Rent to own homes concord

London, UK

2008.07.30 20:49 London, UK

A sub for everyday London life and the occasional tourist that passes through. Please read the rules and be respectful to our community.

2012.10.03 15:41 moddestmouse Where Men Can Live

MaleLivingSpace is dedicated to places where men can live. Here you can find posts discussing, showing, improving, and maintaining apartments, homes, domiciles, man caves, garages, and bungalows.

2008.06.11 11:41 kleinbl00 HomeOwners & Investors

real estate investing landlords landlord borrowing lending mortgages foreclosure loan houses house apartment financing loans buying a house foreclosures foreclosure forbearance home buying homebuying first time homebuyer

2023.06.01 19:58 Sonarthebat Amberlynn Broken Ankle Story

Okay, so we all know that she sprained her ankle last year and made a big thing of it and even said she thought it was broken, but walked back to her apartment.
She also told that story of how she broke her ankle as a child but managed to bicycle back home.
I've had both broken bones and sprained muscles. They don't feel the same, at least not when you move them. With broken bones you feel scraping. You don't get that with pulled muscles. If she had actually broken her ankle as a kid, then she should have known the pulled muscle was just a pulled muscle.
submitted by Sonarthebat to ambbabies [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:58 Blaze_is_Fire323 Heel crack

Hey there, i just droped my squier classic vibe jazzmaster on its head while trying to a just my strap as my strap fell off. The impact created a crack in the heel joint of the lower neck pocket that seems to extend a little into the wood, i havent taken my neck off yet. Does anyone know what type of problems this could create and how or if i should fix it in any way? I do not really mind it being there as i dont mind the look, I just woyldnt want it to cause problems long term as its my favorite guitar i own.
submitted by Blaze_is_Fire323 to offset [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 elizabeth_nina Bag policy for Philly 6/3

Bag policy for Philly 6/3
So Lincoln Financial Field’s website says you can bring in clear bags but no fanny packs. The only clear bag I have is a clear fanny pack and when I went to an Eagles game there in January, they let me in with it. Any suggestions or thoughts?
submitted by elizabeth_nina to EdSheeran [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 talkingidiot2 Need help finding a car my dad used to own

My brother is trying to find a car that my dad inherited from his grandparents, and then eventually sold to someone who was going to restore it. He sold it in 1990 in Arizona and to our knowledge no longer has any records of the car. My brother is trying to find it and see if he can buy it from whoever currently owns it. Any advice on how to locate the VIN of this vehicle through sale records or a history database? Thanks.
submitted by talkingidiot2 to classiccars [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Kit-the-crypo-mage Disappointed with the Mortal Kombat on Switch

I had recently brought a Nintendo Switch and was really excited when I saw that MK11 was available on it. I had previously played MK11 on both PS and Xbox over at a friend's house, so I was pretty excited to play it on my own and this being my only console upgrade from the PS2 days.
After getting the game at a discount, I was really taken aback by how bad the graphics are on Switch. While I understand that it might not be as strong as the other gaming counterparts but it has really put me off from playing anything on it. I have tried multiple other games ( Assassin's Creed/One Piece) but it seems it's the same story. The most recent being Monster Hunter Rise , from the trailers it seemed like a great game but when i purchased it the graphics seems sub-par and it really has put a damper on my mood.

Although I do enjoy the occasional Rocket League / Fifa 22 or Mario Kart but I really wish to know if I am doing something wrong or is there a setting that I can change so the games look better. Or even is there someother game that I should be playing.

Below are the games that I Own

Asking for a friend.
submitted by Kit-the-crypo-mage to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 UpperResort6797 Just feeling really low

Today I feel really uncertain/scared and just really need advice about how to be an adult with adhd because I’m only 20 and I support myself on my own And truthfully I don’t know what the hell I’m doing I mean I know what I wanna do but I really don’t want to go back to college But i don’t know how to pursue my dreams without college I wanna do graphic design or be a mounted park ranger or animal control I don’t know where to get started in my life and I feel like I’m never gonna accomplish anything I just feel overwhelmed truthfully
submitted by UpperResort6797 to adhdwomen [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 MileHighSpaces Apartments for rent in Denver

Apartments for rent in Denver
$750 OFF on first month!
🛏️ 1, 2 Beds 🛁 1 Bath 🐱🐶 Cats/Dogs
Discover your dream home in the heart of Denver's vibrant LoHi neighborhood! Just steps away from the neighborhood park, library, and the best local hotspots.
Renovated units with eco-friendly upgrades, modern kitchens, and comfortable amenities await you. Bring your furry friend to our community dog run, enjoy our available interior bike storage, and indulge in the convenience of in-unit laundry and reserved parking.
Comment below with an emoji that represents your excitement about living at Highland Park! 🎉🏢
Don't miss out on this amazing offer! Tag a friend who should join you in this vibrant community.
#LoHiDenver #NewHomeSweetHome #Denver #PetFriendlyCommunity #denver #apartments #denvercolorado #apartmentliving #ApartmentHunting #highlandpark #newhome #apartment #DenverLiving #moving
submitted by MileHighSpaces to u/MileHighSpaces [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 braveGNUworld Took my car for service and got a small chip on the bumper - anything I can do?

Took my car for service and got a small chip on the bumper - anything I can do?
Took my Mk8 in for the 1 year service and also had them swap out the stock wheels for some neuspeeds I got (see 2nd pic). When I got home I was walking around the car checking out the new wheels when I noticed this new chip. It has to be from the dealership because I know it wasn’t there when I was last in the hatch - I would’ve noticed 🙄
Is there anything I can do to at least make it less noticeable? I know a car is gonna get chips but it bums me out more that I wasn’t even the one who caused it!
submitted by braveGNUworld to GolfGTI [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Ok-Exam-3040 Is a car with 60k miles safe to take on a 8 hour road trip without recent servicing?

I have a 2019 car with just over 60,000 miles ok it. Oil has been changed in the past 2 months and it was repaired beginning of 2022. I tried to get in for a servicing before my 8 hour road trip (each way) but there was no space.
Is it a good idea to take my car on this trip or too risky and would renting be a better idea?
submitted by Ok-Exam-3040 to NoStupidQuestions [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 TermFine370 Hoping to help someone the way you all helped me.

Hi! This may be a little long but I wanted to share my experience cause I know there is a lot of ladies who are in the same boat with me and just need to hear something or anything to feel less alone, because I know how much pressure society, family, religion or ourselves put on towards being a mother. When I was 26 I found out I was pregnant, at the time - abortion was never a thought. The reason for that was because I was so naive and had no idea what I was getting into. Was hopeful for the future even tho the dad was a POS and we didn't have a pot to piss in - I just knew we could still make it work, because i had that desire to make it work, years later we are doing great. Now, I'm 32, I'm a little older, I'm actually less patient but still blooming from leaving that soul draining relationship I was in with her dad. I just knew I had to get through a small time frame (her being 2-5, hard years!) And everything would fall into place. It did. I'm finally here.
I got with a guy and we did the pull out method (never again) and I had a positive test 2 weeks later. I went through all the phases. Happy, scared, emotional, angry. I even got attached to the baby and could swear it was a boy. My daughter is always asking for a sibing and I'd finally be able to give one to her. Then, I started thinking about my future, thinking of all the things that would change and how it would put me into the entire opposite spot of where I wanted my life to be, where I just got out from. I just knew my only chance was an abortion, something once so far from my mind became front and center because I wasn't naive anymore, I knew exactly what was in store for me. I was not ready for that. I'm allowed to not be ready.
ultimately I made the call to the clinic and went for my consultation - without judgement and after going through the options I decided on SA. I picked SA cause you're sedated and don't think about what's happening. I was tired of thinking. The whole time at clinic, I felt at ease. Like I was doing the right thing although it once was against my moral fiber. I know the fighting we do with ourselves over this and I just want to assure you that if you are positive having a MA or SA is a good solution for your life and your circumstances then just trust your gut. Sometimes we have to turn our brain off and just listen to our body. Never once did my gut say run far away from here. It told me it was okay to be here.
When you're in these shoes, faced with such a incredibly hard decision it's so imperative to be with gentle hands in health care. My heart breaks for the women in banned states having to face this alone or with the threat of imprisonment and you just deserve soooo much more than that.
So I want to end this with, if you are certain you want to proceed with a MA or SA. Please be aware that there is a facility here in Florida, next to busses and airports, that can help you make this happen. They offer transportation in sensitive cases and they also have financial assistance. If you want more details let me know but like I said it's vital you have a good supportive system and are treated like the good person you are. I had mine at 930 a.m this morning and I had no pain, I didn't even remember it and now I'm just resting at home and I'm very comfortable right now but that can be the meds still lol. Just know you're not alone and I left feeling just as certain on my decision as when I got there. Just trust yourself.
submitted by TermFine370 to abortion [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Hungry-Quote2315 Big id please (north eastern Illinois)

Big id please (north eastern Illinois)
Recently got a lot of chigger bites on myself and my partner (I live in a studio apartment for school) and I was doing some cleaning before and after the landlord came to spray. Not sure what he did or used because he came when I wasn’t home and there was no notice of what day he was coming. This is a corner of the room to the bottom left of a large window. I live on the ground floor. It’s super tiny like about a grain of rice or so.
submitted by Hungry-Quote2315 to Insect [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Round-Department-620 Trying to go from Reserves to Active duty

I’m trying to go from Reservist to Active Duty. When I joined I was married with 4 kids so at the time reserves was the best option to be home. Now I’m divorced it’s me and my 4 kids active duty is my best option to provide that security for my kiddos. I’m 35 and I’ve completed 2 of my 6 year contract with the reserves. How possible is this and can I keep my same job or will I have to cross train. Whatever I need to do, at this point I will do it.
submitted by Round-Department-620 to Airforcereserves [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 dancingpoodle1110 My Mom Missed Some Payments and Her Health Policy was Terminated. IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR REINSTATEMENT?

My elderly mother's BCBS Medicare advantage plan was terminated for non-payment. She has always been very conscientious about paying ALL her bills, but somehow they got past her. She has been very ill for about a year with one thing or another, is half blind, and almost completely deaf. She has very little energy and needs help with most things. She was also in the hospital for a couple of days and released to my care for three weeks after, so wasn't even home to check her mail during part of the payment lapse. She misses a lot of phone calls because she can't hear and has no idea how to check voicemail, so wouldn't know if BCBS tried to call her. They now have my number as the first point of contact.
We are now setting up auto-drafts for all her bills so this won't happen again.
We have appealed the policy termination (detailing all the problems listed above) hoping it will be reinstated and are waiting for their determination.
Has anyone had any luck with this or does anyone have any advice that might help her cause or is she screwed?
submitted by dancingpoodle1110 to HealthInsurance [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 brensteven2005 Braces?

I do a lot of bending and some lifting at my job and have a hard time with my knees. I also have a hard time walking due to my ankles being unstable and rolling a lot. It was suggested I get braces for my knees and ankles. I have no idea what to look for. I would ask a professional but I currently do not have insurance and can't get physical therapy or anything. So I'm doing my best at home. Any ideas or help? Thanks!
submitted by brensteven2005 to ehlersdanlos [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Evelyn_Graves 23 TF4F Looking for longterm in Milwaukee WI

Hi I'm Evelyn I'm moving to downtown Milwaukee in a month (July 1st) and would love to be greeted by a beautiful lady lol.
About me: I'm 23 turn 24 on the 30th. I'm trans a year and 9 months on hormones. I enjoy writing gaming photography cosplay listening to music and watching film and television shows as well as D&D and MTG. I'm a huge geek my fandoms are DC (MARVEL is operated in my personal opinion aside from Spider-Man), STAR WARS (The prequels aren't as garbage as everyone makes them out to be) and I know this might seem like a weirder one but SAW I've actually met a number of people from the LGBTQ community whom if they like horror they like that franchise idk why but I do. Like I said I enjoy writing and have a few projects in the works actually. I stream on twitch and am super close to hitting affiliate. I've never actually cosplayed but I desperately want to. Film music is my jam which most people look at me like I'm a crazy person. I love nature, night city, and portrait photography. For work I'm a full time adult entertainer like onlyfans and camming and such. I like my work so if that's a deal breaker I understand but I'd ideally love to have a partner I can work with. I'm also wanting to become a professional dominatrix and open my own dungeon at some point. This might sound like a weird segway but as a trans woman I desperately wanna be a mom but obviously can't bare my own children. I am pre op and am still functional so if your willing to help with that down the road that'd be great too however not a requirement. I am legally blind and can't drive but I'm fairly functional so that's why I'm actually moving to Milwaukee so I can be more self sufficient. I only mention this because I feel like my future potential partner has a right to know however I wanna be reassuring and say that I'm capable of being independent I just can't drive that's pretty much my only huge limitation. I know this is long winded but I feel like honestly and transparency is important and I'd rather have everything on the table. If you managed to read all of this and are interested dm me with your favorite color mine is Royal Purple.
submitted by Evelyn_Graves to lesbianr4r [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Salty_daddy45 Waiver of jury trial.

submitted by Salty_daddy45 to HOA [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 Final_Replacement_41 People who knew someone who died in a freak accident, what happened?

A cousin of mine was electrocuted by a Dr. Pepper machine. His 2 children received $60,000 that their mom lost on bingo.
A mom went ice skating. Little slip, fell, all everyone saw was her bump her head lightly.
Family finished skating. On the ride home, she started speaking gibberish. Dad dropped kids at the grandparents, took mom to the er.
Brain swelling, coma, dead a week later.
My insurance guy was pulling a limb out of a large tree with a chain and a rope. He was behind the pickup, his wife was driving the truck. Rope snapped from the strain and chain snapped back and hit him in the head, killing him instantly. He was in his 50s. Nice guy, too.
Ironic thing, is this is exactly the sort of scenario he would describe as to why you need life insurance.
There was a person at the beach who got impaled by a flying beach umbrella. Horrible situation. Her husband was right beside her and she died within seconds.
A friend of a friend showed up at his girlfriend's apartment with a head wound. He didn't know how it happened. He also didn't know how he drove over there.
She took him to the ER where he ended up passing away.
He had his keys, wallet and phone on him.
The only thing we could think of is he might have tripped, fell and hit his head in the wrong spot.
My SIL’s aunt died of hypothermia. She went for a walk out in the hills in the winter. She knew the trail very well but got disoriented by a light snow fall and got lost. She got cold and tired, laid down by a rock and died of hypothermia. She was 100 yards from her car.
submitted by Final_Replacement_41 to throwawayaccount9617 [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 QuickAd8189 anxiety is a detriment at work

i need help with regulating my anxiety at work. i got a job two months ago; this job is very very very particular as it is a government job which handles money. it is also a customer service job and customers will give us a giant heap of paperwork which overwhelms me a lot. i also have a trainer by me at all times and she has to redirect me a lot. i know in my brain what i need; but i get flustered and make silly mistakes as a result. i have weekly evaluations and they never have anything good to say. there is a six month probationary period and im terrified and convinced im going to get fired. i really really need this job. getting fired is all i think about at work; my hands shake and i get incredibly flustered if im redirected multiple times in a transaction. i had a different person training me yesterday and i did very well because he lets me do my own thing and calmly lets me know if there’s a mistake. i take my anxiety meds before work and during lunch but it doesnt seem to be doing anything. any help is appreciated.
submitted by QuickAd8189 to Anxiety [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 badboybluessbaby Huh?

Huh? submitted by badboybluessbaby to TrollCoping [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 WorldlyPhilosopher Frieling Black Cube review

Frieling Black Cube review
I have completed my Black Cube set for now and wanted to share my experiences.
  1. 11” clad hybrid pan. First Black Cube I bought and I was very pleased.
  2. Matching 11” Frieling Küchenprofi splatter guard. My first Frieling purchase.
  3. 11” 7.5 qt clad stainless pot. Perfectly matching opening for sharing lids and splatter guard.
  4. 11” clad hybrid sauté pan.
I originally came to this brand through the splatter guard. Very good quality. Best splatter guard I had ever owned, which then made me look into their cookware.
The pans and pot speak for themselves. I like hybrid in pans but they sell identical clad stainless versions for less money. I also like the lids’ silicone rims and top handles that twist for venting or sealing steam.
Handles are welded which is cheaper and often considered lower quality than rivets. I like welded for a seamless inside and haven’t had a handle come off a welded pan yet.
My favorite synergy is that the splatter guard makes a perfect strainer on the pot. Works great even for very fine-grained pastas.
In summary, I think Frieling makes a great mid-priced option if you are looking for stainless and/or hybrid. Everything is compatible if you stick to a size class: 9”, 11”, or 13”. My “secret” tip is that Frieling’s Küchenprofi brand makes perfectly matching 9” and 11” splatter guards that can also be used as strainers.
submitted by WorldlyPhilosopher to cookware [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 evoterra Help me find the people behind these audio fiction productions!

Each month, I comb through the audio fiction debuts from the prior month. (Mad props to thecambridgegeek & hitch42 for their efforts in tracking down all those debuts!) and encourage the creators of the shows to keep releasing episodes and to submit their shows to The End when they are near the season finale or series conclusion.
That's what I like to do, but a lot of creators don't realize that they've not made it easy, or even possible, to contact them. Now with podcast hosting companies removing email addresses from RSS feeds, it's even worse.
So I once again turn to you, Reddit, to see if you happen to know who the peeps are behind the scenes of these new audio fiction shows:
If any of those look familiar, please reach out to the creators and suggest they add some easy contact info—email address, quick contact form, anything!—to their show's description. Assuming they want to hear from people who listen or would like to listen to their show.
Thanks in advance for your help. Sadly, I'll probably do this again the first of July with a new batch! [sigh]
submitted by evoterra to audiodrama [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:57 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 12 - Starting at the Bottom

--- Table of Contents ---
Spring 4985, 20 Buromoth
The armor Smith Nangran gave them fit much better than the pieces lent to them for the trip. Shon still hated it, but he hated it a lot less. Practice, he told himself, trying to picture Master Veon-Zih's face as he did so, you can accomplish anything with practice... Except Master Veon-Zih didn't wear armor.
"I thought we were going to learn plate, or at least half-plate..." Rerves whispered to his fellows as they adjusted their new armor, working the straps so they weren't too tight or too loose.
His whisper wasn't quiet enough, however, because Master Daunas laughed from where he stood beside Nangran, and the smith huffed. "So you want to try plate, do you, boy?" The Weapon Master asked a little too innocently.
Rerves looked up hopefully, "Is that an option, ser?" Shon swallowed nervously.
"Sure! Let's give it a try..." Master Daunas grinned, the look definitely sinister in Shon's opinion. "Got some plate for the big one, Nan?" He asked Nangran, who rolled his eyes before moving deeper into the forge to retrieve a set of battered but sparkling platemail.
Rerves rushed to remove his new, specially fitted, leather armor, while Thom looked on in envy. Shon half expected Thom to request his own set of the fully encasing metal, but the shy boy stayed quiet and instead settled with helping his friend strip off the leather and strap on the clanking plate. Rerves beamed but could barely lift his arms to don the helm.
"There you go, boy! Halfway to a Paladin already." Master Daunas called out as he turned Rerves by the shoulders and marched him, waddling under the metal's weight, out of the smithy. Shon followed silently, taking note of the guards looking down from the wall and some Squires elbowing each other and snickering in the courtyard.
The four weeks of watch rotation had started, giving the new boys time to catch up before the oldest Squires 'graduated' on the spring equinox. It was four weeks in which they trained from before dawn to after dusk in the basics and foundations, while the others had mostly free time outside of their six-hour watch. Which meant the new boys had an audience of off-duty seniors.
"Now all you need is a sword!" Master Daunas was saying to Rerves as he left the over-encumbered Squire in one of the sparring rings. He strode to the weapons rack and grabbed a sword and shield before returning and presenting them to the boy. Rerves grabbed the sword, but as he took the shield, his arm collapsed, the metal of his vambrace clanging loudly against his chausses. He was still trying to heft the shield into position when Master Daunas drew his own sword, "Now let's test it out, shall we?"
Rerves dropped the shield, gaping at the Weapon Master, "But... but," he scrambled for an excuse and settled on the live steel in his hand, "You don't have any armor, ser, what if..."
Master Daunas never stopped smiling, but his voice was finally serious, "Boy, if you can land a hit on me in that, then you deserve to graduate with the others this year." and he swung.
Rerves didn't really dodge; he pulled back and fell on his backside, scrambling on his butt and trying to roll over to push himself back up but barely able to move. Master Daunas hit him with the flat of the blade in the side with a resounding gong-like ring hard enough to help push Rerves over so he could struggle to his hands and knees. "Get up boy, if you're on the ground in a fight this early, you've already lost."
Shon watched in horror as the Weapon Master continued to hammer down on Rerves with the flat of his blade. The Squire did manage to get to his feet and retrieve his sword and shield eventually but he still couldn't lift them, flailing them weakly at the Weaponmaster's legs. Master Daunas dodged easily, even yawning lazily before he flicked his sword and disarmed the poor Squire again.
"Call match!" one of the Squires shouted from the sidelines, the small crowd of them all shaking their heads at the display.
Master Daunas laughed, but Rerves took the advice and called "Match, match!" as loud as he could before dropping to his knees, heaving in heavy breaths from just a few minutes of trying to move in the full armor.
"Match it is then," Master Daunas conceded, saluting the Squire with his sword before gesturing for the others, "Help your brother out of that boys. He did his best."
Shon and Thom rushed forward to help Rerves, but they weren't alone. The other Squires came forward, one with a water skin he presented to Rerves after the helm was removed, "You did better than Zihler did last year," another of them said with a comforting pat on the shoulder after Shon removed the breastplate.
"Huh?" Rerves let out a tired questioning grunt, and another Squire pulled him to his feet so they could get the legs off.
"There's one every year," one of the eldest said sagely, picking up the discarded armor and slinging it easily over his shoulder.
"Yeah, it was Jawsh in our year," another explained.
Master Daunas strode forward and clapped Rerves on the shoulder, giving him a little shake, "You'll be ready for plate eventually, boy, but not until your third or even final year. Grow stronger in leather, then banded mail, then half-plate. Everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up."
Rerves smiled weakly but had regained some of his confidence apparently because he managed to say, "You could have just told me that, ser..." which made Master Daunas laugh out loud again.
He didn't even bother to answer the Squire, just turned around and went back into the smithy, shouting at Nangran, "I told you it would be the big one this year! You owe me ten copper Nan!"
For the entire first week, the new Squires were instructed in the basic drills of their assigned sword types. It meant they couldn't truly work together -each sword having different techniques- but it also gave them a chance to get to know some of the older Squires who helped them early on. The year ahead of them had five Squires, one of the largest years in recent history. Kefir and Baradin both used one-handed longswords and shields and worked with Rerves. Uther and Rehlien both used large two-handed greatswords and helped Thom. Zihler was the only one who specialized in the bastard sword and worked with Shon. He wasn't left-handed, but Shon did all the exercises with both hands anyway, letting Zihler help him with the right first, then switching to using his left after he was confident he had them down.
During their second week, they were given their first sword forms. Like the kata Shon had been studying under Master Veon-Zih, the sword forms were meant to represent actual maneuvers to be performed in combat, and he took to them with even greater gusto than he had the simple drills.
"He's like a dancer..." Kefir whispered to Zihler as they watched Shon work through the form, without complaining, for what must have been the twentieth time that day.
Zihler nodded but also huffed, "I bet he flinches the first time we spar, though."
"I don't know..." Kefir muttered, then louder explained, "He's the one who bloodied Selv on the raid. Rerves said he trained under some old man fighter before he came here."
"We'll see," Baradin interjected, joining his fellows, "Master Daunas is on his way. He wants us to get out the sparring swords."
Zihler gave his brother Squire a lazy salute. Baradin was the unofficial leader of their year. It had chafed at first, and Zihler was still the most prone to defy him on occasion -usually when it didn't matter much- but over the course of their first year even he had stepped in line to Baradin's passive ability to take command. The three waved down Uther and Rehlien, who jogged over.
As Baradin had said, Master Daunas arrived a moment later with the resident Cleric close behind. "Fall in, Squires!" he bellowed to the practicing three, and Shon, Thom, and Rerves all quickly obeyed, standing side by side at stiff attention. "It's officially week three and time to start sparring," he informed them, gesturing for the senior Squires to move forward and exchange the real swords for wooden ones. He looked each of the three over carefully, then nodded to himself and said, "Thom and Rerves, face off."
Zihler noticed Shon's shoulders slump ever so slightly as he stepped away from the other two, who turned towards each other. They were obviously nervous. "Those are wooden swords, but this is a real fight. They will still hurt like a bit-" the Cleric cleared his throat, interrupting the Weaponmasters' use of profanity. Master Daunas coughed but continued, "Despite that, I don't want you to hold back, you fight like you train, and if you go easy on each other, you will go easy on a real opponent. You are not civilians, and neither is your opponent. This isn't a game. The fight won't end until one of you takes a killing or disabling blow. Every adult here, minus myself and Smith Nangran, is capable of healing any wounds you might give or receive. So again, no holding back. If I call 'hold,' that means to freeze, stop moving, hold your position. Now lay on!"
Rerves and Thom both swallowed down their fear and moved slowly, unsure what their first strike should be. As expected, the two did hold back, both from nervousness at not knowing what to do and honestly not wanting to hurt each other. Daunas sighed, but Zihler understood. It had taken him months before he could really hit his friends. And he was one of the faster ones to manage it. And even then, only really when they were in armor.
The two newbies eventually sped up but were still pulling their hits. They both flinched with each strike, many of which were going to leave decent bruises, but Master Daunas wouldn't call an end until one of them landed a killing or disabling blow hard enough to count. On the other side of the sparring ring, Zihler saw Shon narrow his eyes as he tapped his boot with his sword.
"Match!" Master Daunas called after a loud smack pulled Zihler's attention back to the sparring pair.
Thom dropped his sword, cradling his hand. Rerves rushed forward, "I'm sorry, are you okay?" he had apparently caught Thom on the knuckles unintentionally.
"Both of you are aiming for your opponent's weapon instead of his body. You only hit their sword to parry or deflect. Hitting their weapon won't end a fight." Master Daunas instructed, "Practice boys, it's the only real way to learn, I can talk until my face turns blue, but you won't know until you make and take a few hits. Shon, you're up, Rerves, get ready."
Shon stepped into the ring, and something changed. Zihler couldn't describe it, but Rerves obviously felt something because he met his friend's blue eyes and swallowed. "Lay on!" Master Daunas shouted, and Rerves immediately raised his shield.
Just in time too, because Shon came in like a hurricane. He held his sword one-handed, but it still rang off Rerves' shield like a hammer. Rerves tried to counter as his form dictated, but Shon twisted his sword, taking it in both hands and sliding it along Rerves' blade before pivoting it up and swinging hard with a sickening 'thwak' against Rerves' shoulder. The larger boy immediately dropped his sword and reached for the wound with his shield arm while Master Daunas shouted, "Match!" and Shon stepped back.
He didn't apologize or rush forward as Rerves had done for Thom. The five senior Squires all stared at him, but Shon just bowed to Rerves while the Cleric came forward to check his arm.
"Well, I'll be damned," Master Daunas said with a wide smile, "It's about time someone listens to reason, but can you take as good as you give, boy?" Shon just arched a silent black eyebrow at the Weaponmaster, who laughed and took Thom's two-handed sword from him, handing it to Zihler, "Don't hold back, because this one certainly won't." he instructed the senior.
Zihler saluted the Weaponmaster and stepped into the sparring ring as Shon brought his sword to the ready position. As Zihler met Shon's eyes, his throat turned dry, forcing him to swallow as Rerves had done. His full year of more experience wasn't enough to prepare him for Shon's stare. The boy's icy eyes seemed to bore right through him. He wasn't at all nervous or scared. He didn't even seem determined or angry. Just cold. Like he could take Zihler's head and not lose a wink of sleep over it.
"Lay on!"
Zihler braced himself for an attack, but Shon didn't rush in as he had for Rerves. He maintained his guard and his stare until the senior Squire advanced. Inching forward, Zihler looked for the opening he knew had to be there. Shon didn't have enough experience yet to truly compete with the older Squire and when he swung, he swung hard. Master Daunas would accept nothing less.
Shon managed a parry, but both swords shook with the force of the hit. He didn't flinch and countered just as hard, telegraphing his attack and taking a breath too long, giving Zihler an opening. Shon was going to take the senior in the neck just as Zihler had imagined, and what was worse, he still hadn't blinked or changed his expression.
Zihler aimed for Shon's ribs, expecting the boy to redirect his sword and block the same way he had for Rerves. He didn't, and Zihlers wooden blade smacked him at full force in the side. If his ribs didn't crack, they were at least bruised, and Zihler felt himself flinch on Shon's behalf as the younger boy couldn't help but fold over the attack. Shon's swing lost some of its momentum, but he didn't stop, continuing to follow through, towards Zihlers neck, until "Match!"
Shon's sword stopped after barely tapping Zihler, showing that he hadn't lost control of the weapon and still had enough sense to pull the strike once the match was over. Would he really have hit the Squire full force if Master Daunas hadn't stopped them? Zihler felt himself sweating and had to swallow again. Shon finally blinked and stepped back, reaching for his ribs and flinching in pain as he gripped them.
The Cleric rushed forward, already speaking a prayer, and Zihler muttered a quiet, "Sorry..." as Shon flinched again at the healer's touch.
Shon furrowed his brow, then asked, "Why?" making Zihler blink in confusion, "We weren't supposed to hold back." Shon explained.
"Yeah, but..." Zihler started,
"You could've blocked that. It's the same technique you used in your first match," Master Daunas instructed Shon sternly.
Shon looked down at his sword, then back up at the Weapon Master. His eyes darted momentarily to Zihler before he muttered, "If I'd been faster, I could have ended it before he put too much force behind it..."
"You took the hit on purpose?!" Zihler shouted in disbelief.
Shon just shrugged, his ribs healed enough that it would only hurt a little to move, "I wasn't fast enough."
"Next time, block," Master Daunas chastised the younger boy, "Even if the blow had lost half its strength, you would've been injured." Shon hesitated, and Zihler noticed him clenching his fist at his side before he nodded in answer.
The bell for lunch sounded its twelve long rings, filling the courtyard as Master Daunas waved the boys towards the weapons rack, signaling an end to the practice. Zihler’s fellows joined him as he handed the practice weapon back to Thom. He didn't speak until the three newbies moved far enough away not to hear, "That was scary..."
"He really went all out, didn't he?" Kefir asked. Zihler could only nod.
"Cold-blooded," Rehlien commented.
"You have no idea," Zihler confirmed, "Even the seniors hold back more than he did."
The five turned toward the fortress and lunch, Baradin saying, "He could've though, did you see how easily he stopped his swing?"
"I felt it," Zihler mumbled, rubbing his neck. But he'd also seen clearly that Shon wouldn't have had the match not been called.
"I couldn't do that..." Uther mumbled, more to himself than the others, his shoulders slumping.
The other four immediately shifted their attention to their fellow. The poor boy had struggled through every stage of their combat training. Baradin patted him on the back, trying to sound soothing, "It’s only been a year. You have plenty of time."
Uther sighed heavily, "That was his first match, and he's already better than I am..." none of the others had an answer for that.
"I can't do this..."
Shon looked up from his book to furrow his brow at the older Squire. Uther looked as dejected as ever, staring unseeing at his own books spread out on the table in front of him. They showed drawings of fighting forms being performed step by step with explanations detailing each one's use.
"Uther..." Kefir whispered, reaching out to rub his friend's back, "You can..."
"I can't!" Uther slammed his book shut, and every Squire at the table jumped in surprise, "I don't want to. I hate this. I hate all of this." he crossed his arms over the table and dropped his head into them.
Shon tried to go back to his book. It was none of his business. He hardly knew the boy, and even if he did, what would he say? What could any of them say? And yet he listened as the others tried to comfort the frustrated Squire. "You're the best at our theology and law lessons, though, Uther. We can help you with the rest. We still have time."
"I don't want to fight..." Uther spoke into his arms, "I never did... I just thought... I thought that if I tried hard enough, I would learn..."
"You will."
"I don't want to." he was barely audible now, even in the absolute silence of the library.
At the end of the table, two boys a year older than Uther exchanged looks and silent nods before they stood and came to kneel beside him, "You don't have to." one of them said. Shon looked up again.
The other rubbed the Uther's back gently, "There was a boy a year older than us, his name was Karlin, he had a hard time too..."
Uther turned his head just enough to look through his arms at the Squire, "He gave up?"
"He went to train as a Cleric instead." the first said, "We got a letter from him last year, he's really happy, Uther. Maybe..." he hesitated, and his friend picked up for him,
"We would never encourage you to quit. If you want to stay, we'll help you. Everyone here will." he gestured to the table at large and then to the rest of the fortress beyond the library door. Uther lifted his head, and Shon nodded when he met the older boy's eyes. Though what he could do, he still didn't know.
The senior Squire continued, "But if you really don't want to, we will support you in that too."
Uther looked around at all of them, then whispered, "It's not too late?"
"It's never too late," the Paladin on duty chimed in without looking up. Perhaps not wanting to interject too much into the Squires' group effort to comfort their own.
"You've only been here a year, and Karlin already showed it's possible to transfer. If that's really what you want."
"I... I think I'll go pray..." Uther finally managed to choke out. The two boys stood and helped him to his feet but let him walk to the door on his own. Shon went back to his book.
He'd wanted this so badly it had hurt. He couldn't imagine being in Uther's position... But he also felt a strange sort of pride in his fellow Squires. They had stood up to help their fellow without hesitation, even now that he left, they weren't judging him for his voiced doubts. And even Uther himself. Shon had to imagine that it took a lot of strength to admit to the others that he might give up, that this path wasn't for him.
The next day Uther left Hamerfoss.
Along with the fundamentals of their swords, the new Squires were caught up in lessons on kingdom law. As Paladins, it would be their responsibility to enforce the law in each of the ten provinces, each with their own nuances. However, kingdom-wide laws always superseded province laws, so the new Squires were expected to know as much of that as possible before they started with the others.
Today they were learning about magic regulation...
"You should've all learned the basic theory of arcane magic before reaching maturity..." the Paladin giving their lecture began, waiting for their nods before continuing, "So you know that, theoretically, anyone can practice arcane magic. With enough study and funding. The kingdom has granted the Mages Guild a leading voice in the laws surrounding the use of arcane magic, and the power to enforce them with the assistance of the local Temple representatives."
The classroom was made to hold twenty five Squires and so felt particularly large and empty with only the three of them seated in the front row taking silent notes as the instructor spoke. He explained how the teleport system of gates worked within the Guild. That transport could be purchased to instantly travel between Guild towers, but that permission had to be granted from the destination if crossing province lines; otherwise, travelers would be trapped in the Guild and heavily fined, even imprisoned in some cases. He touched briefly on the cost cap of certain magical items, such as bags of holding and weather-resistant cloaks, to prevent price gouging. And handed out a list of outlawed magic items they would be required to memorize in their own time for a test at the end of this training period. It mostly consisted of anything that could cause outright harm, rare and valuable spell components for powerful spells, or items that aided in stealth that could be used for thievery. Though with the proper licensure, some experienced allies of the Temples were permitted to use many of them.
"Arcane magic has the potential to be very dangerous, and as such, all practicing Mages are required to be trained and registered as members of the Guild. Only Archmages, the highest Mage rank, are permitted to conduct research outside the Guild and take apprentices at their leisure. Which brings us to Sorcerers..."
Shon looked up from his notes. Their teacher was writing on the board again. At the top, he scrawled 'Sorcerers' then drew two lines down from the word to 'Clearance' and 'Sealing.' "When a Sorcerer awakens, they are required to..." he started, but Thom and Rerves both quickly raised their hands.
"What's a Sorcerer?" Rerves asked after the instructor nodded his way. Thom put down his hand, having had the same question.
The instructor looked at Shon and asked, "Do you know what a Sorcerer is?" when Shon shook his head, the man looked disapproving, "Then why didn't you ask?"
"They did..." Shon muttered down to his notebook. The teacher sighed and Shon glared at his notes. He would've asked if Thom and Rerves hadn't... assuming the answer wasn't made clear as the lesson continued.
Rather than further chastise him, the teacher moved on to answer the question, "A Sorcerer is someone who possesses natural arcane magic. They are born with power over one of the five elements. The power usually manifests around puberty, and when it does, the Sorcerer in question is taken to the Mages Guild. There they are either trained to control it -taking many years of study- or the power is sealed." He turned his back on the boys to continue writing on the board. Under 'Clearance', he wrote 'training' and 'testing', and under 'Sealing', he wrote 'tattoo' and 'item.'
"A Sorcerer with a clearance is the same in practice as a Mage who is registered with the Guild. Most Sorcerers, however, have their power sealed, preventing its use,"
"Why?" Thom asked, then quickly clapped his hand over his mouth, embarrassed for interrupting.
The instructor didn't seem to mind the interruption so much as the question itself. His eyes went wide in his disbelief as he looked down at the boys, "It is incredibly dangerous. Earth Sorcerers have been known to cause small earthquakes; Water and Air Sorcerers can drown or steal the air right from the lungs; Ice Sorcerers can freeze an entire room; and Fire Sorcerers... well, they are the most destructive. And all of that can be unintentional. Their magic is driven by their emotions, and if they can't control it, they are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. This is also why they are usually sealed with a tattoo..." he tapped the word on the board, "The sealing tattoo blocks their ability to use any kind of magic. It locks their energy, and thus their magic, in their body, preventing its manipulation. It is also given to any Mages, Druids, Clerics, and even Paladins that break the law and endanger the kingdom."
Rerves opened his mouth but then remembered to raise his hand, waiting for permission before he asked, "But don't Clerics and Paladins lose their God's blessing and their magic if they use it for evil?"
The teacher sighed again, though sadly this time, "Only Saint Giorgos reveres law itself as holy, and not every God holds the same standards for evil."
"Horsa..." Rerves growled under his breath, and the instructor nodded solemnly in agreement, his eyes flashing angrily at the mention of Hengist's brother and nemesis.
"Spells that are acceptable in Horsa-controlled provinces are not always permitted in Hengist's lands and vis versa. The Temples prefer to transfer those caught performing illegal acts with magic to a province where it is permitted, but occasionally, even a Cleric or Paladin can be tattooed to prevent further spell use. In some provinces, and you will learn more about this later, they even tattoo non-magic users who commit violent crimes. To prevent them from ever learning dangerous magic in the future."
Shon stared at the word scrawled in his notebook. Sealing tattoos worked by sealing the person's energy in their body, their ki... would it prevent Monk abilities too? The bell ending the lesson interrupted his thoughts, and Shon looked up to the teacher with the others, waiting for official dismissal before they would close their notebooks, "You should have that list of contraband memorized by the end of the week," the instructor reminded them as he began to erase the board, "Dismissed."
A rabbit made of fire hopped its way around the open cage. She sat on the floor, focusing on it, forcing it to keep the shape she willed while she stroked the cat's crimson-scaled head. The cat rested its entire front half in her lap, its lower legs splayed out on the ground, limp, too weak to move. She fought back tears as it tried to lift one great paw to bat at the bunny. She let the cat hit it, even made the flame rabbit fall down, pinned under the red claws. Not all of her treasures could touch her fire, but this one could, so she would do this for it at least. It purred in triumph at catching the flaming bunny but closed its eyes a moment later, letting out a ragged breath.
It was dying. They all died eventually, but it didn't stop the pain. She sniffed, trying to keep the tears from falling as she let the fire go. Snuffed out like her treasure.
"Come on, Red... it’s time to go..." Ran whispered into the cage.
She shook her head, stroking the large cat's side. Its breathing had slowed even further, "Not yet," she choked, then sniffed again.
Brom rested a hand on Ran's shoulder, "Give her a little longer."
"The Archmage..."
"He can wait," Brom whispered.
Her tears finally started to fall, streaming silently down her cheeks and over her scales, the same shade as this treasure, the first treasure she'd ever pet. It had lived longer than the others, somehow, and was one of the few she was capable of touching for more than a few moments. "Why?" she asked the journeymen, not really expecting an answer she could accept.
They squatted down outside the cage together, and Ran answered, "Their bodies can't handle the magic. They're animals with dragon power. We're trying Red, but we haven't figured out how to stop it yet..."
"Am I going to die too?" she asked. The cat's breathing slowed further, her tears dripping onto its head and sizzling as they landed.
"No, Goldy, no... You're different... you're..." Brom struggled to find an explanation.
"A Sorcerer Red," Ran provided, "And a really powerful one."
Her treasure breathed its last, letting the air out slowly until it was unmoving in her lap. She cried silently. Curling around the large cat that was too heavy for her to lift, she cried into its neck, holding it close.
Brom crawled into the cage, but he didn't touch her, "Come on, Goldy, maybe the next generation..." he braved grabbing her arm, flinching at the heat of her skin and pulling her out of the cage as silent tears continued to fall. She tried to control herself but couldn't and fell to her knees as soon as she was out. Brom pulled quickly away, shaking his burned fingers. "Oh, Goldy... please don't..."
She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stop crying while also keeping her power pulled in, so she wouldn't catch any of the scattered straw or her caretakers' robes on fire. Her eyes flew open when a thick heavy blanket wrapped around her, and strong arms held it tight to her.
"I've got you, Red... It's okay to cry..." she could feel the antifire spell on the blanket press into her skin, but past that was Ran's arms, and a moment later, a second set, Brom's, wrapped her in a tight embrace. It was the only way they could hug her, and she was grateful enough that she let herself go, her shoulders bobbing as she sobbed and wailed for the loss of her treasure... and for herself.
--- Table of Contents ---
Thanks for making it this far, you are the real MVP
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