Boonedox landing gear old town sportsman

Cycling 1000km across Japan on a Mamachari Part one and two:

2023.05.31 09:20 Mikeymcmoose Cycling 1000km across Japan on a Mamachari Part one and two:

My initial post was removed for what I assumed was mentioning a channel name; so here is the initial post plus update of our trip that I hope doesn’t break any rules!
So we're two idiots who decided to undertake a 1000km cycling journey across Japan from Kagoshima to Osaka. This is our fourth time in Japan so wanted a challenge to see more of what the country could offer. After flying into Fukuoka for one day (amazing city; I highly recommend Ohori Park); we got the slow bus down to Kagoshima to find bicycles. Since we are pretty poor, we got the cheapest mamachari bicycles we could find and children's helmets for the fun designs. My mate left his shoes at home in Bangkok so he’s wearing flip flops until he can find some size uk 12s which so far have had no luck.
Anyway, we started cycling in the beautiful city of Kagoshima, and our first day was spent tackling the volcanic island of Sakurajima. Wow, it’s beautiful here - challenging day indeed, with all the inclines, especially given the heat and being very white - funtimes. I burned through three coats of factor 50.
The mamachari bicycles might not be the most sophisticated or expensive bikes, but they are reliable companions so far - even with squeaky breaks and seats that don’t go quite high enough. The first day we managed 70km which took a few hours more than it should have, but there’s only so much we can do with no gears!
Anyway we're determined/stupid enough to prove that you don't need fancy gear to embark on an epic adventure - also documenting it all with 3 cameras (sad I know).
This journey isn't about luxury or state-of-the-art equipment or being clever - we’re just two overweight guys embracing the spirit of adventure, trying to lose a bit of weight, pushing our boundaries, and immersing ourselves in the incredible landscapes of Japan, and the people we have met so far have been so amazing!
Part two: Kagoshima to Miyazaki
We had to find a last minute Airbnb as the first day around Sakurajima took much longer than anticipated and we feared the impending darkness on our Mamachari cycles. The only feasible one was hosted by a lovely older couple in Kirishima so we cycled around the whole bay to get there before sunset. The bay of Kagoshima is absolutely stunning and you get all sides of the volcano and you cycle from the relative safety of a bicycle lane on the coastal highway. This is a must see for any visitor to Kyushu! We knew the next day was going to be a long one, so we aimed to get up at 6am and go the whole day to our next destination, Aoshima in southern Miyazaki.
The cycle started tough on lack of sleep and right away we had to start climbing mountains. We knew we would be pushing the cycles up a lot of hills, but the first couple hours involved nothing more than a snail's pace to the top. Now, while it isn’t the heat of summer yet; the sun is very strong in May and you will need to keep applying sunscreen through all the sweating. Near the first peak we met an actual real cyclist also going the same way, but assured him it will take us much longer, and to ‘see you there’.
What goes up must come down, and the downhill rewards were shockingly fast and full of empty roads with scenic railways and old Japanese houses (plus vending machines). The journey took us through the mostly flat town vistas of Miyakonojo with many blessed combini stores along the way to replenish the thousands of calories and litres of fluid lost. We went through country back roads and rice fields and the most amazing Japanese landscapes that I dreamed about seeing on this adventure.
But looming in the distance was the next, bigger mountain range and the toughest thing I had ever done! Up and up, half pushing my bike and half breaking my knees to scale the hills for the next few hours. Regretting our decisions to buy these bikes but ultimately being rewarded with the most intense downhill segments and nature. Issues arose when the lane for our bicycles would disappear into corners with massive trucks passing next to us and my mate almost came off his bike and had to hold onto the wall. With more sweat than I have ever produced and getting delirious; we eventually came into the Miyazaki city areas and could pretty much coast this entire route to our next place beside the sea of Aoshima and a whole home to recover for a bit.
We arrived about 10 hours after we set off, 94.32km travelled over the two mountain ranges to another beautiful seaside town with a totally different vibe to Kagoshima. It seems very much a tropical holiday getaway for Japanese and a surfers paradise ! Kyushu has shown us so many environments over the two days and the 165km of cycling, and will prove to show much more in the days to come.
submitted by Mikeymcmoose to JapanTravel [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 06:55 Chubby_HamHam 28[F4F] USA/Anywhere. Hello! This is my first post :)

Hello! I am finally posting after so long of lurking. I really don’t know what to say, so I’m just going to do my best to organize my thoughts here!
A little bit about me..I am 28 years old. I have a quiet lifestyle, but I like to keep busy. I am in the process of converting four acres of land into the hobby farm of my dreams. I love nature, and I enjoy being as self sustaining as possible. I’m not super “crunchy granola” I just love animals, nature, and playing in dirt in the garden. 😂
I have a lot of houseplants, and my collection is growing. I like maximalist styles, and things that make me feel cozy. Almost everything in my home is thrifted, upcycled, or reused in some way.
One of my favorite ways to unwind is watching horror movies, under a big fluffy blanket, with my dog at my side. Or playing a relaxing game like stardew, or animal crossing.
On the weekends you can probably catch me at the farmers market, or crawling through all the local flea markets/antique stores. With a gallon sized iced coffee in my hand. Otherwise I like fishing, and gentle hiking on nice days.
I am definitely more feminine, rather than masculine. I mostly wear dresses, because I don’t like pants. 😝 I am plus sized. And happy to exchange pics.
I am also a late bloomer. I was in a compulsorily heterosexual relationship for a few years, before I allowed myself to be happy. I have a young child. My daughter is my best friend. We are a package deal. 💕 I’m happy to voice chat, but you will probably hear her in the background most times.
Anyways that’s me! In a nutshell. I would love to make some new friends to chat with, or possibly a relationship. I am fine with long distance, but if you live in the southern USA we may be close! I live in a very small, southern, rural town. So you can imagine that options are very limited for me when it comes to locally dating. Also I tend to be more submissive in a relationship, but I’m still discovering myself. ☺️💕
Feel free to reach out if you would like to chat. Otherwise, thank you for reading!
submitted by Chubby_HamHam to lesbianr4r [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 06:54 Wells_Aid A common misconception about Marx's thought

I want to clear up a common misconception about Marxism. Should say at the outset that Marxism is only one form of socialism, so some of these criticisms may be legitimate when applied to other forms of socialism.
Capitalism, for Marx, is not identical to 'bourgeois society', meaning a society of commodity production and exchange
Most posts I see from defenders of capitalism make this mistake. They think that Marxists are opposed in principle to bourgeois society as such, meaning a society based on voluntary commodity production and exchange. Marxists themselves have made this misconception inevitable, since the old distinction between capitalism and bourgeois society has been long forgotten.
What is bourgeois society?
Bourgeois society is essentially a society based on the principles of co-operative town life, as opposed to traditionally hierarchical agrarian societies (bourgeois=townsperson). Bourgeois society means the abolition of caste or estate, meaning that everyone is formally (juridically) equal to one another. This society is based on labour: people work in order to create commodities, and then exchange these commodities with each other voluntarily. The butcher sells meat to buy candles from the candlestick maker. Marx thought bourgeois society represented a gigantic leap forward in the development of freedom in history.
What is capitalism?
Capitalism is the self-contradiction and crisis of this bourgeois society as a result of the industrial revolution. Why does the industrial revolution represent a crisis for bourgeois society? Firstly, because the industrial forces of production dispossess the vast majority of society's members. Because of industrialism, a single capitalist can put every candlestick maker out of business. So what happens to the candlestick makers? Dispossessed of their property, they are left with only their labour power left to sell. They must show up to the factory gates begging for work.
Why is this a problem though? Primarily because bourgeois society only functions when most members have some form of property. This is what allows them to interact with each other as equals, in a broad sense.
While the candlestick maker is being put out of business, the peasant is also being cleared off his land. Small-holder peasant production is liquidated by capitalist agriculture and the breakdown of feudalism. This peasantry floods into the cities looking for work, again with nothing but their labour-power to exchange. The downwardly mobile petit-bourgeois and the peasantry form a new class, called the proletariat. This class is paradoxical. They are bourgeois, in the sense of being modern townspeople. They have bourgeois habits of mind and outlook, believing in things like liberty, equality and fraternity. But, unlike the bourgeois, they have no property to exchange except their labour-power. They therefore lack any interest in upholding the old bourgeois society of exchange, since the exchange of their labour-power leads only to their exploitation. The more they work, the more they deplete their only property -- their ability to work -- while making their employer richer. The accruing wealth of the industrial capitalist only increases their ability to exploit further. This was not the case in the example of exchange between the bourgeois butcher and candlestick maker above. In that case, both parties benefitted from the exchange. As a result, we're left with a paradoxical situation of a bourgeois society in which the vast majority of members are not bourgeois, and lose any interest in upholding the old bourgeois society of exchange. Their interest becomes the reclamation of capital, which represents their congealed labour exploited by the industrial capitalist. Bourgeois society has already broken down, but now the proletarians feel the need to go beyond it entirely and onto a new principle. This new principle, called socialism, is one suited to the industrial forces of production, which have already socialized labour and created enormous amounts of wealth, which nonetheless continues to be exploited by a small class of capitalists. In other words, the bourgeois society of exchange will be overcome because it has already been overcome by the industrial forces of production. This is the case whether we think it's good or not. Marxism was originally distinguished from other forms of socialism and worker-politics in that it thought there was no possibility of a return to bourgeois society, even if we thought it desirable.
submitted by Wells_Aid to CapitalismVSocialism [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 06:34 CandyBroker Rate my "New Vegas 2" content?

New Vegas 2 Hooks
New Vegas 2!
Intro: Welcome wastelanders one and all! This is the syllabus for introducing you to the new law and land that dictates the Mojave wasteland. This will tell you a bit about what has happened in New Vegas between the time of the game (2281) and the current setting (2291). You will know more about what has happened in the 10 years since the ending of New Vegas and the factions, towns, and settlements that lie ahead. In this game, each player will build two characters starting at level 4. You may rotate characters once every three game sessions, and must do so at a time and place where this can easily be achieved (i.e. not combat).
So what has happened in the Mojave since the Second Battle of Hoover Dam?: The official “cannon” ending to New Vegas is a hybrid between the NCR and Mr. House ending. The Courier, acting as a political connections between Mr. House and the NCR, helps broker a deal between the two factions. They team up to crush the Legion once and for all, Vegas stays independent under Mr. House’s rule, and the rest of the Mojave is ceded to the NCR. The landscape in New Vegas has changed drastically, with big business, gaming and sports, and chem addiction skyrocketing. The Mojave’s desert vice city does what it does best, distract and provide entertainment. Below is a summary of changes or the current state of factions from New Vegas.
Legion: Since that fateful deal, the Second Battle was a crushing NCR victory, with the Legion retreating into Arizona. Those who stayed behind have been forced to find new lives while hiding their past. To this end, a semi-secret society known as the Bronze Bull Club was formed as a social and networking club for former Legionnaires. Like most of the Mojave, former Legion have split opinions on their new NCR rulers. Some have come to embrace their new lives, with some going as far as to completely abandon their Legion identities. One of these figures is Anthony Phoenix, New Vegas’s current reigning poker champion. Phoenix is a socialite typically well liked, who has successfully won over $5 million in various gambling and investing ventures. Other former Legion members have found success in sports, banking, trade, and business. Others, however, remain loyal to their strict and disciplined Legion lifestyle and support the Vegas Independence Movement.
Followers of the Apocalypse: Following the NCR’s victory at Hoover Dam, Mr. House permitted the NCR to have a small military presence near the Vegas Strip in Freeside. The Old Mormon Fort, home to the Followers of the Apocalypse, was forcibly seized by the NCR for use as a military base. The Followers’ eviction only served to exacerbate relations with The Kings and locals in Freeside. Though the majority of the Followers headed for New Reno or left for Wyoming with the Great Khans, some stayed behind in the new town of Summerville, located on the far outskirts of New Vegas and about 10 miles from Jacobstown.
NCR: The New California Republic, with the help of Mr. House’s Securitron army, routed the Legion from the Fort and secured Hoover Dam for Vegas and the NCR. Per the agreement brokered by the Courier, New Vegas and Freeside remain politically independent from NCR rule, with the rest of the Mojave falling under NCR control. Since then, the NCR has sent a more formidable military presence to the Mojave, and have set up a new major military hub in the town of Novac. The peripheral towns are required to pay taxes, and those that voted to officially join the NCR are allowed to elect representatives to the NCR’s Congressional body and vote in the four year presidential election. With New Vegas and much of Nevada secured, the NCR pushed further eastward into Utah and Colorado.
Freeside: Per their agreement, the NCR is forbidden from having a military presence in New Vegas proper. However, they were permitted to have one in Freeside and east New Vegas. The NCR quickly set up shop in the Old Mormon Fort after evicting the Followers of the Apocalypse, and have been a blessing and a curse to the Freeside community. The NCR’s presence has caused a sharp decline in gang and raider activity, and has provided law and order so more local business can open. Many ex-Legion have established local businesses in the area, and Crimson Caravan has also expanded it’s business, increasing employment. Freeside has undergone a rebirth with the NCR, transforming from a place of vice to a place of enterprise and culture. Music, such as jazz and lounge, have made comebacks in Freeside. Politically, however, there has been trouble. NCR soldiers stationed in Freeside are alleged to have committed crimes against the locals, which has put them at odds with The Kings. The Kings and NCR have come to minor blows over who the true rulers of law in Freeside is. Indeed, the instability is beginning to boil over, with the locals taking sides.
Goodsprings: Goodsprings has essentially remained the same as it was before the Second Battle at Hoover Dam. Tourists flock to the town to visit the cemetery where the Courier rose from the dead, and visit Trudy’s saloon. Goodsprings is under new leadership of a man named Lucius, a former Legion Centurion who serves as the town’s sheriff, and by default, it’s mayor. Things have remained peaceful under his watch. Goodsprings is one of the few towns in the Mojave to vote down joining the NCR, though they still pay taxes. There is little raider or criminal activity in this area, just the occasional merchant or radscorpion that chooses to visit.
Primm: Primm was the first Mojave town to join the NCR, and sent it’s first representative within days of the referendum. After the NCR routed the Powder Gangers, Sheriff Meyers retired as the NCR took control of the town. Known as “New Vegas’s cousin”, Primm’s casinos and businesses have made it a popular trade and tourist attraction to those who cannot afford New Vegas’s 1000 cap entry fee. Primm has been subject to attacks from the Devil Dogs, and a group of fireslinging raiders believed to be skilled at making explosives. The NCR has maintained law and order, but the seeds of the Vegas Independence Movement have found their way to Primm as well. Nevertheless, order has continued to be maintained, and the music, the money, and the chems continue to flow. Primm is now home to a sizable ghoul community, who comprise the majority of it’s musicians. The popular attraction in town is the Blue Note, where jazz, blues, and other pre-war genres are performed. The Kings tend to visit, as Elvis records are a regular request.
Nipton: After Nipton’s sacking at the hands of the Legion, the NCR crushed the Legion at both Nipton and Nelson, helping both towns rebuild and reestablish themselves. Nipton has become more populated, and is generally the “gateway” trade hub to the Long 15. Nipton, as thanks for saving them from the Legion’s oppression, also quickly voted to join the NCR. Nipton’s pro-business laws have dubbed the place where one can buy just about anything. However, Nipton’s NCR representatives have often towed the line of the California Bear coalition, which favors NCR-based businesses over local ones. With the current representative retiring, their current election has become hotly contested, with four different candidates stepping up to fight over one vacant seat.
Nelson: The former home to a Legion encampment, Nelson has had a slow rebuilding process. The NCR’s presence at Nipton allowed the town to rebuild free of raiders. However, the town, often populated by the roaming poor, is unable to pay the NCR’s hefty taxes, and therefore, receives less protection from the outside. Nelson’s citizens offer little in terms of lucrative enterprise. Many are scavengers, miners, foragers of the local area. The one attraction the town does have is the Lunar Saloon, run by the Dunbar Brothers, known for their mastery of brewing moonshine. Travesters from Appalachia, they have brought with them a local discovery from the region, Nukashine. Tourists will sometimes visit the town to indulge in the legendary drink first brewed in the mountains of West Virginia.
Searchlight: Searchlight continues to remain a lifeless, irradiated hellhole.
Novac: Novac has become one of the most built up towns in the Mojave. Strategically important to the NCR’s extended military presence in the Mojave, Novac has served as the second largest NCR military stronghold outside of Camp McCarren. The population of Novac swelled given how well defended it is from outsiders. Caravan and casinos have set up shop there, though the NCR’s heavy taxes have deterred some businesses. Novac is now a large town with a diverse population. Of the Mojave towns, Novac is the most loyal to the NCR, and to that end has three elected representatives in the NCR Congress.
Death of a Salesman: The beloved Courier, who survived being shot in the head, rose from the dead in Goodsprings, and brokered peace between Mr. House and the NCR, has been found dead. The Courier’s death falls under suspicious circumstances, and there is no shortage of suspects who would want him dead. To keep up appearances, both Mr. House and the NCR have launched their own private investigations into the matter. Questions over whether diplomatic ties between Mr. House and the NCR will last remain.
No Gods, No Masters: Not all citizens of New Vegas and the Mojave are happy about the deal the Courier helped forge. Since the NCR’s presence has increased throughout the Mojave, a staunch resistance by the local populace has emerged. The Vegas Independence Movement has gained full speed, and is largely centered in Freeside. Many citizens yearn for a Mojave free of rule from the NCR and Mr. House. Many smaller factions, such as the Followers of the Apocalypse and The Kings, have turned against the NCR and what the locals perceive as imperial conquest from the California government. Others also hold anti-Mr. House sentiments, feeling his laws are crushing or feeling he “sold out” the rest of the Mojave, with their NCR taxation subsidizing his non-taxed tourist haven.
Bounty Board!: Since the Legion’s defeat at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, the NCR has expanded full control over the Mojave region and beyond. Outside of Camp McCarren, Novac has become a populated trade hub and tactical military base location for the NCR. One of the most popular features of the now built up Novac is the NCR’s famed Bounty Board, which features bounties on targets wanted dead or alive by the NCR and private bounty brokers. Most bounties pertain to former Legion officers believed to be alive and in hiding in the region, but newer targets as well. The wall also contains an assortment of paid jobs the NCR and others seek help with.
Jet Death: Chems have always been popular in the wasteland, but with the anti-drug lifestyle of the Legion no longer a menace to the region, chem dealers have come out in the open and resumed their business operations on more open and large scales than before. Of the chems out there, Jet, a highly addictive chem, has become widespread throughout the Mojave. On the brink of a public health crisis, the NCR has responded to the Jet Epidemic by sending specialized patrols to seize Jet caches and arrest any suspected dealers, sometimes resorting to lethal force. The precise origin of the Jet trade in the Mojave remains a mystery, but the NCR seeks to control this popular narcotic used by rich and poor alike.
Forces of Change: It’s election season in the Mojave! The towns and regions that voted to formally join the NCR 10 years ago after it took Hoover Dam will be voting on their representatives in NCR’s Congress. Small town politics may not seem like a sexy topic, but indeed, it is rife with tales of corruption and crime. Amongst the slime is a class of politician who seeks to reshape the NCR’s political initiatives, supporting either the pro-NCR Bear Coalition (YG) or the anti-NCR Vegas Independence Caucus (VIC). The smiling posters on the wall with the big colorful letters do not always mean what they appear, and while some hope to be a force for good, others strike fear into the hearts of their neighbors. Regions holding elections this coming cycle are: Primm (YC-Roscoe Limeheardt), Nipton (YC-Henry Parlon), Candlelight (YC - Meiriong Han), Yuletown (Sect. 1 & 2) (Sect. 1 YC - Haley Spicer; Sect. 2 - Open Contest), Novac (Sects. 1-3) (Sect. 1 YC - Larissa Meddler; Sect. 2 - Open Contest; Sect. 3 - YC - Michelle Kawabaster), Harborville (Open Contest), East New Vegas (VIC - Polly Skylark), Summerville (VIC - Archie Jubilee), Jacobstown (IND - “Rubber”), Carmine (VIC - Penny McMasters), Kimballtown (YC - Dennis Crocker), Goldfield (YC - Lt. Bradley Carder), New Reno (Sects. 1-16), Carson City (Sects. 1-7), Utah-SW, Utah-SE, Boulder (Sects. 1-2), and Colorado-NW. Non-voting delegations: Freeside and Nelson
submitted by CandyBroker to Fallout [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 05:48 bubblesthshark I've been able to hear the voices of ghosts for most of my life. One has asked for my help (Finale)

Part 3\_been\_able\_to\_hear\_the\_voices\_of\_ghosts\_fo?utm\_source=share&utm\_medium=web2x&context=3
The musk was the first thing I sensed after I came to. The mildew and humid, heavy air that filled my mouth and lungs. The second thing were the handcuffs holding my wrists together in front of me.
Soon afterwards, I was jolted upright by the vicious barking of the dog gnashing its teeth at me. I slid quickly to the brick wall, putting myself as flat against it as possible.
The german shepherd yanked at its rusty chain leash to get to me. Pulling and pulling and pulling at the thick PVC pipe it was tied to. I begged for it not to break.
The snarls of the dog and the clanking of metal were not the only sounds, however. The basement was also filled with the bellowing and overlapping cries and calls of countless spirits. The voices of so many men and women whose ghostly forms were tied to this cold, stinking space. Every spirit that I had never heard in town was clearly trapped here.
I heard the heavy footfalls of a single individual on the floor above me. The dog, Tracer, stopped his barking but kept his teeth bared. He licked his lips as I heard a door somewhere in the room open and descending footsteps creaking at old wooden stairs.
“Are you awake?” Haines asked, before he rounded the corner to see me.
We made eye contact and he grinned at me. The ghostly wails continued. They filled my brain with layers upon layers of crying and yelling. Constant barrages of sound so that I could hardly think.
“FUCKING SHUT UP!” I screamed with every ounce of ferocity my voice could manage, but the voices did not stop.
Haines began to laugh even as I said,
“Not you. The ghosts. The damn ghosts. Shut up, for the love of God.”
Haines continued his snickering, but the otherworldly sounds began to fade.
“You're losing it much faster than the others,” Haines taunted. “You’re already crazy.”
I managed to calm myself even as the spirits muttered amongst themselves. I closed my eyes and tilted my head up to the ceiling.
“You have to help me. The ghosts of this house, please, you have to help me.”
As I looked back down at the officer, his face filled with equal parts bemusement and disbelief.
“I think the fumes got to you, girlie.”
“I’m not crazy. You are the fucking crazy one.”
I shook the cuffs at him to emphasize my point. Haines chuckled, rubbing his hairy paws together.
“What are you gonna do to me?”
The ghosts began to rile up slightly but listened to me when I again told them to be quiet.
“Wow. Gotta say this is the strangest kidnapping so far.”
He sat down on the floor across from me, petting the fur coat of his canine, killing companion. The dog never broke its gaze with me, nor did the bloodlust leave its eyes.
“When my babygirl gets back home, we’re gonna kill ya, doll. We’re gonna do it slow. You know. Have fun with it. Enjoy our date night.”
My eyes darted from the hairy beast and back to the german shepherd which gnashed at me once.
“Oh, yeah he’s gonna get a taste too. He likes the hunt whenever we go on the trails, but that’s a little riskier than just feeding him at home. He didn’t even get to finish last time before you stumbled across Alice’s body.”
“You were still there?”
Haines snorted. “Course we were. If you hadn’t darted out of there so quick, you probably woulda seen us standing in the tree line watching you.”
My stomach churned. I had been so close to death so many times without knowing it.
“Why did you wait so long to come after me?”
“We weren’t gonna. Don’t usually like to kill so fast after the last one, but… well you seemed kinda off in your interrogation. Seemed like you were holding back. Talked about it like a murder and we had to make sure you didn’t see us. My girl was sure you did, that’s why she dyed her hair.”
“I didn’t see you, though. I only saw red. Everywhere.”
“Then how’d you know?”
I mulled over my answer for a moment, but since he already thought I was crazy and since I had nothing to lose, I answered truthfully.
“Alice told me. I spoke to her ghost when it followed me down the mountain.”
“Oh, really? Is she here now?”
I heard a distinct Yes among the chatter of spirits.
I won’t lie to you. When she said that I felt a little bit better.
“Then at least you’ve got company,” he said with a smile. He stood up and rounded the corner mumbling, “Schizo,” before ascending the steps.
The second the door closed behind Haines, the ghosts began to shout again.
“Stop. Please, Christ. Alice. Only let Alice talk right now.”
After the clammer faded I heard the faintest hello...
“Don’t worry, Alice. I’m not mad, okay. Just… just help me please. I helped you, you help me.”
What can I do?
I had to think for a moment. What could she do? What could any of them do?
“Go upstairs. Keep an eye out and give me a warning if you see anything.”
She agreed, leaving me in the basement surrounded by spirits and an angry hound. I placed my cuffed hands together to my forehead trying desperately to think.
May I speak, said a deep melodious voice from the ether. It was one that I hadn’t heard yet.
“Why not?”
I was a police officer, the voice continued. I started catching on to what those two were up to, but I wasn’t able to stop them before… well. But forget that. I can help you out some. Do you have a bobby pin in your hair?
The question snapped me to attention. I quickly ruffled through my messy hair to eventually find and pull out a single bobby pin.
Okay, listen close. Do you know how to use that to get out of those cuffs? Don’t worry, that's okay. Some drifter got out of mine once using this trick and I’ve learned how to do it. I need you to flatten out that pin.
Do you have some slack in the cuffs?
“A little bit.”
Awesome, now listen. I need you to slip that pin into the cuffs where the hinge piece inserts to the base. Shove it in there. Now squeeze them tighter. Let it click a few times.
“It worked,” I said in disbelief as the cuff fell off completely. I quickly undid the other side.
Unfortunately, as I began to work, Tracer got the hint that something was wrong and his snarling increased. Just as the second cuff was off the snarling turned to barking.
“Tracer!” I heard from the top floor. “Tracer, shut up!”
The steps once again moved towards the door. Alice screamed at me that he was going straight for the basement.
“What do I do?”
Into that room! Quick! You’ll find some weapons in there.
I hurried into the only sectioned off room in the entire basement and locked the door. The scene on the other side was horrific. A blood stained wooden table was in the center. Five leather straps were located in spots that indicated one for each limb plus an extra for the neck.
Along the wall was a large rolling toolbox equally smeared in dry brown blotches. I rummaged through the drawers as quickly as I could. Haines screamed in the background and so too did the spirits.
Pounding and slamming and screams and wails. All order ceased. The voices overflowed once again. I grabbed a black metal hammer from the toolbox just as the burly man broke the door off its hinges with a final kick.
I swung but he leaned backwards to avoid it then lunged back in to grab me by the throat. He knocked the hammer from my grip. As it landed on the table’s edge, I landed hard on the concrete floor with a 200 pound police officer above me. Both hands clamped firmly on my windpipe.
I could not breath. I could not speak. All I could do was stare upwards and mouth to the spirits, help…me…
Black edges began to fade in from the corners of my eyes but on the edge of the table I saw the black hammer begin to move.
I had never witnessed any spirit move objects before. I thought it was another myth. But perhaps because of the circumstance or perhaps because of the amount of them, the hammer moved. Only slightly at first. Only subtly but it grew in power until it fell to the ground.
It was a meaty smack. I had managed in my desperation to land the hammer’s blow directly at the officer’s temple. He fell to the side, clutching his head and giving me enough opportunity to wrestle myself from underneath him.
His left eye was bloodshot and his right one stared at nothing. He seemed to try and speak to me, possibly begging. But as his hand went up to try and stop me I unleashed a flurry of swings downwards onto him.
And again.
I cried as I did so, but didn’t dare stop until nothing was left but red. Red everywhere. Just like that day. Just like the visions.
I didn’t have time to pity myself, though. I heard my look out once again screaming at me through the voices and the furious barking.
The windows were barred and I found no door to the outside world. As the steps indicated that Trittle was directly above me, I ducked underneath the stairs. She opened the door and immediately ran towards the body.
I took my chance to bound up the stairs and lock the door behind me. I stole keys from the coffee table and rushed outside. I did not care that the car was a police vehicle, in fact I welcomed it.
I pulled away onto the road with siren blaring and lights flashing. I spoke frantically over the radio, begging for help. Eventually a swarm of police vehicles, sheriffs, and highway patrol stopped me while I sped down the highway.
They arrested Trittle. She won’t get the death penalty, it was abolished in Colorado in 2020. She will likely spend the rest of her life in prison. Although she’s trying to claim I murdered Haines in cold blood, the evidence is pretty stacked towards self defense. Especially, since they’ve started uncovering the bodies.
I went back to the house yesterday. From the outside, it looked completely normal and it was even in the same neighborhood as mine. It was quaint. It was quiet. Soft breezes swayed the branches of the evergreens in the yard.
Peaceful now, isn’t it? They’ve all moved on.
“I never got your name,” I said to the ghost of the man who saved my life.
James Chisholm, he said. But thanks to you now everyone will know what happened to me. My wife and my little girl will know. That’s all I wanted. Thank you.
The wind picked up and the branches swayed more. For a moment the sun broke through the clouds and let down a ray of light.
And thank you from me too, said a familiar voice.
I smiled. “I’m not good at goodbyes.”
You don’t have to be.
Though I could not see her, I know that we spent a few minutes just admiring the nature. The same nature that had made us both avid hikers. That had, through unconventional means, brought us together.
Can I ask you a question?
“Of course,” I said.
Where will I go? Now that I’m leaving for good.
“To be honest, Alice, I don’t know. No one’s ever come back from the other side to tell me.”
Well… wherever it is, I hope you get to go to the best version of it. After you’re done down here of course.
I smiled again. She passed on just as the raindrops started to fall. I continued my drive out of the neighborhood and out of that little Colorado town. And after I passed the sign that said I was leaving, I looked into the sky and saw a rainbow.
submitted by bubblesthshark to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 05:35 Edwardthecrazyman Hiraeth or Where the Children Play: Wizard Tonics and Silly Little Love Songs [4]

The wagons or tanks rolled through the gate in a caravan that was more akin to a carnival than a group of tradesmen; all the wizards with their pointed hats were shaped magnificently against the browns and grays, some wore white porcelain dramedy masks beneath headwear as dark as pipe resin, men and women and those between—as that was common from where they hailed. Their company was perhaps forty and their mules and mares were thirsty and were led to troughs to idle while the wizards removed goods from their wagons or tanks and although it was not a spectacle for them to arrive within Golgotha’s walls, it was something still and the citizens gathered to greet whatever wizards they might know but mostly perhaps to whisper rumors on them. The wizards seemed a taller folk, but that was because of the hats, and they seemed wider too, but that was for the robes they adorned with costume jewelry, trinkets, or fingernail-sized lanterns which contained magical properties hung off their clothes as ornaments (some metal and other crudely wooden). I never knew a people that could trek the wastes in that time as well as me till I knew them.
Boss Maron was there at the gates with his wall men, hollering—shouting really, “The Whores of Babylon have come again!” And the bells signaled from atop the highest tower over the hall of Bosses and I met the front square with a morning headache and a cigarette. The Boss sheriff was clothed, cowboy hat pulled tightly to his ears, and he waltzed through the square, inspecting the new arrivals with his crotch out in front of him as he moved in a swagger like a cup of shifted water. Morning sunlight crested the wall to reflect on the pistol in his holster as it did on the star pin of his hat.
Among them, there was only one wizard I cared to see. Their name was Suzanne.
The hanged bodies of the men remained on the wall, dead and stiff and shifting to the little wind there was.
The square had filled with carts (some drawn by animals and others pushed on oil), and even if it were not for the bells which signaled their arrival, I’d have surely known their presence for the clatter of their metal engines.
“Well goddamn!” said Maron while examining a wizard, “What’s that you’ve got on your legs?”
The wizard, a young woman in plain pants wore a set of leg braces and whenever she moved, she did so in shifting her hips around. “Braces,” she said.
“What’s it for? Or is it some of your all’s secret whodo?”
“I’ve got bad legs. The braces help.” She said plainly, attempting to angle herself straight like a stick against one of the traveling party’s wagons.
“Bad legs?” Boss Maron’s expression was incredulous. “Who has bad legs? What sort of nonsense is it? If a lady like you’s made it this far in life with bad legs, then someone’s done you a disservice.”
She looked on questioningly while the other wizards continued with their unpacking or their conversating—whether it be amongst themselves or with the freckle-spaced citizens in the square.
“How are you to outrun trouble when you’ve got them?” He nodded at the young woman’s legs.
“I don’t.” Her face was red either because of the sun or because of the scrutiny. “I’m just bow-legged.”
“Damn,” he shook his head, “Well how much you want for one of them?”
“One of my braces?”
“Yeah. All I want’s the one anyway.”
“I need both of them.”
“C’mon. You wouldn’t notice just one missing. I mean, you’ve got a spare right next to it.”
Upon noticing a robed figure I recognized by the animals at the troughs, I moved to them instead and let Maron’s conversation fall to the wayside. The chatter of the crowd was wild and startled words came as a wizard exposed their collection of tonics to passersby.
“Suzanne,” I said.
The figure turned to face me, moving their head to look away from a mare they’d been brushing to expose one of those white porcelain masks.
I knew it and could not contain a smile.
“Harlan?” asked the figure. The mask on its face was split in the middle with hinges on either side and they opened it to show their face; it was Suzanne. They’d grown some hair around their throat and wore lipstick on their lips and dyes on their eyes.
“It’s good to see you.” I pushed myself into a hug with them and I could smell the travel off them but didn’t care.
They shifted timidly before hugging me back and I pretended not to notice. Once we’d separated, I looked on Suzanne’s face again and they were looking on at the hanging men on the wall. “Again?” they asked.
I nodded and shot a look towards the Boss across the way.
“What justice?” they asked no one while shaking their head.
Trying an answer, I said, “Justice is something man made, I think. I’ll leave men to men and the rest to God.”
“God.” Suzanne nodded glumly then shook their head. “Which one?”
I laughed a good laugh that felt real but nervous too then kicked the ground and took the last drag off my cigarette before chucking it to the ground. “What’s brought you here?”
Suzanne answered plainly. “We took a long time east out near Pittsburgh.” Their eyes scanned the buildings further on from the square. “The people there are worse than here, it seems. At least you still have your walls.”
“Pittsburgh’s fallen?”
They frowned. “Not completely. They’ve mostly gone underground. A skitterbug infestation caused a plague directly before an attack of proportions I’ve yet seen.” Suzanne’s brow furrowed. “It was awful.” The words hung in the air for a moment. “But we’re here now and thought we’d stop for a rest and some guns and ammo before returning to Babylon. We’ve brought some medicines to trade.”
I learned from my friend that Pittsburgh’s infrastructure and fortifications were decimated in an attack the wizards only caught second-hand and the survivors—holed away in the tunnels beneath Pittsburgh—told of how the demons ran the walls once their reserves were low.
Then the wizards gathered there began unpacking books, some scrolls, and there were medicines too and some of the Bosses other than Maron (he pushed his harassment of the young wizard with leg braces) graced us there with their presence as they came on and began to pick across the goods, haggling prices. Boss Frank was there, and he stood before a wizard by a tank with a wooden table of jars—capped elixirs of varying colors—he grew increasingly frustrated with their selection and took on in his braggadocious way, speaking of numbers. A few of the idle wizards leaned against carts or even took across town and a small group of them had gathered for a quick show near the guard posts, playing instruments (strings over the vocals of “In My Life”) and there in the front of them was a young wizard man that had removed his hat to show how he played with fire flames off his hands—it was a sideshow play—and the citizens wore variations of bemusement or disgust. The children of Golgotha, all dirty faced with sprigs of hair jutting about from their morning’s waking, seemed totally bewildered in the joy of song and clapped their hands or shook their hips all with smiles.
I stuffed my hands in my jacket and prodded Suzanne, “What’s with the plague? I mean, was it contained? None of your lot got sick, did they?”
Suzanne scoffed, perhaps a little pridefully, “No. I wouldn’t worry about that.” They patted a nearby mule then withdrew a brush and moved it across its thin coat before looking over its hooves. “I’ve brought you some books I found out that way though. You still read?”
I nodded.
“Don’t expect any of that fiction. The only ones I’ve found recently are old pamphlets or medical texts.” Suzanne paused and smiled, returning the animal brush to their robes, “You haven’t happened upon anything that might interest me, have you?”
Their shown teeth were infectious. “Mayhap. I’d need you to come back to my place so I could give them to you.” An awkward pause followed and the roar of the still accumulating crowd overtook the space between us before I continued. “Mostly interesting containers and a few flecks of gold I took from some old computers—they’ve been waitin’ on you for weeks now. I got some parchment that might be of use to you too. You can take what you need as always.”
“How about we get some food? I’m famished. Riding through the night takes its toll.”
Me and Suzanne took from the square up a narrow route that led through residences where the lower levels had their curtains drawn and then we took stairs toward balconies and catwalks configured from reinforced metal; we spoke as we went and a few odd glances from passersby met the wizard as we did.
“The tide on the east is rising again,” said Suzanne.
“Worse than before?”
“Worse than before.”
“God, I don’t think I’ve seen the ocean for a decade or more.” I slid my hand along the railing once we came to what was essentially my front porch; it was a perch among the catwalks that cut against the domicile where I shared walls with others on three sides and we stopped there outside my door. “We saw a dragon only a few days ago.”
Suzanne’s interest seemed piqued. “A dragon? And what direction was it traveling?”
“Well,” I craned over the railing, looking down the narrow walkway that separated my building and the one across the way; I couldn’t see the front square from outside my home, but I could still just make out the music echoing from that direction, “Could’ve been north or west. I was preoccupied, but I wouldn’t worry much. The wall men gave it a pretty good thrashing before it took off.”
“So, the ocean? It’s rising, huh?”
They joined me there on railing, supporting themselves against their forearms. “It is. Faster than ever. Some bad magic’s taken the water. I imagine by the end of the year Pittsburgh will be under it. There’s something bad coming. You might call it intuition if you want, but I know it’s coming. Something bad. Revelations bad. There comes a time when even those of us forsaken are brought worse.”
“Bah!” I couldn’t help it, “John thought it was the end times while he wrote the damn thing. And what about all the other books? Hm?”
Suzanne put up their hands. “I didn’t mean it like that at all. You know I’m only the mildest scholar on the topic.”
“Anyway. You’d better not start having visions. Got enough to worry about as is.” I’d not realized my shoulders were tense until their hand touched me, and I flinched.
“You’ve a bruise around your neck. Care to elaborate there?”
I shook my head. “Got into a fight.”
Suzanne laughed, removed their pointed hat and playfully put it on my head. “C’mon. Cook me something. You might not know a thing about spices, but your cooking’s always tasted better.”
We took through my door to my small single room where simple amenities awaited and an ancient, decommissioned pump-shotgun hung on the wall over the bed. “That’s just ‘cause you ain’t the one laboring over it.”
Across a meal of potato cakes and toasted bread, we drank coffee until I broke into the liquor to spice my coffee and alleviate my hangover, and we shared the drink and Suzanne took to wash in the sink while I smoked outside on the overlook. Upon returning to the room, I saw them there with a wet rag stuffed beneath an armpit and they were beautiful caught without robes, frame cast in sunglow through the crack in my doorway. In a moment, our hands glided around one another in a scramble of arms at the middle point between us and we took to bed for a while.
Come midday, we remained there, staring at the ceiling, chests bare, and blanket strewn across our lower halves.
“You’re going gray,” said Suzanne.
“You’re getting old too, ya’know.”
“How long did you say you’ll be staying?” I asked while trying to mask whatever excitement may be present.
“Few days. Once we’ve enough ammunition.” They traced their index finger along my ear lobe.
“Stay.” I offered.
They frowned. “Come.”
“I did already.”
They gave me a light shove and cut their eyes at me. Hazel. How good that color was. “Really. What keeps you here?”
“Things.” I pushed up in the bed to sit, finagling my underwear from the jeans on the floor.
“I wish you would.”
“I’m no wizard.”
“You don’t need to be.”
“Maybe there will come a time when I take you up on that offer. Who knows?” I slid into the drawers.
“Is it Maron?” they asked, “I don’t know your fascination with him. He’s the worst combination cruel and dumb I’ve seen.”
“Like an animal.” I nodded. “Like something real bad’s wrong with him. But no. He’s not my fascination.” Lying was always hard with them. “I worry about this place. I wouldn’t do the things I do if I didn’t. What if I were to leave it and then it turns out like Pittsburgh.”
“Oh, you’re an expert in plagues now?”
“No,” I scoffed, “I guess it’s just a place that weighs on my conscious.” I went to sit on the bed alongside them.
“You hate it here. I can see it more on your face every time we meet.”
“That I do. Call it an investment dilemma. I’ve put time in it, and I want it to be well.”
“That doesn’t sound like you.”
I caught Suzanne’s face there, staring up from the flat pillow, flustered. My reasoning was hard, but I continued, “There is one thing I should undo before I leave here. It’s a long time coming, and I don’t know if I can. But it’s important,” upon seeing their quizzical expression, I added, “And it is secret.”
“I wish you’d come with us. You’d be welcome.”
“I’ll visit Babylon sometime next month. I promise.”
“You shouldn’t call it that. I don’t like it when you call it that.” The wizards never called their home Babylon; that was a name conjured by the many religious fanatics that considered their magic evil (even if they did trade with the ‘heretics’ from time to time). The name they’d given their own city of medicine was Alexandria; it was fitting for I’d seen their expansive libraries and could become lost in them easily.
“Fine. I’ll be there.” I squeezed their hand in mine. “I’ll miss you once you’ve gone.”
“Don’t get sappy,” they said before planting a kiss on my forehead.
The day went and then the next and another and the wizards packed their belongings. No more music for Golgotha, only quiet agony. As Suzanne said, they’d left me a few books and I’d given away my parchment, jars, and gold. While they were in town, I even was able to snag a few more bottles of their famous wizard liquor along with a few vials of medicine—always good to have whenever I set foot beyond the walls or when someone within might need it.
There came a time finally—as every time it does—where I watched the caravan, with gray smoke clouds off the engines, take on north first where there was an opening wide enough in the ruins to accommodate vehicles, then it hooked around a wide bend that took them west then their black shapes against the red morning skyline disappeared like fading ink as their magic cloaked them entirely. I wished them well, but at the moment of dissipation, I felt an urge to leap from the top of the wall, charge across the field, scream that I was coming and scream it loud enough that I’d hurt myself. I think I just loved—though I never said it aloud and neither did they—and love is a bad thing more often than it is good, for the longing it leaves in its absence drives a person mad and I did not want to be mad; the feeling burst from me quietly there on the wall while I was flanked on either side by guards. I was sure all along the way they went that I could just make out Suzanne among them; that was probably a fault in my vision, but I imagined they were casting glances back, hoping to hold me as strongly as I wished to hold them. I went to the streets of Golgotha where the town quieted from the previous days’ engagements with the wizards.
Normal came and settled and then came chanting from Lady as she moved through sullen quiet streets. She was so far off that I was not sure it was her at all and then came the lines as she drew nearer by the hydroponics towers, and she shouted them vigorously and shook her fist above the air and held a staff with a swinging lantern of incense in her opposite hand, partly for ceremony and partly for support. The words came harshly, gravelly:
“They called to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
“The lamb will be your shepherd. He will guide you. Hallelujah! He will lead you to the springs of living water and wipe away every tear!”
“Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand! Do not be tempted by the deviousness of the whorish Babylonians for all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
A person, among the catwalks, shouted down at Lady, “Shut-the-fuck-up!”
I watched her come fully down the avenue as she dodged a thrown egg from somewhere unseen, then dashed away toward an offshoot alley to hide somewhere, incense lantern smoking, clanging against her back while she screeched off more scripture from memory. After she was long gone, I moved to the spot where the egg was, rubbed it into dirt with the sole of my boot and looked up through the spiderweb network of catwalks overhead; there was no one.
Without a thing keeping me, I took off the following day, and upon meeting the gates, Maron was there and I could see he was the proud owner of a used leg brace; he grinned upon seeing me, patting his mustache down with his forefinger and thumb.
“Whatcha’ think?” He motioned to his left leg. “It’s a bit of a conversation starter, ain’t it?”
“Get your boys to open the gate, I’m going out.”
He shook his head. “Won’t find anything out there. It’s all dirt and rubble, you know.”
“Just open it.”
“You know what?” He cut his eyes at me. “There’s gonna’ come a day when you won’t be so able bodied or maybe the Bosses won’t like you coming and going as you please.”
I inhaled heavily then let it go. “Now can’t we skip to the end where you acquiesce to my request?”
“Words words words you’ve got. You’ve got a lot of words. Acquiesce. Psshaw.” Boss Maron waved for the guards to open the gate and they did, and I stepped by him, and he spit somewhere behind me before I heard him hobble around with his single leg brace.
The path was clear and open on all sides and in no time, I’d taken across the field to the east and found myself on the edge of the ruins where things stank, and I was free from no other thought than to live. Creeping hot overcame me and brought my hair to my forehead and I holed off in a shadow to drank from my gourd before continuing. The sun was red in the sky in the places where I could see sky from around the black shadows of towering structures. I ducked beneath an old shop counter when I heard the skittering of fart heads and pulled a sleeve to kill the scent of their chlorine breath.
Once they’d gone, I pulled through the wreckage more and more till I came upon the markings for an old safehouse in the back office of a garage I’d not been to in a while. What were my intentions? Was I going to go all the way to the coast? Throw myself into those bad magic waters? There’s a thing they don’t teach you in religion. They prattle all day to do this or that and they say that Hell awaits sinners or Hades or maybe its in layers or circles or what have you. They’ll tell you about the places and they’ll say that if you take life into your own hands, you end in Hell, but what’s a person to do when those creeping intrusions come along—the ones that call to a person in the darkness, the ones where they tempt you to jump from a high place or there’s always a gun or a poison. Maybe a person could bribe another to do it for them. Where do they end up then? What are you supposed to do to stave off those thoughts? Should a person contend such melancholies with prayer? That did not seem helpful. What is the soulless to do without the promise of those pearly gates anyway?
Anyway, I took on past the safehouse and found a utility hall in the side of a tall industrial building just beyond a partially erect chain link fence. The wall was opened up like a cracked shell from years of standing alone, and after ducking through there, I found some old matches in a drawer, plastic gas cans whose contents had long since congealed within; I kicked them (not that I expected anything more). Moving further down the wide hallway, there were shelves of dusty tools, and I took some hammers and knives (cheapo stuff).
Further still down the hall, there was a staircase, and I took it quietly; the stone stairs made hardly a sound against the bottoms of my boots, and I took the stairs more quickly till I was out of breath and caught myself on a landing where I supped silent air before rushing further up the stairs. An old metallic cabinet or console—I couldn’t make it out—lay strewn across the steps to the second-highest floor and I climbed over it before coming to the building’s roof access. Upon coming to the door with a metal push bar across its middle, I gave it a shove and it did not budge but a minor clink and I took a moment to collect myself before rummaging through my gear.
Slung through a loop on the inside of my pack was a short prybar that was so worn around its tooth it was more rounded than an edge; I shimmied the piece of metal into the spot where the door latched into the way and began crimping the spot apart, trying all the while to maintain a relative quiet in the dead ruins. Once I’d bent away at the door for a few moments, I elevated my body weight at an awkward angle to pop the door free and it did so, half open, with a rusty screech that forced a long pause from me; I stood there by the newly opened doorway for a full minute, holding the prybar, holding my breath. Upon hearing nothing in response to the noise of the door, I slid the tool into my pack and slipped through the threshold.
The flat roof of the industrial building sloped to one corner—where the opening in the wall of the first floor was—and sitting there in the middle of an open platform was an old helicopter, blades half torn away or rusted off and the remaining slanted from the top of the old vehicle, touching the platform it sat upon. The roof access looked like a little square house atop the flat headed structure and around the side of the access, I found an old corpse (entirely bones) wrapped in black plastic-like armor, the white dry fingers laid across its lap, several digits gone and its hollow eye holes staring off into the sky with a permanent smile. I moved to the thing that hadn’t been human in a long time and prodded it; the skeleton slumped to the side and looked on the ground by its shoes. How long had it been staring at the sky and how long had it been waiting for me to come and change its dead visage?
I moved to the edge of the building, to the corner where the building sloped and looked off the edge to the ground below; all was quiet, and nothing moved save the shadows’ stalwart creep across the ground. Examining from above, I could see the opening I’d climbed through and beneath my shifting feet, I felt the ground give a little; timidly, I angled more forward and for a moment I thought I knew why I’d gone up there in the first place. Suddenly six-stories felt high. The urge to jump came. Perhaps on the way down, I’d have just a blink to convince myself I’d slipped.
“Hey!” A shout from somewhere down below came from the direction I’d come from. I shook my head as it felt as though it was a ghost echo, a noise that wasn’t. Then it came again, “Hey!”
I squinted my eyes and there in the crumbled road below, there was a human I didn’t initially recognize; it was only after the figure tumbled through the remains of the chain link fence that I recognized it as Dave. I blinked.
Out of breath, he angled over to the opening at the base of the structure and called up at me, “Hey! I see you up there!”
Whisper-yelling, I cupped my hands, “Shutup!”
I took back to the stairs, and he hollered after, “Where you going?”
With reckless abandon, I took the stairs many at a time, leapt the cabinet on the stairs, scrambling while also reaching for the prybar I’d put away. I held the cold metal in my hand and charged toward the industrial storage hallway where I could see him silhouetted in the frame of the crumbled opening.
His chest heaved and he wiped at his brow; slung across his shoulder was a small supply bag and worn like a necklace was a pair of binoculars. “God, you move fast. Like a fuckin’ cockroach in light.” His eyes shifted from my face to the prybar in my hand as I approached him.
Standing within the echoey hallway, I lifted the weapon and pointed it at him. “What’d you follow me for?”
“You wouldn’t use that on me.” He took his eyes from the prybar. “I don’t think you would anyway. You might be shady, Harlan, but I don’t take you as a stone-cold murderer.”
“You take me wrong,” I said.
“Maybe.” He seemed to think on it a moment. “You wouldn’t?”
“If you’ve given away my position to those things, I might.”
“Lots of bluster.” Dave offered an incredibly forced smile, and I could see just from the little shine of the sun in the opening that his eye had blacked but remained functional. “I been watching you.”
He nodded. “I snuck out after you.”
“You ought to go back.”
“You ought to just listen. There ain’t a thing back there for me.”
“I don’t care.” The sharpness in my voice felt good. “I don’t need some sorry sack sneaking up on me when I’m mindin’ my own.”
A quiet laugh. “There’s nothing there for me. I been farming all my life and if I die,” he shrugged, “So be it.”
“Idiot. Fuckin’ idiot.”
“You manage out here! Wizards can too!”
“Wizards have magic.”
“You got some of that?”
I lowered the crowbar.
“We’ve got to stop starting our conversations with fights.” He paused and moved into the shadowy hallway of the building before perching in a half-sit half-lean against the wall near me. “I never was violent anyway, so if you want to hit me with that then do it.”
His shirt clung to him, sweat thick and dark on his chest and pits. “Goddamn you move fast.”
“You should wear a jacket or something. Long sleeves keep the sun off and a thicker material gives you a modicum of protection.” I took to squatting too, maintaining ample distance betwixt us. “A hat helps too, but I’m always losing hats.” I chewed on my tongue while mulling over whether I should leave him.
“Are you going to try and slink away while I’m not looking?”
I blinked. “No.”
“Liar.” He took a healthy gulp from his water gourd then wiped his mouth. “East is the ocean?”
I nodded.
“Is it far?”
I nodded. “For you.”
Dave sighed. “Thank you.”
“Telling me.”
“You ever have any kids?”
I shook my head.
“It’s somethin’. Henry had so much energy—especially when he was little—there was times I didn’t think he’d ever settle down.”
“What are you doing out here?” I asked.
“Helen told me she was the same way when she was his age. She had energy too. I feel so tired.”
“Dave. What the fuck are you doing out here? Why’d you follow me?”
He took one last swallow from his gourd before shoving it into his pack. “I wanted to talk to you about killin’ the Bosses.”
I laughed into my hand. “That’s—that’s a thought.”
“I mean it.” His stare was like pinpricks.
submitted by Edwardthecrazyman to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 04:56 Burdwatcher In honor of Oakland fans, here is a list of all the failed MLB relocations I know of

This is not a comprehensive list, but it's as close as I could get to one from research and memory, and it includes quite a bit of Bay Area shenanigans. The Superdome appears fairly often as well:
1941 - The St. Louis Browns attempt to move to Los Angeles, but the winter meetings where the move's approval is set for a vote are scrapped by the attack on Pearl Harbor two days prior
1947 - NL President Ford Frick suggests to good friend and St. Louis Cardinals owner Sam Breadon that the team, currently renting Sportsmans Park from the Browns, should move to Chicago so it can finally have a successful NL franchise, but the White Sox and another area team stridently object so the team is instead sold to Fred Saigh
1953 - Facing federal tax evasion charges and bedeviled by Browns owner Bill Veeck loading the payroll with old Cardinals favorites and starting some wild promotions to shove his stadium's NL tenants out of town, Redbirds owner Fred Saigh nearly sells the team to a group in Houston before Gussie Busch floats in on a river of beer to save Stan Musial from a move to Texas
1953 - Saigh also nearly sold the Cardinals to a different beer baron - Fred Miller of Milwaukee - but as mentioned previously, the Budweiser guys saved the day instead
1953 - Unable to compete with the new Anheuser Busch money, the St. Louis Browns nearly move to Milwaukee instead, but Bill Veeck is blocked by the other owners. Milwaukee consoles itself by watching the ex-Boston Braves, who have just relocated there and will stay for a little over a decade. The Browns, who had started out as the original Milwaukee Brewers, move to Maryland and take on the Yankees franchise's original name as the Baltimore Orioles
1956 - The Washington Senators are courted by Los Angeles before the Brooklyn Dodgers enter the fray, then ultimately move to Minnesota five years later instead
1956 - New York Giants consider a move to Minneapolis before settling on San Francisco once the Brooklyn Dodgers' move west is solidified
1956 - The Kansas City Athletics owner, having just moved the team from Philadelphia, immediately regrets his decision and explores Los Angeles before being usurped by the Brooklyn Dodgers. He sells the team to Charles Finley a few years later
1958 - Incensed at having lost the Dodgers and Giants, New York mayor Robert Wagner enlists William Shea to try to poach the Phillies, Reds, or Dodgers, before switching tactics and instead attacking MLB's antitrust status until they agree to allow the Mets as an expansion franchise.
1962 - Charles Finley tries to move the Athletics to Dallas but gets blocked by other owners
1963 - Charles Finley tries to move the Athletics to Louisville but gets blocked by other owners
1964-1966 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to Atlanta
1964-1966 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to San Diego
1964-1966 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to Indianapolis
1964-1966 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to Seattle, before ultimately moving them to Oakland in 1968
1965 - The Cincinnati Reds are nearly sold to San Diego by Bill DeWitt (father of current Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt) before local investors step in
1966 - "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autrey tries to move the Los Angeles Angels, formerly of Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium, to Long Beach, but when the city refuses to pay for a new stadium unless they are called the Long Beach Angels, he moves the team to Anaheim instead so he can use a name that will appeal to a larger southern California base. (Arte Moreno eventually makes a mockery of this entire naming debacle by restoring the Los Angeles name despite the team still being in Anaheim, which the city objects to, leading to the team briefly being called, at least in Spanish, Los Angeles de Los Angeles de Anaheim)
1968 - Bud Selig lures the White Sox to play some home games in Milwaukee and tries to buy the team and move it there, but the sale is blocked by other owners. Two years later he takes the Pilots from Seattle instead
1970s to 1990s - George Steinbrenner threatens to move the Yankees to New Jersey, also halfheartedly flirting with the New Orleans Superdome on a few brief occasions, particularly during a two-year stretch when the Yankees played at Shea Stadium (along with the Jets, Giants and Mets)
1973 - The Padres ink a deal to become the Washington (DC) Stars to replace the Texas Rangers version of the Senators, but after uniforms are designed and baseball cards printed, Ray Kroc of McDonalds fame steps in and keeps the team in San Diego
1975 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to Chicago's Comiskey Park...
1975 - ...because the White Sox' planned move to Seattle falls apart. Instead, baseball settled the debacle from the Pilots' quick exit via the Mariners expansion.
1976 - The San Francisco Giants try to leave Candestick Park for the warmer environs of Toronto, but a sale to the Labatts beer folks is blocked. Toronto gets the new Blue Jays franchise instead
1978 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to Denver
1979 - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to move the Athletics to New Orleans to play in the Superdome
1980s - Charles Finley tries unsuccessfully to sell the Athletics to Phoenix and/or to Denver again but is blocked by the city of Oakland after they lose the Raiders
1981 - The Pittsburgh Pirates entertain an offer to move to the Superdome in New Orleans, before the mayor threatens legal action
1981 - The Pirates entertain an offer from Tampa, which does not yet have a dome to offer and is ultimately rejected
1981-1985 - The Pittsburgh Pirates spend several years flirting with Denver, with talk dying down around the time of the (probably unrelated) MLB drug trial in the city, which implicates several players and the team's literally cocaine-addled parrot mascot
1985 - The Pittsburgh Pirates owner also flirts with a sale to Indianapolis, who has just stolen the Baltimore Colts from the NFL, but the mayor threatens to sue and scares both sides out of the deal
1987 - The Chicago White Sox flirt with the idea of moving to a new state-of-the-art dome being built in Tampa but ultimately settle for another Comiskey Park instead, thus narrowly helping the Windy City keep a professional baseball team
1990 - The San Francisco Giants atrempt to secure funding for a new stadium in Santa Clara but it is voted down
1992 - The San Francisco Giants attempt to build a stadium in San Jose but the proposal is voted down
1993 - The San Francisco Giants again try to escape the bay area entirely with a move to Tampa's still-vacant state-of-the-art dome, but the other owners block the deal. The dome is eventually occupied by the Ray's, who will eventually threaten to half-move to Montreal in part because they hate that dome
1995 - The Pittsburgh Pirates are nearly sold to a DC owner before being saved by Kevin McClatchey, who would eventually taint his legacy by making way for Bob Nutting to supplant him as owner in 2007
1997 - The Minnesota Twins try to move to Charlotte or Piedmont, but both this and Bud Selig's attempt to kill the team outright ultimately fail
2003 - With MLB taking ownership of the Montreal Expos the prior year, various moves are considered. The team plays some games in San Juan, Puerto Rico and kicks the tires on Portland OR, Monterrey Mexico, East Rutherford NJ, Norfolk VA, and Charlotte NC before finally convincing Orioles (neé St. Louis Browns, who started this whole list) owner Peter Angelos to give DC a third bite at the MLB apple.
Lately there has been talk of the Rays and A's moving, as well as Manfred threatening to kick the Brewers out of Milwaukee. It's fascinating to me how many of these prior relocations have involved Milwaukee, the A's, and Tampa... anyway feel free to call me an idiot for any of these you think may be incorrect or for any big ones I missed. Keep the faith, A's fans...
submitted by Burdwatcher to baseball [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 04:24 Dependant_Ad_Mobile2 Alt. Fortnite Chapter 6: Season 5.

Title: Elements Align.
Theme: Ice Vs Fire Vs Grass.
Battle Pass.
Page 1.
Fire Phoenix (Skin)
Fire Emblem (Back Bling)
Fire Plasma Wave (Pickaxe)
Fire Heatwave (Contrail)
Fire Flyer (Glider)
Fire Stance (Emote)
The Fire (Emoticon)
Guards Of Fire (Spray)
Fire (Wrap)
Fire Madness (Music Pack)
Fire Phoenix (Loading Screen)
Page 2.
The Magma Golem (Skin)
Magma Cube (Back Bling)
Magma Fists (Built-In Pickaxe)
Magma Blocks (Contrail)
Cobblestone Generator (Glider)
Fired Up Golem (Built-In Emote)
The Angry Golem (Emoticon)
Colossus Golem (Spray)
Magma (Wrap)
100 Vbucks (Vbucks)
The Magma Golem (Loading Screen)
Page 3.
The Lava Emperor (Skin)
Lava Cowl (Back Bling)
Lava Spear (Pickaxe)
Lavafall (Contrail)
Lava Wings (Glider)
Lava Uprising (Emote)
Emperor Of Lava (Emoticon)
Lava Execution (Spray)
Lava Flow (Wrap)
100 Vbucks (Vbucks)
The Lava Emperor (Loading Screen)
Page 4.
Ice Phoenix (Skin)
Ice Plate (Back Bling)
Ice Plasma Wave (Pickaxe)
Ice Shards (Contrail)
Ice Board (Glider)
Ice Stance (Emote)
The Ice (Emoticon)
Army Of Ice (Spray)
Ice (Wrap)
Ice Madness (Music Pack)
Ice Phoenix (Loading Screen)
Page 5.
The Snow Admin (Skin)
Ice Palace Sculpture (Back Bling)
Snowball On Sticks (Pickaxe)
Snowballs (Contrail)
Ice Stairs (Built-In Glider)
Snow Transportation (Built-In Emote)
Snow Admin (Emoticon)
Admins (Spray)
The Snow (Wrap)
100 Vbucks (Vbucks)
The Snow Admin (Loading Screen)
Page 6.
The Dark Ice Ruler (Skin)
Dark Ice Cape (Back Bling)
Dark Ice Shard (Pickaxe)
Dark Icy Feet (Contrail)
Dark Ice Rider (Glider)
Dark Laugh (Built-In Emote)
Dark Ice Emperor (Emoticon)
Ice Sacrifice (Spray)
Dark Ice (Wrap)
Dark Kingdom (Music Pack)
The Dark Ice Ruler (Loading Screen)
Secret Page.
Founding Titan Sunny (Skin) Search Founding Titan Chests (5)
Founding Life (Back Bling) Visit POIs With Life (2)
Founding Claws (Built-In Pickaxe) Eliminate Opponents At Cities (3)
Founding Bones (Contrail) Emote On Founding Titan Sunny's Head (1)
Ribs Of The Founder (Glider) Use Seren Ackerman's ODM Gear (1)
Founding Roar (Built-In Emote) Emote As Founding Titan Sunny (1)
Sunny The Founder (Emoticon) Water Plants At Slappy Shores (3)
Founding Loom (Spray) Visit The Element Cage (1)
Founding Bond Marrow (Wrap) Place Cameras At The Monoliths (3)
Founding Hope (Music Pack) Defeat Ice Or Fire Forces (3)
Founding Titan Sunny (Loading Screen) Duel Seren Ackerman (1)
Bonus Page.
Seren Ackerman (Skin)
Leaf Mantle (Back Bling)
Life Swords (Pickaxe)
Founding Glow (Contrail)
Survey Corps Blimp (Glider)
Ackerman Bow (Emote)
Serious Seren (Emoticon)
Fire Walk (Spray)
Looming Founder (Wrap)
Ackerman's Anthem (Music Pack)
Seren Ackerman (Loading Screen)
Challenges Pages.
Page 1.
Light Em Up (Music Pack) Complete Week 1 Challenges (1)
Magma Fight (Spray) Complete Week 2 Challenges (1)
Emperor's Loom (Loading Screen) Complete Week 3 Challenges (1)
Ice Venture (Spray) Complete Week 4 Challenges (1)
Page 2.
Losers, Are Supposed To Lose (Spray) Complete Week 5 Challenges (1)
Ruler's Watch (Loading Screen) Complete Week 6 Challenges (1)
Founding Titan Wander (Loading Screen) Complete Week 7 Challenges (1)
Ackerman Stance (Spray) Complete Week 8 Challenges (1)
POIs: Founding Titan Sunny, Fire Grotto, Romeo's Challenge, Lava Tower, Ice Agency, The Ice Palace, Dark Ice Ruins, Seren's Underground Town, Heed City, Jedi City, Sith Citadel.
NPCs: Tony The Talking Clock, Springtrap, Baldi, Benson, Toodles, Hector Rivera, Cartoon Cat, Nephrite, Monika, Doctor Slone, Puss In Boots, Mario [Movie], Eren Yeager, Seren Ackerman, Jedi Guard, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sith Trooper.
Bosses: The Magma Golem, The Lava Emperor, The Snow Admin, The Dark Ice Ruler, Miss Heed, Kylo Ren, Kylo Sayori.
Guards: Fire Phoenixs, Ice Phoenixs, Heed Followers.
New: Fire Bombs, Ice Skates, Founding Titan AR, The Magma Golem's Super Jump, The Lava Emperor's Spear, The Snow Admin's Snowballs, The Dark Ice Ruler's Ice Shards, Miss Heed's Headphones, E-13 Blaster, Seren Ackerman's ODM Gear.
Unvaulted: Obi-Wan Kenobi's Lightsaber, Kylo Ren's Lightsaber, Kylo Sayori's Lightsaber, E-11 Blaster.
Vaulted: Watergun, Water Balloons, Burst Water Gun, CDM Gear, The Dark Pumpkin's Omniverse Axe, Bubbles's Laser Eyes, Arthur Yeager's Titan Form, The Atol Wanderer's Wires, Barnacle Boy's Powers, Mermaid Man's Belt, CDM Thunder Spears, Trollge Shylily's Grappling Claws.
Week 1.
Search Chests At Founding Titan Sunny (7)
Eliminations At Lonely Labs (3)
Visit Fire Grotto (1)
Catch Fireflies (3)
Burn Structures (3)
Eliminate Fire Phoenixs (3)
Week 2.
Search Chests At Fire Grotto (7)
Eliminations At Brutal Bastion (3)
Visit Romeo's Challenge (1)
Collect Magma (3)
Destroy Rocks (5)
Defeat The Magma Golem (1)
Week 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 And 15 Coming Soon.
Elements Align.
Part 1.
Stage 1: Receive The Founder's Call (1)
Stage 2: Talk To Seren Ackerman And Give Connection To Him On Your Device (2)
Stage 3: Land At A Fire POI (1)
Stage 4: Place Cameras In Fire POIs (3)
Part 2, 3, 4 And 5 Coming Soon.
Plan B.
Eliminate Fire Forces With DO Tech (3)
Deal Damage To Ice Forces With DO Tech (200)
The Sith Returns.
Day 1: Talk To The Jedi (3)
Day 2: Deal Damage To The Sith (100)
Live Event: Element Restorage.
Season Crew Pack.
Miss Heed (Skin)
Miss Heed's Headphones (Back Bling)
Loving Hitter (Pickaxe)
Attack On Heed (Loading Screen)
submitted by Dependant_Ad_Mobile2 to TheOfficialAltFn [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 03:46 Necessary_Scene9690 AITA for continuing to burn wood after my neighbor asked me not to?

I live in a rural town (4000-5000 people) but I live in town where it's a neighborhood where houses are closer together. Enough room to have your own front and back yards but everyone is involved in everyone's business. We own a ranch style home and we burn our excess wood in a burn barrel in our backyard a couple days a week
Our neighbor came over and asked me not to burn anything as the smoke was filling up his house and his son has asthma and he has a 2 day old daughter. I'm a mom myself to 3 little ones so I get it. I asked when would be an acceptable time to burn. He said honestly never but as little as possible as he only has a fire twice a year. I told him we would try to have a fire as little as possible. He stated that he knows the neighbors across the street and behind us have a fire as well but only ours blows into his house and he has to close the windows and it's 80 degrees inside and kept apologizing and saying he's sorry for being an asshole.
Here's my stance - my husbands a firefighter so he knows how to control a fire - we do not burn anything that is not supposed to be burnt in the oil drum. - we have a burn permit required by the town and only burn during their permitted hours -it is our house our land and while we want to remain respectful we also want to have a fire if we want to - we cannot control the wind and where the smoke goes and the fact that they keep their windows open - they stated other people are having fires as well around us but ours goes into their windows - we have come to the conclusion that we are going to continue to have fires biweekly and that we will attempt tomorrow to get their phone number so we can inform them that we have a burn permit and inform them the hours that we are legally able to burn and then tell them that we will inform them before we have a fire so they can plan accordingly.
submitted by Necessary_Scene9690 to AITAH [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 03:27 harry-jg Best VPN for Sky Sports

Sky Sports: the grand buffet of sports viewing, offering everything from the delicacies of cricket to the rib-sticking goodness of football, and the high-octane dessert of Formula 1. It's a veritable feast for the eyes, but like that one amazing candy shop you stumbled upon on a childhood vacation to the UK, it's only available to those fortunate enough to find themselves within the British Isles' invisible circle of privilege.
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN as the technologically savvy call it, is your Willy Wonka golden ticket to this sporting wonderland. But just as not all chocolate is created equal (looking at you, American "chocolate"), not all VPNs are capable of whisking you away over the digital rainbow to the land of Sky Sports. And of those that can, only a select few provide the silky-smooth streaming experience you need to see each ball kicked, each wicket taken, and every flashy, hair-raising overtake.
In my self-appointed role as the VPN connoisseur, I've diligently tested every major virtual sous-chef on the market, seeking the one with the speedy connection that would make Usain Bolt envious. The thrill of the game shouldn't be overshadowed by the heart-stopping horror of a buffering wheel of doom, after all.
So, without further ado, I reveal the crown jewel, the pièce de résistance, ExpressVPN. It takes the pole position as the primo choice for sneaking a peek at Sky Sports, and the cherry on top? You can try it out today, without the fear of buyer's remorse. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, ensuring that your sporting dreams never turn into a buffering nightmare.
Consider ExpressVPN as that best friend who happens to have a summer house in every corner of the world, 160 corners to be precise, four of which are conveniently located in the cozy confines of the United Kingdom. This is not just hearsay, oh no, I've tested it myself. A quick digital jaunt to the UK, courtesy of ExpressVPN, and voila! Sky Sports in all its streaming glory, available to anyone outside the UK and Ireland. Not just that, the network is optimized for the smoothest HD streaming that would make butter envious. The specifics of the speed test results are tucked away neatly in our ExpressVPN review, for your perusal at leisure.
The charm of ExpressVPN is that it's a regular jack-of-all-trades, making itself right at home on a myriad of devices - from the more pedestrian iOS and Windows to the chic smart TVs and elusive consoles. Its special power, the 'MediaStreamer' feature, is the magic wand that transforms your streaming experience, making it possible on even those devices that usually snub VPNs with a raised eyebrow and a dismissive wave.
Perhaps you're looking at your console and wondering, "Can I use ExpressVPN to unlock Sky Sports on this piece of modern art?" Well, my friend, you're in luck. It's as simple as upgrading your router's firmware with the one provided by ExpressVPN. Granted, the process might seem as complicated as explaining the offside rule in football to a toddler, but worry not! There's a handy video tutorial, clear as a bell and easy to follow, that makes the process less "rocket science" and more "microwaving popcorn".
Imagine, if you will, CyberGhost - a generous spirit, with over 320 UK-based and 36+ Ireland-residing servers up its phantom sleeve, all ready and raring to deliver the thrill of Sky Sports to your screen. It's more than a mere boast - this spectral buddy is geared for speedy streaming, capable of delivering high-definition cricket balls whizzing and football goals scored right into your living room without a hiccup. The performance of this spectral speedster has been put to test, and the results can be found tucked away in our CyberGhost review.
What's more, CyberGhost doesn't discriminate against the multitude of gizmos you might possess. Be it the latest iPhone, a beloved old tablet, or anything in between, CyberGhost makes streaming as easy as belting out your favorite shower song. And did I mention its capacity for benevolence? Seven, yes seven, devices can connect simultaneously. So go ahead and share the joy of VPN protection with a few unsuspecting friends or family members. Or better yet, host an impromptu sports night!
And for those who have found themselves victim to the infamous throttling ISPs, CyberGhost is a hero in disguise. It guarantees that your HD sports streaming experience is as smooth as a perfectly thrown bowling ball, free from the irksome interruptions that can make a simple cricket match seem as long as a season finale cliffhanger.
Private Internet Access
Imagine my glee when I discovered that Private Internet Access (PIA for us insiders) is not only the proud parent of a substantial herd of servers strewn across the UK and Ireland but also capable of delivering Sky Sports in a swift and steady stream. It's a bit like finding out the neighborhood spinster aunt turns out to be a champion arm-wrestler. My various tests of PIA proved its uncanny ability to churn out high-quality video content faster than a cheetah in a sports car. You can find the exact numerical delights in our detail-packed Private Internet Access review.
Now, this VPN is no ordinary digital specter, oh no. PIA possesses the key to those pesky geoblocks that stand between you and Sky Sports in HD, irrespective of where on this globe you plant your slippers. And while other lesser entities may impose bandwidth limits or throttling, PIA believes in letting it flow – all in favor of granting you faster connections and an enhanced visual feast. After all, what's the joy in a close-up if you can't appreciate the rivulets of sweat tracing a path down a player's furrowed brow?
And here's the icing on the cake: Private Internet Access hands you a golden ticket to try it out, risk-free, for an entire month, courtesy of its 30-day money-back guarantee. It's like being invited to a banquet and told you can leave anytime without having to foot the bill.
The Gentle Art of Digital Disguise: VPNs and the Quest for Sky Sports
Here's a bitter pill: grand streaming powerhouses like Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland have decided to become the exclusive clubs of their territories, turning a blind eye to the legion of sports enthusiasts beyond their borders. Imagine that – something as universal as sport being held hostage by geographical boundaries. This is where our dear friend the VPN, or the Virtual Private Network, steps in, like a dashing secret agent from a spy novel, ready to help you leap over these digital hurdles.
Now, you may ask, what's the magic trick? Well, when you summon a VPN, it graciously enables you to connect to a server in the UK or Ireland, effectively morphing your IP address into one that's born and bred in the UK or Ireland. Picture yourself donning an impeccable disguise, becoming practically indistinguishable from the local digital crowd. The geoblocks, in their oblivious state, will not detect your international origins and let you walk right through the front door.
So, what happens next? Then, my friend, you are free to bask in the glory of Sky Sports to your heart's content. And all this, thanks to the unsung hero of the internet - the VPN.
submitted by harry-jg to topvpn [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 03:22 OutsideNewspaper7049 Necromancy debut reveals the true price of both MTX and RuneScape's ongoing identity crisis.

Force-fed Irrelevancy With the reveal of Necromancy and a recent foray of mine into OSRS couple of things cleared up for me. RuneScape 3 has disenfranchised its playerbase so significantly that it cannot go unnoticed anymore. The constant bombardment from cookie-cutter, recycled money grabbing events in the game 'masked' as content without an appropriate attempt to at least conceal their true predatory nature has taken a great toll it seems. Just for a statistical significance I've attached a screenshot rounding up ALL the views from today's 'anticipated' reveal, RuneScape's 'biggest update to date'. I know it's taboo to bring OSRS into a RS3 discussion because they're so 'different' yet I'd argue that the main difference is the lack of any coherent, singular direction in the latter. Going back to the views, the content creators are not at fault here, the lack of any new meaningful content that is not repurposed assets and code for another 'different' yet absolutely mindless grind in both content and context - offers little to any content creator - and if there's nothing to talk about, no one will talk about it. You can judge how content-dry the community is by the similarity content from every creator.
What I noticed in several days of playing OSRS is that at any one point you have many more possibilities and ironically, for a game that's supposed to be grindier you get to play more of the game earlier with early-mid level content staying relevant for pretty much ever. (This used to be the case before the Linearization of RS3 which I will cover further down). It's astonishing then that RS3 is cluelessly called EZScape by the OSRS community, since at 60 stats in OSRS you can pretty much start getting into the fun stuff, that is about a week of moderate play, RS3 on the other hand you need a lot of gold that in many ways is harder to get than the OSRS equivalent and reach greater heights to start 'playing the game' - no wonder we need all the DXP events, just to try getting a portion of the playerbase into what someone at Jagex has decided is 'the game'.
All of this is a result, many years in the making as I'll explore further down, there will be no TL:DR so this is your final wall-o-text warning. :)
Also if I might sound bashful towards the developers that is not my intent, my critique is to whoever is steering the ship, as a developer you don't really have much freedom or power unless it's given to you, otherwise it's just a job you do. So the responsibility lies with whoever's steering the ship (sailing reference ha!) and has insisted on absolutely murdering this gem. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
II. The Combat and what Necromancy really should have been (and it part is)
Just for context I'm at the point of the game where I've no more relevant skills to max, I've done all entry and mid-level and started getting into 'high-end' bossing, money is flowing in, there are no skill related money sinks so I've hundreds of millions of gold and 2b in gear - for any new to mid-game players this is not a brag just context and is 'barely even starting point for real PvM' as anyone who 'really' bosses will tell you what a broke scrub I must be. Maybe I've not progressed far enough into OSRS, but this inferiority complex seems to not exist there, everything is an achievement that is not devalued by an assumption that you're playing an 'easy game'.
All combat I do is also full manual, I've read the bossing github page a dozen times, I've made dynamic excel tables to determine best rotations taking into account average damage, effects and cooldowns of basics. Then I engaged with combat in OSRS and felt like I'd been slapped awake and understood why so many left when EoC came out and didn't settle for anything less than OSRS. I also immediately realized that for the past years I've lied to myself that the general game, awkward state of its visuals and the combat system work - just because I wanted to play RuneScape and not have to start from the ground up, disregarding all of my achievements, but most importantly memories. Apparently, I wasn't even having fun, I had just become really good at convincing myself I was.
To put Runescape 3 Combat in a single paragraph:
If you design a system to be complex for the sake of complexity, that is what you will achieve, if you design a system to be satisfying to use, learn and master that is what the system will be - a BYPRODUCT of that may be increased complexity (there are certain requirements for engagement that make something satisfying to 'operate') but you absolutely cannot simply copy the byproducts of a system and expect the same functionality.
EoC since its release and to this day is a system designed to be complex and not satisfying, replacing a system that was satisfying to use and had natural complexity (like all the gear and prayer switches) Just 'tab- target' combat was what was deemed fashionable at the time and without any regard for the game's actual needs was partially implemented (and still is, the tooltips for one are an absolute mess, the audio-visual feedback is...EoC for lack of a better curse-word) and cripples the game to this day.
The Good News about Necromancy - a step in the right direction, but on the wrong road. They seem to really want to FIX the core of the combat system, at least kind of, but this is the positive paragraph, so I'll stick to that theme. The devs spoke about completely redoing how crit chance/damage and splashing works - essentially changing how combat is calculated and regulating damage numbers so that it's never 'Not Fun' to hit i.e. you splash or hit the lower cap of an ability. Designing the system to be fun/satisfying at its core is great news. That means that some things that don't add anything, like the atrocious basics rotations can be done away with - they never really added anything but complexity - seen with the new Necromancer's Auto Attack that replaces all that mumbo-jumbo.
The Bad News about Necromancy (and what it should have been)
The problem with Necromancy, mainly is that it is an attempt to save a foreign limb, that's been badly grafted on and should've been cut off long ago with what amounts to fancy experimental surgery. What Necromancy should've been, is no Necromancy at all, but rather a complete rework of the EXISTING combat system and styles from the ground up. I won't go into the how and why, but you can search for RuneScape - Project Combat on YouTube, it touches on a tiny portion of the points that need to be addressed, however, in my opinion it's still about fixing what should be scrapped and redesigned completely.
My second problem with Necromancy is a thematical one, I don't see, especially since it also uses runes, so it follows diagetic logic of magic - why it isn't part of magic, but rather another grafted-in piece. It's a different type of power yet works in exactly the same way, similar to how in my opinion Divination could've/should've been a part of Prayer or vice versa and has no reason to be a separate skill. It also, and that might just be me, feels like a dilution of the 'runescapeness', like we're adding things just to add things, which is how I felt about Divination. Not to mention the new player experience when they have a separate skill to level, like 28/9 isn't enough. The casual player, Jagex Upper Management's wet dream, can't even fathom maxing one and will alt+f4 and uninstall faster than Jagex can claim selling gambling to addicts and Mental health awareness aren't mutually exclusive.
III. Lack of Direction
Gameplay and Genre /an intro
See, the moment you spend half an hour in OSRS you know, without a shadow of a doubt about what genre it is, a SANDBOX. There's little content in the game that is firmly locked behind a linear, pre-defined progression. Quests are fun and nice and give a lot of QoL, but you can max your account or amass a fortune without ever completing one. Bosses you can do or skip, so can any other content in the game - that does not mean they're not designed well to complement each another nicely. In fact, I consider the osrs F2P experience a disgrace to the game since so many synergistic skills are locked. Such as combat + slayer and herblore, camping woodcutting spots with a knife, never having to bank and amassing arrow shafts for both initial and future progression into fletching just to name a few and you never realize how disjointed your experience becomes until you start from scratch as a member. A level cap of 50 on all skills would've been a much more congruent way to do it, that allows you to transition nicely into members.
Know your Niche or Stop Trying to change what you are
Let's get back to that shoehorned in combat system for a moment, cursed upon us in a moment in time when WoW and WoW-like games were dominating the market. Now imagine the arrogance with which one assumes that by cramming a 'close enough' copy of a combat style of a LINEAR game into a well-defined Sandbox - you'll attract not only 'new' players but also most likely this very game's players. It's likely whoever took that decision banked on the latter, making it even more arrogant of an assumption - mainly because the MMORPG is a genre that requires enough of an investment that regular folk, i.e. the majority of any playerbase, can only afford to play one without letting their real-life responsibilities spiral out of control (and even one's a stretch).
Now do you see a problem? Imagine you magically poach the players of other games, games that are almost exclusively all Linear in nature, with a defined path, a story line, sequential quests and most importantly a CLEAR and LINEAR progression. They land in your beautiful Frankenstein and discover that (let's just imagine EoC is a decent, responsive system for the sake of the argument) besides the combat system, NOTHING else in the game is what they've grown to love and look for in an MMO.
The graphics and camera are weird, the quests seem rather strange and cryptic, after 100 hours you've not saved the world even once!?
So you start the...
REMAKING (mandatory Invincible title screen reference)
Now your game has to fit all their criteria because you can't seem to retain them. You have add saving the world, update the graphics and add cosmetics that will ultimately destroy any sense of immersion, but money is money. Now you need to make proper end-game... AAND we have a problem.
While MTX and Saving the world (a slight thematic oversight) are not entirely user-experience breaking, crammin an end-game into a sandbox designed to ...well... never end for most players is. For context someone had calculated the most optimal level to max would take 1800hrs(back in the day). If you play 10hrs a week, that is 180 weeks, that's 3.45 years of play -and- that is the most unrealistically optimal way to max disregarding the fact that you need to make the money for 'buyable' skills.
Well, you kill two birds with one stone, that's how. You have now manufactured a problem you can sell the solution to. You introduce new methods/rates of xp, new ways to get xp and ultimately just sell it straight up and host Double Xp. At the same time devaluing your core audience's achievements and also messing with the economy - since any economy is built on a sense of value that is interconnected with supply and demand.
Now even all these manipulations don't seem to prove effective, people still don't seem to want to all go into that linear path you keep digging and insisting it is where the real game is - while surrounded by the carcass of what is still mostly a sandbox.
What is interesting to note is that in this entire awkwardness a very human thing occurs. Some players find they're really good at this malformed embryo of mismatching ideas, maybe like myself they still share strong enough sentiment for the game that they've talked themselves into believing that it's actually okay, it's 'fun'. Maybe they don't realize they like the freedom and ability of the sandbox to set your own goals and complete them, a sandbox that's being quickly turned into a line with little to no meaningful horizontal progression - even Necromancy's bastardized 'talents' is conceptually just a straight line. There is no decision there you WILL get them ALL. There is no choice. There is little to no differentiation between one ranger and another, one melee fighter and the next. And while METAs are inevitable there is a difference between a META and fundamental lack of choice. There aren't multiple t95 ranged weapons to choose from, there is one, there aren't multiple relevant armor sets, there is one. Even the types are arbitrary - with few exceptions Tank and Hybrid armor might as well not exist. And while some might start to argue that RuneScape was never really a game of choice as you max everything anyway - I've two things to say - first of all I've seen much more variety and choice in OSRS in regard to equipment than I've ever seen in RS3 and second, but more importantly RuneScape is a sandbox, a genre fundamentally based on free choice.
Now these people are our content creators, our echo chamber - however bad something is, there will be someone who is good at it and/or likes it.
Meaning they might not enjoy the thing itself but enjoy that they're better at it than other people, which gives them certain opportunities and unfortunately is a driving force for the game's direction. They either can't or don't want to see the bigger picture, due to multitude of incentives and reasons and the solutions they propose are almost always iterative and not a complete scrapping of the system, less risk for their livelihood. With stakes that high, who can blame them, however, numbers don't lie and statistics show us few people like the state of the game to even watch it on Twitch.
Of course, iteration is not how we got here. EoC was not an incremental change and reverting to a completely different system one increment at a time is a fool's errand if not nigh impossible. And I'm not even going to start talking about forcing a system into an engine fundamentally made for another. I'm not saying bring back the old combat, I'm not against general changes in combat, however, they have to be well designed both in terms of user experience and the technical limitations. EoC is a hard pass in both regards.
Another issue with trying to cannibalize an existing product into something else that you're also unsure of is that other parts of the game start becoming incongruent with themselves and the whole such as:
Visuals and Art Direction
When you log into RuneScape 3 you're met with a literal manifestation of the aforementioned experimental limb attachment surgery. I have never seen 3 games from different generations crammed into one in such a grotesque fashion. We have remnants of OSRS, HD-Scape and different iterations of RS3. Now the first two are similar enough in style, what we'll simply call art direction things look a certain way, have a certain consistency and generally do not create noticeable contrast. Then we have the 'modern-look' and here I'll be a little harsher given that this is my professional domain.
Let us start from the technicalities. You don't roll-out a partial replacement of the world, EVER. Especially if it's essentially a different game. You either do it at once or you don't. (You can partially do it, if your goal is short-term engagement and profit and do not care for the long-term health of the product.) You decide on a direction that complements the content, gameplay and the fantasy you're selling - in the case of existing IPs - any expected/ associated visuals. (No one wants to buy call of duty and find out all characters are squishy plushies and they fight with tactical chocolate in Willy Wonka's factory... I think?) You also have to determine scope and viability, additionally if you are taking a new direction, you have to test it so you don't make the players feel like guests in their own home after implementing it. Hopefully then you can start planning the minimum viable product and from that a production pipeline for the assets (given your talent pool) and you plan it well enough, so that you work smart and not hard(because you'll have to work you ass off anyway) If in Design we say and practice Copy-Transform-Combine regarding ideas, in Production we do the same with Re-Use: we Copy(literally), we Combine and Transform existing assets into new ones. The goal is the most effect with the least effort. The point I'm making is that with proper management of your artists' time and skills you can make both Quality and Quantity. (here we can make the comment about the infamously low pay they offer their developers, so I can't blame anyone for not delivering either) If you deem scope impossible, you just don't do it and move on to the next pressing matter until you have the resources to do it. I'm not going to go into technicalities about the absolute lack of production standards that eff us right out of whatever little immersion we have left after the cosmetics ... do their thing.
The Art Direction. If we imagine for a moment that RuneScape has the 'modernized' homogenous visuals as is the plan, how does it compare to what was before and what we've come to expect. Now this is a tricky one, since (and I'll speculate a bit here) a lot of the appeal and "art direction" of RuneScape was determined by technical limitations, budget and inexperience (at the time) of the devs making it, therefore you can claim that a proper style was never developed, yet you can't deny the resulting look of the game. An argument can be made if the game was stylized/abstracted by necessity or by design. Now, semantics aside does the new 'modern' look work for RuneScape? I'm inclined to say no. On the one hand there's stylistic inconsistencies, so you can't really pin-point a well defined and executed style, but a large pattern in a lot of creatures and environment is what I'll call the "soft clay look" (also known as: we don't put enough money, nor do we give enough time for the art department to care) Look at the Hellhound model, Anachronia or any other 'new' terrain. It's bland, literally devoid of visual stimulation, the old ground detail and style was much better in that regard. Of the ridiculous things I've seen, the leaves of many new plants(especially in Anachronia) are my favorite as they look as if they're made of thick dinosaur leather, yet like many other new surfaces in the game are an undefined matte, neither an entirely 'shaded' material that derives its appearance from material characteristics reacting to light, nor fully hand-painted that have light 'painted in' - resulting in an especially confusing image. What is worse yet the scale is totally off in a lot of the content (in Anarchronia of course, you're meant to feel small, which doesn't excuse the uncharacteristically cartoonish proportions of trees and obsession with thickness leaves walls etc. things are just wonky.) It's a rather confusing problem of scale though - since in most places they are adequately proportionate to the character(excluding the thickness obession), what makes it weird is that you have massive objects with little detail. Object size, especially when we've no depth perception such as when perceiving it from a 2D screen is subconsciously determined by many things, one of which is detail. If the object is big relative to everything else we get a shift in the feeling of the setting from 'living-breathing adventurer in a living-breathing world' to 'a toy doll in a toy house'.
They've insisted on new light reworks and shiny materials AND hand-painted textures at SOME places. I'm not even going to mention how inconsistent MTX ties into that.
All in all it looks like the Gameplay and Visual Style of the game is the so called 'design by committee'. A committee of MBAs that pay, or rather don't pay enough for development, and should have no say in it in the first place.
Closing statement:
Personally, I believe that RS3 in its current iteration should be put on life support, ironically it feels like it is anyway, until someone, hopefully qualified, can decide what the game is and flesh out a direction both in gameplay and visual. I assume the accumulated technical debt and the absolute mess of an engine* are factors so detrimental that starting from scratch is a faster solution to most problems. i.e. New character models, responsive combat, trade limit.
I'll leave you with one last question, it's slightly philosophical, should the game be made anew, does it stick to its guns and force a fairly slow tick combat system - a relic of the past, but a relic that makes it what it is. Does it evolve and if it evolves is it RuneScape? How much can you change something before it's the same only in name?

(*I can't even imagine the borderline mysticism and arcana it is to maintain and expand on that)
PS - this is obviously a throwaway account
submitted by OutsideNewspaper7049 to runescape [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 03:10 SilvoKanuni I Shall Return With the Tide - Barnam Pt. IV

A single, lone hill jutted from the ground, the only rise across the flat plains around the river Luzum. Was it a hill or a glorified mound? Either way, looking south it was the only place to get a view of the plains, of the river. Of the greater city on its banks. Ibandr.
On the hill sat a man on the bare back of a horse. A breeze from the south, coming a long way from the river at the edge of his vision, whipped his matting of hair in a gentle flicking. His beard, short but shaggy, stood firm on his face, smooth save for the occasional scar or burned mark. The man wore hemp coverings around his shoulders, his waist, down his legs, wrapped loosely with gaps where the wind billowed them to life. He frowned as the wind picked up, hair whipping in the breeze, and reached into a bundle across his shoulder. He pulled out a long cloth and wrapped his hair in a practiced fashion, wiping sweat from his brow once he was done.
“Barnam,” the man turned as another on horseback rode up to him, “we shall be ready soon.”
The man, Barnam, nodded. “At sunset, then.”
“At sunset,” and the other man turned his horse to trot back down the hill. By the hillside, around a hundred horses and men stood, wiping their horses, smoothing stone blades, copper scythes, or long wooden spears. They talked, some joking and laughing, others grave and serious, trading old stories of war or raiding or famine. Barnam looked at them, an absent smile on his face. His family.
“Your father is dead,” his mother had said. Her hand was on his shoulder, other hand on his cheek. He stood on bare, loose dirt, his toes wriggled in the crumbled land. Above him the sky had been cloudy but the sun, when it broke through, was strong and piercing, threatening to push any man or woman who stood against it back into the ground.
Barnam the boy had felt all these things. Yet his soul was in free fall. Down, down, down he fell, screaming a silent scream at the top of his lungs, the word echoing around him, his mother's voice, his father's voice, his voice clanging in a cacophony as he fell ever forward, ever down, into a great abyss of being. The one word over and over, louder and louder, until it was the only thing he could hear and could ever hear: dead.
Not ‘out along the river.’ Not ‘in the outer world.’ Not ‘passed to the ancestors.’ Dead. Your father is dead.
Barnam the man remembered how Barnam the boy felt that day, and he shuddered on his horse as if his soul was back in that free fall, weightless in terror and sorrow and grief. It had been shortly after they crossed the river Duf, into the lands and tribe of the Albayet, that they learned of his father’s death. Barnam remembered little but knew someone had come to them to tell them. One of Hadr’s friends who owed him some debt, chasing after the mother and son to bring them nothing but news of death. The Albayet welcomed them, his mother had always had a silver tongue. She told them of Ibandr, of their troubles with the Zivold, of Hadr and his insistence we come to them, to find Artanr, Harald, and Pulti, to find shelter. To find refuge. To find a home. Yes, the Albayet had welcomed them with open arms. Pulti, especially, had taken to Barnam as if he was his own son.
The horse bellow him snorted, shaking its head at a buzzing fly. Harald became Zivold of the Albayet, his wife Adari the Linezold. Barnam found it odd that both were venerated at an equal status. He barely even remembered who the Linezold of Ibandr was, the wife of the Zivold seldom making grand or luxurious appearances like he did. Once or twice he noticed her at one of Hadr’s festivals but never more. Barnam sighed. He traced his face with a free hand, the other holding onto his horse’s mane. One scar traced his cheek. The first time he had taken a life, the man who threatened him and his mother when he had just reached his thirteenth year. A burn on his cheekbone, one that never healed when they were set upon by another Anug tribe on horseback, wielding fire as well as blade. Many others, some healed, some not, from his years and years with the Albayet. Life was harder on the eastern end of his known world than it had ever been in Ibandr. They farmed as his father and mother had in the city, yes, but the harvests were never trustworthy, forcing him and the Albayet to rely on horsemeat and raiding other villages as much as they relied on the grains of the earth. No Sinnamit guided their festivals, their worship, their healing, their scholarship, only the Zivold and the Linezold, husband and wife of the peoples, were the way forward.
These easterners were much more at home on horseback the city residents. In Ibandr, men only ever rode when guiding their horse herds through the city or out to the river to graze. Here it was an every day occurrence. Hunting or traveling was done on horseback. Times of leisure or work were done on horseback. Even when farming, a horse was typically nearby, with some strange folk ever tying hoes to their horses and walking them along the field. Silliness of the east. The Albayet never were too far from their horses.
Twenty-four summers passed since he and his mother, fatigued and starved and parched, had wandered into the Albayet village and placed their lives into their hands. Here they were sheltered, his mother taken care of and remarried, Barnam raised and trained in the ways of the easterners. They spoke the same and yet different. Some words felt as though he stuffed cotton in his mouth, his tongue working this way or that, making sounds he’d never heard before and hearing the locals laughing at him. Other times he’d feel like he was stretching his jaw out, long and thin. Some j’s sounded like y’s, some words pressed together, some cut in half. But his mother insisted that, when alone, they only spoke as they did at their home. “Our grandmothers are all around us. They follow us on our journey through the darkness. If you forget to speak as they did, how will you speak to them? Only then will they truly go to the Outer World.” She always insisted to hold on to their language, but embrace the Albayet and become as their own.
Through the years Barnam had made some journeys back to his home city. “Your life was stolen from you,” Pulti had told him, long after he had married his mother, “your father’s life was stolen from you. Let me help you, my son, let me help you right your wrong. There is a blood debt here, the worst debt of a father's murder, that can only be paid in one way.” Pulti urged him to think about returning to Ibandr, not as a visitor but to reclaim what was owed to him. The life of Ibandr’s Zivold.” He thought about those words, that mentality, the feeling of a wrong needing to be righted, as he moved through the town posing as a traveler from afar. He’d shake his head when the citizens asked him questions. Where are you from? Who are you with? What are you doing here? He bartered for fish and stone in exchange for horse meat and milk, but all the while he watched and he listened. Three times he made the journey to Ibandr, and each time he learned more.
The Zivold had relegated the Sinnamit to the role of speaker. When the Zivold emerged from the great storehouse of Ibandr, Hadr was there, older than ever, announcing his presence and what would be done in the city that day. Hadr called him not just the Zivold, but the Lord guided by Kutenr, the Paroxl of good harvests and lifesaving flooding. He would here Hadr bellow, "And here is Attarnap, Zivold of Ibandr, Lord guided by Kutenr, Savior of the World, Chosen by Anakinr and blessed by Samvastatn. Life be given to Attarnap, who stands before you in front of the Temple of Kutenr. Life be given to Attarnap, bow to his presence." All around Barnam, the citizens of Ibandr lowered themselves on the ground, kneeling and touching their faces to the ground. He learned quickly to do the same, gritting his teeth to bowing to his father's murdered.
But he couldn't help but think how the Temple of Kutenr had come to be. If the storehouse had been great before, it was grand now. The circular building flanked by long stretches of rectangular rooms was gone. A long, rectangular building, big and empty for the storage of an unbelievable amounts of grain stood in the middle of the city. At the end of it sat a great mound of a building, what Barnam came to learn was the new temple. It was slowly being built with mud-bricks by a group of laborers, a great big pile with four sides pointing to the sky carved on one side with majestic images from Hortens lore and painted on another side with images of what Barnam came to understand as the Paroxl. Along the edge of the great storehouse were circular, two-story buildings with openings in the middle. Barnam made his way into one, empty at the time, and saw stairs leading up to a second floor and an open window to a small, central courtyard. A great amount of room inside and furnished so as to seem like it was the living quarters of the Sinnamit, the Zivold, or those he preferred most.
The buildings around the city center had transformed as well. Gone were the small clumps of buildings, one-storied in varying cascading heights. Now the houses had been replaced and were all similar in size and shape: two-storied, rectangular houses longer than they were wide, built at regular intervals with space in the middle. Some homes had shades built out of mud or wood - rare as it was - or simple hangings of hemp in between the houses, where the citizens sat and worked in the outdoors, speaking to one another or calling out to workers on the roofs. He had made his way back to his old home, finding it gone and replaced with these larger buildings, larger homes to fit the growing city. When Barnam had been a child, the channels they carved only extended as far as his home. But the last time Barnam visited Ibandr, maybe one summer before today, the channels went out twice as far, home going further and further than Barnam could have ever dreamed.
Even now, as Barnam stood on his hill, he saw what appeared to be a piece of the river sitting outside of the city. It shimmered in the sun, a large pool of water where only one summer ago there had been none. Had that been the Zivold’s doing as well? What wonders were being built by that murderer’s fist? What was the purpose of this reservoir of water? He shook his head. He would have to ask the Zivold when he met him, before he got what he was owed.
The sky rumbled in the far distance. The boy who became a man looked left to the east, seeing a darkness of clouds emerging where once there had been little. To the west the sun was low, grazing the far reaches of the river, going low to light the lands of the Outer World for the night. Barnam took his horse and turned it around, back down the hill to the others. It was time to set out.
Context: Don't mind me just doing some internal conflict. Barnam was raised by the Anug and grew to be one of them. But his mother and adoptive father urge him to take revenge on the Zivold and the city. Ibandr has grown in the mean time, swelling in size and population. The Zivold continues to maintain his hold on the city and has been able to organize the structure of the inner city, while the outer grows further and further beyond the river. A, large to them, pyramid-shaped mound has been erected and is called a temple, though it's solid through and more of a landmark than anything else.
submitted by SilvoKanuni to DawnPowers [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 02:14 svet_sedov China SVET Review and Analysis

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the world’s emerging superpower. However, it is also a country facing a growing number of economical, social, and ecological issues.
China’s GDP exceeds $11 trillion dollars, making it the second largest in the world after the US. Despite this, its rate of economic growth has sharply dropped to 6% in 2016 from 9% in 2013. The PRC has a highly centralized and government-managed economy, along with strictly regulated political life. Notwithstanding, some Chinese provinces are allowed to pursue independent economic policies.
China officially has a multi-party political system. However, in practice, there is only one party that holds significant power — the Communist Party of China (CPC), which was founded on July 1, 1921. The CPC’s ideology is based on the Marxist-Leninist doctrine introduced by Karl Marx (a Prussian economist) and Friedrich Engels (a German philosopher and businessman) in the 1880s. This doctrine was later supplemented by the theory of Socialism by Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin (a Russian politician and revolutionary).
The doctrine postulates that society is composed of two major economic classes — the working people (exploited) and the bourgeoisie (exploiters). According to this theory, a global economic crisis will lead to a revolution, with the working class taking control of the world and the bourgeoisie being eliminated. Ultimately, capitalism will cease to exist, and communism (where goods are freely available and nobody works) will prevail. Mao Zedong, the founder of the CPC, adapted this theory to the Chinese context by including Chinese farmers in the definition of the working class.
The PRC government plays a central role in both the political and economic aspects of China. The CPC governs China through an administrative pyramid, with the Central Committee (Politburo) and the National Congress at the top.
The National Congress is comprised of over 2000 delegates who are elected mainly from local CPC committee members. This assembly convenes for a two-week session in Beijing once a year. The 22 Chinese provinces are managed by regional governors appointed by the Central Committee, and their primary objective is to fulfill the CPC’s goal of achieving GDP growth. The government operates based on five-year plans.
The list of other political parties in China includes:
Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang (53,000 members, representing Taiwan residents in China); China Democratic League (130,000 members, mainly composed of the middle class); China Democratic National Construction Association (69,000 members, consisting of entrepreneurs); China Association for Promoting Democracy (64,000 members, primarily intellectuals); Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party (65,000 members, representing government employees); Zhigongdang of China (15,000 members, representing overseas Chinese); Jiusan Society (68,000 members, comprising individual professionals); Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (1,600 members, including prominent Chinese celebrities). All of these parties are aligned with and support the CPC in its major initiatives and policies. Opposition to the CPC is not tolerated.
Economic Review
Administratively China consists of 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities directly under the central government, and 2 special administrative regions.
China’s main economic regions:
Eastern Coastal Region: This region includes provinces like Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, as well as Shanghai. It has been a major driver of China’s economic growth due to its proximity to international trade routes and its well-developed infrastructure. The Eastern Coastal Region contributes approximately 45–50% to China’s GDP. Western Region: The Western Region comprises provinces such as Sichuan, Chongqing, and Yunnan, as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region. This region is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, energy, and agricultural products. The Western Region contributes around 15–20% to China’s GDP. Central Region: The Central Region includes provinces such as Henan, Hubei, and Hunan. It is characterized by a mix of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and services. The Central Region contributes roughly 15–20% to China’s GDP. Northeastern Region: The Northeastern Region consists of provinces like Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. Historically, this region was a vital industrial base for heavy machinery, mining, and manufacturing. However, it has faced economic challenges in recent years. The Northeastern Region contributes approximately 7–10% to China’s GDP. Pearl River Delta: The Pearl River Delta is a highly urbanized and economically dynamic region located in Guangdong Province. It encompasses cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Dongguan. Known as a manufacturing and export hub, it has played a pivotal role in China’s economic growth. The Pearl River Delta contributes around 10–15% to China’s GDP. Yangtze River Delta: The Yangtze River Delta region covers Shanghai and the surrounding provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. It is one of the most economically developed and prosperous regions in China. With a strong focus on finance, manufacturing, and services, the Yangtze River Delta contributes approximately 20–25% to China’s GDP. China’s Latest Economic Updates
Stock Market
The Shanghai Composite rose from 2892 in November 2022 to 3284 (as of May 17, 2023).
Yuan rose from 6.7 in Jan 2023 to 7.0 as of May 17, 2023
In March 2023, China’s surveyed urban unemployment rate decreased to 5.3%, the lowest in seven months, from February’s 5.6%. Those aged 25–59 saw their jobless rate drop to 4.3% from 4.8% in February, while those aged 16–24 increased to 19.6% from 18.1%. The unemployment rate in 31 large cities and towns also declined to 5.5% from 5.7%.
Employees’ average weekly working hours across China increased to 48.7 in March from 47.9 in February. In the first quarter of 2023, the unemployment rate slightly declined to 5.5% from 5.6% in Q4 2022. The government has set a target of around 5.5% for the year, with the creation of approximately 12 million new urban jobs. China has also set a 2023 GDP growth target of about 5%.
China’s economy grew by 2.2% (SA) in Q1–2023, the third consecutive quarter of expansion following the removal of travel restrictions in Dec-2022 and a three-year crackdown on tech firms and property. However, the uneven recovery showed that while consumption, services, and infrastructure spending picked up, slowing inflation and rising bank savings led to doubts about demand.
In Mar-2023, the central bank cut lenders’ reserve requirements for the first time in 2023 and Beijing promised more fiscal stimulus.
In April of 2023, China’s inflation rate declined to 0.1% from the previous month’s 0.7%, which was lower than anticipated. The decrease in prices for both food and non-food items was due to an unstable economic recovery after the enclosure policy was lifted. Food prices fell notably due to lower prices of pork and fresh vegetables, while non-food prices fell due to lower prices for transportation and housing. Inflation for health remained steady, while education costs increased.
Country’s exports rose unexpectedly by 14.8% YoY to a high of USD 315.59B in March 2023, rebounding sharply from a 6.8% drop in January-February combined and beating market consensus of a 7% fall. It was the first advance in shipments since September 2022 as Beijing boosts trade with developed countries and emerging economies. Steel products (53.2%) and refined products (35.1%) were the largest contributors. Exports to China’s largest partner, ASEAN, rose 35.43%, while those to the EU (3.38%) and Russia (136.43%) also increased. Conversely, exports fell to Japan (-4.8%), Taiwan (-27.6%), and the US (-7.68%), while they expanded to Australia (23.7%) and South Korea (11.3%).
SVET Analysis Space (A-):
Strategic location: China is located in the heart of Asia, which gives it a strategic location to engage in trade and diplomacy with neighboring countries. China also has access to the Pacific Ocean, which allows it to trade with countries in the Americas and Oceania. Natural resources: China has significant reserves of coal, iron ore, and other minerals. The country is also the world’s largest producer of rare earth elements, which are essential in the manufacturing of high-tech products. This resource base has fueled China’s economic growth over the past few decades. Agricultural productivity: China has a large and fertile agricultural base, which allows it to produce significant amounts of food. The country is the world’s largest producer of rice and wheat, and it has made significant advances in crop yields through the use of technology and modern farming practices. Disadvantages:
Natural disasters: China is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and typhoons, which can cause significant damage to infrastructure and disrupt the economy. Resource depletion: China’s rapid economic growth has led to the depletion of some of its natural resources, such as water and arable land. This depletion can lead to environmental degradation and food insecurity in the future. Energy dependence: Despite having significant reserves of coal, China is also heavily dependent on imported oil and gas to meet its energy needs. This dependence makes the country vulnerable to supply disruptions and price fluctuations on the global market. Voice (C):
Stability: The Chinese government prioritizes maintaining stability and order in the country, which has helped to ensure social cohesion and economic growth. Economic development: China’s political system has enabled it to pursue policies that have led to rapid economic growth and development over the past few decades. Nationalism: The Chinese government emphasizes the importance of national unity and pride, which has helped to foster a strong sense of identity among Chinese citizens. Strategic planning: The government’s focus on long-term planning has enabled China to achieve its ambitious economic and geopolitical goals. Minuses:
Lack of political freedom: The Chinese government tightly controls political expression and restricts freedom of speech, assembly, and association, which has led to criticism from human rights groups. State control: The government’s control over the economy and key industries can stifle innovation and limit the potential for private sector growth. Lack of transparency: The Chinese government is known for being opaque in its decision-making processes, which can lead to uncertainty for businesses and investors. Human rights violations: The government’s policies towards ethnic minorities, such as the Uighur population in Xinjiang, have been criticized by the international community for alleged human rights abuses. Ethos (B-):
Han Chinese: The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in China, accounting for over 90% of the population. They enjoy the most favorable treatment from the government and have access to the best jobs, education, and healthcare. However, this has led to some resentment from minority groups who feel marginalized. Ethnic minorities: There are 55 recognized ethnic minority groups in China, including Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians, and others. They often face discrimination and limited opportunities for advancement. Some minority groups, such as the Uighurs in Xinjiang, have also been subject to government repression. Rural residents: China’s rural population is around 40% of the total population. They often have limited access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities compared to urban residents. However, the government has implemented policies to try to bridge this gap, such as investing in rural infrastructure and offering subsidies to farmers. Urban residents: China’s urban population is growing rapidly and has access to more job opportunities, education, and healthcare than rural residents. However, this has also led to increased competition for resources and rising income inequality. Time (B-):
Positive scenarios:
Continued economic growth: China’s economy has been growing rapidly over the past few decades, and it is likely to continue. This could result in increased prosperity and an improved standard of living for many Chinese citizens. Technological advancement: China has made significant strides in technology and innovation, and this trend is likely to continue. This could result in China becoming a global leader in technology, creating new industries and high-paying jobs. Improved infrastructure: China has been investing heavily in infrastructure, such as high-speed rail and new airports, which can improve transportation and connectivity and stimulate economic growth. Increased global influence: As China’s economy and political influence continue to grow, it could become a dominant player on the global stage, shaping international politics and economics. Negative scenarios:
Environmental degradation: China’s rapid economic growth has resulted in severe environmental problems, such as air and water pollution. If this trend continues, it could have severe consequences for public health and the environment. Social inequality: China’s economic growth has also created significant social inequalities, with a wealthy urban elite and a poorer rural population. This could result in social unrest and instability. Political repression: The Chinese government’s increasing control over the media and the internet, and its crackdowns on dissent, could result in greater political repression. Economic slowdown: China’s economic growth has already slowed in recent years, and if this trend continues, it could result in job losses and economic instability, which could have global consequences. Overall
The Chinese reforms were initiated by Deng Xiaoping (1978–1992) in the late 1970s. These reforms aimed to open up China to foreign investment, encourage private enterprise, and modernize various sectors of the economy. As part of these reforms, the number of directly controlled industries was drastically reduced. Additionally, the number of price-controlled goods decreased from approximately 300 to around 20.
With that said, the government still exercises strict regulatory oversight and establishes guidelines and policies that private businesses must adhere to. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) continue to play a significant role in the Chinese economy and frequently receive preferential treatment and support from the government.
Those policies were continued under Jiang Zemin (1993–2003), during which China was accepted into the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 11, 2001, and also under Hu Jintao (2003–2013). However, when Xi Jinping (2013-present) assumed power, there was a gradual shift towards increased direct control over the economy and the establishment of a more centralized system. This change was accompanied by the active implementation of mass-surveillance technologies.
That happened synchronously with the end of the world’s latest 80-year-long generational cycle, which began in the 1940s and 1950s. This cycle was characterized by massive political decentralization, resulting in the emergence of several dozen new states between 1940 and 2000. After the 2007–2008 debts debacle, this cycle of economic expansion, driven by the exploitation of readily available resources, came to a close. However, it was artificially extended for the next 15 years through the easing of monetary policies pursued simultaneously by central banks worldwide.
That led to an unprecedented growth of private businesses worldwide. It was accompanied by increased prosperity and a rising level of education across all segments of the population. Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, particularly in the high-tech industry, began to assume leading positions in the economic landscape. However, this economic progress was not accompanied by significant political reforms.
The old class of hereditary, mostly populist politicians, who often lacked education, managed to stay in power throughout that period, largely due to the outdated electoral system based on indirect political representation. However, when blockchain technologies were utilized to establish algorithmic consensus and enable effective direct governance, this new system faced resistance from entrenched political clans in all countries, resulting in its suppression.
China is currently at the forefront of this trend, with its political class focused on leveraging high-tech advancements to achieve both economic efficiency and comprehensive political control. However, there are two significant obstacles that China faces along this path.
Firstly, China is confronted with a shrinking population. In recent years, the country has undergone a substantial demographic shift characterized by an aging population and a decline in the working-age population. This is partially attributed to the one-child policy that was enforced from 1979 to 2016, resulting in a diminished labor force and a growing proportion of elderly individuals.
Secondly, there is a culmination of the resource-exploration and expansionist phase of global economic growth, accompanied by escalating political and military tensions worldwide. This situation is likely to result in a reduction of China’s import markets and an increased dependence on a less-competitive domestic market. Consequently, this could potentially lead to a scenario of stagflation, characterized by stagnant economic growth coupled with high inflationary pressures.
Faced with these fundamental challenges, it is highly probable that China will resort to aggressive and militaristic policies in an attempt to expand its territory directly or enforce its economic dominance in the Asian region through alternative means.
China is expected to continue on its trajectory towards increased global dominance through local conflicts and enhanced technological control over the economy and population over the next 15–20 years. However, this trend could be altered by a new wave of decentralization, which would require a significant deviation from current policies.
Such a shift may occur when not only the current generation of older politicians, but also the subsequent one (which is likely to further reinforce the existing trend), is replaced by “enlightened” technocrats who advocate for a return to decentralized approaches in both politics and economics.
submitted by svet_sedov to u/svet_sedov [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 02:12 JAGeighteen I’m From a Future Where Aliens Farm Humans for Meat [Part 1]

I’m writing this in the present year, but this isn’t my time. I’m from a dark and terrible future, but I’ve been given the chance to write this warning to you. I’m hoping it will help you save survive what’s coming. First a little about me, I’m from the south born and raised. Due to some complicated family drama I ended up the twenty-four year old guardian of my younger sister Teri who was fourteen in 2033, right before…well I’ll get to that soon enough. But either way, the two of us lived in a small house on the outskirts of a tiny town off the beaten path. I worked hard back then to take care of my sister while she focused on her school. It was an OK life if rough at times. We couldn’t have known what was coming no one could. They were coming.

I know it sounds unbelievable, but it happened or will happen I should say. Aliens invaded every corner of the planet and world war three began overnight. Of course, it didn’t go well for us humans. In the space of about a month, the narrative of, “We’ll send these aliens back from where they came from,” collapsed and humanity ended up in a losing running battle as the aliens’ robot armies overran city after city, country after country. One morning, a couple of weeks into it my sister and I were eating at the kitchen table. The schools had been closed even though the battles were going down on the other side of the state. We both saw the news on our screens, but I tried telling my little sister everything was going to be OK, although even back then I didn’t believe it. The planet was divided into free land and occupied zones the latter run by the aliens. No one knew what went on in the zones since no reports or news got out of them, but even then I knew it couldn’t be anything good. I had no idea how right I was, but I would find out.

Our family homestead ended up behind enemy lines. I decided we’d hunker down and see how things went. I don’t know what I thought was going to happen no one was going to save us at least not yet. Unfortunately, as our supplies dwindled and the fighting got closer I told my sister we needed to make a run for it. We didn’t make it. After being captured by some drone scouts while trekking through the wilderness we ended up in an empty field outside of a burning city in a mob of thousands of people. The aliens divided us humans up into groups and then loaded those groups into trucks. A drone pulled my sister away from me. I started a scene to keep her with me, but all I had to show for it was a mark on my cheek.

Next I ended up in the back of a windowless truck. Light peeked in through the canvas at the back allowing us ragged prisoners to look at each other, but no one dared speak a word. The brakes squealed, some people fell out of their seats from the force. The tension in the back thickened until the gray canvas parted revealing the front of an elongated beige alien head its beady red eyes examining us. He swept aside the canvas cover and several drones were around him. The alien spoke in a series of harsh snarls and growls, which I later found out amounted to their language. The wild swings and gestures with his long skeletal arms gave us the message to get out as soon as possible. This alien was freakishly tall at least nine feet about average for their species. He had beige colored skin and a freakishly long head with sunken red eyes and big teeth jutting out of its mouth. I hopped out and joined the group forming in the grass on the side of the road. Another guy hesitated at the sight of the drop. The alien grabbed his arm and yanked him off. The man landed with a thud and then floundered in the dirt as the thing screeched at him. The drones hovered around my group. One of them said to us in a deep voice, “The meat will finish the journey on foot.”

The skies above were gray as we trudged towards our destination off in the distance. Chain link fences hanging on wooden poles surrounding drab metal buildings. This was one of dozens of the aliens’ camps spread across the planet. We passed another truck in front of the one we got here in. Smoke bellowed out from under the hood as robots climbed all over it. Closer to the gate some commotion erupted. One guy made a break for it. There was a huge field to the right and at the end of it a forest. There was no way he was going to make it on foot. “Halt meat! Halt!” a drone said holding up a metal hand. Our group waited to see if the man would get his freedom. One of the aliens screeched and stepped away from the caravan. The man raced across the wide field. The alien raised its weapon. One of his friends colored a pale shade of white got behind him and watched from over his shoulder. The runner closed in on the tree line. The gun fired. He dropped in the mud a few feet from his destination. The alien lifted its gun in triumph. His pale friend put a hand on his shoulder and opened his mouth into what I guess was a smile. We got moving again. I passed through the gates into the yard as eyes from the watch towers bore down on me and my fellow prisoners. There was no tour we went straight into the building in front of us. The smell hit me first, blood and other fluids hung in the air as a permanent musk that burned my nose and eyes. The screams of humans and the thumping of heavy machinery in the distant parts of the building mixed together and assaulted my ears. I didn’t see anything that day. The drones herded us into an enclosed area completely walled off and lit with the same low red lighting as the rest of the place. In the middle of room were pens made of sharp wire reaching up towards the ceiling. Ten or so of us squeezed into one pen and the doors closed behind us and were tied off with heavy chains. For weeks, although it felt like months (it was hard to keep track) most of my time was spent there. My days consisted of waking up surrounded by ten random people, being escorted through the maze of hallways to the feeding area, and ending up back where we started. Sometimes the same pen sometimes a different one and usually with a new group of faces. The aliens feed as blue slop, which tasted bad and I would later learn had a very undesirable ingredient.

For a month this was my life until the big night.

I sat on the cold floor with a sea of legs around me (it was my turn to sit) and then the heavy doors at the front of the room creaked slowly. The aliens didn’t bother us at night one of our few comforts so thoughts of fear and worry erupted in my mind. Clamoring traveled my way from the pens closer to the door. I pushed my way to the wires so I could face the hallway. Figures in the dark moved around the cages. A bearded man in fatigues holding a rifle approached, “Keep it down, we’re here to bust you out,” he said in a harsh whisper. Another man came over with huge bolt cutters. The chain clasped around the door fell with a metallic thud. I went with the flow as we all spilled out into the area around the cages. Our rescuers were part of a resistance group and one of them ordered us to stay put. No one argued. Some of the resistance members went to work on the other locks while others remained in the growing crowd of escapees. Among these armed saviors I spotted a familiar face one I never thought I’d see again. “Kyle!” I said wading through the crowd toward the tall muscular man armed to the teeth. He wore the same discount vigilante outfit like when I first met him the longest month before. I should have mentioned this earlier, but about a month before the aliens arrived, this guy Lew Kyle saved me and my sister from being mugged in a parking lot. He said he was an intergalactic vigilante or something. I thought he was crazy. Back then, I didn’t think aliens existed. Boy was I wrong. In my defense Kyle passed as human if an extremely athletic one. He glared at me with squinted eyes, but then they widened with recognition, “Oh hey dork, good to see you. I thought you’d be dead by now.” "Wait, why would I be dead?” I said. “Well you know, between the global war, Mad Max savages, and being put on the alien’s menu, it was a distinct possibility.”

“There are Mad Max savages?” “Not anymore,” he said tapping his massive gun. “I thought you said you were leaving the planet?” “I was until the aliens made getting off a bit of a mess so I fell in with these guys. They’re not the best soldiers, but don’t worry stick close to me and I’ll get you out alive.” He shoved me aside and fired into the rafters. Bullets clanged as they ricocheted off metal. A second later the limp mechanical body of a drone hung over the railing of a catwalk above us. Several of my fellow prisoners got off the ground removing their hands from their ears, while other remained crouched. A resistance member glared at the man holding the machine gun. “Think they heard that?” Kyle said. Alarms blared and the lights came on. “Well,” Kyle said while pulling something out of his vest, “Since our covers’ blown might us well do this.” “What’s that?” I asked. “You’ll see, but first let’s get out of here.”

The group of soldiers led us out of the holding room and into the hall. I stuck close to the mighty Kyle confident he’d keep his word. Halfway on our trip the walls shook as a huge explosion roared in the distance in the direction of the front gate. “What was that?” I said resuming my pace. Kyle smiled, “Nothing, I just rammed a truck loaded with explosives through the front door.” The group turned down a hall I hadn’t visited before. There were two doors at the end. “Get ready to run,” Kyle said. Resistance members shoved the gates open. Prisoners flowed out the narrow exit and then scattered. I was in the middle of the crowd, but even in the dim moonlight one quick glance let me know we had come out the side exit meaning the vast field the unfortunate runner tried to cross the day I arrived lay between all of us and the fence along the woods. A floodlight light pierced the darkness and lit up a gaggle of ragged people running across the field of dead grass. I traced the searching beam to one of the guard towers. More spotlights lit up the field coming from all sides of us. The dozen or more spotlights lit up the hundreds of human sweeping the field. Some guy tumbled beside me and I saw he had a weird dart sticking out of his back. He contorted on the ground as everyone ran around him. No one had time to help the wounded. My trigger happy friend halted and I followed his lead. He fired in the direction of a building to our left. Aliens, drones, and spotlights congregated on its roof. His gunfire added to the deafening chaos and more resistance fighters joined the chorus of gunfire. Bullets whizzed by, hundreds of voices screamed, alarms wailed, and electro darts flew through the night sky in blue streaks.

“Keep going! I’m right behind you!” He shouted at the top of his lungs his gun going off the whole time. I raced to catch up with the front of the group. I was still a good way from the fence by the woods, but I saw soldiers milled around a hole in the fence through which my fellow captives streamed through. They worked under a spotlight until it vanished probably hit by a bullet. Either way, I had gotten a quick glance of the way to freedom. Though, it wouldn’t be my way. Bullets ripped through the crowd of people to my right. Dirt kicked up, people dropped and either flailed on the ground screaming or else lay still. Resistance soldiers rushed past me. A few seconds later the gunfire intensified and then died. I spared a glanced in their direction. One of the roaming lights passed over a pile of mangled bodies. “Kyle! If we don’t take out that technical we’re blown!” A man said to the vigilante or at least that’s what he told me. I was going the opposite direction when Kyle got his mission. I didn’t get much further though. I felt a sharp pain in my back like someone stabbed me with a giant needle. I tumbled as electricity flowed through my entire body. My muscles wouldn’t obey me so I was left on the ground as legs stomped past me. I couldn’t see well from the angle I landed in, but I could hear just fine. “Hounds! The Hounds!” Someone shouted. I rolled over with a struggle and something drew my attention. I craned my neck and saw the huge figure of Kyle a short distance away. Two soldiers had their arms wrapped around him. They were practically pulling him off the battlefield. “I’ll come back for you! I promise!”

He left my limited field of vision and soon the steady stream of running legs dwindled and then ended. One of the hounds followed them with all eight of its legs thundering along the ground. Its body was coated in silver fur and it was the size of a small elephant. A wave of drones and aliens followed the beast. They surged across the field of trampled grass to continue the pursuit into the woods. I wouldn’t see it any of it; my part in the night’s events was over. Except for one last thing…
One of the aliens halted next to me. He towered over me more than usual and we shared glances. He carried a weird baton in one hand with blue sparks flying off it. The thing jabbed me in the stomach as I lay there helpless. I cried out, but he responded by driving the weapon deeper into my flesh. I stayed there on the ground starring at the grinning face of the alien lit up by the blue light of the prod.

This is getting long. I’ll continue in another post, but for now watch the skies.
submitted by JAGeighteen to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 01:16 Gunzerker832270 [USA-TX] [H] Nintendo Switch Collection, Gamecube Collection, DS Collection, PS2 Games, Elden Ring PS5 Collectors Edition and Xbox One Games PS4 Games available in the Comments [W] PayPal F&F

More Games In the Comments! Feel free to throw out offers if its reasonable ill make a deal! also not everything can fit in my post so please check the comment for more items as they will be listed there! Shipping is $4 on games/bundled games for consoles its $8
Game Boy Advance
Dragon Ball: Advance Adventure (CO) $100.00
Gameboy Advance Console (Missing Backplate) $55.00
Mario Kart Super Circuit (CO) $20.00
Pokemon Emerald Version (Cartridge Only) $185.00
Pokemon Ruby Version (Cartridge Only) $75.00
Pokemon Sapphire Version (Cartridge Only) $75.00
Game Boy
Pokemon Blue (CO) $50.00
Pokemon Gold (CO) (NO LABEL) $35.00
Pokemon Silver (CO) $50.00
Nintendo Entertainment System
- NES Classic Edition Console (NEW) $140.00
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition (NEW) $150.00
Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventure (DISK ONLY) $60.00
Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (CIB) $110.00
Mario Kart Double Dash (CIB NO MANUAL) $75.00
Mario Party 7 (CIB TEAR ON MANUAL) $58.00
Metroid Prime (CIB NO MANUAL) $20.00
Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes (CIB) $115.00
NBA Street (CIB) $15.00
NBA Street Vol. 2 (CIB) $28.00
Super Mario Sunshine (CIB) $40.00
Nintendo Switch
2k Battle Grounds (CIB) $15.00
Aegis Defenders (CIB) $30.00
AfterParty (CIB) $32.00
Atelier DuskTriology Deluxe Pack (CIB) NEW $100.00
Baldo The Guardian Owls The Three Fairies Edition (CIB) $25.00
Baldurs Gate & Baldurs Gate II Enhanced Editions (CIB) $45.00
The Banner Saga Trilogy (CIB) $12.00
Battle Chasers Night War (CIB) $18.00
Big Brain Academy Brain Vs Brain (CIB) $25.00
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites (CIB) $42.00
The Caligula Effect Overdose (CIB) $80.00
Carto (CIB) $40.00
Cat Quest (CIB) $15.00
Cave Story (CIB) $35.00
Celeste (CIB) $85.00
Chasm (CIB) $39.00
Child of Light Ultimate Edition + Valiant Hearts the Great War (CIB) $38.00
Children of Morta (CIB) $20.00
Citizens Unite (CIB) $35.00
Civilization VI (CIB) $11.00
The Classic Collection DOOM (CIB) $40.00
Crash Bandicoot 4 Its about Time (CIB) $19.00
Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled (CIB) $18.00
Crypt of The Necrodancer Switch Edition (CIB) $18.00
Darksiders War Mastered Edition (CIB) $23.00
Darksiders: War Mastered Edition (CIB) (BLACK SPINE MISPRINT) $55.00
Darq Complete edition (CIB) $21.00
Deaths Door (CIB) $30.00
Disgaea 5 Complete (CIB) $28.00
Disgaea (CIB) $30.00
Disney Classic Games Collection Aladdin-Lion King (CIB) $10.00
Divinity II Original Sin Definitive Edition (CIB) $125.00
DOOM (CIB) $28.00
DOOM 64 (CIB) $32.00
Dragon Ball Fighter Z (CIB) $17.00
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot A New Power Awakens Set (CIB) $30.00
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (CIB) $15.00
Dragons Dogma Dark Ariser (CIB) $18.00
Dragon Quest Builders (CIB) $70.00
Dragon Quest XI Echoes of an Elusive Age S Definitive Edition (CIB) $42.00
Eastward Japanese Version (CIB) $20.00
Eastward (CIB) $25.00
Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force (CIB) $40.00
Fifa 18 (CIB) $10.00
FIST Forged In Shadow Torch (CIB) $25.00
Forager (CIB) $20.00
For the King (CIB) $25.00
Forgotten Anne (CIB) $45.00
The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa (CIB) $30.00
Game Builder Garage (CIB) $12.00
Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered (CIB) $18.00
God Eater 3 (CIB) $17.00
Hello Neighbor (CIB) $10.00
Hyrule Wariors Definitive Edition (CIB) $60.00
Katamari Damacy Reroll (CIB) $10.00
The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom (CIB) $8.00
Maneater (CIB) $18.00
Mary Skelter 2 (CIB) $50.00
Max the Curse of Brotherhood (CIB) $20.00
Metro Redux (CIB) $18.00
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (CIB) $55.00
Monster Hunter Rise (CIB) $19.00
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (CIB) $20.00
Moonlighter (CIB) $14.00
Moving Out (CIB) $19.00
Mud Runner American Wilds (CIB) $20.00
Mutant Year Zero Road to Eden (CIB) $13.00
My Friend Pedro (CIB) $25.00
My Hero Ones Justice (CIB) $8.00
NBA 2K Playgound 2 (CIB) $10.00
NBA 2K18 (CIB) $5.00
Neo the World Ends with You (CIB) $19.00
Neon Abyss (CIB) $35.00
Nier Automata The End of Yorha Edition (CIB) $28.00
Nintendo Switch Adjustable Charging Stand (CIB) $15.00
Nintendo Switch Fortnite Wildcat Bundle NO DLC CODE (Like New CIB) $230.00
Oddworld Collection (CIB) $23.00
Overcooked 2 (CIB) $12.00
Pathway (CIB) $28.00
Persona 5 Royal (CIB) $38.00
Planescape:Torment & Icewind Dale:Enhanced Edition (CIB) $21.00
Portal Knights (CIB) $16.00
Quake (CIB) $29.00
Rayman Legends Definitive Edition (CIB) $17.00
RBI 19 Baseball (CIB) $18.00
Resident Evil Origins Collection (CIB) $21.00
Resident Evil Triple Pack (CIB) $31.00
Return of the Obra Dinn (CIB) $43.00
River City Girls ZERO (CIB) $45.00
Ruiner (CIB) $44.00
Rustler (CIB) $15.00
Saints Row the Third The Full Package (CIB) $16.00
Samurai Shodown (CIB) $120.00
Sega Genisis Classics (CIB) $24.00
Scott Pilgrim VS the World: the Game Complete Edition (CIB) $24.00
Scribblenauts Mega Pack (CIB) $13.00
Scibblenauts Showdown (CIB) $10.00
Shin Megami Tensei V (CIB) $27.00
Shinning Resonance Refrain Draconic Launch Edition (CIB) $40.00
Shiren the Wanderer The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate (CIB) $41.00
Shovel Knight Treasure Trove (CIB) $29.00
Sine Mora FX (CIB) $13.00
SnipperClips Plus (CIB) $23.00
Snow Runner (CIB) $28.00
Sonic Mania Plus (CIB) $37.00
Sparklite (CIB) $18.00
Splatoon 2 (CIB) $15.00
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (CIB) $15.00
Streets of rage 4 (CIB) $25.00
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (CIB) $61.00
Steam World Dig 2 (CIB) $33.00
Story of Season Friends of Mineral Town (CIB) $20.00
Story of Seasons Pioneers of Olive Town (CIB) $22.00
Super DragonBall Heroes: World Mission (CIB) $25.00
Super Mario Party (CIB) $33.00
Super Meat Boy Forever (CIB) $28.00
Tactics Ogre Reborn (CIB) $33.00
Tails of Iron Crimson Knight Edition (CIB) $25.00
The Takeover (CIB) $33.00
Tiny Barbarian DX (CIB) $25.00
Tiny Metal Ultimate (CIB) $45.00
Tokyo 2020 (CIB) $13.00
Trials Rising Gold Edition (CIB) $14.00
Trine Ultimate Collection (CIB) $19.00
Ultra Street Fighter II The Final Challengers (CIB) $31.00
Undertale (CIB) $29.00
Valkyria Chronicles 4 (CIB) $28.00
valkyria Chronicles 4 (CIB) $28.00
Windjammers (CIB) $29.00
WindJammers 2 (CIB) $25.00
Witcher III Complete edition (CIB) $31.00
WonderBoy the Dragons Trap (CIB) $29.00
Wonderful 101 (CIB) $13.00
Yonder The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (CIB) $20.00
Zombies Ate my Neighbors + Ghoul Patrol (CIB) $42.00
Game & Watch Color Screen The Legend of Zelda (NEW) $50.00
Game & Watch Color Screen Super Mario Bros (NEW) $50.00
Sega Genesis Mini (NEW) $120.00
Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS Console Pink (No stylus comes with charger) $45.00
Nintendo DSi XL Dark Red (No Stylus Comes with Charger) $80.00
Pokemon Soulsilver (Cartridge Only) $105.00
Pokemon Platinum (Cartridge Only) $80.00
Xbox One
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (CIB) $15.00
Alan Wake Remastered (CIB) $15.00
Among Us Crewmate Edition (CIB) $10.00
Assassins Creed III Remastered (CIB) $15.00
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection (CIB) $20.00
Assassins Creed Origins (CIB) $6.00
Assassins Creed Odyssey (CIB) $15.00
Assassins Creed Rogue Remastered (CIB) $25.00
Assasins Creed Valhalla (CIB) $20.00
Baldurs Gate & Baldurs Gate II: Enhanced Edition (CIB) $25.00
The Banner Saga Trilogy:Bonus Edition (CIB) $12.00
Battle Chasers: Nightwar (CIB) $5.00
Battlefield 1 (CIB) $5.00
Battlefield 1 Revolution (CIB) $10.00
Battlefield 4 (CIB) $10.00
Battlefield V (CIB) $3.00
Bayonetta and Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle (CIB) $12.00
Blasphemous (CIB) $25.00
BioShock The Collection (CIB) $15.00
Bloodstained Ritual of the Night (CIB) $15.00
Bully Scholarship Edition (CIB) $20.00
Cyberpunk 2077 (CIB) $20.00
Disney Classic Games Collection: The Jungle Book-The Lion King-Aladdin (CIB) $15.00
Disney Classic Games Collection: Aladdin-Lion King (CIB) $10.00
The Division 2 Gold Edition Steelbook (CIB) $15.00
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot (CIB) $15.00
DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition (CIB) $15.00
Desperados III (CIB) $10.00
Destroy All Humans! (CIB) $10.00
Diablo III Eternal Collection (CIB) $15.00
DOOM (CIB) $5.00
DOOM Slayers Collection (CIB) $15.00
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Anniversary Edition (CIB) $25.00
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (CIB) $15.00
The Evil Within 2 (CIB) $5.00
Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition (CIB) $12.00
Farcry 4 (CIB) $5.00
Far Cry 5 (CIB) $10.00
Far Cry Primal (CIB) $12.00
FIFA 20 (CIB) $5.00
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (CIB) $25.00
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (CIB) $10.00
Football PES 2021 Season Update (CIB) $5.00
Football PES 2020 (CIB) $5.00
Forza Horizon 3 (CIB) $12.00
Forza Horizon 4 (CIB) $20.00
Forza Horizon 5 (CIB) $42.00
Gears 5 Ultimate (CIB) $35.00
Gears Tactics (CIB) $10.00
Grand Theft Auto IV (CIB) $15.00
Grand Theft Auto V (CIB) $20.00
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (CIB) $15.00
Greak: Memories of Azur (CIB) $5.00
Hades (CIB) $10.00
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (CIB) $20.00
Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice (CIB) $20.00
HITMAN 2 (CIB) $14.00
The Hunter Call of the Wild (CIB) $30.00
Immortal Fenyx Rising (CIB) $5.00
Injustice 2 Legendary Edition (CIB) $10.00
Inside + Limbo (CIB) $12.00
It Takes Two (CIB) $23.00
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submitted by Gunzerker832270 to GameSale [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 01:09 notreallyren Player tries to blow up the party on three separate occasions.

For some background this is a Star Wars Fantasy Flight game set soon after the destruction of the first Death Star. We are playing as a ragtag team of rebels that consists of a Chadra-fan mechanical engineer (me), her slicer droid companion, a meatheaded farmboy with a goodheart who serves as the muscle for the party, and an old Mon Cal space captain (the titular player).
The first incident occurred shortly after wrapping up the first story arc on one of the planets in the sector and we were heading for another. There was a large Imperial presence on the world as it was in an open state of rebellion, that we as members of the Rebel Alliance were being sent to assist with. Because of this there was more bureaucratic red tape to get through before we could land and we were hailed by an Imperial Air Traffic Controller.
This was a while ago so I don't really remember how the argument went, but needless to say there was indeed an argument between the captain and the controller, which probably wasn't a great idea to get into with the person who controls if we get on the planet. Predictably the ATC doesn't allow the rude space captain who refuses to follow protocol to land. Oh well, I guess we could try coming back later when they aren't working, or borrow a different ship from the rebel fleet, right? Wrong. The Mon Cal player (who now bears a grudge against this low-level Imperial employee) wants to fly their way down regardless.
The rest of the party didn't think this a very good idea and decided to "mutiny" and try to force him off the ship's controls. Now, the session before was our first real chance to stock and gear up since we had started the game and I had decided to buy four plasma grenades and give one to everbody. I figured they could come in handy against the stormtroopers we would be encountering on the next planet. The Mon Cal player had other ideas though, evidently unhappy with the notion of his ship being taken away from him even momentarily, the captain decided to fish out that very same grenade and threaten to blow everyone and himself up. Luckily, I passed a coordination roll and immediately confiscated it from them and the situation was handled, we went back for a different ship and eventually made it planet side.
Flash-forward several months and there is now an all-out war in the streets of the capital city and we are helping the rebels there take district after district. Our current objective is to blow up a bridge to keep Imperial armoured infantry and tanks from crossing into the territory. As we arrive on the scene a ship lands directly behind us and out steps the bounty hunter from the farmboy's backstory. They begin to fight and me and the droid player take the opportunity to plant the explosives before the imperials decide to cross, leaving the farmboy and captain to take on the bounty hunter.
For more context Farmboy is essentially the party tank. They have solid defense and insane brawling stats and a gauntlet with a shield they bash people in the face with to go with them. So they immediately go to close the distance and engage them in melee range, unlike every other encounter however the only person left to shoot at IS the person they are engaging. This means that if the Mon Cal player wants to shoot the bounty hunter but rolls badly there is a high likelihood of shooting their teammate, which they do end up doing once or twice.
The encounter goes on and the bounty hunter is proving to be an equal for Farmboy in melee combat, it's not looking great and this is where I think the Mon Cal player starts to get frustrated and they decide to take out their "other weapon". Now between the session with the first incident and this one the Mon Cal player got their hands on a rifle with the explosive property, I don't exactly remember how. You might be thinking that should have been a red flag considering, but no one really cared about the first incident all that much aside from making a joke about it every now and again. The grenade wasn't really strong enough to kill any of us outright, and none of us thought the GM would make the consequences fatal had the worst case happened. Plus one or two session before they had made use of the rifle to great effect. ....this would not be such a case.
Mon Cal fires their rifle directly at the two of them and hits Farmboy who is critically hit and HP goes down past zero. Unfortunately, the Bounty Hunter is injured, but still standing (as Farmboy took the brunt of the hit).
It's important to note that in Star Wars you don't make death saves when your HP goes to zero like in D&D, instead whenever you get critically hit you roll on the crit table and take a wound of some kind. The more crits you have the higher you are likely to roll with the highest rolls being death. Farmboy had 2-3 crits before this encounter so the probability of such an outcome was becoming increasingly likely.
Seeing that the Bounty Hunter was still alive the Mon Cal player readies up for another shot. Threatening her that he doesn't care if Farmboy lives or dies, he'll blow them all up just to spite her if it comes to that etc. I believe he does fire at them and crits Farmboy again (I recall the image of him shooting his prone unmoving body with an explosive round), but it's been awhile so I could be misremembering. Either way the Bounty Hunter decides to back off and go lick her wounds.
"Well it worked, didn't it?" is all the Mon Cal player would say.
More months pass, the planet is free and we've been on a few more adventures. We are about to set off on another when we notice a distress signal coming from a lunar colony nearby. The power is out in one of the domes and we use the ships internal power to open the hatch so we can go inside to investigate. The place is like a ghost town and we can't seem to find anyone. The GM has Farmboy make a roll and they fail leading them to get hit by a sniper shot in the chest. The Bounty Hunter is back! Though like I said Farmboy is a tank so it honestly wasn't too bad, his spacesuit was perforated however.
The GM took this time (and several others) to warn that if too much damage (like say from an explosive round) happened to the dome it would depressurize and anyone not wearing a helmet or with a perforated suit would die. The session continues and we are essentially pinned down and in a drawn out long ranged firefight. Admittedly, it was fairly frustrating as only one of us had a weapon reasonably capable of engagement at that range and the dice were not rolling in our favor. For my part I tried stealthing closer to her location, but was spotted and critically hit twice, taking me out of the encounter and perforating my suit.
At this point Mon Cal player has had enough and states that they shoot at her with their explosive rifle. It misses and the GM makes a roll and says it hit the side of a building. This doesn't deter them at all however and they want to go for another shot. Farmboy doesn't like that and goes to knock the Mon Cal captain out. This causes a huge argument between them on one side and me and the farmboy player on the other as we obviously didn't want to die. They said that they "didn't know what else they were supposed to do." That it was "the only option available to them." and "the correct strategic decision". The back and forth went on for 15-20 minutes, or at least that's how it felt. It honestly really upset me with how callous they were being in taking a risk that didn't even affect them as their suit was fine. Especially after I suggested that, if they were really okay with taking such strategic risk, they put their own neck on the line and try charging them with farmboy since she can't shoot everyone at once. They didn't want to do that for reasons beyond me and insisted on their first course of action. At some point I just left the call and told the GM to let me know what happened. Eventually the GM messages me and tells me I have been revived. They defeated the bounty hunter somehow, I didn't really ask for the specifics as I was still sour on the whole situation.
When we landed back on the planet to rest up and everyone was sleeping I asked the GM if I could make a stealth roll. "Sure, what for?" "I want to steal Mon Cal's rifle" The Mon Cal player was not happy with this to say the least, but they failed their opposing roll and my sneaky lil' bat made off with it to sell for credits. This in turn started another argument to the extent in which Mon Cal's player was threatening to kill my character next session or fly off and abandon the party and we really didn't know how it was going to turn out.
This is definitely the closest the campaign had ever come to ending for a multitude of reasons. Thankfully, we didn't play for a few weeks because of scheduling and everyone cooled off and things ended up fine. We are all still friends, although they aren't being invited to the Pathfinder game Farmboy is going to start GMing.
So, yeah, that's the story.
submitted by notreallyren to rpghorrorstories [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 01:01 OnlyTheGoodGoods Got into a text argument with the narc

He said some very relationship and soul destroying things a while back that ultimately broke our relationship, likely in irreparable ways.
He says time and again that he doesn’t regret it because in his words, I was being a bitch and I deserved it.
I was indeed being very emotional and angry about the situation, but it was in reaction to him making a life changing decision without even consulting me and knowing that it wasn’t something I was okay with.
That something was moving in his family members to live with us permanently, one of them being an adult who was disabled and unable to work.
Keep in mind we were renting out my mother’s old home at the time. It’s not even our house. We can’t even afford to rent other places let alone buy our own house now.
We are also not married.
And he has a many other family members who could’ve taken these family members in, but they never offered and never gave us a single penny to even help with the situation.
I never got a single thank you from these people after spending thousands to help their family.
Yes yes. I realize I was being a fucking idiot helping these people out when I should’ve realized how little they cared about me or valued me from the get go.
I thought I was being a good partner to my narc, which I was. But you know how it is with them, nothing you ever do is good enough and they continually demand for more until you can’t anymore and then they throw you away once you’re no longer useful.
I had made it clear from the get go that I was the kind of person that needed my own space and that I didn’t even want to live with my own family members so it’s nothing personal.
I have been actively working hard to increase my income so I can afford to live on my own and for a while thought he was on the same boat when he moved out to come stay with me when I moved away from our home town.
It’s nobody else’s job to provide for me. I will make it happen on my own because it’s what I want. That has been my mindset this entire time.
He never said anything about not agreeing to having our own space.
This was the real deal breaker for me because both our families are dramatic and can be toxic and overbearing and as an adult I don’t want to be trapped living in the chaos that others create again.
I can’t do it. I refuse to do it.
Well he decided to do it anyways. He talked it out with only his family members and moved them in permanently despite there being so many others in better positions to take these people on.
We even had an agreement that them staying was temporary because they truly needed help at the moment and I was trying to be a good and kind person by letting them stay temporarily.
His entire family was there when we agreed on it.
But then these family members decided they wanted to stay forever so the narc right in line with them.
Yes, he’s a narc but also an emotionally incestuous enmeshed mamas boy who is neglected by his family and only called upon when needed for something whether it be errands or his money which he doesn’t have anyways.
He told me he wants us to buys a house that will accommodate them and that we will be financially responsible for everything.
Who the fuck wouldn’t be upset?
This had so many layers of disrespect and fuck you all over it, I didn’t even know where to start.
The audacity of this person is astounding. I too, have no regrets about standing up for myself.
I wish at the time, I had better tools to regulate my emotions and handle it in a calmer manner, but then again this person has never ever validated my feelings or cared about my thoughts on things.
In an attempt to get me to comply to his selfishness, he threatened to cheat on me and replace me with someone else. He belittled me and berated me, telling me how he didn’t like me as a person and how he felt he could do so much better.
He knew very well that my father had an affair on my mom, leaving us behind and effectively replacing me, my sisters and mother with his new wife and her three daughters.
He gave them everything he promised to give us and barely was in our lives. He’d shame and guilt us for needing help and would constantly invalidate our feelings.
I see so much of my father in this narc and I hate him so much for using my deepest wounds against me. He purposely did it to break me.
At one point in time, the narc had become my new family. My hope for a better future. Hope that this time, a man would choose to stay and protect me.
He did for a time choose us. He did for a time help me so much and made our relationship a priority.
And it hurt so badly to learn that after all this time I was just replaceable to him. I gave him everything I had.
He told me that a wife is replaceable but his mother and family were not. That he doesn’t care if I was a part of his life or not.
It broke me and made me feel suicidal from how painful it was to go through this again.
In our text argument earlier he shamed me for crying, implying that I’m the weak one for showing emotions and vulnerability.
He shames and laughs at the pain he created and takes absolutely no accountability for how his actions created this entire mess.
He said he refuses to understand people like me which is basically the root of this issue on top of him just being an entitled asshole.
He’s also just a person who is callous and does not care. His morals are rotten and his values hypocritical.
He says he chooses to be happy and he does that by doing whatever he wants with no regard for me or our relationship or whatever hardship he creates for me.
He still has the gall to say he loves me and that he cares and doesn’t break up with me and the blatant polarity of his actions versus his words makes me sick.
He’s so full of shit.
The irony is he’s quite stupid and lazy and an underachiever. He wants a traditional wife but can’t have one because he can’t be a decent enough provider.
Instead he makes me take on all the hardship and responsibility, much of which he creates. He thinks he has all the say and he’s not wrong and that he somehow deserves a subservient wife who will always do what he wants.
Before you all tell me to leave, yes I am working on it. Finances and a lack of a support system (which landed me here in the first place) is why I can’t leave just yet.
The longer this drags out the more I just don’t want anything to do with this person which helps me immensely.
But fuck these assholes. I am beyond disgusted and frustrated with these walking talking hypocritical infantile meat heads.
It’s making me become a very unempathetic and impatient person because I just don’t have any patience for their stupidity and selfishness anymore.
Anyways I needed to rant.
I realized while writing this that I have gotten a lot of my power back and I see more clearly than before.
I have been under reacting for so long and I’m learning a solid lesson about awful people in your lives and what relationships not to pour into, when to put your foot down and to never give anyone else this much power over me again.
He is a walking taking shit show and I’d be more understanding if he was actually nice and understanding but he a big turd of an asshole too which makes it hard to be empathetic.
Do I love him still? To some extent. I care about him and wish better for him. But I refuse to be his victim and punching bag anymore.
His family can burn.
submitted by OnlyTheGoodGoods to TrueNarcissisticAbuse [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 00:44 Old_Heart_7780 Motion to Suppress Hearing 6/15

I have a theory on what it is the defense is trying to suppress. I’ve always been of the opinion that a confidential informant is the reason for Richard Allen’s current predicament. If you know any of my speculations you know I think Richard Allen was at the bridge that day because of his old friend from that small town of Mexico, Indiana. In other words Allen was BG that day to help his Buddy force two unsuspecting kids off that bridge and onto Ronald Logan’s property where he stood waiting, and the girls were found.
I think a certain someone I refer to as Junior — made a statement to ISP investigators regarding Allen’s involvement in the murders. I think Junior led law enforcement to the Kelly Street Bridge, which spans the Wabash River leading into Peru, Indiana. I think he led them to where the knife was thrown into the River. I think he also gave a statement regarding evidence burned in a backyard trash pit at his grandparents house on the outskirts of Peru. A location where ISP investigators were searching shortly after the abrupt conclusion of the Wabash River search. I also think he made the statement that Allen destroyed bloody evidence in the same manner behind his small backyard shed in Delphi.
It’s my thought Richard Allen’s defense team wants to suppress that statement made by the confidential informant. One of the actors the Carroll County prosecutors prefers we all not know about. I noted the fact that Juniors decision to withdraw his appearance for sentencing on the 25 counts of CSAM coincided with Richard Allen’s defense attorney’s Motion to Suppress. Was the Motion to Suppress brought on by more stalling and lying from guy who could have made the statement that landed Richard Allen in jail last October. I think it took Junior’s statement regarding evidence burned behind the two homes some 40 miles apart, to ultimately allow investigators to get into Allen’s house to recover his SIG Sauer P226 .40 S&W.
Something leads me to believe this is what happened on October 13, 2022. The ISP investigators started the search that morning before sunrise. The same ISP investigators had wrapped up their search behind the grandmas house in Peru, and no sooner they are seen by neighbors using flashlights in the predawn hours to sift through an ash pile behind his shed in Delphi. Within hours they had proof he’d burned clothing, jeans, a blue jacket, boots, and who knows what else. Discovering evidence of burned clothing where Juniors statement said it would be— allowed investigators to go back to the judge for a new search warrant probable cause affidavit for a more expanded and invasive search inside of the house.
Suppress the confidential informants statement, which led to their clients arrest— and he possibly walks free. Sound plausible? If not, let me know what you think they are trying to suppress.
Thank you!
submitted by Old_Heart_7780 to Delphitrial [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 00:37 baefish Lianna Mallister, Lady of Seagard

Discord Username: sketch
Character Name and House: Lianna Mallister
Age: 26
Appearance: Lianna projects a commanding presence despite a thin figure and a middling height of five-and-a-half feet. She composes herself with practiced grace, with a cordial and confident demeanor that seldom betrays discomfort. She has a soft, oval face and the brown hair and blue eyes characteristic of her house. Her wardrobe boasts a wide variety of elegant, fashionable gowns, a testament to the wealth of Seagard.
Gift: Leadership
Skills: Sailing(e), Strategist(e), Tactician
Talent(s): Cyvasse, Gardening, Painting
Starting Title(s): Lady of Seagard
Starting Location: King's Landing
Family Tree: House Mallister of Seagard
Alternate Characters: N/A
Character Name and House: Armistead Rivers
Age: 37
Appearance: Armistead is tall and strong, and weathered just as much by experience as he is by age. He has brown hair, blue eyes and a trimmed beard. Usually clad in more practical attire, he betrays a surprisingly tasteful sense of fashion during courtly occasions. He wields Ironbane, the ancestral glaive of House Mallister.
Gift: Duelist
Skills: Polearms, Knightly, Defender
Talent(s): Dancing, Hunting, Poetry
Starting Title(s): Bastard of Seagard
Starting Location: King's Landing

Lianna Mallister, Lady of Seagard

A few moons before his ascent as the Lord of Seagard, Edric Mallister and his wife Helicent Costayne welcomed their firstborn child. Lianna was only a tentative heir, due to be replaced by a brother - but after a few failed pregnancies, the Lady of Seagard delivered her husband yet another daughter. That same year, the knights of House Mallister followed their liege to war.
The Lord of Seagard returned from Dorne forever changed by his trauma. Among the fallen were several of his closest friends, including Lord Tully, while a wound rendered him a cripple. Where he had before been an energetic and outgoing man, Edric Mallister was thereafter wracked with survivor’s guilt. He grew increasingly detached from his lordly duties and prone to bouts of drunkenness and seclusion.
Lianna’s future as her father’s successor became all but certain, and greater attention was given to her education. It was one of the few obligations the Lord of Seagard still routinely fulfilled, though the most impactful lessons his daughter received were not the ones he had intended to teach. In his example, Lianna saw a cautionary tale of a man without ambition and resilience.
So deep was Lord Mallister’s sorrow that the symptoms of his terminal illness were indistinguishable from those of his depression. His passing left Seagard in the hands of a twelve-year-old girl guided by the regency of his younger brother, Ser Cortnay.
Even as a child, Lianna was well-prepared to take the reins. She was uninhbited by her family’s loss and already practiced at projecting an image her people wanted to see in their lord. She made herself a visible presence both at her court and in the town, presiding over her every ceremonial duty while leaving the tedium of governance to her regency council.
Few who knew Lianna in her youth ever expected that dynamic to change. She impressed everyone as a precocious but ultimately unserious girl with little interest in politics and administration. Her diligence as a student was well-concealed. In privacy she read voraciously, with a particular interest in treatises on warfare and histories of the machinations of royal courts.
Much of her adolescence was spent endearing herself to her peers, and Lianna enjoyed a natural rapport with her liege, Lady Alyssa Tully, who had also succeeded her father as a consequence of the war. Their friendship became intimate as they grew into women, underpinned by a pact that neither would ever take a husband. It was a promise that Lianna never meant to keep, soon to be broken at the expense of their companionship.
The first two years of her majority rule were spent contentedly, with Lianna enjoying the finer points of ladyship while otherwise maintaining a political and administrative status quo. By her eighteenth nameday, however, her disposition had markedly changed. She at last felt secure enough in her position to begin her ambitions in earnest, starting with her prospects for marriage.
Though she was presented with no shortage of appealing options, Lianna ultimately chose for herself Ser Gareth Lannister of Casterly Rock, a man exactly twice her age. She was drawn to him not just for his kinship to the Warden of the West, but also for his experience as a knight and a leader of men. Matters of war were always of great interest to Lianna, but she had received few such lessons in her youth. Under her husband’s tutelage, she learned how to command her house’s formidable forces, both on land and at sea.
This professional partnership was paired with a personal passion for each other, and a year into their marriage the two welcomed the birth of Lianna’s son and heir, who was named for her late father. Over the next few years, however, Gareth’s health fell into steep decline. Lianna remained dutifully by his side, prioritizing his needs over every other duty, but in the end he succumbed to his illness. At twenty-four, after only half a decade of marriage, the Lady of Seagard was widowed.
Her grief was sincere, but much of her mourning was performative. Lianna could cope with her loss only by moving forward with her life, all the while keeping a lively and hospitable court. In the meantime her sisters and cousins all came of age, and she again turned her sights to neighboring kingdoms, intent on strengthening her house’s position within the Riverlands by courting powerful allies beyond its boundaries.
  • 181 AC: Lianna is born the eldest child of Edric Mallister and his wife, Helicent Costayne
  • 187 AC: Lord Mallister returns from the war a changed man, seldom capable of fulfilling his duties
  • 193 AC: At the age of twelve, Lianna succeeds her father, with the guidance of a regency council
  • 197 AC: Lianna begins to rule Seagard in her own right
  • 200 AC: At Casterly Rock, Lianna takes Ser Gareth Lannister as her consort
  • 201 AC: Lianna gives birth to her only child and heir, Edric Mallister
  • 205 AC: Gareth Lannister dies of illness, leaving Lianna a widow

Armistead Rivers, Bastard of Seagard

Though likely not the only bastard sired by Lord Alester Mallister, Armistead Rivers was the first and last to be privileged with his acknowledgment. His mother, Edyth Keath, was kin to Seagard’s foremost bannerman, leaving Lord Mallister with little choice but to appease his vassal for the slight. The Keaths were given a generous sum to provide a dowry for Edyth’s marital prospects, and she was forever separated from her illegitimate son.
Armistead spent his entire childhood in the court of Seagard, where he suffered far more neglect than abuse. Lord Alester held no contempt for the living stain upon his honor, but neither did he pay any mind to the child’s upbringing. It instead fell to his two trueborn sons to guide the boy into manhood and keep him out of juvenile mischief.
Naturally strong, Armistead found his calling in the path of knighthood. His mentor, Ser Roderick of the Cape, was a household knight hailing from humble origins, for which he compensated through great merit. Much of Armistead’s tutelage was spent wandering the forest surrounding Seagard, where he learned to serve the common people just as faithfully as his noble family.
Armistead’s coming of age coincided with the outbreak of war, and he followed his mentor to Dorne. Still a squire, he was initially spared from the front lines of battle, but as the fighting intensified he found himself in the fray. Despite this great display of his prowess, he remained a pupil for a few more years, earning his knighthood at nineteen.
As his lord brother grew more detached from his court, Armistead became more engaged. With great sympathy for his niece, he took an active interest in her upbringing, developing a lifelong fraternal rapport between the two. When Lianna reached her majority, she bestowed him with Ironbane, the Valyrian steel glaive she had inherited from her forefathers.
In the years since, Armistead has served the Lady of Seagard as a sworn shield, as well as a trusted informal advisor, if only by virtue of their close friendship and regular proximity.
  • 170 AC: Armistead Rivers is born of an affair between Lord Alester Mallister and Edyth Keath
  • 182 AC: Armistead begins squiring for Ser Roderick, a lowborn household knight at Seagard
  • 186 AC: The Fourth Dance tests Armistead’s mettle as a combatant
  • 189 AC: Armistead is knighted, and takes up service as a sworn sword to his house
  • 197 AC: Armistead is permitted to wield his family’s Valyrian steel

Supporting Characters

Cortnay Mallister (Shipwright)
  • The faithful castellan of Seagard, who previously ruled as Lianna’s regent.
Brynden Mallister (Swords)
  • The most promising young knight in his lady cousin’s household.
submitted by baefish to FieldOfFire [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 00:27 OneBoredMan02 Time to be a Hero Volume 23

Worst Case Scenario - Time to be a Hero - Volume 23
Thursday 14th June 2017
I sigh as the gentle breeze graces my face, I've really got nothing to do right now. I'm just here looking over the town as I search for any suspicious activities going on, but alas nothing. It's been like this for some nights, were nothing happens and I felt like I just wasted my time. But I guess being here just in case is better then just racing out of my house at the last minute. But the down side of being out here is that I am more than bored. Also the rain doesn't really help things. I sit down and spawn an umbrella for shelter as I take my mask off and look at it. I wonder what the normal thug thinks when he sees this? Fear? Regret? Worry? I don't really know, I place the mask onto the ground as someone hovers above me? It can only be one person.
B: "Hey Moni~"
M: "Heya Bobo~" She sits beside me with two coffees? "Here!"
B: "Did you buy these?"
M: "I know you can make them out of thin air but I don't want to put my favourite coffee place out of business now!" I shake my head as I take the cup.
B: "But you are putting me on the side-lines!"
M: "I know it's a tough choice..." She leans against me as I put my arm around her.
B: "Did you see or hear anything?"
M: "No, not much of anything? It's been real quiet tonight."
B: "Ah well then..." We sit there in silence together, only taking the occasional drink as the rain pours down around us. It's not long before Monika looks at me.
M: "Do you want to head back to HQ? I think Sayori said she had something to show us tonight!"
B: "Really? She didn't say anything to me?"
M: "Oh it's top secret! A little surprise for everyone~" I nod as we stand up and finish off our drinks. "Come on then! Race you there!" She flies up as I put my mask back on.
B: "You're on!" I leap off the roof as she just flies off, this seems unfair and I did not think about this beforehand. But who cares? I'm just happy to be spending time with the person I love! I've been missing out on these feelings and the sense of comfort that comes from a person you love and trust so much. I've just...been rather lonely the past few years so just getting a new person there means the world to me you know? 'I know, I'm happy I can give you that comfort and love~' I know you do Monika, thank you. 'You're welcome, now hurry up slowpoke!' I chuckle as I land on the roof and run across it to see Monika hovering above the street?
M: "Come on Sparrow! You're far too slow tonight!"
B: "Just give me two seconds-" Before I can finish I see a hand in front of me as Alex grabs me?! "What?!" Not another surprise spar!
A: "Come with me now!" He sounds serious? We teleport to the HQ as he disappears again to only come back with Monika this time?
M: "What's wrong?" I look over to see a concerned looking Yuri and a rather distressed Sayori? "What's going on guys?" Monika steps up as her tone goes serious. I walk over to Alex.
B: "So, what's going on?" He looks at me and just shrugs?
A: "I don't know, Sayori just said you grab you guys immediately? She sounds really worried?" I nod as we both walk over to see Sayori working on the laptop?
M: "Sayori what's wrong?"
S: "...." Monika looks back at me as I shrug. What's gotten into Sayori?
Y: "uhmm, we have a big problem." Yuri turns around as she holds out a note? Monika takes the note as me and Alex hover her shoulder to read it? It's...a message?
'If you want to see her again, then come to the old churchyard'
The hell? Is this a letter about a hostage? Who took who anyway?
S: "They've got Nat." What!?
M: "Uh?! Who?!"
S: "I don't know, some guys in suits? They were like the men in black Monika! They just came out of nowhere and shot her with a taser! I barely escaped but they got her!" …
B: "...oh no..." Everyone looks at me as my hands shake.
M: "Botan what's wrong??" Monika comes up to me as I stare into her eyes. "Botan...?"
B: "They're here...." Both Monikas' and Sayoris' eyes go wide as they look at me.
S: "You don't mean it's...them?"
B: "It's Coomer. They're here."
A: "Coomer? Are you sure? This could just be some of the big mens' guys no?"
Y: "That's...the worst case scenario." Yuri pulls up a feed onto the wall as we all look at it. Seems like she did her homework. "I did a bit of digging for this day. Ever since you told me what these guys were about Botan." Me and Yuri share an uneasy glare as she takes a shaky breath before starting her presentation. "Coomer Industries, on the surface they are a pharmaceutical company."
A: "They make all kinds of drugs, even treatment for certain cancers! They're good people! Are you sure they're the same guys who took Nat?" I look at him as Monika quickly puts her hand on my shoulder.
M: " know of Botan's past right?"
A: "Of course I do. I just think we got muddled up here, I mean these guys are good! Isn't there another Coomer or something??" I glare at him.
B: "They killed my family, experimented on me and hunted me for all my life! I know these people! They are the same fuckers who took my life away Alex!! Don't fucking ask me again if I'm sure about it!!" Silence as Alex blinks.
A: "Well...seems you're set about this then?"
M: "Don't be fucking smart Alex!" Monika snaps at him as she rubs my arm.
A: "Sorry..." Yuri clears her throat.
Y: "Yes, as I was saying that's only on the surface. Below that they are a biochemical and bioweapon manufacturer for the government and army." Yuri clicks a button as it shows multiple images of guns, vials, death squads and all kinds of things. I know them all too well...
M: "I'm here..." I know you are...
A: "woah..."
Y: "They're a superpower hiding in plain sight, and from what Botan has told me and what I could dig up on the dark web they are the real deal. They are serious. But I don't think it'll be right if I was the one talking about them..." Everyone looks at me as I feel myself shrink in place.
M: "You don't have to honey, Yuri can keep going!"
Y: "That I can, just give me the word Botan."
B: "I uh....maybe it'll help if I do?" Monika looks unsure but Sayori steps forward.
S: "Talking about past trauma does help, it helped me when I talked about Manato so we should at least let Botan talk about Coomer." Monika sighs and lets go of my hand.
B: "R-right..." I walk over to where Yuri was just standing and turn around to face the others. "Ummm, Coomer. Right, uh...yeah, so they're dangerous..." I've never felt this nervous before.
A: "Okay...?"
M: "Botan you don't need to do this-"
S: "Give him a chance." Monika stands back as I look at my hands.
B: "Umm...they have...all kinds of resources and weaponry, they uh...have access to a lot of manpower and...yeah...they're just...very dangerous..."
S: "Right uh, could you give us a little more than-"
M: "That's enough! Botan come on!" Monika calls me over like a dog as I stand there. "Come on..."
B: "Uh...listen if they took Nat and left us this note then they must know that I'm here, or they have some idea?" A lightbulb then goes off in my head! "...the duplicate!"
A: "Uh?"
B: "He said about the big man having some connection to someone outside! Maybe it's possible that he was talking about Coomer!"
M: "Are you sure?"
B: "The duplicate said it with his own mouth! I knew he wasn't bluffing!"
S: "Are they working together?"
B: "Highly likely, but if it's one thing Coomer won't stand for it's working openly with a criminal organisation. Sooner or later, they will put a knife in the big man's back."
A: "Yeah but how long until that?"
B: "Awhile, they just need to build up trust and that will be that."
M: "So what do we do?"
B: "Sayori?" Sayori looks at me. "When did Natsuki get taken?"
S: " hour or so ago?"
B: "How many men did you see?"
S: "Uh....twenty? Maybe thirty? They just came of nowhere and hit us like a truck!"
B: "Okay we still have time! We need to grab Nat and move base!"
M: "Huh? Why?"
B: "They will question her, and they have their ways of making people talk!" Everyone looks at each other nervously.
S: "Nat wouldn't do that to us right? She would never tell some strangers who we are and where we live! Right?"
B: "Again, they have their ways."
A: "Jeez...well what now? We can't really just go in guns blazing, they'll just take us out too!"
B: "I have a plan." Everyone looks at me. "Monika? You're not going to like this but I'm going to surrender myself." Monika rips her mask off and throws it at the ground as everyone stares in shock at me.
M: "No! Don't even suggest that!!"
B: "They want me! They don't want anything to do with you, remember I'm the priority to these guys! When they have me in custody they don't need to be here, they'll slip away just as quietly as they arrived!"
M: "No, I'm not sacrificing you! Or anyone else!"
A: "Monika, listen. Maybe he's right-" Monika slaps Alex as hard as she can!
M: "Don't agree with him, do not even try to convince me to give up MY boyfriend to some fucking company!"
S: "Monika, I'm not going to convince you you have a better idea?" Monika goes quiet.
M: "This....this is so unfair...." I hug her as she latches onto me. "This is unfair...."
B: "I know but...that's not the end of the plan." Everyone looks at me again. "I'm not really going to surrender myself after all this time, while someone takes me in for a swap the other three will stand by and get the jump on them! Now that I think about it, the best option for the handoff will be you Sayori." Sayori looks stunned.
S: "Me? Why me?!"
B: "We'll be in the thick of it, besides we'll be with Nat. She'll medical help so it's better that you can get to her right away as us four buy you time to escape!"
A: "That's a good idea! I could even teleport you guys out!"
B: "Even better! Somewhere quiet and discreet, don't come back to help us just focus your efforts on Natsuki alright?" Sayori sighs and nods.
S: "I'll do the best I can."
B: "As for us?" I look at Monika and Yuri. "We do everything we can to make sure Sayori and Natsuki get out of there alright. We can either stay and fight or run. When Alex comes back that's when we have to make a choice, while yes Coomer does have the upper hand it's our call. I'll just say now, they fight like animals. They will kill you if given the chance, they're not like the thugs out on the street. A mistake will be punished by death. Understand?"
Y: "Understood."
M: "....yeah."
A: "Okay. we prepare?"
B: "I'd say we just go, I think we've wasted far too much time here anyway." Everyone starts to gear up as Monika walks up to me.
M: "I will protect you with everything I have."
B: "Monika if things go south and they take me... I want you to make sure they can't get me." She just shakes her head.
M: "Don't say that."
B: "If they take me I will go back to that hell, I'm asking you to make sure I will not be taken in alive."
M: "I can't....I won't...." She's crying as she holds my cheeks and stares into my eyes. "I will not do that to you Botan....I will not kill you..."
A: "I will." Alex steps forward?
M: "Don't you even fucking lay a hand on him!"
B: "Are you sure?"
A: "Yeah, I...if you don't want to go back I'll make sure you won't..."
M: "Alex I will fucking kill you if you even think-"
B: "Thank you." We shake hands as Monika looks on horrified.
M: "Botan!? No!"
B: "It's okay, that's only the worst case scenario... I don't want to go back Monika, you saw what I had to go through. I don't want to go back to that place." She just shakes her head.
M: "" She hits my chest softly as I sigh.
B: "It's okay..." I hug her as everyone appears to be ready.
S: "Right so...are you ready Botan?" I nod as I take my mask off and walk over to her. "Monika?"
M: "....."
B: "Hey?" She looks at me. "Fight hard Monika, I'll be counting on you." She blinks before putting her mask back on and walking over very determined.
M: "You are not getting the chance to kill him." She says to Alex before turning to me. "I will not let you be caught, if I let you down then...what's the point?"
B: "The point is I love you~" She smiles as we kiss briefly.
M: "Please come out okay..."
Y: "We will do our best Monika."
A: "Yeah, we'll fight hard!"
M: "Good...." Alex nods.
A: "Okay then, we ready?" Everyone nods. "Okay, here we go!" Alex first teleports me and Sayori just outside the church ground. "Good luck guys..."
B: "You too..."
S: "Stay safe Alex..." He then disappears as Sayori looks at me. "You know, you can abandon this plan and...we can come up with something else?"
B: "No this...this is the only way, Nat needs us now." She nods as she puts some cuffs on me.
S: "They're unlocked, you can just slip out of them okay?"
B: "Right..." She pushes the gate open, makes sure she's holding me tight and escorts me up the path. The moon shines down as it only shows the trees and the path ahead, apart from that we're surrounded by darkness. Not even the rain has stuck around for this moment. We walk in silence for a bit before I see a red laser being pointed at us. "see that?" I whisper at her.
S: "yeah I do...." She makes on a display that I'm struggling and I play along. "Come on you!"
B: "No don't please! I don't want to go back! Please let me go!!" Our struggle gets the attention of some other lasers as they too point at us. "Please! Just let me go!"
S: "I need my friend back, I'm sorry but this is the only way!"
B: "Oh god! You're going to kill me!!" I spawn in a knife as Sayori spots it and slaps it out of my hands! "No!"
S: "That won't work! Come on!" I can see Yuri, Alex and Monika hanging back in the brush, Monika looking very hurt at my performance right now. We arrive at the old church building as the red lasers focus on my chest. We stand there for awhile before Sayori clears her throat. "Hello?!"
"I've brought the person you want!" She holds me in place as I try to run. "You have my friend so let's make a trade! You get what you want, I get what I want. We all go home happy!" Still nothing. "Hello? Is anyone even there?" The door opens with a creak as one man in a suit steps out saying nothing. "Hello?"
?: "..."
S: "You heard my offer, now let me see my friend!" …something's wrong? 'What is it?!' I don't know, it's just...really quiet.
?: "Eyes on alpha target sir." The man speaks into his radio as there's some sort of message laid back to him in his earpiece. "Understood...bring her out!" Two more men appear holding a rather unwell looking Nat, she has no mask on and she looks terrible!
S: "Natsuki!"
N: "ugh....fucking animals..."
?: "As you said, a trade. We hand off your friend first then you hand off him to us."
B: "No!! No!!"
N: "nnngg...." One agent lets go as the other one approaches holding Nat. Sayori holds out her free arm as Nat just falls into it.
S: "I've got you, it's okay..."
N: "Sa....say..."
S: "Save your strength." The three agents then look at her expectantly. "Alright, my end of the deal." The lasers still shine on my chest as she pushes me forward. "Go on you!"
N: ""
B: "Please don't!" One agent walks forward ready to grab me.
?: "A deal well done. Thank you for you cooperation." The lasers go out as I slip out of my cuffs and hold up a gun! "What?!"
B: "Boo~" I shoot him in the face with a blank as he goes tumbling down to the ground! The other agents pull out their guns but they get slashed in half as Alex runs out of the brush.
A: "Sayori come here!" Bullets start flying as Monika instantly puts a shield in front of me as she flies in. Alex slides over to Sayori and Nat, teleporting them out. Good they're safe.
B: "They're out of here! What's the call?!"
M: "We fight!"
Y: "Got it!" Yuri punches one agent to the floor as Monika makes the old church come down to the ground! A few agents rush out of the falling church as I knock them out with the help of Yuri. One agent rushes us with a knife but Monika kicks him down to the floor! Just like that it's over? "That all of them?"
M: "I think so?" Alex comes back with his blade drawn.
A: "Right let' this?" We look around at all the fallen agents. "Is that it already?"
B: "No...there's more. There's always more." But...nothing?
A: "Ugh, maybe it was just that squad? I mean most of them were most certainly in the church so..."
M: "Thank god Botan, you're okay!" Monika rushes me as I scan the treeline, putting my hand out to her!
B: "No! Stay there!" Everyone looks at me as I hear something. "Do you guys hear that?"
A: "....what?"
Y: "...there's...a thumping?"
M: "...what is that?"
B: "I know what that is!" I turn to up to see a huge helicopter above as multiple men jump from it! "Take cover!"
M: "I've got this!" Monika makes a barrier just below the helicopter as multiple men just jump face first into it! Then multiple jeeps pull up as Monika finds herself exposed! "Oh man-"
A: "I got you!" Alex tackles her out of the way of bullets as her barrier disappears! The men in the air regroup and pull their parachutes and land! I find myself dodging and just jumping around trying to do something! Yuri seems to be struggling as I hop over and push her out of the way of a grenade! I throw multiple flashbangs to just give us time to breath but just as quick they're at us again!
Y: "There's too many!" Yuri shields herself behind a tree as I toss out some smoke!
A: "I suggest we turn tail!" That's the better choice, we're just holding on as is!
B: "Right let's get out of here!" I help Yuri over by providing cover fire as we a rush over to cover beside the fallen church. Monika uses her power to force everyone back as Alex grabs all of us!
A: "Where to?!"
B: "Anywhere but here!" He nods and we all leave. The gunfire stops as one agent walks over.
?: "They got away...."
We land on a roof as we all catch our breath!
B: "Fuck...I almost forgot what it was like to go up against them!"
M: "Where the hell did they all come from?!"
A: "It was like a infestation, they just kept coming!"
Y: "That was all too...that was far too close...thank you Botan." Yuri smiles at me.
M: "Yeah, thank you Alex."
B&A: "Don't mention it." We both stare at each other?
A: "That's weird."
B: "Where did you leave Sayori and Nat??"
A: "In an old factory not too far! They're safe!"
B: "Good, go get them." He nods and leaves as Monika walks over to me.
M: "Are you okay?"
B: "I'm fine, just a little out of breath...I've never made so many things in a panic like that before..." Monika puts her hand on my back as I steady my breathing.
M: "It's okay, you're alright....thank god you're alright..." She hugs me as Yuri walks over.
Y: "So that was Coomer huh? I feel like we got very lucky..."
B: "We were." Both girls look at me as I stand up straight. "That was just their scouting team, not their full force." Both Monika and Yuri look taken aback.
M: "Just...a scouting group?"
Y: "That many?! Just scouts?!"
B: "I'm afraid so..." We go quiet as Alex arrives with Sayori and Nat. We all turn our attention to the pink haired girl as she sits on the floor, clearly exhausted. "Nat?! You okay?"
S: "She's been...heavily drugged..."
B: "What did they use?"
S: "Some sort of shot, I don't know what it was...." I walk over to Nat as everyone else gathers around also. I kneel in front of her and take her hands in mine.
B: "Nat? Can you hear me?" She lifts her head a little?
N: "" She looks at me, she's very weak.
B: "I'm here, can you see me?" She blinks...
N: "I can't see you?"
M: "She's blind?!"
S: "I don't think it's permanent, only a side effect!"
B: "I know what they used on her..." Everyone looks at me. "They gave her a dose of a powerful drug, they call it compound Q." Everyone looks at me, as I stare at Nat. "Natsuki, don't worry about not being able to see. You just need to rest and drink plenty of water to get your eye sight back."
N: "But how long..."
B: "A few days..."
S: "I'll come up with an excuse for your dad!"
N: "thanks...I'm sorry guys, I got jumped and-"
B: "Don't apologise Nat. I've been hit with Q for a few times, it sucks. It really makes you talk..." Everyone looks at Nat again.
M: "What did you say to them?"
N: "I...I gave..." Nat shakes as I rub her shoulder.
B: "It's okay, tell us~"
N: "A...names....and....base....that's it. I swear!"
B: "That's okay, don't blame yourself~" I hug her as she latches onto me, her small frame making me feel like I'm hugging a small child.
S: "So...Coomer knows us?"
M: "The big man probably knows us now." Everyone looks at each other.
A: "Well.....fuck."
Y: "What do we do now?"
B: "It's not guaranteed." I stand up. "Coomer has valuable information, which the big man wants. They won't just give that away without getting something of similar value in return. The only thing I can think of that'll might be worth the names of your biggest problem-"
M: "Is you?" I nod.
B: "They want me."
S: "Well....we're not going to surrender you!"
Y: "Never in a million years will I entertain that thought."
M: "I will stand by you Botan. To the very end."
A: "I don't know it's-" SMACK!
Y: "Alex just shut up for once." We look in shock at Yuri as she huffs. "Honestly, this is a serious moment right now! We don't need your shitty sense of humour!"
A: "...okay sorry." Alex looks hurt but I just sigh.
B: "Well...everything changes from this day on. I suggest we no longer patrol alone, at least go in pairs from now or more. Watch out for any suspicious looking vehicles, Coomer will want to stake us out for awhile before making their move. Do not take them on alone, otherwise..." I look down at Nat. "This will be you."
N: "I'm sorry-"
B: "Don't apologise Nat." I pat her shoulder. "Anyway, I doubt they would raid your homes but do keep an eye out for each other." I look at Monika. "I also suggest keeping a low profile at school, don't meet at the club everyday. They will put two and two together, giving them a perfect chance to attack."
M: "Heard. When school opens and if Coomer are still lurking about, no more club every day."
B: "Good. Anyway, I suggest we start planning to move base. We need something more...discreet."
A: "I know a place!" Alex steps forward? "There's this old summer camp place near the forest! Nobody goes out there now! It's real hidden and discreet! I doubt people even remember it exists!"
B: "That will do! I suggest you guys pack up from that old warehouse and start moving! Keep your heads down also." Everyone nods as Natsuki is helped up by Sayori. "Natsuki? Just rest for now, spend some days at home okay? One of us will keep an eye out for you in the meantime."
N: "Okay, sure....what you think is right Botan." I nod and smile at her.
B: "Yeah, just get some rest."
S: "I'll take of her guys, I suggest we all go our separate ways. They'll be looking for us right now."
B: "Yeah, let's head home and cut tonight off early." Everyone agrees and promptly leaves. Sayori helping Natsuki away using her rocket boots as Alex teleports away with Yuri. I'm left with Monika on the roof as we just look at each other.
M: "You've really grown as a person. Taking charge like that, really made me happy."
B: "I know these guys and well...I just want everyone to be safe. I want you to be safe." I walk up to her and put my hand on her cheek.
M: "It's okay, I understand. Now let's go home before we get found out alright?" I nod as we leave the roof, Monika carrying me back home. We don't say anything as we just fly back to our apartment. I keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around us in the meantime, Coomer is here and they'll be looking for us. Then they will watch. Then they will plan. Finally, they will attack. "We'll be ready Botan, I promise."
B: "Yeah, I know we will." I smile at Monika as she smiles back. Doubt lurking in the back of my head as I look away from her. We arrive back to find the usual window open as Monika helps me into the apartment first. I get in low and look around for anything in the apartment, and everything looks normal. Monika follows me in and locks the window.
M: "Okay, let's just get changed and head to bed alright?" I nod as we head into the bedroom, being too tired and overworked I just take my mask off and fall onto the bed. Monika sadly smiles at me as she too only takes her mask off and crawls beside me. "It's okay...we'll be okay..."
B: "I know..." But in truth, I really don't know...
submitted by OneBoredMan02 to DDLC [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 00:12 Envizon [TotK] Photos of the Kingdom: Filling the Stable Frames

So I decided to complete all 14 of the Stable painting side quests recently after a couple of them piqued my curiosity, one in particular the most, and had a lot of fun doing so (also helped that I needed a chill break from exploring). I decided to chronicle my adventures here. Pictures are in order of the chronicles and are labeled as well (cause I can’t figure out how to put photos among the text, if I can at all lol). This will be a tad long, but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy :)
(Also, possible spoilers contained herein, especially if you want to do these side quests yourself as some of them do require some tracking down/light puzzle solving, I’ll try to stay as spoiler free as possible, you’ve been warned)

Outskirt Stable

This was one of the first painting side quests I did. Embry wanted a picture of one of the many cherry blossom trees in Hyrule, and I immediately knew which one to get them. I headed to Satori Mountain with my Purah Pad (am I the only one who thinks that name is kinda dumb and wish they stuck with Sheikah Slate?) and made my way to the large cherry blossom tree there, and waited for the perfect moment after I found my angle. I wanted to give this one some form of reverence given it’s connection to the late Satoru Iwata, and feel I did a pretty good job. I thought sunset gave the picture a very nice ambiance overall, as well as making the colors really pop, and also fit thematically given the context. This is one of my favorites.

Riverside Stable

Ember wanted a picture of the Great Goddess Statue in the Forgotten Temple. Now, I’m not sure if you can complete this one until you restore the statue from being toppled (I’d assume so) as I had already completed that side quest. My first attempt was a little drab due to the poor lighting, so I decided to liven things up with some giant brightbloom seeds (and to my surprise they are still there many hours of adventuring later). That made the statue pop and gave it more depth, as well as gave it an ethereal, inviting glow, which I feel fits given it’s apparent status as the Mother of all Goddess Statues. This is another one of my favorites.

New Serenne Stable

Sprinn wanted a picture of the geoglyph that’s right outside the stable. Easy enough. I made a balloon platform and rode it as high as I needed to in order to get the entire thing in one shot. Not too much to this one, other than getting a good time of day (about noonish) and finding the right spot to launch the balloon so that the whole thing was in the shot and wasn’t obstructed (by the balloon).

Tabantha Bridge Stable

Dabi wanted a photo of the Ancient Columns nearby the stable at sunrise. Easy enough, right? Well, anybody that’s gone near there knows that there is a Flame Gleeok who has decided to make them their home, and it’s right in the way of the portion Dabi wants photographed. No getting around this one, so I donned my fully upgraded Fierce Deity set and got to work (this isn’t the first Gleeok I’ve fought, that goes to a certain Gleeok down in the depths, so they aren’t as intimidating anymore). Once it was dispatched, I found my angle and waited for sunrise. The photo itself, I found a tad boring (even if it is pretty), but the work to get it made it rewarding.

Snowfield Stable

Varke wanted a photo of “the giant bird with wings stretched wide in the Hebra Mountains” and gives you a clue on how to find it (BotW vets should know this one as well). This one was pretty easy to capture, the only annoyance came from the constant shadows of clouds/sky islands that decided to pop up and ruin the shot.

Woodland Stable

Kish wanted a picture of a Goron soaking in a hot spring, but he wants a very specific one. Finding them is easy enough, especially if you’ve traipsed around Death Mountain and Goron City enough. Once again, found my angle and waited for the best lighting to capture it. There’s something about this one that makes me chuckle. The expression on the Goron’s face and the framing just seem to imply some deeper meaning, other than an old Goron just soaking their worries and pains away.

Foothill Stable

Ozunda wanted a picture of the giant Daruk (and others) sculpture that adorns Goron City (only place to get two Stable paintings, the lucky Gorons!), so I set out for it once more. Finding a good angle proved a little tricky, but waiting for the right lighting was easy. Unfortunately, you can’t include Darunia’s giant mug in this photo as well (sorry Ocarina of Time fans). Also, something about the glowing eyes just makes this sculpture a tad creepy. Ah well.

East Akkala Stable

Rudi wanted a picture of the nearby lake that, when it fills completely, looks like an Octorock (debatable lol). Again, another simplistic one, and thankfully it immediately started raining when I got close so that the lake would fill (believe this is intentional). Only bummer about this one is that there isn’t really a good vantage point nearby to get a better shot, minus the nearby hill leading up to the stable.

Wetland Stable

Lawdon wanted a picture of the ring ruins that have scattered around Kakariko Village, specifically the main, large ruin that sort of crowns the village. I decided to take the picture from the west, back behind the village (as I thought it made a better background), and waited for the sun to rise enough so that it would be kind of shining through the ring. This was a fun one, as there are several angles you can come from, so there are may different interpretations you can photograph.

Dueling Peaks Stable

Tasseren wanted a picture of “Hyrule’s finest sunrise” looking out towards the Necluda Sea and Lurelin Village, and mentions heading to the peak of Tuft Mountain for the shot. Simple enough. I headed there and waited for sunrise, and snapped the picture when it was the most pleasing to the eye. Yet another simplistic one, but it’s such a nice photo that I can forgive it.

Lakeside Stable

Anly wanted a photo of Floria Falls on a clear day, which they specify because it storms so often in the Faron region. Another simpler one, but thankfully when I got the request, it was a good time of day and was actually clear out (but not for long). So I ran out and snapped the picture from Floria Bridge. Again, it’s a pretty nice photo, so I can forgive the simplicity of it.

Highland Stable

Padok wanted a photo of the fabled giant white stallion that is nearby the stable. If you remember where Malanya was in BotW, this one isn’t too bad (other than a Rare Stone Talus that can pop up along the way). Once again, waited for the opportune moment, which was made slightly more difficult since I was photographing a wild animal (they were right when they said, “never work with animals”). I got a decent photo, I think, and the premise lends itself to many different interpretations (especially if you can take the horse and photograph it anywhere, which I didn’t experiment with). This one was pretty fun, mostly for that random element.

Closed Gerudo Canyon Stable

Piaffe wanted TWO photos, the greedy ex-stable owner (I mean, their stable is closing, so I can empathize), and asks for both a picture of “smiling Spectacle Rock” and the Forgotten Sword in the Gerudo Highlands (again, BotW vets should be familiar with this landmark). I’ll be honest, the smiling Spectacle Rock photo had me puzzled (and the hint you’re given is super vague), and I eventually caved and consulted a walkthrough. In order to get this photo, you have to go to a specific point on a sky island in the East Gerudo Sky Archipelago and look down at Spectacle Rock, at which point two smaller pieces form the “nose” and “mouth”. Yeah, very obvious. Also, it made it harder to get a good picture since the surface is culled in some way while you’re in the sky, and the features become muddled (I’d assume it’s just rendered in a lower resolution and slightly fogged until you dive past a certain height, at which point it reverses). The Forgotten Sword was also a bit of a downer, since we already had to go photograph it in BotW to get the Sand/Snow Boots (I don’t remember which one). The only thing of note is that there is a Frost Gleeok hanging out next to it, but given that I hadn’t upgraded my Snowquill armor and Snow Boots much yet (and didn’t have any cold resistance food), I just snuck up, grabbed the picture, and then nope’d out of there. Overall, these two were slightly disappointing given the esoteric and low quality nature of one and the familiarity of the other, and I’d have much preferred some other landmarks in the Gerudo Desert get the spotlight. Oh well.
Which brings us to our final, and my favorite, picture of them all.

South Akkala Stable

Dmitri wanted a photo of the Unity Bell in Tarrey Town. Easy enough. I ran on over and took my picture, and was content, until I came upon a spark of inspiration. I suddenly remembered that there were some cutouts of Hudson back behind their house, and took some inspiration from a post I saw where someone had fused them onto some shields and adventured around Hyrule with them (I don’t remember who made the post or where I saw it, forgive me! If anyone has the info, feel free to link it in a comment and I’ll edit this to give them some love). Given Addison’s dumbfounded bewilderment every time you help them stand a Hudson Construction sign, I knew what I had to do. I grabbed the four cutouts and placed them by the Unity Bell. It’s a great picture, but I knew I could do better. So I took the rail down to the construction site below Tarrey Town (because I forgot there were some supplies by the land bridge that connects Tarrey Town, oops), grabbed some supplies, headed back up, and got to work. The resulting picture is astounding, truly a work of art. The only thing that would make it better is if there was a way to make Hudson’s eyes glow without obstructing the cutouts (and I’m sure there is, I was just too lazy to find it in the moment). Needless to say (again), this one is my absolute favorite, and I truly feel a sense of pride when I gaze upon it, knowing that I had created such a fitting tribute to all the dumb, crazy, fun, and out right wacky things we can do in this game.
And there you have it! I hope you found some enjoyment in this chronicling of my adventures filling the Stable frames. Again, I had a lot of fun doing this and I hope it shows, and I knew I wanted to share it with all of you. Now go out and have fun exploring!
submitted by Envizon to zelda [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 23:47 BlindRevelator The Gardener, High Septon of the Faith

Discord Username: BlindRevelator
Character Name and House: The Gardener, formerly Baelon Greenhand
Appearance: Daddy
Gift: Champion
Skills: Swords (M), Courtly, Scholar
Talents: Speaking, Gardeningx2
Starting Titles: The Father of the Faithful, Shepherd of the Faith, His High Holiness. The High Septon of the Faith of the Seven
Starting Location: The Feast
Family Tree: I am the Last One!
Name: Septa Alysanne
Age: 25
Appearance: She’s a snack
Gift: Whisperer
Skills: Deciever, Espionage, Subtle
Starting Location: with the High Septon
Born in 152 inside of Oldtown the White Dragon’s youngest son would be Baelon. Baelon’s father was none other than Daemon Fisher, who was none other than one who came from Gaemon Palehair’s line. Aegon II as he was acknowledged the boy was his, and as he was a sweet lad did not fully legitimize him, nor kept in as low as a bastard born should be. Rather he allowed him his name, and declared the sweet boy’s offspring would be forever Great Bastards, but could take names which suited them of their region. Daemon was born in the Riverlands and took the long dead name Fisher.
Daemon had children, each in different areas of the Kingdom, earning him the moniker the Bastard Maker. A rough knight, who was only popular amongst the lists and women, Daemon was easily hated and thus none mourned when he died of suspect circumstances.
Baelon though, was made in the Reach along the banks of the Honeywine, the woman was either a Costayne or a Roxton, a Crane or any number of houses, but what is known the woman went to the Starry Sept, and had the babe before she passed. The church would raise him to a point before a sympathetic Septon to the Hightowers turned him over and there he was warded, his father coming to check every now and then until his death in the Dornish marches years before the Red War.
When House Tyrell heard a line of Gaemon Palehair’s was alive within the Reach, they asserted their dominance but once and had the young lad taken to high garden, where he would raised, squired and he would earn his spurs.
Taking on the name Greenhand, Baelon earned his love from his fellow knights and the ire of his rivals from his performances in the lists acquiring followers where he went. He spent his time all over the seven Kingdoms, coming into Dorne during the Red War, earning accolades and nervous glances from Kings Landing.
He would be approached one night at the end of the war, rather forcefully in the camps and taken in the dead of night to a secret meeting in which the Lord Hand laid out his path. Either he takes the black, joins the Faith and renounces any dragon blood in him, or he could take a knife to his throat.
Baelon, though famed a knight, also knew when to chose his battles. “Alas.” Baelon is said to have commented. “Now I shall never know the joy of fatherhood.” And took him the faith in which he was raised, returning to old town.
He laid down his sword on 189 and put aside his banners and emblems, instead kneeling before the high Septon after a week long vigil to take his oath as a Septon. And quietly was ensconced in the Faith. He would spend the next two years in ardent training before becoming a begging brother sworn to the smith, and donning the brown and grey robes of the creative aspect of the Seven’s love. He traveled through the Crownlands, reach and Riverlands preaching and begging, until installed at the Stony Sept in 194 and then in 196 he was recalled to Oldtown there working amongst the city and the Most Devout.
By 198 he was named a Most Devout, and began preaching exclusively from the Starry Sept when the High Septon, then known as the Firebrand was in Kings Landing. Many would come to hear the dragon in sheep’s clothing sermons or would write to consult on matters of faith
In 205 the Firebrand would die of the same disease which claimed the Queen. After a year of deliberation and voting he was chosen as the new high Septon in 206, taking on the moniker of the Gardener, given his passion for spending time outside rather than in, and working amongst plants.
Beloved by the people, he is different from the Firebrand, as love and healing is spoken of- and winds of change promised. Remformation looms, and the Gardener is the one to cultivate it.
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