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2023.06.04 12:11 Thick_Mick_Chick Windows to the Soul:Shiloh's Final Battle
It'd been a busy week. She'd practically begged the clock to go faster at work this afternoon, knowing full well she had the weekend off. Being a police dispatcher? You needed those "mental health breaks" that so many sing virtues about. It'd been a rough mental health week, for sure.
Tish recognized the number on the caller I.D. lt was Ol Shiloh. He'd been a paratrooper in Vietnam, and he came back stateside without so much of a scratch on him physically. Mentally? He saw "gooks" (Ol Shiloh's completely politically incorrect term for the Viet Cong as well as the eponymous Charlie) at the bottom of the basement stairs and in the shower waiting for him to enter the bathroom. As a little girl, Tish knew Ol Shiloh had a good heart but a feeble mind. His visual and auditory hallucinations made him the laughing stock of many of Eerie's child residents who pointed, snickered, and rolled their finger at the side of their temple, indicating he was crazier than a shithouse rat. Ol Shiloh sounded legitimately scared when he called, though. This was not an emotion Tish was familiar with. Nothing rattled Ol Shiloh even with his advanced case of post-traumatic stress disorder. He'd known Tish's parents, and? Oddities aside? Ol Shiloh was a good man. So? Speaking to him had never presented a challenge until today, and, Oh, what a challenge it was...
"Eerie 911. Will this be police, fire, or medical?" Tish had picked up on the 2nd ring. "Ginny? Ginny Lynn? Is that you? " The normally loquacious Shiloh queried. "Shiloh? Hey! Is everything okay?" Tish inquired. Tish was the nickname given to her by her boyfriend, Craig, who Ginny never called by that name. His nickname was Gomez. They were the local Halloween decorating contest champions and adored everything scary, thus the nicknames given to each: Gomez and Morticia from Addams family fame. "Naw, Ginny girl. Ain't okay at all." Ol Shiloh was not himself. "What's happening?" Tish's mounting concern was palpable. "Nothing right now. It was last night." Ol Shiloh spoke, barely above a whisper. Remaining ever so patient, Tish replied, "What happened last night, Shiloh? You don't sound like yourself, and it's worrying me." "Ginny, don't you worry your pretty lil head about me. Harry & Virginia did a fine job raising you. Guess it didn't take in your lil sister, considering she turned out to be the town doorknob. Everybody's had a turn at that girl." Granted, Ol Shiloh was never known to mince his words, but this was strong even for him. What was even worse? He wasn't wrong. Time to get him reigned back in. "Well, I don't think you called to talk to me about my sister's promiscuity. What's going on with you, Shiloh?" Tish was sensing his reluctance to just "spit it out. " It was as if he was having 2nd thoughts about placing the call to begin with. "I had visitors last night." Shiloh barely spoke above a whisper. "Visitors?" Tish queried. Ol Shiloh never had visitors. Hell, he'd been living all by himself every sense Rose died. His saintly wife was married to him 50 years, only a month before she passed away from a fatal heart attack. To say Ol Shiloh was lost? That was an understatement. Shiloh was nothing without Rose. He met her in August of 68, right after he came back stateside from Vietnam in May of that same year. It was love at 1st sight for Ol Shiloh, but Rose needed convincing. She mistakenly thought Shiloh was "a Mama's boy" because he worshipped the ground Rose walked on. He was not. He was simply in love for the 1st and last time. Tish was really surprised with how well Ol Shiloh was able to pull through the 2nd roughest time in his life with the aid of Eerie's townsfolk. And? As Elton John famously quoted? When it comes to Ol Shiloh? I'm still standing. This? This was different. This was not the Shiloh she'd known for the last 53 years of her life. "Ginny, they were kids. Well, they looked like kids, but..." Ol Shiloh trailed off. He shut down again. "Looked like kids? What made you think they weren't kids, Shiloh?" Tish was nervous and ancy. This felt wrong. Something was off. "There were 2 of them. A boy, dark hair, pale skin, and probably about 12 years old. He had a lil girl with him about 7, also dark hair & pale skin." Shiloh was intrepid. Tish quietly listened as Gomez and some of the other deputies were laughing in the office behind her. She gave them a scornful look, and the guys piped down. "They'd knocked at my front door about an hour after the sun went down. I didn't have the porch light on. The screen door was shut and locked, but the wooden door was open. I turned the porch light on so I could see them better. They were both looking down at their feet. The boy whispered something but I couldn't hear, so I asked him to speak up," Shiloh let the flood gates burst forward. "Sir? May we use your phone? We've gotten lost and are scared. We need to call our mother. Please, let us in." The dark-haired boy requested. "I've not seen you kids around here before in my life. Who's your parents?" Shiloh knew everyone in Eerie, Indiana, but he'd never seen these odd looking kids. "Sir? Please, let us in. We need to call our mother. She'll be so worried." The dark-haired boy practically recited word for word what he'd already previously said, which really riled Shiloh up. "Boy, you deaf?", I asked, "Who's your folks?" Shiloh continued to give Tish the play by play. "Sir? Please. We are cold. We are hungry and we are scared. Please, let us in." The dark-haired boy sounded rehearsed and mechanical. "NO! There's something not right here." Ol Shiloh didn't survive a hot tour in the jungle because he didn't have good instincts. "Sir, please, if you could just let us in." The little dark-haired girl then chimed in. Ol Shiloh knew instinctively not to trust these 2 but found himself being drawn to them paradoxically. His hand reached for the storm door to open it even though every fiber in his being told him not to. "What the hell are you kids cause you ain't human?!" Ol Shiloh was more nervous now than when he was a tunnel rat. Both children looked up and to Shiloh simultaneously. What he saw scared him worse than any night he'd spent in jungle. Their eyes were black, not just the pupil. The Iris, cornea, and pupil were all black but not just any black. The deepest black, pure obsidian. The answers to all of the galaxy's most burning questions were in those pitch black bottomless depth eyes. "Shiloh Svengaard, let us IN!" both children stared into Shiloh's pale milky blue eyes as he stared back into their black ones. "NO. NO, NOW GO AWAY!" Shiloh slammed the wooden door and locked it. He watched as the black eyed children walked to the end of his driveway and onto James Dean Boulevard. They went off into the night and Ol Shiloh didn't see them anymore. "So, you thought they'd return?" Tish was a tad overwhelmed. Ol Shiloh had audio and visual hallucinations but it was always fellow soldiers, the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese Army. It sure as hell wasn't black eyed tweens. "Ginny girl, I don't think they'll return. I know it. They're coming for me. I know they are." Delusions of persecution certainly isn't anything new to Tish when it came to Ol Shiloh but this was different. Shiloh was full of doubt and self defeat. Never in his life had Ol Shiloh backed down from a fight. This? This was uncharted territory. "Want Don to swing by on patrol tonight? Craig and I are having a lil evening out so he won't be on. Don would be glad to do it, Shiloh. Really." Comforting and reassuring Ol Shiloh was Tish's main concern at the moment. "Yeah, Ginny Girl. Have Don cruise by my place if he would. Maybe a patrol car will keep these evil fucking little bastards away from me and my house. Best part of those lil sons a bitches dripped down their Mama's leg when she was getting pregnant with 'em!" Ol Shiloh always had a way with words. "Okay. I'll tell him but remember to use the non emergency line next time, Shiloh. Can't tie 911 up with non emergent calls." Tish gently scolded. "Fuck that non emergency number, Ginny girl! It prompts me to press 1 for English and 2 for the ESPENOIL (pronounced ESPN OIL) and bullshit! I just call 911 and get ahold of you!" Shiloh wasn't about to call an automated line. That just wasn't how he did things. Tish was the one that could handle his problems. She was the good sister. "Okay, okay, Shiloh. I'll tell Don. You just take it from me. Rose wouldn't want to see you like this." Tish was truly concerned. "Ginny girl, my Rosie can't see anything anymore." And with that? He hung up the phone. The guys were still hanging out in the office, albeit much quieter. "Sorry 'bout that. We didn't know you were on the phone. We wouldn't have been telling jokes if we knew you were on the phone." Gomez sheepishly looked down at the table where he was seated with 2 other deputies, Don & Bubba. "It wouldn't have mattered. Ol Shiloh was ranting so much he didn't even hear you guys." Tish dismissed. "Ol Shiloh? What put a hair across his ass?" Don asked. "He said 2 kids came by last night about an hour after dark, wanting to be let in the house. He was uncharacteristically afraid. He said they just kept repeating to let them in so they could call their mother. He felt something was off, something wasn't right." Tish trailed off. "Kids? Whose kids?" Gomez spoke up. "He didn't know. He even asked the kids who their parents were but they just kept asking to come in the house." Tish replied. "Anyway, he said when he really got scared was when both kids looked up at him and their eyes were black. Their eyes were completely black." Tish kept relaying everything Ol Shiloh told her. Gomez, Don & Bubba looked at her as if she'd grown a 2nd head. "I'm just telling you what he said." Tish defended. "When he saw those black eyes? He panicked, slammed and locked the wooden door and told them to go away. They did." Tish finished. "So what does Lt. Dan want us to do with a couple of kids with colored contacts pranking the local crazy Vietnam Vet?" Don sighed. "I offered for you to swing by his place on patrol tonight. He was pleased with that." Tish informed. "FFS. Fine. Bubba and I can swing by a few times tonight as long as it shuts that old crazy bastard up." Don resigned to his fate. "You know, Don? No one will ever accuse you of being too caring." Tish just rolled her eyes. "BTW? What was the joke you guys were laughing at?" Tish suddenly remembered. "There was a young Indian warrior who asked the tribe's chief one day how he decided on all of the babies' names when they were born since he was given the honor of naming all of the children"... Bubba began. "He said, "My son, if there is an eagle flying over when a child is being born? I call that child Eagle Flying Over. If there is snow gently falling when a child is being born? I call that child Snow Gently Falling, but tell me, Two Dogs Fucking, why do you ask?" Bubba finished to a 2nd round of uproarious laughter. "For Christ's sake, Bubba. You ain't got a lick of sense!" Gomez wiped a tear of laughter from his eye and proceeded to leave he and Don in charge while he and Tish left for the day.
They got into the SUV and headed towards the Blue Bayou Creole restaurant. Most quaint and quirky hometowns have that one little restaurant everyone loves. The Blue Bayou was Eerie, Indiana's version. The seafood buffet on Friday nights were always a hit. As much as Tish & Gomez were home bodies? They did enjoy an occasional night at the Blue Bayou.
Bubba and Don drank coffee and told more dirty jokes. Swinging by Ol Shiloh's place a few times tonight will help break up the monotony. Poor ol bastard didn't mean any harm. He was just messed up in the head. Kids with all black eyes? What the hell was that all about, anyway?
Ol Shiloh really wanted to believe Tish. He really did. He knew, deep down inside, if Ginny, Craig and the boys at Eerie PD couldn't help him? No one could. Well, he has his shot gun on the rack, but who would threaten to shoot children? He saw enough of that shit cleaning out villages of their denizens back in jungle. He never intended to live that kind of hell, again. Strange looking kids or not, they still at least looked like kids. He just couldn't bring himself to shoot a child.
He was nodding off in his recliner. The sun was dipping below the horizon.
Tish & Gomez sat and ate and caught up with the day's activities. "Ol Shiloh was really that scared, huh?" Gomez asked Tish in a low voice so others couldn't overhear. "Yeah. Yeah, he was. It was unsettling." Tish was clearly still bothered. "I'll remind Don later on tonight when I check in, I promise." Gomez reassured. "Please, do. I've never heard fear in his voice before. It's really got me shook." Tish slowly relaxed and let the stress melt away as she took another spoonful of gumbo. "Consider it done." Gomez smiled and began eating as well.
Was it a knock? He couldn't be sure. The house was dark but Shiloh knew his own home. He slowly got up from the recliner and proceeded to the door. Could it be? He hoped not. Even as much as he knew those little demons were going to return? He had really hoped he'd be wrong. One quick look through the glass of the wooden door proved he was not. There they were: same dark-haired pale boy and girl but there was something different this time. There was a 3rd party out there but the darkness prevented him from making out who it was. This 3rd party was taller and bigger, clearly an adult but that was the only clear thing.
"Please, Shiloh, let us in. We're cold. We're hungry. Our mother is worried." Both children said in unison. The 3rd party waited in the wings. "I don't know you little mother fuckers so how did you know my name?" Shiloh raged. He was still scared but more angry now.
"Rosie told us." Both children simultaneously chirped happily.
Wait, what? Rosie? Rosie as in my Rosie? The Rosie I cruelly lost just 4 January's ago? "ROSIE? What the hell you mean Rosie?" Ol Shiloh thought that he'd lost what little mind he had left. Just then? Something happened that flipped Ol Shiloh's world upside down.
"Shiloh Shenandoah? Is that you, my love?" Rosie. It was Rosie. Bigger than shit, it was his beloved wife of over 50 years. How, though? It couldn't be. He saw her on the slab in the morgue when he had to identify her. It couldn't be. She was 4 years in the ground! Yet, there she stood behind the black eyed children looking at him with the same set of obsidian black eyes.
"Rosie? That can't be you. You died a month after our 50th wedding anniversary! You've been gone 4 years!" Ol Shiloh's mind was reeling and he didn't know what to do.
"Don't you love me, anymore, my dear? I thought you'd be so happy to see me." Rosie smiled a smile that would have otherwise been beautiful if it weren't sitting below 2 pitch black eyes.
"Don't ask silly questions, Rosie. You're the only one for me. You always have been. You always will be." Shiloh was opening the screen door. The dark-haired pale children grabbed the storm door from the other side and pulled, Rosie with her sinister grin and black eyes moved forward.
"Let us in, Shiloh." The children and Rosie crossed the threshold and, immediately afterwards? Shiloh let out a scream coming from the death throws. As painful as it was? At least the ripping out of his throat by the children's mouths was, mercifully, quick.
"Bubba! You are one redneck, peckerwood cracker!" Don rolled his eyes as he drove along at a steady pace patrolling. "You know I'm right! You just don't want to admit it!" Bubba was getting equally irritated with Don in his response. Don's wife, Allison, was, indeed, Tish's little sister. She was also "the town doorknob" as Old Shiloh not so eloquently called her. She was well known to everyone as Eerie's town slut even though she married Don 10 years ago. Guess it's true what the song says, you can't turn a ho into a housewife.
"Dude, I know you love her but she's always gonna be the town whore, Man" Bubba tried backpedaling at least some.
"Will you shut up? Will you just shut the fuck up? I'm tired of hearing this shit!" Don lost it and blew up on Bubba. Bubba, in turn, shut down and stopped speaking.
They rolled onto James Dean Boulevard and proceeded to Ol Shiloh's place. It was dark, lonely and isolated. Shiloh was never one for neighbors, but something seemed even more off. Something just didn't seem right. Isn't that what Tish described earlier when Shiloh spoke to her on the phone? She said she heard fear. They'd never known Ol Shiloh to be fearful. Today? All of that changed.
Don & Bubba slowly crept up Shiloh's long driveway. Don tried rolling the spotlight on the cruiser up onto Shiloh's front porch. It was still a weak beam of light but was getting brighter. "What the fuck?" Don hit the brakes. "What is it?" Bubba looked at Don like he was absolutely crazy. "The door is open. Actually? Both of them are." Don shone the spotlight onto the open screen and wooden doors. They could tell both doors were open but could see nothing else due to the darkness.
"I don't like this, Bubba." Don was intrepid and softly pressed on the accelerator.
"Don, should we call Tish & Gomez? I mean, I know it's their night out but..." Bubba trailed off.
They sat in the driveway next to Ol Shiloh's porch. Other than both front doors being open? They couldn't see a thing.
Don and Bubba slowly approached the porch, guns drawn. It was dark but something was lying just inside the open front doors. As they advanced? It was boots. Jump boots that had a high polish shine. Those boots were connected to legs. Shiloh's legs.
"Jesus Christ, call for a bus!" Don yelled for Bubba to radio in for an ambulance.
Shiloh laid at the entrance to his home, flat on his back, staring with dead cold wide open eyes straight to and through the ceiling. A look of abject horror plastered all over his face. His throat was ripped out almost to his spinal cord.
"Oh, God, I'm gonna puke!" Bubba ran back outside where the evening's coffee went all over the sidewalk.
"Call the coroner, too. This is gonna be a God damn circus!" Don didn't attempt to get a pulse considering Shiloh's carotid arteries and jugular veins had been viciously ripped out.
Bubba wiped his mouth and started calling all of the necessary people. Don stood next to Shiloh with his hands holding his head in disbelief.
"Our 1st kill was a success." The dark-haired pale boy said to the creature that looked like Rosie.
"It was this time. We must improve. We must refine. If we don't evolve? We wither and die. What would the point be to just stop at the 1st kill? The colony could never advance if we never pursued other avenues to further our agenda." The creature that looked like Rosie opined.
The dark-haired pale boy and girl nodded in sync with everything the creature that looked like Rosie said. Is this how their occupation of Terra was really going to commence? Given everything the Alliance taught them? They thought the humans would be more violent and aggressive. Perhaps? The distant study of the Terrestrials proved incorrect in practice in comparison to theory. Perhaps the Terrestrials will gladly cease resistance when they realize just how futile it will be.
PART 1: The Windows to the Soul: Shiloh's final battle END
submitted by Thick_Mick_Chick
to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 09:57 Ill-Ad5218 Importance of decarboxylation - Cannabinoids in Raw Cannabis vs Decarbed Product - Benefits & Differences Between Cannabinoids Exsisting in Natrual Form vs. Decarboxylized Cannabinoids
Decarboxylation is a very important step in the process of making a cannabis concentrate. In short and blunt lamens terms decarboxylation is heating of cannabis to activate the appropriate cannabinoids. Heat and cold are the Extraction Technicians best friend, when controlled for. THCa is the naturally occurring form of THC exsisting in raw cannabis form where as THC is not present in raw cannabis. THCa is tetrahydracannabinolic acid, THC being the former word less acid, Tetrahydracannabinol.
The most important reason behind decarbing is the activation of the acid groups of compounds into their psychotropic active forms. While there are medicinal and therapeutic benefits to THCa and other Acid forms of cannabinoids, they are not therapeutic via combustion and can only be used to induce immediate medicinal therpaeutic effect in transdermal absorption, edibles, rso, tinctures etc. Though extended lomg term benefits of THCa have been suggested by studies. THCa is not psychotropic however. Very few psychoactive psychotropic benefits can be experienced from raw cannabis flower prior to decarboxylation.
Decaroxylation is one of the most important steps in cannabis concentrate processing, but is a part of cannabis use regarldess of How it is used. Decarboxylation is the addition of heat to raw cannabis or cannabis flower that has been curred. This torches the cannabis flower and upon reaching its flash point around 315° F approximately, the THCa loose a single carbon atom Carboxyl group 👉 (-COOH) while holding onto a hydrogen atom.
The atomic make up of THCa is 4 Oxygen, 30 Hydrodgen, and 22 Carbon atoms. We can see that decarbing causes the loss of 2 Oxygen atoms, 1 hydrogen, and 1 carbon atom. This is known as carbon dioxide, 1 carbon, di-2 oxide 1 hydrogen atom. Removal of said carboxyl group causes an approximately 12% reduction in THCa and converts to active THC.
This process can happen as I mentioned from combustion of plant material reaching the flash point of THC at approximately 320°F. It can also take place in a much more delicate manner whereby the THCa is converted to THC for use in products which will not undergo combustion. These are your edibles, tinctures, Rick Simpson Oil, topicals etc. These require that the THCa be ran through a decarboxylation process via lab techniques. However, the consumed compound in edibles and RSO is THC.
THCa does not bind to the receptors which are the main parts activating the endocannabinoid system, aka ECS. The ECS is a largely not understood homeostatic process involving the peropheral and nervous systems. THCa has a shape and size that prevents it from binding to CB1 or CB2 receptors. THC however has the key to both receptors.
There is not much study that has been conducted on THCa, largely thanks to the little amount of study done on cannabis. Meaning that which has been done has been on the seemingly most pertinent parts of the plant to understand given its possible recreational and inherent medicnal stance in the western World.
THCa is quite interesting in that studies have shown it to be directly beneficial to the reduction of pain by causing inhibition of COX-1 and Cox-2 enzymes. Both of said enzymes have potential to increase inflimation, pain, & fever. The interesting thing is the usefulness I have heard family and friends speak to, that being the application of topicals. I always wondered how in the world a topical would be beneficial for someone like my aunt, who smoke upwards of an ounce a week and uses pens and dabs. She finds the anti inflammirory and pain relieving properties of topical absorption of THCa extremely beneficial. She suffers a multitude of issues traditionally thought of to be treated by cannabis like gastroporesis, fibromyalgia, and inflimation associated pain.
The medicinal and recreational benefits of THC vs THCa differ darastically. THCa is not psychotropic, or as I often refer to it as psychoactively psychedelic. But has a multitude of medicnal applications through topical transdermal absorption, juicing of cannabis leaves, plant, and flower, rso, and other edibles.
THCa treats neurodegenrative diseases such as alzheimers disease, interesting given that CBD quells seizure activity in certain nerodivergent disorders. THCa is also anit spasmodic, meaning it stops muscele shaking in diseases like Parkinson disease. It also somewhat counterintuitive as an anti proliferative, considering the proliferative nature of sesquiterpenes. Said Anit proliferative attributes making it beneficial in prevention of prostate cancers.
THCa is also anti emetic to treat nausea vomiting etc and induce apetite & aid reduction in nausea. It is also analgesic in nature which means it is a pain killer. Finally like most compounds in cannabis THCa is an antioxidant that protects one from and reverses the damage caused by free radicals.
THC in addition to the plethora of medicinal applications of THCa, we have the medicinal viability of THC. Again none of this is accepted by the FDA and much comes from studies of cannabis from around the world as US peer reviewed research wasn't allowed in the US untill 2022. Atleast NOT RESEARCH without FDA manipulation forcing researchers to use cannabis from the University of Mississippi grown by government contractors to ensure low quality cannabis and sub par quality. This was the product available for study by peer reviewed researchers, ensuring FDAs plausible deniablilty while simultaneously actively controlling ability to produce results other than null. This backing down by the FDA is why we see so many synthetic cannabinoids hitting the market now. We're actually able to study the cannabis actually being used, though the restrictions are still a bit uncalled for.
The benefits of THC actually do differ from THCa. I didn't know this for the longest time. I always thought that THC was simply decarboxylIzed THCa. THC can assist with the treatment of opioid addiction, ya know, the way addicts who've suffered from the disease for years have suggested that the plant helps. For decades individuals on methadone maintainence treatment or another form of medicated assisted Treatment, aka MAT like suboxone, subtuex, or sublicaid which are all partial opioid agonists, save methadone as it is a full agonist. The Marijuana is said to dissuade the desire for reward seeking by allowing a less intense non addictive reward to Be given to the brain via THC.
Studies have actually shown a statistically significant difference in completion of opioid maintainence programs and relapse therein or total relapse correlated to THC use. This use is said to be decreasing desire to activate that 'burnt-in' reward system pathway. Essentially yes it let's the patient get high without axtivating those addictive pathways. This is supported by studies like the one I often discuss regarding injection of Beta Myrcene in Mice. Interestingly a study performed on Beta myrcene outside of cannabis, subcutaneous and intra peritoneal injection of cannabis derived beta myrcene led to analgesia comparable to prescription opiates.
The amazing find imo is that while it produced similar analgesic effects, it took an unknown pathway which caused analgesia but didn't exhibit the addictive properties of opioid Mu receptor activation. The studies insinuate both the application and medicinal viability of myrcene outside and likely within the whole of cannabis. Remember the whole is more than sum of its parts. AS well as the fact that THERE maybe isn't much receptor activation leadiNg to addictive properties, but RATHER, the pathway to the mu receptor causes the addictive properties.
THC has also been shown to have a strong Correlation to increased Metabolic output, which has a multitude of health benefits that most certainly don't abIDE by THE social niceties of todayS society. Cannabis use can produce THC benefit can lessen possibility of diet related obesity. The THC has actually been shown to be correlated with decrease in Body Mass Index as outdated as the BMI is said to be in modern culture. In addition THC has been correlated to A decrease in likliehood of diet associated diabetes.
THC also exhibits the characteristic of encouraging Vasodialation which is how the pressure in the eyes is releived for Glaucoma patients. Vasodiallation is the diallation of blood vessels, aka opening them up. This causes a decrease in blood pressure. However, strains with potent beta myrcene levels can effect the way in which the THC works. When THC is used with Beta caryophyllene in that form, not trans caryophyllene which is the most common form of beta caryophyllene and myrcene together, the THC enhances sedative effects in the potency of the onset brought on by beta caryophyllene sedation enhanced via myrcene.
Myrcene alone causes proliferation of THC across the blood brain n barrier leading to imcreased absorption of THC and increased activation of the CB1 receptors. This increases the psychotropic ability of the cannabis. THC potency can also be controlled with the application of various combinations of terpenes, namely related to beta caryophyllene and beta myrcene.
For example, that intensification of cb1 receptor activity can be quelled using the dietary nature of the dietary cannabinoid Beta Caryophyllene, by ingesting small amounts of black pepper cernals. These are high in Beta caryophyllene and as it is also a dietary cannabinoid meaning it can enter the endocsnnabnoid system througj the stomach and interacts with cannabis compounds active in the ECS. This calms the psychotropic Intensity calming paranoia & anxiety.
What is interesting and leads to deep sometimes heated discussion is that THC is also anxiolytic. Obviously heated given the intensification of THC via myrcene in a sativa lacking beta or trans caryophyllene. THCa is shown in studies in 2017 to be a more effective anti inflammitory than CBD when treating certain gastrointestinal disorders, specifically Irritable bowel syndrome, chrons disease, and ulcerative colitis.
So what does it mean when you see a small amount of THC in the product but higher levels of THCa? That ofcourse is a traditional confirmation of analysis.
First, it is very possible that the confirmation of analysis testing if using gas Chrometography that the THC may be underestimated, making for a more potent product than labeled....though these differences would be so Minute they likely wouldn't be noted by a person using the product. Maybe someone sensitive to THC.
Ever notice how there is typically some level of THC usually below 1% while your THCa tests around 79% or 78%. When testing cannabis products, when using Gas Chrometography the amount of THCa that converts to THC is 70%, but the THCa is not measurable using this method due to the temperature decearboxylizing the THCa to its psychotropic form.
Gas Chrometography combusts the material into a gassesous form and runs this gas through filtration which is able to measure the compound levels. I Showed below a picture diagram showing these systems. Because this is the "decarbed" product meaning heat was applied to convert the tetrahydracannabinolic acid. The THC is all that can be measured using this approach, not the THCa and only 70% of THCa is converted in this process. However knowing that 70% of THCa converts to THC we can sus out the levels of both using this approach.
It is impossible to know what that initial amount of THCa was of which 70% gets converted. Cannabis confirmation of analysis testing is very complex and has many seeming double negatives and odd measuremnet standards. One of these as a good example is less than the limit of quantitation. This means that the compound is present but can't be measured in accurate levels.
Liquid chrometography is a secondary method used to produce the confirmation of analysis you find on most states cannabis Product, atleast for the medicinal cannabis products in my state. Liquid chrometography takes advantage of a universal formula used to determine the amount of THCa that gets converted to THC.
The Universal Mathematical formula is as follows.
THC TOTAL= (%THCa) X 0.877 + (%THC)
If we remember looking back, approximately 12% of THCa is lost in the extraction process, during decarboxylation. That approximates at 0.877 which is equivalent to 87.7%. 87.8 + 12 leaves 99.8%. I am not exactly certain about the .2% leftover. I will update when i do learn ablut this fact. When the carboxyl group is removed and hydrogen atom preserved a 12% reduction occurs in THCa and other active cannabinoids, those exsisiting as an acid naturally like CBGa are converted as well.
This is how the ACTUAL levels are measured in order to understand the real potnecy of the product your using. THCa for example require a temperature exposure of 220° F for 30-45 mins before decarbing begins. The key for some decarbing processes is to manipulate atmospheric pressures to lower the boiling points and flash points of cannabinoid temperatures in order to ensure the partial flashing over (that is decarbing) takes place but doesn't degrade the product. Control of atmospheric pressure is necessary so that terpenes are not evaporated as some terpnenes begin to flash over at right around 100°F. A rotovap is one way this is done for which there is a diagram below as well, showing the liquid bath and erlyn myer flask (flask with bulbous bottom). Or in a VTA wipe decarboxylationprocess. .
THCa decarbs at approximately 220° F and CBDa decarbs at approximately 245°F, exposure time being approximately 90 minutes. To keep terpenes from evaporating it is necessary to extend the length of time one runs decarbozylation process in order to lower the temperature. A chart exsists to show heat vs time and the relative output thereof i included below. According to my research the optimal temperature for THCa decarboxylation is between 252° & 293°F.
If you plan to exsist on the Recreational market as a processor of cannabis or as an individual processing your own cannabis, decarboxylation is absolutely necessary to compete with big indisytry and make cannabis product containing desired terpenes.
While decarbing can be done ignoring the evaporation of terpenes, which is why there is the issue of adding terpenes in some processing it is best to try to keep these terps especially if competing In a state where medicinal multi million dollar industry is operating.
FOLLOW UR NOSE 👃 WHERE THE TERPENES GOES.
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2023.06.04 09:41 andthisisthewell Riddles in solo RPG [question and rpg generated short story]
How do you use riddles in your play? This week in the current story of Teigill the paladin he engages in some wordplay with his archenemy, a robust abbess from an opposing faith. I use world of dungeons in this game, which is rather action based. For these scenes I just used the edda and the old testaments for the stories that both tell each other. What ways have you found to use puzzles and riddles in soloplay?
All best! ACT FOUR: Battle of wits☠
Teigill walks toward the abbess and her following of a dozen monks and templars. He puts Lyn, his hammer, firmly into the ground as he says: we can either fight each other and wipe both sides out, or we can talk. He glares at the abbess and grins a toothy grin.“I'm not scared of you Nephele Ma'at. I might be dumb as a stick, but Äkk will prevail one way or the other, your puny god will cower before her luminous insanity.”
The abbess dismounts from the two headed hyena she sat on. A follower takes the banner and gives her a hefty looking tome, bound in leather. She stands almost seven foot tall. A piercing wind whips the plain, clouds flying through the air like seagulls. “Okay,” she says calmly and bitterly “we'll solve this with words.”
“I challenge you to the three strikes of the tongue: the curse, the story and the riddle. In three rounds we fight with words. The first to win two rounds has won. If you win, we will ignore Äkk's minions as we guide wandering souls to the truth. So be it, those damned creatures will go to the underworld where there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. If we win, the souls of Hauksness that you haven't yet poisoned will be ours, and you, your brother and that retarded shaman will die." Teigill nods. “Thus it will be” he says. “as the challenged, I get to choose the first round.” Macharya mouths curse at him. “Curse,” he says. Curse
Macharya stands next to Teigill as she unrolls a scroll and shouts: “The first line of the psalm, let him who has ears listen!’she pauses for dramatic effect “Äkk, the Corroding Queen calls those that hear, with commodities as they break.” The winds stops gushing and the pole from which the banner of the Lamb hangs breaks in three pieces. A templar shouts a threat and draws his sword. It is rusted to the point of annihilation.
Then the abbess opens her hefty tome. She takes a small stick and touches the page rhythmically while she reads aloud. Her voice is shrill and carries wide over the plain: “The Prophet went up from there to Jamvedli, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lamb. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.”
Read the rest here
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2023.06.04 09:18 wisram Predator disease. Treatment facilities chapter # 3
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//First I need to apologize if there’s some orthography mistakes or ununderstandable words , the english is not my native language so, I'm just trying my best, if you found something like that please let me know to correct it.
//Also thanks to u/SpacePaladin15
for this incredible universe FirstLast
Next The members of the Memory Transcription Preservations included some multimedia files to help with the disclosure of this set of stories and get a better understanding of the lives seen in this catalog, please enjoy. Memory transcription subject: Doma, Venlil, treatment facility patient Date [standardized Sol time]: July 19th, 2135.
A purple blob with pieces of something that appear to be vegetables falls onto my plate. Yuck
I hope it tastes better than it looks.
While Baali takes about 20 napkins along with his food and proceeds to congratulate the cook wearing an overall, gloves, and an apathetic expression hairnet.
"Whoa Karat, you really did it with this meal, you're awesome."
I notice how the cook expresses happiness with her tail and serves an extra portion of stew to Baali, taking away the napkins. Baali nervously laughs and lowers his ears, saying, "hehehe... thank you," before we leave the counter. That was... curious. I feel like I'm missing something, but I don't know what it is.
"Hey Baali, why did she take back your napkins?"
"Uh, it's nothing. She just doesn't like me taking her napkins."
"Don't worry about it, let me introduce you to the rest of the herd." Baali leads me to a round table where several Venlil were sitting and eating. "Doma, these are Roomaer, Gat, Bucket, and Belizba." "Roomaer, Gat, Bucket, and Belizba... this is Doma."
I notice that out of the four Venlil Baali introduced me to, one turns his gaze to look at me, another continues wiping his chair with one of the cafeteria napkins while seemingly whispering something repeatedly, and the other two seem to ignore me.
Baali takes a seat at the table and gestures for me to join him, placing his hand on the chair next to him where the slender Venlil with a round face and brown fur is diligently cleaning without lifting his gaze. "Come on, you can sit between me and Roomaer."
I glance uncomfortably at the Venlil who seems obsessed with polishing the chair and decide to approach him with a question. "Is it not clean already?"
The peculiar Venlil momentarily pauses his cleaning, turns to look at me, and replies, "No, no, no, still dirty, dirty, dirty." He resumes his task without skipping a beat.
Seeking clarification, I quietly whisper to Baali, "What's the deal with this guy?"
Baali responds, "Well, he just has a strong preference for cleanliness and order. Don't worry, he's harmless. He wouldn't harm even an insect. Speaking of insects, have I ever told you about the time I discovered a massive bug under my bed? I swear it was larger than my hand. You never imagine how big they can get..."
I approach my seat between Baali and Roomaer with nervous anticipation, observing the peculiar Venlil as he also takes his place and obsessively rearranges his cutlery. Choosing to ignore the odd behavior, I let out a deep sigh, accepting the fact that I'm about to partake in a meal in this dreadful place. Casting a doubtful glance at my questionably sourced food, I reach out to grab my spoon from the table, only to have Roomaer preemptively snatch it away and begin cleaning it. The perplexed expression on my face, along with the movements of my tail and ears, fails to fully convey the extent of my confusion as I witness this strange individual meticulously polishing my cutlery, rearranging them on the table, grimacing, then picking them up again to clean them once more, and finally returning them to the table in a different order.
Undeterred, I make another attempt to take hold of the cutlery, only to be thwarted as Roomaer swiftly seizes them, rubs them fervently, and places them back in their designated positions. Growing increasingly frustrated, I try once more, but Roomaer moves the utensils slightly to the right. Determined, I cautiously inch my hand closer, yet Roomaer counters by shifting them ever so slightly to the left. Recognizing the futility of my efforts, I reluctantly retract my hand, patiently awaiting an opportune moment while the other Venlil appears to have ceased his unusual behavior.
“Did you finish?” I asked.
The Venlil, who had been visibly tense but had finally left my cutlery alone, remains still and silent. I relax and calm myself, finally ready to begin eating. Just as I am about to pick up the cutlery, the Venlil grabs them again.
I stand up and snatch the spoon from him in fury.
"You idiot! Clean the damn spoon one more time, and I'll make you swallow it!..."
Just as I'm about to strike the Venlil, Baali steps in between us, calming me down. "Wait, wait, he's not doing it on purpose. He can't control it."
The Venlil merely covers his head in remorse, repeating, "I'm sorry... sorry... I'm sorry." I calm down and lower my ears.
Baali attempts to soothe the frightened Venlil and suggests that I switch places with him. I take my tray of food and exchange seats with Baali, remaining silent and deep in thought. Perhaps I shouldn't have gotten so angry. After all, it's not his fault if he can't control it. I should apologize... but later. For now, I'll just eat a little bit since I'm very hungry.
Without looking, I try to grab my spoon again, but I fail and only grasp empty air. I turn my gaze and see that the damn spoon is no longer in its place. I look around until I spot the Venlil next to me hiding my spoon under his hand while clearly using his own spoon to eat from his own plate. Oh, for the sake of the stars! Will no one let me eat in peace?!!!
In my frustration, I disregard the absent spoon and daringly take a bit of the purple stew with my hand. To my surprise, the taste is quite good. Perhaps a touch more salt would make it excellent, but overall it surpasses its initial appearance. As I savor the stew, a genuine sense of calm begins to wash over me, allowing me to momentarily disconnect from my surroundings and find true peace...
"AAAAAHHHHHH!!!! AAAAAHHHH AAAAHHHH!!!"
Startled, I abruptly snap out of my tranquility, nearly choking on the sound of a deafening bleat. It echoes as if someone is being pursued by a fearsome predator. However, when I lift my gaze, I discover that the source of the commotion is none other than the Venlil sitting in front of me.
"Damn it, why is he screaming?"
"AHHHH AHHHH AHHH!!"
"What's the matter? is he injured?
"Did someone harm you?"
"Are you frightened?"
"AT LEAST SAY SOMETHING, DON'T JUST SIT THERE AND SCREAM!!!!!"
"AHHHHHHH AHHHH AHHHH!"
Baali shields his ears, leaning closer to me to explain that Belisba likely took Gat's headphones.
"Belisba? ...Of course, the spoon thief."
Baali and I watch as Belisba anxiously hides triangular sponges with cables behind him. I was ready to get up and snatch them away, but Baali intervenes.
"Calm down, Doma, I'll take care of it." Baali wags his tail to get Belisva's attention. "Hey, Belisba, I think Gat's headphones fell under the table. Could you pass them to me?"
Belisba is momentarily surprised by Baali's question but quickly relaxes, crouches down as if to retrieve the headphones, and then hands them over to Baali.
"Oh, here they are." Come on, at least make a more convincing act. It's obvious that you only took advantage of Baali's fake excuse to hide the theft. We all noticed.
I observe as Baali approaches Gat and gently puts the headphones on him, giving him a sense of calm. Gat responds by nodding his head in what seems to be gratitude.
"Is everyone here insane?" I said as I resumed eating, using my hand as a makeshift spoon. At that moment, Bucket, the Venlil who had been silently eating all this time, lets out a chuckle.
"HA! And what did you expect from this place? Everyone here is sick in one way or another."
"Just look at Mr. Clean over here, imagine how he must have ended up on a crowded public transportation. Of course, the exterminators had to intervene after a Venlil during rush hour tried to clean the entire transport."
Roomaer simply lowers his head and ears in embarrassment and continues cleaning his food tray.
"And don't even get me started on your friend with the magical hands."
I turn and coldly gaze at Belizba just before he attempts to grab something from my plate with his hands, quickly pulling back.
"And what about you, Bucket? How did you end up here?"
Bucket takes a sip from his glass and pauses briefly before giving his response.
"I was just doing my job as an exterminator, but the guys didn't appreciate me practicing with a flamethrower. Combine that with mistaking a bucket of water for one filled with fuel, and... well."
"So that's why they call you Bucket?"
Bucket takes a sip from his glass, pausing for a moment before giving his response.
"I was just doing my job as an exterminator, but the guys didn't appreciate my enthusiasm for practicing with the flamethrower. And, well, things took a turn when I mistakenly grabbed a bucket of fuel instead of water."
"Is that why they call you Bucket?"
"Haha, no, that's another story, but I won't go into it. If anyone asks, you can just say it's because of that."
"Hmm, I think Baali mentioned something about it... but honestly, I should have paid more attention to what he said."
"That's probably for the best. He shouldn't have told you anything to begin with."
"Speaking of Baali, why is he here? I mean, he seems so sociable and normal, not the kind of person you'd expect to find in a place like this. Maybe a bit chatty, but not deserving of being here."
We both turn to see Baali still engrossed in conversation with Gat.
"Well, he... asked me not to tell anyone." I pause for a moment before continuing, "But considering that Baali almost revealed my story... I'll give you a clue. It's in the notebook he always carries."
From a distance, I notice that he never lets go of the notebook. It's always close by. "What could be in that notebook?"
"It's complicated. Rather, I would focus on what that notebook doesn't have. But regardless, out of all of us, Baali is the least likely to belong here. No matter how you look at it, even with his terrible secret, I don't think someone like him could ever become a predator. And let me tell you, true predators have ended up here."
I raise my ears in concern. "True predators?"
"Yes, dangerous Venlil, the real deal."
"Yeah, you better be careful. I've heard that some of them have even tried to take lives."
"That's terrible..." Wait...
"Normally, they are kept in solitary confinement, but I overheard the guards saying that the district judge accidentally mixed up some of the records, and they think one of these Venlil wasn't separated from the others."
"..." Oh no.
"Usually, we all avoid them."
"..." Oh no, no, no.
"Especially because the guards take it out on them."
"..." This is bad, this is too bad.
"They subject them to the worst shocks. I heard that one of them had their internal organs burned from so much electrical discharge."
"..." Damn stars, I'm the predator Venlil they're talking about.
"It's an incredibly painful death, but well, the important thing in the end is to keep the flock safe."
I nervously affirm, "Haha, yeah... all for the sake of the flock."
"And you, Doma, what about you? How did you end up here?"
"..." Don't say trying to kill my boss. Don't say trying to kill my boss...
"I also mistook a bucket of fuel."
"I understand. It happens." No, damn it, it doesn't happen.
"Well, at least you were brought to these facilities and not others."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I was transferred from another facility up north, and it's definitely very different from here. Just look at Gat. In my old facility, they would never give him headphones, not in a million years."
"Hmmm," I nod with my tail.
"We also have a courtyard. I heard that it's a recent addition due to some renovations they made."
"Hmmm, well, I guess that's... alright."
"Look at it this way, you were lucky to end up in these facilities."
"Hmmm, I suppose it's not so bad after all..."
_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/ [Fast Forward.] [20 minutes later.]
"AAAHHH THIS IS REALLY BAD!!!"
Immediately, I feel an electric shock emanating from the mesh on my head, coursing through my body as I remain trapped in a chair, surrounded by projected images of predators.
The agonizing cries of several patients echo in a dimly lit room, with a large black glass pane in front where the doctors presumably observe us.
"CaAAAALM down, Doma, with tiIIIIime you'll gEEEEEEt used to it."
I notice that Baali is in the chair next to me, talking as if he isn't also strapped to one of these torture chaaaairs.
"SHUUUUUUUUT THE FUUUUUUUUCK UP, BAAAAAAAAALI!!"
2023.06.04 09:13 B4N3S4W Still clawing my way out of the 300s. Down to 290/295.
Just wanted to share, since nobody I know on or offline actually knows what I'm trying to do. Since I broke the habit of ordering takeout a while back (like, April) I've since eaten some takeout. (Hell, just last night I finally got to try whataburger, since it only recently came to where I live. It's very good. But that's not the point of the post.) I feel like I'm finally getting to a place where I can enjoy all food. (The meal I got at Whataburger was a single with everything, small fries, and a diet coke. Fries were meh, but the burger was great. Definitely an A-tier fast food burger.)
Anyway, I just feel like I've been having great success with this lately. I don't feel deprived, I know I can have the takeout, just have to be out of the house for it. (I was at work when I had it, and it was actually bought for me.)
And when it was done I didn't feel like I needed more. I just enjoyed it and moved on. Unfortunately it did wipe out my calories for that day, but eh. That's fine.
Anywho, I feel like I've finally got this down and just wanted to happy vent, since I really don't got nobody else to share it with.
Also, I wrote 290/295 to account for fluctuations. I started at 320/330 last year. I don't really remember which.
A few other things:
- I've decided to ditch the word "discipline". The principles are there. The word is just gone. Because I know for me, the word conjures of images of 14 year olds who post weird workout videos all over social media and say things like "reject modernity, embrace masculinity" and think they're Spartans even though actual Spartans would eat them alive.
- I've fully accepted that I'll most likely never be 100% "clean eating" dude. And that's 100% okay with me. Whatever works as long as I can still enjoy life.
- I've also noted there's A TON of bullshit to block out. My biggest advice, keep it simple. Eat the food you like, just less. And don't listen to anyone who tells you fruit and honey is just as good as a candy bar. It's not. Fruit and honey are tasty in their own right. But they're not candy, and they never will be candy. And that's okay. I don't even really like most candy anymore anyway.
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2023.06.04 08:22 quanturffizzics Is it possible to make sites like this with WordPress?
Web design is a hobby for me and I've been learning WordPress as a way for me to eventually try freelancing. I like graphic and web design (though I do not have an academic or professional background in either) but would like to implement the designs I come up with instead of having to hand that off to a developer.
Eventually, I would like to get to a point where I can design and implement sites like this: https://crsa.aristidebenoist.com/
Is this something that WordPress can do? My inclination is yes because you should be able to pretty much anything with WordPress as long as you're good enough.
However, I tried to look at how it was built using wappalayzer Chrome plugin and all it shows is this:
With most other sites usually I can see more (e.g. GSAP, React, etc.) but this one doesn't give me much info. Trying to look at the source code I didn't get very with identifying how it was built either.
However, with this site showing that it's a PWA, had me thinking if something like this is achievable with WordPress, especially something like the page transitions. It gives the feel of a static site how quickly it loads without having to (I assume) fetch page data since the page doesn't show itself as "loading" between pages, just seamless transition/screen wipe into the new page.
So my questions are:
- How is that CRSA site built?
- Could I make something that performs like this in WordPress? If so, what do I need to learn in order to do so?
- If not, why not, and what would I have to learn instead?
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2023.06.04 07:42 Edwardthecrazyman Hiraeth or Where the Children Play: Dog-meat and the Whipping Boy 
If I were to guess, I’d imagine they took Andrew to Boss Harold before anyone else and the rumors around Golgotha seemed to support this supposition; the Bosses enjoyed their personal retribution away from the eyes of citizens, maybe it was talking or maybe more, and although there were whispers of the boy being strung up on the wall or maybe he’d be violated in the stocks for all to see, I imagined that the council I held with Boss Harold might’ve had something to do with that never materializing. When I was allowed to the boy’s cell, it was dark, and his face was bruised and the bandaging I’d applied to his severed wrist had been removed probably for amusement. The room was small and there were no windows and only a single doorway let out into the hallway which contained other cells and further, near the exit, there was the office of wall men. The guard that’d let me in locked the door behind me and Andrew sat on a metallic cot without cushioning, and he stared at the grimy floor through swollen eyes.
“Hello,” he said. And I was taken aback by the comment because he spoke it as quickly as he might passing a person in the street. He'd been through so much that the word was abrupt, skittish. I nodded and moved to him, reaching for his arm where he’d been nearly fatally wounded. It was infected. Without fighting me, he allowed me to tend to it without even a question; I wiped it and applied salve. Once it was cleaned and rewrapped and only after I’d settled on the cot beside him, he spoke again, “I heard stories about the cells, but I never thought they’d smell.”
I withdrew a handful of antibiotics, and he took them without putting them to his mouth. “You should have them,” I said, “You might lose the whole arm if not.”
“I might lose my life.”
“Maybe not,” I offered a grim smile and water with for the pills. “You’re alive still.”
“How much longer though?” He took the medicine and grimaced hard. The boy looked older than he was. “It smells like blood here. I can smell the people that’ve been here before.”
I patted him on the back and removed myself from the cell and he did not call after me, not even to ask for the return of his hand and I hoped that I could stave off whatever tortures the Bosses might have in store for him.
It’d been two days since I’d returned with Dave and Andrew and quickly after our arrival, I’d tried departing from the man and hoped he’d drop whatever revenge he believed I could assist him with, but it was to no avail for he attended everywhere with me since our return to Golgotha. Although he’d not been allowed to enter the cells alongside me, he was waiting for me outside as I stepped through the wall men’s office and into the noonday sun; I deftly plucked a pre-rolled cigarette from my pocket and tried at lighting it but before I’d even gotten the chance, he was there at the stoop of the office, pestering, “We should go somewhere quiet,” he said.
“What do you take me for exactly?” I asked while maintaining eye contact with the flame off a match.
“You’re capable enough. You could be a hero. I’d do it with you. We could scrounge up a handful of people and change things. We really could.” Dave was casting sidelong glances at those that passed us in the dirt street just off the stoop, but nary one seemed to care about our conversation.
He put a hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged it off.
Felina’s was a structure partially built from ancient shipping containers directly in the heart of the hydroponics towers in the center of town; the chicken shit smell from the base of the towers came with nauseating stagnation and could make a passerby sick, but upon entering Felina’s, the smell subsided and was replaced with the smell of body sweat. The older barwoman stood behind the counter and me and Dave took up on the far corner where we sat around an old card table, using crates as chairs; no one else was there—the smell of the hydro towers probably had some hand in that.
Dave took in close to me so that I could feel the moisture off his breath, “I’ve been talking to a few others over at the towers and they feel the same way I feel—but with you—well without you I don’t think I’d want to do it.”
“No, please go on without me,” I slanted my body across the table to push my face away from Dave’s; with me positioned with my back against the wall, I spied Felina beyond the counter, arms across her chest and watching us with an air of suspicion. She came to our table, slowly with her club foot and upon reaching us, she used our table for mild support with her big hands and greeted us without excitement.
Dave asked for water and her gaze shifted to me and I dismissed her, and we were alone till she limped back over with a pitcher and glass and Dave drank it greedily while Felina watched on from beyond the counter—her eyes suspicious but pretty blue too. She kept the haft from a dismembered axe behind the counter and was known to throttle unruly patrons with it.
Although some might have called Felina’s a bar, it was just short of it because of the rarity of spirits—besides, it was the upstairs brothel portion that the establishment owed to its popularity. Anyone might brave the smell from the street for companionship and if the noises from the rusted overhead support beams were anything to measure, the clientele was content indeed. A man descended from the stairs by the bar, gave a brief nod to Felina then to us and disappeared through the front door; a waft of the outside air rushed in, and Dave scrunched his nose.
“It’s a funny thing, I’ve passed by here all the time, but I don’t think I’ve been inside since before—” he paused, “Well, since before anyway.” He took a drink of water and rubbed his palms against his cheeks. “I know someone that works underground and could get us some gunpowder.”
I merely laughed at this. “Gunpowder, huh?”
“Well sure. The Bosses have reserves in the basements. We could blow them sky high.”
“More likely that you’d blow your hands off.”
“What’s it going to take to convince you?”
I thought, “Could you promise no one would die?”
Dave seemed baffled at the question. “Who cares?”
“These things hardly ever happen quietly—or without collateral. How’s this? Could you promise that no innocents get caught in stray fire?”
“Then you are as ill prepared as I’d imagined.”
“What’s that mean?”
“The meek are intended to inherit, but many will die before all that.”
“Nothing. I wish you’d leave it be.”
Another patron stumbled down the stairs, a scrawny tall man with a thin beard came charging into the chamber without clothes and a voice followed him, crying loudly, “Sonofabitch tried choking me!” A pair of arms and legs came stumbling down after—the source of the cries. There was a topless woman, a belt secured around one of her wrists and a pink mark around her throat. The naked man protested and put up his hands as the woman swung the arm with the belt and whipped at him with it, striking across the forearm he’d shielded himself with.
Felina moved carefully from around the counter, raised the haft, then brought it down across the man’s back. He stumbled to his knees, pleading. The barwoman raised the weapon once more and the sound was like wood against wood as it met the man’s head and his body was taken to the ground completely, perhaps dead, perhaps unconscious. The two women lifted the man out the door and Felina spat through the opening. Outside wind came again and Dave scrunched his nose once more before the door shut. The topless woman removed the belt from around her wrist, tossed it to the floor, then secured an arm across her chest before hurrying upstairs.
“So, gunpowder?” I asked Dave.
He nodded and took another drink of water while eyeing Felina as she took herself back to the counter and stowed the makeshift club into whatever place she kept it. “Yeah.”
“Go for it then and leave me out of it.” I fiddled with my thumbs across the table. “I’ll even make you a deal for when you come running to me for help later. If you blow your fingers off, I’ll try and help you find them. How’s about that?”
“I’ll wear you down.”
Another gust of wind came from the far door and I half expected to see the man that’d been removed there in the doorway, standing on his feet and ready for another round of punishment, but there was no one there in the hollow spot; as my gaze drifted from person-face level, I saw a medium sized mutt there in gray fur, pushing the door in with its nose and then sliding the rest of its starved body through—each of its yellowy sad eyes peered in and I could not tell the breed but Dave lifted himself from his seat and Felina went to the dog too.
“No dogs,” stated the woman.
Dave, the indomitable sweetheart that he was knelt to the dog’s face and touched its snout; it licked his hand and Dave said to Felina, “He’s not mine, but have you got some water for him?”
“No dogs inside. I don’t like repeating it.”
“Fair enough,” said Dave, “I don’t know who he—” he froze and then examined the rear of the dog before petting the dog on the head, “She
belongs to, but I’ll take her outside. Just. Please some water, won’t you?”
The barwoman first drummed her fingers against her leg then went to the counter and I noticed Dave flinch as she reached under there, but she came back with a bowl and he took it and ushered the dog out; as he exited, he called to me, and I sighed and moved with him.
Remaining in the street was the man that’d been tossed out, face up, half-opened eyes, and flies buzzed about, and I touched him with my foot, but he didn’t move. Blood leaked from his ears. “Dead,” I said.
Dave took the dog from the body around to the side of the building and the feces smell was strong with the hydro towers, but he sat the water down and the dog went at it quickly, without restraint and spilt half before the man went to steady it with his hand; he knelt by the dog and pushed a shoulder against the wall of the brothel.
“There you go,” I told him, “You’ve found someone dumb enough and maybe loyal enough to follow through with your little gunpowder plan. Strap a handful of dynamite to him and watch him go boom in the Boss’s faces.” I genuinely did try it as a joke.
“You can be very mean,” said Dave.
Once the bowl was dry besides dog spit, he returned it to Felina, reentering briefly, and it was just me and the dog and the dog looked up at me and I turned away while its voice whined in the back of its throat and I took a piece of hardtack from my pocket and tossed it on the ground—the dog went after it, assuredly snapping up dirt in the process. Then the creature made a dry and throaty sound from swallowing too quickly, but moments after the thick cracker was gone. It licked my hand gently, and I scratched its chin and Dave returned and upon seeing me with the dog, he gave me a look and then brought himself to the height of the dog in a hunker.
“Hey there,” he said to it, “Someone’s beat you up pretty bad, huh?” It was true; scars stood out in places where the dog had no fur.
In response, the weathered mutt hoisted its forepaws onto his knees and pushed its nose into his.
“Yeah, girl,” he took one of the dog’s ears between his forefinger and thumb and rubbed it gently and the animal looked up, sad eyed, “What’s a good name for you?”
“Dog-meat?” I proposed.
Dave shook his head. “What sort of sick joke is that?” but he was smiling, “No. I’ll come up with something to call her. Isn’t that right?” He asked the dog, massaging the face of the animal with his thumbs; the dog stared dumbly at him. “Maybe a Beth or a Patty might suit you. How do you like them?”
The dog licked his face but couldn’t speak.
“Well,” I said, “It’s a shame it got you, you’ll pick a person name for it and that’s strange. Why not call her Mary if you want a person name?”
“Bah,” said Dave, rising to a full stand; momentarily, even with the other folks passing us in the street, he took a moment to see the dead man we’d passed on our way out of Felina’s and for a moment he remained quiet. “I’ll come to you again Harlan. Maybe when I’ve got more of a plan. I only hope you’ll listen to the stuff I’ve said about it. I really do. I really hope you’ll be on the right side of this thing.”
“Sides are overrated.”
Dave put a hand on my shoulder, “Of course,” he nodded, “Whatever you say.”
He left with his new friend—the dog following him traced from left to right close behind Dave and I watched him take off and around the nearest hydro tower and I was alone on the street and evening wouldn’t be far away, so I took to home while staring at my moving feet and speaking to no one. A few people along the way tried nodding at me or saying a small greeting here or there, but I was absorbed in my own head, and nothing took me from it once I got going. Maybe that was one of the reasons I enjoyed the wastes; there were no pretenses out there and with the constant thought of death there was no other thing to think about than each passing moment. I could not shut my thoughts up. I could ramble more about the motivations of a scavver, but I don’t think I should—leave that for someone that cares.
Upon taking the catwalks where I could look out on a swatch of Golgotha with the sun beating down and the constant hum of people going about their business, I was frozen on the railing and wishing I’d taken my own life and wishing that Dave had not found me out there; maybe if I was faster or smarter or better in whatever way that mattered.
I pushed into the door into my small abode and cool blood pushed through my body on seeing the robed girl there on my mattress, holding a shotgun with its barrel angled directly at me; she donned a flowy mess of dresses and kept her head wrapped in garb so that only her eyes shone through, but her arms stuck from the mess of cloth and I could see they were skinny with long scab marks like a blade had drawn across the flesh.
“Harlan?” asked the girl.
“Is that mine?” I nodded at the pump-shotgun in her hands. The slowness of the world was gone, and I could think again; if things were different, I’d have been a dead man, but it was unloaded, and I knew it.
“It was hanging on the wall—I don’t know how to use the thing anyway. I don’t know what I was doing with it,” she said, “You just scared me, and I didn’t know who you might’ve been.”
“This is my place.”
She laid the shotgun on the bed and unwrapped her face; it was Gemma, “You were with Andrew.”
“You said he was dead.”
I brought in air slowly through my nose. “I did.”
I nodded, letting the air come out.
“I needed to find you.”
“But you found us both then, I guess.”
“Not on purpose.” A thought occurred to me, “Does you father know where you are right now?”
She shook her head; although rest had done her good, there was still a fair amount of fatigue present on her. “I snuck out.”
“Would’a though you learned your lesson on that front.”
“Is Andrew okay? No one will tell me anything about it.”
“He’s locked up right now, but he is alive. For how long? I don’t know. I figured your pop paid a visit to him already—wouldn’t you know about that?”
She shook her head again. “Woo,” Gemma slumped onto the side of my mattress and gathered the robes around her, “I’m feeling faint.”
I moved to the bed and gathered the shotgun, putting it back on the hooks in the wall. “You shouldn’t break into people’s homes.”
Cupping her brow in a hand so that I could only see her mouth and the bottom of her nose, she said, “I just needed to know he was alive. These past days I’ve been so worried about him. I knew you told me he was dead, but I knew you were a liar too. So, I had bad thoughts about what might’ve happened to him out there. If what happened to me was anything to go off.” Her voice broke for a moment and then she pulled her hand from her face and blinked a few sudden times. “I just.”
“I get it. You love the boy.”
She nodded without looking at me.
“So, beg your dad to let him go.”
“Everyone’s so mad at him. It’s funny that everyone’s so mad at him, but it was my idea, and they all treat me like a darling little flower. Like I couldn’t have been the one with the idea of running away. I had more reason to run than he ever did.”
“You should leave.”
“I don’t want to. Can’t you see that’s what I’ve been saying? Judge all you like. Call me rich all you like, but I can tell you this: I don’t feel like it.” Gemma grabbed the edge of the bed as her head wavered on her shoulders. “Dizzy spells are awful.” She shook her head. “Like no sickness ever.” Her eyes locked on mine. “Help me.”
“I’ve already tried convincing them not to kill him.” Taking a pause, I thought to add, “And I personally saw to his injuries. Please go and leave me be.”
“Oh, but you’ve asked for it,” she said, “You put yourself in the business of it.”
“Look. All’s I wanted was to save you if I could and get the water running again. That’s it. Now go.” I put my arm up to wave her out the door and she stood to make her way there, catching herself on the frame, then out on the catwalk railing before turning and looking at me over her shoulder.
“Bastard.” she said.
“Yes.” The door shut between us, and I took myself to sitting on the bed’s edge and reminiscing over how Dave reminded me so much of Jackson. Jackson was a real tough one; whatever happened he always kept a cool head (so I reckon him and Dave would be different in that way) and the idea of being a hero was so big for him. It’s a curious thought: whether Dave would have such ideas if hadn’t been for the tragic loss of his family.
The shotgun sat on there on the wall, and I took it and looked over it, putting the stock in my left hand then my right and laid it across my legs; the woven strap on it had gone thin so that the place I’d once worn it over my shoulder was mostly threadbare. I moved to the cabinet by the sink where I kept a few essentials and in the very back there was an old box of shells—it was a surprise they still seemed good, but with old ammo you never could tell, and the shells were just as likely to fire true as they might be to never send pellets from the barrel. I took a knife and began whittling into a shell I’d plucked from the box. Pellets spilled between my feet as I sat on the bed and they rolled across the floor and then I found the gunpowder and rose again, sprinkling it onto the cabinet top into a neat pile. Dave said he had a fella’ he knew that worked in the underground—the sort of person that could get him all the gunpowder he needed. Was he familiar with its destructive force; had he ever fired a gun? He promised me no one innocent would die and I knew that was a lie and there’s surely a piece of him that knew it was a lie just as well.
It was just then as I took a forefinger and thumb and pinched up a bit from the gunpowder splat that I remembered a thing that Jackson told me all the time when he thought none of the others were listening. The gunpowder rained from my fingertips as I rubbed them together and I sniffed the place where they’d become sooty, taking in a smell I’d not smelled in a long time. Jackson would say, “Whoever fights monsters should be sure that he don’t become a monster.” It wouldn’t be for a long time—after I’d visited the libraries in Alexandria or Babylon (take your preference)—till I realized it was a quote that Jackson stole from some guy named Neet-chee. It seemed like a good thing to adhere to, and it was certainly something I wasn’t good at keeping with and if I couldn’t then there was little certainty that Dave would keep to it either. Maybe I had become a monster; morally dubious anyway.
Jackson was a hero, and he was dead as was Sibylle as was Billy as was John and all of them. We’d tried heroing and it got all of us dead. Almost all of us.
I hung the shotgun on the wall and left it there and swept the gunpowder into the floor with a flat palm where the pellets were and chucked the box of old shells into the cabinet again.
Ringing of bells came from the hall of the Bosses and it was time for a display. Denizens gathered in the front square by the gates and awaited while they trotted out Andrew; perhaps the words I’d passed to Boss Harold rang hollow after all. The Bosses were there just as always, drinking their wine on the platform, and Maron was out front with his wall men in the semicircle of gathered Golgotha residents. Of the population, only a hundred or two gathered for this poor boy’s execution. The guards had, at some point after my departure, removed the bandage on his empty wrist and he looked more sickly in the face than before and his cheeks were swollen and he wept, seemingly not from the terror of it but from the skin around his eyes having been so damaged; tears came through swelled eyelids and a wall man kept him by the elbow and Maron marched to the boy and lifted the boy’s face with his hand to look into it and maybe he whispered something to him.
I weaved through the crowd, moving to the steps that led to the stage where the Bosses stood with their foods and wines and their plenty and upon approach, I was stopped by a wall men, but upon catching Boss Harold’s eye, he told the guard to let me through and I took the stairs and from the platform, I could see over the crowd—Dave was far in the rear of those gathered, totally disconnected from the others for he hunkered by a set of crates, patting the head of the dog we’d found just earlier in the day. For a moment, I wished I was there with him and not on the stage at all.
“Dear boy!” Boss Harold shouted at me over the excited jeers of the others, “It’s so good to see you again. You are quite the hero, and it’s always good to be in the company of those.”
I nodded at him and within a flash, he’d slammed his cup of wine into my hand, telling me to drink, and only moments passed before his own cup was replaced by a nearby servant. “We spoke about this?” I tried.
His face was red, and I could just make out the miniscule veins vibrant along the corners of his nose; the man was far gone drunk. “That boy’s been a thorn in my side for too long, so I know you understand it when I say that he needs punishment. I took all that you said into account,” his words slurred, and the sweet sick came off him in a breath of hot air when he pulled me in, resting his ear on my shoulder. “Nobody dies today, but ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’,” the Boss paused. “You’re not a father yourself, are you?”
I shook my head.
“Ah! Then you might not be familiar with that proverb required in bringing a child up in this world.” Boss Harold laughed. “I’d never take my sweet Gemma out in the square like this, but God there’s been times I’ve wanted it. ‘Spare the rod’.” He repeated. “But we’ve something a fair bit more interesting than a rod for that boy.” Boss Harold swayed on his feet and took the fist containing his cup of wine, pointing with his index finger at the open place by the wall where Maron and Andrew and the wall men were. “Speaking of!” Boss Harold was giddy, and he took a magnificent gulp from his cup, throwing his head far back. “You’re a learned man, yes?”
“You know how to read? Maron said something about your reading. That’s a rare quality! I’d love to talk about books with you sometime. I’ve my own personal collection.”
The wall men stripped Andrew of his clothes then threw them to the ground and a gasp escaped the audience and the boy shouted and Maron moved to a nearby bucket and reached into the mouth of the container, coming back to a full stand; a whip was coiled around his arm. The Bosses didn’t even look on. The punishment was for the benefit of Boss Harold, and not even he looked on. He jabbered on about how he’d like to speak with me over an old philosophy called Objectivism then he went on about how he’d learned long ago the greatest achievement of man was his own happiness and I listened to the drunk man and when the whip broke skin the first time, I’m sure Andrew felt every bit.
Blood exploded in violent dew off his back and the crack of the whip struck the boy till he couldn’t stand and then several times more. Splatter reached onlookers each time Maron lifted the whip over his head, and it was only once the boy stopped moving that the Boss Sheriff swaggered over to inspect him; Andrew had fallen face down and Maron took his boot to the boy’s side so that the boy rolled onto his back and seconds passed without movement and even Boss Harold quit with his talking. The prone body just lay there and for a moment Andrew looked like the body I’d seen earlier out front of Felina’s. Then the boy spasmed and gasped air and Maron shouted about how he was still alive before giving the toe of his boot to Andrew’s ribs.
“What a show,” said the Bosses—what a show indeed.
The crowd dispersed in clumps, taking back to their jobs or leisure and I left the platform only after agreeing that Objectivism sounded good and Boss Harold laughed and stumbled in pivoting to take on in conversation with the other Bosses and I briefly imagined giving him a nudge, so he’d fall off the stage, but refrained from doing so.
When I met the boy lying in the dirt there, there was me and Dave moved in too and Maron had taken to his station where there was a table by sandbags, and he was engrossed in a game of solitaire; it seemed the man was totally unfazed by the justice he’d dealt. There was a time when that body could’ve been a hero and yet there he was, poisoned.
I called out to the Boss Sheriff, “Ain’t you going to put him back to his cell?”
Without even looking over, Maron swept his mustache with his fingers and waved me off, “Harold was real clear on letting the boy out of custody once it was done.” He lifted his cowboy hat and scratched his head while looking at the cards on the table then he laughed. “He’s a free man. I’ve heard that was your meddlin’ that did it.”
I moved to the boy and snatched up the clothes they ripped from him and Dave, not saying a word with his new mutt by his side, helped me to return some dignity to the boy.
We took him to my small apartment and washed him and tended over him while he lay in my bed.
Gemma came soon after Andrew had been draped in a sheet—she was there in disguise as she’d been earlier and upon me opening the doorway, she began to ask me if the boy was with me. I merely stepped aside, and she rushed to Andrew’s side; if he was aware of her presence, there was no way to tell.
“They killed him.” She’d taken to her knees to be nearer his level. “Oh. Oh, he’s dead.” She touched him and he shivered at the touch. Gemma removed the wrappings of cloth around her head and looked at her sweetie closer and she put a hand to her mouth. “They took his hand!”
“No,” said Dave, “He’s going to live.” The man looked to me and I shrugged. “Yeah,” his voice didn’t sound sure, “He’ll live.”
I moved to the catwalk and Dave came with me, the dog following behind him—the timid mutt looked over the edge of the catwalk to the city below then stepped away and returned to my room. When Dave took up beside me, leaning over the railing, and the sun hit his face just so, he looked exactly like Jackson and maybe that was why when he raised eyebrows then cut his eyes at me with a question—the question was everything and I finally nodded. Previous RoyalRoad Neovel
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2023.06.04 07:28 fhangrin World Wiped Clean: Ch2 EP1
[Chapter and Lore Index](https://www.reddit.com/fhangrinwrites/comments/12dflfg/world\_wiped\_clean\_chapter\_index\_and\_revision/)
Chapter 2, EP1
”Vindication is a funny thing. No one ever thinks about how being right could actually be the worst thing for them.” ~Elias Feldstone
POV: Elias Feldstone
’If you can believe what we’re showing here, it looks like an earthquake just ripped through the middle of South Dakota. We haven’t heard anything from the National Geologic Society yet, but-’
Chills ran down my spine as I watched the news segment covering the local anomaly. A call from one of the servers at the front end of Big Fish's reminded me I had a table to finish cooking on the line. It did the job she wanted it to though, pulling my attention right back to the food on the griddle in front of me. I snapped my griddle spatulas down with a loud clang and called, “Eight minutes!”
The vision in my right eye flashed with images that didn’t match up with what my left eye was seeing.
The visions weren’t new. I’ve got a bit of an overactive imagination. Hallucinations being overlaid with reality was just par for the course. At least it was never boring, though.
Two women facing off with some kind of alien. It looked too human to be an Alien alien. Like it was something that crawled out of one of those old Area 51 conspiracy theories or maybe some kind of mutation. The three exchanged words, but I wasn’t in an environment that would facilitate auditory hallucinations to go with what I like to call my ‘built-in streaming service.’
I finished the Big Breakfast and plated everything, then deposited it on the window.
“Kaira, service please!”
Just as I was turning away from the window to return my attention to the news until my next order came in, pain exploded behind my eyes. I hit the ground like I’d been slugged in the face with a sledgehammer.
I could hear screaming, but I couldn’t see anything. It wasn’t that my eyes were closed. I’d be seeing starbursts over a black canvas. This was more like my vision was just turned off. No sensory input at all.
“Elias?” Kaira called out to me and I heard the doors to the kitchen open. I recognized the sound of sneakers skidding around on the lightly greased floor of my work area. Felt her hand on my shoulder. “Oh my god…” She sounded like she was about to be very violently ill.
I pulled my hand away from my head once I felt like the pain behind my eyes was starting to subside and turned to face my coworker. I still couldn’t see my kitchen, but I could see her sort of. More like an outline or an aura with the suggestion of a face than what I knew she actually looked like. Everything around her was just…dead space.
“Did someone get the license plate number of the truck that just hit me?” I joked. Because joking is a perfectly healthy coping mechanism when you’ve just gone functionally blind. Or so I’m told.
“Dude, your eyes.” Her aura got closer to me and I could smell her minty breath in my face. “How the fuck are you joking right now?”
“Because if I don’t, I’m probably going to lose my shit. How bad is it?”
I felt around my face to make sure everything was still where it was supposed to be.
“You look like you blew an aneurism directly into your eyes. I can’t even see your pupils. Can you see?”
I felt hands on my face as she turned my head to check it from different angles.
I thought about that question for a second before I answered. “Yes and no. I can see you, but I can’t see the restaurant.”
“The fuck? This one of your ‘vision’ things?”
That took me off guard. Was I really seeing her or was I just tricking myself into thinking I could see her? “Uhh, maybe…” I swung my arms out to blindly feel around before I tried to stand. Kaira ended up having to help me get my bearings enough to stand straight.
“Let’s sit you down for a minute and see if it passes.” She led me carefully through the kitchen and out the doors to the dining area and sat me down at the bar.
I watched her aura move away from me and over to the other gentleman in the corner booth. She must’ve been letting him know the kitchen was closed. His aura though…
The front doors burst open before I could really make sense of the aura of the guy in the corner. Two women staggered in with Kaira trying to usher them right back out again because the kitchen was closed. The taller of them had a soft green aura that made me think of elves in fantasy games. The other one’s aura looked like it didn’t know *what* it was. Both of them were chattering rapid-fire about a coyote starting the apocalypse or something.
And I thought I was the crazy one.
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2023.06.04 06:35 Cool_ball999 Awaken 20/web of chaos
Corva fiddled with an empty medicine bottle, he looked at the labels and peeled them, only to stick it on the bottle again, he would screw off the cap and screw it back on repeatedly. It was an old habit of his, just looking at random things and playing with them like a fidget toy, he only does it when he has nothing to do, ever since he got a job that habit disappeared, but now, all he can do is lay down on the bed of a hospital tent, and he's also technically currently unemployed. Since no company is going to recruit anyone in the middle of an invasion from killer robots. He thought back to what happened yesterday, when Lavoss came into the tent and confronted Kawl.
"You're still awake?"
He was still curious about it, what did Lavoss mean by traitor? Did Kawl kill someone? He doesn't look like someone who would do such a thing, whatever it was that he did though, it was significant enough for Lavoss to hit him in the head with the stock of his gun knocking him out cold. It was shocking to see, he was awfully calm up until the point he said something about the traitor part and not a moment later Kawl was on the ground unconscious with a gun stock shaped dent on the chitin protecting his head. Everyone gasped, except Mari, the nurse, she looked like she expected it for a long time and stayed calm.
"Do you have trouble sleeping?"
She asked as she came back with another box of medical supplies.
"No, just… didn't feel like it"
"What do you mean you don't feel like sleeping?"
She put the box down and walked up to him.
"Well… i got plenty of sleep yesterday, spent the rest of it sleeping, didn't i? And most of today as well"
"With all due respect that doesn't justify staying up until the middle of the night, besides, you need rest"
"Same thing can be said about you… I haven't seen you take any kind of break, even the doctor's not here, why are you?"
"The downside of being the only qualified nurse left around, not the only one in the camp of course, just the only one left for this tent, besides… it's my duty to watch over the patients, and make sure they have enough sleep…"
She raised her voice a little on that last word, as well as throwing a glance at other patients that were already asleep.
"Right i am, now sleep"
"I've tried, i don't think i can"
"So you do
have trouble sleeping, hold on, i think i have something for that in stock"
"No thanks, can we just… talk? It's been some time since I've had a friendly talk with anyone, just… Not about anything in particular, you know? Just talk"
"Hmm… fine, when was the last time then?"
"Right before the invasion… right before he lost his life…"
"Let's… not talk about that…"
"Uhm… What's your job?"
"QC, for quality control, in an arms factory"
"A factory worker? You looked way cleaner than i thought you would"
"If i were working in the assembly i think you would change your mind about that, but no, QC's don't get their hand dirty often, maybe once in a while when a weapon explodes on them"
"Huh… ever had one?"
"Personally? No, have I seen it? Yes, funny story, when i first got accepted i had this instructor, telling us how to check the quality of products, the first rifle he picked up to show us how to check the pulse had a faulty wiring on it, too much energy, it blew up on his face while a group of new QC's was watching, safe to say he doesn't like it when some of us laughed"
"Poor guy, Reminded of someone"
"Oh don't worry, it's nothing sensitive, it's like your story, she's a teacher, been one for a while even before she got here, so when she got here to Rosan she was considered a senior teacher, and when new ones needs a tour of their workplace and know how to handle the kids they relied on her, now one day she was guiding a new teacher…"
"And she was like… maybe she wants to show off a little bit, I don't know, but from what she told me, she said to this new teacher something along the lines of: 'look at these children! So behaved! If you want to do that you have to learn from me' or something like that… and… not a second after that, one of the kids who were playing threw a wet ball of paper and it hit her right in the back of the head"
Corva had to spend some willpower trying not to laugh, remembering that he was the one who laughed when his instructor blew himself up along with Kasso didn't make it any easier.
"Oh the look of embarrassment on her face, didn't see it myself, but i wish i did, i can feel her esteem crumble every time i mention it, it was cute to see her just shrink and try to hide her face"
"Oh… you'll like it when you see how my friend acts around girls, Kasso, he…"
Mari was a bit confused why Corva suddenly fell silent, why he looked at the ground with a frown, until she remembered what he said, and it clicked on her. Right before he lost his life
"I'm sorry for your loss"
"It's fine, i'm sure he's in a better place… much better than this… hellhole"
She wanted to comment on his sudden pessimism, but decided that won't be so wise considering he's not wrong, no matter how many times she tries to ignore it, she has to admit, their current situation is a hellhole.
"I suppose that's enough talk for now…"
"I advise you sleep now, you'll get tired"
He didn't respond, and just went to sleep without another word, and an unchanged expression of sorrow. She sighed and returned to her work, sorting the type of medications into different containers.
"When will it all end?"
It was calm… and black… that is about all Schen can think about regarding his current state, he can't tell if he's dreaming, or if he's asleep or awake, it's just that he is aware. It was a strange feeling, like being asleep physically but not mentally, he feels like he's floating, without a body, like there's nothing that can limit him. And yet at the same time he can't do anything, he was just aware, and drifting away in this weird state of half dream. For some reason, he thought of those tales of people who 'died' , people who experienced long comas, and the tale of their supposed journey to this place between the mind and the world.
Ridiculous stories, barely believable, and uninteresting if you ask him. And yet, here he is now, aware of what's happening, he remembers everything, he passed out from blood loss, after fighting one of those things. He wants to wake up, check on his men, maybe meet up with Captain Vaiya and make up a plan on what to do next regarding their situation. But you can't wake up when you don't even have control over your eyes, so it was more of a waiting game, an annoying one, knowing what's happening and yet can't act on it. He'd rather be actually dead over this, at least if he's dead he doesn't have to worry about anything. The problem is, he knows he's alive, it's just that his body is not responding to him, nor can he feel it.
It took what felt like hours, since he wasn't actually asleep, he was paralyzed but still conscious. After an agonizing few hours, he felt the first bodily sensation, his finger, it graduated to the feeling of his hand resting on a soft surface, probably some sort of bed, he can feel his breath as well. He started feeling his body, little by little, unfortunately, now that he feels his body again, he can feel what his body feels, and that is pure unadulterated pain. On his head, on his leg, his back, his arm, everywhere, he doesn't remember getting hit that much, but apparently he did. His back arched from trying to suppress it, and he let out a grunt that was too loud for his standard.
"Calm down! Don't move just yet…"
A voice, good, that means he should be in a friendly area now. He opened one of his eyes with a considerable amount of struggle, and saw the face of an Enovian with a waterproof paramedic hat on through his blurry vision.
"I've had worse…"
What a word for him to say before his back gave up on him and suddenly went limp, triggering pain in many areas of his body.
He grunted with some exasperation and regret. Maybe he shouldn't be showing off at this kind of age, it's not good for his bones.
"Where's our painkillers?"
"For awhile, he needed some time to actually get up, thought we'll just wait for him before telling you"
"Alright, thank you, i'll be there, a wonder he survived though, and to wake up this early"
"It is, his wounds were near fatal, he was essentially one light tap away from a fractured skull"
"Tough little guy… you can go now, there are others no?"
"Oh…yes, sorry ma'am"
Vaiya turned off her personal datapad, and stood up from her command seat. She dusted some metal dust off her uniform and made her way to the recruitment office turned into a temporary medical bay. She walked through a collection of the remaining crew of the ship, some simply threw a glance at her, some greeted her, and some gave her a salute. She noted the look of despair in their eyes and sighed, but kept on walking as that isn't her goal right now. She arrived at a door with a plate next to it that says: 'recruitment', the plate had an electrical tape with a writing on it that says: 'medical bay now' stuck haphazardly on top of it.
It isn't a neon sign, but it works. She opened the door manually with her hand as most of the doors in administration are now unpowered, inside was simple, four 'beds' laid on the floor, with most of the desks removed, the remaining medical crews stay here now, treating anyone they can. Including the new security captain, Schon, who she spotted sitting on his bed half awake wrapped in blood caked bandages, while clearly struggling to drink from a glass cup. He looked oddly… calm, like he's not surprised he's here at all. Granted, she did rescue him from becoming minced meat, and it's only logical to assume there are survivors holding out somewhere, but he looks absolutely unfazed, as if he had this happen before.
She walked up to him, he gave an unsurprised look and went back to doing his best to drink.
"Nice to see you awake already, i figured it would take a long time but you prove me wrong…"
"About that status report you ask for-"
"I already know, stranded, no engine, almost all crew dead, ship's practically scrapped, light's dying, and surrounded by killer machines chewing on the hull, and Rosan IV isn't so lucky either"
"Yes… unfortunate is it?"
"Yes, but right now I don't care, how's my men?"
"Ah… they're… few, 50… down to you and two others, i'm sorry"
"I see… who?"
"Koern, and Ayuna"
Schen wasn't paying much attention to the captain, he simply stared off into the distance, but hearing the young Caevit's name roll off her tongue took his attention.
"Really?... Thank you, but you're not here just for that right?"
Now that he actually pays some attention to her, he noticed her face change, a bit more tense.
"You read my mind, come"
"I can barely move my lips and you want me to walk?"
She looks around for a minute before looking back at him.
"I don't mind carrying someone"
"If i have credit for every time a Tekit lady carries me in her arms while i can barely move, i'll have two"
Schen commented on his current position, it earned him a confused and curious look from the captain. She took him to an uninhabited room to talk, as it turns out most of the administration has been turned to some sort of holdout for whoever's left alive in the ship. She set him down on a chair and followed suit, sitting right in front of him.
"So what is this? Is there something you want to know? If it's about this whole thing then you're talking to a wall"
Her behavior was odd, Schen noted, she seems… agitated, not angry, just stirred, like something's bugging her. He can understand being scared, but the way she moves suggests whatever's currently happening isn't the case.
"Nothing much… i just want… confirmation"
"So… I heard that Koern asked you for help, is that so?"
"Yeah? Got to me after he said you can't help"
"Do you know what his issue was?"
"Yes, random images and voice recordings from his cousin"
"Okay… where does his cousin lives?"
"In Rosan IV and from what i heard, it's about as messed up as this ship"
"That is correct, do you-"
"Wait, can we just get to the point here? What's the issue? Why are you suddenly interested in Koern's problem?"
"...Because i've been having the same problem, what you said, random images, and voice recordings, now i know it's exactly the same, that is what i want to know"
"Huh… okay… so?..."
"There's one difference… his problem started today, during the jump, my problem has been going on for the last five cycles"
"And I want to know one more thing, please, answer this honestly… do you see it?"
He can feel her agitation increase tenfold as she asks the question. She was normal, now she's visibly shaking.
"Please tell me you saw it too, i… I've been thinking about it… for a long time… ever since I've peered into those images, there's a shape stuck in my eyes, it's burned itself into my mind, and I feel it…. Everyday i think i see something in the corner of my eyes, i hear noises that aren't there, closer and closer every time!…. It… it was getting closer… the shape…"
Her stare became intense, like the stare of a crazed person.
"i… don't know…"
"Oh but you know! You saw it!... Just as I did… it sees you, but you can barely see it, it's there… watching… First it stays in the image, then it creeps into you, haunts you, then you see it hide everytime you turn your head… it follows you, everywhere you go… in your sleep… when you work… all the time…"
Her breathing was rapid, almost uncontrolled.
"Perhaps… that's just you, i do not experience these"
"It may not now, but it will…. Because it has to me, it's like a tumor, and it won't go away, no matter how hard i try… it's still there…"
She calmed down slightly, her breathing was normal again, sort of, and she's no longer shaking, but the stare is still there, the stare of true fear, striking deep into his soul. As she calmed down more and thankfully finally averted her gaze elsewhere, Schen took the downtime to process what he just listened to, and his conclusion was: what the ////?
"Sorry… i… i just… i needed to know… i need to know if i'm not the only one… now i know it's in you too, not now, but soon, t-thank you"
"Should we return?"
He pondered about asking her to take him to the bridge, so he can look out and see what's happening outside the ship, but now he's reconsidering it, because of that… experience.
"...Yes, we should"
She let go of his arms, he didn't even realize it, but she was holding on to him tight the whole time.
"Of course… of course, let's make this quick…"
Schen observed Captain Vaiya as she left the medical room, he noted her sudden return to her previous well mannered behavior, he can still see a tinge of anxiety in her eyes and movements however, and realized how similar it was to Koern's behavior. Anxiety, unease, massive discomfort, moving around constantly, and eyes snapping to random positions as if they're trying to catch something on the move. It was unmistakable, Schen recalled back to his conversation with Koern, about something he said.
Koern did look at the images before coming to him, and it was clear the images caused it, if Vaiya had something similar or identical happen, he can assume the cause for her distress is the same. But one question remains that still baffles him: how? How do random images do that? Implanting irrational fear into someone, making them see things that aren't there, what is happening? And now that he considers it, he did see the images, is he going to fall victim to the same thing? Why hasn't he felt anything if those images can do that to someone through just a mere look at it?
One question leads to another, and it all gets more complicated the longer he tries to solve it. He wanted to ignore it, maybe they were just unstable and he misjudged the whole thing, but he can't help but feel there's something to it, it's clear those images and recordings somehow were sent by the creatures currently roaming the ship, he sees the connection, but why? And how? Psychological warfare? Maybe, that was the most rational answer he could come up with. With their clear situation of being in the middle of an invasion, he can only assume such an answer, but applying it to only a few specific targets seems beyond strange.
He pinched his snout in frustration, before taking a deep breath and exhaling it as slowly as he could. Perhaps he shouldn't think of it too much for now, maybe that's how it gets into you, the shape… whatever it is. He looked around his surroundings, a 'medical' room, previously an office, he watched the doctors treat the wounded as he thought of his next step. Looking outside the ship should be a good idea, he had asked a nurse about the whole situation before Vaiya showed up, they told him the entire star system has fallen, Rosan IV was silent, any attempts at communication and call for help were futile, the other planets around the system, some are yet to be named, are the same.
That means those things have been here for a while, and somehow stayed out of the union's radar. He remembered the emerging stories of Rosan IV, how it became a ghost, how communications were far and few between, how many ships that traveled to its system went missing and ones that returned had signs of heavy damage on them, and how their crews looked 'lifeless'. If Rosan's system has been like this for some time, wouldn't that mean any ship that comes here would suffer the same fate as his ship?.
Why would some return and look 'fine' was beyond him, but a thought nestled itself in his mind, a terrifying thought, it made his blood run cold, the thought that these things have spread beyond this solar system, spread silently, in cargo ships that travel to every corner of union space. Suddenly people seeing shapes and hearing sounds after they look at an image doesn't sound horrifying anymore.
Faen sat in his office, for the millionth time, he stared at his computer, for the millionth time, he opened the files containing the Qrid military spending, for the millionth time, he looked at the reports file, for the millionth time. It has always been like this, being a general wasn't all about giving orders and making war plans, most of his time was spent in front of his computer, looking at the passive activity of his army, and its spendings, receiving calls or calling someone to see if he can learn something new about someone else's army. Look at pirate reports, raiders, terrorists, radicalist, sometimes cultists, it has always been like this, looking away at the computer, looking at files, always has been.
He wouldn't say he couldn't make wartime decisions, if one were to ever occur, he's always confident he can, after all he has learned from both his father and many mentors. He trained for it, for war, he trained how to control an army in such a situation for pretty much his whole life, he doesn't have to, but it's better to know how to fight than not at all. You never know when it'll come, maybe now, maybe in years during your old days, maybe never, but if it ever does come, he knows what to do, whether he likes it or not. It's a part of his pride, his identity, though he couldn't say much about his son, and everyday he worries about not having a successor, not having someone to pass the torch to, and as time marches on indiscriminately, his worry can only grow.
Sometimes he wondered if should've been harsh, and not fulfill his wish to go to university so he can learn computer science, and put him in the very school he himself went through to become what he is now. But that's not a good father, isn't it? It would be against his wish, and he would've needed to force him, it's what his son's grandfather did… to him, he still thinks about it, about his original dream. A singer, a far cry from a supreme general, he remembered the angry face of his father upon learning what he wanted to be, it felt like it happened just yesterday. He never liked it, not once, despite managing to prove himself worthy as a leader of an army in the end of everything.
And to think, he was almost like that, to his own son, he couldn't handle the thought. Faen took his eyes off the screen, just for a moment, and looked at another one, a camera display, showing his son's room. Rana was sleeping, as usual and as he should be at a time like this, he looked at him through the screen, at his arm, and thought about his latest conversation with the woman he loved.
He felt a subtle pain in his chest out of nowhere, he opened the drawer on his desk through a motion that tells of excessive habit, and absentmindedly took his medication without looking. With a sigh, he looked at a small button to his right. There was a screen above it that had a list of people considered significant enough to be contacted by him directly, which ranged from the supreme generals of other species, to the head maiden that cleaned his and his son's bedroom. He looked for a specific one that he recently added, the surgeon that is the head of operation for the trials he had put Rana through for the last few cycles, the trials that he and his mother show complete disapproval to.
He found it and clicked the button, it was answered after some time and he entered a call with the surgeon.
"A pleasure to speak with you general
"Is there something you wish to ask of me?
"Yes… we should stop, no more trials"
"If that is what you want, then I will gladly comply, but may I ask why for the sudden stop? You seem invested in this when you first called me to arrange it
He cut the call short, and continued his work. Looking at the files, looking for differences every so often, making sure everything is stable and taken care of, and glancing at his son's monitor once in a while, and for the first time since his son graduated university, he smiled. Perhaps that's the right thing, to be a father, not a general. At least… for a moment, his smile disappeared as he received a call, it was marked as urgent, and was displayed on his screen instead of just a sound notification. He dusted his uniform and fixed any creases as he noticed the call wasn't just any call, it was a notice for him to join a discussion between supreme generals of each species and their respective leaders, that includes the matriarch.
It is odd he wasn't notified of this earlier, oftentimes these kinds of things have their own schedule that was discussed beforehand, a sudden meeting like this can only mean one thing. He accepted the call, and his screen changed to the display he's all too familiar with, a digital conference room, two lines of camera display, the bottom for the generals, the top for the leaders, they were all present, which is to be expected. The matriarch of Qrids, the Tekit queen, the Caevitan allfather, high empress of Enovia, and the Civean president, the current roster of union council, below them was him, and other generals, including general Cynte of the Civeans.
He still remembers his little offer to make an accident to highlight Rana's name, after the reveal of the Goels and the incident it was kept as a private thing between them that didn't really go anywhere. He doesn't want to talk about it, neither does Cynte, so it was technically a win-win situation, despite the unexpected and frankly out of their favor results. The call was oddly silent, no one was saying anything even the loud ones like his mother, they seemed to be waiting for something, or someone. Faen didn't question it, it would be considered stupid, so he too followed the silence. It was a strange and awkward few minutes of staring at each other not saying anything, up until what they waited for arrived in the call.
Another screen appeared above all ten screens, and on it was something he dreaded to see, the collection of red revolving rings, Cain. Practically every general present felt tense, including him, the leaders couldn't care less, except maybe for the Civean president who expressed the most worry as they all waited for Cain to speak. Sudden meeting, all members, and Cain, and considering their latest development with the Goels, this couldn't be good. The red rings assemble into the shape of a solar system like it did when it appeared on the monitors of his warship, and Cain spoke with his usual low pitched synthesized voice that everyone in the room knew quite well.
'it is no doubt all of you will question why I requested this urgent meeting, i apologize if any of you found it to be too sudden, but what I have to tell you will change your mind, and I will not waste your time, as we are in a race against time itself… the union has been breached by an invader, you are under attack, and in a process of galaxy wide invasion'
No, definitely not good.
"What do you mean by this?"
Faen immediately asked, as much as he distrust Cain, he must agree with his mindset that no time should be wasted. And it seems his question stopped a particular set of leaders trying to speak, stopping them from blurting out what are probably4 going to be pointless sarcastic remarks, so that was another benefit of speaking first.
'your union is currently under the invasion of a race that is arguably similar to me, we call them Shakran'
The display of red rings changed to a scrolling collection of images, images of… Faen doesn't know how to describe it, bipedal creatures, made of metal, and grossly disfigured bodies, with sharp claws and many eyes. Every single thing varies, some of the things in the images looked small and only had claws, some were massive and had what are clearly cannons as a weapon. He noted a certain detail about the images, they were blurry, and not straight, and some strange things were staring at the camera, while looking elsewhere. Something tells Faen these images were taken in the middle of active combat.
'They are a hivemind of machines, their sentience and sapience is debatable, but that does matter currently as their only goal is to destroy and conquer'
"Lies! If we were under an invasion from them, we would've known already! Besides… we already have an invader… we're talking to them right now
The Tekit queen spoke with clear passive aggresive energy in her voice. Faen sighed in annoyance but kept it to himself.
'i understand the distrust, but it is no reason to make a sarcastic remark, however, you need to trust me on this matter, because their return can only mean danger to the union, and the universe as a whole, they are-'
"Wait, what do you mean… their return?"
'you all must've wondered how and why i and my brother ended up the way we did on that desert planet, what you are seeing on my screen is the answer to your question'
It didn't click for any of the leaders, their annoyed expression stays the same as Cain finished his sentence, but it clicked for every single military leader in the room, and it horrified them.
'my kind have encountered them before, my creators, it led to a war, a million year war, between me and them, they are what wiped my creators out of existence, and soon will be the cause of extinction for every single species in this union if we don't take any actions, since you refused, i have personally tracked every ship that left Rosan IV for the last six cycles, here is the data'
The scrolling images turned into a detailed map of the galaxy, with every single star system currently under union control included in it, there were red lines all over the map, they were all traced back all the way to one specific system, Rosan IV. A heavy weight rested itself on Schen's mind as he realized how far the lines have gone, to a point it crosses itself, wrapping around the galaxy in a circle, like some sort of a chaotic web.
'Rosan is lost, it is highly likely they have turned it into a staging ground, i know that we all have strived to avoid this, but war is inevitable, i have send a complete data regarding the Shakrans to all of you, please review it as fast as you can, and take your moves, as i will mine right now, alert your fleets, if they see my fleet entering a system, tell them they are here as an ally, i have been defeated once, i will not repeat the same mistake again, i hope you can catch up and help me, because there is no telling of what they will do once their setup is complete, and there is no telling whether or not i can do this alone'
"Wait! What should we do?
'search and destroy, hunt down every ship that left the system, check every station, scan every inch of space, detonate stations, evacuate every planet they have visited then purge the cities and hammer the surface with orbital strikes if you might, but by all means… do not
let. them. develop. That is all i have to say, my reinforcements are coming, but i do not know if there is enough time, act now'
And with that, Cain left the conference room, and at that very moment, it shattered, every world leader was either furious or dead silent with a look of horrific realization, his fellow generals went into a panic and contacted their fleets. Except for him, he simply sat there, unmoving and very still, staring at the galaxy map Cain had brought up, looking at one particular star system, crossed several times by the red lines, and surrounded by it, Sheneae XI, isn't that?... The solar system his wife is visiting to look at a newly opened hospital?.
(a TON of RIC's)
submitted by Cool_ball999
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 06:35 Johnnycanuck2000 So ive had an idea for say a hypothetical new season to mystreet. Its one specific event all of the couples ( besides Dante and possibly Laurence) do and i think addressing this may be good for a next season.
Now yes its a bit cheesy and i wont get to much into detail about Aphmau and Aaron because i don’t entirely have a full hypothetical story around them but i do have a way to tie in that rundown to my main event of the season my main focus is how every new couple mainly Nana and Zane and Travis and katelyn will say there first i love yous if not already said if they have been well i mean itll still be a nice moment the couples share.
Now its a couple of days after the tragedy of love love paradise and everyone is just tryna go home grieve and then ask questions later. Everyone finally gets home and they all just instantly break down from the trauma that was caused because no one really caught a break. Its late at night so everyone just packs it in and gets ready for bed at their houses after saying goodnight to everyone. Now we’ll say both Katelyn and Travis and Zane and Nana are both in seperate houses (idk who’s specifically but my main reasoning is they’re all talking about there relationships.). Now the first couple is Travis and Katelyn ill focus on and Katelyns gonna be the one whos needing support whilst Travis listens to Katelyn grieve for context hes still depressed to just i feel Katelyn may be the one to first break down in this scenario. Now Katelyn is horrified at what she did fighting her own friends and it kinda all leads to just shes sorry for just being for a lack of better words but being hard to get with with Travis and having a temper towards the rest of the gang sometimes . Travis comforts her by hugging her and reminding her that he’ll always be by her side and he accidentally in travis fashion but still kinda serious spurts out the three biggest words “i love you” and katelyn looks to him wipes a tear and says it back to him which will signify there officially a couple and wont hide it i think I don’t remember if they openly said they were a couple.
Now to Zane and Nana Where they’ll have a similar talk with Zane being the one who’s wanting to vent about everything whilst Nana provides support to Zane. Zane will of course cry and vent about how he had to witness the woman who cares about him and who he cares about get slashed whilst his best friend basically died right by him. He’ll also have a line something along the lines of “i just started to find out what love feels like (at this moment Nana sees the love zane has for her)and as soon as something good happens to me its usually followed up by something bad” or something of the same point so he’s crying Nana who’s crying to hearing this will pull him in close for a hug and now she’ll say to Zane “ i love you” with Zane of course saying it back. With the two still talking as we pan to the main biggest point here that being aphmau.
Now for the final bit of the episode and the biggest one to address Aphmau now rewind a bit everyone will say of course before they split off to their houses will all collectively hope each other is well and everyone will hug everyone but when they all go to their houses aphmaus left by herself (her choice) she will sigh as she walks in locks the door with sad music in the background and fade to black as the locking sound is made.
Where i dont know what to add is to what aphmau does in the episodes after and how aaron will be reintroduced but i wanted to specifically make the couples and correct me if im wrong but make them say there first i love yous the payoff afterwards though will be the final episode Aaron remembers Aph and they’ll then get there moment. Im open to additions to this idea if anyone wants to add and i hope you guys like it.
submitted by Johnnycanuck2000
to aphmaufandom [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 05:25 SuzukiGrignard Lost Several Friends Due to the Actions of One PC - Advice Needed!
I am a 5e DM in need of serious help with a problematic player character. Dungeons and dragons is a wonderful hobby and even a way of life. Its more than nerds its a community anyways here's my problem:
My (9/10) players consist of my friends J (5/10), S (7/10), B (8/10) and H (male). They play a druid, fighter, bard, and 3.5e duskblade, respectively. Their characters' names are F, N, S, and K, respectively. And they all really like meta-humor, to the point where it clashes with my vision and tone for the adventure and ends up causing some serious issues.
I set them in a town that has frequently been raided by a marauding band of gnolls, and ive made it very clear to them in their interactions with numerous npcs that the gnolls were last seen making camp in a nearby dungeon, and that a large sum of riches will be rewarded to anyone who removes this looming scourge from the township's periphery. My players discuss pursuing the obvious intended quest, but then S decides she has a funnier idea.
So S has N procure dice from gamblers in the town, in addition to paper and quills, and the PCs hunker down in the tavern to undertake the overplayed trope of, you guessed it, playing DnD within DnD.
The dungeon master, N, begins their campaign in a castle. F plays a rogue, S plays a barbarian, and K plays a wizard. Their characters' names are G, V, and T respectively. The plot is that there are monsters in the castle and thats it. And instantly the three start taking everything incredibly seriously, slaying goblins and hanging on every word of N's absent storyline. It makes sense for F, but S and K have pretty good int scores so they really shouldn't be invested in that kind of drivel.
I am obviously infuriated. I send one gnoll, let's call him C, into the tavern to break up their bullshit and get them invested in the real plot, threatening to drink their blood and shit on their skeletons in my most gravelly register. The goal is to piss them off enough to get them to head to my dungeon instead. But the party's party needs a healer, so S casts charm person and C fails the save, so fine, guess he's their pal now. C plays a cleric named Z.
So I'm their heal monkey while the goblin castle campaign plays out. An emmisary of the goblins threatens to drink our blood, real original, so i try to befriend him, but i roll a nat 1 for C for Z and it doesn't go anywhere. And then, at my lowest point, i realize what i have to do to get back at these players. Between encounters, Z empties out the castle study of papers, quills, and dice, and convinces the rest of the group to start a DnD adventure in the courtyard.
"My adventure will be about a town under attack by gnolls" says Z.
"Sounds mid, i'll DM." says T.
I flip H off but N's mad her campaign's about to be derailed, so I concede. G plays a ranger named B, V plays a warlock named U, and Z plays a paladin named F. T being a wizard wants us at epic level, and puts us in a cavern full of really obtuse puzzles and traps.
B and F start checking for exits while U the warlock just sits around meditating for a while, V refusing to roll anything for some reason. Eventually B asks him, "Hey, you want to help or something?"
And U says "We are deep enough now."
Everybody's confused, F is like "What are you talking about?"
And U keeps talking with his eyes closed. "We are deep enough at last, the third circle. The pit of sand wells up with water. In these deepest recesses I have found the power to attain freedom, to ascend."
And then U eldritch blasts B and F, wins the fight, just wiping the party for no reason. And then suddenly he's not there in the cavern any more, he's standing next to T in the castle courtyard. And U kills T and G and V and Z, and then he ascends again and kills F and N and S and K and C in the tavern, and then he ascends again and kills J and S and B and H. He spares me as a witness to his power before breaking my window and flying out into the night. So theres the players all dead in my living room, and the gnoll plot completely unresolved.
I honestly don't know what to do about this warlock. Does anyone have experience dealing with a problematic player character like this?
submitted by SuzukiGrignard
to DnDcirclejerk [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 04:28 chbmg Easy Fixes To Make Survivors and Demons Happy – Saber, Please Read
NOTE: This is a very long post. There’s a tl;dr summary at the bottom Background:
This is coming from a long-time lurker, first time poster, and an Evil Dead fan for decades. For background, I have previous game dev experience, including Unity and Unreal, so I’m (mostly) not talking out my ass, and I've played both sides of this game roughly equally for more hours than I’d care to admit (primarily solo q, sometimes survivor with friends, and otherwise just playing demon when survivor queue times are high, as they have been many times since release). Usually, I just play whichever side has the lowest queue time.
Despite its flaws, this has been one of my favorite games of all time. The original development team was clearly passionate about the Evil Dead. The art, audio, and overall atmosphere are excellent and have superb attention to detail. I love all the random chatter from my survivor, the feeling of rushing through the woods as the Kandarian demon, and the intensity of a close game regardless of who wins. However, most of us would agree that this game has been held back by very poor "balancing" patches since release, as evidenced by polls on this subreddit confirming it is indeed the most frustrating problem.
We've endured shemps duping, brokenly OP characters, fear looping, and many other game-breaking exploits throughout. Bugs can be tolerable and are even to be expected, but the "fixes" almost always cause new issues and take far too long. It is painfully obvious that there has been very little time or effort expended on these issues by the post-release support team. Some patches have been so bad that they shouldn’t even make it to QA, let alone production – I’d be ashamed, esp. given that some of these issues can be fully and precisely patched in a few lines of code. I don’t need to see the source code to know that – even a rat’s nest of blueprints and disorganized C++ code can’t justify it.
I can only hope the skeleton crew that's continuing support for this game will take a few hours to address these issues. More importantly, I hope someone higher-up will recognize that this game still has millions of copies floating around and a lot more opportunities for profit, so it’s worth it to invest just a little time/thought into balance to keep new players and veterans happy.
Frankly, each issue could be hammered out in minutes by someone familiar with the codebase, but I know it takes some time for building and testing across multiple platforms - days is fine, weeks/months is insane, esp. given the current state of the game.
I think it is important to first precisely define how the game is unbalanced, and how this imbalance can ruin the fun of many matches. Based on previous posts and my own personal experiences playing with friends and family at various skill levels, the following pattern becomes clear:
3+ Bad/Low-Level Survivors – Essentially 99% Demon Win
2+ Bad Survivors, All Others Decent to Excellent – Heavily demon-sided (~90% Demon Win)
1+ Bad Survivor, All Others Decent to Excellent – Somewhat demon-sided (~70% Demon Win)
All Survivors Decent, Not Very Cooperative/Sharing – About Equal (~50/50 on Win)
All Survivors Decent, Mostly Cooperative – Somewhat survivors-sided (~70% Survivor Win)
All Survivors with Good Skills/Teamwork/Knowledge – Heavily survivors-sided (~90% Survivor Win)
All Survivors with Excellent Skills/Teamwork/Knowledge – Essentially 99% Survivors Win
Note: Skills/teamwork/knowledge are not necessarily related to prestige level nor gameplay style, though usually survivors with prestige levels have stuck with the game long enough to at least be “decent” (even if they’re still not perfectly cooperative/sharing/etc.). This pattern is only somewhat altered by the demon’s skill level – new/low-level demons skew much more to higher survivor win rates in every scenario, and excellent high-level/prestige demons playing the current “meta” demon skew toward higher demon win rates. Any level 45+ demon that’s decent to good and usually plays non-meta demons like the current versions of Warlord or Necro (that’s me) will likely not skew these results.
I believe my personal experience is a microcosm of the overall balancing issue, and we’ve seen posts on this subreddit that consistently confirm the above pattern. It should be painfully obvious by now to anyone who’s played both sides long enough, and it should also be even more painfully obvious to any developers/publishers pouring over analytics data for the game. What adds insult to injury is that, at the more extreme ends of the pattern, a lot of toxicity emerges. Many survivors go into flashlight-clicky mode when they have the upper hand, and many demons retaliate by dancing with possessions over corpses or other means, whether it’s in the current match or against some innocent victims in the next match (I’ve sometimes been guilty too – I usually just take a break when toxic matches get to me and I turn toxic, but I’m truly sorry to anyone who’s had to deal with any of this crap from me)
Anyway, what will happen if the above pattern continues over time? Well, newer players who are consistently getting absolutely destroyed and possibly taunted at the same time (as either survivor or demon) will either (a) quit the game, or (b) get better. Now, run through that scenario while looking at the pattern and assume the game remains roughly in the current state. There will be more and more new/”bad” survivors quitting the game entirely, and a smaller portion that will only stick with the game if they level up and “git gud” over many hours (becoming good to excellent players). The same thing will happen to demon players. What happens when all we have left are good to excellent survivors and good to excellent demons? Well, check the chart again. Every match will be at least heavily survivor-sided if not a guaranteed win. Survivors get bored, even most masochistic veteran demon players give up, queue times for survivors reach new heights, and the game “dies.” This sequence of events has happened at various times in the game’s lifecycle, but I fear it’s headed toward extremes that will eventually make the game unplayable.
Obviously, it’s no fun to win virtually every time and it’s no fun to lose almost every time. Competitive games are most fun when you have close matches – ideally, there’d be a win rate of about 50% for either side. “But wait,” you say, “the pattern above indicates that there already IS a roughly 50/50 balance for that scenario!” And yes, that’s true. But how many matches are actually like that? How many matches have you personally played that felt close and competitive the whole time? It certainly wasn’t common when we had strong SBMM, and it isn’t common without SBMM either. Why? Because players who stick with the absolutely brutal intro to this game today are almost guaranteed to at least become good/high-level players with solid game mechanics/knowledge (though some will still become toxic/uncooperative teammates or toxic demons). Those who don’t become competent players are virtually guaranteed to quit in frustration, some after just the first several matches where they are either getting consistently annihilated by all the veterans, or clearly being “allowed” to win if the other side takes pity. In essence, the game is just plain brutal for HOURS on end for newer players and can become stale for solid veteran players. For veterans, we have survivors who team up with 3 other veterans (boring due to easy wins, low challenge), demons who can only win by repetitively attacking an inanimate stationary book (boring due to minimal ability to challenge survivors throughout match), or demons who see 2+ bad survivors and have to decide whether to let them win or immediately stomp them to move on (both of which can be boring due to low challenge, and frankly feel bad if harassing beginners). I absolutely LOVE any close matches, win or lose, but they are unfortunately exceptionally rare.
Clearly, the goal of balancing patches should be to make as many matches as close as possible. How? Well, it’s very simple – give beginners a chance and give veterans a challenge. Specifically, force or incentivize gameplay that elevates beginners, challenges veterans, prevents toxicity, and basically “evens the playing field” so that the chart above reads more like “20% through 80%” win rates for survivors rather than 1% through 99%. Thus, the fixes below mostly take aim at mechanics that are abused by veterans of the game or seek to better prepare beginners. Additionally, nearly each of the fixes below can be implemented with the equivalent of just a few lines of code.
I fully believe that this game can achieve a decent balance as a 4v1 asymm. It only seems impossible because the patches for balancing have often failed to address root causes and/or caused new issues. The game can be more welcoming for newcomers (both survivors and demons alike) while still having a lot of the same learning curves and leveling systems to reward higher level play without it becoming outright oppressive to either side.
Anyway, based on a lot of previous posts and my own observations, here are some easy fixes for the next patch: 1. Revert demon traps to their previous behavior (i.e. make it so possessed survivors can be walked into a trap) and fix the fear looping mechanic for SchemeBaal specifically
The latest "fix" for this had a workaround from the community within hours to fear loop survivors anyway and nerfed all other demons for no reason.
This can be easily resolved by reverting to the previous code/blueprints/whatever (or hell, going back to the previous build if necessary), and then implementing a simple solution for Schemer. This solution requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer, so it should apply ONLY to Schemer. I can think of two easy possibilities, either of which would only need a few lines of code.
First possibility: If a survivor has set off a trap that was set by using the Schemer's special ability, then that trap now has a normal cool down and cannot be "reset" again by Schemer's current use of the special ability. This would allow Schemer to set a trap manually, possess a survivor, run them into it, get the trap reset immediately by their special ability, but then only run the survivor into the same trap a 2nd time. Thus, Schemer would still be the demon associated with traps and fear, but wouldn't be able to loop a survivor in one spot endlessly. A survivor that's slightly separated wouldn't necessarily immediately die, but a demon could still down a lone wolf by harassing, lowering health, raising fear, and then doing this method.
Second possibility: The trap setting special ability of Schemer could be disabled when Schemer possesses a survivor. This may nerf Schemer specifically a tad bit too heavily, but is still a far better fix than what we've got. It's also super easy to program with something like the following pseudocode:
If (demon.ability == true && demon.name
== "Schemer" && demon.possessing == true)
demon.ability = false; 2. Implement a stamina cost for vaulting windows/railings (e.g. the stamina cost could be the same as dodging)
This helps keep gameplay fair for both sides. It's clearly unfair and unfun to have a demon that can easily fear loop a survivor to death even if their teammates aren't far away, and the same holds true for a survivor that can "loop" a demon and never die. Survivors can still use objects, dodges, and other means to postpone death if they're alone (as I've done myself and seen done as demon) but it's at least possible for a demon to get in an occasional hit and whittle down health (i.e. it cannot be done indefinitely, at least if vaulting also uses stamina). Alternatively, at least give demons the ability to vault all the same objects as survivors, such as railings, so a 1v1 chase is fair – it just doesn’t feel great when a survivor jumps over a porch railing and looks back to flashlight click your possessed unit, knowing that there’s somehow zero threat in this 1v1 encounter in a 4v1 game due to a simple exploit. Personally, I think just adding a stamina cost would be fine to try at least, and many others in this community seem to agree. Plus, it should again only be a few lines of code to adjust the stamina bavariable of a survivor whenever he/she vaults. 3. Edit the text for the "hints" when a match is loading. There are absolutely no CLEAR tips about giving the right resources to the right players, nor hints about any newer demons (i.e. the hints have never been updated)
Regardless of which side we've played, we all know solo q for survivors is a total crap shoot. None of us started playing this game knowing that we should be gathering supplies for ourselves AND our teammates, dropping shemps for support, dropping ammo for hunters, etc. Many players quit before learning these things and there is no in game explanation for them (besides one single vague tip I can remember about how you can share resources with teammates, but no clear indication of sharing based on class
I think the lack of instructions for basic team play is one of the major causes of low player retention for the game. The tutorials are helpful for basic controls, but there needs be a lot more emphasis on the basics of this game that many of us on this subreddit take for granted.
I’d start by making sure the following tip text is the first to be shown to all players for a few matches after this is patched in:
“Stay close to your teammates and focus on the current objective to survive. Going off to loot alone is very dangerous”
(yes, veteran players can often get away with this, but man, it feels terrible playing on either side and watching someone just wander off to loot the whole game)
The other tips could be a lot more direct:
“Players should stay within the blue aura of leaders whenever possible to get additional buffs”
“Warriors should generally be given the best melee weapons but do little ranged damage”
“Hunters should generally be given the best ranged weapons but do little melee damage. Drop ammo for them if they ask”
“Support players are generally weakest, but can heal or shield all their teammates by using shemps and amulets near them. Drop spare shemps for support”
Now, the above “tip texts” at the loading menu are super quick and easy to add to the game. However, if the developers would like to go a little above and beyond, it would be amazing to add some additional text boxes within the game to warn players about bad choices. For example, there could be blinking text in the center bottom half of the screen for awhile if you’re carrying another survivor’s specialty weapon and they don’t have one (or if yours is a higher rarity). Also, there could be similar warning text that you’ve wondered more than, say, 100m from your team. Again, just trying to give simple, clear instructions to beginners (and those that are somehow still selfishly playing after reaching level 25+). And yeah, there are always arguments and exceptions to be made about how to play optimally, but some updated/clear tips could go a long way. 4. Implement a bonus XP on the results screen after a match is over that gives each side a bonus based on how many points the other side gained. Also, fix demon leveling based on survivodemon level
This one sounds a little weird and complicated, but it's really not. What I'm saying here is that veteran survivors should be rewarded for taking it easy on a baby demon, and a veteran demon should be rewarded for taking it easy on baby survivors.
Basically, regardless of which side you play or if you win or lose, I believe you should get a bonus XP based on how the other side did. For example, let's say you're a veteran pup player that gets matched to novice survivors and down them all with a power possessed basic before they even get the first map piece. In this case, those survivors will have very little points after the match (maybe even under 1000 per person) and the demon should get no bonus reward. The survivors here should at least get a bonus for enduring the slaughter and staying in the match. Let's say the demon takes it easy on them though, let's them progress, maybe even just throws AI at them (hell, I've personally spawned a boss and walked them to good crates when they're clearly new and can barely take on bots). Let's say they get 10k points per player this way - the demon now gets bonus XP for good behavior.
I'd say that there should be a bonus XP for each player if the other side reaches a certain point threshold, say 30k, or if the survivors are wiped before first objective (as in, survivors get a bonus for enduring such a match and demon gets no bonus). This would help discourage immediately stomping new players and help retain them (remember everyone, this game will die if it's just a few hardcore people with long queue times all doing cheesy strats and stomping anyone who dares try joining as a newbie).
Anyway, in psuedocode, something like this could work:
If (survivor.totalscore >= 30000)
demon.bonusxp = 3000;
If (demon.totalscore >= 30000)
survivor.bonusxp = 3000;
[Loop thru survivors to apply bonus to each - obviously, these values can be tweaked]
Obviously, you may have survivors or demons who go AFK and then it may make it impossible for the other side to get a bonus. Therefore, there could also be some basic code for checking if someone is AFK (i.e. hasn’t not moved more than a certain small distance in a decent amount of time, hasn’t set a trap or possessed anything in a certain time, etc.). Frankly, I have no idea how we still don’t have AFK checks – just about any other online game I’ve ever played automatically disconnects you if you’re not playing.
As a bonus idea to this bonus idea, you could also cancel ALL XP points for a player for a round in which he/she is toxic, such as a check for repetitive flashlight clicking. I find this irritating whether I'm a survivor or a demon (and I def didn't deserve a bunch of XP the few times I've been guilty of it when I felt a demon was being toxic). I don't think there's an easy way to detect all toxic demon behavior with code, but it would be trivial to keep track of flashlight clicking in code. Maybe if a demon is "hovering" (dancing) directly over a dead body too long with a possessed unit or survivor, then they also have their XP completely canceled for the round - that would also be easy to check via code. The key to promoting good, non-toxic behavior would be to implement these checks without specifying precisely how many flashlight clicks count or how long dancing over a corpse counts – just note that specific toxic behavior will result in zero XP for the round for the offender and automate it in code.
Finally, as another incentive for fair play, the leveling up of demons should be dependent on the level of the survivors they are harassing AND on the demon’s current skill tree level. In other words, there should be modifiers so that new, low-level demons get leveled up more by the same actions as high-level demons, such as downing a player, and there should also be modifiers so that high-level demons cannot get leveled up as much by harassing low-level survivors, such as constantly downing a newbie, but can get slightly more leveled up by downing a high-level survivor. This goes back to the idea of elevating beginners and challenging veterans, esp. since it’s incredibly frustrating to be constantly singled out as a brand-new survivor. This could be something like:
Lvl 1-24: x1.5 for demon leveling up
Lvl 25-44: x1.3 for demon leveling up
Lvl 45: x1.1 for demon leveling up
P1+: x1.0 for demon leveling up
Survivor (being attacked, hitting traps, or otherwise affected by demon):
Lvl 1-24: x0.5 for demon leveling up
Lvl 25: x1.0 for demon leveling up
P1+: x1.1 for demon leveling up
Lvl 10 demon somehow downs a P3 survivor – demon levels up 1.5 x 1.1 = 1.65 times as much as now
Lvl 45 demon downs a Lvl 4 survivor – demon only levels up 1.1 x 0.5 = 0.55 times as much as now
P5 demon downs a P5 survivor – demon levels up 1.0 x 1.1 = 1.1 times as much as now 5. Disable the ability to start both the dagger and pages objectives at the same time
This "split cap" method is usually only used by high-level teams and can be almost impossible to counter by anyone who isn't a very experienced demon, at least on certain maps or when these objectives are at certain locations. I've managed to counter it myself most of the time as demon, but it can be very hard to deal with, esp. given that survivors are resurrected after either objective finishes. Depending on the map and RNG (esp. light sources at objectives and other variables), it can be impossible to counter.
Basically, if the timer is running on either objective, it should be impossible to start the other objective. This still allows creative play by high-level coordinated teams (e.g. maybe Pablo hides at the next objective waiting to kick it off immediately while waiting for others to race there by car). It also feels a lot more fair, particularly to less experienced demons.
Again, this could be fixed in just a couple lines of code. Literally, just check if a timer is running for daggepages and if so, don’t allow interaction with the other objective. 6. Add a call out in the in-game communication wheel to say "demon is on me” or “I need help” for survivors
We know from polls on this sub that most people are dropping into solo q most of the time (I’m sure Saber’s own analytics could prove this too). Also, many people don't have or don't want to use a headset. These are just common facts for most online games.
I know some people have resorted to using the "need matchsticks" chat option to indicate they're being attacked by a possessed unit but this is frankly absurd. We need a simple chat option for survivors for this. Honestly, if the text for “I need matchsticks” were simply replaced with “I need help!”, I'd be satisfied because I often need help fending off a possessed unit or boss a lot more than I need matchsticks in solo q.
This should be easy to add to the game (it’s more than a few lines of code and would require minor image/text adjustments and possibly kicking off existing voice lines, but should still be doable). I’m pretty sure that most characters already have a voice line recorded that could work (I picture Scotty already literally saying “I need help”) and if not, we’ve already been shown that voice lines don’t really have to match their context anyway (I picture Mia saying “fire’s lit. Anybody needs fire, it’s here” when turning on her flashlight – so hell, just make that what she says when she uses “I need help” on the wheel – we’ve already accepted she’s crazy anyway and the text would be clear at least). 7. Keep car possessions consistent on all maps. Demons either can't possess them until they "spawn" when survivors are near (like Castle Kandar) or they can possess them at any time anywhere
Personally, I think that it should only be possible to possess cars when survivors have "spawned" them by being close to them like on the Kandar map. The method of flipping all cars on a map at the start of a match is generally only used by a few high MMR demons and feels cheesy to me (I also feel it's cheesy to drive 3 cars to each objective, but cars are always going to be divisive and they can also be used to cause a lot of damage at objectives at least).
I think car possession should've followed the lore of AvED, kept survivors inside, and done something different like having both driver and demon fighting for control of the vehicle, like maybe survivor controls keep randomly reversing while demon controls it normally and the driver tries to counter the demon driving until infernal energy runs out - survivors take a little damage whenever the car crashes. However, this idea is complex, so I'll stick to easy fixes.
No matter what, it just seems like the ability to possess cars should be consistent across all maps and it should be easy to implement, esp. since there's already code/logic for the two scenarios. 8. Add a single menu option at the main menu when choosing a game mode to select "random"
This could immensely help queue times. I know there are others like me who just want to play and don't care about whether they're survivor or demon.
This may take a tiny bit more work to implement than some of the pieces above (e.g. need a little artwork for the button, menu programming, some matchmaking programming, etc.) but it would help queue times, which have been problematic at various times in this game's life cycle. 9. Adjust RNG based on the overall levels of survivors
Again, this goes back to elevating beginners and challenging veterans. I’ve been in too many games with all prestige survivors that can split up and loot a large portion of the map without fear of consequence until each character has his/her own purple/gold specialty weapon (which also goes back to looping/vaulting endlessly and depends on map, demon character, etc.) – those games are a wash for demon. On the other hand, I’ve been in too many solo q matches where people are bringing grey weapons to defend the book and hobbling in without shemps knowing it’s just a slaughter. I’d really like to be in more balanced matches where veteran teams don’t all have perfect weapons for an easy win, and novice players don’t all hobble around with garbage for a guaranteed loss.
As a simple fix, it would make sense to simply increase the odds of chests being purple/gold if 2 or more survivors are under P1, and decrease those same odds if all survivors are P1 or above (in all other cases, odds can remain the same). And yeah, I know prestige does not perfectly equal pure skill, but odds are you’re at least “decent” at the game if you’ve made it that far (if not good or excellent). This RNG adjustment for chests could be multiplied by whatever Ed brings to the table. For example, if the decrease for all prestige players is to have 0.75x the amount of purple/gold chests and the increase Ed brings is 1.5x, then there would still be slightly more purple/gold chests on the map than normal even for all prestige players (and a lot more good chests for new players, who definitely could use the boost). 10. Give out more XP/SP – we need more double XP/SP events and there should be a bonus given to any low-level players (say, anyone who hasn’t gotten a single character to P1) to get and retain new players
This last point shouldn’t need much explanation. The community obviously overwhelming voted to have more double XP/SP events. It would take such an incredible number of hours to P5 every single character that I’d imagine only those who have literally played non-stop for thousands of hours since release could have done it already. For some, like me, who only took a brief hiatus from the game since release, it feels like a herculean task to even get 1 or 2 characters to P5 on either side. Such events literally help with balance by elevating beginners and they also give a reason for veterans to return. Queue times were noticeably lower during the last event, even though it was poorly announced, clearly timed to try and mess with TCM (which is just a bad look, esp. since there was nothing for this game’s own anniversary), and wasn’t even VISIBLE in the game menus. Despite all this, it was still a success. Saber, unless you’re actively trying to eliminate your player base, it makes no sense to not do these regularly. And since you timed it to try to pull attention away from TCM, it would seem as though you want to retain players (or you’re just petty, but I’m guessing you’re more motivated by profits than such emotional considerations).
Anyway, more XP/SP please. Also, please put some kind of indication that an event is planned and/or is actively occurring in your game. I mean, it could literally be a freaking sprite on the main menu screen with some text announcing a double XP event and the duration – this is really basic stuff.
Finally, I don’t think anyone here would argue with giving away a large number of spirit points to every newish player the next time they open the game. I think a one-time bonus of at least 100K would be very reasonable for anyone who has not reached P1 for any character. I personally know several people IRL who would be back to playing the game if this were done (and almost certainly give you money for DLC when they get a chance to actually enjoy the game in a semi-competitive way) – these people just don’t have the time or patience to grind through hours of straight losses to even have a chance. Closing thoughts:
I know there are a lot of other great ideas from the community on future content for the game (maps, characters, etc.) so I've just tried to stick to simple, easy to implement fixes for the developers.
Saber, this game could still generate a lot of (mostly passive) revenue if you support it well. There are many of us who are ready to throw money at any random DLC or cosmetic (myself included as a huge Evil Dead fan). However, the fans will only stick around to throw money at the game if the basic fundamental gameplay is somewhat balanced and glaring exploits/bugs are addressed. Seriously, if it's tweaked to feel good to play either side without major exploits being used by anyone, I (and many others) would keep throwing money at literal outfit accessories that could be crafted by a single 3d artist - it should more than pay for servers and labor, at which point you're just watching the money roll in.
Anyway, I've tried to stick to easy fixes that could improve the game for both novices and veterans. It would be easy to just say "buff the other side" whenever queue times are long for one side. At this time, it's obvious that average to excellent demon players are at a disadvantage when compared to equally skilled survivor players (as evidenced by queue times). I also remember times when demon queue times were long and I just played survivor because a certain demon was overturned or using cheesy exploits, so more people wanted to play demon.
However, I've been honestly sad that playing either side has just not felt good lately. It doesn't feel good to sit in a long queue for survivor, and it definitely doesn't feel good to crush noobs or get crushed by full prestige teams on coms. I can count on one hand the number of fun/close matches I’ve played in the last several dozen – I’d love to play more like those. Even if none of the changes above happen, I'd at least enjoy receiving some love for the older demons so they're at least fun to play and a challenge to go against (Plaguebringer Witch getting her original movement speed back, Necro and Warlord getting some minor buffs in any areas since they're pretty universally considered weak right now, etc.) – I mention these buffs in case you want to fall back on the tired old “just buff the other side” method. Saber, please implement some quick and easy fixes for this game . Even if you're just in it for the money at this point, I'm literally here wanting to throw more money at this game, but only if some basic balancing changes are made. If the next patch surgically tweaks some major pain points rather than bludgeoning fundamental gameplay elements, then I'll be here waiting to throw money at any random DLC you've got. Otherwise, I'll sadly have to find another game (as many others have or will, given the overall sentiments after this latest patch and some patches before it). You can still turn the ship around - you have 3 million copies of this game floating around. That's literally millions of fans who likely want to return to the game and throw money at DLCs if the gameplay experience is fun. It's up to you now. Tl;dr Summary:
The game can be balanced by elevating novices and challenging veterans. Here’s how…
- Revert demon traps to their previous behavior (i.e. make it so possessed survivors can be walked into a trap) and ACTUALLY fix Baal specifically
- Make vaulting cost stamina
- Edit/create hints for new players at the match loading screen that are clear and direct
- Give out a bonus XP for "good behavior" (not demolishing newbies), cancel XP for “toxic behavior” (flashlight clicking as survivor, dancing on corpses as demon), level up demon based on levels of victims
- Do not allow dagger and pages objectives to run simultaneously
- Add a call out in the in-game communication wheel to say "I need help" for survivors
- Keep car possession rules consistent on all maps
- Add a "random side" menu option to be able to play either survivor or demon, whichever happens to get matched first
- Adjust chest rarity RNG based on the overall level of survivors
- More XP/SP events. Also, give a bonus 100K+ SP to anyone with zero prestige characters
submitted by chbmg
to EvilDeadTheGame [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 04:20 LeeCloud27 ACT 2-11-1: Ropeway to False Divinity
Over by the outskirts of the human village, a large chunk of land was burnt, singed, wiped of any living no matter how small it may be. This was due to the power of the supposed current Shrine Maiden. Though none of the buildings or infrastructure was damaged, it was still a sight to behold; a sight that seemed unbelievable to witness many months ago.
A bit further away from the sight of the charred land, the group consisting of Sumireko, PB, Ko, Rumia, Cirno, Satsujin, Mary, Gummy, Suika, Shanghai, Meiling, Wakasagihime, Youki, Kosuzu, and Kagerou. What had started as just one person, turned to two, then three, then eight, eleven, and now fifteen people. Each of them started their journey one way or another, but they all hope to end it the same way.
“We’re here.” Sumireko said.
Everyone looked up to stare at the foot of the mountain, tilting their heads until they could see what they believed to be the tip. The view up there must be extravagant, but there was no time to sight see.
“The ropeway should be somewhere around here.” Sumireko said. “It’s usually close by.”
“Do most people take the ropeway?” Rumia asked.
“Well, people from the human village do, since most humans can’t fly. But unfortunately for us the option to fly isn’t available at the moment.” Sumireko said.
“I still kinda wonder why we can’t do something as simple as that.” Satsujin said out loud.
“Perhaps it was because-” Wakasagihime began.
“ZIP IT!!!” Satsugrim shouted at Wakasagihime. “One more word out of you and I’ll turn your tail into sashimi and sell it for dirt cheap!”
That made the mermaid quiet. Not another word dared come out of her lips.
The group wandered around between the foot of the mountain and the edge of the village. It wasn’t long before they came upon what they were looking for.
An aerial tram, made of wood and nail and designed to resemble that of a shrine, sat on the ground with a small staircase that could be walked across. A bit further away was a small little sign, looking shabby and worn-down, but it was clear it was there to help keep people from trying to climb up the mountain by themselves. After all, what kind of person would be naive to scale up a whole mountain when there exists a much easier and less physically exhausting option?
The group got on, making sure to check if the ropeway was still functional, though they kept their expectations low on purpose anyways. Luckily everything was working. And after pulling the lever to go, they were off.
The tram began to move upward in a diagonal direction. Slow and steady it was, but that was all everyone needed for now. They had a lot on their minds, yet no one said a thing. Everyone stood around; either staying in the middle or leaning back on the rails of the tram, some even taking a look down the mountain.
The slight creaking of the wooden structure was all that was heard, with a slight breeze that blew. The ride wasn’t necessarily bumpy, but it wasn’t smooth as ice either. Even then, everyone remained quiet, not saying a word.
Sumireko stood a bit away from the railing, looking at everyone else to see what they were doing. Some were standing around minding their business, others looked at the landscape below; how far they were from the ground. Despite the mutual silence, she felt like now was the time to say something
; anything really
“...I remember the day when Inco first arrived at Gensokyo.” Sumireko spoke, drawing the attention of everyone who wasn't expecting anyone to say anything. “I was in the dream world, talking with Doremy when two people suddenly showed up out of nowhere. One of them looked like a kasha, while the other an angel. Then three more people appeared, one of them being Inco of course. Doremy and I fought alongside the former two figures, but upon realizing it was going to be a losing battle, Doremy sent me away with PB.”
“And ever since that day, I wasn’t able to enter Gensokyo anymore. I tried everything I could. I prayed at shrines, tried to locate where Gensokyo would be geographically, pulled out every single occult book I owned. But nothing… And I was alone. The only thing that I was physically able to do was focus on school.”
“It made me realize that… I didn’t have anyone outside of Gensokyo who I could rely on. Sure, I had my mom, but for the most part I confined myself up in my room playing games and browsing the internet. Before I realized it, I was preparing for an entrance exam to the university of my choice. It seemed like my life in Gensokyo had already ended, almost like a dream.”
Everyone kept looking at Sumireko as she finished, some thinking about what she said. And when it seemed as though everyone was going to go back to silence, PB spoke next.
“Even though I was deactivated when I came here to Gensokyo, I blame myself for what had occurred here. If it wasn’t for me, then none of you would have to be going through all of this trouble. Our universe’s problems were not yours to burden; you did not deserve this.” PB said.
Everyone had their eyes directed at PB this time as they spoke. But while they kept their gazes, Ko decided to speak up.
“U-Um… I still hope that… once all this is over, if I ever get the chance, I like to see my mom and my older brother again.” She said. “They both did their best to make sure I am still alive to this day. A-and now I’m going to make sure that I’ll continue to live for them. And should we ever meet again, I want to greet them with joy in my heart!”
After Ko finished, Satsujin spoke.
“I wish to find my brother again. From what I know he’s still in the universe where I came from. I hope to bring him over here so that we can live together, and not have to worry about the torment of our parents or the rest of our family.” Satsujin said.
After Satsujin, Rumia spoke.
“When I arrived here, all I could think about was trying to find Reimu, or rather my
Reimu. It was the only thing that I could remember. But… Now I realize that she isn’t here, nor is Minako… I hope that if I ever see them again, maybe… we can be a family once more.” Rumia said with genuine in her voice.
After Rumia, Cirno.
“I used to be something called a SOLDIER. I would be sent out on missions to deal with monsters and other phenomena. My mentor Letty taught me everything she knew… But then something happened. An incident occurred, something that changed everything… That’s when I became a mercenary.” Cirno said. “But I wasn’t alone either.”
Cirno looked over at Meiling, giving her a smile. “In my universe, you and I were close. You ran a small bar and were an excellent fighter. You were someone I could always look up to, no matter the occasion. You were a ‘Big Sis’ to me, Meiling.”
Meiling’s expression widened a bit, with a blush that came after as she turned around while scratching the back of her head. “The me of your world sounds like a really nice person.” She said. Cirno laughed a little in response.
Now it's Mary’s turn.
“I think about what it might’ve been if I hadn’t been forgotten all those years ago. Instead of collecting dust I was actually used for what I was made for. The kind of people who might’ve used me in combat or honor instead of being kept as mere decoration for some Russian Mafia. But then again if I did, I would’ve never met Satsu.” Mary said, glancing at Satsujin momentarily.
“Ribbit.” Gummy croaked.
“Um… Gummy says that he is very proud to have met everyone. He thinks you are all great people. He wishes that he could be something equally great.” Ko explained.
“Yes yes, here you go.” Ko fed Gummy some candy.
Suika decided to speak up next, as it seemed like everyone was bound to say something during the ride up the mountain. She pulled out the item which she’d been carrying ever since they left Hakurei Shrine.
“I have something to show everyone.” Suika said, pulling out the ring box. She opened it up, and inside was a glistening gem, bright like a star. Everyone was stunned to see the item, with the exception of Satsujin.
“A ring!?” Sumireko asked loudly. “Where, when and why do you have one!?”
Suika smirked. “I got it from Kourindou by pure chance. He said it was an item that people use to propose in the outside world. I got it right before winter ended, and I was planning on giving it to Reimu.”
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!?!?!?” Sumireko went over to Suika and shook the Oni. “You mean you were going to propose to her! Why didn’t you tell me sooner!?”
Suika stopped Sumireko shaking her, looking her in the eyes. “Ahh! Stop it Sumireko! Geez… I didn’t want anyone to know at first, honestly… I wasn’t even sure if
I wanted to.”
“Eh? What do you mean?” Sumireko asked. “Aren’t you and Reimu…”
“...” Suika’s expression turned into a slight sorrow, which was enough for Sumireko to get the right idea.
“You… aren’t dating Reimu.” Sumireko said. “She isn’t even aware that you did this.”
“Correct.” Suika said. “It sounds dumb, I know. But…” Suika looked back down at the ring in her hand. “I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try… Even if I’m not the one she loves most.”
After Suika finished, the ride went back to silence momentarily, with the sound of creaking wood and gentle winds. Shanghai thought about Alice during said silence, thinking about what her creator could possibly be doing, and whether or not she’s okay.
But again, the silence did not last, as Meiling spoke up.
“When Inco took over Lady Remilia’s body, everyone in the mansion was forced to do her bidding, else we risk losing her forever. I myself was tormented by her, used like a punching bag. There were so many moments where I felt like my life was at its end, yet I always heal back.” Meiling said. “But now, I wish that I hadn’t stayed quiet the whole time. If I knew what was going to happen, I would’ve asked for help, get Reimu or the Sages or really anyone who could face that demon. Maybe that’s what Remilia wanted instead of the months of torture we received, even if it costed her life.”
The Gatekeeper showed a level of guilt on her face, though it lessened when Cirno placed a hand on her shoulder, which softened her expression. When it seemed it was back to silence, Wakasagihime spoke up.
“I can remember the day when I was attacked by that man. He shouted something nonsensical, ‘sugondeez’ or something similar. If I had reacted sooner to his actions, then maybe I wouldn’t have been bashed by that rock he held. But instead, I was a literal fish on dry land.” Wakasagihime said.
After the mermaid was done talking, Youki decided to speak.
“Hm…I have been debating on whether I wanted to mention this or not to the rest of you. I only told the boy half of the story regarding the fate of my son, my wife and my daughter-in-law. But I have yet to mention the man who did it… The reason being was because even I myself was shocked when I found out the culprit, and I feared if word got out, it would forever tarnish the name.” Youki said.
“The name?” Satsujin asked. “Who was it?”
Youki paused, the silence returning for five seconds before he answered.
“He bore the title of ‘The Priest who even the Dragon God Feared’, Sendai Hakurei.”
And immediately, Sumireko, Satsujin and Suika quickly felt a striking moment of realization, remembering what they had seen deep inside that lab, and the man who spoke to them. None of them knew what to say about it. Satsujin was well aware of Youki’s backstory, so he believed him, as did Suika who was familiar with the ‘Shrine Maiden of Paradise’, the ‘Iron-Fisted Demon Shrine Maiden’, and even the ‘Blood Flower Maiden’.
Everyone else wasn't exactly sure what to make of that kind of information. They just remained silent.
Well everyone but Kosuzu.
“...Everyone I ever knew in the Human Village… Akyuu, Kiene, Mamizou, My Mom and Dad, my Grandfather… I don’t know what happened to any of them. I don’t even know whether they’re still alive or if they met the same fate as I. What if I never get to see any of them? What if they’re already dead? I just… want everyone to be safe.” She said with slight tears in her eyes.
The mood had turned gloomy. The mood had begun in an aloof setting, made its way up to being bright, only for a sudden drop in the atmosphere. Everyone couldn’t say anything else during the ride whilst they listened to the consistent creaking of wood, the slight sound of wind, and felt the gentle motion of the tram swaying.
Kagerou, being the newest to join the group, noticed how everyone was acting. She knew that they had already been through a lot as is, but also knew that letting it remain would be bad for morale and motivation. She had to say something.
“I know I’m new here.” She began. “I know you all have already been through a lot. But we can’t let the past, the mistakes, the failures we suffered through affect how we are right now. We should keep on moving, continue no matter how many times we get hit. There is nothing wrong with feeling down, but we shouldn’t let it decide whether we win or lose either.”
Everyone listened to her speech, and a few heads perked up. They realized that they shouldn’t be so down about the matter, knowing that bearing a mind filled with negativity would only hinder their progress.
“You’re right Kagerou!” Wakasagihime said proudly. “We should all think positively!”
“Stay Positive.” PB said. “That was a phrase someone I knew said many times every chance they got. We should all keep that in mind.”
Everyone else agreed, right as they had finally reached the end of the line, with the tram coming to a slow halt.
“Oh, we’re here.” Sumireko said. “That didn’t take as long as I thought.”
“Guess we should get off now.” Mary said.
They went over to the gate, which kept the doors closed. After opening it, they were greeted with a familiar face, staring up at them from the ground.
It was a half-cyborg cat.
“A-Amai!?” Satsujin asked upon hearing her.
submitted by LeeCloud27
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2023.06.04 04:10 stlatos Armenian and Greek u > ü
Armenian shares many similarities with Greek (in which u > ü is already reconstructed for dialects). If both had early PIE *u > *ü (maybe just dialects, or else there was a return *ü > (i)u in some G. dialects instead) this palatalization would be better explained (also for Tu > T^ü below). This new front *ü caused any following K(W) > K^ (sometimes preceeding K(W) > K^, too). Plain *u causing K > KY makes little sense, and other evidence shows *u > *ü was needed anyway.
Examples of *uK > *uK^ in Arm.:
*leuk- > Arm. loys, Latin lūx ‘light’, gen. lūcis
*yugo-m > E. yoke, L. iugum, G. zugón, Skt. yugá-m, Arm. luc
*x^euk- > Arm. usanim ‘become accustomed to’, Skt. uc- ‘be accustomed to/take pleasure in’, okas- ‘pleasure’
*dughxter-? > Av. dugǝdar-, Arm. dustr, E. daughter
*bheug- > Skt. bhoj- ‘enjoy’, bhóga-, Arm. -boyc ‘food’, bucanem ‘feed’
and with multiple outcomes in:
*lukri- > *luk^ri- > *luc^ri- > *lurc^i- > Arm. lurǰ / lurt` / *lurš ‘(light) blue’, a(r)šalurǰ-k` / aršalu(r)š-k` ‘*1st light’ > ‘last part of darkness before dawn’
Armenian and Greek sometimes show what looks like a change of nasal > w before K, then K > K^ as above. This would support u > ü, and the pronunciation of Vu > Vw > Vw^. That this n > w seems to be irregular requires some explanation; maybe only mK > wK or something more complex. Examples:
*h2ngWhi- ‘snake’ > L. anguis, Arm. awj
*h3ngW-ne- > L. unguō ‘anoint’, Arm. awcanem
*h2anghuhko- > Arm. anjuk ‘narrow/difficult / anxiety/affliction/longing’
*h2anghusto- > L. angustus ‘narrow/difficult’, Li. ankštas, Alb. angth ‘nightmare/anxiety/fear’
*h2anghü-? > Arm. awji-k’ ‘collar’, K’esab anjnek, G. ámphēn / aúphen ‘nape / neck’, aukhḗn ‘nape / throat’
*h2nghü-? > *xvzi- > viz ‘neck’, *xiwz > Agulis xáyzak ‘back of the head’, etc.
This requires u > ü (as in many previous), to both palatalize and round K opt. (the same for Alb.: *h2anghusto- > angth ‘nightmare/anxiety/fear’, *h2angüsto- > mzith ‘ankle’). It’s clear these are opt., seen by many variants (awji-k’ ~ anjnek).
Examples of *K(W)u > *K^u in Arm.:
*tranku(r)- > Li. trankùs ‘jolting/rough’, ON þröngr ‘narrow’, Arm. t`anjr ‘tight’
*presgWu-? G. présbus ‘old man’, Cr. preigus, Arm. erēc` ‘elder’
*azgWolxo-? > G. ásbolos / asbólē ‘soot’, *ask^ülxo- > Arm. acuł / acux ‘soot/coal’
*melgWulo- > *mergWulo- > Alb. mje(r)gulë OR *melgWulo- > *megWulo- > Alb. mje(r)gulë (dissimilation)
It’s likely the stage *eu > *öü also optionally caused palatalization (or there was analogy from 0-grade with Ku > K^ü):
*(s)kewdh- > OE hýdan, E, hide, G. keúthō ‘covehide’, Arm. suzem ‘immerse’
Examples of *Tu > *T^u in Arm.:
*swaxdu(r)- > Skt. svādú- ‘sweet’, *xwaxtur > *xwałtür > k`ałc`r ‘sweet’
*kxartu(r)- > Go. hardus, G. kratús ‘strong’, Arm. karcr ‘hard’
*k^xad- > L. cadō ‘fall’, *cxatunūmi > Arm. c`acnum
(x = h2)
This seems to match ti > t^i > si (also optional?):
*prkWtús / *prkWtís > Phr. oporokiti- ‘semblance’, *praptís > G. prapís, *frexsi > Arm. eres ‘face/visage’, OIr. richt, Ir. riochd ‘appearance/form’
(compare *prekW- > G. prépō ‘resemble’, Arm. erewim ‘appeaseem’)
Since OIr. richt is a u-stem, *prkWtús / *prkWtís might have existed at the same time; this u > ü could even be of PIE date, since similar changes are seen in many IE. I’ll mention Balto-Slavic uC and iC from syllabic C, no apparent order. Other PIE u \ i include locative *-i but pl. *-su. If the changes in *bhH2ti-s > Greek phásis ‘utterance’, Arm. bay ‘word’ are explained by *t becoming s or y before *i, a path that includes the same intermediate changes for both languages would be best. This would also show old palatalization of *t > *t^ before *i, maybe with optional t^ > s^ before loss of palatalization. If *bhH2ti- > *bhati- > *bhat^i- > *bhasi- / *bhayi- or similar, other examples of odd changes to T before i in Armenian could be related, explaining eres : erew-. Greek had *u > *ü and some *tu > su, so a similar effect of both u and i on T would support this.
Also, supporting *ü is the apparent i > ü > i \ u by KW or P in:
*meigW- > G. ameíbō ‘(ex)change’, Bac. mig-, L. migrāre
*meigW- > *meügW- > *möük^- > *moyc^nemi > Arm. mucanem ‘introduce / give entrance’
*migWti- > *müc^ti > *muwti > mut -i- ‘entrance’, mtem \ mtanem ‘enter’
with the same outcome as *bhug-tí- > Skt. bhukti-, *bHuwti > but ‘food’, btem ‘feed’
Others for u \ i:
*pibh3- > ump ‘drink(ing)’
*temhsn- > *timzn- > t’umni ‘darkness’
*gWhènye\o- > ǰnǰem ‘destroy/wipe clean’, -ǰinǰ \ -ǰunǰ ‘destroyed’
submitted by stlatos
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2023.06.04 04:01 CornerCornea Wedding Nightmares. Night Wedding.
I'm recently engaged to a beautiful woman named Larissa who makes my head swirl. Looks, personality, and a similar taste in food, I mean she had it all. For my birthday last year I got to drive one of those Lamborghinis across the track, and fire a round out of an Abram tank. A tank round! I'm not much of a gun aficionado, but a tank round!
Which was all the worst, when 3 weeks before the wedding I had to tell my drop dead gorgeous fiancée that I needed to leave for a couple of days.
It's not an easy thing for a bride to swallow: juggling food prep, alterations, cancellations, seating arrangements, two sides of the family, busy bodies, food allergies, one aunt that won't stop calling, and another one that keeps asking if her wearing white to our wedding as she's sort of the matriarch of the family was going to be a problem (side note: we told her multiple times that it was not okay). The list goes on, trust me.
So when my fiancee asked for an explanation. I had to tell her the truth no matter how terrible it sounded. It wouldn't feel right knowing that the precursor to our marriage was a lie.
"Is it kids? Oh God, do you have a little Jimmy running around somewhere? No, Jim. I can't handle this right now."
"Lars, what? No. It's not a kid."
She was peeling and stamping invitations in our tiny 625 square foot apartment. "Well then what is it? I thought we agreed to no bachelor parties. I thought. We agreed that those were for people who were ready for a wedding but not the marriage. I don't care if it's tradition." She stamped the envelop extra hard.
"No, it's nothing like that. Trust me." I shuddered just thinking about it. "It's not any kind of thing I would be doing if I didn't have to."
She glared at me, "But you have to."
The table shook again. "Okay. So spit it out." She handed me a few envelopes. "If it's not a kid. And it's not a bachelor party. Then what is it?" She scoffed, "It's not like you're married right?" Her smile slowly started leaving her face, "Oh my God." She crumpled an envelop against her forehead. "You've got to be kidding me."
"Don't you Larissa me!" She looked me right in the eye, "Tell me I'm not the other woman Jim!"
"Well not technically."
"What does that even mean," she exasperated. "Go on, tell me how it's not technically."
So several years ago I was straight out of college. I could have worked some menial desk job and climbed the corporate ladder. But the idea of never leaving my home town ate me up.
So when an ad for native English speakers to come teach on some remote island presented itself to me. I jumped at the opportunity. Next thing I know I was booking a one way ticket to begin my new life as an expat.
In my head, I thought I was going to land, check into my hotel, enjoy the sights, and come the first Monday walk to the nearest English Cram school and get a job on my good looks alone.
On Monday, the school I went to, the hallways were packed with other Americans, British, Australians, and I think some Canadian was squishing himself into one of the tiny student chairs. All waiting for a job interview.
The next place was like that as well.
So was the next.
By the end of the first week I was beat. Tired and defeated, I thought my luck had run out. So I did what any 20 something would in a brand new city. I hit the bars. I hit them hard.
After the last place kicked me out as they closed I was stumbling around trying to make my way back to the hotel. Grumbling, groggy eyed and trying not to vomit all over the street. When something shiny caught my eye.
It was a silk red purse with gold embroidery tied with a thick yarn. There weren't many people out this late. But everyone who passed by it acted as if it wasn't even there. Like they didn't see it or something.
The bag alone looked like it was worth something. At the time all I was thinking was that, maybe someone would trade a drink for it, as my pockets were empty and all I wanted was for my head to be the same way.
I stumbled as inconspicuously as possible, or as much a drunk guy could finesse and made my way toward the bag. Looking around the entire time, making sure no one was running up claiming that it was theirs, or worse calling me a thief and have me thrown in jail in a different country.
And when no one did, I finally scooped it up and untied it. To my surprise, the bag was filled with money. Bright colorful bills with huge figures even at the current exchange rate. And there was even gold. Some rubies. I took one out and bit into it, almost breaking my tooth.
I couldn't believe how my luck had changed. I flipped through the cash and realized that there was enough to fund my trip for a few extra weeks. AND get me a plane ticket back home. The jewelry even, seemed sizeable.
There I was in one of the lowest, darkest moments. And a pot of gold seemingly dropped out of the sky for me. Thoughts of finding its real owner never even occurred to me.
I was quickly pocketing the thing and planning to high tail it out of there when a frail old man approached me from the shadows. Now I had learned some of the language before hand, but I couldn't understand what he was saying.
He kept smiling though and patting my shoulder, spouting words so quickly that if they weren't already gibberish to me, they would still make no sense in my drunken state.
I fumbled the bag around before juggling it into the crook of my arm, in order to reach my phone to help translate what the hell the old guy was trying to tell me.
The translation caught him mid sentence but all I needed was to hear one word back then and I regurgitated the last couple of hours all over the sidewalk and blacked out.
When I came to, I was back at the hotel with a killer hang over. I was wondering how I made it back when I remembered faintly of the old man helping me. That's when I remembered the pouch and my eyes darted around the room and to my relief, "It wasn't just a dream." The pouch was there, full and plump with a few bills sticking out from the throat.
Next to it was a note, that I would later translate to read about a woman who had turned 18 that year. The numbers 3 and 13 were inscribed as well. Her approximate height, which seemed weird. I mean, why would they go through all this trouble and not just tell me her actual height? Her name, her sign, and her address.
I was completely fucking baffled at all of this information, when I suddenly remembered my phone. I pulled it out and looked up the last thing still on my screen, which was a translation from Google. It read: my future son-in-law. I am so happy you've agreed to marry my daughter. Don't forget to come to the wedding.
No wonder I passed the fuck out.
I shook my head and checked the purse again. Yeah there must have been close to 5 grand in there. Not including the gold, the rubies, or a jade piece I found at the bottom.
Whatever was going on. I had no clue. But I sure as hell wasn't about to get married to some girl I didn't know. Even if I did need the money.
So I used a bit of the cash to get a taxi to the address. When I arrived, the old man saw me from his courtyard. He was smiling and happy, pointing and calling for someone inside the house. A few seconds later a short lively woman appeared. And she was just as happy to see me.
I didn't know what was happening but next thing I do know was they surrounded me in a hug. Happy and joyous, bouncing and wobbling, enough for me to almost hurl again, which I did, except this time I swallowed it.
"Hey, I'm sorry. I don't know what's going on. But the note says something about marriage."
The pair looked at each other and exchanged a series of phrases. "Marriage," the old man finally enunciated.
I nodded. Then shook my head. "No, not marriage."
We went back and forth in a similar manner for awhile before the woman ran off to get someone. When she returned with a young man about 14 or 15, wearing glasses and sporting a bowl cut, he explained to me about the pouch.
"It's a tradition in this area for a ghost dowry. I think that is how you say it."
"A ghost dowry?"
"Yeah. In our area. When a daughter dies really young, especially as an infant. THe parents will start saving money for her ghost dowry. Because we believe that when she turns 18, she'll return and ask to be married off."
"You've got to be kidding me."
"No, it's quite common. Mostly everyone knows about it. Which is why they don't pick up the pouch. Not unless they're really in need of money."
"I'm really in need of cash kid, but I'm not about to get married. I'm especially not getting married to some...girl that passed away." I handed him the money but he wouldn't even touch it. Avoiding it like some kind of plague. I even tried handing it back to the old man but he kept pushing the pouch back at me and shaking his head.
The kid shrugged, "You can't give it back. Those are the rules. Once you've picked it up, you've accepted the dowry and MUST get married."
"Why me," I asked rhetorically.
"She chose you."
"What? Okay. Listen kid. What if I don't get married? Are they going to report me to the cops or sue me?"
"So I can just walk away?"
The kid shrugged again, "You'll be back."
"I'm not sure. But from the stories I've heard. The groom to be always comes back. It might take awhile, but he does. Sometimes it's because he's traditional himself and his family tells him he must do the right thing. Other times he comes back because the girl won't leave him alone."
"Won't leave him alone?"
"Yeah. They say that the bride will come find the man at the hour of her birth, haunting him until he returns and agrees to fulfill his end of the bargain."
I rolled my eyes. "Yeah. Sure. I'm sure that's it kid. Either way. I can't take this money knowing what it's for." I put it on the table. "Please tell him that I wish their family luck in fulfilling their tradition. Also, tell them that I'm sorry for using some of the money for the cab fare. I had no other choice to return what is theirs."
The boy shrugged a third time, "It's yours now. You should take it. What are you going to do? Walk all the way back?"
"That's exactly what I'm going to do."
"It'll be dark by then," he added. "She could come find you."
"I'll be fine. And plus what if she was born in the day time?"
"They only come at the dark time of her birth hour. If she was born in the afternoon. She'll come at midnight," he shouted after me as I left.
I tried not to think about everything that's happened to me this past week as I walked back. But it wasn't a rocks throw by any stretch. Which gave me plenty of time to think. About my maxed out credit cards, the hotel stay winding out by the end of the week, and of course the wedding.
By the time that I got back to the hotel I was a tired, hot mess. I was also hungry and my feet were swollen as they were unused to the tropical heat. But I was sure glad that the showers were already paid up. I took an extra long one before crashing into my bed. Snacking on a candy bar I had brought from back home.
I turned on some tv and tried not to let the impending doom of being kicked out on the streets bother me too much. As a plan began brewing in my head on who I'd call in a few hours when it was morning stateside. A few people still owed me favors back home, which I hoped they would be good for, which I hoped was good enough to get me back home.
Several times I dozed off as the tv buzzed in the background. Each time I woke up staring at the bright red alarm clock blaring its red angry dashes at me. By the third or fourth time my head jerked me awake as it fell to my chest. I looked up to see the time on the clock. It was 3:12. When something clicked in my head and I fished for the note still in my back pocket.
18 this year.
I stopped reading and glanced back up at the clock. The little kids words reaing in my ear. "She comes at her death hour."
I waited, not realizing that I was holding my breath until I felt my lungs start to burn.
In a blink the clock changed and I glanced around as if waiting for something to happen. But nothing happened. My stomach suddenly growled, echoing in the empty room and I laughed, "Maybe I should have just taken the money."
Came a knock from the motel door.
My heart was caught in my chest. The main artery was constricted and wouldn't let go.
I was shaking in my bed, too afraid to move or answer the door.
*dak dak* *dak dak* *dak*
It went on like this a full 4 minutes before it stopped. WHen it had finally stopped I tried getting out of bed, but I couldn't. For a second I was afraid to look down, afraid that her hand would be there holding me in place so that we could elope.
But it was just my hand clenching the bed sheets so tightly that I couldn't budge. I had to use my other hand to pry my own fingers off in order to creep slowly to the door and look into the eyehole.
It felt blurry as I blinked my eye, trying to clear it. Tears had welled at the corners without me realizing it. I wiped them away and slowly, reluctantly bent down and stared into the peephole.
No one was there.
But for the next 3 days. My door would knock. It didn't matter if I was on the bed, or in the bathroom. The closet was the worst as the knocking felt like it was right against my face. It didn't even matter if I ran outside, as no one would be around within eyesight. The knocking would always find me.
On the fourth and last day of my stay. The door knocked right on time.
*dak dak* *dak dak* *dak*
I felt the familiar twinge in my chest and my body was numb all over. But this time I was determined to take a look. And finally catch whoever or whatever it was that was playing this cruel joke on me.
*dak dak* *dak dak* *dak*
I tried gettoung out of bed but I couldn't. I was too scared. Several times I glanced from the clock to the door. Afraid to take my eyes off the door for too long, afraid that she would come through it if I did. Afraid that I would miss her and she would haunt me forever. And as the clock started ticking down. I kept whsipering myself. "She's only here for four minutes. She's only here for four minutes." And it was almost 3:17.
Seconds before the clock changed I jumped out of bed. Determined to end this thing once and for all.
*dak dak* *dak dak* *dak*
I didn't have time to look through the door. Even if I did I was afraid if I saw something there. I'd be too chicken to open the door. So I tore the band aid right off and swung the door open wide.
There was no one there.
But then from my corner cornea, something caught my eyes. A trail of something translucent was dragging away. I tried to take a step after it but my first step out of the door stopped me dead. My foot was drenched wet and it felt sticky beneath my sock. The coldness of it traveled up my spine, and to this day I can only describe it as the feeling of something metal scraping across my vertebrate. By the time I looked up, the wisps were gone. ANd the trail it left behind was already drying.
That night I couldn't sleep a wink. I waited until morning came and took to the streets. Desperate to find the old couple's house. Stopping several times to ask for directions and circling around streets and street signs that I couldn't read until I heard a familiar voice.
"I told you you'd be back."
"Kid," I grabbed him.
"Whoa. You look like you've seen a ghost." His eyes grew wide as he looked me over. "So the stories are true!" He didn't waste any more time. "Come on," he called after me. Leading me down the street and to the old couples courtyard. The pouch was still on the table outside where I had left it days ago.
The kid knocked on the door and shouted until the old man answered. He was still in his sleeping clothes when he saw my face, and his demeanor completely changed. He was so happy to see me. Opening the door wider and ushering us inside.
"Tell him I want it to stop," I told the kid. "Tell him I want her to leave me alone."
The kid translated but the old man shook his head before speaking. The kid looked at me and said, "He says then 'Marry her'."
"I can't do that!"
"Then she'll never leave you alone."
"She just going to keep knocking on my door? Forever?"
The kid turned to the old man and told him in their language what I said. The old man gripped his cane and tapped it once lightly on the ground, almost as if he were proud, before he told the boy who then told me, "She's a kind and gentle soul. He knew she would be. If she's only knocking on your door so far."
"So far? So far? Okay. What? Fuck. So then what? What happens if I marry her?"
The kid asks the old man and after a few words were exchanged he turned to me, "Then you will be wed."
"yeah. I get that. But what does that really mean?"
The kid clicks his tongue, "From what I understand. I think it means you'll have to honor her every month."
"Honor her? How? Like make a sacrifice? A blood sacrifice or something?"
The kid laughed, "No. Just Bai Bai. I don't know how to say it. Pray?".
"Pray to her?"
"Acknowledge her. Talk to her wooden nameplate. It's what serves as a gravestone for our dead."
"So just pray to her once a month, and that's it?"
The kid talks to the old man for awhile before turning back to me. "Yeah. That, and you'll be blessed."
"Yeah. Not sure about that one."
"Okay. Fine. What else. Like what if I want a girlfriend someday. Or get married. Have kids. Can I not do that? Will she haunt me? Haunt them?"
The kid asks the old man before turning to me, "Not if you ask for her permission. In a ghost dowry, you're allowed to have concubines. As long as she is consulted first and agrees."
I shake my head, "This is fucking crazy."
The kid shrugs. I seem to get the feeling he likes to shrug. "It's either that or she keeps haunting you."
I mulled that over in my head. "Shit." I stomped around the courtyard. "Okay. Fine. Fine! What do I need to do?"
The kid looks up at the sky. "We'll have to prepare."
"What? But it's already late. I want to get it over with as soon as possible. I don't want to wait another night of her coming to my door."
The kid smiles, "Don't worry. You won't. This kind of wedding can only happen at night."
For the next several hours I waited. Watched as neighbors and family. Cousins. Came to help. Food was brought in. Large round tables were set outside the courtyard. A tailor came and measured me up, twice. Decorations were strung and the sun began to fall.
When night came, the people who had gathered were tired but pleased with themselves that they had finished. I was asked to change into my wedding clothes and to wait outside the door of the couple's house until called. The lanterns behind me burning and the smell of food wafted in the air.
I waited until the doors finally opened.
Inside I saw the old man and the old woman start constructing something before a traditional wooden shrine at the back of the room.
They started with the legs. Sewn pieces of white cloth. The torso. The arms. And finally the head. When it was put together, the couple slipped on a white dress over the effigy they had constructed. Then the old woman went off through one of the side doors and returned with a box. From inside the box she withdrew a folded blanket. It looked faded but the edges were crisp and completely clean. The old man reach into the box and removed a sickly green thread that seemed to stick to his fingers, from it hung tiny strands of black hair, which he stuck gently to the back of the effigy's head.
The woman threw the blanket over its face, covering it.
Then the old couple turned to me and beckoned me forward. I looked behind me and none of the other guests moved.
Even the kid stood next to the door, unwilling to step inside as I entered.
I walked slowly up, next to the effigy until we stood side by side.
The old woman turned toward the shrine where a wooden plaque stood at the table. On it were three character words that I couldn't read. And she began to speak, the kid behind us translated in suit.
"Dear daughter. Mother is glad that you're finally being wed off. Though Mother will miss you as a girl. I am so glad of the woman that you have become. I am so proud of you. Please, continue to make me proud." She sighed. "When you were born I was so happy. Even if you only lived for a few short minutes. And I am sorry that the fates have been cruel to you. But I am thankful that they at least showed mercy enough to give you a husband. Take care my sweet girl."
"We love you," the father finished.
The old couple hands me a bowl. Inside are small boba looking balls swimming in a clear soup.
The kid behind me, "It's tradition to take a bite, and then feed your bride."
I looked at the old couple and they nodded at me, motioning for me to eat. I dipped my spoon in and took a mouthful. Chewing slowly. And swallowing.
Then they motioned for me to feed her.
I dipped my spoon again. And awkwardly raised it towards her. Slipping it under her veil to where her lips would be. Pretending to feed her.
Now I watched them put this thing together. Besides the creepy hair and the swaddling cloth for a veil. It was nothing more than cloth and stuff. I knew this.
At least that was what I thought until I heard it chew.
I could hear her jaws sticking as they moved up and down. The room was dark but signs of the veil moving completely terrified me. I couldn't even hear the people breathing behind me or the lanterns burning. All I could hear was her chewing.
When she finished. There was silence. Then everyone cheered.
After that, it was like any normal wedding I had attended. The guests poured in and I shook just about everyone's hand. Hugging complete strangers. My new parents. And even the kid.
Then we ate and drank, for almost a week. Someone was sent to get my things from the hotel and I stayed with my in-laws for the remainder of my stay. Which turned out to be several years. Because the following week I was offered as job as an English instructor at a nearby school.
I was told the principal owed the old couple a favor, but something told me that it wasn't the whole story.
I enjoyed my work at the school but didn't stay for long. As I started traveling to film a documentary about the local cuisine after a few of my YouTube videos mysteriously went viral as an expat who tried weird but delicious treats.
Eventually, my in-laws passed away. First it was mom. And four days later dad followed suit. I lived alone in the house for awhile, before I hit the jackpot at the weekly supermarket draw from one of my receipts. That, along with selling the house, was enough for me to go back to America and start a brand new life. Where I opened several shabu shabu restaurants that were met with great success.
"Eventually meeting you during one of my rounds."
My fiancée who had been listening to my story slack jawed the entire time couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Bull-fucking-shit!" She slapped me playfully across the arm. "You are such a good fucking liar!" She laughed. "I've always heard about guys not wanting to help out about the wedding arrangements. But this one takes the fucking cake. I'm going to post this in the group chat tomorrow. Bra-vo."
I laughed with her. "Yeah. That's it. It's just a great story."
"Now finish this up and let's go upstairs," she commanded. We stamped the last envelopes and went to bed. She was still laughing sporadically as I closed the door to our bedroom. "Knock knock," she joked.
I humored her, "Knock knock."
And we watched tv until she fell asleep.
I made sure she was sound asleep, before I gently crawled out of bed and put on my slippers. Softly opening the door and closing it behind me as I walked through the house. Down to the first floor. Then to the basement. Where I pulled the key I kept around my neck and slipped it into the lock.
Inside the basement was bare, except for two chairs and some boxes that I had taken from the old house, and the table, and the small wooden plaque that had my first wife's name inscribed on it in her native language.
"I'm going to get married soon," I told her. "She's a great person. Funny. Beautiful. And devoted. Kind of like you." I held the wood plaque in my hands. "I hope you approve." I waited as if she would answer. But she didn't. Never in all the years we've been married. "I can't go back home to ask for your permission. But I hope that this is enough." I looked at her name, almost longingly. As I had grown quite attached to our time together. "And I hope that this will be the last time we talk as I move on with my life. Thank you so much," I told her as I put her away."
Months flew by, and I never revisited the basement. Knowing full well that I had missed our visiting days. Though I'd often catch myself talking to her on some tough days. But nothing bad happened, by not seeing her plaque. Nothing bad at all.
Soon the wedding day was upon us. And it was a great party, as great as the best there ever was. Great good. Great company. And tons and tons of alcohol.
Larissa and I were giggling at the end of it, drunk as we stumbled upstairs from the venue to the presidential suite. Laughing all the way, kissing, barely able to keep our hands off each other as we got into our room.
My new bride pushed herself off me as we entered the threshold, and sprawled herself on the bed. Her legs rubbing against each other as her eyes invited me to come closer. I propped a knee on the bed to join her.
We both shot our eyes to the door and then at the table side where the clock blared at us an angry red of 3:13.
Larissa looked up at me with a horrified look. I could see her bottom lip quivering.
"Hello," I called out. With my back to the door. "Sam? Bobby?" But no one answered. "Room service?"
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2023.06.04 02:58 hiker1996 How do people deal with heartbreak?
I’m freshly heart broken, like only a few hours fresh and just really need to vent and get words of wisdom. I’m (26f) a late bloomer, I didn’t start dating until 25. I have a lot of reasons for not dating in the past and stacked together they led to me waiting until 25. In the last year and a half I have only met two people I was genuinely attracted to and interested in.
The first guy ghosted me after 3 fantastic dates and lot of calls and texting. I took it really badly. I knew my reaction was disproportionate and ended up in therapy partially because of it.
I kept dating and kept not having connections, there were some perfectly nice handsome guys I just was not attracted to them and always ended things before they really went anywhere.
6 weeks ago I finally met someone I was attracted to. I left the first date feeling giddy, which I hadn’t felt since the ghoster. From there things only got better, our second date ended up being very emotionally intimate and I basically laid out all my baggage. Which included never being in a serious relationship or having sex. He wasn’t scared off. Sharing the things I thought someone might reject me for so early made everything so much more comfortable and easy, from my perspective at least.
We continued dating and ended up sleeping together. So he was my first everything except for kiss. For me sex was always the main thing that held me back from developing relationships so to overcome that fear was a major step.
Fast forward to today, we are supposed to go on a date. I’m preparing in my head to actually have the where is this going conversation. I end up getting a text basically saying he thinks we shouldn’t see each other because we are in different places and want different things and he is looking for a serious relationship. He thinks if we keep seeing each other emotions will get too complicated. I’m surprised, this is definitely not something I expected to hear and point out that we hadn’t talked about this and if we had you’d know that a relationship is what I want too. In the end it came down to that I haven’t been in a serious relationship in the past and he can’t commit or continue seeing someone who hasn’t had the growth and learning experiences that come with a relationship.
I’m devastated, he told me repeatedly that he thinks I’m great and enjoyed our time together. I know that he started the conversation with his mind made up already, and there is/was no changing. Its really heartbreaking to hear that this thing I was worried about and brought up so early is what is the issue. I had a gut feeling I would end up heartbroken, not having a previous longterm relationship is not at all what I saw coming though. I can’t imagine feeling so safe and willing to be vulnerable with anyone else. This shit is so hard I don’t understand how people can just wipe themselves off and get back out there.
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2023.06.04 02:52 SkullbombRaging Deathworld Game The Second Coming, Chapter 16: Going Nowhere, Getting Somewhere
Hey there, sorry for the wait, things got rather hectic with my life IRL.
Thank you for your patience, I hope you enjoy the chapter!
Beginning First Previous Discord Patreon Non-HFY Stories
“We’ve been going in circles!” I yelled at the bearded jackass.
“We’re not going in circles–” He defended, but I didn’t give him any time to make excuses.
“Oh yeah, smart guy? I’ve seen that weird moss-cactus-thing three times now! Why am I even following you around?! You’re clearly lost!” I interrupted.
He walked over to look at it and then over to a nearby tunnel entrance. “If we’re going in circles, then why are my tunnel marks missing?”
He ran his finger along an empty spot on the wall. “If we were going in circles, there should be a long scrape mark right here. Besides, there are other differences…” He pointed across the cave. “That outcropping pattern looks a lot like one from two chambers ago, whereas the formation next to it looks like one we passed by five or so ago.”
“So what are you saying exactly?”
“I’m saying that we’re not going in circles, it’s similar but not the same.”
I grinned wickedly. “So you mean The Great Beardo doesn’t have all the answers?!”
He stopped in his tracks, closed his eyes, and then after about ten seconds opened them again.
“My name is Grigory, is it really so difficult for you to remember?”
My grin widened. “I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that, could you say again?”
“So it’ll be like–”
I cupped my hands around my ears. “Huh?! What was that?!”
He fixed me with a glare and then walked into the next tunnel.
But he wasn’t going to get off that easy.
I slid up next to him, my hands still cupped. “Hey! What’s wrong?! I just asked you what you said!” He didn’t even acknowledge me, so leaned over so I was cleanly in view as he walked. “Come on, don’t be such a–”
Suddenly he stopped, and the air around the two of us shifted.
He turned, causing me to take a step back.
“I have only so much patience to spare for your immature antics, stop acting like a child.”
I pushed a clump of hair from my bangs out of my face again. “What are you, my dad?”
He took a deep breath and then continued walking. “If I were your father I’d try for a third reincarnation.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but I was at a loss for words, so I silently jogged to catch up instead.
Several hours passed walking, with no way out in sight.
“How much more of this are we going to have to put up with?!” I complained.
“I was planning on going until I was tired, but I suppose now’s as good a time as any.” Beardo replied, clearing a spot to set up ‘camp’.
My fist clenched. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He looked up at me with a cocked eyebrow. “Pardon?”
“You just said that you weren’t tired, do you want to keep going…? Or better yet, how about you let me blow off some steam by caving your head in?!”
“Mental exhaustion is a perfectly valid type of exhaustion.”
My jaw clenched. “But you’re not suffering right?! So is it because I’m a woman, or because Asians are ‘too dainty’?!”
He stopped what he was doing and looked at me completely baffled. “You didn’t touch any weird plants on your way through the tunnels did you?”
It felt like my eyeballs would bulge out of my head. “Of course not you dumbass! And don’t change the subject!”
He shook his head. “You know that you’re a superhuman being right? That question you asked me doesn’t even make any sense. You kicked apart solid stone
if you remember.”
“Okay mister pinnacle-of-virtuous-thought, why is it that you supposedly don’t feel as tired as I do then?”
“I’ve spent many years training myself to endure all sorts of pain and fatigue, I just doubted you had as well.”
I stared at him, completely stunned… that was definitely not what I was expecting him to say.
After a moment, I had my fury back. “Well, how do you figu–”
He didn’t raise his volume, but somehow still stopped me cold mid-sentence. “I didn’t mean anything by it, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that people have different values on concepts than I do. I’ve long since made peace with the idea that I may never become as durable as my first life, so I just take things as they come, and for that reason I don’t remember that saying people can’t continue will sometimes hurt their pride. I’m sorry if that, or any other insult felt implied in my words.”
Once again I was speechless, but this time, the fury didn’t come back.
I just stood there, trying and failing to put my thoughts to words.
I had a whirlwind of examples of his previous behavior I wanted to point out and say ‘but what about this?!’, yet he was so sincere I found it difficult to choose one that felt good enough to actually mention.
He narrowed his eyebrows in concern. “Are you feeling okay?” He put the back of his hand on my forehead. “Your head is a little warm.”
I pushed his hand off of me. “I’m fine you jackass! I’m just thinking!”
He exhaled deeply. “I’ll leave you to your thoughts then.”
And with that, he continued clearing the area from where he left off.
And I was left… just standing there.
It was the most delicious stale bread I had ever tasted.
I wasn’t expecting much when Klas the master-at-arms had told me I could have a ration as a token of goodwill, especially when he said stuff like sugar was super dangerous to harvest, but still I found myself sobbing tears of joy.
I could finally get the taste of coconuts out of my mouth!
“Woah are you okay?” Galth asked.
“I’ve never been better Galth.” I replied.
He looked at me with some skepticism, but said nothing further.
I folded my arms behind my head and leaned back.
Now that I finally had a quiet moment, my mind wandered to a strange occurrence from the very beginning of my journey… the overlapping text that appeared right after the blinding light.
I decided that my first task was to lay out what I knew so far.
The most obvious thing was that I didn’t recognize any of it, even in passing… which is to say, it matched no script that I’ve ever seen in my life.
After all, I’d remember.
Sure some of them looked familiar, but there’s no guarantee that those biases are correct, so I must assume I know nothing about this language.
I gently clacked my teeth together before sitting back up. “Galth, do you guys have any spare paper?”
Galth looked at me funny. “No…? Did you find some somewhere?”
I shook my head. “No such luck. That said, how have you been marking things down?”
He made some vague gestures with his hands. “We found a white rock that makes an erasable mark which we use on thin sheets of rock or wood.”
I nodded. “Slates huh? Fair enough.” An oldy, but a goody. “Can I use some of this white rock?”
He rolled his head back and forth in a very human looking gesture of indecision. “We’d have to ask Klas, I don’t have the authority to answer.”
So, ask Klas we did.
Basically it came down to ‘I’ll give you one stick, if you want more you’ll have to get your own.’
I was a bit annoyed, but didn’t argue. They probably used this stuff for all their ‘paperwork’ after all.
I took my stick of ‘chalk’ and peeled some bark off of a nearby palm tree, before writing down some of the symbols I’d seen during that incredibly painful opening experience.
I’ll call the event itself ‘The Vision’ for ease.
In The Vision, I saw a few particular sets of symbols over and over, and my cryptologist instincts told me immediately that it was important somehow, so those patterns are the ones I decided to copy down.
The first most common one looked like a cross between an ampersand and an at-symbol, followed by two sets of the same squiggly lines. What came immediately after this pattern varied greatly, but the pattern itself was usually the first part of a line if it appeared at all.
The second most common was a symbol which looked like the outline of a yin-yang with the two halves facing away from each other instead of forming a circle, followed by a chevron which pointed to the right, and then another of the first symbol again. Interestingly enough, this pattern never
came first on a line, it also seemed like what did come first on the line was never the same.
Other than those specific patterns was probably the strangest part of it, which was that the length of each line was different, sometimes ending after a short phrase, sometimes ending after a long collection of characters.
But then again, that might just be the preferences of whoever wrote it.
At this point, I had my theories about what this meant, but I had already decided to remove my biases from the equation as much as possible, so I put it in the back of my mind for the time being.
Instead, I decided to write down a few more phrases which I found particularly interesting to see what they looked like at different angles.
That’s when something unexpected happened.
I wrote down a whole line which caught my eye because it included the second most common phrase, and as soon as I finished it, the piece of bark was suddenly soaking wet.
I stared at it in astonishment for a good minute or two, before I ripped off another chunk to see if I could do it again.
Sure enough, as soon as I finished the phrase, it caused the bark to become soaking wet once again.
Without any further hesitation, I charged into Klas’ tent. “Klas! I don’t know how, but these strips of bark became wet!”
He was busy wiping his mouth on the inside of his shirt while a rancid smell permeated the room as I entered. The declaration only served to cause his eyebrows to narrow. “Did you throw them into the lake?”
I facepalmed. “Right, that’s on me, hold on a second.”
I grabbed one more chunk of bark before showing him the phrase that suddenly made yet another piece of wood skin become dripping wet.
That did it.
The conversation immediately became a negotiation on what it would take to research The Vision further, and to teach the Kalkithu what I learned.
I asked for a slate about the span of my arms and an unlimited number of chalk sticks… after all, what sort of a teacher would I be without a chalkboard?
I wanted to thank everyone for the various types and amounts of support you give, particularly how patient you all have been waiting for me to write. I especially want to thank my Discord moderators, my proofreaders u/OccultBlasphemer
, as well as my Patrons Jagged and u/losstinhere
See you in the next chapter! Beginning First Previous Discord Patreon Non-HFY Stories
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2023.06.04 02:25 BunnySwag5511 A 'Cyber' Themed Windows 11
2023.06.04 02:24 BunnySwag5511 A 'Cyber' Themed Windows 11
2023.06.04 01:53 BunnySwag5511 [Windows 11] Cyber Theme
2023.06.04 01:38 4ucklehead This might be an (albeit unlikely) answer to the atomic wallet hack
I reset my phone recently back to factory settings which erased all my data. I downloaded atomic wallet again and I expected to have to restore my wallet with the 12 word key, but instead all it asked for was a password.
Does anyone remember whether, when installing atomic on a new device, they were only asked for a password and not a restoration key? I know it sounds crazy and would create a problem where two people couldn't have the same password but I'm wondering... Unless it recognized my device even though everything had been wiped
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2023.06.04 01:23 xtremexavier15 TSROTI 3 (pt 2)
The episode resumed on a shot of a large patch of ice and snow, a snow machine blowing in the background next to a snowy slope. The camera panned left onto the two shivering teams, with Scarlett and Trent clinging to their respective team flags.
"Greetings, ice teens!" Chris greeted as he and Chef rode up on the back of a snowmobile wearing thick parkas. "Cold enough for you?" He chuckled as the shot cut in closer and panned back across the freezing campers, Chris adding "I'll take that as a yes," when it reached the end of the line.
"Time for part two of today's challenge!" the host announced. "'Capture the Snow Fort.' To win, you either have to demo the enemy's fort," he directed their attention to his left, the shot cutting over to a rather poorly constructed snow castle, "or capture their flag and bring it back to your own fort." He directed their attention in the opposite direction, to a much nicer-looking snow fortress. "Rats won the first part, so they get first dibs on the forts," Chris explained.
"Obviously we're taking the castle," Leshawna opened as the camera zoomed in on the Rats. "We're not fools."
"It could be a trick," Scott said. "Nice on the outside means nasty on the inside, but let's just go with the castle."
"I hope there's a fireplace there," Geoff shivered before they went to their fort.
A clock wipe transitioned the scene to inside the Rats' fort, a pleasant tune playing as it was shown to be just as nice-looking on the inside, if rather bare. Aside from the campers and their flag, all that was inside was a pile of snowballs and a shovel stuck into the ground.
"Great idea to pick this snow fort over the other one," Geoff told his teammates.
"I could've made us go to the shack so we could lose faster, but I don't want anyone catching on to my strategy just yet," Scott clarified.
The scene cut to the Maggots' shack, which was just as ugly on the inside as it was out. It was as bare otherwise as the Rats' castle, though, with only a shovel and pile of snowballs.
"Wow, it's almost as depressing as our chances of winning!" Dave said dryly as he and his teammates looked around in disappointment.
"On the plus side, at least we're warm in here," Scarlett added.
"Our fort isn't the best, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try our hardest in the challenge," DJ tried to stay positive.
"Listen up, players," Chris called over a megaphone as the scene cut to Chef carrying a lawn chair past a blazing fire pit. The host was already seated in a chair of his own, and his assistant soon joined him. "Here's how it works! Use the shovel in each fort to fire your collection of Mystery Snowballs," the eyes of the six Rats immediately turned to their embedded shovel, and Leshawna grabbed the handle, "which you can fire at each other's forts."
"Awesome! I took out my uncle's left eye with a meatball this way!" Scott said as he drew the shovel's handle back an inch and released it with a twang.
"Why are they called Mystery Balls?" Molly called out from the Maggots' castle while Scarlett tested how stable their shovel was.
"Because they all inflict major damage!" Chris answered. "Thanks to the secret weapon hidden inside each ball." The Maggots were shown looking at their pile of snowballs, the shot zooming in as one of them made an odd noise and shook. "Some, will damage you," the host added, "so choose wisely."
"Each team has to elect a Captain to command, and conquer," Chris continued. "Starting...now!"
"I'll be the Team Captain," Scarlett immediately said back at the Maggots' base. "Any objections?"
"None from me," Anne Maria shook her head.
"I don't have a problem with it," Katie added shortly after.
"I don't want to be in charge," Molly finished.
"That was unsurprisingly easy," Scarlett said. "If you want to be a leader, it's preferable not to push your authority to the max or act condescendingly. Why do you think many leaders are detested by their peers?"
"What's the plan, Scar?" DJ asked the captain.
"Well," Scarlett said, "I was thinking that maybe we should keep some of the more physically gifted back here in case we need to fend off the Rats."
The camera zoomed in on Dave. "Who stays and who goes?" he asked.
"Molly, Dave, and Katie, go and take their flag," Scarlett declared. "DJ, Anne Maria, and I will hold them off and try to hit their fort with the mystery balls."
Anne Maria smiled at the plan. "Not a bad idea. Let's do that then," she said as Dave and Molly ran out of the castle, leaving the rest behind.
"Good luck out there," DJ told Katie with a smile.
"Thanks," Katie said with a smile of her own. "Make sure to shovel lots of snow onto our fort."
"Why?" DJ asked her.
"Just to make sure that the fort doesn't melt instantly," Katie answered the question before leaving.
"I'm captain. Live with it," Scott declared as the footage cut to him and the Rats. "B, Trent, and I stay here. Geoff, Leshawna, and Sammy, capture their maggot-y flag."
"Shouldn't someone else take my place?" Leshawna countered. "I'm not really the best at running."
"I'll take your spot then," Trent finalized the plan. "I want to prove myself since I'm new here."
"Aaand, GO!" Chris suddenly called from off-screen.
The scene flashed outside as Geoff, Sammy, and Trent ran out onto the ice. "Let's do this!" Trent called as he ran ahead.
"Those Maggot dudes are going down!" Geoff declared.
The shot cut up to the bright and sizzling sun, then down to Chef and Chris – who had changed back into their normal clothing, with the addition of a straw hat for Chef. Both were drinking some kind of coconut drink. "Hurry up," Chris warned the unseen campers, "my ice is melting! And your forts will too if the sun gets much higher!"
Trent was keeping a steady pace until he suddenly slipped on the ice, causing him to slide through.
"I've never gone sleddin' like this," Trent slid past Geoff and Sammy on his stomach. "See you!" He eventually came to a full stop, but the ice beneath him started to crack and soon broke entirely, plunging the boy into frigid water. He promptly bobbed back to the surface, still in his pose and frozen in a block of ice.
Chef started cackling hysterically, and the shot cut back to him and Chris watching from the sidelines. "Forgot to tell ya!" the host called out. "No Man's Land is more like No Man's Water!"
The camera quick-panned back to the castle, where Leshawna and Scott were discussing who should do what.
"Here's what should happen," Scott started. "I'll supply the snowballs while you rocket them to the Maggots' fort."
During this, B went to the other side of the castle and saw a tall block of ice. Hatching a plan, he grabbed an ice pick from his jacket and started to poke on the ice.
"Are you sure about that?" Leshawna continued talking. "You took out your uncle's eye. I don't see why you can do the same thing here."
"If you say so," Scott held up a snowball, until it blew up in his face, making him cough for a while.
"Leshawna has to go too," Scott noted. "She's very headstrong, and that could mess up my plan."
Scott fired a snowball at the Maggots' snow fort, causing part of it to crumble.
"You hit a bullseye with that one," Leshawna quipped.
"Maggots, now is the time to attack!" Scarlett ordered inside the fort.
"I'll make sure to guard the flag," Anne Maria got in front of the team's flag.
The scene cut to Molly racing across the ice at top speed, Katie and Dave following a little ways behind her.
"How are you feeling right now, Dave?" Katie focused her attention on Dave.
"If I'm being honest, Katie, I would rather stay back and defend the fort," Dave told Katie.
The ice beneath them began to crack, and soon broke entirely plunging the two Maggots into frigid water. They promptly bobbed back to the surface, still in their poses and frozen in a block of ice.
"What?!" Molly said in shock after looking at her teammates conditions. "Hold on. I'll come back for you after I get the flag," she said, moving forward and ignoring her frozen teammates.
The shot cut back to Sammy and Geoff as they got a frozen Trent out of the water. "Don't worry, Trent. We'll get you out of this," Sammy said.
A snowball got hurled courtesy of the Maggots, and unfortunately, Sammy was the victim of the circumstance. She got hit in the head, knocking her out cold.
Geoff was shocked by what had happened. "I will carry on," Geoff told his fallen teammates. "I won't let you two get hurt anymore."
"We should aim higher!" Scarlett called out as the shot returned to the Maggots' fort, the brickhouse looking out their front gate. "Dave and Katie got frozen and we need to hit their shack or we'll lose!"
"I'll help with that," DJ said as the camera panned to him bending the shovel back as Anne Maria loaded a snowball into the loop of the handle. DJ let it go, and the snowball was launched into the air with a twang. The camera followed it over the castle wall, then zoomed out to show it flying over No Man's Land – Geoff still racing towards the Maggots' base; Molly racing toward the Rats' base; Sammy still knocked out; and Dave, Katie, and Trent still frozen. The snowball struck a part of the Rat castle that was a tower, causing part of it to crumble down.
"You hit it!" Anne Maria announced with cheer from the Maggots' base.
"Thanks DJ," Scarlett told him with a smile. "Now keep shooting!"
The shot cut back to the Rats again, Scott loading a particularly large snowball onto their shovel before an even bigger one landed on the snow next to them...and burst open to reveal the junkyard guard beetle.
"Whoa," Leshawna told the beetle. "Haven't you attacked us already?"
The larger one paused, and its tiny child hopped out onto its head and waved.
"I'm not going through what Trent did," Scott told it quickly, "so go and burn their base!" The scene cut back outside as he pointed out the window towards the Maggots' base, and the angry beetle hopped out next to him and scurried back along the ice with B building steps out of snow outside.
"Nice thinkin'," Leshawna told Scott. "Time to get launchin'."
B managed to place the ice shard over the shack, directing the sun's ray onto the Maggots' castle and making it melt.
"We're melting!" Anne Maria cried out.
"This isn't good at all," Scarlett said.
To make matters worse, the beetle rolled up inside and screeched at them.
"How did you even find us?" DJ shrieked before running alongside Scarlett because of the beetle chasing them.
Geoff saw what was going on inside the fort, and with Anne Maria all alone, he knew he could get the flag.
"Keep guarding the flag!" Scarlett called back to Anne Maria.
Anne Maria managed to get in front of the flag before Geoff reached her. "I dig how dedicated you are to your team. You're pretty strong," he praised her.
This got a smile out of Anne Maria. "That's really sweet of you to say."
"If it's not any trouble, I just need to take your flag so my team can win," Geoff continued.
Confessional: Anne Maria
"That Geoff is one smooth eye candy," Anne Maria stated, "but I ain't gonna give the flag to him. What's mine is mine and what's his is his."
"Don't listen to him! He's just trying to steal it from you!" Scarlett snapped at her as DJ was throwing snowballs at the beetle just to fend it away.
Anne Maria snapped out of her trance and held on tightly to her flag. "No way am I giving the flag over to you."
Geoff tried to take it, but Anne Maria still held on tightly to the flag, leading to a tug of war situation. "I'm also sorry, but my team can't lose again," Geoff struggled to get the flag off her.
Meanwhile, Scott went outside to see the Maggots' fort melting. "Crud. What am I supposed to do here?" He saw the shard on top of their fort and grinned. "I'll let someone else do my work for me."
He went back inside the Rats' fort. "Got the snowballs ready?" Scott asked his teammate.
"Armed and loaded," Leshawna presented a small army of snowballs she made out of snow.
Scott started to launch out the snowballs, with some even hitting the melting fort.
Molly was racing along the ice before getting hit in the legs by one of the Rats' snowballs, causing her to slide onto the Rats' shack. She got up in a few seconds to see her team's base about to melt thanks to the sun ray.
"How am I gonna destroy the Rats' fort at this rate?" Molly grunted before seeing the shard B used to direct the beam. She also saw Trent's frozen state and with that, came up with a plan.
"Let's see if science actually taught me anything about sun rays," Molly said before picking up a snowball and throwing it at the shard of ice.
B got out to see the beam now directed at Trent's iced body. Due to reflection, the sun beam got directed at the Rats' snow shack. The shack melted in an instant, shocking the defenders of the base as the shard fell down.
Trent, who was now unfrozen thanks to the beam, fell down next to an unconscious Sammy, but because he was used to being frozen for a long time, he was still immobile.
"Nice magnifying lens, Beverly. That's sabotage!" Scott blamed B, who reacted with shock along with the other people around.
"Maggots win!" Chris declared as he and Chef arrived outside, both back in their winter wear and Chef holding a tray of several steaming mugs.
"And here's your reward," the host added, motioning to the tray in his smiling assistant's hands. "McLean Brand Hot Chocolate", he said. "Scald your senses with chocolatey goodness."
Molly cheered, and the Rats looked down in disappointment. B steeled his gaze at Scott, who looked away and whistled innocently.
Sammy was now awake and Trent was completely unfrozen. "Is the challenge still going on?" Sammy asked.
"No. We just lost," Geoff walked into view.
"I should get near a fire," Trent shivered. "I was frozen for who knows how long."
The unfrozen members of the Maggots dragged Katie and Dave back to their destroyed base in order to figure out how to unfreeze them.
"So how are we gonna get them out?" DJ asked his team.
"Wasn't there a fire breathing beetle around here?" Anne Maria said.
"The beetle isn't here anymore," Scarlett reminded her. "And besides, using its fire could be too risky."
"B gave me his ice picks," Molly pulled them out. "We can use them instead.
"Molly left us to be frozen and didn't even get us out," Dave confessed angrily. "I'm gonna have to talk to her about that."
The footage skipped ahead again, now showing dusk over five of the six Rats relaxing on the steps of their cabin, Trent with a blanket around his shoulders and Scott standing in front of them.
"I told you, B stands for "bad man," and Beverly is a bad man!" Scott inquired.
"I don't know him that much, so I'm going to decide who I'm voting for on my own," Trent declared.
"Same here," Leshawna agreed.
"How can you trust someone who's so secretive, that he doesn't even talk?" Scott got in Sammy's face. "He hates athletes, you know," he claimed, making Sammy shocked as the dirt farmer focused on Geoff. "I've read B's diary. He calls you 'fizzy'."
Everyone seemed to be upset with what was given to them. "Just thought you all should know," Scott said.
"Is what Scott said true or not? Granted, B has helped us a lot, but he never talks at all," Sammy exclaimed. "I'll just flip a coin on this vote."
The scene cut to a shot of the island at night, the camera zooming in then cutting to the six Toxic Rats at the campfire pit – Leshawna, Scott, and Trent in the front row; B, Geoff, and Sammy in the back.
"After another jam-packed day of losing," Chris began as Chef walked up in his hazmat suit carrying the box containing the Toxic Marshmallow, "it all comes down to this."
"The following Rats are safe," Chris said, holding up the first marshmallow. "Leshawna."
The lively girl caught her prize with a smile.
"Geoff." The cowboy hat boy caught his treat.
"Leshawna." The sista caught her treat as well.
"And Scott," Chris finished, the devious boy catching his marshmallow as it flew over his head.
"Which leaves, Bev and Trent," Chris announced, the shot pulling back to show the mute genius looking nervously and the musician sitting up straighter. "And the loser is...," he said with an impish smile, pausing for effect. The camera alternated between close-ups of Trent and B, until finally...
The Strong, Silent Genius frowned, then kept his distance from the toxic marshmallow Chef dropped near his feet. The marshmallow managed to sink further below the ground. When it was gone, B squinted at Scott, who grinned back satisfactory.
"Time for the Hurl of Shame, buddy," Chris told B.
B slumped down, the scene transitioning to him in the Hurl of Shame in the exact same pose.
"Any final words Beverly?" Chris asked, the Rats standing by him. "Any words at all?"
B looked at the people around him and was setting himself up to speak. The gasps of his former team can be heard, and just when he was about to say his words, he got interrupted.
"Time's up!" Chris stopped B and Chef pulled the lever, launching him screaming into the night sky.
Chris turned to face the camera while the five remaining Rats stood behind him gazing off into the distance where B was flung. "Come back for more mutants, mayhem, and manipulation," he said excitedly, "next time, on Total! Drama! Revenge, of the Island!"
(Roll the Credits)
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