Old hickory lake fishing hot spots
Gothic 1 Blind Permadeath playthrough story
2023.06.10 06:02 WaffleWalk Gothic 1 Blind Permadeath playthrough story
So, I love doing a permadeath attempt for my first time playing RPGs because it increases my immersion and I rp better when there's risk involved. I'll admit I didn't count fall damage that seemed like bs cus, but I'm not doing this for clout. Aside from that though I didn't do any savescumming. I'm also using Union patch, controller plugin, and stamina plugin, which I'd argue that sprinting is kind of "unfair" compared to the original. But again, not in it for the clout.
Anyways, I got to old camp and got hooked into a fued with Bloodwyn as his goons began screwing with me. I was basically dealing with that in between attempts at feeling out the monsters in the area and hauling ass from the ones that I couldn't handle. I was starting to get stumped on how to make cash and was scared of exploring too much because I know OHKOs were guaranteed, and from my time with Risen I knew that running away likely wasn't always going to be safe, even with sprint. After farming a couple levels, beating up the diggers outside of town for presumably helping Bloodwyns lackey mug me and getting a Withered Axe, I got some cash from random looting and some smart plays and used it to get to get the ability to loot lizards and wolves. I was then stumped because now I had just spent my only income on the ability to loot things I couldn't fight, and I thought that claws would include the talons of scavengers for some reason. I was sad when I realized they can only give meat. After realizing the Templars were pot dealers I was instantly intrigued and got one of them to escort me to their camp. I hadn't made any money yet, so letting him bully every monster along the way while I looted and chipped my XP closer to level 3 was a treat. I began luring random monsters to him for him to beat up, abusing the shit out of sprint. We were almost to the cultist village before I saw a pack of lizards off the side of the road. I ran up, aggrod them, and had them chase me back to my guide. Only, they ran right past him and absolutely destroyed me. I was dumbfounded by my own hubris, as it had been 3 or 4 hours of meticulously exploring what little I could and trying to manipulate the game to the best of my ability. As I stared at the screen for a few seconds, my buddy just kept swinging at the lizards. As he killed the last one, I leveled up. I saw my life bar go up a little bit. I wiggled the stick, and my corpse started turning. I opened my hot bar (union controller plugin adds an item wheel), and it worked. By leveling up, my corpse was alive. Normally I wouldn't count something like that, but I just said screw it, the game counted me as somewhat alive and I was too invested to give up. In the most hype moment of my life my corpse got up and gobbled down some cooked meat. I rationalized it for my rp that my templar friend had saved my life, resuscitated me. I was now very excited to join these virtuous stoners.....then I got there and realized they're a bunch of authoritarian pricks who follow Gurus that are sickeningly pretentious. So, I just figured I'd take them for what they've got and leave. I wandered around grabbing herbs and stray pot plants, I did the quest where you beat up the guy who's supposed to take over for another worker at the weed mashing (?) area. Upon completion, a Guru finally spoke to me. I was pleasantly surprised with a task to collect a butt load of plants and deliver them to an alchemist hut. This was my time to shine. I went and collected the harvest in the middle of the night because I couldn't find a bed. I was surprised to be promoted about asking to find a buyer. Intrigued I nervously clicked the dialogue choice and was relieved to find the dude didn't just attack me or rat me out. He wanted 50 ore I didn't have, so it took me a good ten minutes to find the blacksmith and unload. One more trip across town and he tells me to find cypher by the lake in new camp. Ight bet. So, worried that I would get ratted out or something, based off of my escalating encounters with Bloodwyn, I decided it was best to leave in the middle of the night. After almost getting massacred by wolves I just barely made it back to old camp. With a decent amount of extra cash, NO ARMOR, and all the healing items I could ask for, I very very stupidly headed the direction of my best guess towards new camp. I was in such a rush from heisting the Templars that I couldn't help but just gonfornit.I followed the river outside of old camp into the woods, avoiding creatures above my level. I'd love to say that from here my adventure continued in an epic fashion, but just as I was scouting out a molerat to go in for a safe kill, I was bit in the back and OHKOd by what appeared to be a velociraptor. No heroic death, no blaze of glory, not martyr moment to relish in. Just, a bite to the back and a corpse with 50 pot plants left out in the woods....
submitted by WaffleWalk
to Gothic [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 05:54 DnDBambi Random Nighttime Wilderness Encounter Table
| || | submitted by DnDBambi to UnearthedArcana [link] [comments]
So I'm running SKT and they have a nicely detailed random encounter table for day time travel, but I also really wanted something for the nighttime while the party are trying to safely rest. So I made this!
I added a few unique ideas/suggestions I'd seen around the internet while also creating a few of my own. I had my own party in mind for this (4 x Lv. 6) but I'm hoping it's universal enough to adapt for any party!
Feel free to use and let me know what you think :)
Random Nighttime Wilderness Encounter Table
- At the beginning of each night/long rest, roll a d20. On a result of 12-20 a nighttime encounter occurs. Roll a d100 and consult the table based on the party's current location
- Roll a d4 (reroll 4s) to determine if the encounter occurs on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd watch of the night
- Once they have their first nighttime encounter, the d20 range shrinks by two for every future nighttime encounter thereafter until they reach the next settlement, upon which, the range resets. This is to prevent there being an encounter every single night they're on the road and not bogging down gameplay. Feel free to adjust these DCs if you want less or more random encounters.
- After first nighttime encounter, new range = 14-20
- After second nighttime encounter, new range = 16-20
- After third nighttime encounter, new range = 18-20
- After four nighttime encounter (and every encounter after) a Nat20 must be rolled to receive a new encounter
Encounter Table Notes: Abominable Yeti:
- A single abominable yeti ambushes the party hungering for flesh and blood. If the party manage to defeat this yeti, there is a 30% chance that 1d3 regular yetis show up after battle, drawn in by the sounds of combat and the scent of blood
- You can choose between bandits or barbarians for this encounter based on the location and frequency of previous encounters
- 1 bandit captain and 3d6+2 bandits
- Mounted on riding horses
- 25% chance they attack without warning
- Promises the party not to attack if they 'pay a toll' (no less than 100gp of treasure)
- Is this a potential way to introduce the 'Happy Fun Ball'?
- Treasure: Each bandit carries a pouch containing 1d10gp. The bandit captain’s pouch holds 2d10gp and 1d6 gems worth 100gp each
- Uthgardt Barbarians:
- Hostile group of Uthgardt barbarians made up of 4d6 tribal warriors, and 1 Uthgardt shaman (Appendix C). If the total number rolled is great than 20, add 1d3 berserkers and a tribal chieftain (berserker w 90hp)
- If dealing with the Gray Wolf tribe, use the werewolf stat block for all berserkers and chieftains (+90hp) and add 1d4 wolves as animal companions
- Uthgardt Barbarian General Info
- Black-haired and blue-eyed people
- Take their name from Uthgar Gardolfsson, a hero chief who battled giants and conquered much of the North before ascending to godhood
- Currently 11 tribes scattered across the north
- They speak Bothii (their own language) and most speak common
- Their spirit mounds are sacred as it's a place where tribe members gather to revere Uthgar, honour their ancestors, make sacrifices to their totem animal spirit, and choose a new Great Chief
- Uthgardt fear magic so much so that they attempt to kill and dismember any spellcasters they meet
- Tribal shamans aren't attacked because their power comes from spirits of their dead ancestors
- Tribes will unite against a common enemy, like a giant (whom they hate most of all)
- Each tribe consists of 1 Great Chief, 2-5 chieftains, and 1-3 shamans depending on the size of the tribe
- Use the "Reghed Chieftain" stat block for a Great Chief
- Uthgardt Tribes and Locations
- Black Lion Tribe
- Northern Silver Marches and the Druarwood
- Spirit mound - Beorunna's Well
- Great Chief - Stellok Kolraavi (male - wears armour made of orc hide)
- Shaman - Tysis Kolraavi (Stellok's younger sister)
- Hate diplomacy and civilisation
- Avoids settlements in the Silver Marches
- Black Raven Tribe
- Icy foothills west of Mirabar including the ice lakes and Spine of the World north of Mirabar
- Spirit mound - Raven Rock
- Great Chief - Ojin Voninsdottir (female - orc-skull helm)
- Prey on caravans travelling via Northern Means or Blackford Road
- Often ride Giant Vultures into battle
- Blue Bear Tribe
- Believed to be extinct but have been spotted throughout the Delimbiyr Vale (from the Nether Mountains to the northern tip of High Moor)
- Spirit mound - Stone Stand
- Great Chief - Kriga Moonmusk (female - old and travels in a fur-draped chair carried by 4 tribal warriors)
- Stays hidden while travelling to preserve the myth of their extinction
- Elk Tribe
- Wanders the Evermoors and the plains between Flint Rock and the Dessarin River
- Spirit mound - Flint Rock
- Great Chief - Rond Vaarson (male - old)
- Rond has spilled so much blood in his past, he no longer craves it
- Gray Wolf Tribe
- Located throughout the North, as far west as the Sword Coast and as far east as the Delimbiyr Vale
- Spirit mound - None
- Great Chief - Recently slain Syken Nightblaze
- Syken was slain by adventurers from Neverwinter
- His daughter, Envir Sykensdottir, now controls the pack and plans to attack Neverwinter to prove she should be named the next Great Chief of the tribe
- Potentially run a surprise encounter if the party ever goes to Neverwinter
- The tribe roams in packs with ordinary wolves
- Will hunt down and kill those who survive their attacks to prevent the spread of lycanthropy to non-tribal members
- The only members of the tribe who possess lycanthropy are the chieftains and berserkers. The rest of the tribe are regular tribal warriors
- In an encounter have all barbarians start out in human form, then have them use their 'Shapechanger' action on their first turn to turn into a Hybrid or Wolf form and freak the party out
- Lycanthropy Cure: Can be cured with a 'Remove Curse' or 'Greater Restoration' spell
- Great Worm Tribe
- Based themselves at Great Worm Cavern and strike out occasionally to defend their territory (surrounding mountains, Feel Pass, Frost Hills, Lurkwood, and the northern reaches of the Silver Marches)
- Spirit mound - Great Worm Cavern
- Great Chief - Wormblod (male - brutal and hoards treasure)
- Venture into the Crags and its southern plains when food is scarce
- Griffon Tribe
- Located throughout the North, as far west as the Sword Coast and as far east as the Silver Marches. Never going further south than Triboar and Yartar in the Dessarin Valley
- Spirit mound - Shining White
- Great Chief - Halric Bonesnapper
- Tribe is dwindling as they have made too many enemies of late (still 300 strong though)
- Different from all other tribes as they have established a permanent settlement (Griffon's Nest)
- Red Tiger Tribe
- Found throughout the Silver Marches but have recently begun moving into its surrounding forests, including elf-controlled regions of the High Forest
- They are trying to find the Grandfather Tree and lay claim to it
- Spirit mound - Beorunna's Well
- Great Chief - Seriska Hungermaw (female - ruthless yet cautious)
- Often attack settlements in the Silver Marches and prey on caravans travelling on the roads
- Skilled at avoiding heavily fortified keeps
- Even known to attack boats on the Rauvin River from time to time
- Sky Pony Tribe
- Found near the base of the mountains in the Silver Marches
- Spirit mound - One Stone
- Great Chief - Arnzan Vashk (male - orc spearhead sticking out of his chest and he attempts to hide the pain)
- The tip of the spear is very close to piercing his heart and killing him
- Was wounded during the War of the Silver Marches
- His rivals are circling and preparing to unseat him
- Thunderbeast Tribe
- Currently hiding in the depths of Lurkwood preparing for a 'stampede' through the Surbrin Hills and the Dessarin Valley to the south
- Spirit mound - Morgur's Mound (hasn't been visited in years)
- Great Chief - Harthulk Hornspear (male - towering man with a terrible scowl and cracked, tough skin like dinosaur leather)
- Their stampede won't stop until their people or their enemies are dead
- Tree Ghost Tribe
- Share the High Forest with the native elves
- Spirit mound - Grandfather Tree
- Great Chief - Boorvald Orcbane (male - honourable and a protector)
- Declared themselves the protectors of the Grandfather Tree after years of conflict with other tribes and the elves of the High Forest
- Rarely seen outside of the forest
- Boorvald hunts orcs and frequently launches attacks against the Iceshield orc-holds along the western edge of High Forest
- Boorvald has 6 sons and 3 daughters, each of whom was given an "Oathbow" from the tribe's elf neighbours as a gift of friendship
- The tribe contains tribal warriors from other tribes who came to the Grandfather Tree, gained enlightenment, and forsook their allegiances to pledge to help the Tree Ghosts protect the Grandfather Tree
- Depending on the location, this can be represented as bioluminescent lights or more of a aurora borealis in the night sky
- The party, or person on watch, notices a faint glow coming from nearby in the camp. A small pond (or tree/shrub/etc) is emitting a faint, beautiful glow that seems to be a wonder of nature
- Describe how the lights beautifully dance and shimmer in the night
- The effect is harmless and the party can spend as much or as little time engaging with it as they want
- 2d4+1 vine blights and 2d4+1 needle blights attack the party in the night
- The vine blights move in close and camouflage using their False Appearance ability. Once they're within 20ft, they run forward and use their Entangling Plants ability to subdue the party
- The needle blights then move within 30ft and release a volley of needles at the party from a distance
- Alternatively, the party may happen to set up camp in a congregation of unmoving vine blights who are relying on their False Appearance to strike when the party is caught off-guard. The needle blights join in later in the combat
- A single bodak is drawn to the party's campsite by the light/noise, following its mission from Orcus to spread death across the Material Plane
- Any non-war trained animals will flee right before this encounter takes place
- If it fits in your narrative, the bodak can be a fallen NPC that one of the players used to know. It is seeking out all allies and enemies from its past life to wipe them from existence
- Increase the HP if a single bodak doesn't pose much of a challenge
- 3d4 dire wolves encircle and ambush the party at night
- The wolves won't attack outright. They will surround and then slowly close in on the party, giving anyone a chance to do something that might scare them off before combat begins (PC Intimidation check vs Wolves Insight check)
- Potentially nominate a pack leader that will have an impact on how this plays out
- If the party don't do anything or fails to intimidate the wolves, they will attack
- If things aren't going well for the party, you can have the wolves' survival instinct kick in if their numbers are reduced to less than the number of still-threatening PCs
- 1d4+2 displacer beasts ambush the party either for food or just general sport
- One displacer beast might lash out at the party in an attempt to draw them away from the group to a location where the rest of the pack are waiting for a bloodier ambush
- 1d4 ghosts appear and attack the party
- If a 1 is rolled, a solitary, sad-looking ghost appears in the middle of their camp and sings a haunting song, then walks to where its grave is marked by a filthy stone. If the party ignore the ghost or leave the grave alone, nothing happens and the ghost remains suspended in the air looking at the grave until the party leaves. It they clean the grave site out of respect for the dead, the ghost disappears and turns into a shower of 777 silver pieces. If they desecrate or disrespect the grave for some reason, it attacks
- If it attacks, bump its HP up to 60 so it poses somewhat of a challenge
- 1d4+4 ghouls attack the party led by 1 ghast
- The ghast will give orders to the ghouls to attack who it feels is the strongest party member
- If ghouls are attacked while feasting on a paralysed creature, they will drag their prey their full movement (half speed) away while also continuing to use their bite on their paralysed victim
Magical Glowing Mushrooms:
- 1d4+1 giant constrictor snakes slither into the campsite and attempt to snap up a tasty meal
- You can have the snakes appear and pause, waiting to see the party's reaction, to give your PCs a chance to do something that might prevent this from being a combat encounter
- Tasha's Cauldron of Everything - Magic Mushrooms (pg. 166)
- The party stumbles across a collection of magic mushrooms near their campsite, radiating this magical glow
- Those proficient in Medicine, Nature, or Survival can surmise that these are not naturally forming mushrooms and with a DC12 roll, can recall stories of magical mushrooms and how some can save lives or bestow unusual powers when consumed
- If a mushroom is eaten, roll a d10 to determine its effects:
- 1: The creature’s skin turns an unusual colour. Roll a d4:
- 1 - Purple with yellow splotches
- 2 - Bright orange with tiger stripes
- 3 - Tree-frog green with red squiggles
- 4 - Hot pink with yellow spots
- This change is permanent unless removed by a Greater Restoration spell or similar magic.
- 2: The creature gains the enlarge or reduce effect (50 percent chance of either) of the Enlarge/Reduce spell for 1 hour.
- 3: The creature regains 5d8 + 20 hit points.
- 4: Vocally, the creature can only cluck and croon like a chicken. The creature can also understand and speak to chickens. This curse lasts for 1 hour unless ended by a Remove Curse spell or similar magic.
- 5: The creature can understand and speak all languages for 1d4 days.
- 6: The creature gains the benefits of the Telepathy spell for the next 24 hours.
- 7: The creature gains the benefits of the Speak with Plants spell for 8 hours.
- 8: The creature immediately casts the Time Stop spell, requiring no components. Constitution is the spellcasting ability for this spell.
- 9: The creature immediately casts the Detect Thoughts spell, requiring no components. Constitution is the spellcasting ability for this spell.
- 10: Magical mists pour out of the creature’s eyes and ears, acting as a Fog Cloud spell for 1 hour that is centred on the creature and moves with it.
- An old halfling woman with a small glaive will approach the party's campsite looking for a place to rest and some company to talk to
- The glaive is a custom weapon made for a halfling that she's had since she was a young woman. She's pretty handy with it but getting quite slow in her older age. It's her only form of protection as she travels
- The old woman is really an oni who has used it's Change Shape ability to be able to get closer to its prey
- When the oni feels the party is no longer believing its lies or has completely let their guard down, it will attack
- This attack may begin with a Cone of Cold to surprise the party, and then on its next turn it will transform into its true giant form. Or it could also start with the oni transforming prior to combat, then on its first turn casting Invisibility on itself to create a sense of fear amongst the party
- A loud, deep hooting sound can be heard throughout the night, not close but not too far from the campsite. The hooting sounds like it comes from something much louder than a regular owl
- Players who made a successful DC12 Perception check, notice off in the distance a pack of 5 owlbears slowly moving through the terrain in single-file
- There is a large owlbear at the head of the line, and another large owlbear bringing up the rear. In the middle of them are three smaller offspring
- They don't appear to be hunting at this moment, just moving from A to B
- Unless the party does something to draw the pack's attention, they will move on into the night
- 1d4+1 hunting owlbears will spring into the party's campsite, hunting them for food
- If a total of 5 is achieved and you feel this encounter is way too deadly for your group, have the hunting pack be a family made up of two adult owlbears and three younger offspring (40hp) who are hunting for their first time (no multiattack)
- If an offspring is killed, the parents will fight to the death with unbridled fury seeking vengeance
- If both parents are killed off, the offspring will flee
- If only 2 owlbears are rolled and you feel this encounter too simple, max out their hit points (91hp)
- A glimmering, white pegasus descends from the sky and lands not far from the party's campsite, looking for a place to drink, eat, or temporarily rest
- If this occurs along a road/trail, the pegasus won't land, but will instead gracefully soar past the party, basking in the night air
- Pegasi are usually quite jumpy, so will immediately take off into the sky if any loud noises are made or it is attacked
- However, if a good-aligned character can quietly approach and succeed on a DC15 Animal Handling check, the intelligent creature will stay grounded and watch the character as it approaches
- Narrate a peaceful interaction between the two before the pegasus takes its leave and flies off into the night
- If a character tries to mount the pegasus they will need to succeed on a DC25 Animal Handling check
- A failure will result in the pegasus bucking them and flying off
- A success, and the pegasus will just stand there, MAYBE briefly trot around, before indicating for the character to get off and then saying goodbye and flying off
- 1 revenant stumbles into the party's campsite, appearing initially like a zombie, but will begin speaking to the party. Very much unlike a zombie.
- The revenant says he has come to seek justice for the wrongs the party did to him, killing him in such a brutal manner and taking the life of his greatest love, Kella. The party will then see past the unfamiliar face and recognise him as the slain leader of the Seven Snakes, Xolkin
- As Xolkin has sworn vengeance on the party, he can now only be completely destroyed by either using a Wish spell when his soul is bodiless, the party just straight-up dying, or the party survives for over a year from when the vengeance was enacted. After one of these has occurred, the Xolkin's body will crumble to dust and his soul will fade into the afterlife
- If Xolkin can't beat them in this first encounter, next time he appears, it will be with weapons and backup (spectres, wights, ghasts, etc). He won't quit until he is successful, making sure each future encounter is harder and more challenging
- The clouds final erupt and the remainder of the night is filled with thundering rain and high winds
- Rain can be replaced with a blizzard if the party is in the upper mountains or far-north sections of the continent
- Unless one of the party members has a way to avoid/negate the rain and wind (such as Leomund's Tiny Hut for example), the party has a very restless nights sleep
- They gain the effects of a Long Rest but everyone also gains one level of Exhaustion and cannot recover any previous levels of exhaustion
- A single wight leads an undead army to attack the party. The army is made up of 2d6 zombies and 1 ogre zombie
- If the number of zombies rolled is less than 6, replace the single ogre zombie with 1d4 ogre zombies
- The wight will send the horde of zombies in first while it attacks from range to begin with, then moving in closer for melee
- A figure will emerge out of the darkness, staggering a little. They make no effort to stealth either. They are friendly and will comply with whatever reasonable requests the cautious PCs make
- They will reveal themselves to be a vampire, in dire need of blood. They will ask for a donation, but if refused, will walk away disappointed
- If the player does contribute blood, the vampire will thank them, and next time this encounter is rolled, the vampire may have a gift for them (magic item, gold/platinum, jewels, etc)
- The player may choose to drain some blood into a vial or pot for the vampire to then drink, or they may choose to let the vampire bite them. Regardless of the way, they will take 1d6 piercing/slashing damage (based on how they draw the blood), then 3d6 necrotic damage, and their max HP is reduced by that amount until the end of a long rest
- If concerns are raised, the vampire will assure them that a simple bite isn't enough to turn someone. They must be killed with a bite and then buried in the ground to rise as a vampire
- If the party is very brazen and choose to attack the vampire, it is the DM's choice whether the vampire straight away flees, or decides to bite a character to take some blood by force to teach them a lesson for their rudeness, then flee
- A cluster of 1d6+1 will-o'-wisps appear and start floating around the campsite
- Initially the wisps will appear as beautifully coloured, bobbing lantern lights offering hope and safety
- Eventually the wisps will surround the party and launch a surprise attack
- Alternatively, you can have the wisps attempt to lure the party away from the campsite by somehow beckoning them to follow. From here the wisps will lead the party into some sort of hazardous trap like quicksand pits or monster lairs so they can feed on the suffering of their prey and revel in their death screams
- If you are considering this option, potentially reduce the wisp numbers to only 1d4
If you're interested in the possibility percentages that went into calculating these d100 results, you can see them in this picture here: Wilderness Encounter Possibility Calculations
If you would like all of the above in a neat PDF format, you can download it here
Looking forward to hearing people's thoughts!
2023.06.10 04:20 Puzzleheaded_Ear_468 Existential crisis
I hate to fish but I am so buried with depression that I need support… Almost two years ago, my dog died in an accident and that was the beginning of the end. That grief was like nothing else and something I still live with. My husband worked out of town. I worked full time, was in school full time and took care of our son. I finally completed my bachelors. Two weeks later my father was put on suicide watch and moved in with me after. Two weeks from that my husband came home for a few days and was being different. I went through his phone. Long story short I was getting an STD test and a consultation by Monday. Since he was the bread winner and I was now single I couldn’t pursue the job I had wanted because of pay. I immediately started my teaching certification and I just officially passed my exam. Finances are still right since my contract wont begin until august. I feel like I have been surviving for so long. I barely make it paycheck to paycheck. I’m constantly over or under stimulated. I just feel stuck in a life I didn’t want… My son gave me so much purpose. I knew this was good but also something to keep in check because that is unfair to him for me to be so dependent…lately…I feel like such a shit mom and now I’m really losing it and I just really don’t want to be here sometimes. Stronger recently than ever before. My son…is stubborn…strong willed? But the thing is he doesn’t give shit to anyone like he gives it to me. I can’t do anything fun and nice without him (I’m sorry to say it) ruining it. He’s awful with transitions. His screams and cries could burst an ear drum. Like he is just such a brat. I feel like nothing is easy for me with him and i’m like…is it me? On the flip side I also know I do everything like I care so much that I know i’m a “good” mom but just his attitude with me and like he’s almost 3.5 and I can’t get him potty trained. He doesn’t show interest in doing things on his own. Like if I try to get him to dress himself or trace/write letters or whatever. Like run of the mill shit that the internet says 3 years olds can do. Mine is just hit or miss on some or at least with me he is!!!! Why…what do I need to do or understand. I need my relationship with my son to be…more tolerable and survivable…he’s so picky and I don’t know if he isn’t getting the right nutrients or enough. Some days he does watch more than an hour is screens and some days I’m just so tired I give up and I feel like a pussy so he knows he can walk all over me or that my inconsistency is damaging. I love him. I don’t want to fuck him up and that’s what I feel like I’m doing. And I don’t want to feel like I need to escape my own life.
Ugh I’m sorry. I’m just in a really bad spot emotionally and mentally.
submitted by Puzzleheaded_Ear_468
to breakingmom [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 03:59 Calypthea Accidentally a Dungeon Chp. 26
Without that horrendous bat flapping around and causing a mess for me, I'm now able to focus all of my efforts on bringing down the blinded bear colossus. It is unfortunate that I lost too many owls in the aerial battle, and that Alexa is too exhausted to help out herself, as that means I won't have any reinforcements available from them coming to Jackie’s aid any time soon. That being said, I know just the fish who might be able to make an early return in their stead.
Since they’ve been resting since the start of the battle, Selene and Hecate have been able to recuperate a bit of their mana pools already. Considering that I’m near 100% confident that it doesn’t matter how much the big bear regenerates if it can’t breathe, plus the fact that it doesn’t take too much mana just to hold some water in place, there’s not much reason to keep them benched much longer. Somehow though, I doubt it’s going to be quite that easy to take the bear colossus down. So why don’t we improve the chances of success a bit with all of this free manna I find myself currently swimming in?
Thanks to the sheer quantity of invaders Deepholm is swarming me in, I’ve got more mana to make use of than ever before, and I’d be a fool not to put it to good use. The steep requirement of having to pay 4 times the mana as any of my other scions to upgrade them is hardly an issue at this moment, so I begin the process of pouring my power into my fish. All the while, I keep an eye trained on the battle at hand, waiting for whatever it is the bear will try next. Deepholm scions don’t just meekly turn over and accept their defeat after all.
While I’m only halfway through providing upgrades to my fish scions, my caution is proven entirely warranted as the bear scion bellows its frustration and rage at the top of its lungs. Unable to proceed along a straight path due to Jackie’s constant interference, the colossus hunkers down for a moment in my lake and covers its head with its paws. Then, as soon as its eyes have had a chance to regenerate once more, it peeks out and gets a lock on my location before Jackie inevitably puts more arrows through the freshly grown eyes. This time it hardly pays the attack any mind, reaching down to its flank with those huge claws and ripping free a sizable chunk of its own flesh. With a great heave, the bear scion sent the chunk sailing through the air where it crashed with a meaty splat against the trunk of my tree.
First of all, …gross. Secondly, that bear has surprisingly good aim to be able to nail the part of my tree trunk that is perfectly in line with where my core is. Lastly, heh-heh, I’m in danger. Unable to use its sight, and no longer able to rely on the bat scion for its sonic guidance, the bear has resorted to using smell to guide its way. And what better trail to follow with one’s strong sense of smell than the stench of one’s own blood and viscera? Without a moment of hesitation, the bear scion is back on its feet, and charging forward once more.
This time, there’s truly nothing we can do to stop its advance, the bear’s nose is too big to fully destroy the bear’s sense of smell, even with Jackie’s arrows desperately blasting pieces off of it. With a tremor that I can feel throughout the entire island, the bear scion slams headfirst into the high cliffs, which only serves to daze the beast for but a moment before it starts awkwardly clambering upwards. I curse vehemently, at this rate the colossus will reach my tree before I’m done with upgrading the twins. I can cut it short and make the current upgrade the last one, but it will still take a minute or so for the twins to become accustomed to their strengthened bodies.
It doesn’t take long for the bear’s claws to scramble against the top of the cliffs, digging in for extra purchase, shortly followed thereafter by the beast’s snarling and arrow-riddled cranium. The twins have only just finished absorbing the mana from the latest upgrade, they’re not going to make it in time. It is at that moment that my saviors made their gallant entry into the fray. Cutting a swathe through the remaining army of normal invaders charged not any of my scions, but the brave surviving members of my defensive forces. Having abandoned their defensive chokepoint in the entrance cave, a combined throng of brawler bunnies and leopards led the way as my froglings and flechette-pines provided cover fire. Beside me, I can feel the consternation roll off of Giorno as he tries to keep some semblance of organization in place amidst an attack that he had most certainly not ordered.
Though our tactics have done a great deal in leveling the playing field in the battle between denizens, there are still a lot of enemies left to deal with, and this attack will only open us up to many more unnecessary casualties. Underneath his annoyed countenance however, I do detect a hint of pride in their reckless attempts to buy me more time. An attempt that certainly pays its dividends.
With a series of tremendous leaps, the brawler bunnies and leopard forces bound up to the limbs of the bear scion and begin hacking away at it with sharp claws and stone swords. They scale up the beast, slashing at every joint and every digit along the way. The colossus roars in pain and slips from the cliffside as the tendons in each limb are systematically severed time and time again. But this moment of victory comes at far too steep a cost.
When the bear scion crashes back into the lake, its sheer mass flattens dozens of my brave denizens at a time. From there it thrashes about, crushing some more of my stalwart defenders and sending others flying through the air. Not wasting the opportunity, my denizens lead the enemy scion over to the remnants of the invader army, where both sides become equally devastated by the beast’s angry flailing. I try to call my denizens back, telling them to retreat, that they’d done enough already. When that failed, I resorted to using some of my mana to make it a direct order. Retreat already! The twins are on the way, swimming around the south side of the island as we speak. There’s no need for any more of you to die!
I can feel the mana drain away as the orders take hold, but then I got a unanimous response back through Alexa’s network. Every single one of them started the retreat and then volunteered themselves to be a rearguard to help cover the escape. Even though technically they were following through with my order, not a single denizen so much as turned around or took a single step backward. They were loopholing me! Those damnable, brave, fools were refusing to leave until my scions could arrive. Who the heck taught you bastards to test the limits of the rules and look for ways to bend them in your favor anyhow!?
It took less than a minute for my twins to arrive. But it took even less time for the bear colossus to finish with its rampage. Now the only living combatants faced each other over a lake stained to the same red as the bear scion’s eyes. As a healer, Selene has seen more than her fair share of nasty injuries, as well as plenty of corpses from my previous encounters with Deepholm’s invaders. But even still, all that experience could not have prepared her for the sight of the slaughter before her. All the violent thrashing had thoroughly frothed the water of the lake, but rather than help hide the bodies below with the white foam it only served to accentuate them by clinging to whatever pieces remained above water.
It left my poor fish heartbroken. Disgust and despair raged inside her alongside a powerful wave of guilt at not recovering fast enough to be able to come to their aid in time. I know, sweetie, I know. But those denizens out there? They bought us enough time to stop any more atrocities from happening. They bet everything on you two and Jackie, and now it’s time to make sure we don’t waste a single death. All that anguish and sorrow you’re feeling? I need you to use it. Use it to hone a blade in your heart to turn against those who spread such senseless violence. It’s time to take up the second half of the saint’s job and smite down that walking calamity of a bear. And you’re not alone, Hecate is right beside you along with Jackie, and together, I know you all can do this.
Pep talk done, Hecate gives her sister a loving nuzzle under her chin before turning her hate-filled eyes to the bear scion as well. She isn’t taking kindly to all the desolation wrought by the colossus either, and is especially pissed by how upset it is making her kind-hearted twin. The white crescent moon mark on her forehead glows faintly in response to her roiling emotions, while after a few deep breaths, Selene’s black crescent moon mark does the same, her eyes now steeled in vindictive determination.
As one, they lifted a massive ball of water into the air and slammed it into the bear scion’s face, completely covering it in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, I begin the process of funneling mana into Jackie for her own upgrades. The beast hasn’t shown any magical capacity besides its regeneration, but who knows? Maybe it has something up its sleeve that would save it from the same fate as its companion. Better safe than sorry in this case, no?
Evidently, I was correct to prepare for the backup plan, because rather than struggle against the water bubble encasing its face, the bear colossus calmly slurped the water down. The vast amounts of suction overwhelmed the amount of mana the twins could use to keep the water in place, and so it simply disappeared down the beast’s gullet with a taunting smile that seemed to say, “Thanks for the refreshing drink, I was feeling rather parched”. Not a smidge of magic was used, or needed, to easily trounce my hopes of drowning our problems away. What stood before us surely could not be described as anything but the epitome of relentless brute force, a fact which has now been hammered home rather insultingly by the defeat of my plans through lung power of all things.
With a challenging roar, the bear plowed forward while ignoring the twin’s follow up attacks. Right, plan B it is then. If we can’t suffocate him, then we’ll just have to overwhelm his regeneration with more damage than it can keep up with! In but a moment the bear scion has slammed into my cliffside and begins scaling it once more. This time, Selene and Hecate are there to stop it from making any meaningful progress, their watery slashes biting deep into flesh and disabling limbs long enough for the next attack to land. Where Hecate’s attacks strike necrosis quickly follows, seeping into the flesh until the entire mass falls off to be replaced by newly regenerated meat. Meanwhile, Selen’s strikes shine with the radiant power of her light mana, her slices digging deep through muscles, tendons, and all the way to the bones beneath.
Together they manage to keep the colossus pinned in place to the craggy wall of my island, allowing Jackie all the time she needs to hop around and unleash a torrent of her aether arrows. Rather than strike into the beast herself however, I have her shoot the cliffs themselves where she then sprouts much more massive vines than usual to grasp at the enemy scion and bind it in place. I know that the twins will run out of mana long before I can bleed this invader dry in a battle of attrition, so instead my goal here is to line Jackie up for one big shot to put an end to this colossus once and for all.
Bounding up to the top of the cliff, right over the massive head of the bear, Jackie grows the limbs of her bow out further than even its longbow form, one side planting itself firmly into the stone. With a mighty heave, she stands upon the bow’s limbs and pushes down with all the strength in her legs while hoisting up on the drawstring with her arms. A ballista-sized arrow grows into place, aimed straight down to the skull of the beast below. Through this, Jackie channels the full force of her wind aether. With my hand on her back, I speak softly to into her mind through the bond we share.
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Let’s do this Jackie, together!”
Through my hand I channel even more mana into Jackie than before, really packing it into her as fast as the upgrades can handle. 2 more, then 5, then 10. The power swirls around her like a maelstrom that would have left anybody else gritting their teeth to ride out the storm. But not my Jackie. As much as I pushed the mana into her, she matched me by pulling it into her control right away, weaving it into her aether flawlessly. Around the arrow tip the air began to swirl, faster and faster, like a drill turned up to turbo speeds.
This obviously did not go unnoticed by the bear scion, but it was too late for the behemoth to avoid its fate. Bound up tightly in Jackie’s vines while Selen and Hecate kept its prodigious strength locked away through their continuous onslaught. Their mana has already depleted dangerously low once again, but their combined efforts have bought us all the opportunity we need. All the enemy can do is flounder uselessly in its restraints, glaring balefully at Jackie and its impending doom.
With a boom the arrow disappears from Jackie’s bow, boring a path straight through the entire length of the bear scion and continuing deep into the ground beneath it. Jackei’s wind arrow had accelerated freely without any resistance, twisting the air in front of it out of the way and turning the space in front into a devastating drill. Meanwhile, just behind the shaft, the collapse of the resulting vacuum pushed the arrow along even faster than any projectile has ever flown before in this world.
The twisting motion of the air and the shockwaves from the collapsing vacuum bubble didn’t just serve to speed up the arrow however. Like a delayed reaction after the arrow had already sped through, I watched as a spray of blood exploded from the bear’s body, accompanied by the splash of water beneath its feet. I watched as the beast’s jaw was ripped away to hang loosely by a strip of flesh on the right side of its head. From there the arrow had traveled down into the beast’s shoulder and blazed a path all the way through its chest cavity, the aftershocks ripping the bear’s body apart and leaving its left side barely attached anymore. It looked as if some giant had cleaved its axe down the bear’s side, all the way from the shoulders to the hips.
The scion had managed to avoid an instantly fatal blow by twisting its head as far to the side as possible, but that proved to only postpone the inevitable at this point. With that much damage to the internal organs, it couldn’t hope to recover in time. We’d done it, we’d won!
Joyfully, I turned to Giorno, ready to send some mana down to Kelvin next, but what I saw froze me in my tracks. This whole battle, Giorno had been his usual calm and composed self, issuing orders and cooly commanding our forces. But now, he was trembling with a visual amount of fear, his skin blanched of all color. Thoroughly spooked, I racked my brain for anything I might have missed, but I got my answer sooner than expected.
“Kill it, kill it now! We don’t have any time, finish it before it's too late! It’s going to do something to the bear!”
Dutifully, Jackie and the twins ready their next attacks to hasten the bear scion’s demise, but something Giorno said stuck out to me. Wait, the bear is the subject of his sentence, not the object for some reason. But…, that would have to mean…
With wide eyes, I come to a dreadful realization, I never got a mana notification for the bat scion. No, no! No WAY that bastard survived, right? Feeling the sneaking march of dread closing in on my throat, I check the spot where the bat scion had crashed into my island. There it lay, wings in tatters and its chest caved in from impacting the ground, lying in a pool of its own blood. By all accounts, it appears to be dead. But that’s when I notice something off. The pool of blood is moving.
Right before my eyes, I watch as little bubbles capture air inside, and then get mixed in the blood as it slowly circulates out of the lethal wounds and then back into the bat’s body. It must have kept conscious through the crash and is now using its blood magic to just barely keep itself alive. Would that be all the bat was up to, I would have breathed a sigh of relief. But no, all around the crash were scattered splotches of fresh blood, drawn out into a foreboding set of interlocking symbols when viewed from above. The bat was casting something, using its own life as fuel. With a weak wheeze in place of a laugh, the bat scion spoke for one final time.
“Glory be to the Mountainlord. Blood Arts: Sacrifice.”
Accompanied by the ding of a new notification, I watched in horror as all the blood was forcibly wrested from the bat scion’s fresh corpse, instantly mummifying it into a dried-out husk. Then that mass of brackish liquid moved faster than it had any right to, thin tendrils shooting out from the main body quickly dragging the blob to the edge of the island. Before any of my scions could react, it had already latched onto the dying bear’s head and begun pouring itself forcibly through every orifice it could reach.
Writhing in agony at the black-red liquid shoving itself down its throat, nostrils, and eye sockets, my scions lashed into the bear’s body with as much strength as they could, but to no avail. The wounds would begin closing before their attacks could even finish, and from the bear’s torso sprouted several bloody tentacles which wrapped themselves around the dangling left side, pulling it back into place with a wet squelch. The newfound regeneration didn’t, perhaps couldn’t, stop there however. All over the colossus’s body something churned beneath its hide.
Every single muscle in the behemoth’s body squirmed as it doubled, then tripled in size, in some places rupturing the skin as it struggles to contain the roiling mass of flesh. Muscle fibers sprung from the fur like weeds sprouting out of fertile ground, twitching and flailing about looking for something to connect to, until the beast’s entire form was nothing but a bulging mass of undulating flesh vaguely shaped like a bear. From the monstrosities head, the repaired jaw split open far wider than anything still attached to the skull to allow, revealing row after row of sharp fangs growing into place all the way down its throat.
With an unearthly screech, the monstrosity easily tore itself free of the vines and took a swipe at Jackie with its misshapen foreleg. Nobody must have told Deepholm that inflating your musculature so much is a direct reduction in flexibility however, because the blow was slow and cumbersome, allowing Jackie to easily vault backwards out of reach. But Deepholm didn’t need to care about such silly things like flexibility, or the limits of a physical body, as halfway through the swing a series of cracks could be heard as the bear monstrosity’s muscles broke every single bone in its arm, causing it to suddenly stretch out on just the muscles and ligaments, increasing in speed as the limb turned into an impromptu flesh whip tipped with giant claws.
Caught completely by surprise, Jackie could only try to form a hasty shield of roots with her life aether, but the abomination’s claws sundered it with ease, cleaving through her bow, then her arm, and finally raking across her torso. My girl hit the ground, hard, and didn’t get back up. Meanwhile, the twins were still desperately flinging any kind of attack they could think at the bear horror, all to no avail. This affront to nature had such strong regeneration now that nothing in their repertoire could hope to leave any lasting damage.
With thundering steps, the abomination practically oozed up onto my island, all four legs standing firmly upon my territory for the first time. A few steps brought it close enough to brush up against my trunk, and then it sunk its claws deep into the bark and tore a ginormous chunk of wood free. As easily as tearing apart cardboard, Deepholm’s monstrosity began to dig its way deeper and deeper towards my sanctum, and inevitable destruction. From beside my core, a loud snap rang out as the inspector’s white-knuckle grip finally crushed the handle of her kanabo.
“Damn it all, I can’t just sit here at let this happen! I have to–”
Whatever she was about to say was cut off as she took her first step forward, weapon raised with the intent to join the fray. Instantly she was beset by floating swords made of light on all sides, not even given enough time to swear before they all plunged into her body. With a gasp Lydia fell to the floor, covered in wounds. She’d managed to use her ki to shift the trajectory of enough blades away from her vital organs, but she was still grievously wounded and wouldn’t be doing any fighting any time soon.
In what felt like no time at all, the fleshy abomination had reached the final bit of wood separating me from the outside world. With a psychic scream of determination, Leonardo charged forth, combining his life and kinetic affinities to try and brace that final barrier, but his efforts were carelessly brushed aside as the bear’s claws crashed through anyways, collapsing a pile of splinted timber down upon my peaceful crafter. From above and behind, Alexa had joined the twins in trying to drag the enemy scion back, but with barely a sliver of mana left between the three of them, they were little more than flies buzzing uselessly through the air to it.
Fully exposed to the outside world for the first time since my birth into this world, I was now face to face with the monstrosity as it raised its claws for one final strike. But oddly, all the fear and terror that had frozen me still before was utterly absent. I couldn’t even focus on the looming mountain of death in front of me, nor on the panicked shrieks of my scions as they struggled to the last. Rather, my gaze fell upon the prone form of the very first scion I had designated. My strongest defender, and the most earnest girl you would ever meet. With my focus beside her, I could tell that my brave girl was just barely hanging onto life, but she wouldn’t last long at this rate. Every shaky breath was accompanied by a wave of anguish washing over the bond.
Even without a proper physical form, I knelt beside her and gathered her up into one final embrace. I’m so sorry Jackie. The UI might call you guys scions, but truthfully you have all been a family to me, right from the start. I never had one, back in my previous life, so I know I must have messed up so many times, in so many ways. But even still, I had a blast getting to know each and every one of you, wishing for each day to stretch into infinity so I could enjoy our time together forevermore. But I’ve failed you, I’ve failed you all. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a life full of happier days, and I hope whatever comes in the next life, you can forgive me.
“You’ve been the best daughter I could have ever asked for. I love you.”
Everything hurts. My ears won’t stop ringing, and everything around me is moving in super slow motion. Through blurry eyes, I can see my arm lying just out of reach, still clutching my bow tightly, well, half of it anyways. Further away, I can see the blurry shape of the gross thing from Deepholm tearing its way through Mama’s tree. The twins and Alexa were swooping around behind it, but there was no stopping the beast anymore. Pain throbbed through my chest, my heart heavy as it slowly pumped my blood out onto the ground.
I’d failed, again. Right when it mattered most. Some huntress I’d turned out to be. Sure I was able to handle the regular invaders, but against every enemy that ever posed a serious threat, I’d been beaten every time. When I first lost to Miss Lydia, it hadn’t been so bad. Mama told me to learn from it and grow stronger for next time. I’d been useless too against those water birds on the first day. So I trained, and then I trained and I trained and I trained some more. Till the calluses on my paws were bleeding, I practiced every day.
For some reason Mama didn’t like that though, so she forced me to take breaks pretty regularly after that. At first, it felt like she didn’t have faith that my efforts would help with anything, but that feeling faded pretty quickly. She’d always have a bowl of those red fruits she calls strawberries ready for me by her core. Then when I would get settled in beside her and begin munching on the sweet fruit, she would tell me unbelievable stories about the world she remembers from her past life.
Apparently, her old world had jackalopes too, or at least stories of them. Mama says they supposedly had lightning in their veins they could move so fast. Lightning! The big flashes in the sky that make the air go boom. That stuff! The jackalopes from Mama’s world must be really amazing if they could do that. Nervously, I asked her a bit more about it, feeling rather inadequate by comparison, but she ended up talking too much about how technically lightning is in every living creature, but just really really small amounts of it? And something even more confusing about something called eel-ektons that makes it charge based on if they’re in a good mood or not?
Mama does that a lot, going off on tangents about difficult subjects for a long period of time, but even though I couldn’t understand most of it, it is nice just to sit back and listen to her speak. Eventually, she would always notice her rambling, and swap to asking me questions instead. I felt really proud when she asked me so much about my experience training with ki, and later on aether as well. She’d always thank me for my hard work, and for helping her figure out how things work in this world. It made me happy to think that Mama needed me, and that all my efforts were slowly paying off.
And it really felt like I had been improving too! I’d wrangled all the rowdy brawlers into line, and chased off that group of novices. But then that big flying scion came and knocked me out of the fight before I could even tell it was coming. Kelvin was barely a few days old and he had to handle that nasty bat all on his own! And despite all the work I put into developing my aether, I then lost to Miss Lydia again right after that. It felt like I was stuck in place, running as hard as I could but never getting anywhere with it. I did my best to hide it from Mama since she’s so perceptive, but it really hurt.
And now, even after all the faith and strength Mama poured into me, I’d still managed to let her and everybody else down. They’re all going to die, because of me. I’m not sure which is worse at this point, the pain from my injuries or the pain from my failures washing over me. I watched through bleary eyes as the gross bear tore open the deepest part of the tree, and revealed Mama’s core for all the world to see. It’d been a few weeks since our last break together, so when I saw the soft green glow of Mama’s core, it stirred up a weird mix of relief and regret in my heart. I’d missed that comforting glow, but also the only reason I could see it now is because I’d doomed it to oblivion.
Grief filled me up to the brim, and all I could do is wordlessly apologize over and over again.
To my surprise, however, I could feel her presence nearby, and that comforting warmth brushed aside my apologies to fill our bond with light instead. I don’t get it, why is she here? Why is she focusing on me, when the enemy is literally right in front of her core, staring her down? Why is she wasting her time on me when I can barely even move anymore?! And even if I could, we both know I would just let her down some more. So why, why does it feel like I’m back by her side, listening to her tell stories at length, feeling so comfy and secure?
Go on, go! Leave already and focus on someone else, maybe they have a chance to save you, to fix things. Haven’t I failed you enough? I, I can’t do anything but disappoint you. I…I can’t be like the jackalopes from your stories Mama. I’m not good enough for that. I’m sorry.
Despite shoving my weakness, my numerous defeats and doubts to the front and finally showing Mama everything I’d tried to keep hidden from her through the bond, absolutely nothing changed. If anything, the feeling of closeness only increased and that warm feeling wrapped me up even tighter, never wavering for a moment. For a moment, the ringing in my head subsided, but my eyes must still be playing tricks because I thought I could see a bunch of golden sparkles floating in the air around me, forming the vague outline of a person with her arms wrapped around me. The next words came through confidently and clearly, and finally put a name to the feeling I always felt when Mama’s attention was on me.
“I love you.”
…Why? When I’ve already let you down so many times, when you’re about to die because of me…why spend your last moments on this worthless rabbit who couldn’t save anything? The bond held no answers for me, only that same persistent warmth, refusing to relent for so much as a moment. Over in the tree, the bear monster had raised its claw into the air, readying the final strike that would take Mama away for good. A few tears slipped free from my eyes and dropped down to join the blood at my feet. Belatedly, I realized that at some point I must have stood up, but that doesn’t really matter right now.
In fact, standing there, basking in the feeling of being wrapped up in Mama’s love, it felt like a lot of things didn’t matter. My doubts, my fear of not being good enough, and the pain of being proven right. It all felt like wisps of smoke being carried away on the wind. They scattered against the constant reinforcement pouring out from the bond, powerless before it. She’d seen all of my shortcomings, witnessed every downfall, and yet this was always her response. Yellow sparks crackled through my fur, and larger arcs of energy began to flicker back and forth between the branches of the antlers on my head.
Slowly, all the world began to fall away. The ground beneath my feet, the stench of death hanging upon the wind, even the tree itself, along with the slow-motion bear scion bringing its claws down for the kill. There was just me, and there in the distance, the light of Mama’s core, calling me home like a beacon. Under her light, I remembered the simple truth that Mama has always seen and understood so much more than me, guiding me as best she could and celebrating both my success and failures alongside me. For this moment in time, all those complicated and difficult subjects stopped being important. All those times spent hoping I could measure up to the lofty heights she spoke about seemed a silly waste of time. All I had to do was stop trying to become something else. Maybe, just maybe, I was already everything that Mama could see in me, and I just hadn’t realized it yet.
I crouch down low to the ground, those strange sparks increasing in intensity, coiling inside of me like a power I never knew I had. My ears and paws were starting to char black from all the energy flowing through me, but I didn’t feel a thing. After all, none of that mattered. With a mighty leap, I left the feeling of solid earth behind. Wait for me just a little longer, ok Mama? I’m coming to your side.
Flesh charred into shattered lumps of charcoal.
Bones fragmented and caved under the tremendous forces at play.
Jackie never got to experience the joy where in this, her latest challenge to a race between herself and the sound carried along through the air, the wind finally lost.
Neither did she get to see how, for the first time in its life, the bear scion’s body was lifted fully up off of the ground and flung to the side like gravity had suddenly reversed its direction.
But perhaps..., someday, there would come a time when she’s relaxing with a bowl of those delectable strawberries once more, and she’ll get to listen to Mama’s voice as she regales her with another one of her wild stories. A story where one little rabbit made all the difference in the world, and through her actions did save the day. Now wouldn’t that be nice?
Here it is, the big one! I've had this chapter in mind since before I even started writing this story. In fact, it's what made me say fuck it, I'm gonna try writing it out and see what happens. Sorry again for the long delay on this chapter, I didn't want to split it into anything smaller, so it ended up pretty long. Also, yay! First scion PoV, just like you guys wanted right? xD
I hope you enjoyed reading this part, and I'll see you all again next time for the final conclusion to the Deepholm Arc.
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2023.06.10 03:35 babyxxpigeon17 A Niagara vacation
It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark, when out of the blue, my wife called me at work. "We're going to Niagara Falls for the weekend. I got us an awesome deal!"
We had both been working at our first "full-fledged" jobs for a year and had reached that moment after graduation when you suddenly realize you can't make that impact on the world your student enthusiasm once promised. At first, I just sighed. It was the dead of January, and I had already expended all my energy on a week of inconsequential stress. I just wanted to collapse on the couch for two days. Sarah felt a similar weary exhaustion. I could tell. Her tone was more hopeful than excited, but she had dreaded the routine we were sinking into and was trying her best to pull us free.
I looked to the ceiling and adjusted my telephone headset. At that time I was working at Stats Canada on the tele-query desk. I took a deep breath and, as convincingly as possible, said, "Sounds good." I don't think she bought it, but we went nonetheless.
This was Niagara Falls before the casinos when there was a very distinct off-season. When we got to the hotel, we were given the details of our "lovers' special". One dinner to be used either Friday or Saturday, two breakfasts, a roll of tokens for the arcade, 10% off some "4D" movie ride experience, and a 2-for-1 coupon to Max Tussaud's. I guessed it was Madame's nephew? We also got a bottle of sparkling wine in our room and chocolate treats on our pillows. I was impressed. It sounded good.
When we got into our room and saw the "bottle" of wine - basically an aeroplane-sized glass and half - and the chocolates - "fun wrapped" Oh Henry's left over from Halloween - we both started to laugh. The tone for two wonderful days had been set. We decided to cash in on our dinner coupon right away.
The restaurant off the lobby had hopes of being better. There were huge panoramic windows that promised a view of the gorge. Unfortunately, they had some winter moisture problems that day, and it felt like we were defrosting amid the dripping streaks and foggy patches. The decor was your standard booths and tables though the "romantic" lighting was unique. Dollar store battery-powered tea lights were lodged inside thick tumbler glasses and shed a muted pleasantness in a "what a great idea for a craft" sort of way. I had a feeling they were created by our waitress since she was the one who always seemed to be fussing with them. Only one other couple was in the dining room, so she attended to us immediately.
"Can I get you something to start?"
"Sure." "Thank you, that would be nice." We both responded simultaneously.
"And what would the lady like this evening?"
Sarah smiled at the flattery. "I think I'll have a glass of white wine." She glanced over at me to see my reaction. This was a subtle cue of the mood to follow. Diet Coke was usually the beverage of choice. She didn't normally drink alcohol. One glass numbed her nose and made her giggle far too easily. When she did drink, however, it meant she was comfortable with my company and open to anything to follow. I raised my eyebrows in a debonair way.
"And for the gentleman?"
"Do you have Foster's on tap?"
"Yes we do."
"I'll have a pint please."
Sarah smiled at the happy memories I invoked. At university, Foster's was my signature beer. It was at a time when Crocodile Dundee was a known name, and Australia was inexplicably cool. 15 cent buffalo wings and a pitcher of Foster's was the Tuesday night special at the London Arms pub. There the Classics Club would meet and, as a group, circle the wagons and drink ourselves into extroverts.
As soon as the waitress left, Sarah smiled at me. She reached out and held my hand across the table. With my gaze on hers, she slipped her foot from her shoe and slowly began sliding it up my pant leg.
"I got a pedicure this morning." She announced seductively.
I nodded and pretended I didn't notice her invitation. "What colour?" I asked.
"I'm not telling." She teased. "You'll just have to find out later." Her devious little smile was gorgeous.
"Mmmm. I can't wait."
When the waitress returned with our drinks, we immediately retreated to our personal spaces as if we had been discovered by the chaperone. Sarah opened the menu and began to salivate at the variety.
"Can we add an appetizer to the package dinner?" Her question seemed innocent enough.
"You're on the package?" Our friendly waitress disappeared, and we were no longer a lady or a gentleman. She ripped the menu out of Sarah's hand and took mine before I had even opened it. She then scurried to her podium and brought back a tattered, grease-stained, photocopied page that we had to share. We both burst out laughing.
The waitress was flustered that we were not as bothered as she was. "The drinks are NOT included!"
"What choices do we have?" I asked, expecting the usual chicken or fish. I had been on many packages before with my parents.
"Coffee or tea." The waitress snapped.
Sarah and I looked at each other in amused disbelief.
"I'll have coffee please." I didn't even flinch at the ridiculously limited package. I was eager to get my order in early.
"And I'll have the tea!" Sarah followed my lead. "Can I have some milk with that?"
"Yes." The waitress snarled.
"Fantastic!" I enthused.
"Yes, great! I'm glad we got the package, Honey." Sarah joked.
The waitress stormed off and returned sometime later with our lettuce-only salads drowned in Kraft's Italian dressing and our chewy chicken dinners, which she had thoughtfully allowed to cool. She tossed the plates on the table and left us to peacefully devour our deal. We didn't see her again until we requested the bill. For some reason, we found it amusing to leave a generous tip, which of course, defeated the purpose of the package, but we didn't care. It was fun.
The rest of the holiday was marred with similar off-season products and services. The wax museum was only half open, so we couldn't see the pop stars of the seventies. I didn't think it was a problem, but Sarah pouted playfully. She really wanted to see young Bowie. Meanwhile, the arcade was particularly stingy about spitting out coupons. So much so that Mike, the scraggly-haired repair guy, ended up escorting us from game to game and repairing the devices on demand. In no time, he was acting like an old drinking buddy. He joked and laughed, then, out of the blue, revealed that working at the Niagara Falls Fun Centre wasn't his career choice, that his dream was to be part of a travelling carnival. He desperately wanted to see more of the world, he explained and socialize with a greater variety of "wildlife." Mike winked at Sarah to punctuate his meaning, then began advising her on which games to play.
Sarah was partial to Skee ball and clearly had career potential in the sport, but Mike quickly pointed out that the token-to-coupon payout was not the best. In a furtive whisper, he revealed that The Storm Stopper was your best bet, provided the arcade had left it on its original factory settings. He assured us the ones here were "cool." The game had lights that ran around the outside in opposite directions and you had to hit the button at just the right spot to win. It looked impossible, but Mike was right; if you calculated tokens in versus coupons won, it was the best deal. It only took a little practice to win a minor jackpot every 5 or 6 times.
We would cheer each win as if Toronto had won the Stanley Cup. I would give a quick fist pump and a full lung "Yes!" while Sarah would jump up and down screaming, "WhoooHooo!" Of course, in the end, when we cashed in, "Mike's secret" only bumped us up from a key-chain flashlight to a "deluxe" nail beauty set. Mind you, it did come complete with clippers, scissors, a file AND a cuticle scraper. Not only that, it was all neatly packaged in a paisley-patterned pink and green plastic vinyl case. Mike was so pleased to give us our prize and to be honest, we were thrilled to win it if only to see his broad chicletted smile. It was more of a trophy than a grooming set.
That night, I made reservations for us at a fancy Chinese food restaurant - the Bamboo Garden. When we arrived, we had half-expected renovations of some sort. Instead, the place was immaculate. Gentle pools teeming with goldfish highlighted the epic black and red Ming dynasty decor. Real candles flickered on crisp white tablecloths. Again, the restaurant was virtually ours. The reservations on my part were entirely unnecessary. In fact, as soon as we entered, they knew us by name and guided us directly to our table. A live lounge piano caressed the air, its notes danced vaguely around familiar harmonies until finally, as if prompted by our presence, a song emerged immediately accompanied by the velvet voice of oriental karaoke. It was our song remastered
submitted by babyxxpigeon17
to Tik_tok_stories [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 03:00 throwawaythekey19 Never Going to That Lake Alone Again
Yesterday I took my son fishing. He wanted to go to a nearby lake that we haven’t been to in quite some time. It’s not known to be a great area. For some background, the last time we went, about a year ago, a car drove by and screamed “Nice ass!” at me while I stood there with my young son. This kind of garbage behavior is unfortunately expected in the area. It’s also known to be a late night hook up spot as well as a late night drug deal location. Due to the lake’s reputation, I had made a deal with my dad that I wouldn’t stay there past 4pm without him. On to the story:
My 12 year old son (who looks much younger than he is) and I pulled up at our favorite fishing spot, a small pond on the opposite side of the road as the lake. Almost immediately, an older gentleman approached us asking if there were fish in the pond. I replied that we had just gotten started, so nothing yet, but that we had caught fish in the pond on plenty of other occasions. He thanked us for the information, and returned to his spot on the other side of the road.
About fifteen minutes later, another younger man approaches the older man with a dog. I can see and hear them chatting, but they’ve made no move to involve us in the conversation, which I’m glad for. I just want to enjoy a day with my son. Unfortunately, the water in the pond was incredibly low and murky and I could tell we weren’t going to have any luck. I tell my son to pack it up and we’ll try another spot on the other side of the lake.
As we begin packing our gear into the trunk, the younger man yells over “sorry if my dog and I ran you off!” I tell him it’s no problem, and we were simply moving to a better fishing spot. He then starts telling me how nice it is to see a mom taking her kid fishing, how you don’t see that very often, etc. I get this a lot, so I’m pretty used to it. We have a short conversation about it as I pack up and I then move towards the driver’s side doors to depart.
Before I can leave, the younger man starts up another conversation, this time asking me how old I think he is. This feels strange to me, but I’m nice to a fault sometimes, so I answer his question. I tell him I’m a horrible judge of age, but maybe 25? He tells me he’s 38 and I’m too kind and I laugh it off saying something like “I work with teenagers, so they always guess me well above my age just to be mean.” He asks where I work and I stupidly tell him my city. Turns out he lives there too and starts going on and on about how he got a free apartment on such and such street because his baby momma kicked him out of their house. I think he’s talking about some kind of government assistance program. Weird flex, but ok man.
At this point, I’m standing by the car door with my hand on the handle and my son is already in the back seat. This guy can’t take the hint and starts telling me all about his awful baby momma and how women are supposed to be submissive, quiet, and do what they’re told. He specifically said “I mean, it’s cool that you can bait a hook or whatever, but you’re still a woman.” Now my alarm bells are blaring. This guy struck up a conversation by commending me for doing a typically “dad” thing with my kid. Now he’s putting me down for the same thing. He’s gone from being overly friendly and complimentary to agitated and ranting.
I should have been rude and just got in the car and left, but I’ve unfortunately been conditioned, like many women, to be polite even when we’re uncomfortable. Instead, I start making comments in the hopes he’ll see I’m not some meek submissive woman who’s going to agree with him. After all, I’m a tatted up chick with an eyebrow piercing, and two lip piercings. I don’t exactly look like a submissive little housewife. I guess I was trying to make him just as uncomfortable as he made me in the hopes he’d leave me alone.
After he says women shouldn’t be loud or opinionated, I tell him “Oh, well you wouldn’t like me at all.” He tries to backpedal saying “I mean, it’s ok to be loud I guess, but don’t try that with your man, ya know?” I say “my man doesn’t tell me shit. I do what I want.” This kind of back and forth goes on for a while before he finally shakes his head and says “I just don’t understand what kind of woman would act like that.” I reply “a strong one.”
As soon as the words left my mouth, the older gentleman yells from his spot on the bank, “YEAH! SAY THAT AGAIN HONEY!” This distracted the creep long enough for me to hop in the car and lock the doors. I still don’t feel safe though. Unbeknownst to creepazoid, only two of my car doors actually have functioning locks, but at least they’re the two on his side. I put the key in the ignition and turn. No dice. Nothing. Of all the times for my car to act up, it chooses now.
Panic has now set in. As I repeatedly try to start my car, I can see him out of the corner of my eye. He’s taken notice of my car troubles and is trying to get my attention. As he takes a few steps towards my car, the engine finally roars to life and I peel out of there. Only then do I let my composure crumble and have a long talk with my son about what just happened.
To the older gentleman who took notice of my discomfort and provided a distraction, I’d gladly meet with you again any day.
To the younger, misogynistic creep, I don’t know if I was actually in any danger from you, but my gut said I was. Let’s never meet again.
Oh, and to my dad, I’ll make you a new deal. I’m never going to that lake alone again, regardless of the time of day.
submitted by throwawaythekey19
to creepyencounters [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 02:59 OnePowerHour 100% RW Guide (Universally Loved and others)
A few people (two) asked for help with the Universally Loved achievement, and I thought I'd just make a post here for everyone to access. There's probably already other guides, but I'll just drop mines here in case it's more useful to others.
Keep in mind it's organized chronologically, so don't move on from morning to afternoon without completing EVERYTHING necessary (minus the optional stuff if you don't want to do it).
And obviously, spoilers for the entire REAL WORLD section.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REAL WORLD Guide PROLOGUE (after 1st STAB)
- Attempt to confirm naming yourself OMOCAT (you can reload save file if you’d like) (achievement)
- Grab FIRST AID KIT from hallway and BANDAGE from dining room drawer
- Open door for HELLMARI, then she will appear in MOM’S room if WTF ≥ 6
THREE DAYS LEFT MORNING
- Brush teeth (every morning for achievement)
- High five KEL every instance you get (achievement)
- Encourage MINCY at FARWAY PARK
- Feed ORANGE CAT at monkey bars at FARAWAY PARK and get TRASH
- COIN located in front of FARAWAY PLAZA; there is no DOLLAR spawned from throwing this one into the fountain, so this is optional
- Talk to GRUFF GUY with leak; go to his house and watch his attempt
- Help ALL-AMERICAN GUY find his TV REMOTE (under the couch)
- Talk to the ARTIST and agree with all her advice
- PART TIME JOBS to do
- Pizza delivery, save before starting the job
- Quit the job, then do the job again (achievement)
- Deliver all the pizzas on the first try to get a perfect score. Reload your save if you mess up
- Get OTHERWORLDLY CD
- Fly swatting
- Organizing tools
- Pick up tutoring posters at OTHERMART, then tutor BRENT and JOY
- BRENT (Math answers)
- JOY (English answers)
- 1. On
- 2. Adverb
- 3. “I think eggplant is the better tasting soft vegetable.”
- Buy PET ROCK (costs $10)
- Beat JACKSON and get MERRY CD
- Talk to SEAN and KAREN in FIX-IT
- Pick up YELLOW BUN GRANNY’S prescription
- Get KIM’S MOM’S SHEARS
- Get SEASHELL #1 at garden area of FIX-IT
- Beat all PET ROCKS opponents
- Beat CREEPY GUY for FEDORA - optional if you want to collect it
- Beat SHOPKEEP for NOSTALGIC CD
- Beat AYEE (the fish stall lady at OTHERMART) for “YOU ROCK” CAP [tedious]
- Lose the battle to KIM and VANCE outside OTHERMART
- Beat SHOPKEEP’S high score of 6000 at arcade machine and get COOL GLASSES (costs $1 if you win on the first try)
- Donate $10 to SMELLY HOBO for GOLD WATCH or "GOLD" WATCH, the sell it to SHOPKEEP at HOBBEEZ
- Donate $30 to GUITAR GUY
- Buy x1 HERO SANDWICH ($5) - optional, if you want to use it later for a special fight)
- Buy x5 APPLE JUICE and ORANGE JUICE ($20 total) and get RED HEADBAND and ORANGE HEADBAND - optional if you want to collect the headbands
- Buy x5 CDS (DYNAMIC, CELESTIAL, LIVELY, CHILL, and BRUTAL) at HOBBEEZ ($50 total)
- Buy 1x MEAT and 6x FISH ($67 total)
- Encourage MINCY at OTHERMART
- Feed ORANGE CAT at roof of BASIL’S HOUSE and get TRASH
- COIN is located at yard of CLUMSY GUY’S house after sermon; after throwing COIN in fountain, DOLLAR spawns at MIKHAEL’S HOUSE
- Help CLUMSY GUY get WEDDING RING out of sink
- Help WRINKLY FOREHEAD choose a gift for his son at HOBBEEZ
- Donate x15 TRASH
TWO DAYS LEFT MORNING
- Brush teeth
- Encourage MINCY at candy store in OTHERMART
- Feed ORANGE CAT at roof of SUNNY’s house
- COIN is at CHURCH; DOLLAR spawns at KIM’S HOUSE
- Talk to GRUFF GUY with leak; go to his house and watch his attempt
- Get SEASHELL #3 from hole in wall
- Give CRIS all 3 SEASHELLS to get SEASHELL NECKLACE
- Find ARTIST’S dog by KEL’S HOUSE and speak to dog (achievement)
- Do all PART TIME JOBS again
- Pizza delivery
- Fly swatting
- Organizing tools
- Finish BRENT’S and JOY’S worksheets
- BRENT (Math answers)
- 1. 25
- 2. 4, -4
- 3. 7.103 (or 7.461 for older versions)
- JOY (English answer)
- Get PEPPER SPRAY from KEL’S MOM'S purse. Use it to defeat the HOOLIGANS later
- Interact with BEE HIVE; you don't have to win the battle
- Talk to BEBE’S MOM, then get the lamp from FIX-IT
- Reconcile WRINKLY FOREHEAD and his son
- Talk to CLUMSY GUY’S wife’s at GINO’S PIZZERIA
- Talk to CLUMSY GUY at candy shop
- Buy all 13 CHARMS in HOBBEEZ ($39) - optional unless you want to collect everything
- Before leaving BASIL’S house, save so you can reject KEL’S high five, then reload and high five KEL (achievement)
- Save before leaving BASIL’S HOUSE, then choose not to high-five KEL, then reload the save and high five KEL (achievements)
- Encourage MINCY at garden area at back of FIX-IT
- Feed ORANGE CAT at tree outside OTHERMART and get ARCADE PIECE
- COIN spawns at WRINKLY FOREHEAD’S house; DOLLAR spawns between cars in front of FARAWAY PLAZA
- HELP ALL-AMERICAN GUY find his TV REMOTE (in the bathroom)
- Take KEL’S $20 from his wardrove (achievement)
- Play hide-and-seek with DAPHNE and BOWEN at MIKHAEL'S HOUSE
- Get SEASHELL #4 north of HANGOUT SPOT - optional if you want to collect it
- Fix arcade game at GINO’S PIZZA
- Get 500+ points in SPROUT MOLE EATER and get SEASHELL #5 - optional if you want to collect it
- Go to CLUMSY GUY’S house
- Donate remaining CDs
- Donate x7 TRASH
- Donate all remaining MONEY to OLD HOBO (he will double it and give it back the next day if you need the MONEY)
ONE DAY LEFT MORNING
- Brush teeth
- Encourage MINCY at CHURCH
- Feed ORANGE CAT at HANGOUT SPOT behind FARAWAY PARK
- Get SEASHELL #6 - optional if you want to collect it
- COIN at THICK EYEBROWS’ house; DOLLAR on fence in front of CHURCH
- Have AUBREY fix GRUFF GUY’S leak and get GHOULISH CD
- Help ALL-AMERICAN GUY find the TV REMOTE one last time (it's in the PIE in the kitchen)
- Send ANGEL back to ARTIST’S house
- PART TIME JOBS
- Pizza delivery
- Fly swatting
- Organizing tools
- Get FLOWER CLIP from CHARLIE - optional, if you want to collect it
- Give GUITAR GUY packed lunch from JOY’S father to get SECRET CD
- Give FLOWERS to MARI (achievement)
- Go to SEAN and KAREN’S house and help them cook
- Go to the HANGOUT SPOT, explore the RECYCULTIST'S HQ, and do the RECYCLEPATH
- Give KEL ORANGE JOE and he'll be HAPPY! - optional
- Give HERO the HERO SANDWICH and he'll be HAPPY! - optional
- Win and get COOL BOTTLECAP (you only get the item if you win, but you get the achievement regardless)
- Donate x6 TRASH
- Encourage MINCY at FARAWAY PARK (you get a sketch of SUNNY and KEL)
- Feed ORANGE CAT at MARI’S GRAVE and get TRANQUIL CD
- COIN besides blue picnic blanket at FARAWAY PARK; DOLLAR at GRUFF GUY’S HOUSE
- Have a picnic at HANGOUT SPOT (achievement)
- Go to SEAN and KAREN’s housewarming party
- Donate remaining CDs
submitted by OnePowerHour
to OMORI [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 02:53 Darmanarya Hunting Pack chapter 12
((Credit to u/spacepaladin15
for creating the story “Nature of Predators” which light a fire under me to write. This is also a fanfic of that.)) FIRST
//NEXT Memory transcript subject
: Krakotl exterminator team lead Taita Date [human standard time]:
October 24, 2136
An exterminator must stay calm.
An exterminator must stay focused.
An exterminator must do their best.
Failure means death.
Death for the exterminator.
Death to others the predator will hunt.
I watch as the town turns to grass, then water and trees beneath our shuttle. It was flying low as we prepped for todays extermination.
I went over the mental checklist I had prepared. We were dealing with an amphibious predator species that specialized in hunting in the water. While less lethal on land it was still dangerous due to massive teeth, sharp claws, and armor plating.
Pistols left due to being unable to penetrate plates: check
P4 based solution to ensure burn on and under the water of the wetlands: check.
Heavy duty firesuits to protect against claw and P4 solution: check.
Long, thin variant of knife to get between plates: check.
Soon we were over the den of the predators. This group had killed a venlil male and… removed the arm of a female with him. They had gone out to the wetlands to be together in secret only to have been attacked. This species did not normally eat venlil and typically lived deep in the wetlands, so this den I deemed to be highly dangerous and needing an extermination. The doors flew open and I readied my flamethrower for part one. Owit and Tiha behind me readied their own looking out the other side's doors. No signal needed to be given, they knew what to do.
Owit's flamethrower hissed as his solution sprayed out unlit to provide extra fuel for a longer burn while Tiha's roared to life. I winced just a bit with the flames so hot and bright that both still slipped a little through my suit. It was some of our most powerful stuff and only those more experienced exterminators like me were even allowed to request it.
The shuttle slowly started to make a full hoof around the back of the den. This was a maneuver I learned from very old exterminator manuals that was rarely done anymore. Most hated the idea of funneling predators right at them, but to me it HAD to be done. None should be allowed to escape.If that meant we must stare down the jaws of a predator then it was our duty to stand firm.
Finally they started to come to the surface and head for the shore while we were halfway done. It was my turn. Safety off, aim above the target to allow for drop. Aim in front of target to allow for travel. Finger on trigger. Breath in. Hold. breathe out.
The flamethrower kicked back more than normal, but it was expected. The special P4 solution was thicker than most with it being only a little thinner due to stabilizing compounds and some oils to ensure it floated in the water. I made sure to hold it steady and guided the spray onto a few predators that were clustered together. As soon as they glew like a sun I shifted to some that were on their own.
All my stress, all my worries, everything was purged by the fire and the roar of my flame thrower. I started to do my breathing exercises as pred after pred caught on fire.
The signal. Funnel complete. I stopped my fire and waited as we went a little ways from the funnel's exit. While it would be safer to stay in the shuttle in theory the smoke would soon make it impossible to aim from above. We all jumped out and ran towards the fire.
One by one the beasts came out of the water, only to thrash and die as the flames consumed them. Four came out unscathed. There was no need to discuss or even signal who did what. My two teammates went after the two that were going to the left and right of us. I, however, got ready to fight the two coming down the center. It was my duty as team lead to do the most dangerous part.
I readied my flamethrower and swallowed down my fear. Just two large predators. I've done worse. One was consumed by a wall of white fire as my two teammates burned away their targets.
My eyes snapped to the last one as it lunged at me. I could see them. The tiny claw marks on its face from the Venlil it hurt. My brain wanted to get mad.
But I stayed calm.
I stayed professional.
I stayed alive.
And I did my duty.
There was a crunch as I swung the reinforced frame of my flamethrower hard, slamming it into the side of the predator's head. While it struggled to shake off the impact I took aim. Breathed out. Held. And squeezed the trigger.
This one was the most dangerous of all so I made sure it was burnt to nothing. Both to ensure nothing could come from it and to make sure the venlil could find peace in whatever afterlife they went to. I glanced at my teammates and they did the same to the other predator bodies. Their roaring flame throwers burning away everything.
This was my favorite part. The part where the sweet, rich scent of burning predator filled your beak. Where the danger was gone, nobody was hurt, and everyone was safe. Most said they hated this part, that it made their stomachs hurt or their throats itch. But to me the smells of victory were unmatched. It was an aroma one could only get after victory as an exterminator.
I then looked at the remains and thought for a bit. These were the bad predators. The sort that hurt others for no reason, not even for just food. This wasn't their territory, there were no cubs, and venlil were outside their normal prey. They were evil.
Then thought about my two predators. And I realized that even the arxur was nothing like that. She tried to help the human, talked about how she didn't like the idea of baby animals dying, and any word she had to say about the arxur was far more… violent than even most exterminators. She kept calling them "betterment" though which must be the main arxur faction. Another notch into her being arxur, but the mistake was just so innocent that it felt even more authentic than some HUMANS.
Maybe… maybe there was something else to call them than predators. I mean, the humans had a word that felt good. Monster. Some beast with little thought or care that attacked and killed for no reason or for cruelty. Like these piles of ash. There were also prey with TRUE predator disease, not the fake stuff they accused Tarlim of. Like the yotul "researcher."
Some predators were good or even innocent! I refused a call to kill a shadebeast den just a few paws ago. I saw no need. I pointed out how much effort would go into just getting there, much less fire control to avoid burning the forest down, finding them in the woods, and more. They were living so far away from anything, even the venlil that found them only saw them from a shuttle! The expedition was called off. We need to focus on protecting, not just chasing things and risking ourselves.
It is what let the arxur onto my kind's….
I shook the thoughts from my head. No need to think about that. It was probaly going to be one of the darkest spots in exerminator history someday. Alright, lets just collect thoughts for a bit. Predators that were actually bad were now monsters in my book. Not going to let my two best friends be lumped in with them. I enjoyed the smell one last time before I followed my teammates onto the shuttle and relaxed.
I slipped off my head protection and watched the wetlands vanish under me as I brought out my datapad to fill out the report. Mine were always so simple: Predators eliminated, little to no chance of surviving predators, no injuries, no further actions needed. Sure filling out the other forms took awhile, but it was doable. It was just a little bit harder than normal thanks to notifications popping up.
My datapad was still being spammed by apologies from cuddlepunk as well. I had already forgiven her but she still felt bad. An arxur. Feeling bad about upsetting me?
Today was truly a great day to be an exterminator. FIRST
submitted by Darmanarya
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 02:52 heynongmantron Could my dog be getting hot spots from being wet under his collar?
Hello! I have a 4 year old ACD mix who LOVES to go swimming. He goes swimming in the river at least once a day. I try and dry him off as best I can but recently he has developed a hot spot on his rear end where his hair is pretty long, as well as on either side of his neck where he has some extra skin and his collar sits. Could he be getting these hot spots from me not drying him off well enough around his collar and areas where he has longer hair?
He's had 3 now in a span of 2 weeks. We did recently have a week of pretty hot weather and he did A LOT of swimming. He's never had these before and is very healthy otherwise so I'm just trying to think of why it's popping up now. Thanks in advance!
submitted by heynongmantron
to vet [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 02:50 forget-me-not-flower 20s F - Looking for someone to exchange snail mail with!
Hi! I've always wanted to try pen pal-ing, specifically via snail mail. It's so fun to receive actual letters! I also have gotten into fountain pens, so would love an excuse to use those. I have lots of random old stickers and tons of washi too, so I'd love to (messily) decorate some letters and maybe eventually swap washi swatches some time.
A bit about me: I'm an economics student in the USA, about to graduate shortly. As I'm about to finally be free from school, I though this would be a great time to finally try this out and use up my fun journaling supplies. I'd love someone to chat with and maybe send letters once or twice a month. But I understand life gets busy, so I don't want mailing things out to ever become a chore for anyone! I'm also happy to send short or long letters - if you tell me your preference, I can try to respond in kind. I'm happy to exchange short letters about our interests or long rambles about ouyour day.
As a note, my handwriting is meh but still legible I believe!
Some of my interests:
- movies, tv shows, video games, and Youtube (oh my!). I have lots of favorite media that I can't list it all here, but feel free to ask of course! I just thought it'd be a great thing to save for the letters ;) For movies and tv shows, I find myself reading the wiki plots of things I never even intend to watch. So I love hearing about the shows/movies people like and recommend, or just hearing you recap the whole plot and your thoughts/judgements/excitement. For video games, the only ones I don't like/play are PvP and MMO type games. I don't play horror myself but watch it on Youtube. I love everything from AAA games like Zelda totk, to wholesome indie games coming out on steam, to strange horror puzzle games like the Rusty Lake series, and so on and so forth! I love keeping up to date with games coming out and finding hidden gems. Finally, on youtube I do watch a lot of gaming, but also like stuff like The Watcher Ghost Files and Mystery Files (aka the new Buzzfeed Unsolved), Defunctland, Nick Diramrio reviewing movies I've never seen, etc etc etc.
- animals/pets. I have a dog and fish right now, but have had cats, rats, etc. in the past. I love hearing about and seeing peoples' pets. I even have a mini printer if I need to send pet pics haha.
- art. I love trying new types of art - clay sculpting, painting, cross stitch. Right now I'm trying to journal regularly (but am veryyyyy behind). I love miniature sculpting and writing in my hobonichi planners.
- baking and cooking. I am not an adventurous eater and I don't have a refined palette, but I do enjoy these things nonetheless!
- dolls, miniatures, toys, figures, plushies. I love collecting miniatures and that led to liking dolls. Just little cute things!
- Other random stuff I like - Legos, puzzles, board/card games, piercings. I am also interested in learning html/css.
Please comment and DM me if you're interested! I'd love to get to know you a little on reddit first :) We don't need to have the same interests but a few in common would be awesome! Or if you're just looking for someone to talk about your life with (like journaling) lemme know.
EDIT: Forgot to say I normally look at reddit logged out (if I were logged in I think I'd spend even more time on reddit than I already do) so may be slow in replying after a while. And forgot to say I don’t consider myself a fantastic writewordsmith or anything. So am just looking to chat via mail truly. I also have wax seals and can maybe use those if desired. I’d love an excuse to use them though it does affect mailing.
submitted by forget-me-not-flower
to penpals [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 02:22 SnekNoot Take note of the good today, my fellow Orleanians.
This is more of a personal thing, but in typical New Orleanian fashion I've made myself a cocktail, am sitting on my stoop by the banquette and am reflecting on life.
TL;DR 11 years ago today I tried to off myself. I tried again a year after that. Last year out of the blue I had a brain aneurysm and a while ago the girl I wanted to marry left me. Safe to say it hasn't always been a great time.
But today an old friend wrote me out of nowhere a very nice message about how proud they are to see how far I've come, and they appreciate me in their life and they've always believed in me. That made my day and also made me remember it was the anniversary of... that dark moment.
Life is hard in this town for a lot of us. I try not to go online too much because sometimes it makes me really stressed. But I feel good today, and having that friend say those nice things to me really affected me positively.
So I'm forwarding the goodness to y'all.
There are so, so many days where it feels like nothing is working and worth living for. We all wish we could stay on our highs whenever we feel them, as far and in between they may be. But it's important to sit with that moment when you feel good. Get off your phone, sit and take account of the good things that happened today. Look how far you've come.
Right now, although it's hot out, the sunset looks pretty and the shade is nice. The green anoles are out and vibin'. A friend reminded me of my good qualities. I was able to avoid the worst pothole on the street on my commute. I checked in on my elderly neighbor and made her a cocktail too. Even when you're in a rough spot, think of one good thing that happened for you today.
What good thing happened to you today? I'd like to hear it. Just know I am rooting for you, and if you're feelin real low, let this be a sign for you to know you are loved, appreciated, and I am proud of you for getting through the day. Don't give up.
submitted by SnekNoot
to NewOrleans [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 01:43 leddbetter 1973 Cheyenne Super 10 For Sale
Her name is Back in Black and she doesn’t respond to anything else.
Price is negotiable. But not over the Internet. Come see me, look me in the eye and make an offer or over a video call. After Inspecting the ride. I Old school and that’s how we shall proceed.
1973 Chevy C10 Cheyenne 8,000 miles in 383 stroker motor Holley 4barrel New fuel filter New gas tank filler hose/gasket New side marker lights Turbo 400 transmission Posi rear end 4:11 New front BFG Radial T/A 80% tread rear BFG Radial T/A Flowmaster dual exhaust 3” New stainless steel tail lights New bed wood and bed strips 200 miles on last oil change Good battery Starts right up Reliable drive anywhere Motor runs 175-180 degrees on hot days
Has a small spot of rust by door sil driver side floor. If serious I will send detailed pics. Cansolid!!
Turns head and gets waves constantly.
Only trades that would be considered
1995-1999 Chevy Tahoe 2d/2wd 1935-1936 Ford Truck/Coupe 1955-1967 VW Type 2 1955-1965 VW Karman Ghia 1950s - 1960s Harley Davidson FL Dresser 1990-1998 Chevy OBS 2wd short bed 2dr 1995-1998 Chevy OBS 4wd short bed 2dr
Would go down in value with your cash, no non-running projects considered. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/230129129767716/?mibextid=6ojiHh
submitted by leddbetter
to chevyc10 [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 01:35 leddbetter 1973 Cheyenne Super 10 For Sale
| || |
Her name is Back in Black and she doesn’t answer to anything else. submitted by leddbetter to squarebodies [link] [comments]
Price is negotiable. But not over the internet. I’m old school, look me in the eye and make an offer after you done looked at the ride. Make sense? Let’s proceed.
1973 Chevy C10 Cheyenne 8,000 miles in 383 stroker motor Holley 4barrel New fuel filter New gas tank filler hose/gasket New side marker lights Turbo 400 transmission Posi rear end 4:11 New front BFG Radial T/A 80% tread rear BFG Radial T/A Flowmaster dual exhaust 3” New stainless steel tail lights New bed wood and bed strips 200 miles on last oil change Good battery Starts right up Reliable drive anywhere Motor runs 175-180 degrees on hot days
Has a small spot of rust by door sil driver side floor. If serious I will send detailed pics. Cansolid!!
Turns head and gets waves constantly.
Only trades that would be considered
1995-1999 Chevy Tahoe 2d/2wd 1935-1936 Ford Truck/Coupe 1955-1967 VW Type 2 1955-1965 VW Karman Ghia 1950s - 1960s Harley Davidson FL Dresser 1990-1998 Chevy OBS 2wd short bed 2dr 1995-1998 Chevy OBS 4wd short bed 2dr
Would go down in value with your cash, no non-running projects considered. I
2023.06.10 01:17 goldwasp602 What's going on with my* betta? lying on the bottom of the tank breathing heavily.
My* betta fish is at the bottom of his new tank breathing heavily.
I've scoured the internet to figure out why my* betta is acting this way. aquarium source dot com said that action needs to be taken as fast as possible, yet we just put him into a new tank, so I wouldn't think the issue would be "ammonia poisoning, nitrate poisoning, or hot temperatures." source
. The water is by far the cleanest he has ever lived in, the temperatures are at a good level by my understanding, (the heater was preset with the aquarium, we bought something like the 'premium fluval betta tank'.) The only thing I'd guess it could be is that the person who helped us at a locally owned and expertly ran aquarium store said to just put him in asap, still letting him acclimate to the water from the previous tank (we put him in the bag we bought our live plants from, with the water from the old tank, and then sat the bag in the water of the new tank to acclimate him.) I know and the guy who helped us said usually it's good to let the water and filter start to work itself out for 4-5 days, but considering his previous living conditions, (almost too embarrassing to share but I'll say: no heater, no filter, and one snail.) We were advised to put him in asap. Sorry I'm repeating myself haha.
Any clue on what he could be suffering from and how to help?
He is sitting at the bottom of the tank, not hiding himself, near some rocks (we also bought from the store.) Laying on the substrate. Flapping his top small fin/wing every so often, not looking like it's straining on him to do so. Additionally, more rarely he will dart around seeming energized, but that lasts just a few seconds.
any help would be greatly appreciated!
also my* cuz this isn't actually my betta, but is the betta of a close family member.
submitted by goldwasp602
to bettafish [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 01:04 Hedgehog_5150 Janissary: The Joy Ride Ch8
Credit to u/bluefishcake
for writing the original SSB story and building the sandbox for us to play in.
And a big thanks to the authors and their stories that inspired to get off my ass and put my fingers to keyboard. RandomTinkerer (City Slickers and Hayseeds), Punnynfunny (Denied Operations), CompassWithHat (Top Lasgun), Rhion-618 (Just One Drop), UncleCieling(Going Native), RobotStatic (Far Away), Kazevenikov (The Cryptid Chronicle), Also to the editor # Fan Beta Readers and KLiCkonthat .
As always comments, complaints, and suggestions are welcome.
This is a fair use notice. Any and all aspects of this may be used on and within this subreddit only, with attribution. All other uses are exclusive to the author.
Nanorix took the news from the advocates in stride, better than Linda. They had spent the night mutually venting at the injustice of the situation while putting away bottles of gin. Max sounded almost broken by the news while Nora the optimist in the family, firmly held to the belief that things would work out. Rufus was, well, Rufus. Intuitively compassionate, which is why he was laying in the front seat of the truck with his head on Linda's lap as they drove up to Flagstaff.
Linda was trying to sleep off her hangover, her eyes closed but not asleep. Alila had been honest that the only reason Garquile was not tied up in this was that he had her direct protection as a territorial governess. Tommy did not have that level of security and without it, he was in more danger than Robert. From what Alila had said, elements in the Interior wanted Robert dead, other interested parties wanted him alive because of his potential. The situation was so bad the Planetary Governess had stepped in and ordered the house arrest of six high-ranking members of the Interior and let it be known that if anything happened to young Mr. Pierce they would die publicly.
Neither Alila nor the planetary governess knew why the Interior wanted Robert dead, she did. After she heard that the pod found the children and what was being done to them. Her lieutenant had completely lost it, she rounded everyone operating the orphanage and lined them against the wall, and had them shot. The Interior had come in and had done what they always did, cleaned up the mess, and protected those who were important and connected. Before the interior got there one of the girls found a large data server and they made copies. There were four full copies still on Earth and one that she knew was off-world, and she had one of them. It had been too dangerous to keep at home so she had setup a remote server that would once a week send out a heartbeat signal. There were major safety measures in place to prevent access.
She had managed to go to Flagstaff for brunch about once a month to establish a pattern of behavior. Those trips with Robert and sometimes Tommy had always been good, nothing special just good days. She and Linda would have brunch and she would trigger a download to her server buried under the barn. When they had spoken with Alila, Max, and Nora, Max had commented that if anybody could stack the deck and pull inside straight now was the time to do it. She did not tell Linda why they had to come, just that she needed to come up and check on something.
She and Linda had a quiet brunch on the patio of the restaurant to allow Rufus to join them. As they ate she triggered the data transfer. The data transfer would take at least thirty minutes to complete, so they would have a nice long brunch and talk about anything but the boys, she even took a couple of selfies of the two of them to cover what she was doing. Rufus camped out under the table but never relaxed, she was not sure if he sensed her unease or something else was going on that she could not see.
They stayed and chit-chatted until Linda finished her third cup of coffee. She did not want the third cup but they needed the extra time to let the data transfer complete, and by that time Linda's hangover had started to subside. The drive home was uneventful, but traffic was horrible due to the festival of colors going on, it was the 4th of July after all.
Ishani was tired and hungry but had little interest in eating. She and Ensign Tha'xur had been up half the night working to translate the new equations that Robert had created yesterday, with a new understanding of how the translation needed to work. Thoughts of Robert consumed her mind, and she had to fight the urge to look over and watch him, the singular human male. His name seemed to roll off her tongue, lingering from her dreams the previous night as she drifted off to sleep. Those dreams had been far from innocent, filled with exotic and seductive images of him, even in his baggy exercise clothing.
Returning her attention to her food, Ishani shifted uncomfortably. She would need to change her underclothes if she continued dwelling on him like this. Taking another bite of the fruit, nut, and sauce mixture, she tried to enjoy it, but it did little to distract her from watching him. He moved slowly, almost as if dancing, though she couldn't grasp the purpose behind his movements. Ensign Tha'xur's timely arrival saved her from making an obvious fool of herself by staring at a boy nearly two years her junior. It always felt like she was the only one looking.
Ensign Tha'xur sat down with a tray of food and jokingly said, "Ground control to Crewwoman Vevreix, are you awake?" Ishani returned her gaze to her food and responded, "Yes, ma'am, I am awake, just..." Before she could finish her sentence, Ensign Tha'xur interrupted, "Distracted?"
Signing without looking up and absentmindedly playing with her food, Ishani replied, "Yes, ma'am, horribly. It's just... he's just one boy. I have enough common sense to know that there is no way I should even consider... why couldn't he be old, wrinkled, and fat..."
Ensign Tha'xur completed Ishani's thought, saying, "Instead, he's young, fit, and I would even go as far as to say he's attractive in a very unmasculine way, with that wounded, sad boy aura."
Looking up, Ishani was taken aback and asked, "What do you mean 'you could call him attractive'? Are you blind? I mean, he may be a little short, but other than that, he is..." She trailed off, unable to find the right words.
Smiling and taking a bite of her burrito, Ensign Tha'xur replied, "He is desirable, and deep down, I believe you could take away all his pain and sadness... but please don't go there." Shifting into a serious tone, she continued, "I overheard Cmdr Norroe and Lt Cmdr Ashix talking about him the day we arrived. What caught my attention was Cmdr Norroe mentioning his thousand-yard stare that is measured in miles. There are significant parts of his life that we don't have access to because they've been redacted by the interior."
Ishani looked over at Robert, who appeared to have finished his morning workout and was heading towards the mobile kitchen. She murmured, "No one is ever so lost in the deepest of caves that they cannot be found by the beating of their heart. There is always hope and always a way out."
Ensign Tha'xur wiped her face clean of the red sauce that had dripped from her burrito and commented, "You, Crewwoman, are an optimist."
"With all due respect, ma'am, have you looked?" Ishani responded quizzically.
With a wry smile En. Tha'xur replied smoothly "I am technically a married woman and my husband and kho wives are going to be here in three days. I am hoping that my leave request will be honored, we were supposed to go to Tel Aviv for 14 days." Frowning slightly with the last statement.
Ishani gave an understanding smile "Well, that explains why you are not interested. You know, if you want to get the time off then ask for help. What is the worst he can do to say no?"
En. Tha'xur almost laughed at that, "So what should I do ask him over here for you to ogle him and for me to get a chance to go on leave, I do not think he would like that, being that he is here under guard."
Ishani took another bite of her food, ‘alright girl put up or shut up’ she thought to herself, before standing. "Ma'am if you never ask for help you will never get any." This is not a good idea, turning to find Robert who was looking for an open table to eat at. "Robert, can you join us over here, please?" Blessed Nest mother, that sounded so bad she inwardly cringed.
Robert had gotten his food-laden tray and was looking for an empty place to sit. It felt a little weird not having a personal shadow always with him. The petty officers had told him last night that he would be given some space and an opportunity to interact with the people here. "Go out, mingle, talk to people, that's a winning idea," he thought sarcastically. Yup, everything was normal again. Alone in a room full of people and completely clueless about how to do the most basic of things, like talking to anybody.
Now, the people he could talk to were a problem. Being the only male and the only human, he received looks. The looks could be categorized into three groups: lust, curiosity, and pity. Dealing with lust was easy; he just chose not to care, and thankfully, they were discreet about it for now. Pity, on the other hand, infuriated him because most of the time, it was fake. Whenever someone expressed their sympathy for all the things he had been through, he wanted to scream. At best, it was a polite social convention, and at worst, it was a selfish and internalized burden of guilt that had nothing to do with him.
Just as he spotted an empty table at the far end, somebody called out his name. "Can you join us over here, please?" Shit, it was Ishani, the one person in the whole damned place who had a very unsettling effect on him. She was the only one here who scared the shit out of him. Taking a breath to collect himself, he acknowledged her with a nod and proceeded to join her and the Ensign at their table.
He noticed that when he acknowledged her, she just beamed and got all bubbly. That was the best word for it. Her glowing tattoos seemed to brighten for just a moment before she sat down, leaving him to wonder what those tattoos looked like on the rest of her body. He made it to the table and sat down on autopilot while his mind indulged in a little fantastical daydream, leaving him noticeably flushed and uncomfortable in ways that only men could be.
Setting his tray and bottle of maple syrup down on the table and taking a seat, Robert tried to say thank you, but neither Ishani nor the Ensign had their translators running.
En. Tha'xur noticed him stop trying to use hand speak and realized that they had just messed up a little. "I am sorry, that was rude of us," she said as she tried to get her translation app up and running. Meanwhile, Ishani was no help; she was head down in her food, blushing and trying very hard not to be noticed. "There, we're set."
Robert was relieved when En. Tha'xur got her translation app running, so he wouldn't have to stare at Ishani across the round table from him. He returned his attention to En. Tha'xur. "I was trying to say thank you for asking me to join you, and it's okay. You at least figured it out."
Ishani looked up from her half-eaten food when En. Tha'xur's translator started speaking. Fuck, she thought, this is so embarrassing. Inviting a boy to come over and eat with you only to ignore him when he gets here. Idiot. Turning to face him, her brain failed as she smiled stupidly and took another bite. "Hungry?"
En. Tha'xur couldn't help but cringe. The situation unfolding before she seemed straight out of a cliché "coming of age" story, where a girl meets a boy and the universe seems to pause just for them. It reminded her of the sentimental videos her older brother and his friends would tear up over. Poor Ishani, the other girls around her would roast her mercilessly, yet she remained oblivious to the fact that she was being watched. En. Tha'xur couldn't decide if it was cute or tragic. Determined to intervene and save Ishani from herself, she spoke up, "Robert, the reason Crewwoman Vevreix invited you over is that I need your help."
"Hungry?" Robert was caught off guard by Ishani's question. Did she even understand what she was doing? He found her confusing, and he just wanted to finish his meal quickly and GTFO. En. Tha'xur was speaking, but he had missed what she said. He decided to play dumb and replied, "OK."
En. Tha'xur thought to herself, "This is good." She then explained, "Well, my husband and my three kho wives are going to be arriving on Earth in three days. I had scheduled a 14-day leave, but then I received an emergency assignment here, and I don't know if they will honor my leave request."
Robert had managed to pay enough attention to understand that she needed a favor. He had two basic choices: give a hard no and explain that the advocates wouldn't allow him to help until they gave the go-ahead, or try to answer her questions. His best option was to listen and see if he could offer some hints. "I am quite restricted by what my advocates have told me to do, but I will try to point you in the right direction."
Finally, Ishani managed to gather her thoughts and interjected, "See, I told you, all you need to do is ask."
En. Tha'xur rolled her eyes, silently expressing her frustration towards Ishani. She replied, "Thank you, can you help?"
Talking with his mouth full wasn't polite and attempting to gesture while eating proved to be a challenge. Robert sighed as he reluctantly set down his fork, his stomach growling in protest. "Yes, I will genuinely help you. And if you're wondering why," Robert paused, trying to understand his willingness to assist, "it's because you asked. Now, the big question is, do you even know what you want to ask?"
Ishani eagerly jumped in, unknowingly giving En. Tha'xur some time to formulate a proper question to ask. "Okay, if I can ask one too, please?"
Robert held up one finger as he obeyed the demands of his stomach and shoved a load of runny fried eggs and hash browns in his mouth. "Sure, since you saved me from eating alone." Robert swallowed hard after he finished speaking, realizing he had just unintentionally flirted with her. Thinking inwardly, "Shut up, dumb ass. You are going to get yourself in trouble."
Ishani sputtered like Joe Pesci for just a couple of seconds before getting to her real question. "Ok, ok, ok, ok." Pointing to the work area where the Charger was, she asked, "Why is the car so important? Why did you build it?"
Robert shoveled another load of eggs and hash browns into his mouth. "Why would a human boy on Earth, living in North America, want to build a fast car and one that could fly?" Pausing to inhale the bite of his eggs and hash browns, he continued, "Because it was fun, and it would have been cool to have a hotrod and be the only one to fly. Well, that would be a show-off, a little, and to have a shitload of fun flying around in it."
En. Tha'xur cluelessly responded, "What is a 'hotrod,' and why would a flying car be 'cool'? I guess that means good?"
Robert had to roll his head back before responding, to the idea of attempting to explain custom car and motorcycle cultures. "Humans like to personalize cars and other things as expressions of their personalities and rolling pieces of art in some cases. For a human boy to be able to build a car and go fast is a dream. Hotrods are the result of those builds."
Taking another break to move the French toast in front of him and pour on the maple syrup, he continued, "Back to the first part of your question, 'Why is it important?' Other than a personal attachment to the memories connected to it... it is not, in the grand scheme of things, it was a mistake. A very valuable mistake, it disproved one of my approaches to a bigger challenge."
En. Tha'xur and Crewwoman Vevreix just looked at each other and mouthed the same words, "It was a fucking mistake!!"
Robert tried to hide his smug satisfaction. Nobody ever considered just how much of his work was critical and applied to his big challenge. Ishani looked at Robert as he dug into his French toast. "If that was a mistake, what is the prize?" Robert just smiled and shrugged in response to the question. En. Tha'xur sat dejected, "Well, that did answer one of the big questions. The car is a stepping stone to the bigger thing."
Watching the Ensign sit dejected and look a little lost made Robert feel like a little shit. Flipping the bird to the bureaucratic machine that was the Imperium always felt like a "fuck yes," but trolling a person was different. She had asked him for help, and he had used it to be petty and spiteful. "You don't need to ask right now, and if you loan me your data slate, I will give you a couple of hints," he said, reaching out for the device.
En. Tha'xur handed over the data slate wordlessly. Robert opened a new document and wrote:
"If you have 'The Right Stuff,' you can connect the dots."
"Space-Time Gravity is not the same as Gravity Space-Time."
When he finished, he handed the data slate back to the ensign and returned to his food. En. Tha'xur picked up the data slate, read the hints, and found the first line to be of no use other than some devotional wisdom that would be preached in a temple. However, the second line held interesting possibilities. Grabbing the data slate, Ishani quickly scanned the text and handed it back to En. Tha'xur. "Thank you, I think we can work with this," she said. Turning to En. Tha'xur, she added, "Ma'am, I think we need to work in conference room 2 today. It has the other digital whiteboard, and I think we need the space."
En. Tha'xur picked up the data slate and looked right at Robert. "I don't get the first one. The second one could be applied in a dozen or more places."
Finishing his first piece of French toast, Robert tried to remember the order of the equations to point her in the right direction. "Show me my work from last night, and I will show you the one to work against. Don't try to finish it, just try to understand it."
En. Tha'xur handed the translated copy of Robert's work back to him, and he looked at it with a mixture of fascination and difficulty. It was strange to see his work presented so neatly, but it was also challenging to read. He had to mentally retranslate it to the original version he had written. Working through the problem brought his headache back in full force, making the surroundings too bright and diminishing his appetite. Robert tried to hide his discomfort, squinting his eyes and taking deep breaths.
Concerned, Ishani noticed his strained expression and asked, "Are you alright? You don't look well."
With a weak smile, Robert replied, "I shouldn't have done that. I usually take a couple of days off after my little flying trips. It's like working out too hard and feeling extremely sore the next day, then trying to work out again. Not fun."
En. Tha'xur felt uneasy knowing that Robert was enduring pain to help her. She thought of her father and how he would be disappointed in her. "Are you sure you don't need a doctor?" she asked, genuinely concerned.
"I'll be fine, I just need some sleep," Robert reassured them, pushing his plate of food away. "If either of you wants to finish this, go for it. At the very least, don't waste the bacon."
Ishani reached for the plate and admitted, "I've heard about bacon, but I'm a little afraid to try new foods. I don't want to be disappointed."
En. Tha'xur reached for a piece of bacon, saying, "I love bacon. I'll even taste-test it to make sure it's okay." She smiled at Ishani and took a bite.
Robert observed as En. Tha'xur's eyes widened in shock. Oops, he remembered that he had coated the bacon in maple syrup. However, she didn't spit it out, which was a good sign. His mom loved crispy bacon dipped in maple syrup. Sometimes, she would devour an entire package of bacon if there was maple syrup in the house, and then she would try to conceal the fact that a pound of bacon had disappeared. She would even do her dishes, a chore that was usually Robert's.
En. Tha'xur bit into the bacon, expecting a salty taste but experiencing the combination of sweet and salty. The flavor was incredible. She paused to savor the taste before chewing again. "You have to try this!" she exclaimed.
Ishani, with anticipation in her eyes, sniffed the remaining piece of bacon. "Here goes nothing." She cherished this moment, as it was the closest she had come to tasting her nest mother's nectar. Grabbing the plate, she declared, "I'm finishing this!" and devoured the last piece of French toast without bothering with utensils.
Despite his throbbing headache, Robert couldn't help but smile as he rose from the table. "Enjoy. I need some sleep."
Tommy had to roll his eyes at Valenlina's latest attempt to "improve" his wardrobe with a purple satin shirt with a matching sea green scarf. No matter how many times Valenlina tried to have Tommy dress like a proper male, Tommy always simply said no. Early on in the dating, Valenlina had gotten so frustrated that she also broke up with him, not that she ever told him. Her father and kho mother Tearhart had stepped in and explained that she could not make a human be like a Shil. The Imperium still tried, and the Humans resisted more. There were several semi-celebrities on the data-net that advised Shil’vai women on dating human males and females. The most common rule for dating a human male is not to try and change them to be acceptable in your circle because they will resent you for it. You have attracted a human male for a reason, embrace it.
Their walk through downtown Prescott was a moment the Tommy did not have to think about the meeting tomorrow. Early this morning he and his mother had gotten almost an hour of one on one time with Advocate Roskin and she was able to explain in greater detail what was expected of him tomorrow and how things could go right or wrong. Withholding information was one of the worse things he could do. After the meeting, Valenlina noticed the additional stress in Tommy. It was so bad that physical affection had no effect. There was only one thing other than sex that could distraction, window shopping.
Their window shopping trip started as a serious attempt to make him presentable in Shil’vati society, ow her attempts to help him look more presentable were just something they did to have fun. In many ways, it was closer to foreplay now, as Tommy now attempts to have Valenlina dress like a human girl. Tommy did have one big win, a pair of 4-inch-high heels, he had said they improved the view coming and going. Her big win last year was a shirt and tie set for his tailored charcoal suit, he was finally willing to wear formal attire with a splash color.
Valenlina could see her best effort to pull Tommy out of what his mother called a 'funk' were not working. He was still not willing to talk to her about it, she could understand that he was pissed but his silence bothered her. While he had not pushed her away, he still felt distant. Last year's fireworks had been the warmup act for what had followed. She could never look at Mr. Scott's old Ford pickup without blushing just a little bit.
Tommy smiled with a wicked little smile, "Thinking dirty thoughts again I see." he said holding up a pair of women's cowboy boots in hot pink.
Playfully Valenlina put on her pouty face, "What would you wear with them?"
Taking his turn to think dirty thoughts and hoping to see her turn dark blue Tommy put on his most innocent face, "First this is a girl's color, and they would be for you, but what would I wear if you wanted me to try them on? Nothing?" Emphasizing the last word.
With a facade of indignation, "Why Mr. Sandoval, are you implying that the Governess's daughter would be involved in anything so uncouth as to make a respectable male present himself for inspection with only what the Goddess endowed him with?"
Tommy returned the boots to the display and stepped forward to steal a kiss."My Dear Miss Seskie, you know dammed well that you would take full advantage of that situation."
Returning the kiss, Valenlina smiled. "Yes, Mr. Sandoval I would." She bent down to whisper into his ear. "I think we both need to cool off or we will never make it to the fireworks show."
Tommy took her by the hand." Looks like I'll have to settle for mint chocolate chip ice cream."
Valenlina put on a hurt expression. "You are so cruel."
They left the window shopping and continued walking back to the courthouse square. The roads around the court were closed for three days for Frontier Days and the Festive of Colors. This opened the court square up for a giant art show and sales venue. This was the change for local artisans to show off their wares in the hopes of making one or selling to a noble patron and then getting follow-up commission work. The north side of the courthouse was dedicated to custom motorcycles and the east side was for classic custom cars. The west side, known as "Whiskey Row" is where the food vendors and their destination Jacksons Ice Cream was set up right in front of the Palace Restaurant and Saloon.
Turning the corner to walk up Whiskey Row Tommy could not help but feel he was being watched. Tommy had to keep Valenlina from heading off to go look at this or that. He had to remind her, that ice cream was first or he would have to give her a spanking. Valenlina would always retort with, "Promises, promises".
When they were getting their ice cream Valenlina nudged Tommy and told him to look across the street. Standing in front of a face painting booth was a short portly balding human male with a puggy round face. He wearing a well-made black suit, the only thing missing from the 1930s gangster getup was a fedora hat.
Taking their ice cream and heading off to a wood sculptor's booth Tommy kicked himself mentally for not seeing him earlier, he was the only person wearing a business suit. He should have stood out like a sore thumb, but he just seemed to blend in. The booth was impressive, boasting several pieces commissioned by various members of the nobility. Tommy ate his ice cream and kept an eye on the gangster while Valenlina inspected the various pieces and got sticker shock.
Tommy tried to get Valenlina's attention when the gangster entered the booth and proceeded to the cane rack. By the time Valenlina noticed, the gangster was already paying for the cane he had selected.
When the gangster finished his transaction, he turned to Tommy and Valenlina." Well if it isn't the young man of the hour, Thomas Sandoval. It's a pleasure to meet you. As well as you, Miss Seskie."
Flustered, Tommy stuttered out, "Who the fuck are you? Have you been watching me?"
The man smiled, but it felt unnerving, maybe a little malicious, too., "My name is Mr. Rojo and I watch everybody. It's my calling, but I will admit that you and your brother have piqued my interest. I go through life watching the world go by, I enjoy the shifting mosaic of peoples' lives, and how they interconnect. For example, the car that you and your brother build was a 69 or 70 I could not tell with what is out on the news media.”
Tommy waited to tell this to go pound sand, but he need to talk and tell Mr. Rojo what even he needed, Tommy forgot Valenlina was listening as he spoke.” It is a 69, why is that important?”
The gangster slowly dropped part of his smile as he replied, ”It is not important, it is merely a curiosity just like why not use the Confederate battle flag and why the name Valkirey?”
Eagerly Tommy responded, “The Betsy Ross over the Stars and Bars, because it is more appropriate at this time and the Shil’vati Imperium has no idea what it means, instead of erasing human history maybe the Shil’vati could try learning from it.” almost quoting Sean Connery about goose stopping morons and burning books. “ Now for Valkire over General Lee, that is easy, Valkire’s are sexy and cool. and General Lee would get us in trouble, just like the Stars and Bars.”
The gangster's smile was completely gone, and his expression and tone had changed to serious but neutral almost professorial, “But I have a simple question for you, and I'd greatly appreciate it if you would give me an honest answer, Thomas what is gravity?"
Thomas could not stop himself and replied without hesitation. "Gravity is a higher dimensional construct. When projected from a higher dimension it appears to be a force, but to use it as a dimensional construct the space-time gravity interpretation must be inverted to be the first-dimensional construct so that space-time gravity becomes gravitational space-time with an indeterminate number of dimensional constructs between gravity and space."
The gangster looked surprised, while Valenlina looked utterly confused. "Is that your brother Robert's words or yours?"
Thomas hesitated only slightly before he replied. "Mostly Robert's, I can't dream up the shit he does but once he explains it, I can see it. He uses me as a sounding board." Tommy suddenly realized what he was saying. "Who the fuck are you?"
The gangster took Tommy's hand to shake it. "Mr. Sandoval, I told you I am a watcher and now I get to watch you. Have a glorious life Mr. Sandoval" nodding to Valenlina, "and you too, Miss Seskie."
Tommy watched as the gangster walked out of the booth noting that nobody noticed his passing.
Valenlina had been too engrossed in Mr. Rojo and Tommy's conversation to say or do anything, but now that Mr. Rojo was no longer there she angrily turned to face Tommy."Thomas, you have some explaining to do!"
Tommy would not realize until much later, that the gangster had placed the cane in his has as he left.
First: Janissary: The Joy Ride Ch1 : Sexyspacebabes (reddit.com)
Previous: Janissary: The Joy Ride Ch7 : Sexyspacebabes (reddit.com)
Extra: Janissary: The Son Of War : Sexyspacebabes (reddit.com) Janissary: Vision from Zy'Verila : Sexyspacebabes (reddit.com)
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2023.06.10 01:01 CringeyVal0451 The Lap of Luxury (Funky P. Beard gets in trouble)
Looks like it might be time for a cast list refresher! So let me reintroduce the chummers!!!!
OP (c’est moi!)
Female, late 20s
Perky emo girl with purple hair
Likes crass humor
Nerdy, petite, beard bait
Funky P. Beard (FPB)
Male, early 30s
Bona fide psycho piece of shit
Male, early/mid 30s
Hypersexual kinky bastard
Likes exhibitionism, vomit, and illegal substances
Charismatic, cult-leader vibes
Very amusing, always nice to OP
The only person who seemed capable of getting FPB to behave
Male, late 20s
Sexy, pleasant to be around
Has a sense of humor that meshes well with OP’s
Usually able to ignore FPB’s psycho behavior
The primary target of FPB’s jealousy
Male, early/mis 30s
Host of the gaming weekends
Typically level-headed, but losing patience with FPB
Skilled in martial arts
Female, early 30s
Co-host of the gaming weekends
Increasingly intolerant of FPB
Petite, pretty, friendly... probably also beard bait
Male, early 30s
The funny fat guy (NOT a neckbeard)
Easy-going, friendly, rarely directly involved in the weekend’s drama
Chapter 5: The Lap of Luxury
We had been moving back and forth between the garage and the living room (it wasn’t the “War Room” until the gaming began) for the past hour or so. This was actually my favorite part of the weekend. I wasn’t exhausted yet, nobody was plastered yet, and I was genuinely getting to know FPB’s buddies. Snorlax told me about his former career as a semi-pro wrestler, and how an injury had forced him to start working as a mall cop. Athena and Sage were both pharmacy techs, and they were considering opening their own gaming shop. Mori was a paralegal for an LGBT law firm and ran a fairly lucrative fetish website on the side. Axton was going to grad school for social work and was the bass player for a classic rock cover band. Damn it, we had genuine common interests. Why couldn’t he have been a parolee or a gong farmer?
And I was able to chat comfortably with all the team members because FPB had taken to the master bathroom upstairs to get “re-ready.” Not only did he desperately need to change his “dew-covered” underpants, but he also needed to take a full shower (using Athena’s bathing products, of course). He would then spend nearly a full hour blow-drying, flat-ironing, and spiking his jet-black hair so that he emerged looking like some bizarre mash-up of Hagrid and Discount Tom Sandoval.
I’m also assuming that he manscaped, and I sincerely hoped he’d brought his own pink razors for this task. But as for his bushy behemoth of a beard? He took absolutely NO care of it. I never understood the statement he was trying to make by being fastidious AF with every aspect of personal grooming, save his defining feature. No matter. He was absent, and I was finally having fun! Alas, the fun wouldn’t last. The time for pre-game was approaching, so Sage and Athena went to the kitchen to arrange the shots.
Athena: How many do you want, OP?
Me: I think I’d better stick with two since I’ve already had a beer.
A freshly showered and finally
dressed FPB turned to me, “Yeah, you need to stay sober.”
Oh, now that bullshit made me want
Me: Athena, make it three for me.
FPB shot me a menacing look.
Me: What? I’m not gonna get wasted off one extra shot.
FPB: I’m saving you from yourself. You could at least TRY to appreciate my chivalry.
But then I had second thoughts about angering the already rage-prone beast. I didn’t want to ruin the evening for the other team members. And FPB’s temper tantrums definitely had the potential to ruin the evening for everyone in attendance.
Me: I’ll shoot two and just sip on the third one. Does that sound reasonable?
Me: Come on! I feel like such a sissy compared to the rest of you.
FPB: Whose fault is that? You didn’t take advantage of your years and years and years of being a “student” to practice handling your liquor?
Me: No, mostly I studied. And when we partied, we did drugs
. We didn’t drink. Not like this, anyway.
I was getting pretty mad, and I did NOT want to have a full-blown screaming match with FPB in front of everyone.
Me: Do you mind if I take five? This isn’t something we need to argue over. I really am trying to learn how to play, and to play the way YOUR TEAM plays. The guide books were no help at all.
FPB: If I catch you asking Mori for coke, so help me...
Me: I just need some air. That’s not code for anything untoward. I just want to go outside.
FPB: I’m coming with you.
Snorlax stepped in.
Snorlax: Bro. Just let her go outside. I’ll stand by the door and make sure Mori doesn’t follow her.
FPB: I don’t care about Mori! You make sure that dick-wipe Axton doesn’t follow her. I *know* he’s trying to bang her.
I could hear all this rancor on my way to the back door.
Me: Dude!!! Chill! I’m not going outside to get drugs. I’m not going outside to shag anybody. I just want five fucking minutes of peace!
Mori stood up. He was shirtless that night, wearing nothing but ultra-sheer light pink boxers that complemented the pink streaks in his bedazzled beard. But despite his wispy attire, the group still kowtowed to him.
Mori: I hereby grant OP *TEN* minutes of solitude on the back porch. FPB, you will use this time to meditate. Think about what it means to be kind
to your significant other. Think about what it means to show empathy and acceptance. Think about what it means to enjoy the company of your fellow chummers.
I slipped outside and inhaled the pleasant dusk that was beginning to fill the air. And I found myself feeling indebted to Mori and wondering if this was some sort of cult indoctrination malarkey... or if he’d just known FPB longer than any of the rest of us and had learned how to effectively handle him. And then I decided that it didn’t matter. I finally had the peace and quiet I so desperately needed.
But how *did* FPB know that Axton was flirting with me? I thought we’d both been pretty covert about it. Uhhh... In front of FPB, at least. I decided that he didn’t actually know
. He was constantly
accusing male friends of “trying to bang me” when there was not even the slightest hint of attraction on anyone’s part. It was a numbers game. If you throw out hundreds of accusations, one might happen to stick. And then you can say, “I TOLD YOU SO.”
I often felt like an alternate universe version of Anne Boleyn, imprisoned by a skinny and even madder
version of the famous king. FPB certainly fancied himself a regal figure, worthy of everyone’s fealty. Wait... was Henry VIII the OG neckbeard??? (note... I thought I had made an original observation here, but I came across a year-old post on ReddXReads from u/Raidan1084
, so props to you for beating me to this observation!!!)
My unfocused mind ran amuck for a bit longer, and the ten minutes were almost up when I heard a quiet voice calling my name from around the side of the house.
I rounded the corner to answer.
It was Athena.
Athena: OP, I know it’s none of my business, but FPB is a douchebag. That girl who came to the door last night? She’s one of his hook-ups.
I laughed a little. “I know. He’s got loads
of them... Hey, do you mind if I ask you a stupid question that I ask myself all the time?”
Me: Why do you guys put up with his shit?
Athena: He and Mori have been best friends since before the team formed. He’s kind of a “package deal.” If we want to keep Mori as our GM, we have to accept FPB. And Mori does run a really fun campaign.
Me: So if he ever crosses a line with Mori, he’s out?
Athena: That’s what we’ve all been hoping for! But Mori’s insanely
patient with FPB.
We sighed and returned inside.
FPB was sitting in sulky silence, staring at his polished Chelsea boots. I took a seat on the other side of the room, next to Mori.
Mori: You good?
Mori whispered, “You want some coke?”
Me: Shhhhhh!!! No, I don’t do that!
Mori mouthed, “Adderall?”
I smiled and mouthed, “Later.”
Mori stood. “Tonight, we are making a seating chart. There are six numbers on the floor. You will each draw a number from my underwear, and you will sit on the corresponding number. Is that clear?”
Everyone bellowed in unison, “YES, GAME MASTER.”
This was exciting! I had a decent chance of not having to sit by FPB that night! I was completely fed up with his constant criticism of my character sheets and his suggestions for future moves. He was messing me up more than he was helping.
Mori took a seat on a throw pillow, shoved 6 folded pieces of paper down the back of his boxers and called us up, one by one, to draw our numbers from his drawers.
Being the newbie, I was the last to draw.
Mori: Get all the way up in dat crack, OP.
I laughed and fished the paper out of Mori’s boxers.
FPB took a loud breath and fumed, “MORI, YOU FU...”
Sage put a hand on FPB’s chest, and said very sternly, “Take it down a notch.”
Mori: Tonight, we will find peace amongst ourselves and rain fire and terror on the mega-corporations! Are you with me???”
“WE’RE WITH YOU, GAME MASTER.”
Mori: Then inspect your numbers and take your seats. You should also feel free to sniff the papers.
No one did that.
I got #3. Motherfucker. FPB was sitting to my right. But at least Athena was sitting to my left. I felt like I could trust her, and I felt like she would call him out if he pulled any more of his rage crap. Tragically, Axton was sitting to FPB’s right. That wasn’t going to go well. Snorlax was sitting to Athena’s left, and Sage was in his usual spot, as Mori’s right hand. So it went: tech, muscle, tech, magic, muscle, magic. Not ideal.
Mori surveyed the room. “Not at all how I had hoped,” he muttered. “But nevertheless! The team has been assembled. The time has come...”
I actually knew what to shout this time. I remembered to pound on my chest, and I looked to Athena in an attempt to learn the tribal dance. I got close enough.
We charged into the fuel station. I stood by the non-threatening triad of shots, while all the other team members stood before their seven shots.
Mori: Fireball. Each tincture shall light a fire in our bellies, improve out spell-casting, and lead us to victory. Chummers... DRINK!!!
I slammed two shots and picked up the third to nurse during the game. Just like the night before, all the other players downed their seven shots with astounding ease.
We returned to the War Room and took our assigned seats.
Mori: The Rules!
Everyone groaned, just as they had previously. Apparently, this was customary.
Mori: If you glitch, you must take a shot of Fireball to boost your skills. OP, you may take a SIP of an alcoholic beverage. You may also do a bump of coke.
FPB clenched his fists, gritted his teeth, and growled. This was delighting me to no end!!! Not only might I get a little taste of my former favorite drug for the first time in YEARS, but Mori also seemed to be actively antagonizing FPB. It was delicious.
And here’s one for the philosophers: AITA... If you’re antagonizing
, doesn’t that kind of make you the hero?
Mori: The second time you glitch, you must kiss my staff or endure a smack in the face from my staff. FPB, you must suffer The Lap of Luxury upon your second glitch... Or if you misbehave.
FPB: Explain that.
Mori: It will become clear in good time, my sweet little Samurai.
FPB shifted uncomfortably. I bit my lip to keep from laughing.
Mori: All subsequent glitches will result in escalating staff punishments, the anal gaze, removal of armor, or a spanking. Anything the team deems an epic success shall be rewarded with a shot of Johnny Walker Blue. And my trusted Assistant GM has a few new rules to add, just for the time being. Sage the Mage, the floor is yours.
Sage: We can’t afford to pay for another round of professional cleaning for... the time being. We are now asking that ALL team members please use the restroom if you must pee, poop, or puke. Gentlemen, feel free to pee in the backyard, but please refrain from peeing on the porch. Thank you. Back to you, Game Master.
Mori: Place your hand on your chest and pledge your loyalty if you agree to this; and take off your pants if you object.
FPB put his hands near the button of his trousers. Everyone watched him with bated breath. But then he placed his hand on his chest.
Mori: Then we continue planning the station takeover... NOW!
We had barely gotten through two combat turns when Mori decided it was time for leftover Taco Bell, more liquor, and pornography. Tonight, Snorlax rolled for Bat Pussy
, an older film that is widely considered to be the Plan 9 from Outer Space of porn. It was definitely on the “softcore” side since no one ever actually banged. It’s a spoof on Batman, and the main character gets a little “twitch” DOWN THERE whenever she needs to go fight crime. I found it wildly entertaining!
In fact, I laughed hysterically throughout the entire movie. Most of us did. FPB even snorted once or twice. As the main character was bouncing on a hippity hop alongside the highway, wearing a cheap costume, I was howling with laughter. Possibly because everyone was a little drunk and the drunken laughter was contagious, possibly because it really was
absurdly funny. Or both.
FPB: It’s not THAT funny.
Me (gasping): I can’t help it! This is bat-shit crazy!
Mori: We gotta get OP a Batgirl costume and a hippity hop!
Me: You’re ON! I will absolutely do that! When can we film it???
FPB: You’re gonna recreate a scene from a PORNO??? With MORI???
Sage: Dude! WHAT is sexual about this scene? It’s ridiculous. That’s why we’re all cracking up!
FPB: You have to understand. I’m an intellectual...
I was painfully familiar with the insufferable tripe that typically followed this statement. Apparently, so was the Shadowrun crew. Everyone groaned dismissively. And then something vaguely resembling a sex scene started up, and Mori shushed us all.
Mori: Shhhh! It might finally get good!
It didn’t. Not in the way Mori meant.
The movie ended, most of us lit a ciggy, and we all returned to our assigned seats.
Mori: Shall we refuel before we resume?
A chorus of “HELL YEAH” rang out. I wasn’t in the mood for booze. I was once again beginning to fade around this time, and I needed to find a way to get some Adderall from Mori without FPB noticing. It had already been an incredibly long day for me, even though I had been having fun (aside from having to tend to FPB’s nonsense). Maybe the beardo boyfriend was the reason I was getting exhausted at these gatherings.
Constantly having to talk him down from a temper tantrum, having him constantly looking over my shoulder and scrutinizing my every move, suffering through his ceaseless (and useless) suggestions for my next move, having to defend myself for not drinking enough, then having to turn around and defend myself when I decided to have an extra shot, enduring his seething wrath every time I so much as spoke to Mori or Axton... It was exhausting.
As everyone was refueling, FPB had managed to trap Sage and Athena and was lecturing them about why it was disrespectful to FEMALES to combine humor with sex.
FPB: To make a mockery of the female anatomy, and then to depict sexual acts so crudely is offensive to me as a feminist.
FPB: Obviously. I would lay down my life to defend the sacred honor of the feminine spirit.
Sage: I’m pretty sure it was just a bad movie. Plus, the superhero was a woman, so...
FPB: But they had to make her superpowers connected to her genitals. That’s objectification. It’s not funny, even if it’s meant to be “so bad, it’s funny.” I’m offended.
I wasn’t part of the discussion, but I interjected, “I feel like humor can be sexy. Being able to laugh during sexual experiences can create a bond. And if both partners are deliberately goofing off, what’s offensive about that?”
Axton raised his glass in approval. I couldn’t help smiling at him.
FPB: Oh, Miss Sex Therapist knows everything.
Me: I don’t know anything. Clearly. It’s just an opinion. Based on research. That I learned in graduate school.
FPB: Some idiots actually researched LAUGHING during sex? That can’t be a real thing.
Me: I’ll print out the articles.
FPB: From where? Hustler?
I didn’t have the energy to argue with him.
Me: Yes. I cite Hustler
in all my papers.
Axton: I’ve read the same thing. Laughing releases endorphins. Sex releases endorphins. Plus, why do you think adult novelty stores are always so funny? The elephant trunk underwear?
Mori: I have a pair of those.
Of course he did.
FPB: You want a bottle smashed over your head, Axton? STOP TALKING TO MY GIRLFRIEND ABOUT YOUR DICK.
Me: FPB, he literally said nothing
about his dick.
FPB: WRONG. He was *agreeing* with you. He’s trying to ingratiate himself. Because he’s thinking with his DICK.
I rolled my eyes.
Mori saved us by clapping his hands. “Back to the War Room, chummers!”
We headed back, and Mori was following close behind me. He tugged on one of my pigtails. I turned around to see him holding an Adderall in the palm of his hand. I glanced over my shoulder to make sure FPB wasn’t watching. He was too busy staring daggers at Axton. I snatched the pill, thanked Mori, and slipped it in my mouth.
When my turn came around, my sleaze failed, and the security subnet sent my coordinates to the mainframe. It was my first glitch of the evening, and I didn’t want to pile cocaine on top of Adderall. So I had to take a sip of an alcoholic beverage. Since I didn’t have one of my own, FPB offered me his Jack & Pepper (Jack Daniels and Dr. Pepper... 90% Jack, 10% Pepper).
Me: Is anybody drinking a beer? Or something a little less potent?
Snorlax offered me a sip of his beer.
Me: You’re sure you don’t mind?
Snorlax: It’s all good. Have a sip.
FPB was fuming again.
Snorlax handed me his beer and I took a sip.
Me: Thank you.
FPB: You’re drinking after another man??? You didn’t even wipe off the mouth of the bottle first? UGH! It’s like you’re kissing him!
Snorlax started making kissy sounds at me. I made them back. Everyone laughed. Everyone but FPB, of course.
Please remember that this was in the Before Times...
I sat back down. FPB pulled me into his lap and growled, “Snorlax now? Really?”
I twisted to look him in the face and said through clenched teeth, “It was a sip of beer
FBP kept one long arm tightly wound around me and used his free hand to slug back loud gulps of Jack & Pepper. I dared to glance over at Axton. We locked eyes for a few seconds, but Axton abruptly whipped his head around to face Mori.
FPB roared, “WERE YOU JUST LOOKING AT MY GIRLFRIEND, FUCK-WALLET???”
Sweet Athena spoke up.
Athena: Funky. Seriously. We’re supposed to be a team. We can’t even look at each other? Mori, can we outlaw the outbursts? We’re never even gonna get past the planning phase if FPB keeps screaming at every single person who interacts with OP.”
Mori: I’m inclined to agree with you, Athena. FPB, why did you invite your girlfriend here if you didn’t want her to play our game and get to know us?
I felt FPB take a deep breath in preparation to react inappropriately to Mori’s innocuous question.
Mori was able to effectively silence him by simply lifting his hand. Dude, he was gonna have to teach me his tricks!
Mori: We’d like to be able to get to know her in peace. OP, would you like to get to know us in peace?
Me: Yes. I really would.
Mori: FPB, these outbursts have earned you a new punishment... The Lap of Luxury. Get on over here, Tall Boy.
Mori patted his lap.
FPB: Are you serious?
Mori: I am. You sit right here until I say you may rise.
FPB didn’t move.
Mori: Should you refuse, OP can come sit in my lap. (Better Mori’s lap than FPB’s.)
FPB scrambled up, sending me flying out of his lap. I gleefully lit a cigarette and made googlie eyes at Axton that were sure to go unnoticed by the incredibly incensed FPB.
FPB awkwardly folded himself into Mori’s lap, grunting and grumbling the entire time. The rest of the team was desperately trying not to laugh (which of course, made it even funnier).
Once he had settled in (as much as he could), we continued the planning phase. Athena was successful, so was Snorlax, so was Sage. But Axton glitched. This was sure to be a problem. Mori was stuck under FPB, so he was unable to “whip it out” and administer the customary punishment.
Mori: Axton, remove a piece of your armor.
Axton reached around with one hand and pulled his t-shirt off in a single fluid motion. I’m quite certain that my pupils noticeably dilated. The rest of the room “whooped” like we were at a Chip ‘n Dales show.
FPB looked like some sort of cartoon villain who had just been foiled. As he sat indignantly upon the Mori Throne, he twitched and shifted, snarling curses, teeth gritted. And then he froze. His eyes widened. He started to stand, but Mori wrapped his arms around him tightly, trapping him in the Lap of Luxury.
FPB: YOU HAVE A HARD-ON, BRO. LET ME THE FUCK GO.
I squealed with laughter. And it seemed that I had been right about Mori letting people off the hook when they were legitimately uncomfortable with the “gross-out” punishments, because Mori loosened his grip, allowing FPB stomp off to the back porch.
“OP! OP! OOOOOOOO PPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!,” FPB screamed from the porch.
Mori: OP, you’re free to go tend to his meltdown if you want to. But I’m happy to handle him if you need a break.
Me: I definitely need a break.
Mori got up to tend to the bearded ball of rage.
I heard a bit of unintelligible yelling, then the door slammed. We all looked at each other with something across between nervousness and bemusement, waiting for someone to speak. I decided to break the silence...
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2023.06.09 23:50 Morrandir Windows reboots reproducibly during gaming and OCCT power stability test
- Windows 10 Pro 22H2
- Asus Maximus VII Hero
- i7 4790k
- 16 GB DDR3
- MSI GTX 1080 Ti
- Be Quiet Dark Power Pro P7 550W (BN072) ATX
So the system is nearly 10 years old, I justed updated GPU and RAM a few years back. I generally don't have any problems. Windows and NVIDIA drivers are up-to-date. However my BIOS is from 2014.
A few days ago when playing a game (Jedi Survivor) the system just rebooted without an error message. After retrying it always shuts down at the start of a certain video sequence, so it's 100% reproducible. Also when I run the OCCT power stability test (which I tried afterwards) the same happens after a few minutes.
I ran GPU-Z in parallel and there aren't any noticeable spikes just before the reboot. (My guess is that it just happens to quickly.) GPU temp is about 84°C, Hot Spot at about 98°C. So it doesn't seem to be a temperature issue?
From reading the Steam forums for the game and some other sources this could be a hardware issue where some component (perhaps GPU) asks for more power than the PSU can handle. CPU-Z says that the combined board and GPU power draw just before the reboot is at about 530 W. So that's quite close to what the PSU can handle. Is that normal in a way that the board and GPU try to take as much as possible?
What should I do next? Is there any way to determine which component is the problem? I don't want to buy a new GPU without being sure that it actually is the culprit. Should I just do a BIOS update?
Any help appreciated! :)
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2023.06.09 23:45 next3days Weekend Rundown of Events for those in/near Blacksburg (June 9th - June 11th)
Here's this weekend's rundown of fun events you can enjoy in Blacksburg and throughout the surrounding areas within the New River Valley. There's quite a few annual events occurring this weekend such as the Pearisburg Festival in the Park and Claytor Lake Festival if you have a caride and feel adventurous. Weekend Rundown for June 9th - June 11th: 1. A Night To Fight Alzheimer’s with Boxing Sparring Sessions Blacksburg Boxing and Fitness, Blacksburg Friday, June 9, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 PM Advance Tickets: $15.00, At the Door: $20.00
Enjoy live, local boxing with sparring sessions with 100% of the proceeds benefitting The Alzheimer’s Association and The Longest Day to raise money for Alzheimer's research. Please note: These are not sanctioned fights. Instead, they are USA Boxing approved Sparring sessions lead by USA Boxing Certified Coaches, amongst USA Boxing athletes, using USA Boxing Sparring rules. The intent is to put on a show, raise money for a great cause, and keep all participants safe. There will also be raffle tickets to win sweet prizes from local companies. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708170 2. 2023 Relay for Life Annual Event (Montgomery County, VA) Christiansburg Middle School, Christiansburg Friday, June 9, 2023, 6:00 - 11:00 PM Admission: Free
Join Relay for Life of Montgomery County for their annual Relay for Life event. Celebrate survivors, remember those we have lost and fight back as a community to give cancer the boot. Enjoy live entertainment, children's fun, food, arts & crafts and small business vendors, silent auction, 50/50 Raffle and more. The event is free to attend, but please plan to bring payment for any food and vendors you wish to purchase from. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707517 3. 2023 Pearisburg Festival in the Park Pearisburg Community & Recreation Center, Pearisburg Friday, June 9, 2023, 6:00 - 11:00 PM and Saturday, June 10, 2023, 9:30 AM - 11:00 PM Admission: Free
The Pearisburg Festival in the Park celebrates its 38th anniversary in Giles County, Virginia. Enjoy carnival rides, two days of live entertainment, food vendors with all your favorite festival foods, special activities, vendors and crafters. Festival in the Park promises to be an awesome two days of community spirit, family fun, live music, and great food. There will be rides and games for the whole family. Friday is Unlimited Wristband night and Saturday features a full day of entertainment, the Cancer Kids and Christmas Car Show & Cruise along with headliner Chris Higbee and closing with a fireworks display. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/VenueEventListing.cfm?V=542 4. Root Down in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Friday, June 9, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Root Down is a jazz trio based in the New River Valley area featuring musicians Justin Craig, Doug Norton and Nick Romantini. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708744 5. MLB / USA Baseball: Danville Otterbots vs. Pulaski River Turtles (Star Wars Night and Fireworks) Calfee Park, Pulaski Friday, June 9, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM General Admission: $5.00, Seniors Ages 65 & Older: $1.00, Kids 6 & Under: Free Grandstand: $11.00, Reserved Seating: $12.00, Party Zone: $12.00, Club Seating: $15.00
The Pulaski River Turtles MLB / USA Baseball's Appalachian League team hosts the Danville Otterbots as they continue their 2023 season with Star Wars Night. Several characters will be on-site throughout the game to interact with fans and take photos. In addition, every Friday night game will end with a fireworks show for the fans. Tickets can be purchased at the gates on game day or online. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708693 6. Ripejive in Concert Dogtown Roadhouse, Floyd Friday, June 9, 2023, 8:00 - 11:00 PM Admission: $8.00
Ripejive is a Blacksburg, Virginia based quartet that delivers original, hard-hitting funk. From retro grooves to jazz fusion, blazing guitar and soaring saxophone color tight pocket rhythms with sounds from New Orleans to New York that always bring a party. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708066 7. Summer Tea In Honor of Lucy Lancaster's Birthday (Reservation Deadline) Lancaster House, Blacksburg Saturday, June 17, 2023, 11:00 AM and 12:30 PM Registration Deadline: Saturday, June 10, 2023 Admission: $25.00
The YMCA at Virginia Tech presents their 1st Annual Summer Tea in Honor of Lucy Lancaster's Birthday with two seatings on 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM with a reservation deadline of Saturday, June 10, 2023. Located in the beautiful, historic Lancaster House, mark Lucy Lee Lancaster’s birthday by enjoying a deliciously decadent celebration featuring tea and delicious homemade delicacies. The Tea will be catered by Carolyn Ansley, famous for her authentic and delicious teas in past years in Blacksburg. Proceeds from the Tea will directly benefit the Y Community Programs such as Meals On Main, International Programming and After School care. Deadline to purchase tickets is Saturday, June 10th. Lucy Lee lived in the Lancaster House built in 1913 by her parents William and Lucy Lee Sibold Lancaster until her death in 1989. She left the house to the YMCA at Virginia Tech. Lee was one of the first five women admitted to Virginia Tech in 1925. She majored in biology and worked in the library which was housed at that time in what had been the campus chapel. Her work in the library led to her decision to become a librarian, and she attended Columbia University Library School where she received her Masters of Library Science degree. She returned to Blacksburg and worked in the university library until her retirement in 1970. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708759 8. 2023 Native Plant Sale Price House Nature Center, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM Admission: Free
The New River Valley Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will hold its Fifth Annual Native Plant Sale. The Native Plant Sale includes perennials, trees, shrubs, ferns and more. All plants in the sale are native to Virginia and do not include cultivars. Most are pollinator friendly. The native plant sale only uses sustainable non-peat potting mix. All proceeds from the sale go to support the activities of the New River Valley Chapter, including public education and outreach, improving habitat at local parks, removing invasive species and awarding grants to area youth for native plant garden projects. In addition to the many plants for sale, there will be activities for adults and children. There will be booths where you can ask how to create a pollinator garden or which plants are exotic invasives which kill off natives which the wildlife need to survive on. Tree tubes to protect trees and shrubs from deer will also be sold. Storytime with Joelle for children begins at 12:30 PM. You can also visit the Price House Nature Center which will be open from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Parking is one block away in the Blacksburg United Methodist Church. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708676 9. 2023 Claytor Lake Festival Claytor Lake State Park, Dublin Saturday, June 10, 2023, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Parking is $20.00 per vehicle or $15.00 with five cans of food.
The Claytor Lake Festival Committee presents the 24th Annual Claytor Lake Beach Festival. The festival kicks off the summer season at Claytor Lake State Park each year. Enjoy entertainment all day, fireworks at night, arts & crafts vendors, beach access included with admission, free children's activities, youth & adult fishing tournament, wine tasting and lots more. Registration for the annual Everett Lee Yearout, Jr. Adult and Youth Fishing Tournament will be held 7:00-10:00 AM. This year the tournament theme is "Fishing is the Best Hobby Because". The Car Show voting is done by the show participants who are completely registered by 10:30 AM. All entries will receive a dash plaque, goodie bag and category winners will receive trophies. There is no pre-registration fee. The fee is $20.00 to enter the car & motorcycle show and this is the only fee you pay to enter the festival. Swimming is included with admission. The event is rain or shine. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708202 10. Procession of Appalachian Species (Giant Puppet Parade) and Biodiversity Fair Warren G. Lineberry Memorial Park, Floyd Saturday, June 10, 2023, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Admission: Free
Springhouse presents the Procession of Appalachian Species and Biodiversity Fair with events centered around Warren G. Lineberry Memorial Park. New River Valley residents are invited to participate in a giant puppet parade celebrating our region’s biodiversity. This event, dubbed, "The Procession of Appalachian Species," will start and end at Lineberry Park in downtown Floyd, VA. Participants are encouraged to bring homemade puppets and costumes that represent one of our region’s many spectacular species. Musicians and dancers are also encouraged to bring their crafts to this event. The parade starts at 11:00 AM. If you don't have a homemade puppet or costume please come and you can puppeteer one that we have made. After the parade, join the Biodiversity Fair featuring food, music and activities from 12:00-2:00 PM. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708682 11. June 2023 Used Book Sale Montgomery Museum of Art & History, Christiansburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Friday, June 9, 2023, 2:00 - 7:00 PM and Saturday, June 10, 2023, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Mass-Market Paperback Books: $0.50, Large-Format Paperbacks: $1.00, Hardback Books: $1.50, Children’s Books: $0.50-$1.00
The Montgomery Museum of Art and History will be holding a two-day Used Book Sale featuring thousands of books including children’s books, adult fiction, and non-fiction. Genres include mystery, romance, science fiction, cooking, history, crafts, religion, self-help, and much, much more. The book sale will also feature puzzles, magazines, comic books, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs.. On Saturday, June 10th from 1:00-4:00 PM, bring your own bag for a bag sale. All books that can fit will be offered at a total of $10.00 per bag. Brown paper bags and tote bags are perfect for the bag sale. Please, no plastic trash bags. Proceeds will be used to help the museum in areas such as educational programming, collection care, and exhibit preparation. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708149 12. 2023 Two-Day Floyd Artisan Trail Annual Tour Downtown Floyd, Floyd Saturday, June 10, 2023 and Sunday, June 11, 2023, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Admission: Free
The Floyd Center for the Arts hosts the 11th annual two-day Floyd Artisan Trail. Floyd County artisans, farms, galleries, and more will open their doors for this year’s Artisan Trail. Featuring over 30 different individuals and businesses, the Artisan Trail is a years-long tradition in Floyd to celebrate the abundant artistry available in this area. The Artisan Trail is a free to attend and invites locals and tourists alike to travel around the county to visit the open studios, see live demos, and purchase one-of-a-kind handmade art and goods in a self-guided tour across Floyd County, Virginia. The Trail happily hosts local farms and farm markets, offering tours and locally grown produce and farm goods. There may even be adorable farm animals to see. Maps and brochures with all participants’ information are available online and will be available at the Floyd Center for the Arts. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708882 13. Balance and Brews Iron Tree Brewing Company, Christiansburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 10:45 - 11:45 AM Admission: $20.00
Move through foundational yoga poses, gentle stretches, and experience the many restorative benefits that yoga has to offer. This one hour class is appropriate for all levels, including those who are totally new to yoga. The cost includes an Iron Tree beverage of your choice. No reservation required, just show up. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708760 14. Author Talk with Penny Blue Christiansburg Library, Christiansburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Admission: Free
Christiansburg Library presents an Author Talk with Penny Blue about her first book "A Time to Protest: Leadership Lessons from My Father Who Survived the Segregated South for 99 Years". Historians have written about famous names in Black History, such as: Martin Luther King, Jr., Madam CJ Walker and Booker T. Washington. Penny Blue’s dad, Charles Edwards, Sr., is not famous, but the way he lived his life made an impact on his 10 children and the community in which he lived. The stories he told his children and grandchildren are the inspiration for Blue’s book. Penny says the main theme is standing up and speaking out for what is just and right. Books will be available for purchase for $25.00 through CashApp or with cash or check only. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708891 15. Sugar Magnolia 5th Anniversary Celebration Sugar Magnolia, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM 25% Off Storewide, $2.00 Ice Cream Scoops
Sugar Magnolia presents their 5th Anniversary Celebration at their original location in Blacksburg, VA. There will be face painting and a balloon artist in store from 12:00-2:00 PM. Guests can also enjoy: 25% off storewide all day, $2.00 ice cream scoops all day, tasting stations, raffles, gifts with purchase and more. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708741 16. Fourth Birthday Party Celebration with Music from Cinémathèque Eastern Divide Brewing, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 12:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Eastern Divide Brewing presents their Fourth Birthday Party Celebration with Music from Cinémathèque. Enjoy free ice cream and live music from 5:00-8:00 PM featuring the upbeat and unique rhythms of Cinematheque including surf rock, exotica, spaghetti westerns, Ethiopian jazz, and Afro-Beat. Eastern Divide will also have a vintage and artisan pop up market featuring Eden's Emporium, Broken Arrow Creations, Madigan Made and Tees Don't Grow on Trees. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708886 17. Music at the Villa with Parker's Pillbox Villa Appalaccia Winery, Floyd Saturday, June 10, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Relax and enjoy some great music along with great wine and food. Sprung from the western hills of Virginia, Parker's Pillbox is an on-the-rise power trio to watch. Parker's Pillbox is instantly recognizable by their unique, cohesive sound, which manages to be unto itself while drawing influences from a multitude of genres. Flavors of country, jazz, grunge, and good 'ol southern rock and roll blend together to create music which is truly an experience. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708181 18. Saturday Afternoon Music with Ball & Chain New River Vineyard & Winery, Fairlawn Saturday, June 10, 2023, 2:00 - 5:00 PM Admission: Free
Join New River Vineyard & Winery on the patio for an afternoon enjoying their wine, frozen wine slushies, handcrafted beer and music from Ball & Chain. Ball & Chain is a stripped down acoustic rock duo. A girl from the mountains of Virginia and a boy from the Bronx. The regional musical influences of each coalesce into melodious tension. Passion, fun and sass pervades Jon & Lucinda’s blend of rock, R&B, and blues, resulting in vocals and harmonies that stroke your soul. Seating is first come, first served. Guests can bring a blanket and chair. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708884 19. Arc in the Park 2023 Nellie's Cave Park, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 3:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: Free
Enjoy the free food including an all-you-can-eat hot dog bar and pulled pork barbecue, outdoor field games, face painting, entertainment, snow cones and friendships. The Gift Card Raffle will help raise funds for the organization. Prizes include gift cards from Avellinos, PKs, The Maroon Door, Zeppoli’s, In Balance Yoga, The Cellar, The Lyric and lots more. Tickets are $5.00 each and can be purchased online or in person at the event. The prize drawing will be held at the event at 5:00 PM. Participants do not have to be there in person to win. The event is handicap accessible. The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708881 20. Rockin' Main Street Concert Series with Travis Reigh and The Jared Stout Band Downtown Christiansburg, Christiansburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 5:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
The Town of Christiansburg and the Christiansburg Parks & Rec continues their Rockin' Main Street Concert Series featuring music from The Jared Stout Band and Travis Reigh. Attendees can purchase food and drinks from a selection of food trucks and wine and beer vendors. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the live performances. Travis Reigh is a singer-songwriter born and raised out of Southwest Virginia, bringing you original material with rock roots and a country sound that you don't want to miss. Get ready to experience the high-octane energy and soulful sound of the Jared Stout Band! This alt-country powerhouse hails from Southwestern Virginia and is known for their unique blend of Appalachian rhythm and blues. As runners-up for the "On-The-Rise" award at FloydFest 22, the Jared Stout Band delivers an unforgettable performance by bringing their own energetic and soulful original songs to the stage. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707447 21. Mount Tabor Ruritan Club June Fish Fry with The Blacksburg Community Band Slusser's Chapel Church of God, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 5:00 - 7:00 PM Adults: $12.00 Children Ages 3-11: $6.00 Children Under 3: Free Carry-Outs: $12.00
The Mount Tabor Ruritan Club presents their June Fish Fry with the Blacksburg Community Band performing. Enjoy a serving fish, fries, slaw, homemade desserts and beverage. The Blacksburg Community Band, Inc. is an all-volunteer community organization formed in 1989 under the auspices of the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia. This is a fundraiser for the Ruritan Club's community service projects and scholarships. Held rain or shine under the picnic shelter below the lower church parking lot. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708078 22. 2023 Music on the Lawn Concert Series with Virginia Hollow Christiansburg Library, Christiansburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 6:00 - 7:30 PM Admission: Free
Virginia Hollow is a mixture of Americana, Bluegrass, Country, Indie, and Rock. A singer-songwriter band that performs songs written by lead singer Carrie Hinkley, along with an occasional handpicked cover or two. Virginia Hollow is a band and a sound born from the hills, valleys and mountains of Appalachia. Their performances and music take you on a journey fraught with raw emotions and stories of love, trust, betrayal and longing. Each month, one talented local band will play a concert on the library's lawn after hours. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets for an evening under the stars. Feel free to bring a picnic as well. This concert is rain or shine. In case of rain, the concert will be moved inside. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707890 23. Slushie Saturday with Music from Furious Jones Moon Hollow Brewing, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Moon Hollow Brewing presents their first Slushie Saturday with Music from Furious Jones. This Summer every Saturday is now Slushie Saturday at Moon Hollow. This Saturday will have two slushies available one made with Ebb & Flow Prickly Pear and one non-alcoholic slushie, Prickly Pear Raspberry flavored. Singer and songwriter Furious Jones will perform a live acoustic solo show featuring Americana, Blues, Folk, and Rock with both originals and extensive covers. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708719 24. Mist on the Mountain in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Saturday, June 10, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Mist on the Mountain is an Irish Traditional Music group based in the New River Valley of southwest Virginia. From lively jigs and reels to heartbreaking laments and rollicking ballads. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708745 25. Dean Trimble in Concert Long Way Brewing, Radford Saturday, June 10, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Dean Trimble is a musician playing 70s and 80s classic soft rock and classic country and he is based in the New River Valley. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708860 26. Cary Wimbish Band in Concert Brick House Pizza, Radford Saturday, June 10, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Admission: Free
The Cary Wimbish Band makes its debut performance at Brick House Pizza. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Cary Wimbish has quickly earned a loyal following in the Richmond area since his debut in 2018. Combining powerful vocals with both acoustic and electric guitar, Cary’s repertoire includes covers of well known traditional country, bluegrass, classic rock and blues songs. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708866 27. June Blacksburg Vintage Market Market Square Park, Blacksburg Sunday, June 11, 2023, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Admission: Free
The Blacksburg Vintage Market hosts their June Vintage Market. Vendors will be selling all things vintage from clothes, jewelry, vinyl records, and more. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708681 28. Sunday Mountain Music Series with Indian Run Stringband Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke Sunday, June 11, 2023, 4:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: Free
The Indian Run Stringband plays fiddle and banjo foot stomping dance tunes and sings traditional songs with old time harmonies perfect for dancing the two step. From dance tunes to the blues, the Indian Run Stringband plays with love and abandon. They make old-time music fresh and new. Stop by Salt Pond Pub every Sunday starting Memorial Day weekend through August for live music and delicious food & drinks. Perfect for relaxing with the whole family (furry friends welcome too). Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708136 29. Gearheads For A Cause for Ashley Ray Blue Ridge Church, Christiansburg Sunday, June 11, 2023, 5:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Gearheads For A Cause is hosting a special cruise in in memory of Ashley Ray of Dublin, VA that was took from this world at the young age of 25. Ashley was a amazing mother of two sons and always happy and outgoing. The money raised will be for Ashley's family to help with her two boys and the family's needs. Vehicles of all type are invited to attend as well as spectators. Admission and entry are free. There will be a raffle, cake walk and vendors on site. Gearheads For a Cause hosts car shows to help raise spirits given all our community has undergone and bring together an otherwise separated community. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708892 30. Freddy Modad in Concert Palisades Restaurant, Eggleston Sunday, June 11, 2023, 5:00 - 7:30 PM Admission: Free
Guitarist Freddie Modad performs classic rock and more. Reservations are not required, but recommended for dining area seating. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708893 31. MLB / USA Baseball: Burlington Sock Puppets vs. Pulaski River Turtles (Saddle-Up Sunday) Calfee Park, Pulaski Sunday, June 11, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM General Admission: $5.00, Seniors Ages 65 & Older: $1.00, Kids 6 & Under: Free Grandstand: $11.00, Reserved Seating: $12.00, Party Zone: $12.00, Club Seating: $15.00
The Pulaski River Turtles MLB / USA Baseball's Appalachian League team hosts the Burlington Sock Puppets as they continue their 2023 season. Saddle-Up Sunday returns. Arrive early for free cowboy hat giveaways while supplies last and take a ride on the buckin’ mechanical bull. Rides are free of charge. It's also Sunday Savings featuring concession specials. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708695
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!
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2023.06.09 23:45 rrp2223 [M4F] The accident and a new lift after it.
Amanda (name can be changed to anything) was normal normal 22 year old. She lived a normal life. She was a talented hockey player and it was her passion. She was also quite intelligent working her way towards hopefully medical school. She lives in a small apartment on the fringe of the city her parents had both past away now years ago.
Overall you would say her life was together and heading in only the write direction. Well everything changed one day when a drive along one of the country roads to the old boat house by the lake turned to tragedy. She had always loved the spot, quite and peaceful she went there to think. But today as the rain fell slowly and the roads where slippery she lost focus for only a moment. She saw a car coming towards her and yanked the wheel. But it was to much. Her car lost traction rolled and crashed into a tree.
Her life was changed in that moment for ever. She would never be the same.
This story follows that of Amanda after the accident. It can start at any point after the accident and go in any direction. The key is her life will never be the same. As she grappled with this life shattering realisation and loss of independence she will meet my character. Who I am open to suggestions for their role and connection to her. This is a redemption love story in the most difficult of circumstances. Message me if your interested.
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2023.06.09 23:40 Digital_Beagle Can anyone recommend me some good spots for bank fishing?
Hi guys. I love fishing for bass out at Mittry Lake but won't have access to my boat for a couple of weeks. I wanted to hit up some shore spots but I never seem to have any luck on the shore. I usually fish around Bettys Kitchen, the canals out near Adair and YPG, but still feel like the spots are meh. I want to fish the canals in town and was wondering if anyone knows any good spots. I'm from the foothills and the only canal spot I can think of is the one near the apartments on 8th St near Food City. Hoping to get some pointers, thank you!!!
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2023.06.09 23:33 Enali (Spoilers Extended) And Out Come the Wolves...
“Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back -- For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
Will the Stark direwolves face off against the Bolton hounds as the white winds blow across the frozen wilds in the Battle of Ice? Towards the leadup to Game of Thrones' Battle of Bastards episode GRRM left this tantalizing glimpse for its showrunners:
[N.B. A note for future reference. A season or two down the line Ramsay’s pack of wolfhounds are going to be sent against the Stark direwolves, so we should build up the dogs as much as possible in this and subsequent episodes.]
And it feels like there's a sense of certainty in the note that clues us to the future of his work, but how could
it even work in the books? The march on Winterfell so far is a fair bit different than its show counterpart (assuming that's what it is), and the direwolves are spread all across the map, seemingly content to be where they are. But with Boltons on a collision course with Stannis, and the food running sparse, it sets a short time window for this encounter to manifest, assuming of course, that the Boltons are defeated in the fight. Which perhaps teasingly takes form in a village in the middle of the giant primordial forest called the Wolfswood.
"The wolfswood," Benjen Stark called it, and indeed their nights came alive with the howls of distant packs, and some not so distant. Jon Snow's albino direwolf pricked up his ears at the nightly howling, but never raised his own voice in reply. There was something very unsettling about that animal, Tyrion thought.
Given Stannis' confirmed role in the burning of Shireen, and Dany's HotU vision of the blue eyed king casting no shadow, (as well as the fan favorite Night Lamp theory) it seems like a safe guess he will survive the first bout at least.
Despite the limitations of time and distance several clues surrounding the training of Ramsay's hounds in the books seem to suggest similar buildup:
"He's trained 'em to kill wolves as well," Ben Bones had confided. Reek said nothing. He knew which wolves the girls were meant to kill, but he had no wish to watch the girls fighting over his severed toe.
"Stark's little wolflings are dead," said Ramsay, sloshing some more ale into his cup, "and they'll stay dead. Let them show their ugly faces, and my girls will rip those wolves of theirs to pieces. The sooner they turn up, the sooner I kill them again."
and this quote not directly referencing Ramsay's hounds but seemingly related (credit to LChris24's post
or I would have missed this one):
The rest of the dogs were close behind, the hounds sniffing and barking, a pair of monstrous mastiffs bringing up the rear. Their size and ferocity might make the difference against a cornered direwolf.
I think there is a solid amount of buildup to the possibility of these two forces coming together, claw and gnashing fang.
The Call of the Wild “The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept.”
Of the four remaining direwolves in the series though their positions are spread far from Winterfell, so the logistics of having the come together will be important for this to work. Summer
- we last leave Bran's direwolf at the cave of the last greenseer, at the giant weirwood who's roots lead to Westeros' underworld. The drifts have grown so strong that the entrance to the cavern has become snowed over - something Summer must dig through each night to join his pack and hunt while the restless dead wander outside (and living prey remain scarce), before retreating to the cave during the day to to get good-boy head pats from Meera sitting with Bran near the fire. Bran's connection to Summer remains, though his identity seems to be becoming more and more split between his various forms, sometimes as Summer, others as a raven learning to fly or in the roots of the tree traversing time and space. Summer has been able to take control of One Eye's small pack (who is being warged into by Varamyr) after their skirmish and they were even able to take out an undead snow bear together. So what could get Summer moving south? Will Bran read the fates in the tree and send him out? Will something happen to Bran at the tree that sets this event in motion? Summer may not be the largest of the direwolves, though he is often perceived as the smartest and most perceptive. Shaggydog
- Rickon's black direwolf with the eyes of green wildfire is the most savage of the pack, despite his size, and Rickon himself seems to becoming more and more in tune with his wolf each passing day. A strengthening connection Jon seemed to experience as well after reuniting with Ghost leading up to the mutiny. Rickon also seems to have a connection to prophecy similar to Bran, awaiting their father in the Crypts of Winterfell... though unlike Bran he seems to have more a natural comfort in darkness and with death. Shaggydog is in Skagos, last seen in one of Jon's wolf dreams tearing off the flesh of an enormous goat/[unicorn] in a wild rain washing the blood where his prey's horn raked him. In the early drafts of AFFC (thanks to gsteff's research) we actually see that the direwolf was sharing the kill 'with his other half' though that part was removed leaving Rickon's fate more uncertain. How does he get back? That part seems clear at least, Davos is currently en route to try to retrieve the boy and bring him for Wyman Manderly to setup as an heir to Winterfell, though there are plenty of ominous signs on the voyage (the barren seal rock, Davos' missing fingerbones, and per Bran Rickon telling him no will ever come back to Winterfell). Nymeria
- Arya's wolfie is leading a very successful life since she was let go near the Trident to protect her from Cersei's wrath, a spot she hasn't strayed too far from given the abundance of prey compared to the frigid north. Nymeria has gathered an enormous following of wolves that haunts the Riverlands and the Kingsroad. ("She says there's this great pack, hundreds of them, mankillers. The one that leads them is a she-wolf, a bitch from the seventh hell.") Under Nymeria's leadership her grey cousins have "lost all fear of men" ransacking baggage trains, killing armed sentries near Riverrun, and even tearing apart a group of Brave Companions, so that its remarked that they are not wolves at all but "demons in the skins of wolves, sent to chastise us for our sins." Nymeria seems to represent the one part of Arya that she can't shake even as she convinces herself that she is no one, or that she is a cat now wandering Braavos. At night the dreams return tethering her to her roots. In Mercy's Winds excerpt we see a last glimpse of Nymeria, running through dark pine forests hard on the scent of prey, and with a howling in her heart, the full moon overhead as the tree (perhaps Bran or Bloodraven) watches her run. Is she still in the Riverlands (if so will she play a part in the events around Lady Stoneheart) or has she finally started to head home? I'd hate for her to be left out of the reunion as... "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. " Ghost
- And of course Jon's direwolf, Ghost, his silent white shadow. Ghost is left at Castle Black while the mutiny occurs, and it seems likely, that with Jon's last words they are now together in one form. This would also fit Melisandre vision "Now he was a man, now a wolf, now a man again." Jon has also thought in the past if some part of his brothers remained in their wolves when they died. But Ghost was left locked up in the Lord Commander's Tower to prevent an incident with the skinchanger Borroq or his giant boar who the wolf distrusts. Will the mutineers go after Ghost now that Jon has been slain? If so he may need to fight his way out once they open the doors.... or, perhaps, Melisandre might let him go herself. Ghost and her have a pretty uncanny connection with their blazing red eyes (though Jon thinks the red of Ghost's eyes is more of the Old Gods), and Ghost even hesitates to leave her side to go back to Jon when called ("Warmth calls to warmth, Jon Snow"). According to Melisandre there is power in him and the beast which Jon Snow has been resisting and is yet to use... She also mentions Lord Snow would have need of her beyond the Wall ("He does not know it yet, but soon..."). Very mysterious....
But one thing seems clearer, if Ghost is to head south, he already has good cause to. One of Jon's last convictions before his death was to march south to Winterfell try to save his sister after incited by the pink letter. If his soul has carried over to the wolf perhaps that conviction may still remain....
There may or may not even be one subtle additional hint that Summer and Shaggydog could be in Winterfell soon worth discussing. In the finale chapter of A Clash of Kings Bran has one of the more prominent wolf dreams in the series while hiding in the crypts. In it he sees Winterfell burned and everyone there killled, and we are meant to believe that this was the view of what was happening right outside, as the Bolton forces sacked it. But while what he sees seems to match up, some elements of the dream remain questionable - among them the "great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame." (a pretty reasonable depiction of a dragon that might occur from a wolf's pov). Though the interpretation differs amongst readers - Some believe its just GRRM taking visual liberties with the smoke and fire... though wolves recognized real smoke and fire just before that and wolf povs are fairly unpoetic with their descriptions. Some also think it it may have been a way to describe the red comet, but the figure soon disappears from view which could be strange, unless its just meant to be obscured. Or was it a real dragon? It might have been one of the rumored offspring of Vermax born near the hot springs, sneaking in during the carnage. Osha does mention that they "made noise enough to wake a dragon." But perhaps one other interpretation is that Bran was dreaming green, seeing prophecy instead of present. Because Winterfell has been partially rebuilt by the Boltons and Freys during their occupation, we may see Winterfell burned once more. If Stannis takes the city, he may just start a new fire to wake dragons from stone, one that may escape his control.
The Cry of the Blood Moon
There is one really interesting way I think the direwolves might be finally called together. There's been a lot said about how quiet is Ghost throughout the books.... only Jon seems to hear him, perhaps telepathically, calling to him at the beginning when no one else could. But with Jon now inhabiting Ghost, could the direwolf gain his voice at last?
Ghost sat on his haunches watching, silent as ever. Will he howl for me when I'm dead, as Bran's wolf howled when he fell? Jon wondered. Will Shaggydog howl, far off in Winterfell, and Grey Wind and Nymeria, wherever they might be?
Ghost is drawn to the hills and the high places looking up at the stars, and while he starts off the smallest of the litter he soon grows to be the largest of the direwolves, perhaps foreshadowing his strength and leadership. Maybe its fitting then that it would be Ghost that calls them home to be a pack again with the boy's death.
Do they miss their brothers and sisters too? Bran wondered. Are they calling to Grey Wind and Ghost, to Nymeria and Lady's Shade? Do they want them to come home and be a pack together?
And if so would it be a physical blood curdling howl in grief or a telepathic one?
There was ice underfoot, and broken stones just waiting to turn an ankle, and the wind was howling fiercely. It sounds like a wolf, thought Sansa. A ghost wolf, big as mountains.
~Thank you for Reading!~
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2023.06.09 23:25 PepperAntique Wait, is this just GATE? (#76/?)
Previous Writer's note: My bad about the past few days. A stomach bug and work got in the way. But all's good. Now learn some tragic backstory, a bit of Earth info, and the status of everyone's favorite omen of misfortune. Enjoy.
The King was already conversing with Colonel Muhammed when James finally caught up with him in the command room. He jogged in at a brisk pace, but stopped when he saw the two of them talking on the small tablet in front of the King.
King Farrick cocked an eyebrow as he saw James. James just shrugged while mouthing "I know." and gesturing at his beard. The King shook his head as he looked back down at the tablet.
"We're just glad our people could be of assistance sir." The Colonel said. "Even if it only ended up being during the cool down after everything had already resolved."
"It is greatly appreciated Colonel." The King replied. "Seeing as the dungeon is currently erm... ruined... we'll have to let the last few of your people there out. Though they'll still be restricted in their movements." He added. The Colonel nodded, as if she'd expected as much. "As for the weapons." He continued. "Well," He sighed deeply. "I look forward to the.... paperwork.... regarding its use in necessary situations."
Colonel Muhammed let out a quick snort. "I'll see if I can get em to keep it short and sweet." She said.
The King motioned for James, who walked over. "Captain Choi is back earlier than expected, as I'm sure you know." He said as James got next to him and he turned the tablet so its camera caught James too. "I'll let you have him for a bit."
And just like that James was looking at his commanding officer while sporting a neon pink beard.
"Evening ma'am." He said with his cheesiest smile.
Muhammmed's eyes glazed over as she saw the ridiculous facial hair.
"Do I even want to know?" She asked.
"Nope." James replied honestly. "But I made friends during my trip." Then he shook his hand in a so-so gesture. "Well... one of em might just be an...." Then he rethought his standing with the Vatrian Emperor, Vateris. He also hadn't talked with command about his personal vendetta against the so-called gods. "Look. I didn't end up in prison or dead. And things went mostly well."
And suddenly a very grainy, sand-coated, hand was holding James's. He did what he could not to jump with surprise.
"By the way. Meet Glag!" He said excitedly as he panned the camera down to the rock monster's face. Glag looked at the screen with wide, amazed, eyes. James was surprised to see that Glag looked surprisingly dark, and just a little red. "He's a new companion!"
"What in the hell is that?" The Colonel asked as she peered at the screen on her end.
"Glaaaaag." Glag replied.
"Introductions done." James said. "So, what's the deal with the Zootopia duo?"
"Okay. It was weird at the store." Samantha said as she looked around. "But this is just plain strange."
Around them the restaurant was empty. The bistro Fletcher had brought her to, The Blue Tree, was a ghost town. A few of the staff stood at the greeting booth on the other side of the room. But other than that it was completely deserted. It was so quiet that they could hear the kitchen staff working prep in the back, for what had to be ONLY their food.
"Admittedly I think they took this a bit too far." Fletcher said abashedly as he peeked at the small menu. "This can't be cheap for the hospital, or government or whoever is funding the rehabilitation program."
There was an awkward silence for a few moments as they both tried to think of what to say. Neither of them would admit it, but it had been a while since either of them had dated.
And neither of them had ever dated in THIS particular scenario.
"So... how long have you been a lawyer?" She asked hesitantly.
"Um... about... eight years now?" He said uncertainly as he tried to do math in his head. "Close to nine. How bout you? How long were you in the Army before um.... well. You know."
She nodded. She was getting a lot better about acknowledging what had happened. But it was still a sore spot.
"I was about half way through my second term. So about six years." She answered, even though she was certain he'd probably read that in her file at some point. "Wasn't gonna reenlist again though."
"No plans to make it a career?" He asked.
"No." She said with a shake of her head. "No I intended to get out and get certified as a ration enforcement officer once I was done."
"Ration enforcement?" He said with raised eyebrows. "That's a dangerous job. Even compared to being an MP. Planning on staying near your family?"
She chuckled. "Yeah." She admitted. "My fathers shop is small and usually gets shunted by the bigger ones in the area. Wanted to stick around and keep the queues in order so it didn't happen."
"Ah. Makes sense." He responded as one of the wait staff came over.
A few minutes later, and after Fletcher had ensured that they'd been warned about Samantha's new dietary difficulties, the young woman departed with a smile and promise that their drinks and appetizers would be out in just a few minutes.
"And what got you into law?" She asked once they were alone again.
"My wife." He said, causing her to spit out the small sip of water she'd taken after asking the question. He smiled and there was a pain there. "Don't worry." He said. "I'm not married anymore."
"Divorced?" She asked, trying to figure out what was happening now.
Fletcher's mouth opened for a moment as he tried to think for a second. Did he really wanna have THIS talk on, what was hopefully a first, date. "Widower." He said softly.
And just like that she was thrown off balance again.
"I'-I'm so sorry." She said hastily. "I didn't know."
He held his hands up in warding. "It's fine." He said reassuringly. "It's been.... almost a decade now. I'm... I'm okay."
There was another awkward silence, though this time NOT because neither of them had anything to say.
Fletcher spoke first.
"She was a Paramedic." He said. "She was helping with some humanitarian work overseas and um... She got sick from some of the fallout." He nodded as he took a deep breath. "The organization she worked for was uh.... less than honorable about helping her get cared for afterwords. I started reading up on as many laws and regulations as I could to help her fight for it. But uh.... too little too late." Then he fake-smiled. "But I found out I was good at understanding legal jargon so I uh.... found my calling. I guess. Retooled my college classes and the rest is history."
"That's awful." She said quietly, not knowing what else to say given what she'd just heard.
"It was, yeah." He agreed. "But uh... thanks to that I've been able to help a lot of people who've been screwed by similar situations. So... I don't know. Guess that's something."
She smiled too. "Well you helped me." She said. "Didn't expect the ARMY of all organizations to back down from some legalese."
He pointed out at one of the windows, at the people outside walking about. Across the street a few teenagers were watching as one of them tried to levitate. The kid rose about a foot or so before beginning to wobble and then flipping over and falling on his face. The other two fell out laughing and jeering as he picked himself up.
"Between the two packs that split off and headed north and south, and all the people that have started to have ACTUAL magic powers." He said with a shrug. "I think they just have bigger fish to fry."
"Your appetizers and drinks." The server said, startling both of them.
"Ah." Fletcher said with a genuine smile this time. "I think you're gonna like the crab sliders here. They actually use REAL crab."
Her eyes widened. Real crab was rare nowadays. Then she looked at the server, who was nodding. "They closed this place and you guys serve REAL crab?" She asked.
"Sure do." The server replied with a smile. "We're one of the few restaurants in the city that gets any.
"God you weren't kidding." Samantha said as she turned back to Fletcher. "It must have cost a fortune to close a place like this for a night."
"I told you." He said jokingly with a grin.
She slumped, a little embarrassed at everything that had to have gone into this. She didn't deserve all this.
"So we'd better make the most of it before the hospital's finance department catches on." He said as he raised his glass of wine in a toast. "Again, assuming this isn't government funded. Which... it probably is."
Samantha lifted the large stein of light ale and, as gently as she could, clinked it against his glass.
"Enjoy." The server said as she nodded and stepped back.
And just like that the tone of the conversation lightened, and the rest of dinner was much more enjoyable.
Vickers awoke with a gasp.
He'd been beaten up pretty badly before. Had even been way too close to explosions a few times and spent weeks in the hospital recovering afterword to make sure he didn't have any unseen injuries. Then there was the time some turbulence had caused him to botch a wet insertion from a helicopter that had already been almost at the max height for a dive.
Those had all had him SORE for weeks.
This was different.
He felt both hot and cold at the same time. And not just his skin, but his entire body, inside and out, felt like they were infused with IcyHot.
And try as he might, he couldn't see, and everything was muted. "He's awake."
Someone said from outside of him. "Fetch the Archmage and master Farstorm."
"Whe-" He tried to say. But his voice was horse, and cracked as he tried to wheeze out the question. "Where?" He said weakly after struggling to swallow with a mouth that was drier than it had ever been before.
Someone touched him on the chest, and even though the touch was light and delicate he groaned in pain as every nerve in the area screamed.
And even in that excruciating moment, the part of his brain that nobody could ever fully get rid of, no matter how much training they underwent, joked. So this is what Choi's life is like.
It said sarcastically. Running through life like a marshmallow that got dropped in a camp fire every few months. Tough little fucker. "Calm down Mister Vickers."
One of those muted voices, that he thought sounded familiar, said. "We only woke you up so the Archmage could ask a few questions. We'll have you back under in a minute. Let me give you something for the pain." "Not until the lead healer has okayed it."
Another voice said somewhat harshly. "We don't even know how your Earth medicine will affect his body now." "I do."
The first voice replied. "I've used this stuff on were-people before. It works just fine. I just have to up the dosage. And Shrend knows it."
The first voice, which he now faintly recognized as Choi's mom, said.
There was a pinch in the middle of a bloom of fire on Vickers' throat as a needle was pressed into one of the veins there.
And suddenly the pain, and everything else for that matter, seemed to drop away.
"Thassss..." He began. "Thasssalot... bedder." "Shhhh."
Mrs. Choi said as he felt, faintly, her touching his head. "I'm gonna take off some of your bandages so you can
hear and see." She finished as his hearing cleared. "Plus we need to check your eyes and ears anyways."
A moment later Vickers' eyes opened and he was surrounded by a swirling mix of green and amber light. It was blurry, though he was mostly just happy he had any sight at all.
"Still cloudy." Mrs. Choi said as she pried his eyes open ever so slightly and looked inside. She as about to check his ears when the door opened.
Vickers turned his head with a slowness that was not intentional.
"Chief Vickers." Said the old mage who usually spoke so slowly, and looked so frail. But he didn't look or sound anything of the such at the moment as he pulled up a chair and sat where he could look at Vickers.
"Thaassss....me." He said as his head swam with whatever Mrs. Choi had given him. Probably Ketamine or something.
"I know you're in a lot of pain right now." The old mage said. "But we need to know what you saw. What was on the other side of that door before the Elemental manifested?"
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