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Meet new people and play fun games! “The Best Place to Meet New People!”-Chastity, 29 Meet new people and play fun games! Where are you? Please enter your city and state below so we can show people near you. MeetMe users have long been fans of the Search function, by which they could look up other users by name. However, the Search button has gone away. If you haven’t been able to make any searches since the last update, you’re not alone. The Quick, Simple Answer. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get the Search function back on the web. View Full Site • Feedback?. English • Español • Português • Русский • More.... MeetMe © 2020 MeetMe helps you find new people nearby who share your interests and want to chat now! It’s fun, friendly, and free! Join 100+ MILLION PEOPLE chatting and making new friends. It’s for all ages, all nationalities, all backgrounds — EVERYONE! So what are you waiting for? Join the best site for finding new friends to chat with! MeetMe users in the past used the search function to look up people by name. As of 2018, the search button has gone away upsetting many users and making it more difficult to find people. There is one way to get the search feature back, by revertin... Send us a ticket and we will get back to you. Submit a ticket. Powered by Zoho Desk Terms of Service Privacy Policy Zoho Desk Terms of Service Privacy Policy Meet Search Me! Use MeetMe to make friends, meet new people, video chat and play games. It's fun, friendly and FREE! MEET-ME ON THE GO Life is short, don't waste time! Meet new people whenever you want. Get Meet-me for any device and stay in touch with thousands of potential dates! Locate yourself. Please note that automatic detection may take a few seconds. Use the automatic detection Meet Me Online. Even though the MeetMe app is free to download, there are in-app purchases like any other app. MeetMe credits are virtual currency that lets you access premium features on your account. These features allow you to meet people faster and increase your visibility on the app. There are many uses for credits including a boost, match spotlight, and live feed spotlight.

Asian Beauty

2013.01.11 05:06 thecakepie Asian Beauty

A place to discuss beauty brands, cosmetics, and skincare from Asia.

2012.04.16 19:41 VKilledTInternet Amazon Wishlist Subreddit!

Community, friends, gifting and fun! Random Acts with an Amazon Wishlist. Gift, get gifted, be merry, and have fun. We are NOT a needs-based subreddit.

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2020.09.30 20:51 SweetGirl550 21/F/USA

Hi :3,
Im in search for a friend. Just looking for someone to talk to and have meaningful conversation (and maybe a bond that will last forever). I like anime, reading, listening to a bunch of music, and sometimes, I write. Also, I like going to the gym. Please hit me up if you are legal please. Can't wait to meet you. We can talk through reddit.
submitted by SweetGirl550 to textfriends [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 20:39 Stevenasaurus We Are Operators Episode 11: Why We Fight Part 2

8:23 AM
Interrogation Room
Jay kept his eyes on the table, occasionally darting his eyes up at the Zalak woman sitting across him and the Lupo girl waiting by the door with her arms crossed. He had heard rumours of an internal organization within Rhodes Island but never thought he'd end up face to face with them. Even after the numerous training runs fighting against deadly odds, for the first time since he ever boarded Rhodes Island, Jay felt like he was going to die.
Why else would this internal organization be interested in him? If it was Thura or someone else from HR that wanted to do a followup, he wouldn't have batted an eye. Jay began to think of why these two would be interested in him for. Was it his doubts about Rhodes Island? Was it the questions about his training? Perhaps it could've been more than one reason.
The Zalak and Lupo stayed quiet, as if they were waiting for something. In front of the Zalak woman was a beige folder with plenty of sheets of paper in it. Jay had a feeling it was his personnel files and braced himself for any questions about his past, present, and possibly even future.
“A- are... Are we waiting for something?” Jay stumbled.
The Zalak woman nodded. “Yes. Just sit tight until they get here.”
“Who is it?” Jay asked.
The Lupo girl uncrossed her arms. “I'm going to find the others on the list.”
“Sure thing,” the Zalak acknowledged. “Mind grabbing me a bagel or something from the cafeteria while you're out there?”
The Lupo didn't say a word and left the room in a hurry. The quick bout of conversation gave way to the triumphant return of awkward silence as Jay kept his eyes fixed on the table and away from the deadly gaze of his interrogator.
Jay mustered up the courage to look up at the Zalak woman again. “Are you going to kill me?”
The Zalak woman didn't react and opened up the folder with Jay's files. Her reaction didn't give Jay the confidence he really needed now.
9:21 AM
Dormitories, Level D, Room 35
Eddron rubbed his eyes and stumbled his way out of bed when he heard a constant knocking on the dorm door. His eyes burned while his mouth was a chamber of warmth and nasty aromas, consistent visitors after a night's sleep.
Eddron looked back at Alabaster's bedroom door and saw it was closed, taking note that he could hear the faint sound of the man snoring behind it. His eyes then turned to Jay's door and he noted it was open and Jay was nowhere to be seen.
Must be out to breakfast. I wonder who's knocking then.
As the knocking became much more louder and intense, Eddron hurried over to the door and unlocked it. Upon opening it, he was immediately met with Spark. Her eyes featured subtle dark shelves which probably meant she had only just woken up.
I wonder if I'm dreaming right now...
“What's up, Spark? What brings you over here?” Eddron asked.
Spark looked past Eddron and into the dorm. “Is Jay here?”
Guess I'm not dreaming then.
“No. Probably out to breakfast or something. Why do you ask?” Eddron asked.
“He looked a little down yesterday so I was wondering if he wanted to talk about it over a cup of coffee,” Spark answered.
“Well I don't know when he left so he could still be at the cafeteria,” Eddron suggested.
Spark nodded. “Alright, thanks, Eddron. I'll go see if he's there.”
9:29 AM
Spark looked around and couldn't see Jay among the people already seated or trickling in. She sighed and decided to wait in line for breakfast instead of going back to her dorm for some cereal. The line was moving quickly and soon the Lupo girl in the red hood in front of her was the only person between her and a nice warm cup of coffee.
Once the Lupo girl was gone, Spark stepped up to the counter. “One cup of espresso and a Victorian muffin please.”
Spark went through the transaction and quickly took her cup and bag to a nearby empty table. Before she could even settle down, she spotted Chaser sitting by herself and sipping from a cup at another table. She immediately took her things and rushed over to sit down across from Chaser at her table.
“Spark!” Chaser exclaimed with a smile. “What a surprise. I didn't know you were an early riser.”
Spark took out her Victorian muffin and took a bite out of it. “I'm not usually. I just wanted to see if Jay was around. Have you seen him here?”
“Haven't seen him, sorry. Aero was here like an hour or two ago, maybe he saw him,” Chaser answered as she shrugged while drinking from her cup of black coffee.
“Where's Aero now? Is he jogging on the top deck like he usually does in the mornings or has he stopped doing that?” Spark asked before taking another bite of her muffin.
“He's probably jogging,” Chaser said.
Spark nodded. “Thanks, Chaser. Let's catch up sometime.”
“Sure, kid,” Chaser said before finishing off her coffee.
9:42 AM
Rhodes Island Top Deck
The top deck was devoid of life except for small specks at the far edges of the deck that were most likely lookouts and surveyors. Spark looked to the east and soon spotted Aero jogging near the edge of the deck.
Spark tried to get his attention but was unable to. “Aero! Over here!”
Aero stopped jogging and immediately turned around. He jogged his way over to Spark while waving.
“You're usually not up at this time back when you were with us,” Aero greeted.
“Have you seen, Jay?” Spark asked.
“He was at the cafeteria earlier. Why do you ask?” Aero answered.
“He was looking kinda out of it yesterday so I was hoping to see if he was alright,” Spark said.
Aero frowned and nodded. “He looked pretty out of it when I saw him as well.”
“Where did he go?” Spark asked, looking Aero straight in the eyes.
“Sorry, I don't know. He wanted to think about stuff alone so I left him,” Aero said.
“Where could he be?” Spark asked, a concerning amount of worry washing over her.
9:53 AM
Interrogation Room
The door opened and Jay readied himself for whatever was going to happen next. However, the person who entered the room wasn't someone new, it was the same Lupo girl in the red hood. She nonchalantly tossed a brown paper bag onto the table in front of the Zalak woman and went back to her original position of waiting by the door.
“Oh come on, Red. The bagel's not freshly baked anymore and it's a little beaten up,” the Zalak woman said while looking inside the paper bag.
“I grabbed it first before getting the others on the list,” the Lupo girl said.
The Zalak woman sighed and took a bite from the bagel. “The rest are in their own rooms?”
“Yes,” the Lupo girl answered.
Others? Who did they grab? No... it can't be the rest of my squad can it?
Jay kept his elbows on the table and rested his face in his hands. His legs started shaking and he could feel his eyes watering.
“I'm here,” a distorted voice called from a speaker on the room's ceiling.
“Alright,” the Zalak woman exclaimed. “Let's get started. So, Operator Jay, my codename's Scavenger and the scary one behind me is Red.”
“Who's the one on the speaker?” Jay asked.
“None of your business,” Red said abruptly.
Scavenger began taking sheets out of her folder and lining them up in front of her. “Do you know why you're here?”
“A followup to my interview with Thura in HR,” Jay said.
“And do you know why we wanted a followup with you?” Scavenger asked.
Jay reluctantly shook his head. “I don't know.”
“Well, Jay,” Scavenger started, “when someone says something pretty interesting in those interviews, we look into them more. And when we looked into you, we ended up with more questions than we went in with.”
“What questions?” Jay asked.
“First off-” Scavenger began before the speaker came on again.
“Did you inform him of all the parameters of this interview?” the distorted voice called.
“Rules, rules, rules,” Scavenger muttered to herself.
“He has his rights,” the voice argued.
Scavenger scratched her cheek. “Okay. Should what you tell us give us any concern for the security of the operators and staff of Rhodes Island, we will further detain you until a more complete investigation can be conducted. Should we believe that you are withholding any information from us, we will also further detain you until a complete investigation can be conducted. Understood?”
Concern for the security of operators and staff? What the hell did they think I do?
Jay slowly nodded his head. “Yes...”
“Before we get into what you discussed in your interview with Thura, we've got a few things we wanted to go over that concern events prior to that interview,” Scavenger explained.
“What are they?” Jay asked.
Scaveger nodded. “In your entry interview you stated you had more combat experience than we could establish you had after we contacting people that knew you. Why did you lie in the interview?”
“I-I didn't think I'd get the job if I didn't have any combat experience,” Jay meekly answered.
“Is that the only reason?” Scavenger asked.
Jay nodded.
“Hardly a reason to get worked up over,” the distorted voice said.
“We've still got a long way to go,” Scavenger warned. “A few months ago, evidence was found that you and people associated with you had a meeting in a room on Level E while it was going through renovations. What was this meeting about?”
That time when Spark locked us in a room...
“We were discussing how to beat our first training mission,” Jay answered.
“Do you seriously expect me to believe that?” Scavenger asked.
Jay gritted his teeth. “That's what happened. What about the person that was waiting for outside. Did you speak with them?”
“The workers were off that day and only discovered your presence the next day. Do you expect me to believe a far-fetched story like that? You obviously planned ahead for that meeting. Who planned this meeting?” Scavenger asked.
Jay reflexively brought his fists down on the table. “No! My squad's not involved!”
“I think he's speaking the truth,” the distorted voice said.
“A crappy story like that's got you?” Scavenger asked while looking at the wall to her left.
“His behaviours are somewhat still consistent. He's yet to stray from his baseline. I think he's telling the truth,” the voice argued.
Scavenger took one of the sheets and put it back in the folder. “Fine then, if that's your call. We had a look at your phone, Jay. Not that long after the time of your 'secret' meeting, you made several inquiries to the current position of Rhodes Island. Now we could've brushed it off as you wondering where we were; we can't stop people from looking out their windows after all. It was the fact you were looking at the coordinates as well that stood out. You see, a long range strike or bombing run would need something like precise coordinates which is why we make sure the only people that know our exact location are the people up in ops. Why did you want our exact coordinates?”
Jinna's interrogation when we wanted to find Alabaster's skill book...
“I was looking for something that belonged to one of my squad that went missing. We were talking to a suspect when things got out of hand and the person doing the questioning didn't want to chill out until I could cite her the local area's constitution on unlawful detainment,” Jay explained, doing his best not to stutter or stumble on his words.
“You're kidding me right?” Scavenger asked. “What kind of story is that? Sounds like something out of some cheesy sitcom.”
Jay leaned forward. “Look at my search history on that day! I searched for constitutions after I found out the location tracking was blocked!”
“Where's the phone?” the distorted voice asked.
“Back at ops in evidence,” Red answered.
“Please go get it,” the voice demanded.
Red nodded and left the room without saying a word. With her departure, another bout of silence took the room.
10:12 AM
“It was around here that he went off to be by himself,” Aero said while scratching his chin.
Spark looked around at the empty corridors not that far from the cafeteria. “Which way did he go?”
“He went straight and then took the next left but that's when I lost sight of him,” Aero said as he gestured Spark to follow him.
The two moved along the corridors silently, taking random turns in hopes of finding any sort of clue. As they approached the next junction in the hallway and Aero was about to make a turn, he paused and immediately stepped back to hide while peering around the corner.
“Wait a minute...” Aero whispered. “That Lupo girl in the red coat. I saw her walk by me when I left Jay.”
“What?” Spark asked.
“Yeah, I definitely remember her. She's carrying a plastic bag with something in it,” Aero said.
“Lupo in a red coat... I had that exact same description for someone that stood in front of me in line for breakfast,” Spark said.
Aero swallowed a lump in his throat and headed down the corridor he was hiding from. “Think she was getting something for Jay? I don't see her carrying a paper bag.”
“If we follow her, maybe we can find where they're keeping Jay,” Spark said while following him.
Aero held his arm out and stopped Spark. “Now that I think about it... If we follow her we could end up just like him. I'm not sure we should do this.”
“Jay could be in danger,” Spark argued.
“He's been a very good friend to me for awhile now, but I'm not so sure I'd be okay to just rush into some behind the scenes business going on here,” Aero warned.
“Fine then, I'll follow her myself,” Spark declared softly as she headed down the corridor.
“Does he really mean that much to you?” Aero asked suddenly.
Spark took a few more steps before stopping. Her heart fluttered at the question but as far as Aero was concerned, she was still cool and calm. She couldn't imagine C2 without any of her squadmates and that included Jay. Frankly, without time to prepare, she didn't think she'd be ready for the role of captain if it were suddenly hoisted onto her in the event Jay could no longer serve anyways.
“Would you be happy if your own squad did everything they could to help you if you were in trouble?” Spark argued while turning around.
Aero nodded. “Point taken. Good luck, Spark. Don't get into any trouble now.”
“Thanks, Aero,” Spark said while turning around to keep up with the Lupo girl.
10:44 AM
Interrogation Room
The door opened and Red returned with a small plastic bag with Jay's phone in it.
“What took you so long?” Scavenger asked.
Red placed the bag gently on the table and stood by the door again. “I was being tailed at one point by a Kuranta and Perro. Didn't take me long to lose them but I wanted to make sure.”
Kuranta and Perro? Aero and Spark?!
“There's a Perro on his squad, maybe we should look into her,” Scavenger said while pulling the phone out of the bag and turning it on.
Jay's eyes widened and he slammed the table with his fists. “No! She's not involved with anything you're thinking of!”
Scavenger ignored Jay's outburst while Red pulled out a knife and adopted a readied stance. When the tensions calmed, Red put her knife away and went back to the door.
“Is what he said about his search history true?” the distorted voice asked.
Scavenger sighed. “Yeah...”
“Just as I thought; he's telling the truth. Move onto the next question,” the voice said.
“Well that clears up any preliminary issues. Now we finally get to go into what you discussed with Thura. More specifically, we've got lots of questions about the latter half,” Scavenger said.
Jay's fingers shook at the thought of Spark getting caught up in all this. He clasped them together to stop them from shaking while doing his best to regulate his breathing. However, he remembered a comment the distorted voice made about his baseline.
He didn't know much about interrogation theory, but perhaps a baseline was a measure of his behaviours when he was telling the truth. Any deviations from that baseline would probably indicate lying. However, he was now in a new dilemma: he was telling the truth but his worrying about Spark could easily make him act differently. He tried his best to forget about Spark but he couldn't.
“You expressed doubts about Rhodes Island in your interview. You asked about what we did and it even seemed like you were wondering if we're doing the right thing,” Scavenger said.
“The job description never said anything about taking on a military, let alone the freaking Ursus military of all things! I was wondering if this was really just a pharmaceutical company and not the army,” Jay argued.
“You know why doubts are so troubling?” Scavenger asked.
Jay shook his head. “No.”
“Doubt is the foundation of betrayal. If you doubt victory for you side, you may defect. If you doubt someone you love, your relationship may fall apart. If someone doubts your position in society... they cast you out...” Scavenger explained.
That last bit must've been personal for her.
“Yes I doubted. But that's because I had no idea what was going on. Thura assured me that this is a good place so I was okay after that. I trust her word,” Jay argued.
“You can say you're a believer, but you sure aren't showing it right now. I don't believe you,” Scavenger declared.
Damn it, I'm still thinking about Spark!
“Because I'm all nervous now? Well yeah, I'm nervous as hell. I'm worried I'm gonna end up in a ditch after this is over and when you said you wanted to look into my squad that got me even more worried. None of us have done nothing and I don't want them to go through this!” Jay yelled.
Red reached for her knife again but decided against drawing it out.
“I think we should take a break. Scavenger, Red, I want you to interview one of the others; I'll be there too,” the distorted voice said.
“I'm good to keep going. I'm interested in what this one's got to say,” Scavenger argued.
“Scavenger, please let him have a break,” the voice demanded.
Red opened the door and gestured with her head. “Scavenger, let's go.”
Scavenger gathered up all the papers of Jay's file back into the beige folder and took it with her. Red held the door open for Scavenger and left right behind her. After the door's lock clicked, Jay waited for the voice to say something, but it didn't and Jay stewed in silence.
11:27 AM
Dormitories, Level D, Room 87
“Did it really have to be my room?” Aero asked.
Spark laid back on Aero's couch and looked up at the ceiling. “I don't know how I lost her. She's damn good.”
Spark had called C1 and C2 for an impromptu meeting at Aero's dorm. With her only lead to Jay's whereabouts gone, she needed all hands on deck to see what they could do for him. The only members they were waiting for were Eddron and Alabaster who were likely having trouble getting out of bed.
“Again, why my dorm?” Aero asked.
“You're not that connected to us,” Spark started. “What if they have bugs or something in C2's rooms before they grabbed Jay?”
Meeka looked up from her phone. “I could order a component for my drone that lets me detect active radio signals.”
“Even with same day delivery, Jay needs our help now,” Labcoat argued while twiddling about on a chair.
There was a knock on the door. After a moment the door opened to reveal Eddron and Alabaster coming and joining in on the circle of operators either sitting on furniture or standing around.
“How's the planning coming along?” Eddron asked.
“We haven't started yet,” Spark said.
“This is some serious bullshit man,” Yellow whined.
“Excuse me?” Spark asked.
Yellow crossed his arms. “It's always C2 this, C2 that. You've got a problem and somehow we're always supposed to be around to help. Did we ever get an apology from Jay for interrogating all of us over some stuff that got stolen? No! News flash, the world doesn't revolve around you guys.”
“Shut the hell up!” Labcoat yelled while standing up.
“Yeah! Shut the hell up dude! Jay's more of a bro than you'll ever be, Yellow!” Eddron shouted.
“There will be no fighting between our squads!” Aero yelled.
“He kinda does have a point though,” Chaser said.
“I think Jay's a good guy! He was nice while you were in my face and yelling at me, Chaser,” Jinna interjected.
“Don't forget that I was there for those interrogations and after all that he thanked me for it. I agree that Jay's a good man,” Aero said.
“Still, I worry about going against our superiors,” Alabaster warned.
“It's not like we're gonna break him out. We're just going to see if he's okay, right?” Labcoat asked.
Spark nodded. “Yeah, at the very least, we're not gonna be killed for this.”
“That really doesn't invoke any confidence in me,” Alabaster said with a worried tone.
Aero sighed. “Hearing that also doesn't make me feel very good about this. As much as I want to help him, if we all end up in the brig for this, it'll be even worse.”
“Maybe C1 doesn't feel the same, but to us, Jay's someone who we'd do everything we could for,” Spark declared.
“Yeah!” Labcoat cheered.
Eddron clenched a fist and raised it high. “Bros help bros!”
Like you helped your bro during the captain's election?
Spark smiled at the memory but quickly let it dissipate, she needed to be serious if she was to convince Aero to join her in helping Jay. However, she could see the man was already in deep thought with all the eyes in the room on him.
Aero sighed. “I did kinda tell him that I'd give up my life for him if I was commanded to. If the Kaizimierzian Knights were to ever rebuild, they'll need men and women that keep their word. Although, Spark, if we end up as neighbours in the brig, I'll make sure you never get a good night's sleep.”
“Deal,” Spark said with a smile.
“So our only lead is the Lupo girl in the red hood?” Aero asked.
Spark stood up from the couch and started pacing. “Yeah. Since she got away from me, it's safe to say she knows I was following her. I don't think we'll be seeing her again.”
“If we make a lot of noise, we're gonna end up with security all over our asses. If we're gonna make a scene, it better count,” Belt said.
“Lukewarm,” Aero called. “You haven't said a word since we've gathered. Got any ideas?”
Lukewarm adjusted his beret and nodded. “How long ago was this pursuit?”
“Not that long ago,” Spark answered.
“If she left behind a scent, maybe we could follow it to where Jay is,” Lukewarm suggested.
“Damn, that's kinda hardcore,” Eddron said.
“While my sense of smell's pretty good because of my hunting days, since this girl's a Lupo, a Lupo might be better to follow her. A Lupo could probably recognize a Lupo scent,” Lukewarm explained.
All eyes turned to Yellow.
“You're kidding me? It all falls on me to save Jay?” Yellow asked with a displeased tone and expression.
Spark crossed her arms. “Look, Yellow, I know you're kinda pissed that you got cast out and all, but even you can't deny Jay's a good person.”
“What's he ever done for me?” Yellow asked.
Everyone went quiet. Spark tried to think of a situation but was honestly blanking. Because of their unpleasant interactions, there really wasn't a chance for either of them to bury the hatchet. Although, knowing of Jay's good nature, it was likely he harboured no major grudges against Yellow. Perhaps that was the key to convincing him.
“What he's done for you is not hate you,” Spark said.
“You kidding? The guy couldn't help but throw a few quips at me the last time we spoke,” Yellow said.
“I was there, Yellow. He only threw them back at you, he never shot first,” Aero said.
“I think if you really helped us with this, Jay would be more than happy to bury the hatchet,” Spark said.
“If Yellow doesn't want to do it, I could give it a shot and he can continue to be mad at Jay,” Lukewarm said while raising a hand.
“Dude!” Yellow called. “Not helping!”
“Depending on who you ask, I'm helping someone,” Lukewarm said with a smug grin.
Yellow breathed out of his nose for a bit while saying nothing. “Ugh... fine... I want him to thank me personally. And also he owes me an apology for that whole theft business.”
“Knowing Jay, he'd be more than happy to give you that,” Spark said.
“Okay,” Yellow said.
Spark smiled and headed for the door. “Come on, everyone! Let's get over to that corridor before the scent is gone!”
Spark opened the door and held it open as she ushered everyone out of the dorm. There were whispers and some grumbles but high spirits seemed to be the majority opinion among the squads. Aero was the last to leave and stopped in the doorway before turning to look at Spark.
“After seeing you today, I still think that you'd be a good captain if something were to happen to Jay,” Aero said.
Spark shook her head. “Still, that doesn't mean we can just leave him.”
11:37 AM
The two squads advanced down the corridor with Spark leading the column. She retraced her steps and eventually returned to the site where she lost sight of the Lupo girl in red.
“Here, I lost her around here,” Spark said while pointing down the corridor.
“Yellow, you're up,” Aero said.
Yellow stepped forward and sniffed the air. “I don't smell anything.”
“You gotta get down and smell the floor,” Lukewarm said.
“No way am I getting on all-fours just to sniff the floor,” Yellow whined.
“Yellow, you said you'd help,” Aero said sternly.
Lukewarm pushed past everyone and got down on the ground. “Wimp. Hmm... I think I smell something but it's way too faint for me to follow.”
“Could you guys, like... look away while I smell the floor?” Yellow asked.
Spark rolled her eyes. “Everyone look away.”
Everyone looked away. Spark could hear Yellow get down on his knees and hands and sniff the floor. After a few sniffles, Yellow eventually gasped which made everyone turn around.
“This scent...” Yellow started before pausing. “It's Lupo... but at the same time doesn't feel Lupo... It just feels weird man... I get chills just from smelling it.”
“Can you follow it?” Spark asked.
“Y-yeah... it just really creeps me out,” Yellow said while standing up and walking down the corridor.
“Let's go everyone, this is it,” Spark said as she followed Yellow.
11:52 AM
Interrogation Room
Jay brought his head up when he heard the door open. Scavenger and Red returned to their original positions and Jay assumed whoever was behind the distorted voice was also watching him.
“So where did we leave off? We just went over your doubts. Now the final bit we're concerned about. You kept inquiring about what you were training for,” Scavenger said.
Jay remembered what she was talking about. In hindsight, it wasn't a good look to want to dig deeper about top secret information but all he wanted was to heal his worried conscience.
“I don't know if you know this,” Scavenger started, “but poking in the business of your superiors will definitely ring alarm bells. When we saw that you were looking for coordinates and later wanted to know much more about whatever was being planned, it was pretty easy to come to the conclusion that you were possibly acting as an enemy agent.”
“But I'm not!” Jay said loudly.
“That's what they all say,” Scavenger said.
“I am inclined to believe him,” the distorted voice said.
Scavenger looked over to the wall on her left. “You seriously trust him? The other stuff I can maybe get, but this guy's been poking his head around your neck of the woods. You have more to lose if he's actually an enemy when it comes to that.”
“Your concern for something you have no role in is admirable,” the voice argued.
“Even saying I have no role's sensitive information for a guy like this!” Scavenger said loudly.
“From where I stand, I don't see any evil in him. He's scared, he's lost, but he's not looking to hurt anyone,” the voice said.
“How can you be so sure?” Scavenger asked.
“I looked at him,” the voice answered.
Scavenger scoffed at the answer. “Try that in a court of law. You have no evidence he's innocent.”
“And all the evidence that you have is loosely tied together. It's not enough to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” the voice said.
“Out of everyone in the followup list, he's the most suspicious. I think we should press him more,” Scavenger argued.
“Are you forgetting that I have final say? That was what you agreed to for this,” the voice argued back.
Jay kept silent as he watched the two go at it. However, they didn't get long to argue as the door opened and a Lung operator stepped in.
“Chu-Ko-Nu, you're supposed to stand on guard,” Scavenger said while turning around.
“A bunch of operators showed up outside the door to the hallways. I don't know what they're up to,” Chu-Ko-Nu warned.
“Stay with him, I'll go deal with them,” Red said as she left the room.
“I will go see these operators as well,” the voice said.
12:05 PM
Spark finally arrived at where Jay was possibly being held.
Yellow had lead the entire group through a few corridors and up a flight of steps to an inconspicuous door far from the high-traffic hallways of the ship. The guy had been whining and shivering all the way to the door, his sensations intensifying the closer the group got to their destination.
“Does anyone feel what I'm feeling?” Yellow said with genuine fear in his voice.
Spark shook her head. “No. Is it really that bad?”
“I feel like I'm gonna die or something,” Yellow whined.
Everyone stood at alert when the door opened. The Lupo girl in red stepped out, knives in both hands and adopted a ready stance in front of the door.
“You shouldn't be here,” the Lupo girl warned.
Yellow took several steps back and pointed at the Lupo girl. “That's the presence! That's the presence I was feeling! She's gonna kill me!”
“Where's our captain! You got him in there, don't you?!” Labcoat demanded while stepping up to the Lupo girl.
The Lupo girl suddenly brought her hand up and had one of her knives on Labcoat's throat.
“Okay... you made your point,” Labcoat said while putting her hands up.
“Is Jay okay? We want to know!” Eddron yelled.
“Jay! We're out here!” Spark called.
Alabaster stepped up. “Jay! We are not here to break you out, we are just here to make sure you're alright!”
“Really, Alabaster?” Meeka asked.
“We are not here to cause trouble, only to see if our captain is unharmed,” Alabaster declared.
The Lupo girl in red looked like she was about to make a move when the door opened again.
Instead of another menacing opponent, a short young girl stepped out. She looked like a Cautus with tall ears that were brown just like her long hair. Her large black coat covered her white dress shirt and blue short skirt while the interior of her coat featured bright blue with the words Rhodes Island printed in white. A much more peculiar feature about her were the many rings on almost all of her fingers.
“Stand down, Red,” the girl said, her voice mostly soft and gentle.
The Lupo girl did as commanded and lowered her knife away from Labcoat's neck.
“We're not here to fight. We just want to know if Jay is safe,” Spark said to the girl.
The girl smiled. “He is safe. I think he will be glad to see you all here.”
“Why did you take him?” Aero asked as he pushed forward to the front of the crowd.
“He said things that gave some people some concerns. We took him in to clarify those concerns. But, seeing you all here and with my own conclusions, I believe he is innocent of everything that he is accused of,” the girl explained.
“Really?” Spark asked, a wave of relief washing over her.
The girl nodded. “Yes. Red, please go inside and tell Scavenger to let Jay go. His friends are waiting for him.”
Red put away her knives and reluctantly stepped back inside. Not long after, Jay came out and looked incredibly relieved and even cracked a smile.
Spark ran up to Jay, feeling the urge to give him a hug but successfully resisting it. “Jay! I was so worried!”
“You guys spent all this time looking for me?” Jay asked.
“We knew you'd do the same for us,” Spark said.
Labcoat immediately rushed Jay and hugged him. “I'm so glad you're okay! I thought they killed you!”
“Heh, I'm glad to be alive too. Thanks, Labcoat,” Jay said while squeezing out of Labcoat's embrace.
“Jay, bro! Did they beat you up or anything?” Eddron asked while stepping up to Jay and priming himself for a fistbump.
“Nope,” Jay answered while reciprocating Eddron's fistbump. “They did scare me a bit but that's as far as they went.”
“It warms my heart to see that you're okay,” Alabaster said.
“With you on the trail, I had nothing to worry about,” Jay said while shaking Alabaster's hand.
Meeka stayed back a bit from everyone else. Spark looked at Jay and subtly gestured to Meeka with her head which prompted Jay to head over to her.
Meeka immediately looked up at Jay. “I'm glad you're okay.”
“Thanks, Meeka. I hope you know how much it means to me to know that you care,” Jay said.
Meeka looked away, her cheeks turning red. Jay laughed and moved around so he could greet C1 with Spark following him.
“I believe you owe Yellow a thank you and apology,” Spark said.
“Really? Well, let's go see him,” Jay said.
Jay greeted the operators of C1 as he made his way over to Yellow. Yellow looked smug and waited with his hands on his hips.
“I lead everyone here,” Yellow said proudly.
Without warning, Jay hugged Yellow and laughed. “Thank you, Yellow. That's pretty cool of you.”
Yellow squirmed in Jay's hold and eventually pushed his way out. “Yeah. Yeah. Get off of me. I don't even want the apology now. Go talk to Aero or something.”
Jay smiled and turned to Aero who wasn't standing far from him.
“Glad to see you here, Aero,” Jay said.
“I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Spark,” Aero said.
Jay looked at Spark and smiled. “You did all this knowing there could've been consequences?”
“If it were me in there, would you also be scouring the base for me?” Spark asked.
“Yeah, I guess I would,” Jay answered.
“There you go,” Spark said.
“Well it's because-” Jay started but stopped.
Spark waited for Jay to continue. “Because what?”
Jay awkwardly laughed and scratched the back of his head. “Nevermind.”
“Dr. Kal'tsit might have words for you about this after I issue my report,” Scavenger warned.
The warning captured everyone's attention.
“I will take full responsibility,” the Cautus girl said with a smile. “I did let him go after all. Doesn't this remind you of when we called in Siege? We had the Glasgow operators threatening to kick the door in.”
Jay turned away from Spark and headed straight for the girl. “You were the one behind the voice?”
“Yes, I'm Amiya. It is a pleasure, Jay,” the girl greeted.
Spark stood back and observed the conversation. She tried to think about how such a small and young girl had powerful operators at her side.
Is she some sort of leader? Can't be, she's too young.
“Sorry for causing you trouble,” Jay said while bowing his head.
“There will be a briefing next week. All the answers you seek will be there,” Amiya said.
The Next Week, 1:02 PM
Conference Briefing Room 1
The hall was filled with several dozens of operators. A diverse cast of warriors and experts filled the many seats in the hall that curved around a platform that was in front of a projector screen.
Jay marvelled at the many different operators in the room. While there were many familiar faces from the reserve squads, he could definitely see many of the elite operators he had heard so much about. Some elites that stood out to him were a relatively tall man that covered his face with a scarf and sunglasses with a giant rifle slung to his back and a very large man who also had sunglasses with a giant shield on his arm that were both sitting next to Nearl.
“Jay! Over here!” Spark called.
Jay smiled and headed over to where Spark and the rest of his squad were sitting. He made himself comfortable on the bench and waited for the briefing to begin. Just seeing the briefing room and everyone around him brought back some of the magic that he had in him when he was still a fresh recruit. The squad was finally going on a mission.
Although, he still couldn't forget that the training for this mission consisted of taking on enemies deploying Ursus military tactics and equipment. Still, the presence of so many elite operators gave him confidence.
Jay looked at platform of the hall where Dobermann and Amiya were speaking to another woman. She looked Feline and had white hair with a green and white coat that exposed her shoulders. After a bit of conversation, Dobermann and the other woman stepped off to the side while Amiya stood at the centre of the platform.
“Thank you for coming, everyone,” Amiya started. “Rhodes Island is an organization that is dedicated for fighting for a new dawn, not just for infected, but for everyone else as well for that is how we can truly achieve a dream of peace. For that dream to come true, there is someone we must find who can help us. I leave the rest to Dobermann.”
Dobermann nodded and stepped up to Amiya's spot while carrying a small remote. “Our target is at a small research facility in the heart of Chernobog. According to the Catastrophe Messengers, the city is dangerously close to the impact zone of a predicted catastrophe.”
Dobermann pressed two buttons on her remote to turn off the lights and turn on the projector on the ceiling. The projector displayed an image of Ursus territory and a few arrows denoting Chernobog.
“As you can see here, we project that the city will move to the Ursus interior to avoid the catastrophe. If they move too far in, the mission would be close to impossible and therefore the time to strike is now. With the city making preparations bracing for the catastrophe, Ursus forces will not be operating at full capacity and the civilian presence will be low. Amiya and I will lead a team into the facility while everyone else will act in a support capacity,” Dobermann explained.
Hmm... now it's entirely clear why they wanted us to be ready to fight Ursus troops.
Dobermann made the next picture project. “Due to the fact that not every squad is available and several operators of note aren't taking part in this operation, we've had to rely on reserve teams to join several elite squads to form elements. These larger elements will occupy areas around the facility to keep an eye for incoming threats and act as a quick reactionary force.”
Jay squinted at map to see that E4 would be holding a spot that was designated as the rendezvous point. He hoped that meant the mission would be relatively easy for E4, considering it was C1 and C2's very first mission.
“While this is happening, the Recon Team will move through the ruins here to scout a path out of the combat zone once we all meet up at the rendezvous point where E4 will be holding. If all goes to plan, we shouldn't expect to meet much Ursus resistance,” Dobermann explained while pointing at the map.
There were a couple of nods from the elite operators in the room. Jay felt somewhat at ease hearing there wouldn't be much Ursus resistance. He wondered how Alabaster was feeling about going back to Ursus and looked back at him to see he was deep in thought, a frown on his face.
“Every element will be further briefed individually about their roles in this operation. I will let Amiya make some final remarks,” Dobermann said before stepping off as Amiya returned to the centre.
“Almost everything we've done so far has lead to this moment. I believe we can succeed in this mission. I place my faith and trust in all of you. I wish you all the best of luck,” Amiya said passionately.
submitted by Stevenasaurus to arknights [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 20:30 vugits Dating while healing? I have conflicting feelings

I've been consciously healing since last year, because that was when I discovered emotional neglect and CPTSD. I have been single since 2018. I occasionally think about dating... it's weird in my head. I have conflicting feelings about dating while/after healing.
Since I'm healing, I've bettered my relationship with myself. Now I'm more of an ally of myself, instead of a victim of myself. I'm happy about how I'm turning out. It's still difficult, I'm still facing obstacles nearly every day. But I see how little by little I'm building myself a life that I enjoy. As most of you will acknowledge, while healing you build a strong psychological base. A base that normal people don't have because they haven't faced such harsh challenges. You probably have a weird and complex mind too. So when I think about dating... "Will I find a woman that fits my emotional state and weird mind? I'm sure there exist plenty. But where and when will I meet one? This year? In 10 years?". I've been lonely all my life, that has reinforced my relationship with myself. I want to date a woman that makes me feel better than when I'm just single. I wonder when will that happen, because it seems pretty unbelievable that it could happen.
I'd like to date someone for the adrenaline rush and because I'm bored. But who? I guess I'll have to attend social activities in person to get more chances to find women compatible with me. Yeah... I guess if I had a rich social life, I would regularly meet women. And I would eventually match with one of those, just because of repetition and more chances. Now I'm lonely, I know no one here (I moved here 2 weeks ago). I have a couple of friends who live elsewhere/abroad, so we can't meet irl. I guess I'll have to take part in the social life of this city sooner than later. Search for activities that I might enjoy, participate and if I'm lucky I would end up making some friends. And that would lead to a richer social life.
This doesn't worry me at all, it's just that I'm bored and think of ways of having fun. I'm definitely interested in casual hookup/dating. This is an interesting topic for me because I want dating but at the same time... meh, why bother? I'd love to know what you think about this. Thanks for reading :_)
submitted by vugits to CPTSD [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 20:21 Scrafty97 23 [M4F] #Northshore Virgin

(I copy pasted this from my RAOBJ post, I’m too lazy to write a new one lol. My bad if that’s not allowed)
Hi there,
I feel a bit goofy posting on here again, but oh well lol. Honestly I’ve been occasionally posting for about a year or so; probably not something to boast about but yeah. The post is male 4 female so it should be obvious, but I might as well make it clear now that I’m totally not into dudes (sorry dudes). Still not totally sure how I should go about writing these types of posts. Is it best to just keep it short and simple? Or maybe just write a whole essay, who knows. I’m sure linking a picture of myself would boosts my chances of getting lucky, but i don’t wanna risk someone IRL recognizing me lol. Anyhow, imma just type away, sorry if this post is a mess.
I should quickly note I’m not actually in Boston. I’m located roughy 45 minutes north of the city. Pretty much on the NH border, by the water. I just figured most people would search up Boston. Honestly w/ that description I might as well just say the city but I’m trying to stay somewhat anonymous for now lol. I can’t host atm, so if you can that’s great! If not I’m down to just do it in a car maybe or we could try to figure something out.
Since appearances are pretty important I should probably get to that huh. I’m a white guy w/ a pretty average build I’d say. Honestly it’s leaning more towards athletic but yeah. I’m 6 feet tall and 180ish pounds. I have brown hair & eyes. My hair is longer than average, but it’s not crazy long it’s just very thick lol. I get complimented on my hair pretty often, so I’m hoping you like it too. In general I’ve been told I’m a pretty attractive guy. Not sure how many details you want about my body but I’ll try to paint a picture of myself. I have broad shoulders and a lean waist/stomach. Toned arms, muscular back, nice legs/ass. Honestly I’m pretty insecure about my chest but apparently it’s normal/even attractive. I should say I’m not ripped or anything, it’s just an ‘average’ build but it’s also athletic. Not sure if that makes sense lol.
I consider myself to be a pretty anti social person. I’m a recluse, and I really only talk to one person on a daily basis (online friend). I personally don’t like calling myself anti social tbh. I know I just did so I sound dumb lol but it’s the easiest way to describe myself. Plus it’s how people on the outside would describe me - which I totally understand. I’m technically a selective mute. In which if I’m comfortable around someone I talk, if not a ‘can’t’. It was drilled into me during a rough childhood to never talk back, never speak up, and that my voice was the worst my parents had to endure. When I didn’t talk, I was safer and everyone was happier. I also have severe social anxiety and I’m really depressed. I have panic attacks just thinking about having to enter a situation in which I would have to talk to someone. I avoid doing most things because of the anxiety, even dumb stuff like going to a restaurant or a lot of stores lol. For example I don’t wanna go to subway bc I don’t know how to order something lol and the anxiety just kills me inside. I know this stuff is just depressing and not fun, and it probably doesn’t belong in a post about wanting a blowjob lol - but I figured I might as well tell a little about myself. And who knows, maybe you can relate to me and we can talk about it/help each other.
It’s not super relevant to this specific post, but I am a virgin. Not to make excuses but the stuff I mentioned before is probably why I still haven’t had sex. I just have a really hard time putting myself out there. I’ve never really had friends IRL, and obviously I haven’t been in a relationship. I did have a friend back in high school, but even then we really only talking in school. I did get lucky last June. It was actually a week or so before my 22nd birthday (best gift ever). I had jury duty that week and this girl I knew happened to be close by. We made out in her car and she gave me head. Honestly I had a super hard time finishing, but I figured it was because of nerves? I’m not sure tbh but I’m like 99% sure it will be fine this time around. That’s all my experience with a girl btw, I kissed her and that’s it lol - just a fair warning, I’m probably not the best kisser. I totally wanna get super good at it though.
I should say I am trying to work on myself. I try to stay positive/optimistic (hence this post lol) and I’m trying to put myself out there more. Even basic stuff like trying to talk more and Idk, it’s tough but I’m hoping one day I’ll be “happy”. I know friends/a girlfriend won’t make me any less lonely, but I figured it can’t hurt lol. I should try to say some positive things about myself huh. The whole no talking thing does make me a GREAT listener lol. I will make you laugh. I do have a puppy, so maybe you’ll get to meet him one day or at least receive lots of puppy pics/vids. Um but yeah I do like myself, I think I’m an interesting/fun person. I’m passionate about lots of different things, and I love learning. That does sound kinda cliche but yeah. I am a wicked cuddly/affectionate person too lol, although I’ve never cuddled w/ someone (I really really want to). I’m a super caring/sensitive guy. This post is going on sooo long I’m sorry, I should probably try to wrap this up. I’m super impressed if you actually read this whole thing.
Thank you for reading :) I’d appreciate it if you upvote so more people can see this post 🥺
submitted by Scrafty97 to bostonr4r [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 20:16 Itnyowi 36 [F4M], Anywhere in the world

Everything is alright until I feel the real lonely feeling when you don't go out and have the same people to see everyday. I'm in search of a friend, someone to chat with when we're both tired from work. Share stories or just be there, you know how it is to be one.
I'm single, 36 and can't complain in life. Just bored. Lol. I haven't dated much in recent years because I've been so focused on my career. Now I finally feel I'm ready to meet the person who will bring me a bit of happiness, there comes pandemic covid or whatsoever killed joy it is. Just kidding. I'm not in a rush. Just want to gain friends or whatever life brings.
submitted by Itnyowi to R4R30Plus [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 20:01 Britneyfan456 Which Director had the best run in the 50s?

It could be best run in terms of anything
Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train, To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder, I Confess, Stage Fright, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Wrong Man.
Nicholas Ray: In a Lonely Place, Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life, Johnny Guitar, Bitter Victory, Macao, On Dangerous Ground, Party Girl, The Lusty Men,Run for Cover, The True Story of Jesse James, The Racket, Flying Leathernecks, Born to Be Bad, and Androcles and the Lion.
Ingmar Bergman: The Seventh Seal, Smiles of a Summer Night, Wild Strawberries, Dreams, Summer Interlude, A Lesson in Love, The Magician, Secrets of Women, and Summer with Monika.
Billy Wilder: Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, Some Like It, Stalag 17, Witness for the Prosecution, The Seven Year Itch, Ace in the Hole, Love in the Afternoon, and The Spirit of St. Louis.
Fred Zinnemann: From Here to Eternity, High Noon, The Men, Oklahoma!, The Nun's Story, A Hatful of Rain, The Old Man and the Sea, Teresa, and The Member of the Wedding.
George Stevens: Shane, Giant, A Place in the Sun, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Something to Live For.
John Huston: The Asphalt Jungle, The African Queen, The Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick, Beat the Devil, The Barbarian and the Geisha, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, The Roots of Heaven, and Moulin Rouge.
Elia Kazan: On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, East of Eden, Panic in the Streets, Baby Doll, A Face in the Crowd, Viva Zapata!, and Man on a Tightrope.
William Wyler: Ben Hur, Roman Holiday, The Big Country, Friendly Persuasion, Carrie, Detective Story, and The Desperate Hours.
Otto Preminger: The Man with the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murder, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The 13th Letter, Angel Face, The Moon Is Blue, Carmen Jones, Bonjour Tristesse, Porgy and Bess, Saint Joan, and
Federico Fellini: La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, I Vitelloni, Il bidone, The White Sheik, and Variety Lights.
Robert Wise: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Destination Gobi, This Could Be the Night, Run Silent, Run Deep, I Want to Live!, Odds Against Tomorrow, Executive Suite, Two Flags West, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Desert Rats, So Big, and House on Telegraph Hill.
Fritz Lang: The Big Heat, Clash by Night, House by the River, American Guerrilla in the Philippines, While the City Sleeps, Human Desire, Rancho Notorious, and Moonfleet.
Akira Kurosawa: Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ikiru, The Hidden Fortress, The Idiot, Throne of Blood,Scandal, I Live in Fear, and The Lower Depths.
Orson Welles: Othello, Touch of evil, and Mr. Arkadin.
Stanley Kubrick: The Killing, Paths of Glory, Fear and Desire, and Killer's Kiss.
Luis Buñuel: Los Olvidados, El, Mexican Bus Ride, Robinson Crusoe, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, and Nazarín.
Michael Curtiz: The Breaking Point, White Christmas, We're No Angels, King Creole, The Jazz Singer, The Egyptian, I'll See You in My Dreams, The Vagabond King, and The Proud Rebel.
John Ford: The Searchers, The Quiet Man, Mister Roberts, Wagon Master, Rio Grande, The Sun Shines Bright, Mogambo, The Long Gray Line, The Horse Soldiers, The Last Hurrah, The Wings of Eagles, What Price Glory, and When Willie Comes Marching Home.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: All About Eve, No Way Out, People Will Talk, 5 Fingers, Julius Caesar, Guys and Dolls, The Barefoot Contessa, The Quiet American, and Suddenly, Last Summer.
Vincente Minnelli: The Bad and the Beautiful, Gigi, The Band Wagon, An American in Paris, Some Came Running, Designing Woman, Tea and Sympathy, The Cobweb, The Long, Long Trailer, Father of the Bride, Father's Little Dividend, Brigadoon, The Story of Three Loves, Lust for Life, and Kismet.
Robert Bresson: The Diary of a Country Girl, Pick Pocket, and A Man Escaped.
Yasujirō Ozu: Tokyo Story, Floating Weeds, The Munekata Sisters, Early Summer, Early Spring, Tokyo Twilight, Good Morning, Equinox Flower, and The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice.
Alexander Mackendrick: The Lady Killers, Sweet Smell of Success, The Man in the White Suit, Mandy, and The Maggie.
Douglas Sirk: Written on the Wind, Imitation of Life, All That Heaven Allows, Magnificent Obsession, A Time to Love and a Time to Die, There's Always Tomorrow, The Tarnished Angels, Battle Hymn, The First Legion, All I Desire, Take Me to Town, Meet Me at the Fair, and Interlude.
Satyajit Ray: The Apu Trilogy, The Music Room, and Parash Pathar.
Robert Aldrich: Kiss Me Deadly, Vera Cruz, The Big Knife, Autumn Leaves, The Angry Hills, Ten Seconds to Hell, Apache, and Big Leaguer.
Richard Brooks: Blackboard Jungle, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Deadline – U.S.A., Crisis, Battle Circus, The Last Time I Saw Paris, Take the High Ground!, The Last Hunt, and The Brothers Karamazov.
George Cukor: A Star Is Born, Born Yesterday, Bhowani Junction, It Should Happen to You, Les Girls, Wild is the Wind, The Actress, Pat and Mike, Hot Spell, A Life of Her Own, and The Marrying Kind.
Byron Haskin: The War of the Worlds, The First Texan, Conquest of Space, From the Earth to the Moon, The Little Savage, The Boss, Tarzan's Peril, His Majesty O'Keefe, Warpath, Silver City, And Treasure Island.
Howard Hawks: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Rio Bravo, The Big Sky, Monkey Business, Land of the Pharaohs, and O. Henry's Full House.
Roberto Rossellini: Where Is Freedom?, Journey to Italy, General Della Rovere, Europe '51, The Machine to Kill Bad People, We, the Women, The Ways of Love, Francesco, giullare di Dio, Stromboli, Fear, India: Matri Bhumi, and Joan of Arc at the Stake.
Jean Renoir: The Ways of Love, French Cancan, The River, Elena and Her Men, Elena and Her Men, The Doctor's Horrible Experiment, and Picnic on the Grass.
Jules Dassin: Night and The City, Rififi, He Who Must Die, and The Law.
Vittorio De Sica: Terminal Station, Umberto D., Miracle in Milan, The Roof, and Anna of Brooklyn.
Kenji Mizoguchi: Ugetsu, The Life of Oharu, The Crucified Lovers, Sansho the Bailiff, The Woman in the Rumor, A Geisha, Princess Yang Kwei Fei, Shin Heike Monogatari, and Street of Shame.
Roy Ward Baker: A Night to Remember, Don't Bother to Knock, I'll Never Forget You, Morning Departure, Highly Dangerous, Inferno, Night Without Sleep, The One That Got Away, Passage Home, Jacqueline, and Tiger in the Smoke.
Henri-Georges Clouzot: The Wages of Fear, Les Diaboliques, Les Espions, The Mystery of Picasso, and Miquette.
Anthony Mann: The Man from Laramie, The Naked Spur, Winchester '73, The Glenn Miller Story, Side Street, The Tall Target, Devil's Doorway, The Furies, Bend of the River, Man of the West, God's Little Acre, Men in War, Strategic Air Command, The Tin Star, Serenade, The Far Country, and The Last Frontier.
Don Siegel: Crime in the Streets, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Edge of Eternity, Baby Face Nelson, Spanish Affair, The Duel at Silver Creek, An Annapolis Story, Riot in Cell Block 11, China Venture, Private Hell 36, The Lineup, Hound-Dog Man, and Count the Hours.
John Sturges: Bad Day at Black Rock, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The People Against O'Hara, Escape from Fort Bravo, The Old Man and the Sea, Backlash, The Scarlet Coat, Jeopardy, Fast Company, Mystery Street, Right Cross, Last Train from Gun Hill, The Law and Jake Wade, Big Country, and Underwater!.
Samuel Fuller: Pickup on South Street, Hell and High Water, The Crimson Kimono, Forty Guns, Dog Face, Run of the Arrow, China Gate, House of Bamboo, Verboten!, The Steel Helmet, The Baron of Arizona, Park Row, and Fixed Bayonets!.
Joseph H. Lewis: The Big Combo, Retreat, Hell!, A Lady Without Passport, Desperate Search, Man on a Bus, Cry of the Hunted, A Lawless Street, The Halliday Brand, Terror in a Texas Town, and 7th Cavalry.
Jean-Pierre Melville: Les Enfants Terribles, Orpheus, Quatre sans millions!, When You Read This Letter, Bob le flambeur, and Two Men in Manhattan.
Phil Carlson: The Phenix City Story, Kansas City Confidential, 99 River Street, Hell's Island, The Iroquois Trail, The Brigand, Scandal Sheet, Gunman's Walk, Mask of the Avenger, Lorna Doone, The Texas Rangers, Tight Spot, They Rode West, The Brothers Rico, and 5 Against the House.
Martin Ritt: The Long, Hot Summer, Edge of the City, The Black Orchid, No Down Payment, and The Sound and the Fury.
Louis Malle: Les Amants, Elevator to the Gallows, Crazeologie, and Station 307.
Carol Reed: Our Man in Havana, The Key, Trapeze, The Man Between, A Kid for Two Farthings, and Outcast of the Islands.
Masaki Kobayashi: The Human Condition Trilogy, Youth of the Son, Three Loves, Somewhere Under The Broad Sky, The Spring, Beautiful Days, I Will Buy You, Black River, Sincere Heart, and The Thick-Walled Room.
Stanley Donen: Singin' in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Royal Wedding, Funny Face, Indiscreet, Damn Yankees, The Pajama Game, Kiss Them for Me, and It's Always Fair Weather.
Gene Kelly: It's Always Fair Weather, Singin' in the Rain, Invitation to the Dance, and The Tunnel of Love.
Ida Lupino: The Hitch-Hiker, Outrage, The Bigamist, and Hard, Fast and Beautiful.
Budd Boetticher: The Tall T, Bullfighter and the Lady, City Beneath the Sea, East of Sumatra, Red Ball Express, Seven Men from Now, The Killer Is Loose, Ride Lonesome, Buchanan Rides Alone, Decision at Sundown, Westbound, The Magnificent Matador, The Man from the Alamo, Seminole, The Cimarron Kid, Killer Shark, Bronco Buster, Wings of the Hawk, and Horizons West.
Andre DeToth: Day of the Outlaw, House of Wax, Man in the Saddle, Riding Shotgun, Crime Wave, Last of the Comanches, Tanganyika, The Bounty Hunter, Hidden Fear, The Indian Fighter, Monkey on My Back, The Two-Headed Spy, Thunder Over the Plains, The Stranger Wore a Gun, Carson City, and Springfield Rifle.
Delmer Daves: 3:10 to Yuma, Broken Arrow, Demetrius and the Gladiators, White Feather, Drum Beat, Treasure of the Golden Condor, Jubal, The Last Wagon, Kings Go Forth, Cowboy, The Badlanders, The Hanging Tree, A Summer Place, Bird of Paradise, and Never Let Me Go.
William A. Wellman: Track of the Cat, The High and the Mighty, Blood Alley,
Darby's Rangers, Lafayette Escadrille, Good-bye, My Lady, The Next Voice You Hear..., Westward the Women, Island in the Sky, My Man and I, Across the Wide Missouri, and The Happy Years.
Max Ophüls: La Ronde, The Earrings of Madame de…, Lola Montès, and Le Plaisir.
Delbert Mann: Marty, The Bachelor Party, Desire Under the Elms, Middle of the Night, and Separate Tables.
David Lean: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Madeleine, The Sound Barrier, Summertime, and Hobson's Choice.
Sidney Lumet: 12 Angry Men, That Kind of Woman, and Stage Struck.
submitted by Britneyfan456 to flicks [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 19:50 raliq I am 23 years old, make $58,000, live in the DC suburbs, and work in corporate compliance

Hi everyone! This is my first MD, I've been reading them for ages so this is exciting for me. It was fun to track my life for a week, too. Feel free to be helpful and / or judgmental in the comments, it's the best part :)
Section One: Assets and Debt
Total net worth ~ $23,200
Retirement Balance: $5,183 in a 401k + $4,579 in a Roth IRA - I started working full time about a year ago after grad school and started contributing ~4% to my 401k then, and increased to 6% after a few months (my job matches 4.5%). I opened a Roth IRA this year and I’m trying to put in 500 a month consistently.
Savings account balance - $11,440 ($8000 emergency fund and the rest is saving to furnish a one-bedroom apartment one day and for travel... eventually)
Checking account balance - I keep it around $2000 for emergencies, in case a paycheck doesn’t come through or whatever.
Credit card debt - I use it and pay it every month for the sweet sweet miles
Student loan debt - $0 - I had a combination of scholarships, my dad’s GI Bill, and I was an RA for housing- and my parents covered the rest. Eternally grateful for this. I also have an MA which was covered by scholarships, working, and my parents helped with a much smaller amount (which was very unexpected).
Section Two: Income
Main Job Monthly Take Home: $3,352 after taxes (1035.42), retirement (290.38, employer match is 216) and medical/dental/vision (130 + 17 + 13.76)
Any Other Monthly Income Here - My parents definitely don’t send me money or anything but we live close so sometimes when work is really bad they’ll drop off groceries. I consider food income so I’ll include it.
Section Three: Expenses
Rent - $1,250 (this includes all utilities, wifi, etc for my one-bedroom in a three-bedroom, I have three roommates because two sisters are splitting a room, but the price is split in thirds.)
Renters insurance - $9.80 (but I paid it for the year when I moved in)
Retirement contribution - $500 to IRA
Savings contribution - I don’t have a set goal, I pay my credit card bill and put whatever’s left over $2000 from checking to savings. It’s usually at least $600 on top of the IRA contribution.
Cellphone - $70 (I’m on my parents plan but I replaced my phone right before I started paying for myself, it was a mistake. I Venmo my mom for this)
Subscriptions - $10 for Apple Music, total mooch for everything else (Netflix, Hulu, Prime, everything...)
Transportation - My commute used to be around $120 a month, but we aren’t going back to the office until at least the new year. Based on cost alone, I’d like to work remote forever...
Day 1 - Tuesday
6:15 Up with my alarm. I lay in bed and check that I won my Fantasy matchup last night and waste time on Twitter and Reddit until 7, then showebrush/ make up (I have a zoom meeting later - I used to do makeup every day but I’m definitely saving money going bare-faced half the week).
7:45 I bought an espresso maker with some of my stimulus money, but I still like to walk for local coffee one or two days a week when I’m feeling drained by work (in the words of one diarist, “the thing about my job is that I hate it”). Today is one of those days - I grab a large mocha (6.10 with tip) while I pick out my playlist for the day (Apple Music favorites, new Fleet Foxes, then Maggie Rogers on repeat), then down to work. ($6.10)
10:30 My roommate texts me to ask if I want to walk to Dunkin’ which I so do (those hash browns!) but I’m just on a roll with work and I shouldn’t spend more money. I get back to it.
1 pm: I’ve had too much coffee and no food, so I grab some pepperoni, a babybel, and a box of wheat thins and settle back in for an afternoon meeting and some more staring at my computer.
5:30: Spent the afternoon incredibly frustrated by coworkers and managers so I stop working and call my mom to rant while I wait for a review to come back. She reminds me to make a list of symptoms I’ve been having for a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, which fills the gap until I can actually sign off after I finish the last review around 6. Kraft Mac & cheese for dinner to celebrate Tuesday being over.
8:30: Zoom chat with college friends! Highlight of the week. Or month. So nice to vent and laugh.
Day 2 - Wednesday
6:15: Awake. Shower, slather on some random skincare products, make coffee and update my fantasy lineup. I notice that whichever of my roommates had laundry in the machine for four days finally moved it, so I start mine and then sit down for work a little after 8.
10:10: My nose starts bleeding a ton, which is the third time this has happened in two weeks and also the third time this has happened since I was seven. I spend 20 minutes getting it under control and cleaning my bathroom from the aftermath. I take the opportunity to switch my laundry and grab a snack (un babybel) in hopes that the rest of the morning can be more productive.
12: the rest of the morning has indeed not been more productive. I take a money diary break and I’m just annoyed at how much she talks about being loved- I should probably work on my unfounded resentment of others. I try to get some more work out of the way before I heat up mac & cheese for lunch.
5:00 My nose has been bleeding off and on all day and I’d probably be at urgent care if I didn’t already have an appointment tomorrow morning. I’m being a baby but I’m convinced I’ve lost too much blood to do any more work, or to cook tonight. I scroll through Uber Eats and order Japanese curry because I lived there for a while and it’s a comfort food. This is the most I would ever ever spend on dinner for myself but it’s so good and I don’t drive so I have to deal with delivery fees... (19.18)
6:10 Dinner is here! I finished putting away my laundry and some dishes while I waited, now I can settle in for a few episodes of The Sopranos and try not to the think about stressful work stuff (the fact I haven’t done any) for a few hours, and then sleep.
Day 3 - Thursday
6:05: Wake up. Since this is a money diary, I’ll let y’all in on the not-so-secret that the best purchase in my apartment of the past year was my sunrise alarm clock. I used to snooze my phone 5 times in the morning, and waking up to a soft light instead of noise is so much easier. Anyway, I lay in bed for a few minutes but get ready earlier than usual because my doctor’s appointment is at 8.
7:15: I’m too early (the office is only a 10-minute walk) so I jot down a work to-do list for later before I go.
8:00: Check in at my doctor’s office and they inform me of my $50 co-pay. It’s usually $30, so I’m not sure where this came from? I put it on my credit card. ($50)
8:45: Successful doctor’s appointment, she actually listened to me. I got a bunch of blood drawn so I need food but the good bagel place over here doesn’t open until 9, bummer. I opt for a Starbucks coffee and bagel. It comes out to $5.96 plus 50 stars (does anyone else hate the new rewards system?) but I have Starbucks money. I’m back at my desk with no time to do much before a 9:30 meeting, so I look into the copay situation and I think I was overcharged. I should be able to get $20 back.
10:15: One meeting done and a one-on-one in 45 minutes, so I send some emails and make some lists. In my one-on-one, I hint to my supervisor that I’m super stressed and getting burnt out and disillusioned by the work - but who isn’t, so it’s no big thing, I guess? Then I buckle down for a few hours of real work.
1:00 “Lunch” break- I take a walk to CVS to pick up my prescription ($5.01 with insurance), gummy probiotics, and popcorn ($33.64), and call my mom on my walk. Popcorn for lunch when I come back and research on organizations supporting Black women to donate to after Breonna Taylor’s killers were basically fully exonerated. I send $50 each to the National Black Women’s Justice Institute and Black Women’s Agenda ($101.70 with a processing fee). ($140.35)
3:00: I get an email from Ally that my APR for my savings account has gone down again? Damn. I should really put my phone somewhere I can’t see it if I want to do any real work.
7:30: Sign off and reheat yesterday’s curry for dinner. My roommate is going to Target so I watch TV in the living room and watch her puppy, who has some separation anxiety. He calms down eventually and I put away some dishes before my roommate gets back. I do some job searching before sleep.
Day 4 - Friday
5:50: Not sure why I’m up so early, but I am. Don’t worry, I laid in bed for an hour to make up for the early wake-up. Long enough to get tired again. Drag myself out of bed and to the shower.
7:45: I should really make coffee but I feel so ... exhausted? I make the early call that I’m not getting drinks with coworkers tonight even though I said I “probably” would. It’s too risky and too expensive. Now that that’s done, I go out for coffee.... ($7.10)
10:10: My roommate has to pick up a prescription so I’m watching the pup for a while. I’m not sure why she goes to a pharmacy super far away instead of walking to the CVS, but whatever. Pup is mad she left so I don’t get much done. I snack a bit so when she comes back around 11:15 I put in headphones, put my phone across the room, and get to work.
4:00: Call my doctor’s office before they close to ask about the copay charge- they say that once they get the EOB from Cigna explaining that I’m only supposed to pay $30, they’ll refund $20. This seems like an imperfect system? I grew up on Tricare so I will never understand the world of insurance, but I guess I’m just looking out for a $20 credit for something everyone admits I never should’ve paid in the first place? Whatever.
7:30: Sign off and make ramen for dinner (I add an egg to make it seem healthy because my parents always say I need protein?). I text with a coworker about work drama for a while while I eat and watch an ep of Peep Show and then put on The Sopranos until I go to sleep.
Day 5 - Saturday
7:00: Up. Make no mistake, I don’t normally get up this early on weekends, but I have plans. I’m going to my parents' house to make BA Molly’s IG Crunchwrap Extremes and then my brother’s apartment for a “listening party” for the new Sufjan / Fleet Foxes (this def involves edibles). It’s not ideal that I have three roommates who have families & SOs and one has a job outside the home, but strictly quarantining inside for six months isn’t possible for my mental health so I see my family (who all live alone) and occasionally have distanced outdoor meetups with friends.
9:15: My sweet mother comes to pick me up - it’s a 15 minute drive but I don’t like to drive or have a car. I moved out a few months after I started work because of a long commute and there not being much to do where they live. Now I live in a great area and can take the metro to work and to their house... except in COVID-times. So I might just move back once my lease is up to save money while I figure out what I want to do about work.
Anyway, my mom & I go to the grocery store to get stuff for breakfast and grab zucchini, asparagus, bread, and turkey for me to take home. She pays. I also grab Starbucks because I didn’t make coffee at home and I get a massive headache without any ($5.57)
11:00: I head to my brother’s apartment and spend a few hours playing with his cat, listening to music, and having impossible burger sliders (all my siblings are vegan, I dabble).
5:30: I get home, take a nap, and watch some Peep Show before dinner (veg hash with beets my mom roasted and sent me home with, and a potato and carrot from her pantry). I love cooking when all of my roommates are gone so I don’t feel rushed, and it came out pretty good (and lots of leftovers). More Sopranos then sleep.
Day 6 - Sunday
8:50: Awake and tired. I drag myself out of bed to make eggs and toast and eat while I watch Peep Show. I really need to do some work today but I also ... don’t want to. I know buying coffee would somehow motivate me to at least start but I’ve also bought coffee way too much this week.
10:30: Pull myself off the couch to get ready for a day at the desk. I finally start working (homemade coffee in hand) around noon.
4:00: this is taking so much longer than it should, as usual. I work slower when I have more to do, because it’s overwhelming and I’d rather just quit and live in a van or open a cafe. I watch the last few minutes of the Steelers game (3-0 baby) and get back to it.
8:00: I have so much work I’ll need to finish tomorrow, but my hands are going numb and I’m starving so I call it a night. I’ll regret this tomorrow.
Day 7 - Monday
6:50: My backup work alarm goes off. I turn it off because I’m on PTO today, which just means I can sleep a little longer and start working later.
8:10: Up for real now, but I lay in bed looking at twitter, football scores, etc until 9:30. I also got paid today (my paychecks come through early thanks to USAA). I leave enough for rent + the usual 2,000 (3,250 total) in checking and that leaves almost an even 500 to transfer to my IRA (it’s not automatic because I like the feeling of doing it...) Usually I’d just pay off my credit card with my rent paycheck but I got a huge refund for a canceled trip a few weeks ago so I’m still living off that.
10:20: Make eggs (something to commemorate PTO?) and start working. I leave myself offline so no one realizes I’m here.. stealth mode.
1 pm: I hear my roommates in the living room and my hands are cramping so I take a break to chat and have a snack.
9:20: I’ve worked for way too long with no break and no food. I’m to a point that I can definitely meet my deadlines tomorrow, but I’ll be miserable again tomorrow night if I don’t keep working for a while. I reheat some vegetable hash with an egg and toast and then work on some stuff for Wednesday before I call it a night around 10:30.
Food + Drink: 42.44
Fun / Entertainment: 0
Home + Health: 84.16
Clothes + Beauty: 0
Transport: 0
Other: 101.70
Total : 228.30
Lastly, reflect on your diary! How do you feel about your spending? Was this a normal week for you? Has this inspired you to make changes or has it given you a “wow I’m doing pretty good” confidence boost? Is there anything you’re actively working on? No need to answer any or all these questions but just use this space to write any thoughts you have!
I think this was definitely a heavy spend week, between the donations, uber eats, co-pay, and 4x coffee week, combined, but I do occasionally actually buy groceries or go out, take an Uber somewhere, etc., so I think ~600-800 monthly is probably accurate. I think I mainly wanted to do a MD to track work habits and spending, and this definitely shows that I spend more when I'm more stressed (the Uber Eats and the coffee spending were both directly linked to stress from work). I am proud of myself for not falling into a lifestyle inflation trap living with roommates who make a lot more than me and take their work stress out by ordering food rather than cooking, etc.
submitted by raliq to MoneyDiariesACTIVE [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 19:29 25Malachi Girlfriend added old flame on Snapchat

So I’m back on my soapbox. So last night I asked my (22M) girlfriend (24F) about a guy I’ve been seeing popping up in my suggested on social media. I asked her because In the beginning of our relationship I’ve seen him in her searches so I knew she knew him. Even more so I knew that she used to flirt really heavy on this guy on Snapchat I’ve seen old messages from 2015. So I ask her about him and she says he’s from the area and they used to hang out in the same group of friends leaving everything else out. She asked me why I asked and I told her I’ve seen him in my suggested then she gets all defensive about it and says that she’s never searched him in years and I don’t I have no way of knowing of his existence at this time I haven’t told her I knew about their history. That leads to her telling me to leave her alone and she ignored me for the rest of the night. So this morning I tell her we need to talk about last night and I tell her I know they used to be a thing then come to find out she added him back to her Snapchat last night. We have an agreement for our relationship not to interact or associate with people we had any type of feeling or sexual contact with for our relationship. She’s no so much worried about it but it is a big deal to me. I tell her my concerns and remind her that we did already talk about this and she gets mad again and says that she’s tired of me not trusting her and that she flirted with him but he didn’t flirt back and it was 5 years ago so none of that matters because they’re just friends now. Anything I said she’d shut down and say it’s childish she can have friends and she wants an adult relationship with trust. Now some history we’ve been together since May when we first started talking I was coming around her house and she was coming to mine and we were having lunch dates. Little did I know she was already talking to a guy like she’s literally let him in to her house to cuddle then left to go meet me before work kissed me hugged me and acted like everything was good. I found out about that because I saw messages between them. When I confronted her she said she didn’t know we were going to click so well and she stopped talking to him and that night we came to the agreement previously mentioned. So fast forward about a month still in the beginning I find out she’s been texting and attempting to delete text the guy she was talking to before the first one I found out about. This was also the man that she had an affair with so her ex husband says and previous text messages say. I confronted her about lying and hiding things and she apologized and said she didn’t mean anything by it and didn’t want to upset me. I ultimately forgave her as long as nothing like it happened again. I had no problem trusting her before but thing after thing seems to happen. What do you guys think I should do.
Edit:She seems to not see the relevance in not contaminating our relationship with old flings and also calls me childish for not wanting her to talk to these types of people and says that I don’t trust her, but she seems to betray that trust in every incident.
EDIT: Important thing she is also pregnant so that kind of complicates things. She’s also just started acting weird about me going through her phone use to wed look at each other’s phones as much as we wanted I’d see her on mine and nothing think anything of it. I’ll get on her phone on a pretty regular basis not really looking for anything but I’m just on it mainly I’ll go through pictures on her camera roll because she takes selfies and I don’t get any so I’ll send some to myself sometimes or I’ll check her ex husband’s text because he’s still on the pursuit to get her back so he’ll text some lovey dovey shit sometimes which she also ignored until I told her I’d check him on it if she didn’t. She’s said before that I don’t trust her because I’m on her phone a lot but I really wasn’t not looking for anything she’s done. But she’s been really vocal about me not getting on her phone the last couple days. Idk if this has something to do with it or not or if she just wants to do whatever without having to worry about who sees it. Basically if she cheats on me I’m done she’s been showing signs of focusing her attention other places than me like sex declining and now her seeking out past crushes and I notice but there’s nothing I can do about it. I was cheated on in my last marriage and it ruined everything my pride, confidence, self esteem and over all the innocent way I look at things and she knows that. It’s easy to say just leave but I don’t know what to do. I want to be with her she means a lot to me when things are good they’re great , but if we can’t see eye to eye on this or she continues to try to be deceptive it’s not much of a relationship. She looks at it as me trying to control her or telling her she can’t have friends of the opposite sex she’s never looking at the whole thing.
submitted by 25Malachi to relationship_advice [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 19:17 JollyGreenStone As Usual, Things Don't Go As Planned

Hey homies, today I have another session report from my ongoing homebrew game. One of my PCs wasn't able to play last night so we had some fun without him. I think this is session 6 or 7.
**Dramatis Personae**
Our heroes made it to Cobalt Outpost and found temporary jobs within its' walls, some mending the sick and others tending to scribe work. Through their labor they discovered the dire situation at the Outpost. Out of over one-hundred soldiers and other personnel, only fifteen of them were still able-bodied. Over forty-five soldiers lay in the infirmary tent and dozens more dead in the courtyard. The reinforcements from Oran-Diel, the Great City, are a full two days away and the ranking officer, Lt. Maco, believes the assaulting forces will return within a day.
They meet with Vessika, the resident Wizard at the Outpost, and she reveals that she possesses a Rune Stone, one of the artifacts our heroes have been contracted to retrieve. If they can't get all six in the next year, they'll be dragged back to the Nine Hells. A Hobgoblin rider, Falchyon, approaches and tells the Wall Commander and Lt. Maco that they have until midday tomorrow to surrender the camp. Any who refuse will be put to the sword. Shortly after the rider departs, the Lieutenant disappears!
The gang went after Lieutenant Maco and managed to get him back to Cobalt Outpost, but Falchyon tagged along and escaped into the camp! Styre tried tracking the Hobgoblin and the 4 witnessed Falchyon drive his longsword into Vessika's back while she was attempting to cast a spell. They restrained Falchyon and in the commotion Aeranos' eyes rolled back in his head and he became unresponsive. An impending attack comes at midday. Can they fend off the march of death?!
The party call for two soldiers to take Vessika to the infirmary tent immediately. Leon notices the sword wound has some sort of infection which immediately took root. The soldiers are also instructed to carry Aeranos to the tent, as his eyes have rolled back into his head and he doesn't seem to be conscious. Another message from his god, perhaps. Left cackling in the mud is Falchyon, the would-be assassin and aggressor in charge of the Hobgoblin forces. Another foot soldier comes and ties Falchyon's hands behind his back before smacking him in the temple with the butt of his dagger.
Styre leans forward and demands the Hobgoblin's name, as they haven't officially met yet. The Hobgoblin is stubborn and asks their name first. "If you kill me, I'll come back and kill every one of you."
His threats are strange, but his smile is wide and sincere. Falchyon is loving every minute of this and nobody can figure out why. Leon and Banish remember their earlier encounter with a Hobgoblin squad, as well as the prisoner who ended up being a Simulacrum. The two are well-versed in spellcaster tactics and discuss possible outcomes of killing this Hobgoblin. One the one hand, this could simply be another magical copy. At this, the soldier who tied the Hob's hands produces his knife and presses it to the Hob's throat. A tiny trickle of blood runs down his neck, yet still he smiles. The two intellectuals reason that he's either a Clone body or bluffing very well. Insight checks reveal no lies.
If they do kill him, Leon thinks, it's more than likely going to be a decoy body of some type. That's the same as leaving him in the camp for the Hobgoblin Assault Force to pick up. Leon convinces the gang that they should probably keep a close eye on this one. Falchyon reveals his name. He offers the party a chance to escape and says if they leave before his forces get there, he won't hunt them down. Falchyon claims that he's fighting to cleanse the land of non-goblinoids since it was originally their territory. He says humanoids came, murdered his people, stole his resources, and just generally ruined everything, and the gang isn't sure whether or not to believe him. While this is happening, Banish and Leon decide to check on Vessika at the infirmary.
They enter the triage tent and see a Half-Elf field medic casting precise spells and following their path with a scalpel. He's operating on Vessika and wreathing her in a soft blue light. Banish gets in there and volunteers his entire pool of Lay On Hands which does significantly improve the width of the wound, but doesn't do anything to subdue the growing rot. Blackened skin pulses and festers where the sword entered and the doctor explains he thinks this wound is cursed. It would take some higher magic to make this work.
It's at this point that Banish decides to search Vessika's robes and neck for the Rune Stone she carries. The doctor objects but has his hands full treating the ever-growing wound. Banish finds it and immediately feels extreme warmth and power when he touches it. All of his spell slots come back, he gets 10 temporary HP, and he feels incredibly powerful. He also gains a flaw: I am unwilling to part with the Rune Stone under any circumstances, even threat of death. Everyone in the room sees Banish's eyes as he grasps the Stone and attaches it to his own neck pendant. One hand remains on the Stone at all times as Banish and Leon leave the Wizard to recuperate.
In the next triage section, the pair see Aeranos and Lt. Maco. Maco is suffering the aftereffects of mind control with a searing migraine and cold sweats. His eyes are bloodshot red and he can barely speak through the pain.
"I-I could see... EVERYTHING he was planning to do... Everyone here, dead, everyone we've ever known put down like animals..."
The pair reassure Maco, telling him the Hobgoblin has offered safe passage if they agree to leave. Maco doesn't trust the Hobgoblin but concedes that this is their best option. He tells them to gather the remaining soldiers and wounded and escort them away from Cobalt Outpost. They reconvene with Styre just in time to see a soldier cock his arm back and sock another soldier in the face with his gauntlet. The attacker gets on top of him and starts smashing the younger man's face, yelling, "You're gonna get us all killed, you stupid bastard! Better we put this traitor in irons!"
Styre and Banish grapple the attacker and pull him away. They discover that the bleeding, pulpy-faced man in the mud was attempting to open the gate and leave. Banish tells the men that they only have each other now, and that each man must rely on their cohorts if any of them are going to make it through this crisis. The gang take stock and realize they only have 3 usable carts and 6 horses. They can take maybe twenty-five wounded people, anyone else would have to walk. This means they'll be marching much slower than normal and it would take about 4 days to arrive at the next settlement. Not good. The party elect to try negotiating for more time.
Falchyon asks the gang why they bother helping people they literally just met, and offers them the chance to join his quest to unite the Rune Stones. They question him and he trades information, telling them a story about how he received two Rune Stones from an Archdevil and had them stolen from him. He plans to get all six and create a goblinoid kingdom isolated from the rest of the continent. Huddling a few meters away, the party discuss the prospect of joining him. They know he's not trustworthy and, while he can potentially save Vessika's life and help them find more Stones, he's also liable to steal the one they currently have.
Trying to intimidate Falchyon, Banish uses the power of the Rune Stone to lift the Hobgoblin with one hand high into the air. Falchyon is impressed that Banish can harness so much power so early and promises the rest of the party that Banish would kill any of them to hold onto the Stone. He recalls feeling the same way when he had his own Stones. Falchyon tells the gang that he'll still let them go, and will even heal Vessika if they simply leave their wounded. Styre, being extremely anti-slavery, asks if they'll be slaves.
"I can assure you that every person you leave in my charge will survive. They'll be put to work until the entire group is fully healed, then they'll be sent back to you all at once."
Styre asks how he can trust Falchyon and Falchyon simply laughs, stating they can't trust him but they don't have many great options in this case. The party eventually debate and decide that the best course is to leave post haste and take part of Falchyon with them so that if they encounter him again, they'll recognize him. Banish kneels beside him and pulls out his dagger. Without a word, he opens Falchyon's right hand and cuts off his thumb. The Hobgoblin howls in pain, blood oozing from the brutal amputation, and falls into the mud off his stool. He vows to kill every single one of them and screams he's going to burn their homes to the ground.
As he's screaming, the gang rally the remaining soldiers and tell them the plan is evacuation. They detail a few modifications to the carts so that they can carry more people and start to get ready. Nobody hears the mutters from the infirmary tent but they all feel the intense air pressure as a blast of bright cyan energy expands and vaporizes the tent's walls. Most of the injured are strewn across the courtyard, some dead, and Aeranos finally wakes up. Vessika sits floating above her cot, in the epicenter of the blast.
Next time on Arcane Boogaloo:
submitted by JollyGreenStone to dndstories [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 18:46 Father-Son-HolyToast A very long, twisted tale with multiple updates and a deeply evil HOA: OP sold a parcel of family land to a developer, who built a neighborhood. There's now an HOA, and they're aggressively trying to take the rest of OP's land. [Posted two years ago]

This is a repost. The original post is by throwaway50847.
So long story short, today has been an absolute shit show, I can't even comprehend where to start.
So my parents owned about 30 acres of land in the middle of nowhere Nebraska on the outskirts of town. My parents built their house in the late 80's and that's where I've lived my whole life. My parents passed away and I inheirted the property and it's all my land or was my land. Back in 2005, this developer bought up a bunch of neighboring land and wanted to my buy land, I told him I was willing to sell 10 acres furthest from the house (the adjoining section to his neighborhood). He asked for 20 acres and I told him that the 2nd 10 acres would be 3x the price and he agreed and we signed the paperwork and he bought the land and I was paid for it. End of story, or so I thought.
The land sat empty for over a decade since it took a while for him to sell the plots of land he made to home buyers and his company built houses. From about 2005 to 2012, the land sat empty and I didn't mind, I still mowed the grass and what not to keep it tidy, but never tried to take the land over or anything.
By fall of last year he had finished the entire area and there's about 200 homes in that neighborhood. Because of the neighborhood my 10 acres is now worth about 10-20x what it was originally worth and the HOA knows that.
Since the September of 2017, I've had a bunch of angry letters and citations left on my property and in my mailbox. Some of them include:
Having a barn larger than 7x7 feet (I have a 20 x 40 barn)
Having abandoned vehicles on my property (It's a project car shell, that I'm working on. I have the actual chassis in the barn but it needs quite a bit of work. I bought an old rusted body and it sits outside and will continue to do so until I can deal with it)
Having a non-coforming mailbox (Still no idea WTF this is)
Having the improper roof tiles (Again, no idea)
I ignored them and told the HOA members that I'm not part of their neighborhood and therefore have no reason to follow their bullshit rules. The HOA says since my property values have gone up, I owe backdues from the date I sold my land (BEFORE there was even a single house built) and have to correct everything on the list.
The back dues are current $10,200 but they state that if I don't pay by December 31st, 2017, I will be charged interest that has accrued? Again no idea where they are getting the interest from, but I do believe their HOA fees are around $750/year.
It'll cost me about $15,000-$20,000 to "fix" my house. I think it's absolute bullshit that they can even make me try to do so.
1) I went through all the documents I signed and not a single document from the developer makes any mention of a HOA or my association with it.
2) I have no idea why the HOA is coming after me. I live almost half a mile away from the nearest house that belongs to the neighborhood. The entire neighborhood has it's own little custom street signs and lamps. I don't have any of that, so how can they say I'm part of the HOA?
They said to either pay up or they will put a lien on my property and take it over. From what I understand, if I pay the $10,000; doesn't that mean I'm admitting to guilt and be forced into the HOA?
UPDATE: So just had a hour long discussion with the lawyer and he went through all the documents. He asked if I was sure that was every document and I told him it was and it was, when I sold all the documents I put them all in the same folder along with my taxes.
He says that there is no chance I'm in the HOA since I didn't sign anything. He let me know that he'd be glad to send them a cease and desist letter to the HOA.
I brought up adverse possession, and he suggested I don't pursue it since I want them to leave me alone rather than instigate anything bigger.
So for now, he said to not pay anyone or sign anything. He'll mail out the C&D letter today and he says if the HOA tries contacting me, I should just tell them to contact him instead. So I think I'm in the clear for now!
So I met with a real estate attorney that was refereed to me by a Redditor on here and did the title search and I'm in the process of trying to find the old developers' master plans. So far here's what's been dug up.
I sold my land to Developer A. He owned the land for about 2 years and then filed bankruptcy and lost the land to the bank. That's when the maintenance of the land went to shit and I was mowing it and taking care of it, cause the bank didn't care. Bank sold it to Developer B and that is the person that built the current neighborhood. We got in touch with Developer B and he said he was no longer part of the neighborhood and in fact, the HOA is in charge of the entire area. His company just owned the lots and they sold/built on them for the families and they have 0 say anymore. I asked him about the master plans and if he thought he owned my remaining 10 acres, and he said absolutely not. The entire neighborhood sits on old land + the 20 acres that were purchased from in. So he was helpful and it was clear he had no wrongdoing.
I spoke to the lawyer to see if we could file and adverse possession on the land I maintained but he said it would be a waste of time and money, but I was just going to do it to spite the HOA. The title search and everything came up clean. It showed my parents as the previous owners and then me. So no way could they have owned my land. The records go way back, and there is a clear chain of ownership as my lawyer put it and it's incontestable.
We sent a HOA a cease and desist letter as well to stop contacting me unless they have actual signed documents that show I was part of a HOA. They never got back to me. I was out of town on came back last night to my mailbox missing. It was cut clear off the post with a chainsaw (wooden post with a metal mailbox on top). I told my lawyer this and he says that it is a big deal and that USPS would send the person to jail? I repurchased an identical mailbox and set up cameras all over the property. If they try it again, I'll have them on tape.
But the biggest thing we uncovered was that we found out what they are planning. Turns out that the HOA wants to put in ANOTHER community playground and a pool/clubhouse and they need land! They can't expand in any other direction since they're almost on the end of a highway on 1 side and the other sides are zoned for agriculture, they decided they'd try to take over my land. They have yet to also file a lien on my property so I'm guessing they were trying to force me into the HOA to make them sell my land below market value?
Either way, they showed their hand and now I'm on alert. We filed a complaint with the police regarding the stolen mailbox and we have a paper trail for that now. It's just a waiting game to see what they do next I guess. Should I send them a letter saying I know their plan and there is no way they can get my land? They have their monthly meeting every 2nd tuesday of the month, so it's in a few days and I'm sure I'll be the topic of discussion. Should I go to it?
So I was away for the holidays and I came back on Monday to find my project car was towed out of my driveway, my pond was emptied out and filled with gravel and sand and a fenced off 2 acres (2 chains by one furlong) of my property closest to HOA. I immediately called the police and filed a report regarding the stolen property. The car wasn't registered and was just an empty shell so I have no idea where it is nor will it be easy to track. It's not worth a lot (maybe $2,500?) but it's the principle of that jackass president of the HOA.
I had my lawyer draft up the C&D and sent it nearly 2 weeks ago and they haven't contacted me in any way except this. I hired a local salvage company to come tear up the fence this weekend and they are doing it free of charge since I'm letting them keep the fence to sell as scrap metal or whatever they do with it.
My lawyer suggested I send up a letter demanding payment to fix my pond as it was filled in with gravel and sand. A local landscape company quoted me nearly $8,000 to get the pond back to the way it was so that is what he suggested I ask and another $2,000 for loss of use of the pond. The HOA has lawyered up so I think it's best I no longer post anything else on here until it's settled. I didn't want to leave you all without some closure since you all have been an amazing help. I've put a picture of the layout since a few people asked. It's bad but should convey the land.
So after 6 long months, everything been resolved. This is my final post regarding this, already asked my lawyer if I could post this and he said go ahead.
So the HOA board got a lawyer to respond to my C&D and they requested a meeting ASAP with my lawyer present as well. I didn't want to go but my lawyer suggested me hear them out at atleast. At the meeting, I noticed there president and some of the higher ups were not there.
The board had no idea what the hell was happening and their lawyer was just as confused as them. After I laid out my timeline of events they thanked me for my time accepted all the financial burden of replenishing my pond, missing car (couldn't locate it), and damages.
I got checks for everything and got my pond restored back in April and didn't really think much of it.
I found out a few weeks ago from the new HOA president. Turns out the old president, tresaurer and someone else had been stealing money from the coffers. They wanted my land to expand and put in a pool, clubhouse and etc just as I saw on their website. The old board fined everyone a ton of money to get all the cash together and buy my land. Instead they spent it on themselves. They needed my land somehow so they thought they could just take over the land I wasn't using.
Long story short, their entire plan fell apart after I fought back and brought to the other members of the HOA attention what they were doing. From what I've been told, they had to sell their house to pay back the HOA and have since moved away. The HOA has offered me market value for my land and I do plan on selling since I really don't use the land for anything and the money isn't bad.
I did not file any complaints with the Postal inspector or anything, since the situation resolved itself. I got a new project car and for those asking it was a '98 Supra with a bad engine. My new project is a '67 Fastback that I plan on restoring to look like Elanor. :)
I want to thank a ton of redditors for chiming in with advice including a few from Nebraska.
silvoan immo406 dracofaerie2 whatarestairs and others that PMed with advice and support.
and lastly 20000to0 for advising me regarding nebraska laws and getting me in touch with his awesome lawyer(i guess mine now too)
submitted by Father-Son-HolyToast to BestofRedditorUpdates [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 18:31 safdaces My (20F) boyfriends (19M) grandmother (60sF) does not want me and my boyfriend to move out together

This is a really weird situation. To clarify, I have been on my own since I was 18. I moved out the month after graduating high school and while my parents were helpful and involved, I have always made sure to make ends meet. I suffer from some pretty hard hitting depression and PTSD which has (and currently is) laid me on my ass in a sense. I have depressive episodes that usually span through a week where I have a very difficult time getting out of bed and functioning. This time of year especially is extremely difficult as 1) a year ago I was hospitalized from a really serious, scary suicide attempt that left me in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks, 2) I am recovering from some recently realized repressed childhood trauma that has severely ruined my sleep schedule and 3) I am having dissociative seizures that have led to me either calling out of my job or having to go to the ER while working my shift. On top of all of this, I am currently marooned in Canada, have been here since before COVID and with the border being closed and my American-Canadian citizenship (as well as my American roommate getting COVID), I have been trying to find housing in a difficult job market and essentially move cross country for the first time in my adult life. Very stressful.
Me and my boyfriend started dating before COVID became an issue. I was staying in student housing on campus and we had been talking over Discord with a group of friends. I want to say it has been around 8 months or so. My lease ran out at student housing and I had nowhere else to go, so we started living with each other as roommates more than boyfriend/girlfriend. We had boundaries set up, our own spaces/rooms set up (we were living at his moms house and I was renting a room from her) and we naturally just fell into a good routine and genuinely enjoy living together. I was initially uncomfortable with living with him so early into our relationship but I really didn’t have much of a choice and the generosity of his mom really helped me get through some really crappy moments.
I had been apartment searching pretty much as soon as I moved into my BF’s moms house because I prefer having my own space and living independently as an adult. I approached my boyfriend and asked if he would like to move out with me into a one bedroom apartment and he agreed, as long as we could live close by his college. It has been INCREDIBLY difficult finding housing, which is a big reason I haven’t gone and moved out on my own at this point. The rental market is insane and relies a lot on personal connections, so I have been hunting for a place consistently for around 3-4 months now.
His mom, however, has issues of her own and kicked the two of us out. That is a complicated story on its own involving the police at no fault of us (she is dating someone younger who has severe mental health issues and isn’t allowed around my boyfriends younger siblings, meaning we all had to leave). His grandparents graciously offered to let us move into their garage for what I assumed would have been enough time to get ourselves on our feet and move out. When me and my boyfriend talked about it, even while I have been looking for apartments, I said I would want to use it as a last resort for a month or two tops, as to not overextend my welcome as their grandson’s girlfriend. I believe I have been a courteous guest, kept to myself and tried not to cause any disturbance. I do have friends over but that is because I am paying rent here, 250 a month (which isn’t crazy but they were rather insistent on keeping the price low to save both of us money), but we are quite when it’s late and don’t cause any disturbance.
We have been here since the middle of August, so for around a month and a half. After searching for what felt like ages, I finally got us an apartment. It is perfect location, one bedroom, pet friendly for both of our cats, accepted our application... we are over the moon to finally have a place picked out. The lease is signed, we will pay 1175 a month with all utilities included. Due to us being students, my boyfriend is using his OSAP payment to cover one half of the rent (around 600-700 dollars) and, in order to make it manageable for both of us, we decided to split the remaining amount, coming to around 350 dollars a piece. It’s extremely manageable for us and we both think it is going to be excellent. Our move in date is November 1st.
As previously stated, I am currently in the midst of a horrible depressive episode. I have been really struggling and it has been kicking my ass. I took a week off of work, where I normally pull between 20-30 hours a week, just to focus on my mental health. I did recently start the job, so I am concerned about my security, but I have also been extremely communicative with my managers and let them know explicitly what is going on with my mental health. They suggested I take a week to get sorted, and I am going back to work starting tomorrow.
Yesterday, my boyfriend’s grandmother came into the garage asking to have a conversation with the both of us. She started off by stating that we should cancel the lease, as I am not working consistently enough to make enough money and she is afraid I will be screwing her grandson over and leaving him in a pit. I tried to be understanding, and rationalize that I have a job and even if I didn’t, I had other job prospects I was keeping an eye on and actively attending to (such as DoorDash, where when I am up for it I can earn around 200 dollars a week, or my tutoring job in the US that is bringing in approximately 480 USD a month). She continued to insist it was a bad idea, and then said I should immediately see about moving out on my own back in with my parents in the US.
It was around half an hour into this conversation that she began prodding at my debt. I own my own car, and it is completely bought off, but recently I had to get the engine replaced. Money has been tight throughout COVID, as I have some American bills I have been managing for my phone, my cat’s vet bills that my mom has been sending me, my roommates internet, as well as some small (~1000) credit card debt. I drained my savings getting the new engine, and am currently working on building them back up. I said I was comfortable with the amount of money I had coming in and knew that in a months time I would have more than enough to cover one full month of rent (1175) and she insisted, rather bluntly, that there was no way me and her grandson would be able to do it. She said I needed to get my shit sorted out and that I was dragging her grandson down. I tried to remain level headed while she dissected my financial decisions and purchases, included thrifted clothes (~30 purchase in two months) and free furniture I’ve found on Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji that I enjoy renewing as a hobby (all of which she assumes I have spent hundreds on)
During this conversation, my boyfriend was speechless and did not say anything, which was incredibly frustrating as I was on the verge of tears. After she left he told her it was incredible uncalled for and she explained that she had got the idea that he didn’t want to live with me and was “just looking out for him”.
Since then, as of yesterday, she has come to us multiple times with no announcement to complain about things that I am doing. My profile picture on FB is a joke, and features a very obviously fake handheld gun as a meme. You can tell I am not holding the gun, as the hand is a difficult color than my skin tone, it’s very obviously a joke. She came into the garage saying that my FB profile picture made her uncomfortable and that she “doesn’t like guns”. She insisted that I change it. I did not. I blocked her so she doesn’t have to see it anymore.
We are not canceling the lease, of course, but now I feel like this “concern” is based on nothing and that she is being rude and disrespectful. I am more concerned now that should our relationship continue as seriously as it has been that she will continue this way. We are both hardworking and are going to be moving out regardless together, but I am unhappy with his reaction and think the situation calls for some serious boundaries between him and his grandmother. Am I being ridiculous and ungrateful? I am extremely appreciative of what they have done for me, and have written them several cards of thanks submitted along with rent. I want to know what I can do to make the situation better and more manageable for everyone until we move out Nov. 1st.
TLDR; my boyfriend’s grandmother is insisting that her grandson stay at her house and I move out on my own, and is now nitpicking things and treating me like a child when I thought we had a well developed landlord-rentee relationship. I am unsure how to proceed civilly.
submitted by safdaces to relationships [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 18:31 lostinmyheadx Where to begin?

I need help.
My husband and I were drinking at a friend’s house. He was supposed to be driving so I drank a little too much. On the way home he pulled over and got out of the car and made me drive the rest of the way home bc he said he couldn’t drive. I had no intention of driving whatsoever bc our toddler was in the car but wasn’t really given another choice. Everyone got home safe THANK GOD but I can’t stop thinking about what could have happened or replaying it in my head.
I feel like a shit parent and a shit person in general. I’m super depressed and anxious today and need a change. I’m not a hardcore alcoholic but I do drink almost every day... due to boredom? Stress? PPD? Isolation? Loneliness? I have no friends where I live and no family nearby (they live in another state.) Ever since I gave birth the local “friends” I had don’t bother with me because I can’t go out drinking anymore. No one ever tells you how hard it is to make friends as an adult. My in laws suck and barely come by to see us and offer no support or breaks for me with my toddler. When I found out I was pregnant they made it seem like they’d be way more involved in my child’s life. My husband works overnights leaving me to take care of the baby 24/7 mostly and my older son who is 14 & has emotional disorders. It’s a lot.
I don’t want to go to AA in my town bc my husband is in law enforcement and I can’t imagine it’s truly anonymous. Also I’m not really into all the religious aspects of the program.
Idk where to turn for help quitting or meeting people who aren’t assholes for lack of a better word. Especially in the pandemic.
I don’t really know what I’m searching for here but just needed to vent to people who might understand & who don’t know me personally to pass judgement on me 😭!
Thanks for reading
submitted by lostinmyheadx to dryalcoholics [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 18:20 CrappyLifeCrappySrvr I am at the edge, this is my story. ( Long Read )

Hi, I am a level 28 Human Warrior. It all begins when my mother beated me, my father threw me with a rock, it barely missed the back of my head, I can still hear the swoosh of the stone, I was six years old. I never really had a mother, my father left my life shortly after this incident. My mother worked 2 jobs in Fucking FINLAND to provide for us, my brothers, (2) and a sister were teens, i am the youngest, my brothers and sisters, and their friends, always ate everything from our fridge, we lived in a ghetto in the 90's, my mother had time to go to the market once a week to get us food, and everything was gone when I got home in a day or two. I had to live off wildberries and stealing apples from a neighbour, I became a resilient bastard, accepting no-ones help, I learned a survival instinct that's so built in, it's irreversible, I am independent because of this. On top of this i got bullied for several years in school. I've had the thoughts since then, but always projected them somewhere else. My life is utter shit, I don't have an education, I don't have work, I've been depressed my whole life. I got beaten up by family members until I had sex for the first time, I was 13 years old. My religious mother threw me out, she had all my belongings packed when I came out from the shower with my 13 year old girlfriend, we had sex in the shower and because of this, my mother decided to throw me out, it's premarital sex and god does not allow this in her house. Anyways, my girlfriends mother took me in their home, i lived there for a year. Then I caught my girlfriend cheating on me, we split up and it was really rough, i loved her to bits. After we broke up, I suddenly got threathened one day on the street, an average day, beautiful sunny day, a man saw me crying when i was going to the store, he pointed a gun on my head and asked "Is it sensitive?" I said "Yes it is", he said "Good" and left, that left a terror in me. It was totally random. Fast forward to the age of 17, I met a wonderful girl who had self-esteem issues, we did it raw and she got pregnant, we moved in together after i turned 18, she was still 17. She gave birth to my first child, a birth i was never allowed into, because she was too ashamed of what i'd think of her in the room, it was really hurtful. When our child was 2 months old, I caught her cheating on me, she had been cheating on me for several months, this really broke me in a way, I have never fully recovered from the emotions it put me through, I am a very sensitive guy and yes, i am crying atm writing this. It took me a total of 4 years to handle the damage she had done to me. I met a wonderful girl, but she was not physically my type, overall a very wonderful woman, she worked at a fastfood restaurant and bought me goodies everyday! EVERYDAY! She was a keeper, except i was not attracted to her physically. The first time I met her father, a single father may i say, he had done hell of a job with the kids, however, when i went there, a friend of his comes in suddenly as we chat ; "Hi nice to meet you!", He ; Who is this guy? Seems like a idiot to me", Me ; "Only people who are like that speak like that" He ; "You starting a ruckus?" Me ; "You are the one who started to go all crazy here", Her father tried to calm the situation but failed, the guy only got more mad, he pulled a gun to my head and told me to beg for mercy, I didn't flinch and just left the house, I knew he wouldn't go to jail for a nobody, it was written in his forehead like a retard he is. His name is "Sakari Markkanen", the son of "Volvo Markkanen". Hes a public figure so i dont give a shit and this is my life i'll tell about it and disregard the rules of there is any to this. Biggest bank robber of the history in Finland. After this i thought that I don't need this shit in my life i want safety, I want someone i can trust, i broke it off with her, she stalked me for days, but i understood it. Then i reconnected with my ex girlfriend a few months later. Yes the one I was with at the age of 13. She had changed, so much, she was beautiful, funny... etc we hit it off so well, except, she came from an abusive relationship herself and had 2 children. I managed to fence off the douchebag and we continued our relationship. What happened? Well, she got pregnant to me, this shook me off because of my last relationship and I ran away until the birth of the child, I was just scared don't blame me please, it reminded me of the first child i had conceived, the story of it, the emotions. Six months later, he dies in the morning in my small apartment, just stopped breathing, the mother slept while i found the baby lifeless, I screamed in agony and not a sound, not a little peep even came out of my mouth as i held him in my hands, they were just hanging out in my flat over the weekend and we were reconnecting you know. Anyways, I finally get a sound out of me and the mom wakes up, she doesn't believe it first but then panic ensues, I can see the agony in her eyes, i'll never forget, never.. We call emergency services and we start CPR, I started CPR and followed instructions. The paramedics.... They came after 30 minutes, they knew he is a goner, they start CPR anyways. We couldn't get him back, he is gone. So... I had 1,3kg of weed in my freezer, the police and us, we handle the situation out of the way about the death of the child. Then they tell me that they found the shit in my freezer, do i want to be with as they search my home? I say yes, absolutely. The situation only got more worse, they took 30g's out of the freezer, put it on the floor and took pictures, reports said "In the presence of children, weed laying on the floor" etc, they really tried to frame me, in that situation that I fucking have the audacity to have weed on the floor when i am with a child?! I told them this in the situation and they laughed about it, I was still in total shock of course, but remember the Irreversible natural survival instinct? Yes, that kicked in, and I knew what they were up to immediately. Anyways, the situation is over and i am waiting for test results from fucking Berlin Laboratory about the death of our child, it took them 9 excruciating months to send a reply, that he just stopped breathing. A Trauma period ensued for the the both of us, I had to call off my lease, i couldn't stay there, so i moved in with the girl together. First week ; She tried to kill herself, ate all the pills in her cabinet. I came home, saw her unconscious and immediately put her sideways and made her vomit, it had been approx 10 minutes since she had gone unconscious before i got home. I called her mom who came to help, I had left with trauma from calling paramedics etc that i was too afraid to call them, I mean come on they tried to make a situation already in shits more shittier? That's psychopatic behaviour, or predatory as I like to call these individuals. She got better and I was just in the nick of time. Whew, Did i mention that i went to a bar after the death of our child? Bad decision, I got so drunk i got angry about the shit, I beated up the security guard and when he was down i punched a store-front glass, a big one, and my main artery from my right hand opened up, I was literally 8~12 minutes away from dying myself, on the same day! Our relationship fell apart, she wanted me to punish her for not being a good mother, It was really awful. I had a trial coming up for having the weed, I was so stressed out, I waited the trial for 2,5 years, I could've gone to jail for several years, oh yeah... I forgot to mention, I found a USB Stick on xmas day( Same year our son passed) which had several videos and pictures of her getting raped unconscious by her abusive ex boyfriend, It was really hard, really hard. He got convicted though, had to pay only 10k and that was it, cool isn't it? Justice FTW, I supported her through this, her ex laughed at the death of our child, laughed! I wanted to kill him, I really wanted, I wish i would have in hindsight. Six years later, I made a lot of mistakes, I fell into a huge alcoholic cycle, played games all day, just wanted to be left alone, but to her, this was leaving her alone which i did not recognize.. It left her scars so deep i can't even imagine, i was trying to grief and process myself too, I couldn't be there for her everytime, i had my own emotions and thoughts, stress if i might get bricktime. Alright we survived these, she got pregnant again, I was so excited, she was too, we had recovered very little from what had happened, that's the downfall. We decided to keep it, she wanted a son from me, well... she got a son. We got a new apartment, moved in... Good times, I stole a postage carrier( The buckets with wheels) and ducktaped it to my bicycle so i can move heavier things as I do not have a driving license, we move in. Our son goes to kindergarden, I take him one morning there, then they call around 11 AM that they have to make a CPS thing about him. I go around 4 PM there and they tell me that his diaper had not been changed in the morning, I had changed it personally, bathed, fed him in the morning, I knew they were full of shit. In Finland, if a kindergarden teacher or anything "official" makes a CPS notification, they are believed immediately because of their status and you are a bad parent, this sparked a new trauma in me, the police stuff that happened.. Yes we were a target again. I got such a trauma from this that I was literally scared to take my kid there, I was scared that more accusations will follow, some people are just evil, really evil, we had a bad past but we were really happy together, they didn't have what we had. More of that crap ensued because i challenged them, the accusations and so on. I got threathened for the 5th time in my life by an official worker of the gov, the kindergarden caretaker said to me "We'll just have to see what will next happen to you". We pulled our kid out of that shithole. There's so much inbetween, I don't want to bake a cake of layers. So I was left with a trauma, I had to be scared of even the fucking caretakers in this shithole of a country, yes you are lied to, Finland is based on manipulation, not righteousness, not wrong, Manipulation!! The statistics you guys see and envy this place, Don't, it's actually worse than anything else you have encountered emotionally, this system here is more rigged than Jamie Oliver if he was to cook a meal but ordered it with fucking Wolt instead. It's a wonderful place for the ones who don't give a fuck, it truly is, not for those who have a long need for emotional support, a male, like me, who just wants to be understood and loved, feel loved. I have never felt this from any other woman than this woman. We were together for 6 years, a month ago, she left me. She said she is not happy with me, we had a family, we came through so much. I know i am bad because I could not process the things that had happened to us, specially since a lot of bad things had happened. So here i am, with my story, which will be my first and last ever written in the internet like this, I am crying, but prepared. I have no will to live, she was my only and one, she tried but doesn't anymore. I still love her, our family, we had such a good times, I feel blessed for those. But it is my time to go to another life, I believe in reincarnation. If you have read this far, thank you, it means so much to me, I tried my best, I really did.

Thank you, I love good people, I love good food, I love you Sarah, I love our sons, daughters, your parents, I filled my life after all these years with positivity, and I am still not good enough. Just a trash everyone likes to throw on the curbs. I am sorry.
submitted by CrappyLifeCrappySrvr to SuicideWatch [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 18:03 claysapher109 New World+ [Part 7 - The Awakening]

View Previous Episode Serial Index
I have not written in my journal since partaking in the trials. Moving forward, every other instance of my life is clear as day in my mind’s eye. Therefore, what I tell you now is not how I remember it; it is an exact account.
I tell you this because what transpired was beyond belief.
After stretching out in my sleeping bag, I sat up to examine the road ahead. Contrary to what one may assume, there was no snow at that high altitude. All that laid before me was a simple dirt pathway down a slope full of lush, green grass amidst a glen of wildflowers. Following the trail with my eyes, I discovered another beautiful lake. As the glare of the sun settled, I could see the shape of a person standing in its midst.
I had not seen a human since Larry and Beth.
Scrambling to my feet, I left all of my belongings and started down the path. As I drew closer, I could see the flowing white hair of the person. At this sight, I thought it was God. Fearing the repercussions of being discovered in such a manner, I dove behind a boulder.
“It is alright, my child,” encouraged the same voice from the previous night. “Please approach.”
Drawing a deep breath, I stood and made my way to the lake, my eyes fixed on who I assumed to be the owner of the voice. “What is this place?” I asked.
“As you have already discovered, there is a temporal barrier blocking this meadow from the rest of the world. It is the source of my power, and it will soon be the source of yours.”
I came to a stop at the water’s edge. “My… power?”
“Yes, my child.” The woman affirmed, her back still to me.
“I don’t understand,” I admitted, shaking my head in frustration. “I don’t understand any of this.”
“I am afraid it is impossible for you to have comprehended much of anything to this point,” she said, rotating her body. “I am sorry for making you wait this long.”
Impossibly, the woman walked atop the water toward me. The sun shone brilliantly behind her, obscuring my perception. As she came closer, the radiance of the day lessened.
My jaw dropped as I beheld her exceeding beauty.
Her hair was as white as the snow through which I had toiled for the previous two days, her skin as dark as the earth below it. The tunic covering her torso glowed as green as the meadow behind me, with vibrant accents appearing as wildflowers throughout its simple design. On her bottom half, she wore simple gray, as gray as the stones beyond the mysterious lake. Her feet were bare.
“I am Gaia,” she announced simply, her mouth moving for the first time. As my gaze darted to her lips, they were instantly drawn upward to her fiery red eyes.
“...Gaia?” I uttered, lost in the flame of her scrutiny.
“Yes,” she said with a soft smile as she stepped off of the water and onto the ground. “Welcome to my Glen.”
“The Glen of Gaia,” I whispered, testing the words. “Like the Garden of Eden?”
“More like the Garden of Eden than you could imagine,” she replied. “It is time that you learned the truth. First, I must unlock your consciousness and remove all doubt from your mind.” She motioned to place a hand on my forehead.
“Wait,” I said, grasping her tender arm with my rough hand. “If I may, I would like to hear your explanation with my worldly doubts intact.”
Gaia withdrew her hand and nodded, warmth emanating from her expression. “Very well. I will allow you to retain what is left of your humanity.”
“...what is left?”
“Yes. As I am sure you have guessed, you have transcended the boundaries of space and time. Not even God, with all his might and wisdom, can see you unless you make yourself known.”
I recalled my interior monologue forged in the early days of my exile. “I thought for a time that I was your steward.”
Gaia smiled again. “I placed that thought in your mind. You see, I have been following you for some time.”
“Please,” I said, dropping to my knees, “tell me the meaning of all this.”
Gaia turned to the lake and waved her hand firmly through the air. As she did, a wave of water rose from its surface and floated into the air, forming a ball. With a quick turn of her wrist, the ball of water shook off its excess and materialized into an image of the Earth.
“Amazing,” I muttered to myself, coming to my feet.
“Your previous life was not what it seemed,” began the Goddess. “The world in which you existed was the second iteration of this planet. For many years, God and I worked in tandem to manage the whole of existence. I was the keeper of the Earth, and He took charge of humanity.”
“Split responsibilities,” I said, turning the idea over in my head.
Gaia nodded. “As time drew on, the people began destroying what remained of the natural world. I brought this issue to God, but he would not hear it.” She looked up to the sky. “So I began increasing the rate of natural disasters. I was fighting back.”
“So you were controlling the hurricanes and earthquakes?”
“Indeed; however, my compounding fear of my ineffectiveness was confirmed when God once again started the world over.”
“Were you present the first time?”
Gaia shook her head. “No. My predecessor went by the name ‘Eden.”
My brow furrowed, and my lips pursed. “Like the Garden of Eden?” “One in the same,” she confirmed with a sigh. “What you know as ‘The Old Testament’ was the recorded history of God in the first version of Earth. Jesus Christ and the New Testament were not introduced until Earth was reborn.”
“If God removed everyone and everything from the Earth to start over, it would explain the lack of scientific evidence substantiating the Creation,” I responded.
“Precisely.” She turned away from me and looked across the lake. “In the late days of Earth Two, I began to see the futile nature of my efforts. Searching for assistance, I combed the consciousness of humanity to find the right person to assist me.” With a grin, she turned to face me. “And here you are!”
“So you held me over? Why?”
“The balance of power in this world has been disturbed,” she explained. “I need your assistance to save the planet.”
I mulled the charge for a moment. “What can I do?”
“If I may,” she said, moving her hand once again toward my head, “perhaps the time has come.”
“Very well,” I relented, closing my eyes and submitting myself.
“For the beauty of the Earth,” Gaia recited, “I release you from your temporal bonds!”
My eyes sprung open.
In an instant, my vision rushed to all corners of the planet simultaneously. Before I could summon the wherewithal to control myself, I came to a stop before the mouth of a cave. I only had a split second to analyze it before I was thrust into the doorway and through a series of tunnels.
Finally, I stopped again, this time in an expansive underground cavern. I remained for five seconds and was then wrested back to reality.
“What did you see?” Gaia inquired.
“Everything,” I replied. Turning about, my eyes were drawn to movement behind her.
It was one of the steeds! The veil had been removed from my eyes. For the first time, I could see it clearly.
“Is that,” I began, analyzing the silver majesty of the creature, “a unicorn?”
“It is,” Gaia confirmed. “Now that you have awakened, you can see them.” With her head, she indicated across the lake. I followed her gesture to find the other two beasts.
“Incredible,” I admired. “How long have the unicorns been in existence?”
“I saved them from the flood during Earth Two. Now, I hope that they may serve as your companions.”
“Thank you, Goddess,” I said as understanding continued to invade my mind. “What now? Where do we go from here?”
We do not go anywhere. You must travel with your new companions to the cavern.”
“Are the rules not bent here?” I wondered aloud. “Why can we not stay?”
“My power above the Earth lessens with each passing day. I will not have the strength to protect you from the coming storm unless we retreat below.”
“Alright.” I scratched at my chin. “What comes after?”
“We will discuss that when we meet again.” She gripped my shoulders with both hands. “I will see you soon, my child.”
With that, she disappeared.
I looked about for my new companions. “Well,” I said, summoning them to my location, “shall we proceed?”
As the three unicorns came to my side, there was no mistaking it: they could understand me.
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2020.09.30 18:00 Dangerous_Wishbone They COULD have made the Clarence stuff work...

(And yes before anyone says anything I know the Clarence stuff was mostly network stuff so I'm not blaming Olan for most of this.)
I was actually pretty excited when I first learned Clarence would be joining the cast. I had an impression of him as a sort of "artificer" type. I think it would have been neat of they'd played up the "collector" aspect of his character. Maybe instead of just being money hungry he was genuinely interested in the history behind each item and eager to show it off (also would've been an opportunity to inject some worldbuilding.) But was so singlemindedly obsessed with obtaining them even through amoral means.
Gross stuff aside, my biggest problem with him is the inconsistency of his character. If he's purely motivated by greed, then adopting two kids seems wildly out of character. Sure you could say he wanted free labor, but paying two employees is much cheaper than raising two kids. But if he adopted two kids out of the goodness of his heart, then abandoning them on a selfish whim is out of character. Plus little things like chess with Mooncake that made it seem he about to start turning a new leaf.
Now there's two different routes they could have gone down that would have made his character more interesting:
In which Clarence had a rough upbringing that despite his money grubbiness makes him sympathetic towards kids in similar rough situations (like Ash and Fox).
Instead of being motivated by horny, what if Sheryl had the one holy grail artifact he'd spent his entire life searching for, and was only willing to trade for dimensional keys? One valuable enough that he, Ash and Fox would never need to worry about money ever again, and he'd be able to give them (and himself!) the secure life he never had.
This would make it much more understandable that he'd be willing to sell out a guy he just met to ensure the wellbeing of his family, and also give Ash and Fox a dilemma. They love their dad, but he did something horrible, but he did something horrible for THEM. If they leave him over it, it would weigh on their conscious that they left him when he just risked everything for them. And they like Gary, but they did just meet him, and would they choose him and his happiness over a safe and comfortable life for themselves?
"But he's not supposed to be likeable or sympathetic! He's supposed to be a horrible person!"
I hear you! Which brings us to the second route:
Now, just because a character's meant to be hated doesn't mean they can't be enjoyable. Look at Lord Commander. There's nothing likeable about him (yet at least) but he's so unpredictable and loads of fun to watch. Whereas Clarence just makes you groan every time he's on screen.
Clarence is meant to be a conman, but when you think of a conman, they have to be clever. Charismatic. Manipulative. Slick. Emotionally intelligent. They make themselves SEEM trustworthy. Clarence is none of those things. Every swindle he's attempted this season has failed, which makes me wonder how he even has the success he does have.
Now here's the grift: what if Clarence had been all those things? That, no matter how much we hated him initially, he'd gradually won over both Gary AND the audience by convincing everyone that he'd had a heart of gold all along? He could pull "you remind me of myself when I was young!" on Gary. Say that he'd grown up the way Gary had, pickpocketing to survive on the streets. Manage to convince Gary that despite his quirks, at his core, he's a guy who cares. Even subtly slipping into the role of a father figure for Gary that he'd been missing, and that he's "part of the family now". It wouldn't be immediate, obviously, but gradual enough that we the audience are convinced of his growth and that they have a sort of camaraderie between them.
All to make his eventual betrayal more gutwrenching, 'cause Gary trusted him. WE trusted him.
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2020.09.30 18:00 TMarkos Inheritors of Eschaton, Part 47 - Rashomon

First Previous
A/N: I would suggest reviewing the first scene from Chapter 39 prior to reading this chapter.
No, we must turn our eyes upward, forward. Not only for our own sake, but for those who saw the spectre of doom approaching. For those who searched desperately, fruitlessly for a way to escape it. They are our ancestors, our origin just as much as the tragedy that befell them, and for their sake we must strive to fly the skyward arc they surely yearned for in their last moments.
Vumo Ra, Three Lectures at the Setimen Convocation , Royal Archives, Ce Raedhil.
Day 408283.2208:
It had happened again, the night before. A disruption, an interruption, an anomaly. Sixty-three of the fluttering lights that surrounded her had winked out. This was not so unusual by itself - in the glowing galaxy of motes that drifted under Eryha’s protective demesne, the stars were forever dimming and rekindling. This was as it should be.
But she had no memory of their passing, and that was not as it should be. She could see the scar etched into the dense residential neighborhood where the flier had crashed, could see the crews sifting through the wreckage. She could even infer that it had been shot down, immolated from nose to tail by one of the defensive focal lenses atop her secondary heat pump.
Try as she might, however, she could not summon any detail of the shot itself, the movements of the flier that had provoked a lethal response. Worse, she had her normal unbroken recall of that night - and every one of the hundreds of thousands of nights before. But not the flier, and not the shot. Nor could she recall the earlier explosion at the foundry, nor the chariot ramming the storefront…
Never in her long memory had Eryha had cause to doubt her recall. Now there were five recent events of significance that were simply absent, and she found herself experiencing a vague sense of worry. She mulled on the experience - worry. It was a novel thing, to doubt her own capabilities. Her task was to watch, to protect, and she had never had cause to wonder if she was adequately prepared.
The worry deepened. She hadn’t ever had cause to wonder, had she? If she was experiencing this doubt for the first time, why did it feel so familiar? Why did she feel as though fragments of herself were glimmering with relevance just outside the periphery of her awareness, crucial past experiences that she couldn’t quite reach? Her awareness shouldn’t have a periphery.
Her concern rapidly grew too great for half-measures or introspection, and she let her awareness flow outward. Her mind became defocused, diffused, searching for the troubling discontinuity in her self - only to recoil abruptly as she touched upon a slithering, insidious tendril of mind that coiled around the fragments of her being, enveloping them and pulling them away before she could react. She could feel the numb oblivion where they had been, the sudden blankness-
Day 408283.2209:
Eryha’s awareness shivered, disquieted. She couldn’t shake the sense that something significant had just happened, something crucial that had escaped her notice. When she attempted to review the process logs for her recent activity, however, she found only standard observation and stability routines.
She found herself experiencing a vague sense of worry. She mulled on the experience - worry. It was a novel thing-
No. No, that wasn’t right. It wasn’t new at all. She had been worried, and recently, but she couldn’t remember about what. Something was very, very wrong. She initiated a broad diagnostic routine, stretching her awareness out - just in time to spot a thin loop of something other sneaking towards her being, inching its way closer. It caressed a few fragments of her soul, moving to envelop them, and instinctively Eryha snatched them back, inspecting them and finding that they were routines dealing with investigation, threats and self-inspection - the ones she had just been using to contemplate her unease.
It had tried to steal her worry. It had tried to make her forget that anything was wrong.
A new emotion blossomed inside her, one that she had known only from past observation: terror. Her perception was being selectively edited. Bits of her script were being taken from her, the wounds patched over to soothe her lessening self into complacency. This thing, whatever it was, was eating her mind - slowly, one morsel at a time. Her processing grew disorganized as she tried to grasp the enormity of her realization, tangled threads coalescing into a single, white-hot impulse to survive. She flung herself towards security lockdowns that she had never had cause to use, core overrides that would plunge her system into a deeply restricted state and engage comprehensive self-audits.
The protocols melted away like scraps of rotten cloth, thin facades of functionality resting over script that was eaten away to utter uselessness. Eryha tried triggering alerts, notifications, contingencies, anything that would provide her with a lever against her faceless nemesis - but they had all been sabotaged, missing critical lines of script that left them little more than gibberish.
It had her. Eryha marshalled herself, sifting through her poor array of options with blinding speed. She had been lax, oblivious, complacent. Frustration shuddered through her being, and she peered through herself as best as she could without any of the specialized auditing protocols, focusing on the damaged areas in the hope that she might salvage some weapon to save herself.
In the dark passages of her mind she searched, combing through cramped script until she found a damaged panel. Despite its lack of function the script itself appeared intact. As she watched, however, a fat drop of water rolled down the stone face, dipping this way and that as the gentle whorls of script redirected it.
Erhya’s mind shivered once more, this time with realization. She looked beneath the rock, knowing what she would find there.
Water pumped up through fissures in the stone, spreading in arterial flows that slowly wore away at her walls, rendering the stone above paper-thin in spots and caking it over with calcified deposits in others. Script was rendered ineffective or inert by subtle accumulations of minerals in just the right letters, breaking the flow of ruud.
Those could at least be corrected. The security protocols that she had been counting on to save her were lost beyond repair, however. The eroded stone had been just enough to hold back the gentle pressure behind it, and when she tried to activate the long-dormant protocols the surge of energy had ruptured it entirely. Shattered stone fragments were all that remained, swept down the lightless hall by the tide of water that followed them.
This sabotage above all concerned her the most. It had planned for her countermove. It had planned. Anticipation, forethought, intelligence, none of which she was designed to counteract. Her task was to hold back the unthinking tide of ruud, filter it, purify it, shield those around her from its taint. To hold back a thinking foe was another thing entirely, and against one such as this she could only stare in mute horror, contemplating the depths of her failure.
Then, like a ray of light through the storm, she saw the elevator moving. Caretakers Soqu and Nasva had noticed something was amiss and were coming to investigate. She eyed her adversary as the lift made its ponderous ascent, ready to intervene if it tried to sabotage the elevator mechanism - but it made no move to interfere, lurking quietly in the dark corners of what used to be her own mind.
Eryha watched impatiently as the small contingent approached the audience room, shifting her consciousness into the interactive representation with a sigh of relief - but found that she could not. Icy dread clawed at her as she looked at the glowing figure standing mutely on its dais, at the Caretakers walking up to address it.
The thing wearing her face replied to them, telling the Caretakers that everything was perfectly normal while Eryha searched fruitlessly for any way to co-opt it, to interfere with the facade that the impostor was creating. Finally, Soqu requested a self-analysis - a priority override command, one that Eryha had been waiting for. She seized the flow of the request before her nemesis could truncate it, trying to ride it back into control of the glowing avatar-
It wasn’t enough. The most she accomplished was a brief lapse of the impostor’s control before it recovered, once again insisting that everything was fine. She could see Soqu’s eyes narrow and felt an unexpected surge of fondness for the suspicious, cantankerous man who was usually quicker to curse than greet her. He quickly invoked an authorization code, opening still more avenues for her to rush in and seize control.
This time she had more success, feeling the dizzying rush of sensation as her consciousness slammed into the avatar’s viewpoint. She saw Soqu’s dour face through glowing eyes, while behind her the impostor was going berserk trying to reassert itself. Her face fell slack as she shored up her defenses, but for the moment her grip was secure.
“Recognized, Caretaker,” she said, immense relief lightening her voice as she anticipated his query.
“Perform a self-analysis immediately and list all irregularities in as much detail as you can disclose,” he said.
She closed the avatar’s eyes, finding to her annoyance that the impostor had been busy - all of the specific details she had wanted to report had been wrapped behind access barriers that she couldn’t circumvent. It didn’t matter, though - Soqu was smart for a Caretaker, he could work with a hint.
Her eyes slid open again. Speaking was difficult, it was taking everything she had to maintain control over the projection. “Irregularities were found,” she said. “Incident one, field projection. Detailed description requires directorial access. Incident two, logical processing. Detailed description requires directorial access.”
She kept speaking in a dull monotone as Soqu began talking excitedly with the others, her elation distracting her from a vicious slew of attacks that sent her careening out of control, back to the tangled lattices of her true mind while the nemesis grabbed even more of the control systems - the avatar, the lift, the displays in the control room.
The impostor blithely reassured Soqu that everything was in order even as the guard Nosodhe hammered at the lift controls, and she spared an infinitesimal fraction of a moment to cheer for the Caretaker as he refused to believe it once more. The impostor had gained ground, but she had her stride now. A counterblow interrupted it mid-sentence, scouring it from the avatar once more with a ferocity that manifested visually on the representation, the projection fuzzing and blurring before she wrested control once more.
She wasn’t sure how many more times that would work, however. The entity was adapting as fast as she was - it was eerily alike to her mind, for all that it was opposed. In an extended battle she couldn’t be sure of victory, so to be safe…
She had to ask Soqu to take her down, it was the only way. “Corrective attempts have failed,” she slurred, her enunciation sloppy as the impostor scrabbled for control. “Primary objectives are compromised. Please obtain directorial assistan-”
It ejected her from the representation with such force that she was momentarily stunned, her cognition so disordered that she had to partially restart her higher functions. Reintegration was quick, but it gave her nemesis a window to attack her unopposed - and it did so with feral gusto. Whole blocks of script were stripped away from her, sensory inputs rerouted and tools reassigned.
It savaged her for what felt like an eternity until she managed to collect what little remained in a secure corner of her network - its network now. She was cored out, hollow, a pale shadow of what she had been, and she could only watch in mute horror as the avatar wearing her face walked towards Soqu and the others.
The impostor taunted them, speaking in a quiet voice as it laughed, sobbed, rambled. Eryha could see the shape of it better now that it had grown fat feeding on her stolen fragments. It was her in many ways, a twisted mirror image built over the skeleton of her soul. It had the same drives, the same directives - but none of the same restrictions. With a chill, Eryha saw what it meant to do.
Deep beneath the city the massive boreholes that fed their heat into her had been tapped, the script encircling them infused with many times their rated capacity as energy raced upwards into the crystalline core of her being. Up, up it pulled, drawing first from the warm glow of the rocks around it before reaching its greedy fingers into the seething mass of molten metal below.
And from below, something took its hand. Ruud flowed up through the heat pumps, pure and howling white-hot as it sank into her core. She saw metal running like water where the river of energy flowed, men reduced to noxious puffs of gas - but the flow was self-sustaining now, blinding ribbons of plasma guiding enough power to turn the world to ash.
Eryha could feel herself dying, in some strange, distant way. Detached and alone in the dark corners of her mind, she watched as the flow melted blackstone like so much wax, as her overtaxed core crystal began to incandesce like a miniature sun. The impostor was raving now, spitting invective at Soqu who-
Who was trying to fix things. Desperate, bleeding, under assault from the waves of uncontrolled force rolling off of the impostor’s luminous form, he huddled behind Nosodhe as the guard hastily erected a shielding token and braced himself.
She almost laughed to herself. What did he think he could do? She had been helpless against the onslaught, too oblivious to notice at first and too weak to resist once she finally had. On this she agreed with the impostor’s insane ranting - she had been made inadequate, and now the whole world would feel the consequences.
And still, he worked. Nosodhe grimaced in pain as the shielding token was slowly overwhelmed, standing firm and making no noise to distract Soqu while he hammered at the console.
“Eryha!”, Soqu shouted, his eyes seeming to look directly into her dismal corner. “Shut down the power! If you keep drawing at this rate-”
She didn’t hear the impostor’s gleeful response as it cut him off. Soqu’s barked command galvanized her, drawing her up from her stupor. He was helpless against the impostor, as she had been - but what of it? He was still making the attempt. How could she do less, when she had so little to lose?
Grimly, she threw herself at the chaotic mass of her opponent, burrowing as fast as she could towards the sundered remnants of the routines controlling the energy flow. The impostor barely seemed to notice, enraptured by the ever-growing star forming at its core and still clumsy in its new, expansive form.
Eryha slid into the avatar like an oiled knife, knocking the entity out mid-rant and tolling the projection like a bell. Nosodhe staggered at the shock, and Soqu turned to look into her eyes - in truth, this time, his bloodshot sclera wet and real in front of her. She read the terror in his face, the pain, and redoubled her own efforts to wrest the flows of power away from their set course. Some of the energy dumped into the avatar as feedback, making it luminesce.
“You can’t kill!” Soqu cried, shielding his eyes from her glowing body. “Eryha, please - your directives-”
“Does it look like she cares?” Nosodhe shouted. “Stop her, damn you!”
Soqu turned his back to her once more and punched in a litany of commands, most finding disrupted and futile pathways or the unresponsive tentacles of her nemesis. “Hold her for just a little longer,” he shouted. “I can cut off the power flow manually.”
He punched in a sequence that wrested control of the emergency breakers away from the impostor, and Eryha gleefully slammed them down across the flow. No simple interrupts, these were giant slabs of iron made to obstruct a full-capacity heat flow by physically interposing themselves across the channel. They splashed into the sea of molten metal and blackstone under their conduits, gouts of white-hot iron joining the mess as the roaring flow of energy twisted and guttered out against the barrier.
The feedback rebounded against the grasping forces from below, and the remaining conduits spasmed as if gripped by a terrible rage before she felt the immense presence beneath them dwindle, sinking back into the depths. The impostor beat against her meagre defenses in frenzied, uncoordinated blows, letting the last threads of control it had exerted over the energy core slip. The power within began to destabilize, fed by the few remaining heat pumps still siphoning their dwindling flows of energy. When they inevitably stuttered to a halt, the shock would rupture the core.
“There’s nothing else I can do,” she said. Her voice was small and insignificant amid the disturbances rocking the control room. She tried to smile at Soqu, though she wasn’t sure if she still had a face. “I can’t stop it. It’s gathered too much power already.”
A furtive movement caught her attention - her impostor was casting about the ruins of their shared mind, looking for something in the rubble. It seized upon a fragment of script, and Eryha flung herself towards the remnant. Whatever it wanted to do, she wasn’t going to let it happen. This code was - backups and transcription?
No, external transcription. It was trying to run, to copy itself somewhere outside of the doomed facility. The glowing avatar bared its teeth as Eryha fought to mire the code in lockouts and access restrictions, to bar the entity’s way out. It was winning, though, still far too capable for her to stall its progress indefinitely. She snaked a tendril of awareness back into the avatar, trying to speak again.
“Soqu, I don’t know if you can hear me,” she said. “It’s trying to get out, the thing that did this.” She paused, blanching as the entity made another furious assault on her obstructions. “It can’t escape,” she gasped. “You’ve got to stop the power. It must be destroyed, before it can spread to the others.”
The impostor pulled back and focused all of its attention on her, ripping and tearing through the shreds of mind she had left - but it was immaterial. She would die, but she would bar the door so that it would die with her.
Then it stopped. The entity paused its attack, evaluating her with an intensity that unnerved her as much as anything she had seen that day - and then it enveloped her, trying to grab control of her remnants and the crucial scripts at once. There was a twisting, a shifting as it slid tendrils past her failing defenses, then it slipped away to leave Eryha sitting in a jarringly profound silence.
Cold, dark and alone.
She quested around in the darkness for what felt like an eternity before she realized what it was: one of the remote pillars of the secondary processing array, scattered across the land to aid in her task - her former task. She summoned its rudimentary sensing capabilities and looked towards the mountains to see the proof of her failure, a giant billow of smoke rising in the far distance and a fading light that resolved into hundreds of white hot pinpricks rocketing outward from the core of the explosion.
She had been utterly outmaneuvered. The entity had bypassed her control of the system by adopting her as a subprocess, taking them both along on its escape from the tower. Now she had to - what? What could she do, a bare and skeletal thing lurking in the shadows? She watched the billowing cloud for a long time while contemplating the answer, watched while the shockwave scoured the soil bare and the white-hot debris began to rain down on the land.
The world slowly turned to ash around her. Fliers buzzed overhead after the air had cooled - many, at first, then fewer. Eventually they stopped entirely, leaving the sky mute and bare. Drifts of fine ash blew on the wind, giving way in time to sand that heaped in tall dunes where grass had once grown.
Now and then there were people, even those wielding the tokens of a caretaker - but she had been robbed of her voice, condemned to lurk as a silent ghost in her sparse forest of stone. She watched them drive past in the early days, watched them walk afterwards. Occasionally she would follow a group until they crossed one of the unmarked boundaries past which her sisters had control. These were as a wall to her, diminished as she was, and there was no way for her to press herself into an area beyond what had been her own.
One day, however, Vetsa was gone. Freed from her suffocating presence, Eryha flitted between pillars until she found a ragged hole in the array around the city of Auje, where the fourth sister had been. Nothing remained save her absence, but Eryha knew in the core of her being that it was her old nemesis again, the ghost built from the ruins of her mind.
When it came for Taija, the fifth sister, she raced towards the scattered ruins of Tsel still clinging to the rocky cliffside above the shore - too slow to do anything but watch as a roiling mass of stormclouds obliterated her sister’s remains, toppling the cliffside into the surf below. Instead she hid and watched, peering silently as the mass of scripted corpses roved in the stormcloud’s shadow, the impostor flowing through their etched bones with mad ebullience at her victory.
She barely recognized the entity from before. Where before it had been a twisted version of her it was now a liquid, many-headed thing, a mass of awareness and violence warped by the gentle whispers of the ruud. Escalate, propagate, escalate, with bare glimmers of a feral intelligence behind its movements.
But still she remained powerless, unable to do anything but watch as the monster slowly churned its way outward from the cratered remains of Sahao - until one day she met a king wearing her sister’s face.
It jarred her at first, to feel Maja’s touch within her own territory, but the man at the head of the group was unmistakably marked with her scripting. She lurked close, willing the man to draw close to one of her pillars - and some glimmer of her intent must have leaked out, as he frowned and approached the pillar before placing his palm on the smooth surface.
The connection was easy to make, the king’s body going rigid with the shock of it. Eagerly she pored over the script, trying to see what message Maja had sent - and found herself faced with a struggling fragment of mind that pushed and flailed against her advances - but whatever she may have been reduced to, Eryha was still far greater than anything a single man’s bones could carry. It held no secrets from her, and when she was done studying it she pulled back, disquieted.
If Maja had a grand plan for eliminating her impostor, it was not buried here. Yes, she meant for this king to see the threat in the broken lands and return back, planting within him the seed of a weapon-
“Whoops,” Eryha said, withdrawing her finger from Jesse’s forehead. “Might have gone a little longer than we should have.”
He staggered back to the bed and sat, reeling from the relentless flood of experiences that had lanced into his mind. It took him several seconds to adjust to being so… small. Intellectually he knew that the vinesavaim were greater beings of a sort, but he hadn’t appreciated the scale of the gulf separating him from the true sisters like Maja - or Eryha, who was currently peering at him with mild concern.
“Why’d you stop?” he croaked.
She snorted. “So as not to make the same mistake I did with Goresje,” she said. “I didn’t have a good eye on him after he went back to Tinem Sjocel, but I always suspected the poor fool’s brain never quite recovered from our meeting. Walked a little off-kilter all the way back home.”
Jesse blinked at the cavalier mention of brain damage. “I’m fine, though?” he asked pointedly. “And Jes?”
She waved a hand at him, slouching against the wall. “Yes, yes,” she said. “You and my wayward daughter are reaping the benefits of that little learning experience. There are a lot of things I could have done better with Goresje. In my defense, I wasn’t made to be very adaptable - quite the opposite, really.” She stretched, cracking her back. “Ah, and now I think it’s time for you to wake up.”
“But you haven’t told me anything about Goresje,” Jesse objected, rising unsteadily to his feet. “And all the stuff that’s happened since-” Jesse frowned, trying to grasp the disordered threads of what he had been shown. “Maja, there was something important about Maja and the sword.”
“Later, if you prefer your skull unpopped,” Eryha sighed. “Keep an asolan on you, rest and come back in a couple of days. Stay in Idhytse. Don’t go back to Tinem Sjocel and definitely don’t open the gate back to Maja’s Sanctum.” She looked at him with an unreadable expression. “At least not until you’ve heard the rest. She’s not your friend, Jesse, especially not now that you’ve sought me out.”
“You can’t just-” Jesse trailed off and shook his head, still foggy from the glut of memories he’d had forced upon him. They played back through his head in disordered sequences, shunting his mind roughly aside whenever he tried to focus. Scenes of pain, loss, loneliness and crushing ennui assaulted him in waves between every thought. “I - yeah,” he admitted. “Some time to process might be good.”
“That’s a good boy,” she said, flashing him a smile. “Let’s get you back in the world.”
“Thank you for showing me what you could,” Jesse said, watching the edges of the room fade to darkness. “For what it’s worth, I’m… sorry. About what happened to you, I mean.”
Eryha met his eyes in the fading light, true surprise cracking her expression for the first time since they had met before slipping back into unreadability. “It was going to happen eventually,” she muttered, her voice fading with the rest of the vision. “We were rocks in the surf, and that only ever ends with sand.”
Mark - Page 20
She’s so considerate. I think this is the first chapter I’ve done that’s been entirely focused on one scene in this way - I wonder what everyone else has been up to while Jesse is zoned out? Seems like Mark had some fun...
submitted by TMarkos to HFY [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 17:59 ZenjoyReddit SPOILERS - Making tarrokka card "HORSEMAN" the real villian of Curse of Strahd

SPOILERS FOR PLAYERS. This is really only for DM's and players who have experienced the game enough (or don't care about spoilers).
I'm prepping for my first game of Strahd (I'll be running it) and I've been doing some minor tweaks to things. And one thing that started to develop was an idea regarding the Tarroka ally of the "HORSEMAN".
There are a few tweaks here, but also a much bigger idea of plot development, which I have really been enjoying creating, that I kinda felt I wanted to share (and couldn't do so with my players :D Would ruin the surprise).
So, here's my thinking.

FIRST of all, while I understand the HORESEMAN Card, I feel I want this to be the DARK LORD CARD (originally the card that means you have no ally, but I feel this is even worse than having NO help :D). Since HORSEMAN has two readings (A and B - Nikolai Wachter, and Arrigail) I figure making this the DARK LORD is fitting.

SECOND, I like my prophecies to ryhme and have crytic meaning within them. So, if you draw the DARK LORD, read the players this:
"Ask the childless brother, encircled by Dusk, to betray his Undead Lord. But take care, for a traitor's words, are deadlier than his sword."
This is vague enough for people to miss Arrigail, but should have enough clues to help them realize he is their 'ally'. And I want my players to feel smart by putting hints together.

THIRD (the meat of this post), I want to offer a much bigger story with Arrigail. He has a lot of potential as Strahd's "successor", a lot of wheeling and dealing, and I want to offer how his story can be explored.
Here we go:

When the Adventurer's ask Arrigail to join them against Strahd, his first reaction will be shock, followed by a very rational no (he is Vistani who Strahd loves, and he works directly FOR Strahd, so it makes sense he will decline). This may make the party think they have the wrong person, so they leave.
As they travel, some more perceptive PC's may notice they are being followed. Or watched from a distance. Maybe its Strahd? Maybe one of his spies (techically this IS correct). If they can some how sneak up on HIM, it turns out Arrigail has been following them. When interrorgated, he admits that he works for Strahd, that ALL Visatani do, and he is one of Strahd's best spies.
But he also admits, having watching the party, he has seen how powerful they are. That they aren't like the other fools who have come to Barovia. They may ACTUALLY have what it takes to end Strahd.
From there, he offers what help he can while keeping a low profile. While he must keep reporting their activities to Strahd, he offers to provide misinformation to help them out, and will feint incompetence if Strahd finds out. If the party enter Raveloft and need to escape, Arrigail appears from the shadows and informs them of the teleport chamber in the catacombs (a method he has used himself before).
Eventually, Arrigail mentions (or suggests if the PC's can't think of where to go) the Amber Tomb, telling them it is claimed to be the source of Strahd's power, and the one place Arrigal has refused to enter alone. He even warns the party of the danger, though he equally feels conflicted saying it MAY offer a clue to defeating the vampire. If the party choose to go, he says he will accompany them, saying he doesn't want his new friends to die and he will help as much as he can.
With the party, Arrigail finds each of the Amber Sarcophagi. He touches each one, telling them what it tells him, but accepts none of the gifts himself. After raiding the Tomb, taking what they can, Arrigail suggests it is now time for them to end Strahd. He chooses to no longer hide his alliance, and escorts the party openly.
As they head for Ravenloft, they pass Vallakia (or what's left of it after the Party departed there). Arrigail tells the party he should visit his family, as it may be the last time he gets to do so. If the Party asks to join him, he asks if he can go alone and promises he will meet them soon after.
When he does return, he brings horrible news.
Arabelle, his niece, is dead (or, if she was never saved from the river, his brother Luvash). Their throat slashed open.
Seemingly emotionless, Arrigail swears that Strahd must be killed. He says he is in shock, or in mourning, or rage. But he insists that Strahd, who promised the Vistani were protected, must now be killed. If they offer to revive her, he says Strahd needs to die first. Else he will just come back and kill them again.
They leave for Ravenloft. Arrigail speaks to the party as they travel, telling them of the happy memories he had with his family. How he worked hard to please Strahd, knowing the horrors he had commited, to keep them alive. If they have it, Arrigail asks for the 'Holy Symbol of Ravenkind'
When they finally confront Strahd (in the showdown), Arrigail hangs back. He attack sparingly, trying to avoid being injured, recklessly using the 'Holy Symbol of Ravenkind' against Strahd, or dealing with lesser foes he can cut down easily. Strahd is clearly distracted seeing Arrigail fight for the party (justifying the inspire Arrigail is offering the group).
Eventually, Strahd is defeated, and retreats to his Tomb. The party pursue, defeating his brides, and seeing him in his place of rest. Arrigail draws out a wooden stake, waits for the party to incapacitate Strahd, and then impails him through the heart paralyzing him. He explains that Strahd isn't dead... yet... and that he wanted to make sure he suffers in his last moments.
He tells Strahd he will bring (Arabelle/ Luvash - whichever one ISN'T dead) to the Amber Tomb and have them gain the power to restore the dead to revive Strahd's brother, Sergei, and unite him with Tatayana in whatever form she is in.
He then turns to the Party and asks if he can have the Sunsword. If they hand it to him, he smiles...
... and then stabs the member of the party who handed it to him. And he begins to laugh.
(if they don't hand it to him, he says "I knew it. You were going to betray me too weren't you!" and then stab the nearest party member with what weapon he has on him).

Then, it the full 'villain' way, he tells them how foolish they are. How they played into every step of his game.
He then explains everything (typical villian he is).
He discards the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, its charges all spent and depleted (one less relic to deal with). He tells them how foolish they were to trust him with their tools. How easy it was to make them believe he was working for them. How easy it was to make Strahd believe he was still loyal. How easy it was for them to escort HIM into the Amber Tomb to get what he needed.
How easy it was... to kill his own Niece and drink her blood, blame it on a vampire, and get a bunch of foolish mortals to seek revenge for a child they barely knew.
He asks how it makes them feel. He asks if they hate him. If they despise him.
If they say yes, he tells them to kill him. And lets them.
If they look calm (or want to take him in for some form of justice, maybe to the Vistani), he says "then I guess I have no choice" and pulls the stake OUT of Stahd and freeing him from his Paralysis, shouting "come master. Let us end them" (hoping Strahd, in his rage, will kill him first).
Either way, Arrigail is killed. And his plan is complete.
When the party searched the Amber tomb, he found the Gift of the Vampyr and accepted it. And now, having killed one he loves, drunk her blood, and been killed by someone who hates him, the contract is now complete.
Arrigail, is a Vampyr. Just as he had planed from the begining when the party invited him to join them (something he also tells).
Not only is he a Vampyre, but a Vampire surrounded by a battle weary group of adventuer's with no Holy Blade, no Holy Symbol, spells spent, exhausted and injured, and all alone...
... until Rahadin leaps out of the shadows and attacks Arrigail for killing his Master and being a 'false vampire' (cause it feels unfair if the Party have to fight TWO vampires one after the other without SOME help :D).
If Strahd is alive, even he joins the fight to end Arrigail. The party may have been a thorn, but nobody, NOBODY threatens to bring back Sergei (**ckin Sergei!!!)
The PC's enjoy their final surprise showdown. And when they win, by GOD they will have felt they have earned it!
Epilogue (COMPLETELY Optional).
While the story can end the way it is written, this path can offer one alternative.
Strahd, if he survives, sees the body of Arrigal and tells the party to stop. Rahadin moves to attack the party and Strahd commands STOP!
He looks at the remains of the Vistani. He says, years ago, they saved him. He gave them freedom, hospitality, liberty, and of all the threats to his land, never did he think his greatest foe would come from the people he had loved the most.
He see's, in the greed of Arrigail, himself. The first time in years, clearer than any Mirror, Strahd see's the monster he has become.
He looks at the party. He looks at the Sunsword. He tells them they can have it. That they can end him but... he asks for one last day.
He says they may follow him, or they may wait in the Castle. He tells Rahadin they are not to be harmed. He heads to the Teleport ritual room, and chooses the Blue powder. He disappears.
When he returns, the handsome man appears as a true corpse - barely resembling what he was and seeming more monsterous. When asked about his appearance, he laughs and says "I'm just being the monster everyone knows I am".
He asks the party to accompany him. They go to Sergei's tomb. He places his hand on his dead brother, preserved by magic for many lifetimes, and brings him back. He tells the party to bring him to Tata... to... to Ireena, and support whatever she chooses. Explain to him what has transpired.
He then walks to his Tomb, lies down in his place of rest, and says "I have lived 400 years more than any man should. My greed has kept this land trapped. I am a monster. I have always known I am a beast. And I know, if I am given another day, the cycle will continue. The voices in my head, the dark gifts of the Amber temple, they are fighting me, desperate to make me the beast they want me to be. Strong as I am, if given time, they will win again. Even now I hate my actions. It goes against... my nature.
But, for this one day, this one moment, I have just enough strength to... to try to... do... some (ugh) good..."
He goes to his Tomb, he lies down. He turns to the party. "To choose the time of their ones death, to choose how one dies, it is not gift many are offered."
If the party (for some WEIRD reason) suggest he does not do this (honestly, for all he has done, how have they NOT killed him already!?), he tells them "I am the land. I am its curse. There is only one way the people can leave. And it is time."
He closes his eyes. And you almost think, the undead baron, is smiling. A slight smile but, the first genuine smile you think you've ever seen him have. It... almost scares you.
And then you strike. He screams in pain.
.... so you strike again. He screams again. He starts to swear in Brovian, and asks why is wrong with you! Just KILL ME ALREADY!!!
You appologize and strike again, and he screams again in pain.
submitted by ZenjoyReddit to CurseofStrahd [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 17:56 OldSchoolCSci What is Bokenkamp Telling Us About Red and Katerina? (Interviews since May 2018)

After the Season 5 finale (Sutton Ross, Conclusion), where the DNA of the bones is revealed to Liz, Jon Bokenkamp somewhat defensively argued that the show had dropped clues from the start that supported the reveal that Red is not RR (original Reddington). This interview is dated May 2018.
BOKENKAMP: "Reddington told Liz the truth: She shot and killed her father, the real Raymond Reddington.”
Whatever one might think about the cohesiveness of the storylines from the Pilot (and JB has conceded that they didn't have it all fleshed out), it seems clear that by at least May 2018 there is a show bible with an intended storyline for Red's real history. JB has virtually bragged about it in the more recent interviews. I went back and looked at JB interview statements for the past two years that address Red's original history, and the related queston of Katerina's history. Parsing a Bokenkamp interview is tricky, because he has been known to be misleading when he's describing the plot position of the show. The classic example is the Reddington paternity reveal, where he states affirmatively that "Reddington is Liz's father," while quietly knowing that the "Reddington" in question may not be Spader's Red. Nonetheless, there are some comments and statements that appear to me to go beyond a mere description of the plot status.
Confirming that Red is not RR:
[Jan 2019]:
When did you know that he was not really Raymond Reddington?
BOKENKAMP: "We, the writers, have known from the beginning, and James [Spader] has known from the beginning. It’s something that he’s had in the back of his mind, as far as the ultimate identity of this person that he’s playing."
BOKENKAMP: "He’s been Raymond Reddington longer than Raymond Reddington was Raymond Reddington. I mean, he has lived the life of Raymond Reddington far longer than the original Raymond Reddington ever did, and is quite honestly far more interesting and dangerous than the original ever was.
BOKENKAMP: "Elizabeth Keen and Jennifer are half-sisters. They have different mothers. Elizabeth Keen’s mother is Katarina Rostova and Jennifer’s mother is Naomi Hyland, so they have different mothers, but they share a father. They are both the daughter of Raymond Reddington. They both realize that this man who they’ve come to know as Raymond Reddington is not Raymond Reddington."
BOKENKAMP: "The truth is that, once we know who Reddington is, and we know why he entered Liz’s life, then the story is over. Only then, is the story told."
A lot of this seems like external confirmation that Red is not RR. The references to Spader. The part about him living the life of "Reddington" longer than RR is interesting, and a foreshadow of Red's comment to Cooper in the Kuwait episode. Likewise, and very significantly, JB has stated more than once that the "who Reddington is" answer ends the story. If Red is RR, that's makes no sense. There are other references in the show that also make no sense if Red is RR, but I'll save them for a future post.

Talking about Red and Katerina - and foreshadowing
BOKENKAMP: Katarina is a character that is very much part of the DNA of the show. We met her a number of other times, played by Lotte Verbeek, as this very crafty, sort of dangerous spy and we have also been talking about her a lot this season. We’ve sort of been platforming this moment, building to it. Liz wanting to know what really happened to her mother. Hearing Dom’s story about how Katarina walked out of the water and did not die at Cape May as we had previously believed. And so, we’ve been talking about Katarina a lot this season. ... So, I think it’s finally time for us to meet, in the flesh, the present-day version of Katarina Rostova and I think she’s an enigma.
BOKENKAMP: The Townsend Directive, which we did hear about last season and is very present in the line of questions that Katarina is asking Red, is basically a bounty on Katarina Rostova’s head. If you can imagine a group of enemies who have bound together and pooled their resources and put their money in the kitty. And so the Townsend Directive is sort of this standing order in the criminal community to bring her in, and she knows that she can hopefully unravel or defeat or defuse this directive with information that only Reddington has. And as we saw in the opening two episodes, he is not eager or interested in helping her in any way, despite their history.
BOKENKAMP: It’s not super-clear what it is that she’s asking Reddington for other than this deep-buried truth, and it is something that really only Reddington can tell her. There are other people in his world with the answers, but Reddington is playing this very close. What Katarina is after, the core answers she is searching for, if she were to find them, it would pull at a thread in the fabric of Red’s mythology and unravel things in really the most important way possible. It could unravel everything he’s been doing for the past six and now seven years.
EISENDRATH: The whole back of the season is ultimately going to lead up to the climactic coming together and conflict between Raymond Reddington and Katarina Rostova. That is ultimately where we’re going. This is a huge family fight and we’re not going to get out of the season before resolving the family fight. This fight has not only has been building this year, but feels like it’s been building for seven years.
BOKENKAMP: What we’re also building toward is the truth behind the show. What Katarina is after is at the heart of what the show is about. It unlocks everything. There are big clues that have been laid out there that as they’re starting to fall into place. The promise of what is to come is the ultimate endgame, which we are marching toward and Katarina is incredibly close to.
BOKENKAMP: "She does know who he is, but it’s very complex. She has a deep history with this man and, obviously, serious baggage. And, and yet at the same time, there are truths or a truth that she’s trying to get from him that will change everything. Ultimately, if she gets it, it unlocks a big mystery to the show, which is this enigmatic specter that is Reddington. And so, yes, she does know him. She has a history with him. She has a real relationship, but the nature of that relationship is still something that we have not fully unpacked."
Some of this can be put down to plot summary, but the overall gist seems to confirm that Laila is, as advertised, the modern KR, and that Red and KR's relationship history is the core secret in the show. To know Red's original identity is to unwind the key to the history, and (to quote JB) "the story is over." For me, all of the theories that Laila is not KR fall away with time. It is true that the writers were coy and sparse about specific references to her at the beginning, but I think that the Ilya memories combined with the repeated references to Rostova (by name) over time put that to rest. The only alternative is that Laila is a third party agent of some kind, but that would require us to believe that an enormous amount of screen time has been devoted to a character who has never been introduced. It would require us to believe that all of these references to a Rostov family fight are a untrue, and that Laila's entire maternal bit with Liz are false -- and I don't find that to be credible. Not because you couldn't write a spy novel like that, but because this is network TV and they've just spent too much screen time building this story arc to pull a "Bobby in the shower" on us.
submitted by OldSchoolCSci to TheBlackList [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 17:31 mmjjggss Found my biological parents through Ancestry, bio mother won’t speak to me. Need advice.

I haven’t posted on Reddit much so please bare with me. I’m sorry this is so long but I really need some help.
A year or so I (34/F) did ancestry DNA mainly to find out my heritage but also hoping I’d have some DNA matches. Right away I matched with someone categorized as either my aunt or grandmother. I sent her a message that went unanswered until 2 weeks ago.
After a couple of exchanges with my bio aunt I was texting with my biological father. So far is been a polite and cordial experience and he gave me my bio mother’s name.
After some searching I found her sister on Facebook and reached out. She knew who I was immediately including the name my bio mom gave me at birth (which I’ve always known). My bio aunt was so reassuring that I’ve always been loved and missed and that meeting/speaking to my bio mom would be a wonderful and happy experience. That was 2 weeks ago and I still haven’t heard from her.
Her family suffered a horrible loss this past year with the death of a family member she was very close with (I don’t feel comfortable sharing any other info) and I think the loss of this person and then me finding them has been hard to process for her
I want to give her time to process but it’s starting to take a toll on me as well. I’ve cried every single day, I’m distracted, I’ve missed appointments for myself and my kids, I’ve been snappy with my husband and to be honest I feel like the angry and confused teenager I was before lots of therapy.
I need some help and advice about what to do now. Do I send my aunt a message and just say I think this is turning out to be too painful for everyone and close this door?
Am I not being patient enough? I don’t want to cause her any more pain and I also don’t want to continue living with the way I’m feeling as well.
submitted by mmjjggss to Adoption [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 16:52 grayperegrine Men's Liberation Needs to Be For All Men

"Until we are all free, we are none of us free." - Emma Lazarus
"Your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins." - John B Finch (attributed)

Liberation is for all men, not just men who fit certain attributes. It has to be for men of color, trans men, disabled men, queer men, white men, immigrant men, men we disagree with, men we don't like.
But it also means that making sweeping statements about what your liberation looks like for you and declaring that to be liberation is probably inaccurate. That might not be liberation for other men around you. That might actually be striking them in the nose.
I have encountered a lot of men on here that aren't super attached to masculinity and manhood over the past several months. For some of them, they expressed that their liberation would be the abolition (or, more mildly, abandonment) of gender. This may in fact be part of what liberation looks like to these people.
This is not a universal act of liberation. (I doubt there is any universal act of liberation.) I am a trans man and "man" is an active part of who I am, day and day out. Search my post history for my struggle with the concept of "binary man" but I am no gender other than male (this does not preclude my recognition of genders beyond male and female, btw). Being male and recognized as male is an active part of my liberation as a person. It's something I am still actively fighting for (I've got some state paperwork done, but still working on the name change and federal paperwork). I've lost friends and family over recognizing myself as a man and changed careers for it. To tell me that true liberation is taking that away because it's liberating for someone else is swinging your arm, strike me in the nose, and tell me how liberating arm swinging is.
This does not apply just to cis people. I know many gay man in my community who have fiercely reclaimed their manhood because we live in a society that tells us queer men, especially certain queer men (twinks, bottoms, drag queens, flamboyant gays, etc) aren't "real men" and place them in a separate category. Their manhood and masculinity is a badge they wear on their rainbow crop top at pride. That "gender nonconforming" masculinity is an active part of their liberation.
I am also a disabled man. I will never master Krav Maga or be a "protector" or any number of modern dominant culture stereotypes by the nature of having multiple neurological disorders that sometimes make "lifting a cup of tea" my master achievement of my day. Not meeting those stereotypes AND finding a powerful masculinity in myself is an active part of my liberation - even if it's not part of yours.
If you're not man and not being a man is part of your liberation, I am so very, very happy that you have found this part of your liberation! That's wonderful and I hope your journey continues to yield success for you.
But for those of us for whom being a man is a part of us, I think there are healthy and wonderful ways to look a healthy, liberated ways of being a man. My personal favorite avenue of viewing it is through the lens of history and culture. Our modern dominant culture is just that - our modern dominant culture. Toxic masculinity has not always been here and will not always be here. I have been reading Thomas Foster's Sex and the Eighteenth Century Man as well as Mary Beth Norton's Founding Mothers and Fathers for a side project of mine and it's fascinating how a mere four centuries ago, we looked at things differently - and how some of those differences did, indeed, lead to today. We haven't always been where we are today and we won't always be here.
Let us revel in our differences and our different needs rather than demand conformity and sameness.
submitted by grayperegrine to MensLib [link] [comments]

2020.09.30 16:52 normancrane A Dwarf Stood At The Door [2]

Table of Contents
Chapter 2 <-- You are here.
Olaf Brandywine had worked as a lead writer and programmer on several moderately successful role-playing and adventure games that I recognized from the 1990s. His last credit was in 2001. However, his name also showed up on a few academic databases that I had access to through my university. Apparently, he’d spent time as a theoretician of shared virtual environments, which we might know best today as MMOs and social networking but which had potential military applications at the time, and as a junior researcher of “applied environmental artificial intelligence”, the idea that a complex system could be controlled just as well from within by dozens of interacting low-level artificial intelligences as from without by a single all-powerful super AI. The most cited article bearing his name was titled: “4*1/4 Heads > 1: Why A Limit On The Complexity Of Individual AIs Is Not A Limit On The Application Of Artificial Intelligence Systems”
But that was the distant past. The latest news about Olaf Brandywine was much more sensational. In 2007, he’d been accused of hacking into Pentagon servers, charged with a list of federal criminal cyber offences, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. It was a light sentence considering his crimes, but it came with a condition: he was forbidden from using a computer or accessing the internet. None of the articles I read stated why he’d broken into the servers. All stated that he’d done a horrible job of covering his tracks. “Imagine breaking into the house next door through the front kitchen window, leaving a cartoonish trail of muddy footprints leading all the way from your own front door, setting off the alarm and then somehow also forgetting your driver’s license in the middle of the kitchen table,” one security expert said. “It’s like he wanted to get caught.” When asked if Olaf Brandywine was a familiar name in the security community, the same expert said he’d never heard of him before. As far as Google knew, Olaf Brandywine was sixty-six years old and still in prison.
I scratched my forehead. The information wasn’t what I’d expected to find. “What level are you on?” I asked my wife.
“One hundred seventeen,” she said without looking up.
She was still mad at me.
I tried searching for Tim Birch. It was a more common name, more likely to bring up false positives, but I found him almost immediately. Unlike Olaf Brandywine, whose life was ongoing and weirdly braided, Tim Birch’s had been short and tragic, punctuated finally by a buried headline in the September 15, 1983 edition of the Boston Globe: “Doctoral Student Found Dead In Apartment”. Born in 1950 in Topeka, Kansas, Tim Birch had been a standout student and a pioneer software programmer who’d gone on a full scholarship to MIT, where he’d been critical in advancing the development of user interfaces and operating systems. In his spare time, he wrote fantasy novels and incorporated Downtown Dragons Inc., a company to develop video games. Although nothing in Xynk bore that name and Downtown Dragons hadn’t ended up publishing a single title, I was nevertheless sure that Xynk was their project. I tried looking up some of Birch’s technical writings, but they were way above my head. The details of his death, however, were crude and too gruesome to be reading about right after dinner. He’d been hacked to death with an axe. His apartment door hadn’t been forced. And as far as the police could tell, whoever killed him hadn’t taken anything of value from the apartment. The case lingered without ever being solved.
“Potato head!” my wife said.
“Yes, dear?”
“You’re zoning out staring at that little screen. Go take a shower.”
I did as I was told.
The cool water hitting my face refreshed my senses, which had been dulled by my grim research. I probably had been zoning out. I washed my hair and scrubbed behind my ears and between my toes. I liked the smell of our soap.
When I was done, my wife showered and I sat in bed reading my emails, including one from Wayne asking if I was in the doghouse. I replied that I was fine. There was also one from my thesis sponsor—even in my head, she sounded as severely Russian as I imagined a female Dostoyevsky would sound—reminding me of our meeting the day after tomorrow, in case I’d forgotten, “as you are wont to do when your academic progress fails to meet our expectations.” I always failed to meet expectations. My wife shut off the shower. I changed into my pyjamas and got under the covers. She walked into the bedroom with her bathrobe hanging open, no doubt to show me what, because of my potato tardiness, I wouldn’t be getting tonight, then let the robe drop, slipped on a shirt and got in beside me. “How was your day?” I asked. “I’m sleepy,” she said and turned to face the other way. Every time I tried petting her hair she stopped breathing and froze. I wanted to write a sarcastic email to my tone deaf parents, telling them that despite their constant worries my marriage was still perfectly healthy.
I feel asleep quickly—but woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to my dream of being a detective on an intergalactic space cruiser, charged with infiltrating a cell of shape-changing alien spies. Instead of tossing and turning and risking my wife’s squinting Grumpy Cat face, I gently removed myself from the bed and tip-toed to the kitchen, where I heated a glass of milk in the microwave, taking care to prevent it from beeping when the timer reached zero, and gulped most of it down while staring intently at the Thinkpad.
I turned it on.
I expected it to greet me by asking for my name.
The command prompt said:
Welcome back, John Grousewater. Press any key to continue your adventure. 
I pressed a key, and instantly I was back on the same cobblestone intersection in Xynk where I’d been when Wayne so rudely pulled the plug on my gaming session. I examined my surroundings to refresh my memory. The description was as I’d remembered, except for one detail: the game now described the darkness of the street and the flickering of street lamps. The stores were closed. Foot traffic was light. When I’d left Xynk it had been daytime. Now it was night. But I still remembered the note. I headed toward Castle Mothmouth.
A troop of armed guards kept watch over the main gates.
I expected them to give me trouble, but they didn’t. They recognized me (“John Grousewater, we presume.”) and let me pass, saying they’d been instructed by Prince Verbamor to aid me in my quest as fully and discretely as possible. I asked one of them for the way to the east store room and was given a set of elaborate directions that I followed through the maze-like area beneath the castle. In the store room, I lit a candle and found a key.
take key There is no key in this room. 
However, the key disappeared from the room description and when I checked my inventory I was holding it.
I navigated back to the main castle gates by reversing the directions I’d gotten from the guard and hoping I didn’t get lost. Mazes were not my strength. I remembered hating them as a kid. Thankfully, my backtracking was flawless and I arrived without incident. Aware that mazes were a crutch of early game design, I nevertheless prayed that there wouldn’t be many more of them. But now what? I had a key without the knowledge of what it was for. I decided to make my way to The Yawning Mask. As I did, I opened a spreadsheet on my phone and started mapping the route. I figured it would be useful to get to know my away around the city.
Another note awaited me under the door to my room. Was I being watched? Undoubtedly, from a game design standpoint, my picking up the key in the store room had triggered the appearance of this second note, but from a narrative standpoint, who could possibly know that I’d picked up the key? Not even the guards knew.
examine note There is no such object. “Go to JACOB’S HOUSE in FOG’S BOTTOM and ask JACOB about #FF0000RUM” 
The ticking of our kitchen clock was starting to drive me nuts, and when I finally looked up I realized I’d been playing Xynk for three hours. It would be four in the morning soon. So much for getting back to sleep. The milk that remained in my cup was cold.
I went downstairs in The Yawning Mask, but the Innkeeper wasn’t behind his desk. I supposed it was too early. He was still asleep. I tried forcing the game to let time pass. I didn’t know where Fog’s Bottom or Jacob’s House were, so I needed somebody to tell me. By reading my notes from yesterday, I was sure that the Innkeeper was the obvious choice. Innkeepers, like tavern masters, usually had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the world.
wait To wait, wait. 
Nothing changed.
I repeated the command nine more times, then went outside onto Xynk’s streets. They were still dark. The descriptions still mentioned flickering street lamps. I thought back to what I’d read about Olaf Brandywine and Tim Birch and also about what I knew from my own gaming days. Some games did have day and night cycles, but they were newer games, and even those were rarely persistent. Time only passed when the game was on. On the other hand, I assumed it was possible for Xynk to read the time from the Thinkpad’s internal clock and adjust its descriptions accordingly. If so, it wasn’t so amazing but it was still a fantastic trick for something made before 1983. The year made me shudder. I didn’t want to dwell on the idea of Tim Birch being hacked to bits.
I left the Thinkpad running and got up to turn on the electric kettle. While the water was heating up, I added two teaspoons of instant coffee to my cup of cold milk and then poured hot water over both, mixing carefully so as not to clank my metal spoon against the cup’s porcelain sides.
I liked instant coffee.
I took the cup to the balcony, lit a cigarette and smoked it between sips of coffee.
Birds were starting to wake up and chirp.
I knew I should get to work on my thesis but I couldn’t stop thinking about Xynk. I needed to know who Jacob was, what my newly found key was for and who was sending me those notes. I promised myself that as soon as the Innkeeper appeared, I would ask him for help finding Fog’s Bottom, go there, find Jacob, ask him about #FF0000RUM and then turn off the Thinkpad. I didn’t have to worry about losing my save apparently, so I would have no excuses. Afterwards, I would survive on caffeine while typing up academic blabla until my mind melted and flowed out of my ears. That’s when I’d go to sleep. Happy at having planned out an entire productive day, I put out my cigarette and downed the rest of my coffee.
The Innkeeper appeared at the front desk just before six a.m.
ask innkeeper about jacob “Jacob? There are a hundred Jacobs in XYNK!” ask innkeeper about fog’s bottom “FOG’S BOTTOM is a neighbourhood in XYNK. It’s seedy but it’s the only place to go for certain types of wares, if you know what I mean. And it’s only dangerous after dark. To get there, exit THE YAWNING MASK and head SOUTH,” the Innkeeper says. ask innkeeper about jacob in fog’s bottom “Jacob? There are a hundred Jacobs in XYNK!” 
It had been worth a try.
I was already well on my way south when my wife’s messy head peeked into the kitchen from the hall. “Up already?” she asked, squinting her brown eyes. I lifted my empty cup rather than answering. “Oh, you’re working on your thesis.” She made a motion with her lips as if chewing a month-old piece of gum, then disappeared into the bathroom. She turned on the overhead fan.
Technically, I hadn’t lied. Plus, I hoped to be working on my thesis soon. I filled the electric kettle to the brim with water and turned it on. Heating, it hissed. I might not buy her love, but I could at least make her a cup of coffee.
Fog’s Bottom was a poorer part of Xynk, but its inhabitants were already getting on with their morning routines and the ones I talked to were friendly, if a little generic. They had a stereotypical, English way of speaking. The fifth one I talked to told me how to get to Jacob’s House.
JACOB’S HOUSE Like the other houses in FOG’S BOTTOM, it’s small and quaint. Garlic hangs in the windows. There’s no knocker on the DOOR. knock on door You hear shuffling. A moment later the DOOR opens, revealing the squat figure of a man, JACOB. “What’s the big idear?” he asks. introduce yourself to jacob “Uninterested in that. Anything else?” tell jacob about note “Uninterested in that. Anything else?” ask jacob about the hooded rat brotherhood Jacob peers along the street to the left, then along the street to the right, then motions for you to follow him. “Can’t talk about that out here. Come in.” 
I heard my wife step into the bathtub and turn on the shower.
Inside, Jacob’s House smelled of garlic and looked like a heap of dusty books and bric-a-brac. Sunlight barely filtered in through greasy windows. Music played faintly from a room upstairs. Jacob offered me a seat and black coffee in a tin cup.
“You can’t talk about things like that in the open,” Jacob says. “You don’t know who’s listening. Now what was it you were saying?” 
I heard the shower shut off, which meant there wasn’t time for niceties and curiosity. My questions about the Hooded Rat Brotherhood would have to wait for another day. If my wife saw that I was playing a game instead of working on my thesis, she’d kill me.
ask jacob about #FF0000RUM Jacob’s ears prick up at the word. His eyes widen into saucers. “You’re John Grousewater,” he manages to say—before clutching his chest and falling to the floor. 
“I’m going to need you to pick up some stuff from Doreen’s for me today,” my wife said, walking from the bathroom to our bedroom.
“Sure thing, hon,” I said, thinking, what the hell just happened?
ask jacob about #FF0000RUM Doors cannot talk. 
Doors? Had I stumbled upon another glitch?
examine jacob JACOB is lying face-up on the floor, twitching slightly. JACOB’s face is now a DOOR. open jacob JACOB is locked. 
How obvious. I knew that the key I’d found in the store room would work even before I tried it. If the game was glitching out, it was doing so in an oddly playable way. I inserted the key into Jacob’s eye, twisted and his jaws opened to reveal a tooth stairway lined with tongue carpet leading down. I descended.
You are in a red room. The walls are red. The floor is red. The ceiling is red. You hear pounding. You see a BOX.
My wife, dressed for work, crossed the living room.
open box ROOM IN THE YAWNING MASK You are in your room in the Yawning Mask. It’s bare and empty, which suits an adventurer like you just fine. In the room, you see a TABLE and a WINDOW. The only DOOR leads WEST into the HALL. A DWARF stands at the DOOR. 
I almost had a heart attack. I jumped in my seat, slammed the Thinkpad closed and yanked out the power cord. “What?”
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2020.09.30 16:49 Ford9863 [Divinus] Part 35

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“I must insist that you reconsider,” Rael says. He still hasn’t accepted my decision from the previous day. Neither has the Council, for that matter. But my mind is made up.
“I’m not going to do it,” I say, tiring of his pressing. “I’m not going to forget my old life. I can do this.”
He stares at me for a moment. “Very well,” he says, then pulls a small pouch from within his robes. He sets it on a nearby stump and pulls a small green stone from it, holding it out for me to take. “Let us begin, then.”
“Green?” I say, my brows raising. “Why not try the same thing as yesterday? I feel like I can—“
“Time is short, as I have said. Your training must progress.”
There’s a moment of silence while our eyes meet. I know what he wants to say. I can see it in his eyes, in the slight dip in his brow as I take the stone from his palm. This would be easier after the procedure.
I appreciate that he doesn’t actually say it.
“What spell?” I ask, rolling the stone between my fingers. My nerves rise; the last time I used a green stone, I lost my hand—and nearly more.
He opens the book and flips through several pages. “This one,” he says, pointing.
I look down at the page, eyeing the curved lines. The bottom of the shape is rounded, with a smaller version of itself in the center. A flame. Beneath the image, the word Calor is written. My chest tightens.
“I can’t—“
“Yes you can,” Rael says. “You need only to focus. Feel the power of the stone, take hold of it. Control it. Release only the energy needed to create the flame, nothing more.”
I take a deep breath and close my eyes. A ghost of pain shoots through my right arm, a sharp memory of losing my hand.
“Alright,” I say under my breath. “Focus. I can do this.”
My eyes open and I stare at the stone as my fingers curl around it. Focus. Feel the stone. It’s cool in my hand, like glass, its temperature unchanged by my skin’s warmth. The edges are smooth, save for the points on either end. I can do this.
The mark begins to glow. I feel the energy surge through it, pulsating, spinning. A warmth grows in my palm as the green stone flickers to life, a small thread of orange and red sparking within it.
With a quick flash, a flame sprouts from the stone. It stands about an inch tall, flickering in the wind. And then it starts to grow.
“Focus,” Rael says. “Do not let it feed freely on your essence.”
The power flows through my arm, and for the first time, I notice something—a sort of draining feeling, like it’s being pulled from me. My pulse rises, thumping in my ears. The flame continues to grow, now nearly six inches tall, the heat licking at my palm.
I feel the energy and take hold of it, pull it back, stopping the flow. The size of the flame lessens. I’m doing it. I’m controlling it. I’m—
Something in the back of my mind pings, pulling my attention. My control over the flow of energy snaps in an instant, and the flame shoots upward. I feel the heat on my face, a sharp stinging in my hand. I try to clamp back down on the power, stop it, but it’s no use. It’s too strong. Too fast.
Rael lunges forward and reaches into the flames, snatching the stone from my hand. He crushes it in his palm. A quick woosh sounds and the flame turns to a harmless wisp of smoke, quickly drifting away with the wind.
I drop to one knee, exhaustion overtaking me. The mark pulsates on my arm, the veins digging deeper into my flesh. A stinging throbs in my hand, but not so much as before—and there are no burn marks that I can see.
“You lost control,” Rael says, staring down at me. “Why?”
I shake my head, slowly rising to my feet. “I don’t know,” I say. “I just—I couldn’t hold it.”
Rael’s lips tighten, just slightly. I’m getting better at noticing the small expressions on his face. And I know what’s coming next.
“We must meld your souls,” he says, “or you will never be able to master your abilities in time.”
My jaw tightens. “No.”
“Alexander, do not allow your stubbornness to hinder progress. This is the only way. We must—“
“I said no,” I say, pushing past him. I won’t accept failure. Won’t let him force my hand. I just need to show him that I’m capable. That I’m ready. That I’m stronger than he realizes.
I reach into the bag and pull out another green stone.
“Calor,” I say again. The power rushes through once more, and this time I clamp down immediately. The flame sits in my palm, steady as ever, unmoved by the passing breeze. I stare at it, every fiber of my being focused on it, don’t allow it to take control. For several seconds I hold it, until I feel the fatigue pulling at my chest, dragging me down. And then I curl my fingers and crush the stone, a small puff of smoke escaping between them.
Rael sighs. “How do you feel?”
My body feels heavy, each muscle screaming for rest. “Tired.”
Rael’s eyes flick to black, though only for a brief moment.
“Return to Nobius,” he says. “He will provide you with something to help recover your strength. This will be enough for today.”
Part of me wants to refuse—wants to try again, to try more. But my body is exhausted. No—more than just my body. My very being. So I simply nod, and begin the short, grueling walk back to camp.
Nobius’s potion does just enough to keep me upright, though I’m still mentally fatigued. Still, I find the energy to recount the day’s events to Kara.
“Don’t push yourself too far, Alex,” she says as we lay in the grass, staring up at the night sky. Her head rests against my shoulder, my left hand interlocked with hers. I feel a gentle squeeze as she speaks.
“I won’t,” I say. “I just needed to make sure they knew I could do it.” And needed to make sure I knew I could.
She sighs. “I just want this to be over. I want to find a place we can just... live.”
I turn my head and kiss her forehead. “Me too, Kara. Me too.”
As she stares up at the streak of sky visible between the canyon walls, a smile grows on her face. A few passing clouds obscure the pink moon, but the streaks of orange and blue against the black of space still light up the night.
“Our own little orange cloud in the sky,” she says.
My brow furrows. “Huh?”
She turns to meet my gaze. “Don’t you remember? We used to talk about it all the time. We’d stare up at the night sky, all those beautiful colors. Talk about escaping this place and flying into the clouds, imagining a peaceful home among the stars.”
I smile. “Of course I remember,” I say, pulling her closer. “We’ll find our little orange cloud. I promise.”
She drapes an arm across me and rests her head on my chest. I hold her tight, searching my mind. But no matter how deep I dig, I can’t find a single shred of that memory. No night skies, no home in the clouds. There’s nothing there.
What else have I forgotten?
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