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Empyrean Iris: 1-143: Behind bars (by Charlie Star)
2023.04.02 14:38 maximusaemilius Empyrean Iris: 1-143: Behind bars (by Charlie Star)
FYI, this is a story COLLECTION. Lots of standalones technically. So, you can basically start to read at any chapter, no pre-read of the other chapters needed technically (other than maybe getting better descriptions of characters than: Adam Vir=human, Krill=antlike alien, Sunny=tall alien, Conn=telepathic alien). The numbers are (mostly) only for organization of posts and continuity.
OC Written by Charlie Stastarrfallknightrise,
Typed up and then posted here by me.
Proofreading and language check for some chapters by u/Finbar9800
Future Lore and fact check done by me.
Sometimes Adam Vir really isn’t the smartest guy… you would have thought he’d think things through better. Well time he learns to be more careful.
You guys ready for some emotional gutpunches? Previous First [Next](link)
Want to find a specific one, see the whole list or check fanart? [Here is the link to the master-post.](under construction sorry)
VIEWER DISGRETION IS ADVISED
This chapter and the following will deal with sensible themes!
"Gah, this place is a dump."
"Yeah, just be glad you can't smell it."
"Why is that?"
"Urine, lots and lots of urine."
Krill muttered, making his next movements very tender against the dark clattering metal, as if he could avoid stepping in anything unsavory. Beside him, a rather scruffy human appeared from the shadows, "scruffy" with an overgrown haircut, five o-clock shadow, eyepatch and an army jacket that had seen better days.
Commander Vir blended in surprisingly well with the grungy understreets of Noctopolis. The city was less of a city, and more like a series of tunnels, bridges and rickety buildings, built on and into the side of a cavernous rift in the ground. Once upon a time, the Tesraki had begun serious mining operations on the border moon's surface, causing some serious scars in the landscape, which was then filled with the teaming underground life that the most unsavory humans bring with them.
Noctopolis was located on the furthest edge of the Milky Way galaxy, and seeing as the Galactic Assembly was based out of Andromeda, it was a very difficult moon to police. The UNSC had attempted to take over operations on the moon, but had found only limited success considering their military had only been operating in space for the past few years. They didn't have enough manpower to undergo such an operation, so the moon itself was left mostly unpoliced. Since then, it had become home to the most unsavory of the Tesraki, the Drev, and the humans, having enough economically or emotionally in common that they at least tolerated each other.
What understanding they had of the border moon had begun with the banning of interspecies relationships almost a year past.
Since Noctopolis wasn't particularly well policed, many counterculture groups had made their home here.
While many of them were decent people, attempting a little privacy away from the eyes of the law, other less savory groups had taken an opportunity to stake their claim.
The streets about them were littered with trash and abandoned cardboard and metal scraps. Their greatest source of light leaked down from the lively redlight district above, not only called that because of what it offered, but because it actually did boost a series of bright neon lights that could be seen across the city.
"Wanna tell me why I'm here again? This is kind of a Sunny and Vir thing."
Commander Vir propped himself casually up against a wall, slouching inside his jacket collar turned up against the sour wind blowing up from the cavern vanishing into darkness below,
"Sunny had to finish requisitioning our new weapons system, besides, I thought it was about time you and I hung out. We haven't done anything together as friends in a while."
"Ah yes, just how I prefer social bonding, loitering through piss covered streets with an eyeless legless hobo."
"Rude. Why do you always have to be so sarcastic?"
The human muttered, glancing quickly around a corner.
Krill let the question drop, instead moving onto the next topic of conversation,
"Wanna tell me why we aren't working with local law enforcement?"
The human dodged past a leaking pipe and the resulting black puddle,
"Well there are a few reasons. If I plan on getting close to this drug ring, or even the suppliers, I can't have the smell of the feds one me, second is that the policing system here is only partially overseen by the UNSC, mostly they supply their own officers and their own laws. There are serious rumors about law enforcement corruption, but that can be expected, considering the kind of people that hang out here. And then there is the issue of ease of access to fingerprinting and DNA systems. Mine have been temporarily removed from the system for this operation because the dealers tend to check before the sell, but if I was working with local law enforcement my identity might be leaked."
Together they stepped onto one of the rickety bridges spanning the cavern. Krill tried not to look down into the gaping bottomless chasm, spanning downwards into darkness tinted with the red haze cast from the neon reflection of the city.
"Why is this such a big deal anyway. Why waste you on a project like this."
Commander Vir stepped off the edge of the bridge, holding it steady for Krill as he followed.
"Because these guys are linked to the human hormone market."
Krill was a bit surprised. He had heard about the issue months ago. Certain species, the Tesraki and the Drev especially had neurotransmitter systems similar to that of a human, though somewhat dampened and were affected by the use of injected dopamine and adrenaline. On the street they had taken names like Dopie, Daddy, Addie, Joy Juice, and some other strange names. The biggest issue with the use of human chemicals as drugs is that even a single dose of the stuff could fry the circuits for any nonhuman, taken in any sort of significant dose. In humans it occasionally meant sickness or even mental illness, but in aliens it could mean permanent flat affect or the inability to feel fear. The other issue was how the dealers got it, usually it involved kidnapping and harvesting the chemicals from humans, since many times the analogue drugs humans made for themselves didn't have an effect on aliens.
Krill shivered at the thought, and stepped through a tight alleyway, just ahead of the commander, who had to turn sideways to fit through the narrow space. He didn't like fieldwork, at all, but having a human with you was one way to make you feel safe. The only creature that a human might not be able to fight off was a Drev, but even then, there was still a possibility.
Then again missing an eye and a leg Vir wasn’t a full human at all at the moment…
Together they cut across another street and towards their destination. They had managed to squeeze some information from the only informant still alive on the street, and that had been an address. At the back of the property, they found a door padlocked shut though it had recently been cut.
Commander Vir held open the door and shoved inwards, leading them into a long, dark hallway lined with debris. Krill stayed behind him as they made their way into the darkness jumping at every sound.
Ahead of him, the commander had removed an energy pistol from the band of his pants. Krill didn't bother to point out to him, that it was difficult to believe he wasn't law enforcement when he handled a weapon like that.
He held Krill back and then nudged one of the doors inward, clearing the room with a quick sweep from corner to corner, even stepping out to check behind the door. Krill peered in as the commander grunted,
"Just what we were looking for."
Krill peered around his legs and then paused,
The room was filled from floor to ceiling with strange glowing tanks of liquid, a pale greenish in color. The ambient light gave the room a rather eerie glow. A glow that highlighted the strange instruments and free-floating tubes with sinister intent. Nothing was currently in the tanks, but Krill shivered knowing what they would have held if they had been filled.
The tanks cast much of the room into shadow, and commander Vir took cover, crouching behind one of the tank consoles. Krill followed him taking cover behind the human's back. He didn't see what the man was so worried about there was one here. The human tilted his head, listening intently scanning around the room. Krill was just beginning to speak when the man pushed him back hissing,
But before he could even take a step in another direction, he saw a flicker at the side of the room, and commander Vir was lit up with at least ten points of green light all trained on his chest.
"GET ON THE GROUND."
"PUT YOUR HANDS UP."
"DROP THE GUN."
Commander Vir reacted while Krill was still on the floor, standing from behind his cover and stepping into the room. The Energy pistol clattered to the floor as he held his hands out to his sides.
"GET ON THE GROUND!"
Lights flashed all around them, and the room was illuminated by a painful burst of light and an eruption of movement. Men appeared from nowhere dressed in black tactical gear, faces and eyes completely obscured. Commander Vir was thrown face first onto the floor with at least three kneeling on his back.
Two came after Krill who squealed, to high pitched to be heard by the humans.
"GIVE US YOUR HAND!"
"GAH! Yes, yes just stop pulling and I will! Shit... I'm lying on it, let me up for a- OUCH!"
From where he was being pinned to a wall, Krill heard the ratcheting of handcuffs momentarily surprised not to hear the initiation of energy restraints.
"Shit, that's really tight... Ahh... I can't feel my hands."
"I'M NOT RESISTING, I HAVE A PROSTHETIC AND YOUR STEPPING ON IT!"
That didn't do him much good as Krill heard the sharp thud, crack of someone being hit over the head. Krill understood what the captain meant about NOT being policed by the UNSC. Krill had met peace officers on earth before, and while they could act the same, they generally had reason be reasonable to them and they would probably be polite to you.
Commander Vir was dragged to his feet hands wrenched painfully behind his back and pinned against the wall as they searched him,
"Anything on you gonna poke me or stick me with?"
"You got ID?"
Commander Vir paused,
"I... well no."
One of the other officers ran a scanning device over his body, but it beeped negative.
Krill cursed internally... They should have thought about that when they temporarily cancelled his ID...
"No ID, you know that's illegal, don't you?"
The one officer said, sticking his hand into another pocket.
"I can explain. I work WITH you guys I-"
"No badge, no ID ... and ah, what is this?”
Krill felt his heart sink as he watched the man pull the adrenaline and dopamine sample from the commander's pocket. He held it up in front of the commander's face,
"And what is this?”
"That... Isn't mine."
He said lamely.
The man pulled down the front of his mask one eyebrow raised,
"Ah not yours eh.... Let me guess these are your friends’ pants, and you're just borrowing them. You had no idea they were there. Oh oh, I know, you were just delivering them for a friend you don't know what they actually are."
He reached into another pocket,
"Oh and what is this?”
Commander Vir groaned and leaned his head against the wall.
The small baggie of white powder was held up before him,
"What is this gonna be, Cocaine, Meth, Heroine? You been trading a little Addie for a fix?”
In fact, they actually HAD traded the drugs for information, along with a tracking device. Humans can't use dopamine and adrenaline like other species can, so they traded it for the classic stuff.
"You can test me, I'm not high, I'm not a drug addict, I am also not who you think I am."
"And who are you?"
"My name is commander Adam Vir with the UNSC. I was sent here to HELP."
They did not seem in any way convinced,
"You have proof of that "Commander"? Look I saw the guy once, and he wasn't half as fugly as you, also he was taller."
Commander Vir yelped in indignation as they began patting him down for the second time,
"Who you calling fugly you-"
He bit his tongue,
"I'm sorry OFFICER but I had my implants discontinued for this operation. Just look at me I'm missing an eye and a leg and im 6,2 just like the man you say I'm not, and I also let my hair grow out. Give me five minutes on the phone and I'll call my superiors for you."
"Uh huh, because they'd have the fleet commander down here crawling through the dirt after narcos and tweakers. This is the army, officers sit behind their nice shiny desks and let other men die for them."
Commander Vir was pulled away from the wall,
"What are you his junkie cousin, a brother?"
"I told you who I am."
"Someone check the bug, see if he has ID."
Krill stiffened as a wand was run over him,
"Nothing sir. That's strange, usually don't see their kind around here."
"I get my phone call, don't I?”
"What do you think this is the 2000s? The hormone crisis is a level 5 threat, and we are not obligated to provide you with anything."
"I'm pretty sure I still get a lawyer."
Commander Vir was hauled to his feet and marched bodily towards the door,
"Yeah but you'll have to get one flown in unless you want a Tesraki, and I wouldn't trust one of those bastards as far as I can throw them.... Uh disgusting little bats."
Commander Vir seemed almost irked at the use of the slur. Humans had a habit of that, they had a slur for each of other species, whether it be bug, beetle, bat, dino, or just the general use of the word freak.
They were dragged outside, and around to where the vehicles had been hidden. The commander tripped more than once over the cheap prosthetic he had used to augment his look, and every time he was dragged painfully back to his feet. Krill wasn't treated much better though he only received one of the human officers. Krill was thrown in the back of a cruiser with bars and energy shields over the windows. Commander Vir was thrown against the front of the vehicle,
"As of now, you'll be charged with the possession of illegal substance, intent to sell, failure to identify, unlawful possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest."
"What!? I didn't resist, and I DID identify myself. It's not my fault you won't believe me."
"Someone get a spit shield on him. He is uncooperative."
He was pinned even more forcibly against the hood as a female officer secured a Galactic Assembly issued muzzle over his face. They had developed those after realizing what human spit could do to certain species, and what the human voice could do to others. Once on, the officer flipped the dial, cutting off the commander mid protest.
Once done, he was thrown into the back with Krill gagged and restrained. Krill felt as if he was going to pass out, or just go right ahead and die. They had been captured by human authorities that even commander Vir couldn't talk down, and the ones that weren't nearly as understanding as they were on earth.
Things could only get worse.
The policemen were talking to each other in a joking tone, like it was an everyday situation for them. Krill listened with growing horror.
”Possession of illegal substance, intent to sell, failure to identify, unlawful possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest. That on top of attacking an officer I would say right?"
”Oh yeah he definitely tried to shoot me, I barely even got out alive.”
”Well then, lets get them to our little version of Alcatraz and make sure they get thrown into a dark cell and never come back. It’s almost the end of the day and I want to go home.
”Yeah I am sure we can skip most documentation and just lock them away, its not like someone will miss them or something. Plus it is a big planet after all and things happen…
Previous First [Next](link)
Want to find a specific one, see the whole list or check fanart? [Here is the link to the master-post.](under construction sorry)
Intro post by me
Patreon of the author
Thanks for reading! As you saw in the title, this is a cross posted story written by starrfallknightrise and I'll just upload some of it here for you guys, if you are interested and want to read ahead, the original story-collection can be found on tumblr or wattpad to read for free. (link above this text under "OC:..." ) It is the Empyrean Iris story collection by starfallknightrise. Also, if you want to know more about the story collection i made an intro post about it, so feel free to check that out to see what other great characters to look forward to! (Link also above this text). I have no affiliations to the author; just thought I’d share some of the great stories you might enjoy a lot!
Obviously, I have Charlie’s permission to post this and for the people already knowing the stories, or starting to read them: If you follow the link and check out the story you will see some differences. I made some small (non-artistic) changes, mainly correcting writing mistakes, pronoun correction and some small additional info here and there of things which were not thought of/forgotten or even were added/changed in later stories (like the “USS->UNSC” prefix of Stabby, Chalar=/->Sunny etc). As well as some "biggemajor" changes in descriptions and info’s for the same stringency/continuity reason. That can be explained by the story collection being, well a story collection at the start with many standalone-stories just starring the same people, but later on it gets more to a stringent storyline with backstories and throwbacks. (For example Adam Vir has some HEAVY scars over his body, following his bones, which were not really talked about up till half the collection, where it says it covers his whole body and you find out via backflash that he had them the whole time and how he got them, they just weren't mentioned before. However, I would think a doctor would at least see these scars before that, especially since he gets analyzed, treated and goes shirtless/in T-shirts in some stories). So TLDR: Writing and some descriptions are slightly changed, with full OK from the author, since he himself did not bother to correct these things before.
submitted by maximusaemilius
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.04.02 14:37 SafeStreetsTO Update from Car Free High Park
Car Free High Park was formed a month ago and has quickly grown into a coalition of 21 organizations ranging from environmental, health, accessibility & disability, street safety, urban design, active transportation, and public transit advocacy. All coming together in their belief for a car-free High Park.
Through the support of this great community and many others, our petition has amassed over 1,200 signatures, we've sent nearly 2,400 individual emails to key figures in the City, appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star
, and, most importantly, we got the City's attention.
BUT, the next step is just as important. The High Park Movement Strategy is hosting a Public Open House tomorrow (Mon, Apr 3rd) where the future direction of High Park will be revealed. Showing up in numbers to the Public Open House in support of a car-free High Park is very important. Please join us to show all the incredible support there is behind it. Here are the full details: High Park Movement Strategy - Public Open House Date:
Monday, April 3, 2023 Time:
Drop by anytime between 4:30pm and 7:30pm Location:
Lithuania House - 1573 Bloor Street West https://www.eventbrite.com/e/high-park-movement-strategy-open-house-tickets-591491586257
We hope to see you there!And, if you haven't already, please sign and share the petition
and send a message through our email campaign
. Completing the email campaign is just as quick and easy as signing the petition, and just as important too. There is even a pre-written message in case you don't have time to write your own. Thank you for all the support!
submitted by SafeStreetsTO
to torontobiking [link] [comments]
2023.04.02 14:31 Scrape_Sunn Light Phone 2 Review
my thoughts below on how to improve the light phone for next release:
- better battery - so many people say the same thing. and they are all correct. the battery sucks. which is odd for such a minimal phone. also my battery completely died after about 4 months of use. i've had recent phones like the aspera tough phone (don't get it they are so not tough) and it was a fairly small phone, and the battery will literally last for days with regular use, and honestly weeks with no use. a decent battery is like everyone's priority in a phone. i would pay extra for it;
- better electronic paper screen - the refresh rate is often. i don't know much about electronic paper screen technology, but i do know that when typing out longer texts on the light phone 2 it would refresh so often and regularly result in the screen freezing. the phone is supposed to allow you to spend less time with your phone, not more time frigging around with frozen screens trying to finish typing a text;
- ability to text in portrait - this was one thing that really surprised me. i found myself asking, why? why not have the ability to text in portrait when everything else on the phone is in portrait? which leads me to #4;
- slightly bigger in size overall - i was shocked at how small the phone was when i opened the box. they must be using some hand models with small hands over at marketing, cause the phone looks bigger on the website. when i showed my wife she was like, nah it's good you can easily stash it in your wallet or whatever. which yeh, but not at the expense of being able to type a text with even the slightest degree of accuracy. my hands aren't massive, i'd say maybe slightly above average, but even my wife who does have smaller hands was having the same issue that i was. typing words with accuracy and speed was unachievable for both of us. the touch screen keyboard is below average size. throw in a screen refresh every 20 seconds or whatever and you're again spending longer than you should on your phone retyping words you've thumb mangled and waiting for your screen to unfreeze after the 4th refresh. less time on phone. not more;
- flash light - this was pretty much the only thing i found myself reaching for and not having. a torch app on this phone would make it rule imo. not a deal breaker (the above 4 were, in case you haven't picked up on that), but it would great to have a... light;
- directions app that can zoom in/out - i actually wasn't expecting to use the directions app at all, which is a good thing because it is woeful. it's fairly well zoomed right in, and you can't scroll around cause it's an electronic paper screen, so you have to press 'next page' to see ahead, and it all just gets really clunky and confusing. i use a good old street directory in the car, but when out walking it would be amazing to have a gps app that worked well. again not a deal breaker, and this app would get you out of a bind in an emergency. but it takes too long to use effectively;
- larger memory - i didn't actually get around to adding any music or podcasts to my light phone (prob cause i realised early on i would not stick with it) so i can't comment on the music and podcast app functionality, but the option to have music is great. and so the option to have more music is always good.
i really wanted this phone to work for me, and overall i think they've done a great job with the concept of a minimalist phone. i love the design. i love the idea of an electronic paper touch screen. i love being able to hotspot for work. i like being restricted to an online dashboard to add or remove apps. i like being able to choose what apps are on my phone. but if ultimately i am spending more time feeling annoyed with my phone because i've mistyped another tiny text message, or the phone has frozen, or a call has cut out for no reason, or my slick electronic paper screen just looks at me in all its grayscale beauty and simply says 'fatal error' and then switches off the phone, then i will revert back to an iphone 7 that i have reduced to as much of a minimalist phone as i can, and continue to wait for a company to get it right.
submitted by Scrape_Sunn
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2023.04.02 14:30 xXKikitoXx I really need to up my anxiety meds. (Bk2 - 3.5)
‘Tick, tick, tick, tick-’
“Stop it.” I said quietly under my breath.
‘-tick, tick, tick-’ Ronové was repeating the sound in time with the pendulum swinging on the clock across the room and it was slowly driving me insane.
“Why are you doing that?”
‘Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick-’
“Shut up!” I shouted finally and at least three sets of unnatural eyes turned to me, “Sorry, voices.”
“You’re possessed?” It was a fairy named Baltzar who asked.
“A little bit.”
“That does explain the witch’s magic.”
‘Tick, tick, tick…’
“What? Oh yeah. It would be nicer if he was helpful though.” I joked, sometimes it was difficult to separate what Ron was thinking to me from what other people were saying. He didn’t answer me then, he was doing something, I won’t pretend to know what.
“Well?” Eric asked tensely, though his expression was perfectly neutral. Actually, I hadn’t seen any flicker of emotion at all in days.
He stood beside Nathaniel’s hospital bed with his arms folded, watching every move Baltzar made with scrutiny. His arm was coated in magic all the way to his collarbone, and his hair was combed back so that his right eye was clearly visible. I had seen him be relaxed about hiding his abnormalities when we were at home. But this was different, it was more like he was displaying them as a warning.
“He’s doing well. His vitals are stable, the salt is largely flushed from his system and his internal energy is reaching an equilibrium.”
“When will he wake.”
Baltzar shrugged, “How should I know? He will wake when his body has the energy to do so.”
Nathaniel was the only one that hadn’t regained consciousness. Calla was the first. I had found her lying in the street and the injury on her side was… Well, I’ve seen roadkill that looked better. Her dress was dirty and torn, and blood pooled around her. I didn’t think she was going to make it.
I pressed my hand firmly on the wound to stem the bleeding but her blood was so slick that I slipped more than once and it welled up between my fingers. ‘She’s not going to make it.’ Ronové commented casually echoing my thoughts, he sounded amused.
“Shut up.” I hissed. I didn’t want to hear anything from Ron at that point. Calla coughed as she tried to talk, blood dribbled out her mouth but whatever she said was inaudible. I think she knew that because she tried again.
“Wh–’s… E..ric?” It still took me a moment to understand.
Around us was chaos and I couldn’t see Eric anywhere, it was like a war zone. A haze of smoke filled the air, making it even harder to see anything. The only light came from freely burning fires and bright fairy magic. Ash fell from the sky like snow once the rain had let up, and to make matters worse it was bitterly cold, I don't know how no one else seemed to realize that.
Achaicus was fighting Lazarus and each blast of energy broke part of the castle, sending clouds of dust and rubble in all directions. It was all I could do to keep Calla somewhat protected from it. I didn’t know what I would do if they came in our direction. The fear in that thought nearly sent me into a panic attack.
“I don’t know where he is, but I'm sure he’s fine.” I tried to soothe her, she was so pale and her eyes slowly closed. “Calla no. You have to stay awake, can you do that for me?”
I patted her cheek gently to force her to open her eyes again and she did for a moment, “Okay, good, that’s good you’re doing great. Just breathe through it.” Was I talking her out of dying? Or coaching her through birth?
Truthfully I didn’t know what to say, everything sounded dumb to me.
A shock wave of magic deflected off a sword shattered the windows above us and I did my best to cover her from the falling glass. It was terrifying being on the ground while monsters fought. I had never seen anything quite alike to it. I was definitely going to need to up the dosage on my anxiety meds after this.
I could almost feel Calla’s life slipping away when suddenly someone was beside me, pushing my hands away and replacing them with their own magic hands. “You’ve done well, let me.” It took a solid moment before I understood, it was a ghoul…
Gratefully I let her take over, when I stood I was shaking so bad that my legs felt like jelly. Calla’s blood soaked my shirt and pants, she had lost so much. But, magic can fix that right? I didn’t know. I couldn’t really think.
It was only by chance that I saw Eric, he was pushing his way out of a pile of rubble. It must’ve fallen on him during the fight and I thought he might be hurt so I moved right away to help him.
“I thought you were dead somewhere.” The relief I felt was immeasurable as I assisted him out.
“I’m fine, what about Calla?” He dismissed my concern. His hair and clothes were coated in dust. His right eye was nothing more than an empty socket, his nails were all blackened and his good eye seemed unusually blue. I hadn’t seen him without his monster arm and eye before and I’m ashamed to say I recoiled with the shock of it.
“Charles, focus, tell me about Calla?” he demanded firmly as I fell back on my haunches.
“She, she’s, a ghoul is-”
“And Nathaniel?” He cut me off before I could finish explaining.
“I don’t know he was-” Eric was gone before I could complete the sentence. Apparently he wasn’t injured at all.
After that everything was mostly a blur and I think I might have passed out because when I woke up I was laying on a hospital bed in the infirmary. Calla was in the bed beside mine, and Nathaniel was on the other side of her. Eric was sitting between the two with his cane across his lap and a sword resting close by, ready to be used at any moment.
Now let me tell you, fairy hospitals are weird, well, ‘outdated’ I suppose is a more appropriate term. It’s a wide space with tall timber framed windows along one side, and elaborate landscape paintings decorating the other. Small tables with flower vases ran down the center and there was very little medical equipment. There were no partitions between areas and metal beds with simple linens lined either side of the room in neat rows.
It was a surprisingly cold, sterile place considering the amount of light that shone in. I’m not really sure what I expected. Our beds were on the window side, while Markos was on the other side opposite them. My sister of course sat with him. She had dragged over an empty bed so that she could lay close to him.
There weren’t all that many people in the room, there was a ghoul, Hanta, standing beside the door and Eric looked over when I sat up.
“Good afternoon, Charles,” he commented. He hadn’t recovered fully at that point and the fae magic on his arm was only up to his forearm. But I noticed his fingernails were no longer black and his right eye was restored.
“Afternoon? How long was I out?”
“Only a few hours.” He assured, “How are you feeling?”
“Like I’ve been hit by a bus, how’s everyone else?”
“They will be alright.”
“Ahh that’s a relief-” I began but Eric cut me off abruptly.
“You disobeyed me.”
The way he looked at me seemed cold, and the complete lack of emotion in his voice made me feel like I was in trouble, “Yeah… I’m sorry about that.”
“You used a magic I warned you not to, and almost got yourself, and Nathaniel, killed. It would have been unforgivable if you had and I don’t take kindly to what I’m saying being blatantly disregarded. Do you understand?”
“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to-” I had no good answer for him. He was angry in a way that burned cold and I knew it.
“You should be sorry. You’re important and irreplaceable.” he said it so calmly I wasn’t sure if he meant it, “...and, you saved Calla’s life. If you weren’t there she would have bled out. So I will forgive you, only this one time.”
I understood then that he was scared. I had scared him by putting myself in harms way, and this was his way of telling me.
“It won’t happen again...” I assured softly.
I smiled and it was as I was about to make a terribly lame joke that Calla moved. She winced slightly as she tried to sit up but Eric was quick to stop her. “Don’t move too fast.”
“Where are we..?”
“The infirmary, still at Leúchtend.”
“Yes, Achaicus beat Lazarus.”
She paused for a moment processing, “...Markos?”
“He’ll be fine.”
“And Charles?” she asked next.
“Right here.” I spoke up and she turned to look at me with wide confused eyes. It was the first time I had seen her without make-up, and I was surprised to see that her eyelashes were partially white. Was she part fairy?
“That really hurt when you pressed on my side.” She mumbled the complaint.
“Ahhh, right. Sorry about that.” I was having to apologize a lot for one day.
She reached out to take my hand, squeezing it in hers and catching me off guard, “Thank you.” These people with their monotone and lack of expression, I had no idea if she meant it or not either.
“You, I, welcome?” Good job Charles, that made no sense,
I thought bitterly.
‘No kidding.’ Ron answered bored, though I ignored him.
Calla nodded like she understood regardless and turned back to Eric, “I’m so sorry…”
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“I wasn’t strong enough, you had to fight them on your own. I let you down… I’m useless.”
“Hardly.” he responded simply and tears began to well in her eyes. She needed more than a single word answer and it took Eric a moment to realize it before he elaborated, “Calla, you killed a dragon single handedly. There’s not one other person in this entire castle that could say that.”
It took Eric some effort, but he stood with his cane and moved close enough to hug her. “Don't be, you have nothing to be sorry for.”
Calla didn’t stay awake long after that, only long enough to have a small amount of food before settling in to sleep more peacefully.
Markos was the next to wake the following day and when he did Claire threw her arms around him without any care. Dissolving into relieved sobs. He winced but made no complaint as he slowly returned the hug, pulling her close against him as if it brought him some comfort. She murmured something in his ear and he froze.
“...I beg your pardon?” he asked quietly.
However she didn’t repeat herself, instead she slowly let go of him, holding his face in her hands, “Are you alright? How do you feel?” she asked the questions in rapid fire.
He seemed unable to comprehend what she had said, and it took a moment for him to find his voice again. “I’m okay… How are you here?” He covered one of her hands with his and closed his eyes.
“Oh well... I-”
“She insisted I bring her.” Ávila mused as she entered the room and sat heavily on the edge of Markos’s bed and his eyes snapped open. For a moment he looked feral, like a startled cat, then his expression settled into a hard glare.
“It’s dangerous for her to be here.”
“She’s fine. Can’t lift a sword though.”
“They’re heavy.” Claire agreed, looking apologetic.
“What happened to Lazarus?”
“Achaicus beat him in combat and he is currently imprisoned under guard.”
“How many guards? Is he weakened? Is there salt?” He asked, gradually getting more irritated as he tried to get out of the bed.
“Relax, broken man. Everything is under control. Lazarus is well guarded.”
“And then who is protecting Dunkel if you’re here?” He growled, still annoyed.
“Tougo is at Dunkel and Achaicus is in control here. No one is going to attack anyone. And if they do, they’ll regret it.”
He didn’t seem satisfied with her answers, but Claire urging him to lay back down subdued him as Ávila continued to chatter away. I won’t pretend to understand how fairy magic and healing works, but apparently broken bones would only take a few days to mend. Not that he seemed pleased with even that, he was up and walking by the next day, despite Claire insisting he rest.
Days passed and Eric rarely left the room. The longest he was gone was only a few hours and that was only when Ávila agreed to stay in his place. There was a ghoul on guard at the door at all times and Achaicus visited regularly.
He sat beside Nathaniel on the opposite side of Eric and the pair of them waited for hours at a time in silence.
“Achaicus,” It was a female fairy who spoke, not anyone I knew, and two others accompanied her. It was regular that someone would come looking for him with some request or another, and he would often reluctantly leave. “The repair team are having trouble matching the mortar color to the original. They would like to know which alternative color you would prefer-”
“Get out.” Eric said calmly.
“Don't make me repeat myself. If the matter isn’t urgent, don’t interrupt.”
The woman looked unsure, her bright yellow eyes flicking to Achaicus for confirmation. “Pick whatever color is closest to the original.”
“Of course my lord.” She bowed appreciatively before leaving.
“You don’t have to answer their stupid questions.” Eric told him annoyed.
“No, you don’t.”
“I’m the leader, it’s my job now to handle any issues that arise.”
“Get Molly to deal with it.”
“If you would allow her into the room, perhaps I could.”
“With her gift? I think not.” he muttered as he got up and limped away to speak with someone at the doors. I couldn’t hear what was said, but I was sure he was barring anyone else from entering unless it was life or death.
“I see your attitude problem never went away.” Achaicus muttered, though he seemed grateful despite his words.
“I heard that.” Eric commented, lightly tugging on his hair on the way past when he returned.
“Don’t pull my hair.”
“I’ll do what I like.”
“Then I’ll have you thrown into the dungeons.”
“Please.” Eric snorted, they were surprisingly amicable, in a hostile kind of way.
“I don’t know how Nathaniel stands you.”
“Same way you do.”
“With a knife to the eye?”
“Careful, I’m sure you remember what happened last time you commented on my eyes.”
Achaicus looked shocked, his ears heating with embarrassment. It was clear Eric had mentioned something they weren’t supposed to talk about and it took him a full moment to process before he could respond, “I was drunk!”
“So was I.”
“I can’t leave you two alone for a second can I?” Nathaniel asked softly and they both paused.
“Brother…” Achaicus murmured, turning his full attention to Nathaniel and hugging him tightly, “Finally…”
“You’re still in bandages, how long has it been?” He returned the hug gently patting his brother’s hair to soothe him.
“Never mind about me.”
“It’s been four days.” Eric answered for him.
“And… Our father?”
“Securely locked up.” Achaicus assured as he slowly let go, “But you, you look awful. And you need to cut your hair, it’s getting too long.”
one to talk.”
Achaicus chuckled, “I’m glad you’re awake…”
“I didn’t expect to be.” he answered honestly.
“Don’t say things like that.” Eric scolded him and he looked apologetic.
“Were you hurt?”
“He had not a scratch on him.” Achaicus answered before Eric could.
“...I’m so glad…”
“Yeah, okay, why don’t you worry about yourself?” Eric grumbled uncomfortably.
For a moment it looked like Nathaniel was going to question him further however a commotion at the door drew their attention.
“I-I was told n-not to let anyone in..”
“Nonsense, I’m their mother.”
“It’s fine Hanta,” Eric called casually, and the woman quickly sidestepped him.
She was slender with no curves, and surprisingly young. It looked like she was in her 30’s at most and I chose not to even try and work out the math on that. Her hair was long and white with a red-ish hue, while her eyes were the same purple as Markos’s. She was wearing a black dress and matching gloves all the way to her elbows.
“Mother, what are you doing here?” Nathaniel asked coldly and she stopped awkwardly.
“...You’re my son’s…”
Neither answered but I recognised their expressions. It was the same one Claire and I had the one time we had accidentally ran into our parents while we were out shopping. Polite, awkward, uncertainty. Like they didn’t want to talk to her, but didn’t know how to tell her to leave.
The woman looked to Eric and he nodded slightly so she continued, “I- well… I know, I haven’t been much of a mother to you… I couldn’t protect you from your father as I should have… But I would like to remedy that… If I could… may I hug you..?”
“...No..” Nathaniel answered for them both quietly, tensely.
“Oh… I see, that’s okay… I deserve that. I just wanted to make sure you’re alright. I’m glad to see you’re both okay.” Again she was met with silence as neither of her son’s answered and she shifted her weight awkwardly, “Right, well… Please come see me when you are able so that we might talk. If you want… I mean, I would like that… if you could…”
“Good day, mother.” Achaicus bid her farewell curtly, and she gave a small bow before departing.
The whole interaction made me uncomfortable, the woman was trying. That was more than Claire’s and my mother ever did. It hurt to watch and the awkward silence that followed only made it worse as the weight hung heavy in the air.
“You should speak with her.” Eric said gently.
“Since when were you on her side? And why should we? She never did anything to help us.” Nathaniel answered bitterly but Achaicus looked less sure.
Eric didn’t get the chance to respond before the doors opened and Baltzar returned with Markos. “It’s good to see you’re awake. Now you can put a muzzle on your dog, his barking was becoming tiresome.”
“Careful Baltzar, his bite is far worse than his bark.” Markos mused.
“I’m not a dog, so you had both better shut up.” Eric snapped in response.
“See, now that is exactly what I’m talking about, and I'm sure you can imagine my dismay when I learned commands don’t work on him.”
“Then I’m sure your dismay will only increase when you learn that my brother prefers not to command his pet.”
“He’s in fact extremely willful, and commands often backfire when given to him, so I prefer not to waste my efforts giving them. Now what is it that you want?”
Baltzar looked displeased while Eric’s expression didn’t change, “I came to inform Achaicus that we have been unable to locate Radomir, or Belle, and there are a handful of guards unaccounted for.”
‘Ahhh, your old friend.’ Ronové mused and I felt a chill run down my spine.
“Quiet.” I mumbled under my breath, though no one seemed to notice as they continued.
“I would suggest Radomir has likely fled to Europe with a small group, and that we should expect a visit from Ælfric.” Markos speculated casually although the notion seemed to make everyone nervous.
“I’ve already sent a letter to our grandfather, hopefully it will arrive before Radomir.” Achaicus muttered, rubbing his temples.
It was then that the doors to the infirmary were pushed open with some force. “Listen you fucking shit- Let me into this fucking room!” Killian shouted, his bright eyes were crazed with rage and it looked like he had run the entire way from wherever he had been.
“I-I really can’t, I-I’ve been given strict instructions-” Hanta looked distressed, this was the third time he had been forced to tell someone they weren’t allowed to enter and he looked more than a little flustered.
Baltzar rolled his eyes, “Calm down Killian, it’s not like we can’t hear you from the doorway, what is it?”
“Lazarus is fucking, gone!”
Achaicus and Nathaniel both tensed, while Baltzar clicked his tongue in annoyance. “What do you mean gone?!”
“I mean, his cell is fucking EMPTY.
“That’s not possible.” Markos hissed, “I double checked his containment myself.”
“What do you think then? I’m just making this shit up!? He’s not fucking in there!”
“Well, what is
It took Killian a second to understand what he meant, “Nothing, there’s nothing. No traces of anything, no magic, no signs of a struggle, nothing, just salt. It’s like he vanished.”
“So send the guards out. I want everyone searching for him all the way to the borders of our lands.” Achaicus spoke up at last.
“Brother, I need to return to Dunkel in case he attacks the castle.” Nathaniel added.
“You don't need to do any of that, it’s pointless, and you’re in no state to travel let alone defend a castle.” Eric sighed, he was the only one who hadn’t reacted to the news in any way.
“You sound certain. How can you be sure?”
“Lazarus isn’t a concern, you need to rest…” he spoke more gently to Nathaniel and he hesitated slightly, though he said nothing more.
“What’s that mean he’s not a concern? If he attacks us now we can mark this as the shortest reign in history, or an altogether failed take over!” Baltzar sneered but Markos spoke up.
“...The Orphan is right. Lazarus has been sitting in a room with salt and received no medical attention. He’s slow and weak. He won't attack Dunkel, it’s more likely he will simply try to flee to Grosartig like Radomir and searching will waste resources. If we simply set up barrier points instead, we’ll know where he is when he crosses one.”
“You’re always just so smart aren’t you Markos?”
“It's just simple logic, Baltzar. If the orphan can come to the same conclusion, I’m sure you can too.”
“Fine, want to place a wager on when he will cross a barrier point?”
Markos smiled, “Certainly.”
With the new development most of them left. Although Markos was forced to stay because Claire refused to let him leave after he began bleeding through his bandages. Hanta swapped out for Yura, though she was more interested in talking to Nathaniel. Or at least she was, until Eric told her to leave so he could rest in no uncertain terms, and then he took over the watch himself when she departed.
There wasn’t really a lot to do in the meantime. I was too afraid to leave the room without someone else with me, and Ron must’ve run out of the energy to torment me so he was quiet as well. Vaguely I was aware that I was supposed to be in court, but I tried to think about other things instead of my torpedoed career.
When Calla woke up I talked with her for a while. She's a little bit hard to talk to only because she’s so similar to Eric. She doesn't hold conversation organically, answers questions minimally and her only hobbies are training and sharpening weapons. I could see why my sister doesn't like her, Claire likes people who can talk for hours and Calla was not like that.
At dusk Eric closed all the curtains and woke Nathaniel when Achaicus arrived with a trolley of food for us. Initially Molly had tried to enter the room with him, but Eric was quick to intercept her, “You’re not welcome in here. Get out.”
“I’m simply helping my master.” she responded calmly.
“I don’t care. I said get out. You know full well you are not to enter this room.”
“So snarky little orphan, what’s got you so tense?”
“Out.” he repeated, his hand moving to the sword on his hip and she smiled.
“She means no harm.” Achaicus complained.
“I said she’s not allowed in and I mean it. Unless you want me to-”
“No. No. I understand.”
Nathaniel looked curious as did I, “I would love to know what he has over you brother~”
“I could command him to tell me you realize-” He stopped surprised when Eric covered his mouth with his hand.
“Command me, and I swear I’ll make you regret it. Now, shut up and eat your food.” he mused slowly letting him go once his point was made. Though Nathaniel still looked shocked as Eric came to sit beside me instead. “Don't eat the fresh meat. That’s only for the fae.”
I didn’t need him to remind me what it was.
Once dinner was over, Achaicus left and Hanta returned to guard the door. Truthfully I don’t remember falling asleep, I had been talking to Eric, then the next thing I knew I was out like a light.
I woke groggily to the sound of hushed voices, it was an ungodly hour of the morning. I couldn’t read the clock across the room but I didn’t need to. Moonlight streamed in through the only open window, it was beside Nathaniel’s bed and I guessed Eric must have opened it for him. Beside me Calla was sleeping peacefully, her soft breathing was rhythmic and soothing. Across the room my sister had dragged another bed over to Markos’s so that she could lay next to him and they were sleeping still.
At the farthest end of the room Hanta had barricaded the door with a bed and was laying down on it. I assume he too was asleep since I couldn’t see the glow of his eyes and slowly I came to realize the voices were Eric and Nathaniel speaking quietly to one another.
“Stop being so cryptic, where were you?” Nathaniel was asking, though he struggled to keep his eyes open as Eric was petting his hair, slowly lulling him into sleep.
“Can you just go back to sleep already?”
get lost didn't you?” he teased and Eric looked bemused.
“No, I was there. Now hush, let’s not forget you weren’t supposed to be in that courtyard.”
“…Are you mad at me?”
“Yes.” Eric answered evenly, “You put yourself and
Charles in danger. Lied to him to get him to do what you wanted. What exactly was your plan if you didn’t find Achaicus..?”
“You planned on offering yourself to him in exchange for me didn't you?”
“…It would have worked..”
“That’s not the point. I wanted you safe, and you willfully disregarded what I wanted only to make yourself feel better.”
“I couldn’t let you get hurt...”
“I asked you to trust me and you didn’t.” Nathaniel looked guilty as Eric appeared annoyed. However after a moment he sighed, letting it go as he continued more gently. “Please don’t do anything like that again alright? I thought I would lose you both, and Calla. It wasn’t fun.”
Nathaniel seemed relieved to hear it, he closed his eyes for a moment and I assumed he would sleep, but instead he spoke again. “I thought about what you said, you know...”
“Did you?” He mused, resting his cheek on the mattress as he continued to pet Nathaniel’s hair, “I wasn’t sure you would remember.”
“I do remember.”
Nathaniel hesitated, taking in a deep breath, “… I don’t have
to do what you asked of me. There is nothing stopping me from commanding you to do as I wish.” He began though Eric remained perfectly calm. If I didn’t know him better I would have said he looked bored. “However, I understand that if I were to do only what I wanted, you would be unhappy. It’s not my desire to make you miserable… So I will agree to your terms. You have nothing to fear from me, I won’t command you again.”
Eric sat up mildly surprised, as if he had been expecting him to say something else. “Do you mean that?”
“Yes… I’ve tried keeping you against your will, and I’ve tried letting you go. Neither of those things made me happy.”
“What would make you happy?”
“...If you stayed near.” he mumbled honestly but Eric didn’t answer him, he was waiting for something? I couldn’t say what it might have been, but Nathaniel seemed to understand. “Please don’t make me say the words...”
“Is it so difficult?” he sighed and Nathaniel averted his gaze, it looked like he regretted saying anything. However Eric gently tilted his chin up and I couldn’t see past him as he leaned in closer. I think he might have said something but I didn’t hear it. Or maybe there was some weird cultural thing I didn’t know about?
When Eric pulled away Nathaniel looked uncertain, if not mildly embarrassed. “...Does that mean you’ll stay?”
“I’ll stay some of the time. I still have work to do, and I need to help Charles… I sort of got him fired from his job.”
“I thought you fixed that?”
“I tried… but he missed his court date for me. It was yesterday…”
“...I can compel anyone you need me to.”
Eric smiled tightly, “Don’t tempt me. More wrongs don’t make things right.”
“Can I ask you something?”
“If you have to ask for permission to ask, I'm inclined to say no.”
“You said my father was of no concern, how did you know that?”
“Let’s not talk about that right now…”
“You know something don’t you?”
“Nathaniel, please… trust me, not tonight.”
The fae regarded him for a long moment, “I want you to take my car again, stop riding that death trap.” he bargained instead.
“I suppose that means you’re not giving my bike back?”
“What are you talking about? I don’t have it.” he said bemused and Eric scoffed.
“Please. I know it was you.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but if someone’s stolen your motorcycle I owe them a word of gratitude.”
“You truly don’t have it?”
“I’d like to say I only saved you for my bike, so finding out you don’t have it is unfortunate.”
“Sorry to disappoint.” he chuckled quietly and Eric rolled his eyes.
“Is that so?”
“Yes…” I thought I saw Eric smile when he spoke and Nathaniel leaned in close to him so that I couldn’t see between them. Neither of them spoke again, or if they did I didn’t hear it. Not that I was really paying attention anymore.
I’m not sure how much time passed as I drifted between wakefulness and dreamless sleep, but it felt like hours before I got up to use the restroom. Moving painstakingly slow, trying to be as quiet as I could so that I wouldn’t disturb anyone. By then Eric was asleep, leaning on the bed over Nathaniel and they didn’t stir as I passed.
The most challenging part about getting out of the rooms was getting past Hanta. Thankfully he had left a small gap between himself and the door and I managed to squeeze through.
In the hall it was dark and quiet, “I could use a little help.” I whispered.
‘What’s the matter, can't see in the dark?’ Ronové taunted.
‘That must be a ‘weird cultural thing’.’
“It doesn’t even make sense, why would my lack of eyes be cultural?”
‘Hopeless.’ he mused, but the hall suddenly brightened as my eyes enhanced.
“Thanks.” I grumbled.
Being able to see more made the area only slightly less terrifying and when I heard voices coming from the hall ahead I panicked. I didn’t want to run into any fae in the dark. Without a second thought about it I ducked into the nearest room, closing the door quietly without looking around.
“Stop being ridiculous, his aura is human.”
“Baltzar, I fucking, SWEAR
he was dead! I saw it with my own eyes, but he crawled out of the rubble like a fucking- I don’t even know!”
“You also thought Markos and his pet were dead, but you were clearly mistaken. Now I have better things to do than entertain your paranoia.”
“I’m not crazy, I know what I fucking saw! Can you check him with your magic or something-” he stopped abruptly. They were right outside the door, and I realized I must’ve hidden exactly where they intended to go.
“What are you two conspiring about?” I recognized Markos’s voice.
“Nothing, Killian is paranoid. He thinks Nathaniel’s pet isn’t human.”
“Human’s don’t get, fucking, stabbed
and buried in rubble and walk away without a scratch!” Killian hissed.
“Nothing does, so clearly you were mistaken.” Markos assured.
“Killian.” Baltzar warned and Killian lowered his voice automatically.
“Why are you up at this hour then Markos?”
“Checking the halls for Lazarus?”
“It doesn’t hurt to be vigilant.”
“You just can’t stand the thought of losing. There’s no way he’s still in the castle.”
“You can never be too careful.”
Baltzar snorted, “Right.”
“I suggest you return to your quarters now, lurking in the halls doesn’t look good.” Markos mused casually, though the threat in his words wasn’t subtle and I heard footsteps departing.
‘Makes you wonder why he’s
lurking in the halls doesn’t it?’ Ron commented bemused.I didn’t answer, if I spoke now I was sure he would hear me.
“You can come out now, Charles.” Markos commented and I froze. Momentarily considering whether or not I believed he truly knew I was there. “I know you’re there, don’t play games.”
Reluctantly I opened the door to see Markos leaning against the wall with his arms folded, his purple eyes glowing in the darkness. “You shouldn’t walk about the halls without someone accompanying you.”
“I’m a big boy, I think I can find the bathroom on my own.”
“Is that why you’re hiding in the armory?”
“You’re a weak bag of flesh in a castle of the fae. Best to watch your step. Now come, I’ll take you back.”
I didn’t move, “Why are you
‘That’s not smart Charlie boy.’ Ronové commented tensely.
“I don’t need to explain myself to you.” he answered simply as he began to walk expecting me to follow.
I was beginning to understand why Eric guarded his emotions so carefully. This was a dangerous place, and we were in dangerous company.
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2023.04.02 14:17 Plushytoonz Gnostic; Apocalypse Chapter 20
Chapter 19 Chapter 20 What 'does' it matter
Everything was quiet. Quiet like the sea. Jennifer awoke to the sound of a waterfall echo in the emptiness. Her eyes wondered around, seeing her surroundings. There were crystals that shine with light. A light of warmth and chills. Drops of rain fall and made small puddles, then evaporated off to the sky. The drops of rain makes a tap noise on the huge crystals floating amongst the night blue sky. No sun nor moon but a waterfall that reaches to what seems to be a floating rock.
She walked through statues of people she somehow recognized. They're not Steven, James, nor even his father. Instead they were people from another time. It was familiar, as if she experienced as another person from another world. Time and space has its way of developing such mysteries of time. Built as if it was being foretold.
The first statue she encounters was Daniel, standing in the middle of nowhere like a man who wonders in the apocalyptic world. His face looked fearful as to whatever the nightmare will propose in front of him. Strange to see a statue of himself being a part of the other statues in the line. This doesn't look like it was built nor imagined by Daniel.
Then, another statue is a female robot with her face painted like a skull. She is the same species as Daniel but her hair was green which is rare for their species. Her eyes are dark except for her glowing green pupil and she wore a white snow tuxedo. Her pose was like of a boxing champion or more than just a champion, she sat on a throne as if she is unbeatable.
Another statue showed a man of a flame person like a torch, his body is smooth and red but his head is like a torch but his mouth and eyes are visible. He had horns on his head, wore a jacket that looked like it was torn like a rockstar. His pose was impressively like both good and evil, holding a shotgun on his left hand and a head on his right, bat or dragon like wings on his back spread out like an angel, and his face was stone cold as if only his pupils are moving.
The other statue showed a young human lady but her eyes are empty, she wore a black and white hoodie, held the strings like a web and held a blade that looked sharp enough to cut ruby, and her pose was like a religious musician presenting an orchestra.
Then the other statue was of a boy of an elf and he wore what looked like a coat from the dark age, and he held a blade that felt alien. Behind him was a man made of obsidian, his eyes and mouth were pearly white and his body was jacked, he wore an armor made from wherever he's from and he held a large khopesh. Their pose represents a father and son, lion and wolf, surviving together in a wild nature.
A statue of a man of a flame person, different to the other one and looked more adventures, triangles on the sides of his head, his face makes a smirk with intimidating eyes, he wore a leather jacket and held a rope of chains and a revolver. His pose was like a hunter already in battle, taking strikes against whoever he's hunting down.
A statue of a women, she wore a vest with a shirt inside and what covers her is the worn off cloak. The child which seemed to be her son wore a jacket that looked to be tattered. They both looked to be scared and lost as if they're trying to escape wherever they're from. Their pose was escaping from a nightmare or something far worse than that. Her son holding her hand tight, afraid of getting split up and lost.
Finally, the last statue that still stands was a young girl with a small little creature on her right shoulder that looked both like a bunny, and a chinchilla with peddles of a flower around its collar. She wore a worn off hoodie, a vest, a shoulder plate made of plants on her right shoulder, and boots made of some leather. She held a staff and whats on the head of the staff was a crystal. Their pose was like a disciple, a disciple that spreads joy around the world as they go. A smile on her face as she looked afar at the world.
The next statue was collapsed, same as the rest of the statues being scattered around the stone pavements. They looked to have fear, anger, sickness, and uncanniness on their faces, as if they have fallen to their death or a fate worse than death. For some reason, the 8 statues are the only one that is still standing. But why does that matter to her. She wants to find Daniel and reason with him. So she walked further outwards to the waterfall.
As she walked closer through the waterfall, she heard someone talking in a voice she recognized before. She knew that voice and ran quickly up to the waterfall. She stopped in front of a rock solid mountain filled with water, then climbed up quickly as she can.
At 16.7 meters high up, she saw something flying around. She shook her head and got back to climbing. The voice is becoming more closer, she can hear what its saying.
At 25 meters high, she reached to the top of the mountain waterfall but Daniel wasn't there, instead was on a floating rock high above as water falls to the ground endlessly.
She didn't know how to get up there, no clue as to how to get up. Her heart felt something shining, something that gives her a way. She held her left hand in front of her and gripped hard. What sparked in her hand was a bow made of ruby with a string made of opal. A surprised look on her face as if she was given a gift to the solution. She thought to herself. "Maybe my heart or soul can communicate with me. It's as if I'm guiding myself."
There were no arrows anywhere. She wondered how she's going to use it until her heart guides her again. She pulled the string of the bow and what sparked out in the bow was an arrow made of garnet. Flowing sparks of red light circles around the arrow's head as fireflies.
She shot it at the nearest side of the floating rock and before she could take time to think she was already on the walls surface like teleporting. She quickly grabbed the nearest edge out of shock of surprise, breathing in a panic. She slowed her breath, calming herself to get back to what she was doing. The voice is more louder. Louder enough to make people crazy.
- "You can join me and we will take over the universe and all that exist. You and I, together. "You know, I was told by my cousin fate about 'you' Daniel. He said that you're connected to something bizarre and you have a special power. He said you're connected to the ones that have a similar power line. Something about rage or something? Yes. Your rage is not like any other gods. "You're connected to people from different realities, from different systems, from different worlds. But they're in worlds where my family is in charge. They're like you for some reason, it's like a cycle. A cycle of endless evil scratching the walls to break in and become creator of all that exist! But you and your other counterparts from other worlds are stopping us. "But if you join me, you'll become something more. You'll achieve greater heights, greater purpose, BEYOND CREATION!" "I don't want to be in your FUCKING PAWN GAME!" "How many people have died under the hands of death and evil? Billions, even countless. The existence in this world, is not perfect. We can change that. We can make the whole entire creation beyond perfection! You and I, we'll be unstoppable. You have the power of a god and you don't want to be a part of that godhood?" "I don't want to be a god." "You SHOULD BE!" "I'm just another monster!" "Yes but like a GOD! Because other people who are below us will fear and praise us. "You know Jennifer right? Of course, her life was to serve me. You called her a monster. A MONSTER! But have you taken the time to just look at yourself and see what you've become? Not really. Jennifer was my servant and she was going to become something more. I was going to offer you to becoming more." "Don't talk about her." "WHY Daniel? You think she's like you or experienced the same way as you do. That is FALSE! I made her since she was born. She was born to serve me, to become the next god. We had plans. Plans to take over father, then the pleroma. The pleroma is the connections between gods. They call themselves Aeons instead of gods and they act like people. How disappointingly preposterous. They are gods but they don't even adopt its meaning. The pleroma is a place for gods. TRUE GODS! So I will be there and show them that I AM A GOD! And you will be too. You know that right?" "I told you. I don't want to be in your games. I don't want to be a god. I don't WANT TO BE YOUR DAMN PUPPET!" "So do you like Jennifer? Really Really like her?" "what." "Poor Daniel. Her real name was Rosemary Peterson!" "She didn't know that. She lost her memories." "Lost her memories? That's just a scrap of nodes in a blank paper. What if she did remember all this time and she was pretending? Think Daniel. All this time she spent with you and your friends all the way. You see her caring and loving you and your friends but is it really real or just fake to get you through hell? I know you're not that stupid. You've been thinking so much things since the day you let your emotions run wild in your glass box. I went into your mind that day, we had talked so much. You remember our conversation about 'The Teligonas'. "I am a part of that. And so are you. And so are your friends and the people who are in the cycle of scratching evil! YOU WILL PLAY A PART OF IT! THAT IS FATE! YOU CAN NEVER ESCAPE THE FATE OF YOUR FRIENDS!"
Jennifer reached the edge of the floating stone land and raised her hand up to grab the ground. She pulled herself up and saw Cain circling around the chained Daniel. The words that come out of Cain's mouth were like flies and beetles crawling on your spine and ribs.
She quickly pulled herself up, got to her feet, and shot an arrow at Cain. He roared with a laugh and cheer, the sound of booming laughter from the invisible crowd. He turned to see her dead in the eye but his eyes were hidden behind his old hat. A sinister smile plastered on his face, stretching the bandages on his cheek, making wrinkles. "AH! My young Rose! It's so pleasant to see you again! And look at you now! You've gotten stronger."
But then, his face went from a smile to a frown. He looked up and down on her, seeing as if she somehow changed. He didn't like the new her. "Get Away From Him!" "Or what? What exactly are you going to do about that, Rose? You can't defeat me nor kill me, I'm inside of his mind and I AM IMMORTAL!"
A sinister grin returned back on his face, an idea he proposed has changed his mind or supported his plan. "Oh Rose. Do you not know what i'm doing is best. I'm building him into something bigger. You remember our glorious plan Rose? We were going to become gods. Don't you see, I'm doing this for the both of us AND Daniel can be a part of that."
"I remembered what you did to me. I remembered what you had done to my mom. You took MY LIFE away from me and made me into some weapon." "I am giving you a greater opportunity Rose. We've done fun things together. Like making people smile. Giving people the death they deserve. WE RESEMBLED JUSTICE!"
Jennifer gripped her hand tightly on her bow while looking at the chained up Daniel. He didn't look back at her, only to stare down in absolute defeat. The waters from the sky above fell down to the endless pit of nothingness. The world around them is peaceful and promising, but the presence of Cain said otherwise. The screams from his heart came from many places. Unknown as to who or what is it from.
"I wasn't happy nor felt the pleasure to kill the innocents, I was scared and angry. My life became a lie because you messed with my head. You took away the life I once knew was real and you smashed it into dust and replaced it with your narcissistic bullshit!"
Cain's face became a mess with a mad smile of insanity stretching the wrinkles of his face. A crack of bone echoed out as he twitches his body in a maniac laughter. He fast walked towards Jennifer which made him more eerie in a place of an innocent landscape. Blood came out from his face and dripped down on the stone ground, infecting it as veins and tissue grows from the blood. "Oh really? But is it really true that you remember your 'real' memories? What if your powers are a lie against YOU, Rose? I can help you. I know you more than anyone in the world. You can't do this on your own. Don't you want to help your best bud here."
This became a mixture of whether or not he may be right. The conclusion would be to make the right choice but one flaw is done and it's over. Each step from Cain echoes with a tap of a bell, a tone of reverse ringing metal. Jennifer's eyes daggers against Cain's, dueling against the dark evil behind his brain. "If you could just come back to me, this will be over and we can start changing the world into something perfect. Your mother would've been so proud to see you so strong. And Daniel here, he doesn't love you or anything anymore. Why waste such potential on this guy when you can use it for the greater good. "There are more dangerous and powerful gods greater than me, greater than anything that comes to existence. What if they hurt your friends and your mother's soul? It'll be the worst you could ever imagine. But if we work together, we can prevent that from happening. Just you and me."
Daniel turned to look at her, only a little due to the chains around him. He looked at her with the eyes of fear and sorrow. He was too weak to get out of these chains, not able to shake them off or break them. It's as if the chains locked his power away and made him sick. "Jennifer."
Jennifer put her bow away, making it disappear into thin air. She turned her head to Daniel and saw his eyes became weak and mad. Cain placed his hand on her shoulder that caught her attention. She looked up to see Cain more closer now. His breath gave a scent of burnt flesh and copper, a scent of the ugly death. She nearly gagged by the smell from Cain's breath. Rows of different sizes of teeth and gums in his mouth like a hole to hell.
She started to think of what might happen to those she cared and loved if the archons are in control. The thought of her mother's soul screaming in eternal torture, like she's a toy for the gods to play. Her friends being chained up and tortured by being gutted and brutally beaten up for eternity by those sick twisted gods. Therefore, the sickness grew in her heart with a chill crept up her spine. "Just think about that Jennifer. Think of the consequences if you don't join me."
Then, memories of the times she had been with her mother and friends came to her mind, as if her heart is giving her a tour.
It was 6 months after the start of the apocalypse. The four of them were walking on the streets in the middle of a town. Houses were collapsed and burnt, destroyed by the apocalypse. The cold brewed around the 4 survivors. Their faces were plain cold, just on their way to wherever the nightmare will show.
They went inside of one of the houses, finding no one but dust and wood. Until the next house, Jennifer finds a basket full of cricket equipment. "Hey guys! What's all this stuff?"
Daniel knew exactly what this is when he took a first looked at it. He chuckled and said. "It's cricket. I haven't played this since before the apocalypse."
"It's when you swing your bat to hit the ball and someone have to catch it. When the fielders catches the ball, they will bowl the wicket to prevent the batter from scoring more points. And the batter, when they hit the ball, they run between the 2 wickets to get more points." James joined in on the conversation. Telling her the details of playing cricket.
"Ok. I don't know what any of that means. Can you guys show me how it works?"
"But we're in an apocalypse." James said. What she asked for, sounded like a childish dream, which made him in disbelief. There are demons everywhere, just hiding or hunting someone down. They could be in this house or any other house in this town. It would be crazy mad to play cricket in a middle of a dead zone.
"Hey come on James, I think it's good to have some fun, even if we're in a bad place right now and we haven't seen a single threat. I think you know that too." Daniel patted his shoulder and held the cricket equipment with him as he walked outside. Steven followed him outside with giddy. Mostly paying his attention to cricket instead of the outside cold.
James was surprised. He didn't get what Daniel meant by that. For what they're in for, it sounded as if everyone, including himself, become crazy. He witnessed Daniel become furious with vengeance when he witnessed his own father killed. He thought maybe it's just him trying to bond with them and putting the revenge plan as his secondary.
He turned his head to Jennifer and saw a surprised look on her face. The same expression he has right now.
As they're outside, playing cricket together. Steven and Jennifer are the batter, while Daniel and James are the bowlers, but as time goes on they swap teams and swap roles. As they kept playing outside of the empty town of collapsed houses, there were smiles on their faces. Jennifer laughs with such thrill of playing a game by running and batting. Daniel heard her and joined in too. For James, he chuckles when he saw how fascinating how fun and joyful his friends are getting in the middle of nothingness. It was beautiful to him. Steven had a better smile then his friends, he started to think all the way to the best moments of his life. Thinking of the joy he had amongst the bright days of his life.
Jennifer began to think why they're having such a good time in such a horrible situation. After growing in a horrible life, fighting against demonic creatures, witnessing nightmares of slaughter and death, discovering new knowledge of what's behind the history of the unknown, and the extreme emotional stress being put unto them throughout their adventures.
She thought of the deaths, horrors, and dark tales of the world. How death can be at anytime, anywhere they go. Then, she understands why.
People experienced many things out of their comfort zones. Many were tragic, awful, unjust, fear, pain, dark, and grim. But the most powerful is hope, strength, motivation, confidence, love, faith, greatness, and freedom. That's just because the world is not fair nor just.
The thing is that people should enjoy what they like to do. The things that people have the motivation and confidence to do. People wanted to do what they dream of doing. Art, Judges, Researchers, Poetry, Constructors, Scientists, Teachers, and anything. People have many things we'd love to do and to share our experience. But the problem is people being afraid of risk. Such risks can take someone down so easily. Many can give such darkness, hopelessness, and misery. It's how the world works.
She understands that the joy and goodness can come first before and after taking the risks of death. Take the joy while it lasts and have it again. The time to enjoy life. Death is permanent and so is joy. But joy in the world of the living, even in the afterlife are moments that cannot surpass death. For death is many things. A world, a word, a mystery, and the bridge to different realities. She begins to be filled with so much joy with the knowledge of the joy she sees.
She laughed more and more, her friends started to feel the same. And from then on, they started to take joy in discovering good old times and the experience together. Their bond grew more stronger as they survive in the world of nightmares.
She looked at Daniel as his face starts to tire. She then looked up at Cain with his uncanny smile plastered on his face, stretching the dark wrinkles of his skin and bandages. "I want to end this nightmare. I want my friends to have a good life. I want other people to have that good life. Starting with you being dead and gone for good."
Enraged, he gripped his hand around her neck, making her gag in pain from the burning sensation. She tried to force her way out of his grip but was to no avail. His smile turned upside down, revealing the dark gums in his mouth. Daniel tried to escape out of his chained state, terrified of Jennifer's death. "STOP! DON'T KILL HER!" "You disappointed me. disappointed the rest of my brothers. You dare to turn against me when I was the one who gave mercy to you. You were going to be something Rose. You were going to be something that no other god could ever keen to reach. Now you'll die. After your death, I will destroy everything that exists here and so are your worthless bastards!"
Then suddenly, she gripped her hand tight and Daniel's spear sparked out in her hand. She impaled it directly at Cain's shoulder and with that she escaped out of Cain's grip, falling on to the ground. He grunted in disgust and was shocked by what Jennifer just did.
Jennifer pulled herself up as she gasped for air, the burning slowly fades away from her neck. She crawled until she finally caught her hand onto the chains which holds Daniel into imprisonment. "Daniel. I'm getting you out of here."
She gripped her hand and an emerald xiphos sparked out. She sliced off the chains apart, which makes them disappear into nothingness. Daniel's strength, life, and power came back to him as he can finally stand up.
They turned around to see Cain pulling out the spear from his shoulder with a grunt of rage. His head faced towards Daniel and Jennifer. Wherever his eyes are, they're staring daggers at them. But then his smile came back. Standing in a good posture as if nothing had happened. "You truly changed haven't you Rose? You knew what I did to you. Replacing your memories with my designs. Well, I admit it. You are right. But no matter. "My plans to become a powerful god will be complete once I have the power to kill my father. Then I will kill and torture the 'aeons' of the pleroma and become the god of all universes. But you're in my way. So I have a surprise for the both of you. Once you're out of this world."
And with one wicked laugh that came out of his hollow mouth, the last of his words for now said. "Goodbye. For now."
And then he was gone. Disappeared into nothing.
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2023.04.02 14:06 tech_probs_help Help with a treasure hunt in Rochester for my school group
I've posted in this sub once before about a school trip I'll be leading to Rochester, a city I've never been to nor seen in all my life. My students (aged 13 all French) will visit the castle & cathedral and then have about 3 - 4 hours of free time. We're doing Chatham & Guildhall another day. We won't have access to our bus and we'll be in the High Street so I'm inventing a sort of scavenger hunt. It's not a hunt where they find things I'll have hidden because, well, I won't have any opportunity to hide things prior to our arrival. It's more a list of things to spot, photograph, and do. Here's a list of things I've put together. I'd really appreciate it if you could add your thoughts & suggestions of simple things my students, whose English is rudimentary, could do.
photograph any of the following you see:
a policeman / policewoman (name: _____)
a red phone kiosk
a red post box
a pub (name: _____)
a fish and chips
a historical monument that is NOT the castle or cathedral. (name: ____)
REDDITORS, is there anything remotely original or native to Rochester that they could photograph? Something in one of the parks, maybe???
find & photograph:
the oldest building (name & year: ___)
the newest building (name & year: ___)
a house where a famous author worked - address: ___
the name of the famous author: ___
the tallest building - address: ___
the address for Morley's bakery: _____
the name and nationality of a real submarine: _________
Do the following activities and tick when finished:
Buy a small pastry from Morley's or Lorenzo's Bakery. _____
Ask someone respectfully for directions (to the cathedral, to the castle, to the post office...) _____
Read a historic plaque of a monument or building and write what you understand in French below:
OK REDDITORS OF MEDWAY, any other suggestions? Also, is it really dangerous??? [serious]
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2023.04.02 14:06 Shin_Splinters Urbanist Discussion @ Nu Kitchen - Final Meeting! (For Now)
Meeting at Nu Kitchen, 5:30-7PM, Monday, April 3rd. Message here or email [email protected]
with questions please.
Hello to any and all who may be interested in seeing a better future for Worcester and its residents, safer streets, usable transit, affordable housing, opportunity for all, and a decent place to live!
We attended the recent Worcester NowNext meeting where the first draft of the city's ten year plan was presented. This is the first comprehensive planning process the city has done in a long time, and we are feeling very optimistic. The plan is phenomenal, and we made some good connections with city planning employees. So our focus for this last meeting will be on reviewing and discussing materials from the draft plan, setting goals, and clarifying a values statement.
We can already say that our main, baseline priority is to keep our residents here, and to improve their lives here. All of our residents have value, both inherent, and to the city of Worcester. More directly, one of our most discussed immediate action items is to advocate for safer crosswalks near schools and parks.
We sincerely hope to see some more people who care, who may at least want to be on a mailing list, and perhaps show up at city council meetings to voice support for the long term plan when we let you know an action item is up for discussion.
If you can't make it but want to talk or get on our mailing list, please reach out at [email protected]
Thank you for reading :)
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to WorcesterMA [link] [comments]
2023.04.02 14:02 CamelCityPlayHouse Auditions TONIGHT! Details below!
| || | submitted by CamelCityPlayHouse to CamelCityPlayhouseWS [link] [comments]
📍Camel City Playhouse 110 W. 7th Street in downtown Winston-Salem https://preview.redd.it/lvb49sikafra1.jpg?width=940&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=cf9517a2c3dc28799e6d5e566e3ed25e9d48c793
Join in the spotlight.
Directed by Peggie Dull and Gregg Vogelsmeier
Shakespeare's Dead Dames by David Overton
Comedy, 20-40 minutes
After their in-performance deaths, six female Shakespearean characters find themselves in a holding area until the play they are a character in gets revived by another Shakespeare company so that they can (re)live their tragedy over (and over) again. It’s a comic romp that evokes Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit” meets Luigi Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author” meets “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
Character List: (Flexible, gender-blind casting for 7 actors.)
TAMORA: From the play Titus Andronicus. Sensible. Blood around her mid-section because she was stabbed by Titus. JOAN: From the play Henry VI, pt. 1. Resolute. Speaks in French and English. Covered in black ash because she was burned at the stake. JULIET: From the play Romeo and Juliet. Melodramatic. Has a dagger between her breasts. LADY MACBETH: From the play Macbeth. Paranoid. Bruises on her face because of her suicide. OPHELIA: From the play Hamlet. Unhinged. Singer. Soaking wet because she drowned in a nearby river. CLEOPATRA: From the play Antony and Cleopatra. Haughty and sensual. Has snakes draped around her neck because she placed them there as a method of suicide. DIRECTOR: Affected, British accent. Any gender. Pretentious and lofty.
How to Survive Being in a Shakespeare Play
by Don Zolidis
One-act. 30-60 minutes*
10 actors, gender flexible
Some day it’s going to happen: You’re going to find yourself on stage, wearing tights, and saying things in iambic pentameter. Face it, you’re in a Shakespeare play, and that means it’s a pretty good bet you’re going to DIE. The Bard is out for blood, but this play is here to stop him! How could Romeo and Juliet survive? Julius Caesar? A nameless soldier in Henry the Fifth? What if King Lear had an emotional support llama and didn’t need to make terrible mistakes? Join us in discovering how a dozen of Shakespeare’s plays could’ve turned out differently! If only they listened…
2023.04.02 13:19 Euphoricstateofmind Does anyone know if any vendors that source from Thailand?
I’m interested in Thai leaf because I heard that Indonesian leaf is getting weaker due to demand and having to harvest early to keep up with it.
Not sure how true it is but I’d like to test it out. The only company I know if that dies sell Thai kratom is Burakon freeze dried kratom but ppl are saying that it’s too potent to the point that they are concerned it may be adulterated so I don’t really want to try them.
Know if any vendors that have it or direct lines to valid Thai suppliers?
Edit: lol why after 4 minutes of posting this question do I get 5 messages from different ppl with zero karma and Reddit accounts only been open for an hour. Please don’t message me if your account is brand new and please don’t message me about street drugs. I’m not interested. I want reputable vendors for medicinal plants only which is why I’m asking here and if you have no karma and your account is 1 hour old you are clearly scamming.
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2023.04.02 13:19 HannoPicardVI In an alternate reality Britain, the prospective owner of a "high-end" strip club clashes with the head of a church established in 1906 who attempts to stop the conversion of the building into a strip club, arguing that it would be antithetical to the religious environment in the neighbourhood.
Darius May was the owner of the large new "mixed-used" commercial building next door. Rumours had already begun swirling in local media that May, 36, planned to convert the disused building into a sex shop. The rumours were only half true. May not okay planned to open a sex shop, but also planned to open a "high-end" strip club in the same building and he had wasted no time submitting his application to planning authorities.
So, when local vicar Jeremy C. Johnson had received information from local authorities informing him of May's intentions and asking him, much like with every other local, whether he had any objections to the application, he was horrified. As the owner of St. Augustine The Holy Trinity Church - a large and imposing church originally built in 1906 - he was not ready to accept the establishing of a strip club immediately next door to his church. Although his congregation was now a small one - there were now 306 registered regular service attendees and a weekly average of 31 visitors and newcomers - he still felt that the religious community in the neighbourhood was a large one and attendance during holiday and special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and weddings and funerals, regularly saw attendees from the local area rise, albeit temporarily.
Johnson did not know this May too well, but he did hear that May appeared to own two other dex shops, one somewhere in the Midlands and another up in Chester, in Cheshire.
Johnson could not accept having a strip club opened right next to his church, so he objected to the planning application. Over the years, however, the demographics of the local area had been slowly changing as a new influx of "young economic and climate migrants" from Scandinavia, the Baltics and Eastern Europe had begun flooding in, slowly changing the face of the area as more and more of the elderly and retired in the community had begun to die. For some reason, this meant that there weren't as many objections as Johnson expected or would have liked. As such, authorities required a certain number of objections in order to require the application to be re-submitted, otherwise the application would eventually be accepted.
Panicking, Johnson visited several established locals in order to drum up support for resistance against the opening of the strip club. He also implored members of his congregation to write "strongly-worded" letters to their councillors and the local Member of Parliament to argue that businesses such as a sex club and a strip club did not "fit the character of the neighbourhood" and "had no place in the local area".
Johnson was well known for being a fiery pillar of the community in situations such as these. Back in 2009, Johnson had strongly resisted the opening of two 7/11 supermarkets directly besides his church. Following strong opposition - led by Johnson himself - applications to build a small Sainsbury's Local and a tiny ASDA had been rejected. If the applications had been accepted, it would have seen the church "surrounded" by new 7/11s. Luckily, to this day, St. Augustine The Holy Trinity Church still retained its character and still preserved its large square and space, helped not only by regular offerings from congregants but also funded from the very pockets of Johnson himself, who had reinvested some church funds in Manhattan Central Bank, an investment corporation based over in Atlantic City in New Jersey.
This time, however, was a little different. Nearly a decade and half had passed and the makeup of the local community was slightly different. A local primary school in the area had been shut down and relocated, thereby bolstering the strength of May's application; the age demographics had also sharply changed, with more younger childless couples from abroad moving in. An underground nightclub had also opened a couple of streets away and because it was a little far away, Johnson had not had any immediate objections to its opening, especially as it only planned to operate on Thursday and Friday nights "to cater to the rising student population". Perhaps, in hindsight, he should have voiced more opposition to the nightclub. Now, May had arrived and he had informed planning authorities that the opening of his sex shop and "high-end" strip club would "bring economic opportunities" to the local area and "create 14 new jobs" (2 more than both supermarkets in total had planned to create). May had also insisted that it would "attract more tourism and business investors" and "lead to a domino effect which would lead to more wealth being created in the local community".
When May had begun to hear of Johnson's rather vocal opposition to his business plans, he was at first intrigued by "this old man's" resistance to new ideas and "new energy being breathed into the area". And so, May had gone to visit Johnson one afternoon. Unbeknownst to May, Wednesday afternoons were usually reserved for a special "Feeding the homeless" event, where the homeless and poor would be invited to St. Augustine The Holy Trinity Church to visit the food bank and "also listen to a short sermon" and "receive a blessing from the vicar himself".
So, when May had turned up, dressed in a laid-back white silk shirt and some expensive jeans and leather trainers, Johnson had not immediately recognized him, but remarked how he clearly looked out of place amongst the homeless. The pair had then begun arguing, as two food bank volunteers tried to distract the attendees from the raised voices. Suffice to say, the pair did not get on at all and Johnson accused May of "trying to invade the area with immorality and sexual promiscuity".
"You may say otherwise, but everybody knows strip clubs are a clear gateway to drug use, prostitution, sexual promiscuity and even child pornogrpahy and child abuse," Johnson had shouted at him in anger.
May, unable to keep his cool and surprised at the vicar's unusual fiery nature, had retorted in anger, "oh please, The Church isn't exactly known for being completely innocent itself. It's full of the very things it claims to hate an preach against. Your hypocrisy is astounding. Your area is dying and it's people like me - entrepreneurs and investors - seeking new business opportunities, who revive it with new ventures. The government has no issue with me, it's just sad old people like you!"
The pair had then parted on bad terms, much to the shocked reactions of the homeless attendees still continuing to stream into the food bank.
Johnson had continued drumming up support for his opposition to the sex shop and strip club plans, but the modern era had got the better of him. A few new councillors had replaced his religious-leaning contacts over the years and opinions had varied wildly over the "dangers of sex shops and strip clubs". He was also unable to gain enough support from fellow religious leaders - local imams from a local mosque nearby - after a number of local Islamic leaders still held grudges against him over his handling of reglious tensions back in 2010 and 2011.
In the end, Johnson failed to garner enough objections to the application and grasping at straws, he had started a petition to reject the application, but, to his shock, it had failed to get enough signatures, with many informing him that they "did not want to get involved" in his "Holy War against the World". His final option? A court case. Reviewing his finances, he confirmed that he could afford to bring a private court case without unduly stressing church funds. Speaking to his legal contacts (two Bar contacts and another two at respectable City law firms), he planned to argue that the opening of the sex shop and strip club would "alter the character of the local area in an extreme fashion" and "were antithetical to the history and environment of the local area". He also planned to accuse Darius May of "intimidating" members of the local community, pointing to the unexpected decrease in support for his opposition to the planning application.
An initial injunction was initially granted on behalf of Vicar Jeremy C. Johnson to halt the conversion of the disused building to a sex shop and "high-end" strip club. This was only a temporary victory for Johnson, who had been instructed to gather further evidence of May's "tactics to intimate people in the local area", as well as "strongly demonstrate how the new business would alter the character of the local area in an extreme fashion".
Yet, a short while later, as if like something out of a supernatural horror movie, Vicar Johnson's black Renault had veered sharply off the A40 whilst he was returning from a weekend Church outing in Wotton-under-Edge. According to crash investigators, a "stray white dog or something" had run out into traffic and had caused "the terrible accident". Vicar Johnson's vehicle had veered sharply off the highway and his car had flipped over and smashed into a tree. He had found himself crushed under the weight of his car and the collapsed tree and to make matters worse, a truck had then slammed into the wreck, killing him instantly. Vicar Johnson died on that warm Saturday night. Witnesses had indeed stated that they had spotted "what appeared to be stray white dog or animal" stepping out onto the highway, but no cameras had spotted anything and no trace of the creature had been found had been found on Vicar Johnson's vehicle. The death was ruled an accident and Johnson's congregation mourned his death.
An associate vicar - a young Harry Milner - then assumed control of St. Augustine The Holy Trinity Church as per Vicar Johnson's will and testament; however, following troubling economic difficulties which hit Manhattan Central Bank across the Atlantic, Johnson's investment portfolio sharply decreased in value and Milner was forced to take out loans in order to keep Church finances afloat. In the end, Milner's poor handling of Church finances proved to be St. Augustine the Holy Trinity Church's downfall and final nail in the coffin and a few months later, he was charged with a series of crimes, including wire fraud and embezzlement. Indigo Mountain Finance then applied to a court to repossess the church's buildings and square and the church now sits empty and unused until Indigo Mountain Finance can find a buyer in foreclosure.
As for Darius May and his Lucky Star sex shop and strip club, it opened a short while after Johnson's death, with Milner unable to continue pursuing a legal challenge against him and with the main opposer - Johnson - now dead. May did, however, attend Johnson's funeral and expressed to funeralgoers how "genuinely shocked" he was at the death of "a Holy man I had only just encountered a month ago".
Years later, the church was demolished and a large Tesco supermarket took its place, along with two large apartment complexes which were built where the church square used to be. Some elderly locals who are still alive and still live in the area til this day sometimes mention how they "miss the large and open square that St Augustine had preserved".
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2023.04.02 12:12 sir_neatington #GEXIX [Upper Severn] sir_neatington does a ‘soap box’ at Bromsgrove
sir_neatington works his way through the crowd and manages to run all the way towards the Slideslow Drive where he enters a pub, throws himself right in, and finds a twenty-year old soap box. Inspired to conduct soap-box politics, he manages to push the box, stands up and begins his speech, or as we call it, a good ramble.
Uh- hey hello Bromsgrove. Finally, I managed to grab a soap-box and have a steady grip on it. From the times of World War I, the so-called Golden Age of Soapbox Oratory, to the present day, politics has evolved a long way. We have opened up the world for migrants, recognised same-sex marriages, brought two stronger forces in the fray, us and the Loony Left, led by one of the candidates, localds something.
I am pretty sure that the only thing local about their campaigning approach is going to be making an April Fools Joke out of the general populace, and somehow make you believe that you deserve less, and much less than most. The fundamental truths by which politics is run, still hasn’t changed, but rather challenged. The element of public service, national security, and responsibility to the growth of the people, all of that is being challenged.
It is thrown into dismay by a bunch of people, who name themselves Solidarity, and push themselves at the boundary of common sense. From stealing your land, to forcing working class folks to pay more on unnecessary union fees, from forcing you to adopt practices that can harm your family in the future, to not having a concrete plan beyond nationalisations, all of that is being put up to stake.
The last time someone did a soap-box campaign was in 1992, by Sir John Major, another Conservative who passionately cared for the interests of the actual all, and not the union few. In the 90s, and today, a lot is similar, the threat of a government that will force you to poverty, make you beg and borrow for your next meals, tarnish our image abroad, do nothing beyond rambling and call that foreign policy.
I am reminded of a time, when candidates in the 1960s America, when advertising professionals began their inputs into the modern political process, were reputed to be "selling candidates like soap", which was a key phrase to discuss the promotional techniques that were used at the time. Today, that’s how the Left is selling their vision, clean and packaged in new boxes, adding new scents and flavours, only to fool you.
They have decided that by using the word UBI repeatedly, and feeding you with an utopian vision, that somehow their world is superior. Let me show the mirror, their world is clearly a hoax. A falsehood, a mirage which they want you to believe, because it helps them time and again to sit in office.
Beyond vanity nationalisations, and making the poor poorer, and the rich poorer, what has this Government done? It ceases to amaze me that these people, the so-called communists, amongst whom many would proudly stand up for Stalin today, have no vision beyond mesmerising you into a world of unreal making. Let us explore the second person in the room, Labour.
Wait, they’re the copy of the first, no difference except having a perfectly minted brand. They are mere copycats, forgive me if I use a harsher word, they’re lap dogs of the former. The only reason they are in Official Opposition this term was because their big bosses had a grudge about not being Prime Minister, so took the second big talk. In fact it took them nearly a year to go and say, they support Ukraine.
They’ll say that their Shadow Secretary of Defence did this and that, but let’s be honest, apart from being Official Opposition, they’ve done it all. Justifying that by saying that they’re somehow a force for unity, absolute baloney. They are disguising their incompetence by throwing a charade of policies, and call that a difference. If you move a step down, you would see the Solidarity’s big chap, the incumbent Home Secretary and Bees Minister. Bees Minister, really what has this person done for your farms? Hike the LVT, remove your agricultural reliefs, replace the subsidy regime? The whole post was created to merely accommodate a party weight, to prevent infighting.
Let us be honest, a good segment of the Government’s cabinet is merely filled to satisfy the Parliamentary Comrades, rather than determining the best interests of our children and the future. If we ever have to see the record of the current Home Secretary, there is virtually nothing, that is to their name, beyond presiding over a Government that has no plan for knife crime, no plan for safety, no intention to fund the police, no drive to get Britain safer, or even make an attempt to do any of it. The only thing they’ve done is stand behind their Prime Minister and nod through partisan bickering and shouting out how land must no longer belong to individuals, or defending a Budget that takes more, and gives less. The only policy your solidarity chap has been defending is incompetence, and it’s time to show them the door.
Now that we have finished showing you the other records, let’s show you mine. I’ve served as the Actual Opposition’s spokesperson for Treasury, yeah we don’t count the non-positions and sycophants, actively engaging for a better Economy, including by presenting an Act which would have limited the deficit raising abilities of the Government to ensure that your children do not have to bear the burdens of your borrowing, cutting down the vanity nationalisations, that nationalised pubs thing, which makes your pubs and pubes theirs, so that you bow down to the State every time.
Tomorrow, I’m sure they’ll criminalise religious worship, or say that alcohol must not be served in pubs. Wait a minute, that already happened. The Government’s KONSUM Plan actively works to undermine your emotional maturity and somehow forces you to believe that pubs will be safe in their hands. Absolute shitfest, innit. Back to my record, I also brought in a Shadow Budget, which if passed, would’ve increased your Personal Allowance, reduced your taxes, got a 0-interest loan programme to fund innovation, and a better plan for school catch-up. Further, I proposed legislation in this term, which if passed, would have enshrined research and development targets for all Government Departments.
So the red rosettes now hate science and finance too, let us explore the real alternatives to this mess festival, the Conservatives. In this edition of our manifesto, we will be focusing on five main priorities, or as I would like to call them, pillars of modern society. It is our belief that if these pillars are strengthened, it would build our nation better for the future. The first pillar, the one that will actually keep you safe on the roads, Law and Order. We want the gangs out, the muggers in prison, the addictums in their chambers, and most importantly, bobbies in. Our police have been wonderful in preventing crime, and we must do more to help them across.
That is why a Conservative Government, repeat after me, a TORY Government, would be training and introducing nearly 10,000 new police officers on our streets, fund better police management and criminology research at the College of Researching and increase the grant provided to officers for buying police vehicles. This will ensure that our Police are able to reach those who need help at the earliest. Our funding for the Policing College will ensure that we have the best practices in the world, and most importantly, the gangs out.
Another key element to the mugging community is their use of knives. There’s a reason why Knife Crime is, time and again, one of the most common forms of crimes in our society. This has to stop, with us, it will. We have proposed this time, the creation of a National Knife Crime TaskForce, which will work with police forces across our country, to track down and silence the Knife Criminals. We do not need more of them on the streets, we need them back at the Prisons.
We will also be increasing funding for a Knife Crime Awareness Programme, for students and communities across England, to ensure that they are well-educated and informed on dealing with Knife Crime. By creating such programmes, we will be massively preventing the casualties and harmful effects of Knife Crime. It will also ensure we have better reporting of these crimes. We will bring back Stop-and-Search, to ensure the Knives are thrown off the bag, well before they are even used.
It is common knowledge that these provisions helped in ensuring police officers can get the criminals in, but the anti-law and order gang firmly opposed this, yes the reds. The only red thing they have gotten on their hands, is irresponsibility and lack of desire to truly prevent crime. If you thought they really wanted the best for your children, think again. Labour Wales at the moment is opposing plans to help create a smoke-free generation. Is this the law and order you want to see, smoke everywhere, knives being used to kill rather than cut vegetables and meat?
If you want true change, stand with us, here with the Tories today. Continuing on order, we will also be increasing the existent penalties for crimes such as Modern Slavery, and Sexual Offences. People should not commit these offences, and be given a baby sentence. These people should not see the light of society, and must also be stripped off their right to vote. We should not be supporting criminals, and it is sad to see the Government do nothing.
That is why we need the Tories to take on the government, to bring real change, law and order on our streets, enough of gangs and boats. Speaking on those lines is our second and the most important of all our priorities, Building a “Stronger Public Service”. For too long, we have been fed knowledge which says that nationalisation is somehow always beneficial, but having a strong public service is much beyond wasteful expenditure. It is about being meaningful and getting delivery done. Our NHS, our schools, our job market, we need to get them buzzing up.
This is why, as a first step towards funding our services better, the Tories will be cutting down needless bureaucracy and red-tape, which will allow us to have nearly seven billion pounds, which can be invested directly into the NHS System. Enough talk about funding, get on with the substance. We will also be bringing nearly 25,000 new dentists into Britain, to fix our dental system and reduce waiting times for Dental Referrals. We will also be working to reduce waiting times between a visit to the GP and a specialist referral.
We pledge to create nearly 750,000 new jobs year-on-year, which will reduce unemployment and the need for Welfare. We need to make welfare reform a stepping stone for getting jobs, and not a lifestyle choice. This is why we will be merging the existing provisions into a single “Get-Back-to-Work” Benefit for all those who can actually work, yet do not engage in meaningful activity. This however does not include people who suffer from ailments and physical complications, unlike how the Solidarity wants you to think, because this Tory Government, will be, to quote David Cameron, a “compassionate Government, one that cares for all of its people”.
Continuing on the Public Services Principle, we will be working to reform Local Government. It is our local government that handles your daily activities, garbage collection, maintenance of public property, and gets your police forces working. We propose to abolish Town and Parish Councils, since they haven’t helped get Bromsgrove or any other part of England to any betterment, beyond existing and eating up public money. We will be introducing County Mayors across England instead, to ensure your voices can actually cause real change on the ground, along with a mandatory council tax freeze once in every council term.
That is certainly signs of a more compassionate and people-friendly government than those who read the Marxist Pledge of Allegiance and call it home to their pinkish hearts. Beyond employment, what is important is to ensure that those who have served our society, our older populace get the fair share of pensions they deserve. At this moment, pensions are severely lacking, and in some cases, do not even let our older folks have enough to carry out their monthly needs.
It is sad to see many of them opt for second jobs to help pay the bills. A Sephronar Government will ensure that it happens. How, by introducing a Triple Lock on Pensions. A Triple Lock in Pensions would mean that pensions would increase every year, based on national inflation, the average rise in wages, or 2.5%, whichever is higher, to ensure maximum can be provided to those who have put their youth, blood and toil maximum for our nation and its growth.
We will also work to eradicate homelessness by continuing our track record of introducing greater planning reform, which by the way, was not supported by the Government because it actually helped the people be better off. We will also be building up nearly 250,000 houses per year, as a start to ensure that this crisis can be averted. As the United Kingdom grows, it needs to grow in being able to provide affordable housing, and these are the first little steps.
We will also be introducing a new 5G Delivery Plan, to ensure that 5G reaches every corner of Bromsgrove, and other parts of our country. Upper Severn deserves an MP who can actually stand up and support the needs and aspirations of its constituents, not someone whose sole objective is to go back, and be a silent wimp to the party top-cops.
Also did you know, Labour recently said it wanted to rejoin the EU, yeah, four referendums, and the people said we want it out, and now they say we want you in. You see, there’s a pattern of incompetence from the Labourites. First, they campaign for something, then the people tell them to do something, they pretend to do it, and go back on it later. The fact that they are constantly ready to undermine the public, the public services, and the gangs on the streets speaks far more to their inability to accept the public facts and stop being ego wings.
Mr Real Pub Owner, do you want your pub back? Ms Teacher, do you want your children to have a better world? Mr Peter, do you want a more compassionate Government, that actually focuses on delivering the best interests of the people, accepts their mandate, moves forward and actually gets the new British energy going beyond wanting to rejoin the EU, undermining our armed forces, police officers and the British citizens? Then, join me and vote Tories for Bromsgrove!
sir_neatington gets off the soap-box, hands over copies of the Tory Manifesto, has a couple of pints of beer, and walks his way off, as he’s ready for another round of General Election campaigning.
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2023.04.02 10:46 Educational-Emu2636 Dating with a big language barrier - first date tonight.
So I (31m) met a very attractive Brazilian girl here in London on Friday, she needed directions to her new work (she said she is a cleaner) and I was heading that direction so offered to make sure she gets there as it was easier to follow me then explain with the language barrier. I almost didn’t ask for her number as I barely talk to strangers on the street let alone flirt with them but she knew what I meant when I asked that immediately and we exchanged numbers. I got keen and text her that night and she was still very keen and calling me handsome in Portuguese but a lot of her longer messages she would just send in Portuguese and I’d Google translate. She suggested today for a date, I suggested coffee in the afternoon but she said she is working and said
“tomorrow you can come to my address at 7 pm because I have work in the afternoon so I'll be waiting for you”
If she was a native speaker I’d take that as she is inviting me in but don’t want to look dumb and turn up with wine (taking condoms just in case obviously because why not).
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2023.04.02 10:16 boilingnarration 🔥FREE ONLYFANS MEGA FOLDER 📁🌈IN COMMENTS💦 sysheh
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2023.04.02 10:13 Sephronar #GEXIX [Cornwall and Devon] Sephronar opens his campaign with a splash at Truro City’s Tesco Superstore alongside the Truro River
| || |https://preview.redd.it/lzy1vsdf8fra1.png?width=3000&format=png&auto=webp&s=d7e73f00c770598dcbc316491bc257a90e7e714b submitted by Sephronar to MHoCCampaigning [link] [comments]
This is the day - the first day of the rest of our lives - where Cornwall and Devon have the opportunity to finally have their say after six months of a disastrous and chaotic minority Government which got worse with every passing day. But today there is a buzz in the air, you can feel the tension, the people of Cornwall and Devon are genuinely excited for what is coming and it shows - the streets are flooded with people walking somewhere, but where could they be walking? The people of Cornwall and Devon are used to politicians who are all talk and no action, so when someone comes their way who offers real proactive change they stand out, and that is the word on the street today.
One passer-by stopped and said to local news outlet CornwallLive, "This is is, this is our chance - no more being ignored, no more being taken for granted, today we are listened to by someone who really wants to help us, and they are here to talk to us and more important to listen to us too. I'm really excited and I know a lot of my friends and family are too, finally after six months change is on its way." You could tell that resonated with the crowd, as many of them whooped and cheered as they made that exclamation, it was genuinely the feeling of so many of these local residents.
The people of Cornwall and Devon feel let down, they (by a majority of only just over 9,000 let's remember, in a constituency with a population of almost 1.3 million people) narrowly chose yet another lacklustre Solidarity candidate to represent them as their Member of Parliament this term, as opposed to a local champion who only missed out because of his brief excursion to the Coalition! party - but how were the people of Cornwall and Devon repaid? Their elected Member of Parliament instantly took up their seat in the House of Lords instead, and gave their seat up to their party - a shameful affair, and Solidarity rewarded them by making them Chairman of their party despite the fact that their activity in the Commons and Lords this term has been practically non-existent. A turnout in the Lords of only 80%, compared to our champions 100% over the last two terms (the only peer to achieve that last term, and for two terms in a row), and their participation in terms of debates has been next to nothing, whereas Cornwall and Devon's saviour has posted over 500 debate comments this term and has authored dozens of Bills and Motions - that right there is a local champion.
So it is no wonder that the people of Cornwall and Devon want change, in fact they don't just want it - they yearn for it, they dream of it, and in this election they are finally going to have the opportunity to vote for it too.
In this election, there are a number of things at stake - a number of questions that need answering; firstly of course, how will the makeup of Westminster change? The polls have certainly changed a lot compared to the last election, Labour are down some ten points and the Conservatives are up around six - Solidarity have even begun to stagnate and drop too - the Lib Dems are on the up, and now we have 'Unity' the newest player in town entering the fold. What the result will be is anyone's guess, but the Conservative and Unionist Party are fielding thirty candidates in this election and endorsing the Liberal Democrats in five seats; some may say in a clear display of endorsement for the party and a plainly-shown hope to work with them after the election, something that is long overdue it could be argued.
But today we are here for one person - the champion for Cornwall and Devon - and this term, that person, Sephronar has represented the people of Cornwall and Devon in a great many number of ways. One example is the famous piece of legislation 'The Cornwall Bill', which narrowly failed its test in the House of Commons by a mere four votes but that Sephronar has made clear that he is determined to re-submit as the Conservative Party's first Bill this coming term. There were however two landmark pieces of legislation authored by the candidate that made it onto the statute books - first was the 'Holiday Let Licensing Act 2023' which aimed to address a huge issue in both Cornwall and Devon; the plight of holiday lets! On top of that was the 'Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (Amendment) Act 2023' which introduced a new requirement for second homes to apply for a change of use before they are made into second homes, giving communities the chance to have their say. There was also another Bill which sadly didn't make it to Royal Assent, and this was one which was a huge priority to the people of St Ives in particular - but also to many communities around the country - and that was the Helicopter Flights Sites Bill, which was sadly voted down by the Government. On top of this he worked with the Government to get funding for Cornwall's railways, and worked with the Opposition to protect Cornwall's heritage planes most recently too - like a true statesman.
As the crowds moved through the streets of Truro city centre, the air was electrified with excitement - the streets of Cornwall were extremely eager to hear the Conservative Party candidate for Cornwall and Devon speak, and to many of them it was clear that they are the right person to take over the long-held reigns of this seat that Solidarity had somehow held on for the last few elections; is that about to all change? The people of Cornwall and Devon certainly know Sephronar, they know him as a local person - a neighbour, a friend, someone who cares about their communities because it is their community too; they were brought up here and educated here, they now serve as the Marquess of St Ives and the Earl of St Erth too, so already have experience in representing these people and they do it brilliantly according to many residents of those areas.
Approaching the crossing at the junction next to the roundabout at the end of Fairmantle Street, utter pandemonium was under way - with crowds 500-deep in some places, completely blocking the roundabout as many commuters simply got out of their cars and joined the crowd, as it became clear that they weren't getting anywhere but also that there was something much more interesting going on; it didn't take long for them to find out what.
Across the roundabout, the dulcet tones of 'Things Can Only Get Better' by popular pop group D:Ream could begin to be heard - the crowd was going wild, dancing and singing, and as the song approached the breakdown before the first verse there was a mighty whirring of helicopter blades coming in from the South, and fireworks flying out from the side and crackles of blue exploding everywhere around, as a solitary figure in a navy blue suit parachuted out of the helicopter and did a backflip, landing directly in the middle of the care park of the Tesco Superstore where the crowd had amassed.
As the song came to an end, Sephronar - Conservative Party Leader and Marquess of St Ives - waved and beckoned to the crowd, seeking to quieten their roaring cheers and applause. The Conservative and Unionist Party candidate for Cornwall and Devon was about to speak...
"Good morning, Cornwall and Devooooooooooooooonnnn!!!" The candidate bellowed through the streets, for everyone in Cornwall and Devon to hear. "Or, as we say in Cornwall; Wasson shagger!" - the crowd beckoned back once more "Wasson!"
"Not much thanks, pard. I am here today in Truro city centre - indeed standing here in the car park of Tesco Superstore - for one main reason; that is quite simply because I believe in you, and I believe in your strong desire for change in this election. I am not here to sugar-coat anything, or repeat soundbites, but we are standing here today in the presence of a moment that will define the future of Cornwall and Devon - indeed define the whole United Kingdom - for generations to come. You are about to have the opportunity to make a huge choice, and I know that you are going to choose change."
"I know that you believe, like I do, that what this country desperately needs is change - is a plan, and we have a plan. That is why we have called our manifesto 'The Plan for Tomorrow', because we in the Conservative Party are thinking about your futures, and how to make them better. We have seen an extremely chaotic six months; indeed an extremely chaotic few years - I honestly do not know how much more Britain can take, I am concerned. Nationalisation after nationalisation has left our nation bankrupt, our debt-to-gdp is eye-watering, and our government spending is out of control - we will stop that. When you voted for me last term, I was within a hair's-width of taking this seat back from Solidarity, but sadly I missed out by a handful of votes; literally like 0.69% of the vote - that's hardly a huge mandate of confidence in the previous Solidarity candidate is it? And how did they reward you - they bolted to the House of Lords. I've sat in the House of Lords this term too, but I have represented your interests as the Marquess of St Ives - with a 100% voting turnout record, over 500 debate comments passed, and helping to lead the Conservative fight back in Westminster, I have shown you what an active local representative should be doing. You can do so much better than this!"
"At this election we have a chance to deliver a genuinely tantalising list of policies, laid out in our manifesto, and led by me as the Conservative Party Leader we can take back control of our nation and kick out the chaotic communists who have been eroding our economy and our public services at the same time."
"Let's talk a bit more about our economy too, if I may - because in our manifesto I made sure that at the top of the agenda was building up a strong economy, because ultimately what we recognise is that without a strong economy you cannot have strong or reliable public services, and people are inevitably going to end up poorer. The Government's solution was just to shovel hundreds of billions in 'basic income' towards you - but what does that help, when there is no incentive or reason to work; no reason for being? We will work towards a new United Kingdom, with a strong economy at the heart of it, and ensure that we all begin to prosper and thrive together. There are a number of ways that we want to achieve this - but nothing is more important arguably than reducing both our country's deficit as well as reducing debt as a share of our economy. And that is what we want to do next term, working with other parties such as the Liberal Democrats we will deliver a new 'Short Term Economic Plan', to both boost this country's growth as well as unlock the potential of Britain's workforce and strengthen our union. And on our union - there are two economic pitches that we have to those nations; firstly that we will implement a brand new 'Regional Development Fund' to improve development and investment in specific target regions in the United Kingdom and to support their prioritised projects; and secondly that we will introduce a new 'Prosperity Fund' for the devolved nations to ensure that the unfair 'Barnett formula' is re-jigged."
"Overall, as we promised in our last manifesto, we want to prioritise every part of the United Kingdom and uplift our economy as a whole - but we can only do this with your support, and the best way that you can support this plan is by voting for local candidates such as me in your constituencies."
"I have a plan for the United Kingdom, but I also have a plan for Cornwall and Devon - and I have the expertise and experience to deliver those plans, as well as the track record of caring and delivering. I can confidently say, as objectively as is possible, that I am the best candidate for Cornwall and Devon - indeed probably the only candidate who really cares when it comes down to track record. No one has spoken up for Cornwall and Devon as much as I have in the recent history of British politics."
"So please, follow my campaign pledges in this election, read the literature, listen to me on the news and radio - and know that your priorities are my priorities too. Together we can make a difference - together we can deliver the plan for tomorrow."
"Thank you Truro - thank you Cornwall and Devon! See you at the next one!"
And with that last remark, the Conservative Party candidate backflipped into the Truro River and began the swim down towards the South Coast and up towards the River Exe for his next rally.
2023.04.02 10:12 happytoseeyousmile [Ro] Foggy Eyes (The first book in the "Of Love and Tears" series) Part 1
Wills laid with contemplating eyes, as he glances up and down; scanning the room surrounding him, reflecting if he should do what he was about to do next. It seemed rather clear to him that he should just give up and let life take its course, but he couldn’t shake off the feeling that he was rather sorrowful, not because he is leaving this world but rather who he is leaving behind. She was a dear sweet girl, an amazing one that he was blessed to have gotten to know. Maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t do what he was going to do. Can he actually do it? After all, he never truly thought it over in a rational way; yet can someone actually do it in a mannerism where it feels just and sensible? Can that truly be achieved with a senile mind like his -a cursed one, he rather admitted-. In the end his buzzes, as he so loved to call them, had gotten the best of him. It was dreadful to think that he was going to dump all of this on the next person with his “gift”. He didn’t feel so content knowing he would be harming another soul. However, he knew, he was absolutely sure that Marie will handle all of this ruckus and withstand the ripple that he will cause in her life. She was a strong girl, stronger than he will ever be. After what seemed like hours of twitching left and right, he decided to seal his fate, just as it should have been done since the day he was born. As the morning sun rose his lifeless body hanged in the centre of the room with drops of blood dripping from his toes. It wasn’t till the smell escaped into the streets that the body was finally let to rest, an eternal one.
To Dear Marie, my love.
“Perhaps things might have been different if I was not who I am. Maybe you could have found the love you were destined to have if I wasn’t there in your life. Sadly enough, you weren’t so fortunate to not have met me. The forever going curse that’s going to haunt you from now till the end of your life, I am here with you Marie.” This was the last letter left for Marie Harris by her passing friend, or maybe more than a friend -it was complicated-.
Marie fell to her knees, tears rolling at the sides of her cheeks. She grasped for air, as she clinched her heart; the pumps, they were up in her ears. She steadily let out faint screams of agony before progressively getting louder, she sobbed, for a time even she didn’t know. All she could remember after such sobbing was that her eyes gave up on sight. She just laid where she was on the now wet floor, hugging the only thing she has left from the best man she had ever known, from him.
She opened her eyes to see that a day has slipped by, and she was still where she was. [Now that’s enough sobbing, he wouldn’t want me to be like that, would he?] She thought to herself. Marie quickly picked herself up, removed any evidence of the scars that she was bearing before maintaining the appearance she always had in front of others, the cheery Marie -or so she was called-. Inside the letter laid a tungsten tag that Wills always wore around his neck, she assumed he had left it there as a memorial, a proof of his once existence. A stoic calmness engulfed her mind -that seemed to occur whenever the rocks of pressure crushed her-. In a way it was a mechanism to escape the daggers that were now firmly intact inside her heart.
As the bell rang, Marie snapped back into reality, quickly stuffing the necklace in her pocket, she rushed to the door, fixing what she could in her appearance. Looking through the magic eye, she made out two silhouettes, presumably a man along with a woman. Giving herself one final look in the nearby mirror, she thought she was alright enough to finally open the door. As soon as she opened the door, the woman launched herself on Marie while weeping.
“He is gone Marie; he is really gone.” Wept the woman. “There, there, it is all going to be alright Mrs. Carter. He might have moved to the other side but that does not mean that he will not be with us anymore. We have him here, in our hearts.” Marie pointed to her chest while gently rubbing Mrs. Carter’s head with tip of her fingers to calm her down. “You know better than that dear Marie. All of that is rubbish that we tell ourselves just not to mourn our losses. Wills is gone, he truly is. If you could kindly stop feeding my wife false hope, that would be much appreciated.” Mr. Carter was a tough cookie, a real tough cookie, years of fighting against oneself as well as having to go through a bunch of traumatic experiences left even the most sensitive of men an impervious rock. “Do NOT say that Mr. Carter!” cried out Marie, perhaps with too much frustration.
Mr. Carter looked away, shamefully avoiding Marie’s gaze. He understood what they were feeling; it wasn’t like that he wasn’t feeling it too, in fact, one could argue that amongst all of them Mr. Carter was the most broken down since he lost the only light left in his life, his beloved son. He had to be strong, he had to be the pillar that holds this family together or so he thought. He denied his urges to sob unlike his wife. Even though it took all of his will not to shed a tear, his face still fathered pain, sorrow, and outmost despair. His once beaming beautiful eyes were now nothing more than a hollow dead dark shell.
Once Mrs. Carter contained herself, they drifted into the living room where everyone sat down, the room sat silent for more than it had the right to be. In hopes of escaping the awkwardness Marie went to bring the Carters tea. As soon as she came back the old folks gave her a weird look before Mr. Carter decided to be the one to spark a conservation.
“Marie” he placed his firm strong hands on her shoulders “I think I speak for both I and Hollie when we say that we are concerned about you. You always acted tough and managed to handle what was thrown at you; yet is it the same here? Are you really holding up well? Or is it the same mask that you constantly wear in these situations?” Just like a father who knew his child for decades, his eyes read her soul. He could see the trembling bleeding wounds that were clogged up just enough not to leak; however, like every dam, there is so much you can hold before it all comes crashing down. The warmth of his eyes, his words and his touch made it nearly impossible to avoid answering honestly to a man that sincere. “Wills was something to ALL of us. He was a loving son, a friend, a long-life commitment, and a lover. I do not know why he did what he did. I do not know why he stepped beyond the horizon this time. All I do know is that we are hurting, each in our own way. Marie Harris, I am asking you not as a father of your past partner but as a mourning person to another, are you really doing fine?”
Marie’s heart wavered, it yearned to be understood -after the person who understood it the most kicked the bucket-. “I am alright Mr. Carter, it will take its time and it will pass.” She said without skipping a beat. [You fool, he asked you to open up to him and the very next thing you do is lie to his face. You were THIS close from finally being able to share what has been weighting you down since yesterday. You can lie to him but not to yourself, we know that we are slowly but surely breaking down. We can’t afford to stay strong all the time. Let yourself be weak sometimes Marie!] buzzed her consciousness. Even with her mind going against her will, her actions defied the salvation she was offered. She rejected the only escape that was open to her. Mr. Carter still held his firm eyes, looking into the back of her mind. [He is just like Wills, he reads us like a book.] shivered Marie from that thought. Mr. Carter took off his hand, as he headed towards Mrs. Carter.
“If you say so Marie. Though I have to admit I am not so convinced. I will let you take your time to figure things out on your own. Everyone needs their space after all. We will come back to check up on you in two days. Exactly 12 O`clock. Would you be available at that time?” “I should be sir. I will be patiently waiting for you then.” “Alright, it is a sealed deal. We will come back. Take care of yourself Marie. Do not let them win.” “I will not sir.” He raised his thumbs as some form of reconfirmation. [Just like Wills] she thought. Mrs. Carter rushed into Marie’s arms, she let the warmth of the mother immerse Marie’s body with their heart sharing a beat, a low steady sad beat. Marie leaned in with all of her passion into that hug. The Carters were a family of expressive people, each in their way of course. “Let’s stay in touch my dear.” “I will Hollie. I will.” Mrs. Carter kissed her on the cheek before leaving with Mr. Carter, closing the door behind them.
Once again, the dark loomed over Marie. The loneliness crept from the bits of hell and crawled right into her heart; its long nails penetrated right where it hurts, stringing every vein, making sure that Marie is able to feel every fibre of her being torn apart. Satan -or her imagination of him- ensured that Marie would taste every twitch as clearly as she could. Before she could be long past gone, the tag in her pocket seemed to burn at her side, reminding her that Wills was still here. Still with her. She reached down to grasp this tormenting memory, this scorching flames of pain, in a twisted way, this gave her clarity. This allowed her to steer the once gloomy atmosphere into something more pleasant -as pleasant as a burnt-out person can muster up-. Marie let her eyelids clamp down, as rest overcame her senses and dullness took her mind by surprise. For one more time, Marie was allowed to escape from her mind, thanks to Wills, her saviour.
The sun, that’s what she had symbolised ever since the moment he laid eyes on her -though he doesn’t seem to remember much of that-. She lit his world, and he left that world to be contaminated with the shards of HIM. He knew of his existence, for he didn’t leave him alone. Even if forgotten, he still loomed, waited, he knew the moment would come. At that moment he would strike. He felt his presence on his heart; an iron nail directly pointed, barely touching but still poking with an undeniable force. He didn’t know how long he could withstand denying him, he didn’t know how long he could hold him back. But for sure he knew; he knew of what would happen when he did come back. He had promised only destruction, and he was a man of his word. May the lord help those in need.
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2023.04.02 10:08 Sephronar #GEXIX [National] Sephronar makes a speech about the future of the United Kingdom
| || |https://preview.redd.it/4r3rzron7fra1.png?width=3000&format=png&auto=webp&s=c7c4544b9a1abe58053d910c1e46710a509252e7 The Conservative Party Leader spoke with members of the media today on the steps of 4 Matthew Parker Street, London. The purpose was to remind the British public what is at stake at this election, and what is needed to begin to turn Britain's fortunes around. It has been a difficult six months - indeed, a difficult few years for Britain, as the crazed lefties focused intently on nationalising our industry, spending hundreds of billions worth of taxpayer's money on vanity projects, and have done not much else apart from playing with their train sets. submitted by Sephronar to MHoCCampaigning [link] [comments]
"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining me here today at Conservative Party Headquarters in London, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you about our plan for the United Kingdom - what we want to fix, what we want to change, and how we want to deliver through the mandate that we hope to gain through our manifesto in this election - 'The Plan for Tomorrow'. We have named our manifesto that because we believe that, despite everything that we have collectively gone through over the last few years, there is still hope - there is still a light on the horizon of our future, and we know that the people of the United Kingdom are desperate to seize that light as opposed to simply snuffing it out with more Solidarity."
"After six months of lacklustre Governance, being led by a dysfunctional minority government who have failed at every basic function of Government, let alone succeeded to take your priorities into account - from failing to turn up to answer Ministers Questions in Parliament, to flushing billions of pounds literally down the toilet with errors in their budget and nationalisation projects which no one asked for - we in the Conservatives understand why you are so frustrated. Solidarity claims that because around 30% of the country say that they intend to vote for them in this election, they believe that that they have the mandate to govern - but, the last time I checked, 30% is not a majority - it means that 70% of the country do not want their extreme policies, do not support their reckless programmes and ridiculous spending. Well in this election, it is time to prove them wrong and show them that the country doesn't endorse their utter failure to govern this country sensible and responsibly over the last twelve months. Britain can do better."
"In our manifesto, we have developed both a bold and radical set of policies which draw directly on inspirations from both 'One Nation Conservatism' and 'Cameronism' government - recognising that we must concentrates our efforts on the need to deliver both a strong economy as well as strong public services and more compassionate social policies. If we deliver on all of these priorities in tandem, we can be assured that Britain will be revitalised with unprecedented growth and prosperity, as well as kickstarting a kinder and more respectful society - where the only limits in life are your talents and your motivation."
"On delivering a strong economy - sadly, our economy is currently in tatters due to the reckless spending programme from the government, and we will rectify that immediately with a 'Grand Repeal Budget' in the first month of our tenure, to reverse the nationalisations, extortionate spending sprees, and vanity projects that have come from the Government. We will repeal the nationalisations, and boost our economy by developing a new Regional Development Fund, and by overhauling our tax system to favour economic growth and business development. We will also deliver a brand new 'British Investment Bank' to unlock the much-needed productivity of our Small and Medium Enterprises, and to focus on local projects which need support."
"Let me be clear, when I talk about a compassionate society, I do not mean that we will be soft on crime - a Conservative Party Government will get tough on the issue of law and order, delivering harsher sentences for serious offenders and reviewing our drug laws. We will also not endorse a 'layabout' attitude and will finally ensure that those who can work do work - no more sitting on welfare allowing the state to deal with all your issues, if you can work you will work. We will do this by completely reforming our society; be that through connecting education to business, or changing our tax laws to favour workers. While we do so, we will make sure that the benefits given to those working are increased - as well as ensure that our precious institutions such as the National Health Service are protected and enhanced, to give the citizens of this country a comfortable lifestyle that they need - such as through free dental care, or reducing NHS waiting lists."
"I am really truly excited by the change that we are proposing in our manifesto, I believe that this could truly be a turning point for our United Kingdom, but I am sincerely apologetic for the pain and turmoil that has been allowed to take place under the current Government - The Labour Party have a lot to answer for, the so-called 'Opposition', who did not oppose a single thing this term and enabled the Government to operate as essentially Rose III. We are fully expecting them to team up after the election, but we have made clear to the Labour Party that we would be open to working with them too, to keep Solidarity away from Downing Street. Failing this, if they choose to once again prop up Solidarity, we will be fighting hard to challenge them both in Opposition - and we will actually oppose the Government, as opposed to appeasing them."
"I believe that the choice at this election has never been clearer - you can either vote for a continuation of the chaos that we have experienced over the last six months, or you can vote for change; you can vote for a better future. If you vote for us in this election, and for our manifesto 'The Plan for Tomorrow', we will not let you down - we will turn this country around, and we will deliver a stronger and more prosperous economy, as well as a kinder more compassionate society with every resident of the United Kingdom at the front and centre of our minds. Ladies and Gentlemen, vote for better - Vote Conservative in this election. Thank you!" The members of the press in the crowd erupted into a chorus of questions, which the Conservative Party Leader answered one by one until they were all speechless - this speech was broadcast to televisions around the country that evening, capturing the imagination of literally millions of swing voters.
2023.04.02 10:06 sparrows_rest After 3 decades, my thoughts on the old question "Best martial art for self defense?".
I've studied and trained martial arts my entire life, competed in many, more than 3 decades grand total. TKD, Muay Thai, boxing, shaui jiao, traditional Japanese jiujitsu, Brazilian jiujitsu, wrestling, and parkour. Several fights pre and post training.
These are just my opinions:
Hands down, the best for self DEFENSE is parkour. The art of movement. Getting from A to B the most efficient way possible regardless of obstacles in between. But the truth is, when most people ask, they don't want to run. They want to know how to win fights.
Street fights can go in crazy unpredictable directions. Knew a kid, at 23, who punched a guy after an argument at a bar over a spilled beer. He KO'd the guy, who fell and hit his head on the curb. Died. Kid did 3 years for involuntary manslaughter. And he got lucky with that sentence.
A lot of it depends on where you are fighting. A fight in high school happens differently than a bar fight which is different from a jumping in the hood.
In real life I often get asked to show people something and I almost never do. There is no one time thing, or even a few time thing, that will aid you in a self-defense/fight scenario. These things need trained into your muscle memory. Movements need to be drilled over and over. They need to be applied in stress tested situations again and again.
The skill gap between untrained and even 6 months of training is huge. I don't recall any video or match of an untrained person beating a trained person.
The style you choose depends on your life style and environment.
High school - Wrestling or judo, but wrestling I think is better. It's easy access, and free. Controlling where the fight takes place is massively important. Takedowns allow you to gentle place someone on the floor, or hit them with the planet and kill them. You have options. Please don't kill them.
If you live in the ghetto, you need to stick and move and consider multiple opponents. Boxing is what I recommend with a footwork heavy style and a solid jab. Against multiple opponents (untrained) you can force them to come at you from one angle (not letting them surround you) and stick and move. Multiple videos of this. If you do it right you can make people trip over each other.
Almost anything else I recommend Brazilian jiujitsu, real catch wrestling, shooto/shoot fighting, or some wrestling. Being able to hold someone down calmly without having to strike them (while still retaining the option), will firmly put the courts/cops/security in your favor. [See Matt Serra vs a drunk in Vegas]. However, if you are in a scenario where there is the possibility of multiple people then grappling is a terrible idea, and I refer to the ghetto section.
Don't fight in bars. Make friends and fuck.
These are my thoughts.
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2023.04.02 09:14 cesly1987 Despair's Peak (complete story chapters 1-4 linked)
The Restless God lies trapped, but not idle in its sealed off realm. It writhes and yearns for the day it may again take pleasure in the pain of mortals. To once again play in the blood and baske in the terror only finite creatures can produce. Many worlds it's fed upon, but never satiated. But the world that fought back against its attacks long ago are the ones it wants all the more. It has become an obsession. So it waits, and it feels, searching for weaknesses between the borders of our world and itself. Hungry and anxious it salivates at the thought of breaching into our world again. It will be its greatest decadence and pleasure, and our darkest days. Despite this, we must pray to Her Divine! We must beg for mercy and the return of Her light.
-Grand Mage Tellomon the IV on the prophecy of the Dark God's return (Second Age)
Pitch blackness. Pure darkness. A thick void of nothing completely swallowing me up, like a fish in the depths of an ocean.
I was crouched low in a ready position, using my right hand to balance by holding onto the wagon's wheel beside me. My legs burned from forcing myself to remain completely still. But pain had become a constant in my life now.
But I was grateful for the adrenaline burst that would always dampen the ever present burden of hunger and fatigue. At least it helped for a little. But the pain found its way back to me faster and faster each time.
It was hot and humid, almost like the swamps of the eastern bog a good 3 weeks journey from here. The cold wind stopped when the darkness befell our remote town. The breeze no longer ran its cold tendrils across the barren streets.
I grabbed the thin string tied around my neck and pulled out a heavy monocle hanging from it. I held the cold metal up to my eye, to look through the green tinted glass.
The magically infused monocle always remained cool to the touch, with a static shock feeling emanating from it.
I held it to my eye to see the world around me clearly, yet tented in bright shades of green. My eyes roamed across the quiet, motionless street.
Debris and bloated corpses littered the street. With no wind and the unnaturally heavy darkness, this somehow had a dampening effect on the stench coming from decaying bodies. They could only be smelled once you were almost on top of one of them or a meter away. But my dead kinsmen helped even in death, making good landmarks to navigate through the darkness.
There were monsters that accompanied the dark fog. Twisted figures that were the void itself. Maybe they were the cruel thoughts of the Restless God made manifest.
Humans long ago, in the First Age had named them rippers. We all hoped they were just a myth, not actual walking nightmares
The rippers swarmed the town in the blinding dark. They seemed to only kill for killing's sake. They never ate the people they killed, almost like it was just for fun instead of survival.
It made sense in some twisted way. The Restless God must have returned to our realm, and brought these hateful things with it.
Prophets had long told of The Restless One's return by it sending nightmares through the veil of reality, to infest in the minds of our leaders. Centuries of slowly chipping away at the barrier separating us, chipping away at our sanity.
The Restless One birthed itself into our reality like an already dead stillborn abomination. Like a newborn giant, deformed with extra limbs and already rotting from death.
But it was alive! As alive as this strange creature could be. Now it was free, and this did not bring the thing elation, just more anger and restlessness.
How do I know all these things? The nightmare visions sent to all mortals across the realm since the Restless One's returned. Actually there were nightmares for most of the town leading up to the event. I guess it was our omens for being so close to the epicenter of its invasion.
One omen would have been terrible enough, but something this perverse stacked on the misfortune.
Dark signs of its arrival showed themselves all over the Kingdom of Maldune. The signs stretched further across to the neighboring kingdoms. The wretched god's birth pains were so terrible, I wager they were felt thousands of leagues away on The Wild Continent.
But the other Kingdoms didn't have the vast magical communication network like us Modunians, so reports of bad omens tampered off dramatically outside of our borders.
The misfortune of my town was like I said, we were the closest to the epicenter of the entities push into our reality, closest to the cradle of the spoiled god.
An entire mountain range protected us from the shock wave of magical energy, but all livestock siezed up and died. All birds fell from out of the air. All rodents died in their holes. And our very young died in their cribs.
It was a terrible event to have the town's children instantly killed, but now I see it as a mercy for the little ones. The innocent children got to go to Our Divine in their sleep peacefully, or at least quickly. They didn't have to die in the suffocating dark, or by the diseased claws of the rippers.
The town's guard fell quickly. A group of 16 men on loan from The Capitol, to keep peace and protect the trade routes. Our peacekeepers were more used to using words to settle disputes among merchants, or occasionally throw a drunk into a cell overnight.
They were ill equipped to handle the inky blackness that engulfed the town, rolling down from the mountain like a fluid landslide. The confusion of the townspeople quickly turned to pandemonium as the screams began.
That's when we realized we were not alone in the dark. Things moved quickly in the blackness. The Rippers began to slaughter everyone in the pitch blackness.
The first few days are a blur to me even now. But that's how I remember the beginning of the horror, the beginning of the end. I remember the dark engulfing the town, the adrenaline of fear. My last sight was of silent death spilling down from the mountains like a boiling pot overflowing with a viscous poison.
When the black fog first swept over me, my first few breaths of the miasma burned my eyes and lungs. The taste of metal on my tongue. The smell of sulfur and something sweet. Something sweet and rancid. Decay and corruption.
But now I had to shake the fog out of my head and return to the terrible present. I had to embrace the hopeless situation without falling to despair.
My magical sight gazing through the monocle finally spotted the rest of my group. Jillsophie, Tagert, and Fellip. Tag and Fel carrying the heavy burlap sacks of animal feed, while Jill led the three of them through the darkness with her own magical monocle.
We spotted each other from across the corpse littered roadway. The General Goods store had caught on fire early in the supernatural invasion. Somehow the strange darkness had put out the fire, snuffing it out like a heavy blanket thrown over a weak flame. That's why we were back, looting the store, trying to keep from starving to death before the rippers could kill us first.
Jill gave me a series of quick hand signals I had recently taught her. They had scavenged three bags of feed. Fil was carrying two big bags and Tagert one of them, but they were heavy and we were all weak. Jill wasn't carrying anything. She was too busy leading the two of them by pulling on the corded string she had tied around both their waists.
Before I waved the three of them to hurry over, I turned to Caville, my partner in crime on this side of the road beside me. He blinked wide eyed in the darkness, one gloved hand twisting the ends of his graying mustache while the other held a death grip on the pommel of his sheathed short sword.
I had to remember I could see him clearly through my monocle, but he only saw and felt the oppressive darkness. He was just waiting for a claw or fang to strike him from the darkness.
Because of this I lightly placed my hand on his shoulder. The light touch didn't stop Caville from almost jumping out of his boots. He quickly calmed when he realized it was me. The old warrior steadied himself once more.
I place my hand on the flat of his chest so he could feel my finger placement through his light shirt. I signed the question to him through a series of light thumps separating the words.
"Another bag. 40 LBS. Can carry?" I finished my signing by holding the hand placement designating a question mark firmly against his chest. I saw his eyes widen and he grimaced in doubt. His old frame shook a little as he prepared his answer.
Of course he answered back that he could carry the load, but I knew the real answer. It's amazing how much we communicate through non-verbal cues, and how much more when we think we are concealed in darkness.
He was barely standing on two feet. Starving and aching. He was pushing his late 50's, and his joints and muscles carried the pain of being a veteran soldier for over 30 years. He would collapse under the weight of his light armor and newly added bag of feed. No way he could keep quiet or climb back up into the attic we were all hiding at.
But Caville's years of being a proud soldier almost assured me that he would take on the task regardless of his disposition. So I signed back to Jil, "Drop 3rd bag. Later."
I lied and informed Caville that I was incorrect in my assessment. There wasn't an extra bag of feed, and we would be returning to the relative safety of the windmill.
Jil quietly led Fil, with Tagert close behind, across the road. Her own magic monocle making it possible to maneuver around the maze of debris and bodies. They all moved slow enough for Jil to communicate with sharp tugs on the string fastened around both of them. Stealth was key.
When I first saw it I didn't know how to react. I knew what the rippers looked like through my monocle, and I knew the placement of all the dead town-folk. But as I watched my three companions snake around the bloated body of Mr. Dredge, the blacksmith, I saw the faintest quiver of motion within the corpse.
Normally, that would mean some sort of vermin or carrion feeder had nestled within the body. But in this nightmare world we lived in, the Rippers killed everything that wasn't already slaughtered when The Restless One re-emerged into our reality, sending out It's shockwave of death.
To my horror I realized something else. Upon closer inspection of Mr.Dredge's body. I noticed it had somehow moved a couple feet to the left since last time I had seen him. I could even see the wet smear marks in the dirt from where it dragged itself over.
My magical monocle could also detect other magic. It wasn't very good at it but still could. My vision was bathed in illuminating green, but magic showed up white.
That's what I saw rising out of Mr.Dredge's body. Four bright spider-like legs protruded out of the back of the corpse, and hooked into the ground, lifting the stiff dead body into the air slowly, quietly.
Jil in the others were completely unaware of the horror looming up behind them. The jaw of Mr. Dredge fell off with a soggy "plop" into the dirt. What looked like a large inverted scorpion's tail writhed out the body's mouth. The scorpion tale hung down around the body's bloated chest. The tail curling up to point a large stinger at the group.
I could see that Jil had heard the "plop" of the jaw falling off the corpse behind her. She raised her eyebrows, sniffed the air, and froze in an alert state, her two companions bumping into her.
I had temporarily frozen too. I had never seen a monster like this before. Its spider legs lifting the body up to let its human feet brush its toes lightly on the ground. The whole body was ridged from rigor mortis. The body's hands curled to its chest, making fists, stiff legs swaying like the awkward pendulum of a clock. Still bodily juices and blood oozed profusely from hismouth and ripped open guts.
A surreal thought came into my mind. Maybe it was my mind trying to make sense out of nonsense. Mr.Dredges stiff body reminding me of toy soldier from my childhood. They were always stiff jointed when brand new, not dead.
I finally snapped out of my daze when glowing white spikey tendrils pushed the body's guts out with another wet impact noise. The many spiked appendages snaked out slowly towards the back of the unaware Tagert.
"Jil!" my voice boomed out, breaking the silence like a cannon burst. Everyone jumped in surprise. "Run! Run!"
With my off hand I quickly dug into my pocket and produced a phlare, the phosphorus filled stick. I quickly pulled the cap off with my teeth, igniting the flame dangerously close to my face. I didn't care, and barely felt the heat.
Holding out the phlare to signal to Jil and the others, producing a blinding light in the dark. But the blackness was unnatural and dampened the burning flame into a muted orange glow. Regardless, the phlare was still bright enough to signal the unsuspecting trio crossing the street.
Through the monocle I saw all three of them lock eyes on the light and begin to hurry towards me. It was against human instinct to run unaware in darkness. This made them not fast enough, because the Dredge-thing shot out a torso tendril to stab Tagert in the upper back.
Tagert let out a cry of pain, but kept coming. The cry of pain causing all three to break out into a full run. The need to live finally overriding the need to see.
I dropped the phlare as Jill led the other two up to me. They almost ran her poor soul over as she braced to stop them. The Dredge monster seemed to be slow. Her Divine was still blessing us!
I grabbed Caville's shoulder and Jil grabbed the tail of my shirt. We all took off together, back to the windmill.
We tried to go as fast as we could the couple blocks back to our hideout, but It was hard going. Caville lagged beside me, with Tag and Fel huffing as they carried the 40 pound feed bags.
I looked back at Dredge to see it had fallen on its stomach and was skittering after us like a centipede. It was considerably faster now!
I lowered the monocle to put both hands on Caville's shoulders and push him in front of me. Even if I pushed him we still wouldn't be fast enough.
My mind raced, like it had so many times since the birth of the Restless One. My mind swirled with anxious thoughts of decisions and counter-decisions. My sleep deprived and starving brain hallucinated the faces of my people alongside the terrible silver teeth of the Rippers lunging towards me out the colorless backdrop.
But like always, I made a desperate choice. "Drop the feed bags! Its gaining on us!
I expected to hear the "Thump! Thump!" Of the bags hitting the dirt, but I got what I least expected instead.
"No Jack! Don't drop the feed! I'll buy you time!" Caville said as he shrugged free of my grasp on his shoulders and started in the opposite direction towards Dredge.
"I'm so t-tired of running away! A-and I miss my daughter and grandkids!" the old warrior declared, his voice cracking at the end of his statement.
He held out an outstretched hand and fingers. When the tips of them made contact with Jil's dirty clothes, he easily side-stepped around Jil and the other two with grace as they hurried past him in the dark. These were skills long honed from blindfold training to heighten a soldier's situational awareness level.
Jil was the only other to see what was happening. She reached out for him as the other two pushed her forward. She stifled a cry and pushed ahead.
I was glad Jil wouldn't see this, but I felt I had to watch. I had to witness his sacrifice in the depths of this hell.
I saw Dredge's corpse crawl its way up to Caville, one of its longer talons hooking into Caville's upper knee. Caville screamed and sliced horizontally instantly. The sword cut through the air harmlessly over the monster.
Caville took this information and countered quickly as more sharp tendrils stabbed into his lower body. He rose the blade high over his head and let out a final death blow, plunging the sword downwards to impale the monster, staking it to the ground.
The monster pulled the old soldier down and tore into him. Caville's screams echoed out as I turned to run. Worse is when his screams finally choked out and fell silent.
The group of us made it un-accosted for the rest of our journey. We hurried in silence just like we were in mourning. We made it to the edge of town where the river and the watermill stood.
We climbed up the stacked boxes on the side of the building to slide open a wooden panel into the attic.
The inside of the attic had the low glow of multiple lanterns and the stuffy smell of multiple unwashed people living in tight quarters together for a long time.
We piled in quickly to close up the entrance behind us. There were 8 of us now. Me, Jil, Fil, Tag, Mama Denise, her two kids, and Harper sleeping in the corner.
All eyes met mine as they counted the three of us. No one had to ask what happened to Caville. They all knew. I think even the kids knew.
By the best we could reckon, it had been a month since death swept over our town. The rippers patrolled the streets and buildings constantly, searching for survivors to kill in the beginning. They also destroyed any cache of food or weapons they came across.
There was a deeper intelligence behind the rippers. They were vicious and animalistic when encountered, but they would carry out complicated tasks relentlessly, like soldiers receiving orders. It had to be the malicious influence of the Restless One speaking to all of them, like they were the claws at the end of his corrupting grasp.
It was Jil that had the idea for the feed bags at the General Store. Yes, they were for cows and horses, but they had been magically enhanced and would give the human body what it needed also.
It would give us enough strength to try and escape this Divine forsaken town, and hopefully leave the darkness to flee to the safety of the Capitol.
I knew the thought of making it all the way to the Capitol was ridiculous. The longer we headed east, the more likely we ran into the army of rippers that left the town at least two days ago.
It had been hundreds of them! Me and Jil were out scouting the General Store for the feed bags we had just now retrieved.
The going was slow, because the enemy was everywhere. But we knew how to maneuver from rooftop to closely packed rooftop. And the grew closer togeher the closer we got to the center of the town.
From where we started, the watermill in the outskirts of town, it seemed like the town was suspiciously empty of the monsters. But we soon realized that was the opposite. We didn't see any Rippers on the outskirts because they were all gathering together in the town square
The bright figures of humanoid shaped demons clustered together in a giant group. The magical vision of the monocle causing them to glow from whatever evil sorcery created them. So many of them huddling together created a glowing sea, flooding the courtyard.
Rippers were rumored to have always existed. Even before The Restless One returned. But they were rare and only inhabited places of great tragedy and a history of dark magic. Now there was an army of them, amassing to March East towards The Capitol.
Some said The Rippers were phantoms created by The Restless One. They were his only way to reach through dimensions and torment the living.
More scholarly Old-timers theorized the Rippers came from the vengeful spirits of the long extinct elves, hunted to extinction by Man a millennium ago.
Ancient texts mention the long extinct Legacy Elves had a bad habit of dabbling in dark magic, causing The Restless One to specifically target them, repeatedly using the elves innate affinity with magic to breach into our reality to cause havoc.
Many believe Man's genocide against the elves was not entirely warranted, it had help seal The Restless One away. But not all elves worshipped the Restless One. Many of them worshiped Her Divine like we humans do. But relations between elves and humans had always been strained, and this was the excuse humans needed to eliminate their rival for dominance over the lands, once and for all.
"Why must we be punished?" I remembered Tehama asking when all this first happened, back whe. She was alive.
"It's not our fault! It's the fault of our long dead ancestors! The kingdom that commited the atrocity doesn't even exist anymore!" Tehama said in a fit of nervous mania.
We had to hush her for getting too loud. But the truth is, we had no answer. There was no clear reason why we were all being subjected to such anguish.
Like I said, Tehama didn't make it anyways. On a supply run she had grabbed a doll from her old home to bring to Mama Denise and her two girls, but had dropped it in the street when Jil spotted a group of Rippers scaling the rooftops a block away.
We all scrambled to hide, hoping the Ripper patrol moved along. But they spotted the dolly laying in the dirt. And some sort of supernatural intelligence recognized this wasn't here on their last patrol. They knew humans were moving around.
The five of the Rippers in the patrol circled the doll, all letting out a high pitched squeals, like an alarm calling to others.
Me and Jil hid in a nasty bale of hay next to a gutted horse laying beside it, hopefully masking our scent. Our terror rose as we watched more and more Rippers coming out of the shadows. They slid down buildings, out of doorways, from under debris, and they all were all screaming, almost deafening to us.
There were three magical monocle's during this time. All of us had one. And we could all see the count of Rippers going into the hundreds!
They would find us! By flooding every corner of the street, they would come across us eventually!
That's when Tehama made her decision. I didn't see exactly where she hid, but she wasn't hiding anymore. She broke cover and ran directly into the streets, into the crowd of monsters. She tossed her monocle behind her towards our direction, maybe for us to recover later.
Of course they glowed brightly through the monocle, but to the naked eye they were an inky black. A black blacker than their surroundings, making it almost impossible to see them.
When the Rippers got close to their chosen victim, they allowed their prey to see their shiny silver teeth.
The sharp protruding teeth stand out bright and glistening, almost like silver, against the backdrop of darkness. as they moved in to kill the hapless human.
This is all Tehama saw as she dropped to his knees and searched blindly for the dropped dolly. She screamed and cried as the teeth sank into her tearing off little bits of her flesh.
The Rippers began to whoop and laugh like hyenas as they snatched piece by peice of her away. From the little I knew, the Rippers didn't need to eat. They just bit her for the joyful cruelness of it.
Blood soaked, mostly skinless hands of poor Tehama found the dolly that had started all of this horror. She hugged it close to her skinless chest and let out a gurgling scream before tipping over, most likely dead from shock.
That very second! That truly horrid moment! I decided I wasn't going to die in this town. I wasn't going to "wait it out" like all the old-timers advised. They are all dead now anyways! They didn't wait it out.
The King's armies hadn't made it in time. No fireballs from battlemages to shatter the darkness, no royal purple knights lead by The Heroic Prince Julian, no salvation from Her Divine!
If we waited we would all die in the dark. No doubt the King was coming with his armies, but how many days, or years will it take to Him to reach our settlement?
No, I would not die here. I had promised myself this years ago! I would survive like I had also promised! I would save Jil the way she saved me!
Then the army of rippers moved out East towards the Capitol. But there were still wicked things left behind to kill us. But this was our best chance!
As I sat in the darkness of the attic my mind was free to visualize in wonderful colorful detail my last memories before the Restless One tainted our town with its sightless void.
I remembered walking through the town, going towards the training academy. I was going to climb the mountain behind it. I was going to climb it again and again until I graduated and became one of the Royal Warden's Squires. The academy started soon and I never made it to the top without resting and without dropping my pack.
This is why I was one of the first to see our oncoming doom. The inky blackness spilled out from around the mountain to flood towards the town.
I knew I had to run and give warning to the town's guard. I wasn't a Warden's Squire yet, but I still had a duty to protect the people.
Tears heated up my cheeks as I sat in the dark, greatfull Jil and the others couldn't see me crying, as I remembered the death that followed.
But one of my last memories gave me the tiniest blink of hope. I remembered the peak of the mountain stabbing through the blackness. The mountain was tall enough to escape the flood of hell filling the valleys and town around it.
There was a ceremonial watchtower at the top of the mountain, filled with supplies. It's where the academy cadets earned their badges and completed their training. The mountain was the last test to becoming a Warden's Squire. A grueling uphill climb with a nickname given to the mountain by past cadets that like to boast over their hard earned accomplishments.
The mountain was affectionately called Mt. Despair, and it would be our salvation.
Part 2 https://www.reddit.com/Ceslystories/comments/11q7xcw/despairs_peak_part_2/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
Part 3: https://www.reddit.com/Ceslystories/comments/11ziluk/despairs_peak_part_3/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
Part 4: https://www.reddit.com/Ceslystories/comments/12916odespairs_peak_4_finale/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
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2023.04.02 09:07 -Bonjour-- Corse, je t'aime
We have been to Corsica several times, and there are several ways to travel to Corsica by ferry: We went to Nice, took the afternoon ferry and were in Bastia in the evening. The next time we took the night ferry from Savona and arrived in Bastia the next morning. And we also went to Livorno once, took the early morning ferry and were in Bastia by noon.
From Bastia, we first headed north on a 110 km coastal road with small villages and breathtaking views. First we came to ERBALUNGA with its massive tower on a rock by the sea has a picturesque location. Then we passed Maccinaggio, Cap Corse, Centuri-Port - a small romantic fishing port and center of lobster fishing - and continued via Pino to Nonza.
In NONZA the houses cluster around a rock that rises 160 m from the sea. We walked up to the Tour Pouline - a fortified tower from the 16th century. From there you can see the black beach, which makes a great contrast to the turquoise sea.
After we had explored the north, we drove from Bastia down the whole east coast - we made a stop at Moriani Plage with a beautiful sandy beach - to Porto Vecchio.
PORTO VECCHIO has a fantastic location and has a lively old town: the Genoese fortress from 1539 is situated on a hill. Porto Vecchio is the third largest city of Corsica, besides the flourishing tourism there is still the traditional salt mining and other trades especially in the suburbs. The malaria mosquitoes were wiped out in the 1950s, so that even in this area could be built without further ado. The old town consists of only four longitudinal and ten transverse streets, it is closed to traffic in the summer. At the Place de la République people like to drink their Pastis or Kir in the evening. In the old town there are many restaurants in various price ranges and boutiques partly with typical products of the country.
Many people come to Porto Vecchio for its beautiful beaches. BENEDUTTU PLAGE - a long fine sandy beach with a view of Punta di Chiappa and also of Porto Vecchio. A part of PLAGE CALA ROSSA is occupied by a luxury hotel, therefore the fine beach is accessible only from the western side. PALOMBAGGIA PLAGE with white sand and turquoise calm water - one of the most beautiful beaches of Corsica - is surrounded by red rocks. At ST. GUILIA PLAGE some hotels are settled in the meantime. Thus, the once paradisiacal bay has now become more of a commercial place. But the beach is still wonderfully bright and the water crystal clear. RODINARA PLAGE - a dreamlike round bay - one of the most beautiful of Corsica. Once only a dirt road led to the lagoon. Since a real road was built, this bay is very busy in the season.
From Porto Vecchio we made a tour to COL DE BAVELLA (1218 m high) - an impressive landscape. There are good hiking trails, e.g. to the Cumpudella (Trou de la Bombe), a huge hole in the rock face, where you are rewarded with an incredible view after a scramble. In season, of course, it is very busy there, and the "real" hikers come as early as possible in the morning.
Near the small village of L'Ospedale is the drinking water reservoir BARRAGE DE L'OSPEDALE. From there you can hike up to the 70 m high waterfall Piscia di Gallo - but it is more worthwhile in spring, when there is still enough water.
From Porto Vecchio we went on to BONIVACIO, one of the great attractions in Corsica - despite the many visitors. The upper town, where we stayed, is built on a 60 m high chalk rock plateau and still has a historical structure. We could see all the way to Sardinia from our hotel - it was beautiful weather.
The harbor is at the end of the long, narrow inlet. From there it is best to make a tour on foot. From the fortress walls you have a fantastic view of the city, the coast and the sea and all the way to Sardinia. On the harbor promenade there is a sea aquarium in a natural grotto. The shore road leads to the fishing port and the ferry port,
The upper town is reached through the 16th century Porte de Gênes. From the Jardin des Vestiges one has the most beautiful view over the harbor. It is hard to walk from the lower town to the upper town, because it is quite steep and with many stairs.
The journey continued to the extreme southwest, the land of blood vengeance - still until 1840. SARTÈNE - the "most Corsican of all Corsican towns" - is an interesting old town, which is virtually stuck on a rock. Almost no ray of sunlight reaches the winding narrow streets, and the narrow multi-story houses sometimes have window holes like sinister defense towers. The center of the old town is the Place de la Libération with some restaurants where you can sit outside and enjoy your drink.
From Sartène we drove to PROPRIANO. This place was discovered late by the tourists, there is a nice promenade between the marina and the pier, where it is lively especially in the evening. Propriano is located on the Gulf of Valinco, here the rivers Taravo, Baracci and Rizzanese flow. Right next to the lighthouse is the beautiful beach Plage du Lido.
On a scenic coastal road you drive from Propriano to PUNTO DE CAMPOMARO. Here is still an unspoiled stretch of coast with calm turquoise water and bizarre granite rocks. Above the small village of Campomoro you can see a 16th century watchtower.
AJACCIO is the administrative center and capital of Corse du Sud. The city with its southern flair has a beautiful old town with the citadel and many restaurants and stores. Ajaccio is probably best known as the birthplace of Napoléon, whose statue can be seen at Place Maréchal Foch. In the evening it becomes lively in the alleys of the Genoese old town with many bars and restaurants.
Unfortunately, the citadel can only be visited as part of an organized guided tour. Worth seeing is the church "Notre-Dame-de-la-Miséricorde" with a large dome, where Napoleon I was baptized. There is of course also a Casa Bonaparte. In the new town, you can still find some magnificent houses on the Avenue de Paris or the Cours Grandval, where there are often stores and boutiques.
Northwest of Ajaccio one comes to the POINTE DE LA PATARA. You can easily walk to the Genoese tower from 1608 from the parking lot. From there you have a beautiful view of the Iles Sanguinaires with the lighthouse. From the parking lot you can also make a coastal hike to the north. There are beautiful views of the sea everywhere and you can walk down to the beach at Capo de la Fena to cool off. However, the surf is quite strong.
The view was magnificent on the CHEMIN DES CRÈTES, but it was also very difficult to even find an "entry" to this trail. And besides, the Macchi was partly so dense that you had to be careful not to hurt yourself on the thorny bushes.
Especially in the south of Ajaccio there are beautiful beaches. First of all there is PORTICCIO with its long wide beach. Porticcio is now a large seaside resort with good infrastructure.
Then comes the bay with the long PLAGE D'AGOSTA with a view of the Isolella peninsula. In the next bay there is the fine sandy Plage de Ruppione between rocks with quite high waves.
And then comes my absolute favorite beach with fine light sand and crystal clear water - SOLE E MARE, and I hope that there will not also be larger hotel and apartment buildings there.
A beautiful small lonely sandy bay with calm water can be found at PLAGE DE PORTIGLIOLO. North of Ajaccio are the beaches PlLAGE SCUDO and PLAGE MARINELLO, very popular with the locals because they are not too far from the city.
From Ajaccio you can make an excursion to PORTO POLLO. On the way we went through the mountains, where we "got lost" a few times, because there were no signs, and we could only drive by "feeling". Porto Pollo is located on the Gulf of Valinco and has a fine sandy beach with many picturesque round rocks. In summer, a lot of people come here. At the end of September however many things are already closed or will be closed.
A recommendable tour south of Ajaccio is the ROUTE DES COLS. Over various passes and through the largest eucalyptus forest on the island, you come to the small village of Coti Chiavari, 486 m high, with a pretty little church. From there you also have beautiful views of the mountains to the sea.
On a hiking tour, we headed towards Corte and then to the small village of Cuttoli-Corticchiato, continuing to the idyllically situated hamlet of San Petru at 888 m above sea level. From there we went to the MONTE ARAGNASCU, a somewhat arduous tour in the blazing sun. But we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Ajaccio, the Gulf and the Gravonatal.
In the GRAVONA VALLEY is the village of Bocognano, from where you can also hike well. We came on the poorly signposted "Chemin", whereby we were also surprised by rain.
Interesting was that we were accompanied all the way first by several dogs, then later one remained. When we eventually had enough of the rain and the bad path and walked back, we encountered some wild boars which did not look very "friendly". The dog started barking at them. And indeed, they sought the distance. It looked like the dog was trying to protect us somehow. Down in the village we met the owner of the dog - the older man invited us spontaneously for coffee - and he told us that his dog was often on the way as a "companion" for hikers.
Another hiking tour led us first to the GORGES DE PRUNELLI and to the reservoir Lac de Tolla, which supplies Ajaccio with water. From there we went to the large farming village of Bastelica, the gateway to the high mountains. From here, many hiking trails lead into the mountains and to some waterfalls.
Another excursion we made towards the north over the Col de San Bastiano to the Golf de la Liscia to CARGÈSE. This place with a small harbor is located on the southern slope of a headland. Worth seeing is the Greek church "Eglise greque" from the 19th century with old icons. North of Cargèse are of course again beautiful sandy beaches.
From Ajaccio in the direction of Corte we looked at the CASCADE DU VOILE DE LA MARIÉe, where the water normally plunges 150 m into the depth. It was quite a climb and then, unfortunately, the waterfall didn't even have too much water at the end of September.
Through beautiful pine forests we came towards Corte past the famous PONT DU VECCHIU, built in 1927 by Gustave Eiffel. Until 1999 this was the only connection across the gorge, but now there is a modern bridge.
CORTE has the only university in Corsica with about 4000 students. The old town, rich in tradition, is situated below a rock with an old fortress built in the 11th century. In 1962-83 this fortress was used by the Foreign Legion. From the Belvedère viewpoint near the citadel, there is a beautiful view of the mountains and the surroundings of Corte.
Also worth seeing is Fontaine des Quatre-Canons, a colossal fountain that served as a water supply for the upper town in times of siege. On Cours Paoli you can find restaurants, bakeries and many other stores. On the Cours Patrimonial, there are some arts and crafts stores. The 17th century church Eglise de l'Annonciation is one of the oldest buildings in Corte.
From Corte we drove along a narrow road through a beautiful mountain landscape to the RESTONICA VALLEY, a nature reserve with many Corte pine trees. By car, you can drive to the parking lot at the Bergerie de Grotelle. The ascent to Lake Melo was quite difficult, you had to climb over many large stones, sometimes you didn't know at all how to continue and had to climb back, and so on. After about 2 hours we had made it and were at the Melo mountain lake. After a 30-minute rest in the sun, we then needed for the descent again 2 hours. Because with one of my trekking shoes the sole loosened, and I had to hold them together in a makeshift way with the shoelace...
From Corte we went first through the NIOLA VALLEY with numerous hiking trails. For a long time this area was only accessible by mule trails. Here wild boars ran across our path. You can see them especially in autumn when the chestnuts fall from the trees.
The large village of EVISA is located in the middle of chestnut forests and is a popular destination. Here begins (or ends) the hiking trail through the wild gorge of Spelunca. Through a beautiful mountain landscape and a 14 km long granite gorge we came to the GORGE DE SPELUNCA, an impressive gorge where you can hike very well - either from Evisa or from Ota.
In the small very popular town of PORTO at the mouth of the Porto River, we had a beautiful view of the Genoese Tower, the Gulf and the mountains from our hotel. The angular Genoese Tower on a headland is the landmark of Porto.
From Porto we drove to the CALANCHES DE PIANA, which start 8 km behind Porto. The granite rocks here are eroded by wind and water into the most bizarre shapes. The colors vary depending on the time of day, in the evening for example bright red. From the old mule trail - Sentier Muletier - you have great views of the rock world. There are also other trails - e.g. La Corniche.
Then we drove to PIANA, perched on a 434 m cliff, which can call itself "un des plus beaux villages de France". The only sandy beach in the area is the Plage d'Arone in a beautiful crescent shaped bay with only a few people.
From Porto, the best way to get to CALVI is to take the coastal road, which is very winding but takes you through some beautiful scenery on the Gulf of Porto. From our accommodation in Calvi we had a great view of the fortress and the Gulf of Calvi.
Calvi, the pearl of the north, is a well known and popular vacation center. Very nice are the lively alleys in the lower town and the harbor quays. In the alleys of the lower town and the harbor quay you can stroll nicely and also find restaurants and stores. The church "Sainte Marie Majeure" with a polygonal ground plan is striking. The first Christian chapel on this place was built already in the 4th century, subsequent churches were destroyed several times. The present church was built in 1774. Outside the town on the Gulf of Calvi there is a long narrow sandy beach, the water here gets deeper only slowly - ideal for small children.
The citadel "Bastion Spinchone" is the landmark of the city, you can walk around it on a ring of walls and have beautiful views of the city and the sea. The citadel was built on Roman foundations and is the oldest fortified building in Calvi.
Worth seeing is the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in the center of the citadel. Originally built in the 13th century, the church was largely destroyed by the explosion of a powder tower in 1567 and subsequently rebuilt in the Baroque style.
A beautiful beach near Calvi is the Plage d'Argentella, about 1 km long, in the bay of Crovani. You can get to the peninsula on a dirt road. You can make a nice but strenuous hike there. From a parking bay you have a beautiful view of the peninsula.
A nicely situated and rather quiet place is l'ILE-ROUSSEL with a small harbor and the Genoese tower and lighthouse on the peninsula "La Pietra". The village owes its name to this offshore island, which has now been turned into a peninsula by a dam and turns red at sunset.
L'Ile Rousse was laid out in 1765 in a rectangular street pattern around the harbor and is said to have the mildest winter climate in Corsica. In the alleys of the old town of L'Ile-Rousse there are several small shops selling souvenirs, jewelry, clothing, wine, etc. In the Marché Couvert there is a market in the morning. In the surroundings of Ile-Rousse there are many light sandy beaches.
Between Calvi and L'Ile-Rousse in the small village of Algajola there is a very beautiful wide and 1.5 km long beach - PLAGE D'AREGNO. In high summer, the beach is apparently very crowded. When we were there in mid-September, we had the beach to ourselves.
SAINT FLORENT is located in the north of Corsica on the wide bay of the same name - in winter an idyllic fishing village. Since the place is very popular, the population increases tenfold in the summer. A point of attraction for tourists is the large marina. In the center you can find bars, restaurants and many souvenir stores. St. Florent is also called "St. Tropez of the island" because of its special flair. On a panoramic road above Saint Florent one has again and again beautiful views of mountains and sea.
On the way to Bastia you can make a detour to the local mountain of Bastia - the 960 m high SERRA DI PIGNO. On a clear day you have a good panoramic view over both sides of Cap Corse .
BASTIA is the most important port for ferries from the French and Italian mainland and also for freight traffic. Bastia is the biggest commercial and economic center of Corsica with an industrial zone. But Bastia is also a busy center of Corsican everyday life. The Place Saint Nicolas with plane trees and palm trees is 300 meters long and 90 meters wide, making it one of the largest squares in France. The beach Plage Arinella, located south of the city, is very wide and long, but unfortunately not very attractive.
The heart of Bastia's Terra Vecchia district is the horseshoe-shaped Vieux Port with the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in the background. Walking north through the narrow streets, you come to the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, where a market is held on weekends.
Around the dock there are many restaurants in all price ranges. When we are in Bastia, we always have our aperitif at a bistro where we have a nice view of the small harbor and the church.
The citadel was built by Genoese in 1380. There are the magnificently renovated Governor's Palace, the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-de l'Assomption - a Genoese Baroque building erected in 1604-1619 - and the small chapel Oratoire de la ConfrIère de la Sainte-Croix, where you can see a cross made of black ebony in a side chapel.
The palace was the seat of the Genoese governors between the 15th and 18th centuries, today it houses the Ethnographic Museum.
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2023.04.02 09:03 Righteous_Fury224 Sympathy for a Succubus - Meridiana’s Story. Part 6
Ahh, dear reader, hello there! So lovely to see you once more... well figuratively speaking that is… or is it?
After all, I am exceedingly well versed in The Arts. Maybe I am watching you at this very moment, with Clairvoyance
or perhaps a Scrying Spell or maybe an enchanted object like the good old fashioned Crystal Ball
? The Magus has one you know…
Just teasing… or am I? …teeheehee…
Anyway, this latest instalment comes to you courtesy via a Voice to Text application my Magus recently acquired for me, as he said listening to me speak aloud while typing is too distracting for him. I find that interesting considering his immense mental discipline yet understandable at the same time. After all, extoling ones inner monolog to an uncaring audience would be tedious to experience. Hmm… I’ve just thought of a new torture for the souls of the dammed, specifically for writers who think they are better than everyone around them. How ingenious of me!
In any case, I would prefer to distract him in other ways, mark you.
I also must say what wonderfully inventive creatures you humans are! An application of mathematical code, the base language of reality. It is very much like a spell in its function and nature I would say, that it allows my phone, yes the Magus got me one, to record all I say and transcribes it into neatly typed words on its electronic pages. It’s like having a monk-scribe in your pocket! Unquestionably wonderful!
So as I relax in my fabulously hot, luxurious scented, oiled bubble bath, I can easily regale you with further tales of the adventures I have had thus far on this wonderous blue and brown spherical rock that is third in line from our star. And I do not have to type with two fingers either, which is a massive bonus let me tell you!
If memory serves… ahh yes, we had just returned to the car where I saw a sign of my Magus’s humour on display in the form of his licence plate.
I do have to admit dear reader, I was indeed highly amused. He knows he’s going to hell, he just insists that it be on his terms! I love it! Such confidence, such audacious willpower.
That is exceedingly… stimulating for Succubi.
Ok dammit, it makes me tremendously horny, and I’m not talking about the ones on my head either you know! We are incredibly lusty beings, us Succubi, after all.
I was already in a highly ‘excited’ state when we got to the car, so much so that I had to use my Cell Adjustment
Psionic discipline to tremendously dull down my inflamed senses as I did not wish to leave the tell-tale mark of my inflamed passion on the lower back portion of my new dress and also not on the car-seat when I sat back down in the vehicle.
After a few moments, which caused the Magus to glance up at me with a slightly puzzled expression, of standing outside the car (he had no idea nor cared… hmmph!) I opened the door and folded myself back inside the vehicle and resumed my seat. I later learned that I could have mostly avoided this… embarrassment… by actually wearing what you call absorbent lined underwear! I wasn’t wearing panties at the time as I was totally unaware of their existence. I do so now as its much more comfortable in lots of ways and in addition, stops the shiver when an errant chill wind blows unexpectedly up your gusset!
Getting into the car, the Magus paused until I had done up my seatbelt before starting the engine, waiting for another car to pass us by before safely pulling out and sedately driving off. I later learned that we could have gone screaming down the road in a cloud of burning rubber if the Magus was of a mind to. I would have if given the opportunity! Something to look forward to dear reader.
Instead, we drifted slowly through the placidly moving traffic as I watched the sun descend below the horizon of the ocean. I had only been back here on Earth for a few hours but every second was total bliss. I do not think that most of you humans realize how good you have it here. Even those who do not reside in the more developed and advanced nations, being on Earth is special.
There are infinity more worse places you can be, let me assure you of that.
We drove back mostly the way we had travelled to this particular beach. This time though it was much later in the day, heading in the opposite direction, I became aware of many more things that had escaped my attention earlier on.
We passed by denser zones and clusters of buildings where I could see various shops, food outlets, restaurants and varying vendors, all brightly lit up now as the daylight was fading. I saw incredibly tall metal poles with blazing, glowing lights illuminating the surrounds with a warm yellowy orange glow making it still easy to see. Electric lighting will never cease to amaze me. Yes dear reader, I can experience a sense of wonder and joy at simple things, even beyond the act of slaughter and soul draining. Would it astonish you that I like flowers? Such strange lifeforms that had developed aromas they use as a method of propagation. Delightful.
Anyway… we shortly crested the hill that we had previous ascended westwards earlier on the way to the beach and then I saw it!
I was awestruck once again.
Towering edifices, glittering, shining buildings monstrously higher than Hagia Sophia was, the most immense human made structure in the world when I was last in it. These glistening towers of glass, metal and stone made that church look like a feeble children’s toy. I could see over a dozen of these buildings of varying size, clustered together in less than a square mile.
The Magus glanced to his left and saw me gaping at them.
“They’re called Sky Scrapers Meridiana. They’re generally office buildings, places of business where people daily work in their wage-slave jobs then go home at night. The buildings are left vacant but light up at night as you can clearly see.”
I turned and gawped at him.
“They’re empty at night?”
I could not comprehend why such space, that had amazing views, would be left empty of an evening?
“Yep. Well most of them are. There will be some that still have people in them, conducting various types of business overnight because its what they do for a living.”
“What do they do?” I asked in a murmur as I turned back to see the vista be obscured by a large set of commercial and residential buildings that we were currently passing.
The Magus shrugged.
“They’ll be doing all sorts of things, financial trading, working back late to do their jobs… various affairs of commerce and such. It’s not that important really Meridiana. I’ll take you into the city another day when we have time for you to be a tourist. Now, if I may, I want to know more about your Telekinesis. I got an idea of how much you can lift, probably over 1400 kilograms at least if my guess as to how much a warhorse in armour with a rider would weigh… maybe more? Probably more but we’ll test that later. Anyway, it’s your fine control skills I’m interested in.”
I turned back to the Magus who was looking ahead, driving us through the busy traffic that had become a factor. I later learned that it was a time of day called ‘rush hour’.
“I am capable of very delicate manipulation with my Telekinesis, especially in regards to the erotic arts,” I said to him with a husky, low, salacious purr.
“That’s cute but I really want to know if you could snatch out of the air and control a very small, fast moving bouncing ball, say the size of your thumbnail?” he asked in an offhand manner as he slowed down due to the traffic which was banking up in front of us.
I inwardly sighed once more. Such a challenge he was!
“Yes I can but why?”
He briefly turned to me and broadly grinned before returning his attention to driving.
“There’s a game that we will ‘play’ after dinner. It is called Roulette. The game features a spinning wheel with thirty seven little slots. Into the spinning wheel a little white ball is spun in and circles around, eventually slowing and bouncing into once of the numbered slots. The slots are alternately coloured red or black and all are numbered from 00 to 36. You can bet where the ball will land, either in red or black and specifically in a numbered slot. If the ball lands in a slot you bet on, you get a payout of thirty seven to one. Ever dollar you bet wins you 37 back. You can also just bet on which colour the ball will land in giving you your money back plus it’s value as a reward. Bet $100, you get your $100 back plus another $100.”
“Dollar... that’s money right?” I said as the implications slowly dawned on me. You could make a fortune from this!
“Yes Meridiana. Dollars are what we use as currency these days. Gold is still used but not in the way you were used to. It’s still valuable as are other precious metals but that’s going to take a long explanation which is a distraction for now. So, do you think you could perhaps catch the bouncing ball with your power, directing it into the number we bet on?”
I thought about it for a few moments.
“I will have to see how the ball moves but I think I could, yes.”
“Excellent. You stand to make us a lot of money tonight. There are other games like card games, slot machines which I’m uncertain that your powers would be able to mess with. Roulette is our hunting ground. We must be careful though.”
I was surprised by his tone of caution. We were power incarnate! What could possibly touch us?
“Casinos hate losing money. Roulette is going to be the hardest one they can prove that we’re cheating on if you use your Telekinesis. We will be closely watched the entire time we are in the casino. There are devices called cameras, similar to Crystal Balls, that observe everything they see, relaying the images back to people in other rooms whose task it is to spot potential cheaters in the casino. They also have people walking the floor, disguised as ordinary folk, always watching everyone else. And I want to avoid the eyes of any infernal beings who may be in the casino.”
“Ahh… I see… a healthy paranoia then, for them and us hmm?”
He nodded once, emphatically.
If you have a fortune, you need to protect it, especially from people like me. His caution in regards to our identity was also most prudent and he was correct that there was a possibility that there may be others of my ilk lurking in the shadows, walking in human form as we often do.
I have to confess dear reader, that I am a master thief as well as an expert assassin, in addition to being an accomplished warrior although I rarely fight in hand to hand combat, preferring seduction, subterfuge and skulduggery as my main methods of killing. Yet still, I can fight and kill extremely proficiently with many weapons, being skilled at one of the highest levels of melee combat, the use of weapons and ways of fighting with them. I’ve been around a while you know? You pick up on things like that if you wish to live as long as I have.
Besides… stabby, stabby, stabby, bash, slash and smite can be loads of fun when you’re doing the stabbing and bashing with a well-balanced blade or mace in your hands. But I digress…
“You have it Meridiana. Yes the casinos’ management are extremely paranoid. We will have to alter our appearance as well before we enter the casino. I shall use a minor low level spell while you can take a new face. We will do so after dinner.”
I nodded then a thought came to me. I asked,
“You said we were going to something called a buffet? I know what the word means as my abilities allow me to understand any spoken language, much like the enchantment known as Tongues
. Yet I’m finding it hard to match the word with the concept.”
The Magus raised an eyebrow in interest at this revelation.
“Oh right. Just because you know a word doesn’t mean you automatically understanding it conceptually and in context either. Good to know. Well, a buffet is an enormous array of various foods, hot and cold, sweet to savoury, where you merely help yourself and consume as much as you wish. You pay for the privilege of course.”
“Truly? How much will this cost you?” I inquired wide eyed.
I noticed that we had moved through the traffic and had turned down a descending road and were now going into a massive concrete tunnel along with hundreds of other cars, all slowly moving in the same direction. It was quite honestly astounding that everyone was not smashing into one another. All the drivers were…well mostly were, attentive to their immediate surrounds and situation as we gradually merged our car into the main lane of traffic which was making its way under the earth via the huge yawning tunnel ahead.
Such staggering feats of engineering and construction which would have made the Emperor Justinian weep copious, bitter tears of pure envy. Oh how I wished I could make him see this and realise his idiotic boast was pointless when he finished Hagia Sophia. He bragged that he had surpassed Solomon himself with his church. He had but it wasn’t worth it. Justinian nearly bankrupted the Eastern Roman Empire, all for a useless church and his own vanity.
Still, I shouldn’t care, his hubris ended up sending him to hell anyway so... yay! His actions also exacerbated the effects of the famine and plague that swept the through the empire and western Europe in the year 535 with his stupid desire to re-unify the Roman empire under his rule. You will be pleased to know dear reader, that he is burning in eternal torment for his multitude of sins so it is all good. My thoughts of deceased, vainglorious emperors and their fate were interrupted as the Magus spoke again,
“Hmm? … it should set us back about $80 each I’d should say? A small price to pay in all honesty when you see what is on offer. Drinks will be on top of that price, unless you just have plain water but tonight Meridiana, I shall introduce you to Champagne, one of humanities greatest achievements.”
This was enticing to hear!
“If you say so Magus. I completely believe you as you will not be lying to me,” I said, nodding and trying to think about Champagne.
So many new concepts were entering my mind, it was hard to keep my mind and thoughts in order. I understood that Champagne was a special type of wine, one which had a fizz embodied within it, making it highly regarded but that’s all I could deduce for now.
Also… I had a thought: the Magus could and would never lie to me. The feeling I had earlier, in being able to trust everything he said to me because of the oath he gave to me, was an unfettering sensation.
All my existence I have dealt with bare faced lairs, deceivers, misshapers of the truth who twisted words to suit their own selfish ends. With the Magus, all I had to be concerned with was his agenda, which actually had my interests aligned with his own. Truly remarkable.
I needed that champagne now!
We emerged from the tunnel, traveling with the traffic over wide dark river, again on another immense concrete bridge this time. There was a gigantic colosseum off to our right, all lit up with multiple coloured lights that ran around the circumference of the structure. It was like as though it was enveloped in a rainbow. Frankly, it was amazing to behold.
Beyond that, I could see many more large towers and structures, lining the sides of the vast road we were hurtling along now. The Magus had increased our speed as traffic had thinned out. Never in my life had I moved so fast, well unless I was using a Haste
spell to briefly increase my physical speed, which I use in combat if necessary.
I barely had the sense we were travelling in the car at roughly 80kph. Such an odd experience to have for the first time. There was no rushing of wind, no press of air on my face, just comfort and air-conditioning. Marvellous!
After a few minutes later I saw our destination.
Again I was nearly stupefied by the gigantic structure. Multiple massive buildings, all surrounded by lush green, well-manicured and maintained gardens made my jaw go slack with disbelief.
“That’s Crown Casino, Towers and hotel Meridiana. I can see you are impressed. Let me just say that if you think this is amazing, wait until we go to Las Vegas…” he said as he turned the car into the driveway of the complex.
“There’s even more impressive structures than this?”
My mind boggled dear reader. It was almost too much to take in.
“Yep. My city is a small one compared to others around the globe. We will travel to them, in due course. I know you can use your powers of Dimensional Walking, moving through other planes of reality and appearing on a different part of the planet. However, there will be times when we will need to travel together conventionally. Perhaps one day, if I learn the right spells, we will be able to avoid having to fly in an aeroplane and by-pass the utter tediousness of baggage check-ins, airport security and so on…” he muttered darkly.
“HUMANS CAN FLY!?!” I said in a loud strangled astonished voice.
The Magus chuckled with genuine amusement.
“Think back Meridiana. I said humanity has been to the moon and back. I said we can travel safely and comfortably in a machine, called an aircraft, across the planet. Some ‘planes are huge while others are not much bigger than the car. Oh, that reminds me, we will have to construct an identity for you. We will begin that process tomorrow. You are going to need a passport soon enough,” he said as he found a relatively unoccupied parking area west of the massive structures.
He saw my puzzled expression and mistook it for wondering why we had parked here.
“It’s free to park here and there are hardly any security cameras in the vicinity.”
I nodded dumbly.
“But of course Magus…”
He saw my expression as he switched off the engine. A tiny look of… sympathy appeared on his face. He spoke to me in a soft, calm, soothing tone,
“Take a breath Meridiana. Close your eyes and focus upon the stillness within the vehicle. You are safe here with me. Nothing will harm us. Just breathe and relax, let each breath calm you. With every breath you are at peace within yourself and the world around you.”
I did as he said and instantly sensed my whirling mind begin to centre itself, become still.
I may be an ancient and powerful demon dear reader, however I have been imprisoned for nigh on a thousand years and now have been released into a world that I was unable to recognise at all.
The Magus later told me I was suffering from a psychological malady called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes dear reader, even us demons can get mentally fucked up. I mean, compared to the average human, we’re all demented, tormented psychopaths which explains a lot about ourselves but still… even a psychopath can suffer from mental trauma. Demons can go insane.
I breathed rhythmically, each exhaling breath calming me. With one final exhalation, I opened my eyes, turned to my Magus and softly smiled at him.
“Thank you,” was all I said. I meant it.
He nodded briefly, his intensely burning eyes boring into mine, deeply searching, looking for signs of any madness that may still be lingering within. Well, there’s always the hunger for sex and mayhem, but that’s natural for me.
“Come on, you look fine now, let’s go,” he said as he got out of the car.
I followed his example, releasing my seat belt and stepping out of the car. Closing the car door behind me, walked over to the Magus then I threaded my right arm around his left as we walked off like a normal couple, casually strolling through the car park towards the casino and hotel.
I could hear the noise of all the adjacent traffic all still travelling busily along the massive road that went past the enormous complex. There was the calls of various birds I’d never heard before, the waft of scented flowering plants and the heavy aroma of moisture in the air from the nearby river. I closed my eyes for a second just to let it all wash over me as I sedately walked along with my Magus.
Soon we came to the entrance. Huge dark glass doors magically opened for us upon our arrival. To my right I could see various coloured signage, advertising the types of ‘fast food’ eateries that people could choose to dine at. They were all brightly lit and mostly clean.
It was at that moment I saw my first wretch.
A dishevelled, unkempt, shabby man sat listless outside the fast food eateries upon the low stone wall that contained a small, well-kept garden. He looked up at us as we approached, his eyes full of misery and despair.
“Got any spare change?”
“Sorry mate, no one carries cash anymore,” lied my Magus to him with a conciliatory voice, a sad but brief compassionate smile appeared briefly on his face.
The wretched man’s face became even more resigned. He nodded back in understanding, returning his fallen face back to morosely contemplating the ground at his feet.
We kept walking, leaving the broken man behind us.
I was about to congratulate the Magus in his treatment of the beggar when I had to stop as I was confronted by an incredible sight.
Before us, in the huge well-lit lobby of the building, was a huge pair of MOVING METAL STAIRCASES!
One staircase ascended while another came down from the landing some 50 feet above us. On either side were normal, marble clad stairs that some people were using. Yet many other people were on the moving metal stairs, all just taking the experience of being raised or lowered completely for granted.
“It’s just an escalator Meridiana. A simple machine that makes life a little more comfortable. Take it, go for a ride. I’m taking the stairs as I need the incidental exercise,” he said to me as he pried my clutching hands from his arm. I had been unconsciously gripping him tightly in my amazement at seeing such a machine.
The Magus walked off to the left, climbing the steps briskly while I gingerly walked forwards, watching the metal stairs endless appear and ascend upwards. The hand rail also moved in synchronicity with the metal stairs. I observed as a pair of young women, chatting intently to each other, walked past me and up to stand upon a metal stair which was part of dozens of metal stairs it seemed. I saw them be lifted by the moving stairs, rising above and away from me.
Summoning my courage, I stepped forwards onto a moving stair, wobbled slightly as I was not used to the speed which it moved, making me grab the moving banister tightly to steady myself as I rode my way upwards. I let out a small laugh as it was such a novel experience. The young women in front of me turned around at my laugh, raising their eyebrows at me as well as actually truly seeing me for the first time. Their smiles faded as I grinned back at them.
The young women could see my infinitely superior beauty on full display. They looked hesitant, now uncertain of themselves as they mistakenly believed themselves to be beautiful. They were, passible, not ugly but not worthy of a harem to be perfectly honest. I later learned dear reader that many foolish young women, especially in what you call the western world, regard themselves as queens, rating themselves ten out of ten on a scale of dazzling good looks. These sad women are delusional. I mean, if they were that beautiful, why weren’t their faces on the covers of the glossy magazines I see in various ‘supermarket’ check outs? No matter, vanity and hubris are all ways to damnation and misery. So many people sending themselves to eternal torment simply because they were raised by idiotic parents who never properly taught their children the need for humility. It’s all win-win for the pits you know…
My Magus met me at the top of the stairs, holding out his hand to me and then leading me through the vast interior of the complex.
“That’s the casino,” he indicated to our right.
Looking, I could see dozens of people making their way inside into the brightly lit and noisy interior of the casino. I caught the whiff of desperation, despair, avarice, lust, elation and a strong aroma of human urine. I wrinkled my nose in disgust. Yes, even I have some standards dear reader.
“Magus, why does it reek of piss?” I asked as we strolled by and proceeded into the most immense, glass covered atrium I have ever seen.
“Oh, you can smell that?” He looked intrigued.
I nodded with a mild look of disgust.
“Hah… interesting. Well… some gamblers get stuck on a poker machine. They sit there for hours, desperately hoping that the machine they are playing on will pay out. The poor fools stupidly believe that if they play at the machine long enough, they’ll win big. So they stay seated, ignoring the need to relieve their bodily urges, to the extent that they prefer to piss themselves rather than abandon the machine that is draining away their money. The poor fools are incapable of understanding that the machine is designed to rarely pay out. Every time they play, it has a simple algorithm that calculates the chance of a payout. Most machines will payout a small amount of money occasionally, thus keeping the gambler hooked in the mistaken belief that the big one is just around the corner. It rarely, if ever, is.”
I stopped, stunned at what I just heard. The Magus stopped and looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
“That’s… diabolically genius!” I stuttered as I considered the fiendish brilliance of the whole concept.
Someone had made hell on earth not only possible but also could make a fortune from it as well as breaking people’s souls and spirits in the process! The concept of dangling hope in front of a damned soul, then snatching it away was one of the oldest known tortures of hell. This was a magnificent, a culmination of the perfection of thousands upon thousands of years of the torture, all neatly packaged in a fairly simple machine designed to beggar it’s user and turn them into slaves to it. Gobsmacking was the only word I could think off that fully encapsulated the way I felt at that moment.
“Yes it is, isn’t it? I have always suspected that those machines were most likely invented by a demon. It makes perfect sense,” he said as he shrugged, then tilted his head, indicating we should proceed onwards.
I noddled dumbly as again, I had been totally overwhelmed by the latest piece of information the Magus informed of. I barely registered the hundreds of people all wandering around the massive lobby of the hotel atrium. Many were dressed finely while others, mostly men, were dressed casually. My Magus was one of them, still wearing his novelty T-shirt and hemp pants. They were clean though and his shoes, a brand known as Babuuk, made him look somehow better dressed then the other men who were similarly attired. Maybe it was just his subtle aurora of power, his sheer confidence and his towering Will that made him stand out from the mouth breathers all around us? I guess it was.
We arrived at the entrance of the restaurant and the Magus was greeted by a short Asian woman, dressed neatly in the hotels livery.
I started to realise that there were people from so many different races of humanity all around us. I had come from a time where only what was left of the Eastern Roman Empire was this diverse, and even then it was but a shadow of the heyday of the full glory that was Rome. Here were people from almost all the lands of earth, all happily co-mingling, getting on with having dinner with family and friends. Very surprising indeed.
The Asian woman at the reception counter spoke to us with a friendly smile,
“Good evening sir, madam. A table for two for you then?” she asked politely, her voice tinged with a broad accent I had not heard before. She spoke English yet I could tell that wasn’t her first language.
“Yes please,” politely replied the Magus.
This was something I did not expect. Despite his and my obvious power, he was respectful and even kind to the servants. All of them. He didn’t condescend nor sneer down at the servants of the hotel. It is still something I have difficulty reconciling. I said nothing, just observed. Oh, he has since instructed me not to call them servants, they are members of staff and will be treated with respect until they show they do not deserve it, then they are fair game. I can live with that.
“Table seventy one is ready for you both, have a lovely evening.”
She actually meant it! I could see it in her eyes, she was truly enjoying her task. She was smiling and joking with her fellow staff members, politely greeting the next people behind us with her cheerful friendly demeanour.
In my prior experiences, servants and slaves were a miserable lot but then again, that was understandable. They had no choice as to their circumstances. They had to obey lest they suffer harsh punishment.
As we proceeded into the large dining room, with over a hundred tables of varying sizes, I could see off to my left where the food was.
I stopped again and stared dear reader.
I have been to banquets with Emperors and Kings, Popes and Princes, all sumptuous feasts but nothing was like what I saw before me. Dozens upon dozens of people had plates in their hands, all calmly wandering around the incredible cornucopia of varieties of food that were on display, all brightly lit up for them to simply help themselves to as much as their plate could hold.
Roasted meats, all neatly carved by expert chefs, freshly shucked oysters all seated in enormous silver ice-filled serving bowls, trays upon trays of cooked vegetables of kinds I had never seen before and… a dazzling array of sweet desserts and treats that made me almost go weak at the knees at the very sight of them.
“Come on Meridiana, you’re starting to drool,” whispered the Magus gently into my ear as he dabbed my wet lips with a soft piece of paper that he withdrew from his pants pockets.
Once again I nodded dumbly as I allowed him to escort me to our table. He even seated me, pushing me and my chair in one I had sat down. After he had taken his seat, a young man, quite a handsome one from the Indus I believed?... came over to us, again dressed in the livery of the hotel.
“Good evening, sir, madam. Would you care for something to drink?” he inquired ever so politely.
“And good evening to you sir. Yes indeed, may we please have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, two glasses and a bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water?” he asked with a real smile to the servant… no member of staff.
“Of course sir, I shall get that for you immediately,” replied the waiter with a pleased smile at being spoken to so politely.
“Thank you,” said the Magus then he turned to me and asked,
“Do you need a moment Meridiana? I understand this might trigger you again…”
I shook my head.
“No. It is overwhelming… but in a good way Magus. I have to ask, how can a place like this provide so many people with so much food? Even in the height of the Empire, there were magnificent feasts to be sure but… you say this happens everyday, that this is just a Tuesday and not a busy night?”
“This is the age of abundance Meridiana. Many of us, who live in what is known as The West, have dwelt in an age of such wealth and richness that almost all here never think on their incredible luck and privilege to live in such times. They do not know that it will come to an end. Maybe that is a small mercy. All golden ages end as you well know. So I say, let them dwell in ignorant bliss for now. We can enjoy it while it lasts.”
“Huh? Why do you believe that your golden age will end Magus?”
“It’s a long explanation and one I do not wish to go into detail here and now Meridiana but later, I will share my thoughts with you on this. Ahh, here comes our champagne.”
The waiter and another staff member had returned, with one carrying two bottles while the other had a metal bucket partially filled with ice. The waiter from the Indus placed both bottles on our table, displayed the label to the Magus who briefly nodded. Then, the waiter removed the cork from the bottle with an adroit twist of his wrist. It made a pleasing pop and I could see a little haze of cold… smoke? lightly emanate from the neck of the bottle. He poured the brightly bubbling and fizzing wine into both our glasses, carefully making sure the foam did not overflow them. He was very good at his task.
“Thank you good sir,” said my Magus to the waiter who beamed back at him with a happy smile. He placed the bottle into the bucket of ice and withdrew, leaving us alone, amidst the crowed dinning room.
The Magus took up his glass, holding it in front of him. I mirrored him.
“Here’s to a good dinner with interesting company and later, ripping the shit out of a casino Meridiana.” He pushed his glass gently forwards, lightly clinking it against mine. I wasn’t familiar at the time with that form of salute and toast but went with it anyway, after all… when in Rome as they used to say.
“That sounds… delightful Magus. I am eager for it all.”
I then took a sip of my champagne and was transported into a realm of heavenly bliss.
It was exquisite.
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