed state would, when intentionally left at the scene of Bran’s unfortunate but ultimately justifiable end, look like the “signature” of a retribution-seeking Targaryen sympathizer, for It Was Known that the Targaryens hated not just Robert, but also Ned Stark, one of “the Usurper’s Dogs” whom they held personally responsible for the murder of Rhaegar’s children.
- And then there is the tourney he throws in honor of Ned, whose prizes just so happen to add up to exactly one thousand gold dragons for every silver stag the catspaw was paid, which looks an awful lot like the act of a man suffering from a guilty conscience. As does Robert drinking and hunting himself to death.
If blaming a Targaryen for his own misdeeds worked once, why wouldn’t Robert try it again?
This was something else: poison in the dark, a knife thrust to the soul. This he could never forgive, no more than he had forgiven Rhaegar. He will kill them all, Ned realized. - A Game of Thrones Eddard XII
Sometime after his loss at Ashford, Robert appeared at Stoney Sept wounded and alone
, while waiting for Ned to bring reinforcements from the North.
He had lost it all at Stoney Sept, in his arrogance. - A Dance with Dragons The Griffin Reborn
Robert Baratheon had been hiding somewhere in the town, wounded and alone. Jon Connington had known that, and he had also known that Robert's head upon a spear would have put an end to the rebellion, then and there. He was young and full of pride. How not? King Aerys had named him Hand and given him an army, and he meant to prove himself worthy of that trust, of Rhaegar's love. He would slay the rebel lord himself and carve a place out for himself in all the histories of the Seven Kingdoms.
Robert fathered his bastard Bella in a brothel before the Battle of the Bells
, a nod to Belle from Beauty & the Beast
. This is just one of many acts that depicts his bestial nature; despite being in the midst of a war he claims to be fighting for Lyanna, Robert still found time to fuck all the whores at the Peach:
As she sat in the common room in her stupid girl clothes, Arya remembered what Syrio Forel had told her, the trick of looking and seeing what was there. When she looked, she saw more serving wenches than any inn could want, and most of them young and comely. And come evenfall, lots of men started coming and going at the Peach. They did not linger long in the common room, not even when Tom took out his woodharp and began to sing “Six Maids in a Pool.” The wooden steps were old and steep, and creaked something fierce whenever one of the men took a girl upstairs. “I bet this is a brothel,” she whispered to Gendry. - A Storm of Swords Arya V
“You don’t even know what a brothel is.”
“I do so,” she insisted. “It’s like an inn, with girls.”
He was turning red again. “What are you doing here, then?” he demanded. “A brothel’s no fit place for no bloody highborn lady, everybody knows that.”
One of the girls sat down on the bench beside him. “Who’s a highborn lady? The little skinny one?” She looked at Arya and laughed. “I’m a king’s daughter myself.”
Arya knew she was being mocked. “You are not.”
“Well, I might be.” When the girl shrugged, her gown slipped off one shoulder. “They say King Robert fucked my mother when he hid here, back before the battle. Not that he didn’t have all the other girls too, but Leslyn says he liked my ma the best.”
The girl did have hair like the old king’s, Arya thought; a great thick mop of it, as black as coal. That doesn’t mean anything, though. Gendry has the same kind of hair too. Lots of people have black hair.
“I’m named Bella,” the girl told Gendry. “For the battle. I bet I could ring your bell, too. You want to?”
This bestial nature and Ned's willingness to enable it is put on full display when Robert returns to the Trident in A Game of Thrones
. Robert allows Lady and Mycah to be killed as vengeance for Joffrey’s injury, despite later admitting he knew his heir was lying. Joffrey sustained this injury at the Trident because he drunkenly misperceived the fight between Arya and the butcher’s boy, and cruelly acted on his ‘chivalric duty’ to defend noble ladies. Likewise, Robert (and everyone else) misperceived Rhaegar’s intent when he crowned Lyanna, and his fervor for vengeance led him to go along with a plot to abduct her and pin the blame on Rhaegar, like Joffrey lied about what transpired during the fight. Both Lady the direwolf and wolf-blooded Lyanna were held accountable for crimes they were innocent of; Lyanna’s crowning may have suggested to Robert that she actively enticed Rhaegar, like rape victims are routinely scrutinized for their attire and other non-sexual behaviors to suggest they somehow invited their rapes. Ned went along with these obviously unjust actions, out of loyalty to his friend and king, and to prevent further harm to his family.
All Ned could do was take her in his arms and hold her while she wept. He looked across the room at Robert. His old friend, closer than any brother. “Please, Robert. For the love you bear me. For the love you bore my sister. Please.” - A Game of Thrones Eddard III
The king looked at them for a long moment, then turned his eyes on his wife.
“Damn you, Cersei,” he said with loathing.
Ned stood, gently disengaging himself from Sansa’s grasp. All the weariness of the past four days had returned to him. “Do it yourself then, Robert,” he said in a voice cold and sharp as steel. “At least have the courage to do it yourself.”
Robert looked at Ned with flat, dead eyes and left without a word, his footsteps heavy as lead. Silence filled the hall.
“Where is the direwolf?” Cersei Lannister asked when her husband was gone. Beside her, Prince Joffrey was smiling.
“The beast is chained up outside the gatehouse, Your Grace,” Ser Barristan Selmy answered reluctantly.
“Send for Ilyn Payne.”
“No,” Ned said. “Jory, take the girls back to their rooms and bring me Ice.” The words tasted of bile in his throat, but he forced them out. “If it must be done, I will do it.”
Cersei Lannister regarded him suspiciously. “You, Stark? Is this some trick? Why would you do such a thing?”
They were all staring at him, but it was Sansa’s look that cut. “She is of the north. She deserves better than a butcher.”
He left the room with his eyes burning and his daughter’s wails echoing in his ears, and found the direwolf pup where they chained her. Ned sat beside her for a while. “Lady,” he said, tasting the name. He had never paid much attention to the names the children had picked, but looking at her now, he knew that Sansa had chosen well. She was the smallest of the litter, the prettiest, the most gentle and trusting. She looked at him with bright golden eyes, and he ruffled her thick grey fur.
Shortly, Jory brought him Ice.
When it was over, he said, “Choose four men and have them take the body north. Bury her at Winterfell.”
“All that way?” Jory said, astonished.
“All that way,” Ned affirmed. “The Lannister woman shall never have this skin.”
He was walking back to the tower to give himself up to sleep at last when Sandor Clegane and his riders came pounding through the castle gate, back from their hunt.
There was something slung over the back of his destrier, a heavy shape wrapped in a bloody cloak. “No sign of your daughter, Hand,” the Hound rasped down, “but the day was not wholly wasted. We got her little pet.” He reached back and shoved the burden off, and it fell with a thump in front of Ned.
Bending, Ned pulled back the cloak, dreading the words he would have to find for Arya, but it was not Nymeria after all. It was the butcher’s boy, Mycah, his body covered in dried blood. He had been cut almost in half from shoulder to waist by some terrible blow struck from above.
“You rode him down,” Ned said.
The Hound’s eyes seemed to glitter through the steel of that hideous dog’s-head helm. “He ran.” He looked at Ned’s face and laughed. “But not very fast.”
Most assume Gregor Clegane is the giant in armor made of stone in Bran’s vision of the Trident… yet he wasn’t present during the events Bran envisions. This dark shadow is a better fit for Robert, a veritable giant who won the throne at the Trident, who is first introduced as having gained eight stone, with a girth to match his height
(like a mountain), and whose blood turns black when he is mortally wounded by a boar
He looked south, and saw the great blue-green rush of the Trident. He saw his father pleading with the king, his face etched with grief. He saw Sansa crying herself to sleep at night, and he saw Arya watching in silence and holding her secrets hard in her heart. There were shadows all around them. One shadow was dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound. Another was armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood. - A Game of Thrones Bran III
It would not be unusual for Bran to see both a person’s physical form and their shadow at the same time; this is how shadows work. Ned undoubtedly experiences inner turmoil in this scene, going along with injustice in service to a cowardly king despite the pain it causes his daughters. So, it's easy to see how the shadow with the face of the hound and the golden shadow are both cast by Ned, depicting a light and dark side at war within himself
, representing his competing duties to his king and children which led him to execute Lady and accept Mycah's unjust death. It's not unusual that Ned would have multiple shadows, a dark and a light side making him grey as the direwolf on his sigil; recall, Stannis tells us that some lights cast more than one shadow:
King Stannis pointed a finger. “There you err, Onion Knight. Some lights cast more than one shadow. Stand before the nightfire and you’ll see for yourself. The flames shift and dance, never still. The shadows grow tall and short, and every man casts a dozen. Some are fainter than others, that’s all. Well, men cast their shadows across the future as well. One shadow or many. Melisandre sees them all.” - A Clash of Kings Davos II https://preview.redd.it/g7kdw91ycn3b1.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=a654ddd47e8089aba8f5955974a7080102aee922 Alfie Allen: You know, I asked him about who Jon Snow’s real parents were, and he told me. I can’t say who, but I can tell you that it involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation. It will all come to fruition eventually.
This series will conclude next time with a foray into Ned's inner turmoil, examining thoughts and actions which indict his friend and king. To preview where this series is headed, in its full audio/visual glory with greater detail, look here
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2023.06.02 21:16 callmesalticidae What are the Dark Arts?
As I think more about how to present the Dark Arts in my fics, I thought it would be useful to write out some of the different ways that Dark magic might be defined, whether or not I was interested in using this or that definition.
This seems like the sort of thing that other people might like, so I'm posting it here as well. Let me know if you think there's something I should add.
- “Dark magic” is a catch-all political term for “bad magic.” If the people in power don’t like it, if the spell is taboo, then it’s Dark, simple as that. Less cynically, “Dark magic” is a category that covers one or more of the items below but, as any surgeon would advise, the nature of life in this world requires a more sophisticated view than “spell that only hurts people = bad.” Jinxes and even many hexes are technically Dark magic but they are unrestricted nonetheless because their harm is minor or sometimes useful (e.g. many parents want to use the Birching Jinx on their children).
- Dark magic is dangerous. Normal spells do what you tell them to do, and you can count on them working exactly as intended if you do them properly, but Dark spells are like…not an evil genie, necessarily, but an ill-mannered one at least. The spell may not work as planned if your conscious intent and your deeply-held desires are not in alignment, or if you do not have the willpower to control your spell (e.g. Fiendfyre can fuck you up, not to mention everyone and everything that had to misfortune to be next to you).
- Dark magic is permanent. Whether you’re sacrificing a drop of blood in a Dark ritual or cursing somebody’s eye out of their head, the thing that you’re doing cannot be undone. There may be a possible exception in the use of other Dark magic, but if all Dark magic is harmful somewhere along the line (see below) then it’s easy to see how Dark magic makes the world just a little bit worse off because the damage that it inflicts can only be shifted elsewhere, not actually undone.
- Dark magic’s sole purpose is to inflict harm. You can kill somebody with a Severing Charm or drop a levitated anvil on somebody’s head, but these aren’t Dark spells because there are legitimate uses for them, whereas e.g. the Bat-Bogey Hex is going to turn somebody’s bogeys into bats, which pretty much has zero non-harmful applications.
- Dark magic requires a desire to harm. We know that Cruciatus Curse requires an intent to inflict pain, and other Dark spells may be similar. Perhaps the Killing Curse requires a desire for the target to be dead, full stop. If these desires must be ends in themselves then that may be why the Unforgivables are unforgivable: simply using them is evidence that there were no mitigating circumstances.
- Dark magic harms the caster. Long-term use may physically degrade your body (e.g. Voldemort’s red eyes) or harm the mind. If Dark magic is more about will than words, then some of the harm may be an increasing tendency to use Dark spells (in general, or just those that are frequently used) without really meaning it, blurring the line between “the thoughts that come into your head” and “the thoughts that you choose to act upon.” If Dark spells requires certain desires, then their use may encourage those desires, e.g. wixes who frequently cast the Cruciatus will become more sadistic (which will likely encourage more regular use of the Cruciatus, and so on and so forth).
- Dark magic is inextricably harmful somewhere along the line. Where Dark magic is concerned, there is no such thing as a “victimless” spell: even if the object of a Dark spell is not to inflict harm, someone will nevertheless be harmed, e.g. Voldemort’s resurrection ritual, which was possibly Dark on the basis of stealing Tom Sr.’s bones (if disrespect for the dead counts as harm), probably Dark on the basis of Pettigrew’s donation (if voluntary sacrifices still count as harm), and definitely Dark on the basis of Harry’s blood sacrifice.
- Dark magic is any magic that is shaped more by will than by word. The ideal spell is like the Levitation Charm: you wave your wand and you say the right words, and if your intent is clear then the thing happens, end of story. Dark magic, on the other hand, requires stuff like “having a genuine intent to cause pain” or “holding a happy memory in your mind” (yes, the Patronus Charm is technically Dark magic, but, well, see that first item about the term being a political one). It may also be easier to cast nonverbally and/or wandlessly, and if long-term Dark magic use harms the caster then the “harm” may be an increasing tendency to use Dark magic without even really intending to do so. The upside of all that wand-waving and incantation-speaking is that it’s hard to accidentally blow up your aunt, at least once you’ve gotten your magic under control (and yes, accidental magic is also, technically, Dark magic — the earliest “spellcasting” may well have been attempts to intentionally trigger accidental magic to achieve specific ends).
- Dark magic is unorthodox, primitive, outside the bounds of acceptable practices, etc. This brings us back to the first item and doubles down on it: “Dark magic” is, first and foremost, not the way that things ought to be done these days. There are norms to magic as it is generally taught and practiced in Britain, and Dark magic is just the shit that falls outside these norms. The British system of magic is a system, limited yet reliable, and Dark magic breaks those limitations by operating outside of them. What is Dark in modern Britain might not be Dark in Medieval Britain or modern Scandinavia, if magic were systematized differently then or there.
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2023.06.02 21:12 Tomtomorrow9 trip report: Coe Trip over Memorial Day weekend
I posted pics separately but imgur link is here: https://imgur.com/a/QJYSL7D
. Am discovering I am not a reddit-whiz. Here is my trip report.
Quick summary: Basic route: went from HQ to China Hole, up Narrows Trail, right on Bear Mtn Road to County Line Rd., left on that then Right on Chaparral trail, then short right on Red Creek and left on Robison Creek, then Right down Orestimba Creek Road, Right at Hartman to Mississipi lake, South on Willow Ridge Road, right on willow ridge trail and back to HQ. I think total mileage about 45 miles with some detours and about 6,200 feet elevation gain. For Coe a lot of people, but still able to camp by myself every night. Weather was perfect: lows upper 40s highs b/w upper 60s and mid 70s. Bugs: minimal, bothered me about an hour total around sunset over 5 days, had a couple bites, didn’t use deet. Water – plentiful in China Hole area, available in Red Creek with good flow but I don’t know how long, not much in upper Robison creek but plenty lower down in creek, plentiful Orestimba creek. For me, Coe is usually too hot and dry after Memorial Day but I think this year may be an exception if anyone still wants to give it a shot while they wait for snow to melt in Sierra.
From HQ to China Hole, up Narrows, past Miller field and Arnold Horse Camp, right on Bear Mountain Road, camped just above/North of Water Gulch right before Bear Mountain Road crosses East Fork Coyote to begin steep climb up Bear Mountain. I don’t know maybe about 8 or 9 miles all flat and downhill with of course some slower creek walking which I like.
There is a lot of flat space there. Water was flowing well and clear. Pro tips: don’t mash your finger with rock while putting in stakes. Don’t get both your hiking socks and camping socks wet. Not that I did that…I am much smarter than that.
Saw a couple people on way to China Hole, and two more b/w Los Cruzeros and Bear Mountain Road intersection. No one after that.
– Up up up Bear Mountain Road. Though steep I kinda liked it. Might have been worse going downhill ‘cause knees. Lots of what I think is mountain lion scat some disturbingly fresh. Lots and lots of pretty views. Didn’t see a soul. Just for kicks, took second right, first right after Bear Mopuntain peak Trail, on to first turn off for Bear Springs trail, thinking I’d see if I could find Spring. Gave up after about ¾ mile as seemed blocked by brush and didn’t want to poke around to find trail. I know people go frequently on bear spring to mississippi lake - maybe the second right at County Line road is better bear spring trail route - or maybe if I had poked around a bit I’d have found trail. I dunno.
- Then left on County Line road. You get to some barbed wire as is private property but look to your right and can easily step over and continue. Though feels weird/questionable to do this, I believe is completely legit as long as stay on trail to pass through the private property. Was feeling like a real explorer but then humbled by crossing path with high school group out for graduation trip. They were cheerful and was good to see them having fun.
-Then right on Chaparral Trail. I knew it’d be steep and was not a great trail but was worse than I expected, perhaps partly because was getting tired and it was getting hot. A real knee-buster in places. Often blocked by growth. Easy to lose trail (though I was tired and bombing down it so maybe if I was more careful would have been better). I lost it pretty badly at one point and got stuck doing some real bushwacking through shrubs to get back on it – scratching up my clothes and self a bit. Pro tip: don’t do this. Didn’t see anyone.
- At bottom of Chaparral trail, took right and found first shady spot by Red Creek. No one there. It is really pretty valley plain with a lot of flat spaces for camping. Very very nice. I was tired and it felt like mid-70s. I figured I was probably covered with ticks so stripped down put all my clothes save boxers in permeable bag (senchi bag) with rock in it to allow the creek to wash everything off. Then took washcloth bath in creek. Water flowing well though was not a ton. I don’t know maybe up to my ankles. While airdrying in sun in my boxers while creek washed my clothes, high school group came by again – awkward. Hung up my clothes to dry a bit (but not too much as wanted them a little moist to stay cool) and hung out enjoying the sun on my skin. Pro tip: if your skin hasn’t seen sun in I don’t know a year, uhm, don’t do this, you will get a burn. But again I would not do this. I am much smarter than that.
-High school group continued down red creek road and camped out of site/sound at intersection of Robison Creek trail. I walked around Red creek a bit but mostly just hung around then cowboy camped in bivy. Got a lot of dew and outer bag and borah bivy alarmingly wet but I was dry inside and worked out okay. Really pretty stars. Nice afternoon and evening.
- All in all was I don’t know maybe 8 or 10 miles for day
-Went south on Red creek and in only .2 or so left on Robison Creek trail. High school group was camped there as well as another group of 3 or 4. Robison creek trail was somewhat encroached with grass but easy to follow and pretty and I was excited to be in Orestimba. After a couple miles or so you hit upper portions of Robison creek and trail follows creek northeast. At upper creek, not much water, I guess you could pull in an emergency but not really flowing and gnarly looking to me. Followed creek trail and as you went down flow got good. Lots of crossings. At intersection of Pinto creek is pretty field with lots of flat spots for camping. Would be nice to camp there one day. Saw party of 3 or 4 that had camped at beginning of Robison trail.
- Around intersection of Orestimba Creek Road and Robison Creek and trail, found a secluded portion of creek and took another bath and clothes washing. This time happily no high school group sauntered by while I was in boxers.
- Then took right on Orestimba Creek Road. About 2 miles to Rooster Comb Trail. Didn’t see anyone. It was okay - pretty but not especially so.
- Took Rooster Comb Trail. I think because I was getting tired and I was mentally disrespecting it because I had taken it before, it seemed eternal, and, being an idiot, I managed to lose the trail a bit which slowed me down. Though it has grass encroaching a lot, it is pretty, and if you pay better attention than I did I think you will not have trouble following.
- At bottom of Rooster Comb trail, stopped and refilled/drank water. Saw a big snake - 3 or 4 feet. Think it was a gopher snake as didn’t see rattle and head didn’t look super triangular but am not sure. This part of Orestimba Creek Road is a big plain, and there was a lot of clear flowing water. I have never seen it with so much water. It gave me a chuckle as I walked south on this part of Orestimba Creek Road down this wide valley on Saturday memorial day weekend and looked all around and didn’t see a single other solitary soul. But the high school group was about a mile further down Paradise Flat. Again though it was fun to see them having fun.
- I continued past Paradise flat, past intersection with Long Ridge Road, until got to intersection where if you go left you go to Mustang Pond. I took right and waded up Red Creek and quickly took first left at fork in about .2 mile where if you follow creek and creek walk push through some brush there are some nice flat spots about I don’t know .4 mile in. No one there. A little buggy and flow was disappointing but still water was okay. Had a real nice quiet evening. This time draped my poncho tarp over my bivy in case a lot of dew again. Didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Outside of quilt still alarmingly wet but again comfortable/dry on inside.
- Not sure how far all this was maybe 9 to 12 miles.
- Followed creek south to where it intersects with Orestimba Creek Road. Followed road south and took right on Hartman trail. It is very very steep but was easy to follow and quite pretty. I really like it though if going the other direction could be hard on knees. Saw 3 or 4 people so it seems at least on Memorial day weekend gets a lot of use.
- Stopped for lengthy hangout at Mississippi Lake where I saw two other parties. Dried out quilt. Not a lot of places with good easy water access. Lake is big and pretty but a lot of stuff in water – pre-strained with bandana over intake and it left bright green circle. If you are arriving to it tired, be prepared to walk another mile or so to find a spot. I’m more used to drinking from creeks and Sierra lakes; I guess this is just normal for non-alpine lakes. Thought about staying as this was where I told the rangers I would stay and looked like might rain, but it was only about 2:00 and I had not been far so decided to take my chances with finding a spot later on.
- So, went south on Willow Ridge. Didn’t see anyone on it. I liked it lots of pretty views. But lots of steep ups and downs and was much harder and more tiring than I expected. Threatened to rain the whole time but other than some sprinkles never did.
- Took right on Willow Ridge Trail. As usual, slightly overgrown/narrow in places, need to watch out for poison oak, steep, but okay. Saw 2 fellas coming up, also an e-bike rider flying up as if by magic. Also some beautiful wild turkeys.
- As came down Willow Ridge Trail toward bottom could see the eastern most campsite at Los Cruzeros (which is my favorite place to camp around there). Was thinking who knows maybe no one will be there. But no – four tents! I didn’t think even three would fit. Also a lot of people at other Los Cruzeros sites. Starting to think my “plan” (or rather vain hope) of “just finding some spot” on a holiday weekend close to the trailhead may have been ill-advised. Anyway, took a right thinking I’ll camp at Miller field. One party camped there. Started to camp near them as I was getting tired but I hate sharing camping so went a bit further and found a small mostly flat spot by myself with a really nice view up the valley a little further up just past around corner from Miller Field. Set up camp around 5 and happily didn’t see anyone all evening. Really pretty nice evening with creek babbling nearby.
- Not sure of mileage for this day but maybe 9 or 10 miles.
- Got up and went down the creek through the narrows took right at China Hole trail and quickly hoofed it back up to HQ and van. As usual, very pretty. Saw 2 or 3 pairs or groups of people on way back. Maybe 7 or 8 miles or so from where I had camped.
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2023.06.02 21:12 Silent-Egg-8197 When your friends are simps -_-
Man so last night, me and two friends of mine went out to the bars. I drove BTW. So we get there we go to one bar then we go to the next because a friend B and friend A both went to school with the people who are at this next bar. They also throw a little parties every Wednesday. So we get there and there's four girls and one guy already there. I got to the table last so I got the last seat which was next to this one girl (girl A)
So I did not think this girl was fine, but heck I was sitting next to her and I will never not be me, so I just talked to them like anyone else. I guess she was the cutest girl there, but let's just say she outweighed me by quite a bit. So I'm talking having a good time, but could feel the stagnation of my after 1 hour of doing nothing. Friend A and I had planned to go continue bar hopping, but we're starting to get stagnated here because friend B what is the most acquainted with the group at the table.
So we go outside to smoke, though I didn't do anything special whatsoever, she was really gravitating towards me and was offering me cigarettes and so forth. At one point, one of the other girls made some comment about pegging and of course friend A and B we're all flustered (keep in mind, I'm definitely the most inexperienced of the three of us by far) but I'm like pegging is cool :P and then all the girls were just kind of surrounding me and I'm like well time to go! :"D
So friend A and I are done, and we are like okay, respectfully, we are going to head to x bar, see y'all! And then we left with a legitimate hop skip in a jump unprompted simultaneously LOL, leaving friend B to his devices.
We get to the next bar and after like 20 minutes, friend B appears with girl A... But to myself, I'm just like dog, I was trying to run away... can you not see that?
So she hangs around and eventually I'm just like ok, time to go home. Friend A&B take a long walk back to the car and I'm feeling my two drinks enough to be sketched by the law. So I'm like all right, 100% going straight home... That's when friend B gets a call from a girl A. I didn't know who he was talking to until after the call, but all I heard was okay I can pick you up and take you home.
Me, as the driver, I'm like "wait a second bro, did you just tell her I was going to pick her up?
Friend B was like yes!? Though I was like no. At this point both friend A and friend B are like yo, WTF is wrong with you? A girl needs help and you're not going to take her home? At that point I'm just like no. I'm going home. I'm not on a risk any DUI or driving or anything. Not to mention I literally do not know this girl at all and didn't even catch her name -___- why would I pick her up?
So after dealing with this simping, I'm just like no dude I'm going home. My car, I'm driving, I get thrown into jail, and I don't know we're really care about how this girl gets home. She got here with her friends, she didn't need to follow us, and she definitely does not need a ride. She can call an Uber. I tell him to call her back immediately and tell her no.
After much hesitation, friend B calls girl A back and awkwardly tells her sorry sorry sorry we can't pick you up because I am X Y and Z -_- and then awkwardly says his advice and another sorry.
So I am up front with my friends and I asked them WTF is up with this simping? Straight up. Bro, I don't let anything get in the way of my livelihood and I definitely am not a simp. So if we are hanging, we are not going to allow any BS such as this! We got to watch out for each other and we can't let crap like this ruin our night. So we get home silently....
Why are there so many simps!?!?! You always supposed to be the ones with the big body count and the macho men? Is this how you got there? I know I could have gotten laid but I just like nah. Too easy. Don't want it. Could get it whenever...
Just wanted to vent and post this somewhere! :"D venting
submitted by Silent-Egg-8197
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2023.06.02 20:54 Mista9000 Perfectly Safe Demons -Ch 13- Kidnappers hate this one weird trick!
[Chapter One] Prev
Late at night, in the back of a warehouse.
Grigory squirmed against his restraints. The rope binding his hands was coarse and too tight, causing his hands to lose feeling. A bored council guard stood nearby, but was mostly ignoring him. He wasn’t going to get far with his hands and feet tied together. It was worse than he had thought possible. They are very much going to kill him tonight. This was even worse than either Stanisk or Aethlina had speculated, and he just knew that they would use his role in this disaster against him in future disagreements. However, he might be overly optimistic worrying about a future that might not include him.
Grigory thought over what he had left in his notebooks, contemplating if it would be enough for someone to continue his work. He wasn't sure. It was a lot more than he started with, but there weren't a lot of qualified scholars looking to follow his footsteps. The best outcomes for a lot of different paths all need him to survive.
Grigory tried not to be distracted by the ropes digging into him, and frantically wracked his mind for any sort of escape plan. He had a single imp totem on him, and they left him with his satchel nearby. That’s something. He would need to be untied to invoke it, and a single perfectly safe imp wouldn’t change the balance of power much. Perhaps if everyone but the four executive members left, he and Stanisk might have a chance to overpower them. Well he could at least be distracting while Stanisk overpowered them. They also hadn’t checked his satchel yet, so maybe he could bribe them with the ten thousand glindi engraved gold bar he brought to pledge his support? Bribes are a type of negotiation, and being tied up while they already had the gold put him in a frustratingly weak position to start negotiations. Not getting executed by the organised crime successor to the Council of Demonologists wasn’t on his list, but he still felt it was important.
Grigory could clearly see and hear the meeting continue in the centre of the warehouse. A small detail that he noticed was just how small the sums were. Robberies of a few hundred glindi? The value of a business protection racket being ten glucks a week? Had the runaway success of his imp-made goods distorted his value of money? Pandemonium Partners profited a few hundred thousand a month, and the big safe in the workshop’s basement held about a million glindi, mostly in heavy gold bars. That was after the expenses, taxes and salaries had been paid. Maybe bribes will work here.
Another trend that emerged was how cheap lives appeared to be. Stole a knife from the boss? Death. Miscounted the take? Death. Didn’t show up to the job? Finger loss. How they attracted or retained any talent at all was its own mystery. On that note, we wonder if he enormously overpaid his people? These goons were killing each other over sums of money close to what he paid each of his security goons a day, which in turn was a fraction of what he was paying his partners. All the people he hired seemed excited when he told them the starting salary, and not a single one asked for a raise. Not the time for that! Focus on the matter at hand! Grigory continued to look for anything that he could use to escape.
All too soon the business part of the meeting was concluded. Two of the Council's guards wheeled out a cask of beer, and a crate of cheap clay mugs. Not great news for plans that require being left alone. In singles and groups the ‘Demonologists’ started to come over to where he was tied up. To drink cheap beer and look upon true evil in his demon summoning face.
“Hullo gentlemen! This is all a silly mistake, I’m sure we can work something out,” Grigory said with a calmness and pleasantness he didn’t feel.
A gangster in a threadbare tunic and patched leather pants started going through his coat, and then his satchel. His notebooks with neatly written titles were thrown on the floor, and the minor spell reagents placed on top of a nearby crate.
“Holy shit!” he exclaimed far too loudly, ensuring everyone saw him pull out the slim gold bar, about the size of a knife handle. “This can’t be real?!” The gangster saw how everyone near him stared, mouths agape at the bar in his open hand. The bar’s engraving of the Royal Mint of Hiruxia glinting in the flickering rushlight.
“Back off! I found it!” He held the gold tight in his fist and drew his dirty, nicked knife from his belt with his free hand. Quicker than a blink of an eye every member had their blades out and the men at arms from the edges moved towards the commotion.
“PUT IT AWAY!” boomed Arcanist Devorio. He reasserted control of the situation with palpable menace. “The prisoner and all his goods are the property of the Council! Put it down on the table, Tricky Tupo!”
The gangsters grudgingly resheathed their weapons, and Tricky Tupo passed the bar to the Arcanist without making eye contact.
“Holy shit, it is actually real gold!” Devorio muttered after inspecting it for a second. “Where the hell did you steal something like this?”
Something in his phrasing crystalized a plan in Grigory’s mind. An insane, reckless, dangerous plan. Grigory tried not to smile when he replied, “Not stolen at all, well not from our plane of reality.”
“You summoned it?” the well dressed head of the council asked incredulously.
“Oh no, not at all! I stole it from the treasury of Hell! You see that’s the point of having a perfectly obedient demon, it does what I say, and not what the Lords of Hell say,” Grigory lied. The Hellplane wasn’t organised like that at all. There was no such thing as a treasury there. He still wasn’t sure how to sell it, but he hoped there was enough ignorance and greed in the room to do the heavy lifting for him.
“Demonologists have never stolen from hell! As far as I know. I think?” The arcanist was in uncertain territory.
“Mostly true! But we steal minor things all the time, like magical energy, or arcane secrets, but the exciting advance I wrote to you about was stealing things like minerals or artefacts and sometimes regular boring gold.” Grigory was hoping he was priming their greed enough. He worried he was being too subtle.
“Well, it looks like you have a new job! You steal Hell gold for us now!” The Arcanist-turned-crime-lord was back in familiar territory of coercing people into giving him what he wanted.
“Oh I couldn’t!" Grigory feigned reluctance. “I don’t have the right equipment, I haven’t done the full balancing equations for today’s planar alignments! I should go home and get what I need, and I’ll be happy to come back tomorrow and we can get a fresh start on this.”
“Not a chance! You’re doing the ritual this instant, or your blood will cover this entire floor!” Davenio countered.
Grigory, aware that excess blood could damage goods, decided against arguing. “Alright, you win, I’ll have my imp steal another dozen gold bars tonight, I guess. But that’s it! I’m leaving after that!”
“Hah! We’ll see about that!” The arcanist cut Grigory’s bonds while staring straight into his eyes.
Grigory rubbed his sore wrists, and looked at the fifty or so people that had gathered around him. Cruel smiles and the stink of cheap beer surrounded him, but he had a plan. “First I’ll need to summon my imp, to help me set up the ritual!” Grigory found himself speaking like a showman at a fair, with exaggerated gestures and in a loud clear voice. The assembled thugs, goons and crime lords backed up to give him some space. Aethlina suggested obscuring the details of invoking a demon, which was a great idea. He slowly and rhythmically chanted in demonic detail how he likes his tea, with lots of hand gestures and steps and ritualistic looking movements. After a few long seconds he pulled out the imp totem from his vest, waved it around like a wand for a bit before doing the quick gesture of invocation to actually invoke the imp. With two small clicks the tiny imp landed on the rough floorboards of the warehouse. Several goons gasped, and one of the lady goons even shrieked a bit. Truly a sad state of affairs when someone calling themselves a demonologist is startled by a tiny perfectly safe imp!
Grigory picked up his notebooks from the floor, and found the one titled ‘Charts, Formulas, and Tables.’. Doing some mental maths, and modifying a few old spells and rituals on the fly, Grigory gave his imp simple directions in demonic. He could have just spoken plainly, but he was aware he was also putting on a show. Keeping everyone’s attention was important for the next part.
“Ahem, is there any furnace ash, or the like? I’ll need to create a circle in ash or wax or sand.” A few people turned to look for what he needed, and Grigory returned to working out the planar alignment in his notebook. They returned with a canvas bag of stove ashes, he looked them over and nodded. “Does anyone have a silvered steel blade I can use? Anyone at all? No matter, I have one!” Grigory pulled out the small pocket knife he used to cut his food with. It actually was silvered steel, since that also came up from time to time in his line of work. Besides it was interesting to learn that was the only silvered steel blade in the room.
Grigory passed the bag of ash to the imp. He gave detailed instructions on the shape, symbols, and spacing of the elements, all crucial to the huge circle taking shape in the middle of the warehouse floor. The assembled crowd of dirty, dangerous, and desperate deviants started to look concerned. What had started as a bit of mean spirited fun was fast turning into the exact thing they knew was evil incarnate. A path to Hell was being built in front of them! A few moved to leave, but the others called them names and threatened their reputations, forcing them to stay and watch. There was a good reason to stay, there was about to be a lot of gold for everyone. In theory.
At last the preparations were complete. Grigory slowly walked the entire outside of his circle to make sure it was unbroken. He had done similar rituals before, but always with hours of double checking, and never with an audience. His hands were sweaty and shaking as he tore a page out of his notebook. Quickly, he scribbled down a final set of instructions in demonic script and handed it to the imp.
“Merp!” it said in agreement.
Grigory turned to address everyone. He saw a very worried Stanisk standing off to the back, and he subtly gestured for him to wait. Steadying his nerves for a second he addressed his gathered kidnappers, “Soon you will see a small tear in reality! Plug your ears, lest the screams of the damned drive you mad!” Grigory looked around, to make sure everyone was properly alarmed, and activated the ritual.
With a crack of thunder and a hurricane blast of dry wind that reeked of hot iron and sulphur Grigory’s surprise appeared in the centre of the circle. A towering rage demon, its black armoured hide covered in dancing hellfire, its wolf-like face filled with jagged fangs, and its shoulders brushing the rafters of the old warehouse. The assembled criminals looked up from the floor and saw the bipedal nightmare towering over them. They stood stalk still, not knowing how to react, nor sure what exactly was happening.
Grigory stood up straight and turned on the crowd, in a commanding bellow he condemned them, “What kind of idiots let a master demonologist do any summoning ritual he wants?! Look upon the true power of hell and despair!! Your petty schemes are –”
Grigory’s gloating was cut short by a foundation shaking roar from the demon. It started grabbing people at random, and biting them in half, throwing hunks of torso against the wall with splattering force. In accordance with the note, Grigory’s imp hopped up on the table, grabbed the bar of gold from where Arcanist Devorio put it, and sprinted figure eights between the demon's legs. With everyone’s fear AND greed now focused in the same area, Grigory took his stuff and ran for the door. Most of the so-called ‘demonologists’ were trying to escape, but a few were focused on the imp running with a gold bar held over its head. That was as much as a labourer would make in a year, and they couldn’t just walk away from that. The massive demon continued to kill and dismember with glee. The sound of tearing meat and snapping bones was even louder than the screams of the dying. As far as distractions go, Grigory was pretty proud of this one.
Grigory started for the door they had entered by. However, it was jammed with people trying to escape. He stopped at the edge of the chaos, trying to gather his thoughts. As he did, a better solution appeared to him. The demon grabbed one of the cutthroats that dove at the imp’s gold, and threw him at the wall with enough force to vaporise him. The impact filled the whole side of the warehouse in a steamy red mist, and sprayed meaty chunks over everything. The demon howled with laughter when he saw how people popped when thrown into walls.
The important part for Grigory was that there was now a second exit. An exit covered in gore and bone fragments, but entirely clear of goons. Signalling Stanisk, he made his way out through the wreckage. Slower than he’d like, and getting blood and worse on everything, but a clear path. The demon had stopped feeding entirely and was just throwing people as hard as he could, first at the floor then at other people. Its roars of rage were now peals of terrifying laughter. The air in the warehouse was thick with a mist of blood from the high energy impacts.
“I assume it knows not to kill us?” Stanisk asked in a ragged voice once he caught up to Grigory.
“Yes, but only not to kill people in purple. So don’t take off your tabard! It was the best I could do!”
They struggled out into the cool night air of the yard, free of the stenches of hell, gore and terror.
Stanisk looked down at his tabard, so soaked in fresh blood that it looked black. He ran even faster to the wagon.
“So this thing is just going to destroy the city until someone slays it then?” Stanisk asked, as they ran to the cart while frantically gesturing for his two guards to turn the wagon around and get it rolling.
“Oh no! Just until midnight” Grigory explained after he dove into the moving wagon. He wiped his blood soaked hands on his blood soaked robes, to no benefit.
Stanisk stared backwards at the destruction unfolding behind them. The demon had brought the warehouse down around himself and was clearly visible from the road. It was still energetically killing and smashing. “That's more than an hour! You reckon it’ll come for us?”
The single horse dragging a cargo wagon with four men on it was maddeningly sluggish
Grigory fumbled around for something to get the blood and bone fragments off his glasses. Finally finding part of his undershirt clean, he wiped them and he replied,“Oh my no,It’s bound to the summoning circle. Within a hundred paces.” They both watched as a few people fled on horseback, and a wagon rattled away at a gallop. Mostly it was a mess of shouting and terror. Knife fights broke out as people tried to commandeer the remaining horses. Horses were panicking and bolting without riders. Some survivors just ran away on foot. With every fresh kill the demon laughed so loud that Grigory felt like it was coming from his own skull.
“What the hell happened in there, sirs?” asked the terrified guard driving the cart.
Grigory turned around to answer, but Stanisk put a hand on his arm and answered instead, “Those filthy witches in there tried to kill us with a demon, but Grigory outsmarted them and turned it on its creators. Keep driving Kedril, we should be safe in an intersection or so.”
“Light preserve us all!” Kedril the driver said. “Is that a real demon Sir?”
Grigory watched the demon grab one of the goons fighting in the yard and threw him in a high arc towards the city centre. The demon’s arm cracked like a whip as it threw. The ragged corpse left a trail of blood mist as it arced far overhead.
Grigory answered calmly, “Yes.”
Grigory pulled out his demon totem from his robes, and devoked the imp, causing a gold bar a block and a half behind them to clatter to the blood soaked warehouse floor and slide into some debris. He was surprised how calm he felt. By all accounts his plan was in shambles and he’d stirred up a dozen hornets nests. Facing certain death and prevailing did wonders for one’s perspective.
Grigory looked over at Stanisk, and he was looking less calm. Which was entirely fair. A lot of uniquely horrific things happened tonight. Stanisk’s mouth was a tight line, face pale and eyes bloodshot. That might have just been blood from before, that got in his eyes.
“We can’t go through town looking like we bathed in the blood of the innocent, take us to the Golden Anchor’s warehouse on Glibstone Street. We own that place, we can clean up and change there,” Stanisk tersely told the driver.
Grigory countered, “First off, the previous owners of this blood were far from innocent, and secondly that’s across town, let's just lay in the bed, throw the rainsheet over us, and go to the main workshop.”
Stanisk groaned and tried to rub the blood off his face while he thought it over, but just smeared it around.
“Fine, Kedril, Remember to do a few triple left turns to make sure we aren’t being followed, like we discussed last month.” Stanisk undid the oilcloth on the side, connected it to the mounting points, and slid underneath.
“I think we need to review our plans!” Grigory whispered.
“Shhhh, cargo don’t talk.” Stanisk whispered back. The soldier cupped his head in one hand, and covered his eyes with the other and tried to get comfortable enough to sleep. Grigory rolled onto his back and stared at the cloth in front of his face. He tried not to dwell on the odd whip crack sound coming from behind them, nor the horrified gasps of the two guards on the driver’s bench while he mentally updated his plans.
A few hours later Grigory was bathed, wearing fresh clothes and feeling much better. He sat contemplating at the kitchen table in his workshop. He was troubled by what this was going to mean for his business and for himself. Stanisk was still in the tub cleaning up, and the two guards had been dismissed for the night. It was shortly after midnight now, and that meant more to Grigory than it did other nights. He hoped no one innocent died tonight, but he was also a little surprised how little he was bothered by the destruction he unleashed this evening. Considering it was the first time he took another human’s life, albeit indirectly, he expected a stronger emotional response. Part of this was a clear case of kill or be killed. Another part was these people were awful people. Grigory worried this might mean he had more subconscious bias against the value of the lives of the economically disadvantaged, but that’s probably not it. Being biassed against people that were willing to kill him made more sense, but also he knew the coming years mean that will become the same as willing to kill most of the world.
Grigory put on some fresh tea, and set out another cup for Stanisk when he was done washing. He couldn’t shake the feeling that his worst fear, being mad with power and using that power to violently kill everyone he perceived as an enemy, wasn’t as far-fetched as it was before. These were the goons that might have killed his mentor, Archmage Willoford. Avenging a mentor was a reasonable rationale, at least in songs and plays. Grigory knew that wasn’t his motivation tonight. And besides that was the inquisition from the sounds of it, these ones just celebrated his mentor's execution, which isn’t really moral grounds for demonic dismemberment. He also knew he could have summoned a stench demon or a screaming demon, or just non demon based rituals he could have used to escape without violence. He didn’t even offer to bribe them, just straight to violence. Grigory wasn’t sure he liked finding out who he really was when lives were on the line.
His introspection was interrupted by a sound coming from his workshop door, and he sagged with relief when he saw it was just Aethlina. Relief that was short lived, because the questions started immediately.
“I assume you had something to do with the demonic giant that threw seventeen people into the side of the Cathedral of the Light?” the elv asked, without reproach or scorn.
Grigory took a second to answer. “I had something to do with the presence of that demon in our plane of reality. I had a little to do with either the people it chose to throw. Nothing to do with where it chose to throw them nor its accuracy. Interesting it threw them at the Cathedral, you’d think it would have some kinship with the church? They both love burning people.”
“By all accounts the accuracy at least, was excellent. All the bodies hit Cathedral Square. The Cathedral itself requires extensive repairs to the nave, and two flying buttresses collapsed. At least according to the terrified lady I ran into.” Aethlina paused for a few seconds in case Grigory chose to share more details.
Aethlina asked mildly, “How rude of me. I meant to ask, how did your meeting go tonight?”
Stanisk came out from around the partition wearing fresh clothes. “The fucking witches weren’t even witches! They were just shadow blighted gangsters what stole the demonologists reputation! Broke as shit, and twice as dumb!”
Stanisk grabbed a bottle of whiskey off the shelf and sat down at the table, ignoring the cup and the pot of tea. After drinking right from the bottle he continued, “It hit the actual main Cathedral? The one right in the centre of town? That’s like an hour walk from where we were! A catapult wouldn’t have thrown a person half that far!”
“The one and the same, The Grand Ubrafadter’s residence is in that square, so I assume what follows will be the sort of witch hunt the city has never seen before.” Aethlina turned to Grigory, “May I also assume your reasons for staying in the city are weaker and your reasons for leaving are stronger than they were yesterday?“
“There were definitely survivors, and I was introduced by name. I can’t stay here, probably not in the empire at all. I don’t think they know the name of the company, but Stanisk and I were wearing the company’s sigil, so it might not be long for them to work it out.” Grigory rubbed the bridge of his nose without taking off his glasses. “I guess we should start planning our exit immediately.”
In a rare show of emotion Aethlina smiled for a second, “We are leaving on a ship named the Widow’s Remorse, it’s provisioned for us and departs on the morning tide, in about nine hours. The captain agreed to wait until we were in open water to hear our destination. He and his crew also suffer from a rare medical condition where their memory fades entirely anytime they are given a bag of money. The ship can carry thirty-five passengers, so the guards can bring their families. I’ll describe the places I think we should go, after we are in open waters.”
Grigory was both very impressed and a touch alarmed. “Did you know what would happen at that meeting? Did you know what I was walking into?”
“No, I had mistakenly assumed you were on top of that, and took you on your word about them. The odds of them being what you expected were poor. I also had a detailed plan in case they kidnapped you.”
Stanisk burst out laughing, “Imagine if they kidnapped you, Boss! All trussed up like a rotisserie chicken! Hah! I guess I’ll get packed and meet back here to get everything organised! I’ll miss my townhouse, but I’ve had enough of living in Jagged Cove, it's loud and crowded.”
Stanisk stood up, and turned to leave, but paused mid stride. “Miss Aethlina, how big of an investigation do you reckon it’ll be? Reckon they could keep after us after we leave?”
“Likely.There are cases where the inquisition spent entire centuries on the trail of heretics and their descendents. Those heresies were vocally opposing an aspect of doctrine. This may be the first heresy in which a building-sized demon flung citizens into Cathedral Square. I assume yes, they will be interested in following up.”
“Alright, I’ve got an idea that might buy us some time. Grigory, are there any specific numbers that are significant to demons?”
“Um, not actually, but the older texts are filled with references to threes and eights I guess?” Grigory said with a shrug.
“Perfect!” Stanisks' smile strengthened and he turned to Aethlina. “Can you think of eight nobles, eight businessmen, and eight clergy the city would be better off without? Here, write 'em on this!” He slid her a notebook page when she nodded.
Grigory leaned forward,”I’m not sure what you are going for?”
“In the army, there was a famously clever bird that would trick soldiers, called a red heron. We are going to make a whole flock of ‘em!” Stanisk excitedly explained. “Oh, draw a demon circle on this page, doesn’t have to work or anything, like the one from the warehouse”
Grigory began his sketch. “I don’t think red heron is quite right, but I’m catching your drift.”
While they wrote, Stanisk went to the carved chest where all the imp totems for the workshop were stored, and invoked twenty four of them. Taking Aethlina’s list and Grigory’s sketch, he ordered each imp to sprint across town and use hellfire to scorch the circle into the street in front of the home of a specific name.
After the final imp bounded out of the building and was leaping along the rooflines Stanisk returned to his partners. “Now they’ll have too many leads! Hopefully folk see the imps and hellfire, that’ll be even better!”
“We can just outvoke them in an hour or so, that's easy enough. Great idea, Stanisk!” Grigory said cautiously, still thinking through the plan.
“If your big demon didn’t cause a public panic, I can’t imagine a better way to finish the job.” Aethlina replied.
Stanisk smiled and shrugged. “It wasn’t my good looks alone that kept me alive this long! I’ll send some runners to gather the lads and get this show on the road. Human runners I mean!” Prev
submitted by Mista9000
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2023.06.02 20:36 the_hot_one83 long time no see!!!! A Osmofolia Duet review (be chill am dyslexic)
it been a month (sorry but am even more poor now so i cant buy anything, i still have a few but i have to space it out) WHAT A SPELLCASTER LEAVES BEHIND cream pollen
am i sitting here at 10 pm (i write the review in multiple days sometimes lol) making a review because i have to declutter my cloths and am TERRIFIED, yes absolutely is it wort it yes
it a few days later and now am watching the fast and the furious am at the 8 right now, ill probably be done by tomorrow, it a fun marathon, right now the best one is the first, but like as a kid my fav was always the 3 one, guess when we grow up our taste grow up too lol
what's a duet: it a concept created by osmofolia (am pretty sure as i never seen it before) where a perfume is made by 2 perfume, so lets say you have exquisite corps that's the perfume you buy, when you receive it you gonna have 2 bottle, vanilla milk and smoked lavender musk, when you layer them on your skin, they become exquisite corps! but the fun part is that you have 3 perfume, and the 2 bottle you get are amazing layering notes (as it their hole purpose) so you can add them to any perfume you want
LIKES: tea, patchouli, tart fruits, close to skin smell, greens (grass, moss, leaf's of all sort (tomato leaf yum)), atmospheric/realistic, citrus, frankincense, cedar, most fruits actually, soil, roses, lavender, salt, sage, cannabis, rosemary, cozy gourmand, marshmallow, smoke, cinnamon actually most spice, pine/fir, violet leaf/violet, i like stuff that feel wet (fog, ocean, rain), ambergris
DISLIKES: ozone, aldehyde, oud, sandalwood, cinnamon leaf, big silage, white floral, especially tuberose and gardenias, but also just florals in general, alcoholics, vetiver, perfumy perfume, most milk, tar, when company say “for woman” or “for man”
HATE OR LOVE no in between: Hay, jasmine, incense, pink pepper, fancy woods, most resins, iris/orris, petrichor
to your attention: this is not really a critique, but it still normal i don't gush over everything, am talking about my taste not trying to sell you anything, i like all the company i talk about and if i don't i will say it. i am a bitch but don't let your feeling get hurt over a little dumb post please ;) love yall lets do this
HONEY DUST you mean pollen right?
notes: pollen, hay, honey, beeswax, powdered sugar
though: so on the bottle there the name of the duet (what a spellcaster leaves behind) and a number not the name of the note, and when i got them i was too lazy to look it up to make sure i wrote the right name so i just did it by memory, so now on my bottle it written "pollen" lol. i do think it perfect for this perfume it super dusty to the point were if you have pollen allergy i would tell you to stay away from this, it also gives me the same harshness grass perfume give me sometime but it not at all green wish is kinda weird too maybe the hay? idk but it welcome, this perfume is the mix of comforting sweater and seasonal allergy, weird but i love that in a perfume
color: golden yellow dust of pollen in a gold ornate jar sitting on a red tinted wood table
ANTIQUE BOOK if vanilla ice cream and white wood had a child
notes: paper, leather, glue, old book, cedar, vanilla, cetalox
though: every single book fragrance is either super chemical or super woody marshmallow there just no in-between and this is a woody marshmallow that dry down to a sandalwood-y thingy, i don't hate it but i do think it better as a addition to another perfume then by it own. but on it own i think it perfect for the book ladies that are a little (a bit) more conservative then me (and always ladies in a non gendered way lolll i just have a booktok person in mind and shes a woman, but it not a woman perfume none are)
color: a hard cover book with no letter printed on any of the page (your gonna say, oh a drawing pad, nah, a small hard cover where they just made a mistake on the print and there nothing) and also you know the wood you can find around lake and the sea, it super white and soft, that but in a 2x4
notes: pollen, hay, honey, beeswax, powdered sugar, paper, leather, glue, old book, cedar, vanilla, cetalox
though: this is interesting the antique book note almost lost itself in the honey dust, but then you smell honey dust on it own again and your like ok i see it much more chill on the dusty-ness, i get it i get it, it also a perfect on the name i love it! what a spellcaster leaves behinds it so descriptive and cute and definetly perfect for the perfume, you can imagine the scene, a big dusty book closing, the dust particule going everywhere, someone closing a candle and then a door.
color: a huge dusty, very dusty book, with gold corner and yellowing pages
VANILLA MILK sweet brown milk (smell better then it sounds)
notes: cream, caramel , heliotrope, vanilla, milk, musk
though: that's not for me, for sure, i mean to be fair my skin don't work with anything milk, my only love is milk shaka from Damask Haus, to me this is sickly sweet, but i don't think most would think that, if you like a milk caramel this is for you for sure, this is concerning because of the realism, i mean it smell like warm milk, and the thick light brown caramel that looks like melted plastic but actually taste pretty good, just very artificial, witch is weird cuz caramel sauce is so easy to make and i don't get why restaurant and ice cream shop don't make it themselves it like 3 ingredient, butter, sugar and cream, (brown sugar if you want butterscotch) but anyway you also have a bit of a floral note but it just adds to the warm milk, really interesting i see this being very popular with the gourmand people
color: a room temperature glass of milk forgotten on a oval shaped table, you know the big ones in wood, with a super big feet underneath, they always have some middle piece of broderie made by some grand mother and and a flower pot full of fresh flower (white heliotrope this time) on the other side of the table there a caramel cream pie
SMOKED LAVENDER MUSK gay fur
notes: lavender, smoke, oakmoss, musk
though: lavender smoke is a pretty common mix, i don't particularly care for but i love this, it fun it sexy and the lavender pretty realistic. if you know a bit about queer history, lavender been a symbol of gay-ness (lol) since the end of the 19th century, and idk if it since i know this fact that i believe all lavender perfume are gay, well this not the exception (i really don't think there one, it like violet) idk know why exactly but this perfume is just very queer to me, only downside, cuz it really smell good, it that it doesn't last super long contrary to vanilla milk that's super persistent
color: light purple fur coat, and a black leather cat suit with cowboy boots and a big chunky belt, but truly it just a smoke lavender love
EXQUISITE CORPS They are cold like porcelain
notes: lavender, smoke, oakmoss, musk, cream, caramel , heliotrope, vanilla, milk, musk
though: you know i bitch a lot about name accuracy but this is spot on, does it smell like a crops, i mean no, not that i know of (and idk every dead i seen was in dust form not corps form) but it has this cold creaminess mix with the floral it just exactly the name. this is amazing if you put just a little bit of the vanilla milk (my opinion, but don't you think this concept is amazing for that you can dose your 2 perfume to make exactly the combi you prefer) i just think it better when it the smoky floral that take the lead it more mortuary less floral caramel
color: cold, soft but lifeless skin. resting on a pile of white and purple flower, white coffin, 2 small marble column on each side to witch rest on top flower pot. people crying
7/11 STEAMED MATCHA LATTE a dammed good matcha latte
notes: steam, matcha, warm milk, green tea, cream
though: this is the best of them all, by far, on it own, it just so perfect, the matcha super realistic, it super creamy it has this amazing grass quality and i just sweet enough, as a tea note lover THIS, IS perfect. i were it the most out of the 6 and any combination of the 6. oh last thing it kinda also smell like white chocolate just so you know but there literally nothing else i can say to this perfume it a perfection in simplicity
color: white chocolate and matcha ganache, i kinda want to make a matcha latte recipe but it would be too long cuz there way to many step to make a fancy matcha latte, you'll have to imagine it lol
COLD RAIN ON PAVEMENT perfectionism
notes: cold air, humid air, puddles, rain, concrete, tar
though: i hate ozone/aldehydes, but objectifly this one is not too bad, osmofolia has a goesmin single note that is actually realistic rain this one is not (to me) but it still adjacent, it wet, bright, soapy and and a bit floral, i mean ofc i wont like a perfume that give me a headache, but that's not the perfume fault right like, i know this perfume is beautiful, it gives me Ghibli rain scene, like in Arrietty, Totoro or Kiki the Little Witch, it rain but in a very aesthetically pleasing way, am doing a fast and furious marraton but after i feel like watching all the ghibli movie
color: walking next to a flower shop after the rain, a little brightness in the thick of the concrete jungle
ON THE CORNER OF JINHU ROAD too pretty
notes: steam, matcha, warm milk, green tea, cream, cold air, humid air, puddles, rain, concrete, tar
though: every one that read my reviews know 2 thing for sure about me, i hate ozone/aldehydes like we seen right before and i have weird references, well weirdly i don't hate this, i mean not on me it would still give me a head ache like ozone/aldehydes always do but it pleasant, i think it the creaminess, it kinda chill out the harshness of cold rain on pavement, but it still has the buzz-ness, it like a soapy, after the rain drinking a matcha latte (that has some kind of white floral syrup in) it pretty, too pretty for me
color: walking next to a flower shop after the rain, a little brightness in the thick of the concrete jungle but the flower shop is also a coffee shop and you get yourself a matcha latte
MIX AND MATCH, if you get it you get it if you don't you don't ok
Matcha + Milk = Brown Sugar Matcha Latte
Matcha + Lavender = Dirty Matcha
Matcha + Book = White Chocolate BonBon
Matcha + Pollen = Fancy HoneyBee With Her Little Tea
Milk + Book = Alpha, Eating At The Library
Milk + Pavement = Frolicking, Naked After The Rain
Milk + Pollen = Sexy Picnic
Lavender + Pavement = Smoking In The Flower Field
Lavender + Book = Gay Woodworker
Lavender + Pollen = Ashtray, Potpourri
Pavement + Pollen = Electric Bee, Buzz Buzz
Pavement + Book = Little Bookstore In Old Montréal
Pollen + Book = Reading in the Sunroom
i could do a combi of 3 perfume but that just to much work, but if you do please share in the comment your favs lolll
this month as been kinda hell, am still working on my move (to no where lol) and am nowhere near done, now am starting to make the boxes (tomorrow) and it stressing me the fuck out, anyway on that note, how do you make pr? loll (half joking) cuz yeah i miss doing these review, but dont worry i still have maybe 5 review left if i don't count the discontinued stereoplasm
also, have a great night love xoxo
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2023.06.02 20:33 yupanda 24 days in Japan. Osaka - Onomichi - Shimanami Kaido/Matsuyama- Hiroshima/Miyajima - Kyoto - Takayama/ Kamikochi/Matsumoto - Tokyo
Hi lovely people,
We just came back from our first trip to Japan and it was truly a memorable trip. We spent over 3 weeks in Japan from 07th May until 30th May.
WE LOVE JAPAN! Can't wait to come back.
A little bit about us: We are both ~30y olds and enjoy a mix of urban, outdoor and culture during our holidays. We are foodies, but not hard-core as in we don't specifically organize our trips around restaurants. There are so many restaurants in Japan, it is hard to get a bad meal. We enjoy just wandering around neighbourhoods. Mostly low/mid-budget stuff with a splurge once in a while.
Our travel itinerary can be found here General comments
- Time period of travel: We arrived 7th of May which is the last sunday of Golden week. We specifically wanted to avoid Golden week, as we heard it can be crazy busy due to domestic travels. And we also didn't want to go too late in May because June is rainy season in Japan. We were pretty lucky with the weather overall as we only had a couple of days of rain, most days were sunny and we even had some days of sweltering heat :O
- Like other people suggest, try to get in shape before you go! We are both in average shape. Almost every day we walked around 20.000 steps or more. The only rest days we had were the days where we were switching between cities, i.e. sitting in trains for longer periods of time. No complaints ;). I brought two pair of shoes: water-proof hiking shoes and one pair of light-weight running shoes. Switching between shoes was nice, I didn't have any blisters during my time in Japan luckily. All the walking compensated all the eating though!
- Check whether region specific JR passes might work for you. We decided against getting the nationwide JR passes as they didn't fit our needs and were expensive and instead opted for a regional JR Setouchi area pass. It was perfect for the Shimanami Kaido. We could travel from Osaka to Onomichi -> Hiroshima/Miyajima -> Kyoto. And it also gave us access to Nozomi shinkansen (fastest) and a great ferry ride between Matsuyama and Hiroshima.
Japanguide has a nice overview of all the passes : https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html
- Be flexible (That's how we like to travel). I mapped out most of the sights beforehand according to must-see's and mapped out what other interesting sights there would be in those areas. The day before or in the morning, we would decide what we would do roughly, sight-see according to neighborhood and just wing it a little bit. We just love to wander around and see what we come across, mixed with some google maps + "explore" function. Some days you are just tired and just want to hang out in a park, or you have temple-fatigue and want to do something entirely else. Same with food/restaurants, we usually just used google maps to see what kind of great restaurants were near us at that moment. We haven't lined up more than twice our whole time there and still ate wonderfully. We do tend to avoid overly hyped stuff anyways. I do keep in mind that everyone has their own ways.
- Buy e-sim if possible, it is the cheapest and easiest way. My partner bought an e-sim and it was so convenient! My phone unfortunately didn't support it and I had to buy a sim. I opted for getting one at BIC camera, which was the cheapest I could find. 10GB for 30 days for 3200 yen.
- Keep plastic bags for trash. Buying food from conbini, and eating it somewhere? say yes to that plastic bag, because you will need it to stash your garbage until you are back at your hotel where you can throw it away or you find a garbage bin at the train station per chance. I read about this a lot on this subreddit, but still I found it astonishing the lack of trash cans. Fascinating how the streets of Japan are so damn clean.
- Try Pokari sweat. :) I tried it for the first time there and I was hooked immediately. It is awesome! Best electrolyte drink ever and it definitely saved me during those hot sweaty days there. CC lemon is also great!
- Go for a haircut or some other beauty/massage treatment. The hospitality is amazing in Japan. You won't regret getting pampered in Japan. They have all kinds of crazy treatments. I got the best haircut of my life for 4400yen.
Trip report PS. I am not mentioning everything we did in this post. I will just mention highlights. It is still a long read though ;). D1 - D2 Osaka
We landed at Kansai airport. Before our trip, we also bought train vouchers for Osaka online (https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/
). Best decision ever, because the journey was rough and we were exhausted by the time we landed. We only had to exchange our vouchers at the station and off we went.
Osaka was nice city to start with as it is a more manageable "smaller" city whilst recovering from our jetlag. Despite being smaller, I do think it is worth a visit. Osaka is so iconic at night. We stayed at a spacious Airbnb near Kuromon Ichiban market.
- Takoyaki :) We had our first try of takoyaki at Takotako King instead of one the places at Dotonbori to avoid the crazy lines. You can sit down, have a beer and yes the takoyaki is amazing. It should be crunchy on the outside and deliciously goeey on the inside, doused with sauces and katsuobushi. Man, I wish I could go back and eat it again. It is true, you can't get great takoyaki outside of Osaka, at least I didn't get that same crunchy gooey combo again in other cities.
- Discount sushi from Takashimaya department store. For the budget-minded, this is a no-brainer. Around 7PM, an hour before closing time, you can get delicious fatty tuna maki at discount prices in the basement of takashimaya. Other foods at the department store food floor such as the fresh mochi are delicious also. Takashimaya is my favorite department store for food I think!
- Osaka castle - Our first castle in Japan. The green roof and the golden ornaments are beautiful and unique!
- Dotonbori - iconic :) fun to walk along. The queues are long there. We avoided eating at Dotonbori.
- Shitenno-ji - beautiful pagoda with buddha statues inside. Do pay the fee to go inside and see the garden. You can also go into the pagoda and walk up.
- Huge fan of Shotengai's, Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street. They are so quintessential Japan.
- Ramen Tendo, the first ramen joint that we tried in Japan, so it has a special place in my heart. They specialize in chicken broth with lots of umami katsuoboshi flavor. Noodles were great too, very bouncy. Delicious! Little did I know that this ramen joint was really one of the best we would have this trip. It set the bar high for sure!
- Visit a local grocery store. Maybe it is just me, but I love to browse at local grocery shops (KOHYO namba Minatomachi) and be fascinated by all the different things they sell. It is also a great place to buy food souvenirs, like miso, green tea etc. Lots of pre-cooked meals/ fried stuff. Just a wider selection than your typical conbini. And again discounts if you go ~1hr before closing time.
Skip Shinsekai: We visited during the day and it felt very empty to me. More like a tourist-trap, the eateries didn't look appealing to me. Maybe during the evening this area is more fun. D3 Nara
We did Nara as a day-trip from Osaka.
- Yes, to feeding the deer. It is touristy, but it is so much fun to be chased by cookie-crazed deer. One more thing: deer's fart a lot. We were wondering where this weird high pitched sound was coming from, those are actually deer farts.
- Todai-ji is very impressive, definitely a must visit.
- Just wander around in Nara park, it's very lush and beautiful and has many more shrines and interesting sights, such as manyo botanical garden. I wish we had one more day to explore Nara but oh well maybe next time :)
- We ate lunch at Magura Koya, a small restaurant run by a lovely elderly couple. Delicious tuna dishes. I had a tuna sashimi bowl and my partner the fried tuna set meal, so fresh!
- We had the best pork bun at Hourokutei at the end of the Higashimuki shopping street. It's a small hole in the wall, but omg the squishy-est juicy-est porkbuns ever.
After staying in Osaka for 3 days, we headed west for the Shimanami Kaido. We decided to stay in Onomichi (Hotel Beacon Onomichi) for the night before we started our two day bike trip. For this part of our trip, we picked up our 7-day Setouchi area pass at Shin-Osaka JR station. I just want to mention that I really love the hospitality of the staff in Japan. The JR office people were so nice and helpful. We reserved our seats for the shinkansen and off we went to Onomichi. Onomichi is a lovely little seaside town to just stroll around and take in the views. I really recommend spending at least half a day here. Don't skip it!
D5 & D6 Shimanami Kaido -> Matsuyama
- Senkoji park observatory - we walked up to the observatory (ropeway available), please walk up as there are lots of nice alleyways, shrines and cats along the way :). The view is amazing, especially at sunset.
- Cat alley: honestly, every alley is cat alley.
- Onomichi Shotengai - very retro, lots of cute shops. We bought a nice poster from a little granny there.
The next day, we picked up our reserved cross bikes from the general bike rental and off we went. Honestly, biking the shimanami kaido was the highlight of our trip. We took two days to bike the whole way, one day would definitely be too rushed for us. We stopped at Ikuchi island (Shimanaido NEST) for our halfway stay.
The sights along the way were great! It was so much fun to go down-hill, the uphills were do-able. We had great weather also, not too hot and no rain. Everything was clearly indicated, we just followed the blue lines. I felt very safe biking in Japan. PS. My butt did hurt from the saddle, so be warned! Bring some cushioned pants if you want to be safe side.
- First pitstop after the first bridge was Hassakuya. You have to stop here! They have delicious strawberry and citrus daifuku! The citrus had a bitter aftertaste, but they are famous for their citrus so its definitely nice to try.
- Just enjoy the views, stop everywhere to take pictures. There are lots of things to explore along the way.
- Stop at roadside stations such as > tatara shimanami park and yoshiumi iki-iki-kan. Especially before you take on the last bridge just do a little pit stop. It's a nice place to take some pictures of the insanely long bridge and have a citrus/vanilla soft cream.
for more info and bike rental
We decided to bike one-way from Onomichi to Imabari and we have no regrets. I liked that we ended the bike trip with the longest bridge (4km!!). Imabari is very industrial, but after the fun long way down from the last bridge and being exhausted from biking you just want to get to the station and stuff yourself with pastries from the bakery at the station and go on to your next destination. Thus, we immediately took the train to Matsuyama. Originally, the plan was to enjoy the famous onsen in Matsuyama, but we didn't have enough time and we were also pretty tired. After checking-in at the hotel, it was already 4, we made our way to Matsuyama castle but unfortunately, we were too late to go in. It was still nice to view it from the outside and walk around the park. We planned to do sightseeing in Hiroshima the next day, so there was no more time to explore Matsuyama further. D7 Hiroshima -> Miyajima
After Shiminami Kaido, we headed towards Hiroshima/Miyajima. We took an early ferry from Matsuyama. The ferry was included in the setouchi JR pass, so we gladly took advantage of that. It's a nice way to get to Hiroshima, just one last view of the Seto inland sea. One remark: if it is not JR serviced transportation, you do have to obtain separate tickets. Normally, just showing your setouchi JR pass is enough to get onboard the train, but for the ferry you do have to go to the ticket desk and show your JR pass to obtain the ferry tickets.
- Peace memorial museum - a history we must not forget and do not want to repeat
- We tried another Hiroshima speciality for lunch: Hiroshima Tsukemen. This tsukemen is GREAT. One of my favorite dishes. We ate at Tsukemen Karabu Tokaichimachi. The spicy umami dipping sauce is very addicting!
Surprisingly, it was very hard to find affordable good accommodation in Hiroshima. It was the weekend and two weeks before G7, so maybe that was the reason why it was harder to find accommodation. In the end, I found a nice simple hotel on Miyajima island and it was a good decision after all! After a long day in Hiroshima, we made our way to Miyajima to stay two nights. Staying on Miyajima island is lovely especially when all the day-trip tourist leave. D8 Miyajima
Honestly, Miyajima is truly magical. Another highlight of our trip! We started the day early to get ahead of the crowd and that made it all so much more enjoyable. Seeing shrines and temples without a crowd is truly 1000x better! If you can stay at Miyajima island, do it! You don't have to splurge on expensive ryokan (although it would have been nice). We stayed at Sakuraya, which was very budget-friendly.
- Itsukishima Jinja - Nice but Daishoin and surrounding nature were the highlights for me.
- Daishoin - it is the most beautiful shrine complex I have seen in Japan this trip. I think it's because it was so quaint and it was embedded in the hill, surrounded by lush green nature. There were multiple complexes. There was a pathway studded with Jizo statues, buddist cave, prayer wheels and much more. While we were there, a ceremony with a monk was ongoing and everyone could participate in helping burning the origami peace cranes made by children, to make their wishes come true. We bought a little peace crane made from the ashes to remember this moment.
- Mt. Misen - we hiked up from Dashoin. It was ~2hrs? of steep stair climbing, 500m elevation gain. A challenge for sure but we definitely earned our way going down by ropeway :P. Views are great! go go! There is a bus to the ropeway so you don't have to suffer if you don't want to.
- Momijidani park - If you don't like Momiji trees, you can't be my friend.
- Snack along the Miyajima ometesando street. Crowded, but the cakes are great!
One remark, our hotel didn't include dinner and all the restaurants on the island close quite early. Luckily, with our setouchi JR pass, we could take the ferry for free, so went to the mainland for dinner. Just keep this in mind, when booking your stay. D9 - D13 Kyoto
We took the early train to Kyoto and checked in at Tokyu stay Sanjo-karasuma. We had 5 days to explore Kyoto and by this time we had lost our FOMO a little bit and also decided to take it a bit more slow. We still ended up walking a lot anyways but at least we were sleeping in.
The day we arrived,15MAY, was supposed to be Aoi matsuri so we headed to Kamo river to see the festival. Unfortunately, the festival was postponed due to the slight rainfall and we had no clue! but we were next to Kyoto botanical garden and we decided to visit that instead!
- Kyoto botanical garden: it is a lovely garden with a huge variety of plants and trees to see. Really well maintained and during our visit there was a great rose garden in bloom. I recommend going there! It has a nice japanese garden section too with momiji trees and moss. A greenhouse with orchids. Lot's to see here. Only 200 yen.
- Arashiyama area - I really loved this area, not just for the bamboo forest. Togetsukyo bridge and Katsura river were the highlights for me. You can walk along the both sides of Katsura riverbank. A nice way to get to the bamboo forest and bypassing the busy beginning at the start of bamboo forest is by walking along the katsura river bank into Kameyama park and following the signs to Okochi sanso garden. You will end up at the backside of bamboo forest, which is the nicest part. We went more north to visit Pottery Tanuki, this area was very nice and quaint to walk around; bamboo, shrines and traditional houses everywhere.
- South kyoto - Fushimi Inari + Uji day trip - We visited fushimi inari around 9am and it was already very busy! If you hike deeper into the Tori gates, it gets more quiet. We decided not to hike to the top, but instead do a little loop and we stumbled upon some lovely fox shrines. After Fushimi Inari, we took the train just a little bit more south to Uji. If you like matcha, visit Uji. It is a scenic little town with lots of matcha specialized cafes. We ate at Torikiku, famous for their matcha soba and udon. I had the best matcha icecream dessert at Nakamura Tokichi Byodo-in. Again, the river views are beautiful! It's a great daytrip from kyoto. On the way back to kyoto, we spontaneously decided to visit the Gekkeikan Sake museum. It's a small museum, mostly about the history of Gekkeikan, but for 500 yen entry fee, you also get 3 small sake tastings. Fun for an hour or so. I wouldn't go all the way here just for the museum, but for us it was a nice stop on the way back to Kyoto.
- Gion - visit Gion in the evening and just wander around the little streets. Hanamikoji street is one of the more famous streets there.
- We ate amazing gyoza lunch at Gyoza-dokoro Sakemasa. Best gyozo of our trip.
- Higashiyama area - Heian jingu shrine, visit the attached garden for a fee, definitely worth it! We ate amazing mazesoba and ramen for lunch at Menya Yamahide. We also visited Kyoto handicraft center in this area where we bought an ukiyo-e painting. There was also a vintage antique market at that day. We just browsed a bit around the market and honestly that was a day worth of exploring :).
I didn't mention everything we did in Kyoto here. We also had so much more planned for Kyoto, but didn't get around to it, which was totally fine! We were also a bit temple-fatigued by that time and needed a slower pace. Hopefully next time, we can visit some of things we skipped. Furthermore, some days were incredibly hot (30 C degrees and humid) or we had whole days of rain. On those days, we decided to go shopping instead.
D14 - D15 Takayama
- Sanjo Meiten-gai shopping arcade , Compasso teramachi. One long shopping street between Omiya and Kyoto-kawaramachi station. My favorite shops were: Standard products, Tokyu hands and Loft.
After spending 5 days in Kyoto, it was time to leave the city and head for the Japanese alps. We took the shinkansen to Nagoya, where we changed to a limited express to Takayama. It took around 3 hours to get to Takayama, but we didn't mind. Train travel = resting time for our legs! Also, the views from the train were great!! I really enjoyed this train trip to Takayama. We arrived around noon and immediately checked in at our hotel (Hotel Kuretakeso Takayama). We had two nights in Takayama to explore the town.
D16 Kamikochi -> Matsumoto
- Hida beef - it's the wagyu of this area and I found my favorite place to eat it: Ajikura Tengoku. We went there twice for lunch, because it was that good. It was our first time in Japan to try yakiniku and sukiyaki. I really do appreciate the taste of wagyu but only in small amounts. I couldn't eat it everyday, because it's really so rich and yes paying for the premium cuts really does make a different in taste and texture of the wagyu beef.
- We really loved Takayama. Again, if you have time, stay overnight and wander around the streets during the evening when all the daytrippers leave. The town has such a nice vibe and it still has a very local feel to it.
- Miyagawa morning market. Fun to stroll around
- Hikaru museum - we stumbled upon this via google maps. It's a mayan temple-inspired building, very unique. You could visit the place just for the architecture itself, really impressive. It has a very nice collection of art. When we reached the top floor, there was a whole exhibition dedicated to a specific religious person. We didn't know beforehand but this museum is connected to a cult. Suddenly, it all made sense why this museum was so unique. We didn't mind, but it definitely puts the whole experience in a different light. It's a 1-hour walk from downtown, there is no direct bus connection unfortunately.
- Hida folk village - Open-air museum with nice re-builds of traditional mountain houses. We spend over half a day there. You can see local craftsmen doing their thing and you can also participate in pottery for example. There is a lovely pond and it is just pleasant to walk around. it's only a ~10 min. busride from Takayama bus station. You can buy combined entryfee+bus combo tickets at the bus station.
After checking out of our hotel in Takayama, we took the 7am bus to Kamikochi. We were only going to spend a day here, and then continue our way to Matsumoto to stay overnight.After ~1 hour of bus, we finally made it to Kamikochi. The Japanese alps are amazing. I wished we stayed longer in this area, but just the bus ride alone to Kamikochi was already a great with the views. We decided to hop off at Taisho pond bus stop and walk along all the major sights in the park. We had no specific plan. Just hike around as far as time allowed. For lunch, we stopped at this cute teishoku restaurant, where we ate katsu curry, a big lunch to fuel our walking. We also saw wild japanese macaques and lots of wildflowers where blooming during our time there.At the local shops, we bought some yummy pastries to snack on. I had the tastiest baumkuchen with cheesecake center and my partner had a chocolate ganache cookie. I really regret not buying more kamikochi pastries to take home while we were there.After spending the day walking around, we hopped on the 4pm bus towards Matsumoto. Checked in at Tabino hotel lit Matsumoto, where I relaxed in the onsen.
D17 Matsumoto Tokyo
- We were only carrying backpacks, so we hiked with them until we reached the kamikochi bus terminal, where you can drop off you bag at the storage for a small fee.
- Reservation is mandatory for the bus Kamikochi -> Matsumoto, you can do it online or while you are at the busstation before hiking.
- Transportation in the Japan alps is mostly by bus, do reserve ahead if you go at peak times. Main bus company is Nouhi bus: https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/.)
After sleeping in, we did some sightseeing in Matsumoto before we moved on to Tokyo. We really liked wandering around in Matsumoto. Lots of cool shops with local crafts. We didn't know but the biggest national crafts fair is held in Matsumoto. Unfortunately, we were only able to stay for one day, but next time we would love to visit this crafts fair! Matsumoto Castle
- I really like the interior of the castle. It has been renovated, but still contains that castle feel. It is 5 story castle and you are allowed to climb all of it. It also included a pretty extensive gun/weaponry exhibition. Do arrive early because you do have to line-up within the castle to get from one floor to the other. This is due to the steep stairways, on which they allow only one-way traffic at a time. Matsumoto city art museum
- There was a nice exhibition from Yayoi Kusama. We didn't know but Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto. It is a good replacement exhibition if you aren't able to snatch up tickets for Yayoi Kusama museum in Tokyo. Nakamachi street and Frog street
- street with persevered houses with craft shops, cafes, brewerys. What more do you want.
After spending the day in Matsumoto, we took the train to Tokyo, our last destination of our stay. We decided to stay in Ueno (Hotel resol ueno). This hotel was located close to Ueno JR. D18 - D24 Tokyo
Last 7 days in Tokyo. By this time, we were just enjoying everything at a much slower pace. Tokyo is huge! Staying near the JR line is indeed a must like everyone said. I could go on hours about Tokyo, I am just going to mention some highlights here.
- Anmitsu at Anmitsu Mihashi. My favorite dessert! It contains agar jelly, mochi balls, red bean paste, fruit and a scoop of matcha icecream.
- shopping in Ginza - It's nice to go during the weekends when they close of the streets for cars. We liked visiting flagship stores of Muji, Uniqlo. Go to Itoya if you are a stationary freak.
- Ueno park - Museums, shrines, Lotus pond. Have a look at their website, there are almost always events in the park. :)
- Tsukiji market - very busy, but fun to have a look. Lines everywhere. Look for sushi restaurants that open around 11am, line up at one of those places. I don't think it has to be the one with 4.5 rating and 1000 reviews. Why? There are so many good restaurants in Tsukiji area. We went to Tsukiji Kagura Sushi.
- Hamarikyu gardens - Bonsai pine trees pruned to perfection. Ponds filled with sea water, thus there were seabass, little sardines and jellyfish in the water. Very special! You also had a nice skyline view from the park which is a cool contrast! It was nice and quiet.
- Tokyo Skytree - best view :) it also has a great shopping complex attached to it.
- Asakusa area - Senso-ji
- Yanaka Ginza - we went during the weekend and there was live music, little stalls and just very lively in general. Really nice to spend a morning. Largest preserved cemetery, which apparently welcomes visitors a lot for flower viewings. It is a preserved neighborhood with traditional houses and lots of shops selling crafts, gifts, souvenirs, and unique snacks.
For 24 days, we spend around ~2500 euro p.p. (excl. 1000,- flights). This amount includes food, transportation, entrancefees and shopping/gifts. so average is ~100 euro/day. We didn't track every cost. Hotel costs were 900,- pp, which ranged from 50,- to 120,- per night accommodations. The conversion yen/euro is also great at the moment, so it might have contributed!
I hope you enjoyed my trip report. Let me know if there are any questions.
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2023.06.02 20:03 Aggravating_Word9481 What are your headcannons for the maximals and predacons ancestors?
Here are mine:
Optimus Primal-Optimus Prime/Elita 1: This kind of goes without saying, Primal looks and acts like optimus, carried the matrix of leadership and called optimus his ancestor in beast machines. So I hope theirs no disagreement here
Cheetor-Bumblebee: Another obvious one, both yellow have pronounced horns. And are one of the youngest members of the team and filled with energy.
Rattrap-Ironhide/Chromia Now I know rattrap does say that his great aunt was arcee, I like to think that since chromia and arcee were sisters in the bayverse. That in G1 they are also sisters, or at least are close enough for arcee to be considered an aunt. And that
Rhinox-Wheeljack: Their both loyal scientists who are strong enough to hold their own in a fight. They both have grey and green as their primary colors. Theirs really not much else to it
Silverbolt-Silverbolt: Simular enough design and share a name, good enough for me.
Dinobot-Cyclonus (Formerly known as Skywarp): Both have pronounced horn like formations on their helmets. Both are noble and honourable. Plus its easy to see why a child of cyclonus would be chosen to be megatron's right hand man.
Tigatron-Jazz: both are voiced by black men. Both are portrayed as smooth fighters. And both feel a connection to earth and its like in a way that none of their other comerades do.
Airazor-Skydive: Given her apearance and name, I think its safe to say she's an aerial bot. Skydive seems to be one of the more reserved and cautious of the aerial bots. So I think he's the most likely
Depth Charge-Seaspray: Simular personality, depth charge was nearly called seaspray. Both connected to the ocean, need I say more?
Transmutate-Arcee/Springer-This is pretty much entirely driven by the fact that susan blu voices both arcee and transmutate, Their also both relatively pale. And don't seem to be very bulky by transformers standards, so theirs that.
Megatron-Megatron/Nightbird: theirs the obvious factors, both have same name. Same aspirations, both are bulky bucket-heads with canons built into their arms. However I have heard some people say starscream could be his ancestor, since being a child of the original megatron would automatically give him respect within the other predacons, which doesn't make sense given beast wars megatron is an outcast. And they argue starscream works better since megatron's spark seemed immortal and floated around possesing sutff, but I argue that all sparks were kind of like that in beast machines. Plus I think it would actually make him more of an outcast amongst the predacons if he couldn't live up to, or even disgraced his father's name. I also argue theirs a good chance nightbird is his mother. Megatron vowed he would return to earth, nightbird was still awake and at least somewhat sentient. And it would explain beast war megs's purple colors.
Waspinator-Scraphnel: my evidence for this is that their both funny little insect guys. And when waspinator gets hit he believes he is schrapnel for a brief second, which would be weird since I wouldn't have though schrapnel would be a decepticon remembered throghout history. It makes more sense if he was a relative of waspinator. I do also think starscream is possible if only for the extraordinary things waspinator survives.
Black Arachnia-Repugnus: She enjoys being bad even after her predacon programing is removed, plus she has bits of a yellowish color with huge claws.
Tarantulas-Unicron: If you had asked me this question during season one or two of the show I would have said shockwave, both treacherous purple scientists with one eye. However the show reveals his ancestry is neither predacon nor maximal. And megatron's comment about him being a spawn of unicron, has been accurate in other continuities. So im going with that.
Inferno-Inferno: I don't see why he would have the name of an autobot otherwise, and besides beast wars inferno is always eager to prove himself.
Quickstrike-Slag: I know it kind of raises the question as to how the dinobots managed to have a relatively intelligent child, but quickstrike like slag before him seems to really enjoy combat. And he loves to melt or "slag" his opponents. So I like to think he is.
Rampage-Starscream/Skyfire: This isn't really up for debate, he was created to try and create a replicate starscream's spark. Therefore he was probably made from parts of starscream's body. Given his unusually large size, I also like to think skyfire's body was used to create a strong soldier and to fill in the missing parts of starscream, consider how well he was preserved frozen in ice. So his body is sort of a horrific fusion between starscream and skyfire.
Terrorsaur-Starscream: need i explain? Both are red and white, both are treacherous. Bot have wings that stick out of their shoulders. They both share a voice actor, all signs point to starscream.
Scorponok-Soundwave: dark coloration, a single visor. A small minion they can send out to attack enemies. Undying loyalty to their megatron. Plus come on, it explains why scorponok was made second in command by megatron. Sure he might not be the brightest in some regards, but he's soundwave's kid. One of the greatest of all decepticons, who saved the original megatron countless times.
I don't know enough about the characters who were only in the toyline to make an informed decision on them.
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2023.06.02 19:57 n0thric The Exchange Student - Part Thirty Four (Isak)
Warning: previous chapters of this story have been updated with plot and character changes. Even if you've read them before, this chapter may not make sense unless you go back and re-read the last few chapters. The Exchange Student Homepage The first day of school arrived quicker than seemed possible. I mean, I couldn’t really complain. In my wildest dreams I had simply hoped that I had become okay friends with Gabriel by the time school started. Instead, we fell asleep in each other’s arms every night. I knew him inside and out and he knew me the same. I felt closer to him than I’d ever felt to anyone. I knew he cared more about me than my own mother.
It was a strange feeling, knowing that someone loves you that deeply. Part of me felt safe and content from it. Part of me was terrified that I’d accidentally do something to betray his love. To say that I felt a bit of pressure on everything going perfectly on the first day of school was an understatement. I had to make sure that I didn’t do anything to embarrass him or, heaven forbid, accidentally out him.
Our alarms had gone off at the same time and we groggily made our way to the bathroom. We showered together as we’d been doing for the past few weeks, but something felt a little different this morning. Gabriel felt a bit distant. Maybe I was just imagining it, but I couldn’t help but feel he was keeping me at arm’s length. Perhaps he was just getting in the mindset so that we didn’t act affectionate at school.
I was starting to get choked up while getting dressed. That was until he came bursting into my room. “Isak, I don’t know what to wear! Help…” His voice was stressed.
“Take a deep breath Gabriel.” I reached out and took his hand. I led him to his room and started going through his clothes. “It’s going to be kind of cool today so why don’t you wear these jeans. You look awesome in them.” I handed them to him. “And let's put you in a short sleeve button up.” I handed him a red polo. He put them on and inspected himself in the mirror. I could tell that he really liked the way he looked because his face instantly relaxed.
“Isak, what would I do without you?” He planted a quick kiss on my cheek.
I hurried back to my room and tossed on the outfit that I had picked out. I sprayed myself with some cologne and we grabbed our backpacks and made our way upstairs. Mrs. Von had prepared a big breakfast. “Can’t have you boys going to school on an empty stomach.”
I think she could tell that there was some tension in the air. I think she could also tell that it was probably because her son was struggling with his coming out journey. She chose not to bring it up and let us eat in silence. Gabriel was clearly as shocked as I was. He clearly appreciated it though because he gave her a kiss on the cheek before we headed out the door.
As we climbed into his car he let out a nervous laugh. “I really wish you hadn’t worn cologne today.”
He glanced at me sheepishly. “It makes me want to wrap myself around you.”
“Well sir, you’ll just have to behave yourself until tonight.” I gave him a devilish grin. I could tell by the look in his eye that he was going to take me up on that offer. The thought of being around him all day long without being able to touch him turned me on. “You’re the bottom tonight.” I caressed his cheek. He blushed. He was adorable when he blushed.
“Okay.” He smiled as he backed out of the driveway.
School was actually great. Mrs. Von had apparently arranged for my locker to be next to Gabriel’s. We had all the same classes except for one. He was taking French as his foreign language, but since I already knew it I was taking Spanish.
Emma was in a couple of our classes with us and she sat between us. I couldn’t tell if she was trying to be the center of our attention, or if she was doing it to help keep us from accidentally being too affectionate with one another at school.
The classwork that we were going to be doing that year seemed really easy compared to what I’d been doing back home so I wasn’t worried at all. As the day wore on, my spirits grew. School was going to be great, I had friends to spend time with, and I was in love with the most amazing guy in the world.
The last period of the day was Calculus. Reese was in the class with us and he sat beside me. I could tell the second he landed in his seat that he had something important to tell me. He looked nervously over my shoulder at Emma and I knew immediately what it had to be about. He motioned me over so that he could whisper something into my ear.
“Look at the pin that’s on Ross’s backpack.” He was so excited that he was practically squirming. Ross was sitting near the front and I leaned into the aisle to get a glimpse of his bag. In the middle of a dozen or so other pins was a rainbow flag pin.
I leaned back over and whispered to him, “Don’t get your hopes up. He might just be an ally.”
“Ally my ass. He wants it.” He didn’t keep his voice as quiet as he should have and Emma clearly heard. She shot me a knowing look. Guess she knew who was trying to get with Ross now. I hoped that it didn’t affect her friendship with Reese.
As the teacher droned on about stuff that I already knew, I began to go over the day. It had gone way better than I had expected. The only thing that was hard was constantly restraining myself from interacting with Gabriel in a suspicious way. A few times when we were standing at our lockers I had wanted to touch him or bump into him affectionately. I had managed to suppress the urges. It was mentally exhausting though. I was terrified I’d accidentally touch his shoulder in a way that would give us away. One thing was certain though, I was going to ravage him tonight.
I envisioned Gabriel limping around school tomorrow trying to explain to people that he’d hurt his back working out. I let out a little snicker. A couple of people turned to look at me. “Bless you…” Emma said. Bless her for covering for me.
“Thanks.” I shot her an appreciative smile. I could tell by the look on her face that she was dying to know what I’d randomly laughed about. Maybe I’d embarrass Gabriel and tell her later tonight.
When the class ended, Reese and Emma followed Gabriel and I back to our lockers. It didn’t seem like anyone was in a rush to leave school. “Okay, spill.” Emma poked me in the ribs.
“Later, I can’t say it here…” I whispered.
“Ooooh.” She looked excited.
Gabriel gave me a playful swat. “It better not be about me.” My silence confirmed it. “I knew that I was going to regret introducing the two of you.” He wrapped an arm around each of us. It was all I could do to play it cool. I elbowed him gently to let him know that he was playing with fire. He can’t just go wrapping his arm around me and expect me NOT to bury my face in him and inhale his scent.
A couple of people I didn’t know greeted Gabriel but kept on walking past. He didn’t bother introducing me to them. I wasn’t sure it was because he didn’t want to draw attention to me or if it was because they weren’t really close friends.
Jake appeared with a small group of people. I recognized one from Gabriel’s Instagram. “Nate!” Gabriel caught him up in a hug. Gabriel turned to me. I was surprised when he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me close to him, giving me a peck on the cheek. “Nate, this is my boyfriend Isak.”
This concludes The Exchange Student. I may someday do a spin-off of it, but I think the story that I originally set out to tell has been completed. I hope everyone enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to starting a new project soon.
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