Alex Strangelove on Netflix: Full Cast List, Soundtrack ...
Alex Strangelove Movie Review
Les Misérables Broadway: Alex Strange
Alex Strangelove (2018) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb
Alex Strangelove Netflix Official Site
Alex Strange – Broadway Cast & Staff IBDB
Alex Strangelove (2018) - IMDb
Alex Strangelove movie review (2018) Roger Ebert
Alex Strangelove (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes
Directed by Craig Johnson. With Michael Abela, Daniel Doheny, Brendan Archer, Gianna Jean. Alex, high school class president, nerd and a straight A student, has been dating Claire a long time. They decide to sleep together but then he meets a gay guy and he's confused. “Alex Strangelove” is a movie about simply waiting for a few shoes to drop, so it works best as a poppy character study. And in spite of the story’s low stakes with Alex's two relationships, the performances are stable. Alex Strangelove 2018 TV-MA 1h 39m LGBTQ Movies High school senior Alex Truelove's plan to lose his virginity to lovable girlfriend Claire goes awry when he meets the equally lovable Elliot. Alex Strangelove (2018) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Cast Recordings Obituaries Opening Night Livestreams Playbill Playlist Grosses Vault Shows ... Alex Strange. Performer. Alex Strange. Performer. Roles (2) Ragtime (1998) Opened Jan 18, 1998: Please note that this page is part of a larger unofficial site devoted to the Broadway production of Les Misérables- This page has no official association with Alex Strange. Revival Cast Search Browse Chronology Actor List Random Facts Remembering Final Original Cast 10th Anniv. Welcome to the What’s on Netflix guide to everything you need to know about Alex Strangelove before and after you watch. We’ll be including a consensus on how the movie has performed with the critics, a complete cast and soundtrack list as well as some theories on the ending. ALEX STRANGELOVE tells the story of Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny), a well-rounded high school senior with a wonderful girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein) and a bright future ahead of him--and ... Parents need to know that Alex Strangelove is a teen comedy that puts sex and sexual orientation front and center.While the characters and situations are funny and light-hearted, the story has a serious core, as a very popular student with a reputation as 'the best boyfriend in the world' confronts unacknowledged sexual desires just as he's about to graduate from high school. Performer: Alex Strange [The Little Boy] MusicalDramaOriginal. Les Misérables (Mar 12, 1987 - May 18, 2003) Performer: Alex Strange. Gavroche - Replacement; MusicalDramaOriginal. CREDITS Broadway; Ragtime (Jan 18, 1998 - Jan 16, 2000) Performer: Alex Strange [The Little Boy ...
[For Sale] Build Your Own Bundle - 5 LPs For $20 Shipped! Rock, Pop, Prog Rock, Hard Rock, Southern Rock, Psych, Jazz, Soul, R&B, Gospel, Folk, Country, New Age, Ambient, Hawaiian, Comedy, Soundtracks, Children's and More!
2020.10.18 19:25 creature_fear12[For Sale] Build Your Own Bundle - 5 LPs For $20 Shipped! Rock, Pop, Prog Rock, Hard Rock, Southern Rock, Psych, Jazz, Soul, R&B, Gospel, Folk, Country, New Age, Ambient, Hawaiian, Comedy, Soundtracks, Children's and More!
Need to clear out some space so I've got the following MASSIVE list of titles available for sale today. Pick ANY 5 titles from below for $20 shipped (US only) - LPs are a combination of original US presses, early reissues and the occasional foreign press - no modern reissues here. Payments through PayPal only please. All items ship via USPS media mail with tracking. All items grade at VG/VG or better unless otherwise noted Here's the list! Rock/Pop/Etc. America - Holiday Angel - On Earth As It Is In Heaven Adam Ant - Strip April Wine - The Nature Of The Beast April Wine - First Glance Joan Armatrading - S/T Bachman-Turner Overdrive - S/T Bad Company - Run With The Pack John Baldry - It Ain't Easy Bangles – All Over The Place Bangles - Bangles Bangles - Everything The Beatles - Sgt. 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And Other Four Letter Words Quicksilver Messenger Service - Shady Grove Rainbow - Jealous Lover EP Gerry Rafferty - Can I Have My Money Back? 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Linda Ronstadt - S/T Various - White Mansions - A Tale From The American Civil War 1861-1865 (Jessi Coulter, Waylon Jennings, John Dillon, Steve Cash) Various - The Legend Of Jesse James (Levon Helm, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Charlie Daniels) Wet Willie - The Wetter The Better Hank Williams Jr - Country Shadows (Cover G+) Jesse Colin Young – The Soul Of A City Boy Jesse Colin Young - Love On The Wing Jesse Colin Young - Light Shine Jesse Colin Young - Songbird Jesse Colin Young - Song For Juli New Age/Ambient William Ackerman – Conferring With The Moon Darol Anger - Barbara Higbie – Tideline Scott Cossu - Wind Dance George Cromarty - Wind In The Heather Alex de Grassi - Southern Exposure Steven Halpern - Georgia Kelly - Ancient Echoes Steven Halpern - Prelude Mannheim Steamroller - Fresh Aire III Michael Manring - Unusual Weather Shadowfax – The Dreams Of Children Vangelis - Heaven And Hell Vangelis - Opera Sauvage Vangelis - Spiral Vangelis - Beaubourg Vangelis - Mask Vangelis - Invisible Connections Vangelis - See You Later Vangelis - China Various - Soul Of The Machine -- The Windham Hill Sampler Of New Electronic Music Andreas Vollenweider – ... Behind The Gardens - Behind The Wall - Under The Tree ... 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The Firesign Theatre - The Giant Rat Of Sumatra Dick Gregory - At Kent State 2LP Tom Lehrer - Songs By Tom Lehrer The Monty Python Instant Record Collection National Lampoon - White Album Orson Welles - The Begatting Of The President Children's The Chipmunks - Chipmunk Punk Maurice Evans Reads A. A. Milne – Winnie-The-Pooh Maurice Evans Reads A. A. Milne – More Winnie-The-Pooh Pete's Dragon - Disney The Rescuers (Disney) Miscellaneous Boniface Bonnie – Night & Daylight Yeibichei (Native American) Bonzo Dog Band – Beast Of The Bonzos Bonzo Dog Band - THe History Of The Bonzos 2LP Tomita - The Planets
2020.10.14 06:09 InfiniteDoorsI Hate This Era of Star Trek (and I Wish I Didn't)
I'm going to sum up the last few years of Trek with a single phrase: lowest common denominator. It absolutely breaks my heart to see what CBS has been shitting out, and I'm not even a long-time fan. I was a Star Wars kid, so I didn't grow up on it. No one in my family has watched it, so I didn't even accidentally see an episode or two. I saw the Kelvin movies, but only as sci-fi/action films. It's only in the last two years that I started watching the entire franchise, and I love it. I love all of it. EXCEPT FOR THE NEW SHOWS. Here we go!
Let me just rattle off what I do like before getting into what I hate. This won't take long.
The visuals. At this point, it should go without saying that a lot of CGI looks good, but it's very good in Discovery and Picard. It's on par with the JJ movies. The alien make-up looks great too.
Pike is great. He's the most Trek character in Discovery, and while that isn't saying much, it's still appreciated. The only other characters from any of the shows that I like are Saru, Number One, Laris and Zhaban.
The idea of the Borg Reclamation Project, and Hugh as its director. I wish that subplot was the whole story of Picard, or at least a much more important part.
Jeri Ryan wore normal clothes that allowed her to breathe freely, and didn't comically sexualize her.
That's about it. Now for the bitchfest.
The Fucking Cloud
This is really hard for me. I hate 99.9% of this shit, so I'm not totally sure where to start. I guess what gets me the most is that the spirit of Trek is gone. Where's the optimism? The thoughtfulness? The sense of fun and adventure that's delivered with a genuine smile, not an insincere smirk. These are generic sci-fi action shows that have a Star Trek label half-assedly slapped on, and that label is the only reason I give this crap the time of day. I feel miserable watching them, they ooze angst and hopelessness. But whenever they do try to be hopeful (last 10 minutes of the season finales), or display some excitement about this fantastical setting (Tilly's whole shtick).... it feels disingenuous. Feels like lip service designed to shut people like me up, and go "See? This is Star Trek, so quit your bitching." I know someone will bring up DS9 as an example of Dark Trek, and some of Enterprise too. And yes, they did some real dark shit in both shows. In the Pale Moonlight alone, while a fantastic episode, can be very polarizing. Some say it absolutely destroys what the Federation and Star Trek stands for, the ultimate example of Sisko as the antithesis to the paragon Picard. But do you know what DS9 had that Discovery and Picard don't? Heart. A great cast. Well-rounded characters, both main and secondary. Action that may be technically worse, but more engaging and exciting than flashy triple flips and a veritable bukkake of CGI, drenching my face with billions of lasers and explosions. Oh and I guess good writing. Now to be fair, I never expected these new shows to be produced in the same exact way as the 90s shows. Bright even lighting, one and done stories each week, somewhat cheesy acting, goofy filler episodes, etc. Television has changed, and obviously a Star Trek show made in 2017 and 2019 will reflect those changes. Slick action, fluid camera movement, L E N S F L A R E S, high quality visual effects, and serialized storytelling. That's all fine. What isn't fine, is the writing not being as good as all the fancy spaceships. Speaking of that...
The Game of Thrones Effect
There's tv shows, and then there's prestige television. You kind of know it when you see it. The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Fargo, Mad Men, Better Call Saul, True Detective, House of Cards before Kevin Spacey came out of the closet, there's a lot of great shows out there. But there was a show that was an absolute cultural juggernaut that overshadowed just about everything else: Game of Thrones. Before it totally shit the bed, GoT had it all. An incredible title sequence, top notch cast. sexy political intrigue, all the violence and swearing and nudity one could ask for, awesome fantasy elements, it popularized incest, and best of all, fucking everyone was watching it. Everybody was talking about it. So why am I talking about GoT? Because right now Star Trek is embarrassingly trying to emulate it.
Their attempts at political intrigue are just very ham-fisted reflections of real world issues, but much more broad and simplistic, with no real nuance in the writing to make it less obvious. Allegories to current events is not new to Trek at all, but again its the writing that helps sell it.
The violence in the shows are utterly gratuitous, as is the swearing. Now I'm perfectly fine with violence in fiction. I'm fine with violence in Star Trek. I'm not fine with the showrunners beheading people willy nilly, or a graphic eyeball removal because the writers were too lazy to give the audience a smarter motivation to dislike a character.
As for the swearing, I fucking love swearing. Fucking love the shit out of it. Do you cunts see how much I love it? In Star Trek, do you want characters to have a filthy mouth like my shithole? Fuck no. Writers with no restraint or subtlety think characters should casually drop F-bombs left and right with no regard for whether it is appropriate or not. But Star Trek can swear, and has been since TOS. Go ahead and keep swearing, but for God's sake make it more natural. "Sheer fucking hubris" was the only instance that actually worked. But later they doubled down and just turned that character into Admiral Pottymouth.
Right now, Star Trek has some dumbass obsession with galactic+ stakes. Discovery S1 threatened the fucking MULTIVERSE, S2 had a murderous AI who wanted to wipe out all organic life, and then Picard... had a murderous synthetic race who wanted to wipe out all organic life. Discovery S3 apparently will focus on rebuilding the Federation after some galactic event that made everything shit. Or something like that. Another big dumb thing.
The shows have tackled the topics of rape and incest, except "tackled" should be replaced by "pussyfooted around". There was a character who was raped by a Klingon in Discovery, but later its revealed that wasn't what happened. That is also how we get the first case of nudity in Star Trek. We see Klingon titty for about half a second. Then the incest... this is the most blatant element that was inspired by GoT, except they didn't have the balls to go all the way. We have a brother and sister in Picard, both portrayed by attractive actors. She is uncomfortably too touchy with him, and keeps whispering like she wants to fuck him right then and there. It doesn't help that the actress is hamming it up like she's in a bad Shakespeare adaptation.
Discovery and Picard aren't just edgier than the old shows, they're also trying to tell more """mature""" stories and falling flat on their faces. The morally gray captain who is fueled by PTSD and his worldview of "context is for kings"? Turns out he was a Mirror universe asshole who wanted to usurp the Empress, rendering any character development moot. A prisoner of war who was raped by his captor, and suffers PTSD as a result? He is actually a Klingon zealot who was surgically altered into a human, and whose psyche is buried underneath the human persona. Now that is actually interesting, but in execution he is essentially just a boring human who speaks Klingon. 30 years ago, Picard was assimilated by the Borg for 3 days, so he still suffers from PTSD (the writers love PTSD). This is acceptable, but isn't really dealt with in a satisfactory way in the show. The Borg cube in the show is very unnecessary to the main plot, and feels like its only there for trailer bait and so we can have Picard visit it and have panic attacks, because PTSD. So much PTSD! Let's switch gears and talk about the other side of this fucking mess.
Lower Decks or: How I Learned to Stop Laughing and Hate References
Lower Decks is simultaneously better and worse than Discovery and Picard. Better, because it is not a shitty soap opera, I don't have to watch some of my favorite legacy characters become tainted, and it is only 22 minutes. Worse, because this is perhaps the unfunniest cartoon I've ever seen. In those 22 minutes there is no room to breathe. Everything is rapid fire, characters won't shut the hell up, there is no subtlety whatsoever. At least with the live action dreck, the serious tone makes it a bit more palatable. But with this, 2/3rds of the jokes aren't jokes, they are references. And I'm expected to laugh, because as a fan, I am a braindead monkey who shits himself and goes bananas over something I recognize. The rest of the "jokes" are utterly lazy and 100% predictable. The character designs are so bland, they are the only thing that keeps me from saying that it's a decent looking show, because I do like the classic TNG aesthetic that is used, especially compared to the generic vanilla sci-fi hologram bullshit in live action. I've laughed maybe 3 times after all 10 episodes, 2 of those were from references, and they were more like light chuckles than actual laughter. I feel like an alien whenever I see praise for this unimaginative crapfest. Am I just a joyless grump, or are these fans total sheep? Based on StarTrek, I'd lean towards the latter "You can tell the creators love Star Trek!!!" ad naseum). I know everyone and their mother has made the comparison to Rick and Morty, considering the showrunner and animation style, and I can't say they're wrong. Mariner is less funny Rick, Boimler is less funny Morty, replace "nihilism" with "mocking Trek", and they're roughly the same. Anyway, compared to Discovery and Picard, I don't have much to say about Lower Decks. There's only so many ways to say "it isn't funny."
Shooting Canon Out of a Cannon
Retcons are nothing new, certainly not to Star Trek, a franchise that's almost 55 years old. They don't always work, and there's always fans who will be upset about them. The most famous retcon is probably the look of the Klingons. They went from some guys with shoe polish smeared on their faces, to hairy space vikings with ridged foreheads. This went unanswered for 16 years, and then DS9 poked fun at the retcon. But then 9 years later, Enterprise gave us an answer. Was it unnecessary? Yes. Was it good? I think so. Did it help set a bad precedent? Yes, unfortunately. Because as long as you handwave away the reasoning, no matter how flimsy, you can now retcon whatever you want. Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks have taken great liberties with their own additions to the canon, and made sure to include throwaway lines at minimum to keep things somewhat plausible. Let's look at some of them:
The Klingons. It isn't just their physical appearance that's drastically changed, they feel distinctly un-Klingon. This was deliberate on the part of the showrunners, who wanted to take them in a different direction than their typical portrayal. Also, they have one behemoth of a ship that literally cuts through starships with ease. Where the fuck were they hiding that during the Dominion War?
The Spore Drive. The titular USS Discovery has a super duper secret experimental method of travel. Utilizing tardigrade DNA, they are able to use mushroom spores to access the mycelial network, which is the equivalent of an intergalactic highway, allowing the ship to instantaneously jump from one point to another. Aside from the goofy premise of using mushrooms for teleportation, and the unethical nature of requiring a live subject to "navigate", this is some game-changing technology. So of course, it was in use during the TOS era and ultimately classified, never to be referenced ever again in any of the future shows. Wow, what a clever way to introduce this new thing and then wipe it from history. It's almost like it never should have been in that time period in the first place.
Michael Burnham. Instead of being a totally new character, she was inexplicably linked to the most famous Star Trek character ever: Spock. She was his adopted sister, and just like the Spore Drive, her entire existence was classified and no one was allowed to ever mention her ever again. The only justification for Spock having this secret sister is 1) Spock is so tight-lipped about his family, that Kirk didn't know his father was standing right in front of them until forced to confess, and 2) his secret half-brother Sybok in Star Trek V, who has also never been referenced again. Utter shit reasoning for such a stupid decision. Speaking of Spock...
The Enterprise and its crew. That's the main reason for Spock being Burnham's adopted sibling, and not some random Vulcan, so that he and the Enterprise can show up. Spock now has space dyslexia so he can write something backwards, and also for some easy disability points from the audience. Pike captains the Discovery for the whole season, and also sees his future of getting stuck in a space wheelchair as a vegetable. He cannot change his fate at all, so there wasn't much point in showing him, except to show his resolve. Number One shows up, and I like her, but her name. Una. I know that some books or whatever like making her name something relating to the number one, but come on. What fucking hack actually canonized the name "Una". And then there's the classic Enterprise herself, but she isn't classic anymore. Now she's updated to be all cool and shiny, and a bridge that only vaguely resembles the crappy TOS version. That actually brings up something I want to mention, but I'll circle back to it later.
Section 31. From a clandestine group of only a few operatives, to a full blown branch of Starfleet with its own fleet. It's basically the CIA now. And of course, there's no subtlety whatsoever compared to the original depiction. OH, and we're getting a whole show based on the dark underbelly of the Federation, starring an evil fascist cannibal. Yippee.
Harry Mudd. Dude was just a goofy human trafficker and guy who stumbled upon a world full of androids, why is he now a hyper-competent psychopath? I like Rainn Wilson, but I don't care for his take on Mudd.
Tribbles. Fuck that entire Short Trek. It wasted H. Jon Benjamin on some stupid role, the captain was a total bitch, and once again an utterly pointless retcon was made in the form of why the tribbles multiply so rapidly. The fake trailer at the end was also dumb, this isn't SNL.
The supernova. Introduced as a plot device to get Prime Spock to the Kelvinverse, Picard actually followed up on it. An admirable effort, but seeing what we got... I actually prefer they just ignored it.
The Romulans. First, we have the Zhat Vash. It's a stupid name, and a stupid organization. Instead of just using the Tal Shiar, an already established entity, they twisted that into it "a mask for the Zhat Vash", supposedly ancient even though there's no trace of it in Vulcan history. They keep a secret so terrible, it literally breaks minds, evidenced by the Borg cube in the show that was disabled by a single Zhat Vash operative. Wow, isn't that so badass? Fucking epic. Then we have how Romulan culture was handled beyond this dumb shadow group. Because Romulans are traditionally sneaky and treacherous, that means their entire lives are steeped in secrets. They have fake names to all but loved ones. They have fake front doors. I think there was more but I can't remember. I bet they have fake dicks and vaginas too. Oh, and because they are so secretive, there's a rebellious group that's opposes the Zhat Vash, the Qowat Milat (another dumb name). They only speak the truth, and are literally described as "Romulan Warrior Nuns", because hack writers. Anyway, they have a member who is a straight up samurai and absolutely loves stabbing and beheading everyone. But to hide that fact, he opens fights with this line: "Please friends, choose to live." Damn, now THAT'S badass.
Lower Decks. Just all of it. I absolutely despise the fact that this is treated as canon. I have to deal with the dumbest shit ever in the same regard as stuff from TNG, DS9, etc. Fuck this show.
The visuals and technology. Okay, so the updated Enterprise bridge is part of a problem I have with Discovery. It isn't like I was expecting an exact replica of the old set, like TNG, DS9 and ENT did. But, because this is a sci-fi show made in 2017, that means everything has to be pretty advanced. Everything. Even if it clashes with canon. For example, all the hologram tech. Those are explicitly not a standard thing until TNG. They have some dipshit throwaway line about Pike not liking holograms, so he wants them removed from the Enterprise. Wow, great job guys! Another mine disarmed! Then there's stuff like intraship beaming, which at the time was extremely dangerous because of the accuracy required. But I guess Discovery just has the best transporter chiefs ever, so no sweat. There's also the issue of S3 taking place 1000 years later. Discovery is already a pretty advanced ship, at least visually. So how will they differentiate their tech from 32nd century tech? Fancier holograms?
The Kevin Feige of Star Trek
I've gone this whole post so far without mentioning the man in charge: Alex Kurtzman. You might know him as the guy who helped write Transformers, the sequel with the racist robots, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the director of the Mummy reboot. More importantly, he co-wrote Star Trek 09 and Into Darkness. That, a friendship with JJ Abrams, and a reputation for being easy to work with, made him qualified to have the keys to the entire kingdom. If all CBS asked for was standard fare, I'd say so far he's fallen short. I wouldn't say he actively hates Star Trek, but I do feel like he doesn't respect it. It's an IP with a fanbase to take advantage of. All that, and this is pretty mean, but he also has a punchable face. I'm sure he's a nice person, but I hate his face.
Dear God, Seven More Years?
It was announced a few days ago that Kurtzman has made an outline for the next seven years of Star Trek. This isn't too much of a surprise, as CBS All Access doesn't have much outside of Star Trek. We already know a few shows that will be made: the Section 31 show, which is just a terrible idea. Prodigy, a Nickelodeon cartoon that will have Kate Mulgrew back as Janeway in some capacity. A Starfleet Academy teen drama... okay. I'm sure the melodrama will be cranked to 11, same as the other shows. Last I heard about the movies, Noah Hawley of Fargo fame was attached to direct, and they won't be Kelvinverse. There's of course more seasons of the current shows planned, and maybe another announced show that I can't recall. And last but not least, Strange New Worlds. A return to episodic Trek, set on the original Enterprise, and starring Pike, Spock and Number One. Does it sound good? Yes. Will it be good? Time will tell. Am I excited? Fuck no. I was hesitant about Picard, and my concerns were well-founded. So until the show comes out, or maybe after a trailer, I am going in with zero expectations. That way, if it isn't dogshit, I will be pleasantly surprised. Better that than getting burned by the promises of "a return to optimistic Trek" again.
The Human Adventure is Just Ending
I would love to love all of these shows. In just two short years, Star Trek has become my favorite franchise, and we're about to drown in new content for years to come. But I'm not excited for any of it. It's a very sad feeling, having to push through a new episode while others just eat it up. This is probably the longest rant I've ever done, and it's not hard to see why. If you actually managed to read all the way through to the end, then wow I hope you love Star Trek too. Whether or not you agree with my bitching, at least you understand what I'm saying. I'd hate to be a regular person and try to get past the first paragraph without confusion.
2020.10.12 15:16 gynecomanThe Ultimate London Gynecomastia Guide
[PICTURES] The Ultimate London Gynecomastia Guide Written anonymously by a meticulous and researched patient who researched and underwent treatment inOctober 2020*, London* Could also be useful to those not in the UK. Intro If you’re reading this, we probably have something in common. I have been dealing with this issue of male breasts since I was 14. I assumed it would go away post-puberty, assumed it was an exercise issue, assumed I have low testosterone and that something was wrong with me, and assumed a lot worse. The fact of the matter is this – the vast majority of men have some glandular tissue or breast fat. The question is how much do you have, and how much does it bother you? This will vary from person to person. Someone may be in excellent shape, with Grade I minor glandular tissue and it could be crippling, while someone else may be Grade III with 1 litre of fat and a massive gland and not be bothered by it. It varies from person to person. If you are on any online thread posting photos of your chest asking if *this is gyno*, let’s be real, the answer is yes and that it bothers you. I feel your pain, believe me. But gynecomastia is not comparable to a cancer, it is more comparable to a birth mark. It probably won’t harm you, it probably bothers you the most, and again, it bothers each individual differently. So if that is the case, regardless of grade, if you have the financial means then getting it sorted out is nothing to be ashamed of. Simple. The Process I live in London. One day I just had enough and made a list of all the times the condition has impacted or embarrassed me. I saved up enough money for the operation and went on to schedule appointments with: - Dr. Alexandra Chambers - Dr. Gary Horn - Dr. Alex Karidis - Dr. Ravi Jain - Dr. Theodore Nanidis - Dr. Hassan Nurein Yes, 6 doctors. Let me save you some time to give you a breakdown of my experiences. I encourage you, however, to conduct your own research. Use my feedback as a starting point.
Dr. Alexandra Chambers
- She was the first doctor I met - I was set on a male doctor since this is a male procedure, so I did not have high expectations. She, however, was very professional - She was the only doctor that insisted on conducting an ultrasound - She is quite specialised in her field - She was not pushy by any means, and suggested meeting other doctors - I left the appointment quite surprised, and considered her as an option, contrary to what I believe walking in - Being the first doctor I met, I was not willing to commit to her just yet - She had conducted a gynecomastia surgery earlier that day, gave me a PowerPoint presentation, and graded me and my requirements very professionally - Although she was the first one I met, I did feel comfortable enough with her to proceed if no other surgeons could outshine her in the coming week 2) Dr. Gary Horn - Before meeting any doctors, simply off internet research, he was my top pick initially - His prices posted online seemed reasonable, and he seemed like he was specialised - Had plenty of videos online talking about the procedure - I set up a video call initially, nobody showed up to the consultation scheduled - I emailed, and then one of his assistants who just blabbered on WhatsApp Video called me, it was very unprofessional - Seemed more like a churn factory to me. I just did not feel comfortable - Immediately after the useless call, the same man who called me emailed me asking if I would like to schedule a call with the clinic. I replied saying “I just spoke to you 30 seconds ago.” And he said “Whoops my mistake!” If these guys can’t keep accountability and track of which patient is which then I cannot trust them with a scalpel and my body. I don’t want to be mistaken for and end up leaving the OR with Double D implants. - Decided right there and then I would have rather gone to Chambers than Horn - 45 days later, they sent me another useless email with no personal touch. Goodbye. 3) Dr. Alex Karidis - To be frank, Karidis along with Nurein are considered to be the top surgeons in this field. - However, I didn’t end up even booking the appointment with Karidis. He is the only doctor that I reached out to that demanded an initial consultation fee. Easy pass for me. It demonstrates greed over patient care. Let’s be real, the surgeons are here for cash first, and that’s fine! But I want a surgeon who thrives off references and key work - Additionally, Karidis performs this surgery under general anaesthesia. I do not think that’s necessary for this. Being alert through this operation and the surgeon’s confidence in doing so became crucial to me as I continued with my research - Also, Karidis does many different type of surgeries. There is no doubt he is a star in the field of gynecomastia. However, my preference was to avoid a “jack of all trades, master of none.” The “I can do that, and that, and that” mentality is not what I am after when my body is being opened up. - A friend I met online through this experience went through Karidis and had a good experience. I am not surprised. It just wasn’t for me. - Also, I was set on a Harley St. doctor. This obviously means nothing, but I believe being on Harley St. demonstrates a level of excellence, achievement, and honor – as ridiculous as that may sound. Moving on. 4) Dr. Ravi Jain - FAR from Harley St. In Luton! However, that was okay for me because he is not trying to be a London doctor. Heading to Hertfordshire for a lifechanging surgery is really no big deal. Although I do avoid flying from Luton at all costs 😊 - Dr. Ravi Jain was very personable. Really nice guy. - Professional website, clearly successful and talented, was very straight up and honest - He has a great team and supporting cast, appears aplenty on TV, and seemed very trustworthy - However, like Karidis, he specialises in many procedures – mostly for women. - He also until very recently only did liposuction, no glad removal. He does gland removal now, but it’s a bit late to the game - He did not rush me at all on the call, but also did recommend Dr. Nurein for this procedure and I think that says a lot - I would have considered him, he was a good candidate, but not exactly perfect. 5) Dr. Theodore Nanidis - This was an odd one. Really nice guy, was quite personable, but by far the easiest to rule out for this surgery - Nanidis is a breast specialist – female breast specialist, that is. - He wanted to conduct the surgery under general anaesthesia – no thanks - He does not use Vaser for liposuction, uses the old school method – huge no for me - Was priced at DOUBLE any specialised doctor would be – uhhh? - Wanted to conduct the surgery overnight at some Zone 3 public hospital – I’ll pass - I don’t mean to sound cruel, this guy is obviously very talented. However, gynecomastia is not his speciality, period. Of course he can do it, but I am after someone who does it every day. He specifically said he does a case every few months. 6) Dr. Hassan Nurein - Dr. Nurein is whose videos and details I’ve seen most on YouTube and the web - Along with Karidis, he is the most spoken about online - Nurein specialises in gynecomastia ONLY. He conducts hundreds of cases a year, the man is clearly doing well, and has found his niche so kudos to him - Nurein’s reviews online were second to none - His initial consultation was free. He was late for it, however, his team notified me well in advance and that was completely fine! In fact I respect that. His surgery took longer than expected, you don’t exactly expect a guy to jump out of the OR to chat with a prospect on Zoom - He did arrive on the video call, clearly directly from surgery. Nice guy, but we only spoke for a minute which was slightly unsettling, but it was because he asked me to come in the next day which I was happy about so it’s all good - We discussed my requirements in person, the whole thing only took a few minutes, he was honest and to the point, and I was able to make a decision to go with him on the spot, pretty much - He is not some cheapskate doctor looking to churn out clients, although he does conduct multiple surgeries a day which is something I see as both admirable, routine, and a means to provide experience. Nothing would seem new to him for me. - He also has plenty of staff for a one-man show. Nurses, after-care specialists, receptionists, managers, etc. He probably doesn’t need that much staff, but he runs a tight ship with a single focus – gynecomastia. - I met with him at the beginning of August, I couldn’t get surgery in until October! The man does basically one thing and one thing only, multiple times a day, and it will take months to get a couple hours in with him – says a lot. It also means that he will treat maybe 100 people between me going ahead and me getting surgery. Seems like a good amount of practice runs in the interim - Dr. Nurein’s team was fabulous during the surgery. They demonstrated compassion and a human element far more than I could expect – holding my hand during the procedure, checking in on me continuously, making small talk, you name it - Nurein performed this under local anaesthesia. Which was great. This is a procedure we dream of all of our lives, it is nice to be there for it while it is happening. - Every step of the way, I was informed of what was happening. Nurein asked me regularly if I am in pain, and the one time I was, he applied more local anaesthesia to numb me out. - The other beauty of local was that as soon as it was done, I was able to sit up and see the results IMMEDIATELY. I was on shock. Firstly, it did not look like I had any surgery done at all. Sure my nipples were covered and stitched, but my chest was clean as a whistle. I got to stand up and check myself out while Nurein gave me verbal props. I couldn’t believe it. I expected a bloody chest which would take weeks to recover from. NOPE. Results right there and then. - They wrapped me up and applied the compression garment, which is horrible. However, it is necessary and will be horrible irrespective of which doctor you choose - I was able to see and touch my glands – both about hamburger patty sized, as well as see the fat lipo’d out of me (600ml). - Everything was explained to me thereafter in depth, with a take-home pack of a second compression vest and information and painkillers etc. - Before I left, I was called into Nurein’s office to schedule a 3-day post op phone call, as well as lock in a one-month review with the doctor off the get-go. - The last thing the doctor said to me was that he has an open-door policy. - I walked out of surgery feeling great, strolled over to John Lewis and looked around the store like it was nothing. Considered getting some food but decided to Uber home just in case. - I got home feeling great, but the swelling and pain did start a few hours later. Not fun - By 8PM I was filled with water like a balloon. It was extremely strange to be able to HEAR liquid inside of me at night. I slept horribly as expected, maybe 4 hours total waking up in between, but hey, I had just gone through surgery. - As I write this, it is virtually 24 hours to the minute since surgery. Swelling has subsided a lot but I am sure it will return. I am aching but not in pain, no paracetamol needed. I can cook and clean up and just chill out, but I am tired. The compression garment is killing me, but I will just man-up and deal with it. Range of motion with arms is limited but improving. - Still nobody knows I got this surgery. Conclusion - If there are doctors skilled and confident enough to give you what you want while you are awake, why on earth would you want to be asleep through this and go through general? - Being able to see the results immediately is incredible for positivity through recovery, and not worrying what it’s going to look like - Going home and not staying overnight is beneficial to the way you will approach recovery and keep you in an excited mindset rather than that of a hospital patient - I would highly suggest focusing on a gynecomastia-only doctor. Your chances of success are unquestionably higher with someone who does this daily As it has only been 3 full day since surgery, and I waited until now to post this. I LOVE my result. Honestly exceeded my expectations, but do remember, results take weeks or months to finalise. The incision around the nipple is PERFECT. His sculpting is so natural and symmetrical. I am almost emotional. I hope this was useful to you guys. I empathise with you hugely so I took the time to compile this! Any questions? just ask! Sincerely, Mr. A Nonymous https://preview.redd.it/ghbwfhw2zns51.jpg?width=683&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=04fffbecc89a5bce1325e5a97172a22e52f04e70
2020.10.11 11:36 prolelolI finished watching PLL as a 23-year-old-guy and here are my thoughts:
I just finished watching PLL yesterday, it took me 4 months to finish. Let's be honest, the first two seasons were fantastic and true seasons. I think the third season is greater, but fourth and fifth seasons were also fun and still watchable. I feel I've wasted time by watching the last two seasons. Here we go: THE SEASONS & RANKING: The first season is a truly classic season and has some memorable things such like: Ali's flashbacks, the blind girl, thinking Toby might be "A", etc. I personally loved this season, and the atmosphere was great. The second season wasn't kind of memorable as the first one, but it was still good and I loved the season finale. Surprisingly good twist! The third season is just greater and better in every ways. I loved Maya's killer's storyline that had nothing to connect with "A", Halloween episode and that season finale was the best one, in my opinion. After third season kinda started to feel like it's going around in the circle, but it wasn't bad. The fifth season is the MOST unrealistic one, and yet it was so much fun to watch. Lots of stuff happened there, and I was just stuck watching that whole season. I feel I’ve wasted time by watching the last two seasons. Those seasons are just trash, and I didn’t know why I haven’t stopped watching. I knew the series finale is going to sucks though, and the last episode was so damn terrible written. I loved 7A season though. My ranking of seasons: 3 > 1 > 5 > 2 > 4 > 7 > 6 THE CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS: Let's be honest, Troian is the only real actress who can actually act and deserves better projects IMO. Spencer is my personally favorite, but Hanna is a close second. She is just hilarious, and has some clever humour. Aria is just decent, I guess. I loved her when she was working with A.D. I personally loved Shay Mitchell in You and I decided to watch PLL for her. I thought she may be better in PLL, but I found her character such a poorly written with so many horrible lines. I was just waiting that the writers to give a nice plotline for Emily that doesn’t revolve around romance and there was zero. Flashback Ali is something special, I honestly loved her. My favorite supporting characters: Mona, Jenna, Hanna's mom, Emily's dad, Mike. Aria & Ezra stuff is just gross. I was honestly fine with them as a couple because they met before school starts and I thought he was like 19 and she was 16 (only 3 years apart like irl, I think) until I found out he was 24/25 and used her for books, and she still dated with him. He should’ve died after A shooting him imo. I wasn't a big fan of Spencer & Toby, but I honestly loved her with Alex, I wish he stayed in the show a bit longer. Hanna & Caleb is not bad, but it was too obvious that they would be endgame. Emily's girlfriends were strange and meta creepy, her with Alison is just weird. The only girl I liked she dated with is Claire Holt lol. I honestly loved the relationship between Hanna and her mom, it was the best one. "A" REVEALS & WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN: The first reveal is great. The second reveal is also surprising, that whole story and twist were good, but I honestly I feel it’s such a waste and disappointment to tells us who is A after 130 episodes because of too many plot holes and questions. The third reveal is just SO stupid and most unrealistic thing of the entire show. What I think who should have been "A"? Maybe it's strong unpopular opinion, while I think Mona was true "A", but other than that I honestly think Emily & Caleb should have been big "A" together. It would be one of the biggest twists from the show. Ali says she don't like her, Emily kills her. She asks Caleb to work with her, he accepts for money. Caleb does stuff to scare the liars and Emily pretends to be scared and shocked in all seasons. It would've been great and giving some serious Scream vibes. WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Of course, it should have been better if the show was shorter and had minus 60 episodes. It should have been better if it had less romances and more darkness. I think Spencer should've ended up being as the final girl, and Aria should have spent as the lead role in the first few seasons, then she dies first. I also think the show would have been better if every of each season had different lies, like Desperate Housewives. Overall, the first few seasons were great like I said. I loved the cast, the characters, the intro, atmosphere, and mid-seasons. So, here are my thoughts and have a nice Sunday. :D
2020.10.09 00:16 RiverheathNew ranking of the cycles:
Cycle 19: personally, this is my least favorite cycle. It’s so cheap, the girls aren’t great, the social media aspect sucked, and they got rid of everything we loved. I can see truly if they wanted to refresh the host or the jays earlier in the series, other top model iterations did it, but by cycle 19 it was too late to get rid of them. This cycle was boring on top of that, and the college theme added nothing. Overall, it didn’t feel like top model. Cycle 17: I hate this season as much as 19, but the reason I hate it most was Angelea being wrongfully and cruelly stripped of her win. At least we got to see Allison again, but there’s not much to say about this cycle other than it sucked. Cycles 23/24: the vh1 cycles are tied for awfulness and they were unnecessary. Most people didn’t know or care that top model was still on, and reviving it was a bizarre choice. Rita was an awful host and perhaps if Vh1 had a real model like Ashley graham as host it would bring freshness to top model. The ageless gimmick was pointless, and it makes one wonder why a plus size cycle wasn’t considered, India was cool but slightly forgettable and in cycle 24 kyla wasn’t even close to Khrystyana who was the plus sized winner we deserved. Cycle 20: the first and worst of the guy/girl cycles. Basically every contestant was awful and it played like a strange version of the bachelor. Jourdans win made it seem pointless to even add men, and her whining was unbearable. It made no sense not to have an all male cycle and no part of this was modeling. Marvin was also the literal worst. Cycle 22: only slightly better because of Nyle and mamè but the lameness of Vegas and tyras mlm cannot be overstated. Amazingly the show wasn’t cancelled in cycle 19, but by 22 the horse was dead and it felt tired. I only wish mame was on an earlier season... Cycle 21: I remember next to nothing about this season, only that Winnie Harlow was on it but she kinda sucked (tbh she’s overrated and her career is only because of her skin..) Keith was one note but solid, and Lennox was robbed in favor of a male winner. At least Seoul was cool? Cycle 8: controversial opinion, I hate this season. Jaslene was great but honestly who didn’t predict her win? This season is hard to rewatch because of the cast, which is arguably the worst of the series. Also, the shoots sucked and despite having a great international destination, they misused it. Sydney should’ve been amazing... and it wasn’t. Plus, Renee and the Cooper street moment make this way too uncomfortable. Also, knowing about jael makes this season too sad. The other awful part of this season is the garbage call out order.. what a mess... Cycle 18: sure, the show had run its course by this time and this cycle definitely reeked of behind the scenes tension especially after all stars, but the brits bought a lot of life to the show and they were a joy to watch. Still, there was no way a Brit wasn’t winning and there was a lot of bull shit eliminations, but at the very least we got Ashley and Annelise on our screens. I don’t mind this cycle at all. Cycle 5: after the messy fun of the classic cycle 4, top model gave us this season. The cast for better or worse was memorable but overall the photos were cheap looking and this cycle was boring. Despite the fact I don’t love Lisa, her elimination was one of the shows dumbest choices and also Jayla was one of the shows worst contestants. Overall, a boring cycle with one of the worst finales ever (although that wasn’t top models fault) and London, just like Sydney, was severely underused. Cycle 9: This was when the show jumped the shark, between Saleishas win and Whitney’s win, the show never quite reached its earlier highs. The overseas portion was AWFUL, and hearing Mr. Jay and Raja talk about the experience only added to the awfulness . Plus, as an autistic person, the bullying of heather hit home. Cycle 10: this might be tied for cycle 9 in terms of awfulness, coming back to New York was genius and the cast was the most high fashion the show has ever seen (sorry cycles 15/16) but then... they gave us the worst winner ever (until Lisa, who only partially counts). This cycle had everything going for it and it blew it. Cycle 12: a boring cycle that gave us some of the best contestants the shows ever had. Really though, there wasn’t a lot interesting about this season and the Brazilian shoots sucked. The show could have gave us greatness with Tyra versus Natalie and instead we ended up with Thalia. Oh and the single Most offensive shoot ever thanks to the flavella shoot, stay classy antm. (Special shout-out to that final runway in terms of awfulness) Cycle 11: Amsterdam was undoubtedly one of the best international destinations the show ever had, and they used it beautifully, but despite the strength of the international portion, the transphobia in the beginning makes this cycle hard to watch. Also, Clarke is in the top three worst contestants ever. Cycle 15: this was supposed to be the high fashion cycle and instead we got the Ann show. Nobody else was really memorable and nobody else really stood a chance. The shoots were overall OK but it’s kind of a boring season for what it should’ve been. Still, it’s a good cycle to watch if you just want to tune out and not really think of anything, not bad not my favorite. Cycle 13: the petite cycle was one of the best in terms of talent. Everyone bought it, because as Sundai said in the Instagram live, all of them felt that they could only have this one chance. It gave us some of the shows most memorable contestants and certainly one of the best winners as a whole, though the season is pretty middle of the road. Also controversial opinion, Erin deserved to be eliminated over Rae her commercial was clearly the worst. Also, this was the season that gave us Wanda Sue and for that we can’t help but be grateful. Cycle 14: yes I know most of you would probably rank this lower and frankly the contestants on this season suck, they had little to no potential and frankly the winner deserved to be eliminated and had one of the worst shots ever on top model. Plus, The Mom brigade is one of the most annoying things the show has ever done. Part of the problem was every contestant was a story contestants on this cycle. Despite all that, this cycle is a guilty pleasure for me. The international destination is probably the best the show ever done and honestly all of the shoots in New Zealand were quite frankly incredible. Yes, the ugly pretty one produced some messy shots but I can’t believe for one second that was Angeleas best shot. Also, it’s really a tragedy that Angelea didn’t win this season considering she got every go see. I have a soft spot for the cycle only because of New Zealand. I wish the cast was better but the second half of the cycle makes up for the first half. Also, I love when they’re in New York and I wish cycle 10 and 12 did New York better better. Cycle 1: honestly, this is the hardest cycle to rank because frankly it’s not like any other cycle. It felt almost like a real modeling competition and at least in the beginning we all thought that the show was going to be legit. It gave us some of best moments ever on the show and had a real documentary feel. What happened to Adrianne after is an unfortunate side note and Robin is probably one of the worst contestants the shows ever had, making this season hard to watch and she’s the original queen of lasting too long. Overall, this season is fun to watch for the 2000s fashion and the general nostalgia factor but it’s so different it doesn’t even feel like the same show. Cycle 7: personally I love CariDee and I think her and Melrose were evenly matched either could’ve been the winner and it would’ve been valid. CariDee is one of the best winners the shows ever had. The shoots were all cheap and shitty looking and had little to do with fashion and there was a ton of offensive shoots this season and Jaeda lasted way too long, but when she was eliminated left a bad taste in most peoples mouths. But this season has a lot going for that people often overlook. It definitely has a nostalgia quality and the 2000s fashion make it iconic. Spain was a great international destinations and the season is always great for a rewatch. This was when the show was in its prime and relevance before rapidly going downhill in cycles nine and 10. This season is incredibly nostalgic for me and I remember watching the winner live and being so excited when CariDee won. Cycle 2: like cycle 1, this one is hard for me to rank because it does feel like a different show. This gave us the strongest top 4 the show has ever seen no comparison. It gave us Camille being an icon. But it does feel like a completely different show. Milan was amazing and it felt like a real modeling competition just like cycle one. But what brings the cycle down is the Shandi situation it wasn’t fun to watch then and it certainly isn’t fun to watch now. Yes, it made great television but honestly it’s uncomfortable and the shake your body Tyra banks music video was bar none the worst shoot the shows ever done. Nobody deserved to be eliminated. However, like cycle 7 the nostalgia is high and the Italian sexiness challenge makes me laugh every time. Cycle 4: This is the cycle I feel like everyone still talks about even if you didn’t really watch the show. Everyone has seen Tyra yells at Tiffany, but it wasn’t the only great moment in this cycle. Honestly, there’s so many great moments that it’s impossible to list them all. This was the show at its peak. Moving to Los Angeles initially sounded stupid but ended up working out, I only wish the show went back-and-forth between Los Angeles and New York more often. South Africa was awesome and they used their surroundings so well. Keenyah had some great moments in South Africa with relation to Nelson Mandela but her fat shaming really bought the cycle down. Also, the whole thing with the sexual-harassment isn’t really fun to rewatch but the final runway is easily the best shows ever done. Cycle 16: I only wish the show canceled itself after this season. It would’ve been a high note to end on. This is the best international destination in terms of fashion shoots the shows ever seen. Everyone bought it in morocco and every shoot looked straight out of Italian Vogue. This is what a high fashion cycle was supposed to look like. Yes Alex was annoying but André Leon Talley was on top of his game. Molly served us grumpy girl realness and served every photo shoot even with a stank weave. This is easily one of the best and most fun to rewatch. The only reason the season is not number one is the cruel twist in the very beginning and the fact that Alex was kept for drama and the whole Britney thing where you knew it wasn’t her best shot. Still, what a high (fashion) note this could’ve been. Cycle 3: I feel like this is the cycle that got everyone into top model. Ann stayed way too long, let’s not beat a dead horse but aside from Morocco and New Zealand, Tokyo was the best international destination the shows ever done. The Campbells soup commercial was tragic, but that wasn’t the shows fault. This season gave us Toccarra, Panda Express, crystal drama, Eva the diva vs a spider and so many other moments that it’s impossible to list. The only thing that stops this from being number one is the hat moment which is probably the worst challenge the shows ever done. Still, rewatching this season is truly a joy. Cycle 6: you knew this was coming. Who doesn’t love this season? This season gave us jade, who makes rewatching the season an absolute joy and laugh riot. My personal favorite moment is when her mom fluffed her down This season also gave us the best winner the shows ever had and a winner who is still working. Thailand was awesome every shoot was incredible it gave us ancient dinosaurs it gave us mermaids it gave us America’s next top best friend. I love rewatching this season and I do it all the time. Stan cycle 6 always.
2020.10.05 23:06 Inorai[Remnants of Magic] The Librarian - 6
Cover artDiscord ServerThe Library - Home Page The Story: Once in a lucky lifetime, a gifted scholar might be given a boon in their dreams; a visit to the Library, the magical seat of all human knowledge. But within those walls lives the Librarian, fated to spend every night among the books. And now, the Librarian wants out. Patreon - Current advance chapters: 3 Someone was here. At Alexandria. Owl stared, his mind going totally and completely blank. But...how? He’d closed the Library. He’d allowed Indira in, yes, but...was that it, then? He wouldn’t answer her mail, and so she decided to take things to the next level? “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Owl muttered, still fixated in the direction of the noise. If he ignored the pounding, whoever it was would probably go away. He just had to wait, to hold out for long enough that they got the message. Surely. He sank into one of the chairs, wrapping his hands about themselves, and waited. The pounding continued unabated. “Come on,” he whispered. His eyes gazed into the fireplace, drawn in by the dancing embers. Each slam of their limbs against the door rattled through his bones, yanking him back out of his reverie. And...they weren’t stopping. Alexandria had pointed him in this direction, hadn’t she? She’d steered him straight to the entrance, as though she wanted him to see who was knocking on their door. As though she was trying to tell him this was important. She was a damn building, Owl reminded himself. It wasn’t right that she liked to pull his strings back and forth so much. But...he sighed. As usual, his own feelings on the matter didn’t seem to be taken into account. He stood, stifling a groan, and turned toward the entryway. Every step he took was slow and long. The thought of going out there, of talking to...to whoever it was, somehow repulsed him to his core. His feelings on the matter hadn’t changed—it was like giving in. Giving up, letting Alexandria have her way for the thousandth time. He’d have to open the conversation about guests yet again, and he just didn’t have the answers. Just once, it’d be nice if someone else would give him some damn answers. His hand lingered on the handle of the door. He hesitated, leaning his forehead against the wood. Was this really what he wanted to do? The pounding began anew, and he flinched. He’d expected for the sound to be...close. Right on the other side of the door. But there was still an odd distance to the noise that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Instinct took over in an instant—and he leaned into the door, pushing it open before him. Empty. The entryway was empty. But- Pounding. Someone was banging on the exterior door, the one directly at the front of the now-darkened room. Owl flinched, gaping. The door glowed from behind with the same light as always, but now...he could see a dark patch under the door. Feet. Someone was standing there, between Alexandria and the Edge. Well, shit. He was walking before he even realized it, hurrying across the room toward the door. He had his beef with Indira and the Booklenders, but that didn’t mean he wanted anyone to get hurt—and there was no telling what’d happen to someone caught outside of the Library. He’d wondered about the Edge, now and again. He’d even flicked bits of paper and wood into it. They’d simply...disappeared. Winked out of existence. He didn’t want that to happen to a person. “Hold on,” he muttered under his breath, surging forward. His hand lifted, closing around the handle and- “Oh, come on!” a woman cried, from the other side of the door. “Let me in! It’s important!” Owl froze. He knew that woman. But he hadn’t expected Olivia to show up on his doorstep. She continued hammering away at his door without pause. She had to have one hell of an arm, the whispers in the back of his mind noted. And her hand had to be on fire. “Owl!” Olivia cried, between the knocks. “Owl, open the door! Please! I’m- I’m sorry. Just-” She was sorry? A low laugh slipped from his throat, in the same moment that his hand slipped from the handle. The door rattled as he released it. He stared, eyes narrowed. Alex. What the hell. Are you trying to- “Owl?” Olivia said. The pounding stopped. “You’re there, aren’t you?” He swallowed a sigh. So she’d noticed, then. She always had been observant. That was half the damn problem—her observing things she shouldn’t have been. “Please,” she said, and a weight hit the other side of the door. Not a fist, this time. He could almost hear her voice change, morphed by her nose pressing into the wood. “Please, Owl. I- I know you’re mad. I know you’re upset. You have every reason to be. I’m sorry.” Oh, now she was all apologetic, was she? Owl glared at the door, taking half a step back. That was all fine and dandy. She could have all the regrets she wanted. It wouldn’t make him change how he felt on things. He’d made his decision and- “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important,” Olivia said, her voice thin and tight-drawn. “You have to believe that. I...I know you want your space. I get it. I wouldn’t push. So…” Something squeaked against the wood, like fingers hard-pressed to it. “Please. Understand that if I’m here, it’s...it’s important.” Owl might as well have been a statue. He stood there, fixed in place. Should he turn and go? Should he stay and listen to what she had to say? Would Alex even let him leave if he decided to? “Please,” Olivia whispered. “Please, Owl, let me in. Just for a minute. Let me...Let me tell you what I need to, and I’ll go. I promise. No tricks.” She wanted in? Owl snorted derisively, unable to hold the expression back. No. No, she was just trying to pull a hail-Mary attempt to get through the door again. Undoubtedly it was about Indira again. She’d sent Olivia to mend bridges, to try and repair the damage that had been done to their relationship. No. He didn’t need that. He didn’t need her. He turned on his heel, drawing himself up a little taller. “Goodbye, Olivia,” he said. “It’s about James,” Olivia said. She couldn’t have startled him more completely if she jabbed him with a cattle prod. Owl froze in place, his limbs going rigid. It’s about James. She’d said it—he hadn’t misheard. He was quite sure that she’d said the name ‘James’. A name that he’d never, ever thought to hear on her lips. “A-And Leon,” she said in a rush. “And...uh. Maya.” All of them? The world dipped and spun beneath him. How? How did she know? He’d been careful. He’d never let anything slip. How had this happened? It had to be a bluff. The thought lanced through his mind, burning like a brand. It was a bluff. A ploy, to get him to confirm their identities. It was- He clamped down on the insidious notion. That was nonsense. They already knew the names, so something had clearly happened. Now, he had to decide what to do next. And how to keep his friends from getting pulled straight into the middle of this feud. “Please,” Olivia whispered from the other side of the door. “Please, Owl. Just-” He pulled the door open. Not all the way—he still couldn’t shake the suspicion that she was still trying to pull something over on him. But far enough to peer out, blocking the space with his body. If she wanted to get in, she’d have to get through him. She smiled, though. For a moment, Owl was taken aback at how…bad she looked. Her brown hair hung limp and lifeless around her face, tangled with snarls and knots. Her skin was paler than usual, with a dull grey cast to it. “Thank you,” she said. “Really, Owl. I...I know I-” “Talk,” he snapped. His hand tightened around the wood of the door. If she was going to try and string this along, he’d end it here. “Now.” “There’s not much time,” Olivia said, stepping closer. Every fiber of his being screamed to take a step back, to put more distance between the two of them, but Owl stood his ground. Only the Library was behind him, and damn it, he wouldn’t let her get any closer to Alexandria than she already was. Which...how had she even gotten here? And why was she outside the door? Owl lifted his chin, eyeing her sharply. “Why?” he said. “Why the hurry? What’s-” “Indira’s coming.” For the second time in as many minutes, Owl rocked back on his heels like he’d been slapped. “Excuse me?” he managed. Olivia’s lips tightened. “Those names I said before. They mean something to you. Don’t they?” Damn it. He could deny it, but...what he said now didn’t really matter. They’d already made the connection. It was too late. “Olivia,” he snapped instead. “If your business is so important, hurry up and-” “They know.” Olivia turned away, lifting her hands to rake through the mess of her hair. “God, Owl. They know. I...we…” She shook her head. “Indira knows there have been other people in the Library. People not part of the guild.” “What did you do?” he whispered. “Olivia, what did you-” “It wasn’t me,” she said, whirling back to face him. “Or- I wasn’t- She had her suspicions,” she finished lamely. “She knew something was going on. There was too much. Strange stories from guests, about voices deep in the wings. Footsteps. Figures that’d appear and disappear, that didn’t seem there at all. She-” Olivia shook her head, licking her lips. “She wanted me to win you over,” she whispered. “Yeah. It was wrong, and I’m sorry, but...on top of that...Will.” “Will?” Owl said, his brow furrowing. “What do you mean-” Will. Will, who’d spent his days alone in the study. Who’d always been left behind while Olivia and Owl wandered off for her carefully-orchestrated encounters. Damn it, he’d known Will had been up to something. He should have wiped both of them blank before he ever let them leave, his morality be damned. There, with a flickering twinge of unease, he for the first time understood his predecessor’s rationale for kidnapping him. “What did he do.” Even to his own ears, his voice sounded flat. Cold. “Damn it, Olivia, what did you-” “He caught a glimpse,” Olivia said, her eyes darkening further. “A look. He saw them.” A knot settled around Owl’s heart. “And you-” “We were just trying to- to help Indira!” Olivia said, her voice rising. “That’s all. I thought, if you were keeping secrets from everyone, then...then fair was fair.” “How.” She smiled bitterly. “You burned our notes. But…” She raised a hand, waggling her fingers. “We’re artists. Will and I both. We’d been practicing for days. Memorizing the faces he drew.” Again, Owl was left staring, his mind in an uproar. They were artists, yes—which was another confirmation that Indira had been very, very intentional with her choices. She might not have known what she’d find, but she’d definitely cast her lines looking for something. And she’d found Leon, along with the others. Owl took a deep breath. What was he supposed to do now? How was he going to make this okay? “Olivia, I don’t know what to say. How dare the lot of you come here and-” “She’s coming,” Olivia said, more insistently. Owl’s mind screeched to a halt again. There it was. Panic, lurking within her gaze. Actual fear. “I told you. She’s coming. I don’t- I don’t know what to do. But maybe- surely you can do something.” “Coming?” Owl whispered. “Olivia, what do you mean-” “It was just supposed to be...a bit of information,” she said, cringing away again. “We’d figure out the names that these faces matched with. We’d find out more about them. And we’d have that information...just in case.” She bit her lip, her fists balling up at her sides. Behind her, the Edge roiled, dangerously close. “And then she told us we were leaving. We were going to find them, she said.” His heart pounded faster. “And, what. You’re coming to me out of the goodness of your heart?” “I heard her,” she said, and her voice was so quiet now he almost didn’t hear. “Talking with...with them.” “Olivia, I have no idea who you’re talking about.” She waved a hand through the air, her eyes downcast. “Them. The old guild.” Her eyes flicked up to meet Owl’s. “She had me pull contact information for...for people the Booklenders haven’t talked to in ages. She found them again. Owl, they’re not nice people.” Something else began to scream in the back of his mind. A warning. A whisper that something wasn’t quite right here. Someone else? Someone the guild had contact with? “Shit,” he whispered. The pieces were starting to settle into place. The Library was a magical creation. And that meant the people who knew of its existence, who interacted with it, had to have some sort of connection to the magic of the world. No matter how far back that connection went. Leon and the others were in more trouble than he’d thought. “How soon?” he said, turning back to Olivia sharply. Her eyes were starting to mist, though, and she pressed a hand to her face. “I...I love Indira. I do. But...They had guns, Owl. And the things she had me pack...I can’t...I never wanted to hurt people.” Owl ground his teeth together. In a single motion, he released the door, lunging forward. She stiffened, her eyes going wide as he grabbed her shoulder. “Olivia, grow the fuck up,” he snapped. “Panic all you want, but do it later. Where are they going?” A tremor wracked his frame. “Who...who are they going after? How long until-” “I don’t know,” Olivia whispered. A tear rolled from her eye, cascading down her cheek. “I don’t- I don’t know. Indira just...she was still looking at the map when we left. When we started driving.” She wiped at her face, shaking her head furiously. “I’m...once we started rolling, I took a nap. I thought- I didn’t know, but I figured, Alexandria would hear me. She’d let me in. She’d-” “You need to leave,” Owl said. Olivia looked up, her eyes still glistening. “W-What?” His pulse thundered in his ears. They were already moving. From where? How much of a lead did they have? It didn’t matter, he decided. He’d make it. He had to. “I have work to do,” he said. “And you’ve done enough damage. I’ll handle it from here.” Somehow. She was still staring when he stepped back and slammed the door shut again. He could hear her calling as he turned, stalking from the room. Her words faded out to nothing as the entryway disappeared behind him. Faster. His feet were flying, carrying him across time-worn wood and plus carpets. His mind was in uproar. How had it come to this? If something went wrong...if they caught him out… He didn’t have a choice, though. Even if he’d been willing to abandon them to Indira’s minstrations—which he wasn’t—they’d been in Alexandria for long enough to learn about him. About her, too. So many vulnerabilities. So many openings he’d left exposed. The door to his quarters opened in a blur. He hurled himself onto his bed, going limp as soon as he hit it. Please, he willed. Please, Alex. Let me out. I need to- The world went dark. Part 7
“Good morning,” Draevin greeted Sylnya. They were at their usual breakfast spot despite the new policy. It looked like goblins in particular had settled in now that they weren’t being shooed away. The normally peaceful veranda with an open deck of wrought iron tables and chairs now had at least three tables swarming with goblins fighting over food. Just as Sylnya was taking her seat a gnome waiter approached one such table with a plate of pancakes. When he saw the tangled mass of red-skinned creatures he opted to simply dump the plate of pancakes on top of them and run away. The little creatures hooted excitedly at the fresh influx of food. Sylnya looked over at the table. “It’s so nice they’re letting them eat here now,” she said with a sigh. “Tomorrow we find someplace new,” Draevin vowed. He pointed to a particular item on his menu. “I’ll be damned if I miss my dragon egg omelet today though.” The waiter approached their table and smoothed his apron down. “Good morning, can I get anything started for you two?” “Water,” Sylnya said immediately. The waiter nodded. “Water is of course free for paying customers…” he trailed off. Draevin huffed out an annoyed breath when Sylnya refused to take the hint. “Fine. Bring me two waters then. I’ll have your dragon egg omelet. And elf-size it.” The waiter’s eyes went wide and he nodded his head politely. “That will of course cost—” Draevin waved a hand to stop him. “Extra. Yes I know. I still want it.” He turned to Sylnya. “Is Peter coming? Should we get him something?” Sylnya raised an eyebrow. “Are you feeling okay, Drae?” “Just answer the question.” “He said he was going to. I’m surprised he’s not already here.” Draevin nodded to the waiter again. “I assume you have some kind of special on pancakes this morning?”—he pointed vaguely in the direction of the three goblin tables that were consuming plate after plate of the hot fluffy discs—“We’ve got a third on the way. Why don’t you bring us an extra plate of pancakes?” “Of course sir.” The waiter retreated to stop a curious goblin from walking back into the kitchens. Draevin watched the frazzled gnome snap his towel at the creature several times before it returned to its table. “So when is…” Peter was already seated at the table. “Gods! Where did you come from?” Peter grabbed a menu. “Sorry I’m late,” he said. “Sylnya and I didn’t get done at the guildhall until well after dark.” Sylnya snorted. “What a nightmare!” “Oh?” Draevin asked. “How did that go?” “They’d already received witness reports from almost a dozen Guild members that Phelona had died,” Sylnya answered. “They ran all kinds of tests to prove she was really alive and really her.” “That speckled brown skin pattern the crown left behind didn’t help,” Peter added. “Oh yeah,” Sylnya agreed. “Whatever that shit was it’s totally permanent. No magical intervention could remove it.” “I bet it’s why Istven’s skin is so black,” Peter said. “So then what was the result?” Draevin asked. “You had us do all that to help Grrbraa, right?” Peter answered. “The Guild told us they would withdraw the charges against him and send a request to the Eldesian embassy for his return. They told us to be patient and let the system work. They’re expecting his return by the end of business hours this evening.” Draevin puffed out his chest. “So seeing as I saved the day and everything you think you could tell me about that”—Draevin drew “blind spot” in the air with mist—“thing you did to fool Caelnaste?” “Oh please,” Sylnya objected, “it was obviously Istven’s crown that saved Phelona.” “Which only had a chance to work because I froze her.” “Which you only did because Peter told you to!” “Woah woah woah,” Peter said. He waved his hands between Draevin and Sylnya to dissipate the mist forming the secret words. “There’s no reason to fight about it. Everyone was important. Even you, Sylnya. Without that Lotus Phelona would have lost consciousness after her recovery.” He turned to Draevin and pushed his glasses further up his nose. “There’s no reason to be secretive about the blind spot, Draevin.” “There isn’t? But yesterday you wouldn’t even say it out loud…” Peter took a sip of his water. “That was just because of Istven. I didn’t want to have to explain how the blind spot worked to him, but I knew if I implied that part of it was not acknowledging it at all he would leave it alone.” Sylnya socked Peter in the shoulder good-naturedly. “Peter! You’re too clever for your own good!” “But you are going to tell us?” Draevin clarified. Before Peter could answer the waiter arrived with their food. He had a pitcher of water for Sylnya, a plate of steaming pancakes drizzled with a red syrup for Peter and a small glass bottle of hot sauce for Draevin. “Sorry sir,” the gnome said as he set the bottle down for Draevin, “I couldn’t carry your dish. I’m having one of the kitchen staff bring it out for me in just a minute.” “Couldn’t carry it?” Draevin asked. The little gnome shrugged. “The elf-sized omelets are quite large and as you can see I am not.” Draevin grinned at Sylnya. “And you said the elf-sized orders were only twice as big!” Sylnya just rolled her eyes and took a swig of her water pitcher. A few tables down the goblins started putting up a fuss. They hadn’t had a new plate of pancakes dumped on their heads in almost a minute and even though their bellies looked swollen near to bursting they were starting a chant of, “Food! Food! Food!” Draevin groaned. “We really need to start going somewhere else starting tomorrow. I don’t know why they don’t throw these goblins out by their ears.” “You mean you didn’t see?” Sylnya asked. “They’re being led by Boom’ba.” “Boom’ba?” Draevin looked over at the goblin table again and saw one of the creatures standing on a table leading his fellows in their chant. He held a rune-covered wand above his head that had to be his “boom stick.” Just then the door to the kitchen opened and Draevin saw a muscle-bound orc holding a plate half as wide as his table over-flowing with inky black eggs. Draevin smacked his lips. “There’s a meal fit for a king,” he said. The goblins saw the orc carrying Draevin’s breakfast at the same time he did. Boom’ba pointed his wand toward the unsuspecting employee and screeched out a battle cry of, “Eat times!” Two dozen red-skinned goblins leapt from their table and swarmed the orc. Draevin’s mouth fell open. “My breakfast!” A handful of the little creatures barreled into the orc’s knees and he tumbled to the ground. The plate shattered on the ground with a wet splat and a cheer went up from the goblins. Boom’ba calmly climbed down from his table and walked over. All the goblins crouched down before him. One of them held up two fists filled with stolen omelet as an offering. Boom’ba speared the glob with his wand and munched it down. He nodded his approval and the remainder of his troupe fell to the floor like starving animals. The poor orc was forced to lay there and let the little goblins lick egg-splatter directly off his face and chest where he’d fallen into it. “You might have a point about the goblins,” Sylnya admitted. The gnome waiter approached quickly and bowed. “I’m so sorry sir. We’re having… problems with a few of the guests on the veranda this morning.” “I noticed. You think maybe we can move inside when you’re ready to bring out my replacement omelet?” The waiter frowned and bowed again. “That’s just the thing, sir. That was the last of our dragon eggs.” Peter and Sylnya laughed in unison as the troupe of goblins left the veranda. The ground they left behind was a bit slimy, but otherwise showed no signs of the massive plate of dragon eggs that had fallen moments before. Even the shards of ceramic plate were gone. “Great. Just great,” Draevin groaned. An hour later, after a disappointing breakfast of pancakes, the trio headed for The Pot to charge up before the day’s matches. “So Peter,” Draevin said as they started the trek up the hill, “you never explained what Caelnaste’s blind spot was.” “Oh right,” Peter said. “It’s a bit of a long explanation, are you sure you want it?” “I don’t know. Sylnya? You think learning the weakness of another serious contender’s signature move sounds useful?” Sylnya chuckled. “Worthless,” she answered with a smile. Peter took a deep breath. “Okay. I’ll tell you, but I’ll have to start from the beginning… You know how humans don’t have any mana?” “Oh you meant the very beginning.” Draevin rolled his eyes. “I don’t think you have to go back quite that far.” “Bear with me, it’s relevant, and it’s something most wizards don’t seem to know. It never really comes up,” Peter explained. “Humans aren’t like the other races, we don’t just not have mana—we’re so devoid of it that we actually absorb a little bit when we come in contact with any. You can think of mana like water and humans like a dry sponge. If you’re going to totally soak a sponge in water anyway with a big spell you probably don’t notice if it started dry or wet, but for small amounts it can matter a lot.” “Okay,” Draevin said, nodding along, “I think I remember learning something about that in school.” “Sure, but how often do you get in a wizard duel with a human?” “Never.” “Exactly. Everyone forgets. The book I read on it called humans a ‘class one mana sink,’” Peter continued. “Nowhere near effective, but if you’re used to casting spells on elves and dryads, a human takes just a bit more mana for the same effect.” “I still don’t see what this has to do with Caelnaste,” Draevin said. “I’m getting there,” Peter assured him. “When Caelnaste uses her seer ability to see the future the mana she sends out is very weak, so when it reaches a human in the future it just gets absorbed. This changes the vision. What she ends up seeing isn’t the real future, but a version that doesn’t account for human activity. Since humans don’t generally affect the future I don’t think she’s ever noticed that she’s using her magic that way. She isn’t used to spending the tiny bit of extra mana necessary to account for me.” “So that’s her blind spot? Humans?” “Exactly,” Peter agreed. “It would be pretty easy for her to account for me if she knew to, she just doesn’t realize. Think about it. When that boulder almost caved in your head I think she didn’t realize you were going to scoot your seat over to make room for me.” “Wait, are you saying she was trying to kill me?” “Don’t be silly, Peter,” Sylnya objected. “Caelnaste wasn’t trying to kill Draevin. She showed up at the last minute to try to save him.” Sylnya’s words reminded Draevin of how kind and generous Caelnaste had always been to him. “She’s right, Peter,” he said. “Just because you found a tiny blind spot in her ability doesn’t mean she’s been out for blood this whole time. I’ve known Caelnaste for years and she’s never tried to kill me, why would she start now?” Peter narrowed his eyes at each of them in turn but simply nodded his head in agreement. He pulled out his notepad and jotted a quick note down. “Perhaps you’re right,” he agreed. The group reached the back of the line for The Pot. It was long today. With so many people in line this morning there were a few scattered Guild acolytes managing the line. Peter raised his hand and called one of them over. “What are you doing?” Draevin asked him. Peter looked back at him in surprise. “Skipping the line, obviously,” he answered. Before Draevin could ask how he planned to do that, the purple-robed acolyte—a fellow elf with shoulder-length brown hair—reached them. “Is there a problem?” she asked. Peter pulled a match schedule from his pocket and handed it over. “Yes,” Peter answered. “I’m Peter and this is Draevin. We’re on the schedule for today’s matches as you can see. We need to cut the line.” The acolyte woman smiled and bobbed her head. “Of course. Please follow me.” Draevin turned his head back to Sylnya incredulously. “Since when can you cut the line?” he asked. “Beats me,” she replied. “I’ll meet you guys after. I don’t really even need to use it today.” Draevin hustled to catch up to Peter and his escort. They just walked past scores of people like it was nothing. “Since when is this allowed?” Draevin asked Peter when he caught up. “Since always,” he answered simply. “But only when wait times exceed a minimum threshold, and you have to be on the schedule for the day’s matches and specifically request it. The Guild doesn’t like to advertise these lesser-known rules.” “He’s right,” their guide added, “most people don’t know about it.” Peter glanced back at Draevin and gave him a wink. “It helps when you’re nice to people.” “Here we are, gentlemen,” their guide announced. “Perseus!” Peter said warmly. He gave the elf controlling the front of the line a warm handshake and Perseus greeted him with a smile. “So nice to see you, Peter.” He flattened his face to a firm line and nodded in Draevin’s direction next. “Draevin,” he said. An eldrin was sitting on The Pot when they got to the front, but as soon as they were done Perseus let Peter forward. Peter only sat down for the space of a single heartbeat before getting right back off. “No scrollwork this morning?” Perseus asked. “Oh no,” Peter answered. “I don’t want to take up any more time than I have to with the line so crowded. I don’t need much mana to fill up.” It was true. Even as he’d stepped down the white glow of mana had already started to flow around him. Draevin got up next and the mana immediately absorbed into him. With Peter getting so chummy with Perseus he decided it was a good time to remind his fellow elf that Peter could be quite the lying little shit when it suited him. “So Peter,” he called down. The human looked his way and adjusted his glasses slightly. “You’re not going to use any of that mana to impersonate me today, are you?” Peter blushed slightly and gave a nervous smile. “Of course not,” he said. “That was just a one-time thing. I had to know whether or not Faernyl knew True Sight. Sylnya didn’t know.” “Well I probably could have just asked Faernyl myself if you really needed to know. We’re on friendly terms.” “Really?” Peter looked surprised. “You’d do that for me?” Draevin hesitated in his answer. No, he realized, he probably wouldn’t have. The glow of mana started to flow around his body to signal that his mana was filled. He was relieved that the act of stepping down from The Pot saved him from needing to answer immediately. “Of course I would have,” he lied. “Oh, well sorry,” Peter answered, “I’ll keep that in mind next time.” The pair of them said a quick farewell to Perseus and headed back down the hill to meet up with Sylnya. Draevin took the opportunity of their being alone to ask Peter about the other thing that had been bothering him of late. “So this fourteenth book of yours,” Draevin started to say. Peter stiffened noticeably and put a finger up to his lips. “Well is it really mine? Did I really remove the memories from my own mind?” “No,” Peter admitted. “I had to tell Istven that to get him to work with me.” That explanation made a certain amount of sense and was starting to paint a picture about how truthful Peter was to the people around him. Perhaps it was a habit most humans had. “Well can you at least tell me what it is? I looked at the page for a second and it… it was really strange.” “That was probably just residuals left over from the lithomancy I used to record it. It’s just a rare book on magical theory that nobility like Istven like to collect.” “Of course,” Draevin nodded along. He didn’t really understand the first thing about lithomancy, but he wasn’t about to admit it to a human. Peter lowered his voice to a whisper as they approached Sylnya at the bottom of the hill. “Alex was paid to smuggle a copy to Eldesia after the tournament, so I’d appreciate if you not mention it to anyone.” “That was fast,” Sylnya said when they reached her. “Everything go okay?” “More or less,” Draevin answered. Peter still stunk of deceit, but for now his story at least made a certain amount of sense. Maeve’s soft voice interrupted whatever Sylnya had been about to respond with. “Ladies and gentlemen. Please make your way to your seats. The first match of the day between Tenna and Sharack will begin shortly.” Whatever else had been going through Draevin’s mind left abruptly. “Oh!” he said. “We can’t miss Tenna’s match!” IndexNextRead extra content and up to 9 chapters early on Patreon
2020.10.01 14:59 RobinOfLoksley[M4F] An Order of Djinn [Long term world building] [R34] [Master & Genie]
I am 18+ and all those involved are 18+ Alexander looked at his empty wallet in disgust. "Man! I can't believe I blew the last of my paycheck at that flea market." he mused. Well it looked like it's going to be a week of peddling his bike to work and eating PB&J and Ramon until next payday. AGAIN!!! And once again anyone else would consider his purchased treasure hoard to be nothing but a pile of tacky junk. A bunch of mostly vintage scifi and geekdom items that warmed his inner child. Yea... but Alex was 19 now and trying to save up money to have for his sophmore year at collage. Perhaps some of it would at least impress his D&D group on Saturday. Well nothing left to do but to put it all away. The Star Trek OS phaser went on the bookshelf under the signed and framed poster of Nichelle Nichols at the comm station in her red skirt uniform. The 1.5" crystal ball on the dragon motif stand goes on the dresser.... No better put it on the desk. The dresser gets direct sunlight in the evenings and we don't want that crystal ball acting like a magnifying glass and starting a fire. Lets see.... 20 minuets later Alex got to the most unusual item. A heavy brass Aladdin style oil lamp. Yea, that thing should really impress his fellow game-nerds. I mean it looked pretty authentic. No cheep plastic or die-cast job on this. Of course it was just an old prop. I mean, naturally when he had seen it on the table he had to give it a rub, and of course nothing happened. He felt a little foolish for even trying until he noticed that the sides were the only parts of it that weren't heavily tarnished. Obviously a lot of other people had been doing the same thing before putting it back and not buying it. Alex had to laugh at himself. At least he wasn't the only one, but this was something he HAD to show them all on Saturday. Looking it over again more thoroughly he noticed some weird etchings on the base, mostly obscured with the tarnish. Getting some metal polish and a rag Alex went to work cleaning up the etched part of the base and then examined it again. The etchings were letters in some strange language. There were two phrases, one on each side. The first read " בשם שלמה הגדול יצא ", and the second was " בסמכותו של שלמה השיבה האדירה ". Alex took out some paper and a pen and drew the figures, then scanned them in to his computer. a bit of searching led to the discovery that the words were Hebrew, and translated to mean "In the name of Solomon the Great come forth" and "By the authority of Solomon the Mighty Return". Hooookay,.... well this seems...interesting to say the least. Alex said the words out loud, and found himself suddenly experiencing a great and powerful... nothing. He tried it while rubbing the lamp, and again, was met with a stunningly underwhelming lack of reaction. Feeling silly he decided to give it one last try. Looking up the pronunciation of the original Hebrew phrases Alex tried his best at speaking the first line while rubbing the lamp, and then... again nothing. Except... Was that a little hint of a whiff of blueish smoke that was just starting to curl up out of the lamp's wick spout? Then in just a couple of seconds the whiff became a tendril, then a plume, and then a stream, and then a pouring of a thick billowing blue cloud that formed in front of him and began to take shape. Out of the depths of the top portion of the cloud a pair of striking emerald green eyes emerged and seemed to gaze hungrily into the very depths of his soul. Then, before he could think, the smoke dissipated to reveal a strikingly beautiful woman wearing ancient middle eastern garb standing before him, the palms of her hands pressed together, fingertips pointed upwards. She bowed low before him, her head lowered but just enough to still allow those captivating eyes to remain fixed on him. In a voice that flowed sensuously from her lips with the feeling of silk, she purred "As-salau alayum, Oh great Master." In this RP you are a beautiful female Djinn (Ginnie) who is eager to serve her new master, however in addition to the limitations you so often hear about you are also seriously under-powered from having been left starving for so many hundreds of years in the lamp. As it turns out, Djinni (plural of Djinn) are a race of supernatural beings who feed off of the psychic energies from a host who is in a specific emotional state. Djinni bound to vessels like the lamp become connected to the host who first summons them for the remainder of that host's life. Connected Djinni can only feed off their host or those who are with their host and sharing that emotional state. Different Djinn feed off of different emotional energies. In your case you feed off of your host being in a state of erotic arousal or orgasmic release. Right now your power reserves are all but spent and you're like a bear that's just emerged from hibernation and it will take you a bit of time and several feedings to get back to your full potential. At present you can barely physically manifest outside your lamp but with time and enough good meals your reality warping skills can be truly amazing. Of course your first order of business is to get me to let you feed off of me. For you, having one on one sex with your host is like having only half a meal. Djinn can't feed off their own energies, so you would have twice as much energy coming from me having sex with another woman. Not that you'd mind at all joining in for a threesome or moresome once you get going, and a one on one with me is still always a tasty snack. I'm looking for this to be a long term fantasy role play. I've always wanted to play this out and I think it has the possibility to go so many directions, getting more fantastical as we explore. In this fantasy if you (or I) can imagine it, you can do it. Perhaps we get to enjoy sex in unusual surrealistic ways. Body modification, or with you helping me seduce and enjoy the woman of my dreams (With you RP'ing any other female characters we bring into it). Or perhaps you give us the power of flight so we can open a new chapter of the mile high club. Maybe you temporally bring me into other realities, or have someone from an alternate reality cone to me, where I can have kinky fun with any famous or fictional character I ever fantasized about (or that you in RL have ever fantasized about being). Of course this isn't just meant to be just a fuckfest. I hope our primary characters will spend at least as much time character developing in roleplay and discovering who we are as we do so. Drop me a chat or DM if you are interested. Open to other platforms too
2020.09.30 21:43 stanwoodmusicHelp with histogram adjustments when scanning!
Hello! Okay. So, like many of you, I've been slowly trying to figure out the best way to scan my negatives for a while now, using Epson Scan. I've come to understand that the best way to do it is to use your scanning software just to get a nice low-contrast scan to be edited later in PS or LR. I also understand that I need to scan as much of the histogram wave form as I can, making sure not to clip any shadows or highlights. The problem is, when I move my highlight point to include the whole waveform, everything becomes strangely yellow/brown - especially the sky. This is something that is addressed in this article by Alex Burke. He recommends not moving the highlight point so far that the colors get weird and he seems to be able to correct the color cast using curves adjustments. This method has worked fairly well for me but my colors are still super weird if I do include the whole wave. I guess what Im wondering is, how much highlight detail am I losing by not including the whole wave? How important is it? I also have Silverfast but NegaFix seems to have other worse color cast problems, plus I can't seem to view the whole wave in the histogram, just the parts between the shadow point and the highlight point. Ideally I'd like to be using Negative Lab Pro, but my computer is too old to use PS or LR so I have to all my editing with LR on my phone. Soooooo let me know what you guys do? Just looking for ideas. Thanks!
2020.09.26 04:37 Overrated_horsemanPart Two of the Timeline I Posted Earlier!
Again, let me know about any critiques or questions! 2350 - Commissary-General R'Tanik is exposed to be under the influence of a secretive cult, the Fractured Sun, forcing her to resign. The Great War ends in Victory after 13 years. The 100 year anniversary of the Federation is celebrated across all federal worlds. Slava becomes a mining world, with an economic hierarchy resembling that of the early industrial revolution. Terran fleets from the Othqlak front are redirected to fight against the Praknar. War Plan Maya is enacted, instructing fleets on the existing front to lay low and wait for reinforcements. 2351 - The Federation declares war on the Syndicate to expel its cartels from federation worlds once more. The 2nd Mirovvian War begins. The Syndicate surrenders immediately, intimidated by the military might of the Federation. The newly-renamed 3-Week War ends. The Uqo’Praknar, in an attempt to gain more of an edge on the Union, manufacture various virus-like programs to invade Terran computer systems. 2352 - Human Machines rise up across the Northern Systems and cut off communication between compromised planets, starting the Machine War. The systems acquired during the Great War are spared, but Sol is the only Northern system to remain in the Union's hands, and is immediately put to siege. 2353 - The Union agrees to capitulate to the Uqo’Praknar, allowing them to possess all files related to the Terran research project, titled “Project Thorium”. The Praknar War ends. 2354 - The Battle of Ecumen is won with a single shot from the titan-class ship the USS Nakamura. The Federal Emergency Fleet enters Union space, having been en route for some months. This news brings an immense morale boost to all soldiers fighting the Machines. The Battle of Sirius is won with moderate losses after 3 weeks. 2356 - The liberation of the twin planets of Urania and Poseidia reveals that the machines had built thousands of concentration camps and were committing genocide upon all higher forms of organic life. Only 10 million of Urania's original population of 30 million are able to be saved. The most infamous of the liberated camps was "Organic Containment Site 9I-T0" 2358 - The Vestige declares war on the Federation, seeing them as weak for fighting such a desperate war against machines, beginning the 3rd Fallen War. 2359 - Commissary-General Velituc Zan, a Kekako, commits suicide, believing that he had failed his nation. Hanz Freytag is elected in his place. 2360 - The Machine War ends after the final robotic fleet is destroyed, and the total deaths due to the genocidal programs of the machines is determined to be circa 550,000,000, the most devastating loss of life in human history. All sentient robotics are outlawed within the UTR, with the exception of the AI constructs aboard Terran warships. 2365 - The 3rd Fallen War ends in status quo. A monument to the lives lost in the Machine War is created, featuring a group of 7 faceless statues varying in gender, representing the various species of the Federation, each holding up a pillar with one hand and downward-facing swords in the other. The pillars support a small pool of water filled with 550 pebbles. Each pebble represents one million of the Terran casualties taken. Surrounding the statues, an immense field of poppies grows, symbolizing the war as a whole. The phrase “Only the dead have seen the end of war” is inscribed in the chests of the statues, in both human languages and the languages of all species whose people faced extermination. 2367 - the 3rd Fallen War ends in status quo due to a sudden uprising in Javix space. 2370 - War Plan Precursor is put in place in the event of a fourth Fallen War, detailing an intricate strategy of blitzkrieg, with Terran forces moving as quickly as possible to take the Javix capital of “the Core.” 2375 - The Federation declares a preemptive war on the Vestige, beginning the 4th Fallen War. Following Precursor, Terran forces quickly reach the Core and begin besieging its moon, Boundary. The First Battle of Boundary begins. 2377 - High General of the Terran Army, Claws of Cyan, falls in combat during the First Battle of Boundary. Torba'Tagga, an Oth’qlak, is promoted to High General, and retreats the Terran army due to massive losses. The First Battle of Boundary ends. 2381 - Emboldened by the arrival of Cezen and Shanzorak reinforcements, the Terran Army invades once more, this time utilizing a tactic formulated by the AI known as Teddy, in which ground forces would make themselves appear weaker than they were in order to invite attack, before deploying their full strength. The Second Battle of Boundary begins. The last stand of the Vestige Army takes place in the Capital city of Boundary, Tal'Kik. The 2nd Battle of Boundary is won, and the Battle of the Core begins. 2382 - The Treaty of Tal'Kik ends the 4th Fallen War following victory at the Battle of the Core. Humanity takes the Core and Boundary, and the Javix Vestige is dissolved as a political power, ending its 200,000 year existence. 2383 - The Federation declares war on the Silencers, viewing their continued existence as a threat to galactic civilization, and supposedly possessing evidence of their research into planet killing weapons. This begins the Silencer War. Construction of a Terran fleet of a size never before seen begins. 2385 - The Union’s Strategic Coordination Center and Colossus planet-killing weapon are completed, and the Granddaughter of Alex Vicks, Alice Vicks, previously Commissary Officer, is appointed as Secondary General, heir to the position of High Commandant. 2386 - The Celestial Solidarity of Spacefarers forms between the Jayss Hegemony, Abdator Stellar League, and Nharr Republic to rival the Federation. The Silencers suffer several devastating defeats at the hands of the UTR. 2388 - The planet of Da'Ramon is cleared of all life by the Terran Colossus, the USS Solemn Hand. The debris is scattered throughout the system, leaving no evidence that the planet had existed, save for prominent gravitational irregularities. This event is highly classified, with the general public being completely unaware of the occurrence. 2389 - First Human subspecies recorded fleeing from the Silencers, named Homo Sapiens Captiosus. Captiosus humans are adept in all things intellectually stimulating. The strategies they formulate are extremely successful, rivaling those of the wartime AI constructs, and research projects they are involved with conclude far quicker, however they also seem to be far less emotionally stimulated, with standard humans observing that conversations with them about non-academic subjects tend to be rather mundane. 2390 - A Venusian super soldier battalion is wiped out to a man during the Battle of Can'iza, the first example of such an event. The subspecies Homo sapiens Illustratum is created, with Illustratum humans being naturally talented artists and creative minds, able to more efficiently design Terran vehicles and other such things. Slava, a major source of raw materials for the UTR, is restored to mining world status following its terraformation during the Machine War. Plume of Aquamarine, a Shanzorak, is elected to his fifth term as Commissary-General. 2398 - The Silencer War ends after 15 years, and the Othqlak Silencers are dissolved as a political entity. Following months of peace and the redirection of research funds, a new method of colonization is discovered, known as Premeditated Industry. Rather than having colonists land and construct settlements from the resources on the planet, a process which could take years, their colonization ships would deconstruct themselves into the materials needed to rapidly industrialize. This discovery, headed by the Kekako Alignment’s top scientists, would begin a new era of peace and discovery known as the “Pax Terra”. 2399 - Premeditated Industry is put to the test with the colonization of Aternum, a recently terraformed planet in the Procyon system. Within 11 months, a bustling metropolis is constructed, simply known as “New Rome”. 2400 - A fleet of science ships of the “Pioneer” class are constructed to explore a previously untouched part of the galaxy, known as the “Omega Sector.” The most publicized of these ships, the USS Lagrange II, is an homage to the original USS Lagrange. 2403 - Dozens of habitable planets are discovered by the Pioneer fleet, as well as a handful of primitive species. The most advanced of these are the Dorians of Dorion V. 2415 - An observation post is constructed above Dorion V, for the purpose of further monitoring the Dorians’ progress. At the same time, many new colonies begin to form, the most notable of which being Apollo and Artemis, twin forest planets in the Olympia system. 2420 - The monument to the lives lost during the Merciless Day is expanded upon, with the addition of a statue of the only surviving ship of the fleet, ironically named the USS Indomitable. The names of that ship’s crew are removed from the rings and engraved onto various plaques surrounding the statue. 2423 - The government of Zhanghai is officially endorsed by the greater Terran government, with the planet being cited as “as close to a utopia as we can hope to reach” by an anonymous member of the Senate. 2424 - The process of Premeditated Industry is further streamlined by the invention of robotic disassemblers. Previously, the ship had to be deconstructed by the hand of the colonists. 2425 - The Union’s Congress passes a new law that limits the authority of senators over non-congressional matters, a reform had been desperately needed for decades. This law is known as the Senatorial Limitation Act. 2433 - 8-time Commissary-General of the Union, Plume of Aquamarine, dies. His statue joins the other heroes of the Union in the capital city of Berlin. 2434 - A military parade is performed on Earth, in commemoration to the 100 year anniversary of the end of the 2nd Essic War. 2435 - The memorial to Admiral Freytag is commemorated 50 years after his death, with a plaque dedicated to his accomplishments at the feet of a statue of him on his homeworld, Urania. His successor, a human woman by the name of Yamagata Kyoko, a native of Ecumen, is appointed to the position of High Admiral. 2436 - The Ether Drake is killed by Terran Forces, avenging the crew of the USS Lagrange nearly 2 centuries later, and allowing xenobiologists to study its anatomy in great detail. 2437 - The Terran Science Nexus is complete in orbit of Saturn, and officially dubbed the Lagrange Galactic University, in honor of the science crew killed nearly two centuries before by the Ether Drake. The Ether Drake's remains are brought onboard the Galactic University for study. Construction begins on the ultimate habitat of humanity, a ringworld, in Project Elysiosa. 2440 - A major breakthrough in terraforming technology, generating an atmosphere by harvesting rare types of Minerals called "Uranian Motes" and shattering them upon the surface of the planet to be terraformed, releasing chemicals and compounds essential in the formation of life. This process would be refined into usage of "Terraformal Bombardment" by military ships. 2445 - The rank of Grand Admiral of the Union is created, with the power to consolidate all Terran forces into a single fleet. A similar rank is named, having unofficially existed for some time, for ground forces, High Commandant. 2446 - Yamagata Kyoko of the 2nd Task Force is appointed Grand Admiral of the Union following her victory at the Battle of Venesis, a seemingly hopeless battle against the Resurgent Voidborn Crusaders who had amassed a fleet of hundreds of ships. 2448 - General Kul-Ruz is appointed to High Commandant after his valiant leadership and tactical genius are put on full display putting down a rebellion within the Kekako alignment. Admiral Kyoko consolidates all Terran fleets in the Sol system. 2450 - The Federal Cohesion Act is passed in the Senate, giving the president of the federation a handful of executive powers, and increasing the centralization of the Federation. 2452 - The Democratic Cezen Republic secedes from the Federation following repeated attempts to declare war on a Terran Puppet, and a perception of “Terran hostility” toward their government and customs, which admittedly did exist. 2455 - Phase 2 of Project Elysiosa is complete, finishing the frame of the Ring World. Humanity begins researching the potential of weaponizing celestial bodies, including designing enormous prototype HE-11 engines to mobilise them. 2456 - All diplomatic relations with the Cezen Republic collapse after a tense military confrontation at a border system, and war is seemingly imminent. 2460 - Experiments begin with Psionic Energy-based weaponry. Celestial candidates for weaponization are identified. Phase 3 of Project Elysiosa begins, with habitable ring sections beginning construction. 2461 - The Classified Service Agency, a mysterious branch of the military, makes its first public appearance, seen wielding primarily sword-like weapons. 2462 - A mysterious “Subspace Hiccup'' is detected across the entire galaxy, seemingly originating from outside the galaxy. The anomaly seems to cause issues for all artificial intelligences, and a unit of robotic servants suffers a malfunction on Yaldira, causing the deaths of nearly a thousand Terran citizens, and sparking fear of a 2nd Machine War. 2462 - Several synthetics units disappear on the world of Yaldira, seeming to have departed the planet entirely. The CRB is placed on high-security lockdown. 2463 - Following a violent and bloody military coup, led by a Cezen known as Heshtha’Tok, the Cezen Republic is dissolved in favor of a new Cezen Empire, with Tok taking the throne. This empire is free of the caste system of the former hierarchy, but instead focuses on fueling their faith by forcing other nations in the galaxy under their control. 2464 - The Federation declares war on the Cezen Empire after a close vote held behind closed doors, hoping to curtail the new threat to the galaxy. This brings an end to the Pax Terra, and begins the Cezen Imperial War. January 9, 2465 - The Rurius Campaign, the longest of the war, begins. June 10, 2465 - The Rurius campaign ends in victory after the Battle of Vindacta, and the death of a prominent Cezen General. 2467 - Terran warships advance to Ce Minoris, a system that serves as an excellent staging ground for an invasion. 2468 - A surprise Cezen counterattack forces all Terran forces in the system and all neighboring systems to retreat to the recently-established Arcturus Line. 2469 - The Battle of Arcturus, a long naval battle fought across dozens of systems, is lost by Terran forces. This pushes them back even further, back into the Union proper, and leads to the occupation of The Shanzorak Sovereignty. 2470 - A Cezen army warps deep into Terran space using an illegal method of FTL travel. The army arrives at the almost undefended planet of Nova Constantinople, the location of the HQ of the Classified Service Agency, who had been greatly inhibiting the Cezen war effort, and whose existence was considered an insult to the Cezen religion. What followed was a massacre. Almost every Agent at the HQ was killed and the small army protecting the planet was forced to flee into treacherous mountains to a small town known as Asceiro. They were further assailed until they were extracted by the 1st Task Force, led by Admiral Kyoko directly, as well as dozens of civilian freighters. This would come to be known as the Agency Massacre or, less commonly, as Adkins’ Evacuation. The first part of Phase 3 of Project Elysiosa is complete, with a section of the ring world being made habitable. 2471 - The new front to the galactic north forces the Terran navy to thin out across a larger front. Out of desperation, Case Tumulsiora is enacted, ordering the complete fortification of the current Terran borders, while also taking several opportunistic strikes against assembled forces. 2472 - The Celestial Solidarity of Spacefarers, which by then included the Livis Confederacy, Abdator Stellar League, Nharr Republic, and Jayss Hegemony, joins the war on the side of the Cezen. 2473 - With the assistance of its new allies, the Cezen Empire advances all the way to Sol. The Battles of Earth and Mars begin. 2474 - All remaining Terran fleets reach Earth, and the naval combat in the system escalates to encompass the entire inner solar system. At the same time, ground reinforcements arrive on Earth and Mars, temporarily relieving the tired defenders. 2475 - Under the leadership of Kyoko and Commandant Kul-Ruz, the Cezen-Solidarity coalition’s forces are pushed out of Sol entirely, at the cost of over a thousand Terran ships and millions of Terran soldiers. Kul-Ruz is killed in the final days of the Battle of Mars, and Alice Vicks is allowed to take the rank of High Commandant. 2476 - The Federal Emergency Fleet, located far from Terran space, is recommissioned by the Kekako, Hisnollox, and Essics to liberate Terran and Shanzorak planets. 2477 - The subsequent “Procyon Campaign” is extremely successful, with hundreds of systems being retaken and the Shanzorak being liberated. 2478 - The Cezen Empire proposes an end to the war, on the terms that the Federal Cohesion Act be repealed, that the Terran systems taken during the Ideology War be relinquished back the Cezen hands, including the planet Cubis, and that the federation systems bordering the Empire be demilitarized. This peace deal, the Treaty of Ecumen, is accepted, ending the Cezen Imperial War. 2480 - Terran efforts to recover both their population and military strength begin, with many large terraformation projects beginning on countless uninhabitable worlds. This period of Terran history would be known as The Restoration. 2481 - In the Olympus system, the planets of Hera and Zeus are colonized, with Zeus being an ocean-covered world and Hera being a world of almost heavenly beauty and conditions for life. These two planets quickly become some of the most populated within the Union, and the governments of Apollo, Artemis, Zeus and Hera declare a ceremonial pact of brotherhood, with the Olympia system becoming a hotspot for the ancient Hellenic faith. 2482 - Alice Vicks is elected as Commissary-General, and personally orders the construction of a statue of Kul-Ruz, her mentor and close friend. A Xaplo named Formicur takes her place as High Commandant. 2485 - Dozens more planets are colonized, and the Terran Navy begins to recover its losses. Hundreds of thousands of Terran citizens begin to enlist in the military. Yamagata Kyoko retires with honors. 2490 - Alice Vicks is re-elected as Commissary-General. Earth’s industry and population almost completely recover from the devastating war. 2492 - The Essic Republic, long a simple client state to the Federation, is allowed to become an official member, greatly boosting morale across federal space. Their entry also came with a small economic boost for Earth and her colonies. 2495 - The planets of Cerise and New Volna are colonized with remarkable speed in the Imperiocide system. Priam and Port Amazonia are both restored to their former glory. 2497 - The current ruling dynasty within the Jabaran Hierarchy is replaced with the Zic dynasty in a bloody but short revolution. The Zic, who were more friendly to Terran interests than the previous rulers, the Ban, were aided by the Federation. 2498 - A law to replace the Federal Cohesion Act, the Central Economy Act, is passed, which allows the Federation Senate to determine what the member states’ economies would focus towards. With this, the Federation is renamed to the Federation of Undivided Systems. 2500 - The turn of the century is marked by the passing of the Frontier Relief Act, an effort meant to create policies to both end and prevent the struggles of those on frontier colonies, an issue present within the Union for centuries. 2502 - The Cezen Empire betrays its allies in the Solidarity, launching a surprise invasion into the Nharr Republic and Greater Livis Confederacy. Their intent was to bring the alliance into a relationship in which the Cezen would have control over their governance, but the subject nations would be allowed, and encouraged, to fight among themselves. The initial attacks mark the beginning of the Cezen Religious Wars. 2504 - Many Terran military corporations declare their unofficial support for the Celestial Solidarity of Spacefarers, sending supplies of weapons and ammunition. 2505 - The Cezen occupy the Homeworld of the Nharr, but their advance stalls from there. 2506 - The Declaration of Neutrality is passed by the Federation Senate, declaring that the Federation would not involve itself in any conflicts not directly impacting federal interests. Alice Vicks gives a speech to the populace, stating that the declaration was solely in the interest of protecting the Terran people. This declaration helped to quell beliefs that the act was passed out of spiteful unwillingness to assist aliens who had been the Union’s rivals for centuries. 2508 - The Cezen occupy the Livis Confederacy and Nharr Republic in their entirety, moving to continue their advance into the Jayss Hierarchy and Abdator League. Across frontier Terran worlds, a holiday begins to be celebrated known as Founder’s Day, celebrating the end of the Imperial War and the beginning of the third wave of Terran colonization. 2510 - The phrase “From the stars by dust we came, to the stars by triumph we go” is adapted as the official motto of the Union, the original motto having long been lost. The phrase had been discovered in Dalisian ruins centuries ago. 2511 - A monument to commemorate the Battle of Berlin during the Imperial War is constructed, being an Eternal Flame held up by two human soldiers, one male and one female. Behind the column, a massive wall is inscribed with the names every soldier who fell or went missing in the battle. Additionally, the Tomb of an Unknown Soldier is commemorated in front of the wall, complete with an honor guard. 2512 - 15 of the 100 surviving Agents disappear upon the world of Tif. An investigation reveals nothing, except that they had travelled to the planet to seek out an ancient Dalisian relic they believed had been hidden from humanity for millennia. Tif is declared off-limits to all personnel, except a military installation meant to watch for any more strange occurrences. 2513 - The Cezen force peace onto the Solidarity, taking the Nharr and the Livis into their religious sphere of influence. The Nharr Visitorate and Livis Visitorate are established, and are immediately swayed against one another. 2514 - A new CSA HQ is constructed on Earth, and efforts begin to recruit new members for the Agency. 2515 - The remains of the Celestial Solidarity of Spacefarers sign a pact of non-aggression with the Federation, in hopes of mending centuries of bad blood in the face of the new threat. 2520 - The Cezen Empire takes advantage of a second wave of civilizations emerging from their primitive ages in the galactic south, bringing these new races into their sphere. One race, the Brenoilae, refuses to join them, instead desiring the protection of the Federation. The Brenoilae Protectorate is established. 2521 - The various primitive Visitorates of the Cezen Empire are merged to become a single political entity, the V’Lian Visitorate, in an attempt to make the younger races stand a chance against their more advanced brothers. This is known in Cezen history as the First Union. 2522 - the animosity between the Visitorates created by the Cezen erupts into conflict, beginning the Visitorate Wars. 2524 - The conflict between their subjects allows the Cezen to strengthen their abilities as Unrifters, powerful beings who use unnatural energies to bend reality to their will. 2525 - An unknown member of the Central Senate leaks classified information about the atrocities committed by the UTR against the Oth’qlak during the Silencer War. The reveal that an entire planet had been wiped from existence sparks riots across the Union, especially among the Oth’qlak population. 2526 - The riots and protests on Earth escalate into street wars following a sudden increase in aggression among both the crowd control officers and the rioters, leading to thousands of deaths across the planet. This period of violence would be known as the July Riots. Unnoticed in the chaos, a small number of humans and members of other races across the Federation begin to exhibit the abilities of Unrifters. 2528 - The July Riots, along with most other riots on Terran worlds, end with the announcement by Alice Vicks that the USS Solemn Hand would be retired from service. In her announcement, she states that, “The Hand was a product of its time. At that point, the Terran people faced a grave threat, and even graver circumstances.” 2530 - The deadly protests of the past years finally come to an end. At the same time, the first wave of the Visitorate Wars come to an end as the Cezens force their subjects to accept peace. Emperor Hestha’Tok dies, and his daughter, Vakli’Tok, an Unrifter, ascends to the throne. 2532 - An extremely faint but persistent transmission is picked up by Terran frontier sensors, unable to be identified due to its degradation. It’s source, however, seems to be from a seemingly unpopulated section of the galaxy known as the Tenebris Arm. 2533 - Alice Vicks, now serving as a military advisor, illegally replicates her personality in the form of an AI construct named Dot, who is hidden away in Vicks’ personal computer. After weeks of negotiations, an open border deal is reached between the Solidarity and the Federation. 2535 - The Cezen Empire suddenly and quickly invades the Jabaran Hierarchy, beginning and ending the Jabaran-Cezen War in the span of a year. The Jabaran Visitorate is established. 2536 - Human Rifters are noticed for the first time when an explosion destroys a crowded government building on Port Amazonia. A Rifter is able to save a dozen people during the catastrophe and said Rifter, a man named Enayat Ashangar, attracts the attention of the renewed CSA. 2537 - Enayat and several other newly discovered Rifters are recruited into the Classified Services Agency. War Plan Ranti is formulated, in the event that the Cezen attempt an invasion of the Union. 2538 - A new naming convention for Terran naval task forces is created, with each Fleet being named after an element, each Battle Group being named after a solar system, and each bevy using the enlistment code of their Commodore. 2539 - Dot is officially assigned to the USS Berlin, one of three colossal Pangu class ships, the others being the New York and the Shanghai. The New York is given the AI known as Hamilton, and the Shanghai is given the AI Confucius. 2541 - Alice Vicks dies of natural causes. She receives full military honors at her funeral, and a monument to her accomplishments is commemorated. 2543 - In what is widely believed to be a false-flag attack, many unidentified Terran ships attack mining outposts across the Cezen-Terran border. This renders the Treaty of Ecumen void, and begins the 2nd Cezen Imperial War. Arthur Doyle, protege of Commandant Formicur, is promoted to General and assigned to the 47th Uranian. 2544 - Cezen Fleets enter Terran space, occupying the border planet of Vidrici. The Federation Musters it’s forces in many Terran Core systems. The Terran Home Defense fleet is fully restored, and a Shavan named Claw of Faith is appointed as its admiral. 2545 - A Cezen Fleet and task force Thorium, headed by one Admiral Torba’Visha, an Oth’qlak, meet in battle in Sol Theta, marking the first naval combat in the war. At the same time, the battles of New Verdun and Aztlan occur, both seeing the defeat of Terran ground forces. 2546 - Task Forces Gold, Silver, and Boron reach the Mazo system just as a Cezen fleet does the same, with the Cezen fleet being obliterated in a few days. This leaves Beta Comae Berenices undefended, and it is recaptured by December. 2548 - The newly-created AI Arcturus is given a robotic body and assigned to the 47th Uranian to serve as an advisor. Task Force Argon and its capital ship the Berlin reach Beta Comae Berenices. Admiral Wings of Diamond decides to use it as a staging ground to repel further Cezen assaults. 2549 - Evidence that the initial Terran strike was in fact a false flag attack causes the Celestial Solidarity to join the Federation in their war. Many Cezen Visitorates begin sending their forces to aid the Empire, growing the conflict to span the entire known galaxy. 2550 - The Cezen fleet know as Favu’Ros nearly defeats Battle Group Sirius and almost destroys the USS New York during the battle of Mestros before being pushed back by Task Force Iron.
Aether Online sounded like Alex's dream. Now, it's his nightmare.After winning a prize, Alex is one of the first people to play Aether Online, the worlds first full immersion VRMMO. Alex quickly learns that once you're in, you can't get out.Trapped in the Aether Lands, Alex must become an Aether Knight to survive. Struggling to survive in a world under siege, Alex must learn to fulfil his new role, hunting the deadly machine beasts known as Machina for parts. Every kill brings him new materials, new equipment to forge, each a small step towards becoming more powerful.
Alex felt the wind buffeting against him as the Deus blasted past, its jet roaring as it soared. He had followed Hir’Six outside, onto the bridges as the creature had flown past. The walkways had held despite the jet stream shaking them. People were running past him, heading inside the towers themselves as they sought shelter. The appearance of the monster was causing a panic. The Deus flew past the towers in into the mountain beyond, bringing itself back around in a long swooping arc. The creature when into a dive, following the mountainside down and back towards the towers. It buzzed past the walkways again, this time crashing through several. The people who had been stampeding across them were tossed into the air, tumbling downwards into the mists at the base of the tower. For a moment Alex forgot he was in a game as he heard the terrified screams of those falling to their deaths. “Come on,” Hir’Six said. “We need to keep moving. Get onto my ship.” The frogs had continued their march, unphased by the Deus swirling around them. The boxes they were carrying wobbled as they made their way across the bridge. “You think you ship can stop this thing?” Alex said. "No offence, but this thing seems a little more manoeuvrable than your airship," Casey added. "It'll just run rings around us." "Some offence taken. My ship might not be able to defeat it, but we at least have to try,” Hir’Six said. “That’s why you became knights, right? To help people?” “Sure, let’s go with that,” Alex said. He didn’t want to admit that he had joined just to try and clear off a debt. He wasn’t exactly being altruistic. “Why is it attacking us? If machina have been acting weird because of this thing for months, why now?” “You’re asking the wrong kind of questions, lad. The real big one is why did it wait so long?” Hir’Six turned towards the frog crew. “Careful with those! They ain’t cheap.” The Deus came sailing past again, its heads snapping at the people still struggling to get off the bridges. It seemed insane to Alex; he didn’t understand why a machine creature would be trying to devour living people. The horrific bulges in the beast’s throat as it gulped struck Alex as an unsettling detail to include. “We’re too exposed here. We need to get inside,” Alex said. He didn’t want to become the Deus’s next meal when it came around again. There wasn’t much time, the creature was begging to turn. The three of them began to run, the frog creatures already across to bridge and inside the tower ahead of them. The walkway had begun to sway, the complex tangle of bridges and platforms starting to become unravelled. As the Deus turned to begin its next attack its heads began to coil around one another, twisting into a thick muscular rope. It opened its mouths, the jaws locked against each other in a triangular pattern. Light burst forth from each, forming an orb where the beams met. A moment later and the orb exploded into a jolt of energy, the blast lancing forwards slicing through walkways as the Deus flew forward. They weren’t going to make it. Even as Alex ran as fast as his legs would allow, he could tell the beam would reach them before he could get inside the tower. Shrapnel was flying through the air, the oncoming beam shattering the bridges like a tidal wave. Alex stopped running, simply watching the wall of destruction approach. It didn't seem worth exerting himself in the face of inevitable death. At least he would learn how respawning worked. The beam veered away, scraping across the side of the tower as it did. The stone was scorched but otherwise undamaged, the structure standing up to the force of the Deus’s attack. The body of the monster followed, curving around the tower as it uncoiled its neck. “Don’t’ just stand there, idiot,” Cassius said. He had his cannon in his arms, smoke still rising from the barrel. “Get into the tower!” He slung the cannon onto his shoulder and began to run towards Alex. “Come on! Move!” “Right. Right!” Alex began to run again. Casey and Hir’Six were nearly to the other side. The Deus had vanished over the crest of the mountain for the moment, but Alex was sure it would return. His fears were realised a moment later as Deus flew upwards, spreading its wings before the sun, its shadow lingering over the Towers ominously. He ran, his armour clanking as he sprinted for the doorway. Alex allowed himself a moment to catch his breath as he passed through the doorway into the relative safety of the tower. The structures ability to resist the Deus’s beam attack had been impressive, the tower was much tougher than Alex had expected. He didn’t know how well it would stand up to constant attacks. “Come, on,” Hir’Six said. “Airship is docked at the guild. We need to get aboard before that beast does something to her. You too, Cassius. We could use you and that cannon.” “I figured as much.” Cassius let out a groan and clutched the side of his head. “I thought this would happen, but not this quickly. I ordered a bunch of godbane cartridges and they haven’t arrived yet. They cost me a fortune as well.” “Godbane?” Alex said. “What’s that?” “A kind of aspected aether,” Hir’Six said. “Some beasties don’t like it when you hit them with certain aspects. God aspected aether is what makes a Deus a Deus, but they hate it when you chuck it back. Those certainly would have been handy.” "Can we not just have some of the crafting guilds make some now? Considering the circumstances, I imagine they wouldn't complain about having to do a rush job." “No,” Cassius said, shaking his head. “Making the cartridges takes parts from a Deus. I had to order them shipped from the expedition on the frontier. We just don’t have the parts on hand here.” A great thunderous crash echoed through the tower, the stone shaking from the force. Darkness fell over the tunnel as something covered the entrance, blocking out the sunlight. A set of baleful glowing eyes appeared as the Deus reached into with one of its heads, snapping at the knights inside. They fell back, trying to avoid its razor-sharp jaws. Explosions rocked the head of the Deus as Cassius opened up with his cannon. “We need to lead this thing away,” Hir’Six said. “Let’s get a move on.” He began to move away from the angry monster, his peg leg clacking against the stone floor. The Deus withdrew its head, the sunlight returning as it dropped away from the tower, releasing its claws from the stone. Its jets sent pulses of hot air into the tunnel as it rocketed away, searching for easier prey. *** The guildhall was filled with panicking clerks, dozens of near-identical girls pacing about its halls. They swarmed around the arriving knights, a chorus of voices becoming a wave of indeterminate noise. Alex felt pinned in. It was like a dream he had, though nowhere as pleasant as he imagined. “Give ‘em some room!” The voice was familiar. The swarm of wlydkin clerks parted as an armoured figure approached Alex and his companions. They were a towering sight, a walking mountain of steel. Their armour was painted in a shimmering metallic green aside from one shoulder which was covered by the white steel skull of a machina. Over their shoulder, the knight had an enormous hammer, the head the size of a barrel. It looked incredibly heavy, yet they carried it as if they were nothing. The hammer had a shorter handle than Alex would have expected for its size and there was a set of round gears and cogs that sat where the handle and the head connected. There were bands of glowing emerald running around the business end of the weapon that Alex assumed was its aether edge. “Thanks,” Alex said. There was something about the knight he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He felt like he knew them. The hammer-wielding knight flipped up the visor on their helmet. The face of Esmeralda smiled at Alex. "No problem. The girls are just a bit panicked. Can't say I blame 'em, a Deus couldn’t ‘ave picked a better time to attack the Towers.” “I don’t think there’s any good time, really.” Simian pushed his way through the crowd. He was wearing a leather jerkin that looked like it had seen better days. His rifle was slung over his shoulder on a strap. “First time a Deus has come near the Towers in my memory." "And you've been around the block once or twice," Esmerelda said. “Delicately put.” “Look, it isn’t ideal, I’d rather have a bunch of high-grade hunters on my ship. But,” Hir’Six adjusted his hat as he spoke, “I’ll take what we’ve got. One decent knight and two novices and two over the hill coots. Let’s not muck about. We need to get into the air.” “Coot?” Esmerelda gave the grell a look that could have stripped the flesh from his bones were he not already striding across the guildhall. The frog creatures were already carrying their crates through the doors that lead to the dock. “Here,” one of the clerks pressed a piece of paper into Alex’s hand. It was an expedition slip, pre-stamped. Emergency expedition. Slay ???? “Oh, thanks,” Alexi said. He wasn’t sure what use the slip was. It didn’t even list the name of the creature. “We’ve also got some supplies. They were due to be dropped at the forest camp later today, but well…” The clerk just gestured around her. “Help yourselves to anything you might need.” She pointed across the room and her swarm of identical sisters moved aside so Alex could see a wooden crate near the far wall. “We will, thanks.” A plan was forming in Alex’s mind. He hoped the supplies had what he needed. "You grab the stuff from that crate, we'll help ready the airship." Simian turned to the clerk who seemed to be in charge. "There anyone else coming?" "It's impossible to say. There aren't many knights in town as is, hopefully, if they aren't already here then they're headed to some of the cannons." “There are a handful of cannons scattered through the towers,” Simian said, pre-empting Alex’s question. “They could just be trapped. A lot of the walkways are out of commission,” Casey said. "Right. Either way, we can't count on them. Looks like it's just us. I'll be honest, when I sponsored you, I never expected this. Not even your first week and you're up against a Deus. Well, trial by fire it is then.” Simian tapped Alex on the shoulder and let out a hearty laugh. “Oh well, welcome to the aether lands. This is life here.” Alex replied with just a smile. He walked over to the crate and tried to remove the lid. It was bolted shut so he drew his sword and slid it under, using it as a makeshift crowbar. The nails holding it shut popped as they were pulled up and Alex put the lid on the ground. There were familiar bundles of items inside. Potions, aether stones, stun bombs and traps. It was perfect. Alex pocketed half the items and then beckoned Casey over. “You want any of this, Simian?” Alex said. “No, I’ve got a stock.” He tapped bag at his hip which clacked loudly as the glass bottles within knocked together. The noise did not go unnoticed by Alex, it was evidence that NPCs didn’t operate on the same rules as he did. Everything in his bags vanished into an infinite void. He scrolled through his quick bar idly, wondering if NPCs were forced to fish about in their bags. “Come on, get on board,” Hir’Six shouted from the doorway. “We don’t have time for faffing around!” The tiny airship captain vanished back through the doors, his hat wobbling as he walked. “You heard the man,” Simian said, marching towards the doors. *** The air was filled with the roars of the Deus. The creature was circling the towers in triumph, happy with the destruction it had wrought for now. The walkways between the pillars were nearly totally shattered, only scraps of metal and wood hanging on like fraying thread. Its cries were met with the occasional loud boom as it flew into the line of fire of one of the cannons scattered throughout the towers. The creature twisted its necks together and on the next circuit lashed out at where the cannon fire had come from with its searing beam. The guns had fallen silent after that. Alex was watching the Deus as it flew, working through his plan in his head. It was risky and relied on perfect timing from Alex, so he didn't know how to explain it to the others on the ship. They were busy securing what looked like a huge crossbow to the deck, the weapon dragged up from the belly of the ship. There was a metal plate near the fore of the vessel that the crossbow screwed onto. Alex wondered for a moment why it wasn't there constantly, before remembering his descent from the airship by cable. It was to allow space for more knights to disembark at once. Where Alex would expect a bolt was a shiny metal box. Several more had been stacked on the floor nearby, each as long as Alex was tall. The frog creatures were unloading more of the boxes from one of the crates they had been carrying. “You going to help or not? Too busy daydreaming to put some work in?” Hir’Six prodded Alex with his hook hand, the sharp point finding a gap in his armour. “Ow! Yes, I was just thinking about how we’re going to deal with that thing.” “We aren’t! We lead it away from the Towers as far as we can and then abandon ship. The Star of Orix is a good ship, but she isn’t worth more than the Towers.” Hir’Six grabbed a nearby cable that kept the balloon above tethered to the ship. “She did well over her life,” he said almost wistfully. “I’ll be sad to see her go.” “No, I think we can save the ship, and defeat the Deus in the process.” “Hah! Well if you can find a way to pull that off more power to you.” Hir’Six let go of the cable and began walking towards the steps leading up to the ship's wheel. "I hope you're not the last one off when it all goes wrong." “Charming,” Alex said as he began to walk towards the fore of the ship. He approached the strange-looking weapon. "Everything good here?" Simian stood up, wiping sweat from his brow, a wrench in hand. “As it can be,” he said. “Should do the job,” Esmeralda said, tapping the metal box mounted on the crossbow. She turned a crank at the bottom and there was a loud clicking noise. This close it was obvious there was a slot at the bottom of the box that pointed toward the tip of the bow. “One of you should use it. These pair,” she gestured to Cassius and Simian, “are best suited adding their firepower, an’ no offence but I'm more experienced than the pair of you put together. If anyone is going to stand and fight this thing it’s me.” “Casey can take it. I have a plan,” Alex said. “Oh, a plan he ‘as! Go on then, do tell.” "If we get close enough, we can hit the Deus with a stun bomb. Even if it's only for a moment, it should knock it to the ground. Once it’s down if we focus on the wings, we can ground it. Should be a lot easier to handle then.” “Should. If. Lot’s of chance in there. What about that beam. That ‘its us and we’re toast.” “I can block that,” Alex said. “He can block that. You ‘ear this, Simian? He can block that. I’d like to see you try.” “He can,” Casey said. “If he gets the timing right. That’s a big if.” “Better than having no defence at all,” Alex said. He hoisted his shield up as if to make his point. A shadow fell over the ship for a moment as the Deus continued its great circle around the Towers. The Star of Orix shuddered in its mooring as the jets of the Deus churned up turbulence as it passed. “We’re casting off!” Hir’Six shouted. He blew on his whistle and dozens of frogs burst from the lower decks, untying knots and pulling levers that adjusted the balloons cables. There was a loud roar as the skulls mounted to the back began to spit flame, pushing the airship away from the dock. “Get ready on the ballista! I’m going to try and intercept its flight path." He turned to a nearby frog. "Stoke the engines to full! Time to earn some glory!” The grell broke out into a loud booming manic laugh. It was hardly reassuring.
2020.09.24 16:58 RobinOfLoksley[M4F] An Order of Djinn [Long term world building] [R34] [Master & Genie]
**All characters are 18 or above ** Alexander looked at his empty wallet in disgust. "Man! I can't believe I blew the last of my paycheck at that flea market." he mused. Well it looked like it's going to be a week of peddling his bike to work and eating PB&J and Ramon until next payday. AGAIN!!! And once again anyone else would consider his purchased treasure hoard to be nothing but a pile of tacky junk. A bunch of mostly vintage scifi and geekdom items that warmed his inner child. Yea... but Alex was 19 now and trying to save up money to have for his sophmore year at collage. Perhaps some of it would at least impress his D&D group on Saturday. Well nothing left to do but to put it all away. The Star Trek OS phaser went on the bookshelf under the signed and framed poster of Nichelle Nichols at the comm station in her red skirt uniform. The 1.5" crystal ball on the dragon motif stand goes on the dresser.... No better put it on the desk. The dresser gets direct sunlight in the evenings and we don't want that crystal ball acting like a magnifying glass and starting a fire. Lets see.... 20 minuets later Alex got to the most unusual item. A heavy brass Aladdin style oil lamp. Yea, that thing should really impress his fellow game-nerds. I mean it looked pretty authentic. No cheep plastic or die-cast job on this. Of course it was just an old prop. I mean, naturally when he had seen it on the table he had to give it a rub, and of course nothing happened. He felt a little foolish for even trying until he noticed that the sides were the only parts of it that weren't heavily tarnished. Obviously a lot of other people had been doing the same thing before putting it back and not buying it. Alex had to laugh at himself. At least he wasn't the only one, but this was something he HAD to show them all on Saturday. Looking it over again more thoroughly he noticed some weird etchings on the base, mostly obscured with the tarnish. Getting some metal polish and a rag Alex went to work cleaning up the etched part of the base and then examined it again. The etchings were letters in some strange language. There were two phrases, one on each side. The first read " בשם שלמה הגדול יצא ", and the second was " בסמכותו של שלמה השיבה האדירה ". Alex took out some paper and a pen and drew the figures, then scanned them in to his computer. a bit of searching led to the discovery that the words were Hebrew, and translated to mean "In the name of Solomon the Great come forth" and "By the authority of Solomon the Mighty Return". Hooookay,.... well this seems...interesting to say the least. Alex said the words out loud, and found himself suddenly experiencing a great and powerful... nothing. He tried it while rubbing the lamp, and again, was met with a stunningly underwhelming lack of reaction. Feeling silly he decided to give it one last try. Looking up the pronunciation of the original Hebrew phrases Alex tried his best at speaking the first line while rubbing the lamp, and then... again nothing. Except... Was that a little hint of a whiff of blueish smoke that was just starting to curl up out of the lamp's wick spout? Then in just a couple of seconds the whiff became a tendril, then a plume, and then a stream, and then a pouring of a thick billowing blue cloud that formed in front of him and began to take shape. Out of the depths of the top portion of the cloud a pair of striking emerald green eyes emerged and seemed to gaze hungrily into the very depths of his soul. Then, before he could think, the smoke dissipated to reveal a strikingly beautiful woman wearing ancient middle eastern garb standing before him, the palms of her hands pressed together, fingertips pointed upwards. She bowed low before him, her head lowered but just enough to still allow those captivating eyes to remain fixed on him. In a voice that flowed sensuously from her lips with the feeling of silk, she purred "As-salau alayum, Oh great Master." In this RP you are a beautiful female Djinn (Ginnie) who is eager to serve her new master, however in addition to the limitations you so often hear about you are also seriously under-powered from having been left starving for so many hundreds of years in the lamp. As it turns out, Djinni (plural of Djinn) are a race of supernatural beings who feed off of the psychic energies from a host who is in a specific emotional state. Djinni bound to vessels like the lamp become connected to the host who first summons them for the remainder of that host's life. Connected Djinni can only feed off their host or those who are with their host and sharing that emotional state. Different Djinn feed off of different emotional energies. In your case you feed off of your host being in a state of erotic arousal or orgasmic release. Right now your power reserves are all but spent and you're like a bear that's just emerged from hibernation and it will take you a bit of time and several feedings to get back to your full potential. At present you can barely physically manifest outside your lamp but with time and enough good meals your reality warping skills can be truly amazing. Of course your first order of business is to get me to let you feed off of me. For you, having one on one sex with your host is like having only half a meal. Djinn can't feed off their own energies, so you would have twice as much energy coming from me having sex with another woman. Not that you'd mind at all joining in for a threesome or moresome once you get going, and a one on one with me is still always a tasty snack. I'm looking for this to be a long term fantasy role play. I've always wanted to play this out and I think it has the possibility to go so many directions, getting more fantastical as we explore. In this fantasy if you (or I) can imagine it, you can do it. Perhaps we get to enjoy sex in unusual surrealistic ways. Body modification, or with you helping me seduce and enjoy the woman of my dreams (With you RP'ing any other female characters we bring into it). Or perhaps you give us the power of flight so we can open a new chapter of the mile high club. Maybe you temporally bring me into other realities, or have someone from an alternate reality cone to me, where I can have kinky fun with any famous or fictional character I ever fantasized about (or that you in RL have ever fantasized about being). Of course this isn't just meant to be a fuckfest. I hope our primary characters will spend at least as much time character developing in roleplay and discovering who we are as we do so. Drop me a chat or DM if you are interested. Open to other platforms if desired.
2020.09.20 18:53 Sabur1991I'm half through TAR 07 and here are my thoughts (plus thoughts on the final episodes of TAR 6)
TAR 07 goes quite interestingly so far. All teams evoke some emotions and there are some dramatic moments. I've watched five episodes so far and there are seven teams left. Uchenna & Joyce - they are probably my favorites. Each season there is a couple who is really nice to each other and doesn't have breakdowns. Previous season this couple was Jon & Kelly, this time it's Uchenna & Joyce. Rooting for them. Rob & Amber are definitely using their social game skills (Rob especially, for example, when he persuaded two other teams to stop eating that meat or asked the bus driver to open only front doors) but they don't annoy me at all, strangely. In TAR, I like them much more than in Survivor. I know already that they are finishing 2nd so they lose to only one team, I wonder which one. We'll see. Brian & Greg are also okay and I finally want to see somebody other than dating couple/engaged/husband & wife making it far in the race (previous season all Final Six consisted of romatically involved teams). Ray & Deana - they seem to have some weak moments and Deana specifically had a couple of breakdowns, while Ray at times pushes her a way too hard. Personally, wouldn't like them to go to the end. Ron & Kelly - to me they also seem nice, but I probaby missed a lot of them. I don't remember many of their moments. They are like Hayden & Aaron from TAR 6 to me - they are always somewhere in the front (except for the first leg) but not very memorable. I guess they are finishing around 4th or 5th place. Meredith & Gretchen - big respect for them, they are now second longest-standing older couple (behind only Teri & Ian) and I want them to suceed but, I mean, they won't make it, especially now, deprived of all money and personal belongings. Probably going out next. Lynn & Alex - definitely my least favorite team of the whole pack. They are more obsessed with beating Rob & Amber than doing the race. Half of their comments is about how they hate the Survivors, when Rob & Amber really did nothing to them. They hate them only because Amber won a million on another show which is pathetic. I hope they don't make it. Now, briefly to the finale of TAR 6. The very last leg was probably the most boring out of all first six seasons. It basically focused on Freddy & Kendra going in 1st place and trying to make an impression Jon & Kelly still can catch them. Plus, it's my personal of course, but Freddy & Kendra were my least favorite team out of the whole cast and of course I was disappointed they won. But... they won fair and square, and kudos for them. I have to separate personal feelings from objective facts. Adam & Rebecca were a phenomemon. seriously. How they made it to the Top 3, without hopelessly falling behind from the first two teams, is incomprehensible to me. Penultimate leg was great and the drama of Hayden & Aaron was really sad, but, I'm glad that both them and Jon & Kelly are now married and together, unlike Freddy & Kendra and Adam & Rebecca. PLEASE NO SPOILERS ABOUT SEASON 7! I KNOW THAT ROB & AMBER ARE FINISHING 2ND BUT I DON'T KNOW OTHER PLACEMENTS.
2020.09.18 19:25 Hydrael[A Staff of Crystal and Bone][CoreVerse] Reboot Chapter 4
I'm on the struggle bus a bit. News to come soon. For now, enjoy, and thank you for your patience. Previous PartPart 1 Next Part Coming soon! Rumors - Free EbookPatreonGet updates on DiscordThe Dragon’s Scion - Ongoing SerialSmall Worlds - Ongoing SerialA Staff of Crystal and Bone - Ongoing SerialEden Awakens - Ongoing SerialTamer of the Beasts - Ongoing Serial I havePublished Books! “I think we can stop,” Artum said, panting out the words. He had to stop to rest his hands on his knees to take deep, heavy breaths. The evaporating water from the storm had kept him from overheating for a bit, but after the long flight from Oldsbrook he felt sweaty and tired. The shade of the trees that now surrounded them kept things cooler than they had been moments before, and it was some relief, but it was like the chill air sapped the remaining energy from him the moment he stepped into the shade. Tiebalt showed his agreement by flopping to the ground. Garissa leaned against a tree. She’d had to push herself harder than either of them from the injury to her leg, and was walking with a pronounced limp. Her hands were trembling, and she looked ready to either vomit or scream. “You’re...right,” she said, barely able to gasp out the words. “Thirty take me to the Dark Halls,” she said. Artum looked at her in shock. “You’re…” Artum had to stop and make himself take a few deep breaths. “You’re taking in the Thirty in vain like that?” “Really?” Garissa wiped her forehead and shot him a glare. “That’s...that’s what you’re worried about right now?” Artum shook his head and took a page from Garissa’s book. His head came away damp when he ran it across his forehead, and his eyes stung from sweat that he’d missed. Blinking to clear his vision, Artum looked around. They’d run into the Everwood, that untamed forest to the north of town. Any plants that were cut down here would regrow within just a month, and damage caused by flame would regrow even quicker. As children, Tiebalt had dared Artum to run into these woods. Artum had gotten to the edge and seen the thick foliage and heard the alien sounds of the creatures that dwelled within, and had not been able to bring himself to enter. That was a childish fear. The fear that had driven them to flight was far more visceral, far more real, than any imagined monsters lurking in the underbrush. Right now the shadow of the Everwood was a welcome comfort. Even if there were strange beasts moving around. Artum walked over to Garissa and knelt beside her. “Your leg is still bleeding.” Garissa nodded, her eyes tight with pain. “Didn’t exactly have a chance to bandage it. I was a bit too busy running for my life.” Artum winced and began to tear the sleeve of his tunic, trying to get something he could use as a bandage from the fabric. “I’m sorry about that.” “You’re apologizing? For what, Arty? Because from where I was standing, I didn’t see you do anything wrong. You didn’t even fight back until Selmia was right on you.” Artum let out a low breath. “I should have gone with Olarram,” he said, making sure his voice was pitched too low for Tiebalt to hear. He still glanced over to his friend, making sure Tiebalt wasn’t coming over. Not that anyone could move quietly in these woods. Tiebalt was completely drained, and only his deep breaths betrayed that he was more than a corpse. “You didn’t exactly get a choice,” Garissa said, matching his pitch. “Tiebalt made that choice for you.” “I don’t know if he did, ‘Rissa.” She gave him a questioning look, and Artum found he couldn’t meet her eyes. “Right before he killed Olarram, I was chanting in my head and holding the Staff. I was telling myself over and over again that I didn’t do anything wrong. The exact same thing Tiebalt said right after…” Artum’s voice cracked, and he had to cough to cover the slip. “So...what?” Garissa said, furrowing her brow. “You think that you...what, took away his will power? Made him do that?” Artum nodded and tied off the bandage. “It’s sweet that you want to blame everything on yourself,” Garissa said. “Unsurprising, but sweet. Let me ask you something. When did you start thinking that?” Artum cast his memory back. He’d been so afraid that things were kind of running together in his memory. “Right...right before Tiebalt started to summon his Shovel. When Olarram said I’d be Unbound.” “Mmm-hmmm,” Garissa said, holding out her hand. Artum took it and helped her lower herself to the ground, keeping the weight off her injured leg. “You do realize that Tiebalt said that phrase before he summoned his shovel, don’t you? Right after Olarram told you to put down the staff.” Artum wracked his memory. What Garissa said added up but...he wasn’t certain. Everything was jumbled together in his head. Had Tiebalt said it first? Or had Artum thought it first? And if the latter was true, had he forced that thought into Tiebalts head? There was no way way to know, and Garissa no more had the answers than he did. “You’re being pretty calm,” he said, trying to change the topic. Garissa gave him a narrow-eyed look that made it clear she’d notice the conversation turn and wasn’t going to forget it. “Artum, I’m too scared to be frightened. We just ran away from home. Tiebalt killed Olarram, Threm shot me, and Selmia almost impaled you. We can never go back there. I can’t...I can’t see my father again. You can’t see your…” Garissa’s eyes started to get wet, and Artum felt his own stinging. “I can’t deal with all that right now,” she said, wiping her eyes and sniffing. “What I can deal with is you blaming yourself for something that isn’t your fault.” “What isn’t his fault?” Tiebalt said. Artum started at the sound, realizing too late how loudly they’d been speaking. “I mean, besides any of this.” “It’s is, though,” Artum said. “If I hadn’t Summoned the Sable Crystal-” “You might as well blame yourself for having brown eyes or light hair, Artum,” Teibalt said, groaning as he forced himself to sit up. It was the first time Artum had gotten a good chance to look at Tiebalt’s eyes. They had a sunken, hollow look to them, like someone who hadn’t slept in weeks. Is it because of what I did to him? Or is Garissa right, and it’s just guilt? Artum was getting sick of asking himself unanswerable question. “This is different through-” “Do you think I wanted to summon a damn shovel, Artum?” Teibalt said, snapping the question. “I mean, do you know of a single day when we were talking about what we’d be when we got our Summons and I said ‘Gee golly, Arty, I so hope I get a shovel. Digging ditches does sure sound like my dream.’” Artum glared at his tone. “Your shovel isn’t a tool of evil,” he said. Teibalt held out his hand, letting the tool crash through the underbrush to slam into his grab. He held it in front of Artum’s face, where the dull-red stains along the edge couldn’t be ignored. “Tell me that again,” he said, his voice tight. “Tell me again that this can’t be used to do evil.” There wasn’t anything Artum could say to that. “I’m sorry,” was all he could manage. Teibalt shrugged, the anger draining out of his glare. “For summoning that thing? Don’t apologize. For not thinking before you opened your Halls-Damned mouth? If you had to apologize for that, you’d need to end every sentence with an apology. Artum laughed hollowly at the joke, and Garissa snickered behind her hand. Artum held out his hand, calling back the Sable Crystal to his grasp. “So…” he said, trailing off. “Let’s...let’s talk about what happens next.” Tiebalt joined them on floor of the Everwood and nodded. His face was still tight with both anger and grief, but at least Artum knew Tiebalt wasn’t directing that anger at him. It was time to make a plan. And Artum knew he’d have to try hard to convince them he was right. Then again, he thought, his hands tightening around the staff. Maybe you won’t need to try at all. “You two need to go back to Oldsbrook,” Artum said. Immediately both Garissa and Tiebalt’s backs’ stiffened. “What?” “Everything that happened there is my fault.” Seeing Garissa’s face, Artum held up a hand. “Even if it’s not - no, Tiebalt, just listen right now - both of you, give me a moment to explain!” His outburst overrode their attempts to interject into the conversation, and was loud enough that it silenced them. “This isn’t me wallowing in guilt. I mean that you can convince people of that.” He held out the Sable Crystal in front of himself. “No one knows for sure what all this can do. Only the Destined have seen it at their full power, and most of their Crystals have gone to new wielders at this point. New Destined. You can tell them I made you do it, that this,” he held up the Sable Crystal again, to make sure that there was no ambiguity about what he meant, “made you do it. They’ll believe you.” “We could do that,” Tiebalt said. His voice was slow, and Artum’s heart sank. That proved that he’d been controlling Tielbalt. He’d made Tiebalt betray the Destined, he’d taken him down a dark path, and Artum was certain that everything he’d done could be blamed on this damned Crystal - and now he was making Tiebalt leave. “However, there are two problems.” “Oh?” Artum said, wondering what objections his control over Tiebalt would allow. “For starters, even if they believe us, they might assume we’ve been tainted by the Crystal. They won’t trust us again, no matter what we do or say. We are pretty much guaranteed to be outcasts at his point, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.” Artum winced. There was truth to Tiebalt’s words, no matter how much he wanted to deny it. “You can still attempt. You have a life back there. Both of you!” Garissa huffed out air. “You call that a life? Being my father’s servant, expected to one day marry an influential man to bring more money into Oldsbrook? I’d rather see the world, but my father had no intention of letting me go.” Teibalt nodded. “I’m a ditch digger. Day in, day out, I did nothing but dig.” He held up his shovel in a deliberate mockery of Artum’s staff. Artum flushed and lowered it to his lap. The dark crystal was warm on his lap, pulsating with energy he couldn’t place. “Do you think I want to go back to digging ditches?” “But you...if you stay with me, you’ll be hunted!” the words came out of Artum’s mouth in a tumble. “You’ll be hounded by Defenders, Warriors, and Archers. You may even draw the attention of the Destined themselves. You could be killed.” “Oh, no,” Garissa said, rolling her eyes. “It never occured to me that this could be dangerous. Did that ever occur to you, Tiebalt?” “You know what, Garissa?” Tiebalt said, his eyes wide with mock shock. “It didn’t. I had no idea that following someone holding the Sable Crystal could be dangerous. But now that Artum has so kindly pointed it out to us, I see the error of my beliefs and will leave posthaste. Won’t you be willing to join me?” “Indeed I will, Tiebalt,” Garissa said, her eyes going wide now. “Truely, Artum has spared us from a terrible fate. Without his wisdom, however will we get along?” “I have no idea,” Teibalt repeated, shaking his head sadly. “Surely, without him, we will forget we can breathe air and drown ourselves in barrels of water.” “All right, all right,” Artum said, holding up a hand. As much as he was on the verge of panic, as much as he wanted to smack them both right now, the laughter that followed his protest was a relief he desperately needed. “I see your point. but...Tiebalt, Garissa. I don’t know how dangerous this will really be. Neither do you. The Destined defeated the person to wield this, and he’d ruled the world for centuries prior. I don’t think I can do much other than be a nuisance until they kill me.” Tiebalt’s eyes hardened. “The Destined now aren’t the same as the original Thirty. Only five of them remain, and they are worn by age. Don’t assume your loss here, Artum. There might be a chance to survive.” “And yet…” Garissa said, her eyes narrowing. “You keep saying things like “how dangerous this will really be,’ and other things that seem to hint you have a specific plan.” Artum’s hands tightened around the staff, its warmth reassuring. “I don’t know. I have the beginning of one. We...we can return to that, I promise. but...Tiebalt, you said there were two reasons?” “I did.” Tiebalt leaned forward, his face only inches from Arturm. “If you ever, and I do truly mean that word, ever try to take credit for something I do again, I will…” Teibalt trailed off, as if he couldn’t find a threat of sufficient magnitude for his anger. “You know what, forget what I just said. Damn you, Artum, for thinking you can lay claim to my actions.” Arturm reeled from Tielbalt’s words. “I’m sorry, what?” “Oh, you heard me. Don’t you ever try to claim that you can own me. Artum, I knew exactly what I was doing in that moment. Someone was going to Unbind my best friend. I stepped in to stop him. The only way to do that proved fatal. I wish there had been another way. I wish I hadn’t...I wish he had lived.” Tiebalt had to wipe at his eyes before continuing. “But that was my choice. My decision. Don’t you dare try to take that from me.” Artum opened his mouth, closed it, opened it yet again, and then closed it a third time. Everything Tielbalt was saying was exactly what Artum wanted to hear, and from the look Garissa was giving him she considered the matter settled. And yet...it was too perfect. People didn’t normally have outbursts that happened to coincide with what people feared. What if Tiebalt was saying that because it was what Artum wanted to hear? Down that path lies madness, Artum thought, scolding himself. If he was controlling Tiebalt with that degree of subtly, if the staff had that much power, the Dark Lord would have won. Right? “I’m sorry,” he said aloud. Tiebalt nodded. “You best be.” he leaned back and twisted, ramming his shovel into the ground and then using the handle as a backrest. “Now. What is this plan of yours?” Artum took a deep breath. “You won’t like it.” “Ashes of the Dark Lord, Arty,” Garissa said, unable to hold in the curse, “I haven’t liked anything about this since you summoned that thing. Stop stalling and get to the point.” Artum took a deep breath and nodded. “I’m going to the Wastes of Shabbot. I’m going to the land where the Dark Lord’s influence still lies. If there’s answers, we’ll find them there.” Artum was relieved to learn he was right about at least one thing. Neither of them liked it. --- Have you readThe Wastes of Keldorayet? There's a samplehere, but if you want to read the full thing, check it outhere. Also, while I don't have an exact date yet,Tamer of the Beastswill still be published this month, just might squeak right in before the end of the month. --- Previous PartPart 1 Next Part Coming soon! Rumors - Free EbookPatreonGet updates on DiscordThe Dragon’s Scion - Ongoing SerialSmall Worlds - Ongoing SerialA Staff of Crystal and Bone - Ongoing SerialEden Awakens - Ongoing SerialTamer of the Beasts - Ongoing Serial I havePublished Books!
2020.09.18 17:02 JosiLeagueTaway2020 - Week 1: AIN'T NO 'RONA KEEPIN' US FROM PLAYIN' FOOTBALL!!!! Edition
Week 1 Summary
THE 2020 SEASON ACTUALLY STARTED! Wooo boy, was I stoked to sit inside on a rainy Sunday here in Nashville and behold a regular football Sunday. I had actually just stepped off a plane my dad chartered for us to go see my grandpa Mason for his 90th birthday that morning. It was a surreal and wonderful experience to be around 8 or 9 family members out on their porch in Rogers, AR for most of 2 days. It’s been really difficult to not see most of the folks in this league much at all this summer, but getting to spend time with both of my remaining grandparents now is a nice reward. And so is football returning! The empty stands are a little eerie, and the fake crowd noise roaring at the wrong times annoyed the shit out of me, but I’ll take it! I was a little shocked how normal everything seemed down on the field. Very little to no mask usage in sight on sidelines around older staff members was actually concerning, but I suppose everyone is confident in the testing procedures. Just really hoping the teams are careful while traveling, and we’re not going to see any locker room outbreaks for any teams in the coming weeks. The injuries are already too plentiful! Nobody needs to be losing starters to COVID IR. The football action itself was great! Huge upsets happened in Jacksonville, Washington, and San Francisco, and with that wackiness the 2020 NFL season was officially underway! The Titans had a tense, grinding late night game Monday in Denver that exposed a severe weakness of the team: kicking. I know for a fact that someone in this league would have rolled Gostkowski out in their lineup this week if we still had a K slot, and that would have SUCKED. The old man redeemed himself by hitting the game winner on his 5th kick attempt of the evening after AJ Brown juuuust missed snagging his first TD of the season in the waning seconds. It was a pretty bold coaching decision to allow him to attempt a 5th kick after missing the first 4, so props to our coaching staff for believing in him, I guess. Big win in at Mile High to kick off the season against a Broncos team is that absolutely no slouch. I was actually pretty impressed with Drew Lock and his Noah Fant connection in the loss. So I guess I had it coming, huh? After easily strolling to my first championship last season, it was only right that Tootie beat the ever-loving shit out of me in the opener. Our blowout of the week was the ass-beating that took place between the Tacklers and Potatoes. Jess handily beat down Stephen, and Amanda coasted against our only sub-100 scoring team of the week, Doyle, who I’ll have to make fun of below. The rest of the action was tight. Tee’s early WR strategy in the draft paid MASSIVE immediate dividends with Devante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins clocking in as the #1 and #7 overall top scorers on the week respectively. Those two powered the Queefs to what turned out to be a hard fought victory over Connor, who would have beaten nearly every other team. The wildest story from Week 1 is the unfortunate turn of events that happened in the Indianapolis backfield with Marlon Mack tearing his achilles, bailing out Clint’s 1st round selection of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the biggest way imaginable! That pick will most likely look perfectly in place on our draft board now with Mack out of the way. We had a really annoying rash of practice injuries in the final week before Sunday, but everyone did a good job setting their lineups. With it being only one week of action, there isn’t much to discuss in the way of whose team is strong/weak or any playoff implications, so let’s get right into the matchups!
Tee (1-0) vs. Connor (0-1): Goddamn Tee’s WRs! Connor had Fuller V catch a whole bunch of garbage time balls on Thursday night to get his hopes up, but Adams and Hopkins exploded for Tee at noon on Sunday for some insane point totals to where it looked like this matchup would be an ugly blowout. Josh Allen ran all over the Jets D and looks like a great late round selection thus far. Even 14th round keeper TJ HOCKULES got in on the action with 16 points and a TD. Connor’s team continued the garbage point trend and had a couple players in Adam Thielen and Matt Ryan, whose teams were both gunning it downfield while losing badly, rack up all kinds of points to keep him in Tee’s ZIP code. Lackluster performances from Cooper Kupp and Michael Gallup in the night game helped the cause. Still, headed into the MNF matchup with a 30-point deficit and Juju vs. Conner, it was looking like Tee might embarrass Connor. Then classic James Conner struck… Some sort of ankle injury seems to be the word, but whatever the case, Conner didn’t see the field after the first quarter. Brutal, after this was the defining theme of Conner’s last season. Juju proceeded to find the end zone twice, and this matchup got a whole lot closer than anyone expected. Alas, it was too little, too late for Connor’s Macks (maybe not the best name after what happened Week 1?) as they fell to Tee by 10. Tee’s MVP: Devante Adams (42.94) - No discussion here. Adams was amazing, and 17 targets… It was a risky choice to take him at the 4th pick of our draft, but it’s already paying off. This absurd point total is so much more than Adams scored for me any week last year. Rodgers looked great getting him the ball, so let’s see if they can keep it up. Tee’s LVP: James Conner (3.78) - The rate at which the Steelers were getting Conner the ball when the MNF game started was so encouraging. He was playing all 3 downs and racking up targets (although only caught 2). Then the same old shit happened. Conner got hurt and was held out for the rest of the action. The narrative that the game was already in hand wasn’t what I saw, but hey if Conner owners want to tell themselves that and keep starting him, godspeed. Connor’s MVP: Adam Thielen (32.16) - Fantastic week for Thielen here, and it’s great to see him back in prime form after struggling with injuries all through last season. Dude is a stud if he’s healthy, and we saw it in full force Sunday. Cousins was slinging it with the Vikings losing big, but Connor has to be excited to have Thielen at WR1. Connor’s LVP: Bears D/ST (0.64) - I feel like a broken record, but this is exactly why you don’t draft a defense in the 8th round… Tootie (1-0) vs. Alex (0-1): Maaaan, I felt so good after Thursday night! My Fresh Prince of Helaire was incredible in his debut (leads the league in rushing after 1 week) and David Johnson was vintage DJ. Up 40-nothing with only two players having played… Oh yeah, the confidence was flowing. Welp, Tootie’s Tacklers put a quick end to that on Sunday, and turned this into the blowout of the week. I knew Josh Jacobs had the optimal matchup in the Panthers, but wow. After 36 points in Week 1 he looks like a home run in the 2nd round that I wish I had taken over Joe Mixon. Jacobs even quieted the biggest concern about his game by catching 4 passes for 46 yards. Julio Jones and Alvin Kamara were both back in full form to start the season, and this matchup was basically over with those 3 performances. For good measure, Jamison Crowder caught a ridiculous 70-yard TD or something and the Saints D embarrassed the new Bucs offense while hanging up 20 points for Tootie. If she had started Noah Fantasy at TE, she could’ve hit 195 points! Evan Engram was the only real weak spot of her lineup. My team was full of Evan Engrams. Choosing my LVP for Week 1 is a toss-up amongst the FOUR RB/WRs that scored 5-7 points in my lineup. Chubb, Mixon, OBJ, and Desean Jackson were all highly disappointing in the first week. I’ll need those guys to step it up big time if I’m going to have a chance at defending the Josi. Thankfully Lamar Jackson was himself and Jonnu Smith was a bright spot at TE for me, or else my point total could’ve gotten embarrassing. Tootie’s MVP: Josh Jacobs (36.02) - Holy shit, Josh Jacobs looked good. His rushing was decisive and powerful en route to 3 TDs, and he actually was involved in the passing game! Fantasy’s RB #1 through one week did have a great matchup against that hapless Panthers D, but this train looks like it’s just getting rolling. His touch volume was epic. To have Jacobs as the RB2 on this team behind Kamara, along with some explosive WRs… I’m scared of the Tacklers. Tootie’s LVP: Evan Engram (3.04) - Super easy call here. Engram looked rusty as hell in the first action of 2020. He’s still coming off yet another foot surgery and was limited in preparation this offseason, and it showed. Multiple drops were a bad look when the Giants were also using other TEs as receivers. Alex’s MVP: David Johnson (19.98) - As much as I’d like to give MVP to my hot shot rookie, DJ was who excited me the most in my lineup. He was incredibly efficient in his 14 touches in a game where the Texans were getting destroyed and against a decent defense. Seven yards per carry and 3 catches for 32 yards gives me a ton of hype for my 4th round draft pick. The ankle injury to Duke Johnson could turn DJ into a bellcow all of a sudden. Alex’s LVP: Joe Mixon (6.14) - This easily could go to Chubb or OBJ, but those guys actually looked decent when they touched the ball. OBJ can’t pass the ball to himself. No, Mixon was the biggest disappointment with his 1 catch for 2 yards in a game that the Bengals were trailing. I drafted him specifically for his receiving usage, and it didn’t happen at all in Week 1. He also had a gross fumble. Not what I wanted from a pick at the 1/2 turn. Jess C. (1-0) vs. Stephen (0-1): Much like myself, Stephen had to have been feeling pretty swell about his 2 Chiefs scoring 33 points on Thursday night before Jess had anyone play. Then Sunday happened. The newly re-christened Daks swiftly took care of business, primarily in the form of Run CMC and Calvin Ridley. Ridley was the #3 overall scorer on the week with 35.14 points. I really wish he had made it two more spots in the draft to me… Jess’s team was really solid all the way down with 9/10 starters in double digits. I’ll discuss Mark Ingram’s pathetic output below, but the disappointment didn’t end there for Stephen in Week 1. It actually started before Week 1 happened when Courtland Sutton was injured in practice. Then no one on his team broke 20 points, notably including a weak 14 points from Drew Brees. It was a bold choice to draft the Bama rookie WRs and start them both in Week 1, and it actually didn’t go nearly as poorly as it could have, but Ruggs suffered a leg injury that sounds like it will cast his status moving forward into murkiness. A few very positive notes were Stephen's Bills. Stefon Diggs looked great in his Bills debut, and so did rookie Zach Moss. That guy took a disturbing amount of work from Devin Singletary. But with a lack of any big scorers and barely breaking 100 points, this was never close. Jess wins by 44 and gets off to the strong start, while Stephen will be praying for his team's health going forward and has to be questioning a few of his draft choices. Jess’s MVP: Calvin Ridley (35.14) - One of the strangest things in NFL play over the better part of the last decade is Julio Jones and how he never scores TDs. A pattern emerged over Calvin Ridley’s first two seasons where he is the touchdown guy for that Falcons offense, and it held amazingly true Week 1. Jones can get all the targets in the world, but the TDs go to Ridley. If 9 catches for 130 yards is also on the menu for Ridley, he could be a true WR1 this year. Jess’s LVP: Tarik Cohen (6.74) - With David Montgomery limited, there was real hope that Cohen could have a big day in PPR scoring. Strangely, Mitch just didn’t really throw him the ball, and his rushing performance was far superior to his 2 catches for 6 yards in the passing game, his usual bread and butter. Not a disaster of a start, but the only real weak point in Jess’s lineup. Stephen’s MVP: Stefon Diggs (16.78) - There was a lot of doubt over whether Diggs could sustain his previous fantasy success going from the most accurate QB in the league in Cousins to the wildly inaccurate Josh Allen. Diggs effectively put that to bed. Eight catches on 9 targets for 86 yards is a gorgeous stat line for the prospects of long term consistency. The Bills threw the ball a lot, and some good play from Brown and Beasley kept Diggs getting open. Stephen’s LVP: Mark Ingram (2.9) - I feel Stephen’s pain when it comes to Mark Ingram. Started him in several leagues. Not only did Ingram post a miserable 2.9 points, but JK Dobbins stole Ingram’s cookies in a huge way. Ingram was a lock for 15 touches and the goal-line work last season for the Ravens, and that just wasn’t the case Sunday. Ten carries and no targets, but even more importantly lost the crucial goal-line work as Dobbins scored twice. With Lamar accounting for so many Ravens TDs already, losing ANY goal-line work to another RB is horrible news for Ingram drafters. Randy (1-0) vs. Clint (0-1): This rematch of last year’s Round 1 playoff matchup had the most intrigue of all this week. Clint was looking to get payback for the 55 point defeat that Randy dealt him in Round 1 last season, and he got out to a huge lead on Sunday. Leading the way were Kyler Murray and the Ravens D, who demolished the turds from Cleveland, with some help thrown in by new Colts starter Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Prior to Mack going down in that game, it looked like the absolute worst case scenario for Clint. Mack was crushing and Hines was getting a large workload as the change of pace back, leaving Taylor on the sideline for the Colts first several possessions. Hines was even getting goal-line carries. But then, yeahhhh, Mack is out for the season and Clint has a shiny new RB1. Unfortunately for him in Week 1, his team lacked any real studly scoring outputs, and left the door open for Randy. Randy’s team only had five players go on Sunday, and they were underwhelming, so his total headed into MNF was as well. Diontae Johnson didn’t do a whole lot to change the situation with his opening kickoff fumble and unimpressive 10 points on 10 targets. He still needed ~40 points from his two Titans and Melvin Gordon in the late night MNF game. They gave him 50+. Tannehill threw the ball more times than he ever had as a Titan, while Henry simultaneously carried the rock 31 times. The Titans offense lived on the field in that game. Gordon had a costly fumble, but finished with a solid 15 points, and Randy slipped past Clint in the very last quarter of NFL football for the weekend. Tough break. Randy’s MVP: Aaron Jones (17.72) - I’m going to regret that Gurley trade for another season at least apparently. Randy’s 8th round keeper scored the most of any RB/WR in his lineup and put a lot of doubts at ease on Sunday. The mighty quads of AJ Dillon were rumored to threaten the goal-line work of Jones, but that wasn’t the case in Week 1. He initially had a 2nd TD earlier in the game, but it was called back upon review. Randy’s LVP: Keenan Allen (7.86) - Eight targets doesn’t sound too bad, but 4 catches for 37 yards sure does, especially for a WR who just received a contract to make him the second highest paid at the position in the league. Tyrod Taylor honestly just doesn’t seem to be much of a QB at this point, and it’s very concerning for Allen in fantasy football. Clint’s MVP: Jonathan Taylor (15.02) - Fifteen points out of a guy who looked like he might not score a single tenth of a point during the first half was huge for Clint, and it should continue being huge for him going forward. There was a chance this draft pick could break his season, but all of a sudden it looks like it could make it. The really notable thing here was his production as a receiver: 6 catches for 67 yards. That's huge for a guy rumored to be a strictly rushing back. Clint’s LVP: Austin Ekeler (9.72) - Ekeler really wasn’t bad. In fact, he ran the ball really well on Sunday. His output ended up mediocre (like much of Clint’s team this week) due to a few very concerning factors: 1) He only saw 1 target. For the guy second only to CMC in receiving at the RB position last year, that was truly bizarre. 2) He was taken off the field in every goal-line situation for Josh Kelley to come in, and Kelley looked really good. This Tyrod Taylor offense is clearly not the same one that saw Ekeler finish as a top 10 RB last year. Jessica H. (1-0) vs. Travis (0-1): Looking at the scoreboard of this matchup is an excellent reminder that fantasy football makes no goddamn sense. In a bizarre matchup with some epic lineup busts and a whole bunch of bench points, Jessica H took home a fairly comfortable victory, but can’t feel great about how exactly it went down. Let’s start with the good: four players on Jessica’s team combined for over 100 points on their own! Russell Wilson had one of the finest performances of his entire career and finished as the QB #1, Zeke nearly racked up 30 against the Rams D, Mark Andrews made some spectacular grabs en route to 2 scores and 20 points, and finally Bobby Trees hauled in 105 yards on 6 catches. So half this team is in fantastic shape! The rest was pretty miserable. Brandin Cooks was a poor start given his questionable status and current injury limitations, Devin Singletary had his lunch and half his fantasy points eaten by Zach Moss, Lev Bell went down with a hamstring injury around half time and has been placed on IR, and then there was the Vikings D… I thought everyone had learned not to start defenses against Aaron Rodgers? NEGATIVE SEVEN points just taught Jessica that lesson the hard way. Travis’s team was just as hot-and-cold, but I’m at a bit of a loss to explain what happened here. Kerryon Johnson, who I myself drafted all over the place and slotted into lineups for Week 1 assuming he was the clear lead back in Detroit, scored 1.4 points… 14 yards on 7 carries. The timeless Adrian Peterson, who had literally just arrived to practice with the team THAT WEEK, out-touched Kerryon by TEN TOUCHES. What the fuck… Then there was Michael Thomas. You know, the guy who just last season broke the NFL receptions in a season record? Yeah, he had 3 catches on 5 targets for 17 yards. WHAT THE FUCK?! To toss a big ol’ handful of salt into the wound, Kamara rolled up on his ankle near the end of the game, and Thomas is rumored to have suffered a high ankle sprain that will cast his status for next week into doubt. What a shit sandwich for Travis there. On the bright side, Chris Carson was awesomely effective, as was Tyler Lockett. We’ll have to see if it was just the Falcons defense, but any shares of that Seahawks offense are looking pretty great right now. Jessica’s team did enough to secure a 20 point victory here. Jessica’s MVP: Mark Andrews (22.92) - I have to give it up for MANDREWS here yet again. Seems like this guy lived in the MVP spot for Jessica’s team last season, and nothing’s new. He made an insane one-handed TD grab in this game on a very poorly thrown ball by Lamar. Those two guys are making each other look good, and having a TE hang up 20+ is a massive boost for your team. Andrews looks like a great keeper after one week. Jessica’s LVP: Vikings D/ST (-7.36) - NEGATIVE SEVEN POINTS. Travis’s MVP: Chris Carson (24.72) - What’s really crazy is that Chris Carson wasn’t even on the field for over 50% of Seattle’s offensive snaps. They got out to a big lead against the Falcons, and only brought him in sparingly. Twelve touches is remarkably low for one of the biggest bellcow backs of the season last year. Carson was awesome in the screen game as he took 6 catches for 45 yards and two scores in impressive fashion. Travis’s LVP: Michael Thomas (4.8) - Kerryon may have scored less, but Thomas is by far the bigger disappointment. Johnson was a late round flyer of a pick that Travis can now move on from. Not so at all with his first round keeper stud WR. I watched this whole game, and it was baffling how little Thomas was used. Where Brees looked his way constantly last season, he spread the ball around widely and threw more to Kamara more than anyone else. The injury at the end of the game takes this dismal outing from bad to muuuuch worse. Amanda (1-0) vs. Doyle (0-1): Wrapping it up with our stinker matchup of the week, oh look who it is! Doyle is in last?! Color me shocked! Thanks for making 2020 feel a little bit more normal bud…. All right, with that low-hanging fruit out of the way, there’s a lot to be hopeful about for Doyle’s team. First, this team was missing stud WR Kenny Golladay from a surprise practice injury post-draft. Sucks. But with no IR designation, it sounds like he’ll be back before long. Raheem Mostert exploded on Sunday and looks like a very solid mid-round RB selection. Barkley ran into the Steelers D on Monday night, so there will be much smoother sailing for him from here out. Corey Davis had a huge day on the bench, and the rookie combo of Ceedee Lamb and D’Andre Swift looks very promising (if Swift catches that game winner, his Week 1 stats are incredible). But boy, the vets just didn’t show up for him. Mike Evans wasn’t featured heavily in the Brady Bucs offense, and TY Hilton was fairly ineffective in his debut with Rivers. George Kittle was injured in the first half of the 49ers game, then proceeded to play but not touch the ball a single time the entire second half. Toss in a stunningly weak game from Carson Wentz against the Football Team, and Doyle never had a chance here. Amanda’s team was stout all the way through with the glaring exception of Christian Kirk. Aside from him and the Devante Parker injury situation, it was nothing but good performances and encouraging signs. Dalvin Cook secured his contract extension and ran for a couple scores, DK Metcalf was an absolute beast, and Amari Cooper put fears of him losing target share to the other WRs on the Cowboys to bed. Amanda is hoping Pat Mahomes hands the ball off to CEH a little bit less, but he still looks like an amazing option to lead her fantasy team through this season. She also scores a huge win on her bench in the surprise role that Hines played for the Colts Sunday. Amanda cruised to victory against Doyle in the opener. Amanda’s MVP: DK Metcalf (19.66) - This team had a couple players barely break 20 points, but it was the 19 points from Metcalf that were the nicest surprise for Amanda’s team. If the big Ole Miss man is getting 8 targets every week, he’s going to be a huge steal. The 37-yard bomb TD he caught was a thing of beauty, and I have a feeling there’s more of that in store for us this season. Amanda’s LVP: Christian Kirk (1.34) - Obviously. So while new Cardinals trade acquisition DeAndre Hopkins racked up 14 catches for Tee, last year’s #1 Cardinals WR was a ghost out there. ONE catch for ZERO yards?! Holy shit. This was all kinds of bad for Kirk drafters. The Cards even had him back out there on Punt Return duty, like he did in his rookie season… He had clearly graduated past being a player you wanted to risk the health of returning punts last year, so this is not good. He at least saw 5 targets, but he seems to have fallen several rungs down the ladder in Arizona in the return to action. Doyle’s MVP: Raheem Mostert (25.2) - I was pretty blown away to hear that Mostert achieved the highest speed of any player in the last 18 weeks of NFL action this Sunday on his 76-yard TD catch. Dude has clearly been in the gym this offseason. Getting 25 points from Mostert saved Doyle from a really embarrassing point total Doyle’s LVP: Carson Wents (11.0) - There’s several options to choose from here. Mike Evans is certainly a strong candidate. But no, the 11 points from Wentz against the same defense he absolutely shredded last season in the opener was the biggest detriment to Doyle’s chances of winning. What the hell happened here… He was doing great at halftime! Three turnovers, no touchdowns, and an L to one of the worst teams in the league later, Wentz is a huge question mark for fantasy managers. He has offensive line, receiver, and running back issues for sure, but he played like garbage in that 2nd half. Week 2 Preview All right, it’s Friday morning and I’m back on high after my Browns and Bengals scored a bunch of points last night. Let’s wrap this up, while attempting to keep the horribly misguided prognosticating based on a sample size of a single week to a minimum. The only matchup we have between 2 undefeated (haha) teams is Jess C. v Randy, so that’s our default matchup of the week there. Can the Hotel stay luxurious a la last season? Or will the newly vulgar ex-Christians assert early season dominance? The other matchup of particular interest is the Schaefer Showdown! Marshall’s parents face off in a domestic battle where Amanda is looking to stay perfect and Travis will strive for .500. It’s not a great sign that Michael Thomas is now doubtful for Week 2. Ouch. Our current #1 team, the Tacklers, will look to keep rolling against what looks like a favorable opponent in Stephen with his injury and depth concerns. If Sutton and Ruggs are both inactives, that could get ugly. Two fairly strong teams from Week 1 clash in Jessica H. and Connor, who will seek some justice for losing last week with a great point total. Tee and Doyle will do battle, and I have to say this early season just isn’t coming together well for Doyle. Tee’s team was all kinds of strong in Week 1, and Doyle’s lineup already has question marks all through it. If Doyle can pull off a win, possibly without Golladay or Kittle and likes of Lamb and Murray in the lineup, that will be as much of an upset as early season fantasy football can be. Finally, we have a single battle of the defeateds in Clint vs. myself! One of us will leave this week at .500 and the other will have a first class ticket to the cellar! Hopefully my team doesn’t get the Sunday bed shits like Week 1 after some great stuff in TNF. Soak up these first 4 weeks with no BYEs! It’s nice having your whole team to choose from, huh? Good luck in Week 2 everyone!
2020.09.16 08:21 JarinJoveI really wanted to love this game, but I'm sorry to say that I'm too disappointed to finish it. My Honest Thoughts.
Content Warning: If you’re the type to be easily offended to the point you click downvote at mere disagreements with your opinions on things, do yourself a favor and stop reading right here, click some other topic, and have a nice day. I am not going to hold back on my contempt for what I feel for this game. If you can’t handle that without instant downvotes and angry comments, then this is your one and only opportunity to look away. I’m not going to hold anything back with how I honestly feel about this 3DS revision of Strange Journey. ---------------------- I want to make a few points absolutely clear to explain where I am coming from before I really start this; I am a huge fan of the original DS game. I really liked it. It didn’t quite reach my absolute favorites list, but I loved the settings, the atmosphere (especially with how well the music blended it together), the artwork, the general story, and especially, the lore. The lore was a major high point that just never disappointed and it was such a fascinating mystery in the original DS game. By all rights, while I disliked certain aspects (such as Jiminez’s entire story arc), everything else was a major highpoint that never disappointed me. From start to finish, it was an enjoyable ride and came very close to being one of my favorites of all-time. When Strange Journey Redux was first announced, I wasn’t very interested at all. In fact, I disdained Atlus Japan’s decision to do 3DS ports of all their previous DS games. It just seemed like a cheap way to make a quick cashgrab to me. I bought the DS versions of Devil Survivor and Devil Survivor 2, but I never bothered getting the 3DS versions of those games. I much preferred their model of creating new IPs such as Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse (regardless of how fans feel about it) than the nonsense of replaying the same game. If I wanted to replay the same games, just give me a New Game+ feature on the old ones and leave it at that. Repackaging the old games with improved graphics and extra side story content really kills the mood and makes me think I should just wait 3-5 years for the “complete” editions of games instead of buying what are quickly becoming “vanilla versions” at release. This trend doesn’t bode well and I fear it is already normalized. Perhaps the worst scenario I can speculate is SMTV having a lackluster sales performance because people expect a Maniax style new edition within 3-5 years, thus sales bomb and then we get a deeper “Persona-fied” SMTV Golden version that reeks of Persona’s specific tropes being reinforced into SMT. Of course, that’s all mere speculation and arguably paranoia on my part. What Strange Journey Redux does do is reinforce an existing trend, but unlike other games . . . the difference here is that this re-release absolutely ruined the entire aesthetic, setting, plot, lore, and gameplay. In all ways except graphics, it is a complete downgrade from its original iteration. All I can do is gaze in astonishment at this absolute trainwreck of a game and try to carefully rummage through the rubble to see where it all went wrong. The answer is immediately obvious to all of us who loved the original Strange Journey’s lore and story. The addition of Alex completely ruined everything about Strange Journey’s story, plot, setting, themes, and the impact of your decisions. It destroys all coherence in the story and reduces very brilliant writing on Atlus’s part into absolute garbage. With one stroke, one thoughtless change, and everything that made Strange Journey so enjoyable is reduced to a pile of rubble. Alex’s initial introduction and placement in Sector Bootes was perhaps the absolute worst choice for the story. Alex jams your communication with Jiminez and Arthur, she kills you, and you get resurrected by Demeter who implies you’re no longer human and have some “seed” growing within you that is giving you power now. In fact, upon defeating Anahita, Demeter repeats this same phrase and strongly seems to suggest that Doomguy (the affectionate fan name for the main character of Strange Journey) is something more than human now. Cue to returning to Sector Bootes, Jiminez comments on seeing you die, and Arthur begins talking about a distress call from the Elve just like in the previous game. Arthur never asks you for a full report on what happened, Jiminez seems to never tell anyone about seeing you die and doesn’t seem to question your return from literal death much, and the NPC crew provide no commentary whatsoever on losing contact or seeing you die. Immediately after this scenario; Crewman Norris appears to lose his mind and Arthur responds instantly to a serious emergency of Norris vanishing and going AWOL. Arthur tells everyone it is all hands-on deck to find Crewman Norris and investigate what exactly happened. This stark difference in reaction immediately after Alex’s introduction scene destroys the coherence of the plot, it makes a brilliantly written cast of characters look like complete idiots, and it further worsens the previous event since Arthur didn’t ask you for a full report of what exactly happened. Prior to Alex killing you, the crew say that you’re the most valued Strike Team member because of your accomplishments after Gore’s death. If you can believe it, it only gets worse from there in impact. Not only do you get kidnapped as per the standard story involving Sector Bootes, meeting Zelenin and the information of Mithras’s experiments, and Arthur does ask for a full report on the situation. This further worsens the pre-existing scenario with a double-whammy failure because Arthur doesn’t react to your death (which Jiminez knows and openly commented about on the Red Sprite), but Arthur does react with appropriate seriousness to your kidnapping. Finally, to top off how awful the scenario becomes, Mithras laments on the sickening power of humanity being enough to defeat him. In the previous iteration of Strange Journey, it was Doomguy’s battle knowhow, his combat tactics, an AI creation of humans in the form of Arthur providing guidance on par with the angel Mastema, and the innovative technology of his cutting-edge and self-upgrading powersuit made for combat that helped him defeat Mithras; essentially Doomguy representing the strength, perseverance, and creativity of humanity surmounting a God-like entity despite humanity’s shortcomings. Mithras was a scientific cultist who couldn’t truly understand why humanity could struggle despite being so weak and only looked at physical signs within their body. He did not look at their ingenuity, creativity, patience, and perseverance; seeing all of that as simply a nuisance similar to the buzzing of a bee. Within Strange Journey Redux, this message and theme which carries over across the entire game’s plot and setting is completely erased by Doomguy having some nebulous power within his body that Demeter has given him to turn him into something beyond human. Aha! That whiny Jarin Jove and his Jarin Jove Logic! All that doesn’t matter because GAMEPLAY! I hate to tell you all this, but the gameplay is complete shit. You have to actively avoid the game handing a snoozefest of benefits that actively cripple any challenge that this game could have provided. Whether Command Skills that are basically a special handicap mode, the fact Sub Apps no longer require you to actually use your brain by having a number limit to which ones that you can use so you can do an accounting of risks versus benefits, the mutations now tell you what they mutate into which destroys all risk involved in mutating a skill, you can select the movesets of your demons via the forma system instead of Forma randomization which further degrades any risk involved in gameplay and removes any need to ever use your brain in combat, and overall, all these “quality of life” enhancements . . . sabotage any ability for the game to give the player a challenge. It seems a certain growing number of fans would rather force the harder difficulties to be an upgraded Easy Mode instead of settling for Easy mode because their pride is hurt from the fact that they just completely suck at using their brains when playing Mainline games. Like seriously, what kind of fanbase constantly harps on about how “easy” this series is, refuses to actually play the harder difficulties, and then whines about the normal and hard modes not being turned into glorified easy modes to protect their own pathetic pride? I can’t believe, from both a gameplay and story perspective, that people actually rate this unfun clusterfuck as higher than SMTIV Apocalypse. At least Apocalypse managed to add to the lore, intrigue, and story unlike this mess of a story. At least Apocalypse’s gameplay was actually a fun challenge at times. How can people even want both random inheritance and being unable to see future skills gone from SMT3: Nocturne’s HD Remaster when this crap with seeing future mutations and choosing skills in Strange Journey Redux makes the game braindead easy and completely kills all the fun of the challenge? Like, I am actually mad that people can say that when this game is bonafide proof that it’ll turn SMT3: Nocturne’s gameplay into complete garbage like this game turned out to be. What the hell is even fun about this anymore? If this is actually the direction future titles will be going, I’m not sure if I can continue even playing these games. Yes, yes, EO is harder. I don’t care. That doesn’t justify turning these games into braindead shit. If there is no difficulty curve, such as with this game, then there is no fun. I want harder difficulties that actually make it harder and more challenging and not this braindead glorified Easy mode shit. If your argument is going to be that I have to handicap myself in order to make the game artificially challenging, then you’re willfully defending shitty game design because your pride is hurt from being too scared to actually try harder difficulties in these games. I actually enjoy them and don’t mind losing because I have patience and I love the challenge. If all that wasn’t enough, the story only gets worse. I was desperately hoping that it wouldn’t but plot hole upon plot hole keeps emerging with Strange Journey Redux that ruins everything that I loved about the original DS game. Part of the mystery and intrigue was the forma shifting you to different pocket-dimensions of the Schwarzwelt. This sense of mystery and intrigue is completely ruined by having a giant unexplained portal that transports you to the Womb of Grief anytime you want with no explanation for how it works, why your crewmen don’t comment on you vanishing and going AWOL like Crewman Norris for extended periods of time, or why you’re initially doing it before Demeter offers up a reason after you beat Anahita. In short, you have to turn your brain off and the sense of mystery and the lore of the Schwarzwelt is sabotaged completely. Even the interaction and alignment of Anahita doesn’t make much sense; she’s a Law goddess, but her behavior and dialogue sound like a Chaos demon. I had to stop at Sector Carina because all hope that I had that Alex wouldn’t show up to completely ruin even her own story was thrown away when she did appear. The reason is obvious and I’m sure many of you realized it when she did appear. If she wanted to stop Doomguy, Zelenin, and Jiminez . . . why didn’t she just break the Gravitation Radio device that Arthur said the Red Sprite needed in order to continue the journey? Even if, for the sake of the argument, she couldn’t break Horkos’s plasma barrier for some reason, why didn’t she just wait for them to knock him out of his fusion with the Elve, sneak in during the confusion of the Elve being busted, and break the device they needed? If that doesn’t work because the Red Sprite Strike Team immediately board the burning Elve, why didn’t she just wait until they were carrying it out to snipe it from a far distance or attack them all at once in a surprise move to break it? This is assuming that she would even need to take precautions, because nothing in the story indicates that she would need to be careful in fighting and killing several crewmen of the Red Sprite to destroy the Gravitation Radio device. The Red Sprite would be stuck and it would be all over for them. Alex’s mission would be accomplished without needing to kill anyone. The Womb of Grief, if it had been some other game, probably could have worked. But Atlus placed it in Strange Journey’s story, and it destroyed everything in the process. Even if, in isolation, the content doesn’t seem that bad . . . some of the decisions are so terrible that it overshadows the positives. It’s actually a brilliant decision to have Demeter, a Goddess of Fertility and the underworld who is notorious for cursing people and their children, to be the Goddess introduced at the Womb of Grief and most of the endgame cutscenes I’ve seen of Demeter help fit with the theme and narrative for the Womb of Grief in isolation (that is, if you ignore how stupid it makes the main plot of Strange Journey and focus only on the side material). However, I completely agree with the fanbase that decried the Demeter design as a completely awful decision. I’m in full agreement. What should have been a mysterious and lightly playful Demeter personality meant to bring intrigue is introduced in some bizarre child form that clashes with her mythology so horribly that it overshadows the entire narrative purpose of why Demeter was chosen. They should have gone for something similar to Anahita insofar as physical stature which would have fit better. That’s as far as I’m willing to discuss on my gripes with the Womb of Grief because that point was the most straightforward. I could probably add more, but I think I’ll just stop at this because I just don’t have any willingness in me to continue playing this game anymore. I can’t believe Atlus managed to pull something akin to Final Fantasy X-2 or Final Fantasy IV: After Years. This is not a good sign; they’re becoming too much like Square Enix and even the themes of their games are becoming like every other generic RPG snoozefest about power of friendship. Even disregarding story considerations, the gameplay is an absolute letdown and not fun at all specifically because of these shitty “quality of life” changes. I truly can’t believe how disappointed I am. I loved SMTIV, I loved Apocalypse because I truly felt that it added to IV’s experience without taking anything away, and I came very close to adding Strange Journey to my all-time favorites. Yet, this “Redux” has destroyed everything I loved about the original Strange Journey on the DS and left an incoherent story and poorly designed gameplay in its wake because some fans are so bad at the game they need training wheels but also don’t want to be told they’re using training wheels so they demand more changes for their own pride. The hardest difficulty I can choose right off the bat is basically an enhanced easy mode and any argument from people that I can choose to ignore using certain functions reeks of poor gameplay design . . . of a game that is a re-release of a previous DS iteration that did it all mostly fine and that was completely fun from start to finish. That’s all I can say. I’m tapped out of caring anymore; go ahead and call me an obsessive fanboy, go ahead and call me an idiot, go ahead and “lol Jarin Jove Logic”, and go ahead with downvotes. I’m honestly too disappointed in this game to care.
2020.09.15 20:20 The_Memes_QueenA big headcanon about the Aishi curse that I will use for my upcoming YanSim fanwork
[First of all, this fanfiction is a "Next generation" thing. This means that the characters will be the kids of the YanSim cast (not all of them will have kids)] Back in 1748, 32 years before the birth of the first Aishi, in an unkown zone of the California, there were two men both in their 20s. Their names are unkown, but we will call them Dr.Saikou and Dr.Aishi. The first was a psychologist and the second was a genetist. They were great friends since their childhood and they were very smart for their era. Dr.Aishi was abandoned by his family because he was the unwanted child and Dr.Saikou's family welcomed him. Also, Dr.Aishi was a very weak mind due his abandonment issues, he was easy to manipulate. One day, Dr.Saikou called his friend and started to talk about the emotions and how they are generated by esternal factors. "Emotions are just chemical reaction of our mind for respond to external factors, you should know it very well, my friend." Dr.Saikou said "I wonder, what will happen if few of them if they were erased?" Dr.Aishi answered after few seconds. "It's impossible to erase totally an emotion. An emotionless human is impossible to create, but it's possible block the enzymes that trigger the emotion. Why did you ask that?" "Simple. I wanna do an experiment." Dr.Saikou answered "What would happen if the enzymes that trigger the emotions not only get showed at the end of the adolescence, but also get modified?" "Why did you wanna do that?" "Simple. I wanna separe the logic from the feeling. The left hemisphere from the right one. As you know, human personality is builded during the childhood, and emotion help us to the creation of our behavoir. What would happen if the logic surpasse the feeling? And what for the opposite? And what if we alter them?" "Well, I don't know. Nothing like this will ever happen." Dr.Aishi said. "This is were we come in!" Dr.Saikou said that with a strange tone of happiness "We will discover the answer!" Dr.Aishi wasn't sure about his friend's task. "How? This is impossible to do without kids with this condition." "We will create them." Dr.Aishi looked at him, shocked. "Wait, did you just wanna use human cavies?" "Yes!" Dr.Saikou get closer to him "We are friends, right? Will you help me?" "I...don't know..." "Why not? Friends help friends, am I right?" "Yes, but..." "Did you wanna leave alone?" he did a fake sad face "Am I not welcomed?" Dr.Aishi started to remember his childhood. "No...you are welcomed, but this idea..." "Then help me. I helped you for more than twenty years, now would you help me for my experiment?" he smiled "After all, you are my best friend and the first person that I trust the most, and I would never abandon you, like you are almost doing with me right now." Then Dr.Aishi surrendered. The two passed almost 3 years to develop an enzyme that would arrest temporary the other ones that regulate the emotions(they worked no-stop). Since the enzyme(gonna call it Obstructio) will unlock the altered emotions of the subject in their late teens(17-19 years old), the subject would be unable to control them (here's come the Aishi curse bois :D) Since Obstructio has more possibilites to be effective on women(since they can get mental illness very easly), the enzyme can change the chromosomes XY to XX if it is necessary(some Aishi experimented this change of chromosomes, but certanly not the first Aishi, Ryoba and Ayano.) 30 years passed, and then the enzyme was ready, it was necessary to test it They searched for other subjects and then, in 1780, the first Aishi is born, along with the first Saikou. Since it was the first experiment, Obstructio was blocked until her 16 years old when she met her future husband [(read here for more infos about the first Aishi) ](https://yandere-simulator.fandom.com/wiki/The_First_Aishi) Fun fact, the unknow thid party mentioned was Dr.Saikou. Then she and her future husband went on Japan. Now, the first Aishi's name was Alejandra, a spanish name. And its pronunciation was very messy. So she picked up a random name, Hiroki. Her last name Aishi? Easy, she heared a young woman tell at her husband "Aishiteru!"(I love you) Hiroki heared the first letters, Aishi. So she get that last name. Yes, Alex. Aishi is just the troncature of aishiteru, literally Aishi could mean LoveDeath, but also "I love" (since "shi" is part of the hiragana alphabet and also part of the word "watashi" that means "I") For the first Saikou and for the destiny of the two doctors, you must wait cuz I haven't decided yet their fates XD.
2020.09.12 01:53 Gloster80256Bohemian dispatches in the time of Corona 12/9/2020
(Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII, Part XIV, Part XV, Part XVI) Confirmed cases as of now: 33K/10M, up from 11K two months and a bit ago Tested: ? (around 14K tests daily) test/positive: 7.5% of current tests tests/million: ? Deaths: 448 (up from 350) Confirmed recoveries: 22K R = 1.5! Situation: Last time I said that the frequency of posts will reflect the severity of the situation. I have been derelicting my duties... We've now had over 1K new daily cases for three days in a row, more than triple the record daily number during the first wave in spring, as a result of a long and steady climb. It's not looking good at all right now, with the worst situation around Prague and its suburbs. The government chaotically and haphazardly responded with renewed national measures which effectively boil down to: Masks everywhere in public transit and all areas under a roof, excepting one's own apartment. In essence, return to the general previous pandemic-alarm conditions, with the exception of open outside spaces. The precautions are actually supposed to include shared corridors of apartment buildings... Even workplaces are now explicitly expected to enforce masks in joint office spaces. Still, restaurants, bars and other public establishments remain open, only with slightly limited hours in the hardest-hit localities and an exemption for people consuming their drinks or food (so in practice, everybody considers themselves to be "consuming" as soon as they step in). Even if the measures prove to be effective, the expectation is that the worst 2 weeks are probably already in the pipeline. One probable seed had been the summer holidays, primarily in Croatia, a favorite Czech destination. Our government didn't want to piss people off by blocking their vacations and the Croatian government didn't want to lose out on the tourist money, so decreased safety standards all around. Secondarily, I suspect pubs and bars as the hottest hotpots. I have certainly become much more aware of the amount of spittle that ends up in the drinks standing out on a table during a loud conversation. (Anecdotally, in one somewhat famous "celebrity" bar, a positive girl was supposed to have infected about 150 other people by drinking from a party-cocktail-bucket through a common straw.) We now also have our own broader public opposition to further limiting measures and masks specifically. One the one hand, it's being primarily fueled by fringe elements, mostly on what is locally considered the right (roughly the people who'd listen to Alex Jones, had they only had the linguistic opportunity); On the other, it's coming organically from the groups most hurt by the lockdowns - musicians, theater people, club&bar operators, festival organizers and such (generally leaning strongly liberal left). A lot of them are surviving on the edge as it is and any further limitations might spell economic doom for a good fraction of them. This group has even managed to stage demonstrations in Ostrava and Prague, a couple of weeks ago. The rebelling bedfellows are strange but overall the "national discipline" has definitely taken a huge hit. Empirically, people are still wearing the masks in critical areas like shops and public transit, but the willingness to take "obviously for-show" measures is decreasing rapidly. (And it has to be said, there are some obvious lapses of logic on closer examination of who is supposed to be masked or unmasked in what places and circumstances. E.g. the kids at schools are supposed to keep the masks on in the hallways but can take them off in the classrooms. An illustrative joke: "Cindy, that's not the mask you went to school with." "Yeah, I swapped it with Tasha who traded her mask with Peter.") The governmental response has received a lot of flak, most of it justified by my estimate. Firstly it was the populist unwillingness to take measures that would inconvenience the core constituency of the ruling coalition. Secondly the unprepared, impromptu and vacillating actions (One day denial of any new limitations, the next a hurried enactment of unexpected measures, including a sudden ban on major music festivals and other happenings literal days before their planned start, with organizers left to eat the losses. Then a partial walk-back... The somewhat-Trumpian prime minister seems to be using the minister of health as a scapegoat and a trial balloon, having him announce the unpopular measures and then personally softening them in response to the resulting public outcry.) And thirdly the failure to get all the safety mechanisms up and running for the well-anticipated autumn wave (The much-touted smart quarantine is still not fully functional, partially as a result of the unwillingness/inability of the public health apparatus to use new software tools and coordinate with other agencies, and will get worse when swamped with new cases; The government has launched a system of "self-tracking" for any new diagnoses, which, after the earlier "make your own masks" initiative, has lead to jokes about "build your own ventilator" and "dig your own grave" governmental programs being just around the corner.) Furthermore, the government is mainly targeting its aid at the elderly and retirees specifically, both financially and in terms of physical distribution of protective equipment. I'd say there is some sense to that, given the actual immediate risks, but it still reeks of vote-buying. On the sunnier side, there had been some talks of postponing the fall elections of regional governments or excluding quarantined people from participation, but that has been firmly rejected by the political apparatus and safety workarounds have been found and enacted. For the first time, I got to speak to somebody who had a bad confirmed case. A guy in his late 30s-early 40s who caught the first wave in March. He spoke of 5 weeks of intense misery, when he couldn't sleep for longer than an hour without waking up desperately gasping for air, a recurrence of "something viral, heaven knows what exactly" during the summer for another 2 weeks and an overall heavy toll on his physical shape. He is still taking blood thinners to counteract elevated coagulation and has trouble ascending multiple flights of stairs, despite having been an avid hiker previously. Never the less, it must be noted that the total national number of deaths has remained fairly low (<500) and so has the number of patients requiring a hospitalization, although that's likely to change with the previously observed lag of 3-4 weeks after a surge of new cases. Still, the overall seriousness and mortality rate seems to be going down a bit. Bonus: Some of the more pornographically inclined among the readers might be aware of the existence of the "CzechCasting" line of videos, depicting a girl brought in for a softcore photoshoot and convinced/coerced into a full penetration video instead. Some will be horrified and some delighted to learn that at least a fraction of the videos had not been staged and, in fact, depicted genuine amateurs reacting to a surprising escalation - as evidenced by the fact that the principal actors on the production side had been taken into custody a couple of weeks ago and charged with various crimes related to sexual assault, blackmail, rape and other acts of vice (naturally having edited the worst-looking parts out of the final product).
2020.09.11 22:57 RobinOfLoksley[M4F] An Order of Djinn [Long term world building] [R34] [Master & Genie]
Alexander looked at his empty wallet in disgust. "Man! I can't believe I blew the last of my paycheck at that flea market." he mused. Well it looked like it's going to be a week of peddling his bike to work and eating PB&J and Ramon until next payday. AGAIN!!! And once again anyone else would consider his purchased treasure hoard to be nothing but a pile of tacky junk. A bunch of mostly vintage scifi and geekdom items that warmed his inner child. Yea... but Alex was 19 now and trying to save up money to have for his sophmore year at collage. Perhaps some of it would at least impress his D&D group on Saturday. Well nothing left to do but to put it all away. The Star Trek OS phaser went on the bookshelf under the signed and framed poster of Nichelle Nichols at the comm station in her red skirt uniform. The 1.5" crystal ball on the dragon motif stand goes on the dresser.... No better put it on the desk. The dresser gets direct sunlight in the evenings and we don't want that crystal ball acting like a magnifying glass and starting a fire. Lets see.... 20 minuets later Alex got to the most unusual item. A heavy brass Aladdin style oil lamp. Yea, that thing should really impress his fellow game-nerds. I mean it looked pretty authentic. No cheep plastic or die-cast job on this. Of course it was just an old prop. I mean, naturally when he had seen it on the table he had to give it a rub, and of course nothing happened. He felt a little foolish for even trying until he noticed that the sides were the only parts of it that weren't heavily tarnished. Obviously a lot of other people had been doing the same thing before putting it back and not buying it. Alex had to laugh at himself. At least he wasn't the only one, but this was something he HAD to show them all on Saturday. Looking it over again more thoroughly he noticed some weird etchings on the base, mostly obscured with the tarnish. Getting some metal polish and a rag Alex went to work cleaning up the etched part of the base and then examined it again. The etchings were letters in some strange language. There were two phrases, one on each side. The first read " בשם שלמה הגדול יצא ", and the second was " בסמכותו של שלמה השיבה האדירה ". Alex took out some paper and a pen and drew the figures, then scanned them in to his computer. a bit of searching led to the discovery that the words were Hebrew, and translated to mean "In the name of Solomon the Great come forth" and "By the authority of Solomon the Mighty Return". Hooookay,.... well this seems...interesting to say the least. Alex said the words out loud, and found himself suddenly experiencing a great and powerful... nothing. He tried it while rubbing the lamp, and again, was met with a stunningly underwhelming lack of reaction. Feeling silly he decided to give it one last try. Looking up the pronunciation of the original Hebrew phrases Alex tried his best at speaking the first line while rubbing the lamp, and then... again nothing. Except... Was that a little hint of a whiff of blueish smoke that was just starting to curl up out of the lamp's wick spout? Then in just a couple of seconds the whiff became a tendril, then a plume, and then a stream, and then a pouring of a thick billowing blue cloud that formed in front of him and began to take shape. Out of the depths of the top portion of the cloud a pair of striking emerald green eyes emerged and seemed to gaze hungrily into the very depths of his soul. Then, before he could think, the smoke dissipated to reveal a strikingly beautiful woman wearing ancient middle eastern garb standing before him, the palms of her hands pressed together, fingertips pointed upwards. She bowed low before him, her head lowered but just enough to still allow those captivating eyes to remain fixed on him. In a voice that flowed sensuously from her lips with the feeling of silk, she purred "As-salau alayum, Oh great Master." In this RP you are a beautiful female Djinn (Genie) who is eager to serve her new master, however in addition to the limitations you so often hear about you are also seriously under-powered from having been left starving for so many hundreds of years in the lamp. As it turns out, Djinni (plural of Djinn) are a race of supernatural beings who feed off of the psychic energies from a host who is in a specific emotional state. Djinni bound to vessels like the lamp become connected to the host who first summons them for the remainder of that host's life. Connected Djinni can only feed off their host or those who are with their host and sharing that emotional state. Different Djinn feed off of different emotional energies. In your case you feed off of your host being in a state of erotic arousal or orgasmic release. Right now your power reserves are all but spent and you're like a bear that's just emerged from hibernation and it will take you a bit of time and several feedings to get back to your full potential. At present you can barely physically manifest outside your lamp but with time and enough good meals your reality warping skills can be truly amazing. Of course your first order of business is to get me to let you feed off of me. For you, having one on one sex with your host is like having a light meal. Djinn can't feed off their own energies, so you would have twice as much energy coming from me having sex with another woman (A true feast). Not that you'd mind at all joining in for a threesome or moresome once you get going, and a one on one with me is still always tasty. I'm looking for this to be a long term fantasy role play. I've always wanted to play this out and I think it has the possibility to go so many directions, getting more fantastical as we explore. In this fantasy if you (or I) can imagine it, you can do it. Perhaps we get to enjoy sex in unusual surrealistic ways. Body modification, or with you helping me seduce and enjoy the woman of my dreams (With you RP'ing any other female characters we bring into it). Or perhaps you give us the power of flight so we can open a new chapter of the mile high club. Maybe you temporally bring me into other realities, or have someone from an alternate reality cone to me, where I can have kinky fun with any famous or fictional character I ever fantasized about (or that you in RL have ever fantasized about being). Of course this isn't just meant to be a fuckfest. I hope our primary characters will spend at least as much time character developing in roleplay and discovering who we are as we do so. Drop me a chat or DM if you are interested. I can chat on Reddit chat, Kik, Discord, Mewe, Skype, or Wickr, ..or if you have another platform I might even be open to installing it. This proqmpt is for M/f only. Please no m,futa,t,nb,fb, ect playing as f.
2020.09.11 19:34 TheMightyBox72What Didn't Work About Bill and Ted Face the Music
Major spoilers to come. So I watched Face the Music for the first time two weeks ago, the day it came out. And then again a few days ago in order to collect the feats. And in that entire time I've been scratching my head trying to figure out, why this movie seemed to go right through me. Why my first instinct upon finishing the film was to call it "like the made for tv finale of a syndicated show". I am a huge fan of Bill and Ted. Bogus Journey is one of my favorite movies ever and a while ago I went through every piece of spin-off material I could find, both in order to make the RT, but also just in preparation for this film's release. Now that isn't to say my expectations were high. One issue that I foresaw as soon as the first trailers dropped was that it was strange that Bill and Ted were still talking, like that. This is a very strange and, almost unreal element of the film, it makes Bill and Ted feel less like a couple of SoCal Gen X slacker nobodies and more like a couple of cartoon characters. Like how no matter how far we get from the 60s and 70s, Shaggy continues to look, dress, and act like a hippie stoner. But I don't think that's the film's big issue. I do think it would've been better if the movie was either a period piece/direct sequel that simply recast the leads (I mean, they bothered to track down Alex Winter and even George fucking Carlin reprises his role despite being dead, but they couldn't be bothered to bring back the original princesses?) or play up the nostalgia and have Bill and Ted be normal 40-year old Gen X dads looking back on their adventures with, fondness but also uncertainty. I don't know, I'm not a Holywood scriptwriter, but certainly that has to work better than getting John Wick to say "dude, bogus, heinous" and make it work. But, okay, no, that's not the big issue with the film. I'm not exactly thrilled with that element, but the movie can still work despite it. I don't mind the daughters being a focus, or the ending, although I feel like the actor for Billie wasn't doing a terribly good job? But Thea was fine I liked her. And I think the plot, needing a song to unite the world, and the resolution, that it's not about the quality of the song but that everyone joins in to play it together, is appropriately Bill and Ted and also very heartwarming, I liked that. I think ultimately the issue with the movie is the scene to scene conflicts. And the fact that, there just, really aren't much. There's the overall conflict and stakes, which I already mentioned that I liked, and I do like how the movie basically has a countdown timer till the climax and essentially runs at real time for the rest of the movie, but the individual scene to scene plots don't really progress or introduce new tension. If you look at both concurrent plots, Bill and Ted trying to get the song from their future selves and Billie and Thea putting together a backing band across time, they both kinda just stay at a solid 5 the entire time. Bill and Ted go into the future, ask their future selves for the song, their future selves tell them to piss off, Bill and Ted call them dickweeds and go forward even farther. Billie and Thea go to a famous historical musician, they tell them about their band, they're apprehensive at first but after hearing someone else from the band play, they decide to join. There aren't any moments like from the first film, where Bill and Ted have to philosophize with Socrates to gain his trust, or needing to escape from a bar full of angry cowboys, or when Bill thinks Ted is dead and has to fight off a medieval knight. There is one exception, and it's the best sequence in the whole movie, the confrontation at Dave Grohl's house. And yes that is a sentence I just said, but it's true. It's got the funniest jokes in the movie, it's got a very clever application of time travel as a narrative concept, and it's the one time when Bill and Ted are asked to do more than just get frustrated and exit scene. There's more I can talk about here, for instance, Dennis Caleb McCoy. I do not understand this character. I don't get the motivations to put him in the movie and write him the way he was written. There's characters I like and characters I don't like but I literally just, do not understand Dennis Caleb McCoy. On my first viewing I thought the intention was that getting beat up by the prisoners caused him to malfunction but I don't, think that's ever stated or implied actually? This character is just so confusing, I don't get it, why does he act like that? Why does he talk like that? Why is his name Dennis Caleb McCoy? Why does his voice and demeanor just change on a dime? But, like, okay. I really do think the lack of conflict outside of the overall main stakes is what drag this movie down for me. With no stakes or setbacks brought up between the introduction and resolution of the conflict, it honestly does feel like characters just going through the motions and doing Bill and Ted things. Like the main cast literally all die, and go to hell, and it's not treated by the characters or the movie as anything more than a frustrating inconvenience cause we've all seen this before and we already know what the resolution is. If you want a sequel to the original movies, my recommendation is still the Boom! comics run.
I have come up with what I think is a cool idea for a planet in the Cosmere. The Planet is known as Xhondelat (Xh pronounced as Cyrillic ж ), and it is a small planet with 0.5 Cosmere standard, but it is made of heavier materials, including easily accessible Uranium (which will become important later,) giving it a gravity of 0.9 Cosmere standard. There are no other planets in its system, and it has five moons, but they are smaller moons more similar to Phobos and Deimos than our moon. There is one Shard, Avarice (which has come up in my other theories.) A large portion of this Shard's power is manifested in the physical realm, serving as the sun in Xhondelat's system. This shard has no vessel, and is split amongst several hyper- powerful sentient splinters, the largest of which is Xhond, the deity of the world, the sentient force that controls the power in the sun, and the root of the world's name. During the shattering, the Shard of Avarice was created, and it was chosen by a vessel named Ilenet Elat (The first name doesn't matter at all.) Ilenet traveled the Cosmere, looking for a rich planet to settle upon. In the end, they came upon a belt of asteroids, many of which contained large deposits of Uranium and other precious metals. Illent decided to settle this area, so they used their power to force a bunch of steroids together to create one entity large enough to be spherical. Then, in order for the climate to be livable by the creatures that would be needed to mine the uranium, they brought forth a significant portion of their power to create a reservoir of energy to serve as a sun. This made the new planet livable, although with extreme cold at night and extreme heat in the day. This planet attracted several of the other asteroids to it to serve as moons. Ilenet then decided to create creatures to live on this world. Using the reptiles of Yolen (which presumably exist) as an example, Ilenet created a species they called Ilndent to serve as the workers of this new world. They were tall, average of around 8 feet in height, with an extra set of arms. They had pale green scales, and teeth like broken scales. To help them with ruling the world, Ilenet created about 50 sentient splinters, known as the Ilneck, to serve as the rulers of this new world. Thus, for thousands of years, Ilenet ruled this world, called Ilenetelat as a mark of their ego with the Ilneck, who grew in number as many of the first fifty created newer splinters using thier power ruled over the Ilndent, who worked the mines, and later the fields after Ilenet decided that they needed a food source.. While all of this was happening, the largest splinter, the sun, was gaining sentience. It began to call itself Xhond, and slowly came to a realization- that now, most of the power of the Shard of Avarice was in the power of splinters, not Ilenet them self. Since all of these creatures were made with the power of greed, Xhond began whispering to the other Ilndent, saying that they could kill Ilenet and take all of the power for themselves. Eventually, Xhond gained control of a Majority of the power of Avarice, and then, in a swift move, had Ilenet executed and their remaining power split amongst the conspirators, the first six of whom got the most power, forming a central group of splinters known as the Faithful, who, along with Xhond, would decide on how the world was to be ruled. They decreed that the world would be renamed in their leader's honor, known being called Xhondelat, and all things named after Ilenet bieng renamed ot being named after Xhond. Thus, the Ilndnet became the Xhondent, and the Ilneck became the Xhondeck. A while after this, for some unknown reason, a new species came to Xhondelat- humans. The Xhondent, seeing an opportunity to end their servitude and gain power for themselves, proposed to the Xhondeck that the humans become the workers in the fields and the mines, and the Xhondeck accepted. Thus, the current order of Xhondelat was born. Over time, the world shifted, and a social order came about. Kingdoms were ruled by Xhondeck, who by this point had vast stockpiles of Uranium and Gold and all sorts of other exotic riches, including great works of art, special animals, and even artifacts from other worlds. The Xhondent serve as the nobles and merchants, and standing is based on how wealthy they are. The humans are divided into three castes: the Oim- Em, the miners, who over generations of interacting with radioactive materals, have developed strange mutations, are very primitive and are considered at the bottom of society, the Eith- Em, the Peasents, who are bound to their land, are considered property, and farm to provide the food both for themselves and the vast elaborate banquets held by the wealthy, and the Ilk- Em, the closest there is to a middle class, serving as minor merchants, and lower level members of caravans led by higher nobles. The main form of investiture that is relevant to the lives of the common people is plutonomy. Anyone who has a special staff with a tip made of amber called a Zhol staff can use it, and Xhondeck can use it at Level 10 with no materials required. Another kind of staff, called a Zhol- Ol staff, is used to consecrate, or appraise, goods of value in a ritual called Appraisal, which can be done using that staff at Plutonomic Level 7. The level of Plutonomy you have access to through your Zhol or Zhol- Ol staff is defined by the relative currency value of the appraised goods you currently own legally. These goods don't necesarily have ot be coins or metal, they can be anything that can be seen as valuable. Throughout hsitory there have been economic bubbles that have lead to entire fortunes, and the power that comes with them, being rendered useless in an instant. Author's Note: I don't really have enough ideas to fill up the levels. Can you suggest some- make sure they are not combat based, more skills that would be useful to a merchant who wants to get rich.
Approximate currency value necessary
Telekinesis equal to one pound per ten units of currency.
2020.09.10 00:51 creatorcorvinPart Five (End) - Your younger brother is a D&D fanatic. Every night, he tells you about his party’s latest adventures in a mystical land. One day a griffin appears before you, and you begin to realize his adventures were real.
Prince Roki bounded into his lair, yellowed teeth bared in a wicked grin. Delightful word had just reached his ears. Survived! Yes. The second child of light had emerged from the Temple, had received his gift! The child and his friends would soon return to the sacred site. They schemed and plotted to defeat Roki, but the result would be the same! Soon, I will return to you, mother! Roki could see the tall iron gates, the glistening eyes of the skulls that topped its skyscraping battlements. Soon he would walk through them a hero! Yes. It was only a matter of time before his exile reached its end. He had earned his way back. Earned it! Just as he had promised! “What is it you’re whispering about now?” the starving boy in the cage asked. It had grown hard to tell if it was truly the same boy. His appearance and scent had been altered. Lack of sunlight had made him weak, powerless. Oh, how simple it was to defeat a child of the light! There was no doubting it was the original child of course. Roki had captured no other and none could escape. The caves belonged to Roki! The prince observed his prize with glittering eyes. Whispering? His mother had always told him to guard his tongue. No. Such discretion mattered not in his lair. Soon the boy would be dead! No. Not dead. Worse than dead. The boy could listen to his heart’s desire! Knowledge of what was to come would make the loss of his gift all the sweeter! “Your friends will soon return,” Roki cackled in the darkness. “They bring another child!” He couldn’t help but sway as he relayed the glorious news. “Your kin! A boy who entered a Sun Temple and emerged with a gift … just as you once did!” The boy tapped the bars of his cage. “Ah, so you plan to bring us both to your mother.” “Yes!” the prince exclaimed. “Only then will I be allowed to return home!” “Allowed to return home?” Roki licked his lips. “Even princes must earn their keep. My mother detests dead weight! Those who cannot contribute are barred entry!" “Do you not possess a key?” Roki growled. “Key? Only the chosen have keys. All others must earn, must wait their turn! But. But. But! You and your kin are in luck. Yes. Good luck! Your wait will be short. Home is nearby! Yes. Yes. Very close indeed. Soon, your gift will be gone, and I will once again stand at my mother’s side!” Blake had spent three days in the Sun Temple. In the two since, he had walked further than he ever imagined possible. The strange wood was endless, and the party’s progress was slowed by the short days of Mithica. Each night, he ventured outside the cabin and, under the tutelage of the druid, worked to master his bow. No one had asked the details of his ritual; that he had survived was enough. The fledgling power within him, however, was far from stable. Truthfully, Blake had been surprised the temple guardian let him go. The skill he had chosen hone had seemed easy in theory, but his every attempt had resulted in flares exploding from his fingers and burning his skin and clothes. Strangely, the creature had proclaimed him ready to leave after the first successful attempt. Outside the temple, the changes in his body were noticeable. Strands of color woven into his dark hair. A rapid influx of strength and agility during the day, followed by an equal descent in the darkness. Strangest of all, he now seemed to be impervious to flame. “Pay attention,” Payten snapped in the darkness. Blake shook his head in disgust, discovering his latest attempt had failed to graze the luminous tree before them. A dozen arrows protruded from its trunk, but just as many lay scattered about its base and throughout the forest beyond. The glowing eyes of the druid amplified his feeling of failure. “I thought you wanted to rescue your brother, Ranger,” the woman growled. “Tomorrow is the moment of the truth. You best learn to hit a damned target!” Blake’s next arrow missed. He collapsed onto the ground, fingers blistered and arms numb. “I need a break, or I’m not going to be able to make the attempt.” “You’re weak. Your brother is far stronger.” “You’re right,” Blake sighed, not bothering to stand. “When is one of you going to tell me the plan? What is the purpose of trying to complete this quest for a second time?” The druid released a judgmental sigh. “The ritual is part of a quest. The reward of which we will take to the Cartographer in exchange for a map of the Queen of Night’s castle. The risk of failure is low. The Prince will try some sort of variation on his original strategy, but we will be a step ahead.” “And what guarantee do you have that this is worthwhile?” “For one, Cartographer used to serve the Queen. Second, and perhaps most importantly, there is a Prince of Night guarding this particular objective. In all my travels with Alexander and the others, never before has one of the Princes crossed our path. It stands to reason that the Prince is guarding something of importance.” “And what must I do to help?” “Has Timo not explained this to you a thousand times already? That elf is such a control freak. Sometimes, I wonder why I bother putting up with him.” “He claimed to not want me to overanalyze my role.” Payten laughed. “Not to worry, Ranger. As long as you can shoot straight, you’ll be fine.” A series of vines emerged from the cool ground and forced Blake upright. “Just remember that a Child of Darkness can only be killed be a Child of the Sun.” The exterior of the grotto was adorned with faded runic markings, most of which were further obscured by leaves. The stone shrine within was crude, somewhat resembling a man standing atop an ill-shaped sphere. The forest enclosing the ritual site was eerily silent. Thick leaves choked the light of the midday sun overhead, casting the party in deep shadow. A Child of Darkness can only be killed by a Child of the Sun… The Conjurer had been right. Blake hadn’t been able to find sleep after the druid revealed to him his role in the battle to come. The gift of the Goddess simmered within his weary body. Sweat coated his hands and dripped from his brow. His stomach had long since been twisted in knots. Once again, he found that he couldn’t move. I can do this, Blake coached himself. Alex is counting on me! And yet … as the Conjurer began to chant at the altar, Blake found himself shaking. The first howl sent chills streaking down his spine. He watched in silence as Myrla and Payten stepped from the grotto to meet the countless pairs of glowing eyes that twinkled among the thick underbrush. Their plan was sound. A clever deception to draw the Prince into a trap. The magic of a Child of the Sun was required to complete the ancient ritual. To all outward appearances, that would seem to be their goal. The party had been unaware of the Prince in their initial attempt. Alexander had sacrificed himself to ensure their escape, diverting the focus of the Prince and his pack. This time would be different. It has to be! Blake forced himself to take deep breaths in an effort to clear his head. As the pack of wolves lunged at the warrior and the druid, his heart thumped in his chest. He skirmished against the feeling of helplessness that locked his limbs into place, that had nearly gotten him killed once before. Then, improbably, his heartbeat leveled. Focus came. He would not allow Alex to be taken from him. Not when I can do something to stop it! The battlefield darkened as the Prince entered the fray. More wolf than man, he wove through his pack, beneath the blade of the warrior, and around the sharpened roots of the druid, streaking like a blur toward the altar where Blake and Timo stood. The Conjurer bellowed a final word and raised his hand. Light flooded the space before the grotto as the canopy above was parted by the wings of a massive black griffin. Howls of surprise came from the pack. The Prince slowed, glancing up at the disturbance, analyzing the threat above. The time had come. Blake directed the blazing power of the Goddess through his fingers and drew back the string of his bow as the Prince leaped forward. Flames coated the nocked arrow as he released. The Prince crashed to the ground, skidding to a stop inches before the altar. Relieved, Blake watched in silence as the unholy figure before him devolved into flames, turning to ashes that were scattered by the wind. Guided by the Conjurer’s rodent, the party discovered the lair of the Prince shortly thereafter. Blake chose not follow them within, allowing his brother an opportunity to reunite with his friends … and allowing himself a moment to process all that had occurred. The words of the Temple guardian echoed in his pounding head. He had a choice to make. Blake stood as his brother approached. Alex looked older than he remembered. Only his smile remained unstained by dirt and grime. They embraced for a long moment. “Brother, I knew you would come for me.” “Always,” Blake replied. “I would never let anything happen to you. You’re all that I have left.” “I’m sorry that I did not tell you sooner. I kept telling myself that I wanted to be certain our parents were alive before I told you the truth. Stupid … I know. The truth was that I was afraid you wouldn’t let me return to Mithica.” Blake grinned. “I’ve gathered that you’re more than capable of defending yourself.” “Most of the time anyway.” Alex paused, considering his next words. “I learned from the Prince that the Queen’s castle is in constant motion and that a key is required to gain entry. We’re going to need more than a map to find it … but it’s a good start nevertheless.” Again, he hesitated. “I want us to find our parents, Blake – together. I don’t want you to leave. As the Prince was fond of saying, two Children of the Sun are far more valuable than one.” Bearing a nervous smile, Alex extended a hand. “What do you say?” Blake’s eyes moved past his brother to where the others looked on. The elf leaning upon his staff with the imposing figure of the griffin at his side. The warrior clutching her pendant who no longer turned from his gaze. The druid atop her throne of roots, refusing to relinquish her veil of indifference. “I’m not going anywhere,” Ranger Black said, grasping the hand of his brother. “We will find our parents together.” End of Part One. Thanks for reading! This could be a series I bring back someday if I think of a good direction (maybe as a series of short stories like this one). Feedback appreciated.