Why did christy wright leave ramsey

[RF] The Deer and the Bear Trap

2023.04.02 15:04 Wise-Significance-47 [RF] The Deer and the Bear Trap

“I wish I could get past it, but I can’t.”
“If I’d known you were going to feel this way, I wouldn’t have let you go through with it.”
“YOU said we couldn’t handle it, YOU said it wasn’t fair on any of us.”
“I thought it was the right thing. If the same had happened and there hadn’t been complications, then…”
She hung up the phone. He was glad, he couldn’t stand to listen anymore. It wasn’t that he didn’t miss her, he couldn’t deal with the fact it was a pain that he caused that had ended it.
He poured a second coffee, lit a cigarette, and sat staring out of the window. He felt like crying. He felt this way most mornings but never did. It was as if the emotion clung inside but didn’t want to leave. If he could sob hard for an hour or so he’d feel better, but he couldn’t. So he sat and stared out of the window, across to the woods.
Clare was a hippy. Her family were too, and so were her friends. She only ever shopped at charity shops and not a single one of her immediate family ate meat or cheese. Clare was a hippy, but he still loved her. Or perhaps he loved her because of that. She loved nature and animals more than anyone he’d ever met. He couldn’t care half as much as that about his own well-being, let alone an animal. But when he saw her reaction, even if an old man merely walked past her with a dog, it made him wish he could care that much.
They used to walk to the woods, near to where he lived, most weekends. He didn’t have the money to take her anywhere special, but she didn’t seem to mind. He’d been unable to hold down a job for more than a few weeks. Not due to a lack of skill, but an inability to cope with the severe panic attacks that would torment him. He often wondered what Clare got from being with him. Maybe he was like a small, injured bird to her, one she believed she could nurse back to health. That was probably it. Where he felt love, Clare felt pity.
It was autumn when she left. The leaves were brown and orange. He knew it was close to winter as with every inhalation his nostrils chilled more than usual. With every exhalation a faint mist had started to appear. It had been three months since they last spoke. Three months since they had made the decision that pulled them apart. They had decided to meet to sort things out, but neither of them felt prepared to talk.
They headed through the woods and the old people walked past with their dogs. Clare would play with all the dogs that passed, while he made pleasantries with their owners. They would keep up the visage of a happy couple whenever people appeared. After the people left an uncomfortable silence would once again envelop the atmosphere.
Without warning, as if alerted to something, Clare turned off the main path and cut into the deeper woods. Few people went off the paths. There were signs that warned of animal traps.
He remembered the times they’d seen these signs before. Clare would say, “They should spend less time putting signs up and more time stopping the people doing it!” All he could reply with was something like, “I guess it can’t be helped. We’ll just have to be cautious as we walk.”
The woods were the home for rabbits, squirrels, and sometimes deer. He tried to walk with caution, avoiding overgrown areas, whilst also keeping up with Clare. He carved markings in the trees with a flick knife his grandfather had given before he died. That way they could find their way back. Clare never asked about his Grandfather; he’d been the only butcher in a small community and she hated that. But he was dead now and to speak ill of the dead was like screaming into the wind. He knew she wouldn’t like the idea of cutting into the trees, but he thought it was better than getting lost. He hoped that would comfort her.
They were very deep in the woods when they heard the noise. They headed towards the sound. What was hardly audible soon became clearer. It sounded like a young child screaming. He assumed that someone’s son or daughter had wandered off and stood on one of the animal traps. The closer they got the more awful the sound became. A strange smell began to permeate through the air, a slight taste of copper mixed with the breeze. Clare looked pale and worried, the pain in the cry they were nearing was making her nauseous. She placed her hands over her ears, trying to muffle the sound, but it was too loud. He took the scarf he was wearing from round his neck and wrapped it around her head, covering her ears. It didn’t do much, but she seemed to appreciate the gesture.
In a small clearing was a baby deer and he remembered Clare telling him they were called fawns. He wondered if this was the same one they had seen a few months ago the last time they had been together. They had been walking as they always did when Clare had grabbed his shoulder to freeze him in his tracks. She whispered in his ear. A small creature stood unaware of their presence. They watched it for a few minutes before it bounded off into the trees. In those few moments he had almost understood why Clare was so captivated by nature. There was a purity to the entire thing, a moment untouched by the pains of being human.
Clare examined the creature in front of them to see what the problem was, but it didn’t take long to figure it out. One of its hind legs was snared in what looked like a bear trap. There were no bears in these woods, but someone had placed it to catch something. The deer had struggled so hard to get free that most of the flesh had torn away and the bone was showing.
Clare backed away with tears in her eyes.
“Mike, what are we going to do?”
The deer was writhing in pain. Its body would flail wildly, and it would scream towards them, begging for help. He looked into its eyes, trying to escape from their sockets the way eyes do when an animal knows it’s near death. He knew the poor thing was doomed. He knew there was no other option. He pulled out his flick knife.
“Clare, please, don’t look. I’m so sorry.”
Clare didn’t turn away. She saw and heard the first scream. He stabbed the knife between the rib cage, trying to pierce the heart and end its suffering. He placed his free hand on the top of the neck, below the jaw, and the deer began to calm a little and stopped thrashing.
He could hear Clare crying. He could feel the deer’s heavy, laboured, breathing, and he could smell the blood. But there wasn’t anything he could do. Even if the deer survived, its life would be so complicated it didn’t seem fair to prolong its pain. He kept stabbing at the deer, bruising his hand. The cheap metal of the blade bending as they both smashed against the tough bone of the rib cage. The deer began to fall silent until its cries and movements came to a complete stop. He wiped the blade on the grass and the blood left a stain.
They didn’t say a single word on the walk back. They followed the markings on the trees, Clare not once mentioning the carvings. They sat in silence at the bus stop, the only words spoken were by Clare as she boarded the bus.
“Goodbye, Mike.”
She phoned the next morning,
“Mike, I know what you did was the right thing. But every time I close my eyes, I see you stabbing that fawn. I’m sorry, Mike, but I can’t see you anymore.”
“Is this really about the deer, Clare?”
“I wish I could get past it, but I can’t.”
“If I’d known you were going to feel this way, I wouldn’t have let you go through with it.”
“YOU said we couldn’t handle it, YOU said it wasn’t fair on any of us.”
“I thought it was the right thing. If the same had happened and there hadn’t been complications, then…”
Then she hung up. There would be no arguments, only the aftermath of her decision. The more he thought about it the more he realised that there was nothing that could change the way she felt. It seemed a waste to throw what they had away over one little deer, but he knew it was more than just that.
He finished the coffee and got dressed. He headed into the woods near where he lived. He walked off the path looking for markings in the trees and hoped they could both move on now.
It was Saturday.
submitted by Wise-Significance-47 to shortstories [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 15:02 hiraya619 The "what if, maybe, we could've"

Remember when we agreed that maybe, in another universe, we're happy together, loving and crying, hugging and fighting. Sometimes I get a glimpse of that, of what we could've been. I envy myself, who lives with you, who loves and cares for you, someone who kisses you to bed and cooks you breakfast in the morning. Someone who's there to listen to your rants and cry with you while we watch sad movies. Late at night, going home to you and hugging you in bed. Having small fights like normal couples do. I know I've moved forward, but why can't I move on from you?
I met several women and found someone who likes to stay for a while; she let me be her 500 days of summer guy. To be honest, I've never watched that film, but I already know what she meant by it. I know I can never love her, love her properly and the way I used to love you. It amazes me how accurate Joji was, because I really do see a glimpse of us in her eyes, and no matter how much I try to fall for her touch, I would always go back to the day we decided to leave the world. Just a single day of you and I, a day of us. However, it's always accompanied by how that day ended, me knowing and you apologizing.
I don't know why I started writing again because, just like Olivia, I don't really want your sympathy, I just want myself back. Yet here I am, wondering, pondering, thinking of what it could've been. Maybe I do want your sympathy and pity, and I'm just denying it to myself. Because I know, you'll always be my Georgia, and I could never fall in love again until I find you, and if I did, I would never let you go again. My head is filled with songs, heartbreak and pain, misery and blame.
Who am I to talk, we did try, you did try and stayed for a while. Why was I in so much pain to hurt you like that. All of these are just wishes and dreams, things that can never come true, because even if they would, even if you come back, to love me and care for me and stay with me, I don't know if I could. Will I always be in pain, will I always have these memories, flashbacks of what happened. I am in so much pain. Why am I even writing, wasting time, wasting tears, on someone who no longer cares. I know you don't. I remember that last text message and how you were hoping I was him, the one who you left for me but then leave you as well. How I wished you were hoping for me, but I guess getting to talk to you anonymously was enough for last year's Christmas present.
Nights like these are the times I wish I weren't smart, not remembering you, memories of us, and all the dates of your betrayal. How bittersweet could that be. No one knows I'm in pain. No one knows I'm suicidal. No one knows how much I've seen myself die. Sad endings of me jumping off, ran over, or hanged. Ha, how hypocritical of me to say not asking for sympathy yet stating those things. I guess I really do want someone to care, you to care for me, again. I'm really tired, of crying and thinking and remembering.
The more I write, the more I start to remember. Promises we made and the dreams we shared. Remember when we wanted to own a coloring book coffee shop? Museum dates and, slow dances at night, which you probably did with him. I know you would, they were your dream dates. I hope it was me or hope that I didn't know or hope that I couldn't care. Why did you have to leave with a huge impact to me. Why... Why did I waste my chance... Why did it had to end... So many more questions, and I do remember, don't worry. I asked all of them to you and you patiently answered all of them. Why you chose him over me... yet I kept asking again and again.
I want to end this writing here, but I know one day I'll be writing here again. Maybe one day I'll get to move on or maybe I'll choose the easy way out. I don't even know if I want you to read this, because I know it'll just bring you past traumas and I'll be judged again by the people from my past. Maybe I'll post this somewhere and have people read it, and have my dream of publishing a book a step closer. I know you love reading books, that's why I had that dream. I know you don't know that because I never got to tell it to you, and I'll probably never will. I'll see you in our next lifetime, my lover. I love you, had and always will, my Queen.
submitted by hiraya619 to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 15:01 Vic_72 I left Islam and I'm scared of admitting it to my family

Now, I'm a minor born in a Muslim country, my entire family are Muslims and my mum is a string believer.
I on the other hand, not so much, I think since I was 7-8 I stopped praying, I found it extremely boring and never felt the connection with it everyone said they had. By age 11 I became a master at lying, my mum never found out that I don't pray, I was so guilty about it but I also felt shackled whenever I try to out on a hijab just to pray, the guilt was eating me up so I decided that even if it feels suffocating I have to endure it, I went in and out of phases where I'd pray for a couple of days then stop and then go back to praying for a couple of days then stop until the age 12, that's when I stopped praying all together, I did still feel guilty but not as much as before.
A year passed and the situation didn't really change, up until the age of 13, I'm not one to care about people's businesses, and I never, I say never try to get info I shouldn't have about other people, it's their own privacy. Just a normal night, I'm enjoying a book, everything fine, that's when I hear loud voices from my brother's room (we have an 8 year age gap), I could tell it's my mum screaming about something I didn't understand, I know I was completely wrong and that I shouldn't have don't it but I creeped to the closed door and evesdropped, I heard a lot of rambling and at first I didn't understand anything, that's when I heard my brother say "damn your god or whatever, there's no actual proof of him being real, you're just so paranoid about everything that you throw yourself on a praying mat and what happens? Nothing, the little good thing Is a gift? Then all the bas things must be a curse right? Or is it like u say a quiz to test us?"
I was absolutely shocked I ran away and just locked myself in the bathroom, my brother is an atheist. At first I couldn't understand how he'd think such a thing and what BS he was spouting. So for the following three months I searched and looked and studied about Islam, good thing? Nope, it just made me more and more skeptical about this religion I've been following for years and never questioned it.
For those three months id see my mum crying constantly in the praying mat for God to answer her and lead my brother to the "right path". That made me realize another thing, all these years I haven't been praying and I still had both good and bad luck Fortunate and unfortunate events, but guess what? My mum who was praying faced the same situation, nothing is diff....
But the thing that I wondered the most was why being gay is Haram (yes I know being gay initselt isn't Haram but acting upon it is, u may be gay but aren't dating a man, then it's okay) I searched the most about this and all I found was : yeah Bec to reproduce you need a female and a male, two males or two females can't reproduce together, it breaks the cycle of life
Well guess what? There are hundreds of thousands of orphans, adoption is a solution, you're both helping out someone and having a kid of ur own, oh wait no adopting is Haram, why? Bec then you give him you're name and he has a right to the inheritance
Nahhh inheritance has to be ur blood relatives
Okay forget this, how about surogacy? We can now have a baby from two men or two females? Reproduction, good enough for u? Nope it's Haram, you're playing with god's plan of reproduction
Hate to break it to u, but its his plan right? He's the strongest right, I'm sure he could very very veryyyy easily change that and the baby would never be concieved
"God knows everything before it even happens" then I'm a million and ten percent sure he knew I would leave Islam by how my life is going on right? And guess what? He still created me the same exact way with the same life with the same everything HE KNEW WOULD HAPPEN AND WHAT NOW? YOU'RE AN APOSTATE, YOU'RE GOING TO BE IN HELL FOREVER, LIKE HUH? IN WHAT WORLD DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?
"Humans have free will" if god knew how my will would be before he even created me, and he then created me with that same exact will then this isn't freedom it's the same as controlling
I'm now 15 and have left Islam a couple of months ago, but the problem now is that my mum wants me to wear hijab and I don't want to be more of a hypocrite than i am right now about all of this, and she forces me to memorize the Quran, I know 4 parts out of the 30 and I feel so suffocated evey time I try to memorize more at least for my mum, I don't want to wear hijab and in tired of covering up my body Bec of a stupid religion I have never believed in ever since I was born, I was taught as a baby about everything in Islam, this is right to my young mind, but have myself every truly believed in it? Nope
I'm sorry for this being such a lengthy post, I just needed somewhere to rant about all of this Bec I can't keep it anymore.
submitted by Vic_72 to exmuslim [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 15:01 Lucky-Passage8473 I think I have been a victim of some fraud.

I think I have been a victim of some fraud.
NOTE: These events are taking place in a less-developed country, and not in Americas or European countries.

18th December 2022: I visited the institute X for getting an idea of its campus and location to other major areas - such as airport and railway station. I went into the admission cell, and a woman, been in-charge to hunt for students, asked me if I wanted to ask something, to which I replied that I had to have some informations about their MBA program. She asked me some details, like name, phone number, email, address et al. I provided those to her, and she left me by saying that I shall be informed when the application forms gonna be available.
4th January 2023: I received a call from the same woman and she asked me to fill the application form as it had become available, I asked what was the fees of the application and got to know that it was quite high, so I requested her to please give me a few days so that I can talk with my family regarding it, but she was like "do it fast, else the date will end", but she was keeping the deadline from me. In fact, due to her constant pressure, I became the first one to fill that form with that heavy fees (but it was not on 4th Jan, if I recall correctly, I filled it on 7th Jan). I came to know that the deadline was 28th Jan. She also asked me to apply for GMAT. The fees of GMAT is exorbitantly high when converted to my country's currencies, but it was inevitable.
22nd January 2023: Got a call from the same woman telling me that the interview was set for 30th Jan. The fact is, this institution is located at a place 729km from my home-town, and even by train it takes 14 hours (no direct flight from my home district), booking hotels and arranging other things within a week is not as difficult as you think (it is much more than that). So, I requested her that I shall not be able to make it there at such a short notice, during our application we were never told that the interview would be held on 30th Jan, else I had made up the arrangements. She said, "Okay, we will schedule a second round of interview and you can appear in that." I felt a little doubtful here, as to why would they hold a second round of interview if their seats get filled in this round only (and in my country the college sessions start from July, there is no winter session or fall session or spring session or summer session, there is just one point of departure, that is July. But all the other colleges begin their admissions usually in April or June, because it is at this time the school/college session ends and the results come out. It was quite strange to hold a selection process in January).
12th March 2023: The woman called me and informed me that my interview was scheduled for 18th March, I reluctantly agreed to it. And then I received this email


There was a lack of coordination among the members of that institute, because when I called on the staffs of Admission Cell about inquiring if they also be needing my 10th Grade, 12th Grade and under-graduation Report Cards (and it is very natural for every college to require that, but they didn't write that in their email), that person replied to me, "Yeah, bring it", to which I said, "but don't you have it online from my portal where my application is submitted?", he replied unusually "do you have some problem in bring those docs?", I felt a bit uneasy and said, "of course, carrying original documents and that too, so much of them is not such an easy task, I'm coming from more than 700km". But I finally took all of them.

18th March 2023: I reached the venue. They gave me a slip to fill the details, and after giving it I got the serial number 28. After 1-1/2 hours my turn came, and in our group they send 5 applicants, two girls and 3 boys. When we entered the room of group discussion, we had three interviewers/moderators present there already, the middle of them was a middle-aged man, to his left was a woman of mid-thirties and his right was another man, maybe of the same age as the middle man. The girls of our group were made to sit at the shorter side of the rectangular table, and the boys on the longer side, only three of the four sides of the table was occupied by us so that the moderators could be communicated through from the open side, they were sitting around 8 feet away from the empty side of the table, and all of us were facing them. The middle man introduced himself and his lefty and his righty, the lady moderator smiled when she was introduced, but the righty man was shaking his head up-and-down, as if he was the President of some country, on being introduced by the middle man. The middle man was himself, a genial one. I forgot to point out that we were made to sit on revolving chairs, not the four-legged ones.
We were asked to introduce ourselves, starting from the girl sitting at the shorter side further from me. I don't know why but this girl began her introduction by telling her age, and ended up by telling her hobbies, and I was quite astonished how come some people keep their hobbies alive even at stage of grad school, is it only me for whom the life has shed its colours? The two boys introduced themselves in the same way, maybe they were thinking if they don't get an admission offer after the interview they might get another kind of offer from the girls, but I don't know how it ended for them. Upon my turn I simply told my name and the course I took in under-graduation, that was the only relevant thing, I guess.
After this short talk, they asked us to write an essay in 10 minutes on the sheets kept before us, with the pencil given. There was also an eraser and a sharpener before every candidate and I couldn't help noticing that the boy adjacent to me was trying to use every equipment that was provided, maybe his aim was that the mods might think the guy will become a good manager as he is using every resource available, and again I don't know how it ended for him. The topic of the essay was: "Women will prove to be better managers than men". I took the anthropological route for my essay, and tried to show up that in past 20,000 years it is women only who are in-charge of maintaining house-holds, and I even quoted the last lines of T.S. Eliot's "Prelude", ".... like ancient women gathering fuels in their vacant lot". But I ended up dialectically that house-hold managing cannot be simply equated with corporate managing and no scientific and statistical data has proved the statement, so, women might be as good as men but not necessarily better.
After the submission of these sheets, they asked our views on the same topic on-by-one (beginning with the same girl) and I was quite bored by this time, I got that these mods aren't really checking our qualities, because the statement on which we had to write the essay was a burning political one and was not related with Public/Private Administration/Management theory. I was expecting something rigorous and study-related. However, it had to go that way. Every other members of my group were simply re-iterating the same point again and again that women shall be better as they are good house-hold managers, and none of them backed their statements with any logic or study. When my turn came, I gave them a critical picture of that, not simply conforming to the popular ideology. The middle man said my point was strong, and the lady-mod said "yes, right".
Once again, they asked us to discuss the same topic among us (one topic was squeezed three times, so as not to miss a single drop of juice from it, I'm quite thankful to nature that this topic was not an orange). The girls were having shriller voices, the two boys were simply putting all their efforts in over- agreeing with them, they, I guess, changed their priority from an MBA admission to the proposal of a date on the very same date, and again I don't know how it ended for them. I simply spoke two times in that discussion, and my point was that the statement said "better", and only natural science or statistics can prove that word, we cannot simply back it up with our personal examples. The mods finally eded the discussion.
To make the short story short, the personal interviews with the actual professors were arranged, and within 20 minutes my turn came up. I entered the room of interview, and out of three seats only the leftmost was filled. He told me that two other interviewers had just gone to wash their hands after some snacks, and I was simply looking at their plates which was still there and thought that it wasn't a good idea to have some snacks at 1:45 PM. Anyways, the prof. was feeling bored as he had waited almost for 7 minutes, and ended up asking me what I was studying and how I came to know about the institute, I replied honestly. Then the rightmost chairperson came up, she was a lady prof. of Marketing, and even after entering the room she was still drying her hands with her handkerchief. They didn't wait for the middle prof. and began asking me some very general questions, not a single question could check my knowledge of under-graduation. They asked me with which field I would like to do my MBA, I replied HR and backed it up by saying that labourers are the main factors of production and a corporate can be made successful only by managing them, Marketing and Finance are secondary to labourers. She tried to put the importance of Marketing, but it was all with extreme passiveness, not even looking at me.
To be honest, they were bored, and here I got very suspicious of them, my interview lasted only for 5 minutes, and in these 5 minutes the leftmost prof. asked me three times of how I got to know about the institute, and they asked weird questions as of what my father does, and why I don't want to continue the profession of my father. Finally, it ended up and they allowed me to leave.
When I came down by the stairs and was just leaving, the woman who used to call me for application asked me if my interview was done and I reposted, "Yes". She told me to wait upto 22nd March and if something doesn't come to my email, then "....". I left the building, quite sure that I would make it and I was allowed to submit my GMAT score in May, as I'm having my UG exams in April.

22nd March passed. 4 more days passed. No emails, no calls.
28th March: I called the person in admission cell and ask candidly about my interview, at first he was quite unsure and told me he is not the right person to ask about the results of interview. But within a few seconds, he told me that he was sorry that I got rejected. This didn't give me any trembles. I simply asked him on what basis did they reject me, they didn't even check any of the documents of previous schooling and GMAT score is yet to be uploaded, what's the basis of rejection; he said the reason is confidential.
I'm feeling all this to be a fraud because my group discussion session and interview went fine, and none of the interviewees on that day had any better qualifications than me (though none of the docs were checked on that day) and many were 2-3 years older than me (at least the girl who told her age was an year older). The main argument which I would like to put here is, the Universities are free to choose the candidates they like to admit, Harvard, Cambridge, MIT, Oxford, all do the same, but the selection process should be rational. I don't think Harvard simply rejects the candidates by telling them "we received better applications this year, and we're sorry we cannot admit you", what does "better application" means? In case of Ivy League and Oxbridge, everyone knows: high SAT, strong LoRs and social activity certificates. And after submitting these things, there are chances that the candidates may get rejected but they (the institutes) will at least tell the reasons for that. if there were to be a random selection why to ask for submitting the applications?
It could be the case that they are reserving more seats for Management Quota. (more money). I feel this to be a fraud because the basis of rejection was simply whimsical, there was altogether no eligibility to apply (except for MBA one should be having an UG degree).

Please present your views.
submitted by Lucky-Passage8473 to gradadmissions [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:59 rachatouille I'd really appreciate feedback on this novella that I'm writing (~6000, modernist fiction)

This is the first part of my novella, Lady Lu (the title is still in the works). A brief synopsis: this novella follows a week in the life of Lu, a poor cardboard collector who lives in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. As she encounters bizarre obsessions her mind indulges in and an amplified existence her body endures, she is forced to witness a world and a self that has changed beyond recognition.
Thank you so much if you chose to read it and provide feedback. It's a bit long, sorry, but I hope it's worth the read.
Her hands can’t feel much now, for years of harsh tsaiguabu soaked in watered down dish soap, grainy trash bags, and surprisingly sharp cardboard edges have carved out valleys of veins and wrinkled palms and faded lifelines; they have dulled her senses. She can’t yet make up her mind as to whether she preferred that or not, because sometimes, numbness is the best antidote to incurable pain, but other times, the monotonous humdrum of that anesthesia takes away the simple joy of sensation, that which can be found in a slew of cold water washing away the sweat from a back-breaking load of cardboard. It is hard for Reality to keep her attention; she can no longer tell cotton from polyester by touch, or hot from cold. At least this helps her to better sink into the comfort of her bare stained mattress in the sweltering heat waves. They go up to forty degrees sometimes in the summer (some kooky old neighbors went out to put frying pans on the asphalt to see if the eggs could really cook and yes, they did cook) and old man Xu Pin right next door isn’t the most pleasant-smelling fella.
Still, the snap-crackle of fan blades spinning in a stumbling staccato rhythm welcomes her back to Reality. Although the fiery defiance of dawn’s sun rays has just begun to pierce through grimy windows, there are already voices echoing the halls. Some, like her, are cardboard collectors, whose work hours start from sunrise; some are restless sleepers, who make their early stirrings everyone else’s problem, loud bastards, the lot; and some are already offering their consciousness up for sacrifice. They cough their lungs out, day and night, a raspy version of a heartbeat in the background.
Lu pulls open the plywood sliding doors to let some sun into her windowless room. These plywood rooms are the newer areas of the subdivided apartments; on the other side naked mesh wire separates the exposed residents. Right opposite from her, she can see Xu Pin with a glass pipe, obscured by the half-opened door at certain angles.
“Lu! How the hell are you on this fine morning? Getting ready for work?” he says, gaunt face spasming in time with his stresses and intonation.
“Old brother, I’m telling you, stay off the drugs, ay. Your liver isn’t what it used to be.”
He waves it off, cracking a toothy laugh.“It’s not like I got much to lose.” Xu Pin laughs a lot, and it always comes from deep in his belly.
“Have you forgotten about Wednesday braised pork?” Lu replies and he concedes, laughing again, but once she’s turned her back, faint wisps of milky smoke waft over.
This conversation used to be an everyday occurrence, but soon enough Lu gave up because he’s heard the lectures enough times to know for himself, and if the glass pipe finds itself lit again in the middle of the night, then she supposes that’s his response. She understands though; you gotta do what you gotta do to instill just enough life back in these fizzled-out corpse-like bodies; it’s a defibrillator; it’s a half-plugged life support. Hers is work; her knuckles and stocky build are hard-knock strong, made for work. To not put herself to work would be a waste! She knows those fancy suit-clad men turn their noses up at her carts of cardboard when they aren’t ignoring her, but if the world was really left to their hands, the landfills would do as its name suggests: fill up the land. They want everything to be shiny new new, fresh out the oven, practically still smelling of the factories and the small overworked hands that assembled them.
She pulls out her folded cart from behind the fan, ducking under her multicolored hangers dangling on the pipes that lined the walls. Her walls are sparse, save some hooks for plastic bags, narrow shelves nailed there, and a calendar, to which the page with yesterday’s date still clings on, as if afraid to face the new day. She doesn’t have many material possessions, partially because her room is already struggling to fit a mattress and a shelf – any more and she’d be buried alive when they eventually topple over – and partially because she doesn’t see much value in material items. She only needs her fan to shoo away the heat waves and her TV to get through days when work ends early because the gods smiled upon her rival instead, Chan jie, that sneaky little somethin fast-walking to steal all her cardboard. Not many options other than her good old TV to keep her mind running: she would prop a lumpy pillow up, lie down, and stay there unmoving for hours on end, filling up her brain and body with news, gossip, travesties, anything really, to push out all the bits that belong to her. She wouldn’t have anyone to talk to at this hour either; in the afternoon, not many people would still be in their rooms — either they are working or finding a place, any place, to take a break from home. If she has enough energy, she’d get out her best outfit, comb through her hair and tie it up into a neat bun, and turn an Ikea-framed photograph that normally faced the walls around to talk to it. The photograph is frayed at the edges, the color fading to a sort of bruise-purple. It isn’t a very good picture if one pays closer attention: it’s out of focus and the boy in the picture is making the nastiest of faces, which she had told him a million upon million times not to do – “don’t put the same fingers you just put in your nose in your mouth!” Facing the wall is also a one-eyed teddy bear looking like it’s been to hell or worse, gifted to her from someone long ago. The cotton filling is ripped out in some places, so she sewed it back together, but it still threatens to bulge out of every seam. In short, the bear’s seen better days.
In any case, it’s not as though she has much money to spare for amenities after treating herself to a hearty bowl of braised pork belly a week, which is what’s kept her going for so long; really don’t underestimate the power of a warm meal. Although she has been the best cardboard collector on Yen Chow Street for three years straight now (in her opinion; there isn’t an official ranking), there’s not much money in it – she knows that. She had flipped through mountainous stacks of newspaper clippings, scramble of phone numbers scratched on post-it notes or the backs of receipts (that she saved up with an irrational dream of winning the lottery in mind), but she was met with voice mails or dismissive promises that scheduled a job interview that would never go anywhere. She couldn’t read and write either, so there went half the jobs she qualified for, and Wenhan had tried to teach her, in between loads of laundry or while she waited for the chicken thighs to marinate, but Lord, she could not tell this stroke from that line for the life of her. Her little brother, the smart one of the family, enjoyed the prestige at the top, while Lu’s teachers only sang praises of her inhuman cleaning speed and diligence for learning: respectable but misplaced.
“If you’re so good at cleaning,” her mother had declared, “then why don’t you come help me with our chores?”
Her father stood up from the stained armchair, which had been a loyal friend on lonely beer-filled nights to him. “No use for a half-brained girl to waste time there. I don’t want Lu-tang sissying around with a bunch of those snobby educated folks either but your mother begged.”
“Your father is right. You’re better off here, Lulu.”
There was no point in fighting them; it would take a million horses to bend their iron will. Lu used to think that their brains were once filled with liquid cement that solidified and hardened and cracked. In the meantime, she would do as they say, maintain peace, feign obedience, until her opening came and she would run without stopping all the way to the city, even if she were barefoot, even if the roads were soaked. The promises that her aunties had chirped about, glossy men and painted women, and the mysterious dangers her ah-ma had sensationalized, the bat-wielding criminals lurking around every corner, enticed her. And when the chance did come, she really didn’t hesitate. Freedom came at a hefty price, tooth and nail. Failure was not an option, and as long as she stays in the city, she hasn’t failed. She won’t give them the satisfaction.
She slides on red plastic slippers, the same ones the rich kids use to squash crickets out of boredom or cruelty and creeps down, rung by rung, down the ladder. This apartment is packed with tenants, sixteen of them to be exact, and though Lu moved in first six years ago, she’s still considered one of the newer residents. Only the top bunks were available at that time. And now whenever Yui Fong tai-tai complained of her heavy-footed earbud-despising upstairs neighbor thumping around at odd hours in the night, Lu would count her blessings and store this memory for when she curses the rickety metal ladder. In general, noise is a constant here: these coffin rooms are not forgiving of familial conflicts, or even the faint kow-pows of old kung-fu movies to remind them of an earlier, more mythical and therefore better time. They are stacked and crammed like kennels, fit for a dog, the rich would probably jeer during their fancy dinner parties. No, they wouldn’t waste time for such a topic, pitiful to them for sure – in Sham Shui Po, the scavengers scrabbling for scraps are swept away into these monstrous buildings: out of sight, out of mind.
Just last week, in fact, the government posted a clearance notice for the homeless occupying the bridge a few blocks away – really, eviction would be the right word for it, because it was their home, and wasn’t the government the one who said home is where the heart is with a cheery smile (well, she consoled herself, at least they will get more smile lines than anyone). It was because they were making quite a disturbance, because of all the sins, disgust had the strongest stench to it. She knew a lady who stayed there for a while once upon a time; she was always fired up about something, she remembered. That lady got up at six a.m. sharp every day to go for a jog, then came back with a renewed passion for life. She would ring Lu up, saying there was a horde of tourists near the bridge and she would talk trash about them, which Grandma Lu was always secretly giddy about. If a particularly ostentatious tourist were decked in white fox fur in Hong Kong of all places, they’d pray to Earth God for it to get hotter or rainy, at their own expense. “She’d look like a wet sewer cat,” said the lady. “More like a clump of ji dan gao stamped on by muddy boots,” said Lu. “God, these rich people! In this heat?” “In this air?” They’d have a good laugh, and a good laugh was the best medicine she’d tried so far. But staring was an abominable crime (this only applies to one direction), and the rich tourists felt slighted by this attention, so whispers of rumors that eviction was near flew around. Lu didn’t understand their annoyance; wasn’t the point of wearing such luxuries to show off? for people to gawk at? Sure there’d be negative attention amongst, but this was a small price for opulence, and evidence for one’s existence.
She went to the bridge a week later to see if any of them stuck around – that lady would, wouldn’t she? – but it was empty as a properly finished bowl of rice, dog-licked-clean. Keeping an eye out during her cardboard runs was easy enough, but she could not find a good enough reason for herself to justify any more searching, unless she admitted to herself that this lady made some impression on her akin to friendship, but for her, such things were weak links. One tear, one wound was enough; the disease would spread, and hopelessness would infect you. What she called hopelessness though, others called enlightenment. Clarity! they whispered, rubbing their hands together in cold winters, or fanning their sweaty necks in summer; as they jumped down Tsing Ma Bridge, they embraced the air, and though none of them were able to recount the tale, she assumed that flying was the most wonderful experience they had had, a last hurrah of sorts.
Palming the concrete wall surface wedged against her body, she squeezed her way down the hallway. The kitchen came into view; so did Yui Fong, hunched over a cutting board, who always said ‘early bird gets the worm’ and did as she preached.
“Oh, smells delicious!” Lu sidestepped onto grubby tiles.
“Don’t you lie to me now, Lu po-po; I only make steamed or boiled dishes.” Yui Fong had tried to get everyone on this floor to do the same, to no avail alas, because stir-fry glossed in oil and dripping in sauces was a siren’s call. But just wait, they’ll regret it; once they have a pat of their belly and take a look at the walls dotted with browning stains like burn holes in paper, the siren rears her head. Oil was impossible to scrub off, Lu had tried and will testify to this, let alone sixteen times that.
“How I admire you for it. Before I forget, do you want some turnips for tonight? The ah-bei there told me there’s a fresh shipment coming in today. I’ll be stopping by the market anyway so it’ll be no trouble.”
Yui Fong stopped her stirring. “Ah you’re too kind, Lu. That would be great. They say the secret to living to ninety-nine years old is turnip soup. I will save some for you.”
“Thank you, thank you. But ninety-nine years is too damn long for me, ha-ha.”
She catches herself eyeing the coffee jar; it’s been so long since she’s felt that miraculous shiver of energy, since her last doctor visit burdened her with the knowledge that her heart was ill-suited for caffeine. She resists; she’ll save that for an especially hard day.
Once again Lu finds her palm hugging the wall as she makes her way downstairs. Opening the main door – as always Fortune Guest House and fancy Vegetarian’s Paradise stand imposing. The sun splashes onto the city, just like the rain had done just moments ago (such is summer weather), the shine making the city look like it were wrapped in cellophane. Perhaps it is; she has never touched any of those new skyscrapers; it could very well be still in its protective gear to shield itself from the dirty outside world. Mannequin-like people in it safe and sound too.
One of the wheels on her cart is faulty, so it skids along the puddles spasming like a kid about to piss his pants in class. She hurries along the length of Yu Chau Street, stopping occasionally to pick up a spare cardboard here or there, but her main goal is the big Seven-Eleven two blocks down that hands stacks of them out and oh here the phrase ‘early bird gets the worm’ truly applies.
Big fruit lies in store, big fruit, she tells herself as she resists the urge to stop at some smaller stores first. She remembers this story her mother once told her – all her bedtime stories were just a cover for some secret moral lesson – the Lord says to Man, “here, pick the most beautiful rock you see. There are lots of precious rocks ahead of you, diamonds galore, but there is no turning back. Pick only one, and pick wisely.” The man passes by pebbles, then big slabs of rock, rubies, emeralds – now we’re getting somewhere! The world is his oyster, and oh the pearls it’ll offer to him! they make his mouth water! Man thinks, as long as he keeps going (the saying patience is a virtue drolled on in his head), the treasures can only get better. So he fights temptation, strangles it beyond its dying breath, and forgoes diamonds for something better; there’s always better. Tipping the balance, eradicating satisfaction end in crumbled hopes and clumps of dirt, which lay in wait for him at the end.
If she had the chance, Lu would never pass up tangibility for some abstract possibility in the clouds, in the fog. It’s given her good times, perhaps not excellent but good enough for her. So she gave hurried thanks, snatched the cardboard and didn’t bother to tie up the stack with pink plastic string, stumbling with her cart down down down.
And there she stands, in all her ghastly atrociousness, one hand on a leaning Pisa-tower of cardboard, one hand on her hip, smirking at Lu. The devil in plastic quilted jacket! Lu tsks and slinks off to queue for any remaining scraps.
“If it isn’t Lu po-po!”
“If it isn’t Chan jie,” she wishes.
“Got some more hours of sleep today, did you?”
“That must mean I look particularly good today then. You should try it, more sleep I mean. It’s not good to wear yourself out,” Lu entertains her. The alternative, staring at the dizzying traffic in the streets, isn’t a strong contender.
Finally it’s her turn and as she predicts, there isn’t much cardboard left. Well, bit by bit is how the pile grows. And now she’s determined, out of spite, to gather at least more than Chan jie; it won’t do to just submit to her gloating, no it won’t. The shadows tower over her; it must still be early morning. They cast down on metal garage doors, which sever them into wavering static, a little to the left or the right. Lu turns the corner onto Tai Nan street. Leather stench hits her without warning, recognizing her veteran status. Leather may be pretty but it sure doesn’t agree with the heat; at this rate it’ll taste worse than a piece of that over-boiled beef shoulder she had the displeasure of chewing at Fat Man Chou’s. She sees the signs hovering above, this company and that – Tong-De, Mian-Fong, they all sound the same to her – extending past where they’re welcome; they look like news headlines framing her. Imagine that! Her, smack in the middle of Headline Daily’s front page, still with the flowing black hair she oiled up and massaged every night in the dark, twirling around in that yellow sundress, some hot new celebrity on her arm. And the reporters, they’ll crowd in droves, “Lady Lu, look here!”, “No, here! Tell us, who are you wearing?” And she’ll say proudly, spine straight-up, “My mamma made it,” teeth all gleaming in the flash, white and pearly still…
It doesn’t have to be that; she’s never been a fame chaser. She could also join the other side and don a pair of glasses, notepad in hand, expose the corruption in glass towers and the seedy underbelly gorged with triad legends. A glimpse of a tattooed arm or the lack of an arm (for if you betrayed them, their infamous meat cleaver would kiss the outer skin, then force its way into the sinews, a brandishing of tough love) would spark rumors. It is in their nature that rumors exaggerate, but this time Lu isn’t so sure; the Triad’s name precedes them; there must be a reason. Aside from their chopping prowess, they apparently also had the magical ability to induce amnesia, like wizards! Lu’s seen on the news one day that all five eyewitnesses who were supposed to testify against a Triad leader suddenly succumbed to memory loss; at least with memory you’re more likely to get that back, as opposed to an arm. Well, those are all old dreams; she reminds herself to not get lost in the once-upon-a-times. One thing comes and one thing goes: even though she does live near the dark side now, her youth has dissolved like the black pigment in her hair. She’s much too concerned about getting by day to day to get into any of that.
To make up for her overactive imagination, Lu’s developed a skill to absentmindedly pick up cardboard like a drug-sniffing dog. Her tendons take over, and she lets them; she can do it blindfolded even. It’s a skill as worthy of admiration as, say, sprinting a one-hundred-meter dash. Come on, let’s see that Usain Bolt haul these stacks! (She’s impressed herself with her outstanding memory; apparently hearing the name once on the news, in passing too, is enough!)
Lu sifts through her latest cardboard conquests tugging at the hastily-tied strings. Her trusty pen-knife is always within reach in her pocket, which she checks daily to make sure there are no holes. First she slices the cardboard down with the precision of a butcher; corrugated wrinkles smiling at her. Then, using her fists, she pounds down to flatten them, stay there now don’t you move, she warned. The cardboard defers to her at once. Once they were spectacular too; this box once carried Korean strawberries in its arms, sailing across more seas than she’s seen; and this one? parts of a Philips lamp; then, cram school workbooks. Whatever was in them has gone on to live, not necessarily better lives, but living nonetheless.
Not before long though, her cart starts to wobble more than the stacks can take. They’re threatening to tip over at any minute now, so taking them to a nearby recycling depot is the best course of action, Lu decides. She’s saving up for a new cart, one of them fancy ones with a bell so she wouldn’t have to clear her throat to scrape out any hoarseness, and yell with a voice unexpected of such a short woman, “Excuse me please! Let me through for a second, thank you!” It’s tough to compete with caged canaries squawking, cars honking, and market-people squabbling. Plus, the cart has four functional wheels. She’ll have to get used to that.
Hearing the desperate bargaining at the bigger recycling depots, truckloads of’em, she can’t help but chuckle. She’s been in the game for so long, she knows all the neighborhood secrets. She knows that if you cut across the big parking lot, as swift as a mother cutting watermelon for her screaming children in the peak of summer, because at any time there can be a car jumpscaring the living spirit out of you, you can find, squeezed between an electronics store and a shoe store, a little-known depot. A kind old couple runs this place, complete with decrepit green-tinted walls and a permanently sticky floor; god knows how they’ve kept this place afloat. They are always generous with their weighing: if Lu’s cardboard weighed at seven point eight kilograms, Mr. Lam would wave it off and round up to eight. It makes a world of difference, five cents worth. The big depots would cheat ya and say “Oh it’s tattered, it’s no good…” isn’t it all the same recycled! Another thing they don’t have: Mrs. Lam’s various holiday dishes that she shoves in Lu’s hands because she already knows the ol’ song and dance of “Aiya, no, Lam tai-tai, you’re too kind…are you sure? Really are you sure?” Here Lu must cut in and say, before you think she’s selfish for not sharing this info with her fellow collectors, it’s every woman for herself in this line of work, it ain’t fair but ho-ho what part about any of this is?
This other trick she’s also acquired by way of close observation, not trade talk; at first she only attributed their early hustling to diligence, but soon she realized that Hong Kong humidity had its perks. In the morning, air – in the form of wet particles – gushes into her nostrils, sinks its melting claws in the unwilling cardboard, burdening it with added weight. While this exchange is going on, with hawk-like eyes, Lu swoops in and captures the heavy cardboard, heavy with promise of a few cents more.
“Altogether…twenty-nine kilograms. There you go!”
Ey, not bad. But still she inquires, careful to celebrate, “How much?” Prices fluctuate at the drop of a hat; now whose hat? big Boss up north, of course.
“Seven cents per kilo, just like last week,” Mr. Lam beamed. This plus some fruit money is just enough to live on; and every day at Mr. Lam’s recycling depot, the fate of the week has been decided: a good week or a bad week, all depending on whether there will be enough room in the budget for an extra helping of sausage. She pats herself on the back; she’s done a mighty good job today.
Off she goes, off to Apliu Street, the thieves’ market, plucking the broken electronic components out, before snatching away all the cardboard before anyone else even laid their eyes on it. She gallops with the feet of a horse and hauls with the belly of a supernatural spirit. That’s the norm though; it’s a hidden prerequisite to become a collector. Competition is fierce for a Tuesday, but it’s all about winning the long race, the war over mere battles. So when she feels sweat beads roll down to her eyes, which blink angrily at the salty intrusion, she decides perhaps it’s time for a sit-down.
There it is – her bench, glistening gray-green with glassy paint-like splotches on it, and all hers for the whole lunch break. In her pink velcro-stick bag hanging on the side of her cart she has tucked away a neatly-wrapped Seven-Eleven pork-floss onigiri. She savors every taste of that, no matter that it is cold and nothing like the homemade ones, certified Jiangsu authentic, and oh she imagines the smell leads her up to gilded temples, to yellowed wheat fields, wherever it would go, she shall follow… Amongst all the chewing, suddenly her tongue goes numb, eerily tasteless, more than before at least. The culprit: a plastic bit stuck in the rice. She never knew how to open these goddamned plastic wrapping, step one, step two, ah just rip it apart and be done with it! Maybe when she first came to the city – she admits, she treasured the way each strip would glide down its destined pathway, the instructions, like they knew the answers and if you just follow the steps, you’ll get there, they assured. Like hell they do. They’re just better at slapping the horses’ butts, then climbing up the social ladder with those same dirty hands; that’s not even to mention the ones already at the top, sitting there on human thrones.
Lu swears, next time – and this time it will be different – she’ll make herself a packed lunch instead of this convenience store junk. A strange feeling, to scold herself the same way she would to… no one in particular, any picky brat. It is at times like these when she feels so close to Sleep that she’d be grateful for the ever-present noise in the streets; now are those pots and pans she hears? Ah, Sleep would be so motherly and kind and She’d embrace her; hard to fight that and gravity off; her eyelids kept drooping. Being good at waking up on time every day means the biggest yawns, impossibly big; she could swallow her throat whole and suck out all the air around. But the shouts – she makes out signs as well so perhaps it’s from a protest – won’t let her doze off. That is good; it keeps her schedule in check.
Where to next? Her legs march to the beat of Sham Shui Po’s thumping heart; as her feet slap down onto solid ground, she imagines feeling the grainy texture of Poplar Street through her worn soles. Like a meticulously trained doctor whose finger presses down at the exact spot to find a pulse, without hesitant circling indicating trial and error, Lu needs not to wait for the city to tell her what it needs. The alleys coiling around main streets, the telephone wires that drape lazily off apartment balconies, hell, even the fly-swatters spinning in dazed anger – they divulge secrets to her. This is a shortcut, they say. Look out! The vegetable vendor is hosing down the street again, they say. Perhaps the city’s roots have taken hold of her, boring inside to twist together with her veins. The city is a good ally to have on your side; who else has been around longer than these stoic, silent observers? They lend a different sort of comfort than people, something more stable. Concrete is by far a stabler material than flesh.
As soon as Lu steps onto the zebra crossing, the red guy bumps out the green, and she is forced to take a step backwards. These motorcycles are ruthless; it’s hard to imagine a time when roads were for people and vehicles were relegated to the tracks. From the front, kicked-up dust from zooming cars veil her vision; from the sides, pedestrians wedge themselves beside her. Among them is a tour guide with uncountable orange ducklings following him by way of microphone-enhanced instructions and a muscle-shirt-clad gym rat whose armpits cast two droopy damp shadows. And his logic is to use something even stronger to cover up all that sweat. If there ever are more cockroaches in her room than she can thwack, it’ll be a good idea to invite him over; not even the roaches’ll dare approach this! She will never and can never forget the toxic fumes of that odorous body spray weaseling their way into the seams of her gangster Mickey Mouse shirt (actually, it’s spelled ‘Mikeye Mouse’ for copyright reasons). Bought it half off at the wet market; she supposes this manly body spray does fit the whole gold-chain aesthetic better than its original fish stink.
Although this busy bustle is transpiring all around, Lu feels calm at this intersection. Time stands still for her, but not for everybody else; they’re still hurrying to catch this bus, scurrying for work. Soon she will join them, once this red light turns green. For now though, the red light absolves her of the guilt that always comes with rest; it feels like the Lord has cupped a bubble around her to protect her from ever-marching Time. She watches them through glassy eyes, detached, in her own world, with her own set of rules. Queen Lu! her subjects would hail, donning the poofiest scruff-collars, scattered daisies on a meadow. As Queen, the first law she shall invoke? Free mandatory massage and needling for every citizen! Every week!
Blink, and it’s green. So starts the countdown. At the end of this countdown the bomb doesn’t go off, but the impatient motorcycles sure will. Hand gripping her cart, Lu tries to cross the road, and she could’ve, if only these bastards would stop their squeezing and give poor old Lu a fighting chance! Her cart has become a burden, getting stuck between indistinguishable skinny-jeanned legs. It’s twenty fourteen; shouldn’t they have invented flying cars by now? and by extension, flying carts? Oh the view she’ll have, sweeping over the blocky districts, dwindling dots still scrambling about, but that’ll be of no concern to her, not anymore… But enough fantasies! she clears her throat. She’s a woman on a mission; survival is her impetus. She yanked her cart, bouncing between legs, and it’s working, she’s moving ahead! Apparently not fast enough, red overtakes her. In her rush – everything whizzing by in streaks of light, a cacophony of roaring motors – the light sedates her with a poisonous intention, and this dizzying hum that vibrates in her brain transfixes her in one spot. As her mind constrains her muscles to follow the zebra stripes, also having to dodge the swerving bicycles, gravity becomes lighter, and floats up, her feet too – into the air – and she trips, having not quite yet mastered the art of walking on air. The curb grazes her lower leg, but she clambers up quick; she’s a resilient old woman (thanks to her long earlobes) – she always manages; and her foot steps onto the sidewalk before the first engine whir.
Po-po, are you okay?” The voice rings clear and breaks her brief trance. A smooth pale hand sticks stiff out – whoever it is must not have worked a day in their life.
“That’s okay, no need.” Grasping a more stable pole instead, she thanks the young man anyway and prepares to get going. But he is so terribly insistent, and pushy; so are the pedestrians who cannot stand even a second’s time lent. He repeats, a glitching robot, “You must need some help pushing the cart;” hands waving anywhere but near it. Hasn’t he heard the nos that came before? So far all Lu sees is: more ‘help’; more mess. Swarms of busybees dodge them by a hair; if they didn’t, she wouldn’t blame them; they are blocking the sidewalk. They are the people she’d give side-eyes to, taking up the whole street and whatnot, hmph.
When the shadowed cloud descends and shields her from light’s prying piercing pupils, she hurriedly slips away into obscurity. What’s important right now is breaking out of this crowd, seeking space; perhaps under one of the rusty metal roofs? Lu feels like a general, commanding her cart-soldier to sniff out a possible pathway; this requires strategy, my friend; she’d direct the army to flank from both sides in a V shape, yes, a V shape like in Red Cliff. She rides on out on army horses.
Safe in isolation now, she leans against the ridged column. She’s glad it wasn’t a sprain: the initial sting would be momentary — she can stand that — but the dull throb that would accompany her every step: that she fears. You can’t shake that off; it’s a stubborn leech. Still, better that than forced kindness. The two types that exist in this man-eat-man world: forced and malicious. The former, borne out of guilt whose stains of repugnance can’t be done away, no matter how many spins, topsy-turvy perspective shifts you give it. One look at the eyes, avoidant and seeded with pity, and she knows. The latter drapes a cotton coat over her shoulders; as it rains, and it will, no amount of shaking can rid Lu of the increasing weight as the tension between each waterlogged particle in each thread of yarn drags her down. Your debt catches up with you; kindness racks up a high bill.
So she continues on her cardboard quest; she hates to leave things unfinished. Lu is the Tortoise, crawling slowly but surely, despite the chances of winning against the Hare initially seeming ghost-thin. And who is this Hare? Chan jie, for one, and those damned government inspectors too! The spirit of competition scratches her back, tingly with nerves alive; the sidewalk suddenly feels like a moving walkway, and she bursts forwards, always forwards.
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2023.04.02 14:58 Celestialstardust17 Unpopular Opinion: I hate Violet and she didn’t have an excuse for how she acted.

Let me start off by saying: I too have a parent I don’t have contact with because they made my childhood a living hell and it still effects me to this day, so I get where Violet’s coming from.. I absolutely do not think she has to have Christy in her life or that she has to forgive Christy. Also, yes I know that Christy was a shitty parent and a nightmare to be around, but this thread is solely about discussing Violet, not getting into every horrible thing Christy did.
Now that that’s out of the way, I just want to point out what a horrible person she was. First of all, she cheated on Luke and lied about it (and tried to get her mom and grandma to lie about it), then manipulated him to take her back cause he was rich and she wanted his money. She also neglected to tell the professor she was dating that she had a kid, despite the fact that they were engaged. She repeatedly treated Christy like complete garbage. If you don’t like your mom that much then stop mooching off of her and cut her out. Why stick around just to make her feel like shit? She constantly threw her mom’s addiction and failures in her face, even after Christy was trying to get better. Also, I don’t care that she made a podcast. The podcast was anonymous and it was a healthy outlet that helped her heal, so by all means, do the podcast. What I hated was that she recorded Christy’s message without her consent and posted it (including the part where she said her name) for hundreds of thousands of people to hear around the world. That’s just cruel. I also don’t understand why she forgave Bonnie for everything and called her the life preserver when Bonnie acted just as crazy as Christy and humiliated Violet just as much. Not only that, but she ruined. Christy’s childhood just like Christy ruined Violet’s. But the WORST thing Violet ever did in my opinion, was ask to hear her abusive dad’s “side.” Your mom just told you that this guy would regularly beat the shit out of her and your first thought is that he has a side?! What did she think-he would have a valid excuse for beating her mom? Are you kidding me? That’s when she lost all sympathy for me. I can’t feel bad for someone who thinks someone who abuses people has “a side.” Not to mention, all Violet ever did was wine about her life and how she gave up her kid without actually doing anything about it. All she did was create scapegoats to blame all her problems on instead of taking an ounce of responsibility.
submitted by Celestialstardust17 to CBS_Mom [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:54 Throwthisawayagainst How hard would it be to get an order of protection in this scenario. (illinois)

So a timeline of events.
August 2021 me and my ex break up, she leaves me for another guy we are still talking.
November 2021 she asks me for no contact while I am asking her for closure.
December 2021 She breaks no contact by matching with me on tinder (i used to pay for the app so I saw the swipe)
January 2022 After the holidays I reach out to her on tinder in hopes of reconciling our relationship, she's not doing great (started self harming) and had broken up with her other partner (we are poly). Then she disapears from my tinder to which i'm not sure if it's just a glitch so I contact her again to see whats up. She's also revealed shes self harming so I had concerns there. She then emails me stating that if I ever contact her again she will proceed with legal action, I'm also not allowed to contact her friends or go to places she frequents.
I feel like all of this is fine, it was hurtful because she meant a lot to me but our relationship was not stable, (more below) and if she wanted to be left alone I understood.
This changes in febuary of 2022 she contacts me again, this time she follows my main reddit account with an alternate account (I did not know it was her but figured it out when I saw a picture of her dog). The timing of the follow lines up to about an hour after I nuked my main account (I used an extension to delete all posts and comments) because I realized on reddit it's really easy to create alt accounts. The timing of this implies she was cyber stalking me. I had notifications turned off on it and saw the notification the next morning. The account was filled with posts sounding suicidal, she was self harming again, and her dog was dying. Since a night had passed since she followed me and once I put together it was her I grew concerned that it was a cry for help. I reached out to her to see if she was ok and when I didn't hear back from her I was afraid she did something to herself, so I contacted her sister (who used to work as a suicide line counselor, looking back on it I probably should of called the police because then there'd be a record and maybe someone would tell me why she actually followed me, I was afraid that would lead to her being hospitalized though). Later that day after showing her sister the account she deleted her posts.
Other things about the account, it confirmed to me she has BPD and AvPD. When I learned what bpd is and confronted her on it (I know I shouldnt of done this knowing what I learned about bpd since) she got really upset and told me she has cptsd. I believe she also has cptsd, I am not trying to minimize that, however she posted a ton of things in the bpd sub and not in the cptsd sub.
Over the past year I have reached out to her to ask for clarity on why she followed me because I have a lot of anxiety over whether or not she is alive. The posts were really scary stuff like "I don't want to be alive anymore". I just don't know they "why" to it and I guess I was hoping she could offer some explanation. I have screen shots of a few of the posts. She has offered me no explanation and has just asked me to "never contact her again" which is fine. I don't think many would understand what this last year has been like for me. I care about this person and it's led to what I believe is ptsd (i do betterhelp and they do not diagnose). I wake up having panic attacks a lot thinking she's actually done it. I have been very careful where I go socially. I feel like I have made myself small for this person.
Recently this person has been going to the bars I frequent (theres not a lot of them, and shes been showed up to 2 of 4 places I go). I know because my best friend (someone she also matched on the apps with) has seen her and I can't help but feel like she's trying to take away my safe spaces. I'm afraid to go out. I mean this person thinks it's ok to threaten someone with a restraining order and then show them they are suicidal, what else is she capable of? This person lives on the complete opposite side of town (chicago) and I just want peace. I'm afraid to go out. She went back to school for IT and is very tech savy. She has shown up to the concerts I work (I'm an audio engineer) so it's really difficult to feel safe at work even. I feel like if this person threatened me to not go to places she frequents, why can she come to mine?
Other things that could be useful in my case.
At the beginning of the pandemic my ex started to do sex work to get by. She was in an unfortunate situation where the guy slipped the condom off while they were having sex which to be clear is rape. I spent the day comforting her and we came up with a plan for her to get tested etc. Later that night she wanted to have sex to feel better to which I agreed to hesitantly. She was on top of me and I asked her to stop (so i could get a condom) but she did not stop and put me at the same sexual health risks she was at. I am hesitant to call this the "R" word because I don't believe it was her intent, I believe she was just so dissociated from her own traumatic ordeal that she did not think about my own health in the situation. During our relationship I never brought it up because how could I? This isn't really my main problem with the ordeal though, while we were still talking after she broke up with me I was talking about the situation on reddit and she texted me the next day making accusations that I only care about myself and tried to make me feel bad for having feelings about the situation, things like "is that all you got out of that experience". I know that doesn't matter as much legally, but I can also list other instances of deep emotional abuse with her if needed.
Even though she deleted it I still have access to most of her reddit account because of the waybackmachine if I need to provide more proof. Not all posts archive so it's not perfect but between that with screenshots and time stamps is this enough to get an order of protection?
submitted by Throwthisawayagainst to legaladvice [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:50 David11219 The Ten Commandments: The Basis of Judeo-Christian Ethics

The Ten Commandments: The Basis of Judeo-Christian Ethics
God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, as described in the biblical book of Exodus. The story goes that God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. God gave him two tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them while he was on Mount Sinai. The tablets became an important symbol of God's covenant with the Israelites.


The Ten Commandments: The Foundation of Judeo-Christian Ethics and Morality

The Ten Commandments are significant because they establish a moral framework for how people should interact with God and with one another. They are regarded as the bedrock of Judeo-Christian ethics and have influenced the evolution of Western law and morality. The commandments are divided into two sections: the first four address man's relationship with God, and the last six address man's relationship with his fellow humans. For thousands of years, the Ten Commandments have served as a source of inspiration and guidance for people of faith, and they remain relevant today as a guide for moral living.
Read also Major Religions In The World

Story of Moses and the tablets

The story of Moses and the tablets are an important part of the biblical story. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and chose him to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, according to the book of Exodus. The Israelites were finally allowed to leave Egypt after a series of plagues inflicted by God. Moses led them through the desert to the Promised Land, but they stopped at Mount Sinai on the way. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. According to the story, Moses stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, during which time he received the tablets from God. When he returned to the Israelites, he discovered that they had made and were worshiping a golden calf. Moses smashed the tablets in his rage and had to return up the mountain to receive them again.

Mount Sinai's Importance

Mount Sinai is a holy place for both Jews and Christians. It is thought to be the location where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and it is a symbol of the covenant between God and the Israelites. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Torah, the central text of Judaism. The tablets are also an important symbol of Judaism.
For Christians, the Ten Commandments are part of the Old Testament and are viewed as a forerunner to Jesus' teachings. They are regarded as a moral guide and the foundation of Christian ethics. Mount Sinai is also mentioned in the New Testament as a place of refuge for the apostle Paul.
Read also What is religion?

Relationship between Judaism and Christianity in the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are central to Judaism and Christianity. While the commandments are the same in both religions, the way they are interpreted and applied differs. In Judaism, for example, the Sabbath is observed from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, whereas in Christianity, Sunday is observed as the Sabbath.

Morality and the Ten Commandments

The first four commandments and God's relationship The first four commandments are concerned with the relationship between man and God. These are their names:
  1. There shall be no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath for yourself.
  3. You shall not use the Lord your God's name in vain.
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy by remembering it.
These commandments are about worshipping and honoring God. They remind us to prioritize God in our lives and to avoid worshiping false idols. They also stress the significance of honoring God's name and keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship.
The final six commandments and their societal implications The final six commandments concern man's relationship with his fellow humans. These are their names:
  1. Respect your father and mother.
  2. You must not murder.7. You are not to commit adultery.8. You must not steal.9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
10.You must not covet your neighbor's house, wife, or belongings.
These commandments deal with how we treat others. They remind us to respect our parents, to avoid violence and harm to others, to be faithful in our relationships, to respect the property and belongings of others, and to be truthful and honest in our dealings with others.
The Ten Commandments, taken together, provide a comprehensive moral framework for how people should behave toward God and toward one another. They emphasize the importance of treating others with dignity and respect, being honest and truthful, and living a morally upright life. The commandments have had a significant impact on Western civilization, influencing how people think about ethics and morality. They remain a source of inspiration and guidance for people of faith worldwide.
Read also Unveiling the Oldest Religion: Exploring the Origins and Beliefs of Ancient Faiths

The Ten Commandments Importance in Modern Times

Despite being written thousands of years ago, the Ten Commandments are still relevant today. They serve as a moral compass for believers, guiding them in their interactions with God and others. They serve as a reminder to live our lives with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.
The commandments have also inspired social justice movements such as civil rights and anti-poverty initiatives. They have been used to oppose the oppression of the poor and marginalized, as well as to demand greater social and economic equality.

Ten Commandments debates and interpretations in the modern era

While the basic meaning of the Ten Commandments remains unchanged, there are ongoing debates and interpretations of their modern significance. One point of contention is the role of the commandments in public life, particularly in the context of church-state separation. Some argue that the commandments should be displayed in public places as a symbol of the country's religious heritage, while others argue that this violates the religious neutrality principle.
Another point of contention is the commandments' relevance in the face of modern challenges such as new technologies and social issues. Some argue that the commandment "You shall not steal" should be interpreted to include intellectual property theft, whereas others argue that it only applies to physical theft. The commandments' interpretations have also evolved over time. The commandment "You shall not murder," for example, has been interpreted to include opposition to the death penalty, whereas the commandment "You shall not commit adultery" has been expanded to include opposition to all forms of sexual immorality. To summarize, while the basic message of the Ten Commandments has not changed, their interpretation and application in modern times have. They continue to be an important source of moral guidance for people of faith, as well as a reminder of our shared human values.
A summary of the Ten Commandments and their meaning The Ten Commandments are a set of biblical guidelines that serve as a moral framework for how people should interact with God and with one another. They are divided into two parts: the first four commandments address man's relationship with God, and the last six commandments address man's relationship with his fellow humans. The Ten Commandments have had a significant impact on Western morality and society, influencing people's attitudes toward ethics and morality. They have also served as an inspiration for social justice movements that have sought to end the oppression of the poor and marginalized.
Consider the significance of the Ten Commandments in shaping morality and society The Ten Commandments continue to have an impact on morality and society. They serve as a moral compass for believers, guiding them in their interactions with God and others. They emphasize the importance of treating others with dignity and respect, being honest and truthful, and living a morally upright life. The Ten Commandments have also had an impact on Western law and culture, influencing the growth of democracy, human rights, and social justice. They remind us that our actions have consequences and that we owe it to others to be kind and compassionate.
Finally, the Ten Commandments are a timeless source of moral guidance that continues to shape people's perspectives on ethics and morality. They had a significant impact on Western civilization and continue to inspire people of faith all over the world. We are reminded of our shared human values and our responsibility to treat others with respect and dignity as we reflect on their significance.


1. What is the basis of the 10 commandments?
The Ten Commandments are based on the belief in a single God who created the world and established moral guidelines for humanity to follow. The commandments are meant to guide people's behavior toward God and one another.
2. Who received the Ten Commandments according to the Judeo-Christian tradition? Moses received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai, according to Judeo-Christian tradition. In both Judaism and Christianity, Moses is regarded as a prophet, and he is credited with leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and receiving the Ten Commandments on their behalf. 3. Is Christianity based on the 10 commandments? The Ten Commandments are not the only foundation of Christianity, but they are an important part of Christian ethics and morality. The Ten Commandments were affirmed by Jesus, who taught that they were an expression of God's will for human behavior. Christianity, on the other hand, incorporates Jesus' teachings and the New Testament, which expand on and sometimes modify the commandments in light of Jesus' teachings on love, forgiveness, and compassion. As a result, while the Ten Commandments are a cornerstone of Christian morality, they are not the only foundation for Christian beliefs and practices. 4. Why are the 10 Commandments important to Judaism? The Ten Commandments are significant in Judaism because they provide a moral code for how Jews should live their lives in relation to God and to one another. The commandments are an essential part of the Jewish faith and are traditionally recited during worship services. 5. What was the first commandment of the Jews known as? The Jewish first commandment is known as the Shema, and it begins, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." The Shema is a central prayer in the Jewish liturgy that emphasizes the importance of believing in one God and loving God with all one's heart, soul, and strength. 6. Why did God create the 10 Commandments? The biblical account states that God created the Ten Commandments to guide and instruct the Israelites on how to live according to his will. After the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. They were meant to provide a moral framework for the Israelites to live by and to distinguish them as holy people dedicated to serving God. 7. What is the difference between the Torah and the 10 commandments? The Torah is Judaism's central text, and it contains the Ten Commandments as well as a variety of other laws, stories, and teachings. The Torah is made up of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the Ten Commandments. 8. What is the basis of Judaism? The belief in one God who created the world and chose the Jewish people to be in a covenant relationship with him is the foundation of Judaism. The covenant is based on the belief that if the Jewish people obey God's laws and commandments, God will protect and bless them, and that the Jewish people have a special responsibility to live according to God's will. 9. What are the laws of Judaism called? Judaism's laws are known as Halakhah, which means "the way" or "the path." Halakhah refers to the laws and customs that govern Jewish behavior in all aspects of life, including worship, ethics, relationships, and daily activities. 10. What's the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament? The Christian Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Hebrew Bible, which is also the primary sacred text of Judaism, is included in the Old Testament, along with other books, stories, and teachings. The New Testament contains the teachings of Jesus Christ and accounts of the early Christian church. The Old Testament is primarily concerned with Jewish history and law, whereas the New Testament is concerned with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the early Christian church.
submitted by David11219 to radafacts [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:46 Damie-Walker ENTP girl ghosting me

Hi everyone, I got in contact with a girl (in Instagram) a few months ago. We were getting along fine and then she disappeared for unknown reason to me. Recently I liked her post and she messaged me: " Hello, how are you? Sorry for disappearing back then, I had quite a rough time getting along with guys". Even though I have seen her stories back then, showing how a guy looks after her and so on 😁. I said that everything is fine and I can relate to not wanting to communicate with people. She liked that. Now, we went on a date 3 days ago and everything was fine. She talked a lot, gave an insight why she disappeared and so on. Often talked about her ex. Said that she was hurt and could not open a full heart for new relationship. As INFP I mostly listened and she (ENTP) was talking about different topics starting from quantum physics to menstruation 😃. All in all a date was good and liked her.
On the next day I decided to surprise her and bought some flowers. Plus she got a cold and I thought it was a great opportunity to show that I care and I am quite serious about her. I showed up at her place, gave her flowers and some fruits saying to get well. She was surprised indeed, told me that it was a very pleasant surprise. I was happy that this girl likes my attention. Later when I got home she wrote that it was guite awkward as well but thanked me again. I decided to use an advice for INFPs about telling other people how you feel so they could understand my emotions as I am not a great speaker. So I wrote that by doing this move I wanted her to know how it was a really nice date, and I could not get to sleep for an hour thinking about how I could have showed my emotions better and not finding words to describe back on the date. Like little mistakes when girls like being touched sometimes on the hand or shoulder, but I am to shy and respectful and do not want to offend them. I didn't do this stuff and was quite shy.
So after that message I guess she did not reply in any way. On the next day I see stories of her going out and still no messages. I decided to wait for a day and not to text her. Today in the morning I decided to give another try and wrote her good morning and stuff. Still no reply.
Now I know that it is beneficial to ask directly about what is happening as I did with other girl. That girl said that we could not be dating as she did not like me. That was hurtful but still better knowing. So I wonder should I ask her about why she is ghosting me or wait a few days for that or stop texting her at all and wait for her to respond and she does not, leave her be and forger her. By the way we agreed on meeting again back on the date to celebrate our friends bar opening. To me it hurts when someone does not reply within some days without a reason.
Sorry for the long text, I could not have described it in short) Hope to see an advice.
submitted by Damie-Walker to infp [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:39 TrashLopsided1120 Mixed Signals From Mutual Friend

So theres this girl, we'll refer to her as M (23), Ive(25) been trying to figure out her intentions for a few months and still have no real answers. I would usually be more direct but Im a little nervous because shes my best friends fiances best friend and I dont wanna make things awkward
we've known eachother for a couple years and up until January had only hung together with our friends a handful of times. This last christmas I invited my friend, his fiance and M over to my house to take shrooms and spend the night. It was overall a lot of fun and by the end of the night I had caught M glancing at me a few times, but tried not to think much of it bc we were all on drugs lol.
so nothing happens that night, we just had a good time and they left next afternoon. Shortly after they leave we realize M has left her air mattress at my house. My friend asks me if his fiance can give M my number so she can coordinate picking it up. Idk why but I said "nah thats alright, I'll dm her, I have her on insta" which I probably should have just let her give M my number. side note, M followed me on insta last july after a party we were at, and I sloothed a bit and found she doesnt follow any of my friends other friends. we also have matched on tinder in the past, and my friends fiance has also asked my friend about setting M and I up together multiple times but my friend usually shuts it down cause I havent wanted to date in a while and M is also complicated. so I feel like those are good signs she likes me, but she also very awkward, anxious, quiet, shyish so shes very hard to read.
so anyways, I was out of town after christmas for a couple weeks but I message M when I get home. She comes by my house to pick up her air mattress and we make small talk, before she leaves she ask if I wanna hang out and smoke some time, I said sure.
after this I call my friend to see what he knows, cause even though I feel like she likes me shes never like flirty or anything. I talk to my friend and he says that shes seeing someone, but planning on breaking up with him. Im like okay, we can just hang, I figure shes vetting me as one her next options, whatever.
so over the last couple months we hung out a few times, but dont really txt much which Im fine with cause I dont like to text, but usually I find txting regularly is big part of starting something. Eventually I ask her if she wants to go to an art museum with me and get food after, I never literally used the word date but I figured that seemed like a date. she agrees, we go, we have a nice time. so then a few days later I text her and asks if she wants to get food that weekend, didnt say date but still. then she responds saying shes busy the next couple weeks with family and her boyfriend. that kinda through me for a loop bc she had never brought up that she was seeing someone the last couple months. i tell her no worries and leave it at that. I figure it was just rejection. I also felt bad cause my friend did tell me she was seeing someone, I just assumed that they had broken up. cause to me its a little wierd to spend time alone with a guy you barely know if youre in a relationship.
2 or 3 weeks later M txts me out of no where asking if I wanna get food and hangout again, Im like sure. I talked to my friend again he says that M has broken up with said BF since last we saw eachother.
so yesterday shes coming, she txts me saying her car broke down, but shes like 5 mins from. so i go find her, fix her car the best I can and we go to my house. we just smoke and talk, I asked her about getting food, and she says shed rather do take out than eat at the restaurant, which i take as a bad sign. she also like wasnt dressed like neatly really which i took as a sign of I dont care what you think.
we hang for a 3 or 4 hours, nothing eventful happens, she leaves. later that night she txts thanking me for my help today.
Im just very confused because from what Ive heard from friends, and some of stuff shes done she seems like shes into me, and we tend to talk a lot when we've been hanging one on one. But i feel like if she straight up tells me she has a boyfriend regardless of how serious or not it is, thats just her turning me down. and I feel bad cause if she does want to be just friends Im gonna have a hard time doing that if I have feelings for her and feel rejected
also I feel like Im sending mixed signals cause Im too nervous to be forward or direct with what I want cause Im scared she'll say no. I aslo feel bad hanging out with her if my intentions or romantic and shes has a bf.
so Idk, someone tell me what to do.
submitted by TrashLopsided1120 to dating_advice [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:39 Professional-Cry1633 HEX - Love or hate it, it currently offers a solid opportunity

Love it or hate it, Hex is the best play in crypto right now. Leave aside how passionately you may love or hate the project because of Richard Heart - it's irrelevant. I'm not a "Hexican". I like to find opportunities to invest in, and I think this is a particularly good one.
Richard Heart is about to launch Pulsechain, with the final version of the test-net currently running. The expectation is that main-net will launch within two months.
Not-financial advice - do your own research, I am a mere simp like the rest of you.
I strongly believe that Hex will 2 - 3 X within the next couple of months.
Here is why I am making this prediction:
  1. Holders of Hex get a free copy of the coin on Pulsechain. This means if I have 20,000 Hex on the Ethereum network at launch, I'll get 20,000 pulse hex airdropped to me for free. Richard Heart's followers are fanatical about Hex and the expectation is that the Pulse version of Hex will find considerable value within the months following launch.
  2. Within the first few days of launch, there will be no bridge to the blockchain. People will only be able to trade between the coins they have been airdropped. Many people did not get to participate in the pre-seed / sacrifice rounds for Pulsechain. They want to get exposure to Hex pre-launch to be able to trade their Pulse Hex for the Pulsechain native coins (Pulse and PulseX), which they hope will 100X+ like many of the native coins on other blockchains have. This is driving up demand for Hex at the moment, and this will only increase as main net gets closer.
  3. Hex is not listed on any major centralized exchanges and is mostly traded on DEXes. This means the liquidity pools from which it is bought and sold are very small. Small liquidity pools = greater volatility. In times of great buy pressure, the price goes parabolic as the the pools start to run out of Hex (converse is also true of course, price nose dives with great sell pressure). So, with great buy pressure as a result of 1 and 2 above, liquidity pools will become short of Hex, putting further upward pressure on the price.
  4. BUT WAIT, this is not all. I have already told you about the small liquidity pools in 3. Liquidity providers of Hex WILL NOT get their free copies of Pulse Hex if the token is in a liquidity pool at launch. As a result, the closer we get to launch, liquidity providers will start to pull their Hex from the liquidity pools in order to get their free Hex airdrop on Pulsechain. This will drastically reduce the supply of Hex even further, which, in theory, should sky rocket the price.
All you need to do is look to the price appreciation that occurred on the launch of test-net in March to see the potential for the main-net pump. People made a lot of money from the test-net launch. The price is currently suffering a little as people take profits from that pump, but it actually offers people a good entry point for the main net launch.
submitted by Professional-Cry1633 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:36 ash0787 Activated Charcoal really helps me but I have no idea why

Disclaimer, I don't feel that I have 'typical' CFS anymore, if there really is such a thing, but I did feel like I had it initially and it was consistent for 5 years. In the past 3 years I began to accrue strange new symptoms though that are either a complication of ME/CFS, or another mystery disease on top of it, possibly CIRS or another environmentally induced disease. Its also possible that the symptoms i've been experiencing are just a linear progression of my previous root cause, but somehow I doubt that because they feel quite different.
Anyway the main symptoms I was struggling recently with was constant heavy fatigue and sensitive muscles, no tolerance for exercise as opposed to low tolerance. Food and mold sensitivities / semi unpredictable MCAS like reactions to things in the air, exercise, temperature changes, foods. Multiple chemical sensitivity which rapidly 'spreads' and has been ruining my life this year. This came after a year of wrist weakness, neck sensitivity, acute and or background dehydration and general neurological decline thats beyond my usual 'brain fog' or poor short term memory. Strange pains and sensations in my brain or fingers / jaw, difficulty swallowing, unreliable vision focus that comes and goes in both eyes, mimicking the need for glasses.
I tried many vitamins and supplements, a probiotic called miyarisan , raising vit D, chemical avoidance, voc avoidance, mold avoidance ( some benefit ) but it wasn't until I took small amounts of this activated charcoal that I saw rapid and substantial improvement alongside sustained 'detox' ( a fever like feeling with sweating that I dont ever remember experiencing when I just had what I felt was 'typical CFS' ).
Does anyone have any idea why it might be causing this effect ? it absorbs toxins in the stomach, and very very slowly toxins in the body tissues via recirculation, supposedly it normally takes months to benefit from this though. Mold people just say its a normal reaction to a binder because toxins are increased in the blood, making symptoms worse, but thats not what I experience which is a rapid resolution of the worst symptoms leaving me with just moderate 'typical cfs' on a good day.
submitted by ash0787 to cfs [link] [comments]

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.
“...Thank you.”
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.”
“We won?”
“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.”
“I'm sorry…”
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.
“But I-”
“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.
“I do…”
“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.”
“Like you’re 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 in there?”
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.
“Very well.”
“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~”
“It’s nothing.”
“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?”
“You did 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..?”
“Doesn’t matter…”
“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.”
“I’m sorry…”
“...You’re forgiven.”
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?”
“Regrettably no.”
“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.
“You’re insufferable.”
“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.
“Obviously not.”
‘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.
“Who’s there?”
“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.
“I’m not-!”
“Killian.” Baltzar warned and Killian lowered his voice automatically.
“Fucks sake.”
“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 out here?”
‘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.
Chapter list
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2023.04.02 14:28 Phlebotimist434321 Did I do the right thing? I can be rash at times. I have big bad insecurities. Need perspective, desperately.

So four nights ago, I (36f) saw that my bf's (45), facebook status had changed to single. I confront him about it, he says he didn't change it. I had a previous boyfriend that did the same thing. The next day, I feel all my insecurities in full force and I cave (or come to my senses, depending on how you see it). I start talking to him again and he's mad at me for being insecure and not trusting that he really didn't change his facebook status on purpose. I apologize profusely and we get back together. (I love this guy.)
Two nights ago, we were all made up and back together, when I see that he had recently friended a cam girl and another local single lady (could be innocent, but still) Now his standard excuse for friending models (which he does frequently) is that he doesn't know who these people are, he just accepts friend requests. That combined with the fact that he has absolutely no pictures of us in his photos, yet does have a picture of him and his ex from Christmas, pushed me over the deep end and I decide to leave him again.
I found all of this after he had gotten off of facebook for the night. I send him a breakup text. We've been together for about two months, and I seriously think he's cheating on me, otherwise I would have done it in person. After sending the break up text, I block him and consider myself to be in no contact with him.
Last night, or sometime yesterday, he texted me from a different phone than usual. I didn't open it, but the preview text was asking me if I was drunk. I had three shots when this whole ordeal started four days ago. But I was 100% straight when I went no contact.
My question is, is there any possible way I am making a mistake here? I do have big bad insecurities, but I've never heard of facebook changing a relationship status on its own. And he could have an explanation as to why there are no pictures of us on his profile, when he used to have several. And I understand that friending a model and a local single isn't the same as cheating.
submitted by Phlebotimist434321 to ExNoContact [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:27 Ataraxidermist [PI] In hell, people can choose what happens to them. They can choose literally ANYTHING. Naturally, many people try to exploit this by going for luxuries and pampering, but the devil ALWAYS has ways to torture those fools...

Link to the original prompt.
And so it came that Amber chose sleep. Blissful sleep, of a kind that feels like a wonder as you dwell in it, of a kind that rejuvenates mind and body upon waking up.
Amber decided never to wake up again. Hell offered little in the way of second-rate mortality, only in strange aeons could death die, but both Satan and God were too old for weird Old Testament stuff and had cast off Cthulhu a long time ago.
Toby - previously named Satan but unsatisfied with the mismatching expectations of the newly dead meeting him - took note of Amber's fate. He wrote with a Montblanc pen, the notebook had been crafted with the finest leather and marketed at ridiculously inflated price, but you had to admit that the absence of noise it made when you opened it had something classy to it.
So here was Toby, dressed in his impeccable and absurdly expensive suit, standing on the lush grass of Hell, taking note while looking at the verdant hills rolling in the distance. It was a warm day in hell, but a fresh breeze kept its dwellers fresh.
Wonderful workplace, but it made customers think they got to the Heavens when they most definitely didn't. Sartre once wrote L'Enfer, c'est les autres - Hell is others. As Toby could testify, Sartre was full of it, and Toby made him cry a lot until Sartre accepted to write the sign:
Hell is others, actually no, it isn't, sorry. - Sartre
It hung at the entrance of hell right under the following sign:
Arbeit macht frei. Nein, eigentlich nicht, entschuldigung. - Rommel
Which itself hung right underneath this one:
Ye who enter here, abandon all hope. Or not. How was I supposed to know? I'm an artist, not a theologian. - Dante
Somehow, this got customers even more confused.
Currently though, this didn't matter too much, for Toby had decided to give Hell a new spin recently.
To newcomers, he gave the following speech:
"Hello there, fellas," eventual confetti would be thrown here, "welcome to Hell with a capital H," flamethrowers would melt the confetti in mid-air right there, "but it's not what you think it is. You can pick your poison. Wealth? Women? An unending buffet? A successful invasion in Afghanistan? The sky is the limit... But wait, we're already there."
At this point, Archangel Gabriel dressed in a Giorgio Armani suit, would join the conversation and say "I'm the archangel Gabriel, and this is my favorite Hell in the afterlife."
After the first speech, it was noted that the flaming confetti diverted the customer's attention away from the spoken words, and a customer asked if there isn't supposed to be only one hell anyway, which vexed Gabriel immensely. Schedule conflict made it hard for him to be there for each arrival anyway.
So instead, Toby sat on leather chairs with the newly dead around a mahogany desk, he offered them tea, and explained the situation.
And that's how Amber chose sleep.
They walked out together, to the open fields under a cloudy sky. Little need to find a bed inside, the grass offered ample comforts, the temperature was always just right.
"Good night," said Toby, tipping his luxury pen against his chin.
Amber. She had suffered a lot. Admittedly, her dossier contained a surfeit of excuses for why she would turn into a horrible person. Broken household, terrible neighborhood, all the little things life puts together to make existence just a little bit worse. And excuses were worth something. She was human, no being was expected to behave perfectly, except God and Toby. Others could - no, had every right - to falter, to be weak, to be exposed, to fail to learn a lesson, to reach an epiphany.
But excuses only take you that far. Circumstances of birth matter little, it is what you do with a life that makes the difference. Even the Pokemon movie got that part right, and Toby was the first to criticize it.
Leave life a little bit better than you found it, for yourself and others. There, that's all it takes to reach Paradise on the first try. What belief or lack of belief you have matters little, as long as you sincerely try to do things right.
Being blinded by belief and deluding yourself into thinking you're doing the right thing doesn't count though.
Amber didn't get that part. Turns out, there's a long swath of scorched Earth built on good intentions behind her. Poor kids.
Naturally, she would pick sleep. All her life, she only ever aimed to have a sanctuary to herself. A place where she'd feel safe, secure, where the world outside couldn't touch her. A perfect sanctuary doesn't exist, but it's a part of escapism that's essential to the human condition, it helps a mind to recover, provides place and time to grow. She never got that.
And now, in the best sanctuary of them all, she chose to sink into the cushion a little further.
Toby took his jacket off, rolled his sleeves up and sat under the shade of a nearby, lonely but tall and large tree.
Archangel Gabriel was doing his daily jogging, he saw Toby's muscular forearms and whistled.
"Fuck you," said Toby, "and come by at the office, I still owe you a snooker game."
Amber stirred in her sleep. What else could she do but dream? First she dreamed the usual happy nonsense. She had lots of material to make things up, an entire human life of experience and imagination.
This was eternity.
A mind can only mull over the same subjects over and over again before getting bored. So the mind goes deeper, to the parts that are never remembered upon waking up, because they hurt. The mind dreams about life. Not from imagination, but from memory first, with all the rose tinted glasses. The life is gone through a hundred times.
A thousand.
An innumerable number of times.
And with each passage, with each revival of what was, life is honed.
First comes the rose-tinted glasses. The good and the bad, polished into a more digestible story. Until, somewhere in eternity, the glass slips, and is lost in the great nowhere. Other tricks are used, wishful thinking as if it had truly been so, double thinking, re-framing words and select moments to influence a narrative.
But with each passage, what was not and what was becomes clearer, almost brilliant.
Until memories cease to be. And what's left is the naked truth.
In her unending sleep, Amber cannot rely on the forgetfulness of waking up. She'd scream in the void, no, that's not how it was, that's not what I did. I did better, I gave them something I never had.
Ah Amber, Toby thinks, now you know. You know you only deluded yourself into thinking you gave a safe home the likes you never had to those poor kids. No, Amber, you couldn't provide it to yourself, you certainly couldn't provide it to them either. Not with the veneer of that fake smile, not with this self-righteous belief to top it off. At least your own parents weren't nearly as hypocritical.
"Woken up, have we?" Toby asked.
Amber had buried herself under the weight of the truth. It's hard to sleep with heavy rocks compressing your chest.
"How long have I been asleep?" she asked.
"Who knows in this place," Toby shrugged.
"You're a sadist," she said between sobs.
Toby's voice became mellow.
"Amber. I haven't done a thing."
"I didn't... I didn't want that, not like that. Not like that."
"No point telling me that. A swig?" Toby handed her his flask, a shiny and clean metallic flask indicating that no matter how far this person is addicted to alcohol, at least they do it with class.
Amber took a sip, felt her throat burning, spit it all out.
"What the hell is it?"
"An expensive drink," mumbled Toby, "can't even trust these heathens to appreciate the good stuff. Anyway! follow me, we have somewhere to be and I got appointments soon."
"Just... just let me vanish."
Toby loomed over her, his shadows expanded, for the span of a singular moment, his faces showed the ugliness of eternal torture, horns made of calcified wants and disappointments, wings of cold and despair. And in that singular moment of dark glory, the devil said:
"No. Now get your ass up. Pretty please?"
Toby walked, and after some uneasy second-guessing, Amber stood up and followed him.
Hell was lovely as always. They went beyond hill and dale, crossed a forest where the smell of pine was an invitation to sit by a tree and look at the squirrels playing in the branches, they crossed a bridge over a lazy river, they walked in a prairie of dandelions.
"Where are we going?" asked Amber.
"To the foot of a mountain in Paradise."
"I don't deserve Paradise."
"Who cares? We crossed into it when we passed that bridge."
Amber pondered the information for a moment.
"That rickety old thing?"
"Yup. People are always surprised how close Heaven and Hell are. Anyway..."
It came into view. The mountain. A pillar to carry a universe, impossibly wide, the top disappearing among the stars, infinity made stone.
"Now," started Toby at the foot of the mountain, "normally I'd give you the whole speech about you're pardoned, God loves you, Santa Claus actually does exist. But," Toby opened his notebook, "I've got an appointment with... a little girl? Gabriel must have mixed the schedules again. So anyway, congrats. You're worthy or paradise, hurray, you're forgiven, yay, bla bla bla. But there's something after Paradise, Hell and the purgatory. There's more. I tried explaining that once with a powerpoint, but your minds can't really grasp it."
Toby started to walk away, while a surprised Amber was sort of hoping he would finish the explanation.
"Up there, there's transcendence, the real stuff, and incidentally why we haven't seen many people because Heaven and Hell are just a pit stop. That's where you're headed, it's where we're all headed."
Toby became smaller and smaller in the distance.
"How do I get there?" shouted Amber.
Toby turned around and extended his arms.
"What do you think?" he shouted back, "You climb!"
submitted by Ataraxidermist to WritingPrompts [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:26 throwawayacc-la Do narcissists mean when they say they want you to move on from them?

What actually goes on through their minds if they want you to move on, and they say they don’t care about you anymore, yet still want to remind you they exist, and spread lies to their friends to “keep them from talking to (you) so that you don’t come back in (their) life”?
She’s been telling me to move on, and stopped hoovering me after she found a new guy, but I can’t seem to cause of my attachment to her, AND because she’s done - and still does - damage to me and my reputation? If she didn’t care, why would she actively need to engage in preaching about me to her friends?
She seems to admit to dropping people by “making herself boring to be around so they drop her first”, which leads me to speculate that it makes her feel better if they discard her, as opposed to her discarding them, because when they react to her sudden ghosting and change of behavior (like I did), she gets justified to leave them, and not feel like she was the ‘bad person’ in return.
She says she doesn’t want me anymore because I bring her unhappiness, and when I asked her why she “saw the devalued/bad side of herself in me”, she said she didn’t see anything. I’m also speculating that she doesn’t want me back because I remind her of the wrong she’s done to me - and others before me who she told me she did wrong to. She also confided in me about being suicidal, and she always seemed to feel guilty about confiding in people about her suicidal ideation, because she felt “selfish” for saying that.. She openly admitted she was “a horrible person who uses people for her own ego” to me, so I think I’m a fucking “taboo” now, to muse on Freud’s use of the word, because whenever she’s around me, she seems to be reminded of the wrong she’s done, whilst with her new guy and friends everything appears to amount to her being “happy, leading a perfect life”.
Then again, she says her new guy “knows about the bad side of her, and accepts her for it, as opposed to (me)”, so what the fuck do I believe?
submitted by throwawayacc-la to LifeAfterNarcissism [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:21 titsickles01 The Vinland map is going to turn me into the Joker

Did anyone else accidentally leave the map, come back and then lose their bow? I worked hard to get that thing! I can't even buy the bow again from the highway robber. It's just gone. The map is unplayable for me now and I abandoned it.
Also, I don't understand why this map wants to make you suffer. Suffering is not fun. I don't want to excavate an entire hill and wipe out the entire Vinland deer species just so I can afford one piece of gear! Plus you don't even get to keep them at the end. /rant
Valhalla is my favorite AC game so far but fuck Vinland. 🤬😭
submitted by titsickles01 to AssassinsCreedValhala [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:20 No-Tell-5922 Continued Dream escape

Lili wouldn't allow me to exit the manor unless I showed her every bit of evil that laid inside my head. I didn't get why but I did as she wanted and almost ended up as a meal for this three-armed creature that I didn't want to see. I didn't even bother to look for any clues or reasons to leave anymore, knowing it would have been for nothing. It was at this point that I headed back to the main floor and went to a window. "I won't let you go just yet, and you know why." said Lili when I turned and seen her on the stairs.
"I did this, didn't I?" I asked with a bit of fear in my voice. She only looked as Butcher bursted from under me and threw me through the wall. A black void swallowed me then vanished as I landed on a ledge, flat on my stomach. Looking around and in some pain, I could see at least three creatures that were as tall as the maze walls. One of them had four arms, another had twelve eyes and the last one I seen had three mouths which each had teeth like sharks.
Slowly rising to my feet, I got a glimpse of a fourth. This one was completely different from the others. Hard skin that was a brownish grey, two inch teeth that were razer sharp, claws that look like they could rip a black hole in half and eyes that resembled a dead, man eating forest. I was about to Nope right out of there but quickly realized how far down I was. Another glance at the maze and I seen an elevator that the center of the maze that went further down. I felt every ounce of luck drain from my heart and soul as these things walked slowly around, looking for another meal.
I.. I don't fully remember but I had jumped down, I think. The landing was nothing when I heard the dreaming roar of a boulder I landed on. It felt a bit soft but then got really hard as an eye looked at me, trying to figure out what I was. I got down from it's back and locked eyes as it screeched "Run, Now! They come!" That's when another butcher bursted through the wall to my left, making a quick path to the elevator. I gave my thanks as I started to run when I heard it. This low bellow of words that sounded heartbroken. I looked back after getting to the elevator and seen it cry as it was ripped apart by the four creatures.
At this point, going farther down, I had no fears or reasons to keep quiet anymore. I was about to yell out when I reached the lowest level that looked similar to the top floor. All the doors were black with numbers above them, every third one chained tight. Then I came across another red door but this one was different. It held an insignia of a clan. Even now I still don't know what it was but it was the first time I regretted what I did and what I was about to do. I pressed my ear to the door and heard crying and tried to open it and shockingly, it opened easily. There she was, Lili.
Memories came flooding into my mind as we locked eye contact. The first time I actually questioned myself and the only time it made perfect sense. "I did this to you, didn't I?" I asked. She nodded with a sigh. "I am to blame for your torture here, and for these abominations, right?" I questioned. Again, she nodded. That's when I realized it, I had trapped my own in a nightmare that she now controlled. With a tear falling I apologized and turned away. She hugged me as if she knew I was sorry for all of this. We fused together as I was teleported to another dream realm.
I awoke to a desert with very little to offer except a few trailers, some damaged cars and a mini mart. A group of people came close and was about to chain me up when they seen that very insignia on my left cheek. "It's really him!" said the leader. I nodded then got to my feet. "Yeah, it's me." I said quietly. They stopped grabbing at me and handed me a beer as they told me a few stories. Apparently they too were trapped here and from what I gathered, it wasn't by Lili.
Hours passed as I got things ready to go when this dark grey blob formed across what used to be a road. We stood for a bit when I yelled "Grab only what you can carry and run! That's not a friendly!" We all shuffled and even lost two guys but managed to head what I thought was north. "The theater!" I bellowed as we kept running. One by one the people fell victim to this thing as I finally seen fields of corn and wheat. Sarah had become the blob's last meal before the last of us made it to where a cab usually dropped me off, which was right in front of the theater. "Inside, Now!" I demanded as we shuffled inside.
That's when things got out of control. As we entered another dream, we ended up two people short. I looked back and seen two guys cut in half as the portal closed up. "You two ok?" I asked, looking at the last two survivers left. Shakingly they nodded. We walked for what seemed like hours but I ended up feeling something had gone wrong. I motioned the two to follow closely as I peaked around a bus. "Shit! It's right there!" I quietly said, pointing at the blob which had become a humanoid figure. We got inside the bus and sat for what felt like days.
Suddenly day came and we looked to see if it was still around. I pointed in it's direction and motioned them to exit through the back doors. Quietly we made our escape, hoping it wouldn't follow. "Comer O'Dons!" it hissed, "I smell your fears!" We bolted as fast as we could before coming across a boat. It was sitting in a river and tied to a pole. "You two get on and start it up, I'll untie it so you can escape!" I barked. They did just that. A quick rev of the engine and they disappeared from view as I ran to the next place.
Without knowing it, I ran into another red door but this time I fell as the creature stopped then closed it. I landed on my back with a gasp as one of the butcher's grabbed me and tried to run me through another wall. "No!" demanded Lili. The butcher put me down and gave her a hug when I seen it, the other butcher. There were two now, one green and one grey. Somehow I fused with the grey one and became far stronger but that's when we heard a massive yelp of excitement. Underneath us I could feel something trying to dig upwards. "Run, now!" I demanded. The green butcher took Lili and ran as I went the opposite direction. "What ever it is, it's on my ass." I thought quietly as I came to another elevator.
(I apologize but I have to stop here for now. Remembering all of this makes my head hurt so I can only give small bits at a time. Sorry for the inconveniences.)
submitted by No-Tell-5922 to mrcreeps [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:17 TopRule8217 MCU Phase 4 Rewrite-Part 2, Films

Welcome back to Part 2, of my rewrite of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time, we discuss the films of 2021, since the shows have already been rewritten.

Black Widow:

The Plot: Since Black Widow is a prequel to Infinity War and Endgame, it's best to leave this film canon in my own timeline to avoid contradictions in the timeline. Especially because Phase 1-3 still happened in my canon.
Also, I think the female Taskmaster has potential, and we can get the more comic accurate version in the future, along with the existing Antonia Drekov version. We will cross that road when we reach The Thunderbolts.

Shang Chi: Legends of the Ten Rings

The Plot: This film would stay exactly the same, aside from the title change. I would cut down the humor, but the movie would stay the same in my MCU continuity.


The Plot: Druig takes Ikaris's place throughout my version, to be more comic accurate, since he was the one who betrayed The Eternals in the comics. Aside from that, here is the synopsis of my rewrite of The Eternals film.
Act-1: In 5000 BC, a strike team of Eternals, Ajak, Sersi, Ikaris, Kingo, Sprite, Phastos, Makkari, Druig, Gilgamesh, and Thena are sent by the Celestial Arishem to Earth on their starship, the Domo, to exterminate the invasive Deviants.
I'd keep the opening action sequence of The Eternals fighting The Deviants on the shore of an island.
Throughout the centuries, the Eternals continue to relocate to other growing civilizations and defend them from the Deviants, although they are barred by Arishem from interfering with human conflicts to allow them to evolve naturally. Two Eternals, Sersi and Druig, would develop a close relationship over the centuries, eventually becoming a married couple.
As for other relationships between The Eternals:
Ikaris develops feelings for Thena, during this time. The two are good friends and often are a duo during confrontations with The Deviants.
Druig is close with Makkari, and they sometimes play pranks on the humans together. Makkari even has unrequited feelings for Druig.
Ajak is the mother of The Eternals, she is keeping everyone rational and in check and comforts them in times of distress.
Phastos is constantly coming up with new technology and is often extremely critical of himself and his creations.
Ikaris and Druig are cousins, however they often bud heads and are prone to fighting each other, which often have to be broken up by Ajak.
Sprite is the kid of the group. Thena is always looking for a fight. Gilgamesh is the gentle giant. Makkari is quiet and shy. Kingo is very dramatic and theatrical.
The last Deviants left on Earth are killed in combat by The Eternals, in 1521. The Eternal-Deviant War was now in it's final days.
Also in 1521, the Spanish invasion on the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan ran concurrently with an attack from the last of the Deviants. While fighting and killing them off, Thena's Mahd Wy'ry causes her to momentarily turn on her allies, only to be stopped by Gilgamesh.
The Prime Eternal, Ajak, offers to cure Thena's affliction at the cost of her memories, but Gilgamesh volunteers to look over her, conceding with the possibility that she may have to be killed if she turns again. Druig, frustrated with how the Eternals have been abstaining from human affairs, deserts them to end the Spanish conflict himself. With the Deviants (seemingly) eradicated on Earth, Ajak releases the Eternals to go their separate ways. (That's why The Eternals didn't help The Avengers and were absent during Infinity War or Endgame)
In the years after 1521, Druig would completely abandon Sersi as the other Eternals await their return to Olympia. In the present day, Sersi and Sprite live together in London, she is now in a sexual relationship with a human, Dane Whitman who works at the Natural History Museum.
(Dane will later become The Black Knight, and even an Avengers and Midnight Sons member, like in the comics)
After Sersi's partner, Druig, left her centuries earlier. When the trio are attacked by the Deviant Kro, Druig arrives, firing a torrent of lightning at the deviant and chases the creature away. The three Eternals travel to South Dakota to reunite with their leader, Ajak, only to find her dead. Sersi is posthumously chosen by Ajak as her successor, granting her the ability to communicate with Arishem.
They approach Kingo as he shoots a new Bollywood film, who is hesitant to leave his life of stardom and rejoin the Eternals. He gives in when he learns about Ajak's death, alongside additional encouragement from his valet Karun Patel, who also tags alongside them to film a documentary for Kingo.
The group locates Gilgamesh and Thena in an outpost in Australia as the latter's Wy'ry resurfaces due to a recent Deviant attack. After examining Thena's artwork she had painted during her constant episodes of Wy'ry, which visualized memories of planetary destructions in the distant past.
Sersi learns that the mission of the Eternals was actually to prepare Earth for the Emergence. Arishem explains that, for millions of years, he has been planting the seeds of Celestials inside planets where the energy from large populations allows new Celestials to be born.
The Deviants were sent to destroy the apex predators of each planet to ensure the development of intelligent life, but when the Deviants evolved and began hunting the planets' native populations, Arishem created the Eternals to counter them. With The Avengers reversing The Snap, Earth has reached the necessary population for the birth of the Celestials, Tiamut, which will result in Earth's destruction.
So basically, The Eternals were androids that were deployed onto Earth to protect the humans, unaware that they were also defending a seed that would spawn the new Celestial Tiamut the Communicator once the population quota of intelligent life was achieved.
When that happens, the Emergence would commence, resulting in the destruction of the planet and the birth of said Celestial, which would allow for new life and galaxies to form. Afterwards, the memories of the Eternals would be taken from them and studied by Arishem to make way for their next planetary mission.
However, my rewrite depicts The Celestials as neutral beings, they focus primarily on seeding life and the evolution of the lower species in the universe.
I'd have Arishem also state that there are other groups of Eternals in the universe, guarding planets for The Celestials to burst out of the planet's surface.
(We'll see some more Eternals appear in the sequel, so that line will have some payoff, later on)
Appalled with the true meaning of their existence, Sersi informs the others. Together, they realize that Thena's mental affliction was the result of a botched memory wipe after a previous Emergence.
Act-2: To delay the Emergence, the Eternals reconvene. At Ikaris's residence in the Amazon rainforest. It's revealed that over the next five hundred years, Ikaris founded and managed to run a community that saw him as a god, within the Peruvian Amazonia.
Ikaris started a settlement and managed a peaceful lifestyle off the shores of Lake Junin, running a camp composed of farmers, woodworkers, and fishermen, among others. Ikaris had a wife named Margo Damian, but she passed away of old age. She had a striking resemblance to Thena. Her death left Ikaris in a depressed state and reluctant to help his old friends and cousin, wishing to be left alone in peace.
(That's a reference to the comics, where Margo Damian was Ikaris's love interest, but was killed by The Deviants, but in My MCU, she dies more peacefully)
They are attacked by a troop of Deviants. Kingo, Druig and Sersi are ambushed and viciously attacked by them, but she uses her powers to transmute one into a tree, much to everyone’s surprise.
Druig hypnotizes one of the deviants, distracting it long enough for him to electrocute it into submission. The deviant explodes, killing it. Kingo was barely able to repel one of them which was attacking Sersi. As he was able to hold his own against the Deviants, Kingo noticed that Patel was still filming to have some action sequences, and instructed Sprite to take him to safety.
Ikaris has a change of heart, seeing the village getting destroyed and he fights against a deviant, like in the actual movie, just to showcase his powerset of flight, superhuman strength and heat vision. Ikaris gets the upper hand on the deviant and burns it alive with his heat vision, killing him.
As Thena begins to fall insane yet again, Gilgamesh rushes to her side. However, this allows the Deviant leader Kro to attack him and absorb his powers, gaining a humanoid figure, intelligible speech, and his memories. Gilgamesh dies in Thena's arms.
Before he passes away, Gilgamesh successfully gets Thena to remember who she is. However, Thena would still have her mental illness, albeit she can control it better. The rest of the Eternals mourn the loss of their strongest member with a burial.
Druig proclaims that he is not powerful enough to affect a Celestial, so they head to Chicago to seek out Phastos, who had long abandoned mankind and his technological ambitions after his technology was used to create the atomic bomb. However, he has newfound hope for humanity after finding a new life with his husband and son.
(Yes, Phastos is still gay in my version of the film. Stay mad, Homophobes)
He initially refuses to leave his family, but relents after Ben convinces him to fight for Jack's future. Phastos proposes the Uni-Mind, a connection between all the Eternals that would give Druig enough power to put Tiamut to sleep with his mind-control powers.
Heading to Iraq, The Eternals retrieve the Domo from an archaeological site and find Makkari residing in the ship. As they all are imbued with infinite cosmic energy, Phastos proposes they channel their energy into Druig and form a Uni-Mind so that he can take control of the Celestial and stop the Emergence.
Act-3: However, not everyone is onboard with the plan, with Druig being the primary dissident. When Kingo pledges to remain alongside Druig up until the end, he recalls his last encounter with Ajak six days prior.
Druig, after The Eternals split up, was an agent for The KGB in Russia. He was also mind controlling humans for his amusement. (Similar to his comic counterpart)
She informs Druig that although the Blip brought the Emergence closer to reality, the heroics of the Avengers inspired her to doubt Arishem for the first time.
(I'd have The X-Gene and Mutants be mentioned by Ajak as an experiment done on Earth by the Celestials, like in the comics. This alludes to The X-Men and other Mutant characters being a huge deal in the future)
However, Druig remains a firm and loyal believer in Arishem, Druig mind controls and takes Ajak to a town in Alaska, where the Deviants trapped in ice were resurfacing due to global warming associated with the Emergence. He pushes her into the path of Kro, who absorbs her life force, killing her, and the deviant gains her regenerative powers. Druig takes Ajak's body back home before breaking down over what he had done. As electricity furiously flies across the field.
Sersi senses the commencement of the Emergence, prompting Phastos to send Makkari out and find Tiamut, who is at a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean. Ikaris deduced Druig's role in Ajak's death, and Sersi learns he was made aware of their true mission by Ajak centuries ago.
Druig argues that it is their duty as Eternals to protect the Celestial cycle of life so that the universe may continue to exist. When Kingo threatens to attack Druig, Sprite decides to leave with him. As he does not want to face Arishem but wishes not to fight his friends, Kingo also departs along with Karun.
Thena convinces Sersi to continue Ajak's mission as her successor and prevent the Emergence from eliminating all of mankind. To facilitate the Uni-Mind, Phastos takes Sersi's communication sphere and disassembles it to construct bracelets for the other Eternals to wear.
Sprite joins Druig due to her unrequited love for him while Kingo chooses to get up and leave. Makkari locates the place of the Emergence, an active volcano in the Indian Ocean, where Druig and Sprite attempt to stop them.
At the island, Sersi, Thena and Makkari lend their energy to Ikaris and allow him to connect with Tiamut, but Druig electrocutes and blasts him into a hole and destroys the Domo. Determining that Sersi's matter transmutation powers are their last chance to stop the Emergence, Makkari, Thena and Phastos confront Druig to give her cover.
I'd keep the same battle that Ikaris gave The Other Eternals in the finished film. However, it's instead with Druig, who uses electricity and mind control, instead of heat vision. However, he can still fly during the battle though.
A devastated and rageful Makkari wailed as she saw this and sought to seek revenge for Druig betraying her, since they were close friends. Makkari rushed towards Druig dodged several of his lighting blasts and gained the upper-hand in fighting him with her super speed.
However, Makkari quickly lost as her fight pattern was recognized by Druig and he grabbed her by the neck and electrocuted her chest, wounding her. Thena and Phastos were able to battle Druig for some time. Kingo even returns with a change of heart, and he brought over twin katanas, to help out against Druig.
(This is to make Kingo more accurate to his comic counterpart, who is Japanese and uses katana blades)
Kingo deflects Druig's lightning back into his face, with his two twin katanas, similar to the move that Rey did to Palpatine in The Rise Of Skywalker. Kingo even lands a few slashes to Druig's torso, and blasts him with a giant energy ball, which collides with Druig's electricity, causing a massive explosion.
However, Druig comes out of the smoke and electrocutes Kingo, sending him flying backwards and taking him out of the fight and he almost tortures and kills him with his electricity.
However, Druig is interrupted by Kro, who attacks the Eternals and nearly kills Makkari, but Phastos knocks him into a cave where Thena follows him into to get some revenge for Gilgamesh's death.
Sprite projects an illusion of Ajak to distract Sersi before jabbing her with a dagger. As she is constantly mocked for her childlike stature, Sprite envies Sersi for being able to live a full life among humans, hoping that the Emergence's aftermath would allow her to be reborn as a full-sized lifeform.
Ikaris recovers and punches Sprite out, but he is unable to utilize his powers against Tiamut again, forcing Sersi to face it alone as the Celestial begins to rise from Earth’s crust.
Kro impersonates Gilgamesh and attempts to take over Thena's mind, but she is able to resist him and kills the Deviant by slicing him in half. Phastos manages to restrain Druig and prevent him from using his powers momentarily, but he eventually breaks free, using his cosmic flame to incinerate his restraints and flies away to stop Sersi.
Sersi instead attempts to turn him into marble. Druig breaks free of his restraints and goes to kill Sersi, but finds himself unable to due to his love for her. Both he and Sprite join with the others in the Uni-Mind and Sersi gains enough power to turn Tiamut into marble. Guilt-ridden, Druig flies into the Sun. At Sprite's request, Sersi uses the remaining energy from the Uni-Mind to turn Sprite into a human, ending her permanent childlike state. However, I would make it clear that Sprite still has her powers, she just will age like a normal human.
Thena, Ikaris, and Makkari depart on the Domo to find Eternals on other planets and warn them of the Emergences while Sersi, Phastos, Sprite and Kingo remain on Earth.
Whitman professes his love for Sersi and is about to reveal a secret about his family history when she, Phastos, Sprite, and Kingo are lifted into space by Arishem. Displeased with their treason, Arishem says he will spare humanity if the Eternals' memories show that humans are worthy of living. Vowing to return for judgment, he takes the trio with him into a singularity. (That sets up a sequel)
Post Credit Scenes: Ikaris, Makkari, and Thena track that Sersi, Phastos, Sprite and Kingo have been kidnapped, and they are tracking where Arishem is headed, since Celestials aren't exactly sneaky. However, Starfox and Pip The Troll have come to help them on their little rescue mission.
Dane Whitman, inside his castle, pulls out his inherited Black Knight armor and Ebony Blade. However, a voice appears saying "You sure you want to touch that, Mr. Whitman".
Blade, The Vampire Hunter, himself approaches Dane, which sets up the Blade reboot.
Sersi, Kingo, Sprite and Phastos, are captured by Arshem, and he shows the clones of Druig, Gilgamesh and Ajak. This sets up the dead Eternals having replacement versions of them in the sequel.
All of The Eternals are all androids, created in the World Forge after all. The Celestials can simply create more of the exact same Eternal.

Spder-Man: No Way Home:

No Way Home would stay the same. This film is almost perfect. I would use "The More Fun Stuff Cut" as the definitive version of the story that happened in universe.
Post Credit Scenes: Tom Hardy's Venom still leaves a piece of The Symbiote behind, before he is sent back to his universe.
(There will also be an MCU variants of Eddie Brock, Gwen Stacy, and Norman Osborn, and a few other characters in my college trilogy)
submitted by TopRule8217 to fixingmovies [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:15 Proof-Ad-7835 Can someone dissect this argument, please?

A couple goes to a very large show with an 8-month-old baby.Gf is zoning out (overwhelmed / triggered about a recent fight)Bf announces he's leaving and walks off very suddenly (was excited to attend the show after many years)Gf doesn't moveBf messages about 10 minutes later
Going back to the car
Her *calls*
I fucking told you I’m going back to the cad
And you ignore me
Her *calls*
You seriously only give a fucking shit about yourself, don’t give a fuck if you leave me here lost
Fuck you
Figure it out
Like I figured it out
No, you fucking left me
I fucking told you
You fucking chose this
And you just ignore me
You decided this yourself
You’re the fucking type of person to just fucking ditch me like this
Don’t fucking blame me for ur fucking shit
You fucking ruined it for me so I said I’m going back to the car
lol ok, blame everything else except yourself
It’s my fucking fault baby hasn’t fed yet either and you fucking ditched her bottles too
I asked you what’s wrong
Why you upset
Are you ok
We’re fucking done after this
Seriously fucking don’t want anything to do with you
Ok I’m leaving to take her back. Either wait around or take the shuttle bus back
Alright take shuttle bus back
She’s not ok so I’m leaving
I’m tired of listening to you
Ur tired of not getting ur way
And you’d pay any price to get it
Even ur daughter
Thank god after today I never have to speak to you again
You’re so abusive like you can’t even stop yourself
No you’re ruining my life
And if I’m abusive I want out
Did I fucking do something wrong
To deserve this
To wake up and get “am I just going alone”
Fuck u treat me like this from the start of the day
Holy shit I should’ve
Then go back in yourself
You already shit on my cake I’m not going back to eat it
I didn’t shit on ur cake
You literally make shot up to be abusive and say I asked for it
At the cost of baby
I’m sorry, chill out come back and take md and let’s fix this
submitted by Proof-Ad-7835 to abusiverelationships [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:15 healingmind23 Why is it treated like fact that OCD is almost always caused by chemical inbalance or that you can't recover because of that.

"Current research shows that genetic and biological factors make a person more likely to D͟e͟v͟e͟l͟o͟p͟ OCD, Changes in the neurochemical serotonin, as well as in the neurochemicals dopamine and glutamate, are likely present in OCD. Indeed, medications like the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) improve symptoms for many people."
What changes Serotonin levels - age-related health and brain changes. chronic stress. a lack of exposure to natural light. lack of physical activity.
What changes glutamate levels - Traumatic stress most often elevates glutamate to abnormally high levels. Many mood-altering substances disrupt the glutamate-GABA balance. Stimulant drugs shift the balance towards glutamate. This includes caffeine, the most widely used stimulant, which increases glutamate activity at the expense of GABA.
They did brain tests on people who already have severe OCD. And what is one thing that most people with severe OCD have, chronic stress. It doesn't even say that it is guaranteed to be caused by a chemical inbalence it may be, but also that biological factors make a person more likely to develop OCD. Not that it's causing it.
Individuals with OCD often have certain chemical imbalances present in the brain. "Often" not even everyone with OCD has these imbalances. And the thing that affects these parts of the brain the most is stress.
"While brain structure may play a role in developing OCD, chemical imbalances in the brain have not been found to be a contributing cause of OCD."
All of this information is available to you online and you can do your own research if you'd like. Instead of just hearing that people with OCD have a chemical imbalance and creating your own thoughts.
You can literally explain the cause of OCD to the way your brain reacts to fear and physical actions in response to that, along with over anylazing a thought and the reassurance of such thought. Self soothing behavior "compulsions" is a response to that fear, making your mind believe that it is truly a danger and has something to worry about. Resulting in more behavior to try to reduce the anxiety that you have. It does not care about rationalization, as to why you cannot overcome OCD thoughts with rationalization, or else we wouldn't be here. It developed when you had a stressful time in your life and got an intrusive thought (which everyone gets) and responded to it the wrong way and with fear instead of disregarding, in which your mind sent it to you again to see if it's an actual worry and you responded that way again, and again. Training and convincing it that it is a true worry, it only cares about keeping you safe. You give it the fears. You put your mind under constant stress for months on end and expect it not to have forms of chemical imbalance, let alone the ones most effected by that?
You literally cannot get rid of or even reduce OCD significantly with just meds and no ERP. And ERP isn't just therapy you can do your own ERP with your thoughts and triggers by not responding to them.
Many many people have recovered from OCD without meds and just ERP.
If it wasn't caused by your actions and reactions then why would OCD leave and come back. Why would it start to leave and decrease when you retrain those behaviors and not stay present at the level it was?
submitted by healingmind23 to OCD [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 14:15 TheCurserHasntMoved Accidentally Adopted Part 5: CH 2

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Dear Diary,

We're getting ready to sail, but for the first time, like ever, we're sailing without full holds. The important thing for me is to figure out the plushies, keep up on my studies, and figure out how to help with the mission.
I've been working on the modeling for the two versions and putting up some concepts on social media, and people are going nuts wanting one. There are going to be knockoffs, and some people have already done little art projects of him. I like the knitted one, and Greg was a little exasperated when I showed him the reactions. He just muttered about being famous where nobody even knows his name. I reminded him it's his fault for being adorable. He said he can't help that everyone else has bad taste and to wait until I meet a good boy, whatever that is.
Someone got a good picture of the Lord Justiciar pinning the medal on, and now that's become the Sneaky Salute meme. I'm seeing it used a lot reacting to heartwarming stories, like about an orphaned litter being taken car of by a different animal, or a pet waiting for an owner who passed away, and mostly for kids doing kind things. Then there are the funny uses, mostly by teenagers on posts of other teenagers hurting themselves doing sports. Of course, there are text edits, but a lot of them make no sense unless you're from the culture of the meme, or maybe not even then. Why is the medal labeled "hoidvao," Greg "me when I get good grades," and the Lord Justiciar "brood matron?" Why is that one so popular? Jecauvia is weird.
With things getting a bit less hectic, things are going back to routine. Kind of. Mom is still busy lining up buyers at our next stop, Daddy is still going over the course with Uncle Yaem, and Greg is still working on what he calls "combat reediness." He told me to bring everyone past their Halfway to the armory to talk about that.
There was Greg, cleaning the sidearm Uncle Yaem machined for him. It looks like a scaled down electronic pulse pistol with the rack of weapons looming over us behind him when Yaeg, Mael, Brev, Wex, and I arived.
"First thing's first," he said as his eyes lifted to pin Yaem, "I was harsh with you. I'm not sorry for telling you that you couldn't come fight, but I am sorry that I wasn't kinder about it. Will you forgive me?"
Yaem blinked and then said slowly, "I don't know the details, but I know you had to fight for real when you were younger than me... I have been meaning to apologize for how immature I was about the mission... and I wanted to thank you for caring enough to correct me. If you feel you should have been more kind about keeping me safe, I forgive the harsh words. Thank you, Sneaky."
"Good, that's good," he said as he moved on to cleaning a different part, "The five of you aren't exactly kids anymore, are you?" We shook our heads. "But you're not adults either." We shook our heads again. He seemed to be searching the weapon for something, "The most precious thing on this ship is the innocent. The littles are the most innocent, the littles depend on us entirely, so you must suffer damage to your innocence to protect them. I remind you that you voted for this, all five of you did. The Among the Star Tided We Sing sails into danger."
Brev rolled her eyes and started talking, "Stars, we like totall-"
"Stop." The coldness of his voice and eyes sent a chill down my spine, and hers too from her face, "We are talking about keeping the littles alive and safe. Do you understand?"
She gulped and answered, "Yes."
"I don't like it, but I'm an officer, and in this capacity we will be maintaining discipline."
"Yes, sir."
He flinched a little and continued, "There is a scenario in which you might have to fight. Therefore, I refuse to leave you defenseless in that scenario. In the case that we're boarded, and the adults are either overwhelmed or pinned down in a different part of the ship, and the boarders goal is kidnapping, it will fall to you five. Your little brothers and sisters, and cousins and friends will be depending on you. Do you think you're ready?"
"No, sir," Yaem, Brev, and I said immediately.
Mael just looked uncomfortable and Wex shrugged and said, "I don't even know what ready is."
"First, we're going to familiarize you with our most reliable long guns."
"Not the sidearms?"
"The idea that it is easier to shoot a smaller weapon is not correct. Lives might depend on your accuracy, and the long barrel is easier to aim and stabilize. You will be leaning the four hand grip for maximum control," he scowled at Wex and said, "I don't care how stupid you look when you're saving your little sister from slavery."
Nobody felt like complaining after that.
He told us that we'd be rotating in for training on real weapons after the grown ups and dismissed us.
He's weighty when he's serious.

Journal Entry: 38. Date: 1/7/6. Name: Greg George.

I woke up in a cold sweat this morning. I was in the pit again, except instead of fighting the googly eyed fucks made me watch them inject Lucy and Linus. Thank God I woke up before they...
Jesus in a tank, subconscious, did you have to come up with something like that to be afraid of?
I had to hold my plasma caster for an hour to calm down from that shit.
That's the kind of nightmare I don't want to process, I just want to fucking forget. Fuck me sideways, that shit was terrifying.
But this is a sanity journal, so no holding shit back. It's the rule.
Anyway, I'm in more memes, and apparently the idea of me being a plush toy has the net fucking on fire, which is good for sales, which I apparently get an even split with the other four people in the project and the ship. Kind of threw me for a loop that Lucy wanted to do it that way, but she wouldn't be talked out of it.
Some weirdo knitted me.
Like a little yarn doll of me.
Fucking xenos have no goddamn taste, I fucking swear. If they think I'm cute wait until they meet a Doggo. Not a good translation, but I think "good boy" is good enough. Heh. The best thing would be to show the xenos a Doggo with their pet dog. That shit would be funny.
Earthborn adorable is going to make toy companies so much fucking money.
That, and the dart wars. We're already setting up a more structured match at the next station, and since we're going into hyperspace we'll be off the network except for what's basically email or hypercom calls. I'll have someone help me set up an email for the dart wars later, I don't want the address to be accidentally hilarious. If I do something funny, I want it to be on purpose.
Anyway, I briefed the big kids on their extra training today. I think I got it through their heads that it's not a game. Fuck, I hate being an officer. Fucking getting sir-ed fucking sucks.
Anyway, the meeting with the Lord Justiciar, got his name, but fuck spelling that shit. I'm just calling him Fancypants. The meeting with Fancypants went pretty well. Despite him being a big fancy lord or whatever, he was pretty cool. Not as cool as Pops, but at least he wasn't stuffy. Turns out being the captain of a Justiciar is what makes him the lord, and it's meant to avoid confusion when coordinating several civvy ships in an emergency anti-crime action.
I continue to amaze the fuck out of everyone by being sober from drinking tea, and I blew their fucking minds by telling them it's a mild stimulant for me, and I'd brew it stronger if it tasted better. Except Pops, he already knows.
This lead on to what might intoxicate me, and I had a genius fucking idea. I described how we make hooch. From the fermentation of the mash, to distillation, to cask aging. Apparently, they have hooch, unaged shit, but still glorious alcohol, just in tiny amounts since a quarter of a tablespoon, at a rough guess, is enough to make them puke. Which is what it's for, emergency stomach evacuation. When I told them that my preferred method of consumption is to drink what I approximated to be two ounces with the tea over an hour or so, the servant lady fucking fainted. When asked whether I have a high tolerance to the word I'm guessing is alcohol, I told them no. They don't believe me.
It's whatever.
The bad news is that our armory is stocked with about as good as it gets for weapons.
The good news is that armor is available.
What the fucker wanted in exchange...
Oh, I'll get you back for this Fancypants.
I'll het you back.

Log: 6000001.1.03, Personal, Captain Yormdrill

It is daunting, but we are committed. It's been difficult to chart the course with the lowest likelihood of a pirate trap, but it's not like they're consistent about where they rip innocent ships out of hyperspace. Our weapons systems haven't been used since Yaemdrill and I bought her, but I have kept them maintained. Hopefully we won't have cause to use them. Hopefully they'll be enough to drive any pirates away, and Gregory won't have cause to use his skills. Hopefully.
Tea with the Lord Justiciar was interesting. Thankfully, we were not required to dress formally, so I just selected some nice clothes rather than wearing a work jumpsuit. Perhaps appropriate for going to a restaurant, while Gregory did similarly. Unfortunately, to his view, his nice clothes are somewhat brightly colored which only served to make him look more adorable. We were admitted to his private quarters, which were rather lavish, as he had a tea room.
"Apologies, my wife will not be joining us," he said as a maid poured the tea, "she is busy passing judgement on some criminals."
"My wife also sends her regrets, as she is cargo master to the Upon the Star Tides We Sing, she is preoccupied in filling her holds. Our most recent course has been a significant loss."
"I don't have a wife," Gregory said when the Lord Justiciar looked to him, then he amazed the Lord Justiciar and Major or the Landers by nonchalantly sipping enough tea for a normal person to quickly feel its effects. "Like I said last time, my name seems hard on you, so just go with either Greg or Sneaky."
"Shouldn't you slow down?" the Major asked.
"You worried I'll get inebriated? This stuff is a mild stimulant for me."
"You jest, surly," the Lord Justiciar said as he stirred some sweetener into his tea.
"Drop an ice cube in this scorching stuff and I'll gulp it down right now," he said before blowing across the rim to cool it.
"It's true, he brews it far stronger for himself at home."
"I'm limited by taste more than anything at this point. Any stronger and it goes from pleasantly bitter to disgustingly bitter."
Our hosts looked shocked in a most satisfying way, and the Lord Justiciar forgot himself well enough to ask, "Do your people get intoxicated by anything in the void?"
"Oh, lots of stuff. We have stimulants that can be dangerous, painkillers that can be abused, mushrooms and chemicals that cause hallucinations. Lots of things, some more or less dangerous to take."
"Do you ever intoxicate yourself?"
"Well, my drug of choice is... void it, we make it by making a grain mash, introducing microbes that eat the sugars, then distilling the intoxicant by boiling it and putting the steam through a condenser tube. Then it's put into wooden casks to pick up flavor for a few years."
"You drink alcohol?"
"If alcohol is made the way I describe. Mind you it's not always made the same way back home, there are kinds that are only strained rather than distilled for more flavor and lower concentration of... alcohol?"
The maid fainted, and there was a bit to commotion as some of her coworkers checked to make sure she did not hit her head, then as they helped her stumble out to lie down somewhere a bit more comfortable than the floor, I explained the proper use of alcohol to him. One of the stirring spoons proved a useful visual aid.
"Sorry for all of the..." Gregory gestured toward the door, and continued, "But I still don't have any names."
The Lord Justiciar looked starteled and said, "Apologies, how rude of me. I am Xandred, this is my Major of the Landers, Voxvov."
"I'm pleased to meet you both properly. Did you want to discuss anything in particular, or did you just want to shoot breaches into nothing?"
"Into nothing? Void that," Voxvov chuckled, "In the first place I wanted to get to know you in a less official setting. You're less... stiff than the debriefing."
"We're having a chat over drinks, even if I can't feel them the way you do. Breach me if I don't know a friendly gesture when I see one. Then again, you're both busy men, so you must want something out of this."
"Not as busy as you'd think," Xandred answered, "I just captain this tub of justice. Once the target is orderly again, there's not much for me to do. No captains to coordinate, no egos to sooth, no overeager militias to trim in. All things considered, things went rather well here."
"Forgive me if I have a somewhat dimmer assessment."
"Apologies, Yormdrill, I was talking about how you all handled the situation after the crime was suffered. I have seen captains make a mess of things rather than restoring order."
"That's mostly Mom. We went planetside to get my brother back."
"Speaking of planetside, I hear you're a Lander to your people."
"My job was as an advance scout and overwatch sniper."
"Similar to what we do. But my lieutenant insists that you were fired onto the battlefield in an escape pod."
"Stealth drop pods. They're single use only."
"Excuse me?"
"Standard insertion for advance scouts is via stealth drop pods."
Xandred looked pale as he nearly whispered, "That implies the existence of non-stealth drop pods."
"Yes, the assault drop pods deliver the shock troops to establish a... landing place."
They looked so satisfyingly horrified that I couldn't help from adding, "He maintains that his nation has never lost a scout before landfall."
"A shuttle would be far safer..."
"A big, fat, slow target would be safer in peacetime. Sure. But my job isn't peaceful. Wasn't peaceful..."
"It is well to think of such things," Voxvov said after a sip of tea, "I am considering taking on a civilian roll soon, but I do not think the attitudes of a man of action shall ever leave me."
"Well, apparently there are civilian ships in dire need of combat reediness drills."
I scowled at him while the others nodded gravely. "If more captains in this region took it seriously, you might have had more than sixty men to complete the work," Voxvov opined.
"That's plenty for a lieutenant. Not a full... I don't know the translation. Anyway, it's close to a commission for a lieutenant."
"Is that the case in your military?"
"Well, it might be more or less depending on the formation, especially when it comes to vehicles."
"I see..."
"The biggest issue was that we were underequipped."
"You did rather well..."
"Yes, but for instance, I had to reposition after every shot. I have a magnetic accelerator now, but that plasma caster isn't very subtle when it fires. Also, we had to be particularly careful about cover since we weren't armored. Additionally, we didn't have a tactical network, just local coms. That's a bigger deal than you'd think, a mission can change in an instant, and if that change is communicated quickly and accurately it can save lives."
"I see... your nova is well earned," Xandred remarked.
"I will try not to tarnish it, sir. I was only doing what's right."
"Speaking of doing what's right," Voxvov mused, "I heard another rumor. It's said you're going after Beastmaster Selvace."
"And what if we are?" I asked.
"That would depend on your purpose."
"If you're just after putting the void sucker through an airlock for revenge, well we can't stop you, but you'll not have the protection of the treaties."
"That googly eyed void mating piece of scorched waste knows where my brothers' place of safety is. I need to know how he got close, how he got past detection, and how he got away alive, and somehow get that information to the Republic. If it happened to me, it can happen again."
"It is well that you were a castaway as shipwreck, and not marooned. This threat to yours is a threat to ours, as you are a Star Sailor," Xandred said solemnly.
"In that case, we can offer some support. I've been watching the local weapons market, and it seems that you've taken up the best of what's available. I wanted one of those new flechette launchers for my own use."
"I was hoping for some chemical propellant weapons. Electromagnetic attacks would leave us vulnerable."
"I can't help you there. But what about some armor and extra personnel?"
"The We Sing is mostly cargo space. Our quarters deck could take on maybe two squads. Getting Linus back was enough to risk our chain of command, but in future actions I'd rather Pops stay on the bridge. Uncle too."
I tried to hide my cringe, "If I had been more disciplined in drilling the crew with small arms, then perhaps my brother and I would have taken on a command role instead."
Voxvov smiled into his tea and said, "It just so happens that this beastmaster is also a wanted pirate. Good hunting lads."

From the Memoir of Beastmaster Selvace

Having escaped the warmbloods putting their disgustingly hair covered fingers where they're not needed or wanted, I sought out more information. Apparently an underboss did the one egg breaking thing you just never do, and kidnapped one of the blue warmbloods. Of all of the lesser beings, the blues just lack the understanding of their place in this galaxy. This Jacauvian galaxy.
What I found out was rotted stupid. Apparently, Umbvia Syndicate was dismantled by the beast from beyond the Monvan gulf, or at least that's what the blues are claiming. They're mocking us. I say we go back to scalping them. A fine cloak of their prized braids, a new one. The one I inherited from my great, great, great brood matron is a fine thing, but too precious for wearing. The scalps of this We Sing would do nicely. Then we put the beast back where it belongs.
Enough pain will teach it that it's an animal or a primitive again.
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submitted by TheCurserHasntMoved to HFY [link] [comments]